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Category Archives: Emasculation

A Novel

Our Lady Of The Blues

Book VII

The Heart Of The Matter

by

R.E. Prindle

Clip 15 and End.

     The two made a terrific team during the turbulent sixties and the degenerate seventies.  Guy was known as a hanging judge while having a somewhat disreputable style.  Meggy balanced that off magnificently with her seeming rectitude.  Either alone might have been a bit too much  but together they were a terrific combination.  Many women having such relationships with judges adopt the appearance of a kept woman, I almost said prostitute, while having a number of psychologically dependent young women attached to them.

     Meggy had a cadre of loyal young women to scout and research any rumors but any rumors about her and Guy were definitely false.  Carrying her psychic scars from her accident Meggy inadvertantly aided and abetted Judge Pascal’s social hatreds which were directed against the Anglos.

     Notwithstanding Top Cop Hoover’s protestations to the contrary the Mafia and organized crime did exist and right there in theValley.  Whatever motives the Top Cop had for denial, every schoolboy understood the influence of the Mafia.  During WWII when the Mafiosi had refused to serve this ‘great country’ those connected had all the gasoline and restricted commodities they wanted while law abiding Anglos and others dutifully went without.  Naturally the wiseguys considered themselves ‘smart’ while others were stupid.  Today, at least, they have the self-respect and decency to gloat over their success rather than resort to hypocrisy as the Anglos do.

page 1961.

     Their wartime successes made them bold too.  When the government went to the incarcerated criminal, Lucky Luciano, to ask his help on the NY waterfront from prison, mind you, to facilitate shipping from the Mob controlled docks of the East, Italians knew they had it aced.  With the end of the war they issued forth from their Little Italies in force.  The Mafia divided the country into zones just like the post office divided it into area codes.

     I don’t know if they gave the zones numbers but the Pasquales got the Valley from below Flint to Bay City.  It was like there were two different governments non-Italians had to deal with.  You had the legally constituted authorities on the one hand and the illegal Mafia on the other.  One could crush you legally while the other could break your legs with impunity.  Officer De Cicco of the VPD might not be interested in pursuing Sicilian buddies while Officer Walker knew better than to.

     These were the days of Jimmy Hoffa and the Teamsters who were adjuncts of the Mafia and Sam Giancana and the Chicago Outfit.  For some reason reason Northern and Western Michigan seemed to be Chicago territory rather than Detroit’s.

     These guys were arrogant.  When they were in town you got out of their way.  Hoffa and the Mob used various locales in the Upper Peninsula as hideouts for hot lamisters.  When they were in town life was uncomfortable for the locals.  More than uncomfortable, unpleasant, it was like sewage that you daren’t clean up had infested the town.  Top Cop Hoover boasted that he gunned down John Dillinger while Al Capone ran Chicago but I would rather sit down to dinner with a John Dillinger than share the same public john with Al Capone.  Apparently a Top Cop felt differently.

page 1962.

     The Pasquale clan was connected with the Giancana led Mob of Chicago.  Jimmy Hoffa was unpleasant enough but Sam Giancana was terrifying.  In dark glasses and pulled down hat with that contemptuous smile on his lips he exuded evil from the seventh level up.  In the years after 1958 he was coming into his own.  With the rise of the son of the old mobster Joe Kennedy Sam Giancana thought he was to have a lifeline to heaven.  Joe Kennedy played Sam just right to get his son Jack elected president.  It seems fairly clear at this point that Sam spents lots of plundered money on Jack while stuffing Illinois ballot boxes to swing the election to JFK.

     After his election in the year of Kennedy’s victory Judge Guy himself had been introduced to the Mafia chieftain.  Sam knew how to treat a paisano on the Bench.  He regaled Guy with the tales of how he fled the Federales through the brambles and woods of Appalachin in 1957 when ‘proof’ of organized crime was made evident to everyone except J. Edgar.

     Sam, who had been raised on the concrete of Chicago laughingly asked Guy if he knew that wet leaves were slippery on a downslope.  In his mad flight from the cops Sam hadn’t taken that into account having fallen on his ass a couple times as he ran.  He still got away but he couldn’t get over how slippery wet leaves were.

     He confided the inside story to Guy about how the Chicago Mob got Jack Kennedy elected and the terrible doublecross when Bobby Kennedy turned on the Outfit.  But, he said, the Outfit still had an in with Dick Nixon so that the Sicilians were going to be in with the In Crowd; hang in there.  And then after that there was Ronnie Reagan.

     Guy had been flattered to get the inside scoop directly from one end of the horse or the other.  He had his own sources that indicated the growing power of Sicily through crime.  He turned the screws on Anglos brought up before him.

     First the Mob brought the dope into the Valley, then sold it to the Anglos;  then the cops busted the Anglos for possession of a joint sending them up before the hanger, Judge Pascal.

     The judge with Meggy’s approval gave Draconian sentences of five, ten and even fifteen years in the penitentiary, the Big House, for the possession of one joint.  The Penitentiary!  Not even the county farm, the Big House.  True, marijuana was illegal but to criminalize a whole generation and more for the uncontrollable situation was unconscionable.  It wasn’t like the Mafia wasn’t importing heroin and whatever by the ton while escaping prison sentences altogether.

     It wasn’t like the Pasquale clan wasn’t the biggest importer of grass into theValley.  They were.  But Judge Guy, that impartial soul, was in a position to punish or favor.  He chose to favor his Pasquales while taking vengeance for Giangiacomo’s humiliation on the Anglos.  Having inside information he could in most cases warn his family.  If arrested when they came before him, the legal fiction of the name Pascal versus Pasquale was maintained to appear impartial.  He found some technicality to get them off.

     Marijuana was profitable but when cocaine came in Judge Pascal, as well as many another judge and cop, improved his standard of living materially.  People wondered how he could manage so well on his salary.  ‘Private investments.’  Judge Guy explained.  ‘Private investments.’

     Meggy Malone saw all but she closed her eyes to Judge Guy’s peccadilloes so long as he let her have hers.   These were changing tumultuous times on the personal level as well as the social.  The feminism Meggy ingested in Mrs. Hicks’ class became institutionalized in the years following the publication of Betty Friedan’s ‘Feminine Mystique’ in 1964.  Meggy saw herself as the Fulfilled Woman.  The notion of the Matriarchy which came to dominate the sexual theory of the times gave a focus to Meggy’s notion of men.  She had always intimidated the men in her life but after her accident she dominated them to the point of emasculation.  Her feminism all but made them impotent in her presence.

     This dovetailed nicely with her relationship with the Black miscreants brought up before Judge Pascal.  They farmed the Blacks just like they had segregated them and look out for its physical manifestations.

page 1965.

     The Whites had successfully kept the Blacks on the East Side.  Melville had remained White.  The Whites had come up with all kinds of maneuvers to keep schools segregated.  Rightly so in my opinion but the Urban Aristocracy thought differently.  Meggy was now an important member of the Urban Aristocracy.

     Thwarted in their aims to mingle the races the Aristocracy now sat down to come up with the insane plan of busing  Black students to White schools and White students to Black schools.  If  ‘bigoted’  Whites thought they could thwart the desires of the Aristocracy they were wrong.  Democracy be damned.  No vote was taken but now long lines of buses traveled from the East Side loaded with Negroes to attend Melville regardless of what anyone thought, White or Black.

     As usual the Aristocracy paid no attention to the evolution of Black psychology.  It was no longer 1958 when they began the busing.  Black ball players had been shaking their roots in the face of White America for a decade and nothing happened.  The Honkies sat respectfully and sucked it all in.

     LA had gone up in ’65 and nothing happened.  The Steppin Fetchets of the thirties and forties had become more militant.  They were more angry.  By the time of busing they were seething.  These militant angry young Black men were turned loose in high school hallways of White America while White Americans were told they would go to jail if they offered the least defense of their rights.

     Violence escalated in the halls.  Weapons developed from knives and spring blackjacks to pistols, machine pistols, machine guns and bombs.  The Urban Aristocracy just shook their heads over kids nowadays.  The only way to stop the violence, they said, was to eliminate any vestige of liberty, a total lock down of the Whites.  The schools must be run as concentration camps.  By eliminating freedom for Whites you restored order.  Anyone who read the Protocols of Zion will recognize the game plan.  Thus spake the Greatest Generation, the men who had fought the arch demon, Hitler,  to make the world free.  Free?  They only made it over  into the image of Hitler’s concentration camps.

page 1966.

     You’d better go along if you want to get along was their motto.

     On her feminist side Meggy exaggerated the integrity of women.  Like all feminists she believed that women could do no wrong, they were always in the right.  Since she used her influence and power to crush the manhood out of any men she knew she could only despise them for being effete.  Reminiscent of the young sailors aboard the Teufelsdreck who thought that college men and officers were too mentally developed to be good sex partners Meggy thought that only men with no attainments had real sexual drive.  Driven by her male desire which she had inadvertantly clothed with a ‘low class’ image she could only find sexual release in what she considered the lowest of humanity.  At this time she would have slept with Dewey Trueman, her archetype of low class had he been there and willing.

     Sex is where Meggy went wrong.  Judge Guy over the years had watched her anxiously from the bench.  Pascal was a very jealous man.  If Meggy was to give it to anyone he had better be first in line or there would be hell to pay.  Judge Guy hadn’t wrestled with his X chromosome and come up triumphant yet.  Meggy was not so discreet that her sexual activites escaped the watchful eye of the Sicilian judge.

page 1967.

     There was only one bike club in the Valley.  The Valley Varmints.  As they are quite primitive fellows in their social relationships that directness appealed to Meggy.  Low class, violent and sexually charged.  Meggy went for the gold.  She insinuated herself into the club as a part time mama.  She would spend a weekend with her boys from time to time.

     She had gained her introduction through her job when one of Dalton Dagger’s cousins had been brought up on dope charges.  The evidence had conveniently disappeared from police storage.  Some said the cops sold it but Meggy had discreetly let it be known that she had been responsible.  Devon Dagger had taken it from there.

     Judge Guy Pascal quietly raised his eyebrows.

     A woman of Meggy’s importance was eminently useful so the club treated her as she liked excusing her the worst abuses with which bikers treat their women.

     Meggy should have known that secrecy is impossible in our society.  What secrets you don’t have people will invent for crying out loud.  The eyes of envy soon ferret out all secrets.  After all the bikers had to get their dope through the Pasquales.  How sharp did Meggy have to be to think of that?

     It was never clear that Judge Guy Pascal ordered the raid that precipitated Meggy’s humiliation but it is certain Meggy’s doings came to his attention.  Guy Pascal had made passes at the ‘fast Mick broad’ which she had rebuffed with offended purity.  Nothing offends a man’s amour propre more, especially a powerful self-important man like Judge Guy Pascal.  More especially when his outrage was created by the excesses of Meggy’s doing.

     When word reached him of Meggy’s proclivities he was not only insanely jealous but shocked while at the same time being disgusted and pleased.

     The raid came as a complete surprise to Meggy who was usually apprised of everything.  Sometimes things even Judge Guy didn’t know.

      When the cops burst into the biker house they found Meggy naked on the floor surrounded by bikers waiting their turn while Fat Tony Frankenheimer was pumping oil from her well at 78 RPMs.

     She didn’t know, nobody could have guessed, but this was the result of ‘summoning’ Dewey Trueman to her bedside twenty years earlier.

     Meggy was a justified sinner.  It was impossible to besmear her own notion of her purity.  The mind is a strange thing.  Meggy did not ‘believe’ astrology but like the rest of us she read the newspaper column regularly and sometimes bought the Virgo booklets at the grocery store check out stands.  For Meggy was a Virgo, the Virgin.  Now, in the Olympian Zodiac Virgo is ruled by Demeter the mother of terrestrial growth.  Her daughter is Persephone the wife of Hades and the symbol of the virgin growth of Spring.

page 1969.

     Meggy had studied her Greek mythology in the feminine branch of Mrs. Hicks’ instruction.  With the girls Mrs. Hicks had paid special attention to the goddess myths.  The most important of all women being that of Hera and her ability to restore her virginity.  Meggy couldn’t have articulated it but she had put together the meaningof Virgo-Demeter and Aqarius-Hera.   Thus no matter her sexual adventures she always remained a virgin in mind and hence in appearance and attitude.

     Given her position in the courts her embarrassment never reached the papers but because the records showed the cops bagged a ton of amphetamines, cocaine and marijuana Judge Guy Pascal thought it wise for Meggy to resign her position in his court.

     It is true that the bikers insisted that the house was clean, which in fact it was, but when the representatives of the law say they bagged the dope on the premises who’s going to believe a bunch of greasy bikers?  It was a good joke but the bikers weren’t the ones laughing.

     Just as Meggy was always a virgin she didn’t need any proof to know that Judge Pascal was behind the whole raid.   Vengeance, you know, the Lord…people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.  Meggy’s people believed Meggy’s protestations of innocence.  Judge Guy should have kept his in his pants too; he had messed with the wrong party.

     Meggy Malone knew some secrets of her own while she knew people who continued to think very well of her on the force and in the DAs office.  Those guys always know more than they’re telling too.

page 1970.

     A shipment of cocaine to Rocco’s Pizza Parlor was intercepted at the back door.  Rocco’s was a distribution front for the Pasquales so the whole clan was now exposed as the city’s premier dope dealers.  Documents found their way into the hands of the police and DA as well as the Valley news which clearly implicated the austere hanging judge, Guy Pascal.  It was now ‘discovered’ that Guy Pascal was really Guido Pasquale.

     Several of the Pasquales found their way to the State pen while the Judge who was able to evade conviction left town to begin a new legal career for the Outfit in Chitown.

     Satisfied that she was avenged Meggy followed on his heels out of town unable to bear the wagging tongues of gossips.

     Meggy’s first move was down to ‘Bama.  But those Southern Whites have no love for Northern carpetbaggers.  Meggy’s advocacy of Blacks did little to endear herself down in Dixie.  She found actual contact with the race less pleasant than her long distance affection for them.  Unable to live with the Whites with her attitude but unable to move in with the Blacks Meggy had no choice but to move on.

     Her next choice was Bozeman, Montana.  This was not her final destination.  After a couple years she left for Boise.  She didn’t like life in the desert.  She heard the hills calling so she packed her bags again for her final destination, Coeur D’Alene.

     She had at last outrun the rumors but time had taken its toll on Meggy’s psyche.  Her troubled mind drove her in predictable directions.

page 1971.

     The demon who governed her dreams changed his character.  He became a real Rider On The Storm.  Her dream changed so that she rode on a bad motorcycle behind the devil in colors.  They were racing down a long bowling alley at ninety miles an hour toward eight foot chrome plated steel pylons shaped as penises which formed the ten pins.  Meggy with her arms tightly around the devil’s neck flapped in the breeze behind him to the cracking of bones broken so long ago on that icy Motown street.

     She never hit the pins but the very notion of sleep became such a terror to her that she could no longer go to bed.  She sat up night after night recalling herself from dozes lest she dream that terrible dream.

     It was then that she began to seek some form of penance.

     Penance for what what she wasn’t concious of but her subconscious knew and showed her the path.  She began to search for some hillbilly beau with whom to form an alliance.  Her path happened to cross that of Dart Craddock.

     When Dart had been sent to the brig at the beginning of  ’58 in Guam he accepted his fate with resignation.  He received his discharge in 1959 at which time he returned to Northern Idaho.  Dart was really a raw mannered guy.  In the environment of the Navy where everyone came from the other half some really raw manners passed unnoticed in the general milieu.  Dart wasn’t really raw in the sense of basal crudity but he come from mining stock which had fought the wars of the hard rock miners around the turn of the century.

     As noted earlier his grandpop had been with Big Bill Haywood and the Western Federation of Miners.  I suppose Big Bill is pretty much forgotten now except with specialists but his autobiography is worth reading.  Coeur D’ Alene had been a terrific battleground where the hard rock miners of the WFM put up a stout fight.  The memories of those days still lived on in the Idaho hills.  The hard feelings still existed.

page 1972.

     When Big Bill Haywood had been run out of the WFM he became part of the Industrial Workers Of The World.  Dart’s grandpop had followed Bill into the IWW.  The biggest battle of all Wobbly battles had been fought in Spokane a few miles to the West.  Then the battles raged down the coast until grandpop had gotten the IWW branded on his lower cheek down in San Diego.

     Dart still carried the chip on his shoulder from that the same as he had in San Diego.  As Meggy’s subconscious adjusted her conscious mind to her new perspective Dart Craddock became exceedingly attractive to her.  Especially when she learned that he lived out of town on a mountain hillside in what was close enough to a hillbilly shack to suit her psychic needs.

     Dart was already a two time loser; he didn’t see the need to take a third hitch.  Meggy thought it over a little and decided to humble herself by showing up on Dart’s porch with her suitcases in hand.  She set the suitcases down to look imploringly in his eyes.  Dart gave her a hard serious look for a few mintues then opened the door to admit her while he picked up the suitcases and placed them inside.  Meggy had found a home.

     She became a real mountain mama, bought herself some combat boots, a couple Ma Kettle looking outfits for the winter and Daisy Mae cutoffs for the summer and settled down in her own personal little Dogpatch.

     The life was good for her too.  Dart thought he’d acquired a real lady.  He didn’t know about Meggy’s biker days while she projected eternal chastity of sorts.  Dart was a big fellow by this time.  His six-four frame having filled out to two hundred sixty pounds.  This was the kind of bull Meggy’s male need wanted.  She was more than happy with her hillbilly beau.  Thus it seems to be true that there is a boy for every girl and a girl for every boy.  Sometimes the way to each other is a little roundabout, that’s all.

     As she settled into this hillbilly existence as penance, over the months much of her guilt was allayed so that her dreams became manageable.  She could sleep once again.

     She and Dart went to town on a Saturday night in his old beat up pick up truck; the kind she wouldn’t have gotten into back in the old days.  She sat as proudly beside him as though he were driving a Mercedes-Benz.  As they drove back of an early Sunday morning after a night in the honky-tonks the lights of Dart’s truck as they turned the corner shown on the street sight that announced:

TOBACCO ROAD.

The Man Who Had Life Made At Twenty

     Dewey’s caustic treatment of Meggy Malone in the hospital confrontation had grievously offended LeBaron Briscoe.  It was inconceivable to him that someone who,  from his point of view, had barely been tolerated in his own group should even attempt to defend himself before a girl of the stature of Meggy Malone.  He should have taken whatever abuse she offered him.

page 1974

     Briscoe was familiar with the Hirsh side of the details of the situation in kindergarten and second grade.  Nearly everyone involved had given the details to each member of the eating club in their campaign to discredit Dewey before his fellows.  Briscoe wouldn’t have excused Dewey if he thought he had been wronged back then which he didn’t.

     Meggy was Meggy and Dewey was Dewey.  She had value and he had none.  Briscoe had even gratuitously clued Dewey into McDonald’s and Dewey hadn’t even enough sense to grasp it.  There was no way a guy like that could insult Meggy Malone and get away with it.

     Briscoe had called Buzz Barrett to lament in shocked tones how Dewey had treated Meggy.  Buzz had been one of the members of Dewey’s eating club as well as Briscoe and Denny Demwitter.

     Because of the kindergarten and second grade incidents involving Dewey in which Meggy participated Hirsh/Yisraeli had determined to destroy Dewey.  The registration of Dewey at Melville Trade and the attempted expulsion from Mrs. Hicks’ class are an indication of the extremes which Hirsh was willing to employ.

     When Dewey established himself as a social presence in the eleventh grade with his eating club Hirsh had at first scoffed.  By the end of the eleventh grade however the eating club was challenging Michael Hirsh’s circle for preeminence.  Something would have to be done in twelfth grade.

page 1975.

     Various attempts were made to discredit Dewey but he survived them all.

     Then Hirsh got Michael’s friends to badmouth Dewey relating to the incident in second grade in which they depicted Dewey as a coward who timidly obeyed orders.  Dewey’s group listened but between groups of boys they refused to act lest they appear to be doing other boy’s bidding.

     Then Hirsh got Meggy to work using LeBaron Briscoe, who worshipped her, as a lever.  With only six other members in the club of which half were loyal to Dewey she had scant success obtaining only the votes of Briscoe and Buzz Barrett.

     As Dewey was searching for three new members to round the group out to ten, Hirsh determined to undermine the club by getting members of his own choosing.

     Dewey had known better than to include hs secret arch enemy and neighbor Ward Sonderman in his club.  At Hirsh’s instigation Sonderman formed a city league touch football team which included every member of the eating club including Dewey.  Thus by December  Sonderman had been selected bringing in a tenth member selected by Hirsh while Dewey brought in the ninth member.

     Hirsh, Meggy and the others now had enough latitude but the year was too far advanced for Dewey’s expulsion to mean anything so as graduation neared the club just fell into desuetude.  Dewey was spared the humiliation of being expelled from his own club.

page 1976.

     Nevertheless the deed had been consummated in the hearts of seven of the other nine members including Demwitter, Briscoe and Barrett.  Dewey’s replacement had even been hanging around the club ready to slip in.  He was a fellow by the name of Jerry Kramer.  Dewey had wondered why he was always about but never figured it out.

     Meggy had woven in and out of this situation.  They all thought she was top drawer.  Indeed because of the hatred felt toward Dewey by the elite most the club was associating with people far above their social status which they found most flattering.  Dewey could not be allowed to insult Meggy without a response.

     Buzz Barrett hung up after talking to Briscoe immediately calling Denny Demwitter to discuss the situation.  Although he had been too busy to have anything to do with the man who had been his closest friend in high school Denny now found time on the twenty-third for he and Dewey to call on Buzz.

     Denny and his girl friend picked up Dewey for the drive to Buzz’s home.

     ‘When’s the last time you saw Buzz, Dewey?’  Denny asked.

     ‘Oh gosh, I don’t know.  When did we have our last dinner?  March?  April?  Maybe at Klutz’s graduation party if he was there.’

     ‘Yeah.  All three of us were there.’

     ‘Must have been it, then.’

     Dirk Klutz had been the tenth member admitted to the eating club.  As Hirsh’s appointee he had been hostile to Dewey from the start.  As the newest member he had been the last house at which they were to have eaten in April.  He had refused to honor his obligation thus bringing the club to an end and Hirsh a small triumph although April would have been the last month anyway.

page 1977.

     Klutz had had a graduation party to which he invited the club to make up for his lack of observance for which he did come under criticism.  Dewey was not invited but told as an after thought that he could come if he felt like it.  He had swallowed his pride and attended only to find himself being ridiculed by the whole Hirsh crowd.  He fled in confusion with visions of the second grade dancing before his eyes.

     ‘Boy, Buzz has really got it made now.’  Denny enthused.

     ‘Oh yeah?’

     ‘Yeah.  He got married eight months ago.  First one of us.  Beautiful girl.’

     ‘Ya?  Anybody I know?’

     ‘Probably not.  She went to Lacramae Sacre.  Did you know the Catholic crowd?’

     ‘I knew some of them in grade school and Junior High but once they dropped out of public school they always thought they were getting a better education than us so we never talked.  What school did you go to, Carol?’  Dewey asked Denny’s girl.

     ‘I just moved to the Valley a year and a half ago.  I went to Grand Rapids Catholic Central.’

     ‘Anyway, like I was saying about Buzz, he’s really got it made for life.  You remember the deal he had with Mel Larsen, don’t you?’

page 1978.

     ‘Sure.’

     Mel Larsen had been the owner of Larsen’s Sporting Goods  downtown.  Like a lot of store owners do to stabilize their employees he had made a deal with Buzz when Buzz was only a part time worker in high school in tenth grade that if he would stay and work hard Mel would will him the business when he died.  Buzz had been easily seduced by the offer.  He had worked well and hard for Mel for what was now five years.

     ‘What do you think happened?’

     ‘Mel got on that train bound for Glory?’

     ‘What do you mean, train bound for Glory?’

     ‘Mel died.’

     ‘Yeh, he did.  How did you know?’

     ‘Guessed from something in your manner, Denny.  So he really did leave the business to Buzz.  That’s almost impossible but I suppose it does happen.  I was sure Larsen was leading Buzz on.’

      ‘All the details aren’t known yet but Buzz knows for sure that he’s mentioned in the will.  Here we are.’

     Buzz’s wife Melanie opened the door.

     Buzz was seated on his sofa in the attitude of the grand seigneur ready to greet his vassal.  At the age of twenty he had come into the fullness of life.

      They hadn’t planned how they were going to chastise Dewey for having been rude to Meggy they just thought that some general humiliation would ensue.

page 1979.

     ‘I guess you heard the news, Dewey?’

     ‘What?  You mean about Larsen?  Denny said you were mentioned in the will.’

     ‘That’s right.  You remember how you used to laugh at me because you thought Mel would cheat me in the end?’

     ‘I didn’t laugh at you Buzz.  I just don’t think Mel’s word was worth relying on.  I still don’t.  I still think you should have quit him and gone to college since you could have.’

     ‘Well, I think it’s clear that you’re wrong now, hey Dewey?’

     ‘If it turns out well I’m really happy for you Buzz.  I just don’t think employers keep their word on these things very often.’

     ‘Yes.  Well, you went in the Navy and just look at you now.  I took an honorable man’s word and now I’ve got it made for the rest of my life and I’m only twenty years old.  I’ve got everything and what have you got, another year to go?  Look, my wife Melanie here.  What do you think of this couch?  It’s mine.  New.’

     Dewey saw a repulsive overstuffed couch that he wouldn’t have sold his soul for but he complimented Buzz on it.

      ‘What do you think of my new combination TV/Stereo in genuine simulated Walnut finsh?’  He said pointing to a huge piece of furniture against the opposite wall four feet away.

     Dewey couldn’t believe his ears.  Did Buzz say ‘genuine simulated?’  Dewey thought back a couple years when he and these guys had been the coolest heads around, or thought they were.  How they had laughed at old folks who had been sucked in to flim flam like ‘genuine simulated.’  And now here, a mere two years later one of his group, hell, throw Denny in too, had fallen into a trap they had all despised.  Dewey said nothing but Buzz and Denny slipped over the edge of his earth.

     ‘Mel an I are going to get a genuine reproduction of a Renoir to put above it.  Every hear of Renoir?  French expressionist artist.  Know what a stereo is?  Mel, put the demonstration record on to show Dewey what a stereo is.  New.’

     Mel put the record on the changer and let the tone arm drop.

     Dewey smiled at the sound of the ping pong ball being slapped from left to right and back again.  The effect was something you never really got over.  Almost beat the hell out of the Sputnik.

     ‘Amazing isn’t it?  Ever heard anything like that before?’  Buzz demanded while Melanie took a seat on the arm of the sofa draping herself around Buzz giving a vacuous but beautiful smile to Dewey.

     ‘I was at a party maybe a month and half ago in Oakland, that’s in California, Buzz, and the guy had the same demonstration record only he had a setup that makes your combo look primitive.  He had a whole professional radio type setup with a control room and everything.  Half a dozen speakers.  Then there were these couple of guys there with bongos who got this multi-phasic rhythm going with the ping pong ball which had an absolutely mesmerizing effect.  You shoulda been there.’

     Both Buzz and Denny involuntarily drew their chins in at this unexpected display of knowledge.  They not only didn’t know what bongos were but they didn’t understand the word mesmerizing.  They let the latter pass.

page 1981.

     ‘What’s bongo?’  Buzz asked.  Apparently bongos hadn’t yet made their appearance in the Valley.

     ‘Bongo drums?  Well, they’re these two little drums attached to each other, one bigger, one smaller.  Sort of like upsided down tambourines that you play between your knees.’

     ‘Oh, bongo drums.  Why didn’t you say bongo drums I would have understood.  Just bongos I didn’t catch.  Heard anything from Jerry Kramer?’  Buzz asked referring to Dewey’s projected replacement in the eating club.

    ‘Jerry Kramer?  At West Point?  Me?  No.  Why would I have heard from him, we weren’t even friends.’

     Buzz was just trying to hurt Dewey because of Dewey’s knowledge of stereo  thwarting the intent of Buzz had been received like a slap in the face.  Buzz was relying on private knowledge about Kramer between he and Denny to return the slap.

     After the last question things lapsed into a prolonged embarrassed silence.  They all stood staring at Dewey with him staring back at them.

     ‘I’d probably better go Buzz.  Leave you and your lovely wife, sofa and combination TV/stereo to your Christmas.  All this stuff didn’t leave room for a Christmas tree I guess.   Good luck with the will and take care of that genuine simulated walnut finish.  Bye Melanie.  you want to drive me back, Denny?’

     ‘No. You go on ahead.  Carol and I have something to talk over with Buzz and Mel.’

page 1892.

     ‘You making me walk home alone?’

     ‘There’s the phone.  You can call a cab.’

     ‘I’ll walk.’  Dewey said with a glower.  ‘See you guys around.’

     The closest he came to seeing any of them again was when Denny and Carol drove slowly by him as he walked back to Grandma’s house in the ocld.  Denny politely tooted the horn in acknowledgment as he passed.

     Mel Larsen’s will was opened and read.  The good news was that he had left the business to Buzz.  The bad news was that he also left it to four other employees.  He had made each the same promise enjoining each to secrecy.  Strangely none of the five suspected the outcome.

     Mel’s profit divided five ways was a nice addition to their income but hardly enough for Buzz to have it made at twenty.  Besides that, as  businesses can’t be run by five equal partners, somebody had to be in charge.  After a year of constant bickering the store burned down in the middle of the night.  The insurance was split five ways.  Now without a job Buzz received his share bitterly.

     The year since the reading of the will had been a humiliating one for Buzz now left without a means of support.  He was devastated.  He did feel that he had been put upon by Mel Larsen.

     Buzz sat and drank and brooded for a month then divorced his lovely wife Mel for no other reason than that her name reminded him of Larsen.  He had to gag every time he used his wife’s name.

page 1983.

     Shortly thereafter the house he was living in burned to the ground along with Buzz’s sofa, combination TV/Stereo and the genuine Renoir reproduction that hung above it.

     Then Buzz packed his sorrows in his old kit bag and moved far far away.

     For Dewey as he walked back it seemed that he could hear doors being slammed behind him all over town.

That Sad Old Wintry Feeling

     Baffled by the cold treatment by guys he thought of as his best friends Dewey stepped out the next morning to take what he knew would be his last stroll around town.  The only door that still seemed to be open was the exit.

     As happens when the subconscious takes control Dewey’s steps led him to the corner where Susan Doughty lived.  In the manner of the subconscious it blocks out all detail irrelevant to its needs.  Dewey was unaware of where he was standing so he was suprised when a voice behind him said:  ‘I turned you in.’

     Dewey turned to look into the eyes of Susan Doughty.  He was astonished that she wasn’t wearing a coat.  Unaware of where he was he didn’t realize she had just stepped out her front door.  Had he any consciousness at all he might have looked up to see the Spider Woman watching him from the dining room window.

     It had been a little over a year since he had seen Susan on his leave of the summer of ’57.  Life had been so densely packed with adventure since that time that he had forgotten that she had been back.  Or, rather, he had been so distanced that he hadn’t had time to think about it.  As he had digested nothing of the time he had only disjointed and isolated memories of it.

page 1894.

