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The Boulevard Of Broken Dreams

From The Boulevard Of Broken Dreams Collection

by

R.E. Prindle

Chapter I

Unemployed in Camelot

 

     Dewey sat down.  California- God, what a climate.  Here it was November and the weather was still delicious.  Was still?  It never ended.  Storm clouds were merely a break in the sunshine, scarcely noticeable, even welcome.  Even in dark San Francisco the sun shone brighter, the air was more clear, more fresh, more balmly than anywhere.

     It was almost a delight to be unemployed as Dewey took a seat on the bench to wait for his two o’ clock interview.  Almost a delight but not quite.  Dewey’s career, his assualt on the world, was going nowhere.  He knew his situation was very precarious.  The worst was that the persona he projected was not well received.  He sensed that there was someone, a part of a group, that defamed him wherever he went.  He was conscious of being stalked but that could be overcome if people liked him, if he knew how to ingratiate himself.  But he didn’t.  The blows of his childhood had made him a cross between servile and obsquious combined with an attempt to assert his self-worth that came across as arrogant.

     Even now as he sat on the bench on Montgomery just off Market a man stood across the square staring at him steadily.  He was waiting to follow Dewey wherever he went.  He would then report Dewey’s whereabouts, a phone call would be made and whatever chance Dewey had would be dashed.

     There was no sense approaching the guy, he would only retreat before Dewey leaving Dewey in the awkward and humiliating position of chasing him down the street.  All Dewey could do was endure him.

     Dewey opened his copy of  ‘Troubled Sleep’ by Sartre so as not to waste valuable time while he waited.  His copy was from the Bantam series of World Classics.  A fine collection of titles that he bought wherever he found them.  He gazed up from his book from time to time to wonder who the guy came from.  Dewey thought he must either report to Capt. Leon Douglas of Ocean Services or Barney Dolittle from Statistical Tabulating.  Those were Dewey’s last two employers.

     He knew that Douglas was following him because he had seen him enter Statistical Tabulating during lunch break.  Did the dirty work himself which was somewhat unusual.  But if you do want the job done right, do it yourself.  The attitude toward himself at STC had changed after the visit.

     Dewey could guess what Douglas had been about.  He had had several hints that he was being slandered from various employment agencies.  No one openly accused him but he was treated as though they assumed he was a thief.  The companies he had been sent to were also of low quality, not career opportunities.  Dewey had been forced out of Ocean Services when he had discovered a major graft scheme, they were now turning around the charge of theft in self-defense.  Tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of dollars were being systematically plundered from Ocean Services.  Dewey, who was a Jr. Accountant, had stumbled across it while auditing invoices.

     Ocean Services ran a fleet of tankers on a triangular trade from Peru to Japan down to Indonesia and up to San Francisco and back to Peru; iron ore from Peru to Japan, oil from Indonesia to San Francisco.  The seamen employed were Japanese; thus supplies were appropriate to Japanese tastes.  As he audited the invoices Dewey thought from the amount spent that the seamen must be getting luxury goods.  He didn’t know what the supplies were as the terms were Japanese and the prices were in yen but they converted into hefty sums in dollars.  These guys were eating one heck of a lot better than Dewey had in the Navy.  Then one day Dewey came across an item for cathartics at $10.00 U.S. per tablet.  Dewey stared at the item.  Cathartics?  He knew he was right but he checked the dictionary to be sure.  He was right.  The firm had been charged $10.00 for an Exlax tablet.

     When he presented the discovery to Capt. Douglas, the president of the company, he had expected to be congratulated.  Instead he had been informed that it was his job to merely extend the lines not to analyze them.  He was told to get back to his desk and forget about it. 

     Shortly thereafter it was made apparent to him that he was not only superfluous but unwanted.  They tried the classic ruse of transferring him to another company that would be more suitable to him.  As he had only been on the job six months job changing would be a perilous undertaking.  Although he had held his previous job for two years, leaving to better his prospects, his employability would be suspect on leaving Ocean Services.  If he were released from the successor job shortly after being hired which he suspected was their intent he would be unemployable.  Ocean Services had a prestigious location at Kearny and California.  Dewey wasn’t going to be sent to any more prestigious locations.

     He had then taken a job at STC which as it turned out was owned by a Mafioso from Chicago.  The staff had all been sent out from St. Louis.  Dewey’s luck was still bad.  His boss was Barney Dolittle.  Dolittle had been fired as a young man just after he had married and was with a pregnant wife.  Dewey married in September of 1963.  A week later he was back on the street.  Dolittle had been very upset that Dewey’s wife wasn’t pregnant.  He had vowed to keep Dewey from getting another job.  Dewey thought that the guy staring at him might be from Dolittle.  He wasn’t, he was from Capt. Douglas.

     Even though Dewey didn’t know it he was the possessor of a dangerous secret.  He knew of the corruption at Ocean Services.  He didn’t know what Douglas thought he did.  Dewey thought the culprit was the purchasing agent, Dean Mangeon.  He wasn’t aware that everyone in the company was in on the take, nor that Douglas was receiving the lion’s share.  Douglas in his guilt gave Dewey too much credit.  Dewey was still too inexperienced to understand the pervasiveness of corruption in society.  The Captain to protect himself found it necessary to hound Dewey out of Baghdad By The Bay.  Douglas had quietly become a millionaire, he would to to great lengths to protect his ill-gotten gains.

      Dewey looked down to see a Chronicle on the bench beside him that wasn’t there when he sat down.  It was folded to the want ads.  An ad was circled in red pencil.  Stanford University was advertising for psychological subjects for testing.  Dewey read it.  The pay was very good.  He thought that he might be able to pick up some money and also learn something about himself.  But then he decided that it would interfere with his job hunting.  Had he answered the ad and been accepted he would have been destroyed.  Like Harvard, and over over at UC in Berkeley, Stanford was doing drug experimentation.  In this case they were shooting subjects full of methamphetamines- the very best and purest speed- just to see whether the subjects would flip or flop.

     Dewey laid the paper down.  The clock opposite said five to two.  His appointment was just across Market.  He slipped ‘Troubled Sleep’ into his inside breast pocket.  The building was a great Art Deco piece from the 30s.  It looked better from the outside.  The marble inside was OK but the entire core of the building was a lattice work iron cage.  The elevators even were iron cages pulled up and down on the exposed steel cables.  The building would give him nightmares for decades.

     He was made to wait half an hour.  He saw his prospective employer hang up the phone.  ‘The job’s already been filled.’  He called from his desk.  ‘Sorry.’

     As Dewey left he saw the guy from the square enter the elevator.  ‘Just as Well.’  Dewey thought as he cruised around the floor for a better look.  ‘I don’t think I could work in this place, much too spooky and weird.’

     How much difference in your life can half an hour make?  As the elevator reached the ground floor the building erupted into surrying activity.  Office doors opened, people ran out staring at each other in disbelief.  ‘Oh, my god!  The President’s been shot.’  November 22, 1963.  An old world when Dewey went up the elevator, a brave new one when he came down.

     Jack Kennedy had been shot.  A great weight lifted from Dewey’s shoulders.  The shooting didn’t come as a surprise.  He had been expecting it.  Hoping for it?  Ah well, Jack Kennedy aroused deep antagonism.  And then there had been the Bay Of Pigs.  Half the country had been sullenly resentful.  The air of oppression had lain heavy on the nation.  Now it was over.  Dewey heaved a sigh of relief.  But he felt guilty about it.  His attitude was so complicit that he almost feared discovery as an accomplice.

     Things had changed, now the darkness was not all below the top of his head.  He had been given new life.  As he moved out the door in slow motion it seemed that above his eyebrows all was light while below he moved in darkness.  How strange.  The killing of Kennedy had freed his conscious mind from the control of his subconscious.  He was on his way to freedom.  How strange.  Yet it was true not only for himself but for the country.  The pall that had descended on the nation with the anti-Communist struggles beginning in the forties had been lifted.

     He passed through the revolving doors to flatten himself against the wall slipping down Market like a fugitive.  Auto traffic had stopped and loose paper was swirling in eddies down the street.  People were running every whichaway shouting:  ‘Hey, President Kennedy’s been shot.  They killed Kennedy.’  The mood was not one of dejection but one of elation.  Kennedy was gone.  The land was free again.

     Dewey looked up at the blue November sky, felt the warm bright California air walking up toward Powell and the center of things.

     All the street characters for which San Francisco is so justly famous were running, jumping, shouting:  ‘Hey, they did it, they shot him.  Kennedy is dead.’  So they had.  Many walked as though zombies stunned that the President had been shot.  Dewey, too, was amazed.  His belief that the United States was too civilized for assassinations was disproved.  The last time a president had been shot was at the turn of the century.  Even then the assassin had been a crazy foreign anarchist.  Now Dewey would have to reassess his country.  He would find that it wasn’t even civilized and becoming worse every day.

     There was no doubt in Dewey’s mind, he didn’t even ask himself why, that Kennedy had been killed by the conservatives.  Ask who?  He wondered why it had taken them so long.  Threats had been heavy in the air for months.  Hadn’t Kennedy been warned not to go to Dallas?  Hadn’t the threat been, stronger than an implication, that the cowboys would kill him if he went?  Hadn’t he publicly said that he would not be deterred by threats?

     As Dewey looked around he saw shock on the peoples’ faces but he didn’t see dejection.  He even saw men shaking hands in deep satisfaction.  ‘Hey, didja hear Kennedy, the President’s been shot?’  Having heard Dewey walked wonderingly down to the Embarcadero to catch a bus home.

     The ride to Larkspur in Marin County was unusually quiet.  Everyone seemed lost in their own reflections.  Dewey himself, was breathing heavily.  A great and oppressive weight had been lifted from him.  ‘Free at last.’  He thought.  Free at last.  God almighty, I’m free at last.’  He was premature but at least the stone had been rolled away and he was free to be born again.

Chapter 2.

As In A Dream

     ‘Hi, Honey.  You don’t have the TV on, you haven’t heard?’

     ‘Haven’t heard what, Dewey?’

     ‘They shot him.  They killed Kennedy.’

     ‘Who shot him?’

     ‘I don’t know.  Them, you know, his enemies.  Turn on the TV.  We gotta see this.’

     See this they did.  The coverage was non-stop and in living color.  The TV reporters were agog.  They even interviewed demented drunks who claimed they were the good friends of John F. Kennedy.  The reporters of the various channels were actually shocked when they discovered a guy on a barstool who claimed to know Kennedy was a fraud.  Unless you consider ‘He was a real good guy’ as proof of acquaintanceship.  Oh well, it was the first time; the reporters would get a lot of practice in the ensuing years.

     ‘Wow!  I wonder why he was riding in an open car?’

     ‘Why, Dewey?’

     ‘Well, he was warned not to got to Dallas because they were going to shoot him.  Jackie pleaded with him not to go.  Everybody knew he was going to get it.  Why make it easy?’

     ‘Why did they want to shoot him?’

     ‘He’s a Catholic.  He betrayed the American ethos.  We hate him.’

     ‘What do you mean he betrayed the American ethos, Dewey?  What’s that got to do with being Catholic?  America’s a land of religious tolerance, isn’t it?’

     ‘Well, Honey, it’s a land where Protestant Anglo-Americans tolerate everyone else but they don’t tolerate us.  Where to start?

      First off, Kennedy’s a liar and a cheat.  Second, he’s got an unholy alliance with the news people.  I couldn’t stand the way he tricked and lied to the people to get their votes when he was nominated and then blatantly and openly betrayed them.  Not only that but the newspeople justified his chicanery as just politics.  Since his election, and there’s people that say that was rigged too, they have been singularly uncritical.  They even treat his failures- really gross imcompetent failures- like the Bay Of Pigs and the Missile Crisis in Cuba- as successes somehow.  Anybody else they’d fry.

      Then they started this Camelot thing- that stupid song The Impossible Dream- as symbolical of some fabulous new era he was inaugurating.  Some kind of Irish King Arthur come again in triumph over the bad Anglo-Saxons.  For Christ’s sake the guy was the Grand Inquisitor- a new Torquemada.  That’s why I say they shot him because he was a Catholic.  Not because he was a member of the Catholic Church but because he acted to enforce the same kind of orthodoxy rather than freedom of conscience.  He thought like a Catholic, he thought like a Pope.  Anyone who didn’t back his program was a heretic.  Not just misinformed or even wrong, but a heretic.  Outside the pale.  There was no room for discussion or another opinion.

     That’s the real reason Americans have never wanted a Catholic president.  The fear was always that he would be more loyal to papal ideas than to the American Constitution.  That’s exactly what he did.  That’s what he had to do.  You can only do what is in your brain.  If you think in terms of freedom of conscience then you can’t help but act on the basis of freedom of conscience.  It’s the way your mind is organized.  If you think in terms of orthodoxy and heresy then you cannot help but act that way.  You must act out your education, your brain is organized to think that way.  You can’t will such thoughts out of your mind.  Kennedy was Catholic; he was orthodox and if you didn’t agree with him you were a heretic.  I’ve been living in fear for four years.

     You never understood why I got so upset about General Walker- you remember him- they were grooming him as the conservative presidential opposition, but, at the time I thought it was that they were imitating the Russians in saying anyone who didn’t agree with them was crazy.  That wasn’t it.  They weren’t imitating the Commies; the Commies and the Catholic Church treated the problem of freedom of conscience in the same way.  If you’re not orthodox you’re a heretic or, as the Commies put it, you’re insane.  Same thing.  So what does Kennedy do?  Since the newsboys are his dogs they portray General Walker as being insane.  They destroyed him with stupid pictures that could have been taken of anybody.  Walker was an American.  He just disagreed with them which was his God given American right.  But Kennedy said:  If you’re with us you’re OK; if not, you’re insane.’

     I couldn’t explain my reaction at the time.  Then, right after that, they announced that they were going to let the crazy people out of the asylums and establish a house on every block where the crazies would have to report.  You didn’t take that serious either but all that meant was that if you weren’t orthodox you would be crazy and everyone in the neighborhood would know it.  That way the opposition would be isolated and rendered ineffective.  They were crazy.  You would have to go along with the program or else.  Very Jesuitical.  The Spanish Inquisition would then be established in America.

      You know who the busybodies are that would have empowered.  No, I’ve been living in fear and that’s gone.  I’m not for killing people but now that it’s done it’s the best thing that could have happened to the country.  I’m glad.  The son-of-a-bitch deserved it.  I could never be orthodox.  Anyway that’s why they killed him because he was a Catholic inquisitor.  Not because he was a member of the Chruch but because he wanted to install the inquisitorial attitude over that of freedom of conscience.  The Inquisition is part and parcel of Catholicism.’

       ‘Oh, they just arrested the guy.’

     ‘Oh yeah?  Who?’  Dewey asked, who had already guessed the course of events.

     ‘Some guy named Oswald.  Lee Harvey Oswald.  Oh, wow, I guess you were wrong Dewey.  He’s a Communist.’

     ‘A Communist, huh?  Boy, that’s convenient, isn’t it?  Next thing they’ll say Khruschev sent him.’

     ‘He was in Russia for a while.  Left here, went there and then came back.’

     ‘What’d they say they picked him up a mile or so from this book store where they think the shot came from?  How’d they know it was him?  Did he just look like the kind of guy who would shoot a president?  Now, that’s rigged; too convenient.  I’ll bet they kill him before he ever gets a chance to say anything.

     No.  No Communist did it.  Why would they want him dead?  He was giving them everything they wanted.  He was just a big talking back peddler.  Did you ever read about their father, Joseph P. Kennedy?  I mean, Jack’s not the first one they got; they killed his first son, Joseph Jr. during the war.  the Old Man has lots of enemies.  The guy’s a crook.

     He makes his fortune during prohibition in the liquor business.  Gives him the advantage of having connections on both sides of the law, I guess.  Twice as many places to make enemies.  So after prohibition he tries to go legit.  He even gets the Superdip, Roosevelt, to make him ambassador to England.  Roosevelt sends an Irish Catholic as ambassador to Protestant England.  So what does Kennedy do?  As an Irishman he hates the English so he’s pro-Nazi and openly anti-Semitic.  Boy, the soul of descretion.  England’s at war with Germany and Hitler’s killing millions of Jews and this guy’s a pro-Nazi and anti-Semite ambassador to England.

     So, at this point, it’s not who doesn’t like this guy but who does?  Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. is a flier.  He has a mission to fly over Germany.  Just like Jack people tell him not to fly because he wont’ come back.  He flies it anyway.  What happens?  His plane blows up just after take off.  Nazis got him, right?  Maybe the load wasn’t properly balanced.

     Anyway the warning was clear.  Joe Sr. wasn’t welcome in society.

      Look at the place he lives, a compound.  The whole family has to live behind a fence.  They need a lot of security.  Why?  Because a lot of people must want to see them dead.  Who lives behind walls?  Criminals and orphans, that’s who.  The Kennedys weren’t orphans.  So he’s told to lay low and he makes his son the first Irish Catholic president of the United States.  Who wanted to kill Jack Kennedy?   Lots of people.  Probably if they discovered who killed Joe Jr. they might discover who killed Jack.  And if Bobby knows what’s good for him he’ll lie low too.  Cause if he runs for president they’ll kill him too.’

      The world doesn’t stop, not even for dead presidents.  Dewey was out looking for a job the next day.  He returned home to turn on the evening news.  What to his wondering eyes should appear but the assassination of the supposed assassin.  Who shot Lee Harvey Oswald?  The super-patriot, Jack Ruby.

      ‘Well, imagine that.’  Dewey said to Angeline.  ‘Imagine that.  A Jewish low life criminal shot Oswald.  If you don’t dislike him because he’s Jewish you can hate him because he’s a criminal.  Now, watch this, if Ruby doesn’t die of food poisoning or some such, they’ll certify him as insane so they can discredit whatever he says.  Jeez, this is embarrassing.

     But, what do I care?  I’ve got to get a job, we’ve got to pay the rent.’

Chaper III

Living Water In A Stagnant Pool

      If Dewey hadn’t realized it before he now quickly grasped that he was not going to be referred to top flight companies or even good jobs.  He saw that he was never referred to a single major company of which, it goes without saying, San Francisco was full of.  The realization gradually dawned on him that he had been demoted from the first rank of employability.

     None of the agencies would tell him so but as he saw inferior people sent out on interviews denied him he had to alter his attitude.  Talking did him no good; thus when he was handed an address with a shrug of the shoulders that said:  You can have this or nothing, he accepted the interview.

      He was sent to a mortgage banking firm called Lowell, Smith and Evers.  Mortgage banking firms contracted with lenders to manage their properties.  The big money was still in the East.  The terrific expansion in California was financed by them.  In California entire cities were thrown up overnight or so it seemed.  When the City of Fremont consolidated its five burgs an entire metropolis sprouted within a few years.  Giant tracts of hundreds of house were financed from back East.

     In order to sell the houses quickly the builders took in anyone whatever his qualifications.  Thus the first few years of a tract was a sorting out process.  Those who couldn’t or wouldn’t meet their payments were eliminated to be replaced by those who could or would.  The result of such building and selling was chaotic.  The mortgage banking firms in an attempt to keep the deliquencies low hired people to go in and bully the mortgagees into paying.  This is the job destined for Dewey.

     Dewey considered himself an accountant.  He wasn’t.  He didn’t even have an inclination for it.  Even in Jr. College night school he veered away from business courses as soon as he thought he had enough, which was too soon by far.

