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Monthly Archives: January 2008

A Novel

Our Lady Of The Blues

Book VII

by

R.E. Prindle

Clip 3

     And so Cracker Jack tried to work himself back in.  It proved to be impossible as his finger prevented his working while complications kept him going back and forth to hospital.  In the end the Navy had to discharge him.  The tragedy was that because of his frail self-esteem caused by his brutalization back in Georgia he was prevented from ever realizing his potential.  He eventually became an odd job and handyman.

     Torbric sat down by Dewey amid the hubbub of Cracker Jack’s return.  Tory was all chutzpah; he had no shame.

     ‘Hey, Dewey.’

     ‘Torbrick, what in the world could you possibly want with me?’

     ‘Hey, I don’t know what you’re so touchy about, Dewey.  I just wanted to see if you’d like to come up to Long Beach this weekend.’

     ‘What?  Are we going to Atascadero again?  Dewey sneered, amazed at Trobrick’s lack of conscience.

     ‘No.  My pop and me thought you would like to meet Beverly Warnack.’

     ‘Who’s Beverly Warnack?’  Dewey asked, forgetting Torbrick’s mention of the psychiatrist at the hospital for the mentally disturbed.

      Dewey’s lack of violence precluded Atascadero, Bert thought maybe a regular asylum would do.

     ‘Is that all you know, psyciatrists?’  Dewey asked.  Having narrowly escaped confinement on the grounds he wasn’t violent Dewey was in no mood to give Bert and Tory another shot at him where violence wouldn’t be the issue.

page 1382.

     ‘Yeah.’  Torbrick laughed self-consciously in answering the question.  ‘I guess so.’

     ‘Listen Torbrick.  I don’t ever want you to speak to me again.  Understand?’

     Torbrick walked away but he didn’t understand.  Guilt now bound him closely to Trueman.  As good as his word Trueman ignored Torbrick completely.  Unable to break down Trueman’s defenses Torbrick did an end run ingratiating himself into Trueman’s clique; in that manner he succeeded in forcing himself on Dewey again.

     For now Dewey finished his shoes.  Unable to bear the expense of transportation he had made a momentous decision.  He decided to begin hitchhiking to Oakland.

On The Road Again

     The best and bravest are dead.  All that are left are the scum- the liars and cheats, the dancers wallowing in the fat of the land.

-Homer

     To undertake hitchhiking was a difficult decision for Trueman.  The desperateness of his situation is indicated by his decision to do so.  Dewey had always considered hitchhikers as semi-desperadoes.  Men who lived on the edge of the abyss of despair.  When his high school friend had become a hitchhiker around town Dewey was able to quell his dissatisfaction only with the utmost effort.  He had believed Larry had become declassed.  He was now willing to join the ranks of the declassed in order to escape the oppressiveness of the Navy.  His life was changed the moment he put his thumb out.

page 1182.

     In total he hitchhiked to Oakland no more than a dozen times but those dozen times made such an impression on him that he always believed that he had hitched all three years for tens of thousands of miles.  Each and every trip was packed with adventure and rare experience.  His life and well being were frequently on the line.

     The distance itself was staggering.  San Diego to Oakland was over six hundred miles in distance, thirteen hundred miles round trip.  While faster than the bus he was on the road for a minimum twelve hours each way.  The trip wasn’t worth it but he made it anyway.  The most that can be said was that he learned a lot about life and people.  Too much of nothing, as one poet put it:  ‘I wish I didn’t know now what I didn’t know then.’

     From the beginning he abandoned the policy of obtaining an out of bounds pass.  He found it humiliating to petition Sieggren on one hand while on the other it was a very minor offence that the California police couldn’t do anything about  anyway.  In a State full of desperadoes of the most desperate description what is a sailor without an out of bounds pass?

     Part of Dewey’s position was that his steps were being dogged in San Diego.  Our Lady was not about to let up on him.  Dewey had no idea why he was dogged but he knew it was so.  His weekly flights to Oakland took Our Lady by surprise.  While a man on the road is an open target by the time Yisraeli got organized his opportunity was almost over.

page 1383.

     Dewey took the bus, perhaps No. 30, out to the end of the line on Highway 101.  The San Diego CWBs would pick up sailors for hitchhiking in San Deigo so when you took up your position on the sand beside 101 your prayer was to get a ride from someone before the cops nailed you.

     Saying goodbye to his past Dewey stepped to the side of the road to put out his thumb.  Sailors always hitched in uniform as Uncle Sam’s blues were a sure guarantee that you would get easy rides.  There were many people who had sympathy for servicemen.

     Putting out your thumb is no lightweight matter.  Your style determines whether you will get a ride and who will give it to you.  Some guys hold their thumb up over their shoulder pointing down the road; some stick their arms straight out from the shoulder with the thumb held horizontal.  Some stick their thumb straight up in the air but that is guaranteeing you’ll be picked up by a fag.

     Dewey emulated his high school friend, Larry, by holding his arm down at waist level palm up, fingers closed, thumb pointing down the road.  It helps to jab it toward the centerline when a car passes to remind the driver what you’re after.  Other then that wear your most respectable face and stand up straight.

     A lot of guys find it necessary to insult a driver who seems to be passing them by bringing the thumb up in an arc ending with the middle finger erect.  Dewey was not of this frame of mind besides which many drivers do not make their decision until abreast of you or past you having looked you over carefully.  Both hitcher and driver are taking real chances.  Lotta crazy people in this world.

page 1384.

     Dewey had just put out his thumb when a local pulled over to pick him up.

     ‘I’m just going down the road a couple miles but it’ll at least get you out of the normal range of the police.’

     Dewey thanked him getting out a couple exits down the road.  The first ride in San Diego was frequently of this nature.  Locals who would not ordinarily pick up hitchhikers would at least move a sailor far enough our of range of the police to prevent his being picked up and returned to base.

      Rides were easy to pick up on 101 from San Diego to LA.  You seldom stood around long nor did you have to deal with homosexuals until you passed Anaheim.  After that every ride through LA would likely be a fruit.

     A couple short hops got Dewey above the Marine Base at Camp Pendleton.  Cpl.  Bill Baird picked him up.

    ‘Hi.  Bill Baird, Lubbock, Texas.’

     ‘Hi.  Dewey Trueman, uh, The Valley, Michigan.’  Must be the way the Marines do it, Dewey thought.

     ‘Havin’ a good time in your enlistment?’  Bill asked in the most relaxed laid back manner Dewey had ever seen.

     ‘Not so much I’m going to reenlist.’  Dewey replied in the usual sarcastic manner he considered wit.

page 1385.

     ‘I can follow you down that rabbit hole.  I’m taking the medical.’  Bill volunteered.  ‘How about you?’

     ‘You mean the under 30 and out?’

     ‘Yeh.’

     ‘I don’t qualify, otherwise I would.’

     ‘Well, I qualify and I’m taking it.  Bunch a guys are.  I can’t take this chicken shit outfit anymore.  We got some pretty crazy hombres, I can tell you.’

     ‘Yeah.  Know a few myself.’

     ‘We had this guy, Dalton Dagger?  This was somethin’ else.  He’s over in the brig now.  He was always touchy as hell, crazy as a loon.  He’s over in the brig now.  A couple of months ago he stepped out of ranks and just whaled into the Sergeant.  Stomped his ass bloody and royal, I can tell you.  Not that the bastard didn’t have it coming.  Lucky he didn’t kill the bastard.  Whatsa’ matter?  Why you so tense?’

     ‘No particular reason.’  Dewey replied.  ‘You’re one of the most confident drivers I’ve ever seen.’

     This was a particularly busy day on 101.  As the car moved into traffic above Anaheim the cars were bumper to bumper four lanes across.  Traffic was moving at fifty-five while Bill was moving at sixty-five.  Laid back and casual Bill slid his car into spaces no bigger than his automobile steering across all four lanes at a time always pursuing a zig-zag course but never slackening speed.

     Dewey was almost rigid and he gasped at some of spaces Bill slid his car into and out of.  Out of was almost more impressive than in.

page 1386.

     Aw man, relax, relax.  I know what I’m doing.  Here take one of these you won’t have no worries at all.’

     ‘What is it?’

     ‘Just a mo-o-o-d controller.  Tranquilizer.  Take it, make you feel real good.’  Bill handed Dewey a triangular black pill.

     ‘Drugs?  Uh, no thanks.’

     ‘Suit yourself.  Everybody at Pendleton’s doin’ somethin’.  Some really far out stuff too.  Man, there’s stuff nobody’s ever heard of.  We got this one guy, Jim Alexander?  Got some peyote buttons.  You know peyote?  Never heard of it?  Well, there’s this cactus grows down in Mexico, close to the ground, has these little buttons on ’em, you eat those and you get high.  Bitter as hell, get you sick.  After you eat ’em, if you can get ’em down, you throw up, after you throw up you get high.  Don’t like ’em myself.

     So anyway, Alexander ate a bunch of ’em, got real high, way up there; havin’ quiet conversations with the Architect of the Universe, know what I mean, really wiped his windows clean in that celestial gas station, opened the doors of perception for him.  Ever know that book Doors Of Perception by Elvis Harley, you will.

     So, ol’ Jim liked that so much about two weeks ago he ate twice as many, got way up there, high as you can go, he’s up there yet.  Still hasn’t come down.  I bet he’ll have stories to tell if he ever makes it back.’

     We…well, don’t you think he may have damaged his mind permanently?’

page 1387.

     Naw. why would he do that?  He just probably likes it up there, talkin’ to God and everything, wouldn’t you?  Wish I could.’

     ‘Well, I mean, how’s he do his work?’

     ‘Work?  He don’t have to work no more.  They got him under observation.  He’ll have some stories, I bet.  I’m tellin’ you everybody’s high on somethin’, or lots of different somethins. too.  Boy, the things I’ve taken.  Mushrooms, go-o-o-d.  Ever heard of LSD?  You have?  No kiddin’.  Man, get some of that right away, G0-o-o-der.  Rearrange your priorities right away.’

     Dewey was doing his best to relax.  He looked around hoping a cop would stop Bill so he could get out but the CWBs are never there when you need them.

     ‘You know I like you.’  Bill said.  ‘Don’t know why, there’s just something about you.  Dig this.  Know where I’m going?  Gotta get married.  Knocked this chick up.  Pissed me off, she shoulda been more careful. I’d walk but her mother got this phone in her hand, police on the other end.  Chick’s only fifteen, you see my problem?  No, you don’t.  No money, nada, not a sou.  Gotta go through with it though or it’s off to the hoosegow with me.  You could probably help me out.  You see, back in Lubbock I got this girl that’s hot for my dick, she can’t get enough, almost afraid for my health to go back, wouldn’t, but her old man’s got millions in the bank and wells pumping in the fields, you followin’ me?

     So, I get my medical and I go back to Lubbock and sit around humpin’ the bird with a bottle in one hand and joint in the other the rest of my days.  Betterin’ than those talkin’ to God blues, don’t you think?  That’s where you can help me out, dig?’

page 1388.

     ‘How’s that?  You want me to take the swing shift, give you a break?’

     ‘Ha, ha.  No. No.  You know what you could do for me?  You could marry my little chiquita here, satisfy her mother, know what I mean?  Get me off the hook, she doesn’t like me anyway.  Chiquita’s a hot little number soon as she drops her loaf.  Can’t get enough.  What do you say?’

     ‘Um, Bill, you know I’m not really in the marryin’ mood today.’

     ‘Hey, Dewey, this is buddy talkin’.  You won’t help a buddy out?’

     ‘Bill, helpin’ buddys is what I do best but I’m not going to get married.  I’m on my way to Oakland.’

     ‘You ungrateful son-of-a-bitch.  I give you a ride and you won’t even do me a favor?  Get out.  Get out.’

     The car was at the end of the freeway at Sepulveda Blvd.  They might easily have flown off the end if Dewey hadn’t refused to get married because relaxed Bill Baird was paying more attention to Dewey than the road.  As it was he slammed on the brakes pulling to the side of the off ramp by coincidence.  Cars nearly piled up behind him.

     ‘Get out, goddamn you, you ungrateful son-of-a-bitch.’

     Dewey wasted no time getting out of the car.  Shaking his fist at him Bill Baird rammed the pedal to the metal spinning down the ramp without even checking the traffic.  Jim Alexander must have been interceding with God for him.

     This left Dewey on foot in LA with little idea where he was or how to get North.

Pressure Gonna Drop On You

     Dewey was from the midwest.  Californians by which midwesterners generally meant Southlanders, were considered actual lunatics by midwest standards.  They were considered humanity stood on end.  The dichotomy was current in California in the LA-San Francisco rivalry.  The Southland was preeminently the home of nuts.  It was considered quite appropriate that LA was the home of Looney Tunes.

     As a midwesterner this attitude was part of Dewey’s intellect.  He was not alone.  Literature is replete with contempt for the Wasted Angels.  Why the Angels should be humanity turned upside down is not really all that complex a problem.  Anyone with an ounce of understanding however would have placed his money on the Wasted Angels for the future of mankind.

     It is strange that in this earthly paradise people at one and the same time should be both so happy and so unhappy.

      There is really no physical environment on earth like LA.  By LA I mean from the Grapevine in the North to the Southern border of Orange County and from the Beaches in the West to San Bernardino, Lake Arrowhead and Palm Springs to the East.  That is an immense and diverse piece of land with nearly every inch of it inhabited.  It includes the sweltering basin floor and the areas of Big Bear in the mountains.  Mt. Whitney, the highest point in the lower forty-eight, rises in those same mountains.

page 1390

     The weather is the finest that you can find in the world.  There is never a time when more than a T-shirt is needed for warmth day or night, unlike the French Riviera.  The ubiquity of asphalt and concrete means that there can be some very hot days when the heat is reflected back up but the humidity is low.  It is never as uncomfortable as Miami, Hawaii, Washington D.C. or New York City.

     In addition to the fabulous weather there is no form of natural or manmade entertainment that isn’t available.  There are other pleasant spots in the world like the Riviera and there are other spots for entertainment like Las Vegas but for my money there isn’t anything you can do in either place that can’t be done better in LA.

     The weather gives people a buoyant, ebullient, upbeat bounce but is countervailed by the squalor of the city.  Not that the city isn’t affluent and attractive because it is, or was at the time, but the exuberant expectations of an overly hopeful populace can never be met by reality.  There is an air of anxious desperation that lays over LA like its persistent smog.  In the bright sunshine there seems to be a low pressure system hovering like the Alaska Low to the North.  It wobbles from side to side but it never goes away.   The eye of the system lies over Watts.

     Strangely in this land of religious sects ranging from bizarre witchcraft cults like Aleister Crowley’s Golden Dawn through Rosicrucians, Theosophists, Manly Hall’s Philosophical Research Society, Garner Ted Armstrong’s Ambassador College, the Vedantists and what not to all the Protestant sects and the Catholic Church, there is so little spirituality.  There is only the crassest materialism.  Everyone believes salvation comes from the barrel of a pen and a check book.  Drugs are as commonly consumed as water.  Nor is drug consumption a recent phenomenon but goes back to the teens and twenties and even earlier.

page 191.

     Nor is there any social homogeneity.  LA is a layered construction of immigrants from all over the United States as well as the world.  Like Dr. Petiot they were all the kind of people who like to bring their baggage with them.  This is what gives the place its flavor.  At the beginning of the twentieth century the Anglos controlled the psychological atmosphere but that changed as the century wore on as other ethnic groups began to dominate.  They all have their neighborhoods where they congregate.  Little Thises and Thats.

     The Blacks, the leading subculture in America, invaded the area during and after the War.  As the influx continued during the fifties and sixties they spread over South LA from Watts.

     The increase in the Black population of California of over eight hundred percent during this period was not spread evenly over the State.  The major portion was in the Bay Area and LA which means that those areas increased by a thousand percent or better so that pressure on formerly White areas was rapid and instense.  This huge unassimilable immigration bearing the various Black intellects of Dixie was extremely disappointed on its arrival.  Nowhere else so much as in LA was the promise of the golden life in the Golden State so little realized.  If Whites were disappointed in their pursuit of material salvation the Blacks were enraged.

page 1392.

     As in Chicago and Oakland Blacks were not expected to venture forth from the Stockade without a pass.  They had to have a good reason to be anywhere else.  The Black writer, Iceberg Slim, says that he didn’t leave the Stockade willingly to drive across town for fear of police harassment.  It is to be imagined that he knew what he was talking about.

     It is true that you could travel all over the highways and byways of California without seeing a Black unless you went into one of their areas.  That was an unadvisable thing for a White to do.  In the time Dewey hitchhiked he saw only one Black family not only on the highway but driving any city street.

     In this brooding state of anxious depression amidst the state of hoped for material gratification there is no wonder that the Blacks of LA have erupted into destructive rages on occasion.

     The same anxious tension was endemic to the area but when Whites riot it is not called a justified rebellion to intolerable conditions and retribution is swifter, surer and harsher than any Black will ever experience regardless of what they think.

page 1393.

     I hope I will be excused for having no more than passing sympathy for the Black plight.  Whites are murdered and plundered by the police and nothing is or ever will be said or done about it.  Racism or whatever you want to call it is not just Whites oppressing Black folk.  It is rich against poor, the acceptable vs. the those they have made unacceptable; discrimination is the very fabric of our or any other society here or in Africa.  So Whites know better than to riot.  They resort to crime, vandalism and sabotage and take their punishment piecemeal.  It’s almost a blessing that Blacks don’t know how to do it right.

     In the beginning LA sold itself as a retirement center.  I haven’t seen the statistics but it is said that midwestern farmers sold out the farmstead to luxuriate in the warm California sun.  Iowans are always specifically mentioned with some contempt as though they were inferior to whatever passed for acceptable Wasted Angels.

     On top of them came the Jews.  Everyone knows better than to say anything derogatory about the Jews so they have never been criticized although they form the corrupt core of the LA intellect.  The Southland today is the second largest Jewish area in the US and probably larger than any location in Israel.

     They are so numerous and influential that they have been able to name the giant intersection of San Vicente and Wilshire after the founding Prime Minister of Israel, David Ben Gurion.  As covert objection is apparently taken to this coup you have to look twenty-five feet up the lamp post to see the sign where it has been placed out of reach of dissenters.

page 1394.

     During the Dust Bowl of the thirties Okies and Arkies and Texans who gave up their farms flooded into LA in numbers equaled only by the Negroes of the forties, fifties and sixties.  Unprotected by a condemnation of bigotry their invasion was less welcome than the Blacks and lacking a Hillbilly Anti-Defamation League they were criticized in terms that would have generated successful lawsuits from Jews.  Even in 1958 they were synonymous with total ignorance and treated in a discriminatory manner, usually having to accept jobs in service stations.  They gave LA a pronounced Hillbilly flavor.

     The Italians and Jews of organized crime came in with a rush as the decade of the thirties closed.  They quickly established their presence in their particular manner giving their own peculiar flavor to the business and social situation.  If you want a neat before and after comparison check out the first four novels of Raymond Chandler as compared with the last three.

     There was a substantial Chinese and Japanese population dating back to the nineteenth century and early decades of the twentieth.  After the Asia Exclusion clause of the Immigration Act was eliminated in 1965 at the insistence of the Jews huge numbers of Far Eastern and Islamic peoples arrived.

     Why were the Jews anxious to revoke Asian restrictions?  Well, it was good for the Jews.  If you look at the map you’ll see that Asia stretches from the Pacific to the Mediterranean.  that means Israel is in Asia so no Jews could have legally emigrated to the United States from there.  It is a Jewish principle that no restrictions be placed on them as God’s chosen people.  Thus the Asian exclusion was eliminated to benefit them.

page 1395.

     The huge herogeneous population- LA is the second largest city in the US- had to have employment.  There was little hope that prosperity could be induced and maintained by selling lots to Iowa farmers.  Layers of industry like the layers of ethnic groups began to arrive.  As industry in LA is distributed throughout various communities over a vast area it is quite possible to miss the significance of LA as an industrial center.  Indeed, Dewey did.

     After 1914 the burgeoning new movie industry moved West from New York and environs to locate in LA.  The basic la la land reputation of LA arises from the movies.  Actors themselves are considered unstable people subject to subconscious whims.  Their excesses and style gave the city a much different flavor than say, Pittsburgh, where industrial executives indulged in the same excesses but with a more sedate style.

     The movies themselves brought in droves of hopefuls whose dreams could not be realized.  But the hopefuls were generally good looking and energetic.  They were looking for opportunities and they probably created a good many not only for themselves but for others.  Being an unstable lot the human wreckage was enormous creating an atmosphere of human exploitation.

     The movie industry from the start was the preserve of Jews.  There was no way you could work in the movies unless you kowtowed to Jewish desires.  That meant that all the scripts served Jewish ends.  After the forties the Mafia influence on the film industry increased dramatically.  Soon every fat ugly Italian mobster had a gorgeous Anglo sexpot dragging along behind him.

page 1396.

     The movies followed the discovery of oil.  First in Huntington Beach, Long Beach and Santa Fe Springs then in a number of places.  Thus the basis of industrial prosperity was laid.  As an anti-union city LA was able to attract one of the largest and most diverse concentrations of industry in the country.  With the addition of the crown jewel of aero-space there was no stopping the prosperity.

     Climate, easy money, and sunshine; what more could anyone ask.

     However as people transformed LA, LA transformed people.  Back in their hometowns in settled conditions it was very important to maintain a respectable facade founded on an Augustinian style Christianity.  Activities that might tend to rend that facade were consigned to the basement rather than the light of day.  Then people suppressed their ‘Freudian instincts’ in favor of ‘normality’ and ‘morality.’

     In the feeding frenzy of LA where everyone became anonymous, being the indentity they chose to create for themselves on any given day, Augustinian mores were thrust aside in favor of subliminal Freudian desires.  Chutzpah became more important than morality or polite manners.  Crudeness was applauded.

     In a remarkable switch deplorable Freudian subconscious desires were more or less released into the light of day.  The casting couch morality became the norm while chaste sexual behavior was condemned.  The activities of the basement were elevated to the first floor while Augustinian morality was relocated to attic storage as useless baggage.

page 1397.

     Morality became a catch as catch can affair monitored by the eccentrics rummaging around in the moral attics.  You were only punished if you didn’t have the chutzpah to pull your crimes off.  Everyone was on the make.  If you weren’t strong or quick enough to make you became one of the made.  It was the triumph of American pragmatism.  The only thing that counted was if your scheme succeeded.  Success was morality and if you didn’t succeed you whined on over to your lawyer and filed a lawsuit.  Whether the Wasted Angels needed Freud or anyone else to teach them this is debatable but it was Freudianism in action.

     The tenor of morality was controlled by the Italian Mafia in conjuction with the Hollywood Jews but the style was more of a Protestant or Arthurian sort.  Open and brazen.

     The most important element of the LA mix was the movies.  Now, it is a fact that the movies were and are a Jewish enterprise.  Anything that doesn’t please the Jews isn’t going to make it to the screen.  In the early days the Jews felt constrained to cater to Anglo-Saxon tastes thus Jewish desires and needs were sublimated.  the axis of taste and style shifted however.  An Anglo-Saxon intellect like D.W. Griffith was subtly edged out of the stream or as they say, ‘marginalized.’

     Marginalization is the PC way of saying censored and discriminated against, blacklisted.  As in the old days Jews and Negroes were not welcome now the ‘marginalized’ are discriminated against.  This is called ‘Democracy.’

page 1398.

     Only gois like Cecil B. DeMille who honored Jewish dictates were allowed to survive but they were kept on a short tether.  Chastised for his early portrayal of Jesus as King of Kings De Mille was forced to  turn to the Old Testament epics that glorified Hebrews in expiation.  Thus in the history of the movies you will find many more Old Testament epics than you will find Christian ones.

     The chaste Arthurian heroines of Griffith like Lillian Gish were replaced by big hipped, big busted loose acting women like Jean Harlow and Mae West.  Nice girls couldn’t make it in the movies.

     The Second World War put an end to all that had gone before.  The old Hollywood died.  Television has been given credit for destroying the movies but that is absolute nonsense.  At the end of the century amidst much fiercer competition for the entertainment dollar than in the immediate post war years the movie industry is more successful than in its heyday.  The truth of the matter is that the prewar world of Anglo-immigrant conflict on which the content of the movies had been based had disappeared.  the industry languished in the search for a new ethic which also coincided witht the introduction of TV.

     The Jews of Hollywood formed the new ethic and they formed it in their own image.  They no longer felt the need to cater to Anglo-Saxon tastes.  The movie ‘Gentlemen’s Agreement’ which was about a goy posing as a Jew seeking to create anti-Semitic reactions when they didn’t exist was the opening salvo of the Jewish campaign.

     Interestingly enough this tradition of sensitivity was continued forty years later in a movie by the Jewish producer Steven Spielberg by the title of ‘Men In Black.’