     He remembered how she had invited him to that party and gotten him drunk.  In his resentment his reaction to her was very, very cold.  She didn’t notice as she felt no warmth toward him.

     She, on the other hand, remembered the last time they had seen each other on the porch after returning from the swimming party in the Bay.  She thought he had been rude but he had only shown more backbone than either she or her mother had expected.

     ‘I turned you in.’  She repeated.

     ‘Turned me in for what, Susan?’

     ‘For those rapes.’

     Dewey looked at her closely.  He was mystified.

     ‘What rapes are you talking about Susan?  You aren’t saying I raped you, are you?’  He said inquisitively, searching hopefully for some attempt at humor.

     In fact, she did think he had raped her.  When he had walked off the porch in disgust his rejection of her in her mind had been translated to rape.  She had mentally converted his reaction into images of rape.  Subconsciously she knew he hadn’t touched her, but she wanted him punished for outraging her sensibilities anyway.

     ‘There was a guy reported in the newspaper who brutally raped four innocent girls in a row six months ago then disappeared.  I know it was you.  So I turned you in.’

page 1986.

     ‘But, Susan, I wasn’t even in town six months ago.  I was in San Deigo.’

     ‘Doesn’t matter.  I don’t know how you did it but it was the kind of thing you would do to innocent girls like me.’

     Dewey looked Susan in the eyes.  He wondered how he could ever have had a crush on her.  Memories are always synthetic.  The synthesis always supports one’s own point of view.  The fact that Dewey considered himself OK was irrelevant, in her own way she was right.

      He had shown a great deal more interest in Susan than she had for him.  An impartial observor would have testified that in his ardor Dewey had forced his attention on her.  He had been sixteen, she had been fourteen.  She had said no she didn’t want to see him.  She didn’t have the know how or impoliteness to drive him away.  So they had had a very cold unpleasant relationship.  She had grounds to claim that Dewey was her misfortune, still, he was the only boy who had ever seen worth in her.

     When she did turn Dewey away in the eleventh grade she had done so in such a brutal unfeeling way that Dewey had been crushed down below where the lilies grow.  Oh boy, did he remember that; even score, or least.  Since he was vaguely aware of how much she had always resented his attentions he bore her no grudge but he insisted on a clean break.  She had violated that condition by approaching him in the summer of ’57.  He no longer felt any obligation toward her.

page 1986.

      Life isn’t that clean.  She obviously couldn’t get him out of her mind.  Thus Dewey was unaware of how painful his presence had been to her for her to have converted his love for her into a series of rapes.

     ‘What did the police say, Susan?’

     ‘They said they thought it was impossible.’

     ‘I should think so.’

     Dewey wanted to say something cruel but all he could remember was the vision of loveliness that had appeared before his eyes on this very corner, indeed, this very spot, what? only four years previously?  Only four years in a world without time, a clock with no hands.  The vision must have taken place on another planet in a different universe, far away beyond the thick dark veil of space.  How could time have so little coherence?

     How could Dewey remember everything but none of it have any meaning to him.  Susan had existed but not in the flesh and blood.  To him she was like ‘Pinkie’ a portrait in a gallery lined with pictures on both sides stretching toward infinity.  Each picture had some relationship to his life but distant and drawn by others.  He could walk the gallery admiring the portraits and pictures relating intimate details that only he knew but they meant no more to him than that.

     There was no organic connection.  He was he and they were they.  He had lived each scene from the outside with no closer involvement than as a patron in the gallery.

page 1988.

     He sat down to Christmas dinner a stranger at the table.  Gone were the big family gatherings of past years.  Some were dead all had dispersed  the year he graduated.  He had been the glue that held them all together in some mysterious way.  His grandmother was no more than a cutout cardboard figure.  His half-brother ate silently beside him.  He finished a second piece of pumpkin pie, got up, put on his hat, grabbed his bag and walked out the door to the bus station for the return trip.  Neither his grandmother nor his brother said goodbye to him nor did he say goodbye to them.  He merely walked down the front steps and out of the picture.

     The last door slammed shut behind him.  As he boarded the big Grey Dog he rode away from a past of which the back cover of the book closed behind him.  He now knew no one.  His course was all his own.  His youth was fled.  The rump end was nine remaining months in the Navy before he could begin his new life.  Actually his new life had already begun.  All else was memory.

     Like Salvador Dali’s brilliant painting, The Persistence Of Memory, handless clocks melted across branches of leafless trees while the luxurious landscape he had known faded into a bleak desert punctuated by the decomposing corpses of old memories.

     In compensation Dewey created a fantasy of high school that would last for twenty-five years.  The more unpleasant realities took shape in his dreamlife where they formed a stable of nightmares that was also to last for twenty-five years.

     He looked back but the last buffalo had fallen on the plane of consciousness never to rise again.  The future lay ahead.  A future dominated by Dr. Queergenes whose story begins in Vol. IV of City On The Hill,

If they gave gold statuettes

for tears and regrets,

I’d be a legend

in

my

own

time.

-Don Gibson.

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A Novel

Our Lady Of The Blues

Book VII: The Heart Of The Matter

Clip 9

by

R.E. Prindle

     Yisraeli had made contact with one of them with whom he was having breakfast while hoping for Trueman and Zion to show up.  His pretext for the meeting was market research. 

     The homo, Lips Carmody, was spilling out all his repressed needs to Our Lady who he thought would immediately go back to Escondido and fill them when Yehouda spotted Trueman on the other side of the highway as Showbaby drove into the lot.

     ‘Oh my god!’ He ejaculated.

     ‘What?’ Lips asked.

     ‘Do you see that sailor over there?’

     ‘Yes.”

     ‘He…he is one of the most savage homosexual baiters in San Diego.’

     ‘You don’t say?’

     ‘I do say.  You would do the brotherhood a big service by keeping his weeny moving right out of Barstow.’

     ‘I will.’  Lips said getting up to match his action to his words.

     He passed Showbaby on the way out.  Show had delayed entering on a signal from Yisraeli.

     As Carmody went out to hustle Trueman through town Yisreali and Showbaby went out to alert Dagger who was standing by his car.

     ‘That’s him in the sailor suit, Dagger.  Here’s your other five hundred.  I’ll send the rest to you in Bay City.’

page 1681.

     ‘Five hundred?  Supposed to be a thousand.’

     ‘I was in a big hurry since you weren’t organzied.  I must have grabbed five hundred by mistake.’  Yehouda stuffed five one hundred dollar bills into Dalton’s shirt pocket contemptuously.  One might understand Our Lady’s wish to appear the Big Man but it was a mistake.

     Dalton considered himself a man among men and he didn’t consider Yehouda a man.  Dalton wouldn’t be belittled by a mere twit.  Hadn’t he decked his sergeant, who was a real man, and done time in the brig like a man the Marines couldn’t handle?

     Dalton spilled the bills back out of his pocket as contemptously as Yisraeli had put them there.  At the same time he seized Our Lady by the throat lifting him off the ground.  It might have been an interesting experience for Yehouda if Zion hadn’t been there.

     Quickly scooping up the bills before the desert wind wafted them into the hills Show did everything he could to soothe Dalton.  He didn’t want a scene in a parking lot that might bring the police.  He added fifty dollars he had on him to the five hundred talking smoothly and rapidly.  Always keep the other guy’s mind occupied by a ceaseless drone of bull patter.  They listen rather than acting.

     While Showbaby was pattering on Lips was harassing Trueman.

     ‘You better get out of town right now, buddy.  We don’t want your kind around here.’

     ‘What kind is that?  Sailors?’  Dewey asked dumbfounded by this guy’s hostility.

page 1682.

     ‘Don’t get cute with me.  You know what I mean.  I’ve heard about you.’

     ‘Dewey turned and walked a hundred yards away in an attempt to get away from Carmody.  Lips pursued, still berating him.  This happened several times until Dewey had traversed the little town and was near its Eastern limit.  He had all but gotten out of town.

     Somewhat satisfied Lips said:  ‘You better be outta here, buddy.  If i come back in an hour and you’re not gone I’ll have you arrested as a vagrant.’

     ‘A vagrant?  You gotta be nuts.  You can see I’m in uniform; therefore I have visible means of support.’

     Men of Carmody’s stamp are not influenced by facts or logic.

     ‘An hour, wise mouth.  You hear!  One hour.’

     Trueman didn’t believe him but he couldn’t account for his unbounded hostility either.  And he was vulnerable.  These were the times when sheriffs had little fiefdoms which they culd run without regard to law or outside interference.  Many ran speed traps where hapless motorists were fleeced of large sums of money and sent packing.  Not infrequently they never made it out of town under their own power.  The Interstates would change all that in a few years, people shot through bypassing these petty tyrants.

     Dewey did have the two hundred dollars on him.  If picked up the bunko artists called cops would get it all.  He would probably spend a couple days in jail then be sent back to San Diego and billed exorbitantly for the expense.  No recourse either.  Dewey became very alert to the fact that he was living on his wits.  Not to mention his thumb.

     Back at the motel, mutual threats having been exchanged Dalton took the five hundred fifty.  Shaking his fist menacingly at Yehouda he shouted:  ‘You better get the rest to me pronto or I’ll come back here and kill your shifty ass.’

     A few minutes later he stopped in the middle of the highway throwing the door open:  ‘Get in.’  He leered in menacing tones.

    Hyperion To A Satyr

     Dagger had a scary aspect.  Dewey didn’t like his looks.  He thought he recognized him from the motel parking lot where he had heard the ruckus and seen Dagger grab Our Lady by the throat.  He decided to decline the ride even though certain arrest was awaiting him.  But, out there on the highway etiquette requires a good reason for refusing a ride.

     ‘How far are you going?’  Dewey asked hoping for a short distance so he could decline.

     ‘Bay City.’  Dagger said with a confidential smile.

     ‘Bay City?’  Dewey thought, utterly taken back.  Bay City, Michigan?  He couldn’t imagine another Bay City out there in the desert so he got in.

     ‘Bay City, Michigan?’  Dewey asked incredulously.

     ‘That’s right.’

     ‘I’m going to the Valley.’  Dewey replied awestricken at this good luck.  At least, he thought, it would be a forty-eight hour trip from here.

     ‘I know.’  Dalton replied mysteriously.

page 1684.

     Dewey, taken aback, looked sharply at Dalton:  ‘What do you mean, you know?’

     For answer Dalton rudely reached over and pushed down the lock.  Accelerating sharply he said:  ‘Don’t try to get out of the car if you don’t want to get hurt.’

     Dewey pondered this remark thoughtfully.  First the guy in Barstow says he’s heard of him and now this guy says he knows he’s going to the Valley.  Strange, but following his own maxim that there’s nothing to worry about until it’s time to worry about it or, as the Irish proverb has it:  There’s time enough to bid the devil good morning when you meet him.  Dewey didn’t panic but as it was clear that push might come to shove he began to take stock of Dalton and his situation.

     As he now studied the driver he saw a relatively good looking but crude, fellow.  Not handsome in a gorgeous Cary Grant way but handsome enough to pass muster.  However his features were brutish betraying not only a lack of education but a lack of sympathy for refinement or benevolence of any sort.  Dalton did look like a murderous criminal which is why Dewey hesitated in the first place.

     A pair of black motorcycle boots rested on the pedals topped by a pair of black denim trousers.  Hoodlum tough guy dress.

     A peculiar short sleeved canned pea green shirt with a pierced embroidery design on the sleeve ends covered a good but not overly developed torso.  What, Dewey wondered, did that really very feminine shirt mean?  Indecision he decided.  When Dalton had grabbed Yisraeli by the throat standing at his full six foot three inches his presence had been enough to throw the fear of God into Our Lady.  Dewey didn’t think he could win a face to face confrontation with such ferocity but that pea green shirt with the frilly cuffs showed Dagger could be manipulated.

page 1685.

      Neverthless Dalton looked like the self-centered single minded ruffian he was.

     Fortunately for Trueman Dalton was a brute, a mere belly with arms and legs.  It’s not so much that he didn’t have mental capacity but he had been brought up to despise intelligence, education, study and diligence.  He was what Daddy Dagger called a natural man.  One would be tempted to say that he couldn’t read or write but he had passed the Navy intellegence tests to get into the Marines.  Probably his recruiter gave the box A key.

     It is certain Daddy Dagger couldn’t read or write; he was a real natural too.

     That wasn’t because the Daggers were incapable but because they didn’t want to.  They despised all the accoutrements of civilization except, of course, cars, guns and beer.  They were the equivalent of the primitive man.  The men of the Golden Cronian Age.  They were what the Revolution aspired to turn all men into in an orgy of ‘equality.’

     Equality.  The central thesis of the Revolution is worth looking into.

     As I said before the Cronian or Revolutionary consciousness is one of the four principal approaches to life.  The other three being the Matriarchal, Patriarchal and Scientific.  They have all existed coterminously from the beginning.  The trails are quite clear if you’re attuned to following them.  The central and uniting symbol of the Cronian consciousness is the Phrygian Cap.

page 1686

     The origin, history and meaning of the Cap has never, to my knowledge, been investigated.  Its meaning is so obscure that there seems to be no handle with which to begin discussion.  Nevertheless I will at least offer some tentative suggestions.

     The cap is invariably red which is the color of stern justice as well as blood.  There is no sterner justice than the shedding of blood.

     In form the cap is a visorless cone bent in the middle so that the top or bell inclines toward the forehead.  The cap was a characteristic of the ancient Phrygian people.  Phrygia was the area of Anatolia between the coastal settlements of Troy and the North of the inland Hittite Empire.

     The Phrygians were either expelled from or left the southern Danubian region to cross the Dardanelles settling in Anatolia.  Although the knowledge of the Phrygians themselves if the sketchiest it is probable that they settled in Anatolia just before or during the hegemony of the Hittites.  Most certainly displaced by the great migrations of the Aryans taking place at that time.

     The evidence indicates that they were a people antecedent to the introduction of agriculture which they rejected preferring a reactionary existence as hunter gatherers.  It may be conjectured that the agriculturists drove them from the Danubian Basin much as the sodbusters outsted the cattlemen in the US.

page 1687.

     Once in Anatolia they continued their Cronian ways rejecting all the appurtenances of civilization.  That may have included a rejection of Anatolian religious practices.  A rejection of religion remaining a Cronian tenet to the present.

     As to the origin of the Phrygian cap.  The cap of divintity amongst the Hittites was a tall conical rimless cap.  There is evidence that the Phrygians had a hand in the destruction of the Hittite Empire.  As a gesture of contempt it is possible that the Phrygians wore the cap broken and bent forward as a sneer or rejection of divinity.

     The earliest mention of the Phrygian cap that I know of occurs in the story of the Phrygian King Midas with his asses ears which occurs in Greek mythology.

     One must remember that the Greek myths of the Bronze Age only began to be written down with Homer and Hesiod in perhaps the eighth century which was a full 300-800 years after the events they record.  the rest were recorded mostly from 100 BC to 300 AD or even later so it may be assumed that not only did their recorders not have direct knowledge but that they had lost the key to their meaning.  That means that they changed or edited the myths so that they had meaning for themselves.

     Midas himself was the son of a Satyr and a goddess; thus his origins are definitely Cronian; couldn’t be clearer.  In the myth, Marsyas, a Satyr challenges the God Apollo to a musical contest in an access of pride.  Naturally Apollo won although he had to cheat to win.  In the first face off Marsyas was judged the equal of Apollo.  Apollo then challenged Marsyas to turn their intruments upside down and play a round that way.  Well, as Apollo was playing the harp and Marsyas was playing the pipes it is not difficult to see who won that one.

page 1688.

     As the penalty for his presumption Marsyas was flayed alive by Apollo.

     During the contest Midas had taken the side of Marsyas for which Apollo punished him by giving him the ears of an ass.  Thoroughly embarrassed by his condition it is said that Midas invented the Phrygian cap to conceal his ears.

     Concealed beneath his cap the only person who knew Midas had asses ears was his barber.  Midas swore him to absolute secrecy.  The barber was bursting with his secret and had to tell somebody.  He dug a hole by the river bank and sticking his head deep in the hole he whispered that Midas had asses ears.

     He covered the hole up and walked away much relieved.  However with the spring floods reeds grew over the hole and thus learned the secret.  When the wind vibrated the reeds just right they could be heard to sing:  King Midas has asses ears.  Well, the secret was out, there was nothing left for Midas to do but kill himself which he did.

     It seems clear from the myth that the Greeks considered the Phrygians spiritual competitors.  The Trojans had been material competitors and they had been eliminated by the Trojan War.  Spiritual competitors cannot be eliminated by physical means so the Greeks concocted a myth in which higher civilization as represented by Apollo destroyed the Cronian society in a spiritual contest.

page 1689.

     To perpetuate the Greek victory the Cronians were characterized as asses and their key symbol the Phrygian Cap was belittled as a mere means of concealing the asses ears which they all had.

     The rejection of civilization for some impossible golden age was silly in the eyes of the Greeks and has remained so to rational people down to the present time.  There are many deprecating references to these impractical people in the literature of the ages.  There are Roman references in which the Cronians are ridiculed for pursuing an impossible dream.

     Nevertheless the attitude persisted clandestinely until the Revolution erupted in France in 1789.  The Cronian day appeared to have come, they stepped out of the shadows.  The French figure of Liberty wears a Phrygian Cap perched jauntily on her head.  The Cronians have been very active since then around the world, not only in Europe.  In America, in the form of the Masonic Illuminati, they were perceived as a serious threat in the years around 1800.  The Civil War caps of the enlisted men are merely Phrygian Caps with the bell truncated and replaced by a flat surface to disguise their true nature.  Thus one may assume that the Revolution was active in the War Between The States.

     The Phrygian Cap played a role in the Revolution of 1917 in Russia.  the ideals continue in various Red groups in existence today.

     Their concept of absolute equality is as ridiculous today as it was in the early Stone Age.  It is inherent in the genetic makeup of the male of the species to wish to dominate his fellow man.  A man always feels he is entitled to a jot more than his fellows.  Thus the competition starts to make sure one is not surpassed.  Thus it has been, thus it is, thus it will always be.  The problem is always who will be the first among equals.

page 1690

     People will not be absolutely equal.  if we consider the two men in this car speeding across the desert floor, while they are of the same economic and political background one is superior to the other as Hyperion to a Satyr but the Satyr would never accept that decision.

     In ancient Greek art the Cronians are portrayed as roving wild men wandering the glens and glades of the mountains depicted as Satyrs and Centaurs.  They at that time and Duelin’ Dalton Dagger here were half man and half animal.  Not that they were physical hybrids but their minds hadn’t developed enough to separate them from their bestial habits.  They were animals with untrestrained bestial appetites and no mental self control.  In the sense of Apollo’s doctrine of Everything in Measure, Nothing In Excess, and Know Thyself they were outside the pale.  Like Midas they chose the inferiority of Marsyas’ efforts over the superior music of Apollo.  They were goat men with or without the ass ears of Midas.

     The Satyrs were not men in the original state like Dalton Dagger.  They had more or less advanced with civilization, something like the American Indians versus the Whites.  Their modern equivalents were good with guns, decent with cars, but only decent, and could swill an ocean of beer.  From the outside to a not very discriminating eye they looked like ordinary men and women.  But they had to be handled with discretion.  Yisraeli hadn’t known the difference.  Had it not been for the self-effacing discretion of Showbaby he would certainly have been severely beaten if not stomped to death.  Dalton would have escaped too; the lines of guilt were too clearly drawn for anyone to turn him in.

page 1691.

     It would also have taken a discriminating eye to have noticed the profound differences between Dalton and Trueman.  Dewey was everything that Dalton should have been.  But having been pushed down from childhood by people no better than Dalton but better dressed he was rising from the depths that concealed his true nature.  Dewey was deeply imprinted in his face and posture with the brutalization of his youth.

     Apart from the pimples which plagued him and repelled everybody there was a wild staring violence coupled with a doe like timidity to his countenance.

     If physiognomy is destiny Dewey should have spent a few hours before a mirror adjusting his outer appearance to his inner reality.

      It was that rising bubble syndrome.  Dewey was in a state of slow becoming.  If Dalton was the finished equivalent of a satyr Dewey was the developing equivalent of Themistocles, Pericles or ever Hyperion.  Dewey’s mind aspired to the stars.  Dalton’s was mired in his physical reality.  Dewey revered all the attainments the Dagger family despised.

     Disenfranchised, a lamb driven from the fold, a saint wandering in purgatory, an exile on Main Street, he nevertheless believed that by dint of application, hard work and honesty he could succeed not only in the material sense but attain an honored place in society.  In other words, he was drunk on hope.  His big disappointment would be to discover that society is not honorable.  The pillars of society were made of India rubber.  The really big men were merely Dalton Daggers in Brooks Brothers suits.

page 1692.

     The utopian philosophers of the nineteenth century who filled many long and weighty tomes of sentimental ruminations about the causes of crime being poverty and degradation would have been startled if they had seen the objects of their pity come into their own in the twentieth century.

     The causes they had ascribed to crime had all but disappeared but crime had grown exponentially.  In those far off days they imagined that the ‘working man’, they saw as a distinct economic species, unoppressed by the need to slave long hours for low wages would emerge from that cocoon like a butterfly to flit about the libraries and museums in ardent longing to be equal with the refined speculators of thought.

     In the prsent, fully able to indulge their ardent longing for refinement ‘working men’ long only for beer, popcorn, pornographic television and snow mobiles.  Football, basketball and sports in general is the ‘culture’ the ‘working man’ aspires to.

     Now that the ‘working man’ has time and money for museums and libraries they remain empty.  Their only visitors are the same small minority that always inhabited them.

page 1693

     Zola, Hugo and Sue wouldn’t have known what to make of our Duelin’ Dalton Daggers.  These redhots would have thrown their model into disarray.  All their maunderings would turn to ashes in their mouths.  All their compassion and pity for those innocents turned into criminals by a heartless society would be wasted.  All those innocents weren’t turned into criminals they were criminals posing as innocents.  Javert is the true hero of the nineteenth century not Jean Valjean.

     If Dalton had wanted to read ‘Les Miserables’ or ‘Germinal’ or been capable of it, he would have recognized his fellow savages and broken down laughing at the maudlin descriptions of them.  Hugo and Zola may have been well meaning fellows but their evaluation of mankind was hopelessly askew.

     They should have known that a criminal ethic existed.  They should have known that there were doctrinaire criminals just as there were doctrinaire liberals.  Dalton Dagger was not a criminal for any other reason than that he saw the role as the accurate view of life.  No other view made sense to him.  Only fools could hold another view in his opinion.

     The Good Father was wrong; there is such a thing as a bad boy.  There are badmen and badwomen, bad families, even bad societies.  They will never reconstruct themselves; it is a waste of time trying to reconstruct them.  Henry Ford ruined his empire by benevolently giving ex-prisoners jobs; allowing them into his work force.  They corrupted his workers turning Ford Motors nearly into a criminal organization.  Tolerating them corrupts society.

page 1694.

     There can only be political equality of the one man, one vote sort; there can be no absolute equality.  The Revolution chases a chimera.  The very nature of the masculine physical animal precludes such a possibility.  The Animus demands precedence; it demands that all others be subordinate to it.  The only thing that prevents its expression is the jealousy of other men.  No one has the power to enforce dominance over his fellows so each man is compelled to seek the cooperation of others to achieve his goals.  If not he will be defeated hand to hand or by the sabotage of the united group.

     The Revolution only despises rewards for personal initiative which makes them feel inferior.  As a defensive measure against inadequacy they seek to control the benefits of society and distribute the good things of this world on the basis of favoritism rather than initiative.  That is the only way they can succeed.  Equality for the Revolution is merely a Red Herring to delude the masses.  Remember the very term ‘masses’ is a Red invention.

     Dewey eyed this monster, this Dalton Dagger, for monster he was, trying to think of the best opening to penetrate his mind.

     Dalton helped him along:  ‘I’m Duelin’ Dalton Daggerze.’  He said out of the left side of his mouth facing full forward over the steering wheel while eyeing Dewey askance to the right.  He had a way of pronouncing, or rather mispronouncing his name so that he andded an extra ZE as in Daggers-za.

Page 1695.

     ‘How do you spell that?’  Dewey asked trying to organize the sounds in his mind.

      ‘Anyway I choose.’  Dagger said, evidently trying to establish physical intimidation.

     ‘Oh, to be sure.’  Dewey replied contemptuously matching the pea green shirt to the personality.  Dalton though a non-entity in Dewey’s mind became manageable.  ‘But, I mean, how did you spell it on your driver’s license?’

     ‘How do you know I got one?’  Dagger said stupidly, trying to evade a direct answer to a direct question which was common to his class.

    ‘Oh gee, I don’t know, will they sell a car to you without a driver’s license?’  Dewey replied nonchalantly, feigning picking something off the tip of his tongue then appearing to flick it into Dagger’s face.

     Trueman was a little too cool for Dagger.

     ‘I told the Marines to spell it DAGGER.’  Dalton said still evading a direct answer in order to preserve his imagined superiority.

     Dewey looked at his driver closely, eyed his haircut, there was that of the Marines about Dagger.  Within a few weeks it would have disappeared completely but it was still there.

     ‘You don’t pronounce that Dagger?’  Dewey asked not trying to conceal his contempt.

     ‘I pronounce it Daggerze or any goddamn way I want.  I’ll pronounce it Smith if it pleases me.’

     ‘Oh yeah, probably have to.’  Dewey sneered.  ‘So tell me Daggerzzze.’  Dewey said insultingly, loathing the ignorance of the man.  ‘You’re going home on leave to Bay City?  That’s it?’

     Dewey was jousting for intellectual preeminence to counter Dagger’s physical superiority which he keenly felt.

     ‘No!  That’s not it!’ Dagger said in exaggerated tones.

     ‘What is it?  You’re not patrolling the highway to help errant sailors.  Are you?’

     Dalton had expected to instill trembling fear into Dewey who was after all slight and unprepossessing.    He didn’t like the parody and disrespect with which Trueman spoke to him.

     ‘I got me a dishonorable discharge from the Marines.’  Dalton said with as much pride as though he had engineered Grand Coulee Dam.

     This was a completely unexpected reply.  Dewey was flabbergasted.  A DD was cause for shame and regret in his mind.  He thought Dalton was using bravado to cover his himiliation.

     ‘A Dishonorable Discharge?  They don’t just give those things out for no reason.  What did you do?’

     Getting a DD was not the easiest thing to do as Ponzi’s case showed.  For the Navy to give up on a guy was a very serious matter.  There were all kinds of discharges before you got to the bottom rung of Dishonorable.

     ‘I stomped the hell out of my Sergeant.  Damn near killed him.  When they asked if I had remorse I said hell no I wasn’t sorry.  If I had the chance I’d do it again and finish the job.’

page 1697.

     ‘You stomped him?  Why?’  Dewey now took Dalton seriously.  He realized that he was in a car with a certified psycho.  ‘Put me on, Dagger.  You have to be crazy as hell to punch a Petty Officer.’

     ‘I didn’t punch him.  I beat the hell out of him.  Stomped the son-of-a-bitch after I knocked him down.  Broke his nose and jaw for him and he probably sported black eyes for a month.’  Dagger grinned with fierce pride.  ‘I would have killed him but they pulled me off.’

     Dewey involuntarily shrunk within himself.  He wasn’t sure that Dalton was telling the exact truth but if he was Dewey realized that he was in a car with a dangerous maniac who was, in effect, holding him prisoner.

     ‘Wow!  They must have sent you directly to the brig.  No passing GO there.’

     ‘Damn right they did.’  Dalton replied once again with a savage pride.  ‘Just got out.  That’s why I’m on my way back.  My old man thinks I finally made the grade.’

     ‘You sound like it’s a good thing to go to the brig.  I always thought the brig was a pretty rough place.’

     ‘Damn right it is.  You gotta be tough.  You gotta be a real man.  You wouldn’t last a minute.  Real men go to the brig rather than put up with the chicken shit crap they shovel at you.’

     ‘Guess I’m not a real man by your standards.’  Dewey laughed.

     ‘No, you’re not.’  Dalton said complacently.  ‘Not many guys are.  Hell, the Marines advertise they’re looking for a few good men but when they get ’em…’ He said jamming his thumb into his shirt to indicate himself.  ‘…they don’t know what to do with ’em.  So I showed ’em.  I’ll take brig time and a DD any day than follow rules from some stupid Sergeant that I can stomp to shit.’

page 1698

     ‘Yes, indeed!  Hallelujah!’  Dewey thought.  ‘There is something authentic in this guy’s manner.  This guy is a total whacked out psycho.’

     ‘I guess you’re lucky he didn’t die.’  Dewey said lethargically so as not to arouse Duelin’ Dalton.

     ‘How’s that?’  Dalton asked maliciously.

     ‘Well, I mean you would have murdered him.  They would have put you away for life.’

     ‘There ain’t a prison in the world that can hold Duelin’ Dalton Daggerze if he wants out.  You ain’t never killed a man?’  Dalton asked suddenly remembering that Yisraeli had said that Dewey had killed his son.

     ‘Who me?  Hell no, Dagger, why would I want to kill anybody?’

     There was something authentic in Dewey’s tone that gave Dalton pause.  He intuitively believed the sailor casting a pall of irresolution over his determination.

     ‘I have.’

     ‘You have?  You killed some one Dagger?  When was that?’

     ‘Couple weeks ago.’

     ‘Oh yeah?  Who and what for?’

page 1699

     ‘The brig guard.  He was a real asshole.  Always used to go around shocking me with this electric cattle prod.  Taught him though, didn’t I?’

     Dewey stared out the side window thoughtfully.  He remembered the story of the guy found in the surf in Tijuana.  He dimly remembered that something had been stuck up the guy’s rectum.  Dalton’s story could be true.  He reflected on how Kanary had talked him into hitchhiking.  He thought of a couple strange rides he’d gotten on his way to San Bernadino.  He thought of the guy who had picked him up in the desert as though he had been looking for him.  He remembered the very peculiar attitude of the stranger who had threatened him across Barstow; how Dalton had said ‘I know’ when Dewey said he was going to the Valley.  Dewey had seen the contretemps in the parking lot between Yisraeli and Dagger and now he thought he recognized Dagger as the aggressive one.  An aggressor who was now trying to keep Dewey prisoner in his car; kidnapping him in effect.

     Dewey couldn’t know about Yisraeli or about what was happening in the Field to threaten his well being.  He didn’t know that Dalton held a contract on his life.  All he could do was Respond to the Challenge he saw before him.  He thought he had better belittle Dalton a bit.

     ‘Yeah?  What did you do blindside him when he wasn’t looking?  Same as the Sergeant?’

     Dalton came unglued.  He seized the wheel convulsively looking menacingly at Dewey:  ‘Blind sided him?  Blind sided him?’  He shouted vehemently.  ‘Duelin’ Dalton Daggerze don’t never blind side nobody.  I stepped right out of ranks and popped that Sergeant.  I invited I.P. Rivers down to Tiajuana for a carouse after I got out to show him I had no hard feelings, drove him out in the flats and challenged that faggot to a fight and beat him fair and square.  I gave him a shock with the cattle prod where he wanted it most.  Blind sided him?’

page 1700.

