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Category Archives: Baghdad By The Bay

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.

 

 

 

A Novel

Our Lady Of The Blues

Part VII

by

R.E. Prindle

The Heart Of The Matter:

Back In The USSA

 

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

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

-A. Conan Doyle

 

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

page 1279.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1280.

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1281.

     Including her husband Lane Vincent.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     ‘Control yourself, Vincent.’  Morford sternly admonished.

     Vincent couldn’t hear him.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1283.

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1284.

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1285.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1286.

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

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

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

     ‘About what?’  Ratches idly inquired.

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

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

     ‘They want their restrictions lifted, Sir.’

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

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

     ‘What are you suggesting, Lance?’

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

page 1287.

     ‘Killed?  What do you mean?’

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

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

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

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

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

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

     The restricted men were released two days later.

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

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

page 1288.

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

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

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

     ‘Really!  Heroin?’  Dewey said in awe.

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

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

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

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

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

     ‘Everything go alright?’  Soter asked superfluously.

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

How Now, Young Sailor?

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

page 1289.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1290

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

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

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

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

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

page 1291.

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

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

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

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

page 1292.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1293.

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

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

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

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

page 1294.

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

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

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

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

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

Replacement Troops

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

page 1295

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

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

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

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

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

page 1296.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1297.

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

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

     ‘I really wanted to meet you.’

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1298.

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

North To Oakland

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1300.     

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1301.

     ‘Thanks.’  Dewey said in a startled voice.

     ‘Whadya come for, the movies?’

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

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

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

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

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

     ‘Great.  I’ll go with you.’

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

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

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

page 1302.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1303.

     ‘I’m no faggot.’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     ‘I know, I know.’

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

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

page 1304.

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

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

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

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

     ‘Move your feet.  I want this seat.’

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

page 1305. 

     ‘No.’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1306.

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

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

     ‘Yeah.  I read.’  Dewey replied miserably.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1307.

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

     ‘Look buddy, just put out your cigarette.’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1308.

     ‘What the Indians chose to do with each other is their internal affair; what invaders like the English do is criminal.’

     ‘You’re twisted, man, you’ve got a mental disease.’

     ‘Did you hear that everybody?’  Dean Moriarty said turning to address everyone on the bus.  This ‘person’ here advocates criminal behavior.  That makes him a criminal himself.  We should all be ashamed to be on the same bus with him.’

     By this time the bus had entered and left Fresno.  The next stop was Merced toward which they left the highway.  The driver had not responded to this latest outburst of Moriarty.  The pervert played his next card.

     ‘As a matter of fact I won’t stay on this bus with you another minute.  I will get off here at Merced and await for the next bus to continue my journey to Sacramento.’

     ‘OK.  Great man.  You’re not hurting my feelings.’

     As the bus stopped the twisted tortured pervert that was Dean Moriarty stood at the door reviling Trueman until the driver closed the door to pull out even then trying to hold the door open.  Moriarty knew his act so well that everyone on the bus looked at Dewey in disgust.

      As it was now quite dark Dewey just sat there ignoring the world.  ‘Damned if I’ll take the bus again.’  He groaned.

     Another short hop brought to bus to Modesto from which they left 99 to take the Manteca cutoff bypassing Tracy over to Oakland across the Bay Bridge into San Francisco.  It was now three in the morning.

page 1309

     The San Francisco bus station was deserted that early in the morning.  Dewey grabbed his bag to walk up the deserted street to Market, the main drag of San Francisco.  The dark night glistened in twinkling patent leather black against the lights of Market.  As Dewey looked down Market he was relieved to see the street deserted.

     He took no more than three steps than simultaneously down the entire length of Market a person or two stepped into the street from every doorway on both sides of the street.  Each looked hopefully in his direction eager to be chosen for whatever adventure he might propose.

     There were winos, homos of every description, men who looked like women and women who looked like men.  There were even lonely women hoping for any kind of companionship.  As Dewey walked along Market there was a delicious shiver of anticipation for the habitues of this midnight obsession.  What was in his bag?  Which one would he choose?

      Sneers of indignation were launched at Dewey’s back as he passed each hopeful leaving them crushed and rejected.  They spat hatefully at his heels.  Block after block Dewey passed them by as he walked down Market.

     When he turned to make his way to the Key Systems terminal for the ride over the Bay Bridge to Oakland a wave of pain washed over him as the injured devastated souls sank back into their doorways to stand in the withering night in hopes that a car might pull up to select one to make his life meaningful.  But the sun would come up driving them back to their lairs before a redeemer would arrive.  Today there is no salvation.

page 1310.

     ‘Man, what a town.’  Dewey said as he climbed the steps to the trains.  The arcades were all closed.  Only a couple sailors on the way back to Treasure Island waited for a train. 

     Da Costa lived out on E. 86th Street about five blocks off East 14th which was the North-South drag of Oakland.  East 14th was the longest street Dewey had ever seen stretching from the bay all the way to the future Fremont over four hundred blocks long.

     Da Costa, who had just arrived let him in without having to knock which was well because Roque’s father was a cranky old soul.

The Heart Of Oakland

     Pietro, or Pete, Da Costa had emigrated to the United States as a young boy with his parents.  He was now sixty-three.  He was a widower who had sired four offspring: three girls and Roque.  The two older sisters were both married and out of the house.  Roque’s younger sister, Terry, at seventeen was fifteen years younger than the oldest sister.

     Oakland had a substantial Portuguese population.  They were a clannish lot who believed that they had suffered serious discrimination at the hands of the Anglos.  They were very sensitive about being confused with Mexicans, who they considered inferior, because of the similarity of the names.

     Gomez and Rodriguez were not to be confused with Gomes and Rodrigues.  The final S designated a Portuguese while the Z was emblematic of the Mexican.

page 1311.

     Pete Da Costa but illy concealed his rage that his son had brought an Anglo home.  He let Dewey know that he was not welcome in his home.

     Rather than face his father’s anger Roque whisked Dewey out of the house.  ‘He’s kinda living in the past.’  Roque lamented the first generations traditional lament.  ‘Still hasn’t left the old country in his heart.  A lot of the old guys are still fighting battles from years ago.  Come on, I’ll show you the stomping grounds.’

     Roque was able to borrow his father’s car which he headed down East 14th toward the cannerys and the heart of Portuguese Oakland.  In the old days the immigrant Italians and Portuguese had staffed the cannerys such as the big Del Monte plant that backed onto High Street.  High Street led across the channel to the city of Alameda.  Oakland itself is the seat of Alameda County.  Adjoining it to the West is the City of Alameda on Alameda Island with its huge Alameda Naval Air Station.  The big carriers like the Kearsarge home based at Alameda.

     As the boys drove up to the Big Top Drive In just east of the cannerys what the Bay Area called the ‘high fog’ still obscured the sun.  The high fog was responsible for giving the city its dull dark cast.  Anyone else would have called the ‘high fog’ cloud cover.  The fog or clouds formed out over the ocean during the day then as the temperature dropped in the evening the moisture laden air condensed into clouds which were drawn through the Golden Gate by winds created by the cooling land.  The East Bay and San Francisco were the most affected areas.  Contra Costa county which is actual desert was either unaffected or burned off early.  The Peninsula West across the bay from Oakland was usually bright and sunny.  Santa Clara County with San Jose at the South end of the bay was usually covered over to East San Jose.  That cover usually burned off about noon.

page 1312.

     Oakland was kept perpetually cool by the cloud cover…and gloomy.  Gertrude Stein was once quoted as saying of Oakland:  There’s no there, there.  That isn’t entirely correct, there’s plenty of there there, they just don’t know what to do with it.  It seems like only the dullest mentalities chose to live in Oakland.  It is their lack of interest in everything that makes it appear that there is no there there.

     In San Francisco the mix of races and nationalities created an exciting cosmopolitan atmosphere but in Oakland the same mix as working class folk thuds along like a ruptured inner tube and just lays there.

     They were perpetually at war with themselves and society.  They accepted the cannery jobs as fate with no appeal.  Many of them never left the several square bocks of their neighborhood nor did they have any desire to.  For entertainment they had contests with the police.

     The High Street Bridge was the nightly scene of high speed chases between themselves and the police.  In those day municipal police had no jurisdiction beyond their community limits.  the middle of the bridge was the ending of the jurisdiction of the Oakland police and the beginning of those of Alameda.

page 1313.

     If any of the Wild Boys saw flashing red behind them they immediately took off for the High Street Bridge hoping to get over it before they were hauled off.

     High St. lay athwart the Black enclave of West Oakland to the North and East Oakland to the South.  The blacks who were a fairly recent phenomenon being brought West only in the forties were still resented by the Whites who kept them in what Iceberg Slim called the Stockade.  By keeping them out of sight the Whites tried to ignore their presence.  William Knowland who ran the most boring newspaper in the world ever exposed to the light of day, The Oakland Tribune, made the mistake of his life by trying to pretend they didn’t exist.

     The Blacks liked Oakland perhaps for the reason that Gertrude Stein detested it.  They seemed to fit Oakland like the proverbial hand and glove.  At the time they were approaching 30% of the population.  Within a few short years they were to be over 50%.  As Knowland excluded Black affairs from the pages of the Tribune they had no reason to read the paper.  So the distribution of the Tribune shrank daily as Blacks displaced Whites.  Any Whites who didn’t want to be bored to death read the San Francisco Chronicle or Examiner.  Those newspaper cats ran exciting stories like:  Why Doesn’t San Francisco Have Good Coffee?’  And it wasn’t that there wasn’t excitement in the world at the time either.

     That’s how boring the Tribune was, they couldn’t even think up exciting leaders about coffee.  On the other hand, who cared whether Oakland had good coffee or not.  The lack of good coffee kind of complemented the lack of there there.

page 1314.

     Historians concerned with Black history all seem to think that the doings of Mike King down in Birmingham jail were representative of Blacks all over the country.  Yes, friends, Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the most successful name changes in history, comparable to that of M. Arouet who changed his name to Voltaire.  Marty King’s real name was Mike.  That also means that he as a Jr. his father was also Mike.

     The South was only one part of Black society.  The more adventurous Blacks, or those who didn’t mind cold weather, split the South for the North and West.  Once freed of the danger of lynching they changed their whole attitude quickly.  White culture toward Blacks outside the South was repulsion tinged with indifference.  Without developed mechanisms to intimidate Blacks they allowed themselves to be intimidated by Blacks.

     One of the most notable civil rights figures of the sixties was then residing in Soledad Prison.  Eldridge Cleaver had been one of those who wasn’t going to take it anymore.  He honed his raping skills in the Stockade on Black girls then crossed East 14th to prey on White women.  He would have been in Soledad a lot longer except for the civil rights movement that made egregious crimes into legitimate social protest.

      West Oakland or the Flatlands as the Blacks called it in opposition to what would soon be White enclaves in the hills was a very lovely area.  The trees were old and stately; the lots were all level and spacious.  But in the Black intellect whatever Whites will let them have must be of no value or they woudn’t let them have it so they despised what were, in fact, the choice lands of Oakland.

     Further South in East Oakland where the burgeoning Black population was expanding with geometric force a lot of conflict was occurring down along the interface with displaced Whites.

     People didn’t understand the nature of the Black/White confrontation.  Because the movement of the Blacks was within the borders of the United States the Black immigration into Oakland was seen as internal movement whereas it was in reality an invasion of an alien people.  It was fortunate that there was no large scale warfare as in New York, Chicago, East St. Louis, LA and other places where Blacks had migrated in large numbers.  After all half the city would turn Black.

     The absorption of so many aliens ill adapted to life in a foreign situation would have been next to impossible if they were White and wanted.  Many were country folk unused to city ways, most were illiterate or barely literate.  Frankly, they didn’t know how to act.  The police force which was all White didn’t understand them and didn’t react properly to their alienation.

     The Blacks reacted badly to the p0lice whose harassment they believed was directed especially at them.  This was not true.  The Oakland police force was a savage repressive force of vulgar beasts without the class or shine of the LAPD.  The OPD pulled cheap suit crap the LAPD would have sneered down their noses at.

page 1316.

     The crudos of of the OPD had no qualms about stopping female drivers and demanding sex.  They had no qualms about stopping men with their dates and demanding the men allow them to have sex with their dates.  They had no qualms about demanding sex from men.

     They would write you up for doing ninety down a city street when you were safely within the speed limit to negotiate the speed down depending on whether you would accede to their wishes.  The CWBs in Oakland were truly Criminals With Badges.  It had nothing to do with whether you were Black or not.  If you were Black they may have called you a nigger; if you White they called you White Trash.  The guys they called White Trash had no recourse and never made the papers; the guys they called niggers could get the people who called other Whites White Trash to act on their behalf.  Racism in America?  You bet.

     In 1966 the Black resentment would erupt into the Black Panther Party led by Huey Newton who attended Oakland City College at the same time Dewey did.  It was a strange coincidence that Roque Da Costa would be a victim of the Panthers.

     Roque returned to work at Lucky Stores on his discharge.  He had worked his way up to manager by 1968.  One day a Panther came in demanding that Da Costa cash his stolen check.  He refused to show Roque any ID so Da Costa rightly refused to cash it.  The Panther accused him of racism rather than good business practices.  Da Costa waved him off.

     The next morning when Roque was out emptying the trash the enraged Panther drove by and shot him dead.  Maybe Roque would have been better off at Safeway  than Lucky.

page 1317.

     At the time Blacks were not often seen outside the Stockade so even though they were nearing a majority of the population in 1958 the segregation was nearly complete except for adventurous sorts like Eldridge Cleaver.

     Thus the drive in hangout of Da Costa and his crowd even athough virtually surrounded by Blacks was completely White.  The Anglo influence was nil; the patronage was entirely of South Mediterranean provenance.

     This was a fairly rough crowd.  Toughness was at a premium compared to the more genteel Anglo hangouts.  They had their own problems too, don’t get me wrong.

      ‘OK, Dewey, now it’s really improtant to act like you’re ready to fight.  It’s all just show and push and shove unless you act chicken and then they’ll really come after you.  So just do your strut now.’

     ‘OK, man.’

     As they walked up they were greeted by an acquaintance of Da Costa’s.

     ‘Hey, Roque.  Where ya been; haven’t seen you ya around lately.’

      ‘Hi, Sam.  I just got back from Hong Kong.  Been gone for a while.’

     ‘Just got back from Hong Kong!  Get outta here.  You’re talking to Sammy boy, Roque.’

     ‘I really did just get back from Hong Kong, Sam.  I’m in the Navy now and we just returned from a Pacific tour.  I’ll be around a little more now but I’m stationed in San Diego.’