     He saw this job for what it was; an undesirable position which could only be filled by the desperate.  He was aware that he wasn’t going to make it in a highly structured office.  He’d been in three now.  He’d been a social success in none of them.  Further, he knew it was impossible for him to be a social success; he was too unbending in his moral views.  He couldn’t tolerate the petty thieving that formed the basis of that society.  He worked too hard; wanted to get ahead too much and didn’t realize that socializing was more important that working hard.  He was too deficient in office politics.  He was in a quandary.

     If Lowell, Smith and Evers was a step down for Dewey he was a prize to them.  He was much better than what they usually got.   Whatever else was said about him he never missed work nor was he ever late.  He dressed well, talked and acted knowledgeably.

      He was interviewed by Bill Masters to whom he would be responsible.  Art Carson sat in on the interview.  As Dewey never saw Carson again he never learned his function.  It was apparent from the beginning that he was going to get the job.  Masters was selling hard, Dewey was a plum to him.  Dewey was against the wall; he had to accept.

      The financial terms were quite good although the job would lead nowhere.  Four hundred eighty was a good salary  for the time plus he was given a ’63 Chevy to drive which was always in his possession.  That was probably worth a hundred dollars a month extra.  Still he was acutely aware that he’d not only been exiled but cast out.

     He took his exclusion as a door closed.  There was no way back in.  He did not take it as a reflection on himself.  If the others thought little of him he thought less of them.  For him to have felt rejected he would have had to have respected the others.  He didn’t find them admirable; he found them contemptible.  Still, they occupied the citadel and he didn’t.

     At work the next morning Masters introduced him to his cicerone, Darby Ramme.  Ramme was another plum for Lowell, Smith and Evers.  As incredible as it may sound Ramme was a graduate of Stanford University, a year younger than Dewey.  He was only five-eight but he had a cheerful, bright countenance.  Stocky and bouncy he had an open and direct manner which belied his sneaky and malignant self.

     As yet unaware of his negative side Dewey thought that they might become friends.  This was not to be as Darby had a rather exalted notion of himself.  What flaw in his character led him to this job was difficult to discern.  Darby had majored in Political Science at Stanford.  College education in America is little more than vocational training thus upon graduating Darby found that he had a BS degree and no vocational training.  The only jobs available to him were sales jobs.

     Darby expected better having his sights on rising to the presidency of, perhaps a bank.  He was of good family, got a degree from one of the top universities within the alloted four year period, looked good and had excellent manners.  He was brutally disappointed.  He was compelled to accept a job selling coffee in Chicago.  The job paid well but was a terrific blow to Darby’s pride.  He was a Stanford graduate and here he was going from supermarket to supermarket having to talk to managers respectfully who maybe or maybe not hadn’t graduated from high school even.  Darby felt, rightly or wrongly, that their manners were atrocious.  He very likely was right.  He also suspected that to be accepted he would have to jettison his own excellent manners and adopt theirs.  He was probably right about that, too.  His mind revolted at the idea. 

     Darby didn’t actually have to stock the shelves himself, but even going into the markets, having to greet the clerks and all; it was a shattering blow to his self-esteem.  Not to mention that as a West Coast boy he hated Chicago.

     Darby chucked it all, came back West to take a job dunning delinquent mortgagees at Lowell, Smith and Evers.  Dewey sympathized with Darby but as he soon found out, he was placed in a class beneath the supermarket managers.  Darby had made a positive impression on Dewey which he now destroyed.  Dewey turned his back on him.

     Where he had listened attentively he now became critical.  Darby gave him much to criticize.  Darby’s psychological reaction to his coffee job was to work at Lowell, Smith and Evers so he could work off his frustration on the mortgagees.  He carried on vendettas with them.  In addition he spent half his time spying on the junior collector.

     The job was an emotionally tough one.  The mortgagees hated you.  They were openly resentful.  If you were susceptible, the treatment could be very demoralizing.  It had been to the fellow Dewey replaced.  He had been unable to perform the work.  Darby had tracked him down to a movie theater one afternoon.  The delighted joy Darby related in catching him and having him sacked offended Dewey.

     Darby explained the job to Dewey:  ‘We’re dealing with a lot of deadbeats.  These people just don’t want to pay their rent.’  He said, with obvious relish.  ‘So our job is simply to remind them that they haven’t made two monthly payments.   We don’t collect anything; we don’t take any checks; we just tell them they haven’t paid.  That happens after the tenth of the second month.

     The company manages thousands of houses all over Northern California but expecially here in the Bay Area.  On the eleventh of each month we get a stack of computer cards of the delinquent mortgagees and then we go to work.

     The Bay is divided into several areas.  Right from the start, no arguments, I get Contra Costa.’

      ‘Concord, Walnut Creek and all that?  You can have it.  I don’t like it out there.  Too dry and hot for me.’

     ‘All right.  You get Santa Clara County and Tropicana Village.  You get the East Bay and I get the Peninsula.’

      Stanford is on the Peninsula.

     ‘Wait a minibite.  You live in Berkeley so I can see why you want Contra Costa County but the East Bay’s a natural for you.  I live in Marin…’

      ‘You live in Marin?  County?  Really?  That’s a nice area, I wouldn’t have thought that.’

     ‘Uh huh.  We like it.’  Dewey said resenting the implication that he wouldn’t live in a nice area.  Dewey began to think there was more to fine manners than just manners.

      ‘I live in Marin,’  Dewey continued, ‘so why don’t I take Marin and Sonoma, the Peninsula and Santa Clara.  You can have the rest, which isn’t much.’

     ‘No.  I’ll take Contra Costa, Marin and the Peninsula and you can have the rest.’

     The question was moot to Dewey.  He just wanted to show he couldn’t be pushed around.  Within a couple months he would end up with everthing except Contra Costa County itself anyway.

     ‘All right, why don’t you go home for the day.  Come in tomorrow.  We’ll get organized and I’ll start showing you the ropes.’

Chapter IV

Lunch Without Nourishment

     Capt. Douglas now lived in fear of exposure.  His feeling of guilt was immense.  The extent of the corruption he controlled was virtually worldwide.  It involved dozens of people in the home office, Japan, Indonesia and Peru.  Douglas was negotiating for Chinese crews from Hong Kong for which the amount of graft was even greater.  Even if he didn’t go to jail his loss of prestige would kill him.

     The Old Sea Dog’s connections in the sleazy maritime world would be destroyed as well as the reputation he was busily constructing in San Francisco society.  His own vision of himself as an international mastermind would vanish like smoke on the water.  His carefully cultivated facade of respectability would look like a bad con job. He would no longer be a fixture at the brokerage house that Charles Schwab was establishing just down the street.

     His guilt drove him to deplorable lengths.  His fears were baseless.  Trueman had no intention of making a fuss.  Capt. Douglas’ criminality, if Dewey had suspected it, was no concern of his.  It was bad enough that he had lost a good job.  It was worse that his future had been made uncertain.

     What could Dewey hope to achieve by accusing Douglas?  There was no case for the police.  The situation was beyond their concern or even jurisdiction.  Dewey might go to the parent company, Marcona Mining, but what would that effect:  They would undoubtedly consider him sour grapes because he hadn’t been able to cut it if they they weren’t in on it.  Was Douglas afraid of blackmail?  No, Dewey had nothing to warrant suspicion for interfering with Douglas.  It was simply that Dewey knew and by knowing prevented Douglas from glossing over his crime to himself.  He couldn’t give it another name; he stood exposed to himself for what he really was- a thief.

     The Kennedy assassination set a train of thought in motion that made murder a viable solution to dilemmae.  Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King would be eliminated as political problems over the next few years.  People were murdered on all social levels.  Richard Speck and Charlie Whitman would appear in the summer of ’66.  The Zebra killings shortly thereafter.  Serial murderers became commonplace.  Had this been the seventies Dewey would undoubtedly have had an accident.  He might have been run down by a car going the wrong way down a one way street.  Perhaps a brick might have fallen on his head as he walked down the street.

     Or perhaps, once the Black Zebra killer started shooting White people in drive by shootings on street corners, Dewey might have been dispatched by  a hired Black thug.  A mugging, innumerable ruses could have been employed.  But this was 1963.  America had not yet been turned into a nation of murderers who solved their problems with guns and bombs. Or even insane weirdos like George Carlin who advocated gunning down anyone who disagreed with you on his TV show.

     So long as Dewey remained in San Francisco he remained visible evidence of Capt. Douglas’ guilt.  In the Captain’s eyes an honest Dewey remained a symbol of Douglas’ dishonesty.

     At present Douglas saw no way to expel Dewey from the City, but perhaps he could reduce Dewey’s moral superiority beneath his by inducing Dewey to commit a crime and actually go to prison.  Douglas thought that then his status would be restored in his own mind.

     Dewey turned up for work the next day.  Darby Ramme whiled away the morning showing Dewey some of the ropes.  Dewey was a quick learner, he was able to readily understand things.  This disturbed Darby whose need for superiority required less intelligent people not more.  Like all such people in such circumstances he had becoma an obscurantist.  He gave out conflicting explanations to as to confuse issues allowing himself to appear superior as he had to explain details over again.

     Dewey who had been dealing with difficult accounting problems for three years saw through the whole thing.  He just patiently let Darby go through his paces.  When lunchtime came Darby, to show his disdain for Dewey, airly dismissed him to have lunch by himself as it appeared it would be beneath Darby’s dignity to lunch with him.

     Dewey had no problem with this.  Darby had revealed his identity to Trueman.  If Darby didn’t like him, he was not offended.  As he saw it Darby had started with all the advantages.  If a guy with a degree from Stanford could sink from a job selling coffee to supermarkets to badgering mortgagees for payment then that meant to Dewey that the guy had nothing going for him.  He wasn’t offended by Darby’s attitude.

     Other problems concerned him; he believed, not incorrectly, that he was being exiled from San Francisco.  He found San Francisco a delightful, pleasant place.  It hurt him to be kicked out.  True, he would report in every Monday for news and assignments but that was no compensation at all.

     As he considered this his last day in Baghdad By The Bay he wanted to make the most of his lunch hour.  There was a little hamburger bar down on Kearny and Market that he had found while working at STC.  The place was run by a North Beach Italian guy who really knew how to cook a hamburg.  With a heart full of nostalgia for a lost paradise, Dewey walked up Market to Kearny.

     Capt. Douglas had not let him out of his sight.  He had known Dewey had gotten the job almost before Dewey.  As the job was a serious demotion from what Dewey had been doing the employment agencies believed they had done their job; he had been removed from socially acceptable employment.   Captain Douglas was still not content.

     When Dewey had gotten the job he realized that he would not be content to merely have Dewey out of town.  Dewey had to be a lower criminal than himself.  As said before the Captain had friends on the waterfront.  ‘Captain’ was not an honorary title for Douglas, he had commanded ships at sea for twenty years before assuming the presidency of Ocean Services.  He knew corruption as only those who have worked the waterfronts of the world can know corruption.  He had been complicit if for no other reason than if he hadn’t he would never have had a cooperative crew.  Accidents would have happened; thing just wouldn’t have gone well for him.

     Thus having conceived his plan he had no trouble finding an agent to implement it.  As Dewey was a dutiful husband and respectable citizen abjuring the nightlife where he would have been more vulnerable the Captain would have to catch him on the fly.

     As Dewey left his building his Shadow followed his movements.  At that time lower Market was a semi-slum.  All the condos and modernization was yet to begin.  The streets were virtually deserted at any time of day.  As soon as Dewey entered the diner a phone call was made and the plan was put in operation.  The Shadow stationed himself outside the diner on the curb to keep control of the situation. 

     Dewey had eaten there many times while at STC.  Jim Solieri who owned and operated the place knew him at sight.  He was interested in Dewey but had never struck up a conversation.  But as Dewey hadn’t been around for a couple months he thought he would have a chat.

      A peculiarity of Solieri’s place was that he refused to make french fries.  As some form of compensation he always placed a couple Italian pepperoncini on the plate.  Pepperoncini are not hot peppers but it is necessary to cultivate a taste for them.  For a while Dewey had disdainfully left them lying on the plate.  But then one day by some magic of the chemistry between pepperoncini, the hamburg and his taste buds the little peppers had really hit the spot.  From that point on Dewey had asked for seconds; he even bought a jar for home.

     Today he took a big bite from his hamburg, following it with one of his two pepperoncini with obvious relish.

     ‘I remember when you sneered at those things.’  Solieri offered.  ‘Now look at you, can’t get enough.  I knew you’d come around.’  He flipped a couple more on Dewey’s plate.  ‘Haven’t seen you for a little while.’

     ‘No.  I had to get another job.  Haven’t been in the area.’

     ‘Another job, huh?’  Solieri said appraising Dewey from another point of view.

     ‘Yeh.’ Dewey said ruefully.  ‘Be my third in little over a year.  Fourth in three years.  Damn.’

     ‘I know what you mean.  Been there myself.  Maybe you’re just not the corporate type.’

      ‘Maybe.  But, you know, what am I going to do.  I mean, you know, I’m somebody too.  I’m at least as good as they are, maybe better.  I gotta lotta talent, I think, abilities, you know, I don’t want to get left behind.  You can dig that, I suppose.’

     ‘I can.  And I’m not putting you down, as you can see I’m flippin’ burgers.  Of course, I own the stand.’  He added defensively.  ‘Didn’t start out that way.  I used to be like you.  Don’t know what it is but I just didn’t fit in.  I’m thirty.  Went from job to job, no offense and I’m guessing, but just like you they kept getting worse and worse until I couldn’t stand it anymore.  So I went off on my own.  Started a nice little Italian restaurant.  Good food, well prepared, nice place.  But, you know, I just couldn’t manage the employees.  Like a lot of guys I thought that employees acted up because they had bad bosses.  Well, I’m a good guy so I didn’t think I ‘d have any trouble.  Boy, was I wrong.  You give ’em an inch and they’ll take the whole hundred yards.  Any boss is their enemy; they just resent working for anybody.  In point of fact you gotta know how to be tough to make them do their work.

     How much detail you want?  As you can see this is a one man operation’

     ‘Really, huh?  Well, um, do you make enough money here.’

     ‘How much is enough?  I do OK.  You’d be surprised what kind of profit a place like this can turn out.  But, no, I don’t make enough.  I live comfortably but frugally.’  Solieri was actually cheap.  ‘Invest as much as I can.  Done OK there.  So if I keep it up by the time I’m fifty I should be OK.  Just in case I reach fifty.  But, you dig, I have to work for myself.  You might have to do the same.’

     ‘Might have to do something.’  Dewey said reflectively.  Notions were already circulating through his mind as he apprehensively viewed the blight placed on his career.  But as he wished to raise himself in his own estimation as well as the world’s his thoughts gravitated more toward attainments in the scholarly world.  He aspired more to the dignity of the college professor than the merchant prince.

     ‘You’ve got a good thing going here but I think I’d rather get a PhD and be a college professor.’

     Solieri smiled indulgently:  ‘How much chance is there for that?’

     ‘Well, I don’t know.  I’m going to night school at Junior College.’  Dewey confessed, naively raising a silent laugh from Solieri.  ‘I’d have to find a way.  Don’t have one now.’

     ‘So, you learning anything in Junior College?’  Solieri asked sarcastically.

     ‘Oh, sure, hard to believe you’re getting anywhere sometimes but it’s all required classes so what do you do?  I read a lot on my own, too.’

 

     ‘Oh yeah?  You got any great wisdom you can share.’  Solieri was one of those who considered books one of the worst things in the world.

     ‘Well, I’ve got a theory on the origins of the solar system you might like.’

     ‘Sure, shoot.’

     ‘Um.  You ever heard of a guy called Immanuel Velikovsky- ‘Worlds In Collision?’

     ‘I saw the movie.’

     Dewey laughed:  ‘Naw, that was ‘When World’s Collide.’  Good movie though.  No.  Velikovsky’s got some pretty weird ideas.  Hard to believe a lot of it.  But he makes an issue between the gasseous planets like the Sun, Jupiter and Saturn and the five rocky inner planets.’

     ‘Only four aren’t there.’

     ‘He includes the asteroid belt as an exploded planet.  To explain the rocky planets he thinks that a live intelligence ejected them from Jupiter.  Well, I don’t think there’s live intelligence on Jupiter but I think it’s possible that the planets were ejected by natural causes.’

     ‘Oh yeah?  How’s that?’

     ‘Well, I’ve never heard a good explanation where the gaseous planets or the rocky planets came from except that the solar system was once a huge swirling mass of gas that formed the three gaseous planets but you have to take the view that all matter is one.  For instance, the Sun the Earth and Jupiter although they exhibit different external characteristics are all made of this same material.  The external differences are only the result of size and gravity.  The sun being huge, the gravitational force pressing in on the center makes it incandescent.

     Jupiter being very large but nowhere near as large as the sun must have a core that is more than molten but less than incandescent so that the heat produced combined with gravity vaporizes its outer matter into various densities of gases.  OK?’

     ‘Yeah, I’m following you.’

     ‘Now, the Earth being smaller yet has a molten core but the gravitational pressure in relation to its size allows the exterior layers to cool forming a crust.  So all three are of identical composition but different form.

      So, if that’s clear then your next problem is how the planet got here from Jupiter.  Like I say, Jupiter has various layers of gases moving, I hypothesize, at different speeds.  So, as these various layers rub together globules of solid matter form, kind of like a pearl in an oyster.  When they get large enough they are ejected by centrifugal force.  Like, there’s actually an asteroid belt on either side of Jupiter.  Why would a planet explode on either side of Jupiter and nowhere else?  So, I don’t think these are exploded planets but smaller ‘pearls’ ejected over the eons.

     Really big ‘pearls’ are developed and they were ejected with enough velocity to enter the sun’s gravitational pull where they find orbits far from Jupiter.  Probably the moon was ejected too but was captured within Earth’s gravitational pull.  It’s supposed to be moving slowly further from Earth so probably the Sun’s attraction is greater than Earth’s.  So what do you think?’  Dewey asked, fearing a burst of derisive laughter.

     ‘Not bad.  Not bad.  I don’t know whether it’s true of course.  But it’s at least  as good as the cosmic dust theory I’ve heard.’

     ‘Oh yeah.  That’s the official scientific theory, that the solar system was filled with dust and then the dust particles were attracted to each other bonding into ever bigger agglomerations until the rocky planets as we know them were formed.  Hard for me to believe too.  Sure hope the magnetic polarity isn’t reversed or we’ll all become comets.’

     ‘One problem though, so why isn’t their life on Mars or Venus?’

     ‘Oh, Venus probably because it’s too close to the sun, way too hot.  Although since it’s about the same size as Earth it should have a molten core.  Mars is too small for a molten core to sustain itself.  Probably just warmish in the center.  Same with the moon.’

     ‘Sounds like you really thought that one out.’  Solieri began when a Beatnik type burst through the door.  He was the agent from Capt. Douglas.  The two best ways to destroy a man’s reputation are sex and drugs.  If it’s possible to project a man as a homosexual he will lose all credibility.  For that reason the charge of homosexuality is projected on nearly all great men from Caesar and Napoleon on down.  Great men can survive the charge, lesser men may not be able to do so.  The charge of drugs destroys a man’s respectability entirely.  When a man is free of either curse then the possibility of entrapping him in overt acts or the appearance of such acts exists.  A charge of homosexuality would reduce Trueman to a station far below that of Captain Douglas, allowing him to reassert his own sense of dignity.  A charge of drugs which at that time meant marijuana or heroin would result in a prison sentence, especially if Capt. Douglas came forward to put the bug in the ear of the police with his claim of theft.  Capt. Douglas would do anything to reclaim his self-esteem.

