The Sonderman Constellation
Continued from Chap. IV-1
Sonderman, who now had the most authority in our club began to undermine my authority as soon as he was selected. Ever the dupe he followed Hirsh’s directions. Sonderman was a nothing himself. Trapped in his father’s box he didn’t have and never could have initiative. He was a neuter.
I had started, built up and maintained the club. Sonderman wore the shirt I had selected one day a week. He wore it proudly too. The shirt gave him status and prestige he could never have attained on his own. Sonderman was and is actually in debt to me for the best times of his youth. In what form did he show his gratitude?
Once in the club he began slandering and belittling me constantly on the old ‘bore from within’ principle. Whereas before we had always had friendly dinners I now became the butt of ridicule. Everything I said and did was belittled. I became the victim of practical jokes.
Sonderman and Hirsh’s first intent was to drive me out but failing that to lower me in the estimation of my fellows to a walking joke, a subhuman who had come to the defense of the Negroes. Probably Sonderman’s own thinking was that with me out of the way he could claim he had originated the club reducing me to the role of jealous imitator; perhaps he could have represented me as someone who wanted into his club but couldn’t make it.
He demanded the first dinner after he became a member which was in January just before they moved. The dinner was a studied insult to me. I was denied a place at the table while the abominable little was seated at it. He shouldn’t even have been allowed to be there. I was given a plate and told to sit in the living room by myself. So, as you see Law and Order has nothing to do with right or wrong or justice; it is a question of police power.
I stared bemusedly at the torn up rug which Mrs. Sonderman had seen fit to leave on the floor. What strange people. Did they walk over it every day picking their feet way up to get over the bumps while cursing me? What queer notions prompted them to leave that threadbare rug on the floor?
I would have walked out but I knew what the gig was. I had to keep the club together till the end of the year. I couldn’t let the Hirshes humiliate me in that manner.
It became less and less possible to enjoy myself during the February and March dinners. Even that dolt, Denny Demwitter, who owed me everything, turned against me. Now that I think about it maybe my attitude toward Ed Phlatoe had something to do with that.
Unable to garner the votes to have me ejected Hirsh had his tool Dirk Klutz, who was to host the April dinner, cancel the dinner. As May coincided with graduation Sonderman determined to void the dinner for that month.
That was alright with me, an honorable way out. Given another couple months and they would have defeated me but in their eyes I had been already. The club disintegrated after the aborted April dinner. We began to look to the future beyond high school. Sonderman had already been accepted as a cadet at West Point which accounted for a lot of his prestige in the club at the end. Some of the others were destined for colleges while half of us including me had less distinguished prospects. Time would tell who had risen and who had fallen but the future couldn’t be seen by our high school eyes.
Klutz did not escape criticism for reneging on his obligation. In their single minded pursuit to hurt me they didn’t think of the others they were injuring. The social status of every member of the club depended on its continuance. In order to deflect justified condemnation Klutz gave a graduation party to which all the club members but me were invited. So, in a way Hirsh would have gotten me expelled from the club but giving in to complaints from some other members Klutz said that I could come if I really wanted to. Well, it was a difficult choice but the end result if I hadn’t gone would have been that I was booted out of my own club so I swallowed my pride and went.
As it turned out Klutz, it seemed to me at the time that if not a member of the Hirshes, was in with them because they were all there, the whole bunch. Symbolically they subsumed our club to them by transferring the dinner meeting to this party under their auspices allowing them to still feel superior. To heighten their triumph my club members were all shuttled into a game room off the front door while they were escorted past us into the living room and main party.
When I saw Consuelo and Meggy Malone and Michael Hirsh enter casting disdainful glances in my direction I knew I had been had. Well, it was a push; I had been invited to the same party they had. Still left a sour taste in my mouth.
If I had been had, strangely so, as I learned later, was David Hirsh. Hirsh had given egregious offence to his wife’s family who were not the forgiving kind. They had been nursing this grudge for three years. On this night they collected the debt. Michael Hirsh had knock out drops placed in his bourbon and coke. Then before the drops took effect he was challenged to a drag race. The drugs hit him just at peak acceleration. He veered off the road into the ditch hitting a concrete culvert at the intersection. He didn’t feel a thing.
So the querolous Hirsh even though he had defeated me suffered a defeat from which he would never recover. Ain’t life funny that way?
Michael Hirsh’s death on graduation night created shock waves in the community. However as life is for the living and the dead are soon forgotten Michael Hirsh being no longer with the living was no longer of any consequence.
I was still there.
Judaeo-Christian mores say that the penalty must fit the crime. Although I had committed no crime I think that surely the imagined insult to the dignity of David Hirsh should have been satisfied long before this. However graduation was not the end but only the end of the beginning. A second phase began that lasted for at least another ten years with ramifications that are still going on.
Not content with having ruined my life through the school years, Hirsh began a program to extend into the future. As usual he enstooged Sonderman.
I can only guess at the terrible repercussion to Sonderman’s psychology from his failed attempts to injure me and the actual murder of Shardel Wilson. As people do in such situations he blamed me for his own actions. I ‘made’ him do it.
Probably he was brought low in his own estimation by his crimes. It was necessary for him then to reduce me to a level beneath his opinion of himself. As he had emotionally emasculated himself he sought to physically emasculate me. Thus he bent all his efforts toward sodomizing me.
Hirsh wanted to isolate me, to cast me on the dung heap of society. He had messed up my club at the end; stung by his son’s death he now wanted to destroy my friendship with Denny Demwitter, to isolate me completely.
Although a member of our club Sonderman had made no effort to befriend the members. If he had he would have expected them to visit him; he never visited anyone else. The summer of ’56, the greatest summer in the history of the world, there is no feeling like being eighteen, was a time of deep recession in the Valley. Cars weren’t selling so there just weren’t any jobs; we all had time on our hands. I began the summer spending most of my time at Demwitter’s.
Sonderman had never voluntarily left his porch in my memory. Now, violating all his lifelong habits he began to call on Denny. Demwitter had been putty in my hands but I wasn’t going to spend all my life trying to shape him. Sonderman’s influence became more effective than mine after the Blockbusters won the championship. Demwitter now deferred to Sonderman’s influence.
Except for the football groping under the influence of Sonderman Denny and I had always had a chaste relationship. We had always respected each other’s person; no punching, wrestling or grabass of any kind. We had never even discussed girls or sex.
Now, with Sonderman present the two of them started pushing and shoving, groping in the most obvious fashion; not just a pat on the ass which would have been offensive enough, but grabbing a whole cheek in the hand. They started goosing, not just lightly, but trying to hook a thumb or finger into the rectum. Real queer stuff. Makes me wonder about Ed Phaltoe and Demwitter now.
Sonderman, who had never left his porch, now began to show up at Demwitter’s shortly after I did. Obviously someone was watching me and reporting my movements. Sonderman no longer lived across from me so he couldn’t have seen me leave my house from his perch on the porch. Sonderman’s style at his house had been to hold court in his bedroom. I never appreciated that aspect of his behavior as bedrooms were always private with me. I preferred living room or porches. Denny and I had always used his living room in winter and his porch in summer. With Sonderman there everything was moved upstairs to Denny’s bedroom. Sonderman insisted that all the shades be drawn so we were practically sitting in the dark.
Now that I think about it Old S was such a devotee of his hero Roosevelt that it is quite probable that Old S thaught his son to hold court in his bedroom a la FDR. Sonderman always used to sit on the bed while I stood talking to him. Roosevelt while president used to hold court in bed in his silk pajamas. As Dean Acheson said the only thing he could compare it to was the court of Louis XIV. King’s men aftershave and emulating Louis XIV, it’s not hard to see what Roosevelt was up to.
So the Old Sod was probably training his heir and successor to the manner of command and royalty.
At Demwitter’s the conversation got more smutty and faggy as time passed. I read the handwriting on the wall trying to discourage Sonderman’s visits. Sonderman was intent on his purpose.
One day I was visiting Demwitter. He was slouched against the wall sitting on the floor as we talked. Sitting on the floor was another of Sonderman’s innovations. Probably because he couldn’t command Demwitter’s bed himself he didn’t want anyone to use it and be in command. Especially me.
I was lying belly down on the bed with my chin resting of the footboard. As Sonderman always showed up twenty minutes after I did it must be true that someone watching me phoned him. He bounded up the stairway, entered the room and seeing me lying prone on the bed he jumped on my back. Grabbing me around the neck as he had at the Y he began dry humping me. I threw him off with great indignation but neither he nor Demwitter seemed to take any notice.
It was clear that I would have to abandon my visits or become a ‘consenting’ adult. This direction was made clear shortly thereafter when I went to visit Demwitter. Some guy I had never seen before was there and then Sonderman came traipsing in. We sat around talking until Sonderman had a bright idea. He suggested we turn out the light and masturbate together. I was still completely innocent sexually. Even if I hadn’t been, for me sex was something between a boy and his girl not to be discussed with anyone else.