     At the mention of the Navy Sam noticed Dewey who doing his tough act, with his long sour face, it was a pretty good imitation of mean looking.  Sam had been around some of the Navy bars near the Air Station.  Tough Navy bars were legendary in California.  Sam went into defensive posture.

page 1318.

     ‘Oh yeah, Navy, huh?  Anybody want to fight?  C’mon.  We’ll choose up sides and smell armpits.’  He said clowning a pose where he lifted his arms and strutted left and right.

     Sam got a good laugh, Dewey was accepted as Da Costa’s buddy.  But the longer he talked to the Da Costa crowd the more Dewey was repelled.  Dewey had nothing in common with the negative immigrant attitude.  He didn’t understand how these guys could be so down.  Coming from the Children’s Home Dewey had more reason for despair than these guys yet they had no hope, no ambition, no desire to improve their situation.

     Dewey watched a Wild Boy dash past on the way to the bridge running a red light followed by a squad car as he wondered what he exactly hoped from Oakland.  His mind was made up to make this place home so he pondered thoughtfully as Da Costa drove back to 86th. Street.

     As luck would have it Dewey picked up a racking cough somewhere on the way North.  It was one of those uncontrollable dry things.  Coming at night as it did Dewey wasn’t able to buy cough drops.  As everyone turned in, try as he might, Dewey couldn’t stop coughing but hacked away non-stop all night.

     Already enraged at having an Anglo in the house the cough was sufficient grounds for complaint against Trueman’s visits.

     By noon the next day it was time for Trueman to leave if he was going to get back in time.  On the bus ride to the Key Station the cough disappeared as quickly as it had begun.  One can only guess that Trueman’s subconscious was trying to tell him something.

     The thugs hanging around the bus station zeroed in on Trueman as he was their age.  Bus stations always have a group of low class thugs hanging around because the people who ride buses usually come from the least affluent levels of society.  Trains still took a better class while the affluent types clustered in the airports.  Fighting the toughs off Trueman boarded the bus for the trip back.

     Whereas San Francisco had been deserted at three in the morning when he’d arrived the pimps and hustlers still filled the LA terminal at one AM when the bus pulled in.  They recognized Trueman from the previous Friday.  The layover was short but Trueman realized they had his number.

     The bus had taken much too long.  It had also been very unpleasant.  As Dewey wended his way back through the Naval Base at four-thirty in the morning he thought there had to be a better way.

The Wages Of Sin

     Dewey got every other weekend off.  While he was waiting for the next forty-eight to come up the rest of the squadron returned from their magnificent seven day layover in Honolulu.  Dewey was put out at his fellows who had been so stupid as to accept pay advances they should have known would get them into trouble.

      Even though they had sacrificed Hawaii his shipmates were too dull to regret it.  Mostly they lamented that being on half pay for their durations diminished their enjoyments.  Many tried to make up their pay shortages by other means.

page 1320.

     The first such casualty of the over payment scheme was Trueman’s overseas pal, Parsons.  Practical morality is largely the fear of censure by one’s fellows.  While one might never disappoint the expectations of family and friends in one’s home town the same rules of behavior are not necessarily followed in a different milieu.

     On the one hand Parsons felt he had no reputation to lose in San Diego while on the other for less serious crimes the civil authorities simply remanded the transgressor to the justice of the Navy.  As before noted the Navy was tolerant of the deeds of its wayward boys.

     Relying on the leniency of the Navy, Parsons tried to augment his reduced income by burgling a San Diego store.  He was so unfortunate as to be caught in the act on his first attempt.  His expectations were not disappointed; the San Diego police simply turned him over to the Shore Patrol.  Ratches gave him a stern lecture about holding up the strict standards of the Navy and the remarkably lenient sentence of seven days restriction.

     Disappointed at the failure of his burglary Parsons was nevertheless satisfied with the results of his apprehension.  He had not however counted on the reaction of his shipmates.  Most labeled him for what he was, a criminal.  He was surprised to find himself rejected by his fellows with the exception of Screw, Easy, McLean, Kayo Kreskin and the criminal cadre aboard.

     Parsons was stunned when Trueman reluctantly advised him that he could no longer associate with him.  Parsons was incapable of understanding.  He had worked out all the consequences but one, the reaction of his shipmates.

page 1321.

     Parsons considered that his crime was no different than being AWOL for a few hours or even minutes.  He took his seven days restriction considering the matter closed.  The rejection of Trueman and the crew struck his self-conception like a sledge hammer.  He was forced to hang out with the criminal element although he did disavow his criminal ways when he was once again safe with family, friends and hometown.

     A more corrosive effect was made by Kayo Kreskin.  The effect of the forty pounds of heroin on the finances of his father was explosive.  The return was so sensational that Soter’s appetite for the easy money was increased accordingly.  The land of opportunity for Soter and Kayo lay close at hand just South of the border.

     Soter bought Kayo a fifty-eight Edsel, setting him up to make bi-weekly runs from the border to the Bay.  Soter saw no reason to put his son at risk with border crossings so he arranged for delivery of the stuff to be made to a lawyer friend in the yacht harbor of Coronado where Kayo picked it up.

    Trueman with his need to include everyone he liked in his schemes soon included Joe McLean in his weekend jaunts to Oakland.  While there McLean ran into Jim Chance who was continuing his criminal career burgling warehouses in Oakland from his base at the airport.

     In an effort to increase the take Soter persuaded Kayo to recruit some mules.  There was no more likely candidate than Joe McLean.  Joe, who was also feeling pinched on his reduced wages, was delighted to drive for Kweskin.  The couple hundred he received for each trip more than made up for his loss in wages.

page 1322.

     As he had no car, to his further delight the Kreskins bought him a fifty-one Buick convertible.  McLean was in hog heaven.  Teal Kanary also flew a few kilos up to the Bay Area on his fequent trips home.  There may have been other mules as well but in any event Soter Kreskin blossomed as a social lion with his few found means.  He too was in hog heaven though of a different quality than Joe McLean’s.

     His next weekend Dewey chose to fly to San Francisco as were a number of men of  greater means than his own.  At the time Southwest Airlines was the industry phenom.  They were running cattle cars between San Diego, LA and San Francisco at incredibly low prices.  They packed you in like sardines but most people found the resulting frotage sexually exciting.

     This was the beginning of the heyday of sexual promiscuity.  The stewardesses were young, beautiful and wanted the same sexual freedom as men.  This was somthing like saying that nails could have the same freedom as hammers.  Whatever gets used gets abused.  Strangely it took women several decades to discover that all the physical and psychic wear and fell on them.  Then they turned viciously on men to make them pay for their own stupidity.

     That consequence was far in the future.  For the time being the stewardesses seemed willing even eager to be groped amongst the party atmosphere provided by the airlines.  It was as though being able to fly made them giddy.  Through it all the morose and angry face of Dewey Trueman shone like a dirge at a wedding.  Everything in Dewey’s past conspired to exclude him from this merriment.  The high spirits even seemed  an intended affront against him.  For Dewey it hurt so good to feel so bad.

page 1323.

     Not only had Dewey spent more than he could afford for the flight but upon disembarking he discovered that the airport was a long way from where he wanted to be.  San Francisco airport then as now was halfway down the Peninsula between San Francisco and the Santa Clara Valley.  The trip over to Oakland consumed another three hours and more expense than Dewey was willing to absorb.

     Although old Pete Da Costa was no less happy to see him Da Costa’s sister Terry had decided to take an interest in him.  As with so many Southern and Eastern European immigrant women the Da Costa girls had sought to avoid the stigma of inferiority by marrying men with English names.

     By coincidence both of Roque’s older sisters had married men named Clark although Earl spelled his name Clarke with an E while Alton didn’t.  Trueman seemed an eminently suitable English name to Terry.

     Dewey had no interest in her.  Call it what you will but Terry was of a deep olive complexion as was the rest of the family which Dewey disliked.  Then too there was that about the Da Costa style of living which was distasteful to Dewey’s sensibilities.  It bespoke an intellect which was foreign to him and to which his intellect could never adapt.  It may be said, however, that both Mary Clarke and Estelle Clark kept a much more Anglo style of housekeeping although Mary was incomparably the better of the two.

page 1324.

     So Dewey idly passed the weekend flying back to San Diego with time to spare.  He realized that if he had to pay to travel to Oakland that he wouldn’t be able to afford more than one trip a month.  He was so desperate to get away every week that he made a decision that would forever declass him in his own mind.

     He remembered how he had felt pity for his high school pal, Jerry, who used to hitch everywhere.  He had felt then that Jerry had declassed himself and felt pity for him because it always made Jerry inferior in his eyes.

     But now, faced with the horror of not being able to get away from both ship and San Diego he made the fateful decision to put out his thumb.

An E With A Hashmark

     The Commodore was exceedingly wroth with the Teufelsdreck.  Not only was Ratches ruining his own career but the unusual proceedings on board the Teufelsdreck were affecting his own reputation as squadron commander.  The unexplainable logic of the payroll advances abord the Bucket T had been the last straw for the Commodore.  He wanted nothing better than to himiliate Ratches and his ship as he felt he was being humiliated.  See how they liked it.

page 1125.

     Thus the Monday after Dewey’s flight back from the Bay Area the squadron put out to sea for gunnery exercises.  The complement of the Teuf was not yet up to full strength thus the Commodore believed that with a number of green hands and short of men the Teuf would not be able to defend its pants.

     Chief Dieter had not relaxed his animosity toward Trueman.  If anything it had deepened.  Trueman had been assigned some mopping up work on the fo’c’sle.  He was beginning to lose his enthusiasm for working hard although he still did good work.  Rather than hurrying to get the job done he was sitting in front of the 20MM gun tub leaning with his back against it while leisurely scrubbing some discolored area of the deck when he heard the voices of Dieter and Morford discussing him.  Dieter had apparently forgotten the task he had assigned Trueman.

     ‘The guy’s a tough nut to crack.’  Morford said still rueful about his failure to break Trueman over the rammed supply ship incident.

     ‘I know.  But I think if we can break his will his ass is ours.’

     Trueman should have lain quietly and listened instead he stood up to indignantly exclaim:  ‘It’ll be a cold day in hell when you guys will ever break my will.’

     Both men looked at him in surprise.  Without a further word they parted, walking around opposite sides of the superstructure.

     Perhaps in an attempt to break Trueman’s will he was taken off the forties for which he had expressed a liking to be sent up to the Hedgehogs as exercises began.

     As they were not to be fired for gunnery practice Dieter called him down to handle shells for the three inch.

     The forward three was the prestige gun aboard ship.  Dieter, Ratman and Pardon, all three, stood around to supervise.  Premier Seaman Cracker Jack Driscoll, who, by the way, was so devoted to the navy that he had refused the payroll advances, had the prestige job of ramming the shell into the breach.  While not dangerous the task was not without hazards.  When the shell was rammed the breech snapped up with speed and force.  The trick was to not wrap your fingers over the flange of the shell which was a half inch wide but to keep your fingers straight and ram with the heel of your palm fingers extended.

     It was on this day that Cracker Jack Driscoll failed to follow instructions.

     As mentioned before, Boatwain’s Mate was a closed rating.  It was virtually impossible to make Third Class even.  However Dieter liked Cracker Jack Driscoll.  He spent long hours tutoring the man; he moved heaven and earth, pulled every single string that existed to get his man a Third Class chevron.  He had succeeded.  Two weeks after the Teufelsdreck returned Driscoll’s promotion came through.

     One would have thought Driscoll would have been overjoyed but he wasn’t; he was in awe.  As a cracker back in Georgia he had accepted everyone’s opinion that he wasn’t worthy as fact.  Thus as he’d sewn his chevron on his blues he felt he was unworthy of having achieved this insignficant distinction.

page 1327.

     It my be argued that he simply forgot to remove the middle finger of his right hand from the breech but, in fact, he subconsciously wanted to disqualify himself from what he thought was umerited distinction.

     Trueman had raced under the barrel cradling the three inch shell in his arms anticipating the devastatingly sharp crack from the three inch barrel overhead when he was met instead by a scream of pain.

     When he got around to the breech he found Cracker Jack Driscoll attached to the gun by his middle finger.  The accident was so unexpected that neither Dieter, Ratman nor Pardon had made a move to lower the breech manually.  There Driscoll stood with his finger up to the second knuckle inside the barrel behind the shell.

     The pain was excruciating.  Cracker Jack let out peal after peal that was heard all over the ship.  Finally the Petty Officers recovered to grapple the breech down.  Driscoll’s finger wasn’t severed but the finger was definitely hanging by the skin.

     To Trueman’s consternation the first intelligible words out of Driscoll’s mouth were an anguished:  ‘This doesn’t mean I’ll have to leave the Navy does it?’  Then his gaze fixed on Trueman’s wondering eyes who always ridiculed Cracker Jack because he found distinction in being in the Navy.

     Dieter followed his glance to say reprovingly:  ‘Go back to the forties Trueman, you’re not wanted here.’

     In one day Trueman manned the Hedgehogs, a three inch and the forties.  Not many could claim that.

page 1328.

     ‘What happened up forward, Trueman?’  Bent Cygnette demanded.

     ‘Nothing.  Cracker Jack forgot to remove his finger from the barrel before the breech snapped back up, that’s all.’

     ‘Is he hurt?’

     ‘Well, if you think being able to put the first two knuckles of your middle finger in your shirt pocket is being hurt I should think so.’

     The order for the forties to fire terminated the conversation.

     Morford and Kanary were both looking for ways to get Trueman in trouble.  As he walked a narrow line he would have to be induced to commit an indiscretion that could be escalated into a crime.  Having watched Van Wye throwing the spent cartridges overboard during the last exercizes Morford encouraged him to do it again, as if he needed it, but to get Trueman involved so he could be written up.

     One might think that Van Wye was placing himself in jeopardy but the rules can be selectively applied.  Even if Trueman objected that Van Wye also was discarding the cartridges it would be argued that Van Wye was not the one on the carpet, Trueman was, and Trueman was guilty.  He would be told that Van Wye would be dealt with later which he wouldn’t be.

     Thus while Trueman clipped his cartridges to put them back in the cannisters Van Wye threw them over the side.

     ‘C’mon, Trueman, don’t be a simp; just chuck them over the side.  The Navy can afford more.’

page 1329.

     Waste was not Trueman’s way while he also looked up to the bridge where he saw Morford and Kanary eyeing him intently.  He fluffed Van Wye off continuing to clip the shells.  Thus he saved himself a fair amount of trouble.

Whitening The Teufelsdreck.

     Whatever tests the Navy was conducting with the sixteen Black sailors must have been completed.  As the Blacks were put aboard just before the Pacific Tour and removed just after its completion perhaps the notion had been to see how they would react to foreign locales or how the foreigners would react to them.  If that was the case the results were inconclusive as the Blacks had been too terrified to go ashore.