     In this movie an organization based on the ADL has a world wide organization not unlike the International Jewish Conspiracy called the Men In Black.  They seek anti-Semite ‘creeps’ who are all so disguised that a person of reasonable sensitivity could never recognize them.  It takes the highly developed sensitivity, otherwise known as paranoia, of these covert ‘saints’ to recognize them.  In other words the so-called ‘witchhunt’ of the McCarthy era has been sanitized into a holy way of life but with potentially anti-Semitic targets rather than Judaeo-Communists.

     Needless to say the Men In Black were clones of the Man In Black needed to purify the country as sung by the Kingston Trio and the attempt to live it by Johnny Cash.

     Thus by controlling the content of movies the Jews had progressed from ‘entertaining’ the goys to showing them up in ‘Gentlemen’s Agreement’ to controlling them in ‘Men In Black.’  This was a very remarkable achievement in more or less fifty years.

     The Jews did have to make concessions to the brutal methods of the Italian Mafia.  Originally cast as brutal oafs with Anglo-Saxon names in the gangster movies of the thirties the Mafiosi emerged as brutal oafs with Italian names in the post-war years.  The difference was that they made brutal oafishness acceptable.  Movies like ‘The Godfather’ legitimized their methods in turn brutalizing the rest of the population.

page 1400.

     Two other groups shaped the form of the post-war movies.  The ubiquitous Revolution and the Homosexual community.  All four groups functioned quite harmoniously together.  All four wished to sap the Anglo-Saxon government they despised.

     The Revolution was quite subtle.  In movies like The Ugly American they made the charity, kindness and good intentions of the American native seem like the grasping, mercenary moves of a sexual predator.  As in all Revolution movies the Soviets or Chinese Communists come off as the good guys.  In movies like Dr. Strangelove the Soviets and the Red/Liberal government of America seemed to be opposed by an industrial military complex controlled by lunatic Anglo-Saxon Hillbillies.

     The Reds also seized on the novel by Daniel Defoe Robinson Crusoe to defame and revile the Anglo-Saxon.  Discrimination against those of English ancestry was quite common as the century drew to a close.  Defamation was frowned on unless the English were being defamed.

     In the most recent movie version of Robinson Crusoe the colonial peoples get their revenge as Friday make a fool of Robinson Crusoe.  The question is asked what if Friday grabbed the sword first?  Why then savagery would have reigned triumphant, what else?  It would be as in Africa when the English left, one tribe massacring the other.

     So also was the trend to glorify homosexuality.  Homos and Lesbians were always portrayed sympathetically while homosexual sadistic brutality became the normal mode of expression.  More and more movies began to appear in which brutal murders or shootouts took place in public toilets, a sure sign of homosexual influence.  The most favorite scene was when the shooter thought he had his man trapped in the ‘shitter.’

page 1401

     The target always places his shoes and pants to look like he’s on the throne while he has climbed above the stall.  There is only a moment for the obligatory puzzled look on the shooter’s face as he gazes into the empty stall before the shitter descends on him from above like a load of shit.

     A criminal attitude toward life became the standard outlook.  Hollywood called it ‘entertainment.’

     All things conspired in LA to create an unruly atmosphere.  Naturally control of such an unruly lot required a strong police force; nearly an occupying army.  Enter the LAPD.  Los Angeles had the most feared law enforcement agency on either side of the Gestapo or KGB.  The only real difference between the LAPD, the Gestapo and the KGB was a matter of style and that was narrow.

     The Black Folk might like to think they were singled out for rough treatment but in their insularity they just don’t know.  A late century criminal like Rodney King might be able to start a riot by resisting arrest and getting beaten for it but for every Rodney King there are dozens of nameless Whites who are beaten, crippled or killed with no recourse to ‘discrimination.’  A dead White man is only a dead White man who had it coming.  It is only the concept of racism that makes a Black man killed by the CWBs a crime.

page 1402.

     Members of the Gestapo or KGB are fearsomely portrayed in the movies but you don’t know what fear is until you’ve had a jack booted, jodhpured, helmeted, dark visored, CWB with a Dick Tracy array of gadgets and guns belted to his midriff walk up to you with the full intent of knocking you to the ground with his leaded billy if you show impertinent curiosity as to his intent, let alone, spirit.  You better be Black if you want to file a complaint because they throw White boys out on their ear.

     The LAPD walked mean and talked mean with the uncompromising full support of not only the legal system but the financial and political power behind them.  No action would be taken against a CWB no matter what he did or why.  There were corrupt, vicious, criminal and big with a license to kill before .007 made the scene.  They were often used as hit men by the powers that be.

     No one but the terminally insane like Rodney King ever messed with them.  Being Black is a very poor excuse.  There was no question that if you fought the LAPD the LAPD won.  It was a suicide mission.  One tried not to be seen with them even standing next to them.  How could anyone Black or White sympathize with a fool like Rodney King?

     All those bad ass Blacks, wild Hillbilly Boys and assorted desperadoes didn’t pay the LAPD no mind. The Mafia and ADL were greased of course so the LAPD didn’t pay them no mind.  In its relaxed way LA was the toughest city in the world.

     Now, as an innocent at large Dewey Trueman was dropped off in the dark at the end of the freeway on Sepulveda Blvd. with no idea where he was or how to reach the Grapevine.  Dewey scuffed the pavement with frustrated kicks wondering what to do next.  He spotted a gas station a block away where he hoped to receive good information.

page 1403.

     The worst of it might be that some joker would send him down to Watts where he would have one hell of a time of it.  The first major eruption in Watts didn’t occur until 1965 but that doesn’t mean there weren’t a lot of little tremors first.  White was not a popular color in Black Watts.  Even high yellows had to take care down there.

     Luck was with Dewey.  He had developed a good tough scowling Navy walk.  You have to act so tough to get by in America.  A term of approbation during the fifties was ‘that’s tough, man.’ meaning that’s a cool shirt, for instance.   They even wrote a lilting tune called ‘So tough’ to celebrate the condition.  Toughness will get you further than politeness any day.

     The attendant eyed him up.  Respect for the uniform and attitude got Dewey correct directions.  The attendant advised him to go over a couple blocks to La Cienega then North toward the Hollywood hills to Lankersheim Blvd. in the San Fernando Valley, or just the Valley, thence to the foot of the Grapevine.  A formidable forty miles or so through uncharted territory.  Being young and dumb was a big asset to Dewey, otherwise he would have had to think twice.

     Hitchhiking through LA meant running a seventy mile gauntlet of queers.  Dewey was psychologically unprepared for this although common sense should have told him that anyone standing by the side of the road soliciting rides could be construed as being ‘lonely’ and desiring company.  He was concentrating on his own needs which were to get from point A to point B.  Nevertheless the highway is the proper place for sexual adventures.

page 1404.

     As usual the homos were out in numbers so there was no dearth of rides.  Homosexuality was still against the law but the make or made attitude of LA drove large numbers of defeated men into homosexuality in an attempt to regain some masculinity.  If you lost yours you could hope to suck or siphon it out of someone else.

     It always seemed strange to Dewey that these homos were out patrolling the highways.  As many as there were, he thought, you’d think they could find some way to get together or identify each other.  Eventually they did when they created Disco.  However at that time there were few obvious homosexuals.  The closet was the right place to be.  Mostly they relied on hand signals to identify each other like moistening the eyebrow with the little finger.

     In reality they rejected their own as sexual objects preferring virgins instead.  That was where the real manhood was.  Either that or they preferred the danger of strangers in the dark.  There was no difficulty in rolling a gay.  They actually invited beatings being sado-masochistic.

     If you were game for a homosexual adventure or led them on they drove you to secluded spots of which they knew plenty even in the middle of the city.  Most of them wanted to blow you so a crack on the head with a blackjack while they were down there presented no difficulty.  It’s a wonder more of them weren’t killed.

page 1405.

     Most of them got straight to  the point resulting in a two block hop.  Some were more discriminating taking a mile or so to make up their minds.  Dewey’s luck was a succession of two block hops all the way up La Cienega to Wilshire.

     Dropped off on the South side of Wilshire Dewey crossed the street to find himself in a wonderland by night.  Change comes swiftly in LA.  La Cienaga from Wilshire to Santa Monica at the time was a glitzy restaurant row for tourists.  The street was at its apex.  Seemingly imperishable in the bright lights at the time all but Lawry’s would be gone within ten years or so.

     Like Lawry’s these were all mammoth restaurants seating hundreds.  Any one of them would have seated the patrons of all the restaurants in the Valley of Michigan on any given night.  The bustle was gorgeous and immense.

     Much to the amusement of the car parkers and doormen of which each restaurant seemed to have dozens Dewey gawked like any red dirt Georgia farm boy on his first trip to the city.  He yearned to be part of the scene.  Twelve years later when he came back having no other choice but Lawry’s he ate there.  It was a good restaurant but like a bottle of wine promised more than it could deliver.

     For now, heedless of time, Dewey walked slowly up to Santa Monica Blvd. taking it all in.  He stopped before the windows of Zeitlin and Ver Brugge an excellent book store to ogle their fine display.  He would one day shop there but it too followed the restaurants into oblivion.

page 1406.

     He was lucky enough to catch a ride from Santa Monica to Sunset with a foursome enjoying LA to the fullest.

     Like La Cienega Sunset was if not actually in decline on the verge of decline.  This was the time of the TV series 77 Sunset Strip. Raymond Chandler complains of the Mafia and its hold on restaurants.  So organized crime had run the restaurant scene for some time although it was nowhere so obvious as in Dean Martin’s restaurant,  Dino’s, which naturally commanded the central spot on the strip.  Unlike the tourist traps of La Cienega Sunset was where the LA glitterati went to shine.

     The Eve of Destruction lurked on the North side of the street tucked behind the glitter against the hills.  Strangely Dewey found his way there.  Just as the jive talking parking lot attendant of 77 Sunset Strip,   Ed ‘Kookie’ Byrnes, represented the obverse side of hip culture the Beat character Maynard Ferguson would have frequented the coffee shop called the ‘Eve Of Destruction.’  He didn’t stay long.

     As with everything in Hollywood the Wasted Angels sought out the essence of a thing and turned it into a movie set.  If you wanted an authentic coffee house you had to go to San Francisco.  If you wanted artificial people playing at being Beats in movie set coffee houses you went to LA.  In San Diego the scene was like someone who had heard of Beats and setting up a coffee house on that hearsay.  They completely missed the point by called a coffee house:  ‘Socrate’s Prison.’  Really strange.

 page 1407.

     At the time Dewey was rigorously authentic.  As an outsider of society he was quite familiar with hip jargon and Beat attitudes if unfamiliar with them in context.  He was not only offended at the phony coffee house, but the tough Mafioso who regulated admittance of the clientele took offense at his appearance.

     Unlike the later Studio 54 of New York the coffee house couldn’t select its clientele from a long line of hopefuls but it could deny entrance to those it considered unsuitable.  The tough young criminal found Dewey objectionable about the same time Dewey was revolted by what he saw.

      Dewey was already leaving when the bravos moved toward him to drive him out.  Therein lay the corruption of LA.  The Anglo-Saxons were an inclusive people.  Having inhabited America they invited all the peoples of the world to come on over too.  But many of the peoples of the world like the Italians and the Jews were exclusive peoples.  They were narrow and discriminatory.  They only wanted to admit people who met their circumscribed standards of acceptability.

      Clubs may be exclusive but restaurants cannot be.  As the Mobsters drove out people they found objectionable the clientele diminished in proportion to the number of tough acting, though talking Mobsters who thereby dominated the clientele.  As the regular clientele disappeared there were only a bunch of criminals sitting around insulting anyone who walked in.  The Mob restaurants all went out of business one after the other.  They should have formed clubs.  But without any outsiders to impress with their tough tough ways there was no joy in that.

page 1408.

     Their attitude may have worked well in economic backwaters like Sicily and the Pale but in a booming expansive economy the attitude is counter productive.  Of the pool of potential customers the number of rejected is always much greater than those who are acceptable.

     As the Jews and Italians always want to be in the high profile areas the acceptable are too few to meet expenses hence the restaurants always go out of business.  Dino’s was the opening wedge in the destruction of Sunset Strip.  The hammer that drove the wedge in was across the street.  The Beats, who were not a respectable intelligencia were soon to evolve into the Hippies who were neither respectable nor intelligencia.  There was something happening here but no one understood.  By the mid-sixties all the glamor was gone from Sunset Strip.  the Mafia and the Hippies had driven everyone away.

     Rather than put his thumb out amidst the glitz Dewey walked on down to the corner of Laurel Canyon to begin there.  It was one of the longest walks of his life.  Once again his uniform availed him nothing; if anything it marked him as an inconsequential person to be ignored.  Ignored he was; the self-important people intent on entering a Mafia dive like Dino’s blinded by their desire to appear ‘in’ walked right over Dewey as if he weren’t there.  Women as well as men.  They didn’t brush by him they walked right through him.  Dewey was not aware of slipping out of their way but he must have as no physical contact was made nor was he knocked aside.  He saw men and women standing near the entrances looking in his direction and laughing but he never knew why.

page 1409.

     Continuing up Sunset through lights so bright the headlights of cars seemed dim Dewey found his way to the corner, crossing over Laurel Canyon to put out his thumb.  He was picked up immediately.  His ride wasted no time.

     ‘Unzip your fly.’  The homo commanded before the car had reentered the stream of traffic.

     ‘Zip your lip.’  Dewey commanded reflexively in turn.

      That was a fairly witty exchange but the fruit was not in the mood for witty repartee; he wanged to the curb at the first opening.

      ‘Put out or get out of my car.’  He demanded.  ‘Nobody rides for free.’

     ‘That’s right, Jack, and you ain’t got enough to pay the fare.’  Dewey sneered as he slid out of the car.

     He was pulling his middie down and arranging his scarf when a car pulled up before he’d even put his thumb out.  He got in.

     ‘He there, Sailor.  You’re a likely looking guy.’

     ‘For what?’  Dewey asked.

     ‘You can drive?’  His ride asked.

     ‘Are you kidding?’  Dewey sneered.  He’d been behind the wheel once a couple years previously.  He hadn’t done too well but he figured that was his first time.  The next time he’d be a regular Barney Oldfield.

page 1410

     ‘OK.  I’m going to pull up in front of a liquor store up here.  When I get out slide over into the driver’s seat.  I’m going to be coming out of the liquor store in a hurry.  When I do don’t even wait for me to slam the door; have it is gear and just get the hell out of there.

     OK.  Here we are.  See this corner here?  Go up to the next one and turn right.  Don’t let anyone slow you down.  Run ’em over if you have to.’

     The driver took a huge .45 automatic out from under the seat dramatically snapping a clip into place.

     Dewey quickly came up with the sum of four.  they both opened their doors at the same time as Dewey stepped out.

     ‘No, no, man.  Just slide over.’

     ‘This is where I wanted to get out.’  Dewey said politely walking away.

     ‘Aw, chicken shit pansy.  Nobody rides for free.’

     Where have I heard that before?  Dewey asked himself.

     Undeterred by Dewey’s defection his ride entered the liquor store exited in a hurry, got back in his car and shook his fist at Dewey as skidded around the corner.

     A block later the CWBs pulled up.  A pair of jackboots and dark visors grabbed him by the arms.

     ‘Just a second, Sailor, we want to have a few words with you.’  the voice of an anonymous Gestapo figure admonished from under his crash helmet behind the dark visor and dark glasses.  ‘We don’t like swabbies comint to our town and committing robberies.’

page 1411.

     ‘I wouldn’t either.’  Dewey said without thinking.

     ‘You getting smart with me, son?’  The officer said pushing Dewey backward across the other CWB’s extended foot.  Dewey crashed to the ground.

     Now if Dewey had been as stupid as Rodney King he would have come up cursing and swinging.  The CWBs would have made no bones about breaking his.  Sitting downtown in the can Dewey would have no recourse but the suffer the indignity and its accompanying jail term.  He would have been just another no account loud mouthed White Boy who deserved no considerations.  No riots for Dewey.

     ‘Now, you were seen getting out of the car of the man who just robbed that liquor store back there.  What’s your story?’

     At least they were nice enough to ask back in those days.

     ‘Uh, no story.  I was…’ Dewey was about to say hitchhiking then thought better of it.  ‘…in a bar back on the Strip and met the guy and we were going to somewhere else when he turned out to be queer.  He pulled over and I got out.  That’s all I know.’

     ‘What bar was that?  Your ID says you aren’t twenty-one yet?’

     ‘Coffee bar.  It was a coffee bar.  The big one back there across from Dino’s’  Dewey corrected himself.

     The CWB leaned close but could smell no liquor.

     ‘That’s it?’

     ‘Yeah.  Of course that’s it.  I’m no crook.’

     The cop had no real reason to hold Dewey, not that he needed one, so he gave indications of letting him go.

page 1412.

     ‘Teufelsdreck, hey?  Where’s your base?  San Diego?  You got an out of bounds pass?’

     ‘This is only LA.  Don’t need one.’

     ‘Maximum’s a hundred miles from San Diego, isn’t it.  Used to be when I was in.’

     ‘Just barely.  They told us LA is OK without a pass.  Exec doesn’t want to be bothered.’

     ‘Oh, ‘they’ did, did ‘they’?  Well, watch your step, bud.  Stay out of trouble.’  The CWB said throwing Dewey’s ID at his feet which seemed to be SOP for CWBs everywhere.

     Dewey let them drive off then put out his thumb.  A car wheeled across traffic from the other side of the street where the driver had been watching.

     ‘What was that all about?’  He demanded, his curiosity shooting out in blue flames.

     Nobody rides for free.  Dewey thought and nobody gets my story for nothing.

     ‘It’s a long story.’  Dewey replied laconically.

     ‘I got time.’  The driver said eagerly.

     ‘Yeah.  Well.  I’m trying to get to Lankersheim Boulevard in the Valley.  You heading in that direction?’

      ‘As a matter of fact, I am.’

     He made all the right turns weaving through the Hollywood Hills as Dewey spun his story out as long as he could beginning with ride from the Marine, Bill Baird.  He had just finished his story when the car descended the hills unto Lankersheim beside Universal Studios in North Hollywood.

     ‘Cops are a bitch.’  The driver said as Dewey got out.

     ‘Sure are.  Thanks for the ride.’

page 1413.

Love Letters In The Sand

     Lankersheim was the heart of the run through LA to the Grapevine.  It was one twenty mile gut through the Valley.  On Friday nights the street was vital as a drag strip.  It may have been the finest drag strip in the nation, wide enough for micro contests of bravado and long enough to exhaust your strength.

     The entire gut was thronged with high schoolers from all over LA.  Thousands of cars inched North while thousand more crawled South.  Boys hung out of cars hooting at girls.  Girls gave them that look promising everything if only they could get together across the throng.

     Cries of ‘Turn the car around, dammit, she wants me.’  abounded on all sides.  The girls knew they were safe but the vanity of the boys made them believe the impossible.  No car could turn around although some daredevil might try from time to time but this only resulted in traffic jams and cursing from the other boys.

     Boys hurled deadly insults to other boys knowing they were safe within the glacial flow of traffic.  In the anonymity of this melange of high schoolers drawn from hundreds of square miles of LA there was a slim chance anyone would ever see anyone else again.

page 1414.

     At strategic points self-appointed marshalls sat on their cars identifying and cataloguing cars they’d seen before.  With little else to do but interfere in other people’s business they plotted and schemed to control this incredible galactic happening that occurred every Friday night.  In whatever manner they worked they were able to determine who could and who could not take part in the parade.

      When they found someone they didn’t like the wheels went into motion and the Lankersheim version of the ADL or Mafia sprang into action.  the car was isolated by the organization; the driver either proved himself or found his safety very uncertain.

     This tremendous show was kids from the classes of ’59, ’60 and ’61.  Their conception of morality had changed drastically from the crowd of ’54,’55 and ’56.  There hadnot been too many saints around in the latter years but by ’58 concepts of the permissable had deteriorated drastically.

     There was scant respect for people or property.  Moral considerations had been swept aside.  Decency was a thing of the past.  More than ever if you couldn’t out tough the toughs there were no social or moral supports to restrain anyone.  Aleister Crowley’s moral: The whole of the Law shall be: Do as thou wilt was but a fact.  The only restraint was outraged public opinion and that worked but slowly.

     Even the, if convicted, and the scope of restriction on evidence was constantly made more difficult, the sentences were minimal.  As heinous as Caryl Chessman’s actions were it was ridiculous he got the death penalty when actual murderers were serving three years or even less.  For many men aboard the Teufelsdreck it was worth three years to murder someone they didn’t like.

page 1415.

     All over LA the youth were committing egregious crimes.  They burgled houses in broad daylight.  If caught they beat up the homeowners laughing them to scorn.  They had the strength to perpetrated while the homeowners didn’t have the strength to resist.  Crowley was taken literally.

     The Old Fuds couldn’t figure out what was going wrong.  Here these kids had everything and they were satisfied with nothing.  This wasn’t the Depression when things had been tough, the Old Ones lamented, these were prosperous times.  But still the kids ran wild in the streets.  Still, as they laughed at their elders and pushed them from sidewalks as they passed.

     The results of immigration and racial strife had come home to roost but nothing could be done about it so the Old Folks made plans to retire behind fences and walls in ‘planned’ communities.  They really thought they could distance themselves from problems in that way.  Crazy world.

     As Dewey looked down Lankersheim he gritted his teeth.  On the one hand all these dragsters meant that it would be difficult to get rides, while on the other it meant that it would have to tough it out to avoid fights.  If he had to fight his uniform would almost certainly be torn necessitation a return to the Base.

     Grimly he put out his thumb.  Here at the beginning of the gut things were at their mildest.  Mingled in all these kids were a myriad number of fruits.  Perhaps they found the gut a happy hunting ground for the young stuff.  At any rate a couple of them moved Dewey a couple miles into the center of things.

page 1416.

     He attracted a fair amount of attention from the dragsters who didn’t see many sailors on their strip.  Dewey fielded threatening comments from the marshalls sitting on their cars and laughed at the goofs hanging out the windows.  He only wished the girls blowing him kissers were half sincere.  In any event he wasn’t about to make a fool of himself by responding to them.

     then his gaze strayed across the street.  To he surprise he spotted Gonzo Lewis in front of a drug store.  Lewis was too preoccupied to direct his attention across the street so he didn’t notice Dewey.  Lewis was in uniform and he was panhandling.  Whether he was doing it to make for his lost income because of the advances or whether it was just a Man With The Twisted Lip routine couldn’t be determined but he appeared to be doing well.

     He stood with a forlorn expression which elicited more of a response than one would think.  People would ask what the matter was.  Lewis explained that he had had his pocket picked so that he no longer had the money to get back to the hsip.  People pressed money into his hands, not only change but folding cash.

     Gonzo was doing OK.  LA was the perfect paradise for him.  He pulled his stunt regularly, a different location each time so he wouldn’t become obvious.  Pasadena one time, Riverside another, Anaheim the next.  Disneyland was a terrific location especially as the clientele of tourists was never the same.  Gonzo was good too, he had his look and act perfected.  he more than made up for however much he had to repay the Navy.  Heck, he collected more each month than the Navy thought he was worth.

page 1417.

     ‘Oakland.’  Dewey said in response to the question of how far he was going as he opened the door.

     ‘Why Oakland?’

     ‘Know some people.’

     ‘On leave?’

     ‘Naw.  Just a forty-eight.  Weekend.  Gotta be back Sunday night.’  Meaning Monday morning but it was understood.

     ‘Already near midnight.  You’ll have to turn around and come back as soon as you get there.’

     ‘Think so?’

     ‘Sure do.  Seems like a waste of your time.  You should stay in the Valley and relax.’

    ‘Sure, but I don’t know anyone.  I can’t afford it.’

 

    ‘You know me.’

     ‘Not very well.  Just met.’

     ‘Time will remedy that.  What say you stay at my place.  We’ll party a bit then maybe I’ll drive you back to the base Sunday night?’

     ‘Aw, gotta get to Oakland.’

     ‘You’re short of money?  I could let you have some.’

     ‘Thanks a lot, but it’s Oakland or bust.’

     ‘You might as well get out there then, you’re wasting my time.’

     ‘OK.  Don’t say it:  Nobody rides for free, right?’

page 1418

      Several fruits later Dewey was standing at the foot of the Grapevine left by a not very considerate driver.  It was now one-thirty in the morning.

     The wise thing would probably have been to turn around and go back but that would probably have taken him all night anyway so he decided to go on.

     The heavy traffic of Lankersheim had disappeared.  It didn’t seem as though anyone was using the Grapevine this late at night.  The worst that could happen had happened, Dewey was on the Grapevine at night.

     The Grapevine was a fifty mile stretch of highway that led over the range of hills joining the Coast Range and the Sierra Nevada.  The Grapevine itself, the highway, twisted and turned through this barren moonscape.  Things could and did happen up there.  If anyone cared to look they would find burial grounds.

     The wisest thing to do was to refuse all rides that didn’t get you completely over the Grapevine down into Bakersfield.  Dewey was too new to understand that so he took a ride that dropped him off where 126 to Ventura to the West split off.

     There Dewey stood in the dark night with the star spangled sky above him.  Navy blues are not a good outfit for hitchhiking in the dark.  Only that white hat stands out.  It didn’t matter too much because traffic had shut down for the night.  He arrived after two.  Only a couple cars passed between then and four thirty when he caught a ride.

page 1419.

