Complete and entire in one clip. Approx. 50 pages.
The Hole In Black Mountain
You can’t trust your eyes
When your imagination is out of focus.
On the West Coast of the United States lying between the Coast Range and the Cascade Mountains in the State of Oregon is the Willamette Valley. (Pronounced Will-am-ette) The Valley is about a hundred miles long, twenty to thirty miles wide. The bulk of Oregon’s population lies in this big valley. To the north along the once mighty Columbia River, now ‘tamed’ by man’s ingenuity, is Portland, the metropolis of the State. Sprinkled throughout the Willamette Valley are numerous small towns. The most important are Salem, which is the State capitol, Albany-Corvallis, the home of Oregon State University and Eugene at the extreme southern end where the mountain chains join and rise.
Eugene is a fair city. Luxuriantly green in summer and mild and wet during the winter. The lordly Willamette River bisects the town as it does all the important towns of the Valley. Eugene is dominated by two buttes; Skinner’s to the East and Spencer’s to the West. The soul of Eugeneans is bisected by the dichotomy of good and evil just as the river divides the town and the buttes are its poles.
Eugene, much to the chagrin of some of its citizens purports to be a Christian town. It is the intolerant Christianity of the fundamentalist sects. The town’s more ardent Christian devotees wished to have a symbol of their Christianity above them. They longed to erect a cross on Skinner’s Butte plainly visible to all the residents on the West Side of the river. Those Christians less ardent and the non-Christians opposed such a monument. Whether a heritage of the frontier past or merely an expression innate to their souls, or whether they were possessed by Satan, the ardent Christians in the still of the night erected a huge concrete cross in despite of their neighbors and possibly the law. This created a furor. The other citizens demanded the cross be removed. The fundamentalist Christians defied them to take it down. Armed patrols paraded the site at night prepared to gun down their neighbors if necessary to protect their cross. Over the years attempts were made or talk was bruited to dynamite the cross but all efforts were detected and foiled or never came to fruition.
Thus it was never clear whether the ardent fundamentalists represented God or Satan. They professed to be one but acted the other. They believed that evil could be perpetrated for the sake of good.
In addition to their souls being bisected the souls were also consumed by envy, an unChristian attribute. They knew how unhappy they were. They therefore desired that none others should be happier than they. At about the same time the cross was erected a pop singer by the name of Connie Francis was reachig the apex of an unparalled career. She had gone from peak to peak of a record of unblemished success. She was a symbol of wholesomeness and purity. Too wholesome and pure thought some Eugeneans; no one can be that good.
Now, at about this time Connie Francis was appearing in New York. Just prior to going on she was brutally raped. The consequence was that she was psychologically unable to recover. Her mental equilibrium was destroyed. She never performed again. Her brilliant career was turned to dust. Envy had triumphed.
A number of young Eugeneans took great pleasure in this sad occurrence. They were pleased that that symbol of success had been destroyed. They went so far in their minds as to transpose the situation to Eugene believing that Miss Francis was about to go on stage in Eugene and that one of them had committed the atrocity. They could point out the motel she stayed at and everything. The story was confidently and intimately told to others.
Dewey Trueman drove into town with high academic hopes. He hoped for a brilliant post-graduate career. Dewey came up from California where he had lived for the previous six years. Those six years coincided with the first six years of the fabulous sixties. Years of unparalleled prosperity; years of maturation of world popular music; years of cultural changes that moved too fast for hide bound minds to contemplate. The Beat movement of post-war years had developed into the Hippie counter-culture. Inexplicably men had begun to grow long hair. Complex ethnic problems had created student unrest on the college campuses. The storm had centered on the campus of the University of California at Berkeley.
Envy caused Eugeneans to profess to despise California. Cars carried bumper stickers that read: Don’t Californicate Oregon. The very thought of Berkeley terrified Oregonians both on and off campus. The fear was that those damned radicals might come up to Oregon. Dewey had not attended U.C. Berkeley but had gone through the State college system in Hayward just to the South of Berkeley. He had formerly had long hair but informed of the narrow attitude in Oregon he had trimmed it to above the collar in back and just touching the ears. This was not good enough; Oregon was whitewall country. Trueman did not respond well to the bullying he received to show whitewalls. He defied them. He let his hair grow back. The locks fell not only down over his collar but over his ears. His situation deteriorated further. He soon realized that his college career was going to be cut short shorn of brilliance. He had better create a new dream. At the end of his second year the axe fell. He recieved a letter advising him that he was not of an academic disposition.
This was probably not untrue although not reason for dismissal. But then Trueman was not of a corporate disposition either or, indeed, any other. He was a lone carrot growing in a potato patch. A very good carrot and worth cultivating but not a potato. Dewey took the news more sullenly. He thought, and this was not incorrect either, that the reason for his dismissal was that he wouldn’t get down on his knees for the professors. In fact the history department was studded with homosexuals. These gentlemen did have the casting couch mentality. As all power corrupts they had determined to break Dewey down to his knees. But there is no changing history; Dewey was out.
He had anticipated this development. He was neither a stupid nor obtuse man. He also knew from experience that he had little hope of success in a corporate environment. He was now thirty; there was no reason to look for a job. Consequently he had opened a record store at the beginning of his second year. His store was now prospering. He gave up his dream and took up a hope.
Dewey’s store was downtown on Eleventh Street, actually in the shadow of the famous cross upon the hill. Not Calvary, but Skinner’s Butte. Selling records meant selling Rock n’ Roll. Fundamentalist Christians saw Rock n’ Roll as the Devil’s music. One who sold the Devil’s music must be a Son of Satan. A few years on the Fundamentalists would invent the concept and seriously propound it on TV that by playing records backward one could hear Satan talking to you.
Well, this is more serious than an intelligent person might think. I don’t want to laugh when I tell you this although it is sublimely ridiculous. Every store must have a name. Dewey’s Records was out. Dewey was a fan of an astonishing rock group named The Doors. He especially adimired two songs off the first album. Soul Kitchen and Crystal Ship. He inclined toward Soul Kitchen, if you’re hip chuckle, but his wife persuaded him, wisely one believes, to call it The Crystal Ship. This was too simple and straightforward for Trueman who inclined toward the religious or mystical. Also it was the fashion of the day to change the spelling of common words as the rock groups had changed Beetles to Beatles and birds to Byrds. Dewey dropped the article and changed the spelling to Chrystalship. The similarity to Christ was intentional but ill-advised. Music to Dewey had that connotation of salvation. Indeed, if Chrystalship was successful it would carry him to salvation.
It was not his intention to offend the Boxtop Clergy but they construed the spelling as an intentional insult. And this by a Son of Satan selling the Devil’s music in the Shadow of the Cross. Not only did Trueman offend the Boxtoppers (Very few of these guys who called themselves Ministers had ever seen the inside of a seminary or had theological training or even elementary education. For ten dollars or less you could answer advertisements in newspapers for ordination in some bizarre church. Hence for a cereal boxtop and a few dollars you could wear a collar.) with Chrystalship but he astounded the Hippies with his daring. Unknown to Trueman crystal was a term to designate the drug speed, or, by its proper name, amphetamines. They thought the store was a cover to sell speed. The Boxtoppers and citizens got wind of this definition before Trueman and converted the term to mean heroin. You can see Trueman’s predicament.
Thus exalted by their cross combined with their natural malignancy and envy they immediately outlawed Trueman and made him a non-person. No one was to acknowledge his existence. They also loaded him with all their sins which were so numerous he could only carry a portion at a time. He was confirmed in their minds as a degenerate and pervert not only capable of anything but actually doing everything they wanted to and enjoying it.
These were stressful times. Even educated people set aside their critical faculties and believed their worst fears. Because Trueman had come up from California and because he was first on campus with long hair and because student unrest reached Oregon with Dewey the faculty had cast Trueman in the role of mastermind. This was absurd. There was absolutely no evidence to confirm the opinion, but then when one wants to see what one wants to see none is needed. This reputation on campus was converted into the notion that Trueman was certainly masterminding the drug trade of Eugene, probably Oregon and possibly the whole world. A twenty-four hour a day watch was set on him.
All Hippies were deemed stupid. It was thought that none could succeed in business. Indeed, a few Hippie businessmen had come and gone before Trueman. He had been given what was thought to be an impossible location. In ordinary circumstances it may have been but for a counter culture business the location was perfect. The store prospered. Trueman extended his store into an adjacent space in the deserted building. This made the town fathers uneasy. They expected him to close up not expand. Then Trueman approached the landlord to rent the large vacant space formerly occupied by the town’s leading men’s clothier. That space fronted the main street. Willamette was the main drag, the street down which every Friday and Saturday night the town’s teenagers drove their cars. The street was a dragster’s dream. Twenty-four blocks, nearly, from Butte to Butte.
Urban renewal was ubiquitous during the sixties. Even little Eugene had such a thing. There was little to renew but it was fashionable and provided jobs for dependents. Urban renewal bought the building the month after Dewey’s inquiry. Dewey was given thirty days to vacate, even before the deal was out of escrow. He was told there was no room downtown for the likes of him. The building was immediately demolished leaving a huge gaping hole in the ground that filled with water and existed for years in that manner. There was no room in Eugene for Dewey. Very likely it was hoped there was no room in Oregon for him.
Trueman was in a desperate frame of mind. In the two years at the location he had gone from a deficit of one month to an income by which his wife could quit working for what he called ‘the slugs of the Oregon Department of Employment.’ It was true that it was a very good thing for those boys that sexual harassment was not yet an issue for they were an evil crew.
The thought that his independence was to be taken away from him drove him into a frenzy of activity. There was only one suitable space available downtown. That was a dilapidated building on the edge of respectability next to the main branch of the Universal National Bank of Oregon. A mighty triple contradictions of terms that typified the mentality we are dealing with.
The employees of UNB would have done anything to keep Dewey out. The building was owned by a Mrs. Winsome. She would have honored UNB’s request but for the fact that in their lawless disregard of other people’s rights they had trampled on hers. While digging the foundations for their bank they had undermined the foundations of Mrs. Winsome’s building. The brick wall had begun to buckle. The repairs cost a vast amount not to correct but merely to arrest the collapse. The wall now bulged inward noticeably. Her recourse to law had been futile and expensive. According to her the bank had said: Stick it where the sun doesn’t shine. She may have been exaggerating nevertheless it was with a fair amount of pleasure that she installed Dewey next to her enemies at the Universal National Bank Of Oregon.
