Our Lady Of The Blues
The pimp stood against the wall at the head of the narrow staircase.
‘Get out of here.’ He cried slapping Dewey weakly on the shoulder.
Dewey wasn’t about to start anything in that crowd so he brushed past him half running half falling down the stairs.
Once at the bottom his rage overflowed.
‘Get your ass down here you goddamned pimp. Come on and act tough down here limp dick.’
The pimp preferred acting tough in a secure situation, he wasn’t about to come down the stairs. At the sounds of Dewey’s angry voice a couple denizens of the alley moved toward Dewey with seeming hostile intent.
Dewey was steaming: ‘Get back into your holes unless you’re really looking for trouble.’ Dewey sternly ordered.
Parsons stepped up to back him up while McLean as usual hung back. The Mexicans retreated.
‘How was it?’ McLean asked with a knowing smile.
‘Considering she used her hand, terrific.’
‘Used her hand?’ McLean said continuing to smile. ‘No wonder you’re mad.’
‘No, it wasn’t that. She probably saved me from a dose; it was that obnoxious pimp trying to push me around while I was inconvenienced. Reminded me of you, Joe.’ Dewey said with a laugh slapping an uncomfortable McLean on the back. ‘Where the hell is Kreskin anyway?”
‘He’s in that bar right there.’ McLean said pointing to a building which curiously enough to Dewey was only a few paces away.
‘You go ahead. Me and Parsons are going to look for some nooky.’
‘Don’t bother with whore upstairs.’ Dewey called over his shoulder as he opened the door to the bar.
The bar was empty save for Kreskin and the bartender. The bar had the frontier look common to Tijuana. The place was an entrepot for pillheads. Kreskin was now a full fledged heroin addict supplementing his addiction with a variety of downers. The pills also helped him over anxious moments when it was inappropriate to shoot his heroin aboard ship.
Kreskin was no longer seen in the shower line where his tracks openly betrayed his habit. Affluent from his share of the drug money he went over most nights to stay at a hotel.
Trueman took a seat to wait out the time for the return.
‘What’ll you have?’ The bartender called across the room.
‘Nothing.’ Dewey replied sitting patiently with hands crossed in his lap.
‘What’s wrong with your friend?’ The bartender crossly asked Kreskin. ‘This isn’t a library; he can’t just sit there.’
Kreskin, who for a guy on downers was very restless, came over to Trueman. ‘Bartender thinks you should order something.’
‘I told you I wasn’t going to spend any money, Kreskin.’
‘You could spring for a drink. You’re going to be saving money this weekend.’
‘How am I going to be saving money this weekend?’
‘I’m going to give you a ride up to Oakland so you’ll save whatever you would spend on the road.’
‘You’re giving me a ride up to Oakland? Oh, I did not know that.’
Trueman unknown to himself had created quite a stir aboard ship by taking the long hike to Oakland. Twelve hundred miles on a weekend is in fact a long way to go but Trueman in his anxiety to get away had only considered the feasibility not the distance. Screw and Easy had actually given odds on his ability to cover the dinstance on time the first trip. Most people wanted to bet he wouldn’t. So, as the house, the Golddust Twins had to bet he would. Although everyone thought they were fools they had given two to one and in some cases three to one odds. Needless to say they had cleaned up in a modest way. Even Bifrons Morford, the inveterate gamble, dropped a five.
Trueman’s success had excited a lot of speculation on how far you could hitchhike over a weekend. Trueman’s repeated trips got Kayo and Soter involved in the notion of weekly dope runs. The money was very good. Thus Kayo was in Tijuana setting up a marijuana purchase. Fearing the border after the first close call Soter had arranged with a lawyer friend of his dad’s with a pirate mentality in Coronado to take delivery by boat in Coronado transferring the load to Kayo’s Edsel.
As Kayo considered Trueman as his personal good luck charm he intended to have him ride along. Not that Trueman was a good luck charm but one was certainly needed on the run from the border to LA. There were numbers of desperadoes running marijuana from T town to LA. A lot of it traveled up 101. In a bid to intercept the traffic the police set up roadblocks heading north where cars were stopped and searched indiscriminately. During the first sweeps the cops literally stopped every car on the road. This held up traffic to the point where the complaints overrode the utility. Subsequently cars were stopped apparently at random. Thus Kayo had need of a good luck charm.
‘Yeah. I havn’t told you yet but I watched you hitch to Oakland for the last few weeks; you seem to think it’s worth it so I figure why don’t I go home on weekends. How long does it take?’
‘Without delays for catching a ride? Oh, I don’t know. Twelve hours non-stop. You going to give me a ride back too?’
‘Sure. Of course. What time is best for leaving the Bay Area?
‘Well, I leave at four on Sunday which just barely gives me enough time to get back so depending on how long it takes you to get from Mill Valley I would say you wanted to be out of Oakland no later six or six-thirty.’
‘That’s not bad. So are you going to buy a drink?’
‘No. You see Kreskin I don’t spend any money on the road so I won’t be saving any.’
‘You make the whole trip without spending a dime?’
‘Sure. Unless something comes up I never spend more than maybe three dollars all weekend.’
Kreskin’s eyes bugged out. ‘You can’t even eat on that much.’
‘Not much anyway. I have a hamburg and fries on Saturday afternoon and that’s it.’
‘Jesus.’ Kreskin said in astonishment shaking his head. ‘Here. Let me buy you a drink.’
‘How about a whiskey?’ Kreskin called.
‘Don’t drink, not going to start. Smoking’s bad enough.’
Kreskin brought the Coke over.
‘Oh yeah. Smoking. That’s something some of the guys wanted me to talk to you about. They say you never have your own. You’re always bumming and they’re tired of it.’
‘Oh, gee. That’s too bad.’
‘That’s too bad? Is that it?’
‘Look, Kreskin, let me tell you how it is. That ship is nothing but a bunch of thieves, cheats, crooks and leeches. You can tell them I said so if they don’t already know.
The only reason I smoke is because Dieter won’t give you the work breaks you’re entitled to because he thinks they’re called smoke breaks so you have to smoke. OK? I was forced into doing what I didn’t want to do. I smoke.
Now, I’m the kind of guy that likes his own so every payday I bought a carton of Pall Malls. the same guys who are calling me a leech used to bum packs, not cigarettes, full packs from me on payday on the way to my locker. Then, they said a good guy would let them have a pack. I used to get to my locker with only four or five packs left out of a carton.
Then when I asked them to let me have a pack they just laughed up their sleeves at me, or rather, down their collar. This went on for several paydays until I got tired of it. Now I don’t buy ’em, I bum ’em. I figure I’ve given out maybe thirty packs. At seven for five I’m due forty two packs plus a penalty. Until I get those back you can forget me buying my own. The way I see it the ship’s debt won’t be paid until four months after my enlistment ends so forget me buying my own. Tell them that.’
‘Sounds like bullshit to me, Trueman.’
‘Doesn’t matter to me what it sounds like to you. It’s god’s own truth. If they learn to be honest those guys will be treated honest.’
The door opened admitting McLean and Parsons. They all left. To Trueman’s immense relief there was no trouble at the border.
Riding In Style
Having a ride up to Oakland didn’t mean as much to Trueman as having a secure ride back. It mattered little at what exact time he arrived in the North but it mattered a great deal at what precise moment he returned. He had been getting back in time by just one uncomfortable hair.
Trueman was not an adept at recognizing drug users but the fuzzy hazy manner of Kreskin as they entered the parking lot to get in the Edsel made him wonder what was wrong with Kreskin.
