The Swimming Hole
Clip 2: Continuation and Conclusion
While their land was returned to them they had lost all desire to return to their former way of life. All travel broadens and the sojourn in Boston had been very broadening. Jorge was embittered and full of hatred for the ‘White man’, but his spirit was also thoroughly cowed. He always remained humble and submissive before Whites but this was his economic asset. In many ways he became a clown and entertainer for them. The response is not unusual when faced by seemingly overwhelming power.
Benito returned to the States in ’48 no less angry and embittered. The American Japanese in Japan had been in a difficult position which produced a unique psychological type. They had been unwanted by Whites. On the one hand they had not been allowed to become citizens of the United States while on the other the Japanese government didn’t want them as citizens of Japan but wanted to claim them as overseas Japanese citizens. Thus when Benito among thousands of others returned to Japan for japanification he and they were not trusted or wanted by the Japanese. They were followed and spied on, which, of course, such spying could have been the normal situation in Japan as it is now in the United States. The American Japanese had definitely fared better in the the US than the Nisei in Japan. Generally speaking they were neither here nor there. As it was expressed they had an American center and a Japanese exterior neither of which was acceptable in the respective countries.
Thus as the Sukamotos began their import business Benito or Ben as he was now known was well prepared to deal with the Japanese contacts and Jorge, which he now pronounced George, with his attitude was able to deal very productively with his fellow Americans. They wanted to make amends and Jorge was a lovable guy who seemed to reciprocate their kindness.
In retrospect Jorge could see no reason for the internment of the Japanese. The internment is a complex issue when one looks into it and the decision to do it was not without reasons. The PC version is that the reason was purely White bigotry and greed. Whites wanted all those Japanese iceboxes left behind. There are some complex economic issues involved that I can’t go into in this novel.
The reality was far more complex. It can only be understood in historical perspective. For two hundred years prior to 1853 the Japanese had closed their borders insulating the country from foreign influences. When Admiral Perry violated Japanese integrity forcing them into the community of nations at cannon point in 1853 he set in motion a sequence of events that led inexorably to Pearl Harbor.
The Japanese responded to Perry’s act of agression by aggressive westernization. They realized the inadequacy of their military, political and social organization to deal with a more advanced system. The 1860s, ’70s and ’80s were spent educating themselves. The studied the Western nations noting their strengths and weaknesses. By 1895 they had successfully attacked their giant neighbor, China, repeating a sixteenth century act, receiving a huge indemnity. They then challenged Russia for control of Manchuria. This was successfully brought to a conclusion in 1905 as Japan became recognized as a major power.
Japanese hatred which by then had become megalomaniacal was then directed against the United States and England. Americans had further exacerbated the Japanese attitude by a gratuitous act of violence which turned out very favorably for the Japanese. The Planters who accupied Hawaii established large sugar and pineapple plantations which required large numbers of laborers. They could only be found in the East. Mexico was too far away. The Planters first tried the Chinese. They didn’t want these colored people to stay but when their contracts expired the Chinese refused to go back to China.
The Planters then turned eyes on Japan. They requested, perhaps demanded, that the Japanese give them laborers. The Japanese having just come out of isolation refused. The Planters then sent a ship to Yokohama where they forcibly abducted over a hundred persons. A light went on in the minds of the Japanese leaders. They weren’t stupid, just short. Japanese laborers went to Hawaii and they did come back when their contracts expired. The Planters did pay well; much more than could be earned in Japan. The laborers lived frugally returning with substantial bankrolls thus strengthening the Japanese economy. In this sense the US bankrolled WWII in the Pacific much as they are now bankrolling the Chinese by transferring all production to China.
But each passing year many more Japanese went out than came back. The Japanese became the largest nationality in the Islands. Just as the Japanese began to look on Hawaii as their prerogative the Planters became alarmed at the Japanese presence. In 1896 the Planters rejected a shipload of Japanese sending them back. A Japanese warship was promptly in Pearl Harbor demanding an explanation. The Planters turned to the United States with the result that the independent kingdom of Hawaii was annexed to the United States. The Japanese who thought they had a valid claim to the Islands because, after all, the Japanese were the most numerous nationality , refused to accept the action of the United States. To this day they feel the islands belong to them. They almost got them during their late twentieth century period of prosperity.
Bolstered by their success against China Japanese spirits soared, after the conquest of Manchuria the Japanese felt invincible. They had studied American History. They had noted that the Americans infiltrated Texas until they had the numerical strength to wrest it from Mexico. They were in a position to do to the same to America in California.
Thus about 1900 Japanese began to take advantage of America’s ridiculous immigration policy arriving in numbers. The White Californians had already experienced one oriental threat. When the Chinese began to arrive in numbers in mid-nineteenth century the Californians had acted quickly obtaining a Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882. The cry had been taken up that California was ‘White man’s country.’ There can be little doubt to any reasonable person that if the Chinese had not been excluded the West Coast today would be a Chinese province. This may or may not be desirable depending on your perspective.
Regardless of one’s opinion the West Coast was kept an American province. The Japanese who began to arrive were almost entirely male. The Californians believed that they were paramilitary troops, especially in the wake of the Russo-Japanese war. There can’t be much doubt that they were right. The population of California at the time of the Chinese Exclusion was around a half million and in 1900 around a million. One doesn’t have to be all that mathematically inclined to realize that a half million Japanese men could cause quite a disturbance. The Californians lobbied hard to stop Japanese immigration before it attained those numbers. They were partially successful when Theodore Roosevelt entered into the ‘Gentlemen’s Agreement’ to limit Japanese immigration.
Fearing that an invasion was probable the Californians began a series of legislative acts to harass the Japanese, to deny them access to power. An antagonism was established which ended only with the conclusion of the Pacific War. Even T. Roosevelt realized in 1908 that a war between the US and Japan was inevitable. He gave it thirty years which wasn’t too far off the mark.
As Japanese power increased so did Californians’ vigilance. In 1910 Japan annexed Korea. For some reason the Koreans do not have fond memories of the Japanese occupation. One imagines the situation would have been the same with the Japanese in control of California. The Japanese joined in the Great War which meant nothing to them to obtain Germany’s Far East and Pacific possessions.
The paramilitary troops that came over in the first decade of the century had no women. If they left the US to procure one they were denied reentry. Thus the period of Picture Brides began. In the years around 1920 Japanese women began to arrive which prompted a new series of repressive legislation. The Californians harried the Japanese like a professional football offense against a high school defense.
An uneasy truce was established through the thirties as the Japanese ‘illegally’ fortified their newly acquired German islands like Iwo. When Pearl Harbor was bombed the Californians could say with justice: We were right all along. We told you so.
The Nisei, or first generation of Amerian born Japanese, were of a different frame of mind than the Issei or Island born Japanese. Therein is the real crux of the problem. Japanese language papers were bilingual, partially in Japanese, partially in English. Now, the United States government was not all that stupid either. They read the papers in both languages. While the American portion was innocuous and innocent the Japanese portion was a blood curdling call to arms to support Japanese worldwide objectives. Thus, regardless of whether in retrospect the internment was necessary it was justified on the basis of the attitude of the Issei who Californians had called paramilitary troops.
After all the Japanese did expect their nationals to revolt in Hawaii supporting the attack. The shelling of Santa Barbara by a submarine was probably intended for San Pedro which would have been the signal for an uprising in LA much as Homer Lea had warned about in 1910. So also the shelling on the Oregon coast. The expectation of the rising was unrealistic but so was the whole Japanese war plan.
Within the camps the Japanese nationalists fought for control. After the war many of the Issei repatriated to Japan. Whether one wants to argue whether the internment was justified or not, war is hell, mistakes are made.
Jorge didn’t take a historical view. He had not been interned but he refused to examine the problem from any point of view but his injured national pride. None of his subseqent excellent good fortune mattered to him. Neither the money nor his family was allowed to assuage his anger. Jorge had married a Jewish woman by the name of Piti. If anything she exacerbated Jorge’s anger for she added the whole train of Jewish anguish to Jorge’s Japanese one. Jorge was constantly on the lookout to humiliate Whites in the same manner he felt he had been humiliated. This meant leasing to novices, acquiring what money they had and then turning them out.
He and Ben were very aggressive in business. They expanded well ahead of their resources counting on the leniency of their White bankers which they always received.
At the time they bought the building which they renamed Pilgrim’s Center Portland’s downtown area had gone through massive changes which put it on the brink of extinction. Dozens of square blocks of high density housing had been leveled to build a freeway bypass on the west of the core area. Dozens more square blocks to the southeast of downtown had been leveled by Urban Renewal to build office buildings and high rise apartments.
The Lloyd Shopping Center had been built to the northeast. A pedestrian mall had been built down Fifth and Sixth which closed some doors because of contruction woes and changed traffic patterns so that some businesses formerly profitable were no longer so. The rational was that to make an omelette you have to crack a few eggs. Of course, someone else’s eggs were cracked but the omelet went to other people who didn’t pay for the eggs. Fairness doctrine.
There were several empty buildings on Third and Fourth. Pilgrims, on Tenth, was completely outside normal shopping patterns. It was at this time the Sukamotos bought Pilgrim’s and Dewey expanded his operation to Portland from Eugene.
Dewey’s success in Eugene had been won against the wishes of the Old Boy Network. While the Japanese Sukamotos had been given lavish credit and terms, the White Boy, Dewey, hadn’t been able to raise a dime. All his expansion had been internally financed.
When he had approached Universal National Bank he had been severely rebuffed. Brian Ashworth his loan officer, had been instructed by the Old Boys, of which the officers of UNB were pillars, to tell Trueman in no uncertain terms that not only was there no money to loan him but that he was not even to attempt expansion or else. Trueman had been so informed. But what’s a poor boy without friends to do? Go ahead.