     Dagger took his right hand off the wheel and shook his fist in Dewey’s face.  ‘You better take that back.’

     At the mention of the cattle prod Dewey clearly remembered the story of the sailor they found bumping up against the rocks in the surf with the cattle prod up his ass.  He couldn’t believe that the killer had picked him up but he felt the danger.

     ‘OK, OK, OK.  So if I’m wrong, I’m wrong but I’m not taking anything back.  So you’re a mean motor scooter.  Don’t pop a vein on me and run off the road.’

     ‘I’m a man not a coward,’  Duelin’ Dalton screamed.

     ‘No.  No.  Hell, no.  You’ve got to be a tough guy to kill somebody, Dagger.  No doubt about it.’  Dewey stared at Dalton in disbelief but showing no fear.  There was no longer any doubt in his mind that Dagger was telling the truth.  Now his mind dwelt on how Dagger had slammed down the lock.  His thoughts took a turn toward self-preservation.  In defiance of Dalton he flipped the post up.

     ‘You better not be thinking of getting out.’  Dalton shouted.

     ‘I seldom jump out or cars doing eighty miles an hour Dagger but if I want out you sure as hell aren’t going to stop me.  Give me land, lots of land:  Know what I mean?’  Dewey sneered.

page 1701

     They had been racing across the Mojave’s bleak sere landscape.  It was now late afternoon nearly forty-eight hours had passed and Dewey reflected that he hadn’t even yet cleared California.

      They now approached the Highway Patrol checkpoint at Needles.  At that time you had to be checked in and out of the Promised Land.  If you had fruits or vegetables coming in you had to surrender them to the HWP.  The notion was that California was light on bugs.  They didn’t want to let any new ones in.

     Going out they were checking for nuts, I pesume, and wanted to send them on their way.

     ‘Awright now, when we come to the this Highway Patrol station you better not try to get out and you better not try to signal to the cops.  I’m warning you.’  Dalton menaced.

     Dalton was projecting his designs on Dewey but Dewey was mystified by Dalton’s singular behavior.

     ‘Oh yeah.  I’m going to get out and start hitchhiking right in front of the cops.  I’ve got a ride but I’m going to get out and get arrested?  I’ll tell you what Dalton, just keep heading East at eighty per and I’m with you all the way.’

     Dewey was way behind time.  He wasn’t worried about Dalton because he knew beyond question that Dalton wouldn’t attack him awares.  Even though Dalton could have swept the desert with him he knew the man would not make a frontal assault.  Even though Dalton’s words gave the impression that he had designs on Dewey he had no idea Dalton was commissioned to kill him.

page 1702.

     Dalton gave the correct answers to the Highway Patrolman and they were excused form California.  They sped across the line into Arizona.  Dalton began to prepare Dewey for a demand for gas money.

     ‘Listen to the way this baby purrs.’

     ‘Yeah.  Sounds good, Dagger.  Real quiet.’

     ‘You don’t think this ’53 Olds came that way when I bought it do you?’

     ‘Don’t know.  Are you a mechanic?’

     ‘Damn right I am.  The best.  There ain’t nothing I can’t fix in a car.  Nothin’.’

     ‘Guess you take care of all the loose ends; nothin’ you don’t know?  You’re a magno expert no doubt.’

     ‘I am.  Oh sh…, look at that guage.’

     ‘Oh, you can read guages too?’

     ‘You bet, buddy.  This one tells me I’m going to have to stop for gas pretty quick.’

     ‘OK.  Go ahead, you’ve got my permission.’

     ‘I don’t gotta have your permission but I gotta have five for gas.  Give me five for your share.’

     ‘Give you five for my share of what?’

page 1703.

     ‘Five dollars for your share of gas, wise ass.’  Dalton said indignantly.

     ‘There’s something you probably failed to notice when you picked me up, Mastermind, I’m a hitchhiker.  I don’t have five dollars and I don’t share expenses.  If I wanted to pay I would be on a bus and I wouldn’t have to put up with you.  You had a chance to get rid of me back in Needles but you like my company so much you threatened me if I got out of the car.  If you’re tired of me I’ll get out at the gas station.  OK?’

     ‘You got to have money.  Two hundred dollars.  In know it; where is it?’

     Dewey was struck with Dalton’s reference to the two hundred dollars but he didn’t betray it.  The mystery of the last several hours just got deeper.

    ‘Two hundred dollars?  You think I would hitchhike with that much money with guys like you on the road?  Hell, I could fly if I had that much.  Sorry Dagger, no money, I’m broke.’

     ‘How are you going to eat?’

     ‘I’m not.  I thought I could get back in forty-eight hours so there wouldn’t have been any need to eat but it doesn’t look like I’m going to make it.  I’ll probably be half dead before I get back.’

     Dalton smiled, looked out the driver’s side and muttered half under his breath:  ‘You’re going to be all dead.’

     Dalton had been told that Dewey would have two hundred dollars and that it would be his.  He considered it already his.  In his mind Dewey had an obligation to him for the money.

page 1704.

     ‘Where you got it?  In your shoe?’  He said as he eased the Olds back on the highway.

     ‘Don’t got it anywhere.’

     Dalton looked at Dewey warily.  Maybe the guy wasn’t such a chump after all, he thought.  Dalton had all the arrogance of the criminal mind.  No matter how many times they lose they think they’re smarter than all other brains combined.

     Yisreali had told him Dewey would have the money.  Dalton never questioned how Yisraeli would know, which of course, Yisraeli actually didn’t.  He was only guessing.  Convinced that the money was there which, as it turns out it was, Dalton wanted to know where he had it.

     It is a peculiarity of thieves that they must see the object of their desires before they can actually go after it.  Thus if Dalton actually saw the money and where Dewey kept it his mind would have been at ease.  There would be no possibility he couldn’t find it when he wanted it.

      Dewey who was no man of the world and not in the least bit devious kept his money where any self-respecting man kept it, in his billfold on his hip.  But Dalton, who, while not a man of the world but very devious, imagined the money was sewn into the lining of Dewey’s coat, pinned in some inaccessible place or concealed in a money belt or a shoe.  For Dewey there was only one place his money could be; for Dalton dozens including a false bottom to Dewey’s duffel bag.  Dalton just didn’t know where to start looking.  Well, nobody said that just because thieving was dishonest it would be easy.

page 1705.

     As Dalton was devising phrasing less obvious than:  ‘Where’s the money?’ they arrived at a fork in the road.  As the inimitable Mr. Berra said:  ‘When you come to a fork in the road, take it.’  The boys fully intended to do that but there was the question of which tine to follow.  The signs on the highway indicated that if they went left they would reach the town of Flagstaff; Phoenix lay at the end of the right tine.

     As Dalton was planning Dewey’s murder which ever way they went he thought generously to offer him the choice of roads.

     ‘Which way do you want to go?  Phoenix or Flagstaff?’

     As much as a turn to the left distressed Dewey he had seen enough desert in the Mojave so that the prospect of hundreds of miles more was not very appetizing.  The very name of Flagstaff had so much romantic appeal for him that there was really no contest.

     In his youth he had written a story centered around his imagined concept of the town.  Later he had read a great story in one of the Western pulps of a guy stuck in a cabin in Flagstaff during a snowstorm of such magnitude that it made Noah’s flood look like an April shower.

     This guy had the misfortune to have to go potty during this twenty or thirty footer.  No indoor plumbing obviously but the guy had been brought up well.  Rather than let fly out the back door into the snowbank where his impropriety would have melted with the Spring thaw he felt obligated to trek out to the outhouse which miraculously had somehow not been buried beneath the drifts.

page 1706.

     Here’s the tough part of the story.  Although he could see through the driving snow well enough to find his way to the outhouse he somehow couldn’t find his way back to the cabin.  Perhaps his mission had been more urgent on the out trip than on the return.

     Overcome by God only knows what exhaustion, altitude sickness, whatever, he falls to the ground where he turns into a solid block of ice instantaneously.  When the snow did melt that Spring they found the poor sod with his head only inches from the threshhold.  There had been a heavy moral to the story but Dewey lost it in the welter of details.

     You know how it is, some inconsequential stories live on vividly in the memory.  Dewey wanted to see a legendary snowstorm.  This was the middle of December so he imagined or hoped that one was raging at this very moment.  Without hesitation he said:  ‘Flagstaff.’  and thereby for reasons irrelevant to his situation made the decision as will become clear that saved his life.

     ‘Do you believe in fate?’  Dalton asked portentously.

     Just at that moment the voice of Tex Ritter burst from the radio.  Tex had a voice that commanded attention so conversation was suspended for a moment.

Tex sang:

If the ocean was whisky

And I was a duck,

I’d dive to the bottom

And never come up.

But the ocean ain’t whiskey

And I ain’t a duck.

So I’ll play Jack O’ Diamonds

And trust to my luck.

page 1707

     ‘That’s what I believe.’  Dewey said pointing at the radio.

     ‘You’re a drinker?’  Dalton asked thickly for whom the conditional was an incomprehensible mystery.

     ‘Aw, Dalton.  I think you’re missing the philosophy of the thing.’

     ‘What’s that?’  The Mastermind asked stupidly.

     Dewey could see the man was hopeless; he decided to shine him on a little.  ‘Old Philosopher.  Good Bourbon label, don’t you think?’

     ‘Uh, no, I drink Jack Daniels, Black.’  Dalton replied proudly.  ‘There ain’t nobody doesn’t think JD ain’t the best bourbon.’

     ‘Oh yeah?  Well, Jack Daniels isn’t bourbon; it’s Tennessee Sour Mash sippin’ Whiskey.’

     ‘It’s bourbon.’

     ‘Doesn’t make that claim on the bottle.  Read it.’

     As they began the climb to Flagstaff night was coming on.  As they climbed and night fell it grew colder and colder.  Dalton turned on the heater.

     He continued to question Dewey about his money.  As the time came closer to the moment he had decided to act he became more proprietary toward his intended sacrifice.  Like many a murderer he thought his intended victim belonged to him.  He was foolish enough to let it show.

page 1708.

     Dewey had no notion that Dagger actually intended to murder him but it seemed clear that Dalton intended to rob him and leave him standing by the side of the road.  Dewey thought a show of force might be beneficial so he reached in his pocket to withdraw his pearl handled Japanese knife with the long thin blade.

     Dalton watched eagerly thinking Dewey was going to show him the money.  The pin on the blade was so worn that in one motion Dewey withdrew the knife and flipped it open like a switchblade.

     Dalton thought it was one.  He developed a pensive brow.  He didn’t like it but he saw it merely as an obstacle requiring greater caution.

     A sign on the highway pointed to Flagstaff.

     ‘Oh darn.’  Dewey said.  ‘I hoped we would go through Flagstaff.  I wanted to see it.  I guess it’s off the highway.’  Then he said something incomprehensible to Dalton.  ‘Shucks, there isn’t even any snow on the ground.’

     Dagger decided it was time to act.

     Now, if you believed Dalton back there in the Mojave when he said he fought the Sergeant and Rivers fair and square you were just as gullible as the rest.  Dalton was as fond of the bushwhack as any American male.  He had blindsided the Sergeant and bopped Rivers over the head from behind.  He didn’t intend to give Dewey a chance either.

     ‘Oh, I’m so tired.’  Dalton said stifling a false yawn.

page 1709.

     ‘What say we pull off on a side road and get some sleep.’

     So long as they were heading East at eighty per Dewey was content fo humor Dalton complacently so that Dalton thought Dewey was a very placid harmless sort of guy.  At his suggestion of stopping it was Dewey’s turn to fly into a rage.

     ‘Oh no you don’t.  Are you crazy, Dagger?  What the hell are you talking about, pull over?  I’m already fifty-eight hours on the road.’  He said bitterly thinking of Teal Kanary.  ‘I’m not going to stop.  You leave the road and you let me out here or, by god, you’ll learn the reason why.’

     Dalton was startled by the outburst, even intimidated.

     ‘I’m getting too tired to drive.’  He whined.

     ‘Then pull over and let me behind the wheel.  I’ll drive and you can get in the back to sleep.’

     ‘You don’t have a license.’

    ‘Since when does a guy like you worry about laws, eh, killer?  You don’t need a license to drive, old desperado, you only need a license to show a cop.  I haven’t seen a cop since the Needles.

     ‘I’m not going to let you drive my car.’

     ‘Then shut up, keep driving and turn on the heater, it’s cold in here.’  Dewey said flipping out his knife for emphasis.

     ‘The heater is on.’  Dalton whined who, they both realized, had been shivering in his short sleeve canned pea green shirt for some time.

     ‘Then why is it so cold?’  Dewey asked drawing his coat about him.

page 1710

     ‘I don’t know.’  The master mechanic wondered.

     ‘Oh, hey, wow, look at that.’  Dewey said noticing an elevation sign.  ‘We’re at seven thousand feet.  I didn’t know Flagstaff was up that high.’

     ‘Oh my god.’  Dalton gasped as he realized why there was no heat.

     ‘Oh my god, what?’  Dewey replied nonchalantly.

     ‘Oh Jesus.’ 

     ‘Oh my god, oh Jesus what?  Come on, if you’re cold get a jacket out of your trunk and let’s keep going.’

    ‘My car’s froze up.’

     ‘What do you mean your car’s froze up?  What does that mean?  How could that be?’

     ‘Damn you.  You wanted to come this way.  it’s all your fault.  If we’d gone by way of Phoenix this wouldn’t have happened.  At seven thousand feet it’s probably zero outside.’

     ‘So what?’

     ‘My radiator froze.  That’s why there’s no heat.’

     ‘How could that be Dagger?’   It’s not so cold that anti-freeze freezes.’

     ‘I don’t have any anti-freeze.’  Dalton said sheepishly.

     ‘Dewey was flabbergasted.  ‘No anti-freeze?  Why not?’

     ‘It wasn’t cold in LA.  I didn’t need it.’

     Dewey sat back.  He knew it was too good to be true.  What a miracle it had seemed to get a ride straight through.  He now saw himself back out on the highway.

page 1711.

     ‘Hey Dalton.’  He said with false warmth in his voice.  ‘Let me get this straight.  Number one, you’re a master mechanic who knows everything there is to know about a car.  Number two, you’re from Bay City, you grew up there, you know it’s colder than an ice cube at the North Pole and you tell me that because it’s warm in LA, even though you’re going to Bay City in December that you don’t put anti-freeze in your car?’

     ‘Oh man, I was trying to save money.’

     ‘Boy, you’re a lot more stupid than I thought.  So what’s going to happen?  Is the car going to stop running?’

     ‘No.  It’ll be OK until it warms up and melts, then the radiator and probably my block will burst and it will overheat.  Then we’ll stall.’

     ‘My advice  then is to turn North.  Keep it frozen and we’ll be alright.’  Dewey said facetiously and maliciously.

     ‘Don’t be facetious.’  Dalton said.

     ‘Oho, don’t be facetious.  The desperado, Duelin’ Dalton Dagger knows a polysyllabic big word.’

     Dalton, now that he realized there was no possibility of heat realized he was very cold.  He also didn’t want to murder Dewey in this circumstance.  He might be stuck out there alone.  Dewey’s desire to see Flagstaff had saved his life.  Thanks to a story in a pulp magazine read seven years before he was still alive.

     ‘God, I’m cold.  Let me have your coat to wear.’

     ‘Why would I do that?  Then I’d be cold-er.’

     ‘You’ve got that wool shirt.’  Dalton said referring to Dewey’s middie.

page 1712.

     ‘Well, Dagger, just stop and get a jacket out of the trunk.’

     ‘I don’t have a jacket in the trunk.  I don’t have anything in the trunk.  This shirt is all I’ve got.’

     ‘What?  You’re going to Michigan in the dead of winter and all you’ve got to wear is that short sleaved pea green shirt with the frill on the sleeve?  It’s even a terrible color.  I wouldn’t have mentioned it otherwise.’  Dewey said in disbelief.

     ‘Yes.  I thought the heater would keep me warm.’

     ‘Without anti-freeze?  OK.  Given your intelligence or lack thereof, I guess I can accept that.’

     ‘You going to let me wear your coat?’

     ‘Hell no, Dagger, you’ll have to freeze.’

     Dalton stared glumly ahead as he drove shiveringly through the night.  Fortunately the radiator freezing didn’t affect the radio so as they rolled down the mountain in the black starlit night the voice of Hank Snow warmed the atmosphere if not the temperature as he sang with seeming sardonic intent:

The Last Ride.

In the Dodge City yards of the Santa Fe

Stood a freight made up for the East.

And the Engineer with his oil and waste

Was grooming his great iron beast.

While ten cars back in the murky dusk

A boxcar door swung wide.

And a hobo lifted his pal aboard

To start on his last ride.

A lantern swung and the freight pulled out

The Engineer gathered speed.

The Engineer pulled his throttle out

And clucked to his fiery steed.

Tens cars back in the empty box

The hobo rolled a pill.

The flare of the match

Showed his partner’s face

Stark white and deathly still.

As the train wheels clicked 

Over the coupling joints,

A song for a Rambler’s ear,

The hobo talked to the still white form

His pal for many a year.

(Spoken)

For a mighty long time we rambled Jack

With the luck of men that roam,

With the back door stoop for a dining room

And a boxcar for a home.

We dodged the bulls on the Eastern route

And the cops on the Chesapeake.

We traveled the Leadville narrow gauge

In the days of Cripple Creek.

We drifted down through Sunny Cal

On the rails of the old SP,

Of all that you had through good and bad

a half always belonged to me.

You made me promise Jack,

That if I lived and you cashed in,

To take you back to the old churchyard

And bury you there with your kin.

You seemed to know I would keep my word,

For you said that I was white.

Well, I’m keepin’ my promise to you Jack,

‘Cause I’m takin’ you there tonight.

I didn’t have the money to send you there

So I’m takin’ you back on the fly.

It’s a decent way for a ‘bo to go

Home to the bye and bye.

I knew that fever had you Jack,

But that doctor just wouldn’t come.

He was too busy treatin’ the wealthy folks

To doctor a worn out bum.

(Sung)

As the train rode over the ribbons of steel

Straight to the East it sped.

The Engineer in his high capped seat

Kept his eyes on the rails ahead.

While ten cars back in the empty box

The lonely hobo sighed.

For the days of old

And his pal so cold

Who was taking his long Last Ride.

page 1715.

     Dewey had been listening with concentration so he didn’t hear Dalton when at the line ‘Takin’ you back to the old churchyard’ Dagger turned to the window to mutter ‘except you ain’t goin’ to see no churchyard.’

     ‘Boy, don’t you think that’s great.’  Dewey said in wonder.

     ‘What’s so great about it?’  Said the dull witted uncomprehending sluggard.

     ‘Well, I mean, there’s the romance of it.  All those fantastic references to the Leadville narrow gauge in the days of Cripple Creek…’

     ‘What’s a Leadville narrow gage doin’ in a Cripple Creek?’  Dalton asked suspiciously fearful Dewey might know something he didn’t.

     Dalton was on pretty safe ground because although Dewey knew what a narrow gauge railway was and he knew Leadville was in Colorado the rest was pretty well encompassed by romance.  It sounded sensational to him.  He ignored Dalton’s question.

     ‘…well, you know, what I mean is it’s the romance of the rails.  Besides Hank Snow can get more words into a three minute song than anyone I know.  The guy who wrote that song is easily as good as Robert Service or Thayer.  I mean, that’s just a nice verse story.’

     ‘Shut up.’  Dalton said unceremoniously.

     Little did Dewey know he was rolling down the great divide between the old America and the new.  The railroad song was already a thing of the past; next up were truckin’ songs about the great Interstates.

     And so the driver with the man in the passenger’s seat pierced the night with their bright head lights while they bid the coast goodbye without a sigh to head for the old Northwest.  They sped on down the mountainside to a destiny on the other side.

     The faint flimmer of pre-dawn light rose to reveal a desert covered with sage brush.  As the light increased the ribbon of highway called 66 was visible as a narrow line far below.  As rosy fingered dawn revealed the earth in all its glory far in the distance perhaps a hundred miles away, or maybe more, the city of Albuquerque was revealed against the opposing mountain range.

     ‘Must be in New Mexico.’  Dewey said in awe just to pronounce the sacred name of a State.

     ‘Must be.’  Dalton said between clenched shivering teeth although the temperature had risen significantly with the desert and the dawn.

     They rolled on down to rejoin Highway 66.

     Dalton had developed a cold throbbing hatred for Dewey over the last six frigid hours.  While Dalton was still throwing off the chills in his canned pea green short sleeved shirt with the frilly cuff Dewey had been comfortable  for hours in his rain coat.

     As Dalton warmed so did his engine.  The needle of his heat gauge rising inexorably toward the red.  Dalton lamented the impending loss of his car but worse still he deeply lamented his failure to put anti-freeze in the radiator which allowed Dewey to justly call him stupid.  He felt stupid.  He hated Dewey even more because he knew he was stupid.  But as with all people who are foiled in their hopes by an able opponent he felt grudging admiration for Trueman.  Dalton felt that it was a shame he had to die.

page 1717.

     Dalton glimmered that his best opportunity had passed up on the mountain.  He hoped his car might not be so damaged that it couldn’t be repaired for not too many dollars.  If that came about then, he thought, it would be a matter of who could stay awake the longest.

     As the sun levitated up the sky the bitter cold of night left Dalton’s limbs.  Dalton bitterly resented that Dewey hadn’t lent him his coat.  Dewey couldn’t believe that anyone going to Michigan in the winter wouldn’t have the foresight to provide himself with the proper gear.  Dewey substituted the word ‘foresight’ for ‘stupid’ and used it with enough emphasis to irritate Dalton.

     Dalton redoubled his efforts to discover where Dewey had concealed his cash.

     Entering Albuquerque he devised a ploy.  He needed gas but he knew Dewey wouldn’t give him money for that.  A little grocery store sat across the street from the gas station he selected.

     ‘I’m hungry.  While they’re gassing me up let’s go over to that grocery store to get something to eat.’

     ‘Go ahead.  Get something for me.’

     ‘OK.  Give me the money.’

page 1718.

     ‘I don’t have any money.  I just thought it would be a nice gesture if you bought something for me.  Kind of show your appreciation for my pleasant company, you know what I mean,  after all we’ve been through together and all that.  I’d think you were an OK guy.  That’s worth something isn’t it?’

     ‘Not that much and I’m not that OK.  Go hungry.’

     Dalton crossed to the grocery store.  As he did Dewey stepped to the side of the highway to put his thumb out.  Futile gesture as there was no morning traffic.

     Dalton emeged from the store to become enraged.  He saw his two hundred dollars trying to escape.

     ‘Hey Trueman, get your ass back in the car.’  Dalton shouted sternly to the astonishment of various loungers and attendants.

     ‘Listen Dagger, your car’s finished.  I’m catching another ride.

     ‘Oh no you’re not.’  Dalton said shifting his food to his left hand and doubling up his right threateningly.  ‘Get back in the car.’

     ‘Even you aren’t stupid enough to get in a fight in a strange town.  Or are you Dagger?  Cops’ll put you right back in the jug you stupid jarhead; only a psycho would answer an ad for a few good men.  That you got sent to the brig doesn’t mean that you’re a better man it means that you’re even more stupid and psycho than the rest.  Dig it!’

     Dalton was hurt.  Strangely instead of getting angry he broke out in a little pout thrusting his lower lip out and bringing his eyebrows down over his eyes.

page 1719.

     Seeing Dewey’s contempt it began to dawn on him that the hothouse atmosphere begun in Barstow the previous day had evaporated.  He didn’t want to admit that he had lost the opportunity but he realized that conditions had changed.

     ‘My car still runs good.  We’ll get there.  Come on.  Hop in.  It’s OK.’

     ‘Well, there’s water dripping out under there.  You’ll probably overheat and die on the highway.’

     ‘No, I won’t.  It’s OK.  Honest.  Come on.’

     Acting on the premise that a sure ride is better than a potential ride Dewey got back in the car.

     Surprisingly the damage to the car wasn’t that bad, which is to say, it was a slow leak rather than a rapid drain.  Dalton kept it at eighty per through Tucumcari and into the Panhandle of Texas.  As the day warmed up out on the Texas plains the car slowly pegged in the red.

     By the time they reached Amarillo Dalton had slowed to fifty for the last seventy miles or so.  Even then the engine wasn’t that hot; there was no blast of heat coming through the fire wall.  The car could be repaired very cheaply.

     As they passed through Amarillo Dalton became increasingly concerned.  Tired of and Dalton and his incessant clamoring to know where his money was Trueman informed the ex-Marine that if he couldn’t do eighty he was getting out.

     Thinking of Trueman only as an additional twenty-five hundred Dalton didn’t know which to lament more the loss of his car or Trueman’s price.

1720. 

     Just on the East side of Amarillo a combination auto repair and junkyard appeared on the North side of the road.

    ‘Better pull in there Dagger.  Once we’re out of Amarillo there won’t be any better places.’

     Incoherent with despair Dalton pulled in.

     The Olds was a very good looking car for a ’53.  The body was sound.  The engine was great.  Dalton had an excellent choice is a used car.  Actually the only think wrong with it was a couple seals had burst.  The mechanic’s eyes lit up as Dalton bounced steaming unto their lot.  They gave him two choices; overpay or leave the car.

     Like all men who work cars for a living they pretended that they didn’t know what was wrong with the car.  Could be next to nothing could be the engine.

     ‘It’s the radiator.’  Dalton said with assurance.  ‘I know all about cars; more than you guys do.  How much for a used one?’

     ‘Hmm.  ’53 Olds.  We don’t have a junker on the lot just now.  We’d have to check around for a rebuilt one.  Hmm.  Might take a couple days to find one.’

     ‘Couple days!;  Dewey cried, slapping Dalton on the shoulder of his pea green shirt.  ‘I’m in a hurry.  Thanks for the lift Dalton.  So long.’

     Dewey crossed the highway with a sense of relief to put his thumb out.

    ‘Hey…hey…you…can’t…come back.  You can’t do that.’

     Dewey was worth twenty-five hundred to Dalton while the war was only worth a couple hundred so he quickly opted for Trueman.

page 1721.

     ‘What are you doing, trying to get away?  You listen to me.’

     While Dewey had always suspected his danger he now realized the extent of that danger.

     ‘Trying to get away?  What the hell are you talking about Dagger?  Your car’s dead and I’m not waiting two days to fix it.  Screw you.’

     ‘Yeah?  Well, listen Trueman, we’re together.  From here on we’re hitchin’ together.’

     ‘What? Are you crazy Dagger?  Nobody’s going to give two guys a ride.  I’m not going to spend weeks out here just because your car broke down.  Didn’t even break down.  You’re so stupid you didn’t put anti-freeze in it because it was warm in L.A.’

     Dalton knew Dewey had a good argument; no one would pick both of them up.  He tried a last expedient.

     ‘Well, OK. Now listen, I’m going to tell you what you’re going to do.  You’ve got your uniform on so it’s going to be a lot easier for you to get a ride than me.  So, I’m going up ahead of you by a couple hundred feet and when anybody stops to pick you up if you don’t tell them to pick me up too when I get to the Valley I’m going to look you up and kill you.’

     Dewey did believe Duelin’ Dalton Dagger.  He was convinced that Dalton would try to kill him but he mistakenly believed Dalton would never be able to find him.  His mother had divorced and remarried so that even if Dalton knew his name he didn’t know his mother’s.  By that time Dewey thought Dagger was really psycho and might a way anyway.

page 1722.

     ‘Oh yeah, sure Dagger, no problem.’  Dewey promised as Duelin’ Dalton Dagger took up a position up road.  He stood there glaring menacingly at Trueman poised to run after him should the sailor try to run the other way.

     No sooner had they taken up position than a ’48 Hudson pulled over to pick Dewey up.

     Dewey wasn’t worried that Dalton would find him in the Valley but there was many a mile yet between him and his destination.  It was entirely possible Dewey surmised that Dalton might overtake him further up the road.

     This presented a danger for while Dewey had the foresight to realize the consequences of his actions Dalton didn’t.  Therefore, Dewey reasoned, if Dalton overtook him and Dewey wouldn’t cooperate the idiot was liable to start a fight and maybe get them both arrested.  He thought it expedient to attempt to appease Dalton.

     As he got in the back seat of the Hudson he was relieved to find most of the seat was already taken up by boxes of various description.  The two guys in front were so big there was no room for the ex-Marine.

     ‘Say, could you do me a favor and let the guy up there know there isn’t room for him?’

     ‘We’re not going to stop.’

     ‘I know.  Just shrug your shoulders and hold up your hands helplessly or something so he’ll know I tried.

page 1723.

     Killers On The Highway

     Dewey settled back in his seat and began to take note of himself.  He began to examine what now appeared to be a pile of junk beside him while the passenger reached his left hand over the seat clutched like he was picking up an old rag:  ‘I’m sorry we couldn’t pick up your friend but we’re moving and there’s only room for one.’

     ‘Thanks for stopping.  That guy wasn’t any friend of mine.  His car burnt out.  If you can believe it he’s going to Michingan and didn’t put anti-freeze in his car because it was warm in L.A.  Car froze up in Flagstaff last night.  Threatened to kill me if I didn’t ask you to stop.’

     ‘Kill you?  My, that’s violent.  Do you think he would have?’

     ‘I think he’d try.  Wouldn’t get very far with me though.  How far are you going?

page 1724.

     ‘We may take you as far as Tulsa.’

     ‘Oh great.’  Dewey said having no inkling of how many miles that was.

     ‘Yes.’  Said the man in the passenger seat whose name was Daryl.  ‘But.’  Daryl added significantly.  ‘We’re going to leave the highway here soon and take an alternate route.  We will drop you off here if you like or you can ride with us on the side road.’

     Dewey heaved a sigh at this sinister note.  His intuition told him to get out.  They had put him in the back seat which might have meant only that they thought three in the front seat of the huge Hudson might be crowded or it could be meant as a sign of disrespect.

     Daryl had shaken hands with his left which in common parlance meant ‘left hand to a nigger or inferior.’  Now they were to take a less traveled road giving him the option to extricate himself or by staying giving permission to do with him as they liked.  Dewey had hitched enough to read signs either on or off the highway.  There was danger with the homos before and danger behind him in the person of Dalton Dagger.

     If he got out of the car on 66 there was the real risk that Dalton might overtake him in a matter of minutes.

     ‘Christ.’  Dewey thought.  ‘Dagger would give up his ride just to get me.’

     Dalton had threatened to kill him while these guys hadn’t although as a pair of queens, big strong ones at that, anything was possible.

page 1725.

     ‘Well, you’re still going to Tulsa?  I mean, you know, the road…’

     ‘Oh yes, the road we’ll drive crosses 66 in Tulsa.’

     ‘Well, OK.  I’ll ride along with you.

     It will be noticed that Daryl didn’t ask Dewey how far he was going.  That was because he thought he knew how far Dewey was going and that was one hundred miles short of Tulsa.