Kreskin pulled into a gas station on the city limits to gas up. Gas was plentiful and cheap in the late fifties. The joy of freedom a car gave people who might not have been able to afford a car a few years earlier made everyone careless of gas. Gas station lots were covered with it. Attendants activiated the pump before they got the nozzle in the tank splashing some down the side of the car and out on the ground as they finished. Nearly every car had a gas streak from the cover down the fender. These were high old times, for those who had eyes to see, with or without drugs. It is hard to describe how high expectations were. A car made one totally independent of control; being able to waste the means of that independence gave one an exhilarating feeling.
Kreskin, who had told Trueman he was better that he in Yokosuka, still believed it and wanted Trueman to acknowledge his superiority. Trueman in his turn had looked down on Kreskin since Hong Kong; he had no intention of assuming an inferior role now. Kreskin tried to get an edge in his mind on Trueman before the trip began.
In an attempt to display some scientific knowledge, as the car was fueled, he knelt down and extended his little finger and thumb between the pavement and bumper saying: ‘Look how heavy this gas is. It lowers the car this far.’
As Kreskin spoke, Trueman, who was as ‘scientific’ as anyone let his eye rove over the other cars in the lot of which there were several. This was a big station with twelve double pump islands. Comparing Kreskin’s car with the others it was obvious that Kayo’s car was several inches lower than any other.
‘Yeah, but why is it so low, Kreskin?’
Looking up and over from his kneeling position contemptuous of Trueman’s intelligence in his superiority Kreskin replied: ‘Gas is just that heavy, Trueman.’
Trueman caught the superior tone: ‘Sure gas is heavy Kreskin. But why is your gas heavier than anyone else’s?’ Look at that Chevy that just filled up; the rear end doesn’t sag like yours and this is a new car too.’
Then Trueman displaying some ‘science’ caught on. ‘What else do you have in the car Kreskin?’ You must already have something as heavy as the gas or your rearend wouldn’t sag so much. What is it?’
His mind dulled by drugs and arrogance Kreskin was caught off guard as his finger and thumb seemed to weld to their contacts. He slowly got up.
‘Nothin’. C’mon, let’s go. Get in.’
Thankful for the ride, Trueman didn’t persist nor did he wonder long. He leaned back to enjoy his rocket ride through the night. As with his life Kreskin pushed the Edsel to the limit maintaining a steady ninety to a hundred per.
The towers of the recently built addition to Disneyland flashed by on the left. They flew over the Stack amidst a dazzling display of lights racing up the Hollywood Freeway to Lankerhshim Boulevard. It was a pleasure for Dewey to cruise along with elbow out the window like he was dragging the strip rather than mooching rides.
Once on the Grapevine Kreskin eased out and let that Edsel roll. This was the era when the horsepower race shifted into high gear. In the late forties and early fifties the engines had been small and not machined to the point where they could sustain high speed or great distances. The modern car really began in ’55 when prosperity was so assured that people would buy the big V8s rather than in line sixes. They could afford all the extras and the gas that went with them. The cars themselves became gargantuan while the engines that propelled them became immense moving out of the two hundred horsepower range through the three hundreds all the way to four-oh-nine. The common man was given unlimited power but not the freedom to enjoy it. The speed limits denied the use of the power but still, it was said, i’ts there if you need it for passing. More aggressive types longed for a US autobahn on which there were no limits.
The Edsel was a marvel as it raced up a nearly vacant 99.
‘If you’re going this fast why don’t you use the fast lane?’ Trueman asked.
Kreskin gave him a superior look as he condescendingly explained: ‘The cops think that if you’re in the fast lane you must be going fast whether you are or not. If you’re in the slow lane no matter how fast you’re going they think you’re going slow. So, when there’s no traffic drive fast in the slow lane.’
‘Aw, c’mon, the cops aren’t that dumb.’
‘Maybe not but that’s the way the system works.’
Trueman nodded condescendingly but sneered inwardly at the simplicity of Kreskin’s belief. In later years Trueman would learn to his cost that Kreskin did know what he was talking about. The cops were that dumb.
Kreskin had been following the car ahead of him for the last fifty miles or so to take advantage of his headlights. In the night time at high speeds you overdrove your headlights all the way. Being behind someone gave you relief from the stress of anxious alertness. For those accustomed to the rules of the road the cars alternated every fifty miles or so. The former lead car could then relax a little.
Kreskin pulled out to pass the lead at which the driver fell back to let Kreskin take the lead. The two cars sped through the night in tandem alternating until the other driver turned off at Merced giving Kreskin the high sign through his open window.
‘Wow. This is really some car for being so ugly.’ Dewey said impressed by the speed and ride.
‘This piece of crap?’ Kreskin replied. The better things got for people the more they complained. That was the paradox of 1958-74, the greatest era the world ever knew. ‘I wouldn’t drive it if I didn’t have to. I’d get me a nifty little red MG and show some class.’
‘MGs can’t cost more than this Edsel.’ Dewey stated thinking price was holding Kreskin up.
‘It’s not the money, it’s…’ Kreskin began thumbing toward the back then catching himself lapsed into a silence that lasted until he dropped Dewey off on East 14th.
‘Now, you’re going to be right here around six to six-thirty. I can count on it.’ Dewey admonished. ‘Otherwise I can’t get back on time.’
‘You can count on me.’ Kreskin said as he drove away to enter the Nimitz Freeway leading to the Bay Bridge, through San Francisco, across the Golden Gate Bridge, through the Waldo Grade tunnel and into Mill Valley.
Mill Valley is really in a valley surrounded by high hills. It was actually a mill town until they cut the Redwoods down. It was the prestige place to live in Marin County and the equal of any other prestige place in the Bay Area. If you lived in Mill Valley you weren’t on the way you were already there. The road in forms a cul-de-sac at the end of the valley. Soter lived three quarters of the way up the hill in a house that cost him seventy-five thousand dollars in 1954. Today the house would be worth three to five million.
The advent of dope money had increased Soter’s standard of living incredibly. He could now have all the appurtenances of money he craved. Import cars did not yet dominate the market. Anyone who had a Mercedes would have been an eccentric who preferred German automobiles.
If available at all the cars of the Japanese invasion which took Detroit by such surprise was just beginning.
Thus Soter and Guinevere had brand new matching Cadillac El Dorados which was the most expensive car money could buy in America. They were kind of gawdy. They were the car of choice for African Americans. Americas are so bigoted that they always place Blacks in a separate racial category rather than including them in a social category. This attitude complicates simple matters making them difficult to discuss.
As the Blacks were lower on the economic scale of success like a numerically larger segment of Whites they tended to covet the appurtenances of wealth that they could ill afford just like lesser affluent Whites. They went for big diamonds, jewels, clothes and cars of the most conspicuous and flashy sort.
Blacks had always cherished Cadillacs but beginning in 1954, I believe, when Caddies had the upturned fins at the end of the back fender the Caddies seemed to be tailored to appeal to the most nouveau of the nouveau riches which is why the body styles of the ’50s reflected those needs.
The ’55s and 56s really blossomed but they were still small cars relative to the 58s and 59s.
I can tell you that these were mind blowing models at the time. When you first saw one your moth gaped open like the Grand Canyon.
By ’58 they were monsters a block long loaded with chrome, sporting gigantic fins. the ’59 had the biggest fin of all with the double globe taillights perched up on the fins like pairs of gonads. The nouveaux had never been treated so well.
The gawdier they became the more the Blacks loved them. By the ’59 model it seemed that three out four Cadillacs were driven by Blacks.
Thus they came to epitomize Black taste almost as if they were designed especially for them. Thus a lot of people thought Caddies were ‘nigger’ cars which no self-respecting White person would drive. They couldn’t say it just that way though.
There is nothing racially or socially comparable today. You really had to have been there to appreciate it. The rise of the German Mercedes was the result of affluent Whites shifting their allegiance from Cadillac to something not linked with Negroes, although they like to deny it now.