     To amuse himself he stood out in the middle of the road daring a car to come along and hit him.  Even more daringly he sat in the middle of the road daring a car to come along and run him over.  He wandered from side to side standing for long minutes with his head tilted back on his shoulders gazing up at distant galaxies too far for the naked eye to see.  It was then his mind slipped into a different mode.  It wasn’t a dream and it wasn’t a day dream it was as though an automatic door opened allowing Dewey to step down a corridor into a house on the beach.  The house was exceptionally clean, neat and orderly, tastefully and sparingly decorated.  A fresh innervating breeze wafted through the open doors and windows.

     Dewey’s first real vision was entering the kitchen.  There was a woman he couldn’t see clearly standing to the left as he entered and another very beautiful woman seated against the far wall in a sort of high chair.  She was immobile, her face impassive, her eyes glazed and fixed; perhaps she was staring into the same invisible galaxy of the same distant super cluster into which Dewey was staring.  Perhaps their eyes met in that distant space.

     Dewey was delighted to find himself in what appeared to be his home as every nerve tingled with delight.  He spotted the sink, picked up a glass to draw some water and burst into song.  Strangest thing of all it was a Pat Boone song.  In the strong mellow unconstrained baritone he only wished he could command he sang:  ‘It was on a day like today, when…’  As he began ‘when’ the woman on the high chair came to life.  The glass and water disappeared.  In a happy joyful demeanor she appeared in his arms joining her voice to his in a soaring soprano.  ‘…we passed the time away, writing love letters in the sand.’

page 1420.

     ‘I thought you’d never come back.’  She exclaimed ecstatically.  ‘I’ve kept myself for you all this time.’

     Dewey was overjoyed to find his lost beauty again although he wasn’t aware she had been lost.

     He was about to say:  ‘Yes, Darling, I’ve yearned for you for so long.’  While leading her outside into the glorious blue of the sky, the buff of the beach and the innervating breeze.  He would have sat with her with the surf rolling in writing actual love letters in the sand.  But the other woman broke in to say what a miracle it was as Dewey’s Anima hadn’t spoken a word since she was thirteen.

     And then the Sheriff walked into the room demanding in a loud stern voice.  ‘What’s going on in here?’

     The stars appeared once again before Dewey’s eyes.  He had lost that beautiful buxom darling once again.  Nor could he find a trace of her as his eyes searched all across the universe from end to end.  The epiphany was over.

     The active memory faded from his mind immediately as his conscious mind descended into the Life in Death Hades of his daily existence.  Only the faint light of her glow remained out where his sight couldn’t see.  She was a hostess on a big mainliner out behind a cosmic cloud his vision couldn’t penetrate.  Where oh where could she be?

     Actually she was where she would ever be, only in his heart and in his mind.  Dewey didn’t have the psychology to understand his epiphany nor if Freud had been there did he have enough to explain it either.  While Freud put the understanding of dreamwork on a scientific basis he himself lacked the science to really develop his notions.  He understood the principle but he was never able to penetrate the veil.  All of his dream explanations in his dream book are less than superficial; at no time does he have an inkling of the true meaning of the symbolism.

page 1421.

     He was too preoccupied with Jewish political problems to actually probe the science of this subject matter.  If dreams can be considered the poetry of the psyche then daydreams are its prose.  Both dreams and daydreams deal with the same psychic traumata.  Both are seeking the same solutions.

     Daydreams since they originate in the subconscious and are manipulated by the conscious are in many way more important than dreams.  As a sort of novel they can be written down exactly as they occur if you are aware enough to capture them.

     With a catalog of a dozen or so the nature of your problem can easily be ascertained.  With that level of interference out of the way your conscious mind is free to probe further while your subconsicous is forced to send up fresh matter.  After a while you’ll bore yourself to death if you’re not careful, ending all your problems.

     Dewey’s experience was neither a dream nor a daydream but an actual ephiphany and a very pleasant one.  His subconscious mind had processed a mass of information so he actually believed rather than corrected for his tastes as one might in a daydream.  Daydreams have to be let flow without hindrance to show their full content.  Unfortunately the tendency is to correct them to bring them into consonance with conscious needs or fears.

page 1422.

     The meaning was quite simple to an analyst with the necessary information.  All of the information didn’t come from within the mind.  In those days there was a real controversy over Pat Boone vs. Elvis Presley.  Boone was the clean cut hero of the upper half of society while Presley was the common, vulgar hero of the other half.  At least that’s how the upper half perceived it and how the other half accepted it.

     As a member of the other half Dewey consciously passionately embraced the cause of Elvis but as he was never one or the other of anything, he shared characteristics of both.  Now, as his psyche, that is to say, his whole mind, processed the data concerning Boone and Presley in light of his own experience it dealt with all the details and not just the ones Dewey consciously dwelt on.  Thus his psyche came to different conclusions than Dewey’s intelligence.

     Dewey’s psyche did know how repressed he actually was.  Since his intelligence and psyche both admired the same thing his psyche fought to show his intelligence the way to freedom.

     Elvis as a member of the suppressed other half sang of their hopes and despairs as in such pre-Army songs as That’s All Right Mama, Mystery Train    and Heartbreak Hotel.  Dewey consciously related to both the despairing content of the songs and the hurt repressed style of delivery.

page 1423.

     On the other hand he sneered at the confident, expansive assertive style of Pat Boone’s  Love Letters In The Sand although he recognized the wholeness of the sound.  The open handed unimpeded baritone delivery from the deep chest was where he really wanted to be.

     The repressed high pitched wailing of the early Presley was where he actually was.

     It should be noted that something happened to Presley in the Army because when he came out he changed his hysterical frantic delivery for a more controlled baritone although not with the contented unrepressed openness of Boone.  It should also be noted that the Army never felt the need for the upper class Boone’s services.  Somehow he slipped through the draft even as an officer candidate.

     So the symbolism of Dewey’s epiphany was quite clear.  The house represents the self so Dewey had exchanged the prison of earlier dreams for a bright, airy, pleasant edifice.  the kitchen is the room of transformations, rebirth as in the loaf in the oven.  It too was impeccably clean.  The glass and water are symbols of the Anima or female.  The ocean and beach outside the windows is clear.  It should be noted that the windows were open to let in the fresh air.

     The woman on the stool who was about the same age as Dewey was quite obviously his Anima which had been repressed at the same time as Dewey’s Animus had been.  Thus as he bursts into song realizing the relaxed full chested baritone style of Pat Boone his Animus and Anima have been made whole again.  The glass and water coalesce into his Anima as she immediately comes back to life embracing his Animus in reunited bliss.

page 1425.

     They would have gone outside to write love letters in the sand had not the Sheriff of Dewey’s censorship  invaded the ephiphany to destroy it.  the Sheriff rlated to an incident in Dewey’s infancy when a real sheriff had just walked into the back door of the house saying the exact same words in his response to hier mother’s telephone call.

     One may presume that the woman who rejoiced at the Anima’s revival was somehow related to Dewey or it may have been the Terrible Mother aspect of his Anima.  Another form of censor.

     In any event the range of information of which Dewey was aware or unaware used by his psyche was both enormous and extremely subtle.  It is truly amazing that Freud with his pinch chested mentality never went beyond the level obtained in his dreambook which was indeed minimal.

     The epiphany vanished from Dewey’s conscious mind.  He had no idea what it meant he only knew he desired it.

     Still basking in his glow he moved back out of the middle of the road as he saw headlights approaching.  The laboring of the vehicle and the clanking of its bicycle chain identified it as a Volkswagen.  Caught between the despair and hope that not getting a ride leaves you with, Dewey just kind of flipped his thumb out in a hopeless gesture.  The little yellow Bug slowed to a stop.  Dewey didn’t have to take more than a half dozen steps to sardine himself into the little Beetle.

     Stan Leland was behind the wheel.  Stan was a desperate character.  He was prepared to kill the hitchhiker for the twenty dollars or less that he assumed Dewey had.  He was convinced the hitchhiker had twenty dollars on him.  That was why he stopped.

page 1425.

     Leland was twenty-five years old.  He had once been a strapping young man but his straps had been snapped for him.  Stan had attended Hollywood High.  He hadn’t come from the rich families but he had been allowed to hang around with them.  Not having the grace of legitimacy he had made up for it with the bravado of the interloper.  Having to be deferential to his group he made up for it by tormenting others.  He didn’t really torment them but he didn’t make any friends either.

      Graduation left Stan stranded.  His group melted away into the universities while he had to find a job.  Stripped of his social status he took up the pose of an aspiring actor.  He was only middling good looking although a lithe six foot two.  His brash self-confidence turned his middling looks into a species of handsomeness.  He thought he was good looking and therefore he was.

     Stanford tried to make up for his loss of social status with an aggressive brashness that tended to alienate rather than endear.  People tended to endure him rather than challenge him.  And then Stan turned twenty-0ne.

     He had secured a couple walk-ons in the movies, you know, carrying a rifle in buckskins along the wagon train and in one he spoke a line but it was cut out.  These successes convinced him of his future, increasing his aggressive demand for status.

page 1426.

     At twenty-one he went up to the Strip to celebrate.  Three or four drinks later his attention was caught by a cute little blond thing serving as a pendant to Fat Tony Carmino’s ego.  Stan compared himself very favorably to Fat Tony in an attempt to lure this worthless slut, but good lay, his way.

     Fat Tony, and he was not without friends, took exception to brash young Stan’s advances to his frail.  Stan didn’t fully appreciate the difference between the people he usually balked and the men of the Mob.  Fat Tony and a couple of guys who didn’t appreciate Stan’s mouth took him outside, drove him to a quiet place and practiced drop kicking him against a wall to see how far he’d rebound.  Stan wasn’t resilient enough to be much fun so they left him in a heap driving back to the strip and Fat Tony’s frail.

     Stan Leland’s body healed but his mind never recovered.  He had had the bravado kicked out of him.  He had lost his brash self-confidence having nothing left but his middling good looks and a slight stoop.  Where he had previously stood tall, almost with a back lean, he now walked, slightly bent and without any real elasticity to his step.  He was cowed.  His movie career was over.  He made money by cons and grifts that occured to him on the spot.

     ‘How far are you going?’  He asked.

     ‘Oakland.’

     ‘I can take you part way.  I’m going to Turlock.’

     ‘Great.  Thanks.’

     The VW clanked into action.  Dewey had never been in one.  While not new to the scene, in 1958 they hadn’t been around all that long.  The air cooled rear engine with its bicycle chain drive sounded strange coming from behind him.  The VWs had low horse power.  They went from 0 to 60 in 60, minutes that is.  Any rise in the ground slowed them to a crawl.  A Chevy would be in the next county before a VW crested the hill.

page 1427.

     ‘Really noisy.’  Dewey said.

     ‘My little Bug?  People’s car.  That’s what Volkswagen means.  People’s car.  Did you know that?’  Stan would never have driven a VW before Fat Tony and the Mob cut him down to size.

     ‘Volkswagen?  Folk’s wagon.  People’s car?  No, I never translated it; never thought about it.’

     ‘Ya.  It was designed by Hitler.  Did you know that?’

     ‘No.  I didn’t know Hitler doubled as a car designer.’

     ‘Designed might be incorrect but it was made by his orders.  People may talk bad about Hitler but he gave the Germans work.  Built the Autobahns for them to drive their Beetles on.’

      ‘Oh, wow.  Quite a guy.’

     ‘Yeah.  I’ve read everything there is on him.  History’s giving him a bum rap.’

     ‘Oh well, if you’re going to start wars you better be prepared to be criticized.’

     Stan thought back to Fat Tony and winced a little.  He’d always considered his treatment unfair, even criminal.  It was, of course, but society had given the Mafia a license to act that way while Anglos were supposed to be above all that and walk around Italians.  Stan’s interest in Hitler had begun on his hospital bed as his mind groped to deal with his pain.

     ‘Hitler gave Henry Ford a medal, did you know that?’

     ‘No.  A medal for what?’

     ‘A lot of people think he gave it because Henry Ford was an anti-Semite but that didn’t have anything to do with it.  It was because of this, the Bug.’

     ‘Uh, Ford financed the Bug?’

     ‘No.  But he made the first People’s Car, the Model T.  That’s really why Hitler admired old Heinrich Ford, because of his production methods and the Tin Lizzie.  That’s why he kept a life sized portrait of Ford not because of some silly Jews.  Those people always exaggerate their importance.  If nobody’s thinking of them they stand up and shout:  ‘Pay attention to us.’

     Ford was criticized for accepting the medal but I think he did the right thing.  Ford might have been run out of Germany if he’d declined the honor.  They made Model Ts for fifteen years and they’re still making the identical Bug over twenty years later.  That’s an achievement worth a medal.  His own country didn’t appreciate him enough to give him one.  What do you think of that?’

     ‘Never thought of it.’

     ‘How much money do you have on you?’

     Dewey turned his head sharply to watch Leland:  ‘None.’

     ‘Nothing?  No money?  Come on, how are you going to eat?’

     ‘I’m not until I get to Oakland.’

     Whether Stan believed it or not Dewey was telling the literal truth about eating.  He never ate or drank on the road.

page 1429.

     ‘Oh come on.  You’ve got to have a twenty on you.  You guys always do.  Nobody rides for free.  You can chip in a little for gas.’

     ‘What?  So far you haven’t even used up a gallon of gas.  These things must get about thirty miles or more to the gallon.  What do want a dime?’  Gas was twenty or twenty-five cents a gallon in those days.

     ‘Where do you keep it, in your shoes?’

     ‘No money.  I don’t have any.’

     Leland decided on a ploy.

     ‘I’m getting hungry.  Why don’t we stop for breakfast in Grapevine here.  Here’s the Grapevine Cafe.  Good food.  I’ve been here before.’

     ‘I’m in a hurry, man.  Go ahead.  I’ll just get back on the road.’

     ‘Hey, you ingrate.  I pick you up in the middle of the night on a deserted road and you’re in too big a hurry to eat with me?’

     ‘It’s not that, man.  But look it’s daylight already.  I’m way behind time;  I should be in Oakland by now.’

     ‘We are having breakfast.’

     Stan had touched Dewey’s guilt.  Dewey was a nice guy, he tried to appreciate what others did for him.  Also he reasoned that he might still be standing outside the Grapevine Cafe when Stan left.  He went along.

     ‘What’re you going to have?’  Stan asked amicably but craftily.

page 1430

 

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A Novel

Our Lady Of The Blues

Part VII

The Heart Of The Matter

Back In The USSA

 

     At any rate Tyrone broke a few handy double edged Gillette razor blades in two fixing them so they projected an eighth inch beyond the toe of each shoe.

     ‘Hey man, whatcha doin’ with those blades in you shoes?’

     ‘We bein’ transferred now, we don’t be havin’ nothin’ mo’ to do with this ship.  This where that motherfuckerin’ peckerwood who insulted the Black race pays his debt to our society.’

     ‘Tyrone, Tyrone, let it pass, man.  It ain’t no nevermind what no dumb Honky says ’bout nothin’.  Man, they goin’ lock you up and throw away the key.  That’s one Honky you goin’ to have to listen to. Forget it, man.’

     ‘How they gon’ do that?  We be transferred.  We don’t have nothin’ to do with this motherfuckin’ ship no mo’.’

     Other Black voices joined in:  ‘Hey man, you right but Distell right too.  Let it pass, no peckerwood worth goin’ to jail for.’

     ‘I tol’ we bein’ transferred.  We beyond their jurisdiction.  Can’t be nothin’ done to me now.’

     So saying Tyrone checked the security of the razor blades once again then making sure his clothes were squared away so he looked sharp, and all the Blacks wore their clothes more squared away than the Whites, he began the walk back to First where he expected to find Trueman.  He intended to cut him down before all the other Whites.

     The foregoing discussion had been conducted in tones well above the confidential level usually employed by Blacks so the whole of Supply heard it.  Standing with the Supply sailors at the time had been Teal Kanary.  Never one to lose an opportunity he said he would go back and warn Trueman by which he meant to say that he intended to enjoy watching the slaughter.

page 1331.

     News travels like a tsuname aboard ship.  Before the word had gotten out of Tyrone’s mouth everyone aboard ship with the exception of Trueman knew what was about to go down.  the decks were cleared in anticipation.

     Kanary went back to speak to Trueman.

     ‘Hey Trueman, Chief Dieter wants to see you on the fo’c’sle.’  Kanary had correctly divined that Jackson would take the port side to avoid possible detection by the Quarterdeck.

     Tyrone was a little disconcerted to find Trueman approaching him midships.  As he had expected the encounter to take place in First where Trueman would be humiliated before the White Race his resolve was not quite at the right pitch as he was still in process of working himself up to it.  Nevertheless, he got down.

     ‘Alright, you motherfucker, you goin’ hafta fight me now.  You can’t insult theBlack Race and get away with it.’

     Kanary emerged from the toilet to stand on Trueman’s right to egg him on.

     ‘I don’t have to fight you for any reason.’  Trueman said stoutly unwilling to get inv0lved in a fight he might lose.  Even though taller than Tyrone with a longer reach Trueman had never had a fight in his life.  Tyrone’s razor blades would have made short work of Trueman’s Marquis of Queensberry offense.

page 1332.

    ‘Don’t be chicken, Trueman.’  Kanary drilled into Dewey’s right ear.  ‘Let him have it.’

     Fearful for the safety of his friend who he knew would be prison bound, Distell Washington left right behind Jackson in search of either Pardon or Dieter.  He found Pardon first.

     ‘Man, Tyrone done flipped out.  He’s got some razor blades in his shoe and he’s gon’ cut up that Dewey Trueman guy pretty bad, maybe kill him if you don’t stop it.’

     ‘Where is he?’  Pardon asked in alarm.

     ‘He goin’ down the port side to First.  Stop my fren’ but don’t tell him I said it.’

     Pardon had come down from the fo’c’sle just behind Jackson.  By the time he walked up, Trueman who had no choice but to fight or lose status forever, was squaring away.

     Two intellects were in collision.  Trueman had been raised on Arthurian rules of a fair fight.  He followed Marquis of Queensberry rules naively thinking those rules were the norm.  He didn’t even look at Jackson’s feet because kicking was illegal.

     Tyrone, raised in the Chicago Stockade had only ghetto rules:  anyway fair or foul.

     He was stepping back to take a kick when Pardon standing well back and leaning forward grabbed Tyrone’s right arm.  It wasn’t the safest or smoothest move but Tyrone had at least learned to respect authority.

     ‘Let me give you some good advice, Sailor, don’t do this or you will go to the brig.’

page 1333.

     ‘Shit, man, I been transferred.  you can’t do nothin’ to me now.’

     Trueman had gotten into the classic stance as seen in every boxing ring although his boxing skills were squat.  Even though he had his long thin dangerous looking Japanese stileto in his pocket it never occurred to him to brandish it.

     ‘OK, let’s go man.’  He said to Kanary’s joy.

     ‘Trueman, for Christ’s sake look at his shoes; he’s got razor blades in his toes.’

      ‘Razor blades!’ Trueman said astounded at such foul play looking down at the gleaming Gillette steel protruding beyond the toe of the sole.  He stepped back.

     ‘Just because you’re being transferred to another duty doesn’t mean you can get away with cutting a man up.  If use those blades on him you’re going to cut him up pretty badly, maybe kill him.  If you do the only place you’ll be transferred to will be the brig while all your friends go to other duty stations.’

     ‘Bullshit, man.  Once I’m gone the Captain can’t do nothin’ to me.’

     ‘But you aren’t gone.  If you cut him we aren’t going to let you leave this ship except to go to the brig.  Your transfer will be canceled.  You are under Captain Ratches jurisdiction until you cross that gangway.  Then you are still under the Navy’s jurisdiction and the Navy will send you to the brig.’

     Doubt having been cast on his invulnerability Tyrone’s mind slowly grasped that there might be consequences he hadn’t counted on.

page 1334.

     ‘You one lucky motherfucker, peckerwood.’  Tyrone said jabbing his forefinger in Trueman’s direction as he turned to walk back to supply.

     ‘Oh no, man, you did the right thing.  Nobody thinks bad of you, man.  You just saved yourself a heap of trouble.’  Tyrone’s friends reassured him as they trooped up to the Quarterdeck to leave ship.

     Trueman and a number of other sailors were assembled to watch them go.

     Tyrone gave him a toss of the head and a derogatory snort as he passed across the gangway.

     Trueman was only too happy to see him go.

Does Anyone Know The Way To Long Beach?

     Dewey had had no idea why Tyrone was so antagonistic toward him.  He could only attribute Tyrone’s statement that he had insulted the Black race to what others may have told him.  He had by no means referred the statement to the incident in the laundry room.  Suffice it to say that his little Black nemesis was gone.

     With Tyrone Jackson gone Trueman’s attention was taken by Tory Torbrick.  Trueman had been doing his best to avoid Torbrick since his singular introduction.  But the ship was small, Torbrick was a Seaman who bunked in the same compartment.  He wouldn’t be repelled; he couldn’t be avoided.  Torbrick simply forced himself on Trueman; he would not take no for an answer.  Unable to get away from him Trueman had to accept his presence.

page 1335.

     Despite the coolness shown him by Trueman Torbrick asked Trueman to spend a weekend at his parent’s home.  Torbrick lived in Long Beach which was eighty miles up the coast on the seashore in that little bulge of land jutting into the Pacific.

     When he asked Dewey gave him a long cool look.  Unable to understand the man’s intentions Dewey declined.  Besides his mind was set on Oakland.  He had already committed himself to Roque Da Costa who, Dewey felt, might take offence at an apparent shift or splitting in loyalty.  Dewey was very reluctant to jeopardize that relationship by seeming to spurn Da Costa for a ‘better’ deal with Torbrick.

     As Torbric importuned him unashamedly Trueman finally gave in.  He agreed to see Long Beach which, after all, he had never seen before.  He couldn’t imagine what harm could come to him.

     Half the ship was Californian.  Lucky they were because they had the security of escaping the Navy on weekends.  Many, including Torbrick could go home at night if they desired.

     Torbrick had his own car so how much more perfect could it be?  Once on the road North Torbrick’s attitude quickly changed.  No longer begging Trueman he assumed the role of handler dealing with a very unusual specimen.  Although Torbrick was no homosexual the conversation took on a sex laden air.

     Torbrick believed the stories his father had passed on to him from Our Lady Of The Blues.  Thus he had to conceal his real purpose from Trueman but to hopefully get him to speak of the stories Torbrick had been told.  Hopefully Trueman would confess to murdering Michael Hirsh.  So the minds of these people went.

page 1336.

     As the car sped along 101 by the mouthof the bay across from North Island Naval  Air Torbrick began a discussion of a girl he knew.

     ‘Yeah.  We have this girl in town, sad case, no one knows why she does it, some say an unhappy home life but my pop and me think it’s just the way she naturally is.  Kind of genetic you know, she was just born that way, you know.’

     ‘You mean inherited and unavoidable, like, right?’  Trueman became uneasy and suspicious at the notion of heredity.  He had long been plagued by the notion of hereditary insanity because of the injustice done his father by, among others, Yisraeli.

     ‘Well, yeah, I…we…I mean me and pop, think it’s just the way she is and has to be.’

     ‘Hmm.  Well, I don’t believe personality or mental traits are genetically transmitted.  I believe they are the results of training and environment.  How does she have to be?’  quizzed Dewey, who felt that somehow this girl’s story would apply to him.

     ‘Well, when she was about fourteen she just started screwing everybody.  I mean everybody in sight.  Super loose.  Drove her mother crazy.  It got to the point where no one respectable would screw her anymore so she just sat out by the side of the road and offered herself to anyone who would pick her up.’

     ‘Wow!  So did you ever screw her?’

     ‘Me?  Gosh, no.  We’re too high class for that.  She’s real low.’

page 1337.

     There was the crux of the thing that Dewey thought appertained to himself although he couldn’t figure out how.  He sensed Torbrick’s manner toward him that he was considered as low as this girl hence beneath Torbrick’s dignity.  This reflection only made Torbrick’s interest in him less explicable.

     ‘So what happened to her?’

     ‘Nothing.  She’s still there.  Her mom tried to help her.  She sent her to psychiatrists for over a year.  Cost a lot, too.  We  know one, Beverly Warnack, so we got the whole scoop.  For a while it seemed like it was doing her good but then they thought they had her cured so she didn’t have to go anymore.  But once the heredity comes out, me and pop think, it’s a form of insanity, you have to go on being your natural self.  You can’t really fight it, it’s your destiny, your fate, you can’t avoid it so you might just as well lie back and enjoy it.  Ha. Ha.  You’ll be happier that way.’

     The mention of insanity brought the story home to Trueman.  He didn’t know where Torbrick got his stories but the hereditary insanity was a familiar refrain.