     As no one ever knows what is in store for him from day to day the transfer of the whole contingent could be taken in stride although the situation was certainly unusual.  Unfamiliar with such procedures the Blacks had little idea what transfer meant.

     There was a great deal of discussion as to its meaning and signficance.  The agitated mind of Tyrone Jackson whose preoccupation had always been the imagined insult to Blackness made by Trueman in the laundry room evolved a notion that now that they were to be transferred any crimes committed on the Teufelsdreck would remain a transgression of that ship’s laws and would remain on that ship.  As Tyrone reasoned it he could murder Trueman, then, once having crossed the gangway, he would be beyond the ship’s jurisdiction.  Blacks must have thought that if you committed a crime in Chicago then lammed to LA you only had responsibility to the LA police until you committed a crime there alhtough you couldn’t go back to Chicago.

page 1331.

 

    

 

 

A Short Story

 The Price Of Freedom

In Both Lira And Dollars

by

R.E. Prindle

 

From The Archives Of

Yesterday’s News Service

Our Motto:  Real News Never Goes Stale

 

     Lincoln Adams sat quietly sobbing in the dark.  He now realized what he had done.  His best intentions had been turned back on him.  He wasn’t thinking but his actions passed in crowded review through his troubled mind.

     He remembered the proudest day in his life when he and Ginnie Wolfe had exchanged vows.  He had taken the vow to protect quite seriously.  Thus when a few days after returning to work from his honeymoon his boss had told him to clean out his office and leave he had been devastated.  He then found that his former employer was blackballing him.  So-called theft.  Not a charge that he could defend himself against as he was never publicly accused but a mere hint that there were irregularities in his accounts.  Unless he got a lucky break he either would have to leave Chicago or accept a laboring job.  He didn’t want to declasse himself.

     He sat on his bench hunched forward his eyes turned upward as though expecting help from above when a kindly looking fellow appeared, a well dressed and groomed gentleman sat down beside him.  He was holding the help wanted section of the Tribune in his hand.

     Clearing his throat gently he said:  ‘Tough times.  Jobs aren’t easy to come by.’

     ‘You don’t know the half of it.’  Link groaned out half tearfuly looking over at the man.  He saw a kindly handsome face that was unseamed given the man’s apparent advanced years.  The man seemed genuinely concerned about him.

     ‘Oh, I think I do.’  He said, quietly oozing commiseration.  ‘When I was your age I might have been in the same situation myself.  Might have been?  I was…’

      ‘I’ll bet it wasn’t quite the same.  You don’t…’

      ‘Oh sure, your boss fired you to cover up some cash shortages and now he’s blaming it on you, out of consideration for you of course he’s not pressing charges.  Now you can’t get a job.’

     ‘How did you know?’

     ‘I didn’t know for sure.  I just guessed.  These things are so common.’

     ‘Yeah?  What do you do about it?’

     ‘I may be able to help.  You see, I believe in you.  I don’t know what it is about you but you just seem like a man who deserves a break.  That looks like a wedding ring on your finger.  Just get hitched?’

     ‘Yeah, three weeks before I got fired.  I don’t know how I’m going to take care of her like she deserves.  She’s the most beautiful girl in the world.  Now I’ll probably lose her.’

     ‘Now, now.  I’m sure it’s not as bad as all that.’  He smiled benignly, reassuringly.  Just looking at him restored your confidence.  ‘I should introduce myself.  I’m Richard Cole, you can call me Dick.  What would you say if I said I could get you a job, a good job, this is in the bookkeeping field though you might have to take some night classes…’

     ‘I’m an accountant.’  Link blurted.

     ‘CPA?’

     ‘No.  Just an accountant.’

     ‘You might be perfect.  This is a good job, good pay and most importantly you don’t ever have to worry about being fired.  If you take it it’s a lifetime job.’

     ‘Who’s it with?’

     A firm called Statistical Tabulating Company.  It’s not an ordinary company.   They take a real interest in the lives of their employees.  Would you like to talk to them?’

     Lincoln Adams did talk to them.  He accepted the job.  The first thing they had done after a six month probationary period was to transfer him to St. Louis.  Link didn’t like it but he was in no position to refuse.  He had to take care of his Ginny.

     She was worth caring for.  She was a beautiful young woman just coming into her full womanly perfection as she approached the magical age of twenty.  She was truly in love with Link too, until…

     Through his muffled sobs Link heard a car door slam.  He looked at the clock.  Four-thirty in the morning.

     He went tothe door, opened it to find his beautiful Ginny staggering up the walk, drunk, dazed and confused, in a highly excited condition so blind she couldn’t actually see where she was going.  Link reached out to guide her.  She pulled her arm away in instinctive revulsion, growling under her breath.

     It was then that the full weight of pain, of self-loathing, of self-hate, oh god, oh god, it was as though a sledgehammer fell from the sky crushing the right side of his brain nearly paralyzing the right side of his face.  His Anima had also been assassinated.

     Pain!  There’s the excruciating pain of breaking bones, of crushing blows, of screaming anguish and then there’s the pain of psychic wounding.  The enervating, paralyzing numbness of knowing you have damaged and been damaged in ways that can never be repaired.

     For three days Ginny didn’t get out of bed or say a word.  For three days Link sat in his chair paralyzed as he sobbed quietly.  Physical pain could heal…but this?

     Then on the fourth day the doorbell rang.  Barely able to rouse himself Adams dragged himself to the door opening it a crack:  ‘You!’ He exclaimed.  ‘What do you want?’

     ‘May I come in?’  Dick Cole asked in his quiet controlled manner pushing the door open as he did.  ‘Are you alright?’

     Lincoln Adams looked at his recruiter through tear bleared eyes.

     ‘I came down from Chicago right away when they said there might be some problems.  Can I help?’  He cooed as though, no, he was,  he was  genuinely concerned.  He was a kindly man.  That’s why he had been chosen; he was the right man in the right job.

      ‘I…I…I don’t want this lifetime job anymore, Mr. Cole.  I’m turning in my resignation.’

     ‘I don’t think you understood properly, Link.  this is a lifetime job.  It’s yours for life whether you will or not now.’

     ‘I don’t want it for the rest of my life.’

     ‘There is no rest of your life beyond the tenure of this job, Link.  You have a lifetime contract.  Contracts are sacred in America.  The day you violate the contract they will exercise their option and terminate your life.  That’s what lifetime means.  The termination of your life is in their hands where you placed it.  Voluntarily I might add.  You didn’t have to take this job.’

     ‘But nobody told me that I would have to let them use my Ginny, my beautiful Ginny, as a prostitute.’

     ‘Well, there may have been certain details overlooked at the time but it’s so hard to mention everything.  Besides you must have realized there would be strings attached to guaranteed lifetime employment?  There’s no such thing as a free lunch, young man.’

     ‘But they must have done horrible things to her.  You should have seen her and now she won’t even recognize me.  She just turns away and stares at the wall.’

     ‘I know, I know.  It’s awfully hard on them the first time but they get used to it, learn to enjoy it.  If it’s any comfort to you they really liked her.  They thought she was beautiful too.  After an injection and she was relaxed I can assure you she seemed quite gay.’

     ‘Injection?’

     ‘Yes.  A little heroin make them more pliable and, of course, a habit guarantees compliance.’

     ‘A heroin habit?  My Ginny?  Besides we can’t afford that.’

     ‘We’ve taken that into consideration Link.  There’s no reason you should be burdened by the expense.  I’ll tell you what we’ll do.  We’ll take Ginny off your hands taking the financial burden ourselves.’

     ‘What?  You’re going to take her from me?  But she’s my wife, you can’t just take her.’

     ‘You’re right Link.  That would be theft.  Here, I’m authorized to give you two thousand dollars for her to make everything legal.  I’ll just go get her.  And Link, you’re expected to be back on the job tomorrow.  Be there or be square.’  Dick Cole said with a chuckle.

     Lincoln Adams was too stunned, too confused, too paralyzed by guilt to object as Dick Cole led Ginny past him from the house.

     Ginny passes out of the story now.  Several years later in 1962 Link and the whole St. Louis office was transferred from St. Louis to San Francisco.  Tabulating cards were not becoming passe as the new computers muscled in on information storage and retrieval.

     The Outfit was always on the cutting edge of technology.  Oh yes, If you haven’t already guessed Lincoln Adams was employed by the Chicago Mob, the Outfit.  The organization was now fronted by the most repulsive of its thugs, Sam Giancana.

     Just as Dick Cole had learned to accommodate himself to his enslavement by the Mob so Lincoln Adams had attempted to sublimate his enslavement.  For that is what the lifetime job meant.  Both men had sold themselves to the Mob in the exact same way an ancient Greek debtor sold himself into slavery.

     However his betrayal and the loss of Ginny was like a knot of asphalt forever lying in the pit of his stomach.  His feeling of guilt and shame was too immense for him to psychologically digest.  He wanted to vomit it all over someone else; pass the monkey from his back to another’s.  Intellectually he believed this psychologically impossible feat was possible.

     At the beginning of 1963 Dewey Trueman walked into the office of Stat Tab looking for a job.  Lincoln Adams took one look at Trueman and recognized the man he intended to dump on.  There was something in the sorrowful hangdog expression on Trueman’s face, that in his posture that expressed a resigned hopelessness and a muted fear that indicated to Adams that he would be successful in passing his burden on. 

     He controlled his excitement as he casually interviewed him.  He asked Trueman if he was married.  When Trueman replied no but that he was engaged with the marriage set for September when he would need time off for a honeymoon.  Adams actually relaxed closing his eyes as he leaned back in his chair in relief.

     The applicant got the job.

     Trueman went to work attempting to settle into the job.  He was taken back by the mysterious way the company did business.  His office headed a long row of cubicles on each side of an aisle not unlike a prison block.  I guess if you’re in the Mob certain architectural details you’re familiar with stick in the mind.  The cubicles were occuped by ten ‘salesmen.’  All Anglos.  As salesmen however they never left the office to sell nor did they ever obtain any sales.  They merely sat at their desks waiting.  From time to time one, two or three phones rang and the corresponding number of salesmen got up looking very tough, adjusting their clothing, then marching out in a very determined way not exactly befitting a pesuasive sales demeanor.

     As an accountant Dewey was mystified how a company with so few accounts could maintain such a large staff.  Even then he was never able to find any of the accounts in the phone book.

     Even the computer technicians seemed peculiarly inept acting almost as though they’d never seen a computer before.  Of course, in those days computers were a new phenomenon.  Few people had any experience with them while fewer still could be said to have an intimate knowledge of them.

     Dewey was pondering all this one day as he sat eating his lunch in a nearby hamburger shop.  San Francisco had a knack with food, even simple food like a hamburger, which couldn’t really be found anywhere else in the country.  Even though he was not well traveled Dewey knew he was getting hamburgers such as he would never enjoy again.

     Back to the point, having finished his lunch he stepped out from the door from which he could see the entrance to his office.  As he looked he saw Capt. Richard Walker leaving the building with a satisfied air.  Walker had been Trueman’s employer at Overseas Shipping, his last job.  Dewey had left voluntarily but with indications that he was no longer wanted.

     Capt. Walker had visited Stat Tab to tell them that Dewey had absconded with $20,000.  This was an absurdity as well as a lie as Trueman had stolen nothing and wouldn’t be working at Stat Tab if he had.  Twenty thousand was a lot of money in those days.  Four or five times Dewey’s annual salary.  What Trueman had done was uncover a scheme in which about $20,ooo a voyage was being skimmed from overcharges by Capt. Walker and his clique in the office.  That was $20,000 a voyage and overseas ran twenty-two voyages a year.

     Capt. Walker fearing exposure although none in fact was possible from Dewey’s quarter was intent on hounding Trueman out of San Francisco.  His intent at Stat Tab naturally was to get Trueman fired.

     Unaware of the situation that Stat Tab was a Mob front and unaware that Trueman’s situation as he told it now exactly paralleled that of Lincoln Adams, his interview had the opposite result he intended.  As Adams and his boss believed Capt. Walker who was a very impressive man well practiced at appearing impressive as any sea captain must Adams now could feel Trueman was in his power.  He realized now that it was impossible for Trueman to quit.  Thus he formulated a plan.

     For his part Trueman gradually came to understand that he was employed by the Chicago Outfit.  His contact in the Chicago office was none other than Dick Cole.  Cole was the same genial man with a confidence inspiring manner of speaking.  Still, there was something guarded in his manner while he would never answer the questions that puzzled Trueman.

     Then it was announced that the owner, Luigi Bigwini, was to make his annual inspection tour on June 18th.  This was a big deal.  The Mafia was able to get labor to do what they objected to anywhere else without a complaint.  On the key day Trueman and the salesmen were stood at attention outside their cubicles as though soldiers on parade.

     Bigwini himself was out of central casting; in fact he might have been rejected for being too authentic, nearly a caricature.  He was a short homely Mafioso wielding a big cigar- big fat long cigar- almost as big as he was.  He spoke in that gruff throaty tone like any good fella of the movies.  Strangely he projected a strong aura of someone who wanted to be liked.

     Dewey responded to this stepping forward to pat Bigwini on the shoulder.  The salesmen’s head turned in amazement while Adams and his boss, Ralph Schlesinger, gulped in anticipation of Bigwini’s response.  Trueman was still on the outside.  He worked for Stat Tab but wasn’t on the payroll of the outfit.  Bigwini was flattered by the response marking Trueman as a possible comer in the Dick Cole mold.

     After Bigwini’s visit things changed for Trueman .  Bigwini on his return to Chicago recommended Trueman to Dick Cole.  Cole’s attitude change to Trueman reached Adams.

     Emboldened by he belief that Trueman was a thief who couldn’t affort do quit he began demanding that Trueman stay on the job until seven-thirty at night while demanding he come in on Saturday mornings.

     Trueman lived in the East Bay city of Hayward which was an hour and a half trip by bus so working late would eliminate his chances of seeing his fiance during the week while ruining his weekend.  Dewey complained that he wouldn’t be able to see his girl but Adams only smiled.

     Dewey knew he couldn’t quit but for different reasons than Adams thought.  His previous job had lasted only nine months while his job before had been two years.  He realized that having been referred to a company like Stat Tab by the employment agency meant Capt. Walker had already sabotaged his reputation.  He knew he was in deep but hoped that if he held on for two years he would be able to move.

      As his wedding date drew near word came from Chicago to offer him a lifetime job.  Since June 18th Dewey had put a lot of twos together, he was well beyond four.  He now realized why the salesmen never left the office to sell.  He understood the grim look on their faces as they went off to persuade their victims.  Both Vegas and Stateline as well as Reno provided a number of people who had to be persuaded to pay their gambling debts.