Soter wanted the top of the line and if Cadillac was it he didn’t care who else drove it. He was a nouveau riche himself.
Soter was on a buying binge. Some signficant artists had replaced the former pictures on his walls. Soter wanted to be modern so he had many pitures he neither understood nor liked by people like Pollock, Johns and Warhol. He got the originals cheap but, boy, did he make out like a bandit as time went by.
His library too had expanded into a great, not magnificent, but great collection of leather bound books. They were more to satisfy a psychological need because Soter’s law practice obviated any time he had for reading.
Of course he had all the gadgets but compared to the enormous range of gadgets today that amonted to very little although he did have the top of the line component phonograph. No microwaves, no computers, hand held devices, no electronics. All that started arriving in the late seventies.
Soter had the biggest TV money could buy but that didn’t go by the size of the screen, 21″ was maximum, but the size of the cabinet. Soter and Kayo were seated before it on Saturday night in earnest conversation concerning the roadblocks on 101.
As they talked a documentary on the Nazi death camps flickered across the screen.
‘You mean they just stop cars at random or all the cars?’ Soter asked as the screen showed a huge mound of emaciated naked dead bodies.
‘I haven’t actually seen one but I’ve been told that they seem to have tips and wave certain cars over.’ Kayo explained as a bulldozer pulled up behind the mountain of bodies plowing into them twisting and crushing limbs into pulp.
‘A. I don’t think that’s constitutional and B. If you get stopped I couldn’t protect you with the evidence on you. I couldn’t stand seeing you sent to prison on the one hand while the trail of evidence would lead back to me on the other.’
A big black plume of smoke belched from the stack of the bulldozer as it met the resistance of the massed bodies.
‘They probably won’t stop me; the Edsel’s a new car. Most of the runners drive clunkers.’
‘Yes, but you might look too young to own a new car, so they might stop you anyway. What about this fellow who rode up here with you?’
The huge mass of bodies began to slide forward as some were heaped up from below while others gyrated off the top tumbling down the human slope or rolling off to the side as the bulldozer bored in.
‘Trueman? No. First he’s a simp who would blow everything at the first stress and second he’s absolutely anti drugs. I conceal that I use from him.’
Soter sat thinking for a moment as the bulldozer toppled the bodies into a huge pit already filled with the mangled emaciated remains of people. The driver rode out over the bodies tamping them down and leveling out before backing over those he missed to back them up against the blade as he shoved them toward the pit.
‘How about this other fellow that assisted you on the tuck and roll job?’
‘McLean? Crooked as a snake but trustworthy for that reason. Why?’
Another mass of bodies bearing twisted limbs the size of sticks loomed up before the bulldozer.
‘There’s no reason for us to take risks when we can get suckers to take them for us. We could use him for a mule, he’s expendable.’
‘Yeah, but he’s broke. Doesn’t have a car.’
‘For two hundred he can get himself a ’50- ’51. We’ll front him the money against payment for muling, shift the danger to him while I check to see if the ACLU is already working on this. I’ll join and give them a few hundred to look into it if they aren’t already.’
The scene on TV cut from the buldozer and mounds of dead people to a long line of drooping emaciated figures with a bar of soap in their hands waiting in the snow for their turn to take a shower.
‘I’d always thought the ACLU was a pain in the ass until I see something outrageous like this. The idea of stopping cars with no probable cause. I’ll make sure that’s stopped before too long you can bet on that. When I do you can resume deliveries but until then let this McLean fellow take the risks.’
The announcer came on. ‘Those are Jews.’ He said heavily accenting the word Jews. ‘Those are Jews. This was the greatest crime ever committed and simply because they were Jews.’
‘Poor bastards.’ Soter said popping a few peanuts in his mouth.
‘Yeah. I feel sorry for ’em.’ Kayo said belching and blowing a fart as he got up to get another beer.
‘I don’t know that it makes great TV though.’ Soter said flopping back on the recliner to doze.
Across the Bay Trueman threaded his way through the dark to Alton Clark’s house. With the addition of Dennis Whatley to the group Trueman had begun to distance himself from Da Costa. He had been introduced to the Clarks finding both of them suitable for friendship. Having no place to sleep he cadged the use of Alton’s garage. As it wasn’t used for the car Trueman had constructed a little pallet. He let himself into the side door stretching out for a little rest before the sun came up.
Dewey’s relationship with Louise Tricki was not yet so developed that he could spend his time with her but she was almost at the stage where in his high school days he would be ‘going steady.’ The term was now out of date.
Dewey was the type of guy who needed a woman. Not in the sexual sense alone but in the psychological sense of a living representative of his Anima. Completeness involved the companionship of the feminine to complement his masculine. The absence of the feminine in his life had been debilitating.
His attentions to Louise were not honorable. He did not see her as a life partner but he did want to have sexual relations. Louise was by no means a virgin. She was a troubled young girl who already had a past.
She was not beautiful but not unattractive. She had a taut well rounded body topped by a round Slavic face that was pleasant but couldn’t be called beautiful.
Now a Senior she had as a Junior run away with a twenty-seven year old pervert. She had been retrieved from Sacramento by her parents but not before the pervert had introduced her to a variety of sado-masochistic practices. The results were devastating for Louise’s character. Whether her elopement caused or only contributed to her malaise she was now burdened by a sad perversity.
If Dewey had not had a reverence for the sanctity of womanhood he might easily had led her anywhere a man would want to go. Without being wanton, she even encouraged him to do so. She perhaps even wanted to be abused.
As usual the causes could attributed to her parents, not her boy friends. She was in rebellion against them.
When Dewey arrived at the Tricki hom, Dick and Marti Tricki were seated at the kitchen table drinks before them watching TV. The house was modest, merely a thousand square feet out toward 98th on the East side of East 14th on Merlin Street. The street was five blocks long of these depressing little houses without trees or flowers in front. The barren yards perfectly reflected the barren minds of the people who lived in them.
The Tricki’s were equally depressed and depressing. Between them, Louise and Dewey it was a pretty depressing group.
Dick Tricki owned a little bar downtown. The bar provided a decent living but more importantly Dick got his liquor cheap. He and Marti were full blown alcoholics. Every waking moment was spent with a drink before them. The two of them spent their time as they did this evening: sitting motionless in their kitchen chairs looking silently at each other while the TV set flickered in front of them to the quiet drone of the announcer.
Dewey had not yet met Louise’s parents so after chatting for an hour or so on the tiny concrete porch Dewey was taken in and introduced. Dewey always tried to be cheerful and actually believed he was. His degree of cheerfulness may be compared to the third step from the bottom leading out of the basement. Even as depressed as the East Bay was Dewey made it look good.
He was offered a drink.
‘I’m only twenty; besides I don’t drink.’
‘Twenty is old enough for us and you will drink when you find out what life is really like.’
‘Plenty of time for that.’ Dewey said diplomatically.
‘When you do, let me give you a tip. Always drink Scotch. A man can drink Scotch all his life and it will only make him stronger. Gin, Vodka, Bourbon none of them have any value. Believe me, I own a bar and I’ve watched the effect of various liquors on a lot of people. Scotch is the ticket; the others will lay you in your grave. Believe me.
So you’re in love with Louise. I hope you can do better than we have. She’s always been a problem. A sweet problem, a good problem, but a problem. Our real name is Trickieski. We’re Polish but teachers and her playmates had a hard time pronouncing it which distressed her so we shortened it to Tricki for her.’
‘Trickieski is not so hard to pronounce. I’m Polish too and I ‘ve seen some really tough ones. My grandmother’s name was Spunyak, that’s spelled SEPANIAK. That’s one of the easy ones. I wouldn’t change my name for anything.’ Dewey responded righteously.