I don’t know whether I had heard the trick discussed or whether I knew enough of Hirsh’s style to divine the trick. It really wasn’t hard to figure out. I knew then that this would be the last time I visited Demwitter. Sonderman and the Hirshes had won the round. I was isolated. Demwitter betrayed the best friend he would ever have.
Sonderman flicked off the lights. They were so stupid. Even with the shades drawn there was enough light so that I could see. Apparently they couldn’t. I went along with the joke to a point. I huffed and puffed and slapped the bedspread in rhythm. Sonderman leaped up to turn on the light expecting me to be the only one masturbating. I sat looking at him with my most sardonic smile.
I wouldn’t put up with anymore. That terminated my friendship with Demwitter. Once I was gone Sonderman stopped calling on the boob too. I suppose Sonderman’s version was that Denny was his old friend and I tried to horn in.
Denny owed me everything. That he had attained prominence in high shool was due solely to me. I introduced him to a higher quality of friends. The other guys he knew were thugs or slugs. If it hadn’t been for Sonderman’s hope for vengeance on me there wouldn’t have been any Blockbusters for Demwitter to quarterback.
That he should have sacrificed our longstanding honorable friendship for a temporary alliance with Sonderman was incredible to me. Denny never was smart. Now that he had betrayed our friendship he was no longer of any use to me and I have never given him a second thought.
I had been taking a psychological battering all my life. One personality lay dead on the second grade playing field. I had never been able to build a viable alternate personality or even persona. I lacked all male force which is to say my Animus was completely beaten down. In Freudian terms I had a weak Ego. Now that the support of the camaraderie of school was gone the prop it had given to my deteriorating mental state was removed. I collapsed into an inert pile.
Everyone had their plans. Some had seemingly glittering prospects at college; some were even lucky enough to find jobs. I had nothing. My mother had signed me up to go into the Navy. She apparently thought that the Navy would be my last foster home.
My mother! There was a source of information for the Hirshes I never even considered. She babbled things to anyone who would listen. Who knows who she talked to, but she had been telling unknown hordes that I was going to make the Navy my career. She told others but not me that I was going to be a Chief Petty Officer and be back in twenty years. She never talked to me about it but the story came back to me from some girl I hardly knew and didn’t like. When I said I wasn’t going to make a career of the Navy the girl grew angry with me saying I was wrong because my mother said I would, just like my mother would know more about it than I would.
The fault lies within? In the sense that conditioning determines conduct but once the die is cast it is all preordained, only the variables can be manipulated.
My mind at this point turned to stone. I was capable of only the slightest exertion as I inertly waited to be called up. The only friend who stood by me was Larry Dubcek. He had also enlisted and was waiting to be called up. As for Sonderman the last two stars in the Constellation were placed just before he left for West Point.
Our relationship ended on a tragi-comic note. Although I had sworn I would never speak to Sonderman again after the the incident in Demwitter’s room it chanced that I met this really swinging girl. She wasn’t my type but she was a total knockout. I just couldn’t resist her. She was one of those hot little numbers that you want to meet because you think you know what to do with them but then find out they know a heck of a lot more than you do.
For a while we were really flaming. I was even introduced into her family circle as a sort of suitor. Her hotness was in reaction to a very traumatic experience. I don’t really understand what I represented to her because I wasn’t her type either. Her father owned a wholesale janitorial supply business. I was shown the premises. Mr. Fotheringay had had the misfortune to call the attention of the Outfit to himself. The Outfit was the Chicago Mob.
He sold to hotels and restaurants so it was natural that the Mafia should annex his business. Strangely he was quite open about it with me. When I, in my ignorance of social realities, reproached him for being involved with the Mafia he gave me a painful snarl and a look that showed both his impotence against the Outfit and his disdain for such a dolt as myself. He had already suffered unbearable ignominy at their hands and he was to suffer more.
Terrorism in the United States is treated as a recent importation from the Moslem countries but terrorism has been practiced by the Mafiosi since the turn of the last century. The Mafia had terrorized Jack Fotheringay in a particularly effective way.
Briony or Brie Fotheringay when I met her was entering her Senior year. She was just seventeen. She was more flashy than beautiful but then it’s a fine line between flash and beauty, I suppose. At any rate a couple days before her birthday, which was two days before mine, she caught the eye of her father’s Mafia handler, Two Ton Tony Lardo.
Two Ton Tony was an underboss from the Chicago Outfit assigned several areas in the State including our county the county to the South of us and the county to the North. He was your typical Mafioso- ignorant and uncouth. He was six-five and three hundred twenty-five pounds. Foul mouthed, vulgar and intrinsically obscene. All he had to do was show up to fill a place with obscenity. He announced to Jack Fotheringay that his daughter was a good looking piece. Fotheringay had only been annexed for a few months so he told Lardo that she was none of his business.
The details are unimportant; you can devise them anyway. Jack personally delivered Brie to Rocco’s Pizzeria down on Thelema then was told to wait in the car. They had a basement storage room into which this uncouth behemoth carried the terrified Brie by one arm.
She was about five-four, a mere slip of a girl. This Mafioso sewer rat literally tore her clothes off. Without any preliminaries he just rammed it home standing up as she lay back across a chopping block with her head hanging over the edge backward. Then he grabbed both her ears pulling her up of the table onto her knees and pulled her mouth over his dick.
Finished with her he gave her a kick in the ass to help her up the stairs as she ran half naked out the back door into the parking lot where her totally devastated father waited for her. Two Ton Tony followed her out lighting an enormous cigar with one hand while with the other he slowly zipped his pants in Fotheringay’s face.
Then with a knowing sneer he took his cigar and tapped a picture drawn on the wall by the door. The picture was of the man with the big nose hanging over a fence with the legend ‘Kilroy Was Here.’ It is hard to tell which hurt Fotheringay the most, but he knew he was powerless, thoroughly emasculated, to resist. He was a mere cipher. There was no need to go to the cops; no need to tell you where the cops got that extra little augmentation to the pay envelope.
As everyone at the time knew, the picture and legend ‘Kilroy Was Here’ was a symbol plastered all over Europe by the troops of the Arsenal Of Democracy as they rolled up those nasty Nazi armies. Lardo and Fatheringay had talked about the matter previously. While Fotheringay had been terrorized by the thundering ‘Arsenal Of Freedom’ fighting in the ranks at the Battle Of The Bulge Lardo had been sitting pretty back home with plenty of forged gas rations, stolen food rations, hijacked new tires for his late ’41 Roadster, he was important enough to get one of the few ’42s, and plenty of money in his pocket to spend on the bevy of women without men and fewer morals.
He got so much nooky he laughed to Fotheringay that for all he knew Brie was his own daughter conceived while Fotheringay was stupid enough to be off fighting people he didn’t even know in Europe.
Fotheringay watched Lardo tap Kilroy with rueful eyes. Had he fought a war to make the world safe for criminals? Had he defeated Hitler just so he could become enslaved to a despicable Mafioso? It seems so. It was true. The Fotheringays of the world had the power to defeat the Nazis but not the power to rule out and out criminals in their own homeland. Zeus is one tricky fellow.
It was one of those moments from which you never recover. Never did a man feel more helpless and ashamed as his lovely sweet sixteen Brie shivered and cried beside him. What could he do about it?
The Mafia was very nearly protected by the Law. Even though we had watched breathlessly in 1951 when Senator Kefauver confirmed and revealed the existence and influence of the Mafia the top cop in the country, J. Edgar Hoover of the fabled Federal Bureau Of Investigation, denied their existence. He refused to move against them.
Hoover was the guy who stood gloating over the dead body of the folk hero John Dillinger while ignoring the activities of Al Capone who led the Outfit in Chicago. Hoover let those creeps dominate the business activity of the Central States and the West. At this very moment he was abetting a psychopath like Sam Giancana in terrorizing my hometown.
Even when I was ten years old I knew organized crime existed. I read comic books. I went to the movies. I knew that Hoover had murdered John Dillenger while he allowed Valentines Day Massacres to go uninvestigated and unpunished; he couldn’t even find the guys who did it, nearly a century later the killers are still unproven.
I am unable to describe my reaction when I saw criminals defy the Kefauver Committee with impunity. My faith in the masculinity of the government was shattered when I watched Frank Costello get up and walk out of the courtroom saying he didn’t feel like answering any more questions. Goddamn the cops.
If any Anglo, if I, had done the same the police would have grabbed us and thrown us back in his seat but the police, the same cops that told me that I, and only I had to walk my bike through intersections, watched as Frank Costello ambled out of the courtroom.
I saw plenty of Mafia activity in town while decent citizens suffered helplessly with no recourse, slaves to this vile criminal group.
