Skip navigation

Monthly Archives: February 2008

A Novel

Our Lady Of The Blues

Book VII

by

R.E. Prindle

Clip 5

     Modern historians concentrate on the South as though that was the only place Black people were.  This serves the needs of White collectivists in two ways.  First, it gets them off the hook as they pretend such things couldn’t and didn’t happen in their bailiwicks up North.  Secondly it allows them to demonize Southern Whites with a feeling of absolute superiority.  To a large extent this continues attitudes from post-Civil War Reconstruction when the Puritans of New England tried to place the Negroes above Southern Whites.  The Klan defeated that action reasserting White superiority.  Northern Whites never forgot, forgave or relented.  Denied the ability to look down on Negores as inferiors they satisfy their need for ‘niggers’ by despising other Whites.

     The South is only part of the story for both Blacks and Whites.  In 1960 only half the Negroes in the country lived in the South; the rest lived in teh North and West.

     The North is is true had never segregated schools but it had segregated Negroes.  In every Northern city there was a Black area.  In part this was because Blacks wanted to congregate together for cultural and safety reasons and partly because Whites didn’t want to mix.  The constantly growing Northern Black populations then tended to radiate from a center absorbing Blacks or districts as they grew; often very quickly as the imigration continued.

page 1481

     In Dewey’s hometown, the Valley, the Blacks were confined to one or two wards on the East Side.  Of the two high schools, Herman Melville and Valley High, the Blacks all went to to Valley High.  Dewey was unfortunate enough to attend the all white Herman Melville.

     One of the reasons attributed to Blacks being behind Whites academically is that more money is spent on White schools than Black.  To use a term of less literate Whites in the Valley this is bushwa.  Henry Ford, Thomas Alva Edison and countless others attended one room country schoolhouses on which virtually nothing was spent yet came away with good enough educations to change the world.

     Learning to read, write and figure has nothing to do with vast sums of money per student.  Expensive computers are no help either.

      In terms of money an equal amount was spent on either school in the Valley, perhaps even more on Valley High, yet Melville by far scored scholastically higher.  The answer is not to be found in money but in the intellect.

     On the one hand Black self-esteem is very low, they tend to believe the worst of what the world has said about them.  They think themselves perceived as stupid oafs and so they accept the role.  In their minds they see themselves as worthless and they impose this inner reality on their outer reality.

     Black neighborhoods are run down and shabby because Black Folk feel run down and shabby so they make their environment conform to their self image.

page 1482.

     Thus, while a new Valley High had been built at the time Dewey entered high school in 1953 by the time he graduated in 1956 Melville looked pristine compared to the shambles of Valley High.  In making Valley High conform to the Black self-image it should be noted that they destroyed the White self-image.  Life in not a one way street.  The charge of bigotry does not change realities.

     Academic performance also relates to identification with the subject matter.  A mind has to be prepared to receive the information.  Blacks were taken from an academic environment where little was expected of them and thrown into a situation where they had received little or no preparation for understanding what was to be taught while the Whites had.

     As people ‘with no history’ Black students were confronted with White history, White literature, White politics and White scenery.  Where did Black Folk fit into American history?  Only in the universal Black lament:  ‘We wuz slaves.’  Yes, they were objects fought over by White people in the Civil War.  So and so was a good man because he intended to manumit his slaves when he died.  No effort was made to adjust the subject matter to Black sensibilities without destroying White self-respect.

     Is it any wonder they were academic under achievers?

     They already had a poor self-image but now possibly through an inability to understand White culture in White terms they had this feeling of inferiority confirmed every day in the classroom.

page 1483.

     Already fearful of injury from Whites they became aggressivley mean and violent both within their own community and toward Whites.  White people under pain of severe punishment were forbidden to defend themselves.  If any riot occurred they would be blamed and not the Blacks.  Hence Black boys patrolled the hallways between classes harrying any White stragglers to class.  White students scurried past the Black boys standing in the middle of the halls indisputably theirs.

     After school Whites hurried from the halls into the light of day fearful of being lone White prey in the hallways.  Any tardy White girls might be sure of being raped while White boys would take several cuffs as they ran the gauntlet.

     Education had to suffer in such an environment.  The Andy Hardy days were over.  Niceness gave way to meanness.  Those self-righteous Whites who enforced this madness would listen to no argument against proceeding in this manner.  They were in charge; to disagree with them was to confess to bigotry.

     The new men responding to this environment were unruly and disrectful of everyone and everything.  They had seen their elders let, or even encourage, Black kids to disregard all the rules that had been imposed on themselves.  They had seem Blacks go unpunished for rape and fighting.  They had been denied the right to retaliate.  They too were angry and resentful, they too had little respect for the ‘system.’

     It was a system that little respect for them or their rights.  This was a period when America began to eat its young.  On the one hand they were taught that they were representatives of the City On The Hill, the New Jerusalem.  They were to be unflinchingly moral in the pursuit of ‘justice’ for all the lesser races and peoples of the earth.  They were to think of themselves as the highest example of mankind.  They were Americans with all capital letters.

page 1484.

     On the other hand they were the vilest people on the planet; the sole perptetrators of all the evil in the world.  They were inherently anti-Semites who were responsible for Adolf Hitler’s acts from whom the Jews of America expected penitence and submission; they were vicious racists responsible for all the ills of the Black people; they had viciously and with no reason dropped the Atom Bomb on defenseless little yellow Asians in a racist frenzy; soon to be added to these crimes was the unethical appropriation of the radios and refrigerators of the Japanese residents of the Western Defense Command when they had been sent to the detention camps.

     Reconciling the two views was an absolute impossibility.  They couldn’t possibly be both but the image of the ‘Ugly American’ remained uppermost in their minds.  It was a difficult juxtaposition of images:  Ugly and American, but it somehow reconciled the two expectations placed on them by the Greatest Generation.  A perverted City On The Hill.  A criminal New Jerusalem.  They raged internally.

     Their reaction to shipboard life was, if possible, worse than the men who came aboard with Dewey.  They added the seal to the already deteriorated state of discipline aboard the Teufelsdreck.

page 1485.

     The nasty little Angeleno, Reed Creap, was aboard only a few weeks.  His anger was aggressive and open.  Like many of the new men he refused to perform any duties.  Given a task he would merely lie down on the deck and go to sleep.  If roused he would lean against the bulkhead with a cigarette drooping from his lips.

     On watch, with a resulute lack of sense of duty, he refused to budge from the quarterdeck.  The more onerous duty of patrol fell on the older men who were aware of what had to be done.  His malaise was such that he had to interfere with more responsible people.  He had to disrupt as his life had been disrupted.  Who could blame him?  Why should he suffer for the sins of others?  On the other hand, why should anyone suffer his sins?

     On the port side on an occasion he had access to the potato sacks outside the mess hall.  Slicing a bag open, spilling to potatoes out on the deck, he grabbed an armful.  Then as Trueman, on patrol, came around the fantail he began winging them at him.  Potatoes splattered against the depth charges  and became impaled on the supports.

     Trueman going around the other way, Creap plastered the wing hatch with potatoes as Trueman ducked inside.  Coming through the passageway and out the center hatch Trueman confronted Creap and Crane Crandall, the Third Class Petty Officer of the Watch.  Creap in an unprecedented incomprehensible breach of discipline threw down on Trueman.  Dewey was unable to comprehend fighting on watch.  His appeal to authority, the POW, went unheeded as Crandall turned away.  Thus the results of the Negro Revolution found their way aboard ship.  The lack of discipline was contagious.  Law and Order had obviously failed, shipboard society had broken down.

page 1486.

     As Trueman would have had to throw the first punch and therefore be the aggressor he wisely declined to engage.

     Creap was a classic malingerer claiming inllness to seek the comfort of his bunk.  Then he came up with the brilliant idea of seeking a discharge because  of a bad back.  Here he unwisely entered an area where the Navy had vast experience.  He was sent over to hospital where he was placed on his back and not allowed to get up for the duration of his enlistment.

     Everyone aboard ship got a laugh but whether it irritated Reed Creap is unlikely.

     Phil Monk, another of the new men, also refused to contribute to maintenance.  His response was more traditional; he simply refused to do acceptable work; everything had to be done over.

     Monk under other circumstances would have been a decent enough guy.  Unlike most of Deck he was intelligent although he tried to pass himself off as dumb.  He looked like the Pillsbury doughboy being big- 6’2″ and fat- 260 pounds.  He had a dull face with a naturally dopey expression that made it easy to pass himself off as dumb.

     He was from Idaho Fall, Idaho where in that small environment his family was affluent and intellectual in the small town sense.  He had been someboy in his high school class.  He considered the Deck Force an insult to his dignity.

page 1487.

     His refusal to work reduced the Deck Force by one.

     Another of the new men was to affect Trueman more deeply.  Dennis Whatley came from the farm State of Nebraska.  He represented everything that Trueman detested.  But Roque Da Costa took a shine to him.  Dennis became even a favorite perhaps in reaction to Trueman’s unconscious treatment of Roque as an inferior.  Trueman did feel superior to Roque in culture and attainment which without his meaning to was reflected in his attitude.  Roque naturally assumed the reason was because as an Anglo Trueman felt superior to Portogees.

     In Dennis Whatley Roque found an Anglo that he could feel superior to.  In Dewey’s eyes there was no contest.  Over his protest Roque brought Dennis into their circle.  This separated Trueman from the group.  Rather than being able to exclude Dennis Trueman found himself marginalized.

     It became revolting for Trueman to stand amongst this degenerate bunch for muster.  The Deck Force was an insult to his dignity too.

      Dieter, whose rages ran in streaks was further exasperated against Trueman who he blamed for the growing incompetence of Deck.  He made another attempt on the life of both Dewey and Frenchey.

      Never having forgotten Frenchey’s appeal to the Captain over the head incident his anger was now aroused again by the Captain’s quiet discussion with him about the recent Depth Charge incident, like a stone thrown into a pond, ripple after ripple.  Ratches had as little idea how to deal with Deiter’s irresponsibility as Trueman had had with that of Creap.  There was almost no way to discipline his twenty year hero of Saipan- Mad Chief Dieter.  Ratches quietly dismissed the Mad Chief but Dieter knew he no longer had the confidence of his Captain.  Deck was now in disarray from the Chief on down.

page 1488.

     Dieter’s new murder attempt still had to appear accidental.  This time instead of trying to inter his enemies in the bowels of the ship Dieter sent them to the top of the stack.

     There were times when the ship was docked when the big Diesels were idle emitting no gases.  Dieter bypassed those days summoning Trueman and Frenchey on a day when the Deisels emittted a steady and poisonous plume of gases.

     ‘Alright Trueman, Frenchey, I want you boys to get chairs and go up there right to the top and scale the stacks absolutely down to bare metal and paint it.’

     ‘Uh, Chief, you those gases are fatal.  Don’t you think it would be better to waid for a day when the Diesels aren’t running?  I mean, if we didn’t die in our chairs we could get dizzy and fall off and break our necks.  Let’s thing about this thing, hey?’

     A grim smile played on Dieter’s lips; he thought he had his man.

     ‘You aren’t refusing to obey an order are you Seaman Sea Lawyer?’

     Trueman studied the top of the stack for a moment, the condition of which gave him an idea.

     ‘No, Chief.  You know better than that;  I yam a very dutiful sailor, I yam, and Frenchey and I will follow your instructions to the letter.  OK, Chief?’

      The liver rose to Dieter’s face as he nodded his head and moved off.

     ‘Zay are trying to keel us, Messhur Dewey.’  Frenchey said sullenly as they grabbed a couple chairs and scalers.

     ‘Yeah, I know it, Frenchey, but here’s the catch.  We’re a little bit smarter than they are.  Dieter’s so dumb he’d eat his own feces and think it steak.  Watch this.’

      The chairs were a plank for a seat strung on a rope that formed a triangle breast high.  A hook and pulley apparatus went over the lip of the stack allowing the man to hoist himself up hand over hand securing his elevation with a half hitch.

     The so called scaler was a metal bar two feet long, an inch and half broad.  One end is sharpened into a straight blade while the other sharpened end is hooked something like a crow bar only closer to a right angle.

     It was a fairly well known fact that the gases corroded the metal of the stack so that there was no real substance to it.  Looking up at the top Dewey had spotted small holes corroded completely through the metal.  He guessed that there was no bare metal beneath the paint.

     As an experiment standing on the deck he rammed the scaler into the stack as hard as he could leaning into it simultaneously.  As he hoped he was able to drive the scaler through.

     ‘OK, Frenchey.  Now watch this.  Let’s go.’

page 1490.

     The two men hauled themselves up hand over hand with the scalers dangling from the back of their belts.

     The gases roiling from the stack were suffocating.

     ‘What deed I say to you, Meeshur Dewey, are we die from smelling these gases?’

     ‘We aren’t going to be here long enough, Frenchey.’

     So saying Dewey ripped out about three square feet of stacke.

     Norm Castrato, who remembered the paint can Dewey had lured him into stepping in mess hall, now came by to watch his enemy die.

     ‘Hey, Castrato, you sure you want us to do this?  Look at this, Castrato.’  Dewey said as he sought a spot just below his seat swinging the hooked end of the scaler into the stack at the same time pulling up hard.  Another inch long hole appeared in the stack.  ‘We’re good sailors, Castrato.  So good we’ll tear this whole stack down to deck level in search of bare metal like we’ve been instructed to do.  See this big hole here?’  Dewey said knocking out another square foot.  ‘That was about thirty seconds work.  We’ll be standing on deck by lunch.  Why don’t you the Big Chief if that’s what he really wants?’

     Castrato went off to get Dieter who appeared presently.

     Dewey gave Dieter the same demonstration and speech.

     Dieter glared at him malevolently but knew he was beaten.  Looking up through tightly compressed lips he said:  ‘Alright.  Just paint it over and come down.’

     ‘You got it, Chief.’

     ‘Now we weel have to get paint and brushes and cover thees.’

     ‘Screw it Frenchey.  We ain’t going to paint anything.  Let’s get out of here and forget it.’

      ‘But we cannot leave eet looking like thees.’

     ‘For Christ’s sake Frenchey, first you complain that they sent us up here to die and now you want to hang around and make sure you do.  What the hell’s wrong with you?’

     ‘But…’

     ‘There’s nothing but air there, Frenchey.  If you want to come back and paint go ahead but I’m out of here.’  Dewey said lowering himself swiftly to the deck.

     Dieter didn’t give them another asignment and Trueman didn’t ask for one.  As he loitered around the ship he noticed that a deterioration in maintenance was beginning to be noticeable.  Dieter was apparently no longer interested in keeping the Bucket T. in shape.

Politics Of The Revolution

     Teal Kanary had been compelled to do some soul searching on the return from the West Pacific.  Apart from his internal problems there were consequences to the initiation ordeal perpetrated by the homos.  Just as Ratches had pursued Duber for the anguish he had caused the Captain so the men who bunked with Kanary in Operations carried a seething resentment against the Yeoman.

     In the bitter aftermath of the initiation it became very clear that none, few, if any, of the so-called Shellbacks were entitled to that status.  Now at leisure to examine things more closely it became apparent that Teal Kanary had been a leader in that fraud in which so many innocents had suffered deep humiliation, scarring humiliation as it were.  There was deep resentment that Kanary was getting off scot free.

page 1492.

     At their leisure his bunkmates now considered the particular savagery of Kanary standing alone on the fo’c’sle with his hose and two nozzles.  There was that sneaky homosexual need to catch the men unawares as they came around the fo’c’sle.  the heavy thudding of the water from the flood nozzle had knocked many men either off their feet or blasted them against the bulkhead in an unfairly painful manner.

     The fact that Kanary in his insane homosexuality had wanted to use the suicide nozzle on them caused them to distrust the ratty Yeoman.  He became a persona non gratis in Operations.  This hurt Kanary who thought of himself as pure and worthy, much deserving to be popular and well liked.

     Like all psychotics he couldn’t attribute the dislike of his mates to his own attitudes.  As he searched for a cause he fixed on the nozzles as the cause.  He tried the nozzles in the court of his mind and found them guilty somewhat like the Greeks who sacrificed the bull and then tried the knife and found it guilty of murder.

     Nothing happens in isolation.  As these notions were struggling for resolution in Kanary’s mind the Great Leap Forward had been launched by Mao the Dong in China.  As mentioned before, Mao was the world wide head of Communism.  Its Fuhrer of Duce.  The Reds of the world looked to him for direction.  Thus the Great Leap Forward was not just a Chinese phenomenon but a world wide one; just as the Cultural Revolution would be in the years after 1966.

1493.

     The Reds in the fleet were vibrant with expectations of the over turning of Capitalism as they called it.  There was much fairly open discussion of a revolt in the San Diego fleet analogous to the revolt of the Kronstadt sailors of Russia in 1917.  As they vibrated with expectation Dewey could only look at this as though they were half-crazy.  Even if such an unlikely revolt occurred it seemed to him that it would have no consequences in Washington D.C.  Where would the payroll come from?  From whence the supplies?  Dewey didn’t even consider it madness he could only laugh at their cedulity.  But the word was out to rouse the fleet to rebellion.

     Kanary was resolved to do his part.  He sought to create disorder aboard ship.  Breaking down discipline is a pre-condition for any revolution; disorder is necessary to cover one’s activities.  Kanary combined his Party activity with his new hatred of the guilty nozzles and his hatred of Trueman.

     The nozzles were brass.  Morford had been intent on convicting Trueman for throwing brass casings overboard.  Everything coalesced in Kanary’s mind.  He began to lecture various groups on the perfidy of the capitalist plot against them in making them inferior to the officers.  Under Communism he asserted all would be equal.

     As an expression of rebellion he encouraged the sabotage of the ship.  He demanded that the sailors refuse to do their jobs well; that they, if not outrightly disobey their Petty Officers, they should goldbrick, working only when directly supervised and that slowly and sloppily.

page 1494.

     Dieter’s willingness to sink the ship in an attempt to kill Trueman had made a deep impression on First so they were more open to Kanary’s solicitation than they might ordinarily have been.

     As an example of weays to sabotage the ship Kanary seized several nozzles and tossed them over the side.  ‘See, anything that isn’t welded down just throw it over the side.  It’s like in Guam; if everyone does it there’s nothing they can do about it.  They can’t put us all in the brig.’

     Within a matter of days nearly everything that wasn’t welded down had disappeared over the side.  Kanary wreaked vengeance on the guilty nozzles by personally tossing every one into the sea.  Then he told Morford that Trueman had thrown the brass overboard.  The silly Bifrons Morford believed it for no other reason than it fit his prejudices.  This was the quality of man leading the peace-time Navy.

     The attitudes fit well with Yehouda Yisraeli’s raging hatred against life.  By now he had organized the homosexuals of the fleet into one unit.  In his own way he was more powerful than the Reds.  In the manner of the ADL of which he was a stellar member he identified Trueman as a leading homophobe who was to be interfered with at every level and opportunity.  That’s the way the ADL works against the more than two million plus ‘known’ anti-Semites its Men In Black have identified in America.

page 1495.

     The two rating most heavily infiltrated with homos and Reds were Yeoman and Supply.  At about this time it became necessary for Trueman to buy from small stores.  He needed a couple pairs of dungarees and shirts.

     Had he been wise he would have gone and got his own leaving well enough alone but knowing he was on the outs with nearly everyone he attempted to ingratiate himself by volunteering to pick up items for others.

     He was too naive to realize that someone on the outs cannot make friends by doing favors for those who despise him; all such efforts only reduce the volunteer to the role of servant or gopher.  Dewey’s redeeming quality was that he was a quick learner; he didn’t do it again.

     His deckmates responded true to type.  they realized he was acting from weakness.  They were quick to take advantage of him, so quick that Dewey quickly realized his error.  He began to backpeddle seliminating all those who wouldn’t give him quick decisive requests.  He was quick enough or he detested him enough to deflect Laddybuck Ifrit’s request that he buy the small stores out of his pocket while Laddybuck would repay him on delivery.

     With a snorting sense of shame Dewey set off with a list of various items.  He had plenty of time dwell on his error on the way.

     Our Lady had informed all the homos of Dewey’s identity.  He had either been pointed out or his picture shown to a number of key lookouts.  Thus when he walked into Small Stores which was a homo stronghold he was picked out by two of the fifteen men working there who quickly whispered to the others that a ‘homophobe’ had arrived.

page 1496.

     That warning coupled with the fact that he was acting as an errand boy for others marked him as one of the outs.  The latter alone would have been sufficient to earn him ill treatment.