     As far fetched as his plan may appear, more far out plans have been attempted and succeeded.  There is only one thing that can protect a person from the assaults of stalkers and that is character.  Things happen so fast and come from such unsuspected quarters that only a firm set of ideals can save one.

     The guy who had burst through the door was Job Seth, the agent of the agent selected by Capt. Douglas to place temptation in Dewey’s path.  Having made Trueman his enemy Capt. Douglas had assigned what to him was the most despicable character he could think of- a Beatnik- a hipster.  Douglas who was dapper nineteenth century style with a pencil thin mustache from the thirties projected the lifestyle on his opposite member- the Beatnik- on Dewey.

     Job Seth was of course an imposter.  His impersonation of a Beatnik was hilarious.  Not being part of the culture he chose as his role models the Maynard Ferguson character from the Dobie Gillis TV show and Jughead from the Archie comic book series.  He didn’t wear Jughead’s beanie but he mussed his hair up for the disheveled Beatnik look.  But he was careless so that it was easy to see that a single combing would give him a conventional appearance.  He had on the black vest, the horizontally striped T-shirt, black and white, and a dark pair of baggy cotton pants actually secured be a rope for a belt.  He wore the obligatory Beatnik sandals with the wide leather straps and studs.  But, not only was he wearing socks but they were socks no self-respecting Beatnik would own, the black ribbed knee stocking of the middle class employee.  Even as the bell was still jangling above the door both Dewey and Jim Solieri exchanged an amused and knowing smile.

     ‘Check this out.’  Solieri said from the corner of his mouth.

     ‘Seth wasn’t clear as to which diner was his target.  He first rushed to a diner at a side table, looking out the window at Dewey’s shadow for confirmation.  The man shook his head and pointed at Dewey.  Both Dewey and Solieri caught the motions.  They gave each other signficant glances.

      There was a stool empty beside Dewey.  Seth rushed over in what he thought was the best hipster style plunking himslef down leaning bodily against Dewey.

     ‘Hey, man.’

     Dewey shoved him over. 

     ‘Hey, man.  Didja hear me?’  He said leaning over the counter so as to look directly in Dewey’s face.

     ‘You talking to me?’

     ‘Hey, man, like, I’m looking ya right in the eye, ain’t I, man.’

     ‘Say what and git.’

     ‘Like, don’t get sharp, man.  Like, maybe I got something to say you might want to hear.  Be cool.’

      ‘I’m so cool ice cream wouldn’t melt in my hand, man, but, like, you know, like this, I’ve got my own thing going.  Somehow you’re not part of it.  So, buzz off.’

     Solieri interrupted:  ‘What’ll ya have?’

     ‘Hey, don’t bug me, man.   Like, I’m talking to this guy here.  Alright?  What’s your name, man?’

     ‘You can call me Jack, Joe.’  Dewey said, realizing he’d have to humor this guy until he finished his hamburg or just leave it.  His situation wasn’t so prosperous he could just get up and leave it.

     ‘Like, man, like what do you think of this Viet Nam war thing.’  Seth said, launching into what he considered a hep topic which he projected as a major concern of Dewey’s.

     ‘Little.’  Dewey replied, hoping to shuck Job off.  Out of the corner of his eye he was watching the Shadow who stood in rigid attention leaning forward on his toes.

     ‘Aw, man, how about the way Diem treats those Buddhist monks.  Disgraceful.  You call that freedom?  So bad they have to pour gasoline on themselves and burn to cinders.  Huh, man?’

     ‘Yeah, well, like they better pray the Commies don’t get them or they’ll find out what.  Did you ever notice there aren’t any monks in North Viet Nam?  I wonder why.’

     ‘Yeah, man, well, maybe you’re right.  Why trouble your head about some gooks.  We got problems right here, right.  I mean, like, good thing there’s some escape routes, right?’

     Dewey was munching fast on his hamburg, in a hurry to get away.  He tried to ignore him.  Job grabbed his arm, Dewey pulled away.’

     ‘Like, what I got is something you won’t ever have to worry again.’

     Dewey was down to a couple bites glancing at Solieri who was staring down at Seth with a contemptuous glare.

     Seth leaned over whispering into Dewey’s ear:  ‘I got a couple high tension reefers in my pocket.  Let’s go up to my place and ingest ’em.  My old lady and her girl friend are waiting.  Come on, man, let’s go, you ain’t got nothing better to do.’

     ‘You’re right I don’t have anything better to do but I gotta go to work.’  Dewey said, washing down his last bite with a slug of coffee.  ‘Late already.  Gotta go.’  He waved to Solieri.

      ‘Hey man, don’t be square, be cool like me.’  Job yelled.

     ‘I’m too cool to fool pal.  See ya around.’

     Dewey’s shadow had disappeared as Dewey emerged into the street.  The Captain’s rather far fetched plan had been to give Dewey the two numbers and let him into an apartment where a naked eight year old boy waited.  The police would burst in immediately leaving Dewey with a lot of fast talking to do.

     As Dewey hurried back he passed a drug store with one of those columns of mirrors on all four sides.  A sullen, morbid face met his.  He started back in disgust then realized that he was looking at his own reflection.

     He was quite startled because for a moment he had seen the image that he was projecting to others.  His conscious image of himself was nowhere apparent.  Instead the face that he had been given by his tormentors stared back at him.  Seth had activiated the morbid loathing of Dewey’s subconscious self.  Of the two Dewey’s, the worst, was what people were seeing, the bright cheerful Dewey was not visible.

     Trying not to be conspicuous Dewey took a  moment to brighten up his countenance and tried to stroll back nonchalantly rather then aggressively marching.

     Rather than going out as promised Darby dinked the afternoon away then told Dewey to meet him the next morning at his house in Berkeley.

Chapter 5

The Medium Is The Message

And The Mediator Is Its Prophet

      Dewey got up on the San Rafael Bridge for the drive to Berkeley and his appointment with Darby Ramme.  The sight of himself in the mirror on the previous day had had an unsettling effect on himself.  He knew the poisons that had entered his mind from childhood.  He knew how potent they were and he knew where they came from but he couldn’t identify the fixation of his life hidden behind a massive wall of fear.

     Dewey was aware that his actions were controlled from his subconscious.  He was perpetually at war with himself trying to impose his conscious rational goals on his subconscious opinion of himself; an opinion that had been imposed on him from outside evil forces.  In the terms of hypnosis, the suggestions given him.  The evil force of ill-wishers and his mother.

     The evil forces had inundated his youthful consciousness.  He had been too young to reject or manage their influence.  He had been trying to break free since he left home at eighteen and realized the hole he had been placed in.  He had actually made wonderful progress but he had begun from such a low level that his progress was scarcely discernible to himself, let alone others.

     Dewey had never sought professional help but he had taken to reading various tracts of Freud.  His understanding of Freud was that the individual himself was sick, that is, that the pathology came from within.  It seemed that Freud believed that the individual was responsible for his own malaise.  Dewey didn’t think that was necessarily so.  This was tantamount in his mind to saying that a small fish gulped down by a larger fish had the fish eating disease.  To Dewey this ignored the Field itself as well as the fact that the smaller fish obviously was not prepared to face the dangers inherent in the Field.  Properly informed the smaller fish would have been able to avoid the larger fish.  No, Dewey knew he was an innocent man.  He knew that he was responding to something that had been done to him but he didn’t know what.

     He had come to terms with his mother’s contribution to his malaise.  As far as he knew there was nothing in their relationship subconsciously concealed.  He did not love or respect her.  He considered that the crimes she had committed against him were the result of ignorance.  She just wasn’t a responsible mother, not every woman can be.  All women have the physical apparatus to become mothers but not all women have the emotional requirements to actually mother a child.  As someone put it:  Some girls just want to have fun.  That had been Dewey’s mother.

     She had been a silly woman.  She had never understood the worthlessness of men.  Rather than devote herself to her two sons who should have been her treasures she was always willing to sacrifice their interests for men who had no respect for her.  Miserable luck to have gotten her, Dewey thought, but the luck of the draw.

     Of the two influences he was most concerned with those who had given him his face and his body language.  He had somehow to eliminate their influence.  He could not, under any circumstances, allow them to triumph over him by accepting the character they had tried to impose.  Unable to free up his subconscious he could only resort to Emile Coue’s autosuggestion.  Suggest to yourself a course of behavior and then let your mind bring your actions in line with your wishes.

     As he pulled up in front of Darby’s house he was a little disappointed.  The Bay Area, especially Berkeley, was filled with romantic, quaint, secluded houses and apartments.  Dewey’s flat in Larkspur was one such, nestled against the hillside of Mt. Tamalpais.  Darby lived on one of the those straight avenues well West of the California campus.

     The street was all rentals, filled either with students or the innumerable campus hangers on.  Darby was in the latter class.  Unable to accept the consequences of his graduation and the disappointment of his first job Darby had retreated to the security of the college atmosphere where he had done so well and found so much contentment and happiness.  In so many words, he had retreated to the security of the womb.

     Luckily there was a parking space right in front of the house.  Dewey eased his big ’56 two tone green Chrysler into the space.  The used car salesman had had a field day with him.

     Dewey often wondered why he had bought the car, other than that he needed a car, of course.  It didn’t seem to represent him at all.  It might have been that he had been a push over for the salesman but, no, he had been drawn to the car.  Consciously he would have chose a ’56 Chevy, he really did love the ’56 designs.  The ’56 Chevy was a fantastically good looking car.  He had always loved the extravagant two tone coloring of the year.  The Chrysler had a light green top with a dark green body.  Like all the cars of that year it had enormous fins.  Perhaps that was it.  The Chrysler had fins that swelled up from the body like the belly of a reclining woman from the Mound of Venus.  An additional echo of the motif was repeated in a quiet reverberation contained within the two strips of chrome.  The light green of this strip across the dark green of the body was enclosed in a graceful swell of chrome strips repeating the swell of the fin of the fender.  Perhaps Dewey had been seduced into buying a sexy car.

      Not least of the subconscious appeal had been the Chrysler ads of those years in which a busty woman opened the driver’s side door and thrust her enormous breasts into the viewer’s face.  The ads had certainly gotten the attention of the male population of the country.  Anyway the car was a good buy; it had never given him any trouble.

     Darby let him into the house.  The place was done up in admirable minimalist taste.  Not what Dewey had expected.  Maybe there was something in the location of the place he didn’t know about.  On a table sat a bowl with what looked like a couple dozen aspirin tablets in it, blue on one side.

     ‘What are those?’  Dewey asked curiously thinking that they couldn’t be candy.

     ‘Oh, you can have one if you want.’  Darby said with a mischievious smile.

     Darby’s wife, Selene, bustled busily into the room.  She was a very attractive tall slender woman.  She had a very superior attitude as they all did.

     After introducing them Darby said mysteriously:  ‘See. Didn’t I tell you so.’

     Selene muttered something, then banged out the door.

     Dewey and Darby followed.  The company had given Darby a ’64 Chevy to drive.

     ‘Is that your car?’  Darby said pointing to the Chrysler.  I wouldn’t have thought it.’  He said to Dewey’s reply.

     ‘I wouldn’t have either.’  Dewey replied, himself mystified by his choice.  As he spoke an image of a laughing big busted woman thrusting her bosom from behind the wheel flashed through his mind.  The ad had apparently imprinted itself on Dewey’s mind because he would buy Chrysler products the rest of his life as the image flashed across his mind.

     ‘I’m from Chevy country,’  Dewey continued, nevertheless looking at Darby’s Chevy disapprovingly, ‘back there they’d string you up for buying anything else.  I hated them.’

     Obviously there was a conflict in Dewey’s mind.  the mind is a funny place to live.  The pain of growing up back in Chevy country had contributed to his rejection of General Motors’ cars.  He always felt vaguely uncomfortable in them.  He sought to remove himself from his past by rejecting Chevys, even though he thought fifties Chevys the best looking cars on the road.  But, heck, Louis Chevrolet couldn’t even pronounce his name right.  He said:  Louie Chevrolay.

     As they headed into the tunnel from Alameda County to Contra Costa County Dewey remembered the pills in the bowl.

     ‘How come you keep aspirin in a bowl in your living room.’  He asked bluntly.

     Darby smiled enigmatically:  ‘Oh, those weren’t just aspirin.’  He tried to change the subject but Dewey brought him back.

     ‘Well, Dewey, there’s a lot happening in the world these days and, well, I think it’s just beyond you.’

     ‘Oh yeah?  Well, you offered me one and if I’d taken it, it wouldn’t be beyond me now, would it?’

     ‘I suppose not.’

     ‘It’s gotta be some kind of pill, what is it?’

     ‘Lysergic acid diethymalide.’

     ‘Oh, that’s all.  LSD?’

     ‘You’ve taken it?’  Darby asked incredulously.

     Darby thought he was on the cutting edge.  Even though LSD had been relatively common for at least ten years by 1964, (It was actually isolated in 1938) the academic crowd seemed to believe it had just been discovered.  Dewey now understood at least one of the reasons Darby and his wife believed themselves so superior.  While the Beatniks and Hippies were wallowing in the stuff the college elites treated LSD like a sacrament.  Having once taken it they invariably thought they had been raised above and cut off from the rest of humanity- a new chosen people.  They were amusing to watch if you knew what was happening.

     Darby had gotten his tabs from a psych major, or rather his wife had, who was involved with the experimental program at U.C..  Stanford and Berkeley as well has Harvard had extensive government funding to test the psychological effects of the various pharmaceutical drugs for military applications.  Timothy Leary had been a wild card at Harvard who the system had not been able to control.  Media attention had blown his situation out of all proportion.  It turned that he was only the fall guy.

     ‘No, I’ve never taken it.  I don’t believe in drugs.’  Dewey said.

     ‘How could you possibly know about LSD then.’  Darby asked in wonder.

     ‘What do you mean how could I know about it.  I read TIME magazine for Christ’s sake.  How In do you have to be to do that?  They’ve had big write ups of the Leary guy at Harvard.  How secret can it be?’

     Darby’s pride of place insulated him from what he considered the lower classes.  There was no reason for him to be surprised at Dewey’s knowledge.  ‘You know about Leary, too?’

     ‘Well, Darby, none of this stuff is new.  I wrote an essay on drugs in high school that included a reference to LSD and that was in 1955.  I mean Peyote buttons…’

     ‘How do you know about Peyote?’  The manner in which Darby emphasized ‘you’ offended Dewey.

     ‘Well, Jesus, Darby, I was in the Navy.’

     What’s being in the Navy got to do with it?’

     ‘Jeez, Darby, there were guys into everything.  We had it all- morphine, heroin, speed, peyote buttons, all kinds of little pills that I couldn’t even identify.  I mean, one time I was hitchhiking down on 101 outside San Diego and this Marine from Camp Pendleton picked me up loaded on all kinds of things that he freely offered me.  I refused it, of course.  For Christ’s sake we even had to stop for road blocks between San Diego and LA where they were checking for marijuana smugglers from Mexico.  You should have seen it.  A couple cars even jumped the meridian, turned around and went the other way.  What did they have in their cars, I wonder?

     So, anyway, this Jarhead is telling me about all the drugs they’re using at Pendleton.  He named a whole bunch of stuff, maybe LSD was in it, but he’s telling me about this guy at camp who ingested a whole bunch of Peyote buttons and got way up there, as he said.  Well, the guy thought that was pretty alright so the next time he ingested twice as many.  The driver turns to me with a smile and says:  ‘He’s still up there, he hasn’t come down yet.  Maybe he doesn’t want to.’  Good story, huh?

     The driver himself was loaded.  101 was bumper to bumper, wall to wall that day and this guy is cool and relaxed, he’s just slipping back and forth from lane to lane trying to inch ahead a little faster.  He’s slipping into gaps no bigger than his car.  Everybody on the freeway is staring at us open mouthed.  So, I am, quite seriously, a nervous wreck.  I can see myself a corpse by the side of the highway.  I’m hoping they say something kind in the note they sent to Mom.

     He looks at me with a very benign smile and says:  ‘What’s the matter?  Why are you so nervous?’

     I mean, while he’s looking at me to the right, he slips into a car length gap in the left lane.  Am I nervous?  I am terrified.  So he reaches into his pocket and hands me a black triangular pill.

     ‘Here, take this,’ he says, ‘you’ll feel better.’

     ‘Well, I don’t take it.  The guy was crazy anyhow.  Well, but that’s another story.  But, we had this guy, I used to ride with him up to the Bay Area alot.  He had a car.  He lived in Marin, still does apparently, I saw him, believe it or not, the other day.  He was still loaded.  This guy was a heroin addict, a morphine addict, plus he took everything else there was to take.  Didn’t interfere with his functioning at all.  I’d have been dead.

     I mean, this guy could probably have saved Leary hours of research on LSD or anything else.  He probably tripped from here to the moon before Leary ever heard of LSD.  So, I mean, this stuff is new?’

      Darby was stunned at this difference between the street and the academy.

     ‘How come you haven’t taken it?  It’s awe inspiring.  You can see God.  It’s a tremendous religious experience, a sacrament.’

     ‘Aw, really?  Well, if that’s what you saw, that’s what you saw.  Here’s the catch, there isn’t any God to see.  If you saw him, he was of your own devize.  All you’ll do is mess up your own mind.  You can’t get out of it what isn’t in it, and you can’t put anything in it with a pill.  So, the way I see it you have to organize what’s in it, if you can, then add only the information that’s going to be the most beneficial, if you can, but that’s hard work.’

     ‘You don’t think you can expand your consciousness with drugs?’

     ‘No.  I don’t even know how you can expand your consciousness, whatever that means, unless you mean by adding experience you broaden your understanding.  The only other thing you can hope to do is absorb your subconscious into your conscious; that is to strip away the debris hiding your subconscious motivations from your conscious mind.  Thus instead of being of two minds, you become of one mind.  Beyond that I don’t there’s anything.  Period.’

     Darby had never heard anyone talk this way.  The ‘greatest minds’ of his generation were sold on the efficacy of drugs.

     ‘Have you ever tried any drugs?’  Darby asked caustiously.

     ‘I had something called Nembutal last year when I had a couple wisdom teeth pulled out.  Shouldn’t have done it.’

     ‘Bad trip?’

     ‘No.  I mean the wisdom teeth.  There wasn’t anything wrong with them.  All I did was gratify a dentist’s greed.  Hmmm.  The Nembutal.  No, it wasn’t a bad trip for me.  I might have been for the other patients in the office though.  How so?  Well, man, all my inhibitions went out the window.  I became totally self-centered.  I didn’t respect any social conventions.  I was just looking through people, bobbing and weaving, telling them what was on their minds, explaining them to themselves.  No data, I just knew.  No, I didn’t have a bad trip; I really enjoyed myself, you know, but there wasn’t anything there, no reason to go back, you know what I mean.  You ever read ‘Troubled Sleep?’

     Darby pulled up in front of a house in Concord.  One can only imagine the effect on a housewife when a new white Chevy pulls up and two guys in suits get out holding clipboards and gesticulating toward the house.  It’s amazing that anyone opens the door just because there’s a knock on it.

     Darby’s style was magnificent.  He exuded warmth and compassion while keeping the edge of a threat in the background.  He chatted the woman up with a style Dewey envied.  He explained that there was no problem with Lowell, Smith and Evers that the payment of the rent couldn’t cure.  He inquired about her and her husband’s financial condition.  Oddly enough she told in some detail.  He was affability itself.  Then he admonished her to get the payment in and bid her a cheery adieu. 