‘You’re Polish?’ Dick Tricki asked as the huge mounds of string thin bodies in Poland appeared on the screen.
Marti stirred to the depth of her alcoholic haze rose quickly to flick the channel from ABC. The same images appeared on NBC. Oakland only had two of the three major networks at the time so she found that she was covered. The Jews were determined that America, man, woman and child, were going to watch their degradation in the death camps. All three networks were controlled by Jews; they had conspired to make sure that Americans could not escape the vision of their dismal plight.
In those early days of TV there were usually only the three channels of the major networks, if that, unlike today where it is possible to have hundreds, so Mrs. Tricki’s alternative was to turn off the TV or watch mountains of dead emaciated bodies. She chose to leave the TV on as it was the only content of her mind. When she turned off the TV she turned off her mind.
The depression of the Jews blanketing the United States of America added to the depression of the East Bay and intensified that of the Trickies and Dewey Trueman. In this household at this time the depression was among the top ten depressing moments of all time. The place was more depressing even than Auschwitz.
It is not clear what the point was for the Jews to advertise the past to an American that didn’t care to see it. The Jews themselves ran these movies to their youth every sabbath in the shules of their synagogues. A whole generation of Jewish youth was brought up seeing these despicable movies that should have been for specialists only, every week of the year.
The vision of mountains of dead bodies had a disturbing effect not only on Dewey but on all America. His life was changed at that moment. The effect was not what the Jews imagined it would be. Dewey did not see Jews. He saw people, that they may have been Jews was only incidental. This was only another testimonial of man’s inhumanity to man. Further he blamed the Jews, quite rightly, for making him watch what was better not seen.
The effect was numbing. The movies completely blunted his sensibilties but inured him to brutality. While some others expressed their horror at mass murders and serial killers Dewey observed them complacently even enjoying some the better ones like Richard Speck, Charlie Whitman or Ted Bundy. Manson he considered crude and vulgar. He was offended at the clumsiness of Charlie Starkweather and the insane brutality of Pol Pot, but he was astonished. He’d aleady seen it. He was, in a manner of speaking, a connoisseur.
The Jews were training a whole nation to be blase about atrocities of any kind. In subsequent years their own reaction to viewing these movies constantly was reflected in the movies coming out of Hollywood. Movies that were devoted to senseless killing and mass destruction. The violence escalated as people were blown away, cars went up in fireballs, cities were blown up, the White House was a mass of splinters blowing in the wind. Movies became nothing but murder and mayhem to reflect the Jewish soul nurtured on a past that had never happened in America or to or by Americans.
In defense the movie makers claimed that all this destruction was ‘entertainment.’ They claimed that the movie going public would watch nothing else.
Nor was the American public as horrified as the announcer who agonizingly said: ‘These are Jews. These are Jews.’ Dewey saw only bodies, the bodies of people. He saw only man’s inhumanity to man which is an age old story, and he didn’t appreciate the Jews for showing it to him.
Anyone with a foundation in Jewish history as all Christians have, being instructed in the Jewish writings from infancy, knows that the Jews are an erring people who have to be chastised by their God from time to time to keep them in line. It’s just their nature. Several historical figures who had done damage to the Jews had been described right in the sacred writings as Scourges of God. In that long four thousand year history who was not to say that God had once again sent Hitler as a Scourge for his erring people. Perhaps the man Hitler wasn’t guilty at all. Perhaps Hitler was merely God in human form doing what He felt must be done.
Why, Dewey asked should he suffer because of the willful conduct of others.
‘How does he know those are all Jews?’ Dick Tricki asked. ‘Hitler killed as many Poles. One whole branch of my family was wiped out, right on Polish soil too. The bastard built all those detestable crematoriums on good Polish soil because he thought his Germans were better than Slavs. Well, Stalin showed that bastard a thing or two, not that he was alive to enjoy to it. Sheez, both channels too.’
The caperings of the Jews and Nazis brought the depression to an insufferable low. Dewey was compelled to go back to his pallet in the garage earlier than he liked.
He had several hours on Sunday with Louise in which they cemented their relationship. Dewey could consider Louise his girl.
Kayo pulled up to the curb on East 14th St. at six-ten. The way Kayo drove they had plenty of time to get back.
Kayo nosed the car out on the highway as the sun went down in the West. The Altamont was history before Dewey had settled in his seat.
Kayo was complete of his species. He knew who he was and sought the margins of existence on every head. Dewey was much less focused and more eclectic. He was more of a dilettant than an aficionado. He never concentrated on any one thing long enough to become thoroughly knowledgeable about it. Kayo immersed himself totally in his life style. There was little about the drug culture that he wasn’t aware of. The drug culture was affiliated to the criminal world, marginal politics and sub-cultures like the Beats. Kayo was conversant with them all. He was an underground kind of guy.
The night time is the right time where the underground flourishes. The authorities were content to keep the radicals off daytime radio. They couldn’t stop rock and roll which they considered silly pimple music but they were ardent in containing the subversive Folkies.
Perry Sparkman had no chance of getting a job even at night in the major markets of the Bay Area and LA but down in the Valley somewhere around Turlock, but not Turlock, God knows that place was as conservative as anywhere, I forget the station letters, he had a clear signal of 20,000 watts directionally North and South in the San Joaquin. As soon as they made the Manteca cutoff Kayo, who had heard Perry, twirled the dial until the signal came in as clear as a bell.
He leaned back and studied the road as the most astonishing songs Dewey had ever heard flooded the car. The Folkies were all college boys sharp as tacks and tuned into the politics their parents loathed but which carried their teaching to one of its logical limits. ‘Let Freedom Ring.’ was the main theme of the Folkies and it was the main fantasy of the Greatest Generation. The facts are clear, you see, it’s the interpretations of the facts that cause dissension.
Now the Folkies and Perry Sparkman existed only at the sufferance of the Greatest Generation and only if they were content to stay in the shadows. Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper were killed because they wanted to be center stage.
Sparkman would be driven off the air and out of employment shortly while folk singers like Tom Paxton, Chad Mitchell and many others were squashed and driven deeper into the bowels of the earth; kind of an under underground. Like Bob Dylan would sing: If it hadn’t been for freedom of speech I would have wound up in the swamp.
Kayo had hoped to offend Dewey with the music; he was surprised to see him not only enjoying but ecstatic.
‘Do you know what that is?’
‘Yeah, Folk Music. But I’ve never heard this stuff before. I never even heard of any of these guys.’
‘There’s a lot you don’t know. I’m surprised you’re so politically aware that you can understand it.’
‘What do you mean politically aware? I read TIME don’t I?’ Dewey asked who saw the lyrics as literature or poetry that handled a topic in a pertinent manner not requiring political allegiance. Besides, freedom’s just another word for nothing left to do. There’s all kinds of ways of looking at these things.
‘Well, I mean the songs have a particular political point of view that I didn’t think you understood or shared.’ Kayo continued in his demeaning manner as the excited voice of Perry Sparkman broke through the music to excitedly announce some news of the Black rebellion in Birmingham.
The South was a bubbling cauldron of Black discontent. If there was anyone aboard the Teufelsdreck who disagreed with the Black rebellion they certainly kept their mouth shut. Current histories portray activist Blacks and a small cadre of White sympthizers as being the few attuned to the revolt but in fact, outside the South, there was seeming universal acceptance of Black goals.
Indeed, who could dissent with the stated goals. Dewey firmly believed that no one should be denied equal oportunity, including himself, not that he’d had much as yet and would be soon denied his rights in favor of Blacks. He also saw that opportunity wasn’t going to be equal; the roles would just be reversed. He also knew who was going to have to pay the bill and it not the kids from the right side of town.
‘Goddamn. Good for those Black people, I’m sick of this injustice, aren’t you?’ Kayo demanded of Dewey.