     Highway 66 was a not very wide two laner before the Interstate and the new road was narrower and rougher than that.  As Darrel, the driver, eased the car North of the highway into this cowpath Dewey had misgivings.  He didn’t know it but by not getting out he had given the Darrels permission to kill him.  In their mind they had given Dewey his chance to live or die.  They were fair men.  Since he hadn’t gotten out he had consented to acquiesce in the homos’ plan.

     As it was Dewey was completely disoriented.  He had been up so long that, while the nervous tension of the journey prevented his being drowsy, his reactions were somewhat impaired.  In addition the novelty of his surroundings completely threw him.  He had lost a sense of time and place.  He knew it was daytime because the sun was shining but that was all.

     He was unaware that he had been given a princely lift but it was about four hundred miles from Amarillo to Tulsa which is not a ride to sniff at.  Dewey had a good map of the United States in his head.  He knew where Tulsa was in relation to Chicago and back to L.A. but he had no real notion of mileages.

page 1726.

     He hadn’t even looked at a map before he left San Diego so he had little idea of the physical realities of distances between cities.  He had known where California was and he knew where Michigan was so he just put his thumb out.  In a lot of ways Dewey was a boy wonder.

     Looking again at the pile of junk beside him he noticed that there were some things piled on top a large box that was covered with a black cloth.  He rapped the box with his knuckles; it seemed to be made of wood and empty.

    ‘Hmmm, the box is empty.’  He mused apprehensively to himself.  Why would anyone who was moving transport an empty box?’

     Recalling him from his reverie Daryl said:  ‘You’re real lucky to get a ride in Oklahoma.  You will have a real difficult time East of Tulsa.’

     ‘Oh yeah?  How’s that?’

     ‘Just a few days ago a family- mother, father, brother and sister- picked up a hitchhiker.  I guess they liked him because they took him home, fed him and everything.  What do you think he did?’

     ‘I don’t know.  Passed gas?’  Dewey snickered in a feeble attempt at humor.

     ‘No, silly.’  Daryl laughed slapping the air at him.  ‘He murdered the whole family and threw them down a well.’

page 1727.

     ‘Oh wow!’  Dewey said disbelievingly.  ‘Did they catch him?’ 

     ‘I don’t think they have yet.  He’s still a killer on the loose.’  Daryl said rolling the phrase on his tongue as though to make its flavor last.

     ‘Likely story.’  Thought Dewey.  ‘Just my luck to be passing through at this time.’

     ‘Well, I’m not going to kill anyone kind enough to give me a ride.’  Dewey said thinking to reassure them in case they were worried.

     ‘No.  I should think not.’  Daryl continued.  ‘But it isn’t only people that pick up hitchhikers that get killed.  Lots of hitchhikers get killed too.’  Daryl turned a flabby cheek toward Dewey over the back of the seat and looked at him signficantly.

     There was that hint of violence again.  All the details were pointing to something sinister.

     ‘Gosh, what is this?’  thought Dewey.  ‘Why is my life constantly hopping out of the frying pan into the fire?’

     He began to study the two Ds more attentively.

     He was in a precarious situation at the same time more or less dangerous than his situation with Dalton Dagger.  In point of fact the Darrels cruised this stretch of highway from Amarillo to Tulsa picking up hitchhikers who were subsequently never heard from again.

     They had explained the pile of junk beside Dewey as belongings they were transferring to a new address.  Thinking they were pitiful small belongings for two such large men Dewey had said noting but he was still wondering why they were transporting an empty box.

page 1728.

     Dewey had been right in his surmise that they were two old queens.  The men were deeply psychically injured.  As Homosexuals it was almost a miracle they had found each other because both had been injured in exactly the same way at exactly the same age and both had reacted in exactly the same way even to physical type.  They were like Tweedledee and Tweedledum except their names were spelled Daryl and Darrel.

     Both were large men; six foot three, husky running to fat and very strong.  They had huge arms; they could bend an iron bar.  Their prissy manner contrasted with their apprearances.  Their affectation of the feminine was grotesque in their persons.  They might have passed as twins but they had only gone to the same school in different places.

     Both had been sexually abused by their fathers while still in their cribs.  They had been only sixteen months old.  There was no possibility that they had a conscious memory of it but they had subconsciously processed the information and as they grew their subconsciouses had directed them in the same way.

     They keenly felt their violations as a breach of trust.  Thus they had cruised the highway of a weekend for the last two years looking for hitchhikers who would be grateful and trusting.

     When they found the right person they would activate the central childhood fixation of their violation.  Both men possessed two distinct minds.  A very powerful subconscious and a feeble conscious mind.  When they murdered the subconscious mind was in control.  Unlike Richard Speck who was aware but unconcerned at what he was doing the Darrels had no conscious memory of their crimes.  You could have questioned them to doomsday on a conscious level and they would truthfully have denied any knowledge of the murders.

page 1729.

     But, if you had known the symbols n which their subconscious minds dealt with their activities there is no chance that they wouldn’t have told you all in symbolical language.  After all, subconsciously they did not know they were doing wrong.  They were only doing symbolically to others what had been done to them.  For if they had had their trust betrayed in an identical manner and no one had been punished for wrongdoing why should they?  And there is a symbolic death and even an actual psychological death or murder in the violation of one male by another.  After one’s symbolic murder the whole of one’s life becomes an extended effort to ressurect oneself at the expense of others.  Not only others but preferably innocent others just as one’s self had been innocent.

      The most brilliant literary evocation of the homosexual dilemma is in the final scene  of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick.

     In that scene which takes place on the great wide bosom of the ocean, or feminine symbol of the unconscious Capt. Ahab has confronted the great white whale of homosexuality and lost.  Now, Moby Dick is a story of a man’s or, several different men’s, struggle with their homosexuality which takes place on many levels.  Ahab himself has lost a leg, a substitute for his penis, to the great white penis, Moby Dick, which is a symbol of the cause of his homosexuality.

page 1730.

Next

 

A Short Story

Who’s Fooling Who?

by

R.E. Prindle

 

     So, about the time I hit graduate school at the UofO the faculty is becoming excerised about drug use.  For some reason, perhaps because my hair is a little long and I wear love beads they fix on me as a prime drug user.

    Nothing can be more ridiculous as any sharp eyed judge of character can easily see, as I never use drugs, in point of fact being of the opinion that America is a drugged out nation.  You see, I can’t figure out where these guys come from.  I mean, you sit in class looking at these guys ant they are flashing green tongues at you, purple tongues, pink tongues and what have you.

     Now, in 1966 we’re still pretty innocent about drugs, not meaning absolutely clean, but you don’t have to be an addict to know barbituate traces.  Half these guys have got spittle between their lips that stretches with the opening of the mouth but never snaps.  Drives you crazy.

     Of course, these people do not think they do drugs because they have a prescription from a doctor while drug abusers get theirs on the street.  That makes the street types dopers  while they take ‘medicine’ to help them get through their very trying days.  It’s the stress of living, you know.

    One can’t talk to them about it either.  I try on more than one occasion to tell them that America is a drug dependent nation.  I mean, Americans believe in their drugs.  You get a little nutty and they drug you to death.  Pills are the only reality they can respect.  You givethem a sugar pill and their mental outlook improves so long as you don’t disabuse them.

     When Tuli Kupferberg says that America is insane; he knows what he talks about.  For extra bucks I serve as a guinea pig over in the Psychology Department.  If these people are not in outer space they are winging through the upper reaches of the ozone layer asking is there land down there.  They have access to everything.  Sometimes it seems like I talk to aliens from a transverse universe.  That’s like a parallel universe except cross ways; makes it harder to jump back and forth.

     Professor Laybont, an MD, psychiatrist, who runs the department is in open rebellion against Depth Psychology.  He is a firm believer in chemical imbalances as the cause of psychological disorders.  He rejects the notion of psycho-analysis.  He does not tolerate any difference of opinion either.  It’s like he takes so many drugs that he is in a perpetual rage, like his subconscious is a red spot in the middle of his forehead.  His movements and gestures are always violent.  He doesn’t walk he lurches.

     For some reason he chooses to believe that psychic trauma have nothing to do with mental disorders; he believes that it is the cause of  ‘chemical imbalances.’  I am not in the department so I can be a little freer in my comments.  I always am of the opinion that if chemical imbalances do exist then cause is the psychic effect of the orginal trauma.

     Maybe I am not clear as may be but I try to explain to him that first you have the trauma, the insult to the Animus or Ego, then you have the psychotic reaction.  In order for the  mind to create the affect in response to the trauma it is necessary for the mind to suppress the secretion of certain chemicals if in fact there are chemical imbalances.

     Laybont fairly shouts at me gesturing in that violent way of his with his fist as though he poinds spikes through railway ties at one blow that it is not true because when you give patients drugs that restore the chemical balance the affects go away restoring the patient to normality.

     I try to explain that the chemical drugs merely temporarily bridge the chemical deficiency but the patient is not returned to normal, that the effect is only a disguise, the mental trauma remains unaffected.  When the drugss wear off the affect returns.

     I mention Freud which he reads as Depth Psychology , this sets off his pile driving gestures again but I try to get through, as I am one patient guy, that if you exorcise the fixation that causes the affect that the chemical imbalance restores itself immediately and the affect disappears.  I try to tell him that the chemical imbalance is a symptom not a cause.

     ‘Shut up!’  He thunders.  He makes gestures to hammer me into the ground.  ‘You are not even in this department.  What can you possibly know?  We do not want you around here anymore, you are no longer a subject.  All your data is unreliable anyway.’

     I lose some easy money as well as my respect for Laybont.

     Boy, it does not pay to be an independent investigator anywhere at the UofO.  Probably Laybont is  laying for me because we have a major disagreement on the cause of homosexuality.  For a guy who rejects Depth Psychology he has this silly notion that homosexuality is caused by the inherent bisexuality of the human.  Naturally he thinks there are chemical imbalances which tend to either maleness or femaleness.  Not male or female but -ness.

     I try not to laugh, I put on my serious face, I try to tell him that homosexuality is a psychotic reaction to emasculation.  Either a boy is molested as a child and reacts by becoming homosexual or that in a major confrontation with another male is defeated so that if one cannot compete as a male one tries to be attractive to males an an effeminate male.

     He shouts violently at me that no that was the bisexual femaleness predominant.  He says it is proven by the fact that when males are surgical emasculates and have chemical female hormone drugs they are actual women.

     My serious face gives way at this inane remark because as I say to him genetics are against this idea.  I argue that a woman is a woman because she has two X chromosomes while a man is a man because he has an X and a y.  No amount of surgery or drugs can possibly alter this fact.

    He looks me square in the eyes and says:  ‘What about Christine Jorgenson?’ 

    ‘Well, what about Christine Jorgenson?’  is the only reply I can make.

     ‘I’ve had the pleasure of making her acquaintance.’  He says with a grotesque wink.  ‘I can tell you she’s all woman.’

     I am not going to tell Laybont that if he makes it with a surgically altered male then I think he is queer but a little later something interesting happens.  This is abou the time I end my academic career sometime in April, May of 1968.

     Things change dramatically the next year when homosexuals come out after the Stonewall Riot but still in 1968 only the most psychically damaged openly demonstrate this state of being.  Even the Doctrine Of Diversity is not well defined at this time; The Doctrine Of State Of Being has not yet even been defined.  So-called transsexuality is burgeoning nonetheless.  The legacy of Christine Jorgenson is growing at an exponential rate.

     A couple of years earlier a pair of Mexican homos undergo that cruel cut together.  They are significant others before who decide to undergo emasculation together so they can find greater opportunites as a pair in their manhunt.  They like to do it at the same time with different men.

     These guys call themselves transsexuals, I suppose as a euphemism, because they do not trans  anything.  Women genetically have two X chromosomes while men have an X and a y.  The only way one can trans the sexes is if doctors can surgically remove your y chromosome  to replace it with an X from a female donor who may be in need of a y.  Even then that would have to be a spermatic X.

     The X in a male is the passive ovate X of the mother so if you take an ovate X from the female donor giving a male two passive ovate Xs you have outdone Mary Shelley in creating a monster.

     Imagine the monsters you create.  Suppose you remove the ovate X from a male to replace it with another y then bound them together with female hormones.  Wow, huh?  Imagine if you put two y chromosmes in a female bound together with female hormones.  It would be to watch the wolfman metamorphose from a human to a wolf.   You can film the whole thing and have a non-pareil porn flick.  The transformation is terrifically entertaining.  You can give the Thing say, twenty or twenty-five thousand dollars as compensation for undergoing the operation and film it then put It on exhibit at twenty dollars a pop and make a fortune.  Where are those sexual entrepreneurs when you need them.

     But back to reality, such as it is.  When you surgically mutilate a male removing this and those, replacing them with a tuck and fold job that will make an automobile upholsterer green with envy you merely have a male with a tuck and fold job.  It’s sort of like putting a Chevy body on a Ford Chassis.  You still have a car but neither one nor the other.  When Laybont says that Christine Jorgenson was all woman that says more to me about his masculinity than Chrises femininity.

     So, these two Mexican converts show up at the UofO in the Spring of ’68.  There use no deceit in obtaining their employment.  They are quite proud of their emasculation.  They do insist that the UofO hire them as, not a pair, but a unit.  Rhymes with eunuch, I think.

     The absurdity that ‘pals’ go job hunting as a unit aside, a concession is made for their ‘State of Being.’  Now hirees they also allow these guys to determine the terms of their employment.

     They are maintenance ‘its.’  They insist, get this, that they clean the men’s toilet, pisser, shitter, whatever you want to call it.  The incongruity of women that clean the men’s toilet is indicated, they counter that as former men they are used to being in the men’s head.  So these ‘women’ go to work to clean the men’s toilets.

     You can take the homo out of the toilet but you can’t take the toilet out of the homo.

     As I understand it they work all over campus but where I learn about it is at the library on the second floor.  I do not participate myself, there are limits to my sexual liberation.  Besides, the mystifying thing to me is the homosexual preference for the toilet.  It’s not really mystifying, after all that’s where the boys are, all those swell masculine aromas of urine and feces.  Umm, adds a piquancy to sex.

     In the seventies after Stonewall when the insanity is growing like a fungus Homos take over public restrooms to make them hazardous if not dangerous places but pre-Stonewall some discretion is obligatory.

     These two guys set up shop in the library toilet.  Things do not so much as get clean as smeared around so that those deligtful aromas assault the olfactory sense with equal intensity from every part of the toilet.

     Now, the question is if you avail yourself of the services of these two guys do you get it from a man or a woman.  I mean these guys make any orifice available plus a couple of their own invention.

     These guys, in this land of unparalleled opportunity as we see demonstrated here and there, create an ideal situation for themselves.  More than ideal, they do not even try for female impersonation.  A lot of these guys work really hard to impersonate women; these guys just clump along like a couple of navvies while they make no effort at a female tone or inflection.  Where is the illusion of femininity; it is like a male with a plastic box between his legs.

     As I am about to have my academic option lapse news of this paradise is officially kept from me but, you know, all you need is a pair of eyes.

     So there I am up in the library watching  a steady stream of my fellow graduate students and professors bound for the toilet door with that eager look and bound of a man who gets his ashes hauled.

     While my fellow academics are denying me the pleasures of the toilet, as they think, I have a good laugh at their expense.  Who was fooling who?

     You know, Tuli Kupferberg was right.  The inmates are taking over the asylum

Finis

 

 

A Review Of The Novel

The Sonderman Constellation

by

R.E. Prindle

Review by David A. Adams

The Sonderman Constellation by R. E. Prindle, 210 pages iUniverse, 2008.  14.95.

 

     Sooner or later we all have the task of reconciling our childhood pasts with an adult present.  Most do it by living through the ordeals, then promptly forgetting the painful slings and arrows, or, as Freud would have it, by burying the past in a more or less comfortable neurosis we learn to live with this side of a more destructive psychosis.

     In “The Sonderman Constellation,”  R.E. Prindle manages to pull us through the ordeal of childhood and early manhood kicking and screaming at each of the forces that somehow make us what we are.  The novel is a Bildungsroman that drives full speed through a Freudian slash Jungian analysis of his early years in a fictional account of what made the man who he is today.

     Even though the author disclaims a direct relationship the various personas found between the lines, the masks are familiar ones, which makes the story ring true.  Even though the canvas is framed within the terms of the various psychologies of both Freud and Jung, the picture is a a large one, showing a subtle mind at work.

     At times, I wish that Prindle had simply told us the story without the constant battering of Jungian terminology.  It is a compelling story that could stand on its own without psychoanalyzing each step of the way.  Hesse did this over and over again in each of his novels, even though he was writing within a similar Jungian framework.  However, it does give us an interesting account of a strong self-analysis that is quite remarkable.

     Yet, I must admit the story is more than a simple case-study.  The fictional writing is strong enough to overcome what might seem to be an uncomfortable dragging by the hooks of psychological terminology.  The “Constellation” of the story is what one might call in Jungian terms, a “complex” – all those events of a life that center around a certain problem, or in this case a person, who happens to be the “Sonderman.”

     Sonderman is an obsession of sorts, a boy, and later a man who both truly is and truly symbolizes a constellation about which the narrator’s life circles.  There are other “constellations” or personas in this story, all all of them meet and sometimes collide like wandering stars as the story turns upon its fictional orbits.  We are drawn along by the gravitational vortices of these lives and hopefully come out the other end of this intergalactic worm-hole through a life of a novel the better for the ride.

 

Availabe from amazon.com, Barnes And Noble, Alibris, abebooks and other online sellers.

A Short Story

The Voice Of The Turtleneck

from the

Boulevard Of Broken Dreams Collection

by

R.E. Prindle

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     ‘Your name?’  Turner said with insulting dryness.

     ‘What’s that?’  Dewey sparred.

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

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

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

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

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

     ‘Sure.  Why not?’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     Turner interrupted him.

     ‘Tell them that they have nothing to fear…’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                                          End.

 

A Novel

Our Lady Of The Blues

Part VII

The Heart Of The Matter

Back In The USSA

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1331.

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

     Kanary went back to speak to Trueman.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1332.

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

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

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

     ‘Where is he?’  Pardon asked in alarm.

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1333.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1334.

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

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

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

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

     Trueman was only too happy to see him go.

Does Anyone Know The Way To Long Beach?

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

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

page 1335.

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1336.

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

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

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

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

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

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

     ‘Wow!  So did you ever screw her?’

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

page 1337.

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

     ‘So what happened to her?’

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

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

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

page 1338.

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1339.

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

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

     ‘How’d you lose them?’

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

     ‘Still seems pretty eccentric.’

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

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

page 1340.

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

     ‘No.’

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

     ‘No, I haven’t.’

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

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

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

     ‘No. It’s short for Torrance.’

     ‘Torrance?’

     ‘Yes.’

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1341.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1342.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     ‘Oh.  What did you do?’

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

page 1343.

     ‘I’ve done some composing.’

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

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

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

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

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

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

     ‘How much?’  Dewey kept burrowing.

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

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

page 1344.

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1345.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1346.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     ‘Guilt for what?’

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

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

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

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

     ‘We’ve got till tomorrow.’

     ‘I want to go back now, Torbrick.’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1348.

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

Second Verse, Same As The First

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

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

     ‘No.  Yours did.’

     ‘Mine?  How’s that?’

     ‘You haven’t heard?’

     ‘Obviously not.’

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

     ‘I’m for it.  How does it work?’

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

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

page 1349.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1350.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     Yah, maybe.  Thanks for nothing, Torbrick.’

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

page 1351.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1352.

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

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

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

page 1353.

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

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

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

page 1344.

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1355.

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

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

1356.

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

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

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

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

page 1357.

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

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

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

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

page 1358.

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

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

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

page 1359.

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

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

Waiting For Lefty Or Someone Just Like Him

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

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

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

page 1360

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

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

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

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

page 1361.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1362.

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

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

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

page 1363.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1364.

Three Strikes And Out

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

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

     ‘Yes.’

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

     ‘Chance for what?’

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

     ‘Where’s Atascadero?’

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

page 1365.

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

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

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

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

     ‘Yeah.  Straight shot.’

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

     ‘Yeah, Torbrick, alright.’

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

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

page 1366.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1367.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1368.

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

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

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

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

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

     ‘Oh, yes.  Why?’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     ‘Have you ever hurt anybody?’

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

page 1370.

      ‘Why do you say that?’  Godwin asked.

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

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

page 1371

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

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

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

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

page 1372

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1373.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1375.

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

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

     Trueman heaved a sigh of relief.

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

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

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

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

page 1366.

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

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

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

     ‘Oh now, Dewey…’

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

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

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

page 1377

Un Homme Declasse

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

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

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

page 1378.

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

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

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

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

page 1379

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1180.

   

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

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 Novel

Far Gresham Vol I

by

R.E. Prindle

Clip 5

     ‘Well, good luck Mr. Darwen.’  I sang out with unconcealed glee.  ‘And don’t ever forget The Flying Horse Of Oz.’

     Darwen looked up and gave me a sharp look of mystification; he hadn’t any idea what I was talking about.

     Cries of  ‘Good Luck’ came from what the Old Master Fiddler called ‘those little morons.’

    The Old Master Fiddler went off sans fiddle.  He had disappointed his sponsors one time too many.  Angela Darwen shared his ignominy.  I don’t know whether I was proper in idealizing Angela Darwen.  She gave the appearance of model proper woman, but perhaps the attitude was only a pose she adopted to offset Jack Warden’s galumping greed.  Perhaps she and he were partners in crime.  Certainly she must have known of his doings.  He boasted of his doings, if not openly, certainly with a conspicuous lack of discretion, within hearing of we inmates.  He made no especial effort to be discreet.

     Perhaps in her private face she laughed with him about the stupidity of those he attempted to defraud.  Probably she conspired with him as they sat around their table at night.  Then in her public face she tried to offset the relative openness of her husband’s methods.  I fell in love with her public face.  I shall never know her true character.  Yet, her public face was a good face, an honorable face that gave womanhood a good name.    If she was two faced, at least she had a Jekyll that far exceeded her Hyde.

page 201.

18.

     The Darwens were gone.  I would soon follow.  At ten the boys were let out to foster homes as the fear was that the bigger boys would induce the younger ones into homosexual practices.

     My departure would come after the school year ended.  There were still four months to go at Longfellow.  There the negrification of the inmates of the orphanage continued.  Quite apart from my ‘duel’ with the Hirshes, relentless pressure was put on us to ensure that we didn’t excel or perform well.  It was necessary that the best of us perform less well than the least of the Eloy.  No Eloy was to be embarrassed before his mates by being below one of us.

     As I mentioned, a delegation had been sent to the Home to notify them of my intractable behavior.  An attempt had been made to make me accept my place.  My fury at the request had been so extreme that I learned then that I would have to learn to control my temper.  As a member of a class that was fed continuous denial and frustration this was no easy task, but I saw its utility and strove to bring my temper under control.

page 203.

     At school it was not permitted for any of us to excel the least of the Eloy.  As among Blacks there were those of us with superior intelligence.  Like Blacks we were expected to play dumb.  Should we refuse we could be cheated and denied.  There was no one to take our side.

     Miss Bevis Marks was either incapable of maintaining order in the classroom or she had been compelled to be the agent of repression.  She gave the Eloy a free hand to prevent us from excelling, allowing them even to discipline us during lessons.

     We had already been segregated and made to sit against the wall.  The others did so in humble submission.  As I said I had refused.  I had taken a seat along the windows which had now been isolated by the placing of communal tables in front of and around me.  I, as it were, sat on my throne in isolation.

     The force of necessity required common intercourse.  While maintaining a distinction between the two groups our lessons had to be in common.  As part of our studies we had to memorize the multiplication tables through twelve.  As part of drill Miss Marks had an open competition.  Two teams were organized.  Boys against girls was decided against as that would entail Eloy mixing with orphans and even having to root for them.  Thus the teams were organized as Eloy versus Orphans.  Most of the Orphans refused to try to win.  They had been very intimidated, but there were a few of us with spirit.  The teams had been further divided so that Eloy girls opposed Orphan girls and Eloy boys opposed Orphan boys.

page 203.

     As was predictible the Orphans lay down for the Eloy.  Even Jack Johnson would have been ashamed of himself.  As the first half of the contestants were finished we had lost all the contests.  But then one of our girls, who must have been a closet scholar, was whizzing through the sevens well ahead of her competitor.  It was apparent that she was going to win when an Eloy girl jumped up and knocked the chalk from her hand.  She was pushed and shoved as she groped for the chalk on the floor while the tables were whispered to her competitor.  We shouted and complained at her unfair treatment but Bevis Marks did nothing to either stop the harassment or to chastise the Eloy later.  The Eloy girl was delared the winner.  Miss Marks participated in and endorsed the disgraceful behavior of the Eloy.  Like her German counterparts such as Adolf Eichmann, Bevis Marks preferred her security to just acts.

     When my turn came I was well ahead of my competitor.  Action was necessary to prevent my winning.  The blackboard was against the tongue and groove wall  of the the furnace room.  I was doing the nines as Louis Shriver jumped up screaming imprecations into my ear.  I might have been able to withstand his shouting but he had taken up a position in front of the door to the furnace room.  Subconscious memories overwhelmed my nerve.  My eye was fastened on that door; my mind went blank.  My opponent hadn’t gotten nine times nine while I was down to three times nine, the easiest three nines, when I froze up.  My opponent was allowed to change answers and was given answers until he finally finished.  No matter, I had choked.  I had been intimidated.  The memory was permanent.  I could have and should have won regardless of everything else from Bevis Marks’ indulgence of the Eloy to Shriver’s shouting to my subconscious recollection of the rape.  I had choked, they had gotten me.  My will to win had been permanently thwarted.

page 204.

     At the same time I, we, learned the lesson that rules were to advance other people.  I, we, were outside the law.  A double standard existed.  There was no one to protect us or demand our rights.  The staff of the orphanage sympathized with our oppressors; no parents, no rights.  The school, each teacher, the Eloy were against us.  They had rights, we didn’t.  We were as Jews in Germany under Hitler, but we were in America, the land of the free, the home of the Bible.

     Thus I and the others adopted a strange character.  Tough among ourselves and obsequious to others.  Quite Negroid.  These two emotions struggled within us.  We wanted to demand human rights from our brothers but we knew that absolute power, a complete lack of morality would be used to deny us.

     Justice may be defined as the will of the oppressor.

page 205.

19.

     The Eloy had established a point.  The school administration made no effort to restrain them.  I was the focal point.  Word was passed to the other orphans that conditions might change for them if I was brought into submission.  The Eloy tried to turn the orphans against me.  This was meaningless.  We already fought constantly.  I was one of the oldest and most experienced hands in the orphanage.  I could hold my own among them.  I didn’t mingle with them at school anyway.

     There was absolutely no solidarity among us.  Unlike Negroes and the Jews who could count on group solidarity we had none and never would.  I knew what the Eloy were doing; I knew it was an empty threat.

     To the south of Longfellow was vacant land and industrial areas crossed by the railroad.  The residential area was to the North.  I found that the Eloy were waiting for me after school.  There was no actual attempt to beat me up but I had to dodge elbows, collisions and swung objects.  Their need was for me to respond to  their provocations by fighting.  As a troublemaker I could then be set upon with impunity.  I knew, or at least, I sensed this.

page 206.

     The whole of it, school and orphanage was wearing on me.  Like the cat in the trap everytime I looked I was still there.  There was no escape for me.  Even the library was losing its solace.  So to evade harassment and to postpone my return to the Home I began to take long walks which brought me back to the Home at dinner time, six o’ clock.

     I evolved several routes, wide loops that took me into many areas of town.  My favorite loop was one that took me North to the railroad tracks.  As I balanced myself along a rail, a light industry was to my right; open marshy fields to my left.  It was a barren scene, for whatever reason no trees grew in the area.

     I was balancing myself on a rail one day when I noticed two men talking animatedly in a back court of a building.  One was obviously the owner while the other was his foreman.  Apparently lots of merchandise was missing.  Someone was stealing it.  The owner was a thick headed man, he couldn’t figure out who.  I was standing on a rail watching with my hands in my pockets when the owner said:  ‘I’ve noticed that kid hanging around lately.  Maybe he’s stealing this stuff.’

     I listened in amazement as the owner settled on me and rejected the obvious.

page 207.

     ‘Hey kid, come on over here.  I want to talk to you.’  He ordered.

     I was amused.  I didn’t have anything to do.  I also knew how to put a stick in his spokes.  I walked over, hands in pockets, skipping over the puddles, to stand before him.  As was our habit to show disrespect I sucked in the flesh below my lower lip up under my teeth balancing my head on my spine where it bobbed as though on a swivel.

     ‘Yeah.’  I breathed as stupidly as I knew how.

     The owner was going to accuse me of theft.  He thought better of it just as he began to speak.

     ‘Listen kid you…you haven’t seen anybody hanging around here have you.’

     What a stupid question.  I only passed through two or three times a week.  ‘Why?’  Spoken in the same manner.

     ‘Oh, uh, well, we’ve had some stuff missing.’  He said grudgingly.

     I knew what they thought of my appearance with my spiky hair, ill fitting clothes and clown shoes.  They were wrong.  I couldn’t control my appearance.  But just as the owner’s clothes and the way he wore them bespoke his status and morality, so did his foreman’s.  The foreman’s demeanor, clothes and the manner he wore them, especially his belt buckle worn over his hip, bespoke his status and morality.  You had to be blind not to see that he was the thief.

    ‘Who’s got a key?’  I asked in an irrelevant manner.

page 208.

     ‘Oh, n0, no.  Only two of us have keys.  Me and Steve here.’

     ‘What’s Steve do at night?’  I asked in as weird a voice as I could muster as I ran back to the railroad tracks cackling demonically.

     As I looked back the owner was looking at Steve.  Perhaps he realized the truth, perhaps he didn’t.  I continued on down the line.

     Nelson St. crossed the tracks.  Here I usually got off the tracks to wait for the train.  It was the time just before the locomotives, the old black choo-choos, were being forced off the roads by those grim efficient workhorses, the Diesels.  In the locomotives the fire box generated a lot of heat.  The engineer was always leaning out the window.  Engineers were authentic boyhood heroes.  They were well in front of firemen and policemen as idols.  None of us had any higher ambition than to be an engineer of a big black eight wheeler.  We would have accepted a six or even a little switch engine but eight wheelers were the goal.  I’d heard of big ten wheel drives but I’d never seen one, nor had anyone I knew.  Engineers were our heroes.

     I stood there, often joined by other boys, waiting for the magnificent chuff of escaping steam, the smoke from the stack and the thrilling sound of the steam whistle.

     My heart beat faster as the magnificent steel beast hove into view.  What an epitome of power, the shape, the odor, the whoosh of the drivers even the splayed cow catcher in front.  Sometimes we would drive the engineer crazy by standing within three or four feet of the rails to feel the wind split and be knocked backward by the noise and whoosh of the driving rod.  The huge drivers towered over us, glinting in the light as they drove the train onward.

page 209.