The new space was twice as big as the former store. Trueman’s sales more than doubled. It soon became apparent to the town fathers that Trueman might survive the move and actually expansion. In the meantime they lost a golden opportunity to destroy him through their own shortsightedness. Urban Renewal had decided to make a mall of downtown. Thus three blocks each of Willamette and Broadway were torn up to make a pedestrian mall. To spite Trueman the mall was stopped short of his building ostensibly leaving him outside the blessing. Thus his business was not disturbed by construction and the parking spaces in front of his store were left intact. Had they included his space they could have heaped an eight foot mound of earth in front of his door as they had done to one or two others who were also in disfavor.
Realizing their mistake too late, after the mall was completed Urban Renewal condemned the building, gave Mrs. Winsome nothing for it as punishment for having rented to Trueman and gave Dewey thirty days notice. Now, at this time there were no suitable vacant spaces downtown. The faces of the town fathers tilted back and looked down their noses at Trueman with a warm smile of spite.
Dewey’s brow knitted with care. He no longer had just independence but an income which gave him some enjoyment of life. He didn’t want it taken from him. As he assayed the situation he noted that a women’s clothing store called the Orange Garden had just opened a new large store on Willamette and retained an original store two block away on Broadway. They were at an impasse with the landlord over rent. Dewey reasoned that Eugene was too small to support two stores two blocks apart, especially as a shopping mall was on the books for across town, and that he would be doing them a favor if he could get the space. As it turned out he was as the Orange Garden shut down two years later.
Dewey approached the landlord. He agreed to the landlord’s terms. The landlord, in what he called fairness to the Orange Garden gave them a last offer which they refused. The landlord then rented to Dewey. The new location was twice as large as the former location. Dewey had taken the lease with some trepidation but his sales immediately doubled and continued to rise. Dewey tried to be cool but he was ecstatic. The towns people looked on sourly. As Dogie Doudous put it: No one should look that prosperous.
For the first time in Trueman’s life everything seemed to be going his way. The town fathers turned their backs to him and grew pensive. There was little they could do to his business now. His building was up to code. He was in the new mall across from the prestigious department store called the Bonne Chance. They still tried a few things. Dead rabbits were stowed in the power tunnel beneath the front of his store which gave off a fetid odor across the front of the store but Trueman’s business still flourished. It was after all the heyday of the record industry. People who had never bought records before now did and lots of them. Trueman had avoided giving the store a head shop image. Everyone could shop in comfort in his store. It had an ecumenical atmosphere.
The town fathers now knitted their brows sitting around in deep concentration. It was decided unanimously and without a word of discussion, Dewey Trueman must die. This was no joke.
Plans were made; the delivery of the ‘Death Warrant’ was entrusted to Teddy Tetou. Teddy was on the staff of KGEN radio. He had his own time slot from 8:00 to 12:00 AM as well as serving as a salesman. KGEN was the official radio station of the town fathers. No Rock n’ Roll disgraced its wavelength. Neither did many listeners tune in except for the very old and cantankerous. This rankled the town fathers who deplored the degradation of youth. KGEN served as call letters for both the radio and TV stations. The company had petitioned the FCC for the call letters KEUGENE. This would have made them the only seven letter station in America. The FCC refused. The refusal was met indignantly by the station owners. They didn’t see how it would hurt the FCC to change their entire system just for them. As they were wont to say: Where is it written in stone that call letters could only number four? They were correct. It wasn’t written in stone anywhere, but the FCC still maintained it was the rule and the FCC made the rule. The FCC was a hated arbitrary authority figure in Eugene.
Tueman’s success had not been accidental. He had applied intelligence. He had taken chances. In his way he had overturned the way of doing business in Eugene. He had proven that their rules weren’t written in stone either. They took offence because they had meant to do that but just hadn’t gotten around to actually chiseling the letters. In Dewey’s case it was noted that he was a disturber of the peace and an unwholesome presence.
The merchants of Eugene believed they were dependent upon the University Of Oregon for most of their business. Thus in the summer months when school was out of session they reduced their inventories to bare bones and waited for September. In Trueman’s first year he was just beginning to do well when June rolled around. He was cordially advised to reduce his inventory. But in the record industry new releases come out continually. Keeping up with them financially is the most difficult part of the business. It doesn’t take long to lose your rhythm and fall behind. Besides Dewey was too inexperienced to know how to reduce his inventory. The hits would sell off and slow moving catalog would remain.
Dewey plowed ahead amidst the laughter of more knowing heads. But his business didn’t decrease, it expanded at an incredible rate. At the end of the first August Dewey’s head was reaching for the clouds. When the U of O returned his business shot into what he then thought was the stratosphere. Dewey Trueman followed along. He bought and sold, sold and bought. His second summer was just as successful. By the third summer the other merchants had learned their lesson from him, but they didn’t like him any the more for their increased prosperity. They learned their lesson from him painfully. They hated him for it. Quite innocently and without intention he had proved them wrong.
Dewey wanted to do big business in a bad way. Perhaps as a joke they sent the towns top Rock n’ Roll, or rather Top Forty DJ, Bob Deal, ‘Your Fifth Wheel’ as he styled himself, to sell Dewey radio time. Dewey hadn’t inquired because he thought advertising on the radio would be too expensive. This was in 1968, but he found from Bob Deal that thirty second spots only cost three dollars each. For a hundred dollars a week he could, as the saying goes, own the station. As he was rapt in thought Deal laughingly excused himself thinking he had played a good joke. He was out the door when Trueman recovered himself shouting: ‘No, no, Bob. Don’t leave. Come back. I’ll take a hundred dollars a week.’
The Fifth Wheel stopped on a dime. There were few, heck there were no, merchants buying a hundred dollars a week.
‘The first week’s in advance.’ He blurted.
Trueman did his own copy and on air delivery. The advertising was instrumental in his success. But the Son Of Satan in the Shadow Of The Cross drove his enemies mad with his ‘constant bleating’ on the air.
The success of his radio advertising made Trueman want to try TV. It was thought that TV was prohibitively expensive. This was 1971. As Trueman saw it ten dollars for thirty seconds could be made to pay. As soon as he opened on Broadway he began a TV campaign. He did his own spots on the tube also. Thus not only had he succeeded despite all efforts to eliminate him but he now appeared nightly in the living rooms of the very people who hated him the most. Compared to what had happened to Connie Francis, Trueman, they thought, would not be treated so tenderly.
On February 14, St. Valentine’s Day, Teddy Tetou showed up at Chrystalship at closing time with Trueman’s ‘Death Warrant’ in his pocket. He entered with an air of hostility and undertones of viciousness which characterized the heralds sent to deal with Dewey. The general rule was that only the lowest of the low were to communicate directly with Trueman. He had been slandered to such an extent as a sexual pervert, whatever that might have meant in Eugene, and drug addict that no one except those of such a mind would try to talk to him. Since he was not a drug addict or a sexual pervert he ignored any attempts of this sort to communicate with him. As a radio time salesman Tetou had reason to talk to him, but Tetou had made himself so obnoxious toTrueman by his denunciation of Rock n’ Roll that he was no longer welcome even as a salesman.
Accordingly as he truculently burst the swinging doors open he was greeted with an equally truculent: ‘What do you want here in the House of Rock n’ Roll, Tetou?’
As the townsfolk invariably mispronounced his own name in a variety of ways such as Divi Traubman, Dewey who fought to be cool under pressure, but despised the principle of mispronunciation, nevertheless broke down from time to time and imitated his enemies. Even then it was difficult to distinguish whether he had said Teddy or Titty. Tetou winced but as he had been through it before and now anticipated it he said nothing.
‘I just came down here as someone in the same industry to talk music.’ Tetou offered as the cash register noisily closed out another day.
‘What’s to talk about, Titty? You reject the culture of your day for an atavistic attachment to the tunes of yesteryear. You want to live in your Daddy’s world rather than your own. Why don’t you go back to KEUGENE? I live in a different world.’
Tetou disregarded everything Trueman had said.
‘Yeah, well, you know, just because Creedence Clearwater Revival has had five hits in a row doesn’t mean they’re going to go on forever.’ Tetou foamed. ‘Nobody has more than five hits before they miss. Even your Rock n’ Rollers. Just watch, Clarence Clangwater Removal if going to fall on their ass next time out.’
Tetou who shared the prejudices of his fellow Eugeneans despised the notion of continued success. He hated prosperity in others. CCR could have been Johnny Mathis or Andy Willians for all that matter. Tetou didn’t really care. The important thing was that any success fade away.
‘I wouldn’t be surprised, Titty. No one has ever gone on forever. Even your hero Bing Crosby told Pat Boone of the white bucks that he would only be popular for seven years. That’s how Crosby who knew a hell of a lot more about the cycle than you do appraised it. Besides Titty, future failure does not wipe out past success.’ Trueman went on misunderstanding Tetou’s real objection. Tetou on his part was hoping Trueman would affirm his point of view.
Tetou glared at Trueman. His kind was only successful in their dreams. Even then it was only a petty kind of success equal to their abilities. Brows knit, hands in pockets, legs spread Tetou abusively changed the subject without admitting his defeat.
‘Yeah? If you’re finished here Trueman, come with me. I want to show you something.’ Tetou ordered. He tried to cover his lack of manhood by bullying.
‘Oh, you want to show me something. I’m sure anything you’ve got to show me shouldn’t be seen by mortal man…or woman.’ Trueman chuckled, insultingly, laughing appreciatively at his own joke.
‘Close this place up and come with me.’ Tetou ordered roughly. They had created such an image of their own virtue and Trueman’s vice in their minds that they were quite unable to distinguish between fiction and reality.
‘Who the hell do you think you are to order me around, Tetou? You’re nothing but a time salesman for the crummiest radio station in town. Nobody advertises with you but your stooges. I’m not going to, so take your schedule and get out of here. Leave.’
Tetou realized his error and now cajoled and implored Trueman to come lest he fail in his mission. Trueman perceived the reason for the urgency behind his voice. Something’s up. Trueman thought, I think I’ll see what.