     ‘Well, Torbrick, let’s see if I’ve got this straight.  What you’re saying is that you inherit all your proclivities, upbringing has nothing to do with it.  For instance, a criminal is a criminal, a sneak is a sneak and cheat is so because it’s in his genes.  He has inherited his disposition from his parents who must therefore also be criminals, or sneaks and cheats.  Given that criminality is his natural disposition he will be much happier spending his life in prison, which is the natural consequence of crime, rather than fighting his inclinations and living unhappily on the outside.  Do I have it?’

page 1338.

     ‘Well, yes.  No matter how hard you try to suppress your real nature…’  Torbrick gave Trueman’s face a searching glance. ‘…sooner or later the real you will emerge.  Even as bad as it sounds, yes, you will find more satisfaction with your kind in prison than with us decent folks.’

     The way Torbrick said ‘us decent folks’ had the chilling effect on Trueman of being excluded.  He had no idea why Torbrick had so assiduously cultivated his friendship since he appreared to think Trueman was insane, criminal, or both but he put his finger to his lips in a moment of thoughtful silence.

     Torbrick broke the silence.  ‘By the way, Dewey, why do you always call me Torbrick?  Call me by my first name, Tory.’

     ‘It’s just that in the Navy we all go by last names.  It’s just natural to call you Torbrick.  I mean, you know, it’s the name stenciled on all your clothes.’

     ‘Speaking of that.  You sure have your name big enough.  TRUEMAN goes from shoulder to shoulder on your shirt.  In white too.  Everyone else’s is small and black.  People wonder about that.  I do too although, you know, I don’t care if it’s weird because we’re friends.’

     Most of the crew who’d been aboard when Dewey arrived were gone now.  The new men had no knowledge of how things had evolved.  So whereas Trueman’s eccentricities had been accepted the new men saw his lettering as standout peculiar.  That and bad mouthing by his enemies edged Trueman increasingly out of the ruck.

page 1339.

     ‘Yes, well, it’s genetic.  No, that’s a joke Torbrick.  When I first went aboard the ship had just come back from Westpac and all those guys had old gear or, rather no gear at all.  For some reason both ship and crew were real rundown.  It wasn’t neat and orderly like when you came aboard.  We had to spend weeks to make it ship shape.

     Rather than buy gear a lot of them stole it from us new guys.  Everyone of them was walking around with blacked out blotches and their name re-inked.  I lost a pair of pants which were returned because they were too small for anybody else and a couple shirts.’

     ‘How’d you lose them?’

     ‘Whadya mean how did I lose them?  They just don’t make it back from the laundry.  How else?  So, if you ink over black the name can’t be seen.  Black over white can be detected if you hold it to the light in reverse.  It’s easier to ink over a small area than a large one.  So, if anybody steals anything of mine I’ve got ’em dead to rights.’

     ‘Still seems pretty eccentric.’

     ‘Have you ever noticed there’s about four guys who don’t have anything that isn’t inked over?’

     ‘Oh well, at least one of those guys bought gear from guys on the way out.  That’s how they got their stuff.’

page 1340.

     ‘Oh yeah?  Have you ever had anybody offer you clothes because they were being discharged?’

     ‘No.’

     ‘Me neither.  anyway I haven’t had anything stolen since then no matter how eccentric it looks and you have.’

     ‘No, I haven’t.’

     ‘Didn’t you till me that a pair of your pants was missing?’

     ‘Sure, but nobody stole them.  They just didn’t come back from the laundry.  They got lost somehow.’

     ‘Oh, say, did you ever notice that you and Laddybuck Ifrit are the same size and he’s one of those guys whose clothes are all inked over?  Not to change the subject but what’s Tory short for, Torbrick?’

     ‘No. It’s short for Torrance.’

     ‘Torrance?’

     ‘Yes.’

     ‘You mean like the town of Torrance up by LA where Ifrit’s from?’

     ‘Uh huh.  My father named me after it.’

     ‘No kidding?  Good thing he didn’t name you Gardenia.  ‘Course, Gar’s not too bad.’

     ‘No.  I could call myself Gary, too.’  Torbrick chuckled as he guided the car off the freeway onto the overpass leading over to the coast and Long Beach.

     ‘Wow, this is a lot further from 101 than it looks on the map.’  Dewey remarked after an hour of driving.

     ‘California’s a big state.’  Torbrick replied as they passed through a picturesque quarry with a quaint loading tower for gravel.

page 1341.

     Trueman was disappointed with Long Beach. It was a dreary little town without the life and exuberance of LA or the golden climate of San Diego.  There was even less there there than in Oakland.  That was only the aspect Dewey saw because Long Beach was and is a good sized city.  Built on oil and shipping including the Naval Station along with Terminal Island prison it seemed to be a prosperous city.

     Dewey was further disappointed when Torbrick drove down a dreary street of little houses the residents called bungalows.  From Torbrick’s conversation Dewey had expected something a little more grand.  They entered the little thousand square foot house to be greeted by Torbrick’s whole family, father, mother, brother and sister.

     Dewey gave them his warm and fuzzy best only to be greeted by a cold studied curiosity not hostile but not friendly either.

     Bert Trobric was two inches taller than his six-two son.  He was much bigger and more heavily built than his son.  Given the task before him he could hardly be friendly to Trueman.  It is a rare individual who befriends his victim.  Bert had to have contempt for him.  Indeed, given the stories of Our Lady there would have been little to like about Trueman.

     What Trueman saw in his turn was one of that legion of losers who curse life for slighting their genius rather than exerting themselves to solve life’s problems and succeed.  He projected an aura of failure that required Trueman to conceal the revulsion he felt.

page 1342.

     Torbrick’s mother was a mousy beaten down woman who had never had any merit to her.  The house showed no understanding of homemaking, no taste, nothing that proclaimed a superior genetic makeup.

     Bert began by belittling and criticizing Dewey in a direct manner that couldn’t help but offend.  Still, brought up to a semblance of manners, Dewey tried to turn Bert aside with no success.  Finally Dewey looked about him and in an obvious manner asked Bert what he did for a living.

     Bert, perpetually on the make but seldom employed, evaded the question by telling what he used to do.

     ‘I used to a musician.  I was with a couple local California bands you probably never heard of.’

     Dewey prided himself on at least knowing names.  He had heard of Ernie Hecksher before he’d gotten to San Francisco so he was confident Bert couldn’t stump him:  ‘Oh yeah, which ones.’

     ‘Well, I was with Harry James for a while.’  Bert said in an offhand manner as though he thought Dewey would not have heard of this ‘California’ band.

     ‘Oh wow!  Harry James!  Gee, he’s a pretty famous trumpet player.  What did you play?’

     ‘I didn’t say I was in the band, I said I was with it.’  Bert had been a roadie with the band.

     ‘Oh.  What did you do?’

     Bert changed directions again rather than admit he had been the band boy.

page 1343.

     ‘I’ve done some composing.’

     Dewey, beginning to see through his man, noted that Bert didn’t say he had composed for Harry James nor that he had been successful at composing, only that he had done some composing.

     ‘Oh yeah?  Did you write anything I’ve ever heard of?’

     ‘Umm.  I had a hand in ‘Melancholy Baby.’

     ‘Sure.  Good song.’  Dewey said figuring that if Bert could write ‘Melancholy Baby’ he must  have written other songs too.  If so, where was the money?

     ‘Well, if you’ve made all that money what are you doing living in a place like this?’  He said, with seeming ingenuousness.  Dewey had heard of royalties.  In legend those ‘pennies from heaven’ added up.

     Bert flinched giving him a sharp look.  ‘I was only oneof the three who got rights so I had to share it.  I still get a royalty check every now and then.’

     ‘How much?’  Dewey kept burrowing.

     ‘Ten or fifteen dollars maybe a couple times a year.’

     Ten or fifteen dollars was much more than Bert deserved.  He had actually no hand in the composition of ‘Melancholy Baby’ or any other published song; he had merely chanced to be there when the song was written.  The composers hadn’t been able to get rid of him but rather than lose the idea while it was fresh they went ahead anyway.

page 1344.

     Having suggested a slightly more felicitous turn of phrase, he suggested ‘cuddle up’ rather than ‘snuggle up’, he had demanded from the real composers a third of the copyright.  In the circumstances it had been difficult to refuse him.

     That was more or less how Bert made it through life.  Now, as he looked contemptuously at Dewey, as a man must look at one he hopes to vicitmize, he saw only twelve hundred-fifty dollars on the hoof.

     He never did answer Trueman’s question of what he did for a living.

     After a dinner of undercooked hotdogs, Torbrick’s mother was a gourmet chef, Trueman was given a blanket and a dusty pillow from the couch and a spot on the kitchen floor to pass the night.  He was offered no breakfast in the morning.  Torbrick didn’t offer to introduceTrueman to his friends because he had none.  The genetically superior Torbricks were not well thought of.

     Part of the charm of bringing Trueman home with him was that plans were made to make Trueman seem less popular than Torbrick himself.  Our Lady had been mystified because there was no indication that Trueman was following the homosexual practices which had been attributed to him.  He thought that by replicating the original conditions Trueman could be invoked to return to his reputed ways.  It never occurred to Our Lady that his informants could be wrong.

     Thus he had set up a situation that he thought came close to replicating what he had heard.  After sitting around all morning Torbrick suggested they drive down to a teen hangout on the beachfront road.  Trueman geared his manners to meet a polite crowd rather than the tough guys of Da Costa’s acquaintance.

page 1345.

     There was a mile and a half drive to the long beach that gave the city its name.  The aspect of the city improved somewhat.  There was a certain glee of anticipation on Torbrick’s face which gave Dewey pause to reflect but he had no choice but to trust in Tory’s good will.

     Leaving the car parked across the street they began the walk to the entrance.  When they were halfway across the street twenty teens or older erupted from the hangout shaking their fists and yelling and screaming at Dewey:  ‘Get out of here, Trueman, go away.  We don’t want your kind around here.’

     Dewey stopped in his tracks his mouth open.  Torbrick hung back a couple steps to conceal a pleased smile.  There was no need to go on so amidst the hoots and catcalls, Dewey turned around to head back to the car.  A snickering Torbrick followed him.

     The scene did replicate almost exactly the situation at the skating rink in the Valley.  Torbrick took the place of the guy who had driven him out to the rink.  As he had stepped out of the car in the Valley the crowd awaiting his arrival had behaved in the exact same way.

     Our Lady hoped that the replication woud compel Trueman to begin fellatio behavior, as he thought, again.  Our Lady never questioned his assumptions.  No matter how many times he was disappointed by results he merely thought that Trueman was repressing his true nature.

page 1346.

     And on the other hand using defamation skills that only Judaism knows how to so artfully employ Trueman was now forever defamed in Long Beach as Our Lady would defame him throughout the Southland.  The Anti-Defamation League should rightfully call itself the Defamation League.

     Driving back to Torbrick’s  house Dewey asked:  ‘What was that all about, Torbrick?’

     ‘It looks like they don’t like you at all.’  Torbrick said with smug satisfaction.

     ‘They don’t even know me, Torbrick.  How did they get my name in the first place.  You’re the only one who knows I’m here?’

     ‘They didn’t use your name.’  Torbrick lied straight faced.

     ‘They certainly did.  They said:  Get out of here, Trueman.’

     ‘I didn’t hear that.  They didn’t say that.  You’re just projecting your guilt, that’s all.’

     ‘Guilt for what?’

     Another maxim of the ADL is always deny and countercharge.  No matter how clear the facts, have the chutzpah to deny them.  Thus when Franklin Roosevelt told the people of Pittsburgh one year that he would never send their sons to war he had to appear before them a year later to say he was sending their boys to war, his Jewish advisor, Samuel Rosenman, told him with a straight face, no irony intended:  ‘Just tell them you’ve never been in Pittsburgh in your life.’

     Tory had been tutored by Bert who had been tutored by Yehouda; Tory stoutly denied hearing Trueman mentioned by the crowd or any previous knowledge of what happened.  Trueman was not satisfied to have Tory deny what was in fact true.

     ‘You’ll notice they didn’t boo me.’  Torbrick said with smug satisfaction.  ‘They liked me.’

     ‘They didn’t even acknowledge your presence.’  Trueman said in derision.  ‘Let’s go back to the ship now.’

     ‘We’ve got till tomorrow.’

     ‘I want to go back now, Torbrick.’

     ‘Well, if you’re going to be a spoil sport and insist.  OK.  But my mother’s making macaroni and cheese tonight and her’s is really good.’

     ‘I can live without macaroni and cheese.  I want to go back.’

     Dewey was fuming as Tory’s car raced down the access lane to 101.  He had repressed his anger all the way from Long Beach.

     He decided to try again:  ‘What the hell was going on back there, Torbrick?’

     ‘I don’t know what you mean.’  Tory continued in his ridiculous dissimulation.

     ‘What?  You take me downtown to some back door dive and before we even enter the hoodlum punks come out on the sidewalk shaking their fists at me and you don’t even know who they were, who put them up to it?  They’d never seen me before.’

     ‘Did you notice that?’  Torbrick stonewalled innocently.  ‘They seemed to like me OK.  Did you notice that?’

      Trueman shut up.  He could see he was going to get nowhere.  He thought back to Torbrick’s arrival on ship unable to reconcile his self-introduction to this.  Tory pulled the car into the parking space at their arrival back at the Naval Station.  Dewey jumped out before the car stopped.  He left Tory in the car threading his way through the traveling derricks back to the Teufelsdreck alone.

page 1348.

     He was finished with Torbrick, but Torbrick wasn’t finished with him or, rather, Bert wasn’t.  There was the small matter of twelve hundred-fifty dollars still on the table.

Second Verse, Same As The First

      I guess we won’t be seeing you around anymore, Trueman.’  Laddybuck Ifrit sneered.

     ‘Yeah?  Your transfer come through, I hope, Ifrit?’

     ‘No.  Yours did.’

     ‘Mine?  How’s that?’

     ‘You haven’t heard?’

     ‘Obviously not.’

     ‘The Navy’s decided  to get rid of no good bums like you.’

     ‘I’m for it.  How does it work?’

     ‘There’s a new program.  Anybody with a GI quotient of 30 or less can apply for a medical discharge.’

     ‘Really, Ifrit?  They’re going to let everybody out with scores from 25 to 30?’  A score of at least twenty-five was necessary for enlistment.  The General Intelligence test was designed so that no one could fail.  If you marked box A on each of the multiple choice question test you achieved a 25.  If you lacked confidence the recruiters would tell you how to do it too.

page 1349.

     ‘I guess it’s back to Torrance for you, hey Ifrit?’

      ‘Hardly Trueman.  I scored a lot higher than that, but you’re what a 26-27.’

     ‘Hate to disappoint you Ifrit but my score is probably twice that of your kind.’

     ‘Hah.  They don’t go as high as seventy-eight.’

     ‘Oh.  I see you’ve got a thirty-nine, Ifrit.  Well over the line but a heck of a lot less than my sixty-two.

     Ifrit was stung by having tricked himself into revealing his score.  He was equally astonished at Trueman’s score.

     ‘Bullshit, Trueman.  You ain’t got no sixty-two.

     ‘Really?  Check up with your very close buddy, I mean very close buddy, Kanary.  He’ll tell you.’

     ‘What’s very close buddy supposed to mean?’

     Trueman crossed his two first fingers.  ‘Just like that, Ifrit, Kanary’s on top.  Ha, ha.’

     ‘If that means what I think it means, if I get up your ass is grass and I’m the lawnmower.’

     ‘If you find the energy to get up Ifrit you sure as hell won’t find the energy to push that mower.  Use that mighty thirty-nine GI score and see if you can figure out what I mean.  Let’s see, thirty-nine?  Thirty-nine?  Is that above the level of moron?’

     ‘Hey, Dewey.  It seems like you’ve been avoiding me.  My parents want me to invite you back for another visit.  I want you to come too.’

     ‘I’m goin’ up to San Francisco, Torbric.  Thanks for the offer.’

page 1350.

     Torbrick would not take no for an answer but harrassed Trueman continually until he gave in.

     You could ask for early liberty on Fridays to give you a few extra hours on the weekend.  Torbrick wanted to do that but Trueman declined hoping Tory would leave without him.  He had disappointed hopes.  At five-thirty they were leaving the parking lot for 101.

     On the drive Torbrick once again related the story of the girl who was screwing everybody adding new details and elaborating the old.  It was difficult for Trueman not to think that he was being compared to her in some inexplicable manner.

     The sailors arrived late enough so there was only time for a bit to eat, small talk and bed.

     Our Lady and Bert believed that the episode on the beach had been enough to jog Trueman’s memory.  Their scheme was thus to abandon Trueman to his own devices on Saturday.  They believed he would find his way to a skating rink or perhaps sit on a streetcorner to resume what they thought was his former habit.

     Consequently at noon Tory informed Trueman that his family was going to a gathering to which Trueman was not invited.

     ‘Well, what am I supposed to do, Torbrick?’

     ‘I don’t know.  You’ll just have to amuse yourself until tonight when we’ll be back.  There’s a roller skating rink down on the beach.  Maybe you can pass the time there.’

     Yah, maybe.  Thanks for nothing, Torbrick.’

     ‘I’m sorry but that’s just the way it is.  The house is locked up so you can’t stay here.’

page 1351.

     ‘What’s the matter?  ‘Fraid I’ll steal the copyright to ‘Melancholy Baby’?  Dewey said sarcastically.

     Trueman was stunned and infuriated at being abandoned.  Had he been closer to 101 he would have caught a bus back to San Diego but Long Beach is fairly out of the way to the main stem of California so Dewey thought he would be just as far ahead to wait it out.

     Among the many conversations he had had with Southlanders aboard ship he had heard the Redcars mentioned.  Dewey was intrigued by the name.  Even though LA was fully committed to cars and freeways there still existed at that time an interurban trolley system known as the Redcars.  Today it would be known as a mass transit system.  Same function but I guess the latter name sounds more scientific.  The rails were soon to be torn up only to be relaid thirty years later.

     Dewey decided to spend the day riding the Redcars much to the disappointment of Yehouda Yisraeli, who you may be sure, was watching.

     The day would stir deep memories and trauma from Dewey’s youth but not as Our Lady expected.  Dewey had left the Valley in what can only be described as the deepest of depressions.  In its own way the Navy had been Trueman’s salvation.  Back in the Valley after graduation he had been reduced to a non functioning capacity unable even to get up in the morning.  The Navy provided a framework within which Trueman could function with minimal effort.   The Navy was the crutch of crutches for the walking wounded of the nation.  Had Dewey remained at home he would probably have been unable to function at all sinking slowly into an inert mass.

page 1352.

     Even now Dewey was very discouraged.  While he would have objected to a description of a feeling of inadequacy every attitude, every movement of his body was shaped to cover up just such a feeling.  His high voice and deferential, reticent manner betrayed just such a feeling.  Under stress he invariably fell back on a defensive clownish manner that removed him from any conflict while being contemptuously dismissed by his opponents.  Such contempt was immediately transformed in his subconscious into an acceptable correction so that he never showed any irritation at being so treated.  Still, he fought manfully to overcome his feeling of inadequacy.  Such a feat is not a matter of will but of the rearrangement of the intellect to expel the causes and replace them with positive motivations.  Dewey did not yet understand this but believed he could will himself into character.

     Mental images are always an important indication of where we are if we pay attention to them and are willing to understand their meaning.  Dewey, who did not understand the following image except in the obvious sense, compared his life to a tiny compressed bubble rising from the bottom of a very deep sea.  As the bubble wobbled upward the pressure decreased allowing the bubble to expand realizing its potential as it rose.

     Dewey’s fear for this bubble, he would never have been able to explaine why he feared for the bubble, was that it might become trapped beneath some sort of overhang or projection of a shipwreck and be forever arrested in its ascent.

page 1353.

     The psychological implications should be clear to all.  In another image Dewey dreamed that he stood beside an empty manhole with the cover still quivering.  It was not clear but it was still obvious that he had just emerged from the sewer.  Both images aptly described his psychological interpretation of his origins.

     Since it is axiomatic that one can never learn what one does not already know it is clear that Dewey knew what he did not yet comprehend.  As these images accompanied him constantly it may be assumed that his subconscious was unceasingly worrying him and prodding him forward and upward.  He had only to grasp the meaning and the symptom would disappear.

     He had made tremendous progress in the year and a half since he left the Valley and under the most adverse of circumstances.  A ship full of strangers in the Navy is no place to dwell on your psychology.  Fortunately for Dewey most of the damage had already been done.  The fodder for his dreams and nightmares for the rest of his life until he succeeded in integrating his personality had already been received.  Some fine mental line had been crossed on the return from the Pacific.  Prior to the return his psyche had been unable to handle its input.  His mind had been overwhelmed by the data.  From now on no matter how devastating his experiences he would be able to incorporate then into his experience and understand them to deal with them on a rational basis.  His very difficult task would be to clear his mental landscape of its trash heaps.

page 1344.

     With the elimination of the roar of the Niagara in his ears the foundation of his depression, so great was the distance on his road to recovery, had been passed.  In the journey of a thousand miles only the first step had been taken.  While the bubble would rise it would only rise slowly because of the intense pressure from above.  Dodging projections like Our Lady Of The Blues aggravated Dewey’s anxiety.

     Such was his mental state as he waited for the mass transit system.

     Now, it’s a good long way from Long Beach to LA.  The Redcar was a trolley but in any other state in America it would have been a trainride.  In Michigan the ride would have the equivalent of from the Valley to Detroit.

     An engine with three or four cars would not have been inappropriate.  Thus when a single Redcar showed up at the stop, not station, but stop, Dewey was not prepared for a most surrealistic experience.  Such a simple thing as a trolley ride would be a major life changing experience.  Why life changing?  As the author I don’t really know.  Perhaps the reader will be more perceptive.  Dewey was certainly not aware of it.

     As the trolley moved through the Long Beach stops there was no difference than being on a bus with steel wheels.  But then the Redcar burst through the city limits and began rolling through open countryside.  I do not report the actual scenes but only as they appeared through Dewey’s subjective reality on his road to psychic transformation.

     It seemed to him as though he was physically in the car but psychically perched on one of the long thin strands of coulds that streaked the immense gray-blue sky.  At that time the area was not completely built up but was open land.  Oil was the business of Long Beach.  Strewn across this near desert landscape of bare soil interspersed with hardy tufts of grass innumerable oil pumps slowly rotated rising and falling in slow motion now in unison now to the beat of an unseen solitary drummer.  Silently working, now the shiny piston fully exposed now plunged back into the sheath, working, pumping laboriously but effortlessly drawing up to the surface its p0ison that once released on the land must lay it waste unless genius turn it into something useful.

page 1355.

     Even so there was no splash of oil upon the ground or even into visible storage tanks.  the unseen subterranean bile was drawn from hidden recesses in the subconscious memory of the earth where without seeing the light of day it was mysteriously transported to processing refineries where the useless evil smelling bile was transformed into a myriad of useful products some of which were capable of transforming the Stygian dooms of night into the bright warming light like sunshine.  It could be done in Dewey’s mind; it must be done.

     The thick steel connecting rods, like drivers on a locomotive drew the heavy balance at the other end of the traveling beam to earh while the still heavier counter balance reared it back into the sky.  Over and over and over, silently, with no visible source of power.  The bile flowed and flowed and flowed ceaselessly in an endless unseen stream from the sewer of the earth like a bubble rising to be recreated into light.

1356.

     Care was necessary.  Planning.  There was a price for the release of pressure.  So much oil had been pumped from beneath the warm California sun that a greater depression occurred.  The earth sank into the created abyss.  The great concrete seawall at Terminal Island had cracked and broken as the earth sank beneath the foundations.  In places the bay washed over the sunken seawall.  Care must be taken lest one drown in one’s own tears.  Genius had learned its lesson.  Other pumps silently filled the depleted subterranean spaces with sea water to shore up the sinking surface.  All the while pumps rose and fell and Dewey’s bubble struggled upward to his seat in the clouds.

     For the first time in California he noticed that the grass was green.  True, this was after the spring rainy season so the grass was still growing; it wasn’t the dull straw color that characterizes California nine months of the year.  Still Dewey’s mental state had been such that all he had ever seen was sere desert.  What greens he had acknowledged were dull and lifeless.  The green grass came as a revelation like a flicker of light in inspissating gloom.

     His astral being high on its cloud watched himself rolling through the green desert of black oil in the little Redcar.  He could see the stops strung out along the line; stops out in the middle of the desert from the dwellings.  and yet people got on and off.  The lone tiny Redcar trundling through this strange delusive immensity slowed to a stop.

     As Dewey watched breathlessly, tense and anxious for unknown reasons, a girl, perhaps a woman in years, but with all the dazzling freshness of a young girl, mounted the steps to enter the car.

page 1357.

     Dewey gave an audible gasp.  He was entranced by the vision.  The gasp had been so loud that everyone in the Redcar had turned to look at him.  The girl herself, lonely as a poppy on the green hills of earth, fixed a steady inquiring glance on him.  Someone considerately changed seats so that when the girl sat down there was a space beside her for Dewey.  A space for Dewey?  Yes, a space for Dewey.

     Dewey was transfixed but he was also immobilized.  Like the stationary pumps outside the windows the black bile of his past was distributed from one point to another for processing purification.  Dewey’s mind was as crude oil.  The beauties it contained were enclosed in the thick viscosity of an undifferentiated past.  Old memories of Ange collided with his recent desires to render him incapable of action.