Dewey approached Tom Adams of Bashaw and Bashaw to help him find a location in Portland. Dewey knew that B&B was Old Boy but he trusted to his luck for another end run. The Old Boys played with him. He was put in the hands of Dorian King, a large property owner in Portland.
King showed him a couple of his properties on Third and Fourth which no longer had traffic but they weren’t what Dewey had in mind. He could see that they were suicide locations. King did have an empty space on Sixth above Alder which was the core of the core. Dewey eagerly grasped for it but King rented it to a brokerage firm, Barton-Osborne, with the explanation that BO was permanent while Dewey wasn’t. The joke was that BO went broke and was gone within a year.
Dewey complained to Adams about the run around. The papers had gone through on Sukamoto’s building so as a favor to them Trueman was given to them as a gift by the Old Boy Network.
As noted the Jewish Network had labeled Trueman as an anti-Semite because of the hostility of Harry Grabstein in Eugene. Such accusations are automatically accepted, Trueman had no opportunity for defense or appeal. As an outlaw he had even no avenue of complaint. We Americans know how to deal with our bigots. In reverse Nazism we turn them over to the minorities to torment.
It is always assumed that if, for instance, one were an anti-Semite that that antagonism is extended to every other ‘minority.’ Thus Dorian King was Jewish. He had gotten a few kicks running Trueman around. The Old Boy and Jewish Networks had gotten a few chuckles.
All of these people despised Trueman’s abilities. They thought his success had been all luck. They didn’t think he had the chance of a snowball in Jamaica to succeed in Portland. So they thought if the Sukamotos made a few bucks off him so much the better. In fact expansion might be a way to get rid of him. Many successful businesses failed in the expansion attempt.
The Sukamotos were just beginning the conversion of Pilgrim’s into an indoor mall. The center would require over a year before it was open but as Dewey wanted a large space he was told he could have a corner with an outside entrance in the meantime.
He was in a hurry. He was fearful that the record business was about to peak which it was . Tenth was a nice broad street with plenty of vacant parking at the time. Dewey said he would take it. Once again negotiations dragged on and on.
Trueman reported to Sukamoto World Headquarters once a week for over a month. Negotiations were carried on in broom closets and interrogation like cells, no windows, with a single naked light bulb hanging from the ceiling. Jorge and Ben sat across from him over a plain wooden table and wooden chairs. Ben said nothing staring at Dewey with unblinking intensity. Jorge was garrolous although mysterious. He plied Dewey with endless questions but gave out an amazing amount of information about he and Ben, where they came from and where they hoped to go.
Dewey had Jorge figured at a glance. His past was as plain on his face as Dewey considered his own to be. Dewey recognized that they were brothers in experience and acted accordingly. Oddly enough Jorge was not so astute. There was a glass wall between him and any White man.
Finally, the lease having been signed Dewey was led from the interrogation cell to Jorge’s desk. The desk was in the center of a large dormitory like room surrounded by the desks of the White bookkeepers, buyers and clerks. Jorge had no Japanese working for him.
Ben’s desk was to the left a couple feet behind Jorge’s. Ben took up a position leaning forward from the edge of his seat staring intently into Dewey’s face. Dewey flashed a grin at him aware of the game.
He looked ahead of him and there hung conspicuously on a post before his visitor’s chair was a framed copy of the LA evacuation notice. Dewey who had never seen one examined it closely. The poster with absurd apologetic politeness requested the assembly of Los Angeles’ Japanese population for transfer to the internment camps all in English. Dewey knew what it was there for. After the treatment he had received from the Sukamotos he was spoiling for a fight. He had the upper hand. He could easily win the battle but he would lose the war.
‘What do you think of that?’ Jorge asked his test question but he didn’t make a gesture indicating the poster.
‘What do I think of what?’ Dewey replied guardedly, wary of a trap.
‘That.’ Jorge said, pointing at the poster.
Dewey recognized a kindred spirit in Jorge. He realized that they had both suffered the same denial. It was clear that they were both trying to prove themselves. Jorge had accepted the role of inferior which he expressed in his clownish persona with the seat of his pants hanging down nearly to his ankles, his sweater with gaping holes in it, his ridiculous scraggly Abe Lincoln beard, his trademark well chewed, unlit stogee and exaggerated manner of speech.
Dewey was more into aggressive self-assertion as he overdressed in high style fitted suits. Everything about him offered a challenge to those trained to social acceptability. He knew that even if Jorge recognized the affinity, which he did but refused to accept, that he would opt to side with oppressor. Jorge had rather be a successful clown to his oppressors than stand a free man. Dewey knew what it meant to be a clown for acceptance, traces still lingered in his personality but he sought to exorcise them.
‘I’ve never really seen one of the posters before.’ He replied amiably. ‘Not very good art work. I thought you were from Portland, I didn’t know you were from LA.’
Jorge ostentatiously cleared his throat. ‘I’m not. I wasn’t there.’
‘Oh well, what camp were you in?’
‘Uh, hum. I wasn’t in any camp.’
‘No? Where were you during the war?’
‘I was in Boston.’ Jorge cleared his throat and looked away. ‘I was earning my degree from Harvard.’
‘Oh!’ Dewey exclaimed, envy flashing through his mind. ‘Well, then, what’s your complaint?’
‘Don’t you think it was terrible what they did to my people?’ Jorge pressed.
‘You ever been in the orphanage?’ Dewey threw out irrelevantly. ‘Well, yes, but there was a reason.’ Dewey said matter-of-factly.
‘Sure there was, racism.’ Jorge said sullenly. ‘The only reason they dropped the atomic bomb on us was because we’re colored.’ Jorge added forgetting his pure Americanism for an instant in favor of Pan-Japanism.
‘That is absolutely not true.’ Dewey stated.
Jorge who had been lounging in his chair lunged upright. ‘It certainly is. White Americans would never have used the Atom bomb on White Germans.’
‘If you examined the history of the Bomb, Jorge, I think you would find that its destined use was against Germany. It’s just that the war against Germany ended before the Bomb was ready.’
‘That’s nonsense.’ Jorge retorted indignantly.
‘No. It’s not, Jorge, just listen.’ Ben leaned closed, Jorge glared at Dewey intently.
‘The A-Bomb is wholly a Jewish discovery. The preliminary work was developed in Germany. The theory was what the Nazis called ‘Jewish physics.’ They ran the Atomic theorists out of Germany. The Jews went to England and mostly to the United States. By the late thirties when Nazi antagonism to the Jews became apparent the Jews had the basic theory for the development of the Bomb, the Super-Weapon, but they didn’t have the means to build it or deliver it.
After the war started and Hitler’s intent became clear Jewish fear demanded the weapon. FDR was approached to fund the Atomic program but he failed to see the Bomb’s utility. Another Jew was detailed by the Jewish government to persuade FDR to fund the program which he successfully did.
Thus the theory, the implementation of the program, the scientists and even the spies were all Jews. Just as the Germans were rounding up Jews in Europe so the Jews in America wanted camps established for those who didn’t accept their program. Or as the Jews call them, anti-Semites. Now, the Jews didn’t care about America’s enemy, Japan, they were only concerned with their enemy Nazi Germany.
They had devised incredible punishments for Germany. Had American power been completely at their disposal they would have had the Germans exterminated. Henry Morgenthau, Jr., the same patriotic American who gave the Soviets the plates, dyes and paper to print American occupation currency, wanted to turn Germany into a desert.
Had the Bomb been ready in time they would have. If there had only been one sample available it would have been used against Germany rather than Japan. Had two been available they would both have been used against Germany.
If the Japanese had devised the Bomb you may be sure that would have been racists enough to use it against the US population without any remorse.
Even then, Jorge, and this is an odd historical fact, the Bombs were deployed over Nagasaki and Hiroshima which were both centers of Japanese Catholicism or Christianity. So, no, Jorge, there was no racism involved, it was just that the German war was over before the Bomb was ready. However, they may have been some religious bigotry involved of some sort.’
Jorge stared at Trueman dumbly. No White man he had over known had ever defended himself before. Lacking the information to affirm or argue he just waved Trueman’s discussion away.
‘That’s not the only thing they did to my people.’ Jorge retorted indignantly shifting to a different tack and forgetting again that he was a pure American. ‘In 1906, maybe ‘o5 or ’07 they made the Japanese attend segregated schools in San Francisco. They said we weren’t good enough to sit with White people.’
‘Yeah, I know.’ Dewey said laconically. He had been a History major and still read. He knew a little and thought indenpendently, not having been cowed in graduate school.
‘Don’t you think that’s terrible?’
‘Yes, I do. I think it’s worse than terrible, especially since a very similar thing happened to me. But, so what. No one I’ve ever met wants to hear my story or give me sympathy for a minute. They say it happens to everybody; just the wear and tear of living. I can’t give to you who are on their side what you won’t give to me.’
Jorge sat erect quivering; Ben’s normally impassive expression was turned into a smiling unbelieving sneer.
‘How could any such thing happen to you? You’re White.’ Jorge spat out contemptuously.
Dewey’s mind clicked into place behind the first chamber. He knew then that he hated the Sukamotos. Here was a man before him demanding sympathy for what happened not to him but to others of ‘his people’ but refusing sympathy for a harsher reality. Dewey looked up from under his brows and pressed the crease of the knee of his pants between his thumb and forefinger.
‘I was in the orphanage, Jorge.’ He said very quietly, seriously enough to have put Sukamoto on notice.