It reached into my family circle. While not directly involved with the Mafia my uncle Sammy was a goon for the Mob. Uncle Sammy was a truck driver. You don’t think of these things at the time but I guess Sammy thought the ends justified the means. He thought Jimmy Hoffa was a great man. Hoffa was another fearsome persona from my youth. Hoffa aligned himself with the Mob, both New York and Chicago. You know, he had a foot in both camps. He adopted the terroristic tactics of the Mafia.
In the early and mid-fifties these guys bombed and killed in a wild frenzy. My Uncle Sammy was one of the bombers and hit men. I don’t know who all knew. I’m sure he didn’t think I did although I took him to task about Hoffa once. Sammy was a real labor type so he defended Hoffa vigorously.
Uncle Sammy was real nervous the day after the simultaneous bombing of the Trans-Central States terminal and the killing of its owner. I stood looking at him accusingly. He shoved me away angrily saying something about the bastards wouldn’t listen to reason. He and my Aunt Jo moved across town shortly thereafter. He never came around to visit, I never saw him again.
So this was the environment in which Fotheringay suffered and had somehow to endure with no chance of extricating himself. The cops and judges were under the thumb of the Outfit. The FBI would have no time for him. He had gone to fight in the Big One for this. Was Hitler a bigger villain than Sam Giancana?
These illiterate criminal Sicilians owned America. How had the Greatest Generation allowed this to come to pass?
My youth was the transition from the hopes of the ‘Melting Pot’ to what we at the beginning of the twenty-first century call ‘celebrating our multi-cultural diversity.’ This is no longer the beginning of the twentieth century when these national groups were new requiring ‘tolerance.’ If we are to celebrate our diversity then we are not only free to do so but must analyze what those differences are if the country is to succeed as a political entity.
Psychologically the Sicilian mentality can be typed. Their characteristic way of viewing society can be easily described. There is no mystery. All you have to do is celebrate this particular diversity.
Prior to 1950 movie makers felt compelled to celebrate the Anglo Saxon origins of the country. After 1950 the emphasis changed. People with ‘foreign’ sounding names had formerly changed them to ‘American’ or Anglo Saxon names. As Monsieur Arouet who became a gentleman by the name of Voltaire said: The name’s the thing. So I don’t quarrel with any actor who wishes to change his name to something that may lead to greater success. John Saxon whole Italian name I forget was the last person who changed his name for immigrant reasons along about 1957-58 or so. His putdown of the process probably cost him his career as the Anglo-Saxons resented his sardonic use of Saxon.
Also the emphasis shifted from doing mainstream movies to presenting ethnic movies that celebrated a particular diversity while denigrating the Anglo-Saxons. Reacting against the sense of inferiority caused by immigrating these always placed the dominant culture in a bad light. In the manner of immigrant cultures they especially belittled the virtues of the dominant culture.
As we have seen the movies are a powerful medium for conditioning the thought and actions of viewers. Anglo-Saxon women are always depicted as nymphomaniac bimbos while all other women are depicted as women of high virtue.
It was thus that Lardo took great pleasure in violating Brie Fotheringay. He wasn’t really interested in sex per se but he wanted to violate the image the smartass Anglos had of themselves. They would do nothing to stop him. He committed his crimes with impunity. The rules that governed their lives had no restraints for a ‘wise guy.’ If a non-Mafioso had violated Brie in that manner you may be sure he wouldn’t escape the vengeance of Fotheringay and the Law. Two Ton Tony had a good laugh at America as he sucked on his big Cuban cigar tapping the image of Kilroy.
The Sicilian ethos was, I must use the word, brilliantly portrayed in the Godfather trilogy of 1972-74 and ’90. As the movie was co-written by Mario Puzo and Francis Coppola, two Sicilians, it is to be presumed that they knew whereof they spoke. While the Sicilian psychosis is brilliantly portrayed the analysis limps along behind it but it is there.
The saga was lovingly executed in epic fashion covering an incredible nine hours. All of the villainy is done under the cover of sacred ceremonies. It is necessary for the Mafia to violate everything anyone else respects. Platoons of wise guys are murdered while the Godfather is attending weddings, baptisms or symbolically in Part III the crucifixion of Christ on stage. This attitude may hark back to the Sicilian Vespers when the Norman conquerors were locked in churches and burnt, apparently a fixative event.
The basic Sicilian Mafia premise is that they are entitled to all the most prestigious things in life because they entitle themselves to take them. There is no pretense of earning anything. They are parasites; they create nothing.
You get guns and an organization and you terrorize everyone out of what you want. There is no need to waste effort on education or social niceties. You merely get ‘respect’ by terrorizing others into submission. ‘Respect’ means that anyone who shows independence is blown away. ‘Respect’ means that everyone is servile in your presence. ‘Honor’ means that if you say you’ll kill a man, you do it.
As parasites the Mafia makes no contribution to society, they merely consume what others make.
Just as their transportation in 586 BC destroyed Jewish self-confidence and gave them an apocalyptic vision of history so did Sicilian history fixated the Sicilian mind. The theme of the Godfather movies seems to be that the winner is the last guy standing when the carnage is over. That is also what the Mafioso Santos Trafficante of Miami, once said.
The denouement of Part III in a dream sequence stunningly portrays this vision. The Mafiosi involved themselves with the Vatican in the most intermingling way. This part was apparently true. The Papacy thinks it is in control but as usual the Mafia uses violence to dominate the Papacy. The Pope himself is involved in their sewer machinations. The criminal Mafia has captured the citadel of the Sacred. Evil rules.
As the hero Michael Corleone’s son wants to be an opera singer he is placed on the stage. To a Mafioso to want is to have. There can be no denial. Obstacles such as training and talent are not allowed to get in the way.
The opera is Cavalleria Rusticana which concerns the crucifixiion of Christ. There, as Christ is being crucified, the murder machine goes into full operation. In dream like fashion an apocalyse of bodies is falling everywhere. One in an evocation of the fall of Lucifer descends from the crown of the cupola. The poisoned Pope dies in bed with a smile on his face. Corleone’s enemies are falling in carloads as he stands untouched in their midst while tremendous operatic music is being performed. He’s the man with the most ‘respect.’
The assassin designated to dispose of Corleone fires off a couple rounds point blank but he somehow misses Corleone and hits his daughter instead. Sicilian girls count, Anglo girls like Brie don’t.
The final scene shows an aged Michael Corleone (translated the name means Lion or Stouthearted) sitting alone in a cemetary like a sole surviving anti-Christ where he stares mournfully at the tombstone of the only thing he ever loved in his life, his beloved daughter. He’s won the battle but the only price is sorrow. Nice view of life.
Well, if he wasn’t an ignorant moron who caused his own troubles one might feel for him. As to his daughter what made her more valuable than Briony Fotheringay and all the Anglo women abused by stouthearted Mafiosi?
Hoover might not have acknowledged the problem but the TV movie ‘The Borgia Stick’ of the early sixties did. A variation on Jack Fotheringay’s predicament was accurately portrayed in the movie. In the movie an Anglo is coopted into serving the Mafia where his life becomes a living hell. He himself is a virtual slave while he is compelled to give his wife as a prostitute. You might not believe it could happen but believe me it does. Briony is only one example.
When I met her she was just emerging from her shock or depression or whatever you wish to call it. Perhaps she was attracted to me because my name represented a secure English past. If so she was to be disappointed in me as she was in her father. It never came to that exactly but our date at Hillbilly Heaven convinced her I wasn’t the man.
Wherever she was to turn she could find no man who could stand up to the Mob. Disappointed by her own men, in later life she was attracted to the apparent male superiority of the Mafia. She became one of their party dolls and prostitutes.
But all I knew at the time was that she was one hot number ready to go. I had to make some kind of splash as a spry young fellow. If you noticed you have never seen me behind the wheel. That’s because Tuistad and my mother were adamant in not allowing me to drive. They were terrified I might have a good time or become a normal young man. So I had this hot little number who was ready to go and no way to get her there.
My only choice was to double date. I sure couldn’t ask Tuistad to drive. Graduation had completely disrupted my social patterns so I knew no one but Dubcek, Demwitter and Sonderman to ask. I was completely disgusted with Demwitter, Dubcek was out of town courting his girl and that left only Sonderman. So I asked him.
After the scene at Demwitter’s he thought he was rid of me. I saw the haughty sneer on his face as he prepared to crush me by refusal but showing some strategical sense for the first time he asked me where I wanted to go. My heart sank.
I was a fan of Country and Western music. This guy named Freddie Hart had a record out that I liked entitled: Drink Up And Go Home. It went something like this:
You sit there a cryin’,
Right in your beer.
You think you got troubles?
My friend listen here:
Now, there stands a blind man-
A man who can’t see-
He’s not complainin’
Why should you or me?
Don’t tell me your troubles,
I got enough of my own.
Be thankful you’re livin’
Drink up and go home.