‘Lead on, MacDuff.’ He said in his most contemptuous tone. ‘Let’s see what you know, Tetou.’
Trueman turned the key in the lock as Tetou pointed vaguely in the direction of what turned out to be Railroad Avenue. Tetou led the way to a house that has since been demolished, as though that could destroy a bad memory, for freeway construction. They stood on the corner beneath a stree light. The corner lot was vacant. They looked across the vacant lot at a two story rectangular house. The house had been divided into apartments above and below. The upstairs apartment was reached by a staircase along the side of the house.
What Trueman saw was a long line of people stretching from the top of the stairs along the side of the house and turning down the sidewalk to the end of the block. Occasionally the line turned the corner. Those who entered the door at the top of the stairs quickly emerged and raced down the stairs and away. As quickly as the line moved forward others took a place at the end of the line.
Tetou gave Trueman a malevolent look of satisfaction as though Trueman were responsible.
‘You know what’s going on there, Trueman?’ He said smugly, expecting a guilty reaction from him.
‘No, Titty, what’s going on there?’ Trueman replied his derision overcome by wonder.
Tetou gave him a look that implied: Coy to the end.
‘Do you know lives upstairs there, Trueman?’
‘Aw skip it, Tetou, just get to the point. How can I ever know what you people are talking about?’
‘Jim James lives up there. Do you know what he does for a living, Trueman?’
Trueman turned to leave. ‘Aw, for Christ’s sake Tetou, can’t you people ever get to the point?’
Tetou grabbed him by the arm and pulled him back.
‘I’ll tell you what he’s doing, Trueman. He’s selling marijuana. What do you think of that?’
Trueman’s jaw unhinged as he stopped in his tracks. He perceived in a flash the entire situation. He gave Tetou an incredulous look. Tetou gave Trueman a vicious nod of affirmation. Trueman realized that Tetou was ignorant of who his masters were.
‘What do you think is going on there, Titty?’ Trueman asked with malicious satisfaction.
Tetou responded with a knowing look at Trueman.
‘Someone’s making a lot of money and it’s not just Jimmy James.’
‘Who do you think it is, Tetou?’
Tetou just sneered and gazed at Trueman knowingly.
‘Me? Oh no, Titty, oh no. I don’t have anything to do with drugs, regardless of what you think. Do you really think I would be walking around free if I were involved in that? Do you really think I have contacts to get away with that?’ Tetou blinked. ‘No, Titty, no, of course not. Look at that line. Does this go on every night? Night in and night out?’ Tetou blinked yes. ‘Then you aren’t going to tell me that the DA and the police don’t know about this are you?’
Tetou thought a minute. ‘They must not or they’d arrest him.’ He said lamely.
‘How do you know about it, Tetou?’
‘The guys down at the station talk about it all the time.’
‘So the owners of the station know about it?’
‘The owners of the station know about and they’re big men in town. A word from them to the police…hell, it wouldn’t even take a word to the police, all it would take is a TV camera down here and all those people would scatter. It doesn’t happen. Doesn’t that tell you something, Tetou?’
Tetou had realized the truth but had gone into a state of panicked denial. He was busy rearranging reality to fit his prejudices. Trueman on his part realized why Tetou had been directed to show him this scene. Drugs was big business. At certain points in the distribution line big money was to be made. The town fathers thought that Trueman was surreptitiously making a fortune from drugs. They now wished to show him their power to make fortunes without fear of arrest. As Trueman understood it they were telling him to stick that up his nose.
‘You know why the cops don’t bust this guy, Tetou?’ Tetou was sweating from the shock, he weakly nodded no. ‘Because they’re in on it. Because they’re getting their share of the Big Money. Look at that line, Tetou. How many lids do you think that guy sells every night? Three, five, ten kilos worth? You know what that means Tetou? No, huh? In business terms that means that there are probably three hundred kilos in transit every month just for him. He must have ten, twenty or thirty kilos in the house at all times. There must be a warehouse with at least a hundred kilos in storage. That’s enough to fill a semi or maybe the trunks of hundred cars. The cops can’t break this?
Have you ever read any history, Titty? I wouldn’t think so. There is no illegal or subversive organization that has ever existed at any time in the world that wasn’t half spies. There was no labor union that wasn’t half labor spies. The Communist Party was always half government agents. They always shoot for secretary of the organization and they always get it. Do you believe that half the dope dealers in the country aren’t government agents? Are you people really so stupid Tetou that you don’t think that I don’t know that half my employees are your own spies? I don’t know anyone who talks to me that isn’t spying, present company not excepted. You guys are sick; you never get evidence but you never give up your fantasy. Now I see why. You need me as a cover for this.
A couple of years ago I was taken to see some yo-yos who were conspiring to ‘overthrow the government.’ Do you know how many of his ‘organization’ weren’t spies? Spies were the only ones involved.
So the cops can bust this guy anytime they want. You could bust me anytime if I were doing anything. So why don’t they bust him? You got any idea how much money they’re making at fifteen dollars a lid, Titty? Probably somewhere between two or three million a year. Who’s making it? I don’t know many people in town Titty, but you can be sure that several shares are distributed to the DA and cops. Harry Grabstein and Natty Segal who run downtown are getting theirs. The TV and radio stations are silent so they must be getting theirs. You don’t see any ‘crusading’ newspaper reporters trying to expose this, so what do you think that means? Who the others are I don’t know but you can be sure that at least a couple hundred people are involved. So you guys control the cops and judges. I’m impressed, Tetou. Bye bye.’
Tetou’s mind was swimming as he dogged Trueman’s footsteps. For a brief moment before denial secured his mind he realized the truth. He also remembered the ‘death warrant’ he was to deliver.
‘Yeha, well, hey, Trueman,’ he said padding after the rapidly striding figure before him, ‘they want your business at KGEN-TV so they told me to give you this.’ He said holding out a folded paper at Trueman’s back. Trueman didn’t pause. Tetou ran after him, catching up he thrust the paper in front of Dewey. Trueman grabbed it and threw it on the ground in disgust. Tetou quickly snatched it up running after Trueman. this time he stuffed it in Trueman’s jacket pocket. Trueman turned with raised fist in the dark. ‘Get away from me, Tetou, you scumbag, or I’ll deck you with one punch, so help me God.’
‘That’s a certificate for a free weekend at the Hole In Black Mountain, Trueman. Use it.’ Tetou said, scurrying away into the black having gotten the certificate onto Trueman’s person. He was able to say that he had accomplished his mission.
Trueman stormed home to pur himself a drink, dangerous habit, to calm himself so as not to offend his wife Angie by his violent mental agitation. He had no intention of using his ‘death warrant’; the ‘free’ weekend at the Hole In Black Mountain. He should have thrown the certificate into the trash but some plebian trait of mind ascribed value to the thing. He couldn’t bring himself to throw something of value away. He stuffed it into a drawer of papers.
He knew that some humiliation had been devised for him at the Black Mountain Resort. He feared assassination attempts but the notion was unreal in his mind, more a premonition of paranoia then anything else. Yet he was right to be apprehensive, there was no paranoia involved.
It had been supposed that Trueman would jump at the offer; use it that very same weekend. All the preparations for his murder had been made. When no reservation was made the whole plan remained in suspended animation in the minds of the conspirators.
They had met some weeks before when it became apparent to them that Trueman had evaded their snares. When they saw his very apparent increased success they knew then that something positive would have to be done.
Half by election and half by self-selection a band of four evolved who were entrusted by their community to execute its wishes. They in turn by a series of chance meetings in restaurants and on streets came to recognize and accept each other as co-conspirators.
Once they recognized each other a series of meetings was held in the law offices of Joshua L. Babycakes to determine a course of action. The final decision had been reached the week before the unconsciously held deadline of St. Valentine’s Day on which Trueman had been shown their money machine on Railroad Avenue.
The four were not of the first water, that is that they were not of the inner circle of the inner circle, but they were of the circle. They had the same walk and knew the same talk. There would be no questioning of their decision; it would not require consent. They were trustworthy fellows.
Joshua Babycakes had achieved his pre-eminence despite very limited material success. He was a native of Eugene. This placed his father and grandfather before the turn of the century. Oregon towns only developed in the latter quarter of the nineteenth century so that seventy-five to a hundred years of residence gave a family antiquity.
Babycakes’ family had been in on the landgrab. They had had a couple thousand acres of high timber which they had sold to the Western Timberlands Corp. before it had become practicable to clearcut the land. Joshua had gone to the U of O law school where he had somehow found the discipline, or, at least, he had the contacts, to graduate.
Babycakes was not of a settled or subtle mind. In one of those incredible twists of the human mind his stumbled over the question of small distinctions. He couldn’t bring his mind to accept small distinctions. His character had formed around the nucleus of an incident when he was twelve years old just as puberty shot its growth hormones throughout his body and mind.
Joshua’s father was a stamp collector. He had an extensive collection of US stamps. Not a philatelist’s dream necessarily but enough to knock your socks off. Joshua had one day needed postage to mail a small package. Since he couldn’t find stamps in the drawer he got out his father’s stamp collection and sent his addressee a very valuable collection of rare postage stamps. Well, you can imagine his father’s reaction when he discovered his loss. It wasn’t visceral, it was genetic. His A! gene became detached. His rage was communicated to Joshua as a disease.
Joshua had never been able to comprehend his father’s reaction. To him, a stamp was a stamp. Three cents printed on one was the same as three cents printed on another. Except that the pictures were different they all looked the same. Joshua in his turn became chronically enraged; nor did his understanding improve. He failed to understand why one bottle of wine should cost fifty dollars while another bottle of wine should sell for three. ‘There, look at the label,’ he would say to himself or anyone chancing to stand by him in a store, ‘They both have the same alcoholic content. One bottles gets you as drunk as the other. What kind of fool would take the one for fifty dollars?’
He therefore concluded that only big fools would pay more than three dollars and he despised ‘fools’ of any quality. If Joshua Babycakes thought you were a fool he thought you were fair game. As Babycakes set his own ignorance as the standard of conduct you may be sure that he had yet to find a man who wasn’t a fool. Therefore in his rage he lashed out at everyone.