     Trueman had made a very good impression on both Dick Cole and Bigwini so they realized that the offer of a lifetime job wold have to come from someone other than the basic thug.

     They selected a member named Herb Allen.  Herb was a literary type who was writing a crime novel.  He now became friendly with Trueman.  If he could succeed as a recruiter that would give him more stature and security within the Outfit.  He himself was more hangdog than Trueman with the reason Adams had.  In time he might have become as suave as Dick Cole.

     Aware of his own precarious situation Trueman listened with bated breath as Allen outlined the lifetime job.  Over the years the Outfit had become a little more sophisticated outlining some of the pitfalls.

     ‘If you accept,’  Allen said.  ‘You’ve got to remember you have to give something for something you get.  Once you’re in you can’t quit.  You belong to the Outfit for life.’

     He cast an inquiring look at Trueman.

     Trueman’s immediate response was no but he wanted to make it look like he was deliberating so after looking at the ceiling for a few moments, inspecting each corner of the room he said:  ‘Hmm.  Sounds interesting.  Can I think about it for a day or two, talk it over with my fiancee?’

     ‘Oh, and one other thing.’  Alled ruefully said.  ‘Once you’re in your wife is in.  They might want to borrow her for an evening every now and then.’  Allen passed his hand across his brow rubbing the left side as he thought of the times his wife had been ‘borrowed.’

     Dewey looked at him reflectively for quite a while as he let the enormity of the suggestion penetrate his mind.  Slowly he realized that he was to allow his wife to be protituted.  That he was to be his own wife’s pimp.

     ‘That’s out of the question, Herb.’  He said sotto voce realizing the extremely dangerous situation Capt. Walker had gotten him into.  He realized there was no difference between Capt. Walker and Luigi Bigwini except the surface sheen.  Bigwini was probably the better man and more honest.

     ‘Well, you think about it, Dewey.’  Herb said.

     ‘I don’t have to think about it, Herb.  It’s out of the question.  I don’t want a lifetime job.’

     When his reply got back to Lincoln Adams Link sat quietly rearranging his plans.  In his mind’s eye he had seen himslef taking first dibs on Trueman’s wife.  He wanted to see Trueman suffer the same anguish he had suffered.  He didn’t want the guilt and shame of selling Ginny anymore.  He wanted to pass it on, he wanted it shared.  He was disappointed that Trueman had declined the lifetime job but he should have quit at the same time.  Adams therefore still had a card up his sleeve.

     Trueman married, honeymooning on Mt. Lassen at the South end of the Cascades.  The Outfit had connections everywhere.  Adams had one of his men siphon battery acid out of the battery of Trueman’s car.  On the return trip the battery meter fluctuated wildly from discharge to charge.  Pulling into a dealership in Eureka Trueman was fortunate enough to find an honest repairman who put water in the battery sending him on his way with no charge.

      Adams had hoped and Trueman had feared the cost would break him.  On the day of Trueman’s return Adams nailed Trueman as he entered the office telling him he was fired, just turn around and leave.

        If Adams had expected Trueman to beg for his job thus allowing Adams to bring him into the control of the Outfit he was mistaken; Trueman just turned around and left.

     As he had been in the same situation as a young man Adams slandered Trueman unmercifully but that has nothing to do with our story.

     The story resumes two years later at the Cal-Neva Lodge at Lake Tahoe.  For whatever reasons, the outfit had the San Francisco ofice of Stat Tab closed at the end of 1964 with the lifetime employees being dispersed.  Lincoln Adams was reassigned to the Cal-Neva.

     While Gus Russo in his book ‘The Outfit’ describes the Cal-Neva as some sort of very profitable plum it was nothing of the sort.  The resort is situated in the perpetual shadow of mountains both East and West.  The place was grim and foreboding.  Further the place was situatied at the North End of Lake Tahoe to which there was no other reason to go.  Harrah’s and Harvey’s at the South End were the places to go followed by the invasion of the Las Vegas mob with the erection of the Sahara about this time.  The Sahara was so obviously mobbed up that it stood a poor third to Harrah’s and Harvey’s.

     Adams himself was bumked up in a huge Mafia compound on the East Side of the lake a few miles above the South End.  Large numbers of mobsters were coming and going at all times from the compound which blighted the East Side if not the entire lake.

     Adams might have been able to settle in without too much discomfort but for the fact that Chuckie Ulsio took a visceral dislike to him.  Chuckie thought that for an Anglo Adams put on airs.  Chuckie decided to put Adams in his place.

     Now, these mobsters not only had a license to kill but being more enamored of the physical rather than the intellectual they took advantage of body building methods to become not only big but bulked up with bulging muscles.  If as Arnold Schwarzenegger said:  A good pump is better than sex some of these guys were well prepared to forego women.

     Chuckie’s sidekick Angie Penisio although only five-five had shoulders and chest nearly equal to his height.

     So, one day Chuckie blocked a door Adams was trying to pass through; ‘Back inside punk.’  Chuckie sneered.  ‘We got somethin’ to talk about.’  Angie followed him in closing the door behind him.  Adams gulped being now confronted by the Incredible Hulk and the Near Incredible Hulk.

     ‘I don’t like your attitude around here, Adams.  I mean, you don’t show enough respect.’  Chuckie said planting the very broad expanse of his trousers on half the desk while angie stood leering cracking his knuckles.

     ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about.’  Adams began ass though talking man to man rather than slave to man.

     ‘That’s it, Adams.  Your tone of voice ain’t submissive enough.  You don’t cast your eyes down to the floor.  You walk around here like you won the place rather than being here on sufferance.’

     I don’t know what you’re talking about.  I work here.  I’m not a slave.’

     ‘What did you say?  You’re not a slave?  Then why don’t you try to quit your job?  I’ll tell you why.  Because we own you.  You give us any shit and they won’t ever find even the nail on your little finger.’

     Adams opened his mouth to say something but found he had nothing to say.  He realized that he was a slave.  Still he seized the hips of his pants hoising them up with a defiant:  ‘I’ve got my rights.’

     ‘No, you ain’t got no rights.  You’ve got obligations and duties whatever I say you do you do and you better hope I’m in a good mood when I say it.  Let me give you a little history lesson, Lincoln Adams.  Let me show you where the real power in this country lies.  Adamses may have founded this country and Lincoln may have freed the Negro slaves but we Sicilians have taken this country over and enslaved you pussy Anglos with all your stupid laws.

      Whe we Italians came to this dumb country, I mean America, you Anglos had the whip hand.  You treated us Italians, especially us Sicilians, like we was dirt beneath your feet.  We got all the shit work, the pick and shovel crap, while you Anglos kept all the cushy jobs in those big high rise offices to yourselfs.’

     Adams was going to interject that the Sicilians were illiterate and not qualified for anything but pick and shovel but then thought better of it.

     ‘But there was a flaw in your system.  You thought people are better than they are.  You tried to keep people from their natural tastes like gambling and whoring.  Prohibition.  What kind of fools do you think try to keep people from doing what they want?…That’s the question Adams.  I need an answer.’

     ‘I don’t know.’

     ‘The correct answer is:  Dumb shit Anglos like us.  Say it.’

     Adams writhed but with an eye on Angie said:  ‘Dumb shit Anglos like us.’

     ‘Yeah.  That’s right.  Dumb shit Anglos like you.  We ain’t as dumb as you think just because we don’t waste the best yers of our lives shut up in stupid schools that don’t teach you nothin’ about livin’.  You left the field wide open and we stepped in.  We got the money and power and we call the shots.  I’m going to tell you something few people, even in our world, know.  You think some loony named Oswald shot Kennedy, don’t you?  Uh huh.  It was us.  You know why?  Because those asshole Kennedys double crossed us.

     In 1959, Joe Kennedy, the old man, comes to Chicago to inplore our boys to get his boy Jack elected President of the United States of America.  We thought it would be the next best thing to having one of ours in the Oval Office.  If Jack Kennedy then why not Bill Bonano, huh?  That’s what we couldn’t figure out.  What makes Kennedy legit and Bonano not.  Figure that one out, hey?

     So we got this bootlegger’s son elected.  We voted the graveyards so many time in Chicago those old bones turned to dust.  We provided that asshole with his margin of victory.  So what does the little shit do?  He sics his brother Bobby on us.  Makes him the Attorney General.  What a double cross.  But we got him good.  Not only does he catch a couple slugs but before he does we humiliate him so bad he almost pushed the Red Button in anger.  The asshole didn’t know whether he was coming or going.’

     Adams interest was piqued.  He raised his eyebrows inquiringly.

     ‘You ever heard of Marilyn Monroe?  Well Jack and Bobby was both fucking her only I don’t know if Jack knows Bobby’s getting some too.

     You remember when Monroe goes on TV singing that breathy Happy Birthday, Mr. President?  Well, Sam sees it too.  He gets an idea.  He says:  ‘If she’s good enough for the President of the United States she’s good enough for me.’

     So, the Rat Packers are a little off form now but then they were in top form.  Two of ours, Frank and Dean run this pack with the Jewboy, the one-eyed nigger and this Anglo pimp and gopher who they let hang around named Peter Lawford.  What’s this guy Lawford ever do but stand to one side either being ignored by the immigrants or being abused by them, his mouth hanging open waiting for orders just like you Adams.

     But this guy Lawford is married into the Kennedys so he’s some sort of pimp or go between between this Monroe broad and the President.  You see how good we are.  We share Lawford with the President of the United States and he knows to do what we say or he ain’t such a pretty boy anymore.  He’s our slave just like you, just all them tushes walking around makes you drool so much.  All Anglos, no Italians among ’em.  All Anglos tush.  We buy and sell ’em, trade ’em like baseball cards.  You know what I mean?’  He said looking at Adams sharply.

     Adams held back a guilty retch.  He knew.

     ‘So Sam and Frank have this Lawford guy bring this Monroe broad up here to the Cal-Neva for a fun weekend.  The Anglo pimp brings up his Anglo whore.  Get it?  Ha, Ha.  That’s funny.

     If Sam is sore at the Kennedy’s Frank is very unhappy too.  I mean, both these bust their ass to get this son-of-a-bitch elected.  Imagine Frank Sinatra pulls out the stops, brings Sam Giancana in, even organizes balls a and this…this more than a son-of-a-bitch says Frank can’t even attend the party because he’s a political liability.  Sam is so totally embarrassed y this thing that he has to do a real song and dance with Accardo and Ricca to survive.  For a minute there it looks like old Frankie boy is going to take a hit.

     Then Sam sees this Monroe broad singing Happy Birthday Dear Mr. President and it’s like a light bulb goes on in his head.

     Like eveybody knows Frank’s got Lawford by the hangers so he has ‘Petah’ bring Monroe up for the weekend.

     Before she even knows what’s happening they got her so zonked on downers she’s just a puppet.  I don’t personally approve of doing this to no broad myself figuring a good backhand to the chops gets the same results and they’re alert enough to put their hearts and souls into it or else but then Sam and Frank have got their own ideas.

     Jesus Christ, you should a seen it.  It was like they was banging the President himself.  Sam is banging her in the ass screaming:  ‘Take that you double crossing bastard.’ while Frank is laughing like a maniac shouting out:  ‘How does it feel?’  The poor broad is out of her senses so loaded with shit she can’t stop puking, later they had to pump her stomach to get some of the shit out there so she could go on breathing.  All in all Sam and Frank have themselves a very rewarding and entertaining evening.’

     ‘You sound almost like you seen it.’  Adam said ruefully.

     ‘I did see it.  Me and Lawford both of us.  Petah took the pictures they sent to the bastard.

      ‘How could you do that?’

     ‘Oh, you’re new here yet.  There is underground passages connecting all the huts, peep holes, doors in closets whole thing.  So we make Lawford watch this whole thing, take pictures, then send him back to tell Jack and Bobby with the snapshots.

     They go crazy, Jack especially.  A seek later this Monroe broad is back in LA but she is in depression like you wouldn’t believe.  I mean, she is destroyed.  She calls up her boyfriends to tell them to do something about it, like, you know, hit Frank and Sam, but they send this Lawford shit to tell her she is disgraced and they don’t want to have anymore to do with her.  Who could face life after that?  Maybe somebody does kill her, I don’t know.  But for myself I don’t see how she has any choice but to kill herself.  In a way I feel sorry for the broad.  That was a lot to take.

     So you see, Lincoln, I tell you these things so you know your position among us.  Think!  He was dishonored through his broad, Jack Kennedy took a shot a couple years ago.  None of our boys have been accused and they never will be. We elect Presidents by the ‘democratic’ process and we kill them with impunity.  Sam’s doin’ OK; Frank sings to sold out auditoriums.  Kennedy’s in his grave.  Know your place.  I don’t want to hear no more of this Chuckie crap.  I’m Mr. Ulsio to you.  Same goes for Angie.  Now get the hell out of here before I mop the floor with you.  Move!’

A Fictional Dialogue

Battleground America:

Breakfast At Champions

by

R.E. Prindle

This is a dialogue inspired by the movie My Dinner With Andre.  I was so entranced by the movie that I wanted to write something along the same lines.

This is it.

Clip 1 of 2.  Fifty pages in each.

I note once again the extreme injustice

through an excess of justice,

to which most liberal spirits come…

–Romain Rolland

 

Craig

     ‘I know you!’ A voice exclaimed as Dewey entered the restaurant.

 Dewey

     ‘So you do!’  Dewey exclaimed in return in delight as he looked down at the seated figure.  ‘Craigo, as I live and breathe.’

Craig

     ‘So you do remember me, hey, Dewey?’

Dewey

     ‘Why wouldn’t I, Craig?  You are one of the great influences on my life.  I’ve been thinking about you a lot.  Tried to look you up but you couldn’t be found in the usual places.  Phone books, city directories and such; not that I have any idea where you’re living.’

 Craig

     ‘I’m still in the Bay Area, San Mateo, unlisted number.’

Dewey

     ‘Oh sure.  What’re you doing here in Portland?’

Craig

     ‘Business, what else?  I was a big influence on your life, huh?  How’s that?  No offence, but I was kinda hurt the last time we met.  I thought I had been a pretty good friend to you but you didn’t seem to have any use for me.’

Dewey

     ‘You were a good friend to me.  I think I failed you too, and that’s what I wanted to talk to you about, make amends before we slide into the chute marked: Oblivion.  I can explain although I don’t think my explanation may make a lot of sense to you.’

Craig

     ‘Go ahead.  Do you remember where we first met?’

Dewey

     ‘Yes.  But only after you reminded me when you reintroduced yourself up on the Hill.’