Dewey looked at Kayo in amazement. He saw a guy who definitely thought he was better than himself, better than any of his shipmates and by extension better than any Black person alive. This superiority was based on nothing. Although Dewey was unaware of it he was sitting in a car with one of the most significant criminals in California. The forty pounds of heroin Kayo brought ashore in San Diego and his father had distributed had gone a long way to corrupt the morals of the Bay Area. The couple hundred pounds of marijuana he had just transported to his home in Mill Valley would do the same. Some of it was even distributed by Neal Cassady of Beat Fame. A couple of joints of one these shipments put him in jail.
He and Soter’s palatial life style was built on the destroyed lives of multitudes. The Edsel, the Cadillacs, the little red MG were all being purchased out of the miseries of others. Injustice! The most that could be said about Soter and Kayo was that their poisons were sold to Black and White without discrimination. The results all came back one color- green. Kayo and Soter should have been in San Quentin.
‘What do you mean by injustice?’ Dewey asked directly but clumsily.
‘What do I mean by injustice? Don’t you know what’s going on down South?’ Kayo asked apparently oblivious to conditions in Oakland. ‘Haven’t you heard of Emmet Till?’ Kayo continued indignantly.
Dewey thought for a moment: ‘He’s some Black guy that got killed somewhere down South, wasn’t he?’
‘Do you know why that young man was murdered?’ Kayo went on. He had his terminology down. Even though Emmet Till had been a teenaged boy, Blacks were sensitive about being called boys that while Whites in their twenties and early thirties were referred to as ‘boys’ by the Greatest Generation both pre and post pubescent Black boys were accorded the dignity of ‘young man.’
‘If I remember right he gave a wolf whistle to a White woman in a grocery store.’
‘Is tthat all? Do you think it right to kill a Black man because he looks at a White woman?’
‘Kayo, of course I think violence of any kind is bad, unlike yourself, I think killing should always be avoided.’ Dewey began trying to collect his thoughts to express what he really wanted to say. ‘I have a Christian background, although I’m not Christian, so I do not believe in hating anyone. Love is the answer. I don’t believe in hating those who hate because you always end up becoming what you hate. Thus even the Nazis who were certainly hateful cannot be hated because if you devote your life to hating them you will inevitably end up being one. One becomes what one fixes one’s thoughts on. Besides hating those who hate only means that you hate those who disagree with you because only people who disagree with you hate, you have your reasons. That entitles those who disagree with you to hate you because they too have their reasons. So by hating for any reason you make yourself hatefull.
Now, the injustice. Yes, I think it is unjust to kill a person because he whistles at a woman. But, I put it into a social context and not a racial one. Emmett Till was killed not because he was Black but because he was considered socially inferior. If he had been a White boy from the other side of the tracks whistling at an upper crust woman in a grocery store, which is considered ill mannered by White people, he might have been killed too.’
‘That’s nonsense: that couldn’t happen.’
‘It isn’t nonsense and it does happen except when White boys are killed nothing is said about it but that they probably had it coming.
Let me give a couple of examples. I was in the orphanage in the the fourth grade. We were considered sub-Negro in class. Blacks were given better treatment than we were. We were not even allowed to speak to girls from parented homes. So you say Emmett Till was discriminated against because he was Black? I say, so what? Black? Orphan? Why is it a greater crime to discriminate against a Black person than a White orphan?
So, in defiance I developed a crush on Elaine Webster. She was the creme de la creme of the parented girls. They threw rocks at me. They waited on the sidewalk to thrash me to within an inch of my life, it’s possible they would have taken the last inch. I had to take the back way home for weeks until they forgot about it. They didn’t forget about it; I always had to take the back way. If we had been in the twelfth grade at the time they probably would have killed me. If they had they wouldn’t have made a fuss about it like Emmett Till. They would have forgotten it on the spot.’
‘Why didn’t you stay in your place?’ This man most interested in justice asked.
‘Why didn’t Emmett Till?’
‘That’s not the point. Emmett Till was Black.’
‘So, what you’re saying is Blacks have more rights than certain Whites. It’s OK to kill Whites who don’t know their place but not Blacks?’
‘You weren’t killed.’
‘Well, wait a minute. Now, in the Valley when upper class boys wanted to get laid they went into lower class neighborhoods and seduced those girls without thought to moral considerations and no moralists arose among the old folks to condemn the practice. Their fathers had done the same thing. Same thing as in the slave South where Whites went to Black woman for easy nooky, right?
On the other hand if the kids from the poor side tried to cruise the nice areas they were driven away. So, there was this one nineteen year old kid who didn’t know his place chasing after this rich girl, she wasn’t rich but that’s how everyone talked, who was warned away two or three times but insisted he was as good as anyone else, certainly as good as Emmett Till.
One day he wan’t seen around town anymore. People said he’d gone West. But he hadn’t gone West he went North. He’s now at the bottom of Higgin’s Lake. I watched him loaded into the boat where he was taken to the middle of the lake and dropped in.
So, he went West. Nobody looked for him; nobody cared. He should have known better than to chase someone out of his class. Do I consider the killing of Emmett Till injustice? Sure. Do I consider his killing more outrageous than the killing of the White Boy? No.
Emmett Till was given justice after death; the guy at the bottom of Higgin’s Lake hasn’t and never would have, if, even in the presence of a dead body, people hadn’t denied he was even dead. So what does race mean to the dead guys?’
‘It’s wrong to discriminate against Black people and I’m surprised you can’t see the difference, Trueman.’
Dewey was going to say more on the meaning of discrimination but realizing the futility of it he decided to clam up.
‘I’m going to stop here for something to eat?’
Kayo left 99 making a couple turns Dewey couldn’t follow to pull up in front of a place called the Kopper Kettel. How Kayo knew about it was a mystery to Dewey as Kayo had never been there before. Dewey had to admire Kayo because he always seemed to home in on the hippest things.
The Kopper Kettel was a Mexican restaurant. Ordinary on the outside the inside was like a magic shore. The waitress and cook was the most beautiful Mexican girl Dewey had ever seen. She was tall, shapely and fair of face.
Dewey ordered a couple of tacos. Made fresh they were cooked in a way Dewey would never see them cooked again. The woman formed a pocket or belly in the bottom of the tortilla which she filled with hamburger then deep fried them together added the vegetables and cheese on removal from the grease. Dewey would never have such a taco again.
Back on the highway Kayo resisted all attempts to get him to explain how he knew about the place preferring a mysterious silence.
The silence lasted until they pulled into a truck stop pavilion just on the North outskirts of Bakersfield. These things were already huge constructions at the time although some are now like little cities. Rows of double bottoms and tractor trailers lined up in the dark. Numbers of cars were parked around as these places were great scenes of night action.
Kreskin pulled into a pump. While they waited for service Dewey checked out the huge restaurant to see what they looked like. A large percentage of the tables were taken by truck drivers while many more were filled by thrill seekers hoping for some action.
As Dewey entered he was bowled over at the sight of a figure clothed in a purple suit with purple suede wing tips. A pink string tie dangled over a ruffled white shirt. Over the suit was a purple Capt. Marvel cape, pink lined, with a pink draw string in front. As if this were not enough to catch the attention of anyone the guy had a six inch platinum blonde bouffant topping one of the palest faces ever seen. The back of his hair disappeared beneath the collar of his cape. Easily the longest hair this side of Hollywood.
Truckers sat staring at him with forks suspended in air, mouths gaping. Some had faces contorted into grimaces of anger and disgust. Several looked as if they wanted to get up and pound the guy on general principles. He made it easy for them.
‘What the hell kind of a place is this dump?’ He shouted out with a leering grin. ‘Ain’t any of you pansies looking for action?’