The fact is that most people weren’t fools except in the sense of Puck’s: Oh, what fools ye mortals be. People accordingly gave Babycakes a wide berth.
Notwithstanding his graduation, the fine points of the law eluded Babycake’s grasp. He was therefore so unreasonable before judges, all of whom he knew well, that he was really not welcome in court. As he treated his clients in the same way his success as an attorney was very limited.
He was slowly ruining the estate his father had passed down. He was soon to use Urban Renewal to buy the properties downtown his father had left him. They sat vacant and rundown because no one would deal with him after they had met him.
In his rage however he was dangerous so nobody ever called him. He was treated with kid gloves. He was able to use his rage to maintain his position. He was, in fact, a dangerous man. His second floor office facing Willamette was enshrouded in perpetual gloom as he never allowed light to enter. Even his lamp was of the dimmest so that, actually without business, he sat in the dark and brooded. The room hadn’t been cleaned for years. Papers dating back perhaps two decades were scattered about.
Seated with him in this depressing setting was the owner of KGEN Radio and TV, Jeremiah (Jerry) Durkin. His ownership of KGEN must be qualified. He had been a salesman when the station was under its former management. It had been bought by a general partnership headquartered in Seattle about three hundred miles to the North. Jerry had been offered a ten per cent share in the ownership if he would manage the channel at a salary well below the industry norm. Jerry jumped at the chance. He mortgaged himself to the hilt to buy his share. He was in fact now worth less than nothing. It was a pleasure to him to be in the company of, associated with the big men. He honestly had no idea he was a stooge. He had been in his position for over a year now having realized no material advantages. By the end of the year he would be on the street with nothing but a load of debt.
There was a rumor that General Motors would build an assembly plant in Eugene as well as the entry of a couple of other large concerns. The resultant growth of Eugene would make KGEN-TV a relatively valuable property. It was decided by the Seattle big men to snap up Jerry’s ten per cent and get him out so as not to have to share the bonanza. A series of losses were then manufactured for the partnership. Jerry was not able to meet the levy and thus went to work tending bar.
If the Seattle people had known the strength of the Little Eugene Party they would have let Jerry alone. The Little Eugene Party was against change or growth of any kind. They controlled the town. Thus neither GM nor any one else was permitted to locate in Eugene. Even aggressive local concerns were driven out. The Seattle big men outmaneuvered themselves at fair cost.
But that was in the future. For the present Jerry Durkin reveled in his new found position of authority. His life was a salesman’s dream. Jerry didn’t realize he was a stooge in this instance either. He was only included as a fall guy. He was the expendable one in case anything misfired. If it all came down, it would come down on him. But there was actually no chance of that.
He was a physical contrast to Joshua Babycakes. the latter was a rough uncouth unkempt man given to wearing his clothes as though he crawled into them. Durkin was a very precise dresser. Small and thin he might have been seen as prissy. He wore a double knit leisure suit in such a manner that the jacket resembled a Nehru jacket. Even while sitting the opening was only about two inches wide. The collar was high. To show an unconventionality that no one would question he knotted his tie four-in-hand rather than Windsor, which latter style was de rigeur.
Babycakes on the other hand wore a pinkish maroon pair of double knit pants topped by a garishly loud giant houndstooth pattern in the same tones. His tie may have been knotted in some way or not, it may have been of a color that could be associated with a palette, who could tell.
Next to Durkin was the Reverend Jim Jones. I would call Jones a Fundamentalist but the boxtop he sent in for ordination may not even have been affiliated with religion of any kind. His certificate just made him a generic religious type. He did use the Bible however. At any rate the Old Testament which he ostentatiously carried with him had the cover conspicuously torn off so that his Bible, like himself, had one cover missing. Jones was virtually illiterate like all his kind. He hadn’t even graduated from high school. Still, as he said, when he received the call he knew he had to answer it. His message was vengeance and hate disguised as patriotism and conservatism. He didn’t lack an audience.
The fourth member of the party was the Patriarch of Downtown, Harry Grabstein. Harry was the Jewish member. He was there to listen and observe for the Community lest anything happen that wasn’t good for the Jews.
There was no point in describing Jones’ dress; beyond the absurdity of the clerical collar one would be hard put to say he was dressed. The others were dressed in varying degrees of bad taste. Harry was the exception. He was a very meticulous dresser from his carefully combed and parted hair to the glowing polished wingtips encasing his feet. Wingtips look bad after a lot of wear. Harry never wore his more than thirty times before they were discarded.
He wore a pair of charcoal grey pants of the finest wool lined in real silk. His white shirt was of the finest sea island cotton. His tie cost thirty dollars, a lot at the time. It was of a woven tiny latticework design which viewed in one light seemed of one color but with a small shift in posture the recessed areas changed through one or two other tones while the original color always dominated. It was a masterpiece of deviousness. The knot was an impeccable Windsor. The jacket was a magnificent plaid symphony of grays in kashmere. Harry’s clothes always looked like they had just come back from the cleaners. An impossibly precise trimmed mustache resided beneath his nose. His face was stolid, grave and composed but betrayed un undertone of anxiety beneath the facade which indicated a deeply seated insecurity. His knees were crossed, over which lay his right arm, the hand of which lightly held an unlighted straight stemmed polished briar pipe. His was a carefully structured appearance to instill confidence. Harry was, in fact, a confidence man. Harry, as he smilingly observed the others was quite content with himself.
Grabstein owned a furniture store downtown, since out of business. He had helped his father build it. He was not a good buyer. His retailing methods, if ever sound, were antiquated. Still, he was one of only two shows in town. The other was the House of Segal owned by Nachman, Nahum to any Hebraists reading, Segal. He was known as Natty. The two of them regulated the Jewish community, which was of some size in Eugene, as well as controlling affairs downtown.
The Jewish world at the time was being revolutionized by a crazy Rabbi by the name of Meir Kahane. Kahane could really talk and write convincingly. Even if crazy he expressed his ideas clearly and forcibly. The Jewish establishment disclaimed him and, I think, truly despised him but his impact was immense. He forced the Jewish establishment to go his way. He had formed an organization called the Jewish Defense League, or JDL. Its avowed purpose was to assassinate ‘anti-Semites.’ The extermination of the Jews was a bleeding wound to Kahane and the JDL. The notion was that if Hitler had been assassinated in the twenties millions of Jews would be alive today. It therefore behooved the JDL to assassinate any incipient ‘Hitlers’ before these ‘Hitlers’ had a chance to contrive to exterminate the Jews again. Kahane had no historical perspective.
Well, of course, several attempts had been made on Hitler’s life but they all had failed. The attempts hadn’t even been made by Jews so far as we know. Even then one couldn’t be sure that Hitler would do what he did or even imagine it. Hind sight is always twenty-twenty. But, you know, Hitler was not only one in a billion but he lived in a historical milieu which made his actions possible. That milieu had been created largely by Jews. Both Hitler and the milieu vanished into Trotsky’s famous ashcan. Hitler was no longer possible. There was nothing for rational man to fear.
Even though the Jewish Establishment disavowed Kahane the fear of another Hitler pervaded the Jewish mind. Witness the movies from ‘Hitler’s Brain’ to ‘The Boys From Brazil’ to ‘The Exterminator.’
Harry Grabstein was afflicted with this paranoid fear. He and Natty Segal were constantly on the lookout for…’The anti-Semite.’ Now every goi in town had to come to Harry to submit their manhood to him to pledge their troth that they would not become the next Hitler.
Dewey Trueman hadn’t. He couldn’t. He had been outlawed, made a non-person from the outset. Grabstein had actually expressed his displeasure of the little hippie boy. He had refused to even discuss renting one of his properties to him. As a transplant from California Dewey had had only the vaguest notion of who Harry Grabstein was. He had been pushed in Harry’s direction. He had been advised of the power of the ‘Jewish Mafia.’ But a non-person has no obligations. Thus he had never pledged his submission to the Jewish people. Harry could draw only one conclusion.
‘He is an anti-Semite.’ Harry said in a calm voice just above a whisper. ‘We can’t take any chances of another Hitler developing.’
You should be laughing but you’re not. Harry didn’t mean it as a joke but it is funny, even ludicrous. Dewey Trueman had no political ambitions. Another Hitler?
No one of the conspirators even smiled. They looked at Harry, swallowed and blinked. To have offered an objection would have been to confess anti-Semitism. They didn’t even know what an anti-Semite was. Nobody does. It has never been defined, legally or otherwise. The term has no, or had, things have changed since this was first written, no legal status nor should it. Nevertheless it has immense social status; it is the kiss of death in American society. ‘He is an anti-Semite.’ He is beyond the pale of society. No proof is necessary, none is asked for. Send a torpedo at him. Sink him. Does anyone here remember the McCarthy era?
Thus the decision to kill Trueman had been reached. The code word placing Trueman beyond the Pale had been uttered. ‘Anti-Semite.’ Prior to 1950 the gois had placed Jews beyond the pale when the word ‘Jew’ showed up as the religion of the applicant. Since 1950 Jewish bigotry had replaced goi bigotry. With the simple utterance of the word ‘anti-Semite’ an American could be excommunicated in his own land by his own people in favor of a foreign and enemy nation.
The three looked again at Harry Grabstein, blinked again in acquiescence then began to order their minds to justify their action. It wasn’t hard to do. Morality had been corrupted by the notion that you have to fight fire with fire. Dirty Harrys roamed the streets enforcing their personal brand of ‘justice.’ Trueman stood as a symbol of their frustrations. There was little to do but load them on him and drive him to the slaughter.
The only one present who knew who he was, where he had come from, where he wanted to be and how to get there was Harry Grabstein. He could do a fair job of recounting the four thousand year record of the Jews. He knew the pitfalls and the goals. His one little candle was burning bright.
The others were beset by vague fears and apprehensions. None of them had ever cogitated on anything but ‘beer.’ The American history of the last seventy years was closed to them. O, they knew heroes and villains. The knew enough to applaud Roosevelt and hiss McCarthy but beyond that they were out of their depth.