     The next pleasure was to stand back to read the names of the railroads on the boxcars.  Consolidation had not yet taken its toll.  Lines like the Pere Marquette and Erie still existed.  The mystery of it all enveloped our minds.  The greatest thrill of all, every American boy’s God given right was waving at the engineer and having that mighty man of legend wave back.  It was his duty; it was his sacred obligation; it was the unwritten law of the land that he wave to his faithful adoring subjects; it was his joy.  We all gave glad homage.

     I was keen on the right, for as I gave homage I received homage as the engineers waved cheerfully and even sometimes shouted ‘Hello there.’  This was the only acknowledgment of my humanity that I received.  I cherished the relationship.  I waved and shouted with the absolute assurance that my salute would be returned.

     I was dumbfounded one day when an engineer disdainfully flapped his hand at me in a gesture of dismissal, with a disdainful expression of revulsion on his face.  The engine was only a six wheeler, but an important principle had been violated.  I was struck dumb.  Perhaps Hirsh felt the same indignation toward me as  I now felt toward this renegade engineer.  The insult was more than I could bear.  A cold grey fog gripped my heart.  This was an offence that could not pass.

page 210.

     I had not been alone, there were a few of us boys there.  Perhaps our appearance was not exemplary but that engineer had had no right not to return our salute.  I organized the others to be there the next evening.  As the train come chuffing up the engineer leaned out the window looking down to watch his drivers roll expecting an adulatory wave.  We had collected rocks.  We fired several volleys at his engine.  We knew we couldn’t hurt the engine but we or, at least I, knew that we were committing sacrilege.  The engineer knew too.  He was startled and amazed.  The thing was unheard of.  He had been taken by surprise.  His engine had rolled through before he could say anything.

     The next day we were there and fired our volleys of stones to the consternation of a different engineer.  That night discussion in the roundhouse centered on the boys who were throwing stones at the locomotive.  The engineers felt the insult to their race just as we had to ours.

     We were back the next day ready to throw rocks at the locomotive.  As soon as the engineer was within shouting distance he leaned far out the window and in the most sincere tones shouted out to us:

     ‘Boys, boys!  Why are you throwing stones at my engine?’

     The exchange had to be quick as the locomotive was rolling.

     ‘Because one of your engineers wouldn’t wave to us.’  I shouted back.

     The engineer understood the need of consideration.  A great breach of  etiquette, an actual crime, had been committed.

page 211.

     ‘Tell me which one.’  He shouted back.  ‘I’ll take care of it.’

     The train had crossed the road as I shouted back a description of the guilty engineer.

     The engineer was almost out of shouting distance when he shouted back:  ‘I think I know who you mean.  I’ll take care of it.’

     We saluted each other in mutual trust.  There might be one bad engineer but the whole race of Casey Jones, a line of heroes, couldn’t be bad.  The engineers located the guy.  He was forced to confess.

     The next day we were back at the crossing when the six wheeler approached.  The offending engineer was at the throttle.  We waited anxiously to see his response.  He gave us a half hearted wave  as we returned the salute in the same manner.

     The next day the engineer who had obtained justice for us was at the throttle.

     ‘Everything all right?’  He shouted down.

     ‘Yes, thanks.’  I shouted giving him a big wave.

     A great breach in tradition had been repaired; but within weeks the tradition disappeared.  Steve Brady and Ben Dewberry and Casey Jones vanished along with Sitting Bull, Black Kettle and Roman Nose and the buffalo as the more effecient Diesel replaced our beloved locomotives.  A great era in American history disappeared without a trace or notice.  Oh, once we saw an engineer looking out the glassed in cab of the Diesel.  He may even have given us a futile wave but we turned our backs and walked away as he answered our scorn with a shriveling blast on the air horn.  Why does true love got to go bad?

pp. 212-213.

20.

     As the new year evolved the trees speckled their branches with new growth.  April showers did indeed bring May flowers while David Hirsh gnashed his teeth in despair of me.  I seemed to epitomize all his troubles to him.  My success with the engineer was achieved only because a great wrong had been committed which was obvious to both sides and probably to any third parties who might have known of it.  The details were worked out as between equals.  David and Michael Hirsh were clearly in the wrong.  Their procedure was also wrong.  They had never made their grievance known to me.  Nor could they, for they had committed the wrong; I was the innocent party but I had nevertheless insulted their dignity.  We could have talked it out had our social positions been equal.  It was impossible given their opinion of themselves and myself.  They had to try to cheat homage from me.

page 214.

     My conduct at the Christmas party had prejudiced my case.  I was the apparent aggressor.  I had been induced to defame myself.  He had irrevocably damaged his credibility by segregating us on the playground in the fall but my conduct had given him a freer hand with me.  He was baffled by his apparent inability to administer corporal punishment to me.  He had done everything to me, short of shooting, which appeared to have no effect.  His means for a direct assault were now very limited.  I had already been ostracized; I was now no longer trusting.  The response to my actions at the Christmas party now gave a different avenue of approach.  If he couldn’t obtain obeisance he could defame me in the eyes of the community; or he thought he could direct me to ruin my life.

     Now, David Hirsh had always been watching me from a distance.  By which I mean that he either parked his car where he could observe or concealed himself where he could study me.  He had even got Mildred to let him stand in the kitchen where he could observe me at table.  In so doing he had studied the scene around the children’s home.

     We were easy targets.  The streets around the Home, as with all the streets in the Valley, were lined with rows of magnificent trees; chestnut, oak, maple, a wonderful canopy of what we called shade trees.  The fence around the orphanage enclosing the playground was set a foot behind the sidewalk.  During the warmer parts of the year there were always several men standing alongside the trunks of the trees or loitering along the fence.  These men were always willing to befriend us.  Some perverts were anxious to befriend the little girls; some were homosexuals who were anxious to befriend the boys.

 page 215.

     The authorities were incapable of protecting us from them.  The administration had made attempts to have them run off but these men had successfully maintained that the streets were public thoroughfares that gave them the right to use them as much as anyone else.  The authorities must have been morally and legally bankrupt for they remained to prey on us.  Cute little girls, dressed badly, could be had for a candy bar and the attention they couldn’t obtain in the Home.  Boys could be had for the same or less.  The city claimed to be powerless against these bums and perverts, the administrators were forced to close their eyes.

     At eight and nine we were susceptible to suggestion.  David Hirsh saw a way to influence my development.  That spring for the only time in my life I repeatedly heard the expression:  As the twig is bent the tree inclines.

     Every locality has its ne’er-do-wells who are willing to do dirty deeds dirt cheap, favors for the hope of future rewards from ‘the really big men’ of the town.  The big men of every town need ties with these men for they frequently have dirty deeds to do; deeds which if discovered would compromise their position.  You might say that these men function as gloves to keep the dirt off the big men’s hands; sort of a human prophylactics.

     David Hirsh had connections with the fellow who identified me to the barber.  This man managed to maintain an appearance of respectability to the point where David Hirsh could talk to him, not be seen with him, but talk to him.  This man then had connections to an even lower strata of humanity who had nothing to lose.  He knew the alcoholics, the hopheads, drug dealers, petty criminals and if necessary could find a way to contact the big boys down South.  David now spoke to him, explained what he wanted done and left the problem of finding an accomplice to him.  The task was a simple one but they managed to muff it.

page 216.

     I was walking back to the orphanage from school with a boy named Billy Batson.  Lebel St.  abutted the playground in mid-block.  As we emerged from the alley into Lebel we crossed this intersection along the back fence.  I noticed two unsavory characters of thirty or so leaning against the fence.  I didn’t recognize the guy from the barber shop but I knew the character of these guys who hung around pretty well.  Their faces also betrayed the fact that they were up to something.

     Billy was not very alert or perhaps he was willing to recieve apparently considerate attention from whomever would offer it.  I had increased my angle through the intersection to avoid these guys.  Billy nearly walked right into them.  The one guy sat nervously on his haunches.  The guy from the barber shop assumed the same position he had at the shop.  He apparently kept a clear conscience by directing his confederate but not actually dirtying his hands himself.

     Confused by our appearance the guy’s glance shifted back and forth from Billy to me.  He nudged his confederate who poked a finger at Billy.  Speaking in the most violently derogatory manner, he said:  ‘Hey, you stupid little bastard.  You’re a worthless little son-0f-a-bitch.’

     Billy looked at him, his eyes wide, he began to tremble.  Perceiving his danger I turned to come to his assistance.  I had these vagrants pretty well figured out.  I began to form insults in my mind.

     The accomplice quickly continued: ‘You’re a no good little bastard.  Your whole life’s going to be a failure.  You’re going to spend your life in prison.  You’re destined to be a good for nothing jailbird.’

     I was moving fast now, I got up a good wind and was about to shout my insults at the confederate when the barber shop guy looking down Lebel past me said:  ‘Whoa Tom, I think we got the wrong one.’

     So they had, but they had caught Billy Batson at a susceptible moment.  They had caught him in a hypnoid state and given him a post hypnotic suggestion.  They had imprinted his destiny.  Bill’s life was destroyed.  In after years his mind fulfilled the prophecy.  He died within prison gates.  I had escaped a destiny through the error of the two thugs.

     Tom’s companion had been looking past me at David Hirsh parked in his car on the other side of the alley we were forced to use.  He had watched Billy and I emerge from the alley with a wry smile.  We couldn’t walk down the street, we had been compelled to skulk down alleys out of sight, the same as his ancestors had in Europe.  David felt a glow of poetic justice as he slipped the monkey from his back onto ours.  Hirsh had signaled by pointing at me.  The opportunity was lost.  It was possible that they may have been able to imprint me but I think I was too wary.  I had watched these men and their ways.  I was alert to them, I don’t think they would have succeeded.

pp. 218-19.

21.

       David Hirsh was disappointed in the failure of his plan but ‘back to back, belly to belly, he didn’t give a damn because he had another ready.’  Actually the men at the fence were one part of a projected two phase plan.  They were to have started the nail while Michael Hirsh was to drive it home.

     The children of the orphanage were not as impoverished in the nickle-dime sense as it might appear.  Just as Darwen had us scavenging paper, there were other ways to scavenge up smaller amounts of money.  There was a hiatus of twenty-five years or so beween periods when empty bottles didn’t have a redemption value.  Soda came in bottles then, not in cans, but there was a two cent deposit on bottles.  People invariably threw them away.  Thus the streets, as it were, were paved with gold.  Money could literally be picked up from the streets.  It wasn’t considered the most respectable way to make money.  Michael Hirsh, for instance, never picked up a bottle in his life, but it was still honest.

page 220.

     We of the orphanage did not scruple to collect them.  Thus we always had some money.  Penny candy could be literally had for a penny, or even, two for a penny.  Regular sized bars that were three or four times the size of a candy bar today could be had for a nickel.  The smaller pleasures of life, the ones that children value the most, were easily within our reach.  Movies for instance were a dime, five bottles.

     Supermarkets did not exist in the Valley in 1948.  It would be 1952 before a ‘giant’ 20,000 square footer was built.  So little corner grocery stores were located on corners every few blocks or so.  Each of these had magnificant stocks of penny and regular candy.  There was one of these stores two blocks down Sandy from the Home.

     It was a classic of its kind.  For whatever reason they were always run down and dilapidated.  Like the ark they all looked like they had been deposited by the flood.  The dirt in front of them always had the grass worn off, a few tufts surviving here and there under the shadow of large trees.  The stoop up to the store never looked like it could hold your weight.  The stores were always unpainted, sagging unevenly.  Inside the floors were wavy or pitched at an angle.  The counters were worn, unpainted and showed their age.

     The owners always had a matching appearance.  You didn’t have to ask who owned the store.  They were a step or two below the type chosen as administrators of institutions like the Children’s Home.  They were broken down men running broken down stores.  But the stores were comforatble and endlessly fascinating to a little boy.

page 221.

     A few of the Orphanage boys had been recruited by the Hirsh faction to harass me.  I wasn’t aware of this as there was no difference in the way things were normally done in the Home.  We harassed each other as a matter of course.  The limits of harassment were prescribed by our proximity.  Retaliation was always close at hand.

     This Saturday they encouraged me to go down to the corner store.  I protested that I had no money.  They insisted, I went.  Lo and behold at the corner of the fence on Sandy was a small collection of bottles.  Imagine my surprise when they said that I had seen them first, which wasn’t true, and they were mine.  I didn’t argue.

     As we walked up to the store there they were.  Michael Hirsh and his fine friends.  I was small for my age, they were all three or four inches taller than I; besides their shoes fit and their clothes looked like they were bought with them in mind.  They apparently anticipated my arrival which I did note.  I didn’t note that my fellow inmates had disappeared.

     It was evident that Hirsh and his friends were there to intimidate me.  This was my home turf, once again they had preserved the element of surprise.  Having seen them coming I jeered right back.  ‘Hey, Hirsh, what are you doing here, slumming?’

     Words were exchanged as I walked past them into the store.  I gave the owner my bottles and collected my dime.  There used to be a candy glued to a strip of paper.  Little tidbits like the chocolate chips that go into cookies.   The strip of paper was about two inches wide.  You could order two, four, six inches, a foot depending on your means.  I had my mind set on that particular pleasure.  That style of candy was kept on a big roll on the counter.

page 222.

     As I got my dime back and tried to order, Hirsh and his friends jostled and shoved me away from the counter into the center of the store.  Unlike at the well they were prepared to defile themselves by touching the Samarian.  They obviously wanted to defame me as a troublemaker by getting me to fight with the resultant damage to the store in the melee.  I pushed and shoved in self-defense.  No blows were struck by either side as that would constitute starting a fight with the consequent opprobrium as aggressor.  That clever little fellow Abel managed to saddle Cain with that label.

      ‘Hey, mister, why do allow a troublemaker like Far Gresham in here.’  Hirsh sneered using my name for effect.

     ‘There wouldn’t be any trouble if a jerk like Michael Hirsh weren’t here.’  I jibed in return.

     The owner looked over at us with the patience that only a retailer knows and said: ‘Hey, why don’t you boys stop acting like babies; or conversely, why don’t you babies start acting like big boys?’  Wow, a literate store owner.

     Using my name as often as possible to make the man remember me Hirsh and his friends impressed on the man that I was the troublemaker, not only there but everywhere, inveterate and incurable.  They said that I should be thrown out; he shouldn’t do business with me.  The owner was a man of weak character.  He did know me, he didn’t know Hirsh and his friends, but they were well dressed.  While he vacillated the attention of Hirsh and his fellows was distracted.  I pushed through and asked for a length of candy.  The owner quickly snipped off what I asked for in the hopes of ridding himself of the problem.  Hirsh and his pals continued to bump against me.  Taking my candy I pushed through them and bounced out the door into the sunshine.  The six formed a queue behind me.  I had crossed the six feet to the sidewalk when I heard Michael Hirsh call out:  ‘Hey, Gresham, just hold on a minute.’

     I turned and said:  ‘What do you want now, Hirsh?’

     His fellows fell back to one side watching intently tongues between lips.  Adopting his most insulting attitude Hirsh strode up to me.  If I had to fight I was going to lose my candy.  I too became belligerent.  Instead he reached around and pulled a big Baby Ruth out of my back pocket.

     ‘What’s this Gresham?  I didn’t see you pay for this.  Looks like you’re a thief  Gresham.’

     As Hirsh stood there brandishing the candy bar at me, the owner strode to the door.  Seizing my opportunity I shouted to him, pointing at Hirsh:  ‘Hey mister, Michael Hirsh here has a candy bar he stole from you.  Better lock him up or make him pay for it, he’s got lots of money.’

     Hoist by his own petard Hirsh turned red, threw down the candy bar in the dust and stalked off followed by his guffawing friends.  I sang out after him:  “Hey Hirsh-she, looks like you’re a thief my man.’

      A couple years later he wouldn’t have been so foolish as to have taken the candy bar out of my pocket himself.  But we live and learn.

     As the incident at the fence was to have given me my identity, slandered me to myself, this plan which misfired because of Michael’s ineptness, was meant to convict me to myself and to slander me on my home turf.  Had the plan worked a reputation would have been established for me.  Not only would I have been slandered irreparably to others but I would have had to accept the same opinion of myself forever.

     This failure cost Michael Hirsh the respect of his friends; for he, in fact, had been caught with a stolen candy bar in his hand.  His friends didn’t see it quite that way but Michael Hirsh had stolen; he was in fact the thief.  Michael could never again aspire to be their leader.  Thus by their own vindictiveness the Hirshes had destroyed their own happiness and prosperity.  As the saying goes:  They were their own worst enemies.  They dug their own grave wide and deep.

page 225.

22.

     Acton Burnell had watched the developing situation of myself and the Eloy with dismay.  His sense of honor and decency had been offended by the segregation of the orphans on the bench.   His low opinion of the Hirshes and their ilk had been confirmed by the incident.  He had witnessed my rape with its display of deepseated contempt and hatred.  Not that Acton Burnell became my advocate or sympathizer, for, like nearly all men he believed that in the same situation there would have been six boys on the floor with him standing triumphantly over them.  The same would have been true, he thought, had there been a hundred or a million.  There was also the fact that I had been penetrated.  Forced or not the fact lowered me in his estimation.

     But his sense of justice was offended.  He did know how overwhelming were the odds I faced.  He was privy to all that transpired at the school.  His rank in the Masons informed him of local machinations.  He was not prepared to overtly come to my aid but he determined to do what he could covertly to defeat the Hirshes’ will.

page 236.

     Thus on a Saturday Acton Burnell was standing in the trees on Sandy across from the playground.  The guys who hung around the Home had an array of abilities to tempt us.  There were fairly expert carvers and whittlers with a variety of knife tricks, they could whistle like birds and perform excellent animal imitations; they knew a variety of magic acts, coin tricks and such, they displayed little tricks of natural phenomena, and oddly enough some of them were read.  They knew Kierkegard, Schopenauer, Kant, they had read all six volumes of Casanova, or said they had; furthermore they were willing to perform anytime until they learned that they were not going to be successful with you.

     I was outside the fence wandering among this little bazaar of performers when Acton Burnell, under a giant chestnut, motioned me over to him.  He may have thought I recognized him and I may have but away from school the janitor had no identity to me.  But hands in pockets I wandered over to him to see what his trick was.  Acton Burnell was aware of what Hirsh was attempting with the men at the fence and Michael’s attempt to compromise me.  I had perhaps narrowly missed being imprinted by the men at the fence who got Batson.  Other attempts were being made to bend my twig in the direction I was wanted to follow.  Michael’s attempt had been foiled mostly by his youthful ineptness.  Acton Burnell caught me on a day and in a mood when I received the imprint that would guide my attitudes and protect my life from ruin.  Acton Burnell was my savior.

page 227.

     He was a cultured man.  Self-educated.  In my opinion he wasted his time over the philosophers but if he found peace, so be it.  I stood in front of him head angled up sharply waiting for him to speak.  He began:

     ‘Always read quality books.  Learn to revere Pythagoras, Parmenides, Socrates, Marcus Aurelius and the great philosophers.  Read Shakespeare, Hardy and Trollope.  Do not waste your time with trash.  Ignore that bottomless pit of evil and ignorance, the Bible.

     Above all always be honest.  You can cheat an honest man but you can’t take away his integrity by doing so.  It is better to have no companions at all than to have bad companions.  Never let anyone make you compromise yourself, they may tell lies about you but a man’s honesty will always vindicate itself in the end.  Remember what I have said.  Now go.’

     The message flowed into my mind like a barrel over Niagara.  I looked at him silently for a moment; then turning without a word I walked away.  As though in a trance I walked to the library to sit the rest of the day.  I neither thought nor pondered.  The ‘living water’ of Acton Burnell just seeped into my brain.  I was armed and armored.

page 228.

     23.

     When David Hirsh learned of Michael’s new humiliation which was once again due solely to their own malignancy it was more serious than it might appear in the telling.  He was wroth, he seethed.  His own humiliation at the Christmas party, for which he had laid plans for revenge, now combined with Michael’s humiliation into a living tower of rage.  the situation was becoming uglier.  David was now nearly at his wit’s end.  Notions of actual murder flitted across the surface of his brain. 

     He called his boy to him and solemnly said:  ‘We’re going to have to give him a Black Sabbath.’

     Michael’s five friends were accordingly gathered and quickly drilled in their duties.  The Saturday after Acton Burnell imprinted me the six showed up at the Home on Sandy.  Confederates within the Home lured me out into the street.  The Eloy stood in a row down Sandy facing into the playground.  Many of the inmates were dispersed along their line.  The line had been choreographed.  Once I was in place among other inmates and some of the perverts Michael Hirsh and the Eloy began a series of chants.  As they chanted they brought their right clenched first down against their left clinched fist as an indication that they were going to crush me without mercy.

page 229.

     ‘Gresham.’  They pointed at me in unison turning like a singing group, ‘is outside the law.’  They then reverted to their former stance facing the playground.

      ‘Gresham.’  Turning and pointing again.  ‘Is to be denied food and drink, land and air.’

     ‘Gresham, Gresham, Gresham come forward and receive thy chastisement.’

     I and the perverts were watching in astonishment.  No one knew what was happening.  One bum turned to me in awe and intoned in a low voice:  ‘Just say to them, Aw your mother wears combat boots.’  This was a saying in use to defuse badinage and abuse that might lead to a fight, or to prove one’s manhood.  Someone might say:  ‘You’re in big trouble buddy.’  One replied ‘Aw, your mother wears combat boots.’ which was an acceptable response to defuse the situation.  I took his advice.  In a quavering voice that betrayed some apprehension I yelled out:  ‘Aw, your mother wears combat boots.’

      The Eloy turned in a fury:  ‘Gresham, Gresham, Gresham, come before us to receive they chastisement.’

      I can tell you, I was dismayed.  Stood and watched them.  They continued their ritual.  Apparently it was necessary for me to come before them which I refused to do.  After a while they left, marching off in file shouting:  ‘You’ll be sorry.’

     Thus I had been given a Black Sabbath.

     Acton Burnell and some few others realized that something had to be done as the matter was reaching a frenzied pitch.  I would have to be saved from David and Michael Hirsh while David and Michael Hirsh would have to be saved from themselves.

page 231.

    24.

     David Hirsh had been severely affronted by my conduct toward him at the Christmas party.  Beverly Hirsh had seized an opportunity by casting me out into the storm.  David had laughed and approved but had not derived any satisfaction from my discomfiture as he had not planned it.  He still longed to gratify himself for that incident.  Beverly’s act had been dissonant in David’s eyes.  While I had been punished the punishment bore no relation to the offence.  According to the Biblical antecedent the punishment had to fit the crime.  Apparently I would be punished until he found one that did.

     He had no immediate remedy but his mind was ever fertile in the area.  Slowly a plan emerged.  His plan was to be effected on my birthday.  But as my birthday was on a Wednesday that year and school was still in session the event had to be arranged for the twenty-ninth.  Memorial day weekend.  Not as satisfactory as actually my birthday but appropriately it would memorialize my offence.  As usual it would take the guise of charity.  Beware of geeks bearing gifts.

page 232.

     David’s own life during this preiod was becoming more complicated.  The repercussions arising from our segragation on the playground were slowly making themselves felt.  David himself was not yet aware but as might be expected Beverly had noticed a shift of status among the women’s groups.  The shift was not yet significant but she had noticed a shift in the current.

     At the same time ground had been broken for the new Sears store.  The excavation site was more than a city block with adjacent parking which was something Downtown didn’t have..  The hole was imposing.  There was more to it than that, for the Sears store represented the course of the future while Hershey’s represented the accretions of the past.  With a single turn of the key in the lock of the Sears store, Hershey’s would be hopelessly old fashioned.  Inevitably, but worse still the commercial philosophy of the Hirshes would be rooted in an invalidated tradition.  As Henry Ford said:  History is bunk.

     The Hirshes would now learn the truth of that statement as their successful past precluded a successful future.

     The Hirshes and the other merchants who had exuded confidence in the inability of Sears to compete in the ‘special’ environment of the Valley now began to have second thoughts.  As the piles were driven fear entered their minds.  Great changes, of which Sears was only one, were taking place in society.  Blacks began to appear on the fringe of Downtown.  Where they had shopped previously I have no idea but convention had forbidden them Downtown.  Black immigration flowed on during the wars.  Now the First Ward which had been their designated area was full to overflowing.  The Valley was no longer a White town.

page 233.

     For the first time also vague disquieting dissatisfaction with the management of the environment was, not making itself heard, but whispered in the wind.  Great subterranean changes were shifting the landscape.  Men’s minds were becoming disquieted but they didn’t know why.  Ignorant of the true sources they took inappropriate action.

     All these things acted on David’s mind.  He was not reflective, these influences mingled with his despair of me.  All his misgivings and frustrations were devolving on my head.

     So, on that Saturday we were lined up to the march over to Pfeffercorn Island for a picnic given us by unknown benefactors.  Pfeffercorn Island was adjacent to the Court St. Bridge over the Valley River.  The river flowed North into a bay and as it did a slough sliced around behind the projecting land which made the island.  It was a fairly large island that was part park, part dump.  The front half was landscaped while the back half had been used to dump landfill and what appeared to be slabs of concrete from roads.  It was an excellent place for a variety of purposes.

     I was getting tired of charity.  I just didn’t have it in me to do that song and dance for them.  I didn’t want to go.  Unlike the Christmas party I didn’t give up easily but put up a strong resistance.  In this world however, might is right, I found myself on the sidewalk after breakfast with the others.  It was an hour’s walk to Pfeffercorn Park.  We walked along strung out over three blocks, sometimes four.  We were herded back into a more compact body.  I walked along in grim silence.  I was annoyed by the amused, even laughing, glances of passing drivers.  Some even had the effrontery to honk their horns as us in derision.  Try to be as cheerful as I might I was reaching the end of yet another tether.  Dark, dark emotions were beginning to swirl in my mind.  At ten my perception of reality was improving.

page 234.

     Games had been devised for us but I had no inclination to join in, preferring instead to investigate the waterfront or hang around the bandstand.  During the morning we had the park to ourselves but about one o’clock others began arriving.  Among them was a very large body of Eloy, including David and Michael Hirsh.  I groaned when I saw them.  I tried to avoid them but they wouldn’t ignore me.  I was slowly driven toward the back of the island.  I and a couple others were playing on the edge of the dump.  Things were made uncomfortable for me there; nothing overt, just taunts and teasing.

     I induced my companions to go out into the dump to play Beau Geste of the Foreign Legion or Cowboys and Indians.  The dirt and concrete had been dumped in long rows across the island which formed ridges and valleys of eight or ten feet in height.  One could march up a ‘sand dune’ bearing the standard and tumble down into the vale under that blazing Saharan sun.

page 215.

     I was content but my companions soon left me alone to play the hermit of the burning wastes.  Still, considering that altered me, I wasn’t unhappy.  But then a face appeared above the crest of a dune. 

     ‘Hey, come on Farley, you’re wanted.’  Said an orphan.

     ‘Oh yeah?  Is it time to go then?’  I asked.

     ‘No, it’s something else.  They want you.’ He said.

     ‘What for?’

     ‘I don’t know.  Some game.’

     ‘Well, let someone else do it; just let me know when we’re ready to leave.’

     Soon a house mother appeared.  I was more than suspicious.  Dark premonitions blazed from my eyes and forehead.  She said I was wanted to participate in something.  I knew something must have been afoot then.  I declined suggesting she get someone more deserving.  She virtually dragged me out of the dump back to the area to the West of the bandstand and just on the other side of the parking lot.

     A large tarpaulin lay on the ground covered with sawdust.  The thing had humiliation written all over it.  I didn’t want to have anything to do with it, especially as I saw the Eloy drifting over to watch.  There were about eight of us, we had apparently been chosen for various reasons.

     Several strange men were supervising.  They had nothing to do with the Children’s Home.  I tried to back away but the men kept catching me and pushing me forward.  They were receiving a reward.  They were being allowed to participate in the humiliation of those less fortunate than themselves and just as defenseless as they had allowed themselves to become.  One, an Italian, Joe Speso, was especially elated.  Speso was an actual immigrant.  He no longer had a pronounced accent but still had a noticeable one.  Immigrants had not necessarily desired to become American.  That is they didn’t wish to shed their national trappings in favor of American ones.  In many cases they wished to impose their own national systems on the American one.  The result of that conflict was the hybrid society we know.  American attempts to enforce Americanization sometimes took relatively brutal forms.  The European and Pacific wars had done much to homogenize the American and European nationalities.  Foreigners had earned the right to be Americans by participation in the wars.  Traces of the old attitude remained.

     Speso himself had never intended to remain in the United States.  His intention had been to make a bundle and then return to Sicily and sit in the sun.  The Great War had delayed his plans to return to Palermo, there was no need to got back and be drafted into the Italian army.  After the war other delays had prevented his return at all.  He had led a disgruntled, disconsolate life ever since.

     Speso had been a victim of one of the last of the ‘Americanization’ gangs only recently.  He had been walking down the street when three late teens accosted him.  Since he had an accent they demanded he recite the pledge of allegiance and kiss a little flag one took out of his back pocket.

     Joe Speso demurred, pointing out he had been in this country for forty years and he had two sons who served in Europe.  The boys persisted.  Joe was not a big man so at great cost to his mental equilibrium he complied.  The matter became known.  Joe Speso was now being given a chance to redeem his injured psyche by injuring ours.  I alone intuited this.  The other men, like Speso, had stories of the same nature if differing facts.

page 237.

     The eight of us were strung out in a line facing the tarpaulin.  I was on the extreme right.  The sawdust was arranged in shallow areas at the ends leading to a higher ridge toward the middle with a conspicuous little peak in the very middle.  I could see a few coins amidst the sawdust.  I did not want to participate.  I knew I was being besmirched.  My body felt as dirty as my mind was dark.  At that moment the Eloy appeared bright and clean while I felt dark and dirty.

     As I looked down the line I saw Dave Gore staring at the peak.  His face was drawn, looking almost as in a state of shock.  I sensed that the peak contained a reward for him.  But reward for what, I wondered?  There was something in his strained anticipation that indicated he had either compromised himself a great deal or committed a great wrong.

     I wondered.  I went through my recall of recent events to see if there was anything he could have done to me.  I could think of nothing but it was possible that he thought he had done something vile to me.  It also occurred to me there was something sexual in his distracted stare.  I thought that perhaps he had offered himself.   Gore was a pretty capable guy.  It was possible that the Eloy might have compromised him in that way to emasculate or subordinate him.

page 238.

     I didn’t like the looks of the whole thing.  I had decided not to participate.  As I was watching and wondering I was vaguely aware that the thing was about to commence.   The others were on the mark quivering with anticipation.

      I heard someone say:  ‘He goes first.’

     Gore dove into the peak.  He hadn’t been sold down the river.  He triumphantly held the twenty dollar bill aloft as though he had expected to find it.  Twenty dollars then was equivalent to at least two hundred now.  My, that was big money.  I gasped.  What could he have done to earn that?  As soon as it was seen that he had his twenty the rest of us were released to scramble in the sawdust in a frenzy for nickels, dimes and pennies.