‘That’s nothing!’ Snapped Sukamoto whose mind was so twisted by his own self-pity that he was insensitive to anyone else’s misfortunes.
‘No? Well, it is something, Jorge.’ Trueman contradicted quietly. ‘I know first hand what you can only talk about as happening to ‘your people.’ That is exactly what is nonsense.’
‘You weren’t ever in a concentration camp.’ Jorge said defensively.
‘Neither by your own admission were you, Jorge. You were partying at Harvard University. The orphanage is a concentration camp. I’m not sure any ‘American citizen’ was in a concentration camp. If an American says he was he’s a liar.’
‘How about Hitler’s camps?’ Jorge persisted tacitly acknowledging the international character of the Jews.
‘Well, now, if you want to talk about one’s ‘people’, Jorge, my people were slaughtered in the millions by Nazis, Communists and Japanese.’
‘You’re not Jewish.’ Jorge persisted contemptuously and irrelevantly.
‘No, I’m not. But I am Polish…’
The Sukamotos laughed out loud. ‘Trueman’s not a Polish name. Was it Truemanski before you changed it?’
‘This is America, Jorge, you’ve got to look behind the facade. Trueman isn’t Polish but Sepaniak is. That was my mother’s maiden name. My mother divorced before I was three. We went to live with my Polish grandmother before I was put in the orphanage. So my Polish people were slaughtered by the million. But I’m not Polish or English, I’m American Jorge.
What was experienced in internecine European warfare had nothing to do with immigrants who left for America of any those nationalities. You are of Japanese ancestry yet you told me that you are different from native Japanese. You are a loyal American you say yet at the same time the Bomb was dropped on ‘your people.’ Well, you’re either Japanese or American. Jew or American. You can’t claim dual citizenship. If so you might as well claim as John Donne: No man is an island…Send not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee. In that case we are all one, races, nationalities, religions don’t matter. Which is it? Take your choice.
Besides which the orphanage was a type of concentration camp. We were segregated from the general population and told we were inferior. We were made to wear funny clothing just as the Jews were made to wear the yellow star. We were told that we could neither speak to or associate with non-orphans. In spite of the sacred Judeo-Christian repository of morality which repeatedly inveighs against depriving orphans of their rights we were deprived of our rights.
You, who graduated from Harvard, during the war with Japan, mention the segregation of Japanese children in 1906. That incident didn’t even go on for weeks, furthermore it didn’t happen to you, Jorge Sukamoto. As you say, it happened to ‘your people’ who were Japanese citizens, not even Americans. If you want prejudice, the Japanese didn’t even want Westerners walking on their sacred soil.
Let me tell you what happened to me. Me, Jorge, myself, my person, not a hundred years ago or to persons in some far off land, but to me in the here and now in the USA.
I’ve heard Jews and Italians become tearful because they were once called a kike or wop. Some tragedy. We were called worse. They, at least, had the support of their own community, their Anti-Defamation Leagues, their Mafias or whatever. We Orphans had nothing! Not even group solidarity. We were outside the law. We belittled each other more than others belittled us which was considerable. I know you understand that, Jorge.
The Jews complain that in Poland they had a Jew bench against the wall in school that they were compelled to sit on. Well, we had an orphan wall against which we had to sit. Not just one month or one year but all year, every year. At recess we were compelled to sit on a bench watching the others play. If we tried to friendly with anyone we were beaten. We were compelled to use the alleys to walk to school, Jorge. We weren’t allowed to be seen on the city streets. If we did venture onto the streets, Mr Sukamoto, we were beaten. We were beaten, Mr. Sukamoto, and I don’t mean by kids our own size. I mean grown men ran, dashed across streets to hit us around, driving us back into the alleys. You don’t know how my heart bleeds for your poor ‘people’ Mr. Harvard Graduate Sukamoto.
Now, when you were a Japanese at Harvard during a war with Japan were you ever physically assaulted? I didn’t think so. Well, who do you think was persecuting we orphans? No, not Japanese, there weren’t any in the Valley. But don’t think it was only Anglos, Jorge. Even as the horrors of the Nazis unfolded some who persecuted us were Jews. Some were Italians proud to do the dirty work granted them by Anglos. They were all of them, Anglos or minorities proud, eager to beat up small orphan children. Yes, the truth is incredible isn’t it?
Don’t you sneer at my experience, Sukamoto.
So, sure, never send for whom the bell tolls, I’ve sympathy for you, the Jews, the Blacks. it’s just that except for possibly the Blacks I don’t think you’ve got a hell of a lot of room to talk. None of your ‘people’s’ internal histories show that you’re such kind and generous people, you all persecute who you’re able. I don’t see persecution, Jorge, I just see a lot of rotten people throwing rocks at each other. So, yeah, I can sympathize with your stupid poster but, so what?’
‘I don’t believe you.’ Jorge blurted out heatedly. ‘That stuff couldn’t ever happen to Whites in America. This is a White country. You’re White, not colored. It couldn’t have happened in America.’
‘You calling me a liar, Sukamoto? You think I’d bother to make this stuff up to entertain a non-entity like you. You’re colored, sure but you’re one of the Old Boys. You’re treated better than me by the Whites you hate. They’ve turned me over to you to be exploited. You think because I’m not dark complected my origins don’t show?
How do you think I got this hang-dog expression on my face? How do you think I got this stupid apologetic manner, my infernal politeness to creeps? The same way you got yours, Jorge. Only I’m not a wimp. I don’t go around complaining like a limping, whimpering dog. I walk like a man, I don’t live my life on my knees before the oppressor like you do, Sukamoto.’
Dewey was getting a little heated, his voice rose and he began to tremble over his whole body. He began to actually bounce in his chair.
‘Do you know what they used to do, Sukamoto? I probably know more about fine things than you do. Do you know how I learned? They used to take small groups of us to teas in the best homes in the Valley. They used to show us all their little treasures, indicating the finer points. They laughed at our gauche manners, then when we were dismissed we were told that this life style, those things, were never meant for scum like us, that we could never have them, would be allowed to have them. All that imprinted a sullen expectation on my face, my walk, my talk, my behavior. Not everyone can see it but people in the right places see it and it is a signal to deny me because their class has stigmatized me. What you see before you Sukamoto is not me but the product of your machinations.
Now, our characters are quite similar, Sukamoto, but you benefit from the treatment the Japanese received during the war. I have forever been made an outcast. Why do you think you got me?
You say this Mr. Whatisname at Universal National Bank has always treated you Japanese kindly; that he’s given you loans that you weren’t entitled to in amounts in excess of what you were entitled to. Well, you’re colored and I’m White, Jorge, but I don’t get any loans at all and I’ve got a very successful business. They just play despicable games with me. So who’s discriminated against? Colored boy like you, or White boy like me?’
But Jorge Sukamoto’s life was bracketed by his self-pity. He couldn’t sympathize with any White person even though a brother under the skin. He couldn’t see that as a universal soldier his color didn’t matter. He was of the the class that persecuted Dewey. Dewey saw him merely as an Old Boy oppressor not as a colored person. Jorge couldn’t perceive America in its true light. He was a bigot.
‘I don’t care. You’re White.’ He limped.
Dewey got up to leave with his signed lease in his hand, ‘By the way, I’d take that stupid poster down if I were you.’
Jorge snarled into the holes of his sweater than played his trump. ‘By the way Dewey,’ he said with a wry smile. ‘My wife is Jewish.’
Dewey had an overtrump. ‘So’s mine.’ He said over his shoulder as he walked away.
Ben got wonderingly from his chair walking slightly ahead of Jorge’s desk where they both watched open mouthed as Dewey left. They were astounded at Dewey. Never had any White person been anything but subservient before the poster. Everything he had said had been new to them. Not necessarily believable in their eyes, but new.
That Dewey was an orphan stirred deep prejudices in them of which they were not aware. In every society in the world orphans having no one to defend them have no rights. From Ancient Egypt and Babylonia thrugh the derivative Jewish Bible to the present, cutting across all racial and national lines orphans were and are cheated, robbed and denied. In Dewey’s eyes the Sukamotos were part of the oppressor class not colored or Japanese. Other Whites ignorant of history, his own history and himself could only understand his hatred of the Sukamotos as racial prejudice.
The Sukamotos in their turn lost all keenness of pleasure in persecuting Dewey. If his ‘own people’ didn’t want him he merely had a mercenary value to them.
As to what Dewey had said, Jorge, and definitely Ben, lacked the background to judge. Since the Atomic scientists had German sounding names like Oppenheimer and Teller, they assumed they were German. America had funded the Bomb, therefore it was American. They could only assume that Trueman was slandering the Jews.
‘Have you ever heard such nonsense?’ Ben said. ‘Of course it was racial, they would never have dropped IT on the Germans.’
‘Yes. We were told that he was a bigot. What we just heard proves it without a doubt. He won’t get far. He can’t make it in an empty building with construction going on around him. If he does we’ll get him another way.’
Jorge sought ways to humiliate his White tenants. Sometimes the means came to him. He allowed those things to happen reveling in the complaints of his White tenants or, Slaves, as he jokingly referred to them. When the Center had opened, bums came in from the cold to stretch out on the benches in the Atrium that Jorge had placed about. Dewey’s and others’ complaints fell on deaf ears as Jorge indulged his bigotry by allowing the bums to stay.
Customer complaints eventually forced him to action as his Center did have to succeed to repay those more than generous loans.
The situation that developed in the second floor toilet thus afforded him great pleasure. Even though Pilgrims Center was billed as a family center Jorge did not respond to complaints. Mothers unwittingly sent their seven and eight year old sons to use the facility.