     Dewey was astounded.  He couldn’t believe this was the same guy.  Suddenly Dewey realized how uptight he himself really was.  He couldn’t even relax his vocal chords; he barely opened his mouth to speak, releasing his words through clenched teeth.  A wave of admiration rushed from him to Darby.  He would have given his other two wisdom teeth to be so affable.

     ‘Wow. That was terrific.’  He said admiringly.

     ‘Thank-you.’  Darby said with sincerely felt complacency.

     ‘You’ve got to know how to talk to these deadbeats.’  He said with the self-satisfaction of innate superiority.

     ‘Boy, I’ll say.  I don’t know if I can do it like that.’

     ‘Oh, you may be able to learn.  Just watch me.’

     Darby, to put it on the positive side moved deliberately.  On the negative side, as Dewey saw it, he wasted a lot of time.  For the whole morning they only made three calls.  Nor did Darby move systematically or in a straight line.  He seemed to have some mystical way of selecting a card, shuffling though his deck until the right one popped out somehow.  While engaged in this he was lost in absorption.  Dewey sat silently observing him.

     After having driven all over Contra Costa to make the three calls it was time for lunch.

     ‘Why don’t we get a sandwich and drive to the top of Mt. Diablo and enjoy it there?’  Darby asked with the amiability with which he approached ‘deadbeats.’

      ‘You mean go all the way up Diablo to eat lunch?’  Dewey asked incredulously.

     ‘Sure, Dewey.  Great view.  You’ll love it.’

     As Dewey was to learn Darby knew how to make his days as delightful as possible.  He knew the most interesting way everywhere.  He found rusticity in the midst of the concrete Californians love so well; even the concrete took on rustic dimensions when Darby drove through it.  He didn’t even have to point it out to Dewey; it just appeared.  Darby’s whole day was a magic carpet ride; he was just relaxed and paying atttention.  Compared to him Dewey felt as tightly wound as a baseball without a cover.

     Darby drove ten miles to seek out a little deli he had found somewhere in the depths of Concord.  The place was charming, the people were terrific and the sandwiches were unbelievable.  As they walked out Dewey looked back to see nothing that would distinguish the shop.  All he saw was another sandwich shop in another shopping strip.  As he sat in the car he studied the shop trying to see what Darby obviously saw.  He couldn’t see it.

     He studied Darby in a new light as they wound their way up Diablo.  Locating what was apparently his favorite spot, Darby eased the Chevy into a parking space and they sat gazing out over Contra Costa County to the North.

     Diablo is a low mountain rising alone in the middle of Contra Costa.  The county begins in the Oakland hills in the West, bordering the Bay in the North and against the San Joaquin River on the East.  From the relatively lush hills of Walnut Creek it turns into the hot burning desert of Byron.   It was all laid out before them.

      As this was in January the weather outside was frightful but inside the car the radiation from the sun through the windows made it warm and cozy.  Darby was in to the mood to impart lore and instruction.

     From the look on Darby’s face he might as well have been in heaven.  Smiling is not the right word. He, beaming beatifically, so at peace with the world that the notion of unpleasantness didn’t exist for him.  The notion that he was high on LSD didn’t occur to Dewey, but Darby was.  Dewey just thought that he had to learn this attitude.

     Despite his beatific appearance he began the conversation with a ‘deadbeat’ story.  ‘Very few of these deadbeats have a college education.  They’re ignorant people.  They don’t think.  Some of the things we’ve come across are scarcely believable.  There was this fellow in Sacramento.  Never paid.  He let it go to the max every time then caught up.  By max I mean the full six months.  Finally he slipped past the limit and we got to foreclose on him.  Naturally he just abandoned the house.  I’m surprised how many people will do that.  Instead of selling the house, which in nearly every case has appreciated a little, they just walk away.  Not very intelligent.  You wouldn’t believe what this guy did, except that it’s me telling you.  His garage was connected to the house and in order to save money, I suppose, he just opened the kitchen door and chucked the garbage into the garage.  Garbage was piled higher than your head.  The entire garage was full.  Gosh, there were rats as big as beavers.  It cost several hundreds of dollars to haul the stuff away.  You wouldn’t believe how some of these people live.’

     ‘Jeez, I guess I’m about to find out.’

     ‘Uh hum, you sure are.  Now, listen Dewey.’  Darby said in his warm patronizing tone.  ‘We’ll get your car to you tomorrow morning, so take the bus to the office.  One good thing about this job is that, if you’re careful, you’ll never have to buy your own gas.  You can buy gas anytime during the week with no problem.  But never buy on the company credit car on the weekends.  Always fill up the last thing Friday night wherever you’re working and then the first thing on Monday morning.  You’ve got to do it this way or you’ll ruin it for all of us.  If they ever say anything just shrug your shoulders and pretend not to understand.

     One other thing.  Once a year you have to go down to Fresno and again up to Ukiah.  You have to stay overnight.’

     ‘Oh no.’  Interjected Dewey.  ‘I can leave early in the morning and make it back by night.  Neither of those places are that far.’

      ‘No.  No.  You’re not listening to me.  You have to pay at least fifteen dollars for your room.  My first time, with my love of the extraordinary I searched out this place in an old mill by a stream outside Ukiah.  They only wanted a dollar and a half.  I split the difference with them up to fifteen dollars.  You can’t ruin it for the rest of us; you have to do these things this way or else.’

     ‘Yeah. Yeah.  OK.  How did you find the mill for a dollar and a half?  That sounds wonderful, sound of water running by and all.  Did someone tell you about it?’

     ‘Oh, uh uh.  When you get to know me, Dewey, you’ll find that I have a real nose for the picturesque.  We better get going now.  Did you enjoy your lunch?’

     ‘Oh yeah, Darby.  This was terrific.’

     ‘Too bad you don’t have a degree.  Stanford was terrific.’

     ‘Been on the campus.  Liked it a lot myself.’  Dewey replied, as they wound back down Diablo after an hour and half lunch.

     ‘That’s one of the good things about the job you can set your own pace.’

     They made three more calls that afternoon.  At four Darby turned the car homeward.

     ‘You’re off work at five o’ clock so always leave early enough so that you’re in your driveway by five.’

     ‘Not so bad.’  Thought Dewey.  ‘You don’t have to knock on doors before ten and you’re back home at five.  An hour and half lunch.  I might be able to dig this.’

     Quite unaware of himself Darby had become a role model for Dewey.

 

    

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A Short Story

From The Boulevard Of Broken Dreams Collection

All The Way From China

by

R.E. Prindle

 

Ruby lips above the water

Blowing bubbles soft and fine

But, alas, I was no swimmer…

Trad.  Clementine

 

     Dewey roused himself in bed, propping himself up on the pillows.

     ‘Where are you going today, Dewey?’ Asked his wife Angeline.

     ‘Nowhere actually.  I’m supposed to work Marin here.  Not a lot to do really.  Just a dozen houses but they’re far apart.’

     ‘I thought you weren’t supposed to do Marin?’

     ‘I’m not but Ramme sends me into his areas every so often.  Must be someone he’s afraid of or unpleasant for him.  Maybe he just doesn’t feel like driving over from Berkeley today.  I don’t know.  He’s an odd duck.  He’s got this Stanford degree and he’s doing the same job I am.’

     ‘Where are you going first?’

     ‘Just over the freeway here in Larkspur.’

     ‘You mean Corte Madera?’

     ‘Yes, Angeline, just over the freeway here. I think it’s one of those houses built on stilts over the tidal flats; you know, out there on the mud.’

     ‘Really?  They’ve got houses out over the bay?’

     ‘Yeah.  I guess they’re fairly defensive.  Some guy told I wouldn’t dare go out there to collect or they’d chuck me over the side, beat me up or something?’

     ‘Really?  Would they do that?  Are you going to go?’

     ‘Sure.’

     ‘Why?  If Ramme doesn’t want to do it why should you?’

     ‘Well, my dear, I’ve never been there before.  Looks pretty strange.  I’d like to see it from the other side.’

     ‘What if they hurt you?’

     ‘Oh, they aren’t going to hurt me.  Nobody has yet.  Nobody’s even tried although I have had a few threats.  What’s to worry?  Just talk ’em out of it, that’s all.  They threaten me and I’ll threaten to burn ’em out at high tide or foreclose on ’em, that’s all.  What do you think of that?’

     ‘You wouldn’t do that.’

     “If I had to pay to get my suit cleaned I might.’

 

     The mud flats Dewey referred to were at the mouth of Tamalpais Creek out into the San Francisco Bay.  At low tide a strand of a couple hundred feet was exposed.  Several houses connected to shore by walkways were built out over them on piles.

     Dewey rolled up about ten to make his call.  His house was not part of the main cluster but was an isolated structure North and East, closer to the creek.  Tamalpais Creek at one time was navigable for small ships but over the years civilization had reduced it to a trickle.  Now it could barely be spotted as it oozed into the bay.

     A parking area about three cars wide was cleared in a little copse of trees and foliage.  Romantic spot, really, which is why the tenant lived there.  A wooden walkway extended about fifty feet from the the shore to the house.

     As Dewey got out of his car he noticed motorcycle tracks in the gravel. 

     ‘What a weird situation.’  He thought.  ‘I’ll bet that house isn’t even on land.  I’ll bet that’s property that belongs to the State.  I’ll bet nobody can own land on the tidewater.  These people must be some kind of squatters.  I wonder how they got a loan on the house?’

     As he stepped out on the walkway he looked over at the main cluster.  ‘I’ll bet you Darby was afraid to make this call so he gave it to me.  What a chicken.’  But he didn’t like the look of those motorcycle tracks.  ‘Might me those damn Hell’s Angels.’

     ‘How strange, how strange.’  Dewey thought as he turned to look back at the shore.  ‘Very picturesque though, very romantic.’

     ‘Come in.’ Floated out the open door before he’d even had a chance to knock.  What a beautiful melodious female voice, spoken in such a languorous sensual tone.

     Dewey stepped inside.  A delightful array of scents caressed his nostrils.  Colors ovewhelmed his senses making his brain tingle.  There seated in a chair by a window looking out over the bay was the most beautiful woman.

     She was beside a table on which sat a large basket of funny looking squat orange fruit, not an orange, not a tangerine.  Dewey had never seen them before.

    ‘Hi, honey.  Have a seat.’  She said with a warm curiosity interested to see what fate had cast up on her shore.

     There was something so voluptuous, so eternally female in her voice that Dewey for the second time tingled.  A strange enervating glow radiated from the top of his spine into his brain leaving him almost euphoric.

     ‘My name’s, Suzanne.  What’s yours?’

     ‘My name?’  Dewey said astonished and surprised.  ‘Um, Dewey.  But I’m from…’

     ‘Oh, we can get into that later Dewey.  Let’s get acquainted first.  Let’s get to know each other.  Wouldn’t you like that?  Would you like an orange?’

     Dewey looked at the basket.  ‘Those are oranges?  I’ve never seen them before.  What kind?’

     ‘Those are Mandarin oranges, Dewey.  They came all the way from China.  Peel me one.  Will you be so kind?’

     ‘Huh?’

     ‘Peel me an orange, Dewey.  You look like you have good hands.’

     ‘Oh, yeah, sure.’  Dewey picked up an orange to peel as he looked around taking stock of where he was.

     Suzanne had a real hep pad; she was a real hep chick.  The genuine article.  The location was too exotic.  The house was small, one room really, with partial dividers setting off the kitchen, the living room and the bedroom.  The delicious Marin air wafted through the house through windows open and looking out in every direction.  Off to the West San Quentin Prison was visible across the black mud extending to the Eastern edge of the water.  The house was now high and dry as the tide was out.

     ‘The tide makes a wonderful sound when it come creeping back in, lapping against the piles.’  Suzanne breathed in that wonderful voice.

     ‘Um.’

     The house was sparsely furnished Zen style with just the right number of peices of undecorated but classically correct furniture, no more than necessary, no less.  The walls were draped in Indian bedspreads or tapestries.  One covered the central part of the ceiling over the exposed central light bulb.

     A turntable, speakers and amplifier were arranged on boards supported by cinder blocks on Suzannes’s left.  Dewey had never seen separate components before.  He easily recogized the phonograph for what it was.  All of a sudden his portable Webcor seemed like trash.  In an instant he had never wanted anything more than a component phonograph system.  Dewey could identify several records lying about.  Suzanne was a real folkie of the old school.  Records on the Topic label by Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Bob Gibson and Bob Camp were there.  A couple Leadbelly sides and a Josh White, Odetta.  Old Weavers records and a Pete Seeger.  The most current stuff she had was the Kingston Trio, Chad Mitchell Trio and Judy Henske.  The two Trios were of the hippest political stuff.  Both were considered dangerous, especially the great Chad Mitchell Trio.

     She kept the place immaculate.  A few books were artfully strewn about.  ‘The Book Of Tea’, ‘Zen Flesh, Zen Bones’, ‘Steppenwolf’, ‘Light From The East.’

     Some of the singer’s names Dewey had only heard of, some were completely unknown to him, they were already part of the past.  ‘The Book Of Tea’ and ‘Zen Flesh, Zen Bones’ he owned himself in those picturesque little Charles Tuttle editions.

     His swung back to Suzanne herself.  She was a very beautiful woman.  She was the epitome of femininity, completely woman, no equivocation if you know what I mean.

     She was sitting on the chair, barefoot with her legs tucked up.  Her feet were beautifully formed, her ankles the neatest.  She wore a rose colored blouse with a darker rose colored vest laced across her midriff.  The vest raised her stunning breasts as if offering them to the world.  Stunning?  My god! They were truly melons, slightly elongated resting on and pressing against the sides of the vest.

     Dewey nearly swallowed his teeth.  She wasn’t wearing a bra.  Very unusual in 1964.  Nipples the size of fifty cent pieces raised, it seemed, a quarter inch above the surrounding flesh pink beneath the rose material.  Dewey bit his lip as he tremblingly peeled the Mandarin orange.

     Looking up he saw that she was still beautiful with a gorgeous full mane of long dark chestnut hair.  She an an enchanting line of freckles across his cheeks and nose. The ample but not overly full lips were drawn back in a half smile.

     ‘Wow!  Dimples on her elbows, dimples on her knees.  A drunkard’s dream if I ever did see one.’  Ran through Dewey’s mind.

     But, Suzanne, Dewey noted, was past her prime.  She was probably close to or over forty.  She had the look of experience, of having been passed around.  Her skin showed the ravages of drug use.  The flesh was slightly dry and wrinkling from excessive exposure to the California sun.  Too much skiing, water-skiing and boating.  Too much of being the good sport.  Too much enjoying the pleasures of being a party girl.  Suzanne was at the stage where she had been superseded by younger and fresher looking women.

     ‘Finished yet?’  She cooed as only a San Francisco Mama can.  She gathered her hair in that languorous sensual way, looking inquiringly at him.

     ‘Yes.  I am.’  Dewey replied as coolly as possible.  ‘Do you want me to split it in half for you, or…’

     ‘Of course, silly boy.  Keep half for yourself.  We’ll share it.  Some for me, a little for you.’

     ‘Uh…OK.  I’ve never had one of these before.  They really come from China?’

     Suzanne nodded, smiling at Dewey’s awkwardness and apparent simplicity.  Suzanne, who knew very few men who wore suits had guessed who Dewey was.  She couldn’t make her mortgage payment, the money wasn’t there.  Perhaps she could wheedle a payment out of him or at least divert his attention so that she could avoid the embarrassment of admitting she didn’t have the money which would have killed her.

     ‘Tell me, Dewey…’

     ‘Oh god,’  thought Dewey, ‘I hope she isn’t going to go into the sound of one hand clapping or if a tree falls in the forest and there’s no one around to here it, does it make a noise.  Boy, I’ve had enough of that.’

     ‘…which do you think is more important, money or relationships?’

     ‘Well, I think you can have both, Suzanne.’

     ‘Yes, of course, Dewey, but which do you think is more important if you could have only one.  Money or relationships?’

     Another guy might have risen to the bait and Dewey saw it there silhouetted on the water but, besides being married, his instincts revealed the hook in the fly.  Somehow he could sense trouble so he took the question as one to be dealt with intellectually.

     ‘Well, Suzanne, that’s a tough one.  Relationships are important of course.  But they are all based on expediency.  When the reason for them disappears so do the relationships.

     Hence in all relationships there is the user and the used.  My wife’s family owns a nursing home and even in the parent-child relationship, which should be enduring, children dump their parents off and never think of them again.  They keep the money.  At least if you have money in the bank, you can always pay the rent.’

     The last remark was made thoughtlessly.  Dewey had no intention of making Suzanne uncomfortable.  She nevertheless felt the sting which disheartened her in her rather perilous situation.  She rose to offer Dewey a cup of tea, subconsciously attempting to arouse him.  It had worked with men so many times before.

     She rose to lean over Dewey breathing in his ear would he like a cup of tea.  Her marvelous breasts swung left and right dazzling Dewey’s eyes.  the magnificent nipples nearly brushed Dewey’s lips.  He could have…it would have been so easy.  Her intoxicatingly wonderful scent nearly loosened his mind from its anchors.  As Suzanne sat back down rolling her breats around Dewey nearly fainted from delight.

     ‘Really, Dewey?’  She breathed in that husky suppressed sexuality.  ‘I’ve found that my relationships have always been the most rewarding things in my life.  Friends are more important to me than anything.’

     ‘Uh huh.  Well, diamonds are a girl’s best friend.’  Dewey thought to himself.

     He didn’t respond directly.  As beautiful as Suzanne was Dewey could see that she was past the age of desirability.  She had been displaced by younger women.  But Dewey liked to talk and Suzanne was venturing into areas he had thought about.

     ‘Well, Suzanne, I’m not from here.  I grew up in Michigan.’

     ‘Oh, really, Dewey?  I’m from Waterloo, Iowa.’

     ‘Wow.’  Thought Dewey.  ‘Waterloo’s loss was San Francisco’s gain.’  He continued:  ‘Waterloo, hmm.  and most of the people in California, like me and you, come from somewhere else.  Close friends are hard to make; everyone seems suspicious of everyone else.  I’ve concluded therefore that once out of childhood it’s impossible to make any real friends.  Even in childhood the friendships are based on relative status which only seems natural in childhood because you grew up with it.  You can see people fly apart after graduation when those distinctions change.

     After childhood, it seems to me that all relationships are built on expediency.  People can be friends only while it is worthwhile to know each other.  Even then there is a sharp struggle for status and social place.  One party has to be dominant.  The struggle for leadership is the most important thing.  If one party won’t go under the relationship can’t exist.

      Everyone wants to be superior to the other.  The concept of equality is only important for the low man on the totem pole.  In a static society maybe a rough sort of equality might obtain but I don’t think so, everyone would just know their place.

     The ability to consider other people as equals is also being seriously undermined by TV.  If you watch the shows you will notice that it is always the story of the mastermind and his stooges.  Some guy, for no apparent reason, thinks he is a leader.  He has no credentials.  He isn’t even successful in a conventional way; he has no training; he is even uneducated if not illiterate.  But he has charisma.  For some reason, brash over confidence, I suppose, we are to believe that this guy possesses the answer that nobody else can find.  Everybody recognizes this take charge guy’s superiority.  His response is always:  I don’t know the answer, but let’s try this.  He never knows anything but he always succeeds.  Everyone hastens to assist him.  Superbly educated scientists subserve him; he commands generals who have been trained to leadership and they leap to obey his commands.

     The TV image creates the reality or, at least, a very large body of imposters trying to assume the image.  I have known all kinds of guys trying to assume that image.  They can’t.  And when you refuse to accord them the dignity, you deny their fantasy, they hate you.  They think you’re the arrogant upstart.