     I stood staring in disbelief.  Joe Speso was saying gleefully.  ‘Dive in there boy, there won’t be anything left.’  The sun was in the West where it reflected off the windshields of the cars parked opposite but through the reflection of sun and cloud speckled sky I caught a glimpse of two guys, David and Michael Hirsh who were watching with glee and anticipation.

     David Hirsh had set this whole thing up.  My refusal of his Christmas present was in his mind an arrogant act.  His reasoning now was that no one could refuse money.  Thus, somehow his mind would take great pleasure in seeing me grovel in the dust for pennies.  For, the bills and fifty cent pieces and quarters were all distributed to the left of me.  We all had been directed into certain areas, prevented from going to others.  The twenty dollar bill had been meant to tantalize us, me into a terrific frenzy.  It had them but not me.

page 239.

     We were also being trained to be servants of the big men.  For to get the really big bucks we would have to do whatever it was that they required.  We would have to look to them for favor.  I sullenly rejected the plan.

     ‘Hurry boy.’  Speso laughed at me incredulously.  ‘Or it will all be gone.’

     I stood there sullenly.   Then at a signal from Hirsh which I didn’t see he pushed me down onto the tarpaulin.  I could see the Eloy watching with disdain and contempt.  Charity is a wonderful thing; it makes the giver feel so good at the expense of the recipient.

     I was on my hands and knees.  For a brief moment the contagion of the frenzy drew me in as I picked up a few pennies.  Then the darkness gripped my mind again.  I stood up and threw the pennies down as a dark frown froze my forehead.  By now the money was all picked up so that there was no longer any need to constrain me.

     ‘I don’t know what’s wrong with that boy.’  I could hear Speso saying:  ‘Money on the ground just waiting to be picked up and he doesn’t even appear interested.’

     I not only appeared uninterested I wasn’t interested.  Now I was being defamed for not wanting to be defamed.  Hirsh was very clever.  I was damned if I dove in, especially as the paper and big coins were not at my end, and damned as stupid if I didn’t.  I retreated back into the shrubbery with a glowering mien.  I was in a trap from which it was impossible to extricate myself.

      I didn’t blame anyone in particular.  I blamed the whole of society as these great heavy blows bludgeoned my psyche.  I could physically feel the thud to my psyche as my brain crushed and splintered beneath the blows.  Dark evil thoughts commingled with my inherent brightness.  Acton Burnell’s advice contested with the reality of Mrs. Miller’s obervation.  Did David Hirsh have what it would take to drive me under?  I knew that the universe was evil, I became partially tongue tied.

page 240.

     For some reason my mind fixated on happier kids.  I guessed that somewhere in town a wondeful birthday party was going on with a dozen well to do happy children dancing around a wonderful cake in beautiful clean clothes and shoes that fit and beautiful shiningly clean faces.  I understood that they could only be as happy as there were because they knew that somewhere else other children were miserable.  Their content depended on the discontent of others.  They had it not within themselves to know content except with the knowledge of the misery of others.  Their mothers would remind them lest they forgot.  They could only be relatively happy.  I was the miserable kid to whom they compared themselves to make themselves happy.  In an excess of misery I hated them.  My attention was drawn to a departing car as David Hirsh blew his horn driving off gleefully.

     His need was so great that he distorted what could at best have been only a half victory into a total humiliation.  He had given me trauma from which I could never recover and would be a long time ameliorating.

     The fun was over, we were gathered for the walk back to the orphanage.

page 241.

     ‘Hey, Gresham.’  One of the Eloy taunted, not knowing that I had taken nothing from the pile.  ‘I get lots more every week as an allowance than the pennies you picked up from the ground.  Enjoy your money Gresham.’

     I was too young to conceal my bitterness, he was rewarded with the blackest of brows.

     We were ordered into formation for the return trip back to the orphanage.  Our long line filed down the roadway off the island.  People stood watching with arms folded across their chests as though we were part of the booty in an imperial triumph.  There were smiles and laughs and discreet murmurs of look at that one.  Had I been less inured to the abuse I might have rushed them or still worse screamed in impotent rage.

     As if that was not enough to endure I was admonished by one of the girls.  She was quite sincere.  It was impossible for me to hate her knowing as I did what she too was compelled to endure, but I could not help despising her.  She was even beneath contempt.

     ‘You know, Farley, when people are trying to be nice to you, you should be a little appreciative.  I noticed at the Christmas party that you didn’t take your present.  Here, when they wanted to give you money- MONEY-  you wouldn’t even take that.  You’re going to give us a bad name (I choked back a laugh)  and people won’t give us charity like this.  If they don’t, it will be because of you.  I don’t even know why they specially chose you, you don’t deserve it.’

      ‘I wasn’t specially chosen.  Everybody got a turn; I was just in the last relay.’

     ‘You’re a liar Farley Gresham, you eight boys- BOYS- all boys, no girls- were the only one’s chosen and you don’t even appreciate it.’

     ‘Oh yeah, hum, the only reason I did it was because they told me everyone else already had.  Heck, if I’d known that you could have had my place.  You could have gotten down on your hands and knees and scrounged for pennies.  You’d have liked that.’

     As for charity if I had had some way to make them stop I would have.  If my attitude would end charity I would have redoubled my efforts.  But she said we eight were the only ones.  I had already perceived that Dave Gore was being paid off.  That meant that the other six were being rewarded for something.  But what?

     I was toward the back of the line naturally, now I began walking up the line looking for Dave Gore.  He was about a quarter from the lead.  He was marching along totally preoccupied, his hand in his pocket around the money.  His face was strained and he was sweating like a dope fiend.  It wasn’t hot enough to sweat.  I walked along beside him shifting from front to back studying him curiously.  He seemed oblivious to me and all else.

     Finally I said:  ‘Hey Gore, what did you do?’

     He immediatley assumed an offensive posture, drew back his fist and in a low husky voice barked at me:  ‘You get away from me Gresham, or I’ll knock you out in one punch.’

page 243.

     He wasn’t going to knock me out with one punch but then I wanted an answer not a fight.  I decided to persist one more time.

     ‘Aw, come on Gore, you must have got twenty-five or thirty dollars.  That’s a lot of money.  It was in that little peak where everybody could see too, how come?  What did you do?’

     He cocked his arm further and thought about taking a step toward me.  Eyeing him closely I backed off and started drifting back to the end of the line.

     Gore was a pretty good athlete.  At games he could make the Eloy fourth graders look bad.  I didn’t think he was paid that much for anything he might have done to me, I just couldn’t think of anything that happened that he could have done.

     Memory is pervasive, whether suppressed into the subconscious or in free access, memory always directs our actions.  I couldn’t recall my rape but all the relevant information affected my thinking.  The drawn look, the sweat at the payoff, it all indicated sex.  He must have been seduced with the promise of the payoff.  I doubt that he would have taken cash for it so it must have been that he wanted something else.  He wouldn’t have been able to explain how he got the money to pay for it if he had shown up with the thing so they chose this method to get it to him and save the appearance of his honor.  The question was who?  If I hadn’t been so young and blocked I would have put it all together.

     All contests are fixed.  I was dimly aware of it if still disbelieving it.  They must still have had use for him or they wouldn’t have kept their word.  Hirsh had used the time honored method of using other people’s money to pay his debts.  Money had been collected from a sucker list for the picnic.  the suckers’ money was on the blanket to pay the wise guy’s debts.  It’s the same principle used with lotteries today; except with lotteries you don’t have to collect charity; you sell tickets to suckers.

     What the other six guys did I don’t know but they had the demeanor of petty criminals.  Gore had kind of an aristocratic look, unlike the others.

     A dark bubbling porridge boiled at the bottom of my brain.  It would be very difficult for me to ever be cheerful.  The school year was almost over.  I didn’t see how I could last another year at the Home.  I began to hope fervently that my foster home would be better.

pp. 244-45.

     25.

     There were only a few days left to the end of the school year.  I knew that I would be leaving the foster home soon.  I gritted my teeth and hoped for the best.  On the last day of school Billy Batson and I were accosted on the corner across from the school by a couple of Morlocks who may have been sixth graders.  My own mental condition was far from whole but I was facing up to things.  Batson on the other hand had had his mind thoroughly cowed.  I yearned to help him but life in the Home and at Longfellow had overwhelmed him; he was beyond my or anybody’s reach.

     The purpose of these sixth graders was to terrorize us.  Whether they acted of their own accord or as agents is irrelevant; it was the kind of hazing that bigger boys do to smaller boys.  They pointed out a corner room on the third floor and said that was Mr. Oagar’s room.  He was the fifth grade teacher.  He was a mean vile guy.  We were already assigned to his room.  He was going to make mincemeat of us, they said, especially me.

page 246.

      I listened with the appearance of trepidation.  I asked questions leading them on.  When they reached the proper pitch of excitement I dropped my bomb on them:  ‘Oh yeah?  Well, I won’t be attending Mr. Oagar’s class.’

     ‘Oh yeah?  Why not?’  They jeered.

     ‘Because I check out of the orphanage now.  I won’t even be in this school district.’  I said without certain knowledge that I wouldn’t be in the school district.

     Oddly enough my answer seemed to desolate them as Batson and I moved off toward the Home.

     Unbeknownst to me the situation between Hirsh and I had become so appalling, the future looked so dangerous for me, that efforts were being made to get me to a safe place out of range of Hirsh.  Even Acton Burnell was alarmed and involved.

      Shortly after the end of school in June I was called down to the Orphanage office.  There in the cold efficient style of the attendant, who could not afford personal involvement because of the potential heartaches involved, I was given instructions to find the house of John H. Warden and dime for bus fare.  I was told to collect what I wanted to take with me.  I put my hands in my pockets and fingered the dime; I had everything of value to me from the Children’s Home in my pocket as I stood.  I was admonished not to spend the dime for other things as I wouldn’t get another and would have to walk.  I was no fool.  A dime was very nearly big money to me;  I was used to walking.  I pocketed the dime, shoved the big front door open and stepped out into the June sunshine.

page  247.

     Word had gotten around that I was checking out.  I walked down the curved driveway.  Three or four boys were waiting for me at the corner of Sandy and Nelson.  They were standing there gabbing about Barney Oldfield.  Their minds raced while they spoke in awe of Oldfield going a mile a minute.  I thought I was going to have to push my way through but it was their intention to ignore me.  Perhaps my refusal to join Derringer’s faction when I entered the Home was now being returned on me in the manner they interpreted my refusal to join.  I stood listening to them for a minute trying to think of something devastating to say.  At that moment a squadron of three Jet planes approached from the South.  Jet propulsion, as it was known in those days, was brand new.  The Jets produced a new level of noise, to which people had not yet objected they were so in awe of the new technology.  In the early days the planes flew over low enough to see the insignia on the wings, if not so low as to make them out.

     I saw the planes approaching at their incredible speed.  Just as they were directly overhead they passed through the sound barrier.  I swear it was visible.  The air was shattered as the Jets punched through.  I involuntarily screamed out ‘Hawkaa.’  The great shimmering waves of the sonic boom descended on us.  We were literally lifted off our feet as the street post rattled, the street light wavered over the intersection, doors and windows rattled audibly.  From somewhere came the sound of shattering glass.  The sound was a single well rounded short boom.  The sound was visceral, tremendous.  It was much louder and more compact than any thunder I remembered.  Our hearts palpitated.  We stared after the contrails from the departing planes as the great roar of the jets, diminished compared to the sonic boom, but great, enveloped us, ruling out conversation until the noise abated while the planes had disappeared from sight long before.

     The boys were looking from face to facc with awe.  I said:  ‘So what’s so special about sixty miles an hour.  Those planes were going ten times that fast.’

     ‘You lie, Gresham, nothing can go that fast.’

     ‘Ha! Well, you saw it.  They broke the sound barrier.  You have to go six hundred miles an hour to do that.  Six hundred is ten times sixty.  So who’s Barney Oldfield?  So long, boys, I’m on my way out of here.  Enjoy your stay.’

     ‘Yeah, well, we’ll see you around, Gresham.’

     ‘Not if I see you first.’  I replied stepping through the plane of the sonic boom out of a dismal past into what I hoped would be a happier future.

pp. 248-49.

      THE BRIDGE

     My path law down Nelson to Main St. which joined the East and West sides.  As I trudged down Nelson my thoughts were concentrated on the trials of the past and my hopes for the future.

     I had no concern with poverty or material deprivation.  I never considered myself ‘poor’.  The disparity in material goods between myself and others had merely seemed contrived not organic.  I considered myself the equal of anybody.  Indeed, the evidence before my eyes was that I could hold my own intellectually with anyone.  I was superior to most.  Life appeared to be a set of circumstances in which fate had given me a most disadvantageous start.  I had high hopes of reversing the circumstances.

     I did not understand or even know of the permanent damage that had been done to my psyche and personality.  I couldn’t perceive how my behavioral modes had been imposed on me or how I appeared to others.  I knew by the criticisms of my upper self that I invariably made weak or inappropriate responses to life’s little situations.  I didn’t know how my sub-concious controlled my conscious actions nor of the suppressed memories that directed my conscious self against my will.  David and Michael Hirsh had in actuality entered my mind and directed my actions according to their desires.  In many respects I was their puppet.

page 250.

A Short Story

In Darkest America

by

R.E. Prindle

 

‘O father! I hear the sound of guns,

O say, what may it be?’

‘Some ship in distress, that cannot live

In such an angry sea!’

– Longfellow

 Yo’ doan miss yo’ watta’ till the well runs dry.

-Trad.

 

     As the bus sped down the spine of Illinois toward Memphis Dewey’s mind was dark with swarming visions.  All the indignities and injustices he had endured, and the frustrations and thwartings formed the matrix of the cogitations.  His own failures in meeting the Challenges he had faced worried his conscious mind.  The hurts and evils were transfigured away from the personal and projected into the great swirl of events going on around him that determined the decisions he had to make to go on living.

     This was the period of life of the great inflow when impressions entered his mind faster than he could organize and interpret them.  All around the boy forces, movements and people that would influence his life were dropping into place or preparing to affect him.

     As the bus whizzed down the highway past St. Louis off to the West there was a young fellow by the name of San Martin Sobibor about to obtain his MD in Psychiatry from Washington University.  In the Spring of ’59 Sobibor would depart for the mecca of sexual perversion, San Francisco, where , as he put it, he could be at home.  From there he would migrate to Portland Oregon because, while he was ready for San Francisco, Baghdad By The Bay wasn’t ready for him.  Hard to believe but true.  In Portland the paths of Dewey Trueman and Marty Sobibor would intersect with results to be shown.

     For now, concerned solely with the moment, Dewey’s mind darkened with the deepening shades of evening.  He would be dozing when the bus, after an hours delay in Memphis, turned West across the Mississippi into Arkansas.  In the gloom of the night Dewey lost the opportunity of sighting the Congo of America from the deck of the Mississippi Bridge made famous by Chuck Berry’s seminal song, ‘Memphis, Tennessee.’

     Arkansas.  Dewey would wake to see some of the swamps and bottomlands before the bus passed  through Little Rock.  Little Rock.  It had been only two years before that Eisenhower had called the Army out to excort a cute little Negro girl in a pink pinafore into desegregated Central High.

     A hundred years before the Sons of Dixie would have gone to battle over less but now the fight was gone out of them.  These were different times; the Great Cause had been lost way back when.  Little could be done now to win back the South’s pride.  Just as their defeat a hundred years before had driven Dixie down, this defeat a hundred years after would have as profound an affect on the whole of America. 

      The Army  in Little Rock, tanks in Prague and Waco.

     Little Rock.  Central High.  Memories of the scene in the hallway before Mrs. Hicks’ class at Melville the week before came flooding back through Dewey’s half glazed mind.  How right was desegregation? was his thought.  What could be gained by destroying one people for the benefit of another people, the former much more highly evolved, developed and advanced than the latter.

     Actually nothing good came of desegregating schools in the South.  The truth about integrated schools could be seen right then in the North where desegregation had been a fact for over a hundred years.  Truth was less important than fantasy in Disney America.

     Over the next several decades the hopelessness of forcing Black Folks on White Folks was such that even responsible Black Folk rebelled at the chaos integration had produced.  By the twenty-first century in an effort to get away from desegregated schools society, unable to face the situation squarely, enacted voucher systems in which the government paid the tuition of students so parents could avoid sending their kids to the same hell holes to which they had been bused.

     Who wished to escape the hell holes they had carved out of order and organization the most.  Whites?  No.  They were too embarrassed to keep their kids from attending Black gang dominated classes.  Blacks leapt at the chance to get their Black kids away from the Black dominated high schools so their tots could get a ‘good’ education.  It remains to be seen whether academic standards will be demolished in their new schools.  Probably.

     Well, it’s not like the Conservatives didn’t see it coming.

     Liberal fanatics saw the uplifting of Blacks when they received the same education as Priviliged White Skins.  What Liberals didn’t foresee was that the racial tension and strife would be so intense that rather than Blacks getting the education of White kids the education of White kids would be brought down to the level of Blacks.  Standards would be lowered by Blacks rather than Blacks raised to the higher White standards that they could not meet.  Liberals couldn’t or wouldn’t foresee the results nor do they care today if the result was the brutilization of White kids.  So they give the Blacks a fifteen point handicap and say both are equal.

     Well, no matter.  Civilization can take any amount of punishment without lapsing into a dark age, can’t it?  There’s still water in the well, isn’t there?  The level is way down there now but, you know, you don’t miss your water till the well runs dry.

     Then judged by thoughts of Little Rock’s Central High Dewey’s thoughts reverted back a hundred years to the Civil War when hundred of thousands of the flower of the White species were destroyed for the benefit of Black savages most of whom were fresh from the jungles.

     Black savages? you say.  Yes.  Black savages, if you only look at the facts.  To say that Dewey had all this worked out would not be true.  His mind contained the thoughts only in embryo like the oak is prefigured by the acorn.  Thus, while his thoughts were not as detailed as the following, just as when the acorn bursts it bonds and begins to grow into the oak so all of Dewey’s later development was contained in the nebulous forms of his understanding at this time.  It is axiomatic that you can’t learn what you don’t already know.

     As Dewey might have said then had he known the details that he would later learn he might have acted more strenuously.  Let us consider the set and setting.

     The Civil War was fought from 1860 to 1865.  Western technology and science was already far ahead of any other people or area of the world.  Western science, even at the time, made White people a distinct evolutionary stage of development.  If you are going to claim to be scientific you have to face these facts.  The fantastic advances in scientific knowledge that occurred after the Civil War were so far ahead of Asia and Africa as to strain credulity.  It was as though the super bowl champion football team was playing a bunch of high schoolers.  Gods walked the earth.

       Electricity alone was a quantum leap ahead of the past and all other civilizations.  Except for Euroamerica electricity was unknown anywhere else in the world.  When Coney Island was illuminated during the gay nineties incoming Eastern and Southern Europeans out at sea were overawed by the sight of the amusement park glowing in the night.   Nowhere else on earth was such a sight possible.

     If nether Europeans were astonished imagine the effect on traditional Chinese or the Stone Age peoples of America and Africa.  Imagine how they must have responded a few years into the twentieth century when they saw White men flying airplanes above them in their skies.

     In 1865 the conquest of the American West was yet to begin in earnest.  The centenaries for the states of New Mexico and Arizona haven’t even taken place yet.  China was still a medieval society.  Africa was still an unknown continent.  No area with the exception of South Africa had been brought under European dominion as yet.  Large areas were still shown as a blank spot on the map indicating territory unknown to Whites.  In reality most of Africa had not been trod by a booted foot.

      The Africans lived in a state of stone age nature that had been virtually undisturbed for a hundred fifty thousand years since the first Homo Sapiens sneered at his predecessor hominid.  Mental traits and habits still existed untouched by abstract thought.

     Even as the Civil War was being fought African tribesmen were ritually sacrificing tens of thousands of their own annually and eating them.  Slavery?  What a tragedy.  Cannibal feasts were part of the fabric of native life as they remained into the twentieth century and down to the present time.  At the time of this story cannibalism was a fact of of life in Africa.  Sekou Toure, the Big Daddy of Guinea, kept his refrigerator stocked with human flesh.  Thus modern technology improved the life of the African greatly.  When questioned about it Toure adopted the condescending tone and said:  There are some things Westerners will never understand.

     Thus this state of mind indigenous to the African continues to this day.

     In 1893 at the great Chicago Exposition the natives of Dahomey on the South Coast of the African bulge were displayed as the most primitive and savage people on earth.  This was no exaggeration.  As late as 1893 and well beyond human sacrifice and cannibalism was a characteristic trait of Dahomians.

     In the early 1870s some few years into Reconstruction in the American South after slavery had been abolished the British hacked a campaign into the bush of the Gold Coast, or what is now called Ghana, to  correct habits similar to the Dahomians practiced by the Ashanti people at the capital of Coomassie.  When the British succeeded in fighting their way through the bush to Coomassie they were horrified at what they discovered.

     Great mounds of human skulls, the result of incessant human sacrifice were piled in huge pyramids and rows along the streets of the Ashanti capitol.  Pots of cannibal stew still simmered.  H.M. Stanley who recorded the entry into Coomassie would later be criticized for his portrayal of ‘Darkest Africa’ but how much darker could Africa be than this?

     Depends on what you call darker.  Even as White Men were falling in their myriads in America for the liberation of a people who could never appreciate  it, East Africa was actually being depopulated by Arab slavers who delivered their product to the Middle East and India.

     British policy and the American Civil War only succeeded in ending slave trading from the West of Africa.  Arab slavers had been raiding East Africa for slaves for at least two millennia.

     Even as White Men murdered each other in America for the benefit of West African slave trading cannibals, thousand person lines of slaves yoked together moved down out of the highlands of East Africa for Arab ports.  Accounts differ but perhaps only three of ten made it from point of origin to the final destination.  This Arab Slave trade was to continue unabated still for decades until it was driven underground by the British where it continues functioning to this day.

     When the US allowed Arabs into this country after 1965 they brought their slaves with them.  Thus one hundred fifty years after brave White Men died for the sins of Black Africa slavery was reintroduced into America.

     What area of Africa did the American Negro slaves come from?  Ashanti chiefs supplied large numbers of them.  Others came from the Slave Coast further East on the coasts of Dahomey and Nigeria.

     Today American Blacks benefit from the notion that they are as early in America as the earliest British.  True, some Blacks date back to the seventeenth century when the first cargoes were landed but by far the largest number date from after 1776.

     Even after the British, having learned their error rather quickly, tried to destroy the Afro-American slave trade late in the eighteenth century and American law illegalized the trade in 1807 still the now illegal trade continued uninterrupted until the Civil War.  Thus a very large proportion of Blacks were transported between 1830 and 1860.

     The level of civilization of these Black Folk may be gauged by that of the Ashantis and Dahomians.  In other words they had been death worshipping cannibals until their Daddys or Chiefs sold them West.  As of 1959 this was only a hundred years previously.  These savages had been forcefully taught to change their diet from human flesh to beef only three or four generations earlier.

     Cannibalism was a sore point with the Afro-Americans of 1959.  The pop group Cannibal And The Headhunters was meant to disparage this obvious truth.  The intent was to make the notion appear as a White Man’s fabrication.  It worked pretty well too.

     Now, as I stated before just because you step on the soil of the New World does not mean that your inbred mental arrangement is modified in any way;  only your subsequent mental condition can be altered.   The mind is not so elastic that the past loses its influence.  It only manifests itself in different ways.  It adapts its manners and customs to the new conditions; this is to say that no one forgets his antecedents and grudges.

     Let us now direct our attention from the Africans to the English immigrants.  Let us put them into perspective so we can understand the development of democracy in the United States.

      The English discovery of America happened at a most propitious time in English history.  In conventional terms the English Commons was about to supplant the English Crown.

     Political events are always based on personal animosities.  In the fifteenth century Henry the VIII had discarded the hated Catholic Church.  Henry’s daughter Elizabeth I continued Henry’s religious policies.

     At the beginning of the seventeenth century, Elizabeth having died without progeny the crown was offered to the Scottish Catholic James who was already James the VI of Scotland and now became James I of England.

      The Scots were not particularly well thought of by the English while the fear of Catholicism being reestablished created a panic.  The seeds of discontent had been sown.

     At the end of the fifteenth century Gutenburg had invented movable type inaugurating the age of print.  Printing was much cheaper than hand copied manuscripts.  The first book was printed.  Naturally  it was the Bible.  Bibles were now available at a reasonable cost.  The Bible was widely disseminated in the area of England known as East Anglia after its conquerors the Angles.  East Anglia is formed by the three shires of the bulge East of London plus Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire.  Animosity existed between east Anglians and the Southern shires that formed the heart of the Norman conquest of 1066.

      When the Normans conquered England they enslaved the Anglo-Saxons.  Thus Gurth in Walter Scott’s ‘Ivanhoe’ is an Anglo-Saxon slave.  Slavery is said to have existed in the Norman shires to a period c. 1500.

     The Anglians resented this fact of their having been enslaved very much, as they had previously been conquerors and exterminators.  Their grudge against the Normans simmered along without focus until Gutenburg delivered the Bible into their hands.  Perusing the Old Testament very carefully they formed an identity with the Hebrews who had been enslaved in Egyptland.  Where the Anglians had lacked direction formerly their identification with the Hebrews pointed the way for them.

     Disturbing under Elizabeth, the Anglians now alternatively known as Puritans from their identification with the Hebrews 0f the Bible became troublesome under the Scottish Catholic James but progressed to rebellion under James’ son, Charles I.

     Charles was called upon to exert repressive measures to protect his throne.  During this period the East Anglians boarded ships to flee to the newly discovered coast of North America.  Landing in the North the Anglian cum Puritan State of New England or New Anglia came into existence.

     They did not forget their past but continued to nurse their grudges against crown, Catholics, Scots and Normans.  They didn’t like the Irish too much either.

     In England the Anglians revolted, captured the crown and installing Oliver Cromwell as the Protector attempted to root out and destroy Norman influences.

     The Anglian Puritans were called Roundheads while the Norman troups of Charles were called Cavaliers.  When Cromwell and the Anglian Puritans ruled it was the turn of the Norman Cavaliers to flee to America.  New England having been pre-empted by the Anglians the Cavaliers set up their characteristic social institutions in what was to become the State of Virginia.  The two arch enemies were separated by a few hundred miles which was a sufficient buffer to prevent hostilities at that time.

     In England the manners of the Anglians were so unpalatable that to continue their hegemony would have meant establishing a totalitarian state, not unlike that in the United States today,  which they didn’t have the power to do.

     Thus the Stuarts in the person of Charles II were invited back.  They proved unpopular so in 1688 in the revolution known as Glorious in contrast to the earlier Anglian Puritan revolution William and Mary began the Protestant Succession which was firmly established in 1717 with the introduction of the Hanoverian line from German that continues to this day under the assumed name of Windsor.

     The Anglians retired into their Eastern shires where they have remained fiercely isolationist.  The Author toured East Anglia a couple times in the 1970s where he was amazed at the continuing hostility of East Anglians to outsiders and their unwarranted sense of superiority.  The spirit of the Puritans is alive today in the East Anglian heartland.

     Thus, whereas by 1776 the conflict between the English factions was more or less resolved in England the conflict had not yet been formulated on American shores.

     The Norman Cavaliers had enslved Anglians and Saxons in England until fairly recent times; now the Anglians thought their descendants in America were up to their old tricks.  The notion of indentured White laborers that were in effect slaves for a limited period had been part and parcel of Norman Virginia.  As the Anglians might have noted wryly:  Old habits die hard.  The notion of innate superiority was part of the Norman as well as the Virginian character.  It should be no suprise that Virginians would keep Black slaves while condemning them to racial inferiority.

     Any excuse will do if you really want to pick a fight.  The Anglians of New Anglia or England hating the slave owning Cavaliers of Virginia chose slavery as the issue over which to renew the war of the Anglian revolution in England.  This time the war would be a fight to the finish that would involve the total destruction and extermination of their old enemies.

     There is no question that slavery was an evil that had to be discontinued and was being discouraged in a diplomatic manner in Africa and those same diplomatic heads that were interested in right and less interested in revenge should have prevailed in America.

     Now, the Anglian vision of history which we are taught in school is that freedom of religion was the issue that caused Purtian immigration.  This is nonsense.  The issue was one between Anglians and Normans that was brought into focus under a religious disguise.

     Religion is little more than a psychic projection of the hopes and fears of a people.  The model on which the Anglians formulated their angst was that of the Hebrew Bible.  The Hebrews or Jews formulated their religious response because of their own defeat and humiliation at the hands of the Assyrians and Babylonians.  In an access of pride, rather than admit to being defeated, they formulated the notion that they were a Chosen People of their God destined to rule the world.  Their present state then was not one of defeat but of being chastised for not having followed the precepts of their God to the tittle.  The Puritans or Anglians found the  Hebrew model an answer to their psychic needs.

     The Nazis of German in the same way and using once again the Jewish model elected themselves a chosen people in response to their betrayal and defeat in the First World War.

     The Communists who are also based on the Jewish model are merely the unproductive members of society who either will not or cannot so they merely say they will expropriate the producers but the idea of an elect or chosen people of ‘laborers’ is the same.

     Once the notion has become part of the psychology of a people the notion is refined and grows and grows.  The end result is that reason is discarded and Anglians, Jews, Nazis, Liberals and Communists become intense bigots because as their dogma is based on a falsehood it will fall to the ground upon examination.  Therefore they must censor all speech and writing and even function as thought police.  In other words, the Emperor has no clothes.

     The Civil War having been fought and ended the antagonism between the Anglian Puritans and Norman Cavaliers remained.  The financier J.P. Morgan once said that every man has two reasons for whatever he does:  A good reason and the real reason.  The good reason the Anglians had for provoking the Civil War was their ostensible opposition to the bonafide evil of slavery.  The real reason was the age old British quarrel between the Roundheads and the Cavaliers.

     The great tragedy of the European conquest of the world was the dependence on African slaves for manual labor.  What a fine country the US would have been if the African savages had been left in Africa to pile their heaps of skulls in the jungle.  For, you see, contrary to popular opinion the White man has a conscience that is lacking in all other peoples.  The Blacks had been amassing mountains of skulls for centuries without one thought of conscience.  There wasn’t even a word for conscience in their vocabulary.

     The American Civil War ended the practice of slavery amongst the White race.  Slavery of African Blacks in Africa continues to this day.

     The Arabs must have had word about the American War and its purpose yet they too continued their slave practice unabated until the Europeans made it too difficult for them to indulge in slave raids on a massive scale.  Slavery also has continued with them until the present day.  In fact Arabs have reintroduced the practice into Europe and America.  Arabs own slaves in all the White countries.  It wouldn’t be ‘democratic’ if you denied them this right, now, would it?

     Unlike Blacks and Arabs Whites knew from the beginning that slavery was wrong.  They could never be at ease with it.  Oh, maybe there were the bestial types who didn’t worry about it, but witness the American writer Mark Twain, or to use his legal name, Samuel L. Clemens, who epitomized the split in the psyche of the White people of North America.

     Even today Clemens causes discussion among his own for the benefit of the Blacks.  Remember slaves and Blacks are two different things.   One can oppose slavery while being wary of Blacks.