Why am I stumbling down the highway
When I shoud be rolling cross the skyways
As a TV personality Dewey had good reason to avoid public restrooms. By dint of careful planning he was fairly successful. He hadn’t used the second floor toilet since the problem there had developed. But now he had to use what was becoming laughingly referred to as ‘homo heaven.’
He felt the urge when the hands of the clock read twelve-thirty. The height of the lunch hour. He pushed the door open to see one of the most astounding sights he had ever seen. A fellow was carefully washing out one of the wash basins. He then opened a package of dry noodle soup, dumped the contents into the sink, ran hot water over the noodles, pulled a spoon out of his sock and began to eat out of the sink. Dewey stood transfixed watching in amazement as the stench of the toilet assailed his nostrils. He recovered himself to find the walls lined with hopeful, expectant faces.
He wasn’t aware that the toilet had become a homosexual clubroom. Feeney McReady, immediately on his left, wearing a green plaid jacket with very wide lapels and rust colored elbow patches that extended to the cuff, green and white checkered pants, a tan check shirt and a rust colored plaid tie, volunteered an explanation of the soup eater: ‘That’s Soupy Feensteen.’ He said approvingly. ‘He’s the founder of Jewish Queers Against Fascism. He has his lunch here every day.’
Feensteen interrupted his feeding, straightening up to his full skinny height of five-six to beam a greeting at Dewey expecting some gesture of approval in return. Dewey, offended, looked away offending Soupy who immediately condemned him as an anti-Semite.
Not only was Dewey a TV personality but when it became apparent to the Old Boy Network he wouldn’t go bust in Portland they began to take him seriously. They began an investigation of his past. It was a singularly clear record except for one peculiar report, albeit a devastating report. In his senior year in high school Dewey had chanced upon a group of acquaintances who were leaning against a low wall receiving oral sex from another classmate. Dewey had been told to get in line but he refused. He was warned that there would be consequences if he refused but he still did.
The group in their guilt and shame devised a way to reverse the circumstances as people will do. They arranged a situation at a roller skating rink in which over fifty ‘witnesses’ claimed to have seen Trueman perforning oral sex on a line of boys.
The Old Boys were so elated by the discovery that even without corroboration of subsequent activity they spread the story as true. Trueman was asked mysterious questions about how he like roller skating. As he had never heard the latter half of the story he was mystified by the questions.
Some the homos in the toilet knew the story. They thus thought Trueman was pretending by not dropping his mask and resented it deeply.
When Dewey had gone on TV he had made a fatal error. His method of dealing with his prominence was to assume that if he didn’t act as though he were on TV, not put on airs, that people would treat him in a normal manner. This simply could not be. Having made the move it was incumbent on him to adopt a suitable public persona because, like it or not, he was having an effect on viewers who remained anonymous to him. Nevertheless he acted as though he were unknown.
An electric thrill went through the homos when he walked in. He was a hero to them. Feeney, who was not quite such a beat up hommie as the rest,sacrificed a certain amount of pride hanging around the toilet. He did it because he was hopelessly in love with the TV idea of Dewey Trueman. He prayed that Dewey would come in and notice him. The things we do for love.
The homos wanted to meet him on their own turf; they wanted to stand by his fire in the toilet. Who knew, some thought, that he might be one too. Feeney hoped to impress Dewey with his turnout.
Feeney had the hightest hopes if Dewey would only recognize him. For the great seer of the homos, Sal Mineo, had said that if you didn’t talk like Marilyn Monroe or wear a dress anyone was possible.
Feeney had his fingers crossed but Dewey paid him only the most cursory attention concealing a smile at his attire.
Dewey’s attention was next drawn to Vic Laszlo, who was wearing a little house dress that came to mid-thigh. Laszlo was probably not sane. His reaction to his childhood abuse was extreme. He had been totally emasculated, his pride was gone. Still he tried to justify his house dress. As Laszlo explained it: You’ll never know freedom until you’ve put on the dress. Further mental derangement had been caused by the excessive use of cocaine, other dangerouos drugs and alcohol. The telltale scab hung from his nose as he sniffed uncontrollably.
Barry Manson standing next to him had his hand up Vicky’s dress holding the cheek of his ass under his panties. That’s right. Panties. Speaking to no one in particular Laszlo intoned: ‘No one’s ever known freedom till he’s taken the dress.’ Manson smiled approvingly hitching his pants up. Dewey looked down and away wishing he were somewhere else.
As Dewey turned the corner of the divider to seek a urinal he spotted Nello Nitti dressed as Marlon Brando in the Wild Ones. Nitti was flanked by Ben Hale and Chancy Flegenheimer who all grunted deprecatingly at Trueman making contemptuous faces. They were rebelling at anything society had.
Back by the stalls Ace Onested, Lou Williams and Dick Bundy stood waiting for the noon time action. As Dewey stepped up to the urinal a stock broker by the name of Rey Martine raced past him pointing authoritatively at Lou Williams. They stepped into a stall together.
At that time little Jimmy Grosza took up a position next to Dewey. Lou Williams in the stall was trying to get into position for Rey Martine. He was making a racket as he climbed upon the toilet seat pushing Martine repeatedly against the door. The two cursed each other repeatedly to cover their shame.
‘What are they doing in there?’ Eight year old Jimmy Grosza asked looking up trustingly at Dewey.
‘Just do what you have to do and get out of here.’ Dewey replied in disgust. ‘Don’t even bother to wash your hands.’
As luck would have it Dewey stood there dry, waiting. ‘Damn it.’ He said to himself.
Nello Nitti eyed him, bobbing his head and curling his lip in that soft tough guy Brando fashion with his jeans rolled up in ridiculous four inch cuffs. Can’t Bust ‘Ems instead of Levis.
‘Hey! Come On!’ I can’t reach the toilet paper.’ Williams whined from the stall.
Dewey picked up a copy of the Daily Assassin lying folded on top of the urinal and threw it over the top of the stall.
‘Here. Use this.’ He muttered under his breath. ‘That’s about all it’s good for.’
As he turned back he noticed that Laszlo had postioned himself so that he could study Dewey’s penis. Laszlo worked his mouth convulsively as he stared while Manson squeezed his cheek in rhythm. Dewey groaned audibly activating Nitti. Nitti abandoned his lounging position in the corner, standing erect. A cigarette separated his index and middle fingers at the bottom knuckle of his clenched fist as he stood legs apart in his best Brando tough guy fashion. His boots were too new, they’d never seen a kick stand.
‘You know what I’d like to do to him?’ He sneered at Hale and Flegenheimer, speaking as though Dewey weren’t there. He brought the finger of his right hand to a point working them into an imaginary rectum then he balled his fist and holding his arm at the elbow he worked his forearm and fist up and down several times. Sneering broadly around the toilet he leaned back into corner waiting for Dewey’s reaction
Dewey knew what the gesture meant. He’d had it explained lovingly to by Trashman, a dedicated practitioner. Dewey didn’t know what it had to do with ‘sexual preference’ but it was called, let me be coy, fist fornication. The hand, fist and forearm were actually pushed a foot or more up the rectum.
This was what the Daily Assassin was endorsing: base injured psychological reaction. A defective gene? In religious terms the homos were failed human beings unable to rise from the mire. Certainly the religious groups opposed to the legitimization of homosexual behavior as a desirable alternative life style had their failings, but in the theosophical lotus metaphor they were trying to better themselves, to aspire to more perfect behavior. They were pointed in the right direction.
In the lotus metaphor the roots of the lotus are sunk into the mire of materiality while the stem rises through the more spiritual murky water to blossom in the light of the spiritual sun above its material roots. Thus man should try to escape his material origins to strive for the attainment of spiritual perfection.
Homosexuality rejects the notion preferring to wallow in the pleasure of subjecting their fellows to humiliation and degradation. To be sure, that is what they have known, for in their childhood abuse they were humiliated and degraded by their seducers followed by rejection. While homosexuals may not be aware of it the seduction entered their psyches requiring endless reenactments in the futile hope of resolving their psychological trauma in that manner.
But absolution cannot be had in that manner. One can only resolve the problem by deep contemplation and understanding.
As Dewey zipped up Ray Martine burst from the stall throwing a twenty on the floor exclaining: ‘Jesus, you goddamn queers disgust me.’ He raced out the door to escape his disgust with himself as he spat on the floor.
‘Musta had a bad day in the market.’ Williams said motioning to Ace Onested to pick up the twenty. Onested, who wore pink slippers with large pompoms on the toes because it hurt his feet to walk, clanked over to pick up the bill. He clanked because his pockets were filled with nickels, dimes and pennies. He wanted the world to know that he was never broke, always had plenty of pocket money.
Dewey followed Rey Martine out the door. ‘You guys disgust me too.’ He said aloud to himself. But Dewey didn’t leave a twenty behind. His remark was interpreted as ‘homophobe’ rather than a comment about some very disgusting behavior by some very disgusting guys.
Like all social and religious interest groups the homos were very sensitive about ‘defamatory’ remarks but very adept at defamation. A defamation from which as their status as underdogs there is little defense, or worse still, offense. Following the lead of Soupy Feensteen of the Jewish Queers Against Fascism they all clicked their heels, raised their arms in the straight armed, open palmed Nazi salute shouting ‘Heil Hitler.’ This was the worst insult they could devise. There was no opinion but their own; if your weren’t for them you were a Fascist. Feensteen with a glare of self-righteous hatred brought his salute from the Nazi into the crooked arm, clenched fist Jewish salute silently mouthing, We’ll get you.
Ben Hale separated himself from Flegenheimer and Nitti following Dewey out. Trueman had a lead and walked fast so that Hale had to run in short, quick, tripping steps to catch up to him just as Dewey passed through the indoor dining plaza just before his door.