I was sailing on a sea of troubles that I knew no one wanted to hear or would sympathize with me if they did listen so Freddie’s advice was pretty timely for me. I took his sentiment to heart. I have never complained since but just soldiered on. I thought I would like to hear Freddie sing his song.
The guy wasn’t appearing in town. There was a hillbilly bar over by the time line in the central part of the state called Hillbilly Heaven. It was about fifty miles away. I had never been there but I knew from the radio announcer that the building was divided into two halves by a floor to ceiling chain link fence. You could drink on one side while the other side was for underage kids.
Freddie Hart was playing that weekend.
Most people despised C&W; Sonderman was no exception which was why I quailed at asking him. I could see his lip curl in contempt as he prepared his rejection but then a light went off in his head while his lip uncurled and he broke into a wide grin. I was giving him a better chance than the railroad trestle. He asked for two bucks for gas and said he’d pick me up.
I didn’t like the idea of paying two bucks for gas especially as it only cost fifteen cents a gallon and we wouldn’t use more than three or four gallons but I considered myself lucky to get a driver.
I had never seen Sonderman with a girl before so when he picked me up he had a very ordinary looking girl by his side. She had that cousiny kind of look. I could never figure out my group; none of them ever dated girls I’d seen before. They always came from somewhere else as was the case with Sonderman’s date.
Brie came from a fairly affluent family. Not rich, but Jack bought one of those new houses in a development; a pretty nice house. It was three times my house and double the Sonderman’s new bungalow. You could see the anxiety on Sonderman’s face when we drove up.
When I escorted Brie back to the car you could see that she knocked Sonderman’s socks off. I don’t remember Brie as being actually that beautiful but she had this blonde, sophisticated Audrey Hepburn movie star quality that just thrilled you into instant excitement. It was that quality that Two Ton Tony Lardo wanted to sully.
We set out for mid-state with Sonderman in a flush. Hillbilly Heaven was just across the line that divided Eastern Standard from Central Standard. At the time the dividing line ran through the middle of the State so we left at eight and got there at eight. I impressed Brie with that one.
Brie had had some sexual experience before Two Ton banged her. Now recovering from the trauma she was fixated fast and loose. She was hot on making out. She didn’t care whether the sun was up or not. She threw herself across my lap, flung her arms around my neck and got down to it. Lardo had taught her that niceties didn’t count so rather than wait for me to get up the courage she guided my hand straight to her breast. I could have made her right there but I was a little too backward. Sonderman was stunned at what seemed to be my sexual virtuosity; he spent as much time watching the rear view mirror as he did the road. There wasn’t that much traffic back in those days.
If you’ve never been to a hillbilly bar it’s quite a shock. They’re a pretty rowdy bunch. They let loose like a bunch of Holy Rollers in a frenzy. Each one is trying to out have a good time the others. One talks loud the other talks louder, one acts proud the other acts prouder. Men and women alike. Man, they call that setting the woods on fire. The place was packed on both sides.
Freddie, still a young guy, bounced on stage to do his thing. They had the stage behind mesh wire fencing too. On a good night they used to shower the band with beer bottles whether the drummer was on time or not so they put up this fencing so band members wouldn’t have to pluck beer bottles from between their bleeding gums.
The crowd wasn’t that rowdy this particular night but I was the only one listening to Freddie Hart, or trying to, as everyone was into a noisy something else. Sonderman got up. While I watched he went to speak to some long tall raw looking cowboy type. The guy was six-five and lean as a rail but he still weighed in at two-forty.
When Sonderman came back he stood over me and pointed down so the cowboy couldn’t make a mistake. The thirty year old cowboy type came over by us on the other side of the fence where he began making provocative comments to me.
Sonderman sat smugly so I guess it’s clear why the light went off in his head. His dad and Hirsh took care of the details. Hirsh was nearly in a state of shock because of his son’s death. He considered my survival a gross miscarriage of justice so now he gave up any pretext of Law and Order. The cowboy was hired strictly on the basis of Mafia Criminality.
Freddie sang his song. Since that was what I mentioned I wanted to hear, after the song was over, Sonderman curtly said we were leaving. He had to try to look powerful in front of Brie, who he hadn’t been able to take his eyes off, by cutting the evening short. It was his car and I had an hours worth of smoldering makeout time with Briony so I didn’t put up too much of an objection which wouldn’t have done me any good anyway.
I saw Sonderman motion to the cowboy so he was waiting for me outside the door in the parking lot with a couple other guys. Those rowdy bars don’t like to have the police come around because sober citizens are always trying to shut the places down so I don’t know whether the bartender put these guys on Cowboy to slow him down or not but they were trying hard to dissuade him.
The guy was obviously a hired slugger, as I look back on it now, because he raised his great big ham fist not like he wanted to punch me but like he was trying to knock my eye out and fracture my skull. I could see this guy was a brawler with plenty of experience; I was only eighteen with no fights to my credit but I felt like a virtual midget in front of this towering behemoth. I mean, I had to tilt my head up to look at that huge fist hovering over me. There was no doubt in my young mind that he would stomp me to dust. Something smaller than that if possible.
Boy, I sure didn’t want to fight this guy but I didn’t want to look bad in front of Brie either. I thought the Cowboy was jealous because I had this hot looking chick. Fortunately Sonderman got anxious to leave me to my fate. I guess this was a reenactment of the State game when they tried to drive off without me. Laughing with satisfaction he grabbed both girls making a run for the car.
The Cowboy’s friends or bartender’s agents who looked like dogs jumping at an elephant were trying to pull him back telling him to leave the kid alone which cleared the way for me. I knew Sonderman intended to drive away without me. With bowels quaking I scooted after him grabbing the door as he backed out of the space. Brie threw it open. I tried not to look like I was loading my pants.
Yeah, well, he had humiliated me in front of my hot number. My manhood was really shaken. It took me weeks to rationalize the affair and even at that I wasn’t too successful. It was almost like Brie and Two Ton Tony although hers was much worse than mine. She seemed to understand, wanting to get back into it hot and heavy, but I was so shaken I was less than satisfactory.
Sonderman wasn’t finished. Even though he and Hirsh had failed to have my eye knocked out and my head broken into pieces the effect of Brie on Sonderman was incredible. He was in love. His date had been totally outclassed by mine, if his wasn’t his cousin. Sonderman felt inferior to me which was something he couldn’t tolerate.
When I got out of the car to escort Brie to the door Sonderman put the pedal to the metal peeling rubber for half a block in his haste to leave me cold. I made some comment to Brie about how jealous he was, kissed her goodnight, then began the long walk home.
I had plenty of time to think about Hillbilly Heaven as I walked along. The Cowboy seemed fishy but I was shaken to my socks by him. I felt that I had really failed a test of manhood but at the time I didn’t see why I should have hung around to get pulverized. I could have had a readier repartee in avoiding him but I was certainly under no obligation to fight a guy twice my age and three times my size. Good rationalizing but it didn’t change my feeling of failure.
Just as today I eat my food standing up as a result of Sonderman so decades later I wore a lot of suits with the pinch waisted Western jacket. Just like the outfit the Cowboy wore although I have always detested cowboy boots.
Sonderman had been thrown a loop by Brie. Even her name, Briony Fotheringay, had an exotic but soundly English tone. Aristocratic. In the early fifties English names still carried a lot of weight. The name itself was a reason for Two Ton Tony to want to dishonor her and through her the detested Anglo-Saxon culture.
Briony was so much more than Sonderman had ever imagined for himself, let alone me, that he was thrown into a terrified jealousy. He had to find a woman to outdo me. He had to do it quick, too; he only had a couple weeks before he left for West Point. The pressure was on.
He suddenly appeared with a girl named Donna on his arm. She was a real knockout too in a conventional sort of way. She didn’t have the flair that Brie had but she had a terrific full figure with a really impressive bust line. That was one thing Brie lacked. Big ones.
He and she stood at a distance while he glared at me as though to say: Check this out. He didn’t greet me; he just stood there with an arrogant look on his face. I signed to him.
That’s one thing about Law and Order guys, they don’t care who they hurt to get what they want. Once he located her he must have really come on to her. He had obviously diddled her as he believed I had gotten it from Brie. Donna stood there clutching his right hand with both of hers like she thought she was betrothed. Sonderman must really have deceived her in the hope of shafting me.
He must have talked to her about me a lot because she seemed eager to meet me. Sonderman pulled her away with a shrug saying I wasn’t worth the bother.
Sonderman may have thought that he won Donna with his own manly attributes but Donna had been attracted to him by the prospect of being an officer’s wife. Some women are attracted by the uniform, taking the symbol for the man. Their desire for the male draws them to the outer symbol as young girls are drawn to horses. When the true man separates from the symbol they are often disappointed, turning in chagrin to drink or other men or both.