     He sat breathlessly clutching the steel bar atop the seat in front of him.  The tiny Redcar rolled through the immensity until the girl’s destination had been reached.  The girl got up.  People looked to see Dewey’s reaction.  Perhaps he would make his move now.  The girl fixed a receptive look on Dewey.  Perhaps on this enchanted evening the stranger who would redeem her life had arrived.  She got off but not hurrying away she stood on the dock looking at Dewey waiting and hoping for his move.

     The Redcar driver who had been watching the little drama had seen and approved.  All the world loves a lover.  He held the door open an extra moment longer, two, to give Dewey time to go to her.

page 1358.

     The pumps in Dewey’s mind moved resolutely up and down; the heavy counter weight falling with emphasis.  The black bile of Dewey’s past was drawn up and shunted away.  He sat frozen, humiliated by his own inaction.

     A myriad of thoughts passed through his mind.  There was only one type of woman he responded to.  She was a replica of the girl, the only girl, who had fixated him oh so long ago when he was fifteen.  Fifteen to nineteen.  What do you think?  Is it only a matter of four years?  No, no my friends, out across the Betelgeuse Bridge time is an irrelevant concept, in space time is frozen.  ‘The’ girl had lived in his heart forever.  The second that it took to put her there had never passed away.

     And here ‘she’ was again.  And she would accept him.  Dewey thought that to go to her would provide a balm for his remaining time in the Navy.  He could see himself taking up with her.  He would go to her every weekend to refresh his soul.  She would renew his life after a weekend of tortures.  Ah, but, Dewey reflected, he was in the Navy.  His desires were but the desires of desperation.  He had only the need to take; he had nothing to give.  His intentions were not honorable.  When his time was up he would lose interest in her and have led her astray for nothing.  The Navy was no place for two people in love.  And so he eased back in his seat while the driver moved out of the stop shaking his head in wonder.

page 1359.

     The spell of the journey was broken.  Whatever adventure was to have been achieved had been achieved.  Dewey got off at the next stop to take the desolate ride back to Long Beach.  He no longer noticed that the grass was green.  He was down from the cloud, body and soul being within the Redcar.

     He had nothing to say to Tory Torbric on the ride back to the Naval Station.

Waiting For Lefty Or Someone Just Like Him

     When McCarthy had been destroyed the pressure on the Reds had been  completely removed.  The counterrevolution had been completely emasculated.   The next counter offensive came from the ineffectual John Birch Society.  Conservatives were now known as lunatic warhawks.  The movie Dr. Strangelove released in the mid-sixties caught perfectly the Red vision of the conservatives of the period.  The effect was so complete that Dewey believed he had seen Dr. Strangelove in 1958.

     The Reds themselves were in the ascendant but disorganized by the McCarthy onslaught.  The Reds were still a threat to anyone who incurred their displeasure.  The threat, When the Revolution comes, watch out. was frequently heard.  Dewey in his simplicity thought it was a joke but it wasn’t; it was an actual threat from covert Reds.

     Yisraeli had been active consolidating his sources and means throughout the San Diego fleet.  He had a very substantial homosexual network.  He knew of ship movements almost before the Navy knew them itself.  Homosexuals were standard bearers of the Revolution.  They expected that the New Order would put them on top.

page 1360

     A key factor in the success of the Bolshevik Revolution had been the revolt of the sailors of the great Kronstadt shipyards near St. Petersburg.  They had actually been a Soviet all by themselves.  The Space Cadets of the Revolution in America believed that if the sailors of San Diego revolted seizing the fleet that the Revolution would succeed in America.  This was openly discussed.

     Disregarding the fact that there was no groundswell of support for Redism in the fleet the Red segment walked around in a quiver of anticipation.

     Teal Kanary had high hopes tempered with a growing sense of internal desperation.  Going back to the Th. Crapper warehouse escapade in Brisbane his sense of purity had all but been destroyed.  His Captain’s Masts and Court Martial had worked their way into his subconscious.  He had worked out conscious defenses but the mind is controlled from the subconscious.  Just as Dewey’s dreamwork for the next thirty years was formed so the basis of Kanary’s dreamwork and character had been irrevocably formed.

     Now lacking the confidence that had characterized his pre-Brisbane days he was called upon by Captain Ratches to betray the foundation of his existence.  Ratches, who understood the wellsprings of power was capable of taking direct action but only when direct action might appear inculpable.  While Erect had paid the price for his criminal activity on the equator the instigator, Paul Duber, had not.

page 1361.

     Ratches’ informers had kept him well appraised of the obvious characters of men aboard ship.  Thus he knew of the gatherings in After Steering while overseas, what they did and who attended.  He knew that both Duber and Kanary were queers.  Thus he proposed to set one to expose the other in a rather diabolical move.

     Jim Kanary, Teal’s father, while talking to Ratches on the dock when the ship returned had extolled his son’s virtues.  Foremost among Teal’s supposed virtues was a highly developed sense of loyalty.  The Captain had been informed that he could always count on Teal’s honesty and support.

     Ratches had taken it wryly at the time but now he thought to turn the Yeoman to good use.

     If anything, Duber, counting on the imminent arrival of the Revolution, had been more flagrant than ever.  He was very close to being queenly.  With a sly smile Ratches proposed through Bifrons Morford, although Ratches was present at the interview, that Kanary invite Duber up to the Yeoman’s shack to entrap him in an amorous vice.

     Kanary was shocked and dismayed at the clash of his values but as Morford let the word ‘loyalty’ drop a few times Jim Kanary had entrapped his son into a position where he could not say no.  His errors overseas had been unthinking errors which, though their effect was profound, could still be treated consciously as genuine mistakes.  Kanary was now called to premeditate the betrayal of his innermost secret character.

page 1362.

     He had some very painful moments of deliberation after Bifrons and Ratches left him alone.  That evening he called his pop.  Jim Kanary listened patiently as his son explained things in terms that included his own homosexuality.  Teal placed it more in the context of a McCartyite naming of names.  The American Communists had elevated the crime of naming names into the ne plus ultra of criminality.  They somehow managed to overlook the fact that they approved of Stalin’s forcing the naming of associates and accomplices during the Great Purge Trials of the mid-thirties.  They would also be able to overlook the same fault in Mao during the Cultural Revolution.  But then, for Reds integrity is a matter of whose foot the shoe is on.

     Jim Kanary pointed out that a good Communist must always be willing to seem to betray his convictions for the good of the Party but that a temporal betrayal without spiritual implications had no mundane effect on the purity of one’s intentions.  It was the same with the Stalin-Hitler pact.  One day you were an anti-Fascist the next day you were in bed with them and then the next day you weren’t.  It all worked out in the wash.  Right?

     That was easy enough for Teal to comprehend so he said:  ‘Sure, Dad.’  and hung up.  Temporal rationalization was an easy matter.  Teal’s conscious mind, his intelligence, had no difficulty with that but the heart, the subconscious, is a different matter.  Already drowning in a sea of doubts about himself Teal Kanary now went down for the third time.  He passed through the plane of existence into a different entity.  He was now a double agent and acquired a doppelganger.

page 1363.

     The entrapment of Duber went off without a hitch.  A kick on the door at the right moment had exposed Duber’s dual nature for Ratches and Morford to see.

     Then the problem arose as to who would press charges.  The homosexual community was a secret society, a fifth  column.  Retribution against the prosecutor could come from any direction in any number of clandestine ways.  Ratches was no fool, he quailed before the prospect.  While Duber had been exposed before all, that is, his proclivities were made incontestable, manifest and obvious there was no one to denounce him.

     Ratches, who thought Trueman had sufficient reason to hate Duber, made it clear to him that he could take vengeance on the Store Keeper.  But Trueman was less a fool than he used to be.  Time had been teaching him that it was unnecessary to be vocal about his feelings about homosexuality.  Neither Ratches nor Trueman would have admitted fear of the homosexual community but both chose discretion as the better part of valor.

     However as Duber had been exposed no practicing homosexual could be tolerated in an all male community.  Not even other queers wanted to be seen with him.  Duber became isolated.  He could no longer stand at the head of the shower line ogling the sailors and smacking his gravid lips.

     The Revolution was too slow in coming for Paul Duber.  Unable to endure isolation he turned inward alone and confused.  When his enlistment was up he chucked in his twelve years to return to civilian life.  A few years later he could be found on the streets of LA hanging around the bus station.

page 1364.

Three Strikes And Out

     Tory Torbrick had enough sense not to push Trueman too hard for the next few days.  Nevertheless when he had informed his father that Trueman had told Tory that he no longer wished to go to Long Beach Bert realized that the time to move was now, or he could kiss twelve hundred-fifty smackers goodbye.  He instructed Tory on what to say and not to take no for an answer.

      Thus Trobrick approached Trueman:  ‘Got any plans for the weekend?’

     ‘Yes.’

     ‘You could probably change them though.  Yu won’t get a chance like this for a while.’

     ‘Chance for what?’

     ‘Well, you know how you like to always see new things, go new places, well, my pop’s going up to Atascadero to visit an old school chum.  We thought you might enjoy going along.’

     ‘Where’s Atascadero?’

     ‘Oh, it’s up in the Bay Area around San Jose.’  Tory lied as he had been instructed.  Atascadero is above San Luis Obispo and below Paso Robles on 101 a long way from San Jose.  But, as Bert had no doubt his friend, Doctor Godwin, would admit Trueman it was thought best to keep his location as secret as possible from him so that if he did get word out he would direct his people to the wrong area.

page 1365.

      Little did they know that Trueman’s mother was of the mind to say:  Like father like son and let her son rot as his father was.

     ‘Oh yeah?  What do you do, just go up ninety-nine?

     ‘Uh, well, you can but it’s a lot easier to go up one o one.’

     ‘One o one?  Really?  All the way?’

     ‘Yeah.  Straight shot.’

      Well, Dewey thought,  What could happen?  He did like to go to new places.  True, he didn’t like or trust the Torbricks but this was the Navy.  He didn’t really like any of the people he had to associate with so it wasn’t so much a choice between good and evil as the lesser evil.  Besides it would be a weekend when he wouldn’t have to spend much money.  He could conserve his resources.

     ‘Yeah, Torbrick, alright.’

     Saturday moring found the entire Torbrick family and Trueman out on fabled Highway 101.  The highway was much less traveled than 99 and much more picturesque.  Up through the bizarrely named town of Oxnard to Santa Barbara and out through San Luis Obispo into the wild and gorgeous canyons that go all the way to San Jose.

     As they approached the town of Atascadero Dewey asked where the Bay was as Tory had told him that Atascadero was just above San Jose on the Bay.  There was nothing too subtle about Bert Torbrick.  He didn’t yet know what chutzpah was but he had it in spades.  He merely waved a hand and said:  ‘Just up ahead there.’  He rolled past the long green hedges of the Atascadero State Hospital For The Criminally Insane and up to the gate.

page 1366.

     Because of his father Dewey had often been taunted about being placed in an insane asylum.  He was familiar with numerous stories about persons being unjustly  committed by family, friends or even strangers who then had to plead to be let out.  It was a fate that haunted him from the depths of his mind.

     ‘Atascadero State Hospital For The Criminally Insane?  What are we doing here?’

     Tory who was riding in the back with Trueman made an involuntary move to restrain Trueman lest he leap from the car.  As it appeared that his worst fears might be realized Trueman was too paralyzed to even think such a thought.

     The guard telephoned Dr. Godwin to clear Torbrick then opened the gate to allow him in.  An immense expanse of the most vivid green, almost chartreuse, lawn spread away like the ocean.  The huge forbidding asylum lay far back across the lawn.  Dewey looked at it and swallowed hard.  He was already in, the gate had closed behind him.  Even though he’d heard of this sort of thing he had never believed it could be done.  You never do until it happens to you but, my friends, whatever you have heard has happened somewhere, sometime to someone.

     Dewey relaxed his apprehension somewhat when they didn’t drive up to the big house but turned into a semi-circular driveway before a neat little white house that glistened like a little island in the sea of chartreuse.  Dr. Godwin opened the door with the air of one braving danger which was in no way misplaced.

page 1367.

     ‘Hello, Bert.’  He said in as affable a manner as his jittery nerves would allow motioning them to hurry.

     ‘You’ve met my wife Isadora?’  Bert said.

     ‘No, I don’t believe I have.’  Dr. Godwin replied quickly introducing his wife, Anne.  ‘Hurry now, hurry.’  Doctor Godwin insisted as the others straggled out of the car.

     ‘This is my daughter Margaret, my son Hawthorne and my eldest boy Torrance that I told you about.’  Bert introduced once inside.

     Dr. Godwin motioned Dewey to a seat on the bench of an upright piano that sat against the wall as the rest sat around him in a semi-circle staring at him anxiously but quietly.

     ‘And this is the…this is the…uh, young man I told you about.’  Bert stammered searching for the least offensive, least reviling term.

     Dr. Godwin turned his eyes on Dewey and studied him attentively.

     Dewey put it all together in an instant.  He was there to be committed.  Tory was staring at him with starting eyes as the excitement of his perfidy overwhelmed him but in the sincere conviction that Dewey was ‘criminally’ insane.

     Bert stared at him as though he were twelve hundred-fifty dollars under the middle shell of a shell game.  He didn’t want to lose that money.  Bert’s wife and daughter and other son sat tensely awed by such a legendary place.  Mrs. Godwin stood to Dewey’s right looking at him fearfully lest he explode in a murderous paroxysm.

page 1368.

     Dewey aware of his danger went limp, relaxing more than he would have done in ordinary circumstances to as to preclude any gestures that could be construed as ‘wild.’  He knew that any animation could be construed as proof of violence.  He looked deep into the jittery eyes of Dr. Godwin.  That man had been dealing with dangerous types far too long.

     ‘Yes.’  Dewey said to himself, looking into him.  ‘You’ve been on the job too long.’

     Godwin’s mental agitation showed in his extreme nervousness, ever alert to jump out of the way or restrain yet attempting to look calm and in control.  He was never in as much danger as one might think; a simple touch to a pressure point in the neck would lay out the most ferocious man.  Of course, you did have to find the pressure point first.

     Looking past Godwin out the window to the left Trueman could see the two guards at the gate watching for signs of danger.  To the right Dewey saw an inmate standing on a small ladder in the bright California sun above the bright chartreuse lawn with a pair of hedge clippers furiously hacking into the dark green hedge.  There was no doubt by the man’s attitude that he was insane.  In his hands as he hacked violently at the hedge the shears seemed a lethal weapon.

     Dewey looked at the tense apprehensive wife of the doctor to ask:  ‘Do you really live in this house?’

     ‘Oh, yes.  Why?’

     ‘How can you stand it?  Aren’t you terrified?’

     ‘No.’  The woman lied.  ‘Why should I be?’

     ‘Well, there’s one reason right there.’  Dewey said motioning casually at the lunatic just outside the neat little house in the middle of the chartreuse lawn with his eyes.  ‘Don’t you worry he might try to kill you?  Look how he’s handling those shears.’

     The lunatic slashed at the hedge his lenses meeting Dewey’s eyes as he assumed they were talking about him.  In his wild delusions he thought since Dewey was talking about him it must be love.

     ‘Oh, there’s nothing to worry about.  We keep the doors and windows locked at all times, all I would have to do is call the guards.  The State gives us air conditioning so we’re comfortable.  Unlike many we don’t have to mind the heat.’

     ‘Well, yeah, but those are glass windows and he has steel shears in his hands.  Put those through a window and he’d have plenty of time before the guards got here.  Has he ever killed anyone?’

     ‘Him?  He eviscerated his mother and father but that only makes him dangerous to them.  That doesn’t make him dangeous to anyone else.  Anyone he doesn’t love for instance.  He just looks wild.’  Dr. Godwin said.  ‘How about you?’

     ‘How about me what?  Both my parents are living and I don’t look violent.’

     ‘Have you ever hurt anybody?’

     ‘No.’  Dewey said truthfully and quietly.  Then he said perhaps imprudently:  ‘Don’t you think you’ve been on this job too long, Doctor?  Don’t you feel like you should take a long vacation.’

page 1370.

      ‘Why do you say that?’  Godwin asked.

     ‘Well.’  Dewey said still looking deep inside Godwin.  ‘You’re real nervous, jittery even, tension all over your face and body.  ‘I mean.’  Dewey said shifting his gaze to the lunatic just outside without moving his eyes, even then the lunatic, perhaps a paranoid delusive, sensing Dewey was talking about him, gnashed his teeth while shearing the same spot in the hedge wildly.  ‘If you look at that guy’s eyes out there you can see that his brain is disconnected from them, I mean, he can see things so he doesn’t trip over them but he’s entirely disconnected from reality.  The objective world means nothing to him because he projects his subjective delusion on it.  When the world doesn’t respond as he thinks it should he blames the world; doesn’t even examine his own understanding.  I mean, like, he’s been trimming that exact same spot since I’ve been sitting here.  I bet if you accuse him of mutilating the hedge he’d turn the shears on you.

     I mean, his mind is so tangled up that it’s not connected to his eyes.  It’s kind of like if he were a deckhand on a ship trying to dock he had his lead line connected to the hawser and had the monkey fist in his hand but his lead line was so tangled that there was no slack between the hawser and the monkey fist.  Every time he tried to throw the monkey fist at the dock to connect with the dock, or in another word, reality, his tangled line would just fall to the deck.  He would have to stand out to sea forever because it will never occur to him to untangle his lead line.  If he ever did he would be sane but still guilty of murder.

page 1371

     But, you, you’re different.’  Dewey was dangerously naive.  ‘I mean, your face looks just as distracted as his but by your eyes I can see that you are still connected to your brain.’  A gasp went up from everyone but Dewey didn’t notice as he was staring acutely into Godwin’s soul.  ‘So you can deal with real things in a real way.  I mean, you know, you’ve got some idea of where it’s at but you’ve been dealing with lunatics so long that the connection is stretching thin.  And you don’t have to be sane to know where that’s at.  Do you dig me, Daddyo?’

     ‘Yes, Dewey, yes.  I think I do dig you.  But you?  Where are you at?’

     It might be construed that Godwin was mocking Dewey by his repetition of the hip jargon but he wasn’t.  He was in the habit of adapting his speech patterns to those of his patients.  Dewey just assumed that Godwin knew his brain was connected to his eyes, so to speak, as indeed Godwin was looking deep into his eyes and making connection.

     ‘Me?  Where am I at?  Well, you know, I’m waiting for ships that never come in.  I’m kind of standing at the end of a long pier looking lonely out to sea.  A long pier, way out over the water.  I’m way out at the end with the toes of my shoes over the edge, standing, looking, standing, stretching, looking, looking out to sea.  Staring way out at the horizon watching for sails or the trail of smoke from a stack.  I’m watching and waiting for ships, for ships that never come in.  I wonder where they can be?’

page 1372

     ‘Maybe your ships will never come in, Dewey.  What then?’

     ‘What then?  I don’t know but I know they’re out there and I know I will at least get my chance.  If I get hungry I can just walk back up the pier and get a hamburg at a hamburg shop…with mustard and onions, fries, lots of salt, no catsup.  If I leave even for a second though I might miss my ship.  Even though I’m surrounded by water I’m still connected to land.  In a way I’ve not only got the water but the land.  I’ve got my bucket and it doesn’t have a hole in it.  God bless the child that’s got his own.  Can you dig where that’s at, Doc?’

     Godwin broke ocular contact starting back in his seat at the question.  He could dig where that it was at.  He thought it was quite normal; he didn’t think it was too dissimilar from his own situation.  Seldom had he heard such an understanding articulated so well.

     Shrugging his shoulders at Bert he said quietly with a well controlled sense of revulsion:  ‘You can go now.’

     ‘Dr. Godwin, aren’t you going to…going to…keep him?’

     ‘Bert.  This is an asylum for the criminally, the violently insane.  As you can plainly see.’  He said, indicating Trueman.  ‘This man isn’t violent.  We can’t take up our valuable beds with harmless types like this.  Besides he criticized me and no insane person criticizes a doctor.  He tries to manipulate him.’

     Sensing that Trueman was to be dismissed the lunatic just outside the window threw his shears down violently driving the points six inches into the ground.   He stomped about wildly in a tight circle for a few seconds then snatching up his shears he violently stalked away shaking his shears at Dewey through the panes of glass.

page 1373.

     Paranoid delusive?  Or just tuned to a different wavelength.  How could he have possible known that Dewey had just escaped confinement?  Did Dewey imperceptively relax his features?  Change his posture thus telegraphing Godwin’s decision?  Did the others make some barely perceptible motion of disappointment or was he so attuned to Godwin that he read him like a book?  Paranoid or hyper-sensitive?  Or did he just distort the implications of what he did see?  After all that is what insanity is.

     Dewey in his turn had seen the lunatic’s fierce clipping as hostility to himself; some sort of jealousy perhaps because Godwin was giving attention to someone else.  This was not the case.  The lunatic had fallen in love with Dewey at first sight.  As a murderer of those he did love, he was quite obviously incapable of expressing affection in a normal manner.  Dewey conversely had been ill-treated so long that he interpreted interest in him as hostility as that was the only kind of interest he had ever known.  Truly there would have been a tremendous clash of personalities had Godwin accepted Trueman.

     The lunatic stomped off as Dewey saw but then either reconsidering or attempting to outfox the guards who were watching he doubled back around the little white house in the sward of chartreuse to get closer to Trueman.  As the party filed out of the door of this fantastic setting the lunatic slipped out from beside the house appearing to be brandishing his shears.

     There was a slight hitch in the fabric of space-time as all members present oriented themselves to the situation.  The Torbricks hurriedly got into their car while Dewey coldly studied the lunatic as though standing at the end of his pier he watched the man trying desperately to reach him with his tangled line.  He was just some poor desperate seaman who could not be rescued, who could not be saved.  Dr. Godwin for as jittery as he appeared had the quiet confidence of a circus lion tamer in the cage with his beasts.

     ‘Albert.  They’re leaving, Albert.  This has nothing to do with you.  We weren’t talking about you.  This is something else completely.  Go back to your room now.  Go back, Albert.  Go.’

     Then turning to Bert he said coldly:  ‘And Bert, you won’t ever have a reason to contact me again.’

     Albert cocked his head at Dr. Godwin as if he was spoken to like a cat looking at his owner but otherwise immobile holding his shears up before him.  Godwin was now between Albert and Dewey so Dewey quickly slipped around the car gettin in on the far side as Tory gave no indication of letting him in on the near.

     Once Trueman was in the car Bert threw out a hasty goodbye quickly swinging the car around in the drive heading toward the gate.  ‘I wonder why he said please don’t contact him again?’  Bert mused to his wife.  Dewey looked back to see hurt and disappointment in Albert’s eyes.  The iron gate swung open as they approached.  Passing through they entered the street as the massive steel gate swung slowly shut behind them.

     Dewey remained immobile for a couple hundred yards not daring  to look back until he felt safely delivered.  He knew how his father must have felt, deserted and betrayed by his loved ones as they led him into the labyrinth without his Aridane’s thread for a safe return.

page 1375.

     Then he swung around to cast a last look at the Atascadero State Hospital For The Criminally Insane.  The enormity of the attempt on his life and happiness hit him.  He realized that had Dr. Godwin had had less integrity he would never have seen the light of day again.  The Navy would never have been able to locate him if they tried.  Nor would they have tried.  In AWOL cases they just figured you’d turn up sooner or later.

     Decades later if he survived the massive doses of drugs and electric shock therapy and other brutal so-called therapies applied by people nuttier than the inmates he would still be listed as AWOL.

     Trueman heaved a sigh of relief.

     Tory Torbric who had been turned toward him silently watching him said with a suppressed giggle:  ‘That was a real close one, wasn’t it?’

     ‘Maybe you’re right Torbric; maybe criminality is hereditary.  Can be passed from father to son.’

     Tory’s comment hit Dewey like a taunt.  Dewey’s subconscious desires assumed the ascendance for a moment.  It is possible he might have done what his subconscious desire directed.  He drew the the knife with the pearl handle and thin six inch blade he had bought in Japan from his pocket.   The pin of the cheap knife was already so worn that Dewey just flipped the blade from its scabbard.  The effect was electrifying.

     Tory’s eyes went  as wide as they ever would as he shrank guiltily back against the side of the car.  Bert who had been keeping a guilt ridden eye on him through the rear view mirror emitted a fearful gasp.

page 1366.

     ‘That would be a silly thing to do, Dewey.  If you cut my throat you’d be killed too when the car crashes into those trees.’  He said pointing to a row of closely set eucalyptus.

     ‘Naw.  We aren’t going fast enough and besides God protects the insane.  You know that, don’t you Mr. Torbrick?’

     Bert involuntarily drove the pedal into the floor so that they would be going fast enough if they hit the trees.

     ‘Oh now, Dewey…’

     ‘Bert, you heard what your ex-friend in there said.  You can see I’m not violent.  I’m not crazy either and I’m not a sneaky criminal like you and Tory either.’