Craig

     Um, I was a a timekeeper at the Chevy plant on 73rd  and you worked on the assembly line.

Dewey

       ‘Yuh, but I didn’t work for Chevy; I worked for Fisher Body in the Department called ‘Special Hardware’ at the time.  When the line was moving at sixty cars an hour I used to sort out the front seat for the oncoming bodies.  That was an interesting job.  When the line slowed down I sorted out the seats and put them in the car.  When it slowed down further and they were about to lay me off one of the guys on the line left after he got his paycheck, you remember how they used to pay us at lunch break, they didn’t have anyone to take his place but a foreman so I shouted I can do that and took over his job when he never came back.’

Craig

     ‘Oh, is that how you survived the cut?’

     Dewey

     ‘Yeah.  It’s called initiative.  You know how simple those jobs were?  So the foreman asks me do I think I’m capable for such a demanding task.  Ten minutes later I was functioning like a professional auto assembler.  You know, I guess there were some guys who couldn’t handle it.’

Craig.

     ‘There were quite a few who couldn’t cut the jobs.  I was always amazed myself.’

Dewey

     ‘Yah.  After you told me I remembered the attentive eye you gave me when we were all clamoring around the time clock for some reason.  I noted you too, funny how kindred types spot each other in a crowd.  But you always seemed aloof so I dismissed the idea.’

Craig

     ‘They didn’t want us to mingle with the assembly people.  GM wanted management and labor to keep to their separate spheres.  I was afraid you wouldn’t like me when I reminded you.’

Dewey

‘No.  We were simpatico, Craig.  You were different from me but you admired all the right things.  I never told you but you were even way ahead of me in a lot of things.  You always seemed to get there before I did.  At least we always did things on your schedule.  But that’s what I wanted to explain to you, why it seemed our friendship cooled.

Craig

‘Why did it?’

Dewey

‘Well, Craig, I’ve done a lot of reading and studying since that time.  A lot in your major, English, a lot in my major, History, and a lot of psychology and related fields.’

Craig

‘Oh yeah?  Didn’t take up any poetry did you?’

Dewey

     I still won’t read Algernon Swinburne if that’s what you mean but I have read a little Scott and Tennyson.  By the way, did you ever write?

Craig

No.  I tried a couple short stories but I don’t think I finished even them.  I may yet though.

Dewey

I have.

Craig

You?  You mean you write?

Dewey

Yep.  I told you I would, Craig, but you scoffed.  You always had this notion that you were playing Batman to my Robin.  Bothered me.  Yes, I’m three volumes into a roman a fleuve I’ve titled ‘City On The Hill.’  But, nevermind.  Do you know what a psychological cluster is?

Craig

No.  I missed that one, I guess.

Dewey

I’m not surprised. It’s my own notion.  A cluster is a group of memories that are related by content to a central memory that creates an illusion.  The memories may or may not be related in time and place; they may occur before, after or concurrently with the central fixation but they are associated with, influence and are influenced by it.  They are relegated to the subconscious where they usually remain unless you can call them up into your consciousness.  Now, that I am about to begin volume four which I have titled: On The Knees Of The Gods part of which will deal with you and Robie, the cluster came up.  How is Robie, that wonderful wife of yours?

Craig

She died a couple years ago, Dewey.

Dewey

Oh not.  Well, don’t tell me about it.  I always want her alive in my memory.

Craig

I didn’t know you liked Robie that much.

Dewey

Liked her?  I loved her.  She’s the only woman I’ve ever known other than Jeannie that I think I could have married.

Craig

You still married to Jeannie?

Dewey

Yes.  She’s well.  She remembers you and Robie with real affection.

Craig

Why did you like Robie so much?

Dewey

Well, Craig, I’ve thought about this a lot.  It’s just that you have such excellent taste in the people you choose to associate with.  I like the people you like although I have a secret resentment about how you choose who you like.

Craig

What do you mean by that?

Dewey

Well, Craig, you know I admire you and the things you do but you always suffered from insecurity or perhaps an inferiority complex so you always chose people you could feel superior to in one way or another.  That’s why you liked me, because I had excellent qualities that you could admire but overall you were ahead of me so you could condescend to me without feeling challenged.  Robie was a wonderful woman and you couldn’t have chosen better but, at the same time, she came from a lower social strata than you did so that she always, well, you know, so she always…well, she could always be grateful to you because you rescued her from a lower social strata.

You remember how her front teeth were all rotted away.  They had those huge black gaps between her front teeth.  Her parents had never taken the time to give her decent dental care.  I don’t criticize you for it but all your priorities came before fixing her teeth.  I don’t say you wanted her to stay that way but it gave you security to think no one would make a pass at her, I think.

You treated your dog the same way and you always condescended to your kids in this really superior but not unattractive way.  I always felt you treated me the same way.

You knew the quality of us but it was like a guy who recognized diamonds where others only saw coal.  But don’t take me wrong, you were never offensive about it.  You never tried to lord it but the feeling was still there.

But you were a long way ahead of me.  I hope what I have to say will be all good memories of yours.  They actually are of mine but I can’t stop analyzing them.  Remember in the winter of sixty-six when you took us over to that Beatnik coffee house in San Francisco?  The Gate Of Wine?

Craig

On Grant Street in North Beach?  Sure.  That was one of the greatest if not the greatest night of my life.  I was thrilled to my socks but I didn’t think you liked it that much.  I thought I had disappointed you.

Dewey

Like it?  I loved it.  It was the highlight of my stay in the Bay Area.  I would never have had that wonderful experience except for you.  Seriously, Craig, I owe you a lot.  Strangely enough that is the central icon in my psychological cluster of you.  Even though it was one of the most signficant moments in my life for which I can never thank you enough it is also the basis of the resentment that caused me to distance myself from you.  Strange hey?  Do you remember that night well?

Craig

I don’t know if I remember what you do but I remember the four of us together and walking into the place.  God, what atmosphere.  It was packed.  All those rustic looking chairs and tables like maybe some forty-niners put them together.  The buzz of expectation for the intellectual stimulation.  Then that amazing oration by that amazing Black guy…’

Dewey

What’s that?  Oh, a hamburger well done, two slices of onion, french fries and a glass of Porter.

Craig

I’ll have the same, medium hold the onions.

Dewey

     Yeah, I know, I still quiver with excitement when I think about it. You know, Craig, we were very behind the times.  The Beat thing was already passe at the time.  We were in a time lag of about ten years.  You still remembered the Six Gallery recital when Ginsberg first read Howl.  God, you were lucky to walk in on that.  How old were, seventeen or eighteen?

Craig

Seventeen.  Wow, what a night that was.

Dewey

But already Kesey was bad by the time we got to the coffee house, he’d already done the Acid Tests and Haight-Ashbury was almost in full swing, Marty Balin and the Airplane had already given the bottom to the movement with the Matrix Club and there we were thinking we were far out at a Beatnik coffee house.  You remember how much you used to like, even worship, Kesey?

Craig

I thought he was a great writer then and I think he’s a great writer now.  ‘Cuckoo’s Nest’ has become a classic but I still think ‘Sometimes A Great Notion is better.  I couldn’t interest you in them though.

Dewey

No.  I started Cuckoo once but I couldn’t get myself into it.  By the way did you know I knew Kesey a little bit?

Craig

You’re joking?  You talked to him?

Dewey

Yes I did.  I even sold a couple Grateful Dead records to him when I was in the record business in Eugene.

Craig

Lucky guy, you.  I’ll bet he was just great.

Dewey

I’m sure he is great Craig but I didn’t like him any better in person than I did from his fame, which isn’t to say he’s a bad guy, you know, just a matter of taste.

Craig

Do you remember his adventures in the Bay Area.  God, I thought everything he did was great.  He was so avant garde I could never hope to catch up.

Dewey

Well, I can’t forgive him for leading his generation down the garden path of drugs.  I thought the Acid Tests were wrong then and I think he did his generation a great disservice by legitimizing LSD.  But the funny thing, the reason I dislike him most doesn’t really have anything to do with him and the memories associated with him are attached to you before I even knew you.

Craig

How can that be?

Dewey

That’s what I was saying; that’s how a memory cluster works.  It associates memories that the subconscious relates to each other as though they were all one big incident.  So, even though you didn’t have anything to do with a lot of this my mind places you into the same context; that’s part of the reason I drew away from you, you see, not your fault at all but subconsciously all my most negative thoughts and memories of you came together in this weird cluster.

In sixty-three, November twenty-second, the day Kennedy bought his one way ticket over the river of no return I was unemployed.  I’d only been married two months and I’d been fired the month before by a guy who had had the same thing done to him with dire consequences so he passed his monkey on to me.

Craig

What happened to him?

Dewey

Well, the same as he did to me they gave him bad references so that it was really hard for him to get a job.  His only way out had been to be co-opted by the Mafia.

Craig

Co-opted by the Mafia?

Dewey

Um hmm.  The company we worked for was owned by this guy from the Chicago Outfit.  Anybody who had been with the company for any time at all was a Mafia stooge.

Craig

You’re kidding me.

Dewey

No, I’m not.  San Francisco was riddled by Mafiosi from Chicago.  I was offered a ‘life time’ job with the Outfit but you know what that means.  Jeannie was a nice looking woman and they told me that once in I was in for life and that they might from time to time want to use her as a prostitute.  But it would be alright because I would get her back and there wouldn’t be any harm done.  Bullshit, man.  So, I told them no and a week later I was out on the street with no chance of getting a decent job.

I’d had a discouraging month or so and I was sitting on this bench down on the little plaza at the foot of Montgomery and Market waiting for a job  interview.  I looked over on the bench and someone had lain a newspaper down beside me with an employment ad circled in red.  Stanford’s psychology department was looking for subjects.  What do you think they wanted them for?

 Craig

Darned if I know, Dewey, it’s your story.

Dewey

CIA drug testing, LSD, speed, all that stuff.  I think it was the same program Kesey was involved with.  I didn’t know what they wanted but I thought maybe I would do it so I put the paper in my pocket and went into this weird art deco building across the street on Market.  It was surreal given my mental condition.  The inside of the building was all steel.  A big atrium with steel elevators, in the middle in open steel cages, perforated steel walkways around the floors, steel walls; a real monument to steel.

Have you ever been back in the library stacks at Berkeley.  Yeah?  Remember how the room went up for fifty feet or so with no dividers other than those perforated steel gratings?  I had some queer four floors up piss four floors down  through the grating on me.  By the time it would have got to me there was nothing left but that’s how those perverts at UC thought and acted.

Steel may be steel but I’ve never seen anything like this building this side of a locomotive.  I had an interview there with a guy who I later found out was very famous in an underground fashion where he was known as Dr. Queergenes.  ‘On The Knees Of The Gods’ is centered around him.  I guess he just wanted to see what I looked like because he took one look, sneered at me, then told me to get out.  Rude.  Really ill mannered

When I entered that awesome building I left one world and when I emerged I entered a completely different one.  When I came back out on the street from that house of steel everyone was running around screaming like berserkers just like maybe Khrushchev had dropped the big one.  It took me a long time to get someone to tell me what had happened but finally someone turned a staring face at me and said:  Kennedy’s been shot.

Now, you might think I was dismayed but instead a great feeling of relief flooded over me and the sky turned bright blue.  We all knew they would shoot him if he went to Dallas and now that they did I was glad.  My subconscious overwhelmed my conscious mind as I headed up toward Powell Street in an actual daze.  I had disliked Kennedy so much that I felt like one of the conspirators and actually shared in their guilt.

I didn’t really take the paper with the circled ad out of my pocket but I actually remember nudging and brushing it until it fell out.

Drugs and Kennedy.  I don’t know what they meant to me but November 22 was the first day of the rest of my life.  I was reborn on that day with the hope of a future.  Later I learned that Aldous Huxley died that day too.  Monster influence on me.  I couldn’t get you interested in his writing like you couldn’t get me interested in Kesey.

I wandered around downtown for a couple hours often in the middle of the streets as people ran around like chickens with their heads cut off.  I remember the car traffic seemed to be nonexistent.  I was curious isolated by my guilt so I couldn’t make contact with anyone else I just wandered around looking as crazy as the others.  Finally I went home where I turned on the TV just in time to learn that they had arrested Oswald who I immediately recognized as the scapegoat but that was alright because I too transferred my feeling of guilt to him.  When Ruby shot Oswald that closed the book on my past for me.  On one level I was free.  Only Bobby and King were left and then they got it five years later.

I don’t know why those three men had to go.

Anyway this memory of the ad for drug subjects and the killing of Kennedy is part of the cluster surrounding Kesey and which I irrationally attached to you probably because you were so sold on Kesey.

So here we were at the Gate of Wine which was, by the way, just around the corner from the rooftop Kesey sat on looking out over the City loaded on the speed the Stanford psychologists had injected into him when the cops came to get him.

   The web of society is so interrelated that the question in my mind is that if the CIA hadn’t been trying to find brain washing drugs and hadn’t enlisted the help of academia then Kesey would not have been influenced by drugs in the manner he was, had his his mind blown away as it were, and therefore he probably would have passed over the Acid Tests and society would now be a different place.  So while the straights blame Kesey they have only the CIA, the Government and themselves to blame.  Funny?

You see how we create our own hell with the best of intentions.  The ‘best’ people are more guilty than the ‘worst.’  In retrospect I see Kesey only as a tool of the government, as I might have been.  Imagine what I might have become after massive doses of LSD and Speed.

I hadn’t eaten and I was really hungry but you were so excited at showing us this place that you wouldn’t hear me.  The Gate was quite a discovery for you too.

Craig

I remember the evening clearly but I don’t remember that.

Dewey

It was.  The four of us go into this place.  I’m wearing my black pin striped job hunting suit and my blue flowered Ernst narrow square bottomed tie over a blue shirt and you’re wearing this dark grey sport coat over the green velour turtle neck Robie and I hated to much.

Craig

Ice blue.  It was ice blue not green and velour shirts were all the rage that year.

Dewey

Ha! Not with anybody with taste.  You were really proud of that shirt and wanted all of us to like it but we hated it.  It was tasteless.  That’s why your memories are filed in my mind in the section labeled: Shirts, cross referenced to Politics, Literature and Drugs.

Craig

I can follow you on Politics, Literature and Drugs Dewey, but you have a section labeled: Shirts?

Dewey

Yeah.  Shirts, Shoes, Socks, Pants, Jackets.  Funny, huh?

Craig

Just a minute.  Socks.  You just mentioned socks.  My velour shirt was more acceptable than those socks you wore.  Don’t say you don’t remember them.

Dewey

Of course I do.  I remember everything.  Those socks were one of a kind.

Craig

You can say that again.  Everybody thought you were weird because of those socks but I stuck by you as a friend.