Sonderman cruelly disabused Donna of the notion of being an officer’s wife. He cut her dead a few days later when he left for the Point. She had served his purpose when he tried to put me down. Now useless, she could be discarded without a thought. Makes me wonder why I was so concerned about Ange when I cut her dead in the same manner. It must be some shortcoming in my ‘breeding.’
Sonderman west East to West Point. I just went West in the Navy. We parted company forever. I had no idea that he was the most important male figure of my life. He had become my Animus. I judged all men through that lens. It wasn’t pretty.
Sonderman did not leave town with the healthiest of minds. The past weighed as heavily on him as it did on me. He was able to function better than I but you’ve seen the psychosis he acquired in his childhood and youth.
The last get together with him at Hillbilly Heaven had left an indelible impression on my mind. The Cowboy slugger had entered my subconscious attached to a cluster of memories that formed a dream element that persisted for decades which I call the Brown Spot.
The dream was a simple image of a pulstating brown spot like a round bog in the middle of an open field. The sight of it roused tremendous terror in my mind. This was a very tough image to crack especially as it conflated disparate and widely spaced incidents in my life. I’m still not sure how they are parallel.
I had always been able to remember all these incidents clearly but their combined significance was suppressed and incomprehensible. In the strange way that the mind works the trail led backwards from the Cowboy slugger. Stranger still is that it was not until I understood why Sonderman showed Donna to me that the whole thing cleared up. I am not clear how Donna and Brie lead back to the initial incident of the Brown Spot.
However the path from the Slugger led back to an incident between the fourth and fifth grades when for some reason I decided to visit the Junior High I would be attending from the orphanage, but two full years later.
The fourth grade had just ended. I thought school would be empty. I entered the building to look around. The school was empty except for eight Black boys who were lurking around. These fourteen year olds spotted a ten year old White boy they could terrorize and they did. They chased me back and forth through the halls saying all the horrible things they were going to do to me when they caught me.
They had no intention of catching me but I was so terrified that I ran past the entrance doors several times without seeing them. That’s how my mother’s breast fixation worked. Finally I identified the doors and ran out into the sunshine.
Now, I had risked life, limb and mental health in the kindergarten to defend some Black kids. I took the harassment of these kids as a betrayal of that deed. I wouldn’t say I hated Negroes after that but I thought them undependable and untrustworthy. I would not rely on them for any purpose.
In my liberating or explanatory dream of this incident as I ran through the halls the walls collapsed covering me with brown horse dung. Evidently I found my conduct with the Black boys as cowardly as I found myself before the Cowboy slugger.
When nearly buried a path led down to the bottom of the pit to the initial incident when I was in kindergarten. This memory was the source of the terror associated with the Brown Spot. This occurred after the Black kids left me to hang out to dry which leads back to the Black boys at the Junior High.
When my mother filed for divorce she began to revile my father to me, terrifying me of him and turning me against him. Thus when my father came to visit me the last time I was too terrified to go to him as he begged me to do. He accused my mother of turning me against him which she denied with a straight faced lie. Don’t think I didn’t notice.
My father left me this really neat dark green corduroy outfit with a spiffy traffic light aplique on the front pocket then he walked out head hung low crying softly and never came back. I never saw him again, however for a period of years in my thirties I wore nothing but corduroy pants and jackets including a spiffy dark green one.
Thus the theme of cowardice connected all three shaming incidents creating a brown spot like a big bruise on an apple. Psychologically the reference to the bruise on an apple has a reference also.
During the war, about 1942, the country was terrified that the Nazis were capable of bombing the whole Midwest to pieces all the way from Berlin; or so Roosevelt let on. We were said to be a prime target with our auto, now defense, plants. Even as a little child of four I found this notion ridiculous but my elders had set up a system of air raid drills for our protection.
My mother and I were on a bus going down Main downtown one night when the sirens went off. We were all herded out of the bus to stand in storefronts for protection from the bombs. Even then, as I stood in front of those plate glass windows, I thought we would be cut to shreds if they shattered all over us.
For some reason I can’t imagine now I was terrified and set up a wail equal to those of the air raid sirens. As may be imagined this annoyed the other bus riders considerably. In an act of desperation which I sensed and didn’t appreciate and reacted to a woman reached into her grocery bag and pulled out a nice large apple and handed it to me.
I examined the apple carefully noting that it had a large bruise or brown spot. I handed the apple back to her cooly saying: ‘It’s bruised.’
She dropped it back in the bag in a huff but she still had her apple and stopped me from crying.
The relationship between my mother, Brie and Donna is not clear to me although my mother and Brie were both hard women. I don’t know the meaning of Donna unless it was that she was well built like my mother thus creating an association or, perhaps I associated Sonderman’s treatment of her with my mother’s treatment of my father. All incidents in personal psychology are related.
The result of all the images was that my father was buried deep in my subconcious under a heap of horse pucky.
…O Zeus and Athena and Apollo
If only death would take every Trojan
And all the Achaeans except us two,
So we alone might win that Sacred City.
Hirsh had succeeded in degrading me but I had avoided his desire that I debase myself. However as a result of the persecution I had been put into a certain mind set which stigmatized me until I integrated my personality. You know, psychology is so much more complex than Freud imagined. He thought that his Oedipus Complex solved everything whereas in fact it is practically meaningless. If such a complex exists in the universal psyche, which it doesn’t, it would only be a minor and passing part of a man’s psychology.
Freud had a pretty shallow understanding of Greek mythology. He wasn’t very well read in it at all. He seized upon the Oedipus story in an unwarranted manner completely ignoring the reaction of Oedipus when he discovered that he had married his mother. With a deeper understanding of Greek mythology he might have noticed the myth of Io, the Holy Cow. Rather than having a desire to copulate with his mother which is beyond a young boy’s ability to imagine it is more likely that he views this woman who has not only fed him from her own body like a cow but has tended to his every need willingly, lovingly and with self-abnegation as his personal milk cow. At a certain point when the child perceives that this woman is dividing her concern between himself and his father he may fear losing the economic privilege he enjoys. Thus he may believe temporarily that he is in competition with his dad. If so, the feeling passes within a couple years as he realizes the true situation.
I can say that I never had a desire for an old used woman from whose womb I had emerged when there were plenty of fresh young heifers around who could do me more economic good in the future than my mother.
But then Freud was a pioneer and not a developer.
There are only so many visions of reality that a human can hold. The uniqueness of the individual is mainly illusory. Or at least that uniqueness exists only as an individual is representative of a mind set. I had my own Responses in dealing with the Challenges from the Field but the Field remains paramount in my own and everyone else’s personal psychology. Then as I began to understand to which psychic fraternity I belonged I recognized some of my fellows. Over the years I came to realize that I was akin to others in the same mind set. We all pursued the same goal and our objectives and methods were not all that different.
Certainly Tim Leary and I were psychic brothers as well as Dr. Petiot, Moses, Richard Speck, Charlie Whitman, Sonderman and the most prominent member of our septum, Adolf Hitler, not to mention Brave Achilles.
The stimuli for each of us was undoubtedly somewhat different but our Responses were also somewhat of the same character if not the same degree. If we’d all been as capable of Hitler you may be sure we would have acted the same as he did although our personal objectives may have been different. We wished mass destruction on all our tormentors. We had our eyes on the gates of that Sacred City and it mattered little who died so long as we passed through those pearly gates, preferably alone. We sat and sulked in our tents waiting to be called to save humanity. When that didn’t happen, like Nero we wished that they all had one neck so we could strangle them all at the same time.
Of the group I am the only one to break on through to the other side and freedom. The rest remained trapped in their pasts.
It is not to be assumed from the cast of characters that our mind set among the others is particularly vile. After all Mao Tse Tung, Joseph Stalin, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Charlie Starkweather, Ted Bundy, Lord Strafford, Hirsh and host of great destroyers belong to other mind sets. Your is one of them. Saints and Sinners abound in any of the mind sets.
But I know my brothers.
Each of my brothers here mentioned responded to his Challenges from the Field in different ways. Each chose to resolve his dilemma in his own individual way as his circumstances dictated.
The most conscious or willed Responses were by Dr. Tim of the Ozone Space Patrol and myself. We both are or were psychologists. Tim of course was certified by society and I am not. However I succeeded where Leary failed. Tim left behind him a fairly extensive body of writing, the most finished of which is of a very high literary quality. His autobiography ‘Flashbacks’ is very innovative in the first half while his most literary production ‘High Priest’ is, shall we say, unique in format and style. Very avant garde. Timmy had it, but he blew it.
The problem with Tim is that when he realized that the key would be hard to find he gave up; he turned to drugs, no stamina. The guy really needed instant gratification.
Tim’s central problem which he inexplicably failed to recognize was his abandonment by his father. His father’s leaving muddied his waters for all time. As a psychologist his fixation was staring him in the face but in the peculiar way of fixations it remained invisible to him. Such is the fear that one is prevented from seeing what is before one’s eyes.