     Neither Bert nor Tory had any inclination to muddy the waters by denying the accusation so they said nothing more.  Dewey sat and pondered who could be behind the Torbricks as he corrected figured they weren’t acting on their own initiative.  The true reason was beyond his knowledge so he could only assume it was someone aboard ship.  He couldn’t imagine that Kanary had the influence nor did he think Morford had the power.  He was therefore at a loss to explain it.  He was now aware that he had more than a direct frontal assault like that of Tyrone to fear.  His apprehension would estrange him even further from the crew.

     Once in Long Beach Dewey ordered Tory to take him back to the Naval Station immediately.  Guilt caused Torbrick to comply without demur.  Nothing more was said on the way back to the Naval Station.

page 1377

Un Homme Declasse

     Just as Kanary’s betrayal of his leader, Paul Duber, had combined with his past transgressions to darken his mind altering his personality for good so the fear of incarceration in an insane asylum intensified all the anxieties afflicting Trueman.  He too became darker and more wary.  With slightly over a year before discharge the duration actually became a race to retain his sanity.  He began to undergo subtle changes of behavior of which while conscious of them they yet seemed to make sense.  Fortunately for Dewey they were reactions to these specific events.  They would disappear when the causes did unlike Kanary’s psychic situation.  Still, Dewey would always be amazed that he had done without reflection that which was in fact the product of a distressed and distracted mind.

     He was now thoroughly disgusted with Torbrick.  He meant to have nothing to do with him.  He now realized the foolishness of succumbing to Torbrick’s request to visit him in Long Beach as his relationship with Roque Da Costa was irreparably damaged.  Da Costa quite rightly believed his friendship had been betrayed or compromised.

     It now appeared that Trueman would have to shift for himself if he wished to return to Oakland so Our Lady had accomplished something.  As he knew no one in Oakland but Da Costa a cloud was cast over his future plans.  But as he intended to enroll in the Thought Management System called Oakland City College he had to resolve his dilemma.

page 1378.

     Kerry Maclen or Joe McLean, as he was now known, had developed a vengeful hatred for Trueman after Dewey had refused to share his guilt in Guam when McLean stupidly tried to smuggle beer on board.

     McLean was of a devious criminal disposition.  Had he been Trueman he would simply have had nothing more to do with him but as a criminal he meant to make Dewey pay.  He knew he would have more opportunities as a friend than as an enemy.  If he could he would implicate Trueman in criminal activities and then see that he was caught.  If not he would sponge off Dewey sabotaging the man and his efforts.  Thus he readily fell in with Dewey’s palaver about attending Oakland City College.

     When Dewey made his Long Beach trips Joe seeing his opportunity stepped into his shoes with Da Costa.  While Dewey was occupied in Long Beach McLean had been traveling to Oakland with Da Costa.  Being of an opportunistic nature he had no qualms about dating Da Costa’s sister Terry.  Through her he fell into a circle of Juniors and Seniors from Castlemont High School.  As he was of a congenial manner he quickly made other friends abandoning Terry for dates with various girls in the Castlemont circle.

     Naturally he boasted of his success to Trueman.  This was the break Trueman needed.  McLean as his ostensible buddy had no choice but to acquiesce.  McLean had also ran into his old confederate in crime, Jim Chance, in Oakland.  Chance was working daytime as a warehouseman on Airport Way, which is a great job for a thief, and burgling warehouses at night using the information obtained on the job.  When he and McLean and Kreskin got together again the basis of the East Bay distribution network for Kayo and Soter Kreskin’s dope smuggling business came into existence.

page 1379

     Dewey had crossed Tory off.  Bert however still had his eyes on that twelve-fifty which Our Lady had refused to pay because of his failure to place Dewey in Atascadero.  Secure in his h0me and recovered from guilt he had the chutzpah to have Tory ask Dewey back for another weekend.

     Dewey was preparing for the trip to Oakland.  He was trying to get a good spit shine.  Just as Torbrick was approaching him a cry of holloa went up from the Deck hands.  Cracker Jack Driscoll stepped through the hatch back from the hospital.

     The doctors had saved his finger.  They’d stitched it back in place.  Now holding his bandage swathed hand against his chest middle finger sticking straight up a shy smile wreathed the sailor’s handsome face.

     ‘My god.’  Thought Dewey.  ‘He’s actually glad to be back.’

     ‘Good news.’  Cracker Jack said almost timidly.  ‘I can stay in the Navy; they’re not going to discharge me.’

     ‘Congratulations, great, yowsah’, came from all sides including Dewey.

     ‘Isn’t that great, Dewey?’  Cracker Jack asked.

     ‘If that’s what you want, Driscoll.  Personally I would have taken the discharge but then we all have different tastes.  Welcome back aboard.’

page 1180.

   

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

The Sonderman Constellation

by

R.E. Prindle

 

Foreword

 

A dream. A recollection. Dreams and thoughts. Dreams and thoughts expressed as symbols. The individual human mind being a part of society and an historical continuum seeks symbols to express an unutterable reality, thus a common set of symbols expresses the common problems that humans have. Isn’t that what Jung’s collective unconscious really is, just a common dreamscape where everything is commuted into universal symbolism? I think so.

What is the greatest repository of psychological symbolism in the world? Don’t you think it’s Greek mythology? There is certainly no lack of interest in the Greek myths. Greek mythology is one of the most active topics on the internet; not only are there many sites but many active sites, sites constructed with loving and reverent care. And why not? Greek mythology is the largest repository of psychological symbolism in the world and by far the most profound. The significance of the Bible pales in comparison.

The Sonderman Constellation is placed within the framework of that body of profound thought. The ordinary events in a boy’s life take on cosmic significance.

The construction of the Sonderman is somewhat unusual. As the novel is meant to present a reality from within the mental workings of one mind and one mind only the logic it follows is personal but intelligible. The narrator has an identity only in his own mind. In that state he is trying to make contact with yours. That is what a good novel does; flow from one mind to another. Cast in the form of a memoir the story is valid even though decades and even generations separate the story from the present.

The Unknown Narrator gropes for a way to make his life make sense to himself and you. You are he- he is you. Hence the prefatory motto ‘The unexamined life is not worth living.’ The Delphic credo: Know thyself. The two quotes delineate the story.

The second chapter- The Pyschonautica- is the most significant of the book. It is through the Greek foundations of psychology that the actions of the protagonists the Sondermans and the Hirshes become intelligible. It is through mythological symbolism that their minds are explored. Perhaps that is what Jung means by his term the collective unconscious.

Regardless of what the reader may think the author is not the Unknown Narrator. No matter how much the author envisions the past through his own lens he is not the Unknown Narrator, he who narrates things not exactly as they were but as they may have been. The persistence of memory is strong but it is impossible to recreate the reality. One might bear in mind the song: ‘Gee, ain’t it funny how time slips away.’

Things suffer sea changes and become distorted by memory and yet it is still the sea and still memory. The narrator is narrating universal symbols and not specifics although specifics form the content of the symbols. This is a story of the collective unconscious.

The story elements are meaningful only in that context. The narrator in the first chapter attempts to give the story a setting within the framework of personal psychology and the manner in which the personal psychology relates to and incorporates the external world into his own mind; hence the chapter title: The Psychogenesis. The beginning of the psychosis.

The narrator is not the protagonist. His antagonists the Hirshes and Sondermans are. The narrator is just driftwood on the river buffeted by currents that he cannot resist.

The story will progress through to the full blown psychotic reactions of both the Narrator and Sonderman. No matter what crimes or nonsense are going on in the outside world the action is in the mind of the narrator and hence yours since he is carrying on a dialogue with you.

The second chapter- The Psychonautica- places the story within the context of the mythos, the collective unconscious. This is the key chapter of the book and the most popular as evidenced by the hits to my website: reprindle.wordpress.com.

Once the first two chapters provide the necessary background for the reader to properly evaluate the action, the last two chapters narrate the consequences, the development of the psychoses.

The story is played out in detail in Chapters III and IV. Chapter III -The Psychodramatica- tells of the Narrator’s preposterous journey through Junior High, the absurd adventures with Sonderman that end up with their apparent estrangement mid ninth grade.

The last chapter- The Psychoses- details the mad adventures in High School during which as the narrator develops intellectually he separates the external from the internal reality.

While the story takes place during 1950-56 the memories of the unconscious range back into the distant past and into the recent past that also shape the development of the Narrator’s mind while incorporating future events that show how his indoctrination finds expression. Dream waiting to be dreamt having been ordained by the psychological traumas of the past, present and future of both the Narrator and the collective.  There is nothing but memory within the collective unconscious.

The good news is that the story has as happy an ending as was possible; the bad news is that it was hell getting there.

When reading just let your mind drift through the story. Let the details add up until they form one continuum. By the second or third reading you will be learning the song and the tune.

As a musical reference, as I was writing, as a model for the story, I bore Pauline Olivero’s electronic piece titled I of IV in mind. It’s early electronic. I don’t recommend it; it’s not for everyone, but you can try it if you want. Steve Reich’s ‘Let the Bruise Blood Come Out’ is on the same record. Might have been an influence on the story too. We’ll never know.

Go to Chapter One of The Sonderman Constellation

 

A Novel

Our Lady Of The Blues

Part VII

by

R.E. Prindle

The Heart Of The Matter:

Back In The USSA

 

My dear fellow, said Sherlock Holmes, as we sat on either side of the fire in his lodgings at Baker Street, life is infinitely stranger than anything which the mind of man could invent.  We would not dare to concieve the things which are really mere commonplaces of existence.  If we could fly out of that window hand in hand, and see in at the queer things which are going on, the strange coincidences, the plannings, the cross purposes, the wonderful chains of events, working through generations, and leading to the most outre results, it would make all fiction with its conventionalities and foreseen conclusions, most stale and unprofitable.

And yet I am not convinced of it. (Watson) answered.

-A. Conan Doyle

 

     Dewey arrived on the fo’c’sle as the ship was passing Lindhberg Field.  Joining the others he stood at parade rest as the ship turned up bay to the Naval Station where the Dependents gathered on the pier in the homecoming ritual that is such a vital part of Navy life.

page 1279.

     Mrs. Irene Pardon was there quietly talking to Inez Dieter.  A passel of others strung out along the length of the pierside either unwilling or afraid to make the acquaintance of the others.  Quite apart and aloof standing in the imperial majesty of convinced Communists were James and Elizabeth Kanary there to welcome back their precious son.

     Standing back in the shadows was the form of Yehouda Yisraeli, Our Lady Of The Blues, not to greet Dewey Trueman, but to feast his eyes on the man he hoped to make his victim.

     The Wild Bunch had lost their last best chance, if they had had one, of killing Trueman during the abandoned Honolulu layover.  Their last chance had been the previous evening.  The spell of the tropics had been broken.  As Dewey ambled up he was greeted by guilty, embarrassed glances.  He had no idea how to interpret them as he was unaware of what was going on and who was involved.

     If he thought about it he saw it merely as a contest that he had won.  As usual there was so much happening tha there was little time to think about it.  The pageantry of the homecoming immediately absorbed his interest.

     Irene Pardon gave a dutiful wave to Blaise.  The early arrival had upset some of her plans.  As Dewey looked at the woman he thought to himself that Blaise’s dream of tramping the world was a fantasy.  This woman was not going to spend her life on tramp steamers.  Mabye as a tramp in bars but not on a tramp steamer.

page 1280.

     She was dressed in a brown suit, nicely tailored for a woman of her social status; her makeup was elaborate and good.  Her hair was arranged in braids wrapped around her head which women seeking to project respectability so often employ.  Dewey was quite right in thinking that fidelity to her man was not uppermost in her mind.  Her meal ticket had come home.

     Inez Dieter was even coarser.  As the prow edged in toward the dock she ran alongside yelling up to Dieter:  ‘Angus, Angus.  How come you’re back early?’

     ‘I’ll tell you later.  Later.’ Dieter said visibly embarrassed by his wife’s gaucheness.

      Indeed all the Dependents had had to quickly change their plans when they learned the Teufelsdreck would return three weeks ahead of schedule.  Perhaps the turnout might have been larger if the ship had returned on schedule.  No Black dependents showed up.

     There was one Dependent who stood out from all the rest.  She was most conspicuous in her oriental finery.  She was very eager to please her occidental husband.  As Dewey eyed her he was almost ready to fall in love himself.  She was the epitome of the song ‘My China Doll’ except that she was Japanese.

     She wore a gorgeous gold brocade kimono with an intricate design that her fellow prostitutes in Yokosuka had presented her as a wedding present with a wonderful obi encircling her tiny waist.  Her makeup was immaculate as was her hairdo done up in the traditional bun with the chop sticks sticking out all over.  Everyone had forgotten her up till then.

page 1281.

     Including her husband Lane Vincent.

     He, as well as most of Operations, was standing on the boat deck drinking in the excitement when Lane spotted this very beautiful apparition awaiting him on the dock with an overflowing heart of love for her man who had brought her eight thousand miles to be his bride.  Poor, poor lovely thing.

     ‘Hey, look there’s a Japanese girl on the dock.  A real knockout too.’

     ‘Yeah.’  Mike Deasy said with some bitterness, for he understood Lane Vincent quite well.  ‘That’s your wife.’

     Lane had forgotten.  It had been so long ago, so far away.  For him his marriage had just been a fantasy of the moment.  He hadn’t even thought of it as real, certainly not as real as the clap he had picked up in Hong Kong.  The memory had faded with every mile that separated him from his bride.  Now, as he looked at this quite gorgeous creature, he realized that she was one of those little yellow Japanese people.  He realized that his White friends would have nothing to do with her.  He was horrified at what he had done and shamed by the reality.

     The Captain was on the bridge guiding the little subkiller to its mooring.  Lane could not be responsible for his conduct;  someone else must be.

     Beginning to shake uncontrollably he rushed up the ladder to the bridge.  Maddened and hysterical he screamed at the top of his lungs so that his voice carried over the ship from stem to stern as well as out on the dock:  ‘Why did you let me do it?’

     Lane had truly lost control.  The bridge was crowded with every officer aboard ship as well as the watch.

     Captain Ratches, who had tolerated more than any man should, looked at Vincent in disbelief.

     ‘What are you talking about, Sailor?  What did I let you do?’

     ‘Control yourself, Vincent.’  Morford sternly admonished.

     Vincent couldn’t hear him.

     ‘Look at that, you bastard.’  He screamed pointing to his lovely bride on the dock.  ‘You let me marry her against regulations.’

     Still taken back, Ratches tried to defend himself:  ‘I didn’t let you marry her, Sailor, you demanded the right as a free born American man.  Remember?

      ‘Don’t give me any of that horseshit, buddy.  Navy regulations required you to dissuade me from marrying a Japanese p-p-prostitute.  that’s all she is you know.  You didn’t do your duty, you son-of-a-bitch.’  And then, and this is incredible beyond belief, Vincent punched a Captain in the United States navy as he stood on the bridge of his own ship doing his duty.

     The reaction was instantaneous.  Morford seized Vincent by the neck casting him to the deck while the other officers took up positions in front of the Captain.  Out of his mind with grief at his actions Vincent had no idea or even knowledge of what he had done but his concentration was broken as he hit the deck.

     Leaping to his feet he slid down the ladder to the boat deck nearly leaping from there to the main deck.  He vaulted over the lines clearing the three feet from the ship to the deck.

page 1283.

     Racing up to his poor wife, who mistakenly thought he was very eager to see her, he stood in a half crouch screaming into her face:  ‘Get away from me you filthy whore.  You goddam prostitute.  Go back to where you came from but get out of my life.’

     May such a thing never happen to a poor innocent thing again.  The poor woman backed away from the onslaught still clutching her bouquet of flowers as her dream was blasted to smithereens just like Hiroshima.  The import of Vincent’s actions hit her hard.  She backed, staggered and then tried to run but there was no where for the poor little girl to run.  She was alone and unwanted in a place she had never been before among an alien people.

     The hurt surrounded her like a garbage compacter.  Her pain would never cease.

     Neither would Lane Vincent’s although he deserved it.  A couple of Firsts and Seconds followed him over the lines at Morford’s command.  They seized Vincent to take him back aboard for his Court Martial.  You don’t hit the Captain of your ship and walk away scot free.

     Within a couple days they hauled Lane Vincent off to the brig.  What happened to his wife is unknown.

     Lane Vincent, the free American man.  He was so typical of the common man.  He was free and tough when he wanted to do something but it was somebody elses fault when he learned the error of his ways.  The Captain couldn’t stop him in Yokosuka but it was still the Captain’s fault when he realized the error of his ways.

page 1284.

      The shame was that he destroyed the psyche and life of this innocent girl.  Lane Vincent deserved more than he got as bad as that was.

     As the ship was secured Trueman was interested by the fact that Kanary had somehow dragged the Captain out on the dock to talk to his parents.  Having just been struck by one of his own sailors poor old Ratches had to put up with catering to the Kanarys.  Truly there are no jobs without indignities attached.

     The Kanarys were an odd couple.  He was five-three while she was a diminutive four-eleven.  They had a fussy, precious appearance and manner.  One might have thought that Teal was adopted.

     As they talked to the Captain both stood on their tiptoes leaning in toward Ratches gazing up sharply with birdlike expressions on their faces.

     ‘We have only two days to be here with this fine boy, our son, Captain.  He has informed us of how important he is to the running of your ship.  We know that there is a great deal of paperwork connected with your return, but really Captain couldn’t you let us have him for this one evening.  Surely you could spare our wonderful son for one evening.’

     Ratches realized that rather than say Teal had been Court Martialed and restricted it was best to let it pass for the moment. Teal had explained himself as being required by duties to remain aboard.  Ratches was always too kind.

page 1285.

     ‘Well, just for this one evening.’  He said looking reprovingly at Teal.

     So Kanary weaseled out of his restriction as his kind always knows so well how to do.

     Trueman read this exchange quite correctly as with a smile the Kanarys settled back on their heels.

     Trueman didn’t see the eyes of Yisraeli burning a hole through him from the shadows as he slipped down the port side to get dressed for liberty.

     ‘Uh, uh, Trueman.  You’re not going over.’

     ‘What’s your problem now, Laddybuck?  Since when do you tell me whether I can go over or not?’

     ‘I’m telling you now.  We all got restriction and the only reason you don’t is because you’re too chicken shit.  If you go over and we can’t you’re gonna regret it.’

     ‘Up yours, Ifrit.  The only reason you’re restricted is because you’re a stupid crook.  How could anyone be dumb enough to take double pay and not realize they wouldn’t get caught.  You don’t really think I’m going to do time for a crime you committed, do you?’

     Dewey was insulting Laddybuck Ifrit but his comments applied to over a hundred other men who were similarly restricted.

     As one of the few honest or intelligent men on board Trueman now became the victim of the criminality of the others.  With a shipload of criminals they all considered it unfair that the honest men could go on liberty.  Just as when crossing the equator the inmates were once again in charge of the asylum.

page 1286.

     Trueman disregarded Ifrit looping his scarf over his head and heading for the Quarterdeck.  The Blacks were disappearing down the pier when Dewey crossed the gangway.  Some few others straggled down the pier as those restricted lined the deck to watch arms folded grimly across their chests.

     The divisional officers were sitting around the breakfast table the next morning.

     ‘There’s a great deal of unrest among the men, Captain.’  Sieggren said.

     ‘About what?’  Ratches idly inquired.

     ‘Well, they’re in an ugly mood.  I mean a really ugly mood because now that we’re back in the States they can’t go over for a month.’

     ‘What then?  They were clearly guilty and justly sentenced.  What do they want?’

     ‘They want their restrictions lifted, Sir.’

     ‘Lifted?  Why?  They committed a serious offence, I could have sent all of them to the brig.  Why shouldn’t they be restricted now I’d like to know.’

     ‘You’re quite right, Sir, that the sentences were justified but as a politic move, if the restrictions aren’t lifted there is liable to be some very ugly violence before the thirty days are up.  They are already threatening the men who weren’t restricted.’

     ‘What are you suggesting, Lance?’

     ‘Sir, we’re already in hot water with the Commodore.  If several men are seriously injured or even…uh…killed, I don’t think your command, our ship, will ever recover.  We would go down in infamy.’

page 1287.

     ‘Killed?  What do you mean?’

     ‘I mean I’m certain there will be some not so subtle accidents and possibly some men might be beaten to death.’

     Lt. Sieggren understood the temper of the ship very well.

     Ratches quietly reflected nibbling at a strip of bacon held perpendicular with his teeth.  ‘What do you suggest, Lieutenant?’

     ‘As much as I’m opposed to it, Sir, I think we would be very wise to remit the last twenty-seven days.  Change the restrictions to three days and let them go ashore the day after tomorrow.

     Ratches rechewed the bacon breaking it down into very small pieces and swallowing hard to get it down.  He thought his sentence was just, really too lenient.  They should all have gone to the brig.  It was too late to send them there now, however.

     With a cloudy face he growled at Sieggren:  ‘Do what you think best.’

     The restricted men were released two days later.

     Hostilities were defused but not eliminated as the crew streamed off the ship for the gates.  Trueman found himself walking beside Mike Deasy and just behind Kayo Kreskin who was lugging forty pounds of heroin to his father waiting anxiously across from the gate.

     The bag sagged heavily as Kreskin tried his best to keep his shoulders light and level to conceal the weight of his burden.

page 1288.

     As Deasy and Trueman walked along they both looked at each other.  The friendship forged overseas melted away.  Trueman had no use for a friend as dull witted as Deasy while back on the soil of the US Trueman’s difference and strangeness became repellent to Deasy.  Without a word they dissociated themselves from each other.

     ‘There goes Kreskin with his heroin.’  Deasy sneered.

     A cold shiver went down Kreskin’s spine as he heard.

     ‘Really!  Heroin?’  Dewey said in awe.

     ‘I’m going to have to check that bag.’  The Marine sentry said reaching out for it.

     ‘What kind of bullshit is this?’  Duber said.  ‘We’re all one here, you don’t check any bags.’

    ‘It’s alright.  That’s my son.’  The very respectable looking Soter Kreskin said from the other side of the gate.

     The sight of Soter intimidated the sentry who stepped back letting Kayo pass.

     Dewey followed Kayo and Soter across the street where Soter threw the bag into the trunk of his Caddie with a sigh of relief.

     ‘Everything go alright?’  Soter asked superfluously.

     ‘Great. Fine.’  Kayo said as they both watched Trueman gawk into the trunk as he walked past.

How Now, Young Sailor?

     Trueman gave the Kweskins a wondering glance as he passed on the way to the bus stop.  Their guilt made his interest seem sinister to them but in truth Trueman was eyeing the sartorial splendor and magnificent carriage of Soter while noting the fifty-nine Cadillac which was the first he had seen.

page 1289.

     The fifty-nine GM cars were indeed of singular design.  The very apogee of American self-confidence.  Some things are truly unique.  Even though the fifty-nines were the culminating year in the style begun in 1955 so they were so extreme in their styling as to dissociate them from their predecessors.

     The fifty-nine GMs were the most forward looking cars ever designed; they seemed to catapult you into a blissful future.  Short stubby engine compartments flowed back toward the long line of the fins rising ever higher into a mad desire to fly.

      Furthermore they represented a crisis in American confidence.  There was never anything like them again.  The following year the design changed to an unimaginative prosaic functional design which was the height of timid bourgeousie.  The close of the fifties disappeared into the silly Corvair in response to pressures from the more timid who now began to control American society.  Wars against smoking and the speed limit now commenced.

     Tuli Kupferberg of the Fugs was to shortly proclaim that America was insane.  While he was certainly projecting, regretfully it seems that he was right.  All the stresses proved too much for the American mind.

     But for Dewey on his bus ride downtown the astonishing changes that had taken place in less than six months as reflected only in the car designs was mind boggling.

page 1290

     He was now half way through his enlistment.  For anyone to think he would re-up was laughable.  He knew he would never go back to the midwest; its whole atmosphere seemed oppressive compared to the West Coast.  The bright dazzle of Southern California clashed with the dark inner recesses of his soul.  He much preferred the dark overcast skies of the San Francisco Bay and its surly blue collar mentality which matched more closely the turmoil of his own soul.

     Had he been thinking he would have realized that before plunging into the thick of life he needed a period of time to recuperate to gain a semblance of balance.  He should have used his time to explore rural settings along, perhaps, Highway 49 with its old mining sites like Angel’s Camp where with his savings he could have rented a cabin at reasonable rates and sat out a year to gain a sense of direction.

     Instead, prompted by P.J. O’Rourke in Hong Kong, he was bound and determined to get a college degree in order to make himself a first class citizen.  He saw himself as the equal if not the superior of any officer he had ever seen.

     California with its well developed college system was cheap and available to any applicant who cared to apply.  The murk and gloom of the Bay Area was most congenial to his general depression.  He bethought himself of his friendship with Roque Da Costa who lived in Oakland.  Da Costa had been lucky enough to escape the brig in Guam; Dewey now decided to press him into introducing him to his family and Oakland.