Dewey

Those socks were not weird.  They were distinctive.

Craig

Oh yes, they were that too.  They were angora socks that only girls wore.  And those colors!

Dewey

Oh man, the memories come flooding back.  It took real balls to wear them but I enjoyed a pair of the brassiest balls ever seen on the Hill.  I really liked those socks.  Terrific pastel colors and like you say long and fuzzy like an angora sweater.  They may have been a little bit on the femmy side but they were daring and startling.  I think that’s what’s wrong with America today:  Socks are really boring.  They’re just drab and unuplifting.  You can’t find socks like that anymore.  Look at these:  Flat dull brown, the only flash is on the toe ends.  These are called Gold Toes or something like that.  That’s all America has to offer today.  I loved the sixties, all ten years of them.

Craig

Well then, let’s just can that talk about my velour shirt.

Dewey

I was just mentioning an historical fact, Craig old boy, it’s not proper to falsify and revise history.

So anyway, we go into this Beat coffee house called the Gate Of Wine for whatever reason because they don’t serve wine.

Craig

There were reasons.

Dewey

Yeah, I know what the reason was now but I didn’t then.  We’re late and the place is packed but we were lucky enough to get four seats together in the back.  Most of the people were like us, more or less straight people who were fascinated by the Beatniks.  A lot of suits and dresses.  There were some phony Beats in horizontally striped T-shirts, neckerchiefs and berets like they were French resistance  Apache dancers and even a few authentic Beats.

You’re right, the atmosphere was terrific.  Dark as a tomb.  All the seats were rough hewn like you said, really primitive Cubistic stuff.  Man, it was like being transported to Mars.  The Beats were real Luddites, living in the city and rejecting all the symbols of civilization except for some cutting edge sound equipment and spotlights.

I wanted to eat ’cause I’m hungry as a famished dog but you tell me there isn’t time and they didn’t even want to serve food.  I insist so they bring it just as the orators start and I’m not supposed to eat anymore.  Knife and fork make a lot of clatter but I eat anyway to the disgust of you and everyone else.

While I’m eating these nerd poets get up and recite their stuff.  Heartfelt, maybe, but terrible.

Craig

Those weren’t nerd poets Dewey.  One of them was Lawrence Ferlinghetti, one of the great Beat poets.

Dewey

Oh yeah.  And they apologized because Michael McClure couldn’t be there.  I didn’t know there were any great Beat poets, Craig, they were all crummy.  By the way, did I ever tell you my Ferlinghetti story?  I met him once.

 Craig

No.  How did you meet Lawrence Ferlinghetti?

Dewey

Well, he owned the City Lights Bookstore, you know, up on Columbus near Broadway.  This was like sixty-two at the time of the Cuba crisis when we all thought Khruschev was going to drop the Bomb on Baghdad By The Bay.  I was working for the shipping company at the time.  We were way up in a short ‘scraper on the corner of Kearny and California.  This prop plane, for Chrissakes, came over low and everybody in the office loaded their pants, you should have seen them.  Afterwards we covered our shame by discussing how the Soviets would have used a high flying jet rather than a low flying prop plane.  It wasn’t a very satisfactory excuse but it worked.

That was also about the time they had that free distribution of the Salk vaccine on sugar cubes.  We were all supposed to take time off and go down to get it.  I refused.  Almost got fired for it too.  But, I ramble.

Anyway I must have been coming on like a real hipster because somebody told me that if I was going to be one of them I should meet this Ferlinghetti guy who I had never heard of and get passed on.  As usual I have no idea what’s going on so I don’t have any idea who this guy is.  One lunch time they take me up to this City Lights Bookstore which is a pretty grimy storefront on Columbus which is a pretty grimy street anyway.

You’ve been to City Lights, I presume?

Craig

Many, many times.

Dewey

Yeah?  Well, then you know.  You go into this street level room which was kept dark and unattractive to discourage the idle or curious.  Then off to the left there’s this little narrow stairwell that leads down into a second room which is well lit and where they kept what they considered the good stuff.

Craig

It was.

Dewey

Well, you’re the poet Craig.  They got maybe a couple hundred of these slim little poetry books sparsely dispersed, none of which I’ve ever heard of so I figure like, wow, what is this?

Then my cicerone tells me that Ferlinghetti is up in his office and I should introduce myself.  Pass inspection I guess.  So when you turn around to go back up the steps off to the right up a branch set of steps is this little office with a little desk at which Ferlinghetti sits.  Well, he is this little skinny guy with a black fringe beard and crazy eyes behind this pair of glasses.  So, anyway, he sits looking up at me and I stand looking down at him.  Not knowing what else to do I say: Hi.  He just continues to look at me with his legs spread so I figure maybe he’s queer and wants a blow job.  He doesn’t say anything so I turn around and walk out, I don’t give blow jobs.  My hipster career is finished in SF just like that.  None of them will talk to me anymore.

So, now that you say Ferlinghetti was reading I remember him well enough of these so-called poets.  After being  bored by three of them they get around to the prose.

Now, here’s where we come in.  They got two orators this Friday night.  One is a little skinny White guy and the other is this humongous Black guy.  Remember?

Craig

Vaguely, vaguely.  I remember the Spade Cat pretty well, but go on.  I haven’t thought of this for years.

Dewey

Well, you know this White guy gets up and he’s really timid acting; he doesn’t really stutter but he falters a lot and looks really uncertain.  Real dry academic delivery.  Nobody likes him but me.

He goes on that he has been studying the political and social scene in the country pretty closely, like anybody cares.  He has some pretty unpleasant things for us he knows but they’re pretty important so we better listen up.  I’d finished eating by then, screw Ferlinghetti, so I was paying attention.

White Guy says that a new immigration law had taken effect in ’65 that would accelerate a number of processes in the United States that would destroy the importance of the States proper and lead to a condition he called a Union Of Autonomous Peoples.

He pointed out that at the turn of the century when the Eastern and Southern Europeans began to immigrate even though the talk was of a Melting Pot the seeds of autonomous peoples had been planted.  There was a lot of 0pposition at the time to the influx of Jews and Sicilians who thinking people at the time thought were unassimilable.

Craig

Hmmm.  I’ve heard this before.

Dewey

Right.  He didn’t get hissed yet but there was a lot of shifting around uneasily when he mentions Eastern and Southern Europeans; always a tender spot.  He says that right there in San Francisco some far seeing men like Dennis Kearny, after whom Kearny Street is named, and others had got the Chinese Exclusion Bill passed in eighteen eighty-two and they had worked hard to keep the Japanese out at the turn of the century.  This was all to the good, he says, and the patriots on the East Coast should have been heeded about the Jews and Italians but they weren’t.

Craig

C’mon, hey , really.  You’re not saying you agree with him?

Dewey

I’m not saying anything yet, I’m just reporting.  But, you’re right.  About then he gets a few hisses and a cat call or two and somebody shouts for him to sit down.

Wait a minute, he says, the Beats stand for the unlimited right of free speech.  I don’t have any other forum to say this.

Right, I say, to general disapproval, let him speak, he’s got a right.  So he goes on.

He explains the necessity of the restrictions placed on immigration during the twenties and their beneficial results.  Then he goes on in this dry explanation of the subsequent immigration acts that maintained the status quo of the twenties.  All that good work has now been undone, he says, by this new immigration law that opens the doors to all the peoples of Asia.  Couple billion of them which as he rightly says is a lot of people.

The reason the law was passed, he goes on, was so that the Jews who lived in Israel, which is a tiny spot on the western edge of Asia, could come and go to the United States as they pleased.

But America, he says, has never been able to digest all the peoples who came in before nineteen twenty.  The concept of the Melting Pot had tended to be centrifugal which eroded the national identities which these people cherished as they became one people.  Then countervailing centripetal force had been created to break apart the Melting Pot and reinforce national identities after the Second World War.  This new law would eliminate any chance of one people being created at the expense of national unity.

Now that totally unassimilable peoples like the Chinese and religions like the Moslems could enter the country at will the effect would be to accelerate the process into political units of peoples rather than administrative units of States.

He pointed out that the Chinese had been at least a semi-autonomous people in Chinatown from the beginning.  He said that the writ of the law of the United States did not loom very large in Chinatown.  Now that they could come in legally the number of illegal entrys would increase wildly.

As the authorities had no way of checking inside Chinatown the Chinese would function as a part of China.  Within fifty years, he said, all of San Francisco would be Chinese.

If you remember the booing and hissing was increasing but he was on fairly safe ground until he brought up what he called the Negro revolt.  He was the first guy I know who had this stuff all figured out.  He was launching into the sixty-five Watts riot when they really started shouting and screaming calling for his blood.  He was practically crying.

But, freedom of speech, freedom of thought, freedom of conscience, he was crying, the Beat scene is supposed to be the only place left where you can speak openly and honestly.  I read it in Time Magazine.

Well, no one read Time Magazine in the Gate of Wine apparently.  This authority figure gets up, Ferlinghetti probably, and tries to quiet the crowd down while he tells this poor White guy he’d better go now.

The White Guy runs the gauntlet down the center aisle shouts out as he goes through the door:  There is no freedom of speech in America; the US is a nation of slaves.

Craig

I don’t remember that.

Dewey

Not pleasant; pretty strong stuff I thought.  I didn’t know what to think.  Then this big black guy gets up to the general approval of the crowd.

I don’t think that’s what America stands for, he begins sententiously.  I’m black and I know what it means to be discriminated against for no reason other than color.  That crackpot privileged White Boy he ain’t got nothin’ to complain about he can walk down the street without being harassed.  Any white man or woman can.  I’m glad he left and I’m glad you threw him out.

He speaks in this deep rich bass like James Earl Jones and immediately wins the audience over.  Everybody loves him including you.

This guy doesn’t falter or stutter but rolls on like de big ribber with the right tone of righteous indignation.  You’ll probably remember this because as hip as I liked to think myself this guy is using terms like I’d never heard yet.  I went out and got some hip lessons immediately.

This black guy doesn’t have the hip jargon down like Lord Buckley but he’s talking faster than I can listen.  I’m surprised you didn’t know Lord Buckley the hippest raconteur alive.  But you weren’t into the Folk Music scene like you were into the literary scene.

Craig

I was more into the emerging Rock scene than the Folk scene.  I always thought you were a little behind the times there.  I remember when I really understood ‘Rubber Soul’ – the Beatles- but neither you nor Robie or Jeannie had a chance of getting it.

Dewey

I still haven’t got it.  Well, I did hang onto the Folk thing until the very end.  The songs on Rubber Soul you pointed out as so good sounded just like noise to the rest of us.  I afterwards became quite an adept in Rock music if you remember but even though I can handle Blue Cheer which few people can I have never been able to accustom myself to Rubber Soul or the Beatles for that matter.  Real Charlie Manson music; helter skelter and all that. Makes you shudder just to thing about it.

Anyway this black guy is going on about how a Spade Cat can’t walk down the street with a White Chick without getting a lot of flack even in a cosmopolitan center like San Francisco.

Well, I can pick out White Chick as probably meaning a white woman but I can’t make out what I’m hearing as a spayed cat.  I can’t imagine what a spayed cat has to with a white chick.

     So after about the fifteenth spayed cat I have to ask, to the general disapproval of all what a spayed cat has to do with anything.  So you tell me in a very condescending way that he means a black man, a Spade Cat as in a catman black as the ace of spades.  Right.  So this guy is winning hearts right and left except for me.  I spot something wrong in the guy.

He ends his spiel. The talk fest is over and everybody is filing out.  Man, black people just have soul, people are saying.  They feel so much more deeply than we do and twaddle like that.  Really racist stuff.  You were knocked out by this guy.

Craig

Well, Dewey, honestly I thought he was a very open man and that he had a legitimate complaint.  I had great compassion for him.  I thought then and I think now that discrimination is wrong.

Dewey

Yeah, but see, you don’t know the twist.

Craig

What twist?

Dewey

The twist is this.  This is quite a story.  I can’t explain the cause of the effect produced by our visit to the Gate of Wine but that evening was one of the most traumatic of my life.  I was fixated by the place.  Nobody knows this, not even Jeannie, but I was so affected by the experience that I did something I had never done before.  I was compelled to revisit the place but I wanted to examine it in the daytime when its mystique was gone.

The next day was a Saturday.  I had never gone anywhere without my wife since we were married but without telling her where I was going I drove back over to the City.  I hoped the place would be open for lunch but it was all shuttered up.

My actions were weird even to myself but something other than my conscious mind was controlling me.  I walked all around the building examining it, even palpating the walls.  Then I noticed standing on the corner the big black Spade orator of the previous evening.  He was even huger up close.  I mean, six-five and well over three hundred pounds.  I mean he was like the side of the building all by himself.

It was strange.  It was like I wanted to be invisible haunting the place like the Phantom Of The Opera so I acted like I wasn’t there and you know what?  It was like I wasn’t.  Nobody seemed to take notice of me.

Now, here’s the kicker.  What do you think this Spade Cat you people admired over the Honky Cat was?

Craig

I don’t know but I guess you’re going to tell me.

Dewey

Indeed I am.  In the first place as I later discovered he owned the Gate of Wine so he wasn’t just some guy who got up out of the audience but he reserved a place for himself every session and delivered his propaganda.  I’m only guessing now, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the White Guy was his opening act. Further he was a pimp and a junk dealer.  A criminal of the first magnitude.  This guy was big in more ways than one.  He had quite an organization.  He was talking to two of his white junkie slaves so I kind of slid behind his huge shadow on the wall of the Gate of Wine and hid there thinking I couldn’t be seen as I watched and listened.

He kind of noticed me out of the corner of his eye.  He was wondering whether I was a nark trying to land him or a junkie trying to score.  He opted for junkie and went on with his business.

The two white junkies were miniscule beside him.  They were only five-six or seven and as skinny as two pieces of fettucine stuck together; had about that much backbone too, not that I had anything to brag about.  Now, dig this, he’s not only charged them for smack but he wouldn’t sell to them unless they recruited white women for him.  Not just women but white women.  He had an all white stable.  Once he got the women on the boo he could turn them out as prostitutes.

So this ‘kind mistreated’ Spade Cat had a large ring of white heroin slaves that he could abuse at will in a reversal of the old slave days when White masters ruled the roost of Black women.

The White Chicks that this Spade Cat was escorting down the street were really his junkie prostitutes that he was moving from crib to crib.  This guy was operating so openly that everyone knew who he was and what he was doing.  He was paying protection money to the cops so the insults this Spade Cat got weren’t necessarily because he was with a White Chick but because he was known as one of the arch criminals of San Francisco.  The sympathy of you and those other people was completely misplaced.  I knew there was something wrong with him

As I stood watching melting into this big Spade’s shadow a White girl came toward us going to that grocery store that was mid-block across the street from the Gate Of Wine, if you remember.  She was as clean, rosy and pure looking as a young woman could be.  Pert, pleasant and innocent looking as she was blonde, blue-eyed and beautiful.  She was from Cincinatti having just come out to SF a couple years previously with her husband.