Like many befuddled people he became a psychologist in the hopes of discovering his problem. Instead he found that psychologists were impotent before their own and their patients’ illness. With or without help a third got better, one third got worse and one third stayed the same. Tim was of the group that slowly got worse. He accordingly gave up on psychology. No staying power. Tim was a sad case.
Before he gave up he made a fateful contribution to psychological literature while employed at Kaiser. Interestingly he never mentions Kaiser in his autobiography. Slides right over it. He realized he had been manipulated into his psychological disorder. As Judaeo-Christian thought decrees that the punishment fit the crime he set about to divise the tools for the psychological manipulation of the whole world. He want everybody else to get screwed up too. He did this at Kaiser when he devised the personality tests that are still in wide use.
Once the tests were devised Tim had no sense of direction. The pernicious use of his personality researches remained fallow for the time being except that as Tim sank over the deep end he turned to psychedelic drugs.
When his LSD researches began he drew into his circle the most pernicious of post-war movements, that of the Beats, the stage was set for his merry pranks. The so-called Beats, can be summed up by Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs with Ginsberg as the most important member. Actually the roster of important Beat writers can be rounded out with Leary himself, Bob Dylan and Ken Kesey although the last three are sort of an after Beat.
Their novo literary plans were lauched and were being propagated by Ginsberg’s ‘poem’: Howl. Once through the publishing door Ginsberg helped bring out Kerouac’s ‘On The Road’ and Burroughs’ ‘Naked Lunch.’ The three works were slim fare to get and keep their ‘rucksack’ revolution rolling, but boy, did they have an effect. Thus Ginsberg, who knew the main chance when he saw it, searched out Tim Leary as soon as his psychedelic researches reached his ears.
Ever ingratiating and insinuating Ginsberg’s seed fell on Leary’s fertile mind. The two men had the same goal but for different reasons. Leary in effect became the fourth Beat and its Pied Piper.
Tim had no intellectual content beyond some vague notion of some ‘politics of ecstasy’ but he became a master showman and clown. When the mind of a generation was blasted apart by LSD which has absolutely no content but opens the mind to immediate reconditioning Ginsberg and the Beats provided the intellectual attitude grafting it onto the blown minds of the generation by using the substance of Leary’s brilliantly manipulative personality theories.
It must be noted that Leary himself seemed unable to penetrate to anyone’s ulterior motives. He calls it naivete but such simplicity is almost impossible to believe in one so intelligent.
Ginsberg’s trained agents infiltrated every Beatnik or Hippie group to graft his value system unto their blown and receptive minds. This was the brainwashing technique that Leary believed the CIA was probing him for although Doctor Timmy blithely claimed to know nothing of any such technique. It should be noted that Leary was quite as capable as the CIA of lieing to protect his own. As an instance, in his autobiography he spectacularly shifts attention away from the crimes of Charles Manson who he defends to direct attention to a similar crime for which the ‘establishment’ Army officer Jeffrey MacDonald was convicted. Although the crimes were quite dissimilar in some way he thought the latter crime somehow absolved the drug culture. Tim was not an honest man.
So as Ginsberg appropriated Tim’s research to further Semitist and homosexual goals, Leary in his frustration contributed to the befuddlement of society just as he had been befuddled by his own central childhood fixation. As he was naive he considered himself innocent.
Freud believed that morality was of no consequence. His belief has been embraced by psychologists subsequently. Psychology has no concern with morality. Freud believed that anyone who knew certain ‘truths’ about themselves was incapable of committing an immoral act. Tim Leary disproves his theory.
If anyone cares to apply my psychological approach my only fear is that they will liberate themselves without having good morality. Thus, if criminals, they will only be more effective criminals. A clear mind and vile methods can never create good.
So Tim and I differ in methods and goals. I want to correct and eliminate the evils practiced on me while Tim merely wanted to pass his monkey on.
Nevertheless his researches are valuable and useful for understanding who you are. At the very least such an understanding will prevent your being easily manipulated by pernicious people.
Tim gave vent to his fixation in his way as I have in mine.
Tim never mentions a fear of the law. In point of fact at the time he was arrested in Laredo he had broken no laws. Psychedelic drugs had been legal to that time. So the man was actually railroaded into prison merely because he had made himself unpopular with certain governmental officials. Still, he must known he was barefoot on a barbed high wire so he should have taken extreme precautions.
I too have never done anything illegal but I learned very early that laws for me were different than the laws for my enemies. You’ll remember the cop who said only I had to walk my bike through intersections, so, you see, you don’t have to do anything to end up on the wrong side of the law. I have always known that innocence is no defense so my ‘paranoia’ has kept me vigilant and alert. I have never wanted to gratify the hopes of my enemies by spending my life in prison. Nor did I ever have any intention of killing myself.
Dick Speck and Charlie Whitman were not of my mind. Dick was not reflective enough to know what he was doing. He and Charlie committed their outrages within a couple months of each other in 1966 at a time when I was passing the crisis in my own mental development. Becoming a serial killer was no longer possible for me but I immediately recognized my kinship to both men. I too had considered both crimes although Dick Speck’s was not one that would gratify my own malaise. Speck’s crime was directed against his mother who formed his Anima, thus in his own way he was murdering his Anima which had betrayed him, while mine like Charlie’s was directed against males and, indeed, the whole of society as was Addie Hitler’s and that of Achilles.
Dick Speck, as I imagine is still well known, actually murered six nurses in Chicago one hot summer night. That his conflict centered on his mother is attested by the fact that he killed young women, so-called Angels Of Mercy. In attempting to exorcise his central childhood fixation he delivered himself into his enemies hands spending the rest of his life in prison in conditions too horrible to discuss at this time. Suffice it to say he became his mother. Society didn’t have the decency to execute him.
Charlie Whitman took a different approach. He was the man who barricaded himself in the tower at the University Of Texas. From there he took pot shots at anyone who fell within his sights. It was a most futile attempt at exorcising his fixation with no chance of escape, a mere act of desperate frustration. At best he killed or wounded a few people but he at least had the self-respect to kill himself when the authorities broke through his barricade.
I knew that my enemies wanted me to commit some such act which would discredit me while confirming their opinion of me to the world. By graduation they had formed me and placed me at the crossroads. I was programmed for just such crimes; it was up to me to avoid the destiny prepared for me.
I had no interest in killing women because I cherished Ange who was my Anima but Dick’s crime thrilled me to the core as I recognized a fraternal brother who had attempted to purify himself of his fixation. Speck’s act should not be seen as an act of senselessness or revenge but purification. It failed as I knew that it must. Purification comes from within rather than without. No drug, no crime can purify the mind.
A couple years before Charlie climbed the tower I had considered barricading myself at Stanford University, a symbol of social acceptance and my rightful place in society to me. In my waking fantasy or daydream I commanded a small army to take on the world. When asked to surrender it was my intent to offer my brain as a scientific specimen to study the working of the mind of the mass or serial killer much as Ted Bundy was to do in an attempt to escape the electric chair.
Among the reasons I didn’t perform this absurdity was that I didn’t know of a small army that would accept my leadership. I didn’t even have any friends. Also I suspected that there was nothing so abnormal about the serial killer’s mind except his exaggerated Response to a Challange that most people would find normal and not remarkable.
Interestingly enough, in my most desperate moments I thought up an act of desperation that had been considered by the top strategists of the Nazis. At this time I was living in the Bay Area. The water supply of the Bay Area is impounded behind a number of massive dams that ring the San Joaquin Valley. The mighty Shasta Dam had also just been completed which impounded a small ocean.
During the war the Nazis had formed a plan to bomb the dams surrounding the Bay so that the waters rushed down at the same time would inundate the low areas and disrupt shipping. The idea occurred to me too. With the addition of Shasta the effect would have been terrific. In my plan the waters reached the Bay as the highest tide of the year was coming in. The enormous flood would have reached into Merced and inundated Sacramento. The resulting malarial swamp would have got millions. I probably wouldn’t have entered that Sacred City alone but the devastation would have been a balm to my wounded soul. But remember, your immoral society had created me. Responsibility begins at home.
The problem with that one was getting enough plastique and knowing how to use it. Always something. I just didn’t have the necessary determination. Wisely I decided not to try.
Shortly thereafter I began to organize my baggage better.
The baggage is important. For, like Dr. Petiot we all take our baggage with us. That’s why Tim’s notion of changing consciousness with drugs is so impossible; the baggage remains the same. The question is do we let it overwhelm us or do we learn to arrange it into manageable units? Like Tim Leary said only a third learn to do so. A third just sit on the baggage and a third like Dr. Petiot sink beneath the weight.