     Clemens although he writes from an Anglian point of view had a Virginian for a father.  Clemens actually enlisted in the Confederate Army.  That he presented himself as a Connecticut Yankee about the time he wrote Huckleberry Finn is an interesting fact because he was far from a Yankee.

     He grew up as far North as the border of the free state of Iowa and across the river from free state of Illinois.  Hannibal, Missouri was a slave holding community.  The Widow Douglas, a Scot, who adopts Huck Finn had the owner of Nigger Jim living in her house while she herself owned slaves.

     Clemens’ attitudes toward the national components of the American nation deserve a closer study.  The person on whom the character of Huck Finn was based was an Anglo named Tom Blankenship.  Clemens changed his nationality to Irish as Finn is an Irish name.  A huckleberry was a worthless fellow so you don’t have just a White guy and a Negro floating down the river but a worthless Irishman and a Negro.

     Sawyer is an English name probably meant to be of Anglian origin.  It denotes a manual occupation.  In point of fact, sawyers cut logs to build houses while thatchers put on the rooves.  So Tom Sawyer and Becky Thatcher form an interesting psychological combination.  In the racial politics of the time when the Irish had a reputation for being troublesome hard drinkers, Clemens has already set up a national hierarchy with the Anglians on top, the Irish below and the Negro at the bottom.

     Huck Finn is not socially acceptable nor is he capable of being educated to it.  Although the Widow Douglas, a Scot, tries, Huck slips the bonds escaping to float down the Mississippi river on a raft with Nigger Jim.

     Now, Negro Jim as my college English teacher used to call him, is solely a comic figure.  He is the epitome of the ignorant, superstitious, eyeball rolling Darky.  He is really undifferentiated from the other Blacks who came from miles around to hear his witchcraft story.  He has no real identity beyond that of a stereotype and symbol.

Twain, in fact, has never formulated an identity for him.  He doesn’t know who Nigger Jim is.  In Twain’s mind he is just a faceless Negro who neither needs nor has a past.

     I now propose to tell the early history of Jambalaya Karate otherwise known as Nigger Jim.

The African Roots Of Nigger Jim

      Jim hadn’t always been a slave.  Back home in Ghana or the Gold Coast as it was known in those days, Jim had been born the son of a Fanti Daddy, Chief or King where he had been given the name Jambalaya Karate, which loosely translated means The Devourer of the Enemy.

     Jambalaya Karate was born in 1810 a few years after the slave trade had been abolished by the United States.  He grew up a very privileged young man who had slaves of his own.  In his youthful arrogance he was frequently unkind to them.  Cruel even.  On one cannibal occasion he bit off a slaves’s little toe to see what his reaction would be.

     In 1828 when Jambalaya Karate was eighteen his Fanti tribe was attacked by the Ashantis.  Although Jambalaya performed prodigious feats of valor, leaping at times a full five feet straight up in the air like an early model Mr. Bojangles or Michael Jordan the Fantis were defeated while Jambalaya himself was taken captive becoming the personal slave of the Ashanti king Basso Profondo, which translates voice of Thunder i.e. God.

     Jambalaya did not take well to being a slave especially as Basso took great delight in humiliating the son of his enemy Daddy.  Jambalaya remembered his royal origins but too well.  In an effort to teach him manners Basso Profondo bit off one of Jambalaya’s little toes.  While this indignity had a profound effect on the Fanti’s psyche the act nevertheless saved Jambalaya’s life.

     Some fellows were needed for sacrifice as well as to fill the stew pot.  Jambalaya himself had taken part in several cannibal feasts as, indeed, his name meant Devourer Of The Enemy, only a few months earlier.  He did not now relish becoming Fanti stew.

     Uhha!

     Only slaves without blemish were suitable for sacrifice.  Jambalaya was now missing a little toe thus removing him from eligibility.  He was still a troublesome slave  for whom Basso Profondo had no use so he was marched off to the coast in 1830 where he was sold American, placed on board a ship, ran the blockade and was transported to New Orleans where he was landed illegally.

     While Jim as he was now named, having avoided the ignominy of being named Jack or Speedoo, had dreamed of escaping back to his people while in Africa  he now realized there was no such thing as escape.  A little something died inside.  And yet, his life would be better than in Africa.

     Remember jim had already been a slave in Africa.  If one reads enough about American  slaveholders one will learn that slave holding is a most humane affair.  Arab Slavers say that slave holding by Arabs is not the cruel thing it was in Africa or America.  Africans say their slave owners get no complaints from their slaves.  Their slaves would rather be slaves than face the hazards of being free.  Americans, of course, said Blacks were treated like members of the family.  The only people who ever complained about the inhumanity of slavery were the slaves themselves and one knows how unreliable their testimony is.

     There were some salient differences between African slavery and American slavery that made Jim’s lot better in America not least of which climate and food were better.  There were fewer diseases in America.  Jim’s life span in Africa would have been no more than thirty to thirty-five years.  In fact, as he was due to become stew, much less.

     In Africa the owner had the  right of life and limb.  As we saw, Jim bit off his slave’s little toe later having his own amputated.  Had his owner killed him in a fit of pique it was his right.  According to American law owners did not have the right of life and limb.

     In Africa once you were a slave manumission was not a possibility.  Once a slave always a slave.  Thus technically all American Blacks or their descendants would still be slaves in Africa.  In America a slave could buy his freedom or be manumitted.

     Not least of the advantages to being a slave in America is that one was freed from the constant threat of tribal war.  The American Black was automatically detribalized.

     Thus when Jim was landed in New Orleans he lived a more secure and better life in America although he was still a slave.  The major disadvantage was that he was taken from a state of nature and placed among the most advanced scientific people on earth.  The passage from tribal savagery to scientific civilization must have placed an immense strain on his psyche.  No matter how he may have rebelled at the idea he must have thought he was much inferior to White people.

     One can see the effect of the passage from a tribal life to a higher civilization in the passage of the Jews from Palestine to Babylon.  Read Isaiah and Ezekial in that light and you will note some remarkable things.

     While still proud as a slave in Africa, Jim was thoroughly cowed and broken by his circumstances in America.  He became listless and useless until his owner sold him up river as a domestic where he recovered a little of the will to exist although he became the comic buffoon portrayed by Clemens.  Thus Huck, unknown to himself, floated down the Mississippi with a cannibal African prince by the name of Jambalaya Karate:  The Devourer of the Enemy.

     Even though the effectiveness of Jim’s character deepened on his being called Nigger Jim modern Liberals who apparently have no idea of Clemens’ point insist on Bowlderizing Nigger Jim to just plain Jim as though two clowns named Huck and just plain Jim floating down the river is a story.

     Even if one examines the negricity of Nigger Jim one finds the fallacy of Liberal thinking.  As a novelist Clemens seems to have had a clear idea of the pasts of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn but he had no idea of the history of Nigger Jim.  To Clemens he was just a faceless Negro who was only a symbol.

     Even then the racial distinctions of Clemens are fairly remarkable.  Published in 1885 when Clemens was fifty after slavery had been abolished and both the Civil War and Reconstruction were over while the Jim Crow era was beginning Clemens seems to have been in an analytical mood.  He seems to be standing back describing the scene as though he were a Mysterious Stranger; one who had turned coat from being a Southern Rebel to a Connecticut Yankee.

     He portrays a number of nationalities that are clearly distinguished.  Missouri was a slave State.  Slave holding was common in Huck’s town.  Yet the Sawyers and Thatchers do not own slaves.  The names Sawyer and Thatcher are obviously significant.  Sawyers cut boards to make houses while Thatchers make rooves for houses.  Having occupational names they are clearly of Anglian stock.

     If they had been Norman Virginians their names might have been Anglicized for instance from the French Beauchamps to Beecham.  Clemens may at one time have been Clements.

     Huck Finn is obviously Irish.  By 1850 the Irish were only recently a considerable part of the population.  They may not have yet made their way West in any numbers.  In 1885 they would have been conspicuous.  Pap Finn himself seems to be a caricature of the hard drinking, raggedy Irish cottager from the Old Sod.

     Clemens doesn’t seem to be an abolitionist nor does he put much that is sympathetic in Jim’s character.  He is really only the eyeball rolling Darky butt for comic relief.  Clemens himself was to enlist in the Confederate rather than the Union Army so there has to be some question as to whether this ‘Connecticut Yankee’ considered slavery immoral or wrong.

     Nor were the Anglians much disposed to fraternize with Negroes even though they abolished slavery.  It is inconceivable that an Anglian like Tom Sawyer would float downstream on a raft as a near equal of a Negro.  As Anglians equated the Irish and Negroes there is probably a subtle ironic note in the pairing.  Clemens is probably playing up to his Yankee audience.

     When Huck and Jim got to Arkansas the denizens of the swamps and bottomlands are portrayed as a rowdy, dissolute crew.  These men are the Southern descendants of the Norman Virginians and Scotch-Irish.  These are the people that the Africans in Africa and Anglians in America denoted as White Trash.  Throughout American history they have been held as beneath the Negro in status.

     Clemens holds the former cannibal and slave owner Jim up for comparison with the White Trash.  Not knowing anything of Jim’s antecedents he compares Jim favorably to these wild, boisterous Whites.

     Once again, Clemens was writing in 1885 long after the events so he may have been reflecting attitudes of the day rather than of the time.  He had to ingratiate himself with the Anglian Puritans as they controlled American society and the key to his own success as a writer.  In any event he encapsulates the modern hierarchical prejudices of Political Correctness as imposed by the Anglians after the Civil War.  That is:  Anglians, Irish, Negroes and at the bottom White Trash and anyone who disagrees with them.

     In my academic career I knew neither teacher nor student who considered Huckleberry Finn as anything but a true fable.

  Nobody considered Jim from the point of view of any African antecedents.  No one realized he might have any.  Nobody questioned Clemens’ grotesque portrayal of the Arkansans.  You know, folks, they aren’t too far from a lot of the people one sees walking around today.

     As luck would have it we do have a contrasting account of life in the Arkansas swamps and bottoms of the same period.  That account is provided by Henry M. Stanley of ‘Dr. Livingstone, I presume’ fame.

     Stanley who was one of the models for Edgar Rice Burrough’s character Tarzan, was born in Wales.  While still in his mid-teens he emigrated to America arriving in New Orleans.  After an adventurous year or so he was adopted by a man named Henry Stanley, who, incredibly, was looking for a son, then gave him his name Stanley in place of  his natal John Rowlands.  In the course of events Stanley apprenticed his namesake to a merchant on the Sabine River bottomlands of Arkansas.  He lived there for a few years until the Civil War began when he was impressed into the Rebel army.

     After the war he became the famous reporter and African explorer but he had always had an eye for details.  He too portrays the Arkansans as a fairly crude bunch while not being unsympathetic to the Negroes.  As a newcomer to America with no axe to grind he takes a more broad point of view portraying a spectrum of Whites and Blacks as people not as types.  And remember that Stanley wrote his autobiography before 1905 and long after his Southern exposure and his several expeditions into Darkest Africa including the expedition into Ashantiland at Coomassie.  No one in the world had more experience with both Blacks and Whites than H.M. Stanley.

     Stanley didn’t understand the English origins of the American Civil War but he gave voice to the central problem of the war which was:  Why should White men kill each other for the benefit of a primitive African people who could never appreciate the sacrifice or could ever leap the chasm between savagery and science.

     Stanley was right but he couldn’t see that the good reason of slavery was not the real reason for the Civil War but instead national antagonism.  Nobody was really fighting for the slaves, the real reason was the fanatical hatred of the Anglian Puritans for the Norman Virginian Cavaliers and the Scotch-Irish.

     The vindictive hatred of the Anglian Puritans was clothed with the righteous religious reason of abolitionism.  No one penetrated the disguise but the disguise was necessary and successful.

     Just as the Jews having once assumed the role of the Chosen People were bound to expand and intensify the notion over the centuries so the Anglians once they had assumed their self-righteous disguise were bound to continue it after the defeat and abasement of their Norman Virginian enemies.

     Having defeated the South the Anglians deep seated, shall we say, insane rage caused them to want to punish the Virginians as seriously as they believed they had been punished by the Normans in England.

     There is no doubt that if they  had not been moderated by New York and the Middle Atlantic States who despised them as much as the Anglians despised the Virginians that that they would have enslaved the Southern Whites to the Negroes.  Failing that they still made Reconstruction one of the most punitive regimes in the history of the world.

     Reconstruction!  There’s a sigfinicant word.  What did it mean?  Reconstruction from what to what?  Civil rights were virtually denied the Whites while in some insane version of Affirmative Action men who had been slaves both in Africa and America, men who had neven known freedom or the arts of government, men who did not understand democracy were placed as governors over the Whites.

     In England Cambridge University was a creation of East Anglians while Oxford was a more national creation.  For anyone who has been there there is quite a contrast between Oxford and Cambridge.  Oxford is by far the most open or least uptight institution.

     The Anglians of New Anglia or England had created the premier educational institution in the US, Harvard University.  They even placed it in a town called Cambridge.  Now, really, you have to think about this stuff, really worry over it.  The Anglians now placed a bare foot, illiterate Negro as head of the Classics department of  a major Southern University.  As the question, why as a matter of Reconstruction would one place an illiterate in charge of the intense mental disciplines of Greek and Latin?  Only as the gravest of insults.  Only as an act of insane rage.

     The Whites of the South were not supine; they fought back.  Just as the measures used against them were extreme, they in their turn resorted to extreme measures.  What did you think would happen?

     In Scotland the calling the Clans was done by igniting fires on the mountain tops.  The Southerners, composed largely of Scotch-Irish, imitating their Scotch ancestors now formed the Ku Klux Klan.  Now when there was a fire on the mountain it meant that the Klan was riding out that night.

     Thus the Anglians created a sort of Second Civil War in the South where the Whites were pitted against the Negroes in self-defense.  The Anglians had created the era of Jim Crow.

     We’ll never know if Jim Crow could have been avoided if once slavery had been abolished a more enlightened conciliatory policy had been followed rather than the indulgence of Anglian rage.

     Nevertheless the Liberal policy of alliance with the Negroes against the ‘White Trash’ was established.  Until European immigration rose to flood tide there was a three tier ‘democratic’ classification system in America:  Liberals on top, the Negroes, then ‘White Trash.’

     The White Trash formed exlusive nativist groups like the Ku Klux Klan and the American Protective Association which reacted negatively toward the new immigrants rather than embracing at least some of them as reinforcements against the Liberals.

     The Liberals formed a coalition of the various immigrant peoples including the Jews and Italians against the various factions of Nativist ‘White Trash’ including the neo-KKK which wa reformed in response to the formation of the Anti-Defamation League and the NAACP.

     The early Liberal Coalition was formed around the policies of Woodrow Wilson and culminated in the Presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

     The Civil War was the turning point in early American history.  Anglian Liberalism as a projection of Anglian angst became evil in intent.  Their rage and hatred against the Normans was institutionalized into an unreasoning ferment against any who disagreed with them.  The dichotomy of Anglian Liberalism and American Nativism became set in the Liberal/Conservative confrontation that exists today.  Time for fires on the mountain once again.

     As in Reconstruction days Liberals are still trying to raise the Negro above their Conservative antagonists in the exact manner of that bare foot Negro in charge of the Classics Department although they no longer call it Reconstruction but Affirmative Action.

     Negroes are promoted into responsible positions over more qualified Whites.  This in turn makes the Negro dependent on White people to do the job for them.  This means that the Negro has his White Man to slave for him.  Dewey would decline the role in 1961.

     It will easily be seen why American politics are so irrational.  American politics are being directed by a national group living out a character assumed at the latest in sixteenth century England but probably inherent in the psyche of the Angles before they migrated from Denmark to Britain. 

     The Anglian character didn’t change when they stepped ashore on Plymouth Rock and neither did that of the Negro when they were desembarked at their American port.

     Many of the characteristics of the Negro that are attributed to his treatment in America have nothing to do with America.  If one compares his African environment then and now with the American manifestation of the Negro one will find a continuation in an American enviroment rather than a discontinuation or new creation.  Further when one compares Africa, the Caribbean and the United States one finds the exact same traditions being carried on in three related manifestations.

     The modern American Negro does not look to White civilization for a pattern for future conduct but back to his African roots.  This is to look back to a pattern of primitive savagery, human flesh in a refrigerator, than forward to civilization.  As Jesse Jackson expressed it:  Hey, Hey, Ho , Ho, Western Civilization has got to go.  To be replaced by Africa?

     In the Big Daddy tradition of primitive Africa everyone was a slave to someone else with the exception of the Chief Big Daddy.   There is absolutely no tradition of dem0cracy.  There is no tradition of personal independence; one is a member of the tribe, one has a collective consciousness.  Thus the modern African role models combined with the residual memories of African traditions that survived in the Black community through the slave and Jim Crow periods will and are asserting themselves today.

     One may say that the role model of the pimp in American Negro society is a result of economic discrimination but upon closer examination you will find that it is an adaptation of African tradition to American possibilities.

     In Africa the man had several wives to tend to his needs.  All of these strings of prostitutes, that equate to African polygamy, shake that money maker to keep the male in style.  The prostitutes are kept in line by the use of extreme brutality and enslavement through drugs.  Slavery and polygamy are basic African traits.  Even the use of drugs can be traced back to African roots.  Africans took early to the use of marijuana and quickly adapted to opium when that drug became available in Africa.

     Thus pimping, the basic institution of the American Negro, as well as the fondness for drugs are merely adaptations of African customs.

     Now, as to the notion of democracy.  The basic political approach in Africa was that the Chief could dispose of the lives of his tribemen as he saw fit.  He could kill them all or sell them into slavery at his whim.  Thus when in East Africa the Arab slavers offered the Chief goods he wanted for his own pleasure that he couldn’t pay for in any other way he designated the persons the slavers could abduct.  This is the Big Daddy.

     This role model emerged into the light of American society as the era of Jim Crow ended and the decade of the sixties unfolded.  To use the example of the Black Panthers of Oakland.  The Panthers were by no means an educated bunch.  Huey Newton, their leader, despite his pretentions was an ingoramus.  To enforce his will on his people he resorted to the same means as his African brothers.  He bludgeonded them into submission or killed them.  The process was known as ‘correction.’

     Killing fields were established in the Santa Cruz mountains where victims were taken to be tortured and executed.  People who have been there report bones sticking up out of the ground in a scene quite reminscent of the Ashanti capitol of Coomassie.  There can be little doubt that the Oakland Negroes reverted to primitive cannibalism.  It must be.  It’s a miracle they didn’t set up piles of skulls on Oakland street corners.

     The primitive African mind has never been reconstructed in America to a higher consciousness.  This truth may be stunning but is nevertheless so.

     Listen.  The Black man will never be able to forgive the White man for having enslaved him and degraded him to the level of the apes anymore than the Anglians could forgive the Normans.  Let me repeat that:  It is psychologically impossible for the Black to accept White civilization without avenging himself.  If you need further proof the anwer is written on every wall in every bus station and subway in America.

     In society, where racial proprieties are enforced, all evidence of hatred is suppressed but in situations where normal proprieties break down racial divisions and hatreds become immediately paramount.

     In prisons there is no amicable fraternization between Whites and Blacks.  Self-segregation is rigidly enforced.  Even White pretensions become paramount in that a prison environment is the only place Aryans can openly exist.

     The closely kept secret of Viet Nam is that Blacks self segregated themselves and kept a running battle going with the Whites.  In every Army base domestic or abroad Blacks and Whites separate and are at war with each other.

     What would happen if the police power were removed in society?

     Let us take an African case in point.  Let us look at Rwanda.  When the Watutsi conquered the area several hundreds of years ago they made the indigenous Wahutu their slaves, the entire nation of Hutu.  the Watutsi waxed lordly.  They did not walk anywhere but had Hutu slaves carry them in hammocks.

     The British in the first half of the twentieth century disturbed this polity.  When the British police power was removed the Watutsi attempted to reestablish their supremacy over the Wahutu.  Over a period of time the Wahutu organized with guns and rebelled.  Their anger and rage was such, and justifiably so, that they began a policy of genocide, either killing the Watutsi or driving them out of the country.

     The Blacks in America vis-a-vis the Whites see themselves as the Wahutu of Rwanda see the Watutsi.  Only a fool believes that American Blacks do not carry the same resentment against Whites.  It therefore follows that the only thing preventing an attempted massacre of Whites by Blacks is the police power of  the State.  We have a very dangerous situation that ought to be addressed in a realistic manner rather than that of the pandering Liberals.

     The problem is that the Liberals with their roots in the Anglian angst think it would be right if the Negroes killed all Whites but themselves.  They are fatuous enough to believe the Blacks would exclude them if it came to that.  Thus there is this long standing alliance between Liberals and Blacks against what they both consider ‘White Trash.’

     No one can say what the exact course of events will be but the corruption of Western civilization by the Liberals and Blacks is reaching a dangerous point.  Western civilization as Jesse Jackson demands may go.  The social mores of the Whites have sunk very nearly to the levels of tribal Africa.

      Educational levels of Whites have declined steadily since 1956.  The maintenance of Western Civilization requires a high degree of intelligence and education.  Reflect on waste management for a few moments.

     Men like Willie Brown, the erstwhile Mayor of San Francisco, have gone far to  establish the Big Daddy principle against the democratic principle in the Bay Area.  Everywhere the trend is away from personal independence and toward the submission of the will to a Big Daddy.  Africa comes.

     Moral principles are shouldered aside by Big Daddys like Jesse Jackson who openly extort money from major corporations in a way little different than the African traditions reported by early explorers.  Liberals are not outraged by such practices but actively endorse them.  Thus White modes of democracy and honesty are corrupted as Whites change from apparently ineffective democracy to totalitarian ways.  Society inevitably drops to primitive African models.

     Racial characters do not die out, probably, ever.  The Anglians who profess to be pure and superior refuse to criticize or condemn these really heinous crimes against humanity being committed on a regular basis by their Negro pets.  They just make one incredible excuse after another for them.

      The inevitable result, and we are over halfway there, will be the complete and total corruption of the Democracy established in the heydey of the Freemasonic Enlightenment.

     The much disparaged White Big Daddy is, or was, an established fact.   Few realize that he was not an example of a White tradition but that he was acting out a role learned from Negro slaves.  Now the Big Daddy role is being emulated by Whites throughout the country which Black Big Daddys have spread from the South throughout the land.

     As in Longfellow’s poem Dewey was the child tied to the mast unable to do anything but watch as the guns of the Ship of State announced that it could not survive is such angry seas.  The well was running dry as like some Black slave in Arkansas Dewey moaned in anticipation:  You don’t miss your water till the well runs dry.

     Dewey saw the future unfolding in his dreaming visions although he only understood in embryo as the myriad impressions flitted across his dazed mind as the big wheels rolled round and round carrying him through the little State of Arkansas into the big State of Texas.

A Novel

Far Gresham

A Story Of The American Melting Pot

 by

R.E. Prindle

 

June 1946- June 1948

  1.

     Why David Hirsh put so much energy into this hatred of me could probably be best explained by himself.  Certainly his own affairs needed tending as much as his relations with my mother and me.  For David was also meddling in my mother’s affairs as well as mine.  My father disappeared after the divorce so that I have no knowledge of him.

     David had friends of his insinuate themselves into my mother’s acquaintances.  In the context of girl talk they managed to learn more of her affairs almost than she knew herself.  Hirsh used the information to frustrate my mother’s hopes and plans.  One would have thought that my mother would have known who and who not to trust.  She knew everyone and was known to everyone.  Still she, I won’t say babbled but, c0nfided in people who she ought to have known were not her friends.

page 50

     Thus, when Mrs. Johnson informed her that she no longer wished to keep me, she, as a lady, didn’t express it that way, my mother babbled, I mean, confided to those informants that she would have to move me.  It was in that manner that David Hirsh knew my destination long before I did.  His heart skipped a little beat of joy; I was moving deeper into his power.

     For my part, if I thought I had been unhappy before I would soon look back on what now appeared to be a Golden Age.  I had fortified myself for the eventuality of leaving Mrs. Johnson’s.  I had probably been working, subconsciously, to realize the fear.  At least I knew it was a certainty.  My attitude was shaped by the knowledge  that my future had a defined if indeterminate limit.  The realization  added a certain bleakness to my life.  It was as though living in a train depot waiting for the next train.

     I was not surprised when my mother informed me that I would be moving.  I hoped against hope that she would move me in with herself.  This was not to be so; I had become an intolerable burden to her.  Further, I was a responsibility she could avoid.  Her wish was still to ‘live.’  Although I had never seen her while I was at Mrs. Johnson’s she thought that ‘living’ was incompatible with worrying about me.

     I stood expectantly before her, nervously banging my left leg with my fist, a frown upon my face.  When she knelt down to address me, my blood froze.  An adult only reduces themselves to the the level of a child when they have the direst motives.  I held my breath.  My battered and withered soul fluttered in the breeze when she told me she wanted to put me in the orphanage.  The Children’s Home, or foundling asylum, the Municipal Orphanage.  I stared at her long moments in silence.  I knew she was going to abandon me,  I sensed for the most reprehensible of reasons.

     I was only eight years old, I was defenseless in a hostile world.  I would say that I had hit bottom but in fact I was only at the top step of a long staircase down.  In truth, I do not know how I am here to tell the story.  The spectre of my past haunted me in a way that the Spectre of Communism could never have haunted Europe.  A future lay before as bleak as that of a survivor of the Nazi extermination camps.  What little of me that remained to crumble, crumbled.  I had no tear to cry; I was numb.

     I intuited what lay before me.  In a desperate hope to evade that reality I set two conditions before I would accept…before I would accept…as though I could change my future.  I wouldn’t, I explained, if I was still in the Emerson School District or if they had a fence around the Children’s Home.  She anwered both affirmatively.  What did she care, she would no longer have any responsibility for me.  As it turned out the Orphanage was not in the Emerson District, not that it mattered as it turned out.  My mother delivered me to the front of the Children’s Home.  ‘See.’ She glibly told me.  ‘No fence.’  What did it matter that she lied to me?  She left me in the foyer and walked out of my life.  I was alone.

     How can one explain life?  What is it that can salvage an existence where no life is possible.  Perhaps it’s just that the bars and clefs are always there; each deed or event leaves a note behind.  The inevitable result is a tune which implies that life had been there.  My tune was played in the lower registers; sombre notes from the bass strings of the bass fiddle.  My heart continued beating, my blood continued circulating.

pp. 52-53

2.

     It is difficult to explain the effect of entering the Children’s home on me.  The shifting from my mother and father’s to my grandmother’s, from there to the Smith’s, next the Johnson’s and now into the Children’s Home had destroyed any sense of stability I might have had.  The Hirshes had destroyed my self-respect, which is to say murdered it, on the playground of Emerson.

     Imagine an old electrical transformer by the side of the road.  The wires are already frayed, some lying loose.  Suddenly a tremendous lightening bolt descends from a blue sky and sends millions of volts through the transformer.  The transformer explodes in a ball of fire, blown to smithereens.  That’s approximately how I felt.  Understated, but approximately.

     In an attempt to deal with a reality that was beyond my ability to cope, I guess my old personality assumed an independent life.  I became two.  A real me hovered over and watched the physical me in pity and  commiseration.  Oddly I didn’t go insane or shut out reality, although I had ample reason.  Inexperience had not yet allowed me to distinguish my condition.  I descended a few steps down that long stairwell.  Or perhaps it might be better said that I blasted through the basement and began to arrange my notes on the bars and clefs of a lower octave.  In any case my body remained, stil functioning.  My mind had to make the best of it.  Yet, here I am.

page 54.

     There was another little boy in the office as I waited.  The paperwork had been prepared in advance in my case so that my mother could just drop me off.  The clerk rose from her chair and asked we two children to follow her.  Turning right we walked down a short hall.  I was told to wait while the clerk dropped the little boy off in the infant’s ward.

     Then we continued to my destination.  The building was of a standard institutional design that was used from Massachusetts to Oregon, wherever the Puritans migrated.  It was of a dumbbell design.  A transverse wing sat at each end of a connecting structure.  The right wing had been the office and infant’s ward.  The left wing which we now approached was the dining hall of unpleasant memories.  We turned right.  We stepped down to ground level then mounted a staircase past a half basement and the main floor, past the third floor which was the girl’s dorm, up to the fourth floor which was the boy’s dorm.  This was ‘home.’  The boys dorm stretched from dumbbell to dumbbell in one long hall.  The bunks lay in rows the length of the hall.  In the center of the hall on the left was a cubicle for storage and a retreat for the house mothers.  I was led to this cubicle.

page 55.

     Unknown to me, I was now in David Hirsh’s power.  How delicious to have your enemy at your mercy without their knowing it.  Acting on the information received from my mother’s confidants he had prepared a reception for me.  Through his informers he had made friends with a house mother that he had actually attended school with although they had not known each other.  David was true to Beverly and, even if not, this woman was socially beneath him, but David had favors and benefits that were in his power to bestow.  The woman’s life was enhanced.  It didn’t take much.  The Orphanage was an employer of last resort.  The people who worked there had nowhere else to go.

     Thus for a smile David bent this woman to his wishes.  I was reasonably well dressed when I entered.  Hirsh’s intention was to make me a disreputable clown.  David’s and Michael’s experiences with my parents and me had humiliated them.  Funneled through their minds the experiences came out depicting he and Michael as clowns.  Thus he believed that we had made clowns of he and Michael on purpose.  He felt this and made us responsible.  It was now possible for him to project clownship on me.

     The house mother took my clothes and shoes from me, even my socks.  Standing nude before her I was given a giant pair of socks full of holes.  I was compelled to put these on.  Standing now with only those outlandish socks on me, the house mother, following her instructions pointed at me and burst out into gales of laughter.  She had been instructed to note the scene carefully so that she could report it in detail to David Hirsh.

     I naturally became distressed.  then I was given a pair of undershorts of which the elasticity of the waist band was spent.  They wouldn’t stay up.  When dressed I had to keep reaching in my pants to pull them up.  This quite naturally had a comic effect as did the too large pants I was given to wear along with a ludicrous shirt.  Mystified and angered I reached for my shoes which were kicked from my grasping hands.

    ‘No.  Choose from that pile over there.’  She commanded.

     First hoisting up my underpants and then hoisting up my trousers I stepped over to the pile of shoes.  I examined them for a moment then said:  ‘But these are all too big.’

     ‘Never mind.’  She said with a yawn.  ‘Choose from them.’

     ‘Why can’t I have my own shoes back?’

     ‘They’re not yours anymore.  Choose.’

     All the shoes were far too big.  I finally chose a pair of brown and white wingtips which flapped on my feet.  I flopped around the cubicle a time holding up my pants.  Just a I was about to complain again, she said between sobs of laughter:  ‘That ought to please him.’

     Unaware of who ‘he’ was I thought she was referring to me.  I was not pleased.  I said so and flopped out of the room to further gales of laughter.

page 57.

     In David Hirsh’s mind he had been twice humiliated by my parents and I had twice humiliated Michael Hirsh.  This translated in David Hirsh’s mind that I had made a fool, a clown of Michael.  David shared the feeling for himself.  He now had me in his power to make me look like he and Michael felt.  He would indulge himself to the maximum.