Craig

You’re making this up.  How could you possibly know that?

Dewey

Life and philosophy, Horatio, as the Bard said.  Just listen it will all come clear.  Her husband worked for the shipping company I had.  They had been living in Marin but he wanted more action so he moved them to Telegraph Hill.  She had never been in a ‘culturally’ mixed neighborhood. This is where a real clash of cultures comes in for which she and her husband were completely unprepared to deal.  When two cultures clash something has to give; the tragedy was that in those crowded streets of North Beach everything that was good and decent in White culture gave way to everything that was bad and criminal in Black Culture.

So this really clean, self-respecting proud White Chick comes down the street toward this Spade Cat who feels so discriminated against.  Poor bastard.  When she was about twenty feet ahead of us this big pimping junk dealing Spade Cat with this booming bass boice that you people admired so blares out, now get this:  Say mama, that sure is a nice tight little ass you’re swinging along behind you there.

You see, in Black neighborhoods this is how the Spade Cats treat their Black hos.

Craig

Treat their Black what’s?

Dewey

Aha!  Gotcha.  Let me condescendingly explain what a Black Ho is.  Looks like I finally caught up with you.  Black men, or at least a signficant portion of them see women merely as hos.  That is either a mispronunciation of whore or hole.  Women are seen only as holes that can be put to work shakin’ that money maker or whores that know how to use that money maker between their legs.  This pimp Spade Cat certainly looked at all white women that way.

So in a Black community when you come on to an unknown woman in the street about her shapely ass the Black woman is supposed to say something like this:  Thank you, you brown eyed handsome man but don’t thing you be taking any liberties with my sweet ass.

In Black culture as insecure as it is in what was always a hostile White world one Black is always in conspiracy with the others against Whites so they never need formal introductions.  In a way they revert to a more primitive tribal culture in which all are brothers and sisters and therefore already know each other.  Spade Cat expected this White woman who had been brought up in another cultural system in which all people are separate until introduced to abandon all her culture to become what amounts to a common strumpet.  I mean, when’s the last time you looked at a woman and said:  Say mama, you got a real nice ass.  Try it and see what happens.

Besides this Spade Cat was a junk dealer dealing with slaves.  He’d kind of lost all notion of the social niceties except with a microphone in his hand.  If you’ve seen the movie Sid and Nancy you have seen how dealers treat their junkies.

Well, this White Chick comes from a polite background where one’s space is discreetly maintained until one is permitted or invited to break the plane.  So, she throws her nose in the air quite properly disdaining such an improper advance whether from Black or White; I don’t think she was prejudiced, do you?  After all neither you nor I nor any self-respecting man would ever shout across the street to a woman that she has a nice ass nor would a White woman tolerate such behavior from a White man.  But for the same reason you people admired the Spade Cat’s speech she was prepared to ignore what would have a criminal approach from a White man.

When she threw her nose in the air she violated the social code of the Black community of this criminal, pimping, drug dealing Spade Cat.  All six foot five three hundred plus pounds of him took two steps toward her and boomed out:  Listen you White Bitch.  Don’t you act so proud.  When a brown eyed handsome man favors you with a compliment you should be flattered and respond properly.  Now, I’ll say it again:  You’ve got a real pretty tushy.

She pushed her nose up further showing some courage but her step faltered.

So the Spade Cat takes a couple lumbering steps out into the street and bellows:  White Bitch, you show proper respect or I cross this street you’ll regret it.

 Well, shit man, as the Spade Cat would say, she was terrified as well she should have been.  There wasn’t a single movement on a street filled with white people to help her.  The nose comes down and the Spade Cat says again:  Now, I said you got a real nice looking ass, woman.

‘Thank you very much Sir.’  She says but her whole world view had just disappeared.  This was the first moment of the rest of her life and she sure as hell didn’t want to see the second moment.

Craig

You’re sure the African-American was the same guy as the night before, Dewey?

Dewey

Oh yeah.  I’m sure the Spade Cat was the African-American.  But, listen Craig, the story is just beginning.  As I said, I can’t explain the fascination that this place and this experience had on me but I was completely in its grip.  On the following Wednesday instead of going up to Cal-State I drove over to Grant street and the Gate of Wine again.  Only this time I didn’t go up to the coffee house but stood in a kind of trance across the street.  The Spade Cat was still standing on the corner by the Gate of Wine which was apparently his office where he dealt out his balloons.

And then as I watched this blonde White Chick comes down the street again.  It was one of those things where time stands still in a parallel universe.  If there had been a dog scratching his ear on the corner his foot would have remained suspended in the air.

    The Spade Cat watched sullenly as the White Chick came along.  She was terrified.  She had her head in a half nod ready to acknowledge his ‘compliment’ but he just stared at the ground sullenly as she walked by.

He crossed the street to follow behind her.  As she came up on the grocery store he made his move.  I don’t know if you ever really paid attention to that market but there was a delivery door to one side of the entrance.  It had an unlocked screen door.  The Spade Cat came up behind the White Chick, grabbed her by the neck and thrust her through this delivery door.

All the junkies on the street came out of their doorways and holes to stare at the door.  As they stood motionless expectantly I walked past the grocery store to see what was going on.  I was terrified but consciously unmoved by what I saw.  The Spade Cat had pulled off the White Chick’s panties which he had pulled over her head, he pulled her skirt up and thrusting his pelvis forward he had lifted the White Chick onto his dick while with one hand around her neck and the other around her waist he was bouncing her up and down on his dick.

I stepped back into a doorway just as he came roaring out of the delivery entrance.

See how proud you act now White Bitch.  Next time you know how to behave yourself.

I don’t think he noticed me as he rushed past.  I stepped out behind him and walked back.  I looked in to see the skinny white junkie who was clerking push her back and spread her legs to take sloppy seconds.  As I walked slowly down Grant I saw the other white junkies drifting slowly across the street to take their turns.

I kept walking, got in my car and never looked back.  I didn’t know what to think but all I could remember was the cheer the crowd in the Gate of Wine had given the Spade Cat when he stepped down from the podium and the hisses and boos they had given the Honky Cat for telling them the truth about what was going on.’

Craig.

My god, that was horrible.  Why didn’t you go to the police?

Dewey

Not my business.  Besides it would only have been a crime if a White Guy had done that to a woman, Black or White.  When a Black guy does that to a White woman it is called the Payback.  And then, although I didn’t articulate this to myself I realized that Spade Cat was the Black massa on his white junkie plantation on Grant Street in North Beach in San Francisco in the Great State of California in the United States Of America in the year nineteen hundred and sixty-six almost exactly one hundred years since the abolition of Black slavery.  All the white junkies and prostitutes would deny what I said while the cops who were making a lot of money out of the Spade Cat would only be sore at me.  Also I was functioning as though in a dream.  In my heart of hearts I considered San Francisco a very corrupt diabolical place.

Craig

I still think you should have gone to the police.

Dewey

Sure.  Well, as Dylan said the cops don’t need you and man they expect the same.  Anyway a couple weeks later I was down in Berkeley doing some research at the library when I ran into the old receptionist at the shipping company who had come back to Berkeley to get her Masters and PhD. in Music.  She had a cold jolt when she went into the world with a BA in Music only to be told that it wasn’t worth anything more than a job as a receptionist which she could have gotten straight out of high school.  She asked me if I had heard about what happened to Bob’s wife.  Bob isn’t his real name but that’s the one I’ll use.  Doesn’t really matter, he’s dead anyway.  They both are.

I didn’t really care what had happened to Bob and his wife.  Bob had been real snooty to me when I worked at the shipping company.  Everybody there except for a few of us had BAs and Masters from top line schools.  They hired a few high school graduates to lighten their day.  We were all supposed to say funny and unpredictable things like five or six year olds to amuse them.  Bob was one of the most condescending.  He had a degree from Ohio State and I didn’t have one from anywhere so he treated me like a serf.  They all did.

Even though this woman was only a receptionist she still had a BA so she was forbidden to speak to me as an equal at work.  Seeing me on campus she must have thought I was now an equal.  I still remembered the old days but she started telling me this story and I realized that she was describing the scene I had witnessed.  That’s how I knew the blonde woman was from Cincinatti ‘Cause that’s were Bob was from.  Well, my resentment against Bob was so strong I subconsciously tabled the whole memory and didn’t think about it, I thought.

But then in 1968, two years after we graduated from Cal-State up on the Hill when I was down there and visited you and Robie I read in the Chronicle where Bob had been arrested for the murder of a Negro philosopher by the name of Hieronomous Murphy.  Terrific name, huh?  So I began to investigate what had happened in the previous two years.

     It seems that Bob either didn’t understand properly what had happened to his wife or thought she was damaged goods after that horrible incident but at any rate he threw her out which broke that poor inncent’s heart.  She got junked up by the Spade Cat and turned out to his immense satisfaction.  This guy who couldn’t walk down the street with a White Chick without being insulted and so she became another slave on his plantation.  About a year later either by accident or by a hot shot she died putting an end to her miseries.

After she died Bob woke up.  I guess he realized that his desire to live the fast life in the City had been the cause of his wife’s dishonor and death.  He then resolved to take punitive action on the Spade Cat.  He didn’t have to be real clever to figure a way.

By this time the Gate of Wine which seemed to be thriving when we were there had been knocked out of business by the psychedelic revolution and become a straight junkie tavern and hangout.  I went in once; everyone turned junked up eyes on me so I just turned around and walked out.  The Spade Cat still did business on the corner so Bob posed as a junkie and began buying stuff from him to gain his confidence.

Once Spade Cat got used to him he thought it was time to strip Bob of his independence and make him a slave on his Grant Street plantation.

The Spade Cat’s usual mode of subordinating the mind of his junkies after he had captured his body with junk was to make him pick up his stuff in one of those alleys on Telegraph Hill where they kept the garbage cans.  I was told where it was and tried to find it but if I ever did I didn’t recognize it.  I couldn’t find that many gargage cans anywhere and I began to get self-conscious poking around in those alleys.

Before he would release the boo he would make the junkie get down on his knees in what was described to me as this field of garbage cans and give him a blow job.  Nobody had much independence after that.

So Bob knew the routine.  When the Spade Cat told him to meet him in the garbage cans Bob was ready.  He dressed like a real junkie, snap brim hat, full length coat, everything.  He slings the proverbial sawed off shotgun under his arm and begins the long walk down the alley to the Spade Cat who is sitting leisurely on a garbage can with a wry smile on his face waiting for him.

Bob goes down on his knees like he’s going to do the number, the Spade Cat gets his weenie out and everything then Bob flips up his shotgun and from about six inches unloads however many rounds one of those pump actions carry full into the Spade Cat’s face.  Needless to say the Cat didn’t have enough face left to say:  Thank-you, I needed that.

Bob was tracked down immediately and went to Q where some other Spade Cat took a hammer to him which messed up Bob’s skull no little.

So that’s the story of the Spade Cat who couldn’t walk down the street with a White Chick that you guys admired so much.

You having another beer, Craig?

Craig

Sure, why not?

Dewey

Good, because I’m not finished.  Yeah, two more Porters.  No, no desert for me.

Craig

Me, either.   So, is the story true, Dewey, or are you embroidering the truth?

Dewey

No.  This is gospel Craig.  That only takes care of the Spade Cat; we still have the Honky Cat to deal with.

Craig

You followed up on him too?

Dewey

No.  I don’t know what happened to him.  I was always impressed by the fact that the whole crowd except me was sucked in by this fair speaking detestable criminal Black guy while they reviled the White guy who laid his mental treasures at their feet.  He kind of reminded me of a line from a song of the Folk group Hearts And Flowers- They have put the greatest poet of the age in a little padded cage and all he wanted to do was to lay his treasures at their feet.

That’s the way you people treated that poor Honky Cat who had worked long and hard to analyze society to keep it from going wrong only to be reviled because what he had to say ran counter to the prejudices of the day.

Craig

Do you really think the White guy was keyed in?

Dewey:

Well, it seems like everything he said is coming true.  I’ve really thought about and studied immigration results before nineteen sixty-five while forty years later it seems to me all the trends he was describing have developed to the point that they’re undeniable.

Craig

Oh, I remember now.  I can see the guy.  He was about five-six, skinny, glasses and his hair was combed straight up like he was scared witless.

Dewey

Yeah.  You’re right.  It was kinda weird, longer than a crewcut but it still looked like his hair was standing on end in a major fright.

Craig

Right. Right. And everytime they booed him he would crouch down behind the lectern like he was dodging the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.

Dewey

He had good reason because there was no one there to take his side.  Even if the heavy Spade Cat had bombed he could always get to his brothers and sisters and complain about the Honky bastards.  The White guy being unable to associate with other Whites but isolated by the unavoidable results of his studies could only get weirder and weirder as he became an outcast among his own.

I felt sorry for him.

But over the years what he had to say has stuck inside.  Even though I couldn’t understand very much of what he said then he was so earnest that his words stuck in my mind.  It’s not like I thought about them consciously but my studies seemed to trend in that direction whether I would or not.

Craig

And what he said was…

Dewey

I’ll tell ya.  I want to explain myself but I don’t know where to start or how to get where I want to go.  You graduated in fifty-six just like I did, right.

Craig

Right.

Dewey

 Well, in the first place we all live in a time lag.  None of us are really making decisions based on present realities.  None of us can be that current.  I heard a guy on TV the other day say that Jesse Jackson acted like he thought this was still sixty-eight.  You see, whatever Jackson thinks or does is not based on present day realities of Black affairs but as thing were on the Negro front in sixty-eight.   He thinks all his old arguments apply to the new situation.  He’s stuck in time.

When you read me that bit from ‘Sometimes A Great Notion where Kesey says that the art of the novel is dead because all the great thoughts had been thought and all the great things had been said he was way behind the times although it sounded current.  He was thinking in a time lag of twenty to forty years but his body was living in the present.  That’s probably why he embraced LSD so hard; he had intellectually blasted his present and didn’t know anyway else to get into the future.

He was about twenty years older than us so all his mental influences were before World War Two and a lot them were pre-World War One.  He was really out of time in the raging flood of change he found.

Both you and I were acting in a time lag of ten years while all our influences were pre-fifty-six going back to Victorian literature.  We scarcely recognized the changes while I for one was incapable of incorporating and acting on them.

You know, we weren’t even aware of the background of the Black revolt.