They were incapable of analyzing the effect of immigration or race on themselves. All they knew was that White guys were bad and everyone else was good. White guys had dropped the Atom Bomb hadn’t they? They knew so little that they thought Werner Von Braun had developed the A-Bomb. The fact the the A-Bomb was a Jewish development would have been vigorously denied by them. They didn’t know that Von Braun was a rocket scientist. Their thinking was so shabby they couldn’t even connect the fact that Von Braun had come to the United States after the Bomb had been dropped. They thought the jet plane just happened. Much in the way an egg yolk appears when you crack the shell.
Communism which was linked to the A-Bomb in their minds was merely a visceral reaction. A troubling one but an us versus them situation. It was a matter of moral systems. We had refrigerators and they didn’t.
The emergence of pharmaceutical drugs disturbed them. Which brings us to the physical manifestation of their fears. The Hippies. They had no idea of how the Hippies ‘happened.’ The evolution from post-war Bohos to Beats to Hippies was beyond them. Those people were all ‘weirdos.’ They did know that boys with long hair disgusted them. Trueman was a Hippie with hair all the way down to here.
This fact alone made him a kingpin in the drug trade. Drugs! One of the most amusing topics of an amusing period. The major herbals- marijuana, hashish, opium, cocaine had been around from time immemorial. I know, Iknow, but heroin is refined opium. They had all been used in modern times by the well-to-do and Bohemians. In the sixties they were democratized. They were disseminated not only among the less and least affluent but sent into middle class neighborhoods. The herbals would not have been a real problem. The real problem was the man made stuff, the pharmaceuticals. Industry had created a whole new class of potent drugs after 1950. Barbituates and amphetamines had come into existence. Whew! The Peyote button and its derivative mescaline had come into prominence to confuse the issue. Philosophies had even arisen about their use. Sacred stuff, if you believed all that BS.
The pharmaceuticals were prescription drugs. All the men in Babycakes office had used or were using pharmaceuticals. They had all used barbituates to one degree or another. Jerry Durkin used Valium to ‘help’ him deal with the stresses of his new position. In the early sixties when men such as John Kennedy, the President of the United States, were receiving regular injections of amphetamines, Joshua Babycakes had even received a series. You may imagine the effect of that combination.
But those uses were prescribed by a doctor and were therefore ‘medicine’ not ‘drugs.’ The kids used drugs. Nor did one have to go to a doctor to obtain drugs. With a few chemicals anyone could manufacture any of the pharmaceuticals. ‘Better Living Through Chemistry’ as the Hippie wags put it. The best illicit LSD was produced by a guy from Berkeley name Owsley. Got started when LSD was legal and just didn’t quit after the deadline.
The Bomb, Communists, Hippies, drugs. They weighed heavily, misunderstood on their minds. The worst was LSD. The drug, or more properly, Hallucinatory, was a fearful entity to them.
At the time the Hippie war cry was ‘Don’t trust anyone over thirty.’ Many saw the humor in it and had a good laugh. Many others tooke the slogan very seriously. Their fears were given a visible form by the movie ‘Wild In The Streets.’ In the argument whether movies are pure entertainment or whether they have an effect on society, this one had an effect on society. A society which was completely devoid of a sense of humor. Seven words that could no longer be mentioned in polite company.
In the movie a Rock n’ Roll singer who it was believed was based on Jim Morrison of the Doors is elected President at an age below thirty. Already the movie is a farce. He then proceeds to round up the entire population of the United States over thirty and puts them in a concentration, or perhaps, retirement camp, in which they are kept perpetually doped up from LSD in their drinking water. On any Sunday afternoon you could visit the camp where they could be seen walking around like zombies. In fact, their children did just that oblivious to the fact that they would joining their parents in just a few years.
How hysterical would you have to be to take this movie literally? Well, listen. A rumor developed that the hippies would soon pour LSD into the reservoir supplying Eugene’s water. A watch was established on the reservoir to prevent such an occurence. Young men were recruited to patrol the shores. No one came to pour LSD into the reservoir.
But, it was reasoned, if anyone would do it, Dewey Trueman would. But Trueman closely watched never went near the reservoir, probably didn’t even know it was there. Accordingly Trueman was lured out to Dexter Lake where the crystal waters come tumbling down from the mountains. It was only with a great deal of effort that he was persuaded to leave the car to walk along the shore. As he approached the shore a hurtling form came from nowhere to throw him to the ground. As he gathered his senses he perceived six men, or ‘youths’ standing over him.
One was holding up what he called a ‘vial’ but looked more like a gallon jug which he said held pure LSD that Trueman was going to pour into the water supply. He said that Trueman was under arrest. At the sight of the gallon jug of ‘LSD’ Dewey Trueman began laughing uproariously which was unexpected. The thought of all the fish in Dexter Lake under the influence of that much LSD seemed so comical to him that he couldn’t stop laughing. It was an incongruous thought but the laughter was misinterpreted by the young vigilantes cum lynchers.
The transparency of their ruse embarrassed even them.
‘Well, we’re not going to press charges this time, but if you try anything like this again, it’s jail for you.’
Yes, these were strange and wonderful times. There were marvels and portents in the air. You didn’t even need LSD or the DTs to see them. the jug sat on a shelf in Babycakes office as a reminder of how close the city had come.
Reality had indeed become a blurry vision to their overloaded imaginations. Unable to relate facts to their existences they attempted to use bluster to balance the scales in their favor. Politeness, manners and fairness which had never been overly conspicuous in American mores had been completely eliminated in their consciousnesses by the interfaces between the other immigrants and competing ideological systems. On the one hand they bullied each other in an attempt to maintain their positions while groveling before the various ‘minorities’ who built this great land of ours.
The Communist and Criminal belief systems had demonstrated the incapacityof law and order in their minds. The Constitution perverted by hostile elements had become a tool to be used against the very ideals it expressed. Without any real moral fibre they adopted the criminal methods of their opponents. As they put it: They fought fire with fire.
Thus American society was becoming completely criminalized. Criminal ethics were the order of the day.
Trueman had succeeded in spite of all their efforts to foil him. Thus in their eyes he had blunted their manhood, emasculated them. They were only capable of functioning within the support of a group. They all needed the permission or assent of the others to do what they did. In a metaphorical mixing of vital body fluids, they all had shares in each other.
The group assigned places and opportunities. Legion were the number who were waiting pateintly for a chance at their shot which would never come. In their minds Trueman had overleaped all those waiting.
Trueman had not only succeeded against their wishes as a retailer, in their eyes he was making it big. He thus made them feel less virile, less manly in relation to him. His individual manhood transcended their collective manhood. They had to bring that Hippie down.
In a society in which the once dominant caste had been compelled to outlaw ‘bigotry’, or in other words its own innate beliefs, they were left with no class against which it was legitimate to discriminate. All the other ‘minorities’ could discriminate against them and they were defenceless. ‘Bigotry’ prevented their retaliation. The Hippies were a godsend. They could be hated without fear of reprisals. They could be discriminated against. The word creed was quickly eliminated from the litany race, religion or creed. The Hippies could be cast as inferiors, their creed was not allowed.
The Hippies took the lowest rung on the social ladder. Even the Negroes who had prviously been on the bottom could look down on the Hippies who, in addition, were White. As the Black rhythm and blues singer Bobby Womack sang it: ‘I’d like to help you Harry Hippie; but how can I when you’re laying on the ground.’ Thanks Bobby but, no thanks.
Trueman represented all their fears and woes; all their shortcomings and failings. They loaded him up to be driven into the desert to die for their sins.
Grabstein had said Trueman must die. Having made his contribution, played his part, he now sat back to wait for the others to plan and execute the deed. As with Christ and the Rosenberg’s, he and his fellow Jews would be innocent of Trueman’s killing.
Jerry provided the method to lure Trueman out of town with the free weekend at the Hole In Black Mountain.
Babycakes provided the method. They never allowed facts to interfere with their fantasies. They thought Trueman must be dealing drugs, therefore he was.
‘He named his store after heroin.’ Babycakes mused. ‘So he’s gotta die by heroin.’
Jones noted that God sanctioned such a solution as He Himself had said an eye for an eye. The others looked at Boxtop Jim and nodded.
It was decided to give one of Trueman’s tires a slow leak which would leave him with a flat somewhere, they envisioned, between the lava flows and the turn at Highway 20 down to Bend. The Hell’s Angels Motorcycle Club was much feared in Oregon. Sometime after the Angels trashed Hollister, California they had tried to move into Oregon but had been successfully driven out. It was decided that Trueman was the kind that would hang out with ‘those guys.’ Durkin had read Tom Wolfe, being a progressive sort of guy, and had been astounded at the gangbangs Wolfe had described. Therefore a group riding motorcycles and wearing Angel-like colors would abduct Trueman and his wife from the road. To make sure that he couldn’t change his tire before they got there his tire iron was removed from his car. As a joke a useless four lug iron would be substituted. Trueman and his wife would be taken into the woods where all would rape his wife while Trueman struggled helplessly. Then both would be given hot shots. Their dead bodies would be left to be discovered by whoever might at whatever time that might be.
During the discussion Babycakes had unconsciously written Connie Francis several times and triple underlined each.
Boxtop Jim murmured: ‘He who lives by the needle dies by the needle.’
Harry took a suck or two on his dry pipe as he contemplated the end of another ‘incipient Hitler.’ The Jews would be safe for another little while.
Accordingly the ‘death warrant’ had been delivered to Trueman by Tetou. The conspirators naively believed that their plan would be promptly executed. But as has been wisely said: Man proposes, God disposes. Trueman was suspicious; he didn’t make any reservations.
Thus the contingent of faux Hell’s Angels wheeled aimlessly about the highway on that Friday afternoon. The matter remained open in their minds; there was no closure.
Trueman was a hard worker. Running his store took all his time. Wives are seldom understanding of what they construe as neglect. Angie Trueman was no exception. She liked the material advantages of success but she didn’t want to pay the fare. She pressured Dewey to take some time off. Dewey realized that they had only just begun to make it. He was fully aware of the precariousness of the situation. He had his enemies, natural external forces had to be dealt with, internal company forces had to be balanced, he had his own intense personal reactions to contend with.
Angie nevertheless had to be placated. Along about early May Dewey bethought himself of the certificate to the Hole In Black Mountain which he had thrown in the drawer rather than the waste basket. He thought he could be away for the weekend.