     The clerks pretended not to understand him so he had to repeat everything two or three times.  It was necessary for him to check everything for correct sizes because everything was given to him incorrectly once, twice or even three times.

     Our Lady and the Fruit Bearers managed to score a major coup on Dewey which he wouldn’t realize for months.  As mentioned he was then as a lath.  The smallest size, a twenty-eight billowed around his hips while the waist was bunched in pleats all around his middle.  He didn’t know that twenty-eight was the smallest Navy size.  he asked if there wasn’t possibly a twenty-six.

     The homo pulling goods for him began to wag his head no when the proverbial light went off in his head.  He promptly brought Dewey three pair of pants sized twenty-six.  Dewey was delighted.

     The disrespectful treatment he was receiving had drawn the attention of the other sailors buying goods.  In the manner of society they assumed something must be wrong with him for him to be treated so.  As homosexuals form a secret society the other sailors did not know that the clerks were homosexuals and they were persecuting a sailor who wasn’t.  They too then noticed that he was doing favors for others.  By the time Dewey walked out with his pile of goods he was happy to go.

page 1497.

     His trip had been very successful for Our Lady.  Dewey’s person had become known to a signficant number of the homosexual community and more importantly Dewey had been defamed to himself.  He couldn’t account for the rough treatment he was accorded so he he had to examine himself for the cause.  Thus in the future if nothing else he would over compensate to ingratiate himself thus making him even more suspect, possibly in other’s eyes even a fag.

     Back aboard ship the hilarity at his expense was continued by his shipmates but now Dewey was too aware to tolerate any of it.

     He was haled to bring this and that to here and there.  Instead Dewey dumped the lot on the table next to Laddybuck’s implanted ass telling them all to come and get their own.

     Then he tried on his new dungarees.  They were a different cut than anyone had seen before.  Regular pants had a straight cut from waist through hips while Dewey’s new pants had a crimped in waist expanding at the hips.  Regular pants had patch p0ckets sewn on the front of theleg while these had the more normal civilian slash pocket.  Unlike the other dungarees he’d bought these fit perfectly although the legs were so short they looked like pedal pushers.

     Everyone marveled at them but as they fit Dewey was satisfied.

page 1498.

     Here Comes The Bride

      While the activity for the small stores was going forward Brant Crowther returned from leave.  He had gone back to Memphis where he had married his childhood sweetheart or at least someone he had known in high school.

      He had brought her out to San Diego with him.

     Dewey had never liked Brant; now he was given an ample demonstration of why he hadn’t.

     Brant had his bride in a motel room temporarily.  He invited five of his closest friends out to the motel room to meet her that night.  The Navy being an all male organization tends to bring men closer together than ordinary.  It becomes necessary to magnify one’s own importance in the eyes of other men.  Every action is intended to impress other men of one’s prowess or merit.

     Success with women is naturally a very significant criterion.  There is seldom any way to corroborate any man’s stories but the tales are diverting.  Brant Crowther was willing to demonstrate his prowess.

     His wife was actually a virgin.  He had waited for his return to San Diego to consummate the marriage and deflower her.  He chose to do it in front of his friends.  Disregarding his wife’s sense of shame and protestations he penetrated her for the first time in a cheap hotel room in front of his five friends.

     The results had been very gratifying, for his young virgin bride bled copiously.  He leapt to his feet waving the bloody towel he had placed beneath her at his friends.  The only important thing in Brant’s mind was that she had indeed been a virgin and he had witnesses to prove it.

     Back aboard ship the next day Brant Crowther strutted around boasting of his wife’s virginity.  The men listened respectfully congratulating him.  But then he began calling his witnesses and the truth of the matter forced itself on the incredulous minds of First.

     Most men concealed their repugnance.  As usual Dewey had to speak his mind.  It was thus that Brant learned his error.  He accordingly held Trueman responsible for what he now realized was misconduct.

 A Bunch Of The Men In Black Was Whooping It Up.

      So as to absolve itself of any responsibility Society requires every individual to take responsibility for whatever happens to him upon himself.  Thus an individual is required to heap ashes on his head as he proclaims:  ‘I have no one to blame but myself.’  And then his persecutors say resignedly:  ‘It’s not us doing this to you buddy, it’s just the system.’  The system apparently is an autonomous organization related to nothing so Society is off the hook and the individual is responsible.

page 1500

     This is a pretty fable but it is not true.  Virtue may be its own reward but it is not guarantee of security.  As life was going on in this ordinary manner aboard the Teufelsdreck an event a hundred miles away would have its effect on Dewey Trueman.  Dewey would never know of it or was he responsible for the events leading to it or devolving from it.

     The occasion was a meeting of the Men In Black of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith.  The Sons of the Ceremony were gathered in LA in a combination social and planning session to combat the anti-Semitic influences loose in the land which they were singularly equipped to detect.

     Even though the ADL carries dossiers on two or three million ‘known’ anti-Semites in America this huge cadre of people, very few if any who know of each other, is singularly ineffective.  There is virtually no anti-Semitic activity in the United States.  So either the ADL is singularly effective or pathologically paranoid.  Although the auther has the distinction of being one of the three million he has no notion of how he made the list nor has he ever met one of his three million confederates conspiring against the interests of the nation of Israel.  The author has also never committed or witnessed an anti-Semitic act.

      This meeting was a fairly large gathering including guests from around the country and even the world.  One of these guests was an ADLer from the Valley of Michigan by the name of Isaac Sheyer.  He was also known as Ike, Ikey or Sheeny depending on the degree of acquaintanceship.  Here in LA he was Isaac; to his wife, Joo, he was Ikey; to this fellow Valleyites he was Ike and, as a moniker he was known to some as Sheeny.  It was not polite to refer to him as Sheeny.  That name was a trap to discombobulate the unwary.

page 1501.

     For instance as a child Dewey had only heard him referred to as Sheeny Sheyer.  Naturally the lad thought that Sheeny was his first name not knowing that Sheeny if for Jews as Shine is for Negroes, a belittling term.  Thus the first time Dewey referred to Sheeny Sheyer he was slapped down for being prejudiced and put on the defensive even though he was only doing what he had heard everyone else do.  It’s a good trick and works every time.

     Isaac Sheyer and his wife occupied a niche in the hierarchy of Jewish intellectual stlyes that was interesting. 

      He and his wife, Joo, were what was known as long suffering or inoffensive Jews.  They cultivated a persona that bore no relation to reality.

     The Sheyers owned and operated an economy clothing store in the Valley.  The place was where the goys went with they wanted something cheap and wanted to do something for ‘a poor Jew’ while showing the inlcusiveness of their social outlook.

     The little playlets staged there were satisfying to both parties.

     Dewey had been a party to one when he needed an overcoat for his senior year.  Sheyer’s merchandise was not of a poor quality but the cut of clothes was indistinguished and not necessarily out of style but never having been within a mile of where style ever was.  It was like someone actually believed in the cut but society would never accept it so the manufacturer was compelled to close the stuff out at cheap prices even though he went on making it.  The clothing had the indelible mark of the klutz.  This last term also personfied the Sheyers.

page 1503.

     It was for that reason that Mrs. Tuistad, Dewey’s mother’s remarried name, took her son to Sheyer’s to buy a coat.

     The location of Sheyer’s store was just exactly where you would expect to find it.  In an out of the way place in an out of the way shopping area.  The kind of place that only a klutz would rent.

     In Dewey’s youth there were two shopping areas in town.  There was Downtown just across the Main St. Bridge on the East Side and the Courthous area which was just across the Court St. Bridge on the West Side.

     The Courthouse area was definitely subsidiary to Downtown.  In later years it was the place they staged such events as the Bed Race.  The Bed Race enjoyed a vogue in the seventies.  In some cases actual beds were used but those who wanted to win built fast buggies with a short couch.  A group of men pushed what passed for a bed down a block long course with a young lovely reclining on it.  A certain menality really appreciated the race.

     The stores in the area got little business compared to Downtown hence they were run down or second hand stores dealing in oddities like Sheyer’s.  The drop from Melmoth, the main street, to the river level two blocks away was about thirty feet, thus as the high arch of the Court Street Bridge began its rise from Melmoth the street adjacent to the bridge descended.  The shop of the Sheyers was where the rise and descent passed each other at tht top of the store windows.  The Sheyer’s Clothing sign was visible at eye level coming down the bridge or going up it.  The location was almost picturesque and missed being distinguished.  Like Sheyer’s Clothing the location was klutzy.  I suppose given their predilection for klutziness the Sheyer’s were klutzy too.

page 1503.

     Dewey’s mother brought him to this place of a Saturday afternoon to buy his overcoat.  Now Sheeny Sheyer’s was always discussed as a place of last resort so Dewey was none too happy at getting this major clothing item at a klutzy place.

     Dewey didn’t yet know of the depth of his mother’s hatred for him.  Dewey had been a largish baby for a breach delivery weighing in at eleven pounds three ounces.  He had spent a lot of time on his back with his head half out of the gates of life; the Jaquin and Boaz of entry into this world.  You had to look fairly closely but you could see the mark of the forceps on his forehead where the female doctor had tugged heartily to get him out.

     The at the time Mrs. Gresham had a very painful time being touch and go with her own life.  If the last tug had failed this would have gone to a Caesarian.  The little accidents of life like this have so much bearing on the future.

     The pain of childbirth is supposed to endear the child to the mother but in the case the excess of pain caused her to resent the child.  In additon she had wanted a girl.  Because Dewey had caused her such birth pains and destroyed her hopes of a girl she was bent on hurting and humiliating him.  She wouldn’t have admitted it and, of course, she didn’t know, she would have been offended if you accused her but subconsciously, deeplyfixated, she hated the boy.

page 1504. 

     She delighted in making him klutzy.  She compelled him to wear brown, to wear a bow time, have stupid jackets, outre shoes and not this klutzy top coat.

     They were the Sheyers’ only customer.  Ike stayed behind the counter while Joo, know as Trixie to the outside world for obvious reasons,  worked the floor.  Trixie played the Old World Jew a la Mrs. Goldberg as though by humbling herself before the goys they wouldn’t molest her.  You remember Kristalnacht, of course, we all do.  In Jewish eyes we all celebrated the event fifty years later which happened in far off Germany as though we had committed it ourselves.  I am not aware that they celebrated it in China or Tibet also but they might have.

     Preventing molestation was uppermost in Joo’s mind.  There was no aggressive anti-Semitism in the Valley.  Where there is none incidents have to be created to justify the fear.  Over the centuries Jews have become proficient in this.  In the millennial year of 1840 there was the Father Thomas affair in Damascus which created a great deal of sympathy for the Jews of Europe.

     During the millennial years of 1913-26 there was the Beilis Affair in Russia as well as the celebrated Leo Frank Affair in Georgia, USA.

page 1505.

     In an attempt to create sympathy for the Jews of the Valley several windows of the synagogue were broken in 1953 as well as the sanctuary being desecrated.  Few people looked at the photo in the News carefully.  The center of attention was Joo Sheyer standing on a stool dressed in a strange version of Scottish gear with a plaid tam and skirt.  Her face bor a pathetic, when will it ever stop, expression with her hands outspread over the ‘carnage.’  The torah had been taken out of the ark and leaned against a chest while a couple books lay neatly on the floor.  Beneath Joo there were the charred remains of an American and an Israeli flag.  If you looked closely you would have seen that the vandals had carefully placed the flags in a metal tray so as not to set the place on fire.

     All was blamed on those atrocious ‘anti-Semites’ but no self-respecting anti-Semite would have burned an American flag along with the Israeli flag while if they really hated the Jews they would have done a much better job of desecrating the place.  You know, burned it down.  But it worked.  There were a couple editorials about tolerance in the Land of the Free.

     The Sheyers’ persona had no bearing on life in the Valley.  There was no threat to the Sheyers nor any other Jew at the time.  No Jew had ever been injured in the Valley.  they could have walked down the street at any time no one would have thought to question whether they were Jewish.  No one would have known but themselves.  But because Kristalnacht had happened in far off Germany twenty years previously the Sheyers believed they were in daily and imminent danger.

page 1506.

     Thus Trixie said this to Mrs. Tuistad:  ‘I know I’m only a Jew but I hope you won’t hold it against me and will spend some money here.’

     Oddly enough Mrs. Tuistad who never talked about Jews at all said this:  ‘We know you’re Jews, poor people, but that means nothing to us and we’re going to give our money to you anyway.’  Dewey looked from each to each as Ike hummed the Kol Nidre behing counter wondering who wrote this play.

     As Dewey looked about he noticed that all the clothes were klutzy.  You really had to feel sorry for yourself to wear any of this junk.  It was like the Klutz salesman of klutzy clothes camt to town and asked:  ‘I know there’s a klutzy store in this town as in every town:  Where is it?’

     ‘Oh, you mean Sheeny Sheyer’s .’  He was politely told and directions given.  The terrifying thing was that there was one of these stores in every town; if you were self-pitying you could dress this way anywhere in America.

     Dewey was not overly sophisticated but he wasn’t unhep either.  He didn’t want any of this junk and he wasn’t backward about saying so.

     ‘Dewey, don’t be rude.’  Mrs. Tuistad said.

     ‘Ha. Ha.  Some of them are so outspoken.’  Trixie Sheyer laughed as though Dewey were her favorite darling.

     Dewey walked indignantly out of the store as his mother paid for a brown nubby overcoat that no self-respecting man would have worn to his mother’s funeral.

     ‘That little bastard is going to grow up to be an anti-Semite.’  Ike mused as the door hit Mrs. Tuistad on her broad behind on the way out.

page 1507.

     Ike was already a skilled Man In Black who could see an anti-Semite where everyone else saw only a boy.

     Now, speaking to his fellows in LA he was saying:  ‘Some of them are anti-Semites and aren’t that aware of it so you have to develop it in them.  Some don’t even know they’re anti-Semites so you have to show it to them and bring it out of them or else they will slip through and go undetected.

     I’ve discovered several like that who no one knew until I showed them what they really were.’

     ‘Yes, I quite know what you mean.  We had a fellow here, worked in a machine shop.  He just had that look.  If you know the type you could just see the anti-Semite lurking behind that self-effacing genial mask.

      It took two or three attempts to get him interested in the notion of the International Jewish Conspiracy but once he got started, oy veh, did he pick it up and run with it.  He had to be fired from his job of course.  He’s been having a hard time finding another by the will of God, I tell you.  If you can believe he blamed we Jews for the loss of his job.  It’s always the Jews isn’t it?  Whenever something goes wrong, whether in the world, country or one’s own life they always blame the Jews.

     Every generation gives birth to its cadre of anti-Semites.  It’s unavoidable.  It’s some sor of mental disease; it may be genetic.  It is our duty to seek them out and identify them to themselves if they don’t know that they are anti-Semites.  Latent anti-Semites are the worst kind.  Get rid of them by pre-emptive strikes before they develop.  why, if Hitler had been recognized and assassianted while he was still a little Corporal on the Western Front millions of Jews would be alive today.  One simply has to build a fence around Torah.’

page 1508.

     Yes.  if Hitler had been assassinated.  Assassination and character assassination are the stock in trade of the Men In Black.  In 70 AD at the fall of Jerusalem they had been known as the Sicarii form Sicarius or  dagger.  the Men In Black roved the streets of Jerusalem and pulling the sicarius from beneath their cloaks dispatched more moderate men who realized the futility of the fight and wanted to end, right in the street.  Thousand fell beneath their daggers.

     The effect of Hitler on the Jewish mind was profound.  Trained in the synagogue to class Hitler with Haman, Jews went into a rage at the very mention of the name.  The notion arose that if Hitler had been assassiated in 1920 or indeed if his mother had been killed before he was born in a great pre-emptive strike then millions of Jews would be alive today.

      This notion grew with the decades.  Even in 1958 the Men In Black were searching for any potential Hitlers so they could be destroyed before that had a chance to express themselves.

     The fear showed up in a series of movies beginning with Hitler’s Brain in which Hitler’s brain was rescued alive and taken to Argentina wahere electrodes were attached to it by which Hitler gave direction for the conquest.  Apparently a splinter was taken from the brain to make another movie called the Boys From Brazil.  As we all know Dr. Mengele, the famous Nazi doctor, was in Brazil where he cloned several boys from the splinter of Hitler’s brain.  The Boys were then distributed throughout the world requiring a colossal man, or boyhunt, to locate and destroy them.  The Boys were all assassinated before they could grow up to realize their potential.

page 1509.

     Perhaps more significant was the movie The Exterminator in which the problem of Hitler’s mother was addressed in another way.

     In that movie the People of some distant century were in constant rebellion against the Dominant Culture which was represented as Moloch.  John the leader of the rebellion was one tough customer who couldn’t be killed by the DC.  In a reversal of roles the DC sent the Terminatior back to the time before John’s mother had conceived him to assassinate her thereby removing the problem of John.

     The movie was actually very good but the denouement has a very weird, even perverted, Freudian ending.  Talk about the Oedipus Complex.  John who follows the Terminator back to before his birth succeeds in not only saving his mother and destroying the Terminator but he also succeeds in impregnating his mother, one to to presume with himself, so that he becomes his own father shortcircuiting 150K of evolution.  This is actually a replica of God, the Father impregnating the Virgin with his only begotten son who is of the same substance.  The psychological implications for current Jewry on that one is hard to fathom.

      The movie Men In Black then followed the Terminator.

     Yes, indeed!  If anti-Semites didn’t exist it would be necessary to invent them.  Judaism cannot exist without anti-Semites.  There has always been an extensive literature on Judaism but in the post-wqr years the amount of literature has multiplied exponentially.  Jewish educational centers such as Brandeis University churn out huge quantities.  For every book written about Jewish history another is written on the history of anti-Semitism.  Endless volumes of social commentary repeat the details of who the enemies are and why they have unrelentingly pursued Israel.

page 1510,

     Today the noted Jewish lawyer and savant Allen Dershowitz sets aside a room in his house as a shrine to anti-Semitism.  In the twenties Henry Ford was blown away after he had been persuaded to give up his Dearborn Independent articles when he asked the ADLer what he was supposed to do with this mountain of research material he had accumulated and was told to donate it to the Hebrew Theological Seminary in Cincinatti.  Quite rightly he couldn’t understand why, if they found the material repellent, they would want it.  The whereabouts of the material is unknown.

     But to return to the party.  Although the attendees were all dressed in orthodox black the woolen fabrics were of the most luxurious.  The finest woolens that not only money can buy the can be made.  Sheyer’s sartorial eye, which you may be sure was quite refined, was drinking in all this splendor when his eye was caught by a suit that was unmistakably second hand an of a finish no Jew would prefer.  The cut too was not of Jewish preference buy had the unmistakable look of an affluent Anglo-Saxon.  The shoes.  Isaac’s mind spun, did not quite match the taste of the suit besides they had quite obviously been worn by someone else.  There were two sets of creases.

page 1511.

     Isaac’s eye traveled up the frame to the bushy, almost Groucho Marx mustache, the dark glasses and the hat that had obviously been cared for by someone other than the previous owner of the suit and shoes.

     Ike was a good old clothes man.  His father had been in the second hand clothes business before Ike had married and moved to Michigan to become Sheeny Sheyer.

      As a matter of fact Ike had a good knowledge of the entire clothing business.   Few were aware that the Jews had orginated the old clothes business in the middle ages.  Oddly enough, fewer still were aware that the clothing business in the United States was entirely a Jewish affair.  In fact Jews had if not originated they at least developed the concept of store bought clothes.  In the nineteenth century women had sewn the clothes the family wore.  The huge influx of immigrants, mostly men, made that impossible to a few enterprising tailors generalized body shapes and forms turning out very serviceable clothing that fit well enough and could be altered to fit well.

     Thus by the time of the Great War the vast majority of clothing was store bought.  It was all made by Jewish firms composed entirely of Jews in the completely Jewish environment of the Lower East Side.

     The Jewish World Government required large sums to finance it; hence the the legendary Jewish charity.  The need for money rose dramatically as the Great War wound down and the Peace Conference was about to begin.  The Jewish contingent at the Peace conference acting as Jews qua Jews and not as citizens of other countries was huge, active and expensive.

      The Jews sensing their opportunity rushed to rebuild the Jewish communities of Central Europe as autonomous or semi-autonomous peoples which also required vast sums of money.

     According the price of clothing in the US skyrocketed.  Prices triple or quadrupled to raise the money to finance the Jewish diplomatic mission in Paris.  Prices rose so high that men could actually not afford to buy suits.  Men went to fantastic lenghts to extend the life of their clothes.  Some wore coveralls over their suits in the office to reduce wear.