Hale was a soft pudgy, very effeminate five-eight. He tripped up behind Dewey and slapped him on the shoulder: ‘You better watch your mouth, Mither.’ He lisped.
Dewey had had enough. He had endured too much. He turned in a quiet rage with closed fists. Hale danced backward out of reach shaking his finger at Dewey. Self-defense in his mind was a crime. To oppose the wishes of homos was a crime; any chastisement was to be accepted as just retribution.
Three guys got up from a table advancing on Dewey. ‘Hey, watch it bud, we don’t want no homophobia stuff going on around here. This is a democracy and America means freedom.’
Dewey put his fists down, pointing at Hale and speaking to the three. ‘Well, your faggot just assaulted me, my men, and that’s a crime. Don’t ever touch me again faggot, or you’ll learn what democracy and freedom mean to me.’ He said in anger.
Hale sucked in his breath in mock astonishment: ‘Did you hear him call me faggot? Did you hear him call me faggot? He’s a homophobe alright. Well he doesn’t have to worry about me coming on to him. He’s too ugly.’ Hale giggled out a version of the old Oscar Wilde saw.
God, how can Sukamoto let this go on Dewey groaned to himself in the agony of having to endure such degradation in the name of someone else’s perverted notion of ‘democracy, freedom and justice.’ In fact, Jorge Sukamoto was enjoying it very much. He saw White boys making fools of each other. He was actively encouraging it in the name of ‘tolerance.’ The humiliation he observed nearly matched the humiliation he felt from being Japanese in what he saw as White America.
So, Trashman was even happier at the New Criterion where he could duck into the toilet between servings of food to feed his lust. For truly, as Isaiah predicted, He ate and was never satisfied.
Attorney was fired from the New Criterion for theft. But while there he met Linda Delmurkwasser who gathered there with her friends regularly. The Digiorgio sisters who owned the shop were not lesbians proper, but libertines; they were game for anything, anytime, anywhere, anyplace with anybody. They swung in every possible direction.
Because he had taken the money Trashman didn’t hold his firing against Trueman. He had taken the cash partly from desire and partly to see how far he could push Trueman. His seduction, as with most homos, had not been entered on a conscious level, nor even, properly speaking on the subconscious level but in a level of unaware understanding. He, and they, had been given a very sneaky surreptitious first strike. He, and they, had been seduced at a young age when they had no, or very few, defenses. The good heartedness of their love offering had been betrayed and rejected when their ‘lovers’ cast them off with great derogation. This attitude entered their minds as normal behavior. Thus a surreptitious first blow coupled with derogation and humiliation became their standard of correct conduct. But as Trashman and the homos were totally unaware of the basis of their homosexuality they denied the impetus claiming that they had always felt like they were girls.
Thus in his confrontations with Trueman Trashman as the aggressor had set conditions so that win or lose the first blow would always insure the upper hand. Psychologically and practically two wrongs do not make a right but a third does, at least in one person’s mind.
In his subterranean way he was conducting a manhood test in the hopes of reversing his old defeat as an eight year old. If he got away with the offense he had a double win and doubly proved his manhood against the ‘hetero’ who had injured him. If he lost he still had the five hundred dollars and had put Trueman through the wringer. In his eyes he was still the better man. His ‘seducer’ was the loser. It was queer but an integral part of the homosexual psychology. His frustration was almost ‘genetic.’
The firing aside, what preyed most on Attorney Trashman’s mind were what he considered his defeats over the gauze pants and the Master-Slave T-shirt manhood tests. He had no hope of recapturing his manhood in endless tests. Each loss exacerbated his frustration. He then engineered yet further tests against which by their surreptitious nature there could be no defense in the hope that he could rectify his blunted manhood by winning. But by the very underhanded nature of the tests the wins could never be satisfying. He was condemned to chew and chew and never swallow.
Attorney’s theft had been both revenge and yet another additional unsatisfying manhood test. While he had kept the five hundred dollars he had been fired. In a further effort to reverse the tables Attorney told eveyone that the reason he had been fired was because he had refused to take the polygraph. When the polygraph became illegal Delmurkwasser who was seeking ‘revenge’ because Trueman hadn’t cooperated with the lesbians over the covers began to see how she could cast Trueman in a criminal light.
She discussed the story idea with her editor, Mingo Miybriy, who gave her the green light in the interests of ‘freedom’ and ‘equality’ and ‘democracy.’ The term ‘democracy’ was beginning to assume the meaning it now has of the Dictatorship Of The Marginals. In other words the inmates were taking control of the asylum while the ‘good men’ abstaining from doing nothing cheered them on. Or as Yeats put it: the best lack all conviction while the worst are full of passionate intensity.
Linda took Trashman’s statements at face value. She already had her article written but she wanted to interview Trueman so she could make attributions to him and smear him ‘in his own words.’ She had called several times but Dewey declined to speak to her, let alone be interviewed. Dewey had learned the hard way not to give out interviews. In most cases the interview only gives the interviewer the right to attribute in one’s own voice without recourse. Paley and Murrow’s hatchet job on McCarthy had a profound effect on journalism. Trueman could smell the odor of the hatchet, or perhaps, a ballpeen hammer job. Both Trashman and the lesbians sought to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
Trueman had been raised to believe that both sides of a story must be presented by a paper. Thus he felt secure that he had quashed the article. But Mingo and Linda followed ‘Revolutionary justice.’ They believed Trueman guilty and that was enough Law for them.
By publishing the hatchet job the Daily Assassin abdicated all title to respect by becoming a partisan rag. Attorney Trashman was a vile criminal. Linda Delmurkwasser was little better. As for the Assassin…
Yet a major metropolitan paper used its public unregulated power to represent the goals of these despicable people while trying to destroy a man who was productive, decent and honest. What a perversion of values.
The Assassin would further castigate decent folk who formed a group to present heterosexual views. They formed simply to protect their children from these sexual predators. They too wanted freedom from harassment in this democracy of ours. Rather than wallowing in the mire they were attempting to rise toward the light. Order or chaos must rule, any condition in between is merely transitory. As the medieval writer, the worldly Heinrich von dem Turlin said: When two men play at dice both cannot win. No, one life style or the other must prevail.
The AIDS epidemic began shortly after these incidents. The homosexuals were hit and hit hard by this seeming specific malady. With the elation of the Candy Store Era gone and the grim reality of death before them the exuberantly sexual record covers that had caused Dewey’s problem disappeared over night replaced by sober geometric designs and sombre colors. The lesbians’ problem was properly an internecine homosexual quarrel. It had nothing to do with the heterosexual male.
In the general sense the Daily Assassin promoted the forces of evil over the forces of ‘good.’ Materiality over spirituality. The paper was no longer disinterested; it became an organ of homosexuality. Heterosexuals would henceforth be defamed and reviled never being able to present their views. The last had become the first.
The story had been a successful smear against which Trueman had no recourse. The Assassin would not give him a retraction. When he called he was given to low level employees, janitors and maintenance men who arrogantly told him: ‘You had your chance to tell your side and refused it.’ When he tried to protest they merely hung up. Dewey knew better than to show up at the offices where he could be arrested for ‘disturbing the peace.’ There is no court of appeals with homosexual justice.
Trueman’s attorney, Pig Bowser, a great slab faced lawyer who earned his nickname in high school football because he filled a space in the line as big as a prize pig, refused to file a suit on his behalf so that the Assassin had no fear of retaliation. The Old Boy Network to which Bowser was beholden ensured that the paper was immune to law suits.
This mass of experience was but ill-digested and half understood by Trueman. It filled his mind with a strong sense of injustice which he could not articulate. As he grasped not so much for words but concepts to frame a reply to Harcourt, Owney Madnum greeted Brace over Trueman’s shoulder.
‘Hey, Big B.’
‘Hi there, Owney. How goes it?’
Owney ignored Dewey, pretending he wasn’t there. Harcourt was a second generation, Madmun a third generation Oregonian. Owney’s family had the Oregon Pacific Press Co., which was a very large printing company in town. Owney occupied a sinecure in upper management. He was enabled to live in fair style. His swimming pool would end up costing as much as his house.
Native Oregonians despised all immigrants. They viewed themselves as a sort of Israelite, a chosen people living in the only spot on earth worth inhabiting. But the accomplishments of their neighbors to the North and South which far exceeded their own left them with a terrible inferiority complex. They compensated by belittling California and Texas in particular. In general they believed all others spoke with an accent. The whole South thus came under ridicule even though Eastern Oregonians spoke with a pronounced Western drawl and pockets of people such as in Lebanon had a real hillbilly accent. In a word, they were bigots.
They saw themselves as innocents in a world of depravity. Their vanity led them to believe that Oregon would be crime free but for immigrants from California and Illinois. Dewey would have been contemptible as an immigrant alone. He was not ‘Oregonized’ in the slang of the times, but as the owner of a successful business he was exploiting Oregonians. He was treated somewhat as a Martian invader.
As he owned a record store, that meant to Owney as well as Harcourt that he was selling drugs in a big way, else how could a record store owner afford to live in the neighborhood?
Now, the drug issue was a complicated one. Brace Harcourt’s use of drugs was considered medicine. Owney also used prescription drugs on a regular basis. He snorted cocaine. His differentiation was that he thought that Trueman supplied addicts who couldn’t afford the stuff so they stole to support their habit. Owney could afford his cocaine and therefore used drugs recreationally. He could stop anytime he chose, while ‘addicts’ couldn’t.