     These guys are going to get really frustrated, twist; in the not too distant future after repeated denials of their omnip0tence; some of these guys are going to crack.  They’re going to show up with guns and just start shooting everybody down.  TV is really being misused.  TV is evil.  None of those guys is ever going to be around when you need them, and they’re users, so I’d rather be sitting cozy with a bundle in the bank rather than trying to cultivate them.’

     ‘You’ll notice I don’t have a TV.  I certainly agree with you about that.’  Suzanne replied who really liked this type of discussion.  ‘But still my friends have been a great help to me.  They give me things and I learn lots from them that I might otherwise not know.  I mean,’  she leaned forward breathlessly, ‘I think you will understand this, because of them I have seen and talked to God.’

      ‘Oh yeah?  How’s that?’  Dewey said trying to conceal his contempt of anyone who claimed to have talked to God.

     ‘Well, my friends are pretty hep.  They know about things lots sooner than other people.’  She said nodding in the direction of the records.  ‘Have you ever hear of LSD Dewey?’

      ‘Uh…no, what is it?’  Dewey lied.

     ‘It’s this new hallucinogen that you take and it opens up your doors of perception so you can see God and have really truly mystical experiences.’

     ‘What’s a hallucinogen, some kind of drug like heroin?’

     ‘No, it’s not a drug, it’s entirely different.  It makes you see things in a way you’ve never seen them before and better, more clearly, with total reality.  I’m an entirely different person.  I feel like a real god compared to people who haven’t taken it.’  She reached out and touched his arm by way of apology for having distanced herself so much from him.  But she spoke the truth.  she now felt in a world, a class apart, they all did.

     Suzanne belonged to the folk half of the post-war period.  She had passed through the whole period but on a level above the Beatniks but below Society.  She had in fact been what would have been known as a groupie for the folk musicians.  she had met and knew most of them and had loved them all.  They all enjoyed her.  She had been a fixture at the ‘hungry i’, that preeminent San Francisco folk nightclub.

     She had never had to work.  Gifts had come her way.  She had never questioned them.  She gave freely of the love she genuinely felt in her heart, the heart of a good loving woman, and she saw nothing amiss in what she considered the outpouring of love in the form of gifts from her admirers.  Perhaps they saw it that way too.  She should have been a little more mercenary requiring something more substantial than what only amounted to baubles.  She would not then have been delinquent in her mortgage payment.

      She was so beautiful, so lovely, so the eternal woman that she could have chosen men with discrimination.  Even in her choice of folkies she chose well if not lucratively.  The folkies were a bunch of great guys.  They had their limitations of course but a more decent group of men never existed.

     Suzanne had been the belle of their balls.  She had presided as queen at all their get togethers.  Of course, she had to be supported, that is, until she got old.  Now, not only was Suzanne superannuated but the whole folk scene was vanishing.  This year was the year of transition from the folk half to the rock half of the post-war era.  The next generation was about to transform the music into folk-rock and blues based electric rock.  There was to be no place left for the acoustic folkies.  The amplified hand held bass guitar destroyed them.

     If any year was crucial to the transition from the old to the the new 1964 was it.  Timothy Leary had lent Harvard’s imprimatur to experimentation in drugs.  The Beats had spread Marijuana throughout the Bay and now LSD and the other hallucinogens would lend Harvard’s credibility to the weed.

     Musical groups like the Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Dead and Big Brother and the Holding Company were already destroying the folk scene.  The ‘hungry i would be replaced by the Matrix and electric music.  Within just a couple years the rock musical sensibility would sweep all other musical forms from the charts.

     The Beat writers who emerged in 1959 were changing the consciousness of the youth.  Marshall McLuhan, that incredible master of nonsense, that twentieth century Edward Lear and Lewis Carroll rolled into one, was about to publish his book ‘Understanding Media.’   Everything but the premiss was wrong, but it was found to be true that the Medium is the Message.  Carlos Casteneda was relating the absurd adventures of Don Juan and J.R.R. Tolkien had woven the fantasy of the Hobbits and their Ring.  All the elements for the rock half of the post-war world were in place waiting to take effect.

     News may travel fast but it penetrates slowly.  As Dewey and Suzanne sat by the river in the warm California sun eating the oranges that came all the way from China neither had an inkling of what was happening.  It was as though a Japanese farmer looking up from his fields toward Hiroshima and noticing  the funny mushroom shaped cloud asked:  ‘What’s that?’

     Suzanne was too old to make the change.  that very lovely woman was about to lose all.  Dewey would catch the wave and ride the crest into shore.  Neither knew they were sitting on opposite sides of the same abyss.  Suzanne’s implicit faith in friends who gave her drugs saddened Dewey.  From his male point of view he could see what had happened and what would happen to Suzanne.  She was totally lovable as the eternal female.  As such he had fallen in love with her at sight.  But, as the eternal female he knew that men were irresistable to her.  She loved to much and too well.  He could never respect such a woman and could love her only from a distance.

     Out of love for Suzanne, at the risk of humiliating himself, he thought to tell here what any woman less a woman than Suzanne must surely know.  Dewey heaved a great sigh, then began:

     ‘As a token of friendship they gave you dugs?  Now, Suzanne one can never get out one’s mind what isn’t in it.  The only way to break on through to the other side if such a thing can be done is by analyzing your own mind.  Drugs will only mess you up, even new stuff like LSD.  All drugs are bad.  Men are peculiar animals!  I love everything about the way you live Suzanne.  I don’t know about a lot of the artists you listen to and I haven’t read a lot of these books you have.  I hate to admit it but I haven’t even heard of a lot of them.  But I’ve done a lot of reading, you know, all kinds of things, I like ancient history a lot.

      And, you know, there was a time when mankind didn’t know about procreation.  The female of the species was the source of increase so Man woshipped the Great Mother.  Women were available to all men, in theory at least, or as a woman might put it all men were available to her.  But then Man discovered paternity.  He learned that he was the inseminator.  In his vanity he became the Creator.  The Great Mother became the passive receptacle of his creativity rather than the source of all things.

     With the knowledge of paternity came the desire for immortality by creating a son in his own image much as God created Man in his own image.  That’s why all men think they’re gods Suzanne.  The Great Mother cult was unrestrained in its sexuality and orgiasm which runs counter to self-control and reason.  Man was also becoming more conscious of who he was and his surroundings, hence he left the Garden and entered the World.

      Now the Great Mother had to be destroyed for those two reasons.  Reason had to supplant unreason and women had to become the property of men so that paternity could, hopefully, be assured.  Beyond that men have no real use for women.  But men like them and want them because they are beautiful and desirable.  But men don’t want responsibilities so if they can get what they want without obligations so much the better.  You dig?

     Men have been good to you because you are beautiful and I suspect, because you know who you are and how to manage them.  But, you know Suzanne, everything changes.  There comes a time when the incoming tide washes away the magnificent sand castles built on the strand.  We have to retreat further inland and start a new life.  Do you get my drift?’

     ‘I think I do, Dewey.’  Suzanne said with a tear in her lovely eye.  No mascara ran down her cheek because she didn’t wear makeup.  She was hep to the bone.  ‘I think what you’re saying is that I should find a harbor for my craft.’

      ‘Well, yes.  In your shoes, I suppose I would leave the well traveled roads and look for that Mansion On The Hill, put the past behind me and look to the future.  You have had the best of lives.  Looking at your records, Suzanne, I can tell by the covers that they’re all old.  I mean, I like folk music too but I’ve never heard of half those people.  You don’t have any Limelighters or Glenn Yarborough, no Christy Minstrels or any new stuff.  Even then Folk has just about run its course.  It’s really turning trite and sappy.

     You don’t look like you could do Jazz and you’re too old for Rock n’ Roll.’  Dewey bit his tongue.  ‘So I’d look to those new vistas opening on the horizon there.’

     Suzanne looked at him long and pensively.  The changes he was talking about clicked through her brain in successive images but she couldn’t retain any of them long enough to form a sentence.  She intuited the truth of what he had said even admired the way he had said it but she liked men, not a man, men.

     She liked the intoxication of feeling universally desired.  What would she do to get that?  No.  The die was cast.

      Dewey really liked Suzanne but now it was time to go.  She had that quality; he wanted to do something for her.  Unfortunately his money was in his billfold, one of those clunky things that made it look like a man had tumor on his buttock.  He didn’t want to stand there and ostentatiously withdraw money to give her.

     ‘Um, I have to go Suzanne.  May I use your bathroom?’

     In the bathroom Dewey took a five out of his billfold, a lot of money to him at the time, put it in his front pocket and went back to Suzanne at the table with the oranges on it.

     ‘Well, Suzanne, I have to leave.  I’ve got work to do but, look, here’s five dollars.  I want you to have it, you know, I mean, uh, keep it.’

     ‘Oh, Dewey, I couldn’t take your money.’

     ‘Sure, just consider it a loan.’

     ‘How would I ever be able to pay you back?’

     ‘Oh, if not me then loan it to somebody else sometime.’

     ‘Here, here Dewey take some oranges.  They come all the way from China.’   She said thrusting three oranges at him.

      ‘Thanks.  I love you, Suzanne.’

      Then Dewey walked out into the sunshine across the causeway.  He got into his car, backed out and was half a block away when the air was split by the roar of two motorcycles.  Fat Tony and Stig wheeled into the parking space.

     ‘Who the fuck was that, Stig?’  Fat Tony roared.

     ‘I don’t know Ton’ but only bill collector’s wear suits.’

     ‘Come ’round here and we’ll stomp his ass good.’

     ‘Damn right.’

     ‘She’s ours now.  Wait’ll you see her.  Cans out to here.  That folk singer guy told me about her.  I was here last night and wooee.’

     Four black engineer’s boots thundered across Suzanne’s walkway.

     ‘Say mama, I’m here, and look who I brought, my friend Stig I told ya about.  Say, who was that guy I saw drivin’ away.  Don’t want to see him no more.  You ours now, Mama.

     What the hell do you call these, bitch?’  Fat Tony said pointing to the oranges.  ‘Why the hell don’t you get some American oranges that look like oranges should.’  So saying Fat Tony pitched the basket of oranges out the window.  The orange balls rolled out across the black mud flat where they would soon be bobbing on the incoming tide.  Some would be left clinging to the foliage on the bank, some would be swept out to sea through the Golden Gate perhaps to return all the way to China.

     ‘Come on, Bitch, get outta those rags and get on your hands and knees me and Stig wanna fuck.  We’re horny as hell.’

     Dewey got on the freeway speeding on down to Mill Valley for the next call.  He looked over at the three oranges on the seat where he had placed them.  Picking them up he tossed them out the window into the middle of the freeway where they rolled down the fast lane.  Sploot, sploot, tires shot the juice into traffic.

      Dewey forgot that he had ever met Suzanne.

 

 

 

Disco Donn Demands Deliverance

by

R.E. Prindle

Part II-2

     You take your life in your hands when out there in the great beyond on the highway.  It’s a place beyond the reach of the law.  Lawless people drive the highways looking for excitement and adventure.  Lawless people put their thumbs out for the same reason.  The driver never knows who’s getting in the car; the hitchhiker never knows who’s driving.

     Al, who had introduced himself, looked all right but that could change pretty quickly.  Hitchhikers disappear all the time.  Donn, hesitated, reluctant to put his fate in the old man’s hands.

     ‘It’s all right, son.  You’ve got nothing to worry about.  I’m not queer.’

     ‘Sure.’ D0nn said with an ironic smile, accepting both out of trust and weariness.  ‘I’d be grateful.’

     They wheeled into Richland crossing the great Columbia River then down to Pasco and across the snake at the confluence of the two rivers, then east toward Eureka in the orchards and farmlands.

     ‘You know, son, religion can be a cover for real moral anarchy.  A lot of people forget that morality is the whole reason for religion not politics.  If you can’t do a kindness for your fellow man then your religion don’t mean a thing.  Love is the law and I don’t mean mere sex.  It’s a simple answer, it’s a trite answer, it’s an ignored and overlooked answer.  The answer runs at cross purposes to most men’s inclination.  It’s an answer that has to be told over and over from generation to generation.  It’s an answer that should be in every book ever written.  If you ever write a book promise me you’ll put it in yours, Donn.’

page 51.

     ‘Sure.  If I ever write a book, I will.’  Donn glibly answered.  What else could he do.  What an odd request.

     ‘Love,’ the old boy went on, somewhat tediously, ‘By love I mean charity.  Not alms giving, but goodwill toward your neighbor.  Charity in the old fashioned sense of the word.  It is true what Jesus said:  A man must have faith, hope and charity.  The greatest of these is charity.  For if a man hath not charity his voice will be as the sounding brass.  It’s true.  Without kindness your words merely rasp and buzz.  No one will listen to you.  So, love your neighbor, son.’

     ‘I’ve done that before.’  Donn said with a smirk, turning to look out the window.

     By now Donn was hoping the lecture was over.  He saw the validity of the lecture but he could find no application in his past, present or future.  He smiled at the old geezer and shook his head.  At least this guy was better than Zadok and Amirah.

     Al pulled off the highway a couple miles past Eureka to drive about five miles toward the Snake.  There was the neatest, prettiest little farmstead Donn had ever seen.  The square, frame house stood on a little rise surrounded by small trees and bushes.  The house reflected the kind gentility of Al Martin.  As within, so without.

     Within the hour Donn had washed, shaved and was between clean sheets drifting off into oblivion.

page 52.

     Donn was too exhausted to sleep soundly,  He woke two or three times during the night, his mind too numbed to rouse himself from bed, his thoughts too crowded to separate into strands he could analyze.  Morning found him seated at the breakfast table dazed, listless and despondent.

     Al Martin studied him intently from across the kichen.  He said:  ‘You know Donn, keeping this place up isn’t easy for a man my age.  I got a whole bunch of chores needs doin’.  If you help me out you can stay for a week or so till everything gets done.  Can’t offer you more than room and board, but…’

     Donn shook his head yes:  ‘Yeah, Al, that would be great.  I can do that.  What needs to be done?’

     Donn pitched in with good will.  Over the week he worked on his problems while he worked, rather than whistled, for Al.  As he had his last breakfast with Al the worst of the numbness was gone.  He had toughened a little but the future still dismayed him casting a dark pall over his mind.  He had identified Maggie as the culprit.  A growing powerless hatred began to envelope him.

     Al drove him back to the highway, thanked him and dropped him off as the morning heat began to build.

     Al Martin had been a solitary ray of sunshine piercing through the great black storm clouds over Donn.  The respite Al had given Donn served him well; his nerves were strengthened and he had time to make some necessary adjustments to his psyche from his fall from grace.  Grimmer events were now to occur.  The hammer blows of his destiny would not allow him to rise but his descent to beyond the depths of despair would be slower.

page 53.

     Donn had been out there for a couple hours.  The morning sun had turned to an afternoon bake, god almighty hot.  Blistering.  The blacktop wasn’t bubbling but it looked like it was about to boil any minute.  The stuff actually moved beneath Donn’s heel.  Donn still wearing his Disco clothes was drenched.

     ‘Hey, Cowboy, need a ride?’

     It wasn’t a beautiful woman in a Cadillac, it was four Mexican braceros in a beatup old ’61 Chevy.  The question had a sinister tone to it.

     ‘I’m looking for a ride to St. Louis.’ Donn said ludicrously, declining the ride.

    His response was met by raucous laughter.

    ‘Hey, there aint’ no St. Louis around here, man.’

     One of the men, they were all eighteen to twenty-three, got out of the back and motioned Donn to sit in the middle.  In the middle surrounded on both sides and vulnerable from the front.  Not a good hitchhiking situation.

     ‘No, man, no.  Thanks, but I mean St. Louis, Missouri.’  In hitchhiking terms this was a virtual insult.

     ‘Hey, you muchachos hear of this place, St. Louis, Missouri?’

     The query was answered by a chorus of noes and ‘there ain’t no such place as St. Louis, Missouri, man.  There ain’t no such place as Missouri.’  More raucus laughter.

page 54.

     ‘Get in, man.  We give you ride.’  The guy holding the door open smiled, the other three doors cracked open as if the occupants were going to get out.

     Donn got in.  This was not the worst thing he could have done.  Had he not they might have made short work of him with tire irons, knives and whatnot, conversely he might have outsprinted them across the burning desert.  When you’re way out there without hope or friends in alien territory you just naturally have to make difficult decisions.  Donn’s hope was not unjustified.  Nor did he behave abjectly to deal with this difficulty.

     Once in the car the Mexicans became verbally abusive of him.  They called him blondie, ridiculed his mustache and insulted his sexual prowess.

     Then the passenger in the front seat, Juan Perez, who was somewhat vain of his pysique flexed his biceps saying: ‘Hey, man.  See that arm?  I can knock you out with one punch, man.’

     As Juan said so, the driver, Pedro Martinez, swang onto a dirt road leading into the hills.  Donn felt a chill in the un-air-conditioned car but didn’t flinch.  He’d gotten his opening.

     ‘Yeah, man?  Maybe, but you’d never get to land a punch.  I was scientific (he threw the word in for effect) boxing champion at SMU.’

     ‘SMU?  What’s that?’  Juan said, overawed by something he didn’t know.

page 55.

     ‘Scientific Mangling University.  You want to go a round or two with me, stop and car and I’ll show you some real science.’

     Juan was frightened by unfamiliar terms like science and SMU and became apprehensive.  He didn’t want to go a couple rounds but he wanted Donn to show him some of his moves.

     The driver pulled over; they all got out.  Donn and Juan squared away.  As Donn had predicted Juan couldn’t come close to landing a punch.  The Mexicans were duly impressed.  After Donn had shown them a few moves Juan said:  ‘Hey man, for a gringo you’re alright.  Then they piled back into the Chevy amidst more raucus laughter leaving Donn standing among the heatwaves in the field.

     In that heat it was an hour and a half walk back to the highway.  Donn caught a number of short rides.  As the sun was setting he was dropped off just past Tucannon a couple miles from Fort Kwakiutl.  He decided to walk into town.  Fort Kwakiutl was a small town, barely on the map, but it did host a Starlight Motel, a restaurant, a bar and a couple gas stations.  Spoiled by his stay at Al Martin’s Donn decided to stay at the Starlight.

    He checked in, cleaned up and went to the restaurant to eat.  He was relatively relaxed and hungry.  He had a lot of money so he ate heartily.  Ed Quigley sat at the bar watching him.  ‘That hobo’s got some money.’  Ed thought darkly.  ‘I bet nobody knows where he’s at or why.’

     Quigly was a big beefy man.  Though much out of shape, big paunchy belly, he thought he could handle a little guy like Donn.  He moseyed over inviting himself to Donn’s table.  He plunked his beer down on the table.

page 56.

     ‘Howdy, podna.’

     ‘Uh, howdy.’

     ‘Saw ya walkin’ inta town.  You a ‘knight of the road.’

     Donn laughed amiably.  ‘Let’s just say I’m passing through.’

     ‘Oh yeah?  Must be hitchhiking?’

     ‘Yes, I am.’  Donn replied.

     ‘Say, listen, buddy, I gotta proposition for ya.  I’m goin’ inta Boise tomorrow.  If you got twenty for gas I’ll take ya along.’

     Donn thought a minute.  He was weary of the road.  He’d been at it for a couple weeks and he still wasn’t out of the state of Washington.  By now he felt a little more confident.  He was anxious now to get to St. Louis.  He didn’t dare say he was broke because Quigly could see the remains of his dinner.