He was still apprehensive but he thought that since he hadn’t used the certificate when intended that their guard might be down. Still he wanted as complete a surprise as possible. Thus he called for reservations on the Wednesday previous to his Friday departure. Word was immediately flashed back. The conspirators only had time to improvise.
There were two ways over the Cascades from Eugene. One was the regular route along the spine of on 126 then down 20 to Bend; the other was a rough seldom used road across the lava beds at the top of the McKenzie Highway. The Cascades are of volcanic origin. A large lava flow exists at the junction of 126 and the McKenzie Highway.
It was decided to lure Trueman onto this road by the lava beds where he would be despatched. In this case a band of local toughs would be used to beat him to death. Not artistic, but in administrative murders no inquiry will ever be made.
As there had been no mental closure a couple of details from the earlier plan were performed automatically. The tire iron had never been replaced so Trueman was still without a jack. The right front tire was doctored to produce a slow leak.
The suggestion of the lava bed route had been made to Trueman. He had shown interest and said he would take the route. Indeed, the idea appealed to him a great deal. He did intend to go that way.
He and Angie left at noon on that Friday. His way had been prepared for him. He was already a TV personality in the area so that there was no trouble identifying him. His streaming hair would justify any hostility in the rural population who were still years away from adopting long hair in what would be their stringy unwashed fashion. Folks on the rural routes are the last to adopt a fashion and the last to give it up.
From the McKenzie Bridge in Eugene’s twin city of Springfield all along the river to the ridge road Trueman was met by unremitting hostility. People actually lined the road to glare at him. At the juncture of the McKenzie Highway and 126 the road, really almost a path, across the lava beds was plainly visible.
Also visible was a row of thugs ranged along the crest at the first flow like a band of indians in a cowboy movie. As he approached he could see a car parked across the roadway at the far crest of the flow. He could see the car waiting to be driven across the road to block his retreat.
‘How stupid do they think I am.’ Dewey thought. He knew the answer and dismissed it.
Trueman saw the handwriting on the wall. He knew he should turn back. He also knew that Angie wouldn’t understand nor would he be able to explain it to her. His enemies always had the advantage because there are few who understand and fewer still who acknowledge the structure of society. Few are they who have the nerve to look beneath the surface. Dewey had been born there so he always knew the score. His rejection of the lava bed route would be construed by his enemies as that he had told a lie. He had said he would take the road but now he hadn’t. In their minds he had labeled himself a liar. They so thought of him and this is the reason why.
He had many misgivings but plowed ahead along the ridge. The question is always how far will they go. Trueman hadn’t yet the experience to be absolutely sure of his interpretation of the details nor could he understand how people who had never met him would do such things.
The highway was virtually deserted. The road was his until the turn down to Bend. He was astounded that there was absolutely no traffic. On the descent there were no cars before or behind. A car or two passed on the other side of the road. The drivers seemed to glare hatred. In fact they were. When word was received that the lava bed plan had misfired a couple of people had set out from Sisters and Bend to snarl at him on the highway.
Trueman and Angie passed Hoodoo Ski Bowl. Three Fingered Jack conveniently faced the Three Sisters across the highway. They rolled by the road leading down to the springs of the Metolius River. The Metolius is one of the wonders of the West. The river emerges from the mountain side in huge springs which form a significant river in just a couple hundred yards. It is a sight worth seeing.
As they descended Trueman’s defective tire began to assert itself. Trueman had a new Volvo. The front tire on the driver’s side began to pound, bouncing and hammering. Trueman had no idea what was happening. Before he was able to slow down the tire burst as it slammed into the pavement.
Trueman immediately divined that he had been had. The fact that it was the left front immediately made his suspicious. He could see himself on the highway butt out into the roadway to be run down by a passing car. He kept driving slowly down the road. He was still some way from Sisters, the first town. He didn’t think the tire would even stay on the rim that far. The rim probably wouldn’t stay on the hub. He’d really been had when as if by a miracle a sign reading: Jack’s U-Auto Stop appeared by a driveway by the side of the road. ‘I auto stop.’ said Dewey
The way was down an embankment a little way from the road. Trueman thought it dangerous to leave the highway but the lesser of two evils. He entered the ruts to slide to a stop before a little shack. Some guy, hopefully a mechanic, was leaning over the fender of an old wreck to the left. He straigtened up, eyed the Volvo, then bent over the fender again.
Dewey blew out a breath, opened the door, got out and walked over to the wreck.
‘Hi!’ He said announcing his presence.
He was ignored.
‘Hi!’ Dewey repeated. ‘You work here?’
The guy straigtened up looking at Dewey uncomprehendingly with his face half averted.
‘You Jack?’ Dewey asked.
The guy twitched once, then said: ‘No, Bill.’
‘There ain’t no Jack. I’m Bill. I just call it Jack’s because I’m shy.’
Dewey thought better than to make any jokes. He thought it better to play it straight and get out of there.
‘Can you fix tires, Bill?’ Dewey asked.
‘There ain’t nothin’ wrong with these tires.’ Bill replied mystified.
‘No. No, Bill, I don’t mean on that car. I mean on my car over there.’
Bill looked over at the Volvo and nodded: ‘Oh sure. Yeah. Easy.’
‘Well, how about fixing that tire?’
‘Well, looka here. See how it’s blown. That’s one dead tire. Can’t be fixed.’ He said looking at Dewey as though he were stupid.
‘Well, then, how about putting on the spare?’
‘Won’t do no good.’
‘This here Volvo’s got one of those new temporary spares. You know, they only inflate halfway up. Soft. You’d never make it into town.’
‘Well, here’s an idea. Can you sell me a tire?’
‘Sure.’ Said Bill without stirring.
‘O.K. I’ll buy a tire from you.’
‘Well, I don’t have any tires.’
‘Uh huh. But you said you could sell me one.’
‘Of course I can.’ Bill said indignantly. ‘But I have to go into town to buy it.’
‘Well, OK Bill. I can’t go anywhere without a tire. Do you think you could to into town to get one to sell to me?’
‘Sure, I could do that. It’ll take a couple hours, maybe more.’
‘OK Bill. As the saying goes: I’ve got nothing but time. I don’t have any choice but to wait.’
‘You want me to then?’
‘Yes, I do.’
Bill got on the phone. ‘Hi, this is Bill from Jack’s Jim. I’m gonna need a tire.’
A conversation ensued during which Bill was questioned as to who wanted the tire. He described Dewey. Words were spoken. Bill looked at Dewey around the door with an extra shy grin.
‘I’ll be back.’ He said sheepishly.
Dewey grinned and waved goodbye. ‘Don’t take your time.’ He jokingly laughed.
But Bill did take his time. While he did a car left its garage in Eugene to speed to Jack’s U-Auto Stop.
The day was nice, even delicious. A warm sun beamed out of a sky with fluffy clouds lazing across it. Jack’s was on a little level shelf of land against the hillside with a delightful valley below. The shelf abutted the hillside about fifteen feet below the roadway. As Dewey looked at the sharp descent he was uncertain whether the Volvo could even make it up it.
Dewey instructed Angie to stay in the car, keeping the door locked. He was conversing with her through the window when he heard a car slowing down. He looked up to see a bumper and under carriage as the car lurched into Jack’s U-Auto Stop. It wasn’t Bill. Dewey’s fears were confirmed. He got the keys from Angie to open the trunk to get his tire iron out for a weapon. He was somewhat dismayed to find the four pronged lug wrench but the not the appropriate tire iron. The lug wrench was not an ideal weapon. While he was studying the wrench in a quandary the car slid to a stop fifteen feet from him.
Autry Outrey got out. Autry had been given the crash assignment of despatching Trueman and Angie. Autry stood six-three, trim and athletic. His black wingtips were immaculate. He wore his suit pants with precision. The cuffs just touched his shoes. The crease was a razor edge. The pleatless pants rested smoothly and snugly across his hips and waist. His belt was evenly spaced between the tops and bottoms of the loops. The buckle was in the exact center of his body. The waist of his pants formed a perfect circle around him. They were not higher in the back and lower in the front. His white shirt, even after just getting out of the car did not billow at the waistline. His grey shaded rep stripe matching his pants and socks had a perfect Windsor knot. the collar ends were not starched but didn’t curl.
Autry was Arrow shirt ad handsome. He could have modeled for a German postage stamp of the thirties. His thick, luxuriant mustache which projected beyond his lip about a quarter inch exuded manliness. It was impeccably trimmed, so fastidiously as to arouse your admiration and suspicion.
Autry Outry stood eyeing Trueman who stood there looking stupid with the lug wrench in his hands. Outrey’s gaze went to Trueman’s soft loafers. He lifted his toes slightly as a sign that hard wingtips were more manly than soft loafers.
He unconsciously hoped to emasculate Trueman with his shoes. As Autry eyed the lug wrench he realized that his assignment wouldn’t be that easy. While others described Trueman as a paranoid they apparently didn’t know what paranoia meant. Trueman had had his finger on them since being shown the pot shack. The image that was held by the townspeople of Trueman was, of course, erroneous. the image that he was an abject coward who would never fight but cravenly beg for mercy was merely a projection of their fantasy. Thus the notion had been that Autry would put his arm around Trueman’s shoulder and strangle him to death. Why not?
Autry had been chosen for the assignment because he had put it about that he had known Trueman well at the U of O. This was a figment of Outrey’s imagination. Outrey was a homosexual. He had formed an intense mental fixation on Trueman, had railed at him but never actually met him.
Outrey had been turned by a retired army officer who lived on his block. Autry at eight had been a beautiful boy. He had been befriended by his neighbor who had seduced him. His seducer had been a model of military deportment. The liaison had lasted two years until Autry had been discarded for another eight year old. Autry had loved and respected his seducer. It was from him that Autry learned to wear his clothes, trim his hair and mustache. It was from that man Autry learned his lessons in manhood. From the day of his seduction his father had ceased to have an influence on him. His exterior would have been a model for a Marine advertisement. His interior had been corrupted by his rejection which Autry had never been able to understand. The pain of it haunted him night and day.
Autry was still young enough to be seeking another older man as a companion and lover. That was why he attached himself to the big men of Eugene and was willing, even overjoyed, to do their dirty work. Within a few years a relationship with an older man would no longer please him, he would seek to duplicate his experience by finding eight year old boys.