Trueman, as Owney believed, dealt with the underworld while he acquired his dope from a lawyer friend downtown with connections. The lawyer’s connection bought from the head of maintenance at Stein and Cohn’s Department Store. Owney’s connection didn’t even talk to the maintenance chief as he placed his orders and had his stuff delivered to the office by a courier system that functioned more or less openly on the streets of downtown. Thus, Owney imagined that he was ‘clean’ while the role he projected on Trueman was ‘dirty.’ Owney despised Trueman as both an immigrant and a drug dealer. Owney held him beneath contempt.
Trueman had never met Owney but he now addressed his back: ‘Uh, your contractor says you plan to build your pumphouse on my property.’
Madmun went on talking to Harcourt as though Dewey hadn’t spoken.
Dewey pushed Madmun’s shoulder with his open hand.
‘I said your contractor says you plan to build your pumphouse on my lot.’
Ignoring the shove Madmun scanned the sky as if looking for the source of the voice.
‘You heard me. Are you?’
Owney was in perturbation. He didn’t want to acknowledge Trueman but he was compelled to answer such a question. The shove had given him notice that he had better. Looking across the street over Harcourt’s shoulder and speaking into the air as though to himself, he said firmly so as to avoid contradiction, ‘Yes, I am.’
Dewey was incredulous. ‘You are? What do you mean, you are?’
Madmun made him repeat the question, then still looking away he replied: ‘Hell, yes. It’s only about eighteen inches and you’re not using it for anything.’
Dewey was familiar with insolent effrontery but the bland usurpation of another’s property passed all understanding.
‘Look…’ Dewey didn’t use Madmun’s name because he didn’t know it. ‘…your trucks are already passing over my property without my permission…’
‘They aren’t hurting anything.’ Madmun interrupted.
‘…but don’t build your pumphouse on my property. Whether I’m using it or not, it’s mine, don’t build on it.’
Owney turned toward Dewey looking over his right shoulder and head pretending not to see him while he had him in the periphery of his vision. He gave no answer one way or another when Harcourt came to his assistance by saying: ‘Well, see you later Owney, I’ve got to go now.’ Breaking up the discussion.
As said, Owney was incapable of intellection. He did not know right from wrong; he only knew that for his plans to work he needed eighteen inches of Trueman’s property, although as an immigrant he thought that Trueman had no rights. He would have attempted the usurpation of the space regardless of who his neighbor had been. He was simply incapable of social responsibility. After his pool was built he poisoned the roots of a fine old maple on Harcourt’s property because the prevailing Southwest wind blew its autumn leaves into his pool.
I’m going away, yes today,
Behind the wheel of a stolen Chevrolet.
I’m going to get a little high
And see if I can hotwire reality.
Owney leaned out over the mirror on his coffee table to watch himself as he scooped cocaine from the little etched crystal bowl with his twenty-four carat razor blade. As he fined the crystals out with the blade, arranging them in two lines, his gaze came back to him, not troubled, for Owney didn’t have the intelligence to be troubled, but slightly befuddled.
The pool expense was running up. Owney had envisioned the completed pool, not the steps leading up to it. He had made no provision for the excavated dirt. His contractor now informed him that transport and disposal would cost him several thousand additional dollars. His house was less than six feet from the property line but his feeble intellect imagined that the dirt could be backed against his foundation.
Owney’s wife, Toni, sat across the room listening to him. She put a little pile of cocaine on her figer as she was at that age where peering into her reflection showed little lines that she wished weren’t there. She sniffed the little pile into her right nostril, relieving the pressure on her left nostril as she did so. As her eyes refocused she said: ‘Well, Owney, I don’t think there is room beside the house for all that dirt.’
Owney, who had taken one of the rolled up hundred dollar bills from a little smooth ball shaped crystal vase as a tube to snort up the two little lines, having finished the right, pulled the hundred dollar tube from his left nostril.
Toni’s words rattled from one side of his brain to the other as he tried to organize them into a coherent meaning. Sitting back, he finally grasped the meaning through his exhilaration: ‘Well, we can dump it on Trueman’s lot. He’s got a lot of room he’s not using for anything. Use it or lose it; that’s what I always say.’
‘He’s already told you he doesn’t want you to use his land for the pumphouse, Owney, don’t you think he’ll object to having his lot covered with your dirt?’
‘We need to build the pumphouse the way it is. How’s he going to tell. Besides once we get it up it’ll be too late. It’ll be legal. If we dump the dirt on his lot, same thing. What’s he going to do about it, punch me out? Not likely, I’ve been in Viet Nam. And if he does, I’ll have his faggot ass thrown in jail. We knew how to deal with his kind in Nam.’ Owney said making a pistol of his right hand.
‘I don’t think he’ll punch you out either, Owney, but he might file a law suit. You’d be clearly in the wrong and have the extra expense of moving it again.’
‘Why, what?’ Toni asked, startled.
‘Why would I clearly be in the wrong? Once it’s done it’s legal.’
Toni explained to Owney that the pumphouse should be set back six feet but if they got it built without Trueman objecting the law wouldn’t require them to tear it down. Owney extended to notion to mean that, if built on Trueman’s property the law couldn’t require him to tear tear it down; from there he extended the principle to mean that anything done could be gotten away with. He went back to snort the another line.
‘Well, Owney, the law looks at things in a funny way. You know, as a legal secretary I see these things happen a lot. The law isn’t fair, they just will rule against you.’
Really? Boy, that’s rotten. I know a lot of people too. Well, I’ll ask him. He probably wants to level his lot.’
So, with what passed for close reasoning in Madmun’s mind he approached Trueman who was standing in his backyard with his German Shepherd, Savage, waiting for the big dog to do the natural thing. His lot dropped thirty feet from Camelot to Cambenic. The sharp drop from Camelot leveled into a small plateau. this fell away sharply to Cambenic. Owney dashed across the lot and scrambled up the drop off.
Savage, sensing Madmun’s innate hostility lunged forward with the serious sounding growl of the Shepherd descending into a deep throated aggressive bark.
‘Whoa. Down, Savage, down. Come here, my good dog. Sit, mighty fella.’
Savage sat leaning against Trueman’s right leg, tense and quivering, lip curled back.
As an opening card Madmun threw in: ‘If that dog bites me, Trueman, I’m going to shoot him.’
‘Poison’s more your style, buddy. He’s defending his property. You shoot him and I’ll shoot you. Now get off my property. Furthermore keep those trucks off my property from now on.’
Madmun remembered what he had come for. He followed up his opening with this non-sequitur: ‘You’re a pretty good guy Trueman. Listen, I’ve got a deal for you. Won’t cost you a thing. You know, my wife and I look out at your lot from our window there and see how it falls away here where I had to scramble up. Damn near fell too, I might of had to sue you. We got all this dirt they have to remove from our lot. I’ll tell them just to come over and dump it here. Fill this in for you, make it look pretty good. I won’t charge you for trucking it over. It’s free. Free’s a pretty good price.’
Dewey looked at him dumbfounded, while Owney apprehensively eyed Savage who shifted restlessly on his hindquarters. Dewey had a quick mind, he was not only capable of intellection he had a remarkably analytic mind. In the first place he almost emitted a scornful laugh at Madmun’s stupidity. The amount of dirt coming off Madmun’s lot would more than fill Trueman’s. Heaped around the trees, they would all die. The peaks and valleys of the heaps would make it impossible for the equipment to cross Trueman’s lot. Besides Madmun would never adhere to any agreement. Trueman was already resentful of all the liberties Owney was taking. Already an outlaw with no civil rights his only recourse with Madmun would be to file a lawsuit that might be loaded against him. He knew that if he did a new load of opprobrium would be dumped on his head. His reputation as a ‘rotten guy’ would be increased.
‘People would think you were a pretty good guy..’ Owney began interpreting Trueman’s delay in answering shrewdly.
‘Oh yeah?’ Trueman interrupted, transmitting his anger to Savage who shifted aggressively increasing the intensity of his growl. ‘Either that or they’d think I was your fool. No buddyjack, I don’t want your dirt on my land.’
Madmun was incredulous. ‘Don’t be a bigger fool than you need to be Trueman. I’m giving you a golden opportunity here. This much dirt would cost you hundreds maybe thousands of dollars.’
Savage responded to Owney’s tone by straining against the leash, while his growl increased in intensity as his fangs drew apart.
‘I’m going to give Savage a golden opportunity if you don’t get off my land now, jerk. We’ll see if you can even handle a gun with what you’ve got left for a hand.’
‘God, you’re a prick Trueman. I can see why people say the things about you that they do. Goddam, what a asshole.’
Owney Madmun retreated. He still wanted to just dump the dirt on Trueman’s lot but Toni dissuaded him. Still, rather than pay to have the dirt hauled, Owney instructed the workers to shovel the dirt against his foundation. Then, not so much because he thought Trueman was that stupid but because he thought himself that clever, he ordered the workemen to feather the dirt gradually out over Trueman’s lot. Dewey noticed. He spoke to the workers forbidding them to come on his lot; they spoke to Madmun who was then forced to the expense of hauling it away. He blamed Trueman for the additional expense.
The excavation completed and, in the fact of Trueman’s refusal to permit him to use his lot for access, Owney had no choice but to have the concrete poured from above on Camelot.
The concrete work done they began to build his pumphouse. He built according to his original specification on Dewey’s lot. In addition, to enlarge his patio he extended a terrace to within a few inches of Trueman’s house. The house was set back ten teet from the property line.
Trueman couldn’t believe Madmun’s effrontery. He knew his only recourse would be the law. He trembled inwardly at the thought. In his whole career in Oregon he had fought desperately to steer clear of the courts. His enemies had fought just as hard to get him involved legally. As an outlaw Trueman was routinely denied his civil rights. He knew tht he would be denied and possibly in all circumstances. He knew that his opponents had no sense of shame or pride. Even in a clear cut case such as this he thought the law would be perverted to his injury. Nor were his fears unjustified.