     Thus would begin a period in Dewey’s life which condensed into one of its most meaningful periods.  The next few months might be said to be the core of Dewey’s entire life.  The coming future memories would embrace the whole of his Navy career and spil over both backward and forward.  The mere twenty-six weeks would be as a thousand years in his sight.

page 1291.

     For now, Dewey got off the bus to walk up to Broadway and the corner of the El Cortez.  The long cruise had changed all his sensibilities.  The long days and nights at sea had slowed his perceptions.  All was orderly at sea.  There had been no need to rush or hurry.  The pace of life had even been slower in the ports of call.  Entombed in the long slow shuffling strung out mass of humanity in Hong Kong he had been compelled to  move at less than a snail’s pace.

     Back in San Diego which had always seemed leisurely to him everything seemed to be rushing and hurrying.  Cars raced by at seeming blinding speed.  It seemed as though he would have to reorient himself just to cross the street.

     The pedestrians seemed to fly by him.  Dewey had always been the fastest of walkers passing everyone on the street but now he would have to train himself to even keep up with the flow.

     As he stood on the corner peeping timorously into the traffic of Broadway Marcia Mason whizzed by him on the way to her job in the record store.  She recognized him immediately giving him a disdainful look.  Dewey, whose psychology gave him little capacity for remembering names and faces had only a faint glimmer of recognition which passed as soon as it appeared.

page 1292.

     Abashed by the tumultuous activity Dewey entered a drug store bought a copy of Time and Newsweek, spurning US News And World Report and retired to the Y to sit quietly reading his magazines.

    The world, as usual, was in flux.  Fidel Castro was in full revolt in Cuba.  Even though it was apparent to the least informed reader that Castro was a Communist, the Revolutionary writers of that supposedly conservative Time magazine were in a quandary as to whether he was merely an agricultural redistributor or perhaps only a fellow traveler using the Communists for his own ends but certainly not a Communist.  It never seemed to bother these pundits that whether in China, Cuba or elsewhere no land was ever distributed.

     ‘Boy, if Joe were still around there wouldn’t be much confusion on that issue.’  Dewey thought as his attention slipped over to an article on growing tension in Lebanon.  Nasser was stirring the Middle East.  As important as Castro’s declaration of Communism would be after the turn of the year for the United States it would have no effect on Dewey, however the growing tension in Lebanon which burst into flame in the summer of ’58 would.

     As Dewey flipped back to the book reviews which he found more absorbing than the news accounts which in the Time style were little more than fictional he failed to fix his attention on a man now about forty years old who arrived to sit in a chair three or four away from him.

     The man hadn’t removed his hat, wore dark sunglasses, had a thick bushy mustache and wore a suit that looked like it might once have belonged to someone else.

page 1293.

     Dewey read quietly a review of a book by Lederer and Eugene Burdick called The Ugly American.   Little did Dewey realize that this book by two Jews would completely unsettle the American psyche.

     Until this time Americans had considered themselves as decent, righteous, beautiful people.  They saw themselves as generous to a fault.  It was that generosity that Lederer and Burdick turned into a vice thereby making Americans see themselves as dirty and vile.  The notion of being ‘ugly’ Americans became an article of faith that it was impossible for them to shake.  Any denial of its truth would bring forth a violent reaction of affirmation.  Curiously they enjoyed thinking of themselves as ‘ugly’ Americans. 

     Time Magazine in the future would devote feature articles denouncing us as ‘ugly Americans.’  We were vile because even though we broadcast our resources wholesale over the ‘poor little yellow-brown people’ of South-East Asia for nothing but altruistic purposes we did so with ‘strings attached.’  We wanted their affection and gratitude.  It is truly said ‘You can’t buy love.’ and the US didn’t get any for its generosity.

     On the question of was it good for the Jews it should be noted that the Jewish state of Israel was sponging off the US for hundreds of millions a year.  Perhaps using the technique of shaming Americans in one place would free the Israelis of any obligations to affiliate their goals with those of the United States.  Or by making us feel ashamed perhaps the simple Americans would give Israel more.  Just because you made their state viable didn’t mean they owed anything to you.  The Israelis wanted no strings attached.  Thus Lederer and Burdick were really acting as subversive Israeli agents posing as American citizens.  Always look for the ulterior motive where Jews are concerned.

page 1294.

     Dewey read and watched in disgust as the US, his people, himself, was reviled and insulted for the generosity it gave Southeast Asia and the world.  He saw the flaw in the reasoning of the elected representatives of the people in Washington  but as only one of the multitude he could do nothing about it.  Indeed, when the people embraced the notion of the ‘Ugly American’ they almost demanded to be taken advantage of and they were.

     The attitude would end in the folly of the Viet Nam debacle which was then appearing sporadically in the back pages of Time.

     Fifty-eight was also the year of Philip Marlowe’s last caper.

     Heaving a sigh, even then angry at the concept of the Ugly American Dewey got up to head back to the base intent on a confab with Roque Da Costa.

     As he got up he became aware of the heavy breathing of the man in the hat.  Dewey gave him a glance figuring he must be a queer or something who haunted the Y to look at men then walked out into the sunshine to catch a bus.

Replacement Troops

     While Da Costa and Trueman had had a troubled friendship in mess cooking Trueman had not been that friendly toward him since then.  They hadn’t gone over together once while overseas.  Trueman did not consciously think of such things for indeed had he tried to analyze his feelings about his treatment overseas he would have gotten nowhere but subliminally he resented the fact that Da Costa had never given him any warnings as to the intents of Dieter and Deck nor had he ever openly sided with Dewey.

page 1295

     Nevertheless as these were times that were trying his soul he believed he had no choice but to impose himself on Roque if he were to get his post-Navy life in order.

     Da Costa for his part was unconcerned with Trueman or his welfare.  As Trueman got all the dirt jobs there was no real value to his friendship thus whatever friendly feelings were left over from mess cooking had worn pretty thin.

     Still, as Trueman had an Anglo name he was considered, as it were, pure blooded English.  Da Costa carried the stigma of being a Portogee, as he called it, hence having an inferiority complex versus the Anglo.  So, even if Trueman was at the bottom of the pecking order in Deck he was socially above Da Costa.  Roque was therefore somewhat intimidated causing him to defer to Trueman.

     He wasn’t anxious to let Trueman go home with him on a weekend but Trueman with the subtlety of the proverbial sledge hammer bludgeoned him into acceptance.

     This feat had just been achieved as Trueman sat on his locker to shine his shoes.  He was giving a good rub to the second application of Shinola when a ruckus on the Quarterdeck could be heard all the way in First.

page 1296.

      ‘We got five new guys coming down, Trueman.’

     ‘Oh yeah?  Lucky us, lucky them.  See if the like it any better than we do.’

     Now half way through his enlistment Trueman following the universal pattern found any new people an imposition.  He was no longer interested in forming relationships.  Guam had gutted the ship of most of the familiar faces.  Transfers and expirations would keep the crew in perpetual flux.  Except for those in Deck Trueman wouldn’t even know the names of new men in other divisions.  Of the men in Deck they would merely be bodies filling positions.

     The five new deck hands streamed noisily through the hatch half carrying half dragging their sea bags  in a juvenile eighteen year old manner.  They were all fresh out of boot camp and had the wild eyed excited look of beginning the great adventure.  That attitude would last one day.  Well, they weren’t mistaken but they weren’t going to get the magnificent Pacific tour of duty the Teufelsdreck had just aborted.  Navy life was big adventure but not necessarily a pleasant one.  Just a big one.  Somehow, someway in the constricted environment of a steel ship three hundred six feet long, twenty-five feet wide midships something new, startling and dramatic seemed to happen every day.   This day was no exception.

     Dewey was shining away.  The seers who ran the Navy apparently believed in the old adage:  Idle hands are the devil’s workshop. so they insisted on spectacular shoeshines.  By mixing a little water in the polish and rubbing for hours one could actually shave by one’s reflection in one’s shoes.  It was a feat quite equaling Einstein’s creation of relativity; important to the Navy but stunningly irrelevant to any swabby.  Still neatness counts.

page 1297.

      Laboring patiently away he was ignoring the newcomers when an unfamiliar super eager grinning face shoved into his:  ‘Are you Dewey Trueman?’

     Trueman pushed the unfamiliar face back a little looking at it in a quizzical manner:  ‘Yeah. So what?’

     ‘I really wanted to meet you.’

     ‘Oh yeah?  Who are you and where have you heard of me?’

    ‘My name’s Tory Torbrick.  I’ve been wanting to meet you.’

      ‘Yeah?  OK, Torbrick.  So where, when or how have you heard of me?’

     ‘Oh.  I don’t know.  Just around.  I think we’re going to be good friends.’

      Dewey put on his shoes to go up on deck to relieve the watch.  He gave Torbrick an acknowledgment walking off  mystified by where Torbrick could possibly have heard of him.  He was disturbed by Torbrick’s reluctance to tell him how he had heard of him.  Torbrick always evaded the issue in the future so Dewey never did learn why Tory was so ardent to befriend him.

     Dewey elected to avoid Torbrick as he was suspicious of him.  But the ship was small.  Torbrick was a deck hand who slept in the same compartment so there was no way to avoid him.  Torbrick simply forced himself on Trueman with the subtlety of a load of horse puckey.

page 1298.

     Torbrick was following his father’s orders.  Shortly he would ask Trueman to spend a weekend at his home in Long Beach as his father began his plan to commit Trueman to Atascadero.

North To Oakland

     Trueman disregarded Torbrick avoiding him as much as possible but he pushed the reluctant Da Costa into inviting him to Oakland on their first forty-eight.   Weekend passes from Friday afternoon to muster on Monday morning were called forty-eight hour passes.

     Trueman was disappointed that Da Costa wouldn’t travel with him but chose to go separately.  Actually Trueman felt this keenly but faced with a future with no guideposts he swallowed his pride concentrating only on the necessity.

     Oakland was six hundred miles from San Diego.  The Navy required a sailor to get an out of bounds pass to travel beyond one hundred miles.  LA was technically out of bounds by a few miles but those miles were officially disregarded.

     Trueman had to suffer the humiliation of asking Kanary for an out of bounds request form.  The officious little Yeoman asked impertinent questions rather than just handing over the form.  That was why the Communists demanded the Yeoman rating.  They learned whatever was going on and what everybody was doing.  What was now to become Trueman’s habit of going to Oakland was learned and passed on, in this case to Our Lady Of The Blues.  Trueman cringed as he gave evasive or incomplete answers finally just blurting out:  ‘C’mon Kanary, just give me the form; I don’t have to answer any questions of yours.’

     Having filled out the form Trueman had to present it to the Executive Officer Lt. Lance Sieggren for approval.  If Kanary was an impediment Sieggren was an obstacle.  Trueman’s hatred of the officers left him all but tongue tied in their presence.  It was all he could do to keep his hostility in check.

     Repairing to the wardroom he stood before the seated Sieggren who gave him the third degree before reluctantly approving the request.  Seething with anger at having to submit his manhood to a man he couldn’t respect Trueman choked out a thank-you but was unable to conceal the disgust and resentment he felt in his facial expression.

     Downtown in the Greyhound station the realities of life began to hit him.  He had always envied the California kids who could escape the degradation of Navy life by going home on weekends.  Some could even do it overnight.  He hoped that going to Oakland would offer him that respite as well as preparing him for civilian life.

     As he paid for his roundtrip ticket he realized that he wouldn’t be able to make the trip as often as he liked.  Bus tickets weren’t that cheap.  As he stood around the station waiting for the bus to leave he realized in addition that bus stations were very unpleasant places.

     San Diego wasn’t too bad.  So much of the traffic was Navy that the undesirable elements were not too prominent and they put the Navy men in a different category and didn’t bother them as much.  Yet the young ne’er-do-wells that habituated bus terminals were still unpleasantly conspicuous.

page 1300.     

     They were nothing compared to LA.  It seemed that the City Of Angels had more evil angels than good ones.  So many young men and women flocked to LA that the station was full of not not only ne’er-d0-wells but predators.

     The LA station was large but not nearly as large or as well organized as Chicago or even the much smaller town of Joplin, Missouri.  The building was single story with few amenities.  Pimps, thieves and sexual predators congregated and operated openly in numbers unseen in other bus stations.  Perhaps the lure of Hollywood brought so many naive young bumpkins into town that the pickings were as plentiful as schools of carp around a sewer.

     The predators were not timid either but behaved in a feeding frenzy as each bus disgorged its bevy of young innocents.

     The scene must have approximated that at Castle Gardens or the landing from Ellis Island in the old days as the acclimated Jews and Italians or whatever gathered to prey on their exiting greenhorn landsmen and paisanos.  In many ways the situation was the same.  Whether the old immigrants were as transparently criminal as the predators in LA isn’t known to me.

     Dewey had a layover of over an hour in LA as he had to transfer buses.  As his bus rolled to a stop inside the terminal a bevy of predators gathered at the very door of the bus to glom onto any newcomers.

     ‘Welcome to LA.’  In an eager friendly voice that came from a seedy looking guy of twenty-one or twenty-two.

page 1301.

     ‘Thanks.’  Dewey said in a startled voice.

     ‘Whadya come for, the movies?’

     ‘No, man.  I’m just passing through.’

     ‘Well, you got a little layover, let’s talk.’

     ‘How do you know I’ve got a layover?’

     ‘That’s the bus from Tucson.  It just runs back and forth between LA, San Diego and Tucson so if you’re passing through you’ve got to change buses, have a layover.  Always takes at least half an hour.’  The guy said, pleased with himself for his knowledge of the schedules.

     ‘Yeah?  Well, thanks, but I’m just going to look over the town a little while I’m waiting.’

     ‘Great.  I’ll go with you.’

     There was no shaking the guy short of violence so Dewey was compelled to suffer his company.

     At that time LA still had a vital downtown.  The streets were lined with more and bigger stores filled with more unusual and expensive merchandise than Dewey had ever seen before even in Detroit.  It made his mouth water.

     This was LA and that meant something.  No other city in the world could then compete with LA in style.  OK, so maybe the LA style did tend to the gauche in some ways but who’s to say which standard of judgment is correct.  It was a choice between stuffy or open.  The style may have been a little more blatant but it was vital and exciting just like the sun and sand of the Southland.  London, Paris, New York were all shrinking violets compared to the bumptious, in your face confidence of LA.  The City of Angels didn’t care what you thought.

page 1302.

     Dewey’s attention was arrested by a display of men’s shirts in one of the windows.  His mouth dropped open at their sight while in quick succession his face screwed up in revulsion at their unfamiliarity.

     The shirts merely had striped bodies surmounted by a solid white collar and cuffs.  But rather than seeming fashionable they just seemed outre to Dewey.  In truth the fashion never really caught on.

     His companion who, believe it or not, called himself ‘Flash’, mistook Dewey’s look for admiration thinking it time to make his move:  ‘You’re never going to be able to afford shirts like that, unless…’

     ‘I wouldn’t wear one if I could afford it.’

     ‘Hey?  Bullock’s is a very nice department store.’  Flash said indignantly.  As his taste was determined by where an item was purchased he considered anything from Bullock’s primo.

     ‘I know how you could make the money to wear those shirts.  I’ve got the right contacts.’

     Dewey’s year and a half in the Navy had been well spent.  He knew what was coming next.

     ‘I know how to get money if I need it.’  He replied scornfully.

     ‘Everybody knows how to get a few bucks but I know how to get lots and have a good time doing it.’

     ‘Yeah?  Well I don’t flip it up for anybody.’

     ‘Ha!  Whadayou?  One of them goody goodies?’

page 1303.

     ‘I’m no faggot.’

     ‘Watch who you’re calling names.  I’m not either.  I just know a thing or two.’

     ‘Who cares?  Get lost.’  Dewey said turning to walk back to the bus station.

     Flash followed along behind Dewey heaping abuse on him with the effrontery of the recruiter unwilling to let his prey escape him.  Back inside the terminal Flash quieted down taking his place against the wall with the other predators and grifters who were waiting for new buses to arrive.

     Some crud was chatting up a young girl at the entrance to the waiting room promising to help her if she would just trust him.  It was then Dewey realized who and what all these guys were.

     Rather than realizing that Flash had approached him just because he had gotten off a bus Dewey took his indecent proposal as a personal affront.  He began to spout off not only at Flash which he had a right to do but at the whole clusters of pimps and hustlers.

     The crowd was listening to him in dumb astonishment when a bus attendant called him over:  ‘This is none of my business, Friend, but I’d advise you not to antagonize those guys.  They’re dangerous when riled.’

     ‘Who cares about them?’  Dewey said indignantly and loudly.  ‘They’re nothing but cons and cheats.’

     ‘I know, I know.’

     ‘Then why don’t the cops run them out?’

     ‘They’d just come back.  They’re an unpleasant fact of life.  We don’t like them but we have to tolerate them.  My advice to you given in all friendliness is to brush this off but don’t antagonize them.’

page 1304.

     Dewey was saved the trouble of dealing with them further by the announcement of his bus but the damage had been done.  The pimps and hustlers marked him well.  The next time he came through, even if years later, they would remember him and be waiting for him.

     The police who say they are powerless to find criminals without informers allowed these criminals to operate openly in a public place of business.

     Dewey’s bus pulled out headed over the Grapevine for the cities of the Central Valley of California.  Called the Central Valley, the San Joaquin and the Sacramento it’s all the same thing, one long dry desert made productive by irrigation.  The slopes of the Valley were lined with man made reservoirs coming down from the Sierra Nevada.  The big Shasta Dam at the headwaters of the Sacramento was still in construction but when it was finished there would be enough water to flood the Valley.

     Dewey had caught a local so when the bus pulled into Bakersfield on the other side of the Grapevine a lean, thin faced, hawk beaked man who appeared to be looking for a fight got on.  Dewey threw his feet up on the empty seat beside him to preempt it.  This was all the challenge that Dean Moriarty needed.

     ‘Move your feet.  I want this seat.’

     ‘There’s plenty of other seats use one of them.’  Dewey said amiably.

page 1305. 

     ‘No.’

     Moriarity went for the bus driver.  It has been said that your physiognomy is your destiny.  Whatever that means it always seemed that the faces were applied against Dewey.  If he had asked the driver for the seat the driver would have told him to take another.  Now he sided with Moriarty.  However personality determines fate whatever was in Dewey’s face never did him any good.  Maybe it was the pimples.

     ‘Look.  You’re going to have to move your feet, buddy.’

     ‘OK.’  Dewey said getting up to move to another empty bench sliding in against the window.  Moriarity followed him sliding in beside him.

     Dewey shoved him over complaining to the driver:  “Hey, Driver, make this guy go back to the seat he wanted.’

     ‘I can sit where I please.  I’ve paid my fare.’  Moriarty said self-righteously.

     ‘There’s nothing I can do about it, buddy.’  The Driver groaned more than familiar not only with Moriarty’s type but Moriarty himself.  Moriarty was so cranked out that he rode back and forth from Bakersfield to Sacramento seeking such confrontations.  Yes, it is a form of homosexuality.  Dewey had to endure the crank.

     The bus had been rolling down 99 toward Fresno for an hour before Moriarty spoke to a thoroughly irritated Trueman.

     ‘You look like the type who’s never cracked a book in his life.’

     These guys are nearly always astute psychologists who know just which button to push.  Dewey should have kept his mouth shut but unfortunately he had been raised to be courteous.  An onerous curse in itself.

page 1306.

     ‘I’ve cracked a book.’  He mumbled as low as possible so as to obey the rules of courtesy but discourage conversation.

     ‘What’s that?  Have the courtesy to speak up.  Don’t you have any breeding?’  It was Moriarty’s purpose to have Dewey thrown off the bus.  What twist had been given him by whom can only be guessed at, but he was more successful at raising ire than not.

     ‘Yeah.  I read.’  Dewey replied miserably.

     ‘Name one author you’ve read other than tripe like Mickey Spillane.’  Moriarty said contemptuously.  ‘I mean real literature.’

     Mickey Spillane had written some gory sex-filled detective stories with Mike Hammer as his hero which had been popular a few years before.  Dewey hadn’t read them but Moriarty had.

     Dewey lit a cigarette, looked at Moriarty resignedly then blew smoke in his face.  ‘Kipling.’  He replied.

     ‘Driver.  Driver.  For Christ’s sake, I’ve got asthma.  Make him put out his cigarette.’

     ‘If he’s got asthma, buddy, put out your cigarette.’

     ‘Better yet, Driver, I’ll move away from him further back.’  Dewey rose to move back but Moriarty jammed his knees against the back of the forward seat refusing to let Dewey pass.

     ‘No.’  Moriarty said self-righteously and indignantly.  ‘I don’t have to do what you want me to do.  I’m not your slave.  You can climb over the seat.’

page 1307.

     ‘C’mon Driver.  Make him let me out.’

     ‘Look buddy, just put out your cigarette.’

     ‘No.  I won’t.  If he won’t let me out then he’s giving me permission to smoke.’

     ‘I’ll stop the bus and put you off if you don’t put that cigarette out as I say.’

     ‘I’ll testify he’s trying to start a fight.’  Moriarty rapped out.

      Faced with the possibility of being expelled from the bus Dewey put out his cigarette.  Chalk another one up for the gay guy.  His chest swelled at the realization of his power to make another man do what he didn’t want. 

     ‘You’ll learn not to mess with me, mister.’  The twisted Moriarty said with satisfaction.  He was a past master at starting and winning disputes of this nature.  He now returned to Dewey’s answer to his question to keep the agiatation of his perverted mind in motion.

     ‘Kipling was the spokesman of colonialism.  what he and those bigoted English did to the Indian sub-continent was criminal.  If you like Rudyard Kipling then you share the guilt of the English.  I’m not sure I can continue sitting beside you.’

     ‘I did try to leave but you wouldn’t do what I told you jerk.  ‘Sides the English didn’t do anything to India nearly as bad as what the Indians did to themselves.’

     ‘I have no idea what you’re talking about.’

     ‘The caste system for one thing.  The very idea of making a huge part of your fellow man ‘untouchable’ while putting red dots on the foreheads of others to give them special privileges should make any decent man puke.  If you back that system, then you’re just as screwed up as they are, probably worse.  Kipling was a good and decent man.’

page 1308.

     ‘What the Indians chose to do with each other is their internal affair; what invaders like the English do is criminal.’

     ‘You’re twisted, man, you’ve got a mental disease.’

     ‘Did you hear that everybody?’  Dean Moriarty said turning to address everyone on the bus.  This ‘person’ here advocates criminal behavior.  That makes him a criminal himself.  We should all be ashamed to be on the same bus with him.’

     By this time the bus had entered and left Fresno.  The next stop was Merced toward which they left the highway.  The driver had not responded to this latest outburst of Moriarty.  The pervert played his next card.

     ‘As a matter of fact I won’t stay on this bus with you another minute.  I will get off here at Merced and await for the next bus to continue my journey to Sacramento.’

     ‘OK.  Great man.  You’re not hurting my feelings.’

     As the bus stopped the twisted tortured pervert that was Dean Moriarty stood at the door reviling Trueman until the driver closed the door to pull out even then trying to hold the door open.  Moriarty knew his act so well that everyone on the bus looked at Dewey in disgust.

      As it was now quite dark Dewey just sat there ignoring the world.  ‘Damned if I’ll take the bus again.’  He groaned.

     Another short hop brought to bus to Modesto from which they left 99 to take the Manteca cutoff bypassing Tracy over to Oakland across the Bay Bridge into San Francisco.  It was now three in the morning.

page 1309

     The San Francisco bus station was deserted that early in the morning.  Dewey grabbed his bag to walk up the deserted street to Market, the main drag of San Francisco.  The dark night glistened in twinkling patent leather black against the lights of Market.  As Dewey looked down Market he was relieved to see the street deserted.

     He took no more than three steps than simultaneously down the entire length of Market a person or two stepped into the street from every doorway on both sides of the street.  Each looked hopefully in his direction eager to be chosen for whatever adventure he might propose.

     There were winos, homos of every description, men who looked like women and women who looked like men.  There were even lonely women hoping for any kind of companionship.  As Dewey walked along Market there was a delicious shiver of anticipation for the habitues of this midnight obsession.  What was in his bag?  Which one would he choose?

      Sneers of indignation were launched at Dewey’s back as he passed each hopeful leaving them crushed and rejected.  They spat hatefully at his heels.  Block after block Dewey passed them by as he walked down Market.

     When he turned to make his way to the Key Systems terminal for the ride over the Bay Bridge to Oakland a wave of pain washed over him as the injured devastated souls sank back into their doorways to stand in the withering night in hopes that a car might pull up to select one to make his life meaningful.  But the sun would come up driving them back to their lairs before a redeemer would arrive.  Today there is no salvation.

page 1310.

     ‘Man, what a town.’  Dewey said as he climbed the steps to the trains.  The arcades were all closed.  Only a couple sailors on the way back to Treasure Island waited for a train. 

     Da Costa lived out on E. 86th Street about five blocks off East 14th which was the North-South drag of Oakland.  East 14th was the longest street Dewey had ever seen stretching from the bay all the way to the future Fremont over four hundred blocks long.

     Da Costa, who had just arrived let him in without having to knock which was well because Roque’s father was a cranky old soul.