     ‘I’ve blown just about everything I have here tonight.  Bummed it along the way.  It’s a good chance though.  Could you take ten?  He didn’t want to give the idea that he could afford more.  A few more miles down the road of life and Donn would understand how transparent he had been.

     Quigly looked at him, seemed doubtful, then said:  ‘Yeah, sure, OK.  Ten’s better than nothin’.’

     ‘It’s a deal.’  Donn smiled.

     ‘One thing,’  Quigly said.  ‘I’m leaving early, four in the morning.’

     ‘OK.’  From Donn.  ‘Where are you going to be?’

     ‘There’s a big oak tree two miles outta town.  It’s the only tree that size out there.  Can’t miss it.  Meet me there.  In any case I’ll drive slow so I won’t miss you.’

page 57.

     Donn was up trudging through the night to his four o’ clock rendezvous.  Quigly was waiting for him.

     Injuring our fellow man is quite akin to sexual intercourse.  You work yourself up in pretty much the same way.  As they sped up Hwy. 12 through Delancy Donn had intuited from Ed’s rutting manner what was up.  There was no surprise when Quigly swung into a side road moving between two hills by an arroyo.

     Ed left the motor running.  ‘Alright, Cowboy, now I know ya got money.  Ya don’t eat like that and stay at the Starlight if ya don’t.  Ya can give it to me peacefully or I can beat it out of ya.  It’s up to you; it’s your choice, you call it, what’s it gonna be?’

     Donn opened his door and jumped out.

     Still leaving the engine of his beater running Quigly got out huffily, ‘Alright, son-of-a-bitch, if that’s the way you want it.’

     Quigley’s confidence caused him to over expend his energies too quickly.  Donn played him like a trout on a line util  Quigly, breathless, held up a hand for Donn to wait while he caught his breath.  Donn had a different role for himself than in Quigly’s fantasy.  He moved in giving Quigly everything he had.  Quigly unprepared for the response, caught between gasps, rolled onto the ground.

    As he did something snapped in Donn.  He wanted vengeance for everything; his rape, football, boxing, Maggie’s treatment, everything.  As Quigly fell Donn leaped on him picking up a big rock and bringing it down repeatedly on Quigly’s head until the corpse was nearly headless.

page 58.

     As Donn came to himself there was no remorse.  He was both sickened and relieved.  He was no killer but the release had been very satisfying.  In any case he had no cause for self-recrimination as he had killed Quigly in self-defense.  His conscience was clear, but as a drifter, the preponderance of proof was his, he didn’t have any.

     Acting quickly he dragged Quigly’s nearly headless body over to the arroyo and threw it in.  Fate was on his side as the body rolled under a ledge and wedged in out of sight.  Quigley’s precaution of leaving early lest he be seen with Donn worked to Donn’s advantage.  No one had seen them.

     Quigly’s old beater was still running.  Donn got in behind the wheel, turned the old buggy around and got out on the highway to Boise and beyond to Salt Lake City.

     Mentally Donn tried to sweep the killing of Quigly into the dust bin of his memory as he had his reprehensible sexual relations that he detested.

     He wanted to believe that he had only witnessed the killing but his conciousness rejected the falsehood.  Forced to deal with reality he came to the right conclusion- he had killed in self-defence.  Quigly’s unlucky day.  But justly or not he knew that as a drifter and with the suit back in Portland and assigned to a public defender he was lost.

     It then dawned on him also that in the eyes of the law he was driving a stolen car.  And what a car!  The big beast was a favorite of urban desperadoes; a huge old carcass of a ’63 Olds.  The immense rusty hood stretched out before him to eternity.  The vinyl top was ragged and torn.  The giant trunk lid was held down by a wire.  The worn tires made 100% constact with the road; the tread was gone.  Quigly was no mechanic.  The engine roared around faint rattles coming from diverse places.

page 59

     The interior was trashed, the glove compartment hanging open; seats and roof lining torn, butts all over the floor and even on the seats.  Quigly had customized it to reflect his inner malaise.  As within, so without.  Gradually Donn realized what he was driving.  These were no cosmic wheels; this was no astral vehicle.

     The realization drove all other thoughts from his mind.  His brow knitted; he put the first two fingers of his right hand to his lips and gazed about in dismay.  He sat back and tried to look cool.  Revulsion overcame him.  He realizied how low he had sunk.

     ‘There must be some way out of here.’  He thought.

     He made Boise the next morning.  Disgusted with himself and his situation; embarrassed now by the Disco Donn facet of his personality he bought a levi jacket, jeans and a couple sweaters to adapt to his new situation.  Tennis shoes for walking.  In fact Donn shed all the facets of his multi-faceted personality but one.  His multi-facets could only be supported by prosperity.  He reverted back to the Texas gold old boy personality he had when he entered Portland.

page 60.

     Don began to be really apprehensive about driving the big beast but he wanted to make Salt Lake before he aband0ned it.  To make matters worse a patch on the radiator gave way about Brigham City.  He began to make frequent stops at gas stations to fill up the radiator in hopes of cooling the engine well enough to make Salt Lake City.  He steamed through Odgen and into the suburbs of Salt Lake as a blistering heat wave through the fire wall roasted his feet and legs.

     He wheeled into a side street.

 

Guilty Of the Shame

 

We know there’s a dark side

To the moon that we see;

But what’s a little darkness

To the likes of you and me.

-Jesse Winchester

     Donn stepped out of the steaming heap looking at it in vengeful disgust to turn his steps back to the highway.  As he did a pair of blue eyes watched him approach.  The eyes, all the luster having departed, belonged to Sandy Tyler.  Sandy, now well into her thirties, was a refugee from the dolorous broken dreams of the sixties.  Trapped in a state of arrested adolescence, her mind inundated by drugs, she was arrayed in the symbols of the mock poverty of the late sixties. 

     She had once been a very beautiful young woman.  While she sought desperately to retain the vestiges of that beauty against the ravages of drugs and despair only mere glimmers of her former freshness remained.  Superb bone structure prevented her face from dissolving into sheer ugliness.  Beneath her T-shirt emblazoned with the logo of some indiotic post-1975 heavy metal band her once firm high breasts sagged braless down to her belt loops.  Her jeans had the obligatory tears across each knee.  There was a tear beneath each cheek of her derriere which exposed white skin no longer firm or translucent.  Her jeans were tucked into brown suede boots, calf high, turned down.  A certain pride of former glory still clung to her presence.

page 61.

     One might well blame Sandy for a wasted life but the shame was not hers; it belonged to American society.  She had been dragged down completely innocent and against her will with no menfolks to defend her degradation.  In circumstances which you in your comfort would dismiss with a comment like:  Oh well, life’s not fair.

     Sandy had come from Cincinatti, Ohio.  She had come from well-to-do parents who had raised her to be the model of decorum.  She had breeding.  She had been blond and pert with a beautiful figure.  Psychologically she had been as well balanced as one of twenty can be.  Her expectations were those that one would associate with her background.

     She had married Bert Tyler who she had met and fallen in love with at the University Of Ohio.  Upon graduation Bert had taken a job with Standard of California and moved to San Francisco.  This was in 1964 when the subterranean rumbles of massive change could be heard and experienced if not understood.  The times were changing at incredible speed as they usually are when you’re in the middle of them.  Intelligence and precaution were not enough to save you; you had to play dodgeball with the juggernaut and win.  Luck was of the greatest importance.  Luck was not with Sandy Tyler.

page 62.

     Sandy’s husband was something of a rake.  Unresolved wildness lived in his soul.  He wasn’t ready to settle down to middle class respectability.  He suggested that he and Sandy take up residence in the North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco,  that wicked, wicked city of transients.  Tourists ooh and aah over Baghdad By The Bay.  But beneath the charming exterior of the Bay and cable cars of the City all is sour and corrupt.  The spirit of Tom Mooney and Harry Bridges hovers over the City.  There is a seething hatred and class envy which negates the charms of the location.  All San Francisco is a suberb of Chinatown.  It is no accident that Beatniks and Hippies flourished there.

     The Sixties seethed and boiled with unremitting vigor.  Contrasted to the glitter of the scientific accomplishments of the times, cities decayed into ruin before your eyes.  The Maelstrom whirled all around you.  One had to learn to navigate its currents to survive.  It was wise to avoid the use of drugs in a city of drug proliferation.  Heroin was the least of your worries.  Only junkies used heroin and they are a class unto themselves.  One can look at a junkie and realize immediately that junkieism  is a trap to be avoided.  Cocaine, which has a long history of societal use beginning with its first pusher, Sigmund Freud, was nowhere prevalent at the time.  Cocaine didn’t become common until the seventies.  Marijuana was not yet everywhere but was indispensable to the Underground.  Exotica such as peyote and mescaline and mushrooms were still of a semi-legendary character.

page 63.

     The man made drugs were prevalent.  Amphetamines, barbiturates and LSD were everywhere.  Stanford University advertised in the papers for ‘psychological’ subjects.  As it turned out the subjects were wanted for drug experimentation.  They were given massive doses of LSD.  This gave a certain legitimacy to their use.  After all, the high priest of acid was a defrocked professor from Harvard, Timothy Leary.

     The world of drug use was being popularized and glamorized by the evangel of the generation- the phonograph record.  The psyche of the era cannot be understood without a thorough knowledge of the recorded music and comedy of the era, comedy may have been as important as the music.  The phonograph record was the single most important factor in the lives of the generation except for, perhaps, the psychologically inert.  The generation was raised on records.

     To understand the music, which is to say songs, you have to start with the incoherent  shouting and strumming of a black blues shouter by the name of Huddie ‘Leadbelly’ Ledbettor and follow the chain through the various white blues singers until you end at the Kingston Trio.  From thence Ledbettor’s songs and stylings entered the main stream.  Thus the mind of the sixities generation was conditioned by an outsider’s slave and prison mentality.  Let that Midnight Special shine its ever loving light on me.

     At the same time a group of men were setting about to create the ‘rucksack revolution.’

page 64.

     Here comes a no-no in American letters.  We’re going to discuss imigration in a realistic rather than romantic fashion.  This group of men who sought to influence and undermine American civilization were, with one exception, the sons of immigrants who were reacting to the inconveniences of being foreign elements integrating into an existing social structure.  Jack Kerrouac was a Catholic French Canadian, Allen Ginsberg was a Jew from the Pale, William S. Burroughs was the descendent of the inventor of the calculator who apparently rejected logical thinking in favor of anarchy,  Gregory Corso and Lawrence Ferlinghetti were Italians.

     An Anglo view of the group can be found in John Clellon Holmes autobiographical novel ‘Go.’  They all grew to maturity between the wars when the conflict between Anglo-American society and immigrant society was most intense.  The Anglo-American demand that the immigrants shed their ethnic beliefs and characters created an intense reaction.  Carl Witte epitomized the struggle in his early forties book:  We Built America.

     As the immigrant population equaled or exceeded that of the Anglo-Americans it was perhaps inevitable that they should triumph.  In any event they did.  By 1950 all the trappings of Anglo culture were being torn down to be replaced by symbols that either asserted other ethnic origins or pointedly and often violently rejected Anglo symbols.

     Where formerly immigrants had been rejected and reviled by the Anglos the immigrants now quickly turned the tables.  While the sons and daughters of the Anglos had been brought up to believe in the incredible homogeneity of American society the sons and daughters of the immigrants sought to bring the Anglos down.  The humiliation of Sandy Tyler was the result of those feelings.

page 65.

     The Beat writers, as these men have been called, represented the grossest materialism.  They were all drunks, perverts and drug addicts.  They sought to impose those values on America.  The onslaught was led by Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerrouac.  Both had done time in the bughouse or insane asylum.  Oddly enough the whole group was exposed for what they were long before they became effective by John Clellon Holmes.  Holmes’ premonitory warning was not understood.  Why should anyone worry about a bunch of bums.

     Kerrouac glorified the subculture in ‘On The Road’, ‘The Dharma Bums’, ‘The Subterraneans’ and other novels.  Ginsberg contributed an insane chant called ‘Howl.’  Through their success from 1956 to 1959 they were able to get Burroughs’ scream of hatred ‘Naked Lunch’ published.  He followed this by the influential ‘Soft Machine’ and ‘Nova Express.’

     The Beat writers were well received by the Underground.  Evidences of their cultural impact were obvious in San Francisco and the Bay Area in the early sixties.  They were not so obvious and understandable to the larger society which had heard little of the Beat writers.  As Bob Dylan expressed it: ‘…there’s something happening here but you don’t know what it is, do you…?’

     Dylan himself, who as a recording artist, was a major influence on the sixties, appears to have drawn so much inspiration for his middle period from Kerrouac and Burroughs that he can be described as a post-Beat writer.

page 66.

     The Beat writers originally tried to oerganize the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco but the Beatniks themselves, who came from an earlier period uninfluenced by Beat writers chose North Beach as their headquarters. 

     While the Beatniks dominated North Beach the Hippie culture was being formed in the Haight-Ashbury at the same time.  This culture found expression in the music of the San Francisco Sound.  Marty Balin, no one knows which two swords he carried, and the Jefferson Airplane musical group were establishing the Matrix nightclub while the rock clubs would supplant the jazz clubs of the Beatniks and transfer the focal point of the scene from North Beach back to the Haight-Ashbury.

     In addition to the Anglo-Immigrant conflict the old struggle between the Black Folk and the White Folk was assuming new dimensions.  The Blacks were demanding social equality- whatever that is.  One doesn’t want to generalize excessively where the Blacks are concerned because theirs is also a society of many diverging opinions and attitudes, nevertheless in a sizable majority of Blacks ‘social equality’ involved what is known as ‘the Payback.’  Blacks feel that they are owed something for the indignities placed on them by White Society.  This opinion is shared by a not unsizable group of Whites, so long as some other Whites pay the bill.

     Racial memories are not obliterated in a moment, a generation or even several generations.  Whites seem to have the inexplicable notion that the memory of unjust deeds can be removed by an apology, or checks drawn on someone else’s account.  Whites seem to think that things are thereby cured and resentments will disappear.  Blacks who have suffered grievous injuries with marvelous equanimity don’t believe so.

page 67.

     One of the most humiliating indignities Black women had to endure during the slave era was to be at the beck and call of any White man.  Literally, a White male could take any Black woman by the arm and lead her off to minister to his sexual needs at any time.  If she were the wife of a Black man there was absolutely nothing he could do about it but endure the shame.  So, the Payback involves White women.  Black men demand the same privilege with White women that White men had with Black women.  Everything in life gets down to a sexual offence.

     As there was no social apparatus to suport their hopes and ambitions as their had been for White men, Black men had to enforce their desires surreptitiously. 

     Thus, of a foggy overcast midday, nearly all days are foggy and overcast in San Francisco, Sandy Tyler was walking down Grant St. in North Beach on the way to the laundromat.  She was the epitome of a what a young White woman should be.  She was beautiful.  All eyes turned.  She was innocent.  She walked the streets of North Beach as though they were the streets of her upper class neighborhood in Cincinatti.

     Among the Beats and degenerates, the Blacks and Italians of this very Italian neighborhood her very Anglo dress and style stood out like Jane in Tarzan’s Africa.  Deep racial instincts stirred at the sight of her.  She had been trained to believe that assimilation in America had been complete.  All people were kind.  It is still a myth that most adhere to.

page 68.

     Sheldon Washington, a drug dealer and a huge Black man stood talking on the corner before the The Gate Of Wine Coffee House.  The Gate was a quintessential Beatnik Coffee House of the era.  Despite its name, which came from the Gilgamesh, no liquor was served.  Each night local poets, writers, thinkers and simple complainers held forth from the podium to the assembled multitude.  Unlike the Hippies, the Beatniks were well educated and much intelligent discourse could be heard at the Gate.

     Unfortunately complainers like the said Seldon Washington also inflicted themselves on the audience.  Sheldon had bent the ears of the audience for fifty-three minutes twenty-two seconds the night previous complaining about how a Spade Cat couldn’t walk down the street with a Honky chick without drawing stares.  His argot was so new that half the audience picked up Spade Cat as spayed cat and had no idea what a Honky Chick was.  Perhaps a spayed cat and an honky chick should be stared at.

     But at this moment that Sandy chose to walk by, the Man was being being waited on by his Honky heroin addict.  The addict, thin and unkempt, stood holding his money in his hand eagerly pressing it on Sheldon who was in no hurry to hand him his balloon.  In fact he didn’t have one on him.  the junkie would have to wait a little longer.

      Sheldon stood drawing out the wasted junkie’s agony when Sandy entered the intersection drawing his attention.  Now, Sheldon was one of those Black giants at six-four, two-eighty whose muscalature was concealed beneath the immense smooth expanse of his biceps and chest.  If he just raised his arm and let if fall on your back he could knock you down.  He was wearing a black Italian undershirt over his dark brown body.

page 69.

     Sheldon was so enchanted that he let out an involuntary long low whistle.  A girl of White breeding, Sandy ignored it as she properly should.  Breeding was unknown in North Beach where other standards applied.  Indignant at what he considered arrogance, Sheldon bellowed:  ‘Say mama, that was a compliment to your beautiful booty.’

     Well, Sandy seldom answered to ‘mama’, never acknowledged strange men on the street, let alone Black men, and had she known that ‘booty’ referred to her ass she would have been indignant.  But then, that was Cincinatti, this was North Beach.  Sandy responded by sticking her nose in the air pointedly ignoring Sheldon.

     Washington’s attitude changed abruptly.  Washington belonged to the Black Brotherhood and associated with the Junkie Brotherhood.  In both the individual identity is submerged in the collective identity.  One is immediately on familiar terms with every other member of the Brotherhood.  There are no interfaces.  Thus had Sandy been a Black woman she would have smiled, perhaps shook her booty as a token of appreciation and returned some compliment as to the probable size of Sheldon’s ‘thing.’  That she didn’t angered Sheldon.  He had a very big voice which he now raised to its loudest putting the threat of direct physical violence into it.

page 70.

     ‘Say Woman,’ he bellowed,  ‘where you manners?  When a brown eyed handsome man compliments a pretty woman that woman better appreciate it or she gonna have big troubles in this man’s neighborhood.  You dig?’

     Sandy stopped dead in her tracks, terrified, as she had every reason to be.  At the sound of Sheldon’s voice the Junkie had nearly fallen to his knees groveling before the Big Black.  Other White boys along the street stared lasciviously at the beautiful girl hoping to get some of whatever Sheldon left.  Their eyes silently encouraged her to acquiesce.  Alone and small, never before confronted with such brutal customs, the White girl turned to face Sheldon’s wrath with wide staring eyes.

     ‘I sayed you got a beautiful ass, mama.’  Sheldon bellowed louded than a bass drum.

     ‘T-thank-you.’  Sandy stuttered, terrified, embarrassed and not knowing how to respond to retain her dignity as a married woman.

     That’s better, mama.’  Sheldon said attempting to console and command at the same time.  ‘Now you run along and don’t ever pull that haughty shit again, hear?’

     The White boys on the street snickered confident that Sheldon, the Spade Cat, would take what he wanted and leave the rest of the Honky Chick to them.

     ‘That’s tasty,’ each thought, ‘I’m really going to enjoy fucking that bitch.’

     The promise of America was no promise at all, it was a perverted curse.

      A week later Sandy was walking down Grant on the way to the laundry.  She didn’t know how to preserve her own boogie in The Land Of The Thousand Dances.  She walked close to the buildings rather than curbside.  The Grant St. Grocery lay on her line of march.  The grocery was one of those shallow stores with no back room; rather a section running from front to rear was walled off as a storage room.  Some ten feet or so from the store entrance was an unobtrusive door through which deliveries were made.

page 71.