     Thus the US financed the Jewish mission in Paris.

     Isaac had been too young to remember but Papa Sheyer had lovingly described to the young man how the Jews had so cleverly put it over on the goys.

     Now as Sheyer looked at the strangely attired man he was fascinated.  Than a glimmer of recognition flirted with his mind.

    ‘Do you know who that man is?’  He asked.

     ‘Sure.  That’s Yehouda Yisraeli.  Very important; very up and coming.

     ‘What’s his line?’  Isaac asked.

     ‘Pictures.  And he’s now venturing into phonograph records.’

     ‘Do you know where he’s from?’

     ‘Minnesota, I think, or one of those Northern States.’

     ‘Michigan, perhaps?’

page 1513.

     ‘Could be.  Yes, that might be right.  Minnesota, Michingan, up North.’

     Then Our Lady turned to walk to greet someone who had come down from San Francisco expressly to meet him.  The movement brought recognition.

     ‘That’s David Hirsh.’  Ikey Sheyer said to himself.

     Yehouda, Our Lady, David Hirsh had recognized Sheyer at once.  He was satisfied that Ike Sheyer hadn’t recognized him.

     A knock on his door a few weeks hence would convince him he was wrong.

     For the moment he strolled over with extended hand to be introduced to Naftali ‘Nate’ Asher.  Nate was a Mastermind from San Francisco.  There he was a mysterious person that many had heard of by his moniker of Dr. Queergenes but few knew.  He was in the process of organizing the homosexual scene in SF just as Our Lady had organized them in the Navy.  The meeting was momentous.

The Wages Of Sin Revisited.

     If the reward of virtue is celebrated the wages of sin are no less so.

     The sweep of San Diego harbor was truly magnificent.  The blue of the bay against the blue sky, yellow streaked by the darting arrows of Apollo truly made the heart leap.

     The bustle of the ships of the fleet coming and going or sitting at anchor was an amazing sight for those who had eyes to see.  Most took it so for granted that they noticed nothing out of the ordinary.  Nothing out of the ordinary! Lord, give us eyes to see those details that make the commonplace ordinary.

page 1514.

     In its effort to give the ships every conceivable experience so that the extraordinary should become commonplace the Teufelsdreck had previously been assigned to nest at one of the buoy strung across the bay.

      As already noted some of the ships were permanently stationed at the buoys.  Among them was the Destroyer Tender, Matthew Lewis and the Submarine Tender A. Radcliffe.  The Teufelsdreck was now assigned the outside post of a nest of five ships alongside the Lewis.

     A destroyer of Sub Tender is a huge floating machine shop.  During wartime they are stationed overseas to provide emergency parts for damaged Destroyers or Subs.  To keep the fleet fine tuned it is necessary to assign Destroyers to tenders for minor repairs from time to time.

     Tenders are big ships over five hundred feet long sitting high above the water with a very broad beam.  To go on liberty one had to pass across the nested Escorts to pass through the machine deck of the Lewis to the Quarterdeck.

     The Commodore, who was one of the pettiest men alive, put his Black Sheep on the outside so they would have the longes walk to liberty.  Dewey was struck with amazement as he climbed the ladder from the Desade into the machine deck of the Lewis.  The deck was fifty or sixty feet wide running the full length of the ship.  Row after row of lathes spread from side to side marching from stem to stern.  The ship must have had hundred of Machinists aboard.

page 1515.

     The hull of the Lewis was full of bars, rods and sheets of various metals of every description.  Enough metal to build two Teufelsdrecks.  the wealth of the United States was truly incredible.

     As Dewey trooped through eyes wide open, a cluster of Lewis men lounging amongst the lathes picked up.  One said:  ‘That’s him right there.’

     Leaving their place they streamed out across the passageway engulfing Trueman.  A couple elbows flew as they attempted to jostle Dewey into a fight.  Dewey evaded the elbows stepping deftly through them avoiding contact.

     ‘Watch it you little prick.’  One said at his back in an attempt to inflame him.

     ‘What the hell’s wrong with them?’  Dewey asked to no one in particular receiving unconcerned shrugs in reply.

     What was wrong with them was Our Lady.  As mentioned before Yehouda Yisraeli had organized an intelligence gathering organization second to none.  He knew ship movements before they left the mind of the admiralty.  He knew of the Teufelsdreck’s assignment before Captain Ratches did.

     Frustrated and angry because of the failure of Bert Torbrick to have Trueman committed to Atascadero his plan was to have him lured into an altercation aboard the Lewis.  He wanted something that could be escalated into something else where Trueman would be sent to the brig.  Once in the brig he knew he could find someone to murder Trueman.  Thus his adversary would be dishonored by dying a criminal in jail.  If that wasn’t low, what is?

page 1516.

     Bitter, bitter was Our Lady’s heart and mind.  He hated people who hate.

     Trueman’s picture was circulated among the homos of the crew of the Lewis.  Had that failed Kanary was there to identify him.

     The first ruse had failed.  Had Trueman allowed himself to be provoked he would have received a significant beating before he had been brought up on charges of fighting at his court martial.  The wrench that would have been found in his hand would have been conclusive proof of his criminally insane murderous intent.

     As things of this nature had been happening for a year now Trueman was properly ‘paranoid.’  He walked around as alert as a marked convict in Alcatraz.

     He was shaking the encounter off when looking around he saw to his astonishment Ezio Ponzi who had been responsible for the thefts of hundreds of thousands of dollars and who was now a crew member of the Lewis.  This was only five months since Ponzi had been escorted off the ship in Guam.

     ‘Check that out.’  He said, nudging Mike Deasy who was standing next to him as they waited for the landing craft.

     ‘Yeah, I know.’  Deasy said pretending not to notice Ponzi as Trueman should have done.

page 1517.

     ‘Jeez! He’s not only out of the brig, he’s a Third Class again.  Look at that.  They even let him come back as a Disbursing Clerk.  The Navy must be slow learners.’

     ‘OK. OK.’  Deasy said, rubbing his nose as an indication that Dewey should let it drop until they were out of hearing of Ponzi.

     The now Third Class Disbursing Clerk, Ponzi, had seen his former shipmates, most of them his partners in crime.  A little flood of resentment crossed his mind that he should have been punished while they went free.  Perhaps that was the reason that all but Dewey had avoided his look.

     In Dewey’s mind Ponzi and the others had been sent up for a good long time perhaps dishonorably discharged yet here was the ringleader, the mastermind embezzler who had gotten many times more than Willie Sutton ever could dream of and he was only a test away from former Second Class status.  The wages of sin must be pretty good was the thought that passed through Dewey’s mind.

     The landing craft showed up at the bottom of the ladeder as they all crowded aboard.  Shakey Jake was at the helm.  When you see one of these barges in a movie devivering Marines ashore on a Pacific Island if you look way to the back to the right you may see the hat of the sailor piloting the craft.  He’s standing in a well with the wheel on top.

     Piloting sailors to liberty is different than landing Marines in a battle zone.  Expecially in San Diego harbor.  The harbor style was not to crouch down in the well but to sit up on the edge of the craft manipulating levers and wheel from above.  The idea was to present a casually heroic silhouette.  A good looking fellow piloting the craft to the piers was a sight to behold.

page 1518.

     Shakey Jake had the stance down.  The guy wore his clothes neatly and shipshape.  He had a way of gazing off toward the distant landing place that displayed studied ease and competence.  With a little touching up he might easily have been a model for one of those 1930s heroic German postage stamps.  Donny Brook was in fact an admirable sailor but he was short, dwarfish and unhandsome if not ugly.  His personality traits shaped as a suppliant foster child endeared him to no one.  Still a seaman after twelve years of rejection in the Navy, Shakey had never given up trying to make a place for himself.  He saw in Trueman a replica of himself.  He anted Trueman to be a model sailor, thus as he steered the craft ashore he thought it would be a fine time for Trueman to learn to pilot the craft.

     Running one of these things was the simplest task in the world even though, in the manner of working men, the operators thought they were rocket scientists.  All you did was adjust the power lever for speed, then point it for where you want to go.  It is true that it took a little practice to follow a straight line ashore rather than having to adjust your course in a zig zag fashion but the pilots were convince they had mastered a feat few could accomplish.

page 1519.

     ‘Come on, hop up here  Trueman and learn how to pilot one of these things.’

     ‘I already know how, Brook.  I’m in dress blues and I’m not going to do it.’

     ‘When did you learn?’

     ‘What do you mean when did I learn.  There’s nothing to it.  You push the starter button, adjust the speed and steer for shore.  I don’t need lessons.’

     ‘It’s not that easy.’

     ‘Has to be.  You and Brant do it.’

     ‘Hop up here.’

     ‘Aw, stick it, Brook.’

     And so silhouetted against the brilliant blues, sand and gray of the ships Shakey Jake Brook delivered them to the Broadway Pier in a straight line.

     As they disbarged, a craft from the Subtender Radcliffe was landing sailors in front of them.  There had been a time when Dewey had thought of volunteering for sub duty.  There was a certain romance to it.  He had been dissuaded when he was told that as part of the training a prospect was let out of an air lock into a one hundred fifty foot tube of water with nothing but a lung full of air and expected to rise slowly so as not to get the bends.

     Dewey had no idea how slow slowly was but the thought of attempting the test and failing had seemed to him too stiff a  price to pay for the honor of being a submariner.  Intrigued by being among a host of these fabled creature he tried to strike up a conversation with one of them,  Pace Sloughly.

page 1520.

     The submariners were all pasty faced from lack of sunshine and air while seeming to even wear a coat of grease.  Apparently one of the requirements for being one was the ability to keep your mouth shut on the the principle least said soonest mended.  Dewey learned that with his mouth he’d never had made it.

     First he tried to find out from Pace whether the story of the tube was correct.  He received only baffled stare as the submariner tried to move off.  Dewey wanted to talk.

     ‘Hey, you remember in boot camp when they told us what to do in the event they tried to drop an Atomic bomb on us.  I guess you guys under water don’t have to worry about that much.  I don’t either because I can’t imagine the Russkies wasting an A-Bomb on a Destroyer Escort.

     They had two ways of delivering the bombs.  One of them was that the jet came in low over the water arching up while releasing the bomb in a mile long arc that exploded directly over the ship.  The planes have to do that because they have to get as far awary from the blast as soon as possible.

     That one was really stupid but my favorite was one in which the jet came right up alongside the ship at right angles then turning straight up at a right angle it released the bomb which was thrown up a mile or two before falling back down to explode right over the ship while the plane flew safely a couple miles away.  That one was so impossible I couldn’t believe it at all.’  Dewey said laughing.  ‘Remember those.’

page 1521.

     Pace Sloughly gave Dewey an uncomprehending look, even hostile.  He couldn’t figure out how Trueman could use so many words and words you had to really think about to understand what he was saying.  Aboard a sub no one said anything.

     Pace almost physically shoved off from Trueman nearly running from him as he looked back over his shoulder unable to understand the talkative Seaman.

     ‘I guess they don’t talk much down there.  Glad I didn’t apply.’  Trueman said to himself walking off in the opposite direction.

     The homos had failed to get Dewey on their first try.  They took a different tack.  Dewey stood duty the next two days but on Thursday he went ashore again.

     This time he searched the machine deck for potential trouble but all was clear.  They were waiting for him on the Quarterdeck.

     As the Teufelsdreck sailors clustered at the head of the the ladder the big queer seaman standing duty singled Dewey out.

     ‘Hey there, you.  You can’t go on liberty.’

     ‘Oh yeah I can.  I’m on my way, watch me.’  Was Dewey’s flip response.

     The Lewis watch had neither the right nor reason to interfere with any of the sailors in the nest but as the sailors were gathered on the Lewis the watch had some jurisdiction over them.  The Seaman had to be obeyed if he denied any sailor the right to leave the ship.

     ‘You’re not going ashore.’  The Seaman replied.

     Dewey looked over at the POW who had authority.  The POW looked out over the bay pretending not to see him nor responding to his question.

page 1522.

     The queer Seaman bumped into Trueman provocatively.

     ‘You hear me.  Go back to your ship.’

     Had Dewey risen to the provocation and shoved back he would have been done for.  That would have been assaulting the watch.  The provoked self dense would have been overlooked; it would only go on the report that Dewey had assaulted the watch.   Once he had gone on report all the animosities aboard the Teufelsdreck, all the rumors about him and all the ill will toward him, especially as Kanary was Yeoman and Morford Operations Officer, would have weighed against him.

      The incident in the machine shop of Monday flashed through his mind.  He had no idea what was going on but he knew he was being targeted.  As he stood wondering Parsons grasped the situation?  ‘Oh my god, they’re going to get Dewey.’

     ‘Go back and get the Officer Of The Day, no, better yet get Sieggren.  I’m sure he’s still on board.’

Deasy instructed.

     Parsons hurried off in a genuine terror for Dewey’s well being.  Even though Dewey had snubbed him after his burglary charges Parsons had come to realize the error of his ways.  Now that he was classed with the criminals aboard ship he had become privy to things he had never known before.  By ‘they’ he meant the criminal element, being as yet unaware of the layering of the groups composing the element.  Reds and homos were part of the criminal element.  Parsons was unaware of the involvement of Our Lady.

page 1523.

     ‘Don’t do anything Trueman, don’t say anything until Sieggren gets here.’  Deasy cautioned.

     At the threat of the Teufelsdreck officer the queer Seaman had sesisted although his six foot four inch bulk loomed over Trueman.

     Jealousy for one’s shipmates is a cardinal rule in the Navy.  One defends one’s own whether he is liked or not.  Trueman and Brant may have disliked each other but they would have backed each other as shipmates regardless.  Thus Sieggren got up immediately following the running Parsons at a quickstep.  He didn’t run because officers never run, only enlisted men.

     They raced across the machine shop.  ‘Alright what’s going on here.  What’s the problem with my sailor?’

     The sight of the Lieutenant bristling manliness from his mustache down to his shoe shine made the queer Seaman forget everything but sex.  His eyes glassed, his tongue projected between his lips and his pants bulged conspicuously and quickly.  He drew a laugh from all around.

     ‘There isn’t any problem, Lieutenant.’  The POW said from the desk.

     ‘Make sure there isn’t.   I don’t want one of my sailors interfered with.’

     ‘They won’t be, Lieutenant.’  The POW said.

page 1524.

   A Second Foray To Tijuana

     Dewey’s attempts to escape the oppressive Navy environment served more to increase his despondency than alleviate it.  Running the LA gamut of homosexuals on Sunday evening cast a pall over much of the rest of the week.  His Mondays were stormy and blue indeed.

     Even though these tremedous experiences were the result of only sevral weeks they were magnified in his imagination to characterize his whole enlistment.  If asked in later life Dewey would have said he hitchhiked every weekend over three years for a total of over a hundred thousand miles.

     It was closer to twenty thousand but an eventful twenty.  Each weekend was an incredible adventure.  Also most of the hitchhiking occurred in the first few weeks.  By late July he was unknowingly riding dope runs regularly with Kayo Kreskin.  by September when the Kreskins bought Joe McLean a car for the dope runs Dewey rode with him.

     During the second week that the Teufelsdreck was moored in the next beside the Lewis Dewey was surprised at being approached by Kayo Kreskin who asked him to down to Tijuana again.

     Dewey had not spoken to Kayo since walking past he and his father at the Cadillac as they deposited the kilos of heroin in the trunk.

page 1525.

     Dewey had not been favorably impressed with Tijuana the first time he went down there.  He didn’t drink nor was he interested in the whores.  Those two items and fighting was the whole of Tijuana.  He’d really seen enough of prostitutes overseas.  Being abroad had made visiting whore houses sort of legitimate but back home they reverted to being dens of iniquity.

     ‘I don’t like Tijuana Kreskin and besides I don’t have the money to waste.’

     ‘How much is it going to cost you?  I’ll give you a free ride down and back.’

     Unpleasant memories of the last trip recurred to Trueman.  He hadn’t liked being the middle passenger in the back seat.

     ‘How may guys are going?  I’m not going to sit in the middle again front or back.  You can take that gig and shove it.’

     ‘There’ll only be the four of us.  You, me, McLean and Parsons.  They’re OK aren’t they?

     ‘Uh, you aren’t going to a tuck and roll job again are you?  Trueman had no idea Kreskin had been transporting marijuana but the determined seach by the Mexican border guanrs flagged that something had been going on.  Dewey vaguely sensed that he might have ended up in the Tijuana jail.

     ‘No, I’m not getting another tuck and roll.  What do you mean?’

     ‘I don’t want trouble at the border.  Maybe you guys think it’s fun but I don’t need it.’

page 1526

     ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about.  there isn’t going to be any trouble at the border.  C’mon along it’ll be fun.

      ‘I’m not spending any money.’

     ‘Spend what you want.’

     The four men hopped out of the landing craft catching a bus out to thirty-second street to get Kreskin’s car from the lot.  They wheeled across the border into the border town of Tijuana.  The place seemed a bigger dumpt to Trueman than he remembered.  They say that the border towns are not representative of the real Mexico but the difference is so miniscule as to be unnoticeable.

     Kreskin spoke a few words in McLean’s ear then left the three men to their own devices.

      Following Mcleans lead the first thing they did was head for the whore houses.  These places were too tough to be pleasant for Dewey.  The shame of the pimps made them act super tough.  The type of man frequenting the houses are invariably out to impress the women with aggressive manliness.

     If there is such a thing as bisexuality the habitues of bouses are the true bisexuals.  On the one hand they fill their desperate need to prove their manliness by bedding the women and by either punching out other men or being punched out by them.  Win or lose they find it an exhilarating pastime.

     Midweek is slow south of the border so the first place they chose was empty except for a couple solitary drinkers.  Without other men to show off for the men sat sullenly nursing their drinks uninterested in the women.

page 1527.

     The relationship of women to the damaged Animus and Anima is worthy of study.  Men both resent their dependence on women and love it.

     Dewey had to spring for a Coke to the loud guffaws of those present.

     ‘Sorry boys, I don’t drink.  Just look at it as yet more for you.’  Dewey laughed at what he hoped was an affable answer.  It passed because everyone mumbled somehing returning to their drinks.

     The whores were unoccupied so Dewey sat conversing with a couple of them while the pimps sat trying to be menacing nearby.  As Dewey was talking a young nice looking chicken swept up behind him tapping the bone just behind Dewey’s ear.

      His eyes rolled around in his head while an enervating wave swept his muscles while his brain went into the most pleasant of joys.  The effect seemed to last for quite some time.  When Dewey could focus his vision again the girl was seated in front of him smiling at his discombobulation.

     Some effor was required for Dewey to dispel the haziness.  He sat twisting his head in an attempt to clear his mind while the girl laughed delightedly at her success.  She thought she was likely to turn the trick but Dewey had rather hold onto his money than release his seed.

     He was saved from aguing about it by McLean who was jealous both because of the blow to the bone and this nicest looking girl in the place seeming to favor Dewey.

     ‘Let’s get out of here.’  He said gruffly, plans of vengeance already in his mind.

page 1528.

     ‘She’s too good for you.’  He said outside.

     ‘I don’t know whether she’s too good for me.’  Dewey laughed.  ‘But any whore as lovely as that is sure to have VD.  You should have screwed her McLean, you could use a dose.’

     ‘I know where there’s something better.’  Said McLean, stiffening and settling an evil glance on Trueman.

     ‘Don’t want anything better.  I said I wasn’t going to spend any money.’

     McLean , who was a regular libertine, was a familiar in many of the haunts of Tijuana.  He was familiar with a number of the pimps cluttering the street.  He hailed one he knew speaking a few words in his ear.  the pimp nodded beckoning them to follow.  He led them into an alley to a house.

     ‘Give him a buck and a half.’  McLean demanded.  He was now determined to humiliate Trueman as the girl’s selection of Dewey had humiliated him.

     ‘Why would I give him a buck and a half, Joe?’

      ‘He’s going to take you upstairs and get you laid.’

      ‘I don’t want to get laid by these whores.’

     ‘You don’t go up there people are going to say you’re queer.’  McLean threatened.

     Heaving a sigh Dewey handed the pimp a dollar and a half following him up the stairs.  McLean and Parsons stood waiting before the doorway.

     Like all pimps this tried to take a commanding role barking out directions like a drill sergeant.  He indicated a room in which a tough old whore of twenty-eight lay fully clothed.

page 1529.