When our attitude is combined with great political skill and determination it becomes most dangerous. Of the politicians I recognize as being of the same mind set Moses holds the least sympathy for me. There is a great resemblance between Mighty Mo’ and the most famous representative of our mind set, Addie Hitler. Both believed that they represented an elect group of people; both were willing to exterminate all other people for the benefit of the elect. Both ruthlessly eliminated groups of dissidents within their parties. Both suffered devastating defeats of their programs.
As I say I have scant sympathy for Mo’ but I also find similarities between Hitler and Sonderman. You may laugh or object to the audacity of comparing myself and Sonderman to important figures like Leary and Hitler and Moses but this is not an exercise in comparing apples and oranges but oranges and oranges. No matter how influential or inconsequential the exemplars, these are comparisons within one mind set. For instance to compare Hitler with Napoleon which has been done is to compare an apple to an orange. They come from two entirely different mind sets with entirely different motives. Although they may be similar politically we are dealing with psychology.
Sonderman and Hitler are examples of Law and Order aspects of our mind set. Myself, Tim, Mo’, Dick and Charlie are not Law and Order types. We despise the Law and Order mentality. Addie Hitler was a foremost example of the Law and Order approach which he combined in the end with our more characteristic chaotic approach. Contrary to popular opinion he did nothing outside the laws of Germany even if he had the power to write them himself. He was a Law and Order sort of guy.
Everything he did was legal. He resisted the temptation to seize power illegally which he could easily have done. Once legally in power he legally assumed dictatorial powers and passed laws to suit his purposes but then he was legally empowered to do so acting no differently than other mind sets in the same situation. That is Law and Order to a fault.
Nor was Addie a particularly innovative man. He just brought political and historical trends to their logical conclusions. Totalitarianism was the the order of the day; he perfected it. In the thousand year war between the Slavs and Germans he merely extended the policty of the Teutonic Knights from piecemeal annexations of Slavic lands to a massive one time takeover effort.
In the two thousand year old war between the Jews and Europeans Addie merely repeated the Roman solution in its war with the Jews that kicked off the Piscean Age.
There was no break or discontinuity in historical tradition; Hitler merely brought the trends of the previous two thousand years to their logical conclusions. Addie was quite conscious that he was creating a New Order. As he said the Old Order ended with his death. Unfortunately he committed suicide before he could see the spectacular introduction of the New Order over Hiroshima but, then, those are the breaks. The guy knew what was happening whether you like him or not.
Now, the means and methods he chose to end the Old Order were the result of the mind set he had been given as a youth. He had a Brown Spot the size of a pumpkin. I don’t know how the cluster was composed but he discusses the last element in his reminiscences or table talk while on the Eastern Front. He had just graduated from high school. He undoubtedly was not a popular person with his schoolmates because they got him roaringly drunk to humiliate him. In an effort to amuse them he wiped his rear with his diploma. In some manner the schoolmaster learned of this. No longer drunk Addie was thoroughly ashamed of himself as he should have been. Not for using his diploma as toilet paper but for allowing others to abuse his good will.
At any rate the incident affected him more than the Cowboy slugger affected me. Enraged at his youthful treatment in the last and earlier elements of the Brown Spot and capable of killing any enemy he chose with impunity he tried to bundle their necks together and stangle them all ignoring all consequences so long as he might take that Sacred City of the soul just like Brave Achilles. They both failed. Hitler was not abnormal. Far from it.
Addie’s Animus had been severely blunted while his Anima while not exactly healthy was whole. He transferred all the energies of his Animus to the Anima and became Matriarchal in intellect no doubt as a tribute to his mother. A characteristic of the Matriarchal intellect is the belief in the fertility of nature; thus life becomes expendable and replaceable which, in fact, it is. Compare Hitler with Mao Tse Tung for the Matriarchal effect.
As a symbol of the attitude let look again to Greek mythology. These myths are puzzling so I don’t hope to convince you of my interpretations but they are plausible. In the myth of Demeter and her daughter Persephone, after Hades had abducted Persephone Demeter turns the world into a wasteland in grieving over the loss of her daughter. In her wanderings she comes to Eleusis where she sits down on a rock to mourn.
There she is approached by a comic toothless old crone by the name of Baubo. Baubo tries to cheer Demeter up but the goddess remains inconsolable. Then with a toothless laugh Baubo who is squatting in the birth position lifts her skirts to reveal a baby emerging from the womb. Demeter laughs and begins to recover.
Why did Demeter laugh? To quote the great Calypsonian and the Kingston Trio: Back to back, belly to belly, I don’t give a damn because I’ve got another ready. So Baubo’s lesson is what does it matter that you lost one child when you have the means to make many more. Baubo exemplified the Matriarchal principle. No matter how many die many times that number are still in the womb. The individual life is unimportant.
Hitler’s response to his fixation was to embrace the Matriarchal intellect. He applied it exactly. Not only was he indiscriminate in destroying human life, who he killed is irrelevant, but in his frustrated rage at losing the war he was willing to destroy his entire civilization just like Brave Achilles. Cracow was leveled to the ground. He gave orders to explode the former jewel of civilization, Paris, in its totality. It is a miracle that Paris was not leveled like Cracow. Thank God, Addie, didn’t have the means to reach Chicago. It is a miracle that Paris was not leveled like Cracow. Of course, the Allies flattened Berlin and the rest of Germany, so I guess he had some reason to be sore.
When his world had been completely destroyed Hitler put a bullet through his own brain next to Eva Braun who may possibly have been an exemplar of his Anima while ordering his body to be completely destroyed. My friends, that is complete self-negation. Thus as I say, Hitler was the perfect exemplar of our mind set. We’ll never see his like again.
Speaking of embracing an opportunity, Tim Leary’s death provides an interesting variation. When he died he had his body put into orbit around the earth. At some future time when the orbit degrades the missile will enter the atmosphere as a shooting star disappearing in a blaze of glory.
But wait, that’s not all. I don’t know if it happened but Leary wanted to have his head removed and frozen with the expectation that at some time science will be able to transplant his brain onto another’s body. Thus it is possible that he may come back to life in time for his brain to see his body plummet into the sea. That then would be a headless comet, the first of its kind. Leary may have been crazy but he didn’t lack imagination.
Sonderman completly lacked the chutzpah to either sink to the depts of Hitler or rise to the heights of Leary. In the turmoil of his mind he completed his studies at West Point. From which institution Tim Leary was expelled, by the way, and then went to his duty station to await his call from home. When it came he buried his hopes as completely as Hitler or Leary to heed his father’s call. What biological clock he was responding to I cannot tell.
Trained by Law and Order he returned home. Now, interpreted rightly Sonderman was already a serial killer before he left Junior High. He had offed Wilson while trying repeatedly to kill me. Unlike Dick Speck with his lawless murders Sonderman was a Law and Order type guy.
I don’t know if having assumed his role in the social structure of the Valley he participated in other murders but as the Valley is known as the murder capitol of the State I wouldn’t be surprised if he has.
As I sat talking to him during the Reunion I was closing in on my own delivery from the psychology. The integration of my personality was not far away. Had I not turned to psychology for deliverance it is not impossible that in an orgy of self-pity I might have gone on a murderous rampage and killed as many of my classmates as I could. Not of the Law and Order mentality, I would have been chaotic ending my days in prison as a ‘monster.’ To my shame I wouldn’t have had the integrity to kill myself afterwards.
As that was what my ‘monster’ enemies wanted I was determined not to give it to them.
I know that most people think their personality is innate and immutable. Most people think that they are what they are and that they could never have been any other way. The fact is that our personalities are shaped and not created. We become what we are by a system of Challenge and Response from the Field. What has been done can not be undone but one can escape from its onerous burden. One can use one’s intelligence.
As far as morality goes the Challenge of Correct Behavior is given us. Contrary to Freud morality is more important than psychoanalysis.
The psyche breaks on the rock of morality. Even a Mafioso like the fictional Michael Corleone broke on the rock of morality. He felt guilt. While people applaud the notion of morality most people are incapable of embracing the whole system. They think they can pick and choose which elements are useful to them disregarding the rest. People have a public morality as they give lip service to Correct Behavior and a private morality in which they indulge all their whims and hatreds.
My morality both public and private was purer than that of either Sonderman or Hirsh yet both had better reputations than I did. Whereas they exuded a certain confidence and unwarranted self-esteem I had been robbed of nearly all my self-respect. I lacked confidence and assurance. I was tentative and uncertain which translated into a species of guilt and effeminacy. I was incapable of projecting the person I felt I was inside.
While trying so hard to injure me my enemies had done injury to their own psyches. Remarkably, they were to deteriorate as years passed while I would be able finally to cast off the personality they had imposed on my while returning myself to myself. I have often wondered who the little Grey One that ensheathed me in my dream might be. Quite possibly she was the personality killed on the playing field in the second grade. If so she had been residing in the House of Death. Perhaps she had been released to reclaim me from my psychic prison.