He dreaded to approach Owney. His rage and sense of injury, not to mention insult, through injustice now dominated his mind. His sense of defenselessness gave a snarling whine to his justified indignation. Owney, on his part, believed he could tough it out, that nothing would come of Trueman’s indignation.
As a native Oregonian he knew that he had the power to slander Trueman so that not only would no one talk to him, which was his status already, but so that he would find it impossible to even contract services let alone have the work done honestly, correctly and economically. To ensure that Dewey knew, he had anonymous figures tell Dewey where he stood. In the meantime he refused to answer the door and hung up the phone without a comment.
Dewey had taken a lot of abuse over the years without complaining, knowing that complaint would only lead him into a morass from which he could never extricate himself. But this was such a gross violation of his rights, such a tremendous indignity that he could not let it pass unchallenged no matter what the consequences. He left a note advising Owney to respond or else. Toni advised Owney to respond as she, not understanding the pervasiveness and depth of the animosity against Trueman, knew that in court Owney must surely lose.
Trueman’s note had advised Madmun that he would return at six the following evening for an answer. Madmun chose to tough it out. He thought he held all the aces. The social consequences of challenging him would be too much for Trueman, as his crowd advised him. As his crowd said, meaning Trueman, when you know you’re going to be raped just lay back and enjoy it. Owney thought that when push came to shove Trueman would buckle.
Dewey rang Owney’s bell at six. Owney’s voice came through the door: ‘Who is it?’
‘Your neighbor, Dewey Trueman.’
‘What do you want.’
Dewey fought to control his rage at this additional insult. His voice always high under stress, became a piercing shrill soprano.
‘Open your door so I can talk to you.’
‘No.’ Owney said, his voice shaking with suppressed laughter. ‘If you’ve got something to say, say it through the door.’
Dewey took several seconds, close to a minute, to seek control of himself before he could answer, then he didn’t say what he intended to say. Instead he strangled out the word: ‘Get your pumphouse off my property and move that terrace back.’
‘What?’ Said Owney, trying to enrage Trueman to the point where he could call the police.
Overkill always calmed Trueman. ‘You heard me.’ He said, his voice dropping back to Irish tenor level.
‘Don’t give me any of that Trueman. You don’t have the right to abuse me just because you can’t hold your own. This is a rough and tumble world; only the strong survive. You’re not using the land, I am. Use it or lose it, that’s what I always say.’
Dewey saw the futility of trying to deal with such an idiot. He simply turned and walked away. He had no choice but to hazard the law.
‘So what’s your problem, Trueman?’ Owney shouted through the door.
‘So, what’s your problem?’ He repeated still receiving no answer.
He pulled the door open to find the porch empty.
‘The nerve of that son-of-a-bitch.’ Madmun said to himself. ‘I was talking to him.’
Standing like a hobo in the morning rain,
Staring down the rusty tracks
For one more train.
God knows why a man should have to live this way,
But I ain’t got no choice
Unless I die today.
‘Quite frankly, Trueman, I don’t see that you’ve got a case.’ Pig Bowser said with studied matter -of-factness.
‘I don’t have a case:’ Dewey repeated blankly. ‘Do you mean to say that in Oregon it’s legal to steal another man’s property?’
‘No, I don’t say that.’ Bowser said, idly pushing a couple drawers of his messy desk open and shut. ‘But do you know this word- evidence?’
‘Yeah, I know what evidence is, Pig.’ Dewey said with repressed anger. ‘The evidence is my lot. I already told you that he built a terrace to within a foot of my house. His pumphouse is partly on my property. He admits it. What better evidence do you need?’
‘Well, I’ve got your word for it, oh, and your word is good with me Trueman, unfortunately a court might not offer you the same indulgence. Do you know this word? Survey.’
‘So? We can get a survey.
‘Well yes, but we don’t have a survey, do we?’
‘Yeah, we do, Pig. We’ve got the survey from when we bought the house four years ago.’
‘That’s old now. It could be contested.’
‘What? Contested? It’s nearly brand…I can have a new one taken now.’
‘Well, then, by all means do so, my boy, by all means do so.’ Bowser said with mocking exuberance, flinging his fat legs into the air.
‘Yeah. OK. I will. So file the suit and I’ll get it done.’
‘Oh, no no, I’m not going to put myself out on limb for you. First you give me the results of the survey, then, if everything is proper, I’ll file the suit.’
‘Well, I have a divorce case waiting. So, it’s been fun, at least it has for me, but all good things must come to an end.’
‘Divorce case? Boy, Pig, are you so desperated for business you still have to take cheap divorce cases?’
Bowser was stung because regardless of what he told Dewey his level of competence did not rise above divorce cases.’
‘Oh, this a favor for an old friend.’ Bowser lied.
‘You aren’t named as a corespondent are you Pig?’ Trueman joked eyeing Pig’s more than protuberant belly.
‘Be serious. Be serious.’ Bowser replied with false benignity.
Dewey did not yet have that much experience with lawyers. Under the best of conditions the legal relationship is difficult. But the Old Boy Network was shameless. In Trueman’s mind if you accepted a client’s money you served the client’s interests. Bowser had been assigned to Trueman by the Old Boy Network to subvert his interests. A lawyer of the meager talents of Bowsen had to do dirty deeds to earn the crumbs thrown his way as a reward.
Trueman knew this. But bad representation is still better than no representation. His status was a major improvement from Eugene where he had been unable to obtain any legal representation at all.
He had been in the same class as the Wobblies of the first quarter of the twentieth century. That labor organization had been so thoroughly detested and hated that no lawyer in the entire Northwest would represent one of them. They were denied their civil rights completely. Like them Trueman was not only denied legal representation but he had been unable to obtain any essential service like accounting or even insurance.
After his expansion to Portland he represented a large enought sum to admit of plundering. Even then, at first, he had been unable to obtain adequate accounting. He hated, by nature, to ask help of anyone but, indesperation he had turned to his Eugene landlore, Hymie Dickstein, who worked out of Portland.
Dickstein was a successful property owner. He had paper holding in Washington, Oregon and California in excess of a hundred million. He was a power in the American Jewish Committee and the ADL. All of the Jewish organizations had offices in his buildings. He was also of the inner circle of the Old Boy Network but not a power among them.
Notwithstanding these attainments he was held in low esteem because of the grasping nature of his public deeds. He had recently purchased the Adolf Kraus building. This was an art deco building decorated with real gold leaf. Gold can be beaten down to a thickness of one molecule so that the gold leaf on the Kraus Building represented very little gold. Dickstein did not know this so that he had the building stripped of the leaf. He ended up with a bill for several thousand dollars and an ounce of gold and the enmity of innumerable people.
While deeds such as this held Dickstein up to ridicule he was nevertheless a power to be reckoned with. Thus Trueman stepped squarely into the web by asking for his help. Not that that really mattered; his movements were closely monitored anyway. The Old Boy Network could and did see that he didn’t get good service. This way the plunder could be kept in the club.
Dickstein had suggested one of his tenants by the name of Dots Cerou. Dots was a certified CPA. Dots was recklessly pundering Trueman offering little and charging much.
There was no hope that Trueman would ever be able to obtain a bank loan but, as insurance, Dots turned out such erratic monthly statements that no lender would consider such a request. Dots had Trueman paying twice the taxes he should have been. Through Dots the Old Boy Network had Trueman referred to Pig Bowser on some business matters.
Trueman was aware of the situation at all times, but he had no alternative. No one would touch him without permission. Any who would were totally incompetent or crooked. His choice was to be plundered or robbed. He was the goose who layed the golden eggs. He had to make the best of a bad situation.
Dewey’s worst fears were now realized. It was clear to him that Bowser would betray his interests as much as he could, nor would he be subtle about it, but blatant. Dewey understood his disadvantage. He knew he could be controlled by his lawyers better than he could control them. The specter of the humiliation of defeat in court on what should have been an open and shut case would be too great a challenge to his manhood even if the odds against were a thousand to one.
Fearful of this great humiliation he chose first to suffer a smaller one. He dreaded to approach Madmun again. When he did Madmun chose to believe that he was dealing from weakness. He sneeringly dismissed Trueman through his door with a ‘See you in court.’
Dewey had enough experience to know his total jeopardy. Dewey was afraid of the results of a new survey. He had worked for a surveyer in Eugene. That surveyor, after accurately determining the lines ahd altered them to his client’s specifications. Trueman already had the survey from the purchase of the house but Bowser had informed him that he wouldn’t accept it, he must go to the expense of a new one.
In real desperation and fear he tried to get the original surveyor to date the survey with the current date or athenticate its accuracy. that surveyor refused to guarantee his owrk. He refused the task again because as he said: ‘I don’t need your kind of trouble.’
Trueman showed the old survey to the new surveyor, Tom Robbins. Robbins said: ‘Hmm, well, they make a lot of mistakes on these things. Can’t go by that.’
Dewey laughed out loud. He thought: If you can’t trust one survey, why should you trust another? But he wisely failed to voice his humor.
Instead he said: ‘They built the house based on this survey. See that. The house is ten feet from the property line all the way down. Nothing has ever been changed or contested.’
As a joke he was given a duplicate of the original survey and charged for a new one. At least, he thought, I’m secure on the survey.
Pig Bowser filed a suit on receipt of the survey. A court date was set.