     The pimp repeated to the whore in Spanish what McLean had told him.  The woman was the antithesis of the spry young thing that had raised McLean’s ire. 

     ‘Don’t take off your clothes just drop your pants and get up here.’

     The pimp pushed open the door Trueman had closed.

     ‘God, this worse than Manila.’  Trueman thought as he climbed between her upright knees.

     ‘I’ll put it in.’  She said.  But she didn’t.  Holding Dewey up between her legs she gripped his penis with her hand.  Looking down Dewey asked:  ‘How come I can see daylight between us?’

     ‘I don’t know. Hurry up.’

      ‘C’mon, stop wastin’ time.’  The pimp shouted through the doors, displaying some awesome power.  ‘Get it over with.’

     Dewey wasn’t so slow that he didn’t realize the whore was using her hand but as he hadn’t wanted to be there in the first place he didn’t care so long as he got out quickly but the situation angered him anyway.

     Finishing it off Dewey leaped up anxious to get out.  The pimp said something through the door in response to which the whore began reviling him while the pimp weakly commanded:  ‘C’mon, get your ass out of here.’

     ‘You’re nothing but a filty whore; say what you want it has no effect on me.’

     The whore let out a screech bursting into tears which brought three men rushing from another room with murderous looks on their faces.  Dewey wasted no time in bounding down the stairs four at a time.

    

Advertisements

A Novel

Our Lady Of The Blues

Book VII

by

R.E. Prindle

 Clip 4

     ‘Nothing, unless you’re buying.  No money.’

     ‘I’m not buying.’

     ‘I’m not eating.’

     ‘You’re going to have a cup of coffee at least.’

     ‘Don’t have a dime.’

     Stan looked at Dewey.  He admired his strength of will but he was sure Dewey was lying which of course Dewey was.  He had that twenty but he wasn’t about to show it.

     They got back into the yellow VW to continue on in the brilliant yellow sunshine bursting almost into song over the Great Valley of California.  Zippity do dah.

     Stan probed insistently as they drove past the outskirts of Bakersfield.  He was going to get that twenty.  Had it been a pre-beating Stan he might very well have but with his stuffing missing Stan lacked real nerve.  He could be hit in a couple places where it still hurt.  It would have to be a sucker punch on Dewey.  He tried another ploy.

     There is no natural water in the San Joaquin but clever Californians had built and were building massive dams that provided irrigation water.  Large amounts of that water were used to irrigate cotton fields in the Kern County desert.  Bakersfield is actual desert.  As they were driving past the budding cotton a plane was flying ground level dusting the cotton for boll weevils or whatever.

     Stan brought the VW to a halt by the side of ninety-nine.

     ‘Look they’re crop dusting.  Let’s watch for a while.’

     ‘Uh, I’m in a hurry man.  Why don’t I get out?

page 1431.

     ‘Relax.  Just watch.’

     Dewey doubled his fist keeping his eyes on Leland, ready to defend himself because he realized his danger.  He would have to be knocked out or killed for Stan to get his twenty.

     Stan’s right arm draped over the seat to feel for a wrench on the floor but he needed surprise also.  He needed Dewey to look the other way but Dewey’s tenseness indicated he wasn’t about to.

     With a sigh Stan put the VW in gear but now he was sore.

     ‘You aren’t a nice guy.’  He said with a pout.  ‘You don’t deserve to ride in this People’s Car.  You’re not real people.  Get out.’

     ‘Thanks for the ride anyway, man.’  Dewey said opening the door before the car came to a complete stop.  ‘Sorry about the twenty.’

     Dewey had to turn away to keep from laughing in Stan Leland’s face.  Leland had maybe carried him sixty miles which represented twenty cents in gas.  Did Leland really think Dewey was going to fork over twenty dollars for a quarters worth of fuel when Leland had to use the same amount of gas anyway?

     Leland drove off in a huff cursing Trueman’s back.

     Dewey focused his eyes before him.  He was standing in front of a strip mall.  One of those glitzy but commonplace California restaurants was in front of him.  Inside he could see the owner or manager hopping around anguished at the sight of him.

     Dewey turned around to survey the Great Central Valley of California.  It was bright and it was hot.  The highway structure was an immense pre-asphalt love affair.  A divided highway of concrete led in two lanes each way, the center strip itself was two lanes wide.  A two hundred mile long row of oleander bushes obstructed the glare of oncoming headlights at night.  The oleander, which is a very beautiful flowering bush, is drought resistant which is an essential quality for the Valley.  They are poisonous to cattle but that seemed to be of little consequence in the middle of the highway, although everyone always mentioned it.  They grow maybe ten feet high.

page 1432.

     Highway 99 had a paved shoulder which increased its width as well as an unpaved shoulder.  Another ten feet was kept bare before a chain link fence seprarated 99 from what was called a frontage road which allowed locals to get from place to place without entering the highway.  So all in all there were six lanes and spare.  The whole complex was two hundred fifty feet wide.  The road was the old fashioned kind that was just laid on top of the ground rather than dug in.

     When they built the concrete rollerball chute called Interstate 5 a couple decades later they set it over by the concrete canals carrying water from Shasta.  They built 5 on the same principle as the canals except the channel carried cars and trucks instead of water.  The highway games played on 5 were real live rollerball.

     But 99 was a more humane road.  It bypassed all the towns from the Grapevine to Modesto.  For whatever reasons 99 was the main street of Modesto.  The wide apron made it a very good hitchhiking road; cars could stop easily and safely.

page 1433

    The temperature was building up as Dewey looked back in the restaurant to find the manager with his nose pressed to the glass violently gesticulating at him.  Finally he ran to the door opening it a crack to shout at Dewey:  ‘Move along.  Move along.  Hitchhiking’s against the law.  We don’t want you around here.’

     Dewey looked at him in some wonder then thought that maybe buying a cup of coffee might placate him.  Dewey had no sooner opened the door than the little man shouted at him:  ‘Get out. Get out.  No service for you.’

     Dewey was mystified giving an uncomprehending shrug.  What the heck, he was in uniform, Uncle Sam’s own Blues.  Even a couple customers intervened for him.  ‘Take it easy, Mel.  What’s the problem?  He’s only a sailor, for Chrissakes, he’s serving the country.  Because of him you can sleep more securely at nights.’

     ‘If he’s an example of what is serving the country I won’t be able to sleep at all.’

     Dewey gave him the look anyone would give a looney as he stood half in and half out.

     ‘I want you out of here or I’ll call the police.’  The man named Mel raved hysterically.

     Dewey left stepping back to the highway.  Mel called the police anyway.

     Ten minutes later a Bakersfield Police car, not the California Highway Patrol, pulled up in front of him.  He was accompanied by a young civilian of nineteen years who stared at Dewey silently.  The CWB got out of the car approaching Dewey:  ‘Are you hitchhiking?’  He half said, half challenged in the CWB manner.

page 1434.

     Dewey had stepped back on the grass so as to give credence to the notion that he was not hitchhiking but just taking the air but then thought better of it.

     ‘Yeah.  I am.’

     ‘You know it’s against the law.’

     ‘No, I didn’t know that.  You see so many guys hitchhiking.’

     ‘Yeah.  Well, it is.’

     Mel stuck his head out of the door:  ‘That’s him officer, that’s him.  Arrest him.’

     In point of law, which is irrelevant to the CWBs, Dewey was outside the Bakersfield city limits and hence beyond the jurisdiction of the CWB.   The cop looked at the civilian  who hadn’t taken his eyes off Dewey:  ‘Is that him?’

     The boy solemnly shook his head no.

     ‘I’m not going to take you in this time, Sailor, but you better be gone if I come back.’

     ‘I certainly hope to be.’  Dewey smiled.

     ‘Arrest him.  Arrest him.’  Mel screamed.  ‘That’s him.’

     The CWB waved Mel off.  Mel in his hysterical fear locked his door causing problems with people who wanted out and preventing people from entering.

     Dewey was looking at him shaking his head whan a car stopped in front of him.

     ‘Get in man.’  Came a voice with an unmistakable Mexican accent.

page 1345.

     Dewey turned to find a ’56 Chevy with five Mexicans in it looking aggressive.  Dewey may have had to get away from that spot in a hurry but not that big a hurry.  He’d rather take his chances with the CWBs.

     ‘I’m going all the way to Oakland.  You’re just going up ahead a ways, right?’

     ‘Yeah.  That’s right man.  Get in, man, we give you a ride anyway.’

     ‘That’s alright.  I’ll wait for a longer hop.’

     ‘Get in the middle.’  The guy on the right back said holding the door open for him.

     A very dangerous situation it was.  Shotgun in front was cleaning his nails with a stileto.  The other guy in back had his hand on the door ready to leap out.  The restaurant was locked.  It would take five guys with knives about thirty seconds to finish him.  Dewey decided to trust to his charm as limited as that was, he got in the middle in the back.

     Martin Luther King the apostle of non-violent resistance was heading for his mountain top from whence he proclaimed that White Americans were bred in the bone racists.  Black Folk claim that King was the greatest man America ever produced but he was nothing but a back country screeching pastor of a patriarchal consciousness thing.  True, the cause was just; true, there were egregious wrongs that had to be corrected but King himself was a weak reed who left his wife at home while he panted after White women in the pursuit of his notion of justice.  That he was any kind of spokesman for the cause at all was an accident of fate.  Even his own people were beginning to repudiate him before he died.

1436.

     The overblown rhetoric of his speeches would have been laughed at in the mouth of the most respectable White preacher.  ‘I have been to the mountaintop’ spoken seriously is such pompous nonsense that Whites should be ashamed of themselves for even pretending to revere such bull roar.

     However King was the harbinger of the emerging Black Revolution.  A Revolution which would do the inevitable of dividing Americans into a group of more or less autonomous peoples held loosely together by economics.  Just as the Black gangs which coalesced from the riots of ’67 into an incipient form of Black government by the end of the century so these Mexicans flooding across the border could have a complete disregard for the United States that meant nothing more to them than hot Chevy cars, money and a more affluent style of living than was possible for them to create for themselves South of the Border down Mexico way.  Heck, it was even bad form to call  them Mexicans in the United States, their nationality being a form of insult to them on this side of the border; one had to call them ‘Hispanics.’  They might ridicule Americans and Gringos but they were nothing but a joke closely resembling the caricatures of themselves that appeared in US magazines and newspapers.

     Now Dewey sat between two giggling Mexicans while the Shotgun sneered at him over the seat:  ‘Hey may, we give you a ride you never forget.’

page 1437.

     ‘Oh yeah?  I remember every kindness never done to me.’  Dewey replied sarcastically to show he was in control with a forced smile that he hoped looked fearless.

     The car went down 99 about ten miles then the driver turned left towards the coast range onto a dirt road.  The car began to lurch through the dusty fields.

     ‘Better let me out here.  I’m going North.’

     ‘Hey, Gringo, you going where we want you to go.  We let you out when we want to let you out, man.  Only then and not before.  Sabe?  We goin’ to have some fun withchu.  Whatchu think of this stinking America, man.  I think it smells very bad, whatchu think?’

     ‘Seems to be good to you.’  Dewey returned feebly slowly putting both his hands in his pockets to disguise that he was reaching for his long thin Japanese pocket knife.

     ‘Good for us, man, you fool.  What we doin’, we workin’ for the man plantin’ and harvestin’ his potatoes while he  driving around in his El Dorado Cadillac.  You call that good.’

     ‘I see what you mean.  America does suck.’  Dewey agreed adding sotto voce:  ‘…to allow dicks like you in this country.’

     ‘That uniform you wearing, man, it only makes you look stupid.  Your Navy sucks, too, man.’

     ‘I agree with you wholeheartedly there ,man.’  Dewey said with true sincerity.  ‘But I want out now.’

      So saying he pulled his knife out flipping the loosely hinged blade out and clapping it to the throat of the driver.

page 1438.

     ‘Stop the car.’

      The Mexicans had been taken by surprise as Dewey’s apparent resignation had implied no resistance.  The driver didn’t think about it, he just brought the car to a smooth stop trying to avoid the potholes.

     ‘Open the door and let me out.’  Dewey told the Mex on his left.

     Dewey reversed the blade drawing the blunt edge across the driver’s neck as a warning as he brought the point to bear on the Mex standing in the door.  He backing up as Dewey pushed the knife forward as he got out.

     ‘Fuck Pancho Villa.’  Dewey snarled as he moved back toward the highway.

     ‘Puto.’  The Mex spat out.

     ‘Dildo.’  Dewey called over his shoulder.

     Dewey didn’t know what puto meant and the Mexican didn’t know what dildo meant so they were even on that score.

     Dewey thought they might try to run him down but they drove off through a cloud of dust.

     The highway was a good mile and a half distant which was a long walk through what was now blazing heat in his heavy woolen blues.  Dewey slowed his brisk walk into a leisurely stroll so as not to soak his uniform through giving him a heck of a stench.

     White guilt prejudice prevented Dewey from correctly analyzing his encounter with the Mexicans.  It was considered bad for Whites to see racial matters in their true light.  Thus even though these Mexicans did not consider themselves Americans or have any respect for the country they sucked off, White prejudice required Dewey to dismiss the true situation from his mind replacing it with the fiction that these were oppressed people who had fled despotic conditions for a better life in an America Whites had created.

     What bullroar.

     They were just grubbers who realized that Mexico would never amount to anything in the hands of Mexicans while the good life worth sponging off lay across the border with the despised Gringos.

     Twenty minutes later Dewey was back by the side of the road warm but not sweating;  He’d managed to walk in some style.  The thermometer was edging over a hundred.  The sun rays crashed down on him in unrelenting bombardment.  Dewey’s mind began to drift.

     There were many stories of aliens abducting people in their flying saucers at the time.  While Dewey refused to believe them his disbelief was not so strong that he ruled out the possibility.  He did watch the night sky for unidentified flying objects.

     As he looked up into the dazzling blue glare he thought this might be a good time to be abducted.  He was ready to volunteer.  He could imagine a saucer hovering above him shooting down a ray of light separating his molecules into a vapor to beam him aboard.

     ‘They might even serve me some cosmic cookies and a glass of intergalactic mile.’  He was musing as a car slowed to a stop just ahead of him.

page 1440.

      ‘Ah, air conditioning.’  He smiled as he slid into the shotgun of a ’58 Buick Roadmaster.  ‘Better than a flying saucer.’

     ‘Have you had an experience?’  Wally Reid, the driver, asked as he slipped back into traffic. 

     ‘I’m heading for Oakland.’  Dewey said.

     ‘Uh huh.  I’m going to Sacramento.  Drop you off at the Manteca cutoff.  How’s that?’

     ‘Couldn’t be better.’

     ‘What’s this about a flying saucer?’

     ‘Oh nothing.  I was just fantasizing about being beamed up and given cookies and milk.’

     ‘Strange you should say that.  That’s happened.’  Reid began taking the comment at face value.  ‘My sister-in-law had a terrible experience with a flying saucer.’

     ‘Your sister-in-law was abducted?’  Dewey said in astonishment.

     ‘Word of honor.  She wouldn’t lie to me or Chuck, my brother.’

     ‘No.  What happened?’

     ‘This happened just a couple weeks ago.  They kept her for two whole days.  She was driving home from work, worked late, when a saucer zoomed over her and beamed her up like inside a giant flashlight beam, car and all.’

     ‘No!’

     ‘Oh yea.  There were about fifteen of them.  Zoomed back out into space.  You should hear her description of what Earth looks like from out there.  A big blue marble.  They wanted to know how Earthlings have sex.  So she says that for two days they worked her over.  They poked and fondled and did her up.  Felt her tits all over.  She says they were really mystified by the nipples.  She had to explain everything to them.  They had this device they put in her mouth that translated everything she said into their language.

page 1441.

     Once they understood how to put it in after she explained it to them she says each guy took a turn or two on her.  They weren’t gentle either, probably because they didn’t have any experience with screwing Earth style.’

     ‘Jeez.  What did they look like?’

      ‘Just like you’d expect.  Green with these giant heads and bulging eyes.  You know, like they don’t do any physical work, just cerebral stuff, so they’re all brain and no brawn, muscles just withered away, opposite of us.’   Wally said with unintended humor which was nevertheless caught by Trueman who suppressed a smile.  ‘Skinny thin bodies and arms with long thin peckers, twice as long as ours but she says they felt like worms, you know,  they could bend and twist like corkscrews.  Kept at her for two whole days.’

     ‘Wow.  Did they give her any cosmic cookies or intergalactic milk?’

     ‘No.  They fed her with tubes.  She’s still got some needle marks on the inside of her arms.  Then after they finished with her they beamed her back down but they weren’t too careful about it either.  They bashed the car up pretty bad.  Bonnie didn’t look too good either.’

page 1442.

     ‘How’s that?’

     ‘Well, they were aliens so I guess they did weird things.  They chopped her hair up something terrible.  They could have at least cut it off even but they cut it short in uneven lengths and cut clumps out here and there.  Not only was her hair a mess but she was black and blue all over from the rough treatment plus those puncture marks on her arms.

     Wasn’t all bad though.’

     ‘No?  What was good?’

     ‘Heck, can you imagine what it will look like?  This kid’s going to be a real freak, half human, half alien.  Chuck and me figure our fortune is made.  We’ll be able to exhibit it for millions.  Everybody will want to see it, don’t you think?  Wouldn’t you?’

     ‘I sure do.  I’d like to see it I’m sure of that.’

     Trueman and Reid chatted away merrily in this vein through Modesto to the Manteca cutoff.

     ‘So long, Dewey.’

     ‘So long, Wally.  Thanks for the ride.  Good luck with the alien baby.’

     Dewey crossed the highway to take up a position on the cutoff.  He got his thumb out and then broke down in laughter.    It was good rich deep throated laughter, straight from the belly.

 page 1443.

     ‘Those guys actually believe Bonnie’s going to have an alien baby.  Ha ha.  Cracked the car up when they carelessly beamed the car down.  Ha ha ha.  Boy, that Bonnie must have the gift of gab.  Wonder what they’ll do when the alien baby looks just like some guy Bonnie knows.’

     Dewey struggled to control his laughter as he got funny looks from a couple of drivers.  He still had a big smile on his face when a ’56 Ford Fairlane with two men and two women motioned for him to hop in.

     The back door opened so Dewey got in the back; safer when there was someone in the back seat anyway.  If the Mexicans had made him get in the front Dewey might not have been able to control the situation.

     ‘You look as happy as though you’ve embraced the spirit of Jesus.’  John Ahrens, the driver, said in the sepulchral tones of the lay preacher.

      That took the smile off Dewey’s face.  The next largest group after the homos in the habit of picking up hitchhikers were the religious nuts.  In a lot of ways they were worse and actually more dangerous than the homos.

     Dewey forced a laugh out of his throat:  ‘That too; but my last ride was telling me about how his sister-in-law was abducted by flying saucer aliens…’

     ‘That happened to her too.’  Susan Strable exclaimed from the front seat.

     A smile flickered out on Dewey’s face.  ‘Happened to you too, hey?’

page 1444

     ‘No.  But it happened to Jack.’  She said indicating Ahrens.  ‘They flew away at tremendous speeds and took him to seventh heaven and he had a long talk with Jesus and Jesus sent him back to establish the true church of God.’

     Four very serious, very critical sets of eyes fixed themselves on Dewey watching his reaction.  Dewey sobered up immediately.  This was no laughing matter; he was in with religious nuts.

     ‘I heard somebody else did that too.  Let me think.  Oh yeah, a while back a guy name Mohammed flew up to Seventh Heaven on a horse.  I forget the horse’s name.’

     ‘In Greek it was Arion.’  Ahrens extolled who didn’t know the name of Mohammed’s horse either but rather than admit it resorted to a circumlocution that nobody could check or deny.

     That had Dewey stumped since he couldn’t remember the Arab name he was in no position to question Ahren’s assertion.  Ahrens was quick and plausible.  He hadn’t flunked out of the seminary for nothing.  He hadn’t so much as flunked out as been thrown out.  His answers may have sounded plausible but they were invariably wrong.  Nevertheless Ahrens would defend them with violence if necessary.

     Rather than tolerate his madness he had been thrown out.  He hadn’t taken that well either.  He had been on his way back to the President’s office with a 12 gauge under his arm when he had been intercepted by the police.  With the certitude of the righteous Ahrens had been marching down the middle of the street like Gary Cooper at high noon.

page 1445.

     The Christian gentlemen of Mt. Larynx Theological Seminary declined to press charges on condition that Ahrens to far away and stay there.  Oakland was some distance from St. Larynx.