Several of them pansies were; they rose to their feet advancing toward the phenom who with wobbling hips and mincing steps strolled for the door pointing out to the back.
Dewey gave them a wide berth allowing them to disappear around the corner before he followed them out. The guy in purple and pink was no blowhard. He’d apparently done this before. He was holding his own when Dewey with wide open eyes headed back for the pumps.
On the way past the restrooms, gas stations always have restrooms rather than toilets, an over dressed matron carrying a lap dog exited indignantly followed by a seventeen year old girl with her right fingers to her lips giggling madly.
When Dewey got back to the pump an eighteen year old kid was talking to Kayo. The young girl walked up and joined him.
‘Hey, Dewey, we’re giving these two a ride into LA.’
Dewey groaned. He hated to give hitchhikers rides.
The young girl still giggling pointed to the matron with the dog who was about to get into her car.
‘See that woman.’ She said giggling. ‘She was in the can and was having her lap dog lap her box. Getting licked by a pooch in the john.’
Dewey, who took everything much more seriously than need be was indignant. Kayo gave a laugh and they all piled into the Edsel to take on the Grapevine.
‘Boy, we sure are broke.’ The boy said.
‘We could sure use a couple bucks.’
‘Allie sure is cute, ain’t she?’
The idea was clear. Dewey once again indignant while Kreskin was blase. Neither was interested in bought stuff this side of the border.
Kayo dropped the traveling pimp and his prostitute off on Lankershim Boulevard. The Edsel sped through the night arriving at four A.M., two hours ahead of time. Perfect.
The Battle Of The Coral Sea
Some enterprising Jewish film maker in Hollywood hoping to make a few bucks from the trials and tribulations of Amerika decided to make a movie entitled: The Battle Of The Coral Sea. It would have been much too expensive to film on location so the battle was refought off the San Diego coast.
This author has a very low opinion of movies and film makers. The only way the producer could economically make the movie was if he could cadge the Navy into contributing its ships and crews gratis, that is, free of charge.
The Navy was only too happy to cooperate. Although there was no advertising value and few people know the what the tag line at the end of movies- the producers would like to thank the Navy for its cooperation- really means. The Brass somehow felt that a return in ‘goodwill’ was involved. What nonsense.
The upshot was that the US taxpayers financed the movie while all the profits, if any, went to the film makers. One can’t expect the Admirals to be good businessmen as well as warriors but they should always try to get their share of the profits. Of course, given Hollywood accounting methods, even though the companies never go broke their films never show a profit on paper.
The Teufelsdreck was now assigned to assist the movie company in the manufacture of ‘The Battle Of The Coral Sea.’ The little subkiller was given the indignity of posing as Japanese; fly the Rising Sun and everything. Dewey was incensed but was learning to curb his tongue so he said little, almost nothing.
Chief Dieter was eager to comply. Had Dewey been more aware of the Chief’s designation as the Hero of Saipan he would have laughed himself to death pleasing Dieter mightily. As it was the joke was not entirely lost among the old hands in Deck.
The thought of men like Dieter who had carried war from the Coral Sea to Japan now posing as Japs was just too funny for words. The only old warrior who got it was Ratman, the dullest of the lot. He had actually been present at the Coral Sea so perhaps that piqued his resentment.
As the old Bucket T was to be Japanese the number 666 on the prow had to be effaced because it was argued the Japanese didn’t number their vessels that way. How anyone in the movie audience was expected to know that wasn’t explained.
So it was that Dieter grabbed Trueman and told him to paint over the numbers in gray. Trueman had spent several days alongside the Lewis repainting the numbers in white. He was especially pleased with this particular effort; they hadn’t always gone off as well. He wasn’t about to paint over his fine work.
‘You aren’t disobeying an order are you, Trueman?’
‘No, I’m not disobeying an order Dieter but discussing the best method for a job isn’t disobeying. There isn’t anything in the code that says you can’t discuss methods.’
Once again Trueman had never read the code but his argument seemed reasonable to himself.
‘Always the sea lawyer, hey Trueman?’ Dieter replied, who had never bothered to study the code either. ‘Alright, let’s hear it. What’s your suggestion?’
Trueman hadn’t really thought of a suggestion but placed on the spot he came up with one.
‘Well, Chief, we could tape over the numbers, paint the tape gray and then just strip the tape off when these bozos are finished.’
Pardon who had come up during the discussion gave a little grunt of approval.
‘That won’t work.’ Dieter protested. ‘The tape will work off at sea exposing the numbers.’
‘Ah it won’t either, Chief, ‘sides these movie jerks can just cut those frames out of the movie.’
‘Naw, paint over the numbers, Trueman.’
‘C’mon Chief. I just painted the numbers; that’s a lot of work.’
Pardon interposed. ‘I think he’s got a point Chief. The tape’ll hold. There’s no reason for us to knock ourselves out for these movie people.’
Dieter gave Pardon a long cold look then walked of muttering: ‘Go ahead, do what you want.’ He felt betrayed by Pardon. The First Class was always siding with the men he thought.
The nest broke up as the squadron put to sea. You may be sure that the Desade and the Commodore played Americans and not Japanese.
Just opposite North Island the ship slowed to allow a boat alongside carrying the actors playing the Japanese officers and crew, thirty men in all. Thirteen years after the war the Japanese commandeered an American ship of war in San Diego harbor. A Japanese ‘Captain’ stood on the bridge of the little subkiller, the USS Teufelsdreck. DE 666.
For three days the film maker commanded a fleet of nine US warships including two aircraft carriers of which one carried an Atomic bomb in its hold.
The sailors of the Teufelsdreck were ordered to take their hats off so as to look Japanese. Apparently the Emperor’s lads didn’t wear hats. Ordered to their battle stations First spent three days lounging around the gun mounts. They had to stand so as to be visible.
At lunch time on the first day the Japanese ‘enlisted’ men filed into the mess hall. The Japanese ‘officers’ taking their roles a little too literally filed into the wardroom to lunch with Captain Gabriel Ratches and his brother officers.
Ratches exploded in rage. He might be imposed upon to have a Japanese ‘Captain’ on his bridge but he was not going to have Japanese ‘officers’ at his table.
The War was still too fresh in the minds of these men who fought it for them to feel that comfortable having Japanese ‘officers’ and ‘crew’ aboard their ship. The country might have been asked to forget the ‘Day of Infamy’ sixteen years after but it wasn’t that easy for the men who swept the islands.
The Japanese-Americans posing as Japanese nationals fled the wardroom in haste spilling down the ladder in the mess hall to the laughter and merriment of the crew most of which felt that some sacred trust was being violated.
Having wheeled around for three days at enormous cost to the taxpayers the fleet of movie moguls broke up to return to port.
As Dewey had known when he went over the side to strip the tape off the numbers the tape had weathered the seas just fine. The tape was off in jig time saving Dewey several days work.
I Wonder Where You Are Tonight
Isaac Sheyer had returned home in a pensive mood. He believed himself under obligation to inform Solomon Hirsh, Yisraeli’s father, of his son’s whereabouts. Sol Hirsh was very well thought of in the synagogue being considered somewhat of a scholar, which is to say by Judaic standards, that he studied the Talmud. But as Sheyer quite rightly thought that Yisraeli had no desire to be found he was reluctant to advise the old man. Yet, as he had found Yehouda, or David as he was formerly known, with so little trouble he reasoned that someone else would too.
Old Sol thanked him for his information but as his son had seen no reason to contact him he preferred to ignore the information. He did give the information to Beverly Webster Hirsh who had been living in distraction since her son’s death and her abandonment by her husband.
Taking nothing with her but her daughter, Anne, she got in her car and headed West. For some reason she chose to go through Memphis across the Mississippi Bridge Chuck Berry sang about then West across the sprawiing continent.