Now, here, twenty-five years later, unaware of my true relationship with Sonderman I was sitting across from him. The old resentment still glowed in his eyes; if I was unaware of our true relationship he wasn’t. Still thinking we had been friends I was hopeful to reconnect with him so I could join my present, my fractured past and my hopeful future into a whole.
If Sonderman had been initially glad to see me it must have been that he had been waiting twenty-five years to tell me he had always disliked me because I copied him. Once done I presume that he no longer had any use for my presence.
The ancient traumas had locked him into a state of arrested adolescence. It was as though he had never left ninth grade. Except for the addition of the miles he looked just as he had way back then. He was still slender and square. He had the same elfin head. He still had all his hair combed in exactly the same way. His style of dressing hadn’t even changed from Junior High. He wore the same Wrangler jeans, although now that his wife had a washing machine they were clean. He never had and still didn’t have the cool to wear Levi’s.
It was appropriate, I think, that the jeans were called Wranglers, obviously chosen to fill some deep psychological need. His shirt might have come out of his teenage closet. His shirts had always been cut square across the bottom and worn outside his pants. He was still in the box in which his father had placed him except now he was running the chemical plant. He hadn’t busted the block.
Sonderman wouldn’t know and I can only speculate about the subliminal influence of his mother. I found it of interest that his first and only child was a girl. It might be thought that having pleased his mother with a grand daughter he didn’t want to run the risk of antagonizing her by having a son. What did Sonderman know subliminally?
In contrast, my wife and I had no children.
His role in the destruction of my eating club was uppermost in his mind. He looked me square in the eyes in an intended insult to say that he had never once in twenty-five years ever seen a member of the club except for a chance meeting with one whose name he couldn’t recall in an airport.
If he meant to hurt me, he did. It also brought to mind a chance encounter with me that he had in the Chicago Greyhound station in the summer of ’57 when I was coming back on leave while he was returning to West Point.
He fled my presence thinking I hadn’t seen him. Ever vengeful and mean he went into the reading room to tell the bartender that I was a Communist. Then he had someone direct me into the room. Lest I not order a coke I was directed to the bar. There out of the blue the bartender told me they didn’t serve people like me in there. Well, you know, I was pretty darn high class for a Greyhound station.
When I asked why he told me to just keep my political opinions to myself. When asked what that meant he told me to look at my shirt. I was wearing a pink shirt. I guess he meant that I was a Pinko.
As Sonderman had been in his cadet uniform he commanded a great deal of respect so everyone was glad to do it for him.
I was lost in a reverie for a moment. When I came around Sonderman was staring at me with a hopeful smile on his face. I guess he was saying that he thought he had taken my club from merely as a lark; neither it nor its members had any relevance for him.
He was clearly in a state of arrested emotional development. I came to the conclusion that he was daily haunted by myself and the memory of those years. His mind must have been obsessed with the attempts on my life and his murder of Shardel Wilson.
The vehemence and finality with which he said I copied his every move must have concealed the guilt he felt but couldn’t acknowledge. He was the result of the training of his people. I have no doubt that he had absorbed all the rules of Law and Order. I have no doubt he was capable of cooperating with his fellow trainees to eliminate anyone he or they wanted either physically or socially. He was paying the price of that immorality. Breeding will out.
His wife was a woman named Donna. She puzzled me because if this was the same Donna I had seen back then her physical attributes had shrunken considerably. In fact she looked more like Brie than that earlier Donna. I could find no discreet way to ask so I was forced to assume that after having been cashiered from the Army Sonderman came home took over the reins of his dad’s business then began to look for a wife. Apparently fixated by me he didn’t go looking for the full figured Donna but a replica of Brie. It may be coincidence that his Brie lookalike had the name of Donna but then maybe that had been the attraction. He had gotten the best of both of them in one woman. Needless to say all those years later they were still together.
I quickly sensed that Sonderman was extremely distraught, sunk within himself. His voice came as though from the depths of some tank, with each succeeding drink it became moreso.
Once the novelty of my appearance wore off he seemed to increasingly resent my presence until he blurted out in searing pain that I had stayed long enough; it was time for me to go.
I was shaken by the outburst but saw no reason to plead to stay. It was clear he had achieved his purpose when he said I copied him. The car I had been loaned had been reclaimed so I was without wheels. I had to ask him to drive me to my cousin’s house. He was gracious enough to comply.
On the way I was surprised to learn that he and Wink Costello were still friends and golfing buddies. I also learned that Wink was a year younger than us which explained some things. I sensed his dissociation from reality when he showed surprise that I had known Costello. I knew why he seemed to be unaware of my relationship to himself, Costello and Little. It was clear that he had converted the killing of Wilson into something else. He had somehow conflated my copying him with Wilson’s death, probably thinking that he generously concealed the secret of my murder of Wilson to protect me.
My family had programmed me to get as far away from the family as possible. They always did that to one member. They actually intended me to flee to Australia as Uncle Louie had done. I just wanted to flee.
Mr. Sonderman had apparently programmed Little to move away also, probably so as not to interfere with Sonderman’s management of the company. Little had graduated from the University as a nuclear physicist. I can tell you I was bowled over, I respected nothing more than nuclear physics. Then I had the pins kicked out from under me when I was told he was abandoning nuclear physics to become a psychiatrist.
I very nearly laughed out loud. What a psychological load of baggage both Sonderman and Little were carrying. It would take more than psychoanalysis to purge them. Both Sondermans had a great deal of penance to do.
Sonderman thought he had slipped when he told me that Little was living on the West Coast fairly close to me. I could see him make a mental note to call Little to tell him that I might try to contact him. Before his psychoanalytic training Little was already a more astute psychologist than his brother. He told him that there was no chance I would contact him. He was right. Just the thought of Little makes my skin crawl; he really was an evil guy.
So my wife and I got out of his car. Sonderman gave her a last lookover with a wistful eye. I think he thought that I had topped him again but I’d give it a draw with a shade on my side. I’m a very generous guy.
I was unaware I was closing the door on my Animus. This guy was the image of manhood through which all other males were filtered. In psychological terms he was the image of the Terrible Father. My Animus was not clothed with a counter balancing image of the Good Father. All men were insane as far as I was concerned.
I evaluated all men in comparison to this despicable model. As I perceived Sonderman he was a homosexual, liar, sneak, cheat and thief. Now, by his own admission he was a willful failure.
My public persona had been formed in reaction to him and through him the Hirshes. While I projected Sonderman’s image on all men I also subconsciously presented an abject figure to them with which I telegraphed my past. Thus a cycle of mutual repulsion was perpetuated. The moving finger had written; the stars were in control.
I was vaguely aware of projecting the abject image but not knowing where it came from I was powerless to change it. In order to change my image of myself It would be necessary to change the image of the Sonderman Constellation.
My life was effectively over. Regardless of whether I could change myself and the Constellation the baggage as Dr. Petiot realized was still in my hands. The moving finger had writ. My education was complete. Nothing could change that. Even if the men I knew should show me a new countenance I knew the truth behind any seeming fairness. I knew who they really were. And having written the finger moves on.
Nor, even if I changed, would that change be noticeable to those who already knew me. They would continue to react to me as they always had. They might not get the same response but their education as regards me was complete too.
Like Sonderman’s when he met me their minds were made up so that I would be able to present this new persona to new acquaintances who would be apprised of my old persona by my old acquaintances. A vicious circle. I was doomed to be a loner. It was written in the stars. The Field dominated. The Challenges had been made; the Responses had been offered.
The question was: Could I realign the Sonderman Constellation from the brooding theatening image reflected on my face or convert it into one which would be more constructive for myself. The truth seems to be that like Medusa’s sisters the Anima and Animus are immortal.
I was given a glimpse behind the Constellation. It was worse than I imagined. I had a dream of a house. I was both inside and outside, above it looking down on it. The house was being assaulted by myriads of bugs trying to break in. I fought this image for several days until I came to the conclusion that the house represented my mind and the bugs millions of memories that were trying to destroy my mind.
I retreated back a bit to the other side of the Constellation but then I realized that as I was both inside and outside the house I was in control of my own mind. I was the proud possessor of my own mind. I was one of Leary’s third that healed.
As I looked up the Sonderman Constellation had begun to change form. The past after all, while not a jot of it can be washed away, is the past. It can’t pysically hurt you nor can it reach out for you. The baggage can be repacked so that it can be carried comfortably.
All the stations of Sonderman’s stars realigned themselves while I watched apprehensively. Then I broke out into a laugh. I was engulfed by merriment. In place of the threatening aspect the stars formed a portrait of Sonderman’s silly Alfred E. Neuman face grinning idiotically down at me. There was no reason to fear that Animus.
So in the end Sonderman assumed his true form. If I wasn’t free from him at least he was always there for a good laugh.
What, me worry?
The End Of The Sonderman Constellation,