     As Sandy was passing this door a hand shot out grasping her by the throat and pulling her in.  Taken completely by surprise she was not consciously aware of anything till she lay gasping and sobbing against the shelves where Sheldon Washington had discarded her.

     The scene would haunt her dreams, transformed  into symbolism she could not understand, but which would shield her from some of the shame although the terror had hypnotized her into a different person.  Sheldon, who was a very big man, wanted to teach the Honky Chick a less in humility.  Blue eyes would not secure her immunity; on Grant Street brown eyes ruled.  His method was direct action, straight terror; his intellect was of the crudest but no less effective on that account.  He had merely grabbed Sandy off the street.  Picking her up, she was only 5’3″, 110 pounds, he had shoved his pelvis forward and dropped Sandy on his penis, jiggling her up and down until he climaxed.  He had then just thrown her against the shelves where she fell in a heap. 

     The street which had been empty in anticipation of the deed silently filled as the White boys stepped from doorways, alleys and from behind telephone poles where they had been inconspicuous.  Faces came to windows, eyes staring fixedly on the side door of the grocery.

page 72.

     ‘Now let that be a lesson to you, bitch.  When some brown eyed handsome man give you compliments you give him his reward and don’t give me none of that cheap assed marriage shit neither.  You learn to treat a man right and he’ll treat you right.’

     After this lecture in ethics Seldon’s mind turned to business, for after all a man has to eat, and Sheldon’s other business was pimping.

     ‘Say, bitch, you know you got a tight little ass.  You should put that cute money maker to work for me.  I show you how to live right and tight.  You be wearing diamonds and minks; you dump that Honky cat and come with me.  I show you how to shake that money maker; you don’t be walkin’ so stiff assed down the street no mo’, walk like a righteous woman.’

     Anyone looking for a good time of any kind could always get what they wanted from Sheldon.

     Sandy let out a few incoherent howls through clenched lips as she cautiously rose to her feet not sure of what was yet in store for her.  Her mute rejection was enough for Sheldon.  He turned to the clerk who had been watching through the beaded curtain and gave him a farewell acknowledgment with the shake of a finger.  Then proudly puffing out his chest for the street people he stepped out into the dim damp gloom of Grant St. and sauntered away humming ‘White Port and Lemon Juice.’

     Sandy stumbled out on shaky legs turning back toward Telegraph Court leaning on the wall for support.  Although she could not see them, the White boys slipped unobtrusively back into their holes while the faces in the windows slid back into the shadows.

page 73.

     Sandy’s life irrelevant of subsequent events was shattered.  Her sense of purity and personal integrity was gone to be replaced by a sense of defilement and consuming guilt as though she had been the perpetrator rather than the victim.  A knowledgeable psychiatrist might have been able to help her if she had gone immediately, but probably not for she would have been unable even to tell him the sequence of events.  She couldn’t remember what happened even though she knew what had happened.

     Angelo Toretti spoke quietly to Bert Tyler from behind a cracked open door as Tyler walked from the bus stop on Columbus to his apartment.

     ‘You better watch that little filly of yours, man.  she’s got eyes for that dark meat.’

     ‘What?’  Tyler said, turning in the direction of the voice.

     ‘Ask her who Sheldon Washington is.’  Toretti said with a low chuckle pushing the door shut.

     Tyler was possessed of honky cool.  He had no idea of what the threatening words of Toretti meant.  He was mildly apprehensive.  He gripped his brief case more tightly but he continued on at his normal pace.

     He fund Sandy lying on her back, skirt above her waist, with tears streaming down her cheeks.

     ‘What did you do?’  He began oblivious to the implied condemnation in his words.

page 74.

     Sandy’s response was to  increase her sobs and sense of humiliation to the point where her slender body was so wracked by shaking and pain that it is a wonder she survived.

    Tyler was twenty-two, born in ’42.  He had grown up in the bosom of a prosperous family.  He had been taught that the world was his oyster.  Raised in his upper class neighborhood, he had been advantaged from the cradle to the present.  At six feet, sandy haired and handsome he had received favored treatment through high school and the U.ofO.  While his manners were too fine for his present neighborhood they were much appreciated at the office. 

     His marriage to Sandy had seemed a perfect blending of family, looks and brilliant future.  But beneath the handsom exterior Tyler had a rotten core.  He was self-centered to the point that he was contemptuous of others.  This included Sandy.  She was desirable to him as a showpiece that demonstrated to the world his impeccable good taste and good fortune.  He was not prepared to drag damaged goods around with him.

     He should have known that North Beach was no place for a respectable woman.  But because of his favored youth he thought himself and his possessions beyond the reach of the arrows of fortune.  In college he had used marijuana, LSD and barbituates along with the ever present examination companion, amphetamines.  As he thought himself beyond, or rather, above the dangers that drugs posed, so many of his class did, he had been fearless in their use.

page 75.

     It is probable that Sandy would never have taken drugs on her own but as Tyler was the guardian of her virtue she had followed his lead trustingly.  She still considered the drugs naughty and dangerous but she was already familiar with pot, LSD and downers.  Living dangerously, out on the edge, had been the attraction of North Beach to Tyler.

     Now that he had reaped the fruit of his daring he stood staring down at Sandy.  He was unfeeling and obtuse.  He sensed that his position had been violated, he believed he had been humiliated.  He wasn’t far wrong.

     Remembering Toretti’s words his narrow vision could only conceive that he had almost walked in on Sandy and Sheldon and that whe was sobbing because she had almost been caught.

     ‘Who is Sheldon Washington?’  He asked.

     The question was greeted by additional shaking and sobbing.  Tyler had to make an effort to calm his wife.  It was not easy.  Several hours later, well into the morning Tyler had gleaned the notion that Sheldon Washington had had his wife.  His first thought as a red blooded American boy was to go looking for Sheldon Washington.  He did so the following day having called in to work sick.

     His queries after Sheldon alerted the Spade Cat that the Honky Cat was looking for him.  He arranged to be found.  He ensconced himself in an alley on Montague Street.  There with some white junkies for effect, a couple of Black hepcats around him, he sat on a garbage can waiting.

     Tyler was directed to Sheldon’s throne room.  He marched resolutely into the alley.  As he entered Sheldon rose, hitched up his pants and flexed both arms as though he were stretching.  Both his Black confederates cleaned their nails with switchblades.  The White boys stood around snuffling and grinning.

page 76.

     ‘I hear you lookin’ for me, boy.  Whachoo want?’   

     This was urban warfare for which Tyler was unprepared.  This was not a man to man confrontation which, given the size of Washington he would not have undertaken anyway, but was rather a confrontation of the big battalions against his puny one.  A quick vision of himself lying face-up beaten, cut and bleeding among the garbage cans flashed before his eyes.  He opted out.  He turned and walked away amidst chuckles, laughter and catcalls.

     Nor should he be blamed.  The rules had been changed.  Tyler had not been informed.  His only recourse would have been to stalk Washington and blow his brains out.  This was not feasible to Tyler in his present state of mind. While Washington’s position in North Beach society protected him from identification, there would be no witness come forward to identify him in the event of a complaint, Tyler would be quickly identified.  A jail cell was waiting for him if he tried.

     Unable to endure the humiliation to his wife and his own subsequent humiliation Tyler transferred the blame to Sandy.  Then by shedding her he was able in his mind to shed the double humiliation.  At least he thought he had.

     ‘Did that nigger actually put his dick in you?’  He brutally asked Sandy.

page 78.

     While White boys profess a complete lack of prejudice toward Black Folk, this is only in the social sense.  In 1964 Tyler couldn’t endure the idea that his wife had been penetrated by a Black man qua Black man.

     ‘I didn’t do it, honey.’  Sandy protested weakly.

     ‘All I want to know is wether he put that black dick up you?’

     ‘I- I think so.’  Sandy replied, her mind reeling beneath the horror of the thought of her rape.

    ‘I think so!  I think so!  God, you must know that.  I think so!  Well, that’s good enough for me.  He did.  Well, I can’t stay with a woman who’s been defiled by a nigger.  I’m leaving.  The rent’s paid till the end of the month then you’re on your own.  My lawyer will send the papers by.  I think so!’

     Thus life pitilessly took away Sandy Tyler’s hopes and joys.  She became the victim of social forces of which she was  not even aware of in their true form.  She had been lied to by society.  The American Dream!  What a pack of lies.  Shamed beyond psychological recognition she didn’t inform her parents.  A stranger in San Francisco she drifted into the drugs and demi-monde of North Beach.

     She avoided heroin and actual prostitution but she was heavy into barbiturates and marijuana.  The leering immigrant descendants gleefully passed the Anglo girl from man to man; gleefully taking out the frustrations of sixty years of humiliation at the hands of Anglos on Sandy’s body.

      The Scene shifted from North Beach to the Haight-Ashbury; from the Beatniks to the Hippies; from Cal Tjader to the Grateful Dead; from junk to junk.

page 78.

     The Hippie Movement was the realization of the materialism that Kerrouac and Ginsberg had been pushing.  History may to a very accurate extent be characterized as the war between the Sons of Light and the Sons of Darkness.  The ascendance to spiritual perfection being the direction of the Sons of Light while the Sons of Darkness seek a return to the pure materialism of the untutored savage, the feral nature of man.  Materialism is as much a religion as spirituality but over the course of time all visible churches became of the spiritual kind.

     Because of Jewish opposition to the presence of Christianity in public schools the doctrine of the separation of church and state has been interpreted to mean that no spiritual beliefs can be taught in public schools.  This means in practice that no positive ethics can be taught.

     Thus while all eyes are trained on Catholics and Protestants for violations of the doctrine the Jews under the guise of preaching tolerance push their program through the schools.  At the same time the materialists have a free hand preaching materialism as no one understands its nature as the religion of the Sons of Darkness.

     Under the guise of helping the young student understand his sexual nature, courses, which are religious in intent, on ‘Human Sexuality’, undermine spiritualist precepts.  Spiritualists reject the indiscriminate indulgence of the senses while materialists embrace it.

page 79.

     Thus one has the concept of ‘the varieties of sexual experience.’  These include everything from homosexuality to child molestation.  All forms  of sexual expression are considered legitimate expressions of ‘human needs.’

     So, while those who preach self-control in order to create a better world are silenced in the name of ‘freedom’, the classrooms are turned over to materialists who seek to make life hell on earth.  Women are prostituted and men perverted in the name of ‘sexual freedom.’

     The media, movies and TV in particular  have been taken over by the materialists who exclude spiritualists from employment in those industries.  Black list.  On Big Screen and Small Screen they preach total self-indulgence at the expense of all other people.

     As a consequence crime and illiteracy increase geometrically.  The poor befuddled citizenry talk of ‘wars on crime’ which will never succeed as long as materialism is the dominant religion.  Take the religion of materialism  out of the schools and replace it with a spiritualist doctrine seeking the curbing of self-indulgence.  Then crime will diminish.  The war is not a war on crime but a war of moral attitudes.  The war between the Sons of Light and the Sons of Darkness.

     Needless to say, crime will never disappear.  Crime and criminals have existed since the dawn of time.  Even then the war of the Sons of Light and Darkness commenced.  Anglo-Americans were governed by the Chivalric notion of Shame.  Not that they didn’t commit crimes but the sense of shame forced them to repent or move out of society.  During the great period of European immigration Jews opposed the notion of Shame with that of Chutzpah.  Chutzpah can be defined as simply the shameless attempt to achieve one’s desires against the will of others by surprising them with extravagant audacity.  If bold enough you may overwhelm their opposition, if not, oh well, you can always ‘apologize.’

page 80

     Leaving Kerrouac aside for the moment, William S. Burroughs lived in New York City.  NYC has been described as ‘that great factory of criminals.’  The description has been given with good reason.  For the city was invaded by the post-Great Revolution society of criminals organized around the philosophy of the Marquis de Sade.  Crime has a philosophical basis in the modern world.  ‘Ending poverty’ would have no effect on crime.  It is not just a matter of illegal activity to satisfy one’s needs.  Burroughs combined this criminal philosophy with the docrines of anarchy which were also prevalent in the Big Apple.  Burroughs’ doctrine leads to complete oblivion.  In form he continues the Jewish Chutzpah by which he was definitely influenced, as NYC is, or was, a Jewish city, into the equation of:  Wouldn’t you?

     I mean, he asks, wouldn’t you kill a little old lady and take her purse if you needed money for a heroin habit.  Wouldn’t you?  Who wouldn’t?  Of course you would if you were a heroin addict, as Burroughs was, needing a fix.  Thus Burroughs in ‘Naked Lunch’ brought the definition of morality down to what the individual needs at any given moment.  If you felt the need the for sex wouldn’t you rape an eight year old girl.  Who wouldn’t?  It was inconceivable to Burroughs that anyone wouldn’t.  If one said one wouldn’t then the logic is that your need wasn’t great enough or you would.  Who wouldn’t?  Thus Burroughs propounded a very destructive version of the materialistic religion of the Sons of Darkness.

page 81.

     Like syphilis the first outburst of the disease was evident in the Hippie movement on Haight-Ashbury.  The sores have disappeared but Burroughs’ philosophy has been spread throughout the social system.  The deteriorization of mankind was very noticeable by the late seventies to the artistic temperament.  At that time a rock band by the name of Devo made the point perfectly clear.  They asked the musical question:  Are we not men? and answered it:  No!  We are Devo.  The point being that mankind had stopped evolving and was retrogressing into devolution.  Devo hit the nail on the head.  Materialism was rapidly destroying the fabric of society.  We  were, in fact, returning to our savage origins.  J.G. Frazer’s ‘civilized veneer’ was wearing off.  Or as W.B. Yeats put it:  And what rough beast, its hour come at last, slouches toward Bethlehem to be born?  The hippies embraced Wouldn’t You wholeheartedly.  They took to drugs like an alcoholic to drink.  Drugs are the antithesis of morality.  Lying and stealing become one’s nature.  A druggie’s word isn’t worth a broken syringe.

     Sandy drifted into this environment as she moved over to the Haight-Ashbury.  Now, she came from a strong Episcopalian background.  She had an affluent past.  The Hippies bubbled up from the urban depths.  They had no strong anything except for the desire to get, to exploit.  As drug addicts they had no chance of succeeding at anything but total failure.  They succeeded at that.  The worst weren’t even human.

page 82.

     Sandy moved from crash pad to crash pad as soon as the toilets filled up and wouldn’t flush anymore.  Filthy rooms filled with filthy mattresses and filthy people.  Toilets stopped up  overflowing with excrement.  As there were no sexual barriers or restraints she was used by any derelict passing through.  She deadened her sensitivities by pretending to revel in the ‘new freedom.’  Drugs and music were exhilarating accessories.  They could turn night to day, black to white.

     But the Hippie scene with no other ethic than sex and drugs and Rock and Roll continued to deteriorate.  Unbridled sex with anyone and anything was the norm.  There were no limits.  Homosexuality forced itself into the breach as legitimate.  Then as the Disco music of the homosexuals came to dominate in 1977-78, Rock music died on the vine.  Without the impetus of music Sandy looked around to find nothing but barrenness.

     Somehow, through the years of degradation she had clung to the ghost of the vision of her past.  No matter what clothes she wore she wore them with a certain stylishness that betokened a nearly forgotten pride.  She had never abandoned her bourgeois dreams.  Now looking over the wreck of Haight-Ashbury her thoughts turned to rehabilitating herself.  As this was impossible in San Francisco she thought to find a refuge in some other part of the country.  Her rape by Sheldon Washington was never out of her mind.  She had had other unpleasant experiences with Black men so she looked for a place where she thought there wouldn’t be any.  For this reason she selected the Mormon capitol because of their alleged aversion to Blacks.  So she had moved to Salt Lake City in the late seventies.  The Mormons are an exclusive people, they don’t take kindly to non-Mormons in their midst.  Sandy once again found herself an outsider.  Rather than kicking drugs as had been her intent she continued to find solace in them.

     During all this time Sheldon Washington prospered.  He had prospered with a clear conscience.  He even considered himself a benevolent figure in the community, which, compared to some others in his line, he was.  Sheldon considered that he as a Black man was only getting back the Black Folk’s own.  ‘As ye sow so shall ye reap.’  he was fond of saying, referring to White Folks.  True.  You must be careful of the seeds you sow.  Whether Sheldon was merely reclaiming his own is left to subtler minds than mine.  Sheldon was strewing his own field with the seeds of hatred no matter how justified he felt.  His victims were not the White Folk that may have oppressed his ancestors they were living people.

     Shortly after Sandy left town a junky with sandy hair and very dark glasses began showing up in North Beach.  At least he had the appearance of a junkie.  He quickly made the connection with Sheldon Washington for his heroin.

     Over a few weeks Sheldon accepted him as just another junkie who had been around forever.  He abused him as he did all his junkies.  On this particular occasion Sheldon made appointments with this junkie failing to keep each.  Someone at each assignation point directed the junkie on to the next.  The junkie resignedly went from place to place.  He was finally directed to go the alley off Montague.  The junkie took longer to get there than he might have for he stopped off at his pad first.

page 84.

     As he turned into the alley Sheldon sat alone on a garbage can.  The Black confederates were gone.  The White junkies were out of sight.  As the junkie approached, Sheldon observed that his walk was rather stiff but as he was a junkie, what was new?  The reason the junkie’s walk was stiff was because a crowbar was suspended from his belt down his left pants leg.  A revolver was stuck in his belt beneath his moth eaten sweater.  His eyes glowed hatred beneath his very dark glasses.  He was not really a junkie; he was an impostor.

     Like a junkie he had his money ready in his hand.  He thrust it at Sheldon holding out his other hand for the baloon. 

     ‘Not so fast, my man, not so fast.’  Sheldon said.  ‘I mean, man, like man, money ain’t everything.  I mean, I am the most important man in your life.  I want you to acknowledge that.’

     The junkie shrugged indicating:  What?

     Sheldon unzipped his fly flopping his member out.  He looked at the junkie emitting only a low chuckle.  The junkie understood.  He began to go down on one knee.  His right hand moved beneath his sweater.  Sheldon had just time to focus on the hole in the blue-black barrel before his brains flew out to mingle with the rest of the garbage.

     The junkie unbuckled Sheldon’s pants and pulled them down rolling the huge inert form unto its stomach as he did so.  Removing the crowbar from his pants he rammed it far up Sheldon’s ass until the tip rested just below Sheldon’s heart.  Throwing the shades aside and discarding the moth eaten sweater he walked out of the alley and was never seen in North Beach again.

page 85.

     The police were baffled but unconcerned.  After all Sheldon hadn’t really been murdered.  He was dead but he was only a casualty in the urban warfare.  Only another soldier who had given his life for the cause.  A casualty in that urban warfare that raged beyond police jurisdiction and control.  A warfare that was beyond the law; one that operated on laws of its own.  All that can be said is that he who lives by the rod dies by the rod. 

     All across the universe the stars stayed the clacking dice of Magic Sam in his hand to look down on such insanity and say:  They ain’t nothing but a heartache and you know they’ll never get over it.  Then, with a shrug, they returned to their games.  Roll the dice with a sound like thunder.

     The junkie, his own heart broken beyond repair blew a kiss from San Francisco to Salt Lake City.  Just another boogie in The Land Of A Thousand Dances.

     Sandy watched Donn as he came up the street.  She recognized someone, who like her, had lost his place in the world.  A hope sprang up in her breast, she was beyond being able to think, that perhaps he and she might find comfort in each other reclaiming in some small degree their place in the world.

page 86.