     Alone and abandoned I was truly in the hands of my enemies.  They were enemies that I knew not.  Strange things would happen to me that to my mind, uninformed as to their source, were so incredible as to be unbelievable.  The intent was to defame me to myself, to make me feel unworthy.  Instead by some peculiar reversal I began to think of myself as one of the elect beset by demons that avoided others and for some inexplicable reason settled on me.  The truth would be a long time dawning.

     I arose next morning from the bunk assigned to me.  Boys emerged from beds in a long row on either side of my bed, from a long row above my bed and from a long row beneath my bed.  Privacy was a thing of the past.  There were two toilets for eighty boys.

     I sat on the edge of the bed staring at my brown and white outsized wingtips.  Why did they take away my good shoes?  My new reality began to dawn on me as we filed down into the dining room for breakfast.  What had happened to my world?  We were joined by the approximately eighty girls at the long picnic like tables and benches.  My, I thought, is it going to be like this everyday?  Oh yes it was but even worse.

page 58.

     As a new boy I was scrutinized in the incredible hubbub and noise of one hundred sixty distraught kids abusing each other at the top of their voices.  Food flew everywhere.  Some insane little beasts turned and bopped neighbors over the head with their spoon for no apparent reason.  One boy reached across and pushed his opposites cereal out of his bowl, finding satisfaction in the ensuing fight.  Every day like this?

     After breakfast I was directed into a recreational room on the same ground floor.  It was in the long hall connecting the two dumbbells.  It was a largish room which faced the front yard.  The front yard was nicely landscaped with a driveway that curved up to the front door as though to a fine estate.

     In the rec room I was to become better acquainted with my fellow inmates.  I had no sooner taken a seat on the window bench when a boy, tough looking, ten years old and maybe eleven, he was big, strode up to me.  In the manner of the time he was dressed as a hoodlum.  He must have been an enterprising sort to have obtained those clothes at the Home.  I have no idea where he got them.  He was also the leader of a faction or gang.  He seized the opportunity to test me.

     ‘Hey, you, you’re new here, right?’  He parried.

     ‘So what?’  I replied.

     ‘So what.  Ha. Ha.’ He was pleased at what he considered my arrogant response.  Perhaps it was, I just thought he was stupid to have asked me such an obvious question.  Nevertheless he thought it indicated spunk.

page 59.

     ‘So what.  Ha. Ha.  Well, I’ll tell you so what.  You’ve got to fight my brother Richard here.  You’re both the same size so it’s a fair fight.’

     ‘I don’t want to fight your brother Richard.’  I replied distastefully.

     ‘Don’t matter.  You’ve got to do it.’  He replied in a matter of fact way with no malice.

     He flicked his finger at a boy standing behind him and motioned him forward.

     I realized I’d have to fight this guy.  I hated fighting and If I had to fight I meant to hurt.  I intended to make him sorry he had inconvenienced me.  This was not the usual male style turkey shoot, we were evenly matched.  Unlike most fights I would witness or be involved in this one was fair.

     We fell on each other with energy.  I quickly realized that I had greater energy and fought at top pitch.  We rolled and tumbled.  I finally was getting the upper hand.  Just a I was in a position to pummel Richard, his brother pulled me off saying:  ‘That’s okay you proved you’re alright.  You can join up with us.  I’m William Derringer and this guy who beat you up is my brother Richard.’

     William Derringer had pulled me off Richard just as I was about to conclusively thrash him.  Now I was told by someone I didn’t know who had compelled me to fight that I had been beaten.  I reallized that I would have to put Richard Derringer down constantly which meant perpetual bickering.  I wanted to mind my own business.  I didn’t want to be part of William Derringer’s gang.  Perhaps it would have been easier to be affiliated with a gang.  There was strength in numbers, but conformity to group mores was necessary.  I wasn’t going to conform to anybody.  I opted out.  I told him what he could do with his gang.

Page 60.

     Derringer took it as a show of spirit, dipped his finger at me and said ‘We’ll talk later.’   We never did, but he always considered me one of his gang.

     They were all distraught.  The whole place, inmates, staff and administration had been driven to distraction.  I became distraught.  Distraction became the basis of my personality.  Distraction was the basis of life in the Children’s Home, it was truly the House of the Distraught.  I was the only one with the courage to admit the truth.  It was not that we behaved differently than other people but it was the manner with which we harassed each other.  The Eloy did not do different things than we did; they harassed and worried themselves and others as constantly as we did.  But their homes were refuges where they recruited their strength, regained some measure of sanity.  We had no refuge.  Then too they had group solidarity; they were at the top of the pecking order.  Rather than retaliate against them, subordinate groups turned on lesser groups.  We were the least group at the bottom of the pecking order; we could only turn on each other.  There was no way the inmates could be taught group solidarity and form an army opposed to the other armies.

     The boys savaged each other; the girls did too.  Still the girls being girls wanted to be loved and admired.  Put another way they were capaple of being given affectionate attention, lustful; the boys weren’t.  Indeed the girls would go to extreme, even degrading lengths to get attention.

page 61.

     The girls had a separate bath to which the boys were not admitted although girls were bathed with the boys on the fourth floor.  One poor dear, how I loved them, leaped naked into the window frame on the third floor and shouted to us on the playground:  ‘Hey boys, look at me, I’m naked.’  Indeed she was, but too small a child to be stimulating.

     I once stood and stared up the billowed legs of the shorts of a panty-less girl who sat spread legged playing jacks with her friend.  A girl pointed out to her that I was staring at her.  She said:  ‘I don’t care whether he is staring at me so long as he pays attention to me.’  I didn’t redeem the pledge of my stare; I was too preoccupied with my own problems.

     Thus we all tore at each other.  I could have exerted myself and taken command of the children but I had no desire to devote my existence to their existence.  To command is merely to be a slave of the slaves.  I had no desire for political power.  I desired repose.  The other boys desired neither repose nor political power nor would they let each other alone.  I was being driven mad by the constant bickering  until I found a refuge which none other would enter, neither boy nor girl.  I discovered the place quite by accident.

     We boys were tearing at each other like rats in a cage.  The dilemma was to subordinate them, which I did not want to do, a king of fools is a fool himself, or evade them.  The bickering developed into a chase as I attempted to flee, not so much my tormentors, as the torment.  I raced the length of the hallway on the second floor, throwing out me right arm I seized the corner and whirled around the angle of the walls, taking a few more steps I passed a doorway and threw myself into a couch in the library.

page 62.

     As simple a thing as it may appear, yet I was an instructor to the other boys who had not yet learned to turn a corner sharply by grasping the angle of the wall.  Thus I was seated and wonderingly gazing at the shelves of books before the other boys burst into the sanctum.  Their momentum carried them to the far end of the library.  There, as they realized where they were, a look closely resembling fear played around their eyes.  The primitive nature of man fears books and learning as an alien intrusion.  Their lips silently voiced:  ‘What in the hell is this?’ as the truth dawned on them.  The effort, order and discipline represented by the books repelled them.  Education meant change.  Their mean little souls rebelled against the implied alteration of their natures.

     I watched in amazement.  The books were as garlic to vampires.  The books stood out like so many crosses, forcing those little vampires back into the night.  Turning a look of ineffable disgust on me, their minds subsided into quietude and they filed out of the library leaving me to myself.  Their attitute toward me changed.  I was considered an outsider among the outsiders.  I took up my abode in the library.

     In the years around the turn of the twentieth century the Jews requested and obtained the ambassadorship to Constantinople as their special prerogative from the United States government.  From that location they could keep an eye on their settlements in Zion as well as have a listening post on Russia, Central and Eastern Europe and the Middle East.  As it happened the library functioned in the same way for me in the Orphanage.  It was located across the hall from the offices.  The administrators and staff discussed all problems openly and loudly enough for me to overhear.  They either were unaware that I was there or like all adults figured that I was too young to understand English.  Associated with the inmates, listening in the library I became the most informed and knowledgeable person in the orphanage.

     I was sitting there looking at the pictures in the Oz books,  of which we had a complete set in duplicate, when the old administrator left and the new administrator arrived.  John H. ‘Jack’ Darwen, his wife Angela, and their two sons, Cappy and Skippy.  They arrived about two months after I had and they left four months before I did.  The Old Master Fiddler had arrived.

     Jack and Angela Darwen were both about thirty-six.  Jack Darwen was a stocky five foot nine.  He had developed an air of competence belied by the facts.  Most people accepted him at face value as a competent man of authority.  Even at the Children’s Home Darwen had a position of importance to a certain class of people.  I say even at the Children’s Home because the Home was at the bottom of the ladder; not on an ascending but a descending scale.  The place was not the first stop on the ladder up but the last stop on the ladder down.  The Darwens were definitely declasse.  I marveled that they did not seem to realize it.

     They were the sons of English immigrants.  Their main claim to fame was that their parents had arrived as small children in 1879 on the Broomielaw with Robert Louis Stevenson.  Darwen’s grandparents and parents before him had been petty thieves, cheats and embezzlers.  They operated on the fringe of the law, transgressing it, but always in the way a to avoid its punishment.  In the English sense of the word they were fiddlers.  They fiddled around the law but avoided overt criminal acts.  His grandparents and parents before him had had overweening pride in their cleverness.  Like carnival people they considered themselves wise and the rest of mankind stupid.  Although the family had barely subsisted the reality of their situation in no way impinged upon their notion of themselves.  To their minds it was all luck.  The only difference between themselves and John D. Rockefeller, Henry Ford or Thomas Edison was luck.  Those fellows just kind of fell into it while the Darwens fell out of it.

     Jack Darwen had a stroke of luck when he married his wife, Angela.  She had been a couple social steps above him.  Because of her he had been given a couple of chances he wouldn’t have gotten.  He abused both those chances.  His pilfering and manipulations of opportunities to his advantage and against the advantage of his employers had caught up with him.  It took longer on his first opportunity, shorter on his second.  His third opportunity, if such a job as administrator of the Children’s Home can be so described, at the Orphanage was to be the shortest.

page 65.

     As disreputable as Jack was Angela overcame his shortcomings with her demeanor.  She was a model of the proper Englishwoman.  At five nine she was as tall as her husband.  At one hundred thirty pounds she was considerably more slender.  Child bearing had not ruined the countour of stomach, she was still flat.  She wore print dresses with fitted bodices, belted, with a straight skirt, high heels and nylons always.  She was a woman who took pride in being a woman.

     Her official stance was straight back, heels together, with her hands held before her hips, thumbs and forefingers together.  It had the effect of forming a double delta; sort of a portal before the entry.  I have always wondered what repressed sexuality it signified, or perhaps, it wasn’t repressed at all.

     It was love at first sight for me.  She was a marvelous woman.  My ideal of womanhood is based on her.  Yet, while I can understand that a whim of fate put her within the clutches of Jack Darwen, I cannot understand what fault of character kept her there.

     The two sons, Cappy, four years older than I and Skippy, two years older were smaller exact images of their father; not only in appearance but walk, posture and talk.  They emulated their father and he basked in their emulation.  Like the Old Master Fiddler, they were incipient fiddlers.  Their destiny was written on his brow.

pp. 66 and 67.

3.

      Under the control of Jack Darwen were the staff house mothers.  These women were an interesting lot.  The work at the Orphanage was so undesirable that in many cases the authorities had to go begging.  The inmates were a tough lot of little kids.  As much as we tormented each other it may be guessed how we treated the staff.  There was actually a tacit agreement not to go to far for fear that the women to take care of us couldn’t be found.  It is impossible for me to guess how wild and undisciplined we may have been compared to parented kids.  If the turnover in house mothers was any indication we must have been terrors.  They didn’t stay.

     Most stayed for a bit and were never seen again; some came and went several times.  Generally speaking these women were as emotionally disturbed as we were, but then I have already dubbed the Home, The House Of The Distraught.

page 68.

     Almost every Monday the question was would we have a new house mother or would the old ones last another week?  There were two who did the longest stretches and returned several times.  They were both remarkable women.  Mrs. Stout was much beloved.  She, as her name implied, was a large corpulent merry woman.  She was always sympathetic.  Being a large hearted woman her heart could only stand so much of our misery before she was overwhelmed and left again.  The Orphanage was always a happier and brighter place when she was there.  She was the mother of two boys of her own.  Her husband was a mean hateful person who objected to her working with us pariahs although he had enough benefits from her employment.

     The other woman, Mrs. Miller, was a constant source of amusement.  She had bright red hair, undoubtedly dyed.  She used the Home as a retreat within which she recuperated from her adventures on the outside.  Properly rested and recruited, she received wages, room and board, she made another sortie out into the world.

     Underneath a hardbitten exterior she had, or I thought she had, or she wanted to have but couldn’t find, a loving heart.

     Her problem was men.  She didn’t have any understanding of we little boys and I’m sure she had no understanding of men.  I’m only guessing but I imagine that she offered her heart upon a platter, her body upon the bed (in any position), and her money in her hand.  These gifts were promptly devoured and the remains discarded.  She then returned to we little men of the Children’s Home.

page 69.

     We received the effects of her frustrations, but in such a covertly loving way that if not actually enjoyable were forgivable.  Mrs. Miller left her indelible impression on me.  I became constipated as a psycho-somatic reaction to my traumas.  Even at that age experience had taught me to keep things to myself.  Still, I complained to Mrs. Miller that I was constipated.

     Now Mrs. Miller didn’t exactly keep a tight rein on her emotions.  She gave free vent to her attitudes.  I knew the pain of Mrs. Miller more than other people; it was writ large on her face.  She now bellowed with what seemed like delight:  ‘Ohh, you’re constipated are you?’  She screamed out with undisguised glee.  ‘Well, I know what to do about that.’

     There was something in the way she said it that made my brow furrow and made me want to retract my words; but those arrows once shot fall to earth where they may.

     She actually grabbed me by the collar.  Half dragged and half running I was staggered up to the dispensary on the third floor adjacent to the girl’s dorm.  My squeamishness had now turned to wide open apprehension.  I was half ordered to climb on the gurney and half thrown on it.

    She called in three girls who she seated against the wall.  I demanded that they leave but Mrs. Miller thought it better that they observe.

     ‘All right, girls.’  Mrs. Miller announced in stentorian tones,  ‘Im going to teach you how men are going to treat you.’

page 70.

     There was something in her voice that made my constipation cease to bother me at that time.  I rolled over to drop off the gurney.  Mrs. Miller with the speed of a demon in possession grabbed me and slammed me back down on the gurney.

     ‘I’m going to cure you of your constipation.’  She shouted at the back of my head in frenzied tones.  Before I knew it my pants were around me knees.  She was waving the enema wand in crazy circles above her head.

     ‘All right girls, this is what men are going to do to you, so give it to them whenever you get the chance.’

     I didn’t know exactly what men did to women or what bizarre sexual practices Mrs. Miller could be talked into but, boy, I didn’t want to find out either.  I started yelling and I squirming but Mrs. Miller had her left hand in the small of my back leaning on me with all the strength of her frenzy.  The three girls sat against the wall mouths agape, trembling at the terror of the unknown.

     Mrs. Miller rearing over me like some deranged Valkyrie swooped the phallus down into my rectum emitting a blood curdling cackling laugh, screaming at the girls in pleasured tones of ecstatic vengeance:  ‘That’s all that men are girls.’  The she plunged the enema wand in and out of my rectum to emphasize each word:  ‘Liars (plunge), sneaks (plunge), cheats (plunge) and thieves (plunge.’  I don’t know whether those girls got the message but I sure as hell did.  I’ve found that her evaluation of men (and mankind, I might add) is pretty much true too.  It’s too bad Mrs. Miller couldn’t have found some other way to instill her hard won knowledge.

page 71.

     Having filled me with water, she told me to get on the toilet.  I protested that I didn’t want to do that in front of the girls.

     ‘Well, then make a fool of yourself on the gurney.  Stand back, girls, when he lets go it’ll be bigger than Spindletop.’  She bellowed in a most unladylike way, laughing uproariously, even demonically.

     Now I was really angry but truly in a powerless postion.

     ‘Well, are we still constipated? Do we want more of the same?  Did we like it?’  She shouted out, laughing that hoarse screaming demonic laugh.

     I knew who she was and I let her know.  ‘No.  I don’t want you either.’  I spat out pulling up my pants and running for the door.  I wonder how many times Mrs. Miller experienced the exact rejection.

     The three girls sat there in a stunned silence as I whizzed past.  I could hear Mrs. Miller still laughing demonically as I ran down the hall zipping up my fly.  How many times had she seen men do that before.

     In that brief encounter Mrs. Miller acted out her whole life history.  Incapable of dealing with men she let them abuse her sensibilities.  After that I felt a deep sympathy for Mrs. Miller.  I didn’t like her any better but I could feel her pain.  I respected her for all that.  I didn’t go to her with another complaint however.

page 72.

     You may say:  ‘How horrible.  It must have had a terrible effect on you.’

     It was unpleasant.  I wouldn’t have volunteered but she was a woman for all that.  I didn’t hate her.  I didn’t feel humiliated.  In its perverse way it was sex between a man and a woman.  Women don’t make men homosexuals, men do.

     Still, Mrs. Miller contributed to my mental turmoil.  Her message that men were liars, sneaks, cheats  and thieves was graven on a cliff face in my soul.  Shall we say, it was a lesson.  Life was full of little lessons in those days.  I didn’t always learn what I was intended to but I saw and interpreted with my own unguided intelligence.  In a way I was a free man.

     I am sure that I had more than one bath in the two years I was incarcerated.  I can only remember one.  Perhaps they have all combined into one.  Perhaps also I avoided them whenever I could and took sponge baths from the sink.  I don’t know.  I only know the one I remember was a horrible experience.  It wasn’t that the house mothers didn’t try.  But imagine eighty boys and from six to ten years old plus a couple dozen girls in a Saturday night bath.  There were only three tubs.  One stood on stilts so the small children could be washed by the house mothers without bending over.  The other two were on the floor.  The water was changed infrequently if at all.  Boy, did I hang back, did I do my best to avoid that slippery, messy, dirty, dangerous pandemonium.  What insanity!  I would not stand for it.

     The house mothers had to lift the smaller children above their heads to get them into the high  tub; the same to get them out.  Dry bodies going in; wet soapy bodies coming out.  As I stood by the door watching this bedlam, a house mother hoisted a child out of the tub, lost her grip and sent him crashing to the floor on his head with a sickening thud.  They dried him off and sent him on his way.  Two women, eighty or more kids, how could they be held responsible?

page 73.

     I must have sponge bathed.

     There was remarkably little or no actual brutality committed against us; at least none that I witnessed or that reached my ears.  I was also outside the mainstream.  Mr. Darwen did have a sadistic streak which he may have indulged without my knowledge.

     I don’t know what we had done, perhaps made too much noise after lights out.  Mr. Darwen decided we needed punishing.  There were about twenty five of us involved.  We were compelled to line up in Jack Darwen’s bedroom while he stood at the door leading into the boy’s dorm.  Angela Darwen stood beside him double delta fashion.  Cappy and Skippy stood opposite their father laughing and applauding at a good hit and fall.  I always knew enough not to be the first in line.

     What Darwen did was totally unnecessary.  Jack Darwen was a fairly big man.  Swinging with all his might with his open hand he hit the first boy in the back of the head.  The force was great enough to lift the boy off his feet and literally knock him on his face.  The next boy stepped up and was dealt with in the same way.  I had been in the middle of the line but I now began edging toward the end.  I thought it better to let him wear down before I stepped up.

     The sound of the smack was terrifying.  Oddly enough as I pushed back the other boys crowded up.

page 74.

     The sound of four or five howling boys was more disconcerting still.  From the back of the line I could see that Darwen wasn’t going to last.  I was also determined that he should stop hitting the boys in the head.  I directed my efforts at Angela Darwen yelling out:  ‘Not on the head, Mrs. Darwen,  not on the head.  Hit us on the behind.’  Jack Darwen had used up about twelve boys and was beginning to breath heavily from the exertion and excitement.  It was possible that someone could get hurt.

     I redoubled my efforts to persuade Mrs. Darwen.  Some of the remaining boys finally caught on  and started the same chant.  I don’t really know whether Angela Darwen had a soft spot in her heart for me or not but it seemed like she was eyeing me while she placed her hand on Jack Darwen’s considerable bicep and urged him to not hit on the head but on the fanny.

     About five or six boys before me he switched.  I had solved one problem but another remained.  On the other side of Jack Darwen’s bedroom door were a bunch of guys who had taken a much harder blow that I was going to take.  I won’t say I was smiling inwardly.  How stupid do you have to be to line up first for punishment.  They deserved to be hit for stupidity alone.  I didn’t like them anyway.

     By comparison I knew I wasn’t going to be hurt.  Besides Darwen had to bend down to hit you on the fanny.  I was twenty-fifth; the guy was exhausted.  First in line for punishment!  I was actually laughing inside.  Nevertheless I was now facing a hostile crowd who had taken a harder hit than me.  I prepared a shout of pain and threw myself down in a prat fall.  I don’t know why I tried to gratify those guys by complaining about how much it hurt.  They quite correctly didn’t believe me.  Darwen shut the door into this bedroom.  A bunch of the inmates gathered around me.  I didn’t see who hit me but I took a punch in the solar plexus that knocked the wind out of me.  I lay gasping on the floor which satisified them.  Stupid boys.  A new round of torment began.  I got them back too.   When will they ever learn.

page 75.

     That was the first indication I had of Jack Warden’s perfidy.  I would next witness his petty criminal mind in the library.  I sat in the library nearly every day.  The books all came from donations.  Members of the community were fairly generous to the Orphanage.  The library was fairly large, I would guess fifteen by thirty feet.  Except for the window in the front wall facing the street the walls were lined with shelves from floor to ceiling.  Thus several thousand volumes were all children’s and juvenile books.  Quite a substantial library of its kind.  Thus as an orphan I, as it were, owned the most extensive collection of children’s literature in the city, perhaps the State.  I doubt that even the public library had as extensive a collection.  these books were all literary, no picture books.

     Everything of importance was there, much of it in first editions.  As I mentioned two complete Oz collections, Dr. Dolittle, Raggedy And and Andy, the complete Hardy Boys, Robert Stevenson.  And I was the only one who read any of it, ever.  I spend hours reading spines, memorizing titles and authors.  In an odd perversion of reality I had greater opportunity for and acquired a greater knowledge than the parented kids.  They, in their turn, with all their advantages never realized that I had advantages so far beyond their resources as to reverse roles and leave them the impoverished ones.  Likewise we at the Home were treated to more entertainment from circuses to ballets than even the richest kids saw.  Strange but true.  Life is full of paradoxes.

page 76.

     It was thus I acquired an extensive knowledge of literature.  I spent several weeks doing nothing but examining the spines of the volumes.  Quite naturally I was, I won’t say spied on, but observed by Darwen and the office staff.  My presence in the library was so singular that it aroused their curiosity.  They, wisely I think, declined to discuss it with me.  They of course speculated on what I was doing as they never saw me reading the books.  They did voice their speculations loudly enough for me to overhear and resent them.  I didn’t have to do things as they would have.

     Having created a house of mystery in my mind, I began to examine the volumes individually; that is, I found books with illustrations and looked at the pictures and turned the pages.  In ths manner I found the virtues of the Oz series.  I was specially entranced by the Flying Horse of Oz.

     I was in the process of actually reading this volume, with especial and lingering interest devoted to the pictures, when Jack Darwen and a strange fellow burst into my sanctuary.  Jack Darwen had a particularly vulgar persona that clashed with my library.  The Home had received several large accessions of books in the previous weeks that left the library bulging; in fact, the books were still in boxes on the floor.  This fact probably gave the old Master Fiddler the idea that there was ‘gold’ in that thar library.

page 77.

     He had already developed into an old clothes dealer.  Clothing was donated to the Home in a steadier stream than books.  Now this clothing was not necessarity cheap clothing.  The lesser affluent do not give away clothing.  They wear it out.  Mostly the affluent donate clothing.  They often times spend a great deal on their offspring.  Thus the cream of the good quality clothing was skimmed off by the Old Master Fiddler to augment his meager, though still undeserved, income.  Mrs. Stout and the other house mothers skimmed the next best.  We inmates were left with the skimmed milk, all the cream was gone.

     The Old Master Fiddler, seeing the boxes of books sitting on the floor, suddenly realized that they were a potential source of profit.  The gentleman with him was a used book dealer who had found the mother lode.  Used book dealers only want the cream.  By some mysterious process not connected with knowledge I had alread divined the best books.  The book dealer had discovered that the same books were desirable from his catalogues.  These were my books; I didn’t mind when the first batch left including one of the sets of the Oz books, there were still plenty left.

page 78.

     For the first two or three raids the book dealer was cautious, not completely trusting the Old Master Fiddler.  Then he became bold.  I noticed with alarm that some of the best books, ones that I intended to read, began to disappear.  I remonstrated with The Fiddler, thinking perhaps, knowing that in his mind he didn’t think I knew which were the good books, not to take them.  He looked at me incredulously, fearing possible retribution if I should somehow tell; he slacked off for a little.

     Then, what to my wondering eyes should happen but these two scurvy fellows, Darwen and the book dealer, snatched up the remaining set of Oz books.  I protested.  They persisted.  I requested that at least they leave the Flying Horse Of oz.  the Fiddler made some uncomplimentary remarks and snatched the Flying Horse out of my hands thrusting it into the box.  He shouldn’t have done that.  He gave me another incredulous look, muttered something I didn’t quite catch and continued in his robbery of my books.  He shouldn’t have done that.  He may have thought I was harmless and inconsequential but if he had been attentive while attending church he would have known that God performs his acts in mysterious ways and chooses vessels in a strange manner.

     The library was a desert with the good books gone.

page 79.

4.

      The Children’s Home was not a pleasant place, still, whoever worried about us continually sought ways and means to entertain us.  We had magic shows; a child prodigy of the boogie woogie piano, Sugar Chile Robinson, gave us a command performance.  God only knows what training they gave him to keep him smiling like that.  I did notice however that his vision didn’t get any further than the end of his nose.

     There was a Catholic orphanage a few blocks down Nelson St.  The Catholics also sought diversion for their inmates.  One Saturday we were taken down there to see some wonder horse who had performed miracles in the Pacific War in Borneo or some such jungle location.  I never understood what this horse was doing in the Pacific or why.  A technicolor movie was made about the horse’s exploits which I saw but I still didn’t understand.

page 80.

     The horse was brought to the Catholic Orphanage and performed his stunts in their playground.  I cared little about the stupid horse, but I was interested in the contrast between the Municipal Orphanage and the Catholic Home.  Ours was a much freer existence.  We went to the public school and had only a chain link fence around the playgrund.  We were also free to come and go more or less as we pleased.

     The Catholic orphans in contrast were virtual prisoners.  They were never allowed outside the walls.  They received their school intstruction from Nuns.  Rather than a chain link frence, a high, perhaps ten foot brick wall, surmounted by broken glass, surrounded their playground.  The playground itself was concrete with a big steel grate for a drain in the middle.  The Nuns and Priests stood along the walls with admonitory expressions; just like it was possible to do something.

     We were wild and free looking while the Catholic inmates were forlorn and oppressed looking.  My own mental distress, which I took seriously, appeared magnified in the faces of the Catholics.

     I filed out thoughtfully after the wonder horse had clopped out his age with his hoof for the last time.  The wonder horse began our relationship with the Catholic orphanage.  The Catholics rented ‘wholesome’ movies, an oxymoron if their ever was one, to show the inmates.  We would come back at their invitation to sit through them.

     Among us was a boy called Bertie Hambaugh.  Oddly enough there were few of us who were genuine orphans.  A great many had one parent and many had two parents.  Bertie had both.  They apparently were not of this world.  Bertie was a reprehensible person.  Even at that age I  knew he was not of a sound mind.  I have called the Children’s Home the House Of The Distraught, Bertie was crazy.  He was dishonest, a liar, a cheat, a thief.  He played with matches.  None of that made him a bad guy.  He had every reason to turn sour.

     However his parents may have justified themselves they placed him first in the Catholic home with its intramural schooling, then in the Municipal Orphanage with its public schooling, bact to the Catholic home and then back to us, then his parents took him to their house and another school.  All this movement was done in one year.  Horror comes in many forms; children cannot survive such treatment.

     Bertie had a special horror of the Catholic home.  The place was a real concentration camp.  The only difference between it and Dachau was that the inmates weren’t gassed.  Bertie had every reason to loath it.  Nevertheless circumstances beyond his control had turned Bertie Hambaugh into a loathsome person.  I was glad to see him go the last time and I hoped he would not come back.

     A few years later after I had been farmed out to the Wardens I read in the paper of a terrible fire.  A boy had locked all the doors, murdered his parents and set fire to the house with he and his two siblings in it.  That boy was Bertie Hambaugh.  Too bad he had to kill himself.  When I pointed out the story to the Wardens they gave me a long lingering look that I couldn’t understand.

page 82

     Bertie was with the Catholics when we were gathered up, marched out to Nelson St. and began the trek to the Catholic home to see ‘Miracle On Forty-Second Street’, a terrifically ‘uplifting’ if stupid movie.  The Catholic kids were subjected to such ‘entertainment’ remorselessly.

     We marched along, in good order actually strung out for a block and a half.  I naturally brought up the rear roaming up and down the flanks.  We filed into the tomb.  The Catholics apparently tried to save money on electricity for the place was ill lighted.  We strung out up to the third floor where the room they used as a theatre was.  We sat under the stern and watchful eyes of the Priest and Nuns  who took their place along the walls.

     Bertie latched onto me and started excitedly explaining how things were done there.  He was under the jurisdiction of the Nuns, so they sat him down somewhere else in the room to silence him.  He was in high excitement and kept bobbing up and down trying to get some message to me.  He was finally removed.

     I was standing and pacing the back of the room disgusted with the movie.  A Priest tapped me hard on the shoulder blade.  It hurt, I turned in anger.  With a stolid face he disdainfully flicked a finger at me indicating I should sit down.  I didn’t like his style and was about to tell him so when one of the house mothers stepped over and explained as politely as she could.  I sat down.

page 83.

     The ordeal of the movie was over.  I hung back and tried to blend into the woodwork.  I was successful.  Everyone was gone.  I roamed the halls alone.  Unlike our place that was fairly open, this place was a succession of high and closed doors.  Our place was dismal, this place was grim.

     One of the doors opened to reveal a bunch of kids standing in it.  They frantically waved me over.  I stepped over.

     ‘Hey, come in here with us.  We’re doing it.’  They meant having sex.

     ‘They torment us but we get back at them by doing it.’

     Unable to retaliate they sought vengeance by hurting themselves, something like the boy who goes to prison to teach everyone a lesson.  I felt commiseration for them.  I might have joined them but I feared I might not be able to get out again.  Also a Nun spotted me and descended on me like the woman with a stick in her hand on the label of Old Dutch Cleanser.

     I could stand up to her and I did.  I’m sure it was her intent to thrash me.

     ‘