We weren’t so far behind the times as Kesey but all our reactions were centered on a reality that was just behind the big changes.  I’m really only getting my life sorted out now.

Craig

You’re ahead of me if you’re getting this figured out.  I haven’t had a clue for years.

Dewey

Don’t feel bad.  That’s because we weren’t paying attention to the right things or at least understanding them.  There’s a number of strands involved here but do you know what the unifying thread is, at least historically?

Craig

Aw, c’mon Dewey, give me a break.  I don’t know what you think.

Dewey

OK.  Lost that spirit of adventure, hey?  The central problem was the British and European conquest of the world, sometimes known as colonialism.  That was the cause from which all else is effect.

Really the British conquest is the important part because they were so successful.  When you looked at the old globe nearly everything was pink.

When the two world wars altered political realities while England lost its resolve the backlash against England and things English began.

Probably the most important event in modern history was the Seven Years War that was won by England.  It gave them clear title to North America, India and access to the choicest parts of the rest of the world.

When the Seven Years War was over Britannia ruled the waves.  There was no longer competition.

This little country then flooded the world with its citizens.

With no more concern from French interference from Canada British subjects began the conquest of colonial America in earnest.

Thus the racial situation was put in place.  Even in the eighteenth century Britain was scientifically so far ahead of the East and Africa that all those peoples seemed to be and were backward in comparison.  The inevitable result was that Britain saw itself as innately or racially superior.

Hence the Bwana and Mem Sahib attitude in Whites came into existence.  The Bwana attitude is central to our problem today.

Craig

Bwana attitude?  Sounds like conservative racism to me.

Dewey

Actually it belongs to the Liberal mindset.  If one were so disposed it could probably be traced back to the beginning of the nineteenth century when Liberals adopted that superior attitude.  But, the White Man as the superior in Africa was deferred to as Bwana, which I presume means something like Big Fellow.  In India the men were deferred to as Sahib while the women went by Mem Sahib.  All white people without consideration of merit were referred to in this manner.

Over the course of the centuries the conquered peoples acquired access to modern scientific methods and more importantly modern weapons.  A backward tribal African with a machine gun in his hands is equal and possibly the superior in ability to an educated, even Einstein, White with the same weapon.  Kipling put it into a beautiful allegory called ‘The Man Who w

Would Be King.’  John Huston made an even more beautiful movie of the story.  If you remember the story two English soldiers trip over the Himalayas into Central Asia where they establish themselves as godlike kings.  This must have been the way the British first appeared to the Indians themselves.  Invulnerable.

But then one of them takes up with a woman.  Kipling’s attitude toward the woman’s influence in history probably precludes his being read today.  The priests incite the woman to get close to the god king to scratch his face.  She does.  The god-king bleeds destroying his illusion and power because gods don’t bleed.

The natives rebel and kill the two Englishmen who go down with spectacular British fortitude awing the natives.

That’s probably a metaphor for what happened to the English in India.  Kipling was brilliant.  He was right too.  Women will get you everytime.

So the Whites lost the military and moral edge while retaining the conceit of being scientifically superior which we are.  They concealed their loss by feeling compassion for the poor Third Worlders.  Still privately feeling superior but unable to express it openly they nevertheless retain the Bwana attitude although now they punish Whites who do not kowtow to so-called minorities.

Did you ever watch the old Nash Bridges show?  There’s a perfect example of the dilemma.  The name Bridges of course gives away the conception of the role:  A White man reaching out to the minorities of America but not better than them.

I don’t know where the Nash comes from.  Bridges is one of the common folk; there is nothing obviously superior about him.  He dresses terribly and drives an orange car yet there is no doubt that he is the Bwana.  Knows everything and condescends to minorities while bashing Whites.  His Mexican stooge, or sidekick, knows it while all others recognize Bridges quality, except for his ugly White bosses, of course.

In a recent episode Bridges’ Mexican partner who has a tall blonde Swedish American wife wants to get his child enrolled in an elitist private school where the education is better than in the public schools.

The administrator comes across like a member of the Nazi party but as it turns out appearances are deceiving because the school turns out not to be a hive for angry superior Whites but a facist training ground for the new brotherhood of man.  The White Bwanas are leading the way to the integrated paradise.

Interestingly none of the other minorities have a culture of their own.  Unlike the attitude of the Spade Cat there is no clash of cultures.  The only differences are physical.  The whole argument of these people is based on cosmetic differences.  The only differences they can understand are the physical distinctions of race and color.  Fundamental differences of cultural attitudes do not enter into their thinking.

Craig

Sure.  I don’t think anyone is inferior because of race or color if that’s what you mean, Dewey.

Dewey

That’s not what I mean, Craig.  That’s the problem with the writers of the Nash Bridges show.  They think in terms of superiority and inferiority rather than substantial differences in culture.

Race is much more basic than that.

Craig

Now, Dewey, I’ve got to warn you that I can’t tolerate any racism.  I mean, we’ll still be friends but I can’t share any racist opinions.

Dewey

I understand.  Even though racism is disreputable you still don’t deny that races exist, do you?

Craig

I do believe that race is a social construct without any foundation in physiology nor do I think any differences are meaningful.

Dewey

OK.  But listen to this.  Have you ever heard of a guy named Madison Grant?  Hm.  Well, back in the teens during the Great War actually he wrote a book called The Passing Of The Great Race.  It’s on the American Index Of Forbidden Books.

Craig

You mean like the Catholic Index?  There’s no such thing.  We’ve got freedom of speech.

Dewey

That’s where you’re wrong.  There are a large number of so-called racist books that are proscribed.  A terrific war rages in our libraries whether you recognize it or not.  Certain groups even steal proscribed books from libraries and destroy them in an attempt to stamp them out.  Proletarian censorship you might call it.

Craig

Name one.

Dewey

I’ll go you one better and name two.  There is the collection of the Dearborn Independent articles issued in the twenties by Henry Ford which he unfortunately titled The International Jew.  There are very few copies that haven’t been destroyed while the rest have the margins filled with nasty and counter-nasty remarks.  They are all but impossible to get if you want to read them now.  The second is The Protocols Of The Learned Elders Of Zion.

Craig

Why, those are both anti-Semitic.

Dewey

Not the point, Craig.  You asked me to name a proscribed book.  I have.  The Protocols might possibly be anti-Semitic but Ford isn’t.  Both works have a place in the history of the twentieth century without which the century can’t be understood.  Ford has been completely suppressed while you can still get the Protocols through book stores if you’ve got the nerve to order it.

Craig

Why does ordering a book take nerve?

Dewey

You remember the so-called McCarthy era?  Even being caught reading a suspect journal made you a Communist; so even being interested in learning what these books contain marks you as a ‘known’ anti-Semite in the ADL’s eyes.  They’ll add your name to the list of three million other American ‘known’ anti-Semites they keep files on and then interfere with you.

Craig

A private group keeping files on other Americans.  You’re kidding me.

Dewey

No. No.  Racism is everywhere but we’re heading into a digression.  Anyway, Madison Grant wrote this book called The Passing Of The Great Race by which he means the Anglo-Saxons.  But that’s not my point.

The book is not racist in the manner for which it is criticized by the Jews.

Grant points out an interesting fact which is that on a subliminal level one race will not tolerate another race in its midst.  The more aggressive race will always either displace the other race forcing it beyond the borders or if that is not possible exterminate it. 

Just as God is supposed to have created man in His own image so man wants to look about him to see a uniform type in a common culture.

Now, this attitude is innate. It cannot be changed.

Craig

I suppose that’s an excuse for Hitler’s killing six million Jews.

Dewey

I don’t know whether it’s an excuse but it is the underlying reason.  If Hitler wanted to exterminate the Jews, so what.  Now the Jews are calling for the abolition of the White race.  Exterminating it.  They progressed pretty far along the way too.  So who do you love more the Jews or yourself?

The era beginning with the Bolshevik Revolution kicks off the terrifically cruel wars of genocide which issue out of it.  And genocide is now going on everywhere without mentioning the abolition of the White race.

In Serbia the Christians came into conflict with the Moslems.  They were trying to drive them out before the US interfered.

Of course in nineteen forty-eight in India they couldn’t even think of establishing a nation in which Moslems and Hindus were intermixed once the police power of the British was removed.  So what did they do?  They transferred Hindus out of Pakistan, the Hindu homeland for Chrissakes, and Moslems out of Hindu India.

The Moslems had been in India for many more centuries than America has existed yet the two religions still fell on each other with great slaughter when the British police power was removed.

Everywhere the so-called detested British police power was removed the story is the same.

I mean, just look at Africa.

The more aggressive tribes, and Africa is still tribal and not civilized, seized political power.  Without the restraining arm of Britain they got the guns and carried on genocidal warfare against rival tribes who had been there since time began.  Nor was this Black against White but Black against Black just like the rivalry between long heads and round heads in Bavaria.

Idi Amin in Uganda first shipped the British Indian auxiliaries off.  The Indians hated the British so much that they didn’t even choose to go back to beloved Mother India but went to England instead, that’s how much the Indians hated the British.  Then Amin carried on a genocidal warfare against his tribal rivals.

In Rwanda-Burundi where the Watutsies had dominated their tribal rivals for centuries before the British police power was established thus upsetting their hegemony their tribal rivals got the guns and carried on a genocidal war either killing the Tutsies or driving them out of the country.  What greater evidence is there that Madison Grant knew what he was talking about?

In South Africa now that the Whites can no longer impose segregation on the Blacks the Blacks are segregating them or driving them out of the countries, dispossesing them while you Liberals cheer the ‘justice’ of it.  They are now ethnically cleansing South Africa to your applause.  They are leaving in droves or are being killed.  If they defend themselves they will be called bigots and sanctions will be taken against them led by yourselves.  Once the Whites are cleansed or expelled the country will, of course, fall into ruins because Nelson Mandela doesn’t know his ass from a hole in the ground about administering a country and the tribe in possession of the most guns will exterminate all the others.  Within twenty years Johannesburg will be a ruined ghost town with squatters in the wrecks of the skyscrapers.

That is how race works whether you like it, agree with it, or not.  nature does need our intellectual compliance to function.

Now, this racial dominance is happening on the local level, the continental level and the global level.  If we refuse to acknowledge it then we will have to pay the price of extinction, that’s all.  It makes no difference to me.  I’ll be gone.

Let’s transfer out argument to the United States.

Let’s go back to the beginning of the nineteenth century.

Now, in the Catholic and Enlightenment conflict in Europe which shows up religiously as Catholic and Protestant the Protestants captured England peopling the colonies with Protestants except for the Catholic colony of Maryland.

Thus the colonies were English and Protestant.  The Free Masons had a larger hand than is imagined but since that is so little known or understood, let’s skip it.

After the revolt from Britain the new United States threw its doors open to unlimited immigration to the rest of the world which at that time meant only Europe.

The first people to respond in numbers were the Irish.  Now, like it or not, the Irish are a competing race.  The Irish are Celtic while the English are Anglo-Saxon.  That’s like the round heads and long heads in Madison Grant’s Bavaria.  The difference in race is a fact.  Historically that fact cannot be denied although Anglo-Americans refuse to acknowledge it while the Irish do recognize it.  Rivalry and warfare between the two races actually began when the Roman police power was removed from Britain in four hundred something.

The invading Anglo-Saxons actually carried on a genocidal war against the Celts.  The Celts either died or fled into France where they founded the State of Brittany or Little Britain as compared to Great Britain.  They naturally killed the conquered males in the country while, get this, cutting out the tongues of the females so they couldn’t corrupt the language.  Man has quite a history, doesn’t he?  Furthermore they were right if they wanted their culture to remain intact.  So that’s why Hitler killed the Jews and the Jews are now killing the Whites.

The rest of the Celts retreated to Wales, Scotland and Ireland.  The Anglo-Saxons, now Britons, pursued them after a fashion into Ireland which they dominated until just after World War I.

People never forget, so when the Irish came into Anglo-Saxon America they really came not so much as immigrants into a settled land as they were a hostile army invading their Angl0-Saxon enemy.

They really made no attempt to blend, which racially would have been impossible as it was their intent to displace their Anglo-Saxon ‘brothers.’

Wherever they had the numbers, such as in New York City they captured the government and ran an Irish State within the United States.

They ran New York City until the nineteen-thirties when the even more numerous and determined Jews and Italian displaced them.

During the nineteenth century it was virtually impossible for them to capture the Presidency of the United States because that is one of the few offices that require one to be native born.  However in the twenties the Irish Catholic Al Smith ran for president and was defeated.  Supposedly because there was a shameful appeal to racial and religious bigotry.  I see it only as race against race, religion against religion.  The Catholic Irish were no less bigoted than the Anglo-Saxon Protestants.

The second largest enclave of Irish was in Boston where the Irish Catholics had displaced the founding Anglo Protestants.  In Boston the competing races and nations were not numerous enough to dislodge them.  It was here the Kennedys and Fitgeralds developed their power base.

As we all know Joe Junior was being groomed by Big Joe his father to capture the Presidency for the Irish.  Being incorrigibly Irish Joe Senior openly sided with the Nazis.  Not that he himself was a Nazi but the Irish always side with the enemies of England.  Most people probably don’t realize this but the Irish Free State remained neutral during World War Two.

Joe Senior was ambassador to England when he spouted this pro-Nazi nonsense.  What FDR was thinking when he appointed an Irish nationalist to the Court of St. James in wartime I have yet to fathom.  Joe Senior paid the price of his folly when Joe Junior was blown out of the sky on a mission while still behind allied lines.

It may be coincidental or it may have been purposeful that John F. was assigned to the PT boats which was a notoriously  hazardous assignment.  Probably something like Presley being assigned to the Tank Corps on the Russian border.  Somebody hoped he’d be killed.

At any rate, John F. Was elected President of the United States in nineteen sixty so that racial Celts captured the government of the United States of America just as they had New York City in the nineteenth century from their ancient enemy of Roman times, the Anglo-Saxons.

The Catholic Church was thus in power over its spiritual rival, the Prostestant churches.

Craig

Aw, Dewey.  I don’t know what you’ve been smoking but that is the most incredible analysis I’ve ever heard.  John F. Kennedy would have been the all time greatest President if that creep Oswald hadn’t shot him.  Besides it’s politically incorrect to even think such stuff.

Dewey

Ooh, there’s a number of issues in a small compass.  Starting with the last I can’t bother with worrying about being politically correct or incorrect.  I’ve got to be free.  Free to understand things as they are, not as my Commissar tells me.  I refuse to be a slave to an alien ideology and so did you used to be.

Craig

Slave?  Alien?  What are you talking about Dewey?  I’ve never heard anything like this.

End of Clip 1, go to Clip 2.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.