When Autry had seen Trueman in college he was both enraged and in love. Trueman violated every concept of manhood that Autry cherished. Dewey had had long hair, wore love beads, shaved clean and worn his clothes in an ambiguous manner with loafers that infuriated Autry. At the same time he represented the internal Autry to himself. Autry had thought him beautiful. He also believed Trueman was a homosexual and ought to respond to him.
But Trueman was not a homosexual. He even spoke disparagingly of homos. Trueman didn’t hesitate to call them fags. Thus Outrey was faced with the perennial homosexual problem: unrequited love. He knew he could never have Trueman. Autry, as a frustrated lover, had taken to hurling abuse at Trueman, as a substitute for affection. First from around the corners of hallways, then from behind trees, finally from a distance of five or ten feet. For various reasons Trueman had ignored him. He didn’t recognize Outrey now. Autry was dumbfounded. their relationship was real in his mind.
Autry’s classically chiseled features that looked so good at rest dissolved into the marshmallow of his interior when he spoke. His head reared back while in some strange fashion his features turned globular moving up and to the side of his face leaving the center with the appearance of being hollow.
As they studied each other, Trueman moved to put his back to the far drop off with the shack on his left. He held the lug wrench tommy gun style, grasping the lower and rear prongs. As a child he had been floored with a punch to the solar plexus that he had never forgotten. Unconsciously he intended now to avenge this incident. It was his intention to thrust the lead prong under the ribs up into Autry’s heart.
Autry looked at him baffled by the intended resistance. This wasn’t in the script of his movie; he didn’t know what to do. He feared the wrench. His head reared back, his features dissolved as he began to articulate a phrase. He changed his mind. The classic Arrow, German postage stamp face appeared again. Autry looked denyingly at Trueman for a few moments then turned to walk back to his car.
Unsure of Autry’s intent Trueman dogged his steps with the wrench at the ready. Without turning his head Autry sensed Trueman behind him. Autry couldn’t be sure Trueman wouldn’t club him from behind. He did a fatal thing. His fear made him take a half skip into a run before he checked himself. At the signal of submission Trueman stopped following him. Autry immediately broke out into a copious perspiration. He had confessed weakness. There was now no chance he could go through with it. He had failed the men he respected and loved, expecially his seducer. He hadn’t been able to perform as a man.
Within the next few steps his shirt darkened between his shoulder blades. The sweat poured down the small of his back soaking the top of his pants and down between the cheeks to his sphincter. Autry Outrey choked back a sob. He couldn’t face his men in Eugene again. Unseeing, blind he got behind the wheel, backed up in a roaring cloud of dust to speed East down the highway. He roared through Sisters in blind panic onto 395. He lost five pounds in a fast and furious drive from Bend to Boise.
Shortly thereafter Bill returned to Jack’s U-Auto Stop with a tire. Trueman stared at the tire in disbelief.
‘Why didn’t you get a new one?’ He asked.
As in the Hank William’s song: The tire was doing fine but the air was showing through. The tire was three rotations past bald.
‘This was all they had.’ Bill said lamely.
‘What do you mean? In all of Bend they only had this one lousy tire?’ Dewey said indignantly.
‘I didn’t go to Bend. I only went to Sisters. You either take this tire or you get nothing. If you get nasty I won’t even sell you this one and can get your broken down car off my property.’
Dewey saw his bind but he wasn’t going to give in easily. Bill had already paid for the tire.
‘God, from the looks of that tire I would think you would give it to me. How much are you going to charge me for it?’
‘Thirty dollars? I can get new ones cheaper than that.’
‘Well, don’t buy it then.’
‘No. No. I’ll take it.’ Necessity is the mother of surrender.
‘I know it’s bald and it probably won’t last till Bend. But as you enter Sisters there’s a gas station on the left hand side of the road. Go in there. They’ll fix you up.’
‘I’m sure they will.’ Dewey said to Bill, adding to himself: In more ways than one.
Angie was not a fearless rider. She hated the road. She saw problems when none existed. She had seen how bald the tire was, which was at least something to worry about. Thus as they approached Sisters she was anxiously scanning the other side of the road for the gas station.
‘There it is.’ She excitedly exclaimed.
‘Nooo. Nooo.’ Dewey said looking back to see the gang shaking their fists at him.
‘What if this tire explodes too.?’
‘We go into Bend on the rim, the hub. I know where we are now.’
He’d also picked up his tail who he noticed in the rear view mirror. He wasn’t too worried about things in Bend, he didn’t think they would hit him in town. But he did still need a new tire.
He pulled into a tire shop off the highway onto the road through Bend to Mt. Bachelor. He was met with overt hostility.
‘I don’t have that size tire.’ He was curtly told.
‘Well, can’t you call around. Someone in Bend must have one. If not, we’ll be in town a couple days, have one sent from the warehouse in Eugene.’
The attendant’s boss who was watching with compressed lips heard Dewey and called the attendant over.
The attendant returned. ‘I can’t sell you a radial like you’ve got but I got a regular tire that will fit pretty well.’
Trueman had already spent thrity with Bill at Jack’s and he’d have to replace the tire when he got back to Eugene. Also he would look stupid with three radials and this oversized tire. He considered the difficulty of his situation then consented.
While the tire was being changed Dewey looked down the road toward Bachelor trying to figure out his enemies next move. He decided it could only be to get him into an accident. Dewey was learning his way around. As he passed thrugh the center of town he could see he was being eyed. He was good on the road. There was no way to surprise him without hurting themselves. Of course it was always possible that someone could be found who might not mind hurting themselves or might be too stupid to be aware of the consequences of their actions.
Dewey made it safely through the core. He had sped up as he approached the edge of town. Suddenly a car flahsed out of an intersection in front of him. He slammed on the brakes. They don’t if they get hurt, he thought, because if his reflexes had been less quick he would have rammed the car between the wheels killing the driver.
A car was waiting at the next intersectdion too but Dewey was prepared. He had slowed in anticipation. the earlier cars had flashed out and then turned toward town. At the third intersection the car wheeled out in front of him and stepped on its brakes then floored it. Billows of acrid black smoke blew out the exhaust. The driver then immediately screeched to a halt forcing Dewey to do the same. Dewey knew the game and he knew he couldn’t win but he had to play. He crossed the center line to pass. The driver gunned ahead across the line blocking Dewey’s passage still emitting billows of smoke which drifted through the clear air across the blue sky above the neighborhood. Dewey drew back across the line slowing in anticipation of the driver’s screeching stop. This time dewey was a few car lengths back. The drive, thoroughly enjoying himself was laughing insanely. He was unable to bee Trueman through the smoke. He imagined that he was right behind him.
Trueman anticipated the next move also. A stream of cars was now passing slowly in the opposite direction so passing was out of the question. His effort would only be frustrated anyway which was the intention. Trueman had begun some time before to adjust his mentality to their methods. The thought they were criminal or insane so that whatever they did was characteristic of their mentality. Their acts were no reflection on himself. In fact he was developing the attitude of a doctor in an insane asylum. The attitude infuriated them more. Dewey hadn’t flown onver the cuckoo’s nest he had landed in it.
The driver before him now made several false starts. Dewey remained motionless as the lead car now several blocks ahead of him rocked bac and forth in isolation after each stop. The driver finally had the sence to use his side mirror. He was humiliated to find himself alone out there. He now drove slowly forward. Trueman had no choice but to follow. There was no chance to pass as a car came by at thousand foot intervals. Dewey knew any attempt to pass would be foiled. All he would do would be to get himself worked up to the point where he might do something stupid. No car came upbehind Dewey as he drove into the smoke at ten miles an hour.
Then to his left he saw the sign of The Hole In Black Mountain. As he drew abreast his escort emitted a horse laugh which he could hear and sped off toward Mt. Bachelor. The driver turned off the gimmick he had used to create the smoke screen. His exhaust cleared as he sped away.
It was quite clear to Dewey that none of this was coincidence. But, if he told the story everyone would say so. He resolved to keep the whole trip to himself. He marveled that these people had no more life to lead than to spend ours, use dozens of cars and spend money in their attempt to torment him. In its own way it was a supreme compliment to his superior manhood but one which he didn’t appreciate. He was lost in this reverie as a car edged across the entrance of the lot in front of him. The car had started too late. Dewey kept going forcing the other driver to an abrupt stop a hair from the side of Dewey’s car.
Dewey would have won that one except that Angie began to berate him for placing her in jeopardy. There was merit in her argument. It had been a long trip but Dewey kept his temper. He ignored the obscenity hurled at him as the other car raced through the lot.
He now looked at the building before him. It was a conventional two story wooden inn streching some two or three hundred feet along the road. He’d taken the bag from the trunk before he saw the entrance. A large black structure closely resembling a cowl had been built over the doorway apparently in imitation of a cave. Its black constrasted sharply with the natural finish of the building while blending into the asphalt of the parking lot.
‘This must be the actual hole in Black Mountain.’ Dewey said with a laugh as the smile on Angie’s face erupted into a matching laugh.
‘Business must have been so bad they tried to Disney the place up.’ She said.
Still laughing they passed through the black hole into the lobby.
‘Hmmm.’ Said Angie.
‘Yeah.’ Dewey replied. ‘And this place has a great reputation too. It doesn’t look like they clean up in between seasons. I guess they’re trying to save money by not turning the lights on too.’
There was no clerk in sight. Dewey rang the bell. Minutes later he rang the bell again to no avail.
‘Hey, hello. Anybody here?’ He called out some time later.
Still no one showed.
About half an hour later he picked up the bag. He told Angie that they might as well leave. As though picking up his bag was a signal a slovenly, surly young woman appeared fromt he office. She looked at him blankly.
‘We’d like to check in.’ Dewey said with mock suavity.
‘Do you have a reservation?’ The clerk asked in stilted tones as though she might have failed in finishing school.
The game was clear to Dewey but he had enough experience to be patient. He was a long way from home base.
‘Oh yes.’ He replied. ‘Trueman? We’re here on a certificate from KGEN.’
‘KGEN?’ She said blankly.
‘Yes, KGEN. It’s a TV station in Eugene. I’m sure you’ve heard of it. Here’s the certificate. Trueman. They said to be sure to mention them and who I was.’