Bowser plundered Trueman mercilessly. He ran up immense bills at the rate of fifty dollars an hour. Trueman was under the impression that whatever work was done by the firm was at that rate. Bowser would call in one or two other attorneys to sit through two or three hour bull sessions that were unrelated to legal matters. Each attorney charged fifty dollars an hour but Trueman was given a bill for only the gross amount.
On the day of the trial Dewey showed up at Bowser’s office in a state of worried trepidation. He had never been in court before. He had expected Bowser to brief him on points of law and procedure. Bowser had declined on the basis that that was coaching. Coaching was illegal Bowser said and something so unethical he would never do it. Trueman was admonished to never make the request again.
Upon arrival he was greeted by Riley Gurgate who announced that he would represent him. Riley Gurgate explained that the was fresh out of law school. He admitted that he hadn’t been briefed on the case and had never been in court before. With lawyerly gallows humor he laughingly joked that it was tough on clients for lawyers to get experience this way but that no better system had ever been discovered.
Dewey was aghast at the insult. He began to realize just how easy it was for a lawyer to sabotage a client’s interests. He sought Bowser only to find that the office was empty and there was only ten minutes to get to court. Trueman’s mind was in a turmoil on the walk up to Judge Eugene Springfield’s court. Once there he was awarded with a phenomenal stroke of luck. Owney Madmun heading his wife’s advice was too embarrassed to appear.
Dewey had attained a great deal of notoriety because of his television ads. But because he had been outlawed, excluded from clubs and civic organizations, no one actually knew him. Everyone wanted to see him up close and live. Because they had invented the most preposterous character for him they approached him with revulsion and contempt.
The kindest thing that could be said of their attitude was that they believed Trueman to be an extroverted publicity hound. Trueman was an original believer in targeting his audience. He saw no sense in trying for the approval of people who would never buy his product. He used a style of humor in his ads directed at this primary market. The human was not accessible to everyone. Actually his ads were parodies of the Oregon mentality. Many thought the ads and himself outlandish, even ‘wacko.’ But as Trueman interpreted these people’s ability to judge anything accurately he dismissed their opinion. Unfortunately for Dewey the only people who approached him were his detractors. His admirers admired from a distance.
Now they had the beast in the middle of the ring. They meant to crack the whip to see how he could jump. Judge Sprinfield ordered him to the stand. Instead of finding an extroverted wildman Dewey showed himself to be shy to the point of crumbling. He held his head down, fact turned to the wall. He answered question is a thin, high, barely audible voice.
The psychological battering he had taken as a child in the second grade had rendered him incapable of facing a crowd. The subconscious memory of the hatred of his classmates gathered around him in a threatening half circle paralyzed his mind in all similar circumstances. Not understanding why he couldn’t respond as he knew he should. He sat on the witness stand cringing before his interlocutors.
The contrast between this reality and their expectations brought gasps of surprise and a pleased laughter from the audience. Springfield’s expresseion as he gazed condescendingly down on Trueman betrayed his feeling that he considered Dewey’s response unmanly. It was. It was the response of a seven year old boy before the force of condemnation of his classmates. Dewey’s chagrin was further compounded by the fact that in both cases he was the injured party.
As Owney hadn’t showed Springfield had little choice but to award the decision to Dewey. Trueman received a four thousand dollar award plus Madmun was required to remove his pumphouse, terrace and dirt. Riley either forgot or neglected to ask for costs so Trueman was saddled with those. Dewey never saw the four thousand which disappeared into thin air although Owned paid the amount.
Trueman’s testimony had been given in such a listless manner that contradicted the aggressive impression of his TV ads that Owney’s lawyer took heart.
He thought that he could manipulate Trueman and the proceedings in such a way that he could make it appear that Owney had Trueman’s approval for the use of the land. He got together with Pig Bowser who agreed to let Gurgate sit silently while Truncate went about his business.
To reopen the proceedings would need Trueman’s consent. Bowser said he had his client under tight control, no problem. He then went to work on Trueman at Trueman’s expense for a new trila on the basis that Owney had had conflicting obligations and couldn’t attend the first trial. How to express the bitter chagrin in Trueman’s heart at such base betrayal. But, this is how lawyers operate in Portland.
‘Where was Madmun’s lawyer, Pig? He could have showed.’
‘I don’t know, Trueman.’ Bowser said reproachfully. ‘Why do you ask things I can’t explain. I only think it’s fair to give him a chance to tell his side.’
‘You think it’s fair?’
‘Yes, I do.’
‘Well, Pig, if you think it’s so fair I’ll tell you what.’
Bowser’s eyes rolled slightly to the upper left in synch with his heads slight tilt as a faint smile of triumph was disguised on his lips. He thought Dewey was going to go for it.
‘If you indemnify me 100%, absorb your fees and legal costs and any other expenses I might incur, I’ll do it.’
‘You have to be crazy, Trueman…’
‘If you think I’m crazy Bowser what do you think I think of you?’
Well, why would I do what you ask?’ Bowser finished.
‘If you won’t, I won’t. I tried to accommodate you though.’ Said Trueman shifting the onus back to Bowser.
Neither Bowser, Truncate or Madmun would accept total defeat easily. There had to be some way to recover from Trueman’s victory. Madmun had removed the terrace and pumphouse immediately but he didn’t want to go to the enormous expense of removing the dirt.
Bowser in collusion with Truncate and Madmun attempted to shame Trueman into abandoning that part of the award. Trueman in the hopes of softening the defamation he knew was going on agreed to abandon the claim.
‘I knew it. I knew it didn’t really matter to you, that you were just causing trouble.’ Bowser said causing Trueman’s attempt at goodwill to turn to dust in his mouth.
In the light of Trueman’s inexplicable behavior on the witness stand Owney was chagrined that he had taken Toni’s advice and lacked courage. Keeping Trueman’s conduct in mind he and Tone set about to recover his loss and erase the humiliation.
Several feet of Trueman’s property had been covered with dirt excavated from Owney’s lot. Trueman by not enforcing the court decision had, if effect, given them permission to have dumped the dirt on his lot or so Owney and Toni reasoned. Madmun had used some of the dirt to fill in the front of his own lot. In so doing he had fanned out firther on Tureman’s lot there than alongside his house making a rounded mound.
Tone interpreted the law to mean that if they landscaped this area they would have title to the improvements thereby filching title to the land from Trueman. Owney would thereby redeem what his considered his humiliation in court.
Owney knocked on Trueman’s door hoping he would step outside without his dog who he heard growling behind the door.
‘Hey, get on down here, I want to show you something.’ Owney commanded. Previous to Trueman’s appearance in court Owney although he despised Trueman had nevertheless been in awe of his achievement. He had felt inferior to Dewey. Since Trueman’s appearance and the ‘real’ Dewey had appeared he feld his awe had demeaned himself. He now assumed a dominant attitude not different from homosexual lust. In fact, he a desire toshow his dominance by mounting Trueman. This attitude came through loud and clear to Trueman who bared his teeth in response. Trueman, in his turn, saw Madmun as soft, flabby, spoiled rich moron.
Trueman turned to reenter his house.
‘Busy, don’t have time.’
‘Well, for Christ’s sake, man. This is in your best interests. Get on down here.’
Dewey thought he better go see if Madmun was upto something else which it soundled like he was.
‘You get on down there Madmun.’ Trueman ordered harshly in his turn. ‘I’ll be down in a few minutes.’
Madmun too offence but as he was trying to rob Trueman he swallowed it, leaving.
‘Here, now, just imagine this.’ Madmun said throwing his cuffs with his best snake oil charm. ‘This isn’t going to cost you a dime and you’re going to get all the benefits.’ Toni, who had joined her husband smiled approvingly. ‘My wife and I will pay to landscape this whole section.’ He said, foolishly pointing to the dirt he had heaped up on Trueman’s lot. ‘It will be just beautiful for you from your deck.’
‘Your name is Mad-man isn’t it?’ Dewey asked.
‘Madmun. Yeah, why?’
‘No reason.’ Dewey said musingly. ‘Don’t do it.’
Owney opened his mouth to speak.
‘Don’t do it.’
‘Yes. Now, you just listen to me…’ Owney began gesturing the beginning of an artistic curve.
Dewey wasn’t going to listen. He made a quick decision without shifting his feet.
‘I’m putting up a fence in a couple days.’ He said drily.
That particular response wasn’t in Owney’s projected scenario. His projection of ‘reality’ had been quite different.
‘A fence! A fence!.’ He squealed as the statement broke through his thought pattern. ‘Why that will ruin the neighborhood. No one else has a fence. Why you?
‘How many times a year do you touch down Madmun?’ Trueman asked in all sincerity. ‘I have to go to court to get you off my property. You’re trying some ploy to get my property now and you ask, why me?’
‘What are you talking about? Go to court to get me off your property? I haven’t been in any courtroom.’
Dewey studied Owney cooly.
‘This guy is either trying to be a frustrator or insane.’ He thought.
Actually Madmun was neither. He jus so narrowly interpreted his self-interest as to have no idea of the effect on other people. He didn’t have a clue. It may be true that nature abhors a vacuum but somehow nature overlooked Owney’s mind.
‘The anwer is no Madmun. I’ll be putting up the fence soon. I’ve got to go now.’
‘You know, everybody is right about you. You’re a real prick.’
‘If everybody does say that then you’re all talking about yourselfs. You’re all talking about yourselves.’
The next morning Angeline was reading the Daily Assassin.
‘Oh look Dewey. Here’s another article about how prostitutes from Illinois and gangs from California come here to take advantage of the innocence of trusting Oregoniana who know nothing of such behavior and don’t have natural resistance.’
Well, Darlin’ it’s just like they tell me. It’s just the wear and tear of living. If they can’t stand the heat stay out of the kitchen.’