     ‘Hi there.  What are you doing?’

     Donn paused to appraise her.  He recognized that about her that spoke of a declassee.  As he had no interest in women he attempted to dismiss her.

     ‘I’m going to get something to eat.’  He said brusquely.

     Undaunted Sandy said:  ‘Oh, I know all the good places.  I’ll take you there.’  She said clasping his hand impusively, leading him away.

    Donn could no longer go to the type of restaurant he favored.  He thought that perhaps Sandy knew of some hippie hangouts where the food would be filling and maybe passable.  He allowed himself to be led away.

     They walked for several blocks.  Sandy babbled on along the way hoping to win Donn over.  A strip mall hove in sight.  There was an Albertson’s grocery store at one end.  Donn spotted a restaurant in the middle of the mall.  When they reached the corner of the Albertson’s Donn began to continue down the front but Sandy pulled him along the side and toward the back.  Donn was confused but thought Sandy was aware of another entrance. 

     When they reached the back Sandy pointed proudly at the dumpster and said:  See.

     Donn looked at the huge garbage can puzzled.

     ‘See what?’  He asked Sandy who was still holding his hand.

     ‘Well, see,’  She said giving his hand an affectionate squeeze.  ‘Nobody ever has to go hungry in America.  They throw away tons of good food just because it’s a day or two old.  See.’  she said, grabbing at some limp brownish lettuce, ‘This lettuce is perfectly good to eat.  It’s just a little old.  And it’s free, it doesn’t cost anything.’

page 87.

     ‘All kinds of places are this stupid.  If you want I’ll take to Cheesy Burgers later.  At midnight they throw out all the burgers they’ve prepared but haven’t sold.  Wrapped and everything.  We’ll have to get there early though because everyone wants those.’

     Donn listened incredulously, rudely pulling back his hand.  He wasn’t familiar with underground ‘survival’ techniques.  He wasn’t aware that Abbie Hoffmen had published a whole book full of ideas and scams, all as good as this one.  But he was not yet so low that he would search through garbage cans for food.

     ‘God, that’s absolutely disgusting.’  He said.

     ‘No, it’s not.  Everybody does it.’  Sandy replied speaking for her crowd.

     ‘Well, I don’t eat out of garbage cans and I think anyone who does is absolutely disgusting.’  Donn replied angrily.  ‘You! Get away from me, you filthy slut.  No, don’t touch me.’  He said brushing away Sandy’s imporing hands which sought to hold his again.  ‘Get away.’  He said angrily, turning on his heel.

     Sandy’s rejection by Donn was the last thing that it took to bury her poor heart completely out of sight.  As she stood in the moonlight she sank beneath the burden of accumulated woes of nearly twenty years.  All the crimes perpetrated against her rose up to engulf her sense of decency.  Her last shred of worthiness disappeared.  The world’s guilt entered her soul as her own.  She considered herself evil.  She went through life as an empty shell.  But she was not Guilty of the Shame.  Oh no!  It was society’s shame.  It was our shame.  Repeat aloud:  I (insert your name) am Guilty of the Shame.

page 88.

     Donn found his way to the highway East.  He found a spot to doze a few hours.  Daylight found him alongside US 40.  ‘Denver, here I come.’  He whistled, praying for the best.  This was not Donn’s moment for the best.  He was over a day getting to Fruitland, an interminable number of short rides and long delays.  His spirits sank again.  He had his thumb out just outside of Fruitland when a fifty-eight Chevy pulled over.

     ‘Hi! I’m Kirk Douglas Strachan.’  The driver said extending a soft flabby hand.  He was wearing a black cowboy hat, had a soft pudgy face with black horn rimmed glasses, black cowboy shirt with white piping and black Can’t Bust ‘Ems over black cowboy boots.

     ‘Uh, yeah,’  Donn replied,  ‘I’m Phil Brown.’

    ‘Nice to meet you Phil.’  Strachan said eyeing him like a side of beef.

     This was about ten o’ clock at night.  Strachan was a practiced hand.  He got right to the point.

     ‘Now, Phil, I’m going to tell you how it is,’ he began with the authoritative tone of a movie tough guy,  ‘I like men.  I’m really a tough guy.  Did you get my name, Kirk Douglas Strachan?  Kirk Douglas was a movie tough guy.’ he said, overlooking the fact that Kirk Douglas was still alive.  ‘My mother wanted me to be tough so she named me after him.  I am tough.  Now, it’s your choice, you can either live or die.  Your second choice is obvious, we don’t have to discuss that.  Now, if you want to live you’re coming home with me and you’ll be my sex slave for a week or two.  Now, if you’re good at that I’ll reward you by driving you up to Vernal.  If you’re not you’ll join the rest of my boyfriends.  Got it!  Well, get it, my man!’

page 89.

     Donn was staring at him incredulously, his mouth agape.  Donn looked at this soft flabby creep wondering where he got the notion he was tough except from his mom.  Kirk Douglas Strachan mistook  incredulity as a sign of fear.  Strachan was a murderous fiend.  The ‘boyfriends’ he sarcastically referred to were all buried out in his garden patch beneath the turnips.  There were fifteen in all.  Some he had just blown away with a shotgun others had died lingering deaths.

     Strachan’s mother had named him after Kirk Douglas.  Strachan had studied all the actor’s films.  Except that he was short, pudgy and effeminate Strachan had his Kirk Douglas act down.  He had the same buzzsaw whine that came from the back of his head.  He had even had a cleft surgically made in his chin.  Needless to say it looked ridiculous with his moon faced pudgy head.

     Emboldened by Donn’s open mouthed wonder Strachan continued:  ‘Terrific.  You’ll have a great time too.  Now, I need a down payment right now.  See that knoll just up there.  I’m going to pull behind it.  You’re going to give me a great blow job, then I’ll take you to the ranch.’

     ‘I was boxing champ three years running at SMU.’  Donn said quietly in the Texas manner brushing imaginary lint from his fly.

page 90.

     Oh, a John Wayne type, huh?  Well I’m going to make you get out right here.’  He said skidding to a stop.  He pressed a button, the door flew open and Donn sneeringly got out.  Strachan copped a U and raced back toward Fruitland.  John Wayne trumps Kirk Douglas every time.

     Donn dropped his bag, placing his hands on his hips while he looked up and down the dark road.

     ‘Over here.  Hey, buddy, over here.’  A loud booming voice cried from the wilderness. 

     ‘Over here, buddy, I’m over here.’

     Donn peered out into the darkness.  He could see nothing.

     ‘Come on.  I’ll guide you in.’  The voice cried.

     Donn started walking into the darkness.  As he stumbled along it seemed to him like he walked on an on.

     ‘Man, that guy must have a voice like a foghorn.’  He thought.

     Then he perceived the glow of a fire.

     ‘Keep coming.  I’m right over here.’  The voice coaxed.  ‘All right, all right.  If I hadn’t been out taking a leak I would have missed you.’

     A hand came out of the darkness grabbed Donn’s hand and shook it.

     ‘Hi!  I’m Dharma Bum.’  Bum said proudly.

     ‘You can call me Jack.’  Donn said, taken back by Dharma Bum’s strange name.

page 91.

     Bum led him back behind a small rise where a fire burned in the darkness.

     ‘Dharma Bum?’  Donn asked.  ‘Did I hear you right.’

     ‘Dharma Bum, that’s right.’  Bum replied.  ‘I’m out here seeking enlightenment.’

     Dharma Bum was quite an apparition in the barren mountain night.  He was about six-four high.  Thin but not slender.  He wore a pair of knee high boots, medium platforms with two and a half inch heels, laced all the way up to his knees fitting over form fitting jeans that gave Bum the appearance almost of walking on stilts.  The jeans buttoned with the buttons showing on the outside.  A pink, or dusty plum, flowered vest covered a lavender flowered shirt with enormous billowing sleeves.  It was an outfit modeled after John Hall of Hall and Oates.

     Bum’s face was fleshy, all the features being large.  He wasn’t handsome, plain verging on homely, but carried himself with real leading man verve.  He was topped by a mane of black hair streaked now with silver combed straight back, en brosse, falling to his shoulders.

    He was a child of TV, records and movies.  He invariably saw himself as Batman and others as his Robins.  He had developed the authoritative way of talking which in the movies leaves the bit actors gasping in astonishment at the sagacity and sheer manliness of the lead.  In the same manner Bum tried to impose himself on reality.  Reality not being the movies, Bum had been, as it were, rejected by life.  He was undaunted; New Day, New Script.  As Jim Morrison of the Doors replied when being urged to hurry lest he be too late to catch his flight:  ‘You can never be too late for your own movie.’  Whatever happens is in the script.

page 92.

     Besides money wasn’t a real problem for Bum.  He just wired home to Dad to pay the card.  He was covered for medical and dental care.  Unlike most bums, or homeless, he was in excellent health and his teeth were good.  He was actually cooking baked beans in the can held over the fire with a forked stick, just like in the movies.

     ‘I’d offer you some but I wasn’t expecting company.’  He said with an authoritative chuckle indicating that he knew Donn would understand as he reacted to gasps of astonishment from Donn in the theatre of his mind.  Bum always played to an SRO audience.  Each movement, each word was done and spoken in a stagy manner.  Often there was no necessity for a reply.  Bum merely waited the appropriate time  for the reply in his mental script then continued his next lines.  Not infrequently he overrode the speaker or completely ignored, in fact, didn’t hear, the reply.

     ‘Jack, huh?  Jack?’  Bum said with a wink.

     ‘What?’ Donn said uncertain whether to be apprehensive or puzzled.

     Bum had taken his name from Jack Kerrouac’s novel ‘The Dharma Bums.’  He thought Donn was making a sly joke on Bum’s self-introduction.

     ‘Yeah.  Ya know Jack understood me real well.  Yeah.  Ha, ha.  He wrote my life before I even began to live it.’

page 93.

     ‘Jack?  Jack who?  Me?’

     ‘Jack Kerouac!’  Bum cried incredulously.

     ‘Jack Kerouac?  You mean the guy who wrote ‘On The Road?’  Donn said fishing for the sense as his head swam trying to understand Bum.

     ‘Oh, ho.  You do know Jack then?’  Bum beamed.

     ‘I read ‘On The Road.” Donn said.

     He had read it out of curiosity in college where it had been a life style manual for a certain crowd.  He had detested the book.  It represented everything he despised.  Donn, then as now, wanted the good life, the high life.  He didn’t think hanging around with petty grifters and small time thieves in sleazy bars equated the good life.  Even if you camouflaged your sleaziness with intellectual pretense.

     ‘Great book, isn’t it?  I read ’em all.  That, the Dharma Bums, Desolation Angels, terrific stuff.  I just don’t know how he anticipated my life though.  Eerie, don’t you think?’

     ‘Is that how you got the name Dharma Bum?’

    ‘No.  I am Dharma Bum.  Jack wrote the book about me.

     ‘Didn’t Kerouac write it before you hit the road?’ Donn said unpolitically.

     ‘What the hell you talking about?’  Bum said glaring across the fire suspiciously at Donn.  ‘Didn’t I just say Jack wrote my life?’

     ‘My mistake.’  Donn said wryly, realizing that Bum had only just been beamed down from the saucer.

page 94.

     ‘Damn right it is, fella.’  Bum said in his best John Wayne style.  Then his face formed a reverie as he began talking.  The speech was one he had prepared for the inevitable Time or TV interviewer.  He thought they would catch up to him sooner or later to get his story.

     ‘Yes.’  He began in f0nd reminiscence.  ‘I must have crossed this great big beautiful land a hundred times or more.  God bless this crazy topsy-turvy unbelievable US of A.  Yes, from that fabled Golden Gate of old San Fran to the New York Island, from the tropical shores, actually sub-tropical, he,he, of Key West to the Mesabi iron range up on Lake Superior, I’ve loved it all.  My feet have led me to the tops of the highest mountains, and I mean literally, the tops, I’ve been above Cripple Creek, and down into the depths of amazing valleys, my feet have washed in gorge of the Grand Canyon.  In one day I’ve been to the top of Mt. Wilson and to the depths of Death Valley, the highest and lowest places in the lower Forty-Eight in one day.  I’ve stood with my feet in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.  Now, what do you think of that?’

     He stopped with a big quizzical Will Rogers smile seemingly looking into Donn’s eyes but actually nearly oblivious of his existence.  Donn was fearful that this night might go on forever.  He cleared his throat loudly speaking piercingly to blow his way into Bum’s consciousness.

     ‘Why did you start doing this?  Why are you out here?’

     This was almost the question Bum had scripted for the Time Magazine interviewer.  He heard and shifted into second gear.

     ‘What am I doing out here?’  Bum said with a rueful shake of his head accompanied by several musing snarls.  ‘Well, I’ll tell you why I’m out here.  I’m a victim of capitalist oppression.’

page 95.

     ‘How’s that?’

     ‘How’s that?  Well, let me tell you how the system really works.  Or, doesn’t work.  Ya know, a guy goes to work for some jerk in good faith, promised that if things work out he’ll be taken care of.  He gives the best he’s got, which in my case was pretty damn good, puts in the best period of his life.  Then he makes the business big and successful for this jerk.  The more money you make for this jerk the more he starts reneging on the deal.  Then when he figures he’s got it made and doesn’t need you anymore- Bingo! you’re gone.  Oh yeah, I know all about capitalism.  Tell that to your readers.

     What a jerk the guy is.  If you ever run into him dump on him.  His name is Dewey Trueman.  I’m a Jew you know.’  Bum added with a significant arch to his eyebrows.

     A the mention of readers Donn thought that Bum somehow knew who he was, or had been, a music reviewer.  The mention of Dewey Trueman threw him off his heels.  He was totally mystified.

     ‘Dewey Trueman?’  Donn said.  ‘Where abouts in this great land of ours did this take place?’

     ‘Out on the coast.  Eugene, Oregon.’

     ‘What does your being a Jew have to do with it?’

     ‘Huh!  Anti-Semitism of course.  It’s always the Jew gets it in the neck.  Always been that way.  Need a scapegoat, get a Jew.  I should have known, I suppose.’

     ‘You say this guy Trueman promised you part of the business?’  Donn asked, his curiosity really aroused.

     ‘Yeah.  That’s right.’  Bum said ruefully.

    ‘So.  What?  You worked for him for five or six years then?’  Donn was familiar with Trueman and to some extent his store.

     ‘Well, it wasn’t quite that long.’

     ‘How long then?’

     ‘Well, let’s see.’  Bum began manipulating his fingers and drawing in the dirt.  ‘Maybe five or six months.’

     ‘Months?’  Donn said incredulously.

     And well he should have for Bum had created a verstion of the events that completely rewrote the facts.

     Bum’s real name was Norm Barsky.  He was from St. Louis.  he had been brought into Eugene to take possession of the business Dewey Trueman had built up.  A record store in Eugene that was very successful.  For the size of the city tremendously successful.  In a small pond the record store had been a big splash.  Trueman was a Hippie.  He therefore succeeded against the wishes of the town fathers.  A couple attempts had been made to assassinate him.  When the last attempt to kill him on the highway by bogus Hell’s Angels had failed the town fathers were at a loss of what to do.  At the same time they, or at least Harry Grabstein, realized that the store was a valuable money maker.  It should be preserved but put into righteous hands.  Grabstein undertook to resolve the matter.  He would appropriate or, in other words, steal the business.    

     So as to evade the appearance of being himself involved he called an acquaintance in St. Louis, Art Barsky.  Art’s son Norm, had just finished school at the University of Chicago, was married, new baby, and could use a good income.  Norm, wife and child were sent to Eugene to receive his inheritance.

page 97.

     It was not to be expected that Trueman would just hand over his business to Norm so a certain deception and ruse had to be practiced.  Norm was schooled by his father while refresher points would be supplied by Harry Grabstein.  The method was quite simple and well tried.  The only obstacle in the way could be the victim’s character.  That was the only variable that couldn’t be controlled.  As Grabstein thought Trueman a despicable Hippie with no character he perceived no problem in bringing him down.

     One may ask why these Jews thought themselves entitled to another man’s property.  The problem was not in the capitalist economic system as Bum sincerely thought but in the Jewish religious system and culture which he would have denied.  A quick survey of the three great crucial periods in Jewish history should provide the intellectual justification.

     Jewish history is a closed field, permitted only to those who have been properly vetted.  As the editor of the Cambridge History of Judaism puts it:  But as the study of Judaism is peculiarly open to emotive interests and unconscious influences which make it highly susceptible to hurtful misinterpretations, no effort to get rid of the blinkers of traditions and prejudices may be deemed superfluous.

    In other words if you don’t see it their way you have no right to be heard.  Nevertheless the truth must be pursued.  The objectivity of historical facts cannot be allowed to be skewed to the advantage of one party to the hurt of another.  Neither valid history or sociology can be approached in such a manner to obtain preconceived results.  Any conclusions are always subject to discussion.  Just as the Constitution of the United States decrees the separation of church and state it also decrees absolute freedom of expression  whether a subject is peculiarly open to emotive interests or unconscious influences or not.

page 98.

     Messianism is the backbone of the Jewish belief system.  The belief is that the natural order of things was overturned when Cain slew Abel.  All of history since then has been the promise of God to bring the Jews into their rightful place as arbiters of the nations thereby reversing the decision of history or, reality.  The redemption of Israel is the purpose of all ‘History.’  There have been three great periods of redemptive or messianic expectations.  On these pivots the Jewish character was formed.

     The first great period was from c. 188 BC to 135 AD.  The second centered around the messiahship of a man called Sabbatai Zevi in the years around 1640-1700 AD.  The third with the Revolution of the Messiah around the years 1913-28.  In all three the Jews were brutally disappointed.

     As the smaller and weaker portion of the greater society the Jews have always felt abused and suppressed, especially as they believe they are the bearers of the true god.  Thus when Israel is redeemed and the roles are reversed all the wealth of the world will belong to the Jews; and the gentiles will be their slaves.

     The initial confrontation was  begun between the Hellenes and Jews expanding into a war between the entire Greco-Roman world and the Jews.  Initially the Jews were successful against the Hellenes.  the Roman world proved too much for them.  In a series of tremendous wars from 66-70 AD when the Temple was destroyed through the amazing uprising in 116-18 to the final destruction of the Jewish state in the Bar Kochba rebellion in 135 AD, the Jews were all but exterminated.  In the hopes of ending the confrontation and destroying the locus of what, by then was the center of perpetual disturbances, Jerusalem was leveled while Jews were forbidden to enter the city. 

page 99.

     Thus in the wars which the Jews characterize as anti-Semitic persecution but which were actually a contest for the dominion of the Roman world, redemption for the Jews was postponed, while Rome was prostated.

     For approximately 1500 years the Jews longed for the appearance of the true Messiah, both Jesus and Bar Kochba having failed them.  After fifteen hundred years of various disasters culminating in the expulsion from Spain and the Cossack rebellion against Poland in 1648 a new Messiah, Sabbatai Zevi appeared in the Asia Minor governed by the Turks.  Sabbatai is the pivot of Jewish history.  Israel quivered in the expectation of deliverance.  As in the 116-18 uprising of the Roman period Europeans from the Pale to England were to be slaughtered.  True, the means were lacking but the will was there.  Once again the wealth of the world was to accrue to the Jews.

page 100.

    End of II-2.  Proceed to II-3 for the continuation.

     At this point the story consists of Part One:  Disco Donn Does Deep Elum and Part II, clips 1 and 2.