‘I’m not sure this is any good.’ She said stiffly.
‘Sure it is.’ Dewey said grimly. ‘Just check it out. We’ll be here till Sunday. You’ve got time.’
The clerk looked at him, blinked, then gave up the masquerade.
‘You’ll have to carry your own baggage.’ She said. ‘We don’t have nayone to help you.’
‘Or clean up.’ Dewey said snidely, unaware of what was before him.
The Hole was vacant May not being high season in the skiing industry. Black Mountain was seriously mis-managed. It didn’t even do well in the high season except on overflow weekends. They were led to the most distant room.
‘This room hasn’t even been cleaned.’ Angie said indignantly.
‘Truly.’ Added Dewey. ‘The ash trays, look at them, at least six, they’re heaped with butts. This room reeks of cigarette and cigar smoke. The bed clothes haven’t even been changed.’
Dewey and Angie were astonished to see splotches of semen stains on the sheets. The floor was gritty as though dirt had been brought in for the occasion.
‘Very untidy.’ Dewey said, feigning urbanitywhile being deeply offended at the insult. ‘Why don’t you give us another room?’
‘The resort is full. This is the only room we have available.’
‘Well, clean it up and we’ll be back in an hour.’
‘No. This is good enough for the likes of you.’
‘We’ll go elsewhere.’ Angie sniffed.
‘Go ahead and try.’ The girl said spitefuly. ‘There isn’t a available room in Bend for you. When youcome back this one won’t be here either.’
Dewey sensed that this was true. As the sun was setting he didn’t dare attempt the drive back to Eugene in the dark. He could easily be forced from the road. He and Angie were stuck.
‘Well, loot at those ashtrays and that bed.’ Dewey said tensely. ‘They’re filthy.
‘All right.’ She said. ‘We’ll empty the ash trays and make the bed. But that’s all.’
‘We’ll come back after you’ve changed the bed.’
‘No. I said make the bed, not change it. You’ve got to take it the way it is.’
So saying she dumped the contents of the ashtrays into the wastebasket and threw the blanket and bedspread up covering the sheets.
‘There.’ She said. ‘That’s good enough for you.’
So saying she slammed the door and left them.
Joshua Babycakes had occupied the room the night before. As he had anticipated Trueman’s death in the lava beds he had occupied the the bed intended for him the night before. It was a macabre joke. In his ecstasy at Trueman’s anticipated demise he had spent the morning masturbating into the empty bed as though he had Trueman before him. When word had been flashed that the plan had misfired he ordered that the room and bed be left so that Trueman as he imagined would have to sleep in Babycake’s own filth.
Dewey didn’t know hwo but he intuited the intent. Angie was so disturbed that she became ill. Thus Dewey went to dinner alone. He was the sole diner in the restaurant. As there was no one in sight he selected a table and took a seat. Immediately a waiter appeared to tell him that section was closed. He was led to a table in front of the men’s restroom.
‘Oh, come now.’ Dewey said as diplomatically as possible. ‘I’m not going to sit her. I’ll go back to where I was.’
‘I told you, buddy, that section is closed.’ The waiter lisped severely.
Well, listen, pal, there’s no one else in the restaurant. Either all sections are closed or any one I choose to open. Only one waiter is required. Do you follow my logic or do you follow any logic?’
‘Read my lips. The section you want is closed. This is your table. Take it or leave it.’
‘I’ll sit here.’ Dewey said moving over two tables. The waiter capitulated.
‘We get all kinds of boors in here.’ The waiter groaned.
Dewey never got into arguments with stupid people so he let the comment pass with a snort and a contemptuous dismissal. The waiter had no shame so he did a corn cob walk into the kitchen as though he had scored a great triumph.
Dewey ordered without hope. His dinner was served accordingly. The food was improperly cooked. It had just been thrown unappetizingly on the plaate. Dewey could only imagine what adulteration had been done to it. It had been spit in. Dewey sat looking at it dumbly for some few minutes, the he threw his napkin on the table in disgust and got up to leave.
‘You didn’t eat your dinner.’ The waiter said as though offended.
‘Not hungry.’ Dewey said. ‘You can have it.’
‘I’m not going to eat that.’ The waiter said with evident disgust.
‘See.’ Dewey said ironically, which was, of course, wasted on the waiter.
He went back to the room to find Angie sitting disconsolately in the chair.
‘How are we going to sleep?’ She asked. ‘I’n not going to get into that filthy bed.’
Dewey thought for a moment. ‘They probably forgot to remove the extra blanket, I’ll bet.’ He said going to the closet. ‘We’ll just have to lay on top of the bedspread. Oh look, two extra blankets. One under us, one over us. Perfect solution to a bad situation.’
And so they spent the night at The Hole In Black Mountain. The inn certainly deserved its name.
They didn’t bother to check out the next morning; they just got in the car and drove off.
‘If they’ve got anything to say they can say it to KGEN.’ Trueman said as they drove back through town. He pulled into a gas station to fill it up. While the attendant was checking the oill he punctured the radiator.
Dewey had turned unto the ridge road before he noticed that the car was running hot. He pulled over to take a look. He quickly spotted the puncture. The attendant had made it near the top of the radiator so that while the engine overheated it wouldn’t burn up. Satisfied that there would be no trouble getting back Dewey lowered the hood to see a car pulling to a stop behind him. In all his life no had ever volunteered to help him so Dewey realized that his enemies were still behind him. He hurriedly got back in the car and drove off.
The rhododendrons were blooming cheerily in the dappled sunlight of the forest as they turned down the McKenzie Highway. As they crossed the McKenzie Bridge Dewey began to feel secure again.
It was only Saturday but he decided to stay home until Monday to as not to give the impression that he had been had. Everyone knew, of course, but Trueman didn’t know they knew. He was not yet that familiar with the system.
The ‘free’ weekend had been an expensive one. Between the tires, the radiator and other repair work he paid out several hundreds of dollars. He also lost several hundred dollars of merchandise. Harry Grabstein had had a small collection of classical records delivered to his house. The employees had helped themselves to merchandise and cash. Generous discounts had been given to their friends.
As Dewey walked in Monday they were all in their places which was such a rarity that Dewey immediately guessed the truth.
‘How was your weekend?’ They chirped knowingly.
‘Hey, it was terrific.’ Dewey said breezily, unwilling to give anyone a triumph.
‘It was? No kidding? Nothing happened?’ They said incredulously.
‘Yeah! Why not? You know anything I don’t?’ Dewey replied.
Dewey didn’t wait for a reply as he mounted the stairs to the office.
He had just begun to open drawers when Jim James who ran the marijuana operation on Railroad Ave. came in to request to see him. Dewey had never met James but he came down to see what he wanted. James had formed a serious relationship with Trueman from television, from the fact that Trueman was prominent in the conversation of the people he knew, because he owned the record store and because James also considered himself a successful businessman.
‘Hey, Dewey,’ James said grabbing his hand in both of his as though he really was an old dear friend, ‘I just came in to say good-bye. I’ve got to leave town now.’
‘Oh, sorry to hear that.’ Dewey said only vaguely aware of who he was talking to. ‘How come?’
‘Oh, they told me it’s getting to hot for the business. If we keep it up much longer the police will have to act; they won’t be able to hold them back any longer. So I gotta get outta town. Well, Buddy, it’s been fun. See you around.’
‘Uh, yeah, take care, see you around.’ Dewey replied amicably waving good-bye.
With an affectionate wave good-bye to everyone in the store who all seemed to know him, James left. Astonished at his openness and amazed that James thought him a buddy, Trueman trailed outside behind him. James went down the street shaking hands with everyone he met, addressing them all by name and telling them it was too hot to continue. The house would be dark from now on.
‘How does he get away with it?’ Trueman muttered to himself. ‘That’s way too open. There’s no way to conceal that, not even under the cover of darkness.’
The citizenry had been aroused over the last few months, not so much by James’ operation as to the outrageous doings in the so-called massage parlors. Prostitution had began to flourish in Oregon under the guise of massage parlors. The parlors were owned by combines of various big men in town. The men they employed to run them were real wild cowboys. Rivalries had developed. Parlors were raided by shot gun toting competitiors. Parlor after parlor had been burst into and shot up. A couple of cowboys had died. The last straw had been when one of the managers, as the newspaper had reported, had fallen asleep at the wheel, missed the McKenzie Bridge, gone down a steep embankment, which should have arrested the progress of the car, careened across a hundred feet of sandbank, which was clearly impossible, to drown in three feet of water, which was incredible. The case was closed as accidental death. Perhaps his murder was not intended.
James’ operation had been a casualty of the massage parlor warfare and the accidental death. James was only a very naive eighteen. Had he been wiser he would have taken his cash and run for his life. Instead he became the sacrificial lamb. After completing his all too obvious farewell tour, his friends gave him a little party, put a thousand dollars in his hand, ten kilos of grass in his trunk to help him get started in California and waved a fond farewell.
A crime had been committed; It was necessary to expiate the sin. Someone had to pay. The punishment of James would serve for all. James heart was agow with fellowship and he sped past Roseburg, through Medford and Grant’s Pass to the Oregon border just beyond Ashland. He was simple enough to think he was going to repeat his performance in Sacramento. As he crossed the border he didn’t see the Highway Patrol car that whelled off the sideroad behind him.
He did see the red light in his rear view mirror as it flashed behind him. The Patrolman didn’t even ask to see his license he just said: ‘Open the trunk.’ You can hear the train whistle blow in Folsom Prison on the American River just outside Sacramento. That’s where Jimmy James spent the next twenty years of his life.
Back in Eugene the conspirators gathered once again in Joshua Babycakes’ office. There had been great satisfaction in the rape of Connie Francis that had gone off without a hitch. Trueman had foiled their hopes and dreams. Babycakes hand fondled his groin as he considered the failure. A frown crowded the humanity out of his face as he subconsiously acknowledged his defeated manhood. He cleared his throat as all looked up in anticipation. But Babycakes was just clearing his throat, he had nothing to say. Their minds flailed about in the seim-darkness in the Shadow Of The Cross as they sought the next move.
Is it our imaginations or was the Cross actually installed upside down?
The End Of The Hole In Black Mountain