As she crossed the Bridge the radio blared out the words of a Webb Pierce song:
I wonder where you are tonight,
I wonder if you are alright,
I wonder if you think of me
In my lonely misery.
The words increased her emotional pitch such that she neither needed sleep nor took it. She drove non-stop straight through with the words of Webb’s song echoing in her mind. Monday afternoon found her parked in front of the house across from the faux Playboy Club which was the address Isaac Sheyer had been given.
Once there her nerve failed her. She suddenly realized that Yehouda probably hadn’t been thinking of her at all or he would have sent for her. He knew where she was. The horrible realization that she might be turned away was paralyzing. She was sitting behind the wheel panting and staring fixedly ahead when Yisreaeli emerged from the faux Playboy Club.
His eyes swept the street in practiced manner as befit one of his profession. The dusty Buick caught his attention. He looked twice. Startled by what he thought he saw he crossed the street coming up behind the car to check the plates. Confirmed in his suspicion he placed his hands on the open window sill leaning in to say softly: ‘Beverly, is that you?’
Beverly looked up with stark terror in her eyes as she sobbed: ‘Yes. How have you been, David?’
‘Oh fine, Bev, just fine. How did you find me?’
‘Ikey Sheyer saw you in LA. He told dad and dad told me.’
‘Good old Ike. Who’d of thought it?’
‘Is this where you live David?’ Beverly said hinting at being turned away.
‘No. No, this is a business address. Slide over, I’ll drive.’ Yehouda said opening the door.
‘Y-you’re not going to send me away?’ Beverly sobbed in high anxiety.
‘No, no. Of course not, honey.’ Yisraeli replied resignedly to the mother of his dead son, accepting the fact that she had found him.
As he turned the motor over Anne, who had been sitting uietly in the back seat threw her arms around Yehouda’s neck, saying: ‘Hi, Daddy. Have you missed me?’
‘I sure have Sweetheart, I sure have.’ Yisraeli lied. With Michael gone his daughter meant nothing to him.
Our Lady pulled grimly away from the curb as Beverly slumped exhhausted against the door.
Give ‘Em Enough Rope
The incident in Guam had been more fateful for the Tuefelsdreck than anyone imagined or realized. The removal of those fifty sailors plus the Blacks on return plus the discharge of the low I.Q. sailors meant there were two distinct crews aboard. Those who had returned from overseas and the hundred or so replacements. The enlistments of the old crew all expired between the present and the next year.
Dewey, who was beginning to hold on by the skin of his teeth had applied for an early release to attend college. The Navy was fairly lenient in such matters so his request had been granted. His release date was moved up from November 22, 1959 to September 23. So he was now looking at one year more.
As the old crew were all pretty much short timers they had no interest in making friends with the new men. The new men couldn’t understand why the old crew were indifferent to them which in turn produced bizarre psychological stresses. The new men adopted bizarre personae such as the old crew had never exhibited.
Many of the new men just took to their bunks as Dewey had in mess cooking lying there in desperate loneliness.
A new man called Trig Pelisse adopted the persona of Jerry Lewis in a desperate attempt to ingratiate himself. He could be seen stalking around the deck in various spastic postures in imitation of the Meningitis Poster Kid or interjecting himself in conversations with twisted face and nasal twang.
Their malaise affected some of the older men. Gonzo Lewis became especially obnoxious possibly to compensate for his weekend panhandling trips to LA. If anyone other than Dewey knew of them neither had they nor he ever mentioned it.
It became necessary for Gonzo to prove that he was better than everyone else. His expedient was to believe that he was capable of conversing with anyone in any station of life high or low. He could be seen striking up conversations with the various officers, the Chiefs, the First Classes, Operations men, Snipes and occasionally to better prove his point of being able to converse with high and low he made it back to First. There he approached Trueman.
‘Hi, Trueman. Say, I hear you applied for an early discharge to go to college.’
‘Not only applied, I got it. I am now over two months closer to getting out.’
‘Whadya mean nice ruse?’
‘C’mon, Trueman. You know and I know you’re not going to college.’
‘What you know and what I know are two different things. Don’t give yourself too much credit for knowing what I know, if you know what I mean.’
‘C’mon, you’re in First. Guys in First don’t go to college. Man, you just don’t have what it takes.’
‘Yeh? You going to college when you get out?’
‘Who me? No. I got a good job waiting for me; besides I got the gift of gab, I can talk to anybody; that’s all you really need, contacts. The rest is all bushwa. You learn by doing. I can talk to anybody unlike you. Nobody will talk to you. There isn’t anybody high or low I can’t converse with. I’m like that…’ Crossed fingers, ‘…with Lt. Sieggren. I talk to him all the time and he is one intelligent guy. I understand every word he says and that guy’s studied the dictionary. See what I mean? High or low. Here I am talking to you. See what I mean?’
Dewey took offence at being included with the low.
‘You aren’t talking to me you’re talking at me. I’m not listening so I guess that disproves your notion you can converse with anyone.’
‘Who’d want to talk to you, anyway.’ Gonzo Lewis said getting to his feet.
‘Hey.’ Dewey said with a sardonic smile. ‘Got any spare change?’
‘Not for you.’ Lewis said not realizing the import of Dewey’s question. Gonzo went off to converse with Blaise Pardon, a man of intermediate intellectual stature. Dewey went up to take the watch.
The POW was Carlovic. The Damage Controlman was up for discharge in two months.
‘Carlovic, Trueman. How many times do I have to tell you?’
‘Uh, one more, Carlovic.’
‘You got the watch?’
‘I’m not up here just because I like your company, although, quite honestly, there is no one I would rather stand watch with.’
‘Thank God I won’t have to put up with you much longer.’
‘Oh yeah? You got someone to stand in for you?’
‘No. I’m getting discharged in two months.’
‘Hey, great. Why don’t you put in a good word for me and get me discharged in two months too. What strings did you pull?’
‘I didn’t pull any strings, idiot, my time’s up. I’m going back to Philadelphia.’
‘You’re from Philly, huh?’
‘Yes. Not that they appreciate a man of my talents back there. They don’t know a good man from a hole in the gound in Philadelphia.’
‘What do you mean?’
‘Do you realize that I am a Second Class Damage Controlman in this man’s Navy?’
‘If you go by the chevron on your sleeve.’
‘You know how valuable and important my skills are to the Navy? I am able to control damage to this shiip even in the event of an Atom Bomb attack. Do you know what this chevron is worth in Philadelphia?’
‘That’s right, nothing. Not a thing. How did you know? Man, they appreciate me in the Navy. I’m something here.’
‘Oh yeah? What?’
‘What?’ Carlovic retorted beligerently. ‘I’m a Second Class Damage Controlman, that’s what.’
‘What’s so special about that?’
‘What’s so special?’ Carlovic fairly shouted. ‘Why, do you know that if a bomb hits this ship I know how to control the damage? I can use a suicide nozzle to break up the center of the flames and I know when to use a flood nozzle to drown it. That’s what’s so special.’
‘Yeah.’ Trueman said unimpressed. ‘Well, if Kanary keeps throwing those nozzles over the side like he is you’re going to have to know how to piss on a fire to put it out.’
‘Is that what’s happening to those nozzles?’
‘That’s it. I’m going to take a round of the ship. If you need a letter of recommendation for Philly, let me know.’
‘This is a serious matter, Trueman.’
‘I am serious. Let me know.’ Dewey said heading for the foc’sle with a laugh.
Dewey was laughing less these days and worrying more. The attempt to entomb him in Atascadero weighed heavily on his mind. Since the smokestack incident he thought that maybe Dieter and Kanary were involved. The incidents on the Matthew Lewis troubled him as they seemed planned and connected. He knew he would have to walk wary to make his discharge.