     ‘But the Moslems are full of baloney.’  Susan Strable continued.  ‘No horse can fly as fast as a flying saucer.’  Dewey nodded in agreement.  ‘Besides Jesus told Jack that Mohammed was just a big fibber and wasn’t even there.  At least he didn’t talk to Jesus.’

      ‘Oh well, Mohammed went to talk to a different god, Allah.  Maybe Jesus was out to lunch at the time.’

      ‘There is only one god, the Moslems got that right, but his name isn’t Allah.  The real name of God is too sacred to repeat to the profane so you’re not going to hear it from me.  Suffice it to say, the truth resides in me.’  John Ahrens intoned majestically.

     ‘Boy, that’s for sure.’  Susan affirmed.  ‘But Jack found out for sure that those athiests are all nasty liars.  God isn’t dead.  And the reason people can’t see heaven anymore now that we’ve had our own space things, sputniks or whatever, heaven is retreating from earth at one second less than the speed of light each year.  So while it’s sure going to be hard to get there you can make it if you try.’

     ‘Amen, Susan.’  Ahrens said approvingly.

     ‘So now Jack’s the head and founder of the Intergalactic Church of Christ Immersed In The Extraterrestrial Blood.  We’re going to be bigger than the Catholics and Billy Graham put together.  What do you think of that?’

page 1446.

     ‘Where are you based?’

     ‘Oakland, California.’

     The car had exited the Manteca cutoff entering Highway 80 for the run across the Altamont.  Dewey was beginning to get uncomfortable.  the thought of any church being Immersed In Extraterrestrial Blood, whatever that was, threw the fear of God into him.  Space traveler or not Dewey knew that the Intergalactic Church was rooted in the viciousness of Genesis as they all were.  Judaism was the religion of blood.

     ‘Well, I certainly wish you luck in overtaking the Pope and Billy.  I think you’ve got a long haul in front of you though.’

     ‘We were hoping you’d join us.’  Ahrens sort of commanded.

     ‘No-o-o.  I’m in the Navy.  Can’t do that.’

     ‘Why not?  You must be based in the Bay Area.  You’re returning now.’

     It was getting to close to 5:00 PM on Saturday night so Ahrens wasn’t completely out of line in his surmise.

    ‘No. I’m from San Diego.  Have to be back tomorrow.’

     ‘Humph.’  Ahrens ejaculated, thinking to himself that Dewey was a liar.  ‘That’s not very probable.  You may not even be in the Navy.  I’ll bet you’re just using that uniform to make it easy to get rides.

     ‘You better come along.’  Susan said.  ‘You don’t want to get Jack mad.’

     ‘I suppose not.’  Dewey sighed.  ‘But, I’m not going along anyway.  Let me out at the MacArthur overpass.’

page 1447.

     ‘I think he’s OK.’  The other man spoke confidentially to the back of Ahren’s head.

     ‘We’re not letting you out.’  Ahrens said with a nod.  ‘You’re coming with us.’

     ‘Ooh.’  Susan cooed, seizing Dewey’s hand.  ‘What an honor.  They’re going to sacrifice you.’

     ‘Oh yeah?  Right on.  Just let me out.’

     Susan’s head bobbed up and down affirmatively as she tucked her lower lip into her mouth.  ‘Jesus needs blood to keep the world on its axis, he told Jack.  So far we’ve only used the blood of the neighbor’s cats and dogs.  But now we’re going to move up to people because dog and cat blood isn’t keeping the axis too steady.’

     ‘You let me out.  Now! Or you’ve got big trouble Jack.  Screw you and your Intergalactic Church.’

     Ahrens cast an angry glance back at Dewey but the determined look on Dewey’s face made him think twice.  He slammed on his brakes skidding up over the curb with a jolt:  ‘You’ve got five seconds.’  He commanded.

     Dewey didn’t waste any of them.  If he hadn’t had to bend down to pick up his bag he would have made it.  Ahrens squealed back on the highway throwing Dewey into the ivy.  Dewey got up.  He was half a mile from the MacArthur off ramp.  He decided to walk it.  Hitchhiking in what he now considered his hometown was repugnant to him so he walked down to 86th which was a considerable hike.  By the time he reached Da Costa’s, Roque and McLean had already gone out for the night taking Terry with them.

page 1448.

     Pete Da Costa refused admittance to the house.  Not knowing what else to do Dewey sat down on the porch step to wait.  Luck was with him.  Roque came back to pick up an item Terry had forgotten.

     ‘What took you so long?’

     ‘I’ll tell you when we have the time.’

     ‘OK. Come on along.’

      Da costa was none too happy with Trueman.  He felt, quite reasonably that Trueman had attempted to use him throwing himself over for Torbrick.  Trueman’s story was different and right also but it would have taken a demon judge to find for him.

     Terry’s friends were throwing a party.  Thus Trueman was introduced into a circle of high school seniors.  It was there he met Louise Tricka.  Louise was another who was drawn to the misfits.  She liked Trueman a lot, possibly because she too was a square peg in a round hole.

     But for tonight Dewey returned with Da Costa, McLean and Terry.  McLean whose hatred for Trueman since Guam had grown not abated had moved into his place quietly defaming him to Da Costa.  Terry had now cast her net for McLean but he wasn’t anymore interested than Trueman.

     ‘I don’t know how to tell you this Dewey, but my father doesn’t want you in the house.’

     ‘Yeah, he already told me, Roque, but I don’t have any place to stay.  I could sleep in the car, couldn’t I?’

page 1449.

     ‘Yeah, I suppose you could do that.’

     McLean snickered shrugging his shoulders with a broad smile.

      Dewey who saw more sunrises than he cared to remember pulled himself erect with the rising sun.  Unshaven and feeling grungy he sat glowering into the rear view mirror until McLean and Da Costa showed on the porch at 9:30.

     Da Costa suggested they go down and look at the grocery store he worked at.  Trueman didn’t care to meet anyone in his condition so he was all for it.

     Under the law your employer had to guarantee a reservist his job when he was discharged so Roque was technically still employed by Lucky Stores as a check out clerk.

     He worked for a nice store down in the Lake Grove district.  Trueman and McLean were properly appreciative.

     Considering that it had taken Trueman a full twenty-four hours to get to Oakland it might seem that he was overly optimistic in leaving for San Diego at 4:00 Sunday afternoon.  In fact, if things didn’t go completely wrong there was just enough time to make it back, if not for reveille, at least for muster.  Trueman cut it close but he always cut it as a hitchhiker.

      Da Costa and Mclean had flown up so Trueman got Roque to drive him up to the Altamont from which he always commenced his return journey.

     Yes, it’s the same Altamont Pass where the Rolling Stones had their disastrous concert which brought the psychedelic era to an end in 1969.  The Pass is a low hill a few hundred feet high leading into the San Joaquin past Tracy into Stockton.

page 1450.

     There was a certain amount of apprehension in Trueman’s mind.  He was taking the word of someone he couldn’t remember that this was possible.  At this point he wasn’t sure that he wasn’t crazy.

     Life is full of delights…and subsequent disappointments.  Dewey hadn’t been standing on the Altamont long before a green ’58 Plymouth pulled to a stop.  The Plymouth hadn’t yet been nudged out of the low price race with Chevy and Ford but it was fading fast.
     ‘Goin’ to Anaheim.’  The driver Jake Rawlins said.  ‘How far you goin’?’

     Dewey’s heart leapt to this throat as his face broke out into a big smile; maybe there was a god in heaven after all.

      ‘Alright.’  Dewey chirped.  ‘Luck is a lady tonight.  I gotta get back to San Diego.  Thanks for the ride.’

     Dewey bounced against the back of the seat a couple times in delight.  As Jake Accelerated to seventy per Dewey figured he’d be in Anaheim in at least six hours.

     Jake was a real nice guy.  Like most normal people he was only almost normal, not quite there.  Unless you’re in an environment like the Navy which requires apparent rigid conformity everyone has their ways.  Jake’s eccentricity was that he was an advocate of steam powered cars.  In fact, he was an expert, a foremost world-wide authority on steam, so he said.  He communicated with other experts on steam power in autos all over the world, especially in Australia.

page 1451.

     The rest of society wasn’t too interested in steam as compared to the internal combustion gasoline engine so Jake was used to a lot of ridicule.  But like all compulsives he had to talk about his fetish.

     Dewey would have laughed but as he was getting a plum of a ride for free, you could tell Jake wasn’t going to ask for anything but an audience, he displayed reasonably good manners.

     ‘Well.’  Dewey said amiably.  ‘Alright.  So why does your Plymouth have an internal combustion engine?’

     Jake was coughing around an answer about corresponding with his contact in Australia about a particularly difficult problem when he spotted another hitchhiker.  It was a Second Class Gunner’s Mate with three hashmarks on his sleeve.

     ‘Career man.’  Dewey thought.  ‘All those guys are pricks.’

     ‘You’ll be sorry if you pick him up.’  Dewey objected.  ‘All those career guys are arrogant.’

     But nice guys always trip over their own nicety; it goes with the territory.  Jake pulled over.  Dewey tried to get out to let Lee Nelson, the Gunner’s Mate, into the middle but Nelson really wanted the end, he kept pushing Dewey back in.  Unable to win that way Dewey said:  ‘I’ll get in the back.’

     ‘No.’  Jake said.  ‘Stay in front.’

     Dewey groaned to himself at Nelson’s triumphant smile.  He knew there was trouble ahead but he just didn’t know what.

     Nelson turned out to be just as arrogant as Dewey expected.  As Jake continued to rattle on about steam power Nelson guffawed at the very notion of steam power ever becoming popular.  There was no question that he was right but he was betraying Rawlins’ generosity.  As Rawlins continued on in his dotty way Nelson began to become abusive.  You never knew when one of these guys might explode.

     ‘Hey, man, be a little more polite.  You’re riding for free.’  Trueman exhorted.

     ‘You don’t believe this dipshit and his steam power crap do you, you simp?’

     Dewey was thrown on his most tactful approach:  ‘Steam powered cars are an accomplished fact.  The Stanley Steamer is a very famous car.  Everything he says about steam is a fact.  Who knows but they may be able to replace the internal combustion engine with steam if it’s improved.’

      ‘You don’t really believe steam is going to replace gas?’

     ‘Perhaps not in my lifetime but I say that it’s an open question that Jake knows a lot more about than you or me.’

     ‘Shee, you’re as dotty as he is.’

     Nelson at least shut up saying nothing further.  Jake and Dewey carried on the conversation or, rather, Jake rattled away.

     Jake was no slouch behind an internal combustion engine.  He sped through the turns of the cutoff slowing down to pass through Modesto.  Modesto was the story of the law in America, the triumph of pragmatism.  The posted speed limit was twenty-five.  But in order to facilitate passage through town signs proclaimed that the stop lights were timed for thirty-two miles an hour so you were encouraged to speed through town to catch all the lights.  Good laughs were had over that one.

page 1453.

     Outside Modesto Jake really barreled.  He kept the plunger in for ninety per.  The old Plymouth was barely making contact with the road.

     Ninety-nine was not a freeway but a limited access highway.  That meant that there were periodic crossings.  The wide meridian made it difficult for drivers to dart across; you needed a little space to make it.

     Just North of Fresno there was a dangerous crossing.  There were no lights and as the East side of the highway was about ten feet higher a car’s headlights shone down rather than across the highway.  The crossing was one of the most dangerous spots on the highway.

     About a mile away Dewey, whose night and distance vision was exceptional spotted an old double front ended Studebaker sitting on the meridian sloping down from the Northbound lane.  Call it deja vu, call it paranoia, call it prescience but the driver’s obvious indecision made it clear that trouble lay ahead.

     ‘Watch that guy up there, Jake.  Watch that guy, change lanes, slow down, this guy’s dangerous.’

     Nelson was one of those loud mouthed First Division jerks:  ‘Aw, for Christ’s sake, relax.’  He said outshouting Dewey.  It was one of those times when all the world seemed to conspire against one’s better judgement.

     The Studebaker just sat there like a spider waiting for the fly.  Then about a third of a mile away it seemed that the driver just took his foot off the brake and slowly coasted out into the fast lane.  If Dewey had gotten Jake to change lanes they would have missed him.  A quarter mile away Jake jammed his foot on the brake.  The Plymouth which now would never know steam turned into a rocket sled but it slid straight down the highway.

page 1454.

     ‘Goddamn you, Nelson.’  Dewey shouted as the distance closed.  By that Dewey meant that if it hadn’t been for picking up Nelson they would have been beyond the crossing by then and Dewey wouldn’t be stuck in the middle with nothing to hold on to, nor would he have been crazy enough to needle a very excitable driver.  Dewey laid off the whole blame on Nelson although Nelson was too stupid and self-centered to understand his complicity.

     Dewey saw certain death before him.  He went limp as a ragdoll and hoped for the best but he saw his broken crushed body on the highway.  The Plymouth slid into the Studebaker at seventy per midway between the bumper and the cab.

     The collision drove the Studebaker fifty feet down the highway where it sat in the middle of the fast lane pointing South.  The Plymouth was totaled.  Dewey bounced around the seat, first against Jake, then his head caromed off the windshield which miraculously didn’t break, then he slammed against Nelson finally sprawled over both.

      Incredibly no one was hurt.  Dewey sat quietly panting.  He reached up to touch his head where it banged into the windshield.  He didn’t even have a bruise.

     The driver of the Studebaker, an old man of ninety years paced the highway between the two cars dazed, a trickle of blood oozing down from his left temple.

page 1456.

     ‘Look at that old fart.’  Jake cried.  ‘He probably isn’t anymore dazed now than he was before.  You guys are going to stick around to give a police statement for me, aren’t you?’

     Nelson already had his thumb out.

     ‘Give the police your own statement you dumb son-of-a-bitch.  All you had to do was change lanes to avoid the accident.  That’s what I’ll tell the police.’

     Incredibly enough a car screeched to a halt between the wreckage and the roadside to give Nelson a ride.  Nelson was either generous enough or guilty enough to motion Dewey to get in but Dewey wasn’t about to ride the middle with Nelson again.  He was shaken up enough to feel bad.  He passed.

     The two thirty year old men who had been in the Studebaker with the ninety year old driver rushed up to Jake demanding his insurance agent.  The accident was nothing less than an insurance scam.  It had been planned that way.

     The police were slow in arriving.

     ‘Hey Jake, I really gotta go or I’m going to miss muster.’   If Dewey had been thinking flexibly, as Van Wye would have done, he would have had himself taken to the hospital, phoned in and had himself a couple days off.

     ‘No, wait.  You’ve got to give me a statement.’

     As he was pleading the CHP drove up.

     Dewey wrote a statement which the CWB didn’t seem to care about snickering like something was going on and he knew what it was.  Dewey flipped his statement to him then stuck out his thumb.

      Luck, as it were, was still with him, a Ford truck pulled over.  Dewey leaped in.  After the obligatory explanation of what had had happened the driver introduced himself.

     ‘Hi, podna, I’m Clint Hartung, known as the Hondo Hurricane.  I’m originally from Hondo, Texas.  How far you goin’?’

      Dewey eyed Clint over.  Clint was a big man, maybe six-four or six-five, built like the proverbial brick outhouse.  Gentle looking though.  He was dressed in some sort of quasi-western fashion.  A big hat, buckskin jacket with fringes, even before the mid to late sixties.  Kind of a checkered cowboy shirt with pearl buttons and black Can’t Bust ‘Ems over engineer boots.  Dewey figured he was going to be stranger than Jake which he was but in a good kind of way.

     Just by way of making conversation Clint started talking movies.  He was a big Western fan which came as no surprise.  Matt Dillon ran through Dewey’s mind as he looked at Clint and listened to him speak.  He had that slow deliberate way of talking that is supposed to indicate no-nonsense manhood.  Pretty good job too.

     As might be expected John Wayne was Clint’s hero. 

     ‘Really, John Wayne, hmm?’  Dewey mused.

     ‘Sure, he’s the greatest living American. You don’t think so?’

      ‘Wayne?  Hmm.  Well I thought you resembled say James Arness,Matt Dillon, more or maybe the wagon master, Ward Bond, more along those lines rather than Wayne.’

     Clint was flattered at the comparison, especially the Arness bit as that was a major part of the persona he had adopted.

     ‘Yeah, those guys are good but John Wayne he just captures the essence of what an American is don’t you think?’

      Dewey didn’t like John Wayne at all even though he was the number one male hero for nearly every man in America.  But, he was used to giving his opinion when asked for it.

     ‘Well, I’m not a big fan of Wayne.  Seen him in lots of movies of course but he always comes across to me like a card board cut out.  It not so much that he portrays the idea of a man but imitates it.  He doesn’t seem natural.  They try to make him too big putting him on small horses so that his feet drag and give him that small rifle that looks like a toy gun in his hand.   Like in Hondo, speaking of the Hondo Hurricane, he seems to be too much bigger than life to be real.’  Dewey almost said that Wayne appeared to him as a fag but then thought better of accusing the guy considered the most manly man in America of being gay.  Still the guy could have played himself in the Village People with that mincing hip twisting walk.  Especially the one he used in Hondo.

     ‘Yeah, I liked Hondo a lot better than Shane although Shane was another good book ruined by the movie.’

     ‘I thought Audie Murphy made a good Shane.’ 

     ‘I thought maybe that was Alan Ladd rather than Audie Murphy.’

     ‘Um, yeah, I guess you’re right.  For me he was too jumpy, nervous and in drawn.  I though Shane was a lot more confident than that.  Besides that bit at the end when he rode off wounded into the sunset and the kid calls out ‘Mom wants you, Shane, Dad wants you and I want you too.’ was too much.  I nearly laughed myself to death.  Hondo was the real thing.  Louis L’Amour could turn out to be a heck of a writer.  I read a couple other of his things but they weren’t anywhere near Hondo.’

      ‘Well, I really like your tastes in literature but I’m not too sure of your interpretation.’  Clint replied ponderously.  The guy was like an elephant walking off a heavy dinner.

     ‘By the way, I’m Dewey Trueman.  Uh, The Michigan Kid.’  Dewey said in a lame attempt to match the Hondo Hurricane.  ‘How far are you going?’

     ‘I’m on my way to Superstition Mountain.  Ever heard of that?’

     ‘Oh yeah.  Sure. Of course.  Dutchman’s gold.  there’s supposed to be a lost gold mine.  Flying Dutchman or something like that.  Guy had it, went down the mountain and couldn’t find it again, right?’

     ‘That’s close, Kid.  I’m a goldminer.  Got my sluice and pans in back.’

     ‘Right.  Where are your claims and mines.’

     ‘I don’t mine properly speaking.  I pan for it or set up my sluice and wash the gravel.  I been up on 49 around Placerville working the streams around there.’

     ‘I thought that was all played out.’

     ‘Sure ain’t like it was in forty-nine but you never know when you might find a crack or crevice that’s loaded.  No luck of that kind yet but I’m always hopin’.’

      Why do you do it if you don’t find gold?’

     ‘Oh, I find plenty of gold, just not a big cache yet.’  Clint groaned out like a Henry Kissinger in slow motion.  He produced a prescription plastic container half filled with gold.

      ‘That’s gold.’  He said with satisfaction flipping it to Dewey.  Dewey looked at the sand and small nuggets with fascination.  He was disappointed.  Somehow he expected ‘gold’ to be more.  This may have been gold alright but without the capital G.  It was just sort of gold and not a lot of it.

     ‘How long did it take you to pan this out?’

     ‘That’s about three-four weekends worth.’

     ‘Where did it come from?’

     ‘That’s from up on the Tuolmne but I’ve been everywhere for gold.  Alaska, the Yukon, haven’t been to the Australian fields yet but I’m on my to Superstition Mountain now.’

page 1458

     Dewey was so impressed with the Hondo Hurricane that he dropped his usual sarcastic manner.

     ‘Wow, this old pickup really flies along I wouldn’t think it could go so fast for so long.’

     ‘My old Ford here?  I put a ’58 Chevy V8 in it.  Now it’s an all American car.  Best both Ford and Chevy have to offer.  Never know when you’ll need the power when you’re a gold prospector.  Lot of claim jumpers out there and of course you never know when you’re trespassin’ on someone else’s claim until it’s too late.’

     Dewey laughed merrily as the eclectic Ford-Chevy truck raced the moon across the Grapevine through the starry starry night.

     Dewey had assumed that Clint would be passing through San Diego on his way to Superstition Mountain so he was both surprised and disappointed when Clint Hartung pulled over to the side to let him out.

     ‘I take the Lancaster turn off here and take the desert route from here, Kid.  You’re welcome to come along if you like but I hate big cities, always avoid ’em when I can.’

     ‘Well, I think I’m better off where there’s lots of traffic so I have to stay on this road.  Thanks for the ride Hondo, and good luck on Superstition Mountain.’

     Clint was flattered to be called Hondo.  He gave the Kid, er…Dewey, a desert hat salute and roared off honking his horn a couple times in acknowledgment of Dewey’s compliment.  Needless to say he didn’t have any luck on Superstition Mountain or anywhere else gold might be found but he lived the kind of life so many men only dream about.  Maybe he’s updated his old Ford truck with a newer engine by now and is still out there gunning the engine for the vanishing point.  I sure hope so.

page 1459.

     One uneventful ride dropped Dewey off at the head of Lankersheim Blvd.  Cruising was still in progress on Sunday night.  Dewey had made good time notwithstanding the wreck on the highway.  At midnight the cruisers had thinned out but were still plentiful.  Three fruits and two fundamentalists brought Dewey to the on ramp of the Hollywood Freeway which was the way he ought to have come if the Marine, Bill Baird, hadn’t driven him astray.

     A red and white ’56 Chevy pulled over for him.

     ‘Going back to the base, I suppose.’  the driver, Al Pscholka mused.

     ‘Yep.’

     ‘Where might that be, if I might be so rude to ask?’

     ‘I’m based in San Diego.  How far are you going?’

     ‘I could be going not too far; or, on the other hand, I could drop you off at the gate in San Diego.  The choice is yours.’

     ‘O-o-oh.  No kidding.’  Dewey replied grasping the situation.

     Acquiring the rudiments of the road doesn’t require long and patient study, especially as your attention is so concentrated.  Dewey was also grasping the concept of keeping them talking as long as possible without getting to the point.

page 1460.

     ‘You must be a traveling salesman or something.’ He volunteered.

     ‘No.  I’m an accountant.  I add up figures.  I know the score.’  Pscholka said with knowing double entendre.

     He was a good looking fellow of about six-two, slender but muscular.  There was a vicious mean spirited look to him.  His shame at his homosexuality made him fairly brutal toward his conquests.  Otherwise he had a mean derogatory attitude.

     ‘Accounting huh?  That must be interesting.’

     ‘Cut the crap.  You know what I want.’

     ‘Who me?  No, I’m not sure I do.’

     ‘You going to give it up or not?’

     ‘I’m not queer if that’s what you mean.’

     ‘I don’t care if you’re queer or not.  I am.  What I’m saying is we can go somewhere and have a good time and I’ll get you back to the base for muster or you can take your chances on the highway.’

     ‘Pull over and let me out then.’

     ‘Did you hear what I said?’

     ‘Only too well.  Did you hear what I said?’

     At this time they were going through the Stack.  There is a hill in LA where five freeways are stacked one above the other.  This is a very impressive sight.  Dewey was trying to take it in with awestruck eyes while still trying to deal with Al Pscholka.

     Pscholka started to edge over when a light went on behind his eyes.  ‘It wouldn’t be right to let you out here just because you won’t suck my dick.  I’m a nicer guy than that.  I’ll take you to a better place.’

page 1461.

     ‘If it’s a question of right or wrong, in my opinion it would be right to let me out here.  I don’t want to inconvenience you any further.’

     ‘No inconvenience, buddy.  Sit tight.’

     At seventy per Dewey had no choice but to sit tight.  At this point he thought that Pscholka was going to drive him off somewhere that he would have no idea where he was or how to get back.  Pscholka didn’t seem to be carrying a weapon so Dewey had full confidence in his Japanese pocket knife.

     But Pscholka was both much more devious and malicious, devious, malicious and knowledgeable at that.  He haunted these roads every Sunday night.  Since he actually would drop sailors off at the gate his shtick had enough appeal to be successful quite often.

     Still, Dewey was astonished when he made the turn down to Anaheim and kept on going toward the Disney towers.  Somewhere along the way Dewey began to notice a very long line of sailors.  Miles of them spaced one to a hundred feet.  Dark blue blobs with white hats topmost merging with the night under the streetlights.

     ‘God, how are they all going to get rides?’  Dewey mused out loud.

     ‘Yes.  How are they?’  Pscholka laughed quietly pulling over to let Dewey out.  ‘Last chance.  This or the gate?’  He leered. 

     Dewey got out.

     He looked to the right horizon to see hundreds of sailors strung out as far as the eye could see.   He looked to the left to see the same sight.  He looked at the sailor in front of him with a quizzical look on his face.

page 1462.

     ‘I know, man.  Just walk down the highway between me and the next guy and put your thumb out.’

     Dewey walked down and stepped in line.  As he did so the sailor on either side stepped away until they were about one hundred feet apart.  Those adjacent to them did the same until a giant wave effect rippled through the line of sailors for miles and miles.  This happened repeatedly for the two hours Dewey was there.  As a sailor dropped off the ripple kept eddying back and forth.  Dewey moved to and fro as though tossed by an invisible current.

     Trueman lost all anxiety as he pondered the situation.  It seemed hopeless.  There didn’t seem to be enough cars on the road to accommodate this portion of the fleet let alone drivers to pick them up.  There wasn’t even any reason to put your thumb out.

     ‘Probably if you do get picked up.’  He thought.  ‘It will be another queer trying to cut a deal or else.’

     He watched the cars pass with drooping spirits.  Suddenly a car traveling the fast lane at a terrific clip caught everyone’s attention from a mile away.  It was a red and white ’55 Chevy.  While everyone had their attention riveted on the car the driver whipped almost at a right turn across all three lanes of traffic to screech to a stop in front of Dewey Trueman.

     Dewey was astonished beyond belief as adjacent sailors looked in envy.  ‘Why me?’  Dewey thought.  ‘What signals am I transmitting, what criteria were those guys using to select me?’

page 1463.

     The door flew open.  ‘Hop in.’  Said the guy in the passenger’s seat getting out.  ‘Ride the middle.’

     It was a messy car.  The back seat was jammed with clothes and household goods.  A Louisville Slugger lay conspicuously in the space between the front and back seats atop some junk with the brand name up.  Dewey looked across at the driver.  Both guys were lean and wiry, probably not queer, but either high or jacked up on some emotion.  They were obviously out joy riding.  Dewey tried to opt out.

     ‘Hey, thanks for stopping guys but I think I’ll pass.  Wait for something else.  Thanks anyway.’

     ‘Aw, hey now, man, you definitely do not want to hurt our feelings.’

     Dewey followed his gaze down to the Louisville Slugger.  He looked behind him out across the plowed fields that would be houses the next time he passed by.  He wasn’t a fast runner anyway.  The guy could bring him down from behind with the baseball bat as he ran.

     ‘Well.’  Thought Dewey.  ‘Maybe I can talk faster than they can.’

      ‘Hurt your feelings?  Aw, no man,  I didn’t realize it was like that.  But, hey, since I’ll be getting out first why don’t I sit on the outside?  Save you some trouble down the road.’

     ‘No, I’m athletic.  Get in the middle.’

page 1464.

     Dewey slid in.  The door slammed shut; the driver accelerated to the fast lane.  The driver, Dave, who did not introduce himself, got right to the point.

     ‘We need your opinion, man.  I got a real difficult situation here.’

     Dewey didn’t like the depth of that quagmire.  ‘Oh yeah?  My opinion wouldn’t be worth much.  Gee, I just turned twenty.  I don’t have much experience at all.’

     ‘You got enough for me, man.  Here’s the problem.’

     All the time Dave spoke the car was going eighty miles an hour.  The seemingly endless line of sailors to the right ebbed and flowed and danced to the right and left like some giant conga line.  The phenomenon was surely one of the most spectacular sights the world had to offer.  By daylight all those sailors would be gone.  Nearly all of them would make it back in time for muster.  This phenomenon happened every single Sunday night for those who had eyes to see and the intellect to understand.

      ‘Ya see, it’s like this.  I used to be married to this woman, beautiful woman, high school sweetheart.  We were very happy but I wasn’t making much money.  Then this guy comes along.  A coal miner.’

     ‘Coal miner?  In LA?’

     ‘Yeah.  So this guy is making a lot of money; coal miners get paid real good.’

     ‘They do?’

     ‘Sure.  They gotta work underground where the coal is which is real dangerous work.  You wouldn’t do it for the minimum wage would you?’

page 1465

     ‘I wouldn’t do it for a lot of money but there aren’t any coal mines in LA.’

     ‘Shut up and listen.  So my high school sweetheart and wife falls for this guy’s bucks.  That’s all she could see was his money, divorces me and goes to him.   This was a couple years ago.  So I become very distraught.  I don’t know what to do, so I join the Army.  While I am in the Army now I meet this very wonderful girl who loves me only for myself, she doesn’t care whether I have money or not.  I married her last month.’

     ‘Where is there an Army base in LA?’

     ‘There is one.  I’m stationed there, OK?  I know.  Now shut up and listen.  So right after I marry my present wife there is a terrible cave in at the mine and my wife’s new husband is killed.’

     ‘Boy, I never heard about that.  Where are those coal mines in LA?’

     ‘Listen, they have steel mills in LA, don’t they?’

     ‘Maybe.  OK.’  Dewey didn’t know but they did.

     ‘Well, you need coal to make steel don’t you?’

     ‘Coke.’  Dewey corrected.

     ‘Coke?’

     ‘Yah.  Coke.  You coke the coal and use the coke.  It burns hotter.’

     ‘What, are you a wise guy?  So you coke the coal, the point is you need coal to make steel, don’t you.  So where there’s steel mills there must be coal mines.  Get it?’

page 1466.

     ‘Boy.’  Thought Dewey.  ‘There’s a stretch in logic.’  But it wasn’t his car and he was in the middle.

     ‘So the mine roof drops on this guy’s melon and he’s got accidental double indemnity life insurance for twenty-five thousand dollars.  So now my ex is got twenty-five thousand dollars and no husband to spend it with.  So now after I’m married to my current wife my ex wants me to come back to her and the twenty-five grand.  What would you do?’

     So this was the trick.  Dewey thought that if he answered one way they would beat him to death with the baseball bat; if he answered the other way they might let him go.  He wasn’t sure what kind of guys they were.  Dave sounded like he was more interested in the twenty-five Gs than in a good woman but it could be a trick.

     ‘Gosh.’  Dewey tried to equivocate.  ‘That’s a tough one; I don’t know how to call it.’

     ‘Call it anyway.  I gotta know because whatever you say determines what I will do.’ 

     That was what worried Dewey.

     He looked right at Dave’s partner, Jack, who was looking at him expectantly, then back at Dave who was urgently demanding an answer.

     Dewey desperately wanted to give the right answer but he was having a hard time reading Dave.

     ‘Funny I didn’t hear about this coal mine cave in.’  He countered.  ‘You think it would have been on the news.’

     ‘Forget the cave in; you were out at sea.  It happened.  Give me your decision.’

page 1467.

     Dewey grasped that how he answered would determine how he was to be disposed of.  Unable to read Dave he decided to go with his own morality and trust to his luck.

     ‘Umm.  I’d stay with your current wife who loves you for what you are, whatever that may be, and is true to you even in the Army which is really saying something.’

     ‘Really?  Yeah, but my ex is a better looker.  Lots better than my current wife.’

     ‘Well, looks are transient and only skin deep.  Fidelity is worth lots more.’

     ‘Sure.  But what about the twenty-five thousand dollars?  That’s a lot of money.’

     Dewey could nearly count the number of twenty dollar bills he’d seen in his life.  If you laid them all out in a row they wouldn’t reach across the dash board.  He had no concept of money but even in the late fifties it was becoming common to speak in terms of millions of dollars so 25,000 didn’t sound like much,  except maybe to a banker calling a loan.  Dewey could see himself spending it in no time.

     ‘Well, she’s left you once for money and twenty-five thousand won’t last long.  Once it’s gone she’ll probably leave you again.  This is Hollywood.  There’s lots of guys with lots of money, lot more than twenty-five thousand.  If she’s that good looking she’s liable to get some taste and get one of those.’

     The unconscious insult slipped past Dave.

page 1468.

     ‘Say, you know, I think you’re right.  You’ve helped out a lot.  I think I’ll stay with my current wife.’  So saying Dave whipped over to the side of the road, shoved Dewey out and sped off.

      ‘Wow.  That was a close one.’  Thought Dewey.  ‘I thought I was going to die for sure.  Coal mines in LA!’

     Dave had dropped him off way at the end of the line of sailors just where 101 jogged off the freeway through San Juan Capistrano.  A couple of disconsolate sailors were standing in front of the rich black loam of the plowed fields.  They were soon picked up leaving Dewey alone.  His anxiety increased as it was getting late.

     A car pulled over.

     ‘Listen, I’ve been driving all day and I’m bushed.  If you can drive and let me sleep, OK.  Otherwise no ride.’

     ‘Of course I can drive.’  Dewey said who had only been behind the wheel once in his life.

     ‘Do you have a license.’

     ‘Are you kidding?  I’ve been around cars all my life.’  Dewey said, artfully avoiding lieing.

     ‘OK.  But I’m really tired and need to sleep.  Get in on the driver’s side.’

     Dewey ran over to the driver’s side and hopped in.  As he got behind the wheel he realized that he was somewhat hazy about shifting.  Fortunately the car was an automatic.

     ‘Do you usually drive your car in D1 or D2.’  He asked what he hoped would be taken as a polite question and not a betrayal of his ignorance.

page 1469.

     ‘I put it in Drive, of course.  Say, do you really have a license?’

      ‘Does Carter have little liver pills?’  Dewey slipped it into D1 and lurched off.

     ‘You can go to sleep now.’  He announced.

     ‘I’m going to watch you a little, make sure you know how to drive first.’  But he drifted off to sleep immediately.

     The night was very dark.  Dewey was driving very tentatively.  He didn’t always see the Stop signs in San Juan in time to stop, driving through them.  There were no other cars on  the road so that didn’t matter.  Past San Juan he was driving very tentatively, barely fifty miles an hours.  He was not only timid himself but emotionally exhausted by a most adventurous trip thus he wandered over onto the shoulder for a moment.  The driver awakened immediately.

     ‘Jesus Christ!  What’s happening?’

     ‘Nothing. I just ran over a narrow part of the road.’

      ‘Narrow part of the road!  Say, you don’t have a license do you?’

     ‘I know how to drive.  They just didn’t make this part of the road very wide, that’s all.’

     ‘Answer my question directly.  Do you have a driver’s license?’

     ‘Not today.  I’m going to get one tomorrow.’

     ‘Just what I thought.  Stop the car.  Get out.’

     ‘Wait a minute.  I can at least talk to you to keep you awake.  C’mon, give me a ride into San Diego.’  Dewey said stopping the car.

page 1471

     ‘Nobody rides for free.  Can’t drive, can’t ride.  Get out.’

     The driver drove off in a frenzy leaving Dewey in the dark by the side of the road at four in the morning but it was really tight now.

     Rosy fingered dawn shone faintly on the horizon before he caught another ride.  He lamented his situation to the driver who was decent and sympathetic.

     ‘I’ll get you back in time.  It’s going to be close but I was in the service myself.  I know how it is.’

     The man did drop Dewey off at the gate.  Dewey gave him a heartfelt thanks.  Past the gate he broke into a run then raced back to the ship.  They were just about to call roll with Dewey stepped into line in full dress blues.

    ‘Trueman.’

     ‘Yo.’

     ‘You’re late, Trueman.’  Dieter glowered.

     ‘Whadya mean I’m late, Chief?  You called Trueman and I said yo.  Sounds like I’m here to me, I can hear myself talking to you, doesn’t it sound like I’m here to you?  I’m talking to ya.’

     ‘Wise ass.  Don’t push your luck with me.  You’re not in dungarees.  You work in that uniform and you go over the side to paint the fo’c’sle.  Get moving.’

     Dewey wasn’t happy about that trying to find a way around it.  On the fo’c’sle he took off his middie folding it up on deck in what he hoped was a secure place.  There was nothing he could do with his pants but he hoped to dink around all morning so he wouldn’t get paint on them.

page 1471.

     Dieter showed up on the fo’c’sle to torment him followed by Blaise Pardon.

     ‘You’re out of uniform, Trueman.  Put that middie back on.’

     ‘Go down and change, Trueman.’  Pardon countermanded.

     Dieter gave him a dirty look but let the matter slide walking aft.  That was one the reason the old salts had no use for Pardon;  he was too reasonable.

Dazed And Confused

     Life moved along at a pace that was beyond bewildering.  There was no time to ingest the stream of happenings let alone digest their significance.  Dewey experienced life like a leaf blown by a storm, every touch down was too brief and fleeting to leave a sense of meaning.  Whatever understanding he had took place on the subliminal level.  He was way too busy just staying alive; catching his breath was out of the question.

     His nervous excitement was such that he was unaware that he wasn’t even getting enough sleep.  On the weekends he got no more than six hours.  During the week he got not much more.

     His agony was such that he preferred to be away from the Navy as much as possible at whatever cost.  Two weekends a month was not enough; he wanted all four.  The only chance he had to do this was to find a stand-in.  In this he was in luck.  The ET who replaced Dart Craddock was called Corey Wells.  His situation was that he wanted liberty on all weekdays while the weekends meant nothing to him.  He was willing to swap the one for the other.

page 1472.

     The two sailors were brought together and an agreement was struck.  The question remained whether both men would honor the terms.  Even on such a small ship as the Teufelsdreck where one would think it rash to incur enmity the men betrayed each other without a second thought.  No one seemed to worry about their reputation.

     It was always possible that either man would refuse to honor his obligation.  If that happened the other was AWOL and not available for his watch.  Thus, initially at least, it was necessary for Trueman to have a backup.  Trueman took Wells’ duty first so Wells had a friend in reserve which proved unnecessary as Trueman always kept his word.  Trueman, whose friends were all leaving for the same weekend, agreed to pay Laddybuck two dollars a day to stand his watches in addition to Laddybuck’s own, who had duty, if Wells defaulted.  Trueman and Wells were grateful to find someone who was honest and whose needs were complementary.  Thus Trueman had every weekend free for the next several months.

     Kanary tried to interfere by shifting watch times but he found he was messing with more than Trueman being compelled thereby to keep his hands off.

     Trueman’s other problem was eating.  Navy food as prepared by Bocuse was intolerable to him.  He could eat only one out of three breakfasts so he filled up on toast.  Lunches were tolerable but the soggy green beans that accompanied every other dinner meant that he ate sparingly.  On the weekends he ate little if at all.  Needless to say a toothpick cast a bigger shadow than he did.

page 1473.

     Nervous excitement masked any sleep or nutritional defects Trueman might have had.  He had a strong consititution.  However the general trend of events was very unsettling to his mind.  The question of who had tried to commit him to the mental institution was worrisome.  That Tory Torbrick was the agent of someone was obvious but it seemed impossible that the Navy should have assigned him to the Teufelsdreck with that object in mind and he had known who Dewey was when he came aboard.

     Without knowledge of Yisraeli Trueman was mystified.  He indirectly associated the attempt with Kanary from whom he felt the pressure of discrimination but he could assign no cause.  He ruled out Captain Ratches and he refused to give Dieter the credit of enough intelligence to conceive or execute such a plan.

     However his suspicions seemed confirmed during the year’s K-gun exercizes.  On the day the U.S. Marines went ashore in Lebanon the squadron took to sea to further the Navy’s apparent attempt to rid the sea of tuna fish or any other living matter.

     First Division gathered around the Depth Charge racks and K-guns to perpetuate their skill at sowing the seas with high explosives.  Trueman took his former position at the second starboard mortar.  Dieter stood looking at him as the bile rose to his face to give him that liverish complexion.

     His mind roved longingly back to his attempted entombment of Trueman in the Depth Charge locker.  Snarling inwardly he ordered Trueman to go below during the exercizes.  Trueman was in no position to debate or disobey so he stepped down the after hatch to First.

page 1474.

     Dieter walked over and dropped the hatch on him.  As Trueman sat alone in the compartment his ubiquitous nemesis the queer Kanary dogged down the port hatch then crossing over to starboard, glowering menacingly as though he were actually executing Trueman, he dogged the starboard hatch.

     The fantastic Dieter having failed to destroy Trueman in the Depth Charge locker now dreamed that he was blowing Trueman up in First.  The aft charges were exploded with little more than a distant rumble.  But then the K-gun charges fired to the side began to report.  The first charges were deep but you could still hear the displaced water rushing up to the side of the ship followed by a dull thud as the pressure hit the side.

     The mad Bos’n’s Mate was nearly insane with rage at Trueman’s lack of reverence or interest in his exploits as the Hero of Saipan.  As the exercise progressed the charges were set for shallower and shallower depths.  The thuds became clangs as the displaced water crashed against the hull followed by the plate rattling concussion.

     Becoming more enraged as the charges become shallower Dieter ordered the next at sixty feet down two hundred feet out.  The force increased considerably.  The plates not only clanged but rattled as the sound reverberted up and down the hull.  The force rocked the ship a little but it didn’t heave out of the water as it had the previous year.

page 1475.

     Dieter slipped into another world.  He was about to order the next charge at the shallowest and closest in.  The charge at that speed,depth and distance might have burst the plates.  Dieter was so far gone in his chagrin as to sink his ship in an attempt to trap Trueman below.  From Saipan to sinking his own ship.

     However the last charge had brought the Captain to his feet.  Standing in the starboard lookout with his glasses trained on Dieter he had the bridge talker call Dieter to the phone.

     ‘That’s enough for today, Chief.  Pack it in and clean it up.’

     ‘Yes, Sir.’  Dieter replied as his mind slowly returned from its nether regions.

     The sailors who had it figured out blew out a sigh of relief.  The Mad Chief was derailed from committing a crime of the first magnitude.

     The after hatch was propped up as the Gunner’s came down to replenish their Depth Charges.  Dieter followed them down to gaze first lovingly into the hold he had wanted to place his nemesis and then over at Trueman as though he wished him there.

     Trueman did not consciously process the information entering his brain.  It went directly into his subconscious where it worked like yeast in bread.  He had a little over a year to go; he knew he must be very wary.

     His mental malaise was exacerbated by the subsequent discharge of the men of low I.Q.  As in Guam over fifty men left the ship at one time.  They received their orders on the same day streaming off the Teufelsdreck at a happy gallop.  As Trueman looked at Dieter he thought ruefully that the fat mad Chief should join them.  Trueman was wrong though, Dieter wasn’t that dumb he was the proud possessor of a score of thirty-three.

page 1476.

     As the ship had never been fully replenished after Guam in addition to the departure of the Black sailors the crew was very depleted.  First was nearly half empty as a couple dozen bunks were left unused.  Trueman who had been spitefully moved from his favorite bunk to a middle bunk in the starboard center tier now took the opportunity to move back to his former bunk announcing that anyone who didn’t like it could kiss his ass.  As no dissenting voices were raised it may be assumed that all were unpleased with the opportunity to kiss Trueman’s ass.

     The pleasure of the unwonted roominess was destroyed as the replacements began to come aboard.  The amazing thing was that the low I.Q. sailors had been the most objectionable men on board.  However the replacements, if of a higher I.Q., were even worse but in different ways.

     These were all men of the high school class of ’57.  Now it is a fact that the class of ’56 had the highest ever scores on the scholastic aptitude tests.  Beginning in ’57 the scores began a long decline that to my knowledge hasn’t ended yet.

     The causes of the decline in the way of society are debated with no results but it must be true that years subsequent to ’56 did not digest the material if they received it.

     This fact was evident to the perplexed members of the crew.  The new men’s reactions to Navy discipline were even more deplorable than those arriving with Dewey.  The new men even made Frenchey seem like a stellar performer.  Frenchey had always gone through the paces but the new men refused even to do that.  Worse, they even seemed incapable.

page 1477.

     The class of ’56 seemed to be different than earlier years but intermediate between those and subsequent years.  Somehow they were neither of the Depression mentality or the Affluent mentality.  They were neither as solemn and dutiful as the earlier years nor as flighty and irresponsible as the subsequent years.

     The education and expectations of the younger men seemed entirely different from what had gone before.

     The difference of a single year had changed their expectation toward affluence.  Born in ’39  they had come to an age of awareness in the post-war years.  Too young to have a memory of the Depression or War years they knew only the boom years of the late forties and fifties.

     Having begun high school in ’55 and ’56 they were all of the Rock and Roll generation.  The class of ’55  had missed the Rock and Roll influence completely.  In that respect their tastes were those of the preceding generation.  The class of ’56 had been mixed in its influence.  Half had rejected Rock and Roll completely while a quarter accepted it as part of what was happening; another quarter, to which Dewey belonged, had embraced the music wholeheartedly.  Still, Dewey had little in common with the new men on that score.

      In addition the new men, while not of the TV generation, had grown up with it during their teen years thus identifying completely with the tube while Dewey had only known TV for about three years before leaving high school.  It is to be assumed that the classes before ’56 had less TV time than that or none.  So that while the new men had been absorbed into the TV phenomenon, earlier men saw TV as a phenomenon not part of their psychic organization.

page 1478.

     Howdy Doody, Kukla Fran and Ollie and the Mickey Mouse Club were alien to the older men.  The importance of the Mickey Mouse Club especially should not be under estimated.  The World War II vets like Dieter had no inkling of the emerging consciousness.

     In addition and most importantly the new men had attended high school while the civil rights movement was gearing into full swing.  The resultant uproar was very disquieting as the schools began to move from educational institution into Thought Management systems.  Learning became subsidiary to attitude formation.

     Black-White relations were managed by a small percentage of Whites concentrated in the universities, the press, publishing, entertainment and like influential areas.  They were and are a self-righteous group of people who will use any excuse to belittle others and magnify themselves.  They consider their opinion paramount to the law or perhaps more accurately they equate their opinion with the law.  They have been in control from the times of Reconstruction to the present.  They assume that they are pure and all others are foul and evil.

     They assumed that all other Whites were and are incurable bigots.  They assumed that all others had to be tightly controlled and beaten into submission.  They moved from individualism into collectivism.  They were censorious; they would tolerate no discussion of the problems and difficulties except on their own terms.  Hence, while claiming to be pure democrats they imposed an authoritarian system not less severe than Hitler or Stalin punishing by expulsion from the community of anyone who dissented from their explicit viewpoint for any reason.

page 1479.

     Small violations were met with draconian punishments.  A sportscaster using the word ‘nigger’ in private conversation would be stripped of not only his livelihood but his self-respect.  These criminal demons would actually equate such a person with Hitler.  In a word they had been driven insane by their self-righteousness.

     In their efforts to punish other Whites by making them consort with Negroes they wantonly insulted Black Folk by denying that they were capable of educating themselves.  They completely destroyed the Black educational infrastructure turning an entire cadre of educators out on their ears from satisfying and rewarding careers to menial tasks.  These Whites didn’t look forward and they didn’t look back.  They weighed and evaluated nothing they merely acted out of their self-righteousness.

     No consideration was taken of either the Negro intellect or the White intellect.  No attempt at psychology was made.  Thus with no preparation of either Blacks or Whites, Blacks were thrown into what Blacks considered a hostile environment.

      Now, the image of this little Black girl in her cute little pink dress being escorted down the walk by the Army in Little Rock is a very effective piece of propaganda but cute little Black girls would never be the problem.  Big Black boys with knives and razors bent on vengeance would be.

page 1480.

 

 

    

    

A Short Story

The Voice Of The Turtleneck

from the

Boulevard Of Broken Dreams Collection

by

R.E. Prindle

 

     Dewey whizzed South on the Nimitz down to the Santa Clara Valley in the bright shining California sunshine down around Milpitas.  On this day he was working the West side of the Valley.  The City of Santa Clara itself.  One of the ritzier areas of the West side but still in the flats not yet up in the hills or the class of Saratoga.  Leaving the Nimitz near Tropicana Village he crossed over under the morning fog banks hovering over the West Valley.  The sun came later on the West side of the Bay; either that or the fog was stronger than the sun over there.

     In the San Francisco Bay area a fog creeps in every night that mitigates the terrific heat during the day.  Usually it dissipated by noon or one.  In the Santa Clara Valley it was never strong enough to reach the dry barren toast colored East side.  The contrast between East and West was quite striking.

     Dewey muttered his line a few times as he drove past Santa Clara University on the way to call on Thom Nelson Turner.  ‘Hi, Lowell, Smith and Evers.  I’m making a courtesy call to remind you that your mortgage payment is two months overdue.  If it’s not in by the end of the month the house will go into automatic foreclosure proceedings at the end of the third month.  It’s in the computer, I don’t have anything to do with it.’

     He delivered his line in a cold metallic way that was more impersonal than the machine he referred to.  Although his line and manner were dictated by his extreme shyness and fear he had hit upon a most effective approach.  He had been on the job less than six months.  Delinquencies had plummeted by seventy percent.

     He found his street which led into an unusual cul-de-sac.  A block down the street he entered a square about two blocks long.  There was even a median about twenty feet wide with a street on either side.  Trees embowered the median and the house fronts.  There was only one entry.  Dewey who had become somewhat of an expert on streets, roads and highways had never seen anything quite like it and never would again.  Under the dreary overcast the wooded square took on a paranoic defensive cast.

     In fact sullen eyes peered out at him from windows and even from behind a bush.  In the few months he had been covering the Valley his legend had spread.  The white ’63 Chevy he drove had become known as the  White Spook.  Dewey had no idea that he was known so well.  He was just doing his job.  As far as he was concerned all anyone had to do to avoid his call was keep the mortgage payment current.  A mortgage payment was better than rent and it was one or the other.  You couldn’t avoid it; you had to live somewhere.

     The psychology of the homeowners was different.  They all thought he could do them a favor, not come by.  They didn’t want to be embarrassed before their neighbors by having the Spook call on them.  Lowell, Smith and Evers couldn’t wait for their money on the whims of their debtors.  They were quite pleased with Dewey’s performance.

     In comparison with Tropicana Village on the East side where the houses sold for ten thousand dollars, on the square in Santa Clara the houses went for thirty or forty thousand dollars.  Unbeknownst to any of the residents as well as to any pundit or seer within ten short years these same houses would be selling for a half million dollars.  All these people had to do to become rich was to hold on.

     Holding on was their greatest fear, their sincerest hope.  They had fought their way into one of the finer neighborhoods.  As they were all jobholders their continued success depended on the whims of other men.  The fear lurked in their minds that they might be looking for another job at any time just as Thom Turner was now.  While they denigrated each other on the square a shudder had gone down their collective spine when Turner’s misfortune reached them.  Now the visible evidence of Turner’s fate was cruising slowly down their street.  A wave of fear and loathing washed over them.

     Unconsciously Dewey had a sinister way of locating his addresses.  When  he entered a street he cruised slowly looking left and right leaning at an angle so that he could see the numbers through the passenger’s side.  He appeared to be peering in windows as though he were a burglar casing the neighborhood.

     Darby Ramme who had instructed Dewey drove smartly up to the address stopping with a seeming purpose.  Turner’s house was on the corner lot at the far end of the street.  Dewey turned and backed into a space in front of the house.  Getting out he stepped around to the passenger’s side to adjust his clipboard while surveying the house.  The place had been well maintained, easy maintenance style.  The yard was ablaze with pink iceplant as ground cover rather than lawn.  There was a large wooden plaque at the top of the yard facing the blaze of the iceplant that read Thom Nelson Turner.  The three initials were very large in red while the rest was smaller in white, blue background.  ‘TNT’ thought Dewey.  ‘Dynamite.  I must be dealing with a powerful explosive personality here.’

     Inside Thom Nelson Turner stood behind a curtain studying Trueman, making his own evaluation.  Turner had been raised by the women of his family to think of himself as a leader of men.  His family had been lower middle class with a blue collar background.  They thought of themselves as some of Nature’s elite.  Thom had been a big fairly good looking kid.  His family had elevated him to handsome deciding that while other richer families had a greater claim to prominence Thom was a ‘natural’ leader.  The whole family had assiduously promoted him throughout childhood as a leader of men.  They had had moderate success.

     Thom himself had had difficulties assuming the role.  He had felt uncomfortable in it.  He was not, in fact, a leader.  As he grew older the notion that he was fixed itself in his mind.  As a young teenager when his womenfolk were trying to build him up there had been one boy from a still lower social level who had jeered at his pretensions refusing to accept his claims as a ‘natural’ leader.  The boy had refused to take his place causing Thom to doubt himself.  As Turner studied Dewey there was either something about him that reminded Thom of this earlier boy or else in his dejected frame of mind he projected his needs unto Dewey.

     Turner had never had the qualities of a leader.  True he was big and goodlooking but his was not a commanding presence.  His stance lacked a certain stolidity, there was that which was tentative in his manner.  His confidence which had never been supreme had been cracked in college.  His mother had pampered her darling excessively.  Turner had never had to do anything for himself.  His mother insisted that he didn’t, as she adored picking up after him.  She had even flushed the toilet after him.  Turner had never learned to flush.

     This was the cause of his first embarrassment in college when his brothers at the Theta Upsilon Gamma took offense at the unflushed toilet.  Turner was tracked down and severely reprimanded.  He also found it more difficult to command in college causing some self doubt.  He married in the summer before his Junior year so that he would have someone to pick up after him.  Audrey, his wife, also learned to flush the toilet after him.

     After all Thom was big and handsome; he had a lot of big talk about his future success.  Audrey bought into his program revering him almost as much as his mother.

     If Thom found it difficult to command at school he could compensate at home thereby maintaining his self image.

     Turner graduated from Arizona State, Tempe to find a job with the bluest of the blue chips, Big Blue itself.  His job was in the Bay Area.  Turner had neither the intelligence or the drive to play  the role his mother had assigned him.  There were bigger bulls at IBM than Thom.  His behavior as he sought to affirm his role against the competition was seen as aggressive and boorish.  It was not easy to get rid of him but now five years later he had been eased out in the classic manner.

     A recruiter had approached him saying that Thom’s reputation had reached him, the recruiter was authorized to offer him a job at another firm, smaller but growing more rapidly offering more opportunity for rapid advancement.  The salary was significantly better.  Thom took the bait.  Whereas IBM would probably never have fired him his new firm which felt no obligation to him dumped him within a month.  Thom never was sharp enough to understand the ploy.

     Thom Nelson Turner had been devastated.  His facade cracked but he was now unable to let go of the notion that he was a natural born leader of men.  He had been silly enough to go back to IBM for ‘his job.’  Rebuffed there he signed on with various employment agencies.  They knew how to read the signs better than Turner.  He had been searching for five months not yet realizing that he had been declassed.  He would now have to accept a lesser position.

     He had not reduced his standard of living when he was released as he, unaware of the ruse used on him, expected to be reemployed immediately at an even higher wage.  He had gone through his savings.  The painful result was that Dewey Trueman was now at his door.

     Thom Nelson Turner now made the mistake of his life.  He decided to try to humiliate Trueman; to vent his spleen on him.  Had he merely responded by saying, ‘OK, I’ll take care of it.’ which was all he had to do his life would have been much different.

     Dewey rang the bell poising his pen to check off the name and leave.  ‘Lowell, Smith and…’  he began as Turner presented himself at the door.

     ‘Yes, yes, I know who you are.  Step inside.’  He commanded imperiously.

     Thom had been informed by the grapevine what to expect.  Word had already gotten around which days Dewey would be where in the Valley.  Turner had been expecting him.

     Dewey was surprised.  On the one hand he mainly dealt with the woman of the house and only rarely made any kind of personal contact.  There was no need for it; there was nothing at his discretion to do for anybody.  Still Dewey always had a curiosity about how people lived; when he was asked in he enjoyed looking at the different life styles.

     Dewey stepped into the house of TNT closing the door behind him.  At work Thom wore his tie and white starched shirt.  At home he liked to be what he called casual.  This meant he substituted a white turtle neck shirt for the tie and starcher.  He wore a blue sport coat with grey pants.  His aging wing tips contrasted inconguously with the turtle neck shirt.  He took up a stance a few feet from Dewey assuming a pose somewhat like Charles De Gaulle in all his majesty.

     The living room and dining room occupied the front of the house; the kitchen and the living quarters were behind the two rooms.  Dewey could see Audrey and the two kids cautiously watching from behind a bedroom door.

     The living room was sparsely furnished.  A green overstuffed corduroy couch was faced by two overstuffed green corduroy chairs.  A medium sized rectangular walnut stained wooden table separated the two units of furniture.  The table rested on a beige throw rug which covered a hardwood floor.  A nondescript floor lamp was between the two chairs; another was behind the couch.  There were no pictures on the walls, but arranged in staggered suspended shelves against the back wall were several bound sets of books.  Dewey smiled when he saw them.  A set of Collier’s Encyclopedia reminded him of when he had responded to an ad seeking men with executive talents.  Selling those things wasn’t easy; he wondered who the lucky guy had been.  There was also a set of Great Books, more door to door stuff.

     Dewey stared in wonderment at the last set.  It was a complete set of the Oxford English Dictionary.  ‘For Chrissakes’ he thought, ‘this guy must think culture comes in look alike bindings.’  Still Dewey understood because he had a similar weakness.  If he’d had the money he might have had the same things, except for the Collier’s.

     Then Dewey looked at Turner.  He froze.  He recognized the persona at once.  As Turner had been bedeviled by a boy who wouldn’t accept his leadership so Dewey had had a ‘natural’ leader attempting to foist himself on him.  It was deja vu all over again, twice, both sides.  Dewey looked at the turtleneck.  He hated turtlenecks.  There was no more pretentious shirt in the world to him.  He despised men who wore turtlenecks.  He thought they were all pretentious nerds.  He noticed that a thick role of fat was developing around Turner’s waist.  Dewey who was himself pencil thin despised people who allowed themselves to get fat.  He noticed that Turner had been given a good haircut and his clothes fit properly.  Barbers wouldn’t give Dewey decent haircuts and clerks in men’s stores always seemed to botch his tailoring.  Things just didn’t fit him the way they should.  Dewey held this against Turner also.  They stood and bristled at each other. 

     ‘This time’ thought Dewey.  ‘I’ve got the Force with me.  I win.’

     ‘Your name?’  Turner said with insulting dryness.

     ‘What’s that?’  Dewey sparred.

     ‘Your name.’  Turner admonished as though to a child.

     ‘Oh, I’m from Lowell, Smith and Evers.’  Dewey said, mockingly avoiding answering the question.

     ‘Don’t try my patience, my man.  Give me your name.  I think you’re probably obligated to.’

     ‘What?  You mean my own name?  No, I’m not obligated to.  But, since you ask so politely, Dewey Trueman.  Why?  Do you think you know me?’

     ‘No, of course I wouldn’t know you.  I just like to know who your masters have sent.  Dewey Trueman?  Is that a real name?’

     ‘Sure.  Why not?’

     ‘Did your mother name you after the Dewey-Truman presidential race?’

     ‘Oh, I don’t think so.  That was in ’48.  I was born in ’38.  Our name is Trueman.  Can’t help that.  Perhaps she named me after that crime busting D.A.  I don’t know.  By the way, how do you pronounce your name T-om or Th-om?  Dewey said pronouncing the H.

     ‘I don’t think you’re in a position to taunt me, son.  I can report you to your masters.’

     ‘I don’t think you’re in a position to complain.  Another month and you’re out of here.  You haven’t made your mortgage payment two months running.  Naughty, naughty.’

     ‘I always wondered who would do work like this.’  TNT sneered.  ‘Now I know.  Do you enjoy betraying your fellow man?’

     ‘Oh well, I do have a job and my rent is paid which yours isn’t and you don’t appear to have any prospects for a job.  But don’t despair.  You know, I’m going to quit this job to go to college this fall.  I’ll put in a good word for you.  You can have this job.  At least you’ll be able to make your house payment.’

     ‘I want you to take a message back to your masters.’  Turner said imperiously.

     ‘I don’t have…’  Dewey began to add masters.

     Turner interrupted him.

     ‘Tell them that they have nothing to fear…’

     ‘Oh, I don’t have to tell them anything.’  Dewey interrupted in turn, riding over Turner’s upraised finger and twisted manhood.

     ‘What’s important here is that payment is two months delinquent.’  Turner stuttered a beginning.  Dewey raised his voice continuing.  ‘If we receive the payments by the end of the month the matter is closed.  No harm done.  Foreclosure proceedings will begin at the end of three months if payment is not received.  It’s all in the computer.  There’s nothing that can be done about it.  You will have an additional three months to make good all deliquencies, if that is not done you will be evicted.’

     ‘Now see here…’  Turner fumed wounded to the soul to be talked to, no, not even to, at by this seeming evil apparition from his childhood.  It seemed that that earlier boy’s hand had reached out from the past to grab Thom’s throat wreaking a decades long vengeance for the past insult.  Turner began coughing as though he were being choked.

     Dewey showed no outward emotion although glowing inwardly as though avenging that decade old insult to himself by a different Thom Nelson Turner who had gone by another name.  Dewey who had been badly hurt had also learned how to hurt.  He continued on in his finest mechanical drone trying to project the notion that he dealt with thousands of deadbeats and Turner was just one of them.

     ‘Of course you have the right at any up to eviction to remedy the default by paying it.  Lowell, Smith and Evers encourages it as they would much rather recover their loan than reclaim your house which is a nuisance to them unlike what you might think.  And I would too.’  Dewey added unctiously.

     ‘I am not used…’ Turner began to say, being treated this way.

     ‘I have said all that I am authorized to say.’  Dewey broke in.  I hope you’ll excuse me but I’ve got other dead…uh, people to call on.’  Dewey gave Turner his blandest look, reaching for the door.

     ‘I am not authorized to say this.’  Dewey said, thinking in his conscious mind to be helpful while his subconscious mind sought to twist the knife, ‘but if this house is too much for you, you might check to see if they would swap you one of our properties in Tropicana Village.  We foreclose on those all the time.’

     ‘Tropicana Village?’  Turner ejaculated, stung to the quick.  The distance between his notion of his dignity here in Santa Clara and Tropicana Village was more than a few miles.

     ‘Yeah.  Tropicana Village.  It’s over on the East Side.  Houses go for about ten thousand.  You should have enough in this one to maybe even just pay for one of those outright.  All you’d have to worry about is taxes.

     ‘Tropicana Village, indeed.’  Almost with tears in his voice.  He thought that Dewey might as well have asked him to pitch a tent in the county dump.  Tropicana Village wasn’t that bad, a definite comedown from Santa Clara, however.  But heck, even those houses would be selling for over a hundred thousand in the not too far distant future.  Nelson should have taken Dewey’s advice.  Things would have worked out.

     ‘I demand…’ Turner said tensing his whole body and shaking his finger at Dewey.  ‘I demand to talk to your superiors.  I’m going to report your insolence.’

     ‘I don’t have any superiors, Mr. Turner, I’m actually a free agent.’  Dewey replied.  ‘But here’s a card with the office number, ask for Bill Masters; although all you have to do is make your payment on time and you’ll never have to see me again.  I wasn’t insolent, I was just giving you good advice.  Just make your mortgage payments.’

     Turner couldn’t meet his obligation.  He couldn’t make the payment and he had foolishly allowed a person he considered beneath his contempt to exercise power over him.  His mother’s teaching had been his downfall.  He had nothing to gain by attempting to intimidate Trueman.  His ‘natural’ authority had not extended that far.  A man who hasn’t made his mortgage payment has no choice but to be humble.  It hadn’t even been necessary for him to have been humble.  All he had to do was say:  ‘I’ll take care of it.’ and shut the door.  At that point Dewey and done his job and the thing was over in his mind.

     Now Turner was completely humiliated.  His leadership over what he considered a very inferior person had been rebuked.  That role was forever gone from him.  He now learned it for the first time.  A new future arose before  his eyes.  He had been driven from the Garden as he had driven that boy from the Garden long ago.  Now TNT was an outcast.

     ‘You’ll have to flush the toilet for yourself from now on.’  Audrey said, coming from the bedroom to walk in front of him as he stood silently sobbing.  ‘Neither I nor my children will do it again.’

     Audrey had been watching.  So long as Thom had been her knight in shining armor she had been willing to be subservient to him.  She didn’t approve of it but she could understand his being unemployed.  She accepted his story that he had to be careful in accepting another job which, after all, was not only true but prudent.  She didn’t know where the mortgage payment was going to come from but she had faith that he would provide it.

     But she knew her husband and she understood something about symbols.

     She knew very well that Turner had not considered Trueman worthy.  It was as clear to her from her husband’s voice and bearing as it had been to Trueman.  While she herself had seen nothing objectionable in Dewey, she saw the signs of the lack of respect of other men for him.  Signs that Trueman was not even aware of.  His hair was his own idiosyncrasy but being long and unruly might have been because barbers refused to give him a good haircut.  She took it that way.  She also noticed that whoever had altered his suit had raised the buttons enough so that the bottom of his jacket swung open bumpkin style instead of hanging straight and svelt.  She also noticed that one or two buttons had been removed from the sleeves.  The two buttons that remained had been spaced apart to produce a foolish effect.

     She surmised that all that had been necessary to send Dewey on his way was some vague assertion.  Thom had displayed a serious lack of judgment.  Combined with the job and the rent she realized that Turner was not the man she had thought him to be.

     Thom’s daughter Joanie uncertain by her mother’s demeanor what to do came out and stood between her mother and father.  Thom’s five year old son, Thim, not knowing what was happening but afraid for and sympathetic with this father stood by his side and took his hand.  A fatal move on Thim’s part.

     Turner became immobilized.  It seemed to him as though Thim was pitying him.  Suddenly he realized that his son might become more of a man than he could now hope to be.  At some time in the not distant future his son would likely surpass him.  He couldn’t let that happen.  Thom’s subconscious began to well up into his conscious mind flooding and overwhelming it.  He passed into a fugue state.  Thom’s next actions were subconscious, committed in a dream state.  It wasn’t that he didn’t know what he was doing but he wasn’t conscious of it and would always deny, had he been asked, that he did it.  He didn’t consciously think this but in his totally subconscious state he feared that Thim would despose him when he reached manhood.  He couldn’t let that happen.

     He gave Audrey a sickly smile that begged her permission and forgiveness.  Audrey would never admit that she knew what happened.  She sure did but in commiseration for her husband’s misery from the depths of her unaware subconscious being she gave Turner permission.

     Joannie, who sensed the tension but had no idea what was happening ran to throw her arms around her mother.  She would be haunted all her life by a fear of impending disaster.

     ‘Come along, Son.  Forgive me, my child.’

     Taking Thim into his bedroom he lowered the child’s pants and sodomized him.  ‘I’m sorry, Son, but, you see, I had to do it.  Maybe you’ll undersand some day.  You’ll never be a better man than me now.’

      The entire episode passed into the subconscious of all the family.  The situation was mythologized differently in the dreams of each.  They would all be plagued by troubled sleep for the rest of their lives.

     While the two children would forget the Field of Action and even the Challenge to their consciousness their parents would be able to remember the Field and Challenge but they would be unable to associate their Response to it.  They would attach guilt to that mortgage guy and loath him accordingly.

     In terms of psychology Challenge and Response is what conditions our personality.  A weak Response to Challenges blights our life forever unless the conflict is resolved.

     Turner, his self-conception already under stress from his recent reverses, had pitted his manhood against that of Dewey Trueman.  The Force was with Trueman.  The only way Turner could have won was if he could have intimidated Trueman into not accessing the Force, thus abdicating his manhood and transferring it to Turner.  Trueman had used the Force, laughing at Turner in the process.  Turner could not stand the resulting belittlement.

     Totally defeated by the Challenge he had foolishly made, Turner had then to Respond to it.  He was old enough and he had, or should have had, enough education to intellectualize the defeat.  Failing that, since he considered himself Trueman’s better, he could have laughed it off, gone out and kicked some cans.  But as his manhood, his sense of being a ‘natural’ leader of men, was under siege by powerful forces he could not control, he capitulated his manhood.  He buckled, he surrendered to the Challenge.

     Nor did he ever develop the psychological resources to recover.  His wife who was then as dependent on him as he was on her did not leave him but toughed out all the years until Thim turned twenty-five.  At that time Thim confessed to his father that he was a homosexual.  His father, not conscious of the real reason why, accepted the confession without a murmur embracing his son.  Audrey who had extended her permission to Thom but not her forgiveness then exercised her reserved right to divorce Thom.

     Turner during those years unable to excercise leadership in his chosen arena relapsed into ‘leading’ all manner of charitable causes from the anti-nuclear movement to the spotted owl.

     Trueman, on his part, experienced a subconscious feeling of great triumph.  He wouldn’t have been able to explain his actions but once outside he lingered for perhaps a half an hour.  He took possession, as it were, of Turner’s path to the front door standing legs apart as though over a dead lion fiddling with his clipboard which it seemed for reasons of its own wouldn’t slip into place.

     Then he decided to survey the neighborhood which while attractive wouldn’t have had the same charms for him under other circumstances.  He paraded up and down in front of Turner’s house so as to advertise his triumph over Turner to an imaginary assembled mankind.  The neighbors, who were the only spectators reacted accordingly although Trueman had no idea how he had antagonized them.

     Dewey was the product of weak Responses to overwhelming Challenges.  The Challenges had come as a child when there were as yet no support systems developed to allow him to deal successfully or strongly to the Challenges.  To say that we are responsible for our character is ridiculous.  If one survives destructive Challenges as a child then one is responsible for making right decisions subsequently.  Surviving one’s childhood is a matter of luck.  Be not too critical of one’s fellow man, unless you’re a novelist, then, as Old Harry said:  Give ’em hell.

     Before considering Trueman’s background let us consider the cases of two others- Jacques Casanova and William S. Burroughs.  Casanova devoted five thousand pages to a discussion of his problem without even attempting to understand its cause.  Casanova was an eldest child.  For some reason his mother chose to put him and only him of her children in a foster home.  As will be seen with Trueman this was an impossibly difficult Challenge for Casanova.  He was a good boy.  Put into an intolerable home he was able to implore his mother to find him a better place and she did.  Being a good boy Casanova did not respond to the Challenge by becoming a serial killer.  But the injury entered his subconscious.  Just as Casanova’s innocence had been violated and destroyed by a mother who should have been loving so Casanova turned to his efforts to destroying the happiness of young female virgins by betraying their love.

     Casanova’s memoirs are phenomenal.  All five thousand pages are dedicated solely to relating his adventures with women.  No other aspect of his life is related or examined.  Sometimes in a masochistic mood he allows women to take advantage of him in repetition of his mother’s act.  Significantly these women are the basest of prostitutes.

      Just as Casanova never discovered the cause of his actions which was in fact so subtle and well hidden that it would have been a miracle if he had  so, curiously, William S. Burroughs never found his cure.  Burroughs, the American Beat writer, was born in 1913 and as of 1996 was still alive.  He wrote ‘Naked Lunch’ and similar tripe.     

     Burroughs was aware at once of his Field, the Challenge and his Response but was unable to intellectualize it.  As a homosexual he was unusual in that he sought female sex from time to time.  His betrayal and violation was also unusual which explains his Response.  Burroughs grew up in St. Louis where he had a nanny.  As frequently happens with this type of employee she was an evil woman.  Burroughs loved and trusted her a great deal.  One day she took him to visit her boyfriend.  She asked Burroughs to do her boyfriend a favor.  Here Burroughs blacks out.  He thrusts the next few moments into his subconscious where he absolutely refuses to acknowledge it.  Release was so near and yet he could never grasp it even under extensive psychoanalysis.  As Burroughs cannot remember what happened next one can only conjecture.  It is, or should be, clear that Burroughs was sexually violated. His mouth was forced over the penis of the boy friend.  As in later life he chose to sodomize young boys but had an abhorrence of oral sex despising homosexuals who were ‘cocksuckers’ it is clear what he blocked out.

     The event turned Burroughs queer and eventually made him a junky but left him with ambivalent feelings toward women and strong desires for boys such as had been.  On the one hand he loved the nurse and found it impossible to let that love go, on the other hand she had basely betrayed his trust so that he transferred that hatred to all women.

     Burroughs says that he can’t understand the things he has done.  There is little reason to doubt him.  In the forties he took up with a woman who, signficantly was a floozie and hence not respectable.  She became his common law wife.  With her Burroughs led a life of total degradation.  Finally in the early fifties he blew her brains out.  He insists it was an accident.  It is certain that it was not his conscious intent to kill her.

     Burroughs loved guns.  He had a reputation for being an excellent marksman.  During a drinking bout with friends he suggested that she and he do a William Tell number.  At a distance of six feet he missed the whiskey glass she had placed on her head and drilled her between the eyes.  Given a conscious choice between hitting the glass or killing his wife he certainly would have hit the glass as he had done many times before but he subconscious paid back the nanny in the person of his wife.

     Burroughs had nothing to do with women after that although he thought he should.  In keeping with his emasculation by the boyfriend he remained homosexual.  Thus although Burroughs understood all the elements of his problem his pain and degradation were such that he couldn’t face or resolve them.  His response was homosexuality on the one hand and the subconscious murder of the nurse surrogate on the other.  Nor should he have been held responsible.  As a five year old child he had no means of intellectualizing his nanny’s deed thus the symbolism passed into his subconscious where its forms emerged years later much as Zeus swallowing the goddess Metis who he found indigestible had her emerge from his forehead in the altered form of Athene.

     The character of Dewey Trueman was the result of a combination of events combining elements of the situations of both Casanova and Burroughs.

     Elements of heterosexuality and homosexuality were warring in his mind.  His subconscious was the dominant element of his mind at this time although a very powerful remnant of a conscious mind kept him from insanity and on a productive course.

     Trueman had had a very difficult childhood.  the whole is described in Far Gresham:  Childhood and Youth. As a very young boy, less than three, he had been sodomized by a next door neighbor.  The man had taken him on the dirt under his porch.  Now, in the right circumstances, a boy can only take such attention as an act of love.  Having no experience or knowledge of such things, properly persuaded there is no reason to say no.  Unable to evaluate the act there is no reason for guilt.  The fixing of shame comes when the lover reacts.

      In Trueman’s case there was no shaming immediately after the deed.  But, evil is the heart of man, the neighbor had done it to depress Trueman’s chances in life and elevate those of his own son.  A short time later, these were primitive times in 1940 on the poor side of town, both he and his neighbor’s son were at the neighbor’s house.  The neighbor had a galvanized tub in the basement that he used for a toilet.  Both boys were urinating in it.  Now, among homosexuals the penis is the big thing.  Having been introduced to homosexual sex Dewey was remarking on the appearance of his friend’s penis.  At that point the neighbor, who had apparently been waiting for just such a moment, said:  ‘Son, I don’t want you to associate with that little queer again.’

     An apporpriate response was impossible for the undeveloped intellect of Trueman.  Dewey took the statement as an act of betrayal comparable to that of Burrough’s nanny.  He suppressed the memory of the seduction but never forgot the betrayal.  Thus two forces contended in his mind.  There were grounds for homosexuality on the one hand but such a strong hatred of men that Dewey swore they would never get him again.

      A little later his mother would treat him in much the same manner as Casanova’s mother had treated him.  Mrs. Trueman divorced her husband.  Unwilling to let her offspring interfere with her social life she put them in a foster home.  Dewey had a brother by then.  Dewey was able to handle the first abandonment and even a second in another foster home.  But then Mrs. Trueman placed he and his brother in the Municipal Orphanage.  This abandonment created so subtle a reaction in Dewey’s subconscious that no one knows what his response to women might have been.

     As it was Mrs. Trueman’s deed was unwittingly repeated by Dewey’s first girl friend.  Dewey was fifteen when his sweet Ange implored him for his love.  Ange was young, only thirteen, but she knew she wanted Dewey.  What she demanded of him was in essence marriage.  She demanded all his future from him.  He was a young boy and very reluctant but he agreed.

     Ange was a young girl, she was not in control of her destiny.  She lived with her grandmother, her family being in Waterloo, Iowa.  It was just after Thanksgiving she asked for his love.  Dewey thought this would mean no separation.  He looked forward to the Christmas holidays with Ange in anticipation.  But then, having given his heart, Ange informed him that she had forgotten to tell him that she had to go back to Waterloo for Christmas vacation.  Dewey’s heart turned cold.  this was the same thing his mother had done to him, although he did not realize it on a conscious level.  He concluded subconsciously that all women were alike.

     His response to the challenge caused both he and Ange untold anguish.  His subconscious retaliation against both his mother and Ange was to cut Ange cold.  He kissed her goodnight after a date and never spoke to her again.

     Ambivalent about men, Dewey now responded by becoming abivalent toward women.  Just as Casanova responded to his Challenge by taking the virginity of women, Dewey was to develop a manner of treating all women as totally desirable.  He wooed all women.  When, as it might chance, they responded to his overtures he coldly turned his back on them leaving them in the lurch.  Just as Casanova sought to deflower his victims Trueman denied them his favors.  Of course it was necessary for him to make exceptions as his self respect, bred in the fifites, required him to have his own woman at all times.  Dewey and Anges’s story is described in the Angeline Constellation.  

     As these events entered Dewey’s subconscious and never resurfaced he was aware of his attitude but able neither to control nor understand it.  His treatment of Ange was a complete mystery to him.  He was aware of the Field with his mother and Ange but unaware of the Challenge.  His Response was beyond his understanding and beyond good and evil.

     His sexual makeup was further complicated by certain events which controlled both his consciousness and subconsciousness.  These events completely terrorized him preventing any effective social intercourse, hence he was shy and awkward.

     As recounted in Far Gresham David Hirsh and his son Michael developed a hatred for him on specious grounds.  They harassed him trying to force submission to them.  Unable to do so Michael and some friends raped Dewey in the fourth grade.  The complex of acts by the Hirshes was completely suppressed, Filed, Challenge and Response.  But what is in the subconscious must be expressed in one’s actions much the same as Zeus and Metis.

     In Dewey’s case he acted with a dark foreboding that constrasted with a chipper optimistic nature.  This coupled with the fact that the torments which continued all his youth left him with a guilty, furtive manner and an overanxious desire to please presented a strange persona to the world.

     Dewey was aware of his mental problems as, even though he knew the right way to act and wanted to, his subconscious sabotaged all his efforts much as when the delivery of fuel cuts off in a car when you step on the pedal too sharply.

     Dewey  was seeking very had to understand himself.  The brutality of his youth had been such, he had been pushed down so far, that he had already gone far to master his subconscious with no apparent results.  The distance to go was still enormous and would eventuate in the complete disintegration of his existing persona.  He would, in effect, have to die and be reborn.  Fortunately he would be able to create and impose on himself an entirely new persona successfully.

      His encounter with Thom Nelson Turner was a small turning point in his effort to understand himself.  The understanding was not on the conscious level but subconsciously the overtaut pressure on the springs and cogs of his mind was released a little.  He had at least subjugated or gotten back his own from the ‘natural’ leader of his youth.  Such is life.  Pyschic debts are always being repaid by people who didn’t incur them.  Thom Turner’s loss was Dewey’s gain.  Of course Turner was himself only repaying an earlier offense.  A certain justice had been obtained.

     As Dewey got back in his car there was a complacent psychic satisfaction that he had got back some of his and Turner had paid the price.  The situation had fit perfectly into Dewey’s scheme of things.  He had done nothing to Turner, the consequences were all the result of Turner’s own actions.  Thom Nelson had punished himself.  Dewey Trueman remained an innocent man.

     As Dewey looked down the square he could sense the hostility of the neighbors.  His strutting about before Turner’s house had convinced the neighbors that he really enjoyed his job.  Even though they spent all their time devising ways to humiliate each other so that none might gain an ascendancy they resented and feared an outsider with power.

     Dewey eased the Chevy along the other side of the square studying the houses as was his wont.  As he rounded the corner to enter the egress street a tomato skidded across his hood.  At the same time an egg smashed against the window behind him sliding down the door.  There was no one visible, there never is, never will be; there was no reason to stop.

     As he approached the corner to turn left up Sunnyvale a school bus blocked his exit.  This was fortuitous for Dewey as he had the bad habit of running stop signs when the way was clear.  Now that he had been on the job so long people were devising ways to get back at him for what they considered intolerable humiliation.  Someone always knew someone on the police force.  They were learning Dewey’s driving habits.  When Dewey showed up at Thom’s a cop was called who had stationed himself where Dewey could be given a ticket.  They were moving violations and Dewey already had too many of them.

     As Dewey stopped he spotted the cop off to his left.  The bus pulled away.  Dewey pulled into the opposite lane watching the cop anxiously.  He knew that law and order meant nothing to the cops.  Just because he hadn’t run the stop sign didn’t mean that the cop wouldn’t give him a ticket anyway.  The cop’s word was taken at court every time.

     The cop stayed in place as Dewey drove by.  Dewey noted that the cloud cover, pardon me, high fog was retreating West.  Up ahead to the North patches of sunshine were dissipating the fog behind the lead line.  He drove toward Sunnyvale with a red streak on his hood, egg dripping down the side of his car and a warm spot in his heart.

                                          End.