The Heart Of Oakland

     Pietro, or Pete, Da Costa had emigrated to the United States as a young boy with his parents.  He was now sixty-three.  He was a widower who had sired four offspring: three girls and Roque.  The two older sisters were both married and out of the house.  Roque’s younger sister, Terry, at seventeen was fifteen years younger than the oldest sister.

     Oakland had a substantial Portuguese population.  They were a clannish lot who believed that they had suffered serious discrimination at the hands of the Anglos.  They were very sensitive about being confused with Mexicans, who they considered inferior, because of the similarity of the names.

     Gomez and Rodriguez were not to be confused with Gomes and Rodrigues.  The final S designated a Portuguese while the Z was emblematic of the Mexican.

page 1311.

     Pete Da Costa but illy concealed his rage that his son had brought an Anglo home.  He let Dewey know that he was not welcome in his home.

     Rather than face his father’s anger Roque whisked Dewey out of the house.  ‘He’s kinda living in the past.’  Roque lamented the first generations traditional lament.  ‘Still hasn’t left the old country in his heart.  A lot of the old guys are still fighting battles from years ago.  Come on, I’ll show you the stomping grounds.’

     Roque was able to borrow his father’s car which he headed down East 14th toward the cannerys and the heart of Portuguese Oakland.  In the old days the immigrant Italians and Portuguese had staffed the cannerys such as the big Del Monte plant that backed onto High Street.  High Street led across the channel to the city of Alameda.  Oakland itself is the seat of Alameda County.  Adjoining it to the West is the City of Alameda on Alameda Island with its huge Alameda Naval Air Station.  The big carriers like the Kearsarge home based at Alameda.

     As the boys drove up to the Big Top Drive In just east of the cannerys what the Bay Area called the ‘high fog’ still obscured the sun.  The high fog was responsible for giving the city its dull dark cast.  Anyone else would have called the ‘high fog’ cloud cover.  The fog or clouds formed out over the ocean during the day then as the temperature dropped in the evening the moisture laden air condensed into clouds which were drawn through the Golden Gate by winds created by the cooling land.  The East Bay and San Francisco were the most affected areas.  Contra Costa county which is actual desert was either unaffected or burned off early.  The Peninsula West across the bay from Oakland was usually bright and sunny.  Santa Clara County with San Jose at the South end of the bay was usually covered over to East San Jose.  That cover usually burned off about noon.

page 1312.

     Oakland was kept perpetually cool by the cloud cover…and gloomy.  Gertrude Stein was once quoted as saying of Oakland:  There’s no there, there.  That isn’t entirely correct, there’s plenty of there there, they just don’t know what to do with it.  It seems like only the dullest mentalities chose to live in Oakland.  It is their lack of interest in everything that makes it appear that there is no there there.

     In San Francisco the mix of races and nationalities created an exciting cosmopolitan atmosphere but in Oakland the same mix as working class folk thuds along like a ruptured inner tube and just lays there.

     They were perpetually at war with themselves and society.  They accepted the cannery jobs as fate with no appeal.  Many of them never left the several square bocks of their neighborhood nor did they have any desire to.  For entertainment they had contests with the police.

     The High Street Bridge was the nightly scene of high speed chases between themselves and the police.  In those day municipal police had no jurisdiction beyond their community limits.  the middle of the bridge was the ending of the jurisdiction of the Oakland police and the beginning of those of Alameda.

page 1313.

     If any of the Wild Boys saw flashing red behind them they immediately took off for the High Street Bridge hoping to get over it before they were hauled off.

     High St. lay athwart the Black enclave of West Oakland to the North and East Oakland to the South.  The blacks who were a fairly recent phenomenon being brought West only in the forties were still resented by the Whites who kept them in what Iceberg Slim called the Stockade.  By keeping them out of sight the Whites tried to ignore their presence.  William Knowland who ran the most boring newspaper in the world ever exposed to the light of day, The Oakland Tribune, made the mistake of his life by trying to pretend they didn’t exist.

     The Blacks liked Oakland perhaps for the reason that Gertrude Stein detested it.  They seemed to fit Oakland like the proverbial hand and glove.  At the time they were approaching 30% of the population.  Within a few short years they were to be over 50%.  As Knowland excluded Black affairs from the pages of the Tribune they had no reason to read the paper.  So the distribution of the Tribune shrank daily as Blacks displaced Whites.  Any Whites who didn’t want to be bored to death read the San Francisco Chronicle or Examiner.  Those newspaper cats ran exciting stories like:  Why Doesn’t San Francisco Have Good Coffee?’  And it wasn’t that there wasn’t excitement in the world at the time either.

     That’s how boring the Tribune was, they couldn’t even think up exciting leaders about coffee.  On the other hand, who cared whether Oakland had good coffee or not.  The lack of good coffee kind of complemented the lack of there there.

page 1314.

     Historians concerned with Black history all seem to think that the doings of Mike King down in Birmingham jail were representative of Blacks all over the country.  Yes, friends, Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the most successful name changes in history, comparable to that of M. Arouet who changed his name to Voltaire.  Marty King’s real name was Mike.  That also means that he as a Jr. his father was also Mike.

     The South was only one part of Black society.  The more adventurous Blacks, or those who didn’t mind cold weather, split the South for the North and West.  Once freed of the danger of lynching they changed their whole attitude quickly.  White culture toward Blacks outside the South was repulsion tinged with indifference.  Without developed mechanisms to intimidate Blacks they allowed themselves to be intimidated by Blacks.

     One of the most notable civil rights figures of the sixties was then residing in Soledad Prison.  Eldridge Cleaver had been one of those who wasn’t going to take it anymore.  He honed his raping skills in the Stockade on Black girls then crossed East 14th to prey on White women.  He would have been in Soledad a lot longer except for the civil rights movement that made egregious crimes into legitimate social protest.

      West Oakland or the Flatlands as the Blacks called it in opposition to what would soon be White enclaves in the hills was a very lovely area.  The trees were old and stately; the lots were all level and spacious.  But in the Black intellect whatever Whites will let them have must be of no value or they woudn’t let them have it so they despised what were, in fact, the choice lands of Oakland.

     Further South in East Oakland where the burgeoning Black population was expanding with geometric force a lot of conflict was occurring down along the interface with displaced Whites.

     People didn’t understand the nature of the Black/White confrontation.  Because the movement of the Blacks was within the borders of the United States the Black immigration into Oakland was seen as internal movement whereas it was in reality an invasion of an alien people.  It was fortunate that there was no large scale warfare as in New York, Chicago, East St. Louis, LA and other places where Blacks had migrated in large numbers.  After all half the city would turn Black.

     The absorption of so many aliens ill adapted to life in a foreign situation would have been next to impossible if they were White and wanted.  Many were country folk unused to city ways, most were illiterate or barely literate.  Frankly, they didn’t know how to act.  The police force which was all White didn’t understand them and didn’t react properly to their alienation.

     The Blacks reacted badly to the p0lice whose harassment they believed was directed especially at them.  This was not true.  The Oakland police force was a savage repressive force of vulgar beasts without the class or shine of the LAPD.  The OPD pulled cheap suit crap the LAPD would have sneered down their noses at.

page 1316.

     The crudos of of the OPD had no qualms about stopping female drivers and demanding sex.  They had no qualms about stopping men with their dates and demanding the men allow them to have sex with their dates.  They had no qualms about demanding sex from men.

     They would write you up for doing ninety down a city street when you were safely within the speed limit to negotiate the speed down depending on whether you would accede to their wishes.  The CWBs in Oakland were truly Criminals With Badges.  It had nothing to do with whether you were Black or not.  If you were Black they may have called you a nigger; if you White they called you White Trash.  The guys they called White Trash had no recourse and never made the papers; the guys they called niggers could get the people who called other Whites White Trash to act on their behalf.  Racism in America?  You bet.

     In 1966 the Black resentment would erupt into the Black Panther Party led by Huey Newton who attended Oakland City College at the same time Dewey did.  It was a strange coincidence that Roque Da Costa would be a victim of the Panthers.

     Roque returned to work at Lucky Stores on his discharge.  He had worked his way up to manager by 1968.  One day a Panther came in demanding that Da Costa cash his stolen check.  He refused to show Roque any ID so Da Costa rightly refused to cash it.  The Panther accused him of racism rather than good business practices.  Da Costa waved him off.

     The next morning when Roque was out emptying the trash the enraged Panther drove by and shot him dead.  Maybe Roque would have been better off at Safeway  than Lucky.

page 1317.

     At the time Blacks were not often seen outside the Stockade so even though they were nearing a majority of the population in 1958 the segregation was nearly complete except for adventurous sorts like Eldridge Cleaver.

     Thus the drive in hangout of Da Costa and his crowd even athough virtually surrounded by Blacks was completely White.  The Anglo influence was nil; the patronage was entirely of South Mediterranean provenance.

     This was a fairly rough crowd.  Toughness was at a premium compared to the more genteel Anglo hangouts.  They had their own problems too, don’t get me wrong.

      ‘OK, Dewey, now it’s really improtant to act like you’re ready to fight.  It’s all just show and push and shove unless you act chicken and then they’ll really come after you.  So just do your strut now.’

     ‘OK, man.’

     As they walked up they were greeted by an acquaintance of Da Costa’s.

     ‘Hey, Roque.  Where ya been; haven’t seen you ya around lately.’

      ‘Hi, Sam.  I just got back from Hong Kong.  Been gone for a while.’

     ‘Just got back from Hong Kong!  Get outta here.  You’re talking to Sammy boy, Roque.’

     ‘I really did just get back from Hong Kong, Sam.  I’m in the Navy now and we just returned from a Pacific tour.  I’ll be around a little more now but I’m stationed in San Diego.’

     At the mention of the Navy Sam noticed Dewey who doing his tough act, with his long sour face, it was a pretty good imitation of mean looking.  Sam had been around some of the Navy bars near the Air Station.  Tough Navy bars were legendary in California.  Sam went into defensive posture.

page 1318.

     ‘Oh yeah, Navy, huh?  Anybody want to fight?  C’mon.  We’ll choose up sides and smell armpits.’  He said clowning a pose where he lifted his arms and strutted left and right.

     Sam got a good laugh, Dewey was accepted as Da Costa’s buddy.  But the longer he talked to the Da Costa crowd the more Dewey was repelled.  Dewey had nothing in common with the negative immigrant attitude.  He didn’t understand how these guys could be so down.  Coming from the Children’s Home Dewey had more reason for despair than these guys yet they had no hope, no ambition, no desire to improve their situation.

     Dewey watched a Wild Boy dash past on the way to the bridge running a red light followed by a squad car as he wondered what he exactly hoped from Oakland.  His mind was made up to make this place home so he pondered thoughtfully as Da Costa drove back to 86th. Street.

     As luck would have it Dewey picked up a racking cough somewhere on the way North.  It was one of those uncontrollable dry things.  Coming at night as it did Dewey wasn’t able to buy cough drops.  As everyone turned in, try as he might, Dewey couldn’t stop coughing but hacked away non-stop all night.

     Already enraged at having an Anglo in the house the cough was sufficient grounds for complaint against Trueman’s visits.

     By noon the next day it was time for Trueman to leave if he was going to get back in time.  On the bus ride to the Key Station the cough disappeared as quickly as it had begun.  One can only guess that Trueman’s subconscious was trying to tell him something.

     The thugs hanging around the bus station zeroed in on Trueman as he was their age.  Bus stations always have a group of low class thugs hanging around because the people who ride buses usually come from the least affluent levels of society.  Trains still took a better class while the affluent types clustered in the airports.  Fighting the toughs off Trueman boarded the bus for the trip back.

     Whereas San Francisco had been deserted at three in the morning when he’d arrived the pimps and hustlers still filled the LA terminal at one AM when the bus pulled in.  They recognized Trueman from the previous Friday.  The layover was short but Trueman realized they had his number.

     The bus had taken much too long.  It had also been very unpleasant.  As Dewey wended his way back through the Naval Base at four-thirty in the morning he thought there had to be a better way.

The Wages Of Sin

     Dewey got every other weekend off.  While he was waiting for the next forty-eight to come up the rest of the squadron returned from their magnificent seven day layover in Honolulu.  Dewey was put out at his fellows who had been so stupid as to accept pay advances they should have known would get them into trouble.

      Even though they had sacrificed Hawaii his shipmates were too dull to regret it.  Mostly they lamented that being on half pay for their durations diminished their enjoyments.  Many tried to make up their pay shortages by other means.

page 1320.

     The first such casualty of the over payment scheme was Trueman’s overseas pal, Parsons.  Practical morality is largely the fear of censure by one’s fellows.  While one might never disappoint the expectations of family and friends in one’s home town the same rules of behavior are not necessarily followed in a different milieu.

     On the one hand Parsons felt he had no reputation to lose in San Diego while on the other for less serious crimes the civil authorities simply remanded the transgressor to the justice of the Navy.  As before noted the Navy was tolerant of the deeds of its wayward boys.

     Relying on the leniency of the Navy, Parsons tried to augment his reduced income by burgling a San Diego store.  He was so unfortunate as to be caught in the act on his first attempt.  His expectations were not disappointed; the San Diego police simply turned him over to the Shore Patrol.  Ratches gave him a stern lecture about holding up the strict standards of the Navy and the remarkably lenient sentence of seven days restriction.

     Disappointed at the failure of his burglary Parsons was nevertheless satisfied with the results of his apprehension.  He had not however counted on the reaction of his shipmates.  Most labeled him for what he was, a criminal.  He was surprised to find himself rejected by his fellows with the exception of Screw, Easy, McLean, Kayo Kreskin and the criminal cadre aboard.

     Parsons was stunned when Trueman reluctantly advised him that he could no longer associate with him.  Parsons was incapable of understanding.  He had worked out all the consequences but one, the reaction of his shipmates.

page 1321.

     Parsons considered that his crime was no different than being AWOL for a few hours or even minutes.  He took his seven days restriction considering the matter closed.  The rejection of Trueman and the crew struck his self-conception like a sledge hammer.  He was forced to hang out with the criminal element although he did disavow his criminal ways when he was once again safe with family, friends and hometown.

     A more corrosive effect was made by Kayo Kreskin.  The effect of the forty pounds of heroin on the finances of his father was explosive.  The return was so sensational that Soter’s appetite for the easy money was increased accordingly.  The land of opportunity for Soter and Kayo lay close at hand just South of the border.

     Soter bought Kayo a fifty-eight Edsel, setting him up to make bi-weekly runs from the border to the Bay.  Soter saw no reason to put his son at risk with border crossings so he arranged for delivery of the stuff to be made to a lawyer friend in the yacht harbor of Coronado where Kayo picked it up.

    Trueman with his need to include everyone he liked in his schemes soon included Joe McLean in his weekend jaunts to Oakland.  While there McLean ran into Jim Chance who was continuing his criminal career burgling warehouses in Oakland from his base at the airport.

     In an effort to increase the take Soter persuaded Kayo to recruit some mules.  There was no more likely candidate than Joe McLean.  Joe, who was also feeling pinched on his reduced wages, was delighted to drive for Kweskin.  The couple hundred he received for each trip more than made up for his loss in wages.

page 1322.

     As he had no car, to his further delight the Kreskins bought him a fifty-one Buick convertible.  McLean was in hog heaven.  Teal Kanary also flew a few kilos up to the Bay Area on his fequent trips home.  There may have been other mules as well but in any event Soter Kreskin blossomed as a social lion with his few found means.  He too was in hog heaven though of a different quality than Joe McLean’s.

     His next weekend Dewey chose to fly to San Francisco as were a number of men of  greater means than his own.  At the time Southwest Airlines was the industry phenom.  They were running cattle cars between San Diego, LA and San Francisco at incredibly low prices.  They packed you in like sardines but most people found the resulting frotage sexually exciting.

     This was the beginning of the heyday of sexual promiscuity.  The stewardesses were young, beautiful and wanted the same sexual freedom as men.  This was somthing like saying that nails could have the same freedom as hammers.  Whatever gets used gets abused.  Strangely it took women several decades to discover that all the physical and psychic wear and fell on them.  Then they turned viciously on men to make them pay for their own stupidity.

     That consequence was far in the future.  For the time being the stewardesses seemed willing even eager to be groped amongst the party atmosphere provided by the airlines.  It was as though being able to fly made them giddy.  Through it all the morose and angry face of Dewey Trueman shone like a dirge at a wedding.  Everything in Dewey’s past conspired to exclude him from this merriment.  The high spirits even seemed  an intended affront against him.  For Dewey it hurt so good to feel so bad.

page 1323.

     Not only had Dewey spent more than he could afford for the flight but upon disembarking he discovered that the airport was a long way from where he wanted to be.  San Francisco airport then as now was halfway down the Peninsula between San Francisco and the Santa Clara Valley.  The trip over to Oakland consumed another three hours and more expense than Dewey was willing to absorb.

     Although old Pete Da Costa was no less happy to see him Da Costa’s sister Terry had decided to take an interest in him.  As with so many Southern and Eastern European immigrant women the Da Costa girls had sought to avoid the stigma of inferiority by marrying men with English names.

     By coincidence both of Roque’s older sisters had married men named Clark although Earl spelled his name Clarke with an E while Alton didn’t.  Trueman seemed an eminently suitable English name to Terry.

     Dewey had no interest in her.  Call it what you will but Terry was of a deep olive complexion as was the rest of the family which Dewey disliked.  Then too there was that about the Da Costa style of living which was distasteful to Dewey’s sensibilities.  It bespoke an intellect which was foreign to him and to which his intellect could never adapt.  It may be said, however, that both Mary Clarke and Estelle Clark kept a much more Anglo style of housekeeping although Mary was incomparably the better of the two.

page 1324.

     So Dewey idly passed the weekend flying back to San Diego with time to spare.  He realized that if he had to pay to travel to Oakland that he wouldn’t be able to afford more than one trip a month.  He was so desperate to get away every week that he made a decision that would forever declass him in his own mind.

     He remembered how he had felt pity for his high school pal, Jerry, who used to hitch everywhere.  He had felt then that Jerry had declassed himself and felt pity for him because it always made Jerry inferior in his eyes.

     But now, faced with the horror of not being able to get away from both ship and San Diego he made the fateful decision to put out his thumb.

An E With A Hashmark

     The Commodore was exceedingly wroth with the Teufelsdreck.  Not only was Ratches ruining his own career but the unusual proceedings on board the Teufelsdreck were affecting his own reputation as squadron commander.  The unexplainable logic of the payroll advances abord the Bucket T had been the last straw for the Commodore.  He wanted nothing better than to himiliate Ratches and his ship as he felt he was being humiliated.  See how they liked it.

page 1125.

     Thus the Monday after Dewey’s flight back from the Bay Area the squadron put out to sea for gunnery exercises.  The complement of the Teuf was not yet up to full strength thus the Commodore believed that with a number of green hands and short of men the Teuf would not be able to defend its pants.

     Chief Dieter had not relaxed his animosity toward Trueman.  If anything it had deepened.  Trueman had been assigned some mopping up work on the fo’c’sle.  He was beginning to lose his enthusiasm for working hard although he still did good work.  Rather than hurrying to get the job done he was sitting in front of the 20MM gun tub leaning with his back against it while leisurely scrubbing some discolored area of the deck when he heard the voices of Dieter and Morford discussing him.  Dieter had apparently forgotten the task he had assigned Trueman.

     ‘The guy’s a tough nut to crack.’  Morford said still rueful about his failure to break Trueman over the rammed supply ship incident.

     ‘I know.  But I think if we can break his will his ass is ours.’

     Trueman should have lain quietly and listened instead he stood up to indignantly exclaim:  ‘It’ll be a cold day in hell when you guys will ever break my will.’

     Both men looked at him in surprise.  Without a further word they parted, walking around opposite sides of the superstructure.

     Perhaps in an attempt to break Trueman’s will he was taken off the forties for which he had expressed a liking to be sent up to the Hedgehogs as exercises began.

     As they were not to be fired for gunnery practice Dieter called him down to handle shells for the three inch.

     The forward three was the prestige gun aboard ship.  Dieter, Ratman and Pardon, all three, stood around to supervise.  Premier Seaman Cracker Jack Driscoll, who, by the way, was so devoted to the navy that he had refused the payroll advances, had the prestige job of ramming the shell into the breach.  While not dangerous the task was not without hazards.  When the shell was rammed the breech snapped up with speed and force.  The trick was to not wrap your fingers over the flange of the shell which was a half inch wide but to keep your fingers straight and ram with the heel of your palm fingers extended.

     It was on this day that Cracker Jack Driscoll failed to follow instructions.

     As mentioned before, Boatwain’s Mate was a closed rating.  It was virtually impossible to make Third Class even.  However Dieter liked Cracker Jack Driscoll.  He spent long hours tutoring the man; he moved heaven and earth, pulled every single string that existed to get his man a Third Class chevron.  He had succeeded.  Two weeks after the Teufelsdreck returned Driscoll’s promotion came through.

     One would have thought Driscoll would have been overjoyed but he wasn’t; he was in awe.  As a cracker back in Georgia he had accepted everyone’s opinion that he wasn’t worthy as fact.  Thus as he’d sewn his chevron on his blues he felt he was unworthy of having achieved this insignficant distinction.

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     It my be argued that he simply forgot to remove the middle finger of his right hand from the breech but, in fact, he subconsciously wanted to disqualify himself from what he thought was umerited distinction.

     Trueman had raced under the barrel cradling the three inch shell in his arms anticipating the devastatingly sharp crack from the three inch barrel overhead when he was met instead by a scream of pain.

     When he got around to the breech he found Cracker Jack Driscoll attached to the gun by his middle finger.  The accident was so unexpected that neither Dieter, Ratman nor Pardon had made a move to lower the breech manually.  There Driscoll stood with his finger up to the second knuckle inside the barrel behind the shell.

     The pain was excruciating.  Cracker Jack let out peal after peal that was heard all over the ship.  Finally the Petty Officers recovered to grapple the breech down.  Driscoll’s finger wasn’t severed but the finger was definitely hanging by the skin.

     To Trueman’s consternation the first intelligible words out of Driscoll’s mouth were an anguished:  ‘This doesn’t mean I’ll have to leave the Navy does it?’  Then his gaze fixed on Trueman’s wondering eyes who always ridiculed Cracker Jack because he found distinction in being in the Navy.

     Dieter followed his glance to say reprovingly:  ‘Go back to the forties Trueman, you’re not wanted here.’

     In one day Trueman manned the Hedgehogs, a three inch and the forties.  Not many could claim that.

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     ‘What happened up forward, Trueman?’  Bent Cygnette demanded.

     ‘Nothing.  Cracker Jack forgot to remove his finger from the barrel before the breech snapped back up, that’s all.’

     ‘Is he hurt?’

     ‘Well, if you think being able to put the first two knuckles of your middle finger in your shirt pocket is being hurt I should think so.’

     The order for the forties to fire terminated the conversation.

     Morford and Kanary were both looking for ways to get Trueman in trouble.  As he walked a narrow line he would have to be induced to commit an indiscretion that could be escalated into a crime.  Having watched Van Wye throwing the spent cartridges overboard during the last exercizes Morford encouraged him to do it again, as if he needed it, but to get Trueman involved so he could be written up.

     One might think that Van Wye was placing himself in jeopardy but the rules can be selectively applied.  Even if Trueman objected that Van Wye also was discarding the cartridges it would be argued that Van Wye was not the one on the carpet, Trueman was, and Trueman was guilty.  He would be told that Van Wye would be dealt with later which he wouldn’t be.

     Thus while Trueman clipped his cartridges to put them back in the cannisters Van Wye threw them over the side.

     ‘C’mon, Trueman, don’t be a simp; just chuck them over the side.  The Navy can afford more.’

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     Waste was not Trueman’s way while he also looked up to the bridge where he saw Morford and Kanary eyeing him intently.  He fluffed Van Wye off continuing to clip the shells.  Thus he saved himself a fair amount of trouble.

Whitening The Teufelsdreck.

     Whatever tests the Navy was conducting with the sixteen Black sailors must have been completed.  As the Blacks were put aboard just before the Pacific Tour and removed just after its completion perhaps the notion had been to see how they would react to foreign locales or how the foreigners would react to them.  If that was the case the results were inconclusive as the Blacks had been too terrified to go ashore.

     As no one ever knows what is in store for him from day to day the transfer of the whole contingent could be taken in stride although the situation was certainly unusual.  Unfamiliar with such procedures the Blacks had little idea what transfer meant.

     There was a great deal of discussion as to its meaning and signficance.  The agitated mind of Tyrone Jackson whose preoccupation had always been the imagined insult to Blackness made by Trueman in the laundry room evolved a notion that now that they were to be transferred any crimes committed on the Teufelsdreck would remain a transgression of that ship’s laws and would remain on that ship.  As Tyrone reasoned it he could murder Trueman, then, once having crossed the gangway, he would be beyond the ship’s jurisdiction.  Blacks must have thought that if you committed a crime in Chicago then lammed to LA you only had responsibility to the LA police until you committed a crime there alhtough you couldn’t go back to Chicago.

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