Up to this point his psychology had remained intact even improving from his high school days. While his childhood psychology kept on slowly improving his temporary shipboard psychology began to twist and deviate. Prevented from venting his despleasure in an overt way he began to subconsciously search for a clandestine way. As sabotage or sneakiness was out of the question for him something symbolic was needed.
An opportunity presented itself the next day. Mad Chief Dieter was sinking into a quiet despair. His glorious past had become meaningless in Cold War America. If Trueman and his fellows had ignored the Chief and his stories the new men laughed at him. The Second World War was ancient history to them. Old war stories meant nothing, besides by this time stories of the Hiroshima Maidens were more important than the Day Of Infamy, Tarawa, Guadalcanal and Saipan combined. None of the new men had even heard of Saipan much less seen it. they had been taught that the dropping of the Bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasake had not only negated Japanese war guilt but transferred the guilt for the most infamous act in American history to themselves. They didn’t even know why the Pacific War had been fought, possibly so the Marines could have fun storming those beaches.
A lonely and disconsolate Dieter was a stranger in a strange ship. Even his arch pal Cornell Roberts was gone. He hardly knew the men who remained.
In a pique of desperation he called what was left of his old pals up to the rope locker along with Trueman. He didn’t understand why he called Trueman up too.
‘So this is the infamous rope locker.’ Trueman said looking around.
In his despair Dieter had no idea why they were there. He just wanted a little reflection of his old glory but he didn’t know how to ask for it.
Dewey was looking around marveling at being in the very bow of the ship when he noticed the small hatch in the middle of the deck.
‘What’s down there?’ He asked.
‘The cord and small lines.’ Princeton Warwick replied.
Dewey lifted up the hatch gazing down at the bales of cord and lines heaped across the lower compartment. There was a strange resemblance to somewhere he had been before.
Something either snapped or coalesced in his mind. He knew how to express himself. The waters of oblivion rose up from his subconscious to engulf his conscious mind. His subsequent action in no way resembled insanity and yet he was incapable of resisting the impulse so he was in fact ‘out of his mind.’ Indeed, the impulse was a just symbol of retaliation against his oppressors.
The same thing would hapen to Richard Speck in Chicago eight years later. Richard Speck was not of evil intent but an opportunity for a symbolic act of retaliation presented itself. Richard Speck took it without an instant’s reflection.
Speck was subsequently portrayed as a monster but his monstrosity was only a reflection of the society that created him for the purpose of committing an egregious act of violence. You will scoff but it is true that from childhood he had been programmed to murder those nurses or someone just like them. It was hoped, expected, even demanded of him.
Dewey, when it happened, felt a deep kinship with Richard Speck for he too had undergone the same indoctrination. He felt sorry for Speck because he had succumbed to the temptation. At the base of Speck’s act was the specter of his mother. It was at bottom the hatred or resentment of her that caused his crime. The details of the mutilation of the women was not released but I would imagine that their wombs were ripped out. If so this was Richard Speck’s ritual vengeance against his bitch and whore of a mother from whose womb he had sprung. That she was a whore is made explicit by Speck’s adoption of the role of his mother in prison.
He somehow contrived to develop his torso into a grotesque version of women’s breasts. he then made himself the whore of the Black inmates. This indicator points to the notion that his mother was expecially fond of Black men.
As he was inordinately shy and ‘soft’ the indications are that he was denied his place in society from infancy on; probably the result of his mother’s conduct.
Some people assert that he became a whore to atone for the murdering of the nurses. That is nonsense. Speck undoubtedly felt no guilt for his killings. In his mind they had it coming. As he told his Black inmates when asked why he killed them: It just wasn’t their night. Quite right. Speck would have felt no guilt whether they had been a hundred or even a thousand. All the previous nights had been his nights so on that night Richard Speck got back his own.
As he walked down that street on that night, laden like the Scapegoat with all the sins and evilty of those who wished him ill he looked in the open window, which should have been shaded, why didn’t the nurses draw the shade, the waters of oblivion rose up from his subconscious to engulf his conscious mind. ‘Go ahead. Do it. We want you to.’ echoed from a thousand tormentors down through the years. ‘We want you to. Go ahead. Do it.’ Fully conscious of what he was doing as though he had done it a thousand times before, yet no longer in conscious control of his will nor able to resist the impulse Richard Speck knocked on the door. Yes, he knocked on the door. The door was opened and he entered, then systematically began the slaughter of innocence. He had been shown how to slaughter innocence many, many times. His innocence had been slaughtered in just the same way. Six student nurses lay dead. he left the seventh one behind to tell the story.
Did he forget her or leave her? No one knows, of course, no one bothered to ask, but in the control of his subconscious the numbers six and seven and their sum thirteen were probably signficant to his mind.
Then he left as quietly as he came.
He had done as he had been done by society. He became all that society detested in itself. He had taken their monkeys on his back. Now they could point and say ‘How detestable, not us, but him, he’s the one.’ That’s why they call them scapegoats.
An interesting fact is that only the most self-righteous took the crime viscerally. Mrs. Tuistad, Dewey’s mother who had done her best to make her son into a Richard Speck was horrified. Perhaps she saw her image in those mutilated women; hers like the evil womb that poisoned Richard Speck’s life just as she had her son’s. Yehouda Yisraeli, he who made his perverted living from male porn would rage and storm against the Chicagoan. Teal Kanary took obvious pleasure in the mutilated female bodies but for different reasons.
Thus as Dewey slipped down into the steel hold through that narrow aperture of the subconscious which, like his mother’s vulva had been at birth, was just large enough to admit him a strange alchemy took place in his brain.
‘Hey, Dieter, when I knock let me out, OK?’
Dieter’s eyes bulged like a madman. The daring of this man Trueman made his hair stand on end. All Dieter had to do to entomb his man as had been his desire for so long was flip a bolt into place to hold the hatch down, order everyone out, turn out the lights nd leave and he would have his heart’s ease. Caught off guard all he could do was shiver and shake with starting eyes.
To say that Trueman did or thought or had any idea of the symbolism would be to mistake the facts. He didn’t. He was in the grip of his subconscious. He was not responsible for his action. He knew what he did and he always remembered it but the symbolism and reason was beyond him.
Whereas Speck, if he did, had ripped out his mother’s symbolic womb six successive times, Dewey was entombed in his mother’s steely womb. Once he was enclosed in the steel of her womb he opened his fly, took out his tool and masturbated on the lines of the lower rope locker. Did they represent the umbilical cord to him? If Dieter and the others wanted to fuck him, well, they and his mother could take this fucking from him, would have been his thoughts if he had been thinking. One shudders at the thought of a man masturbating in his mother’s womb. Dewey’s mother had it coming too but the sanctity of motherhood prevented Dewey’s injuring her except symbolically just as Speck’s anger at his mother was visited on six surrogate women.
The mothers of the world will claim that they can’t be held responsible but the cold hard facts are that mothers are indeed responsible for it all. Frued was right. It is in the mother that existence takes place; it is the mother that gives birth and the mother who is responsible for nurturing her child. It is to the mother that the child looks. Fate may have placed an unfair burden on the women of the world, not all women are capable of being mothers although all women are capable of bearing children, but the cold hard fact is that mothers create their children in their own image.
Having completed his futile symbolic act of resistance Dewey poinded on the hatch wondering whether Dieter would seize the moment or let him out. At that moment Dewey was ready to die just as Speck had been ready to follow the nurses to hell.
Dieter’s already bulging eyes bulged further. His breath came in short gasps, then his knees began to buckle. Perhaps as much to cover his buckling knees as anything else Dieter knelt and flipped the hatch up. Dewey looked at Dieter with eyes of quiet triumph then hoisting himself up through the hatch, shall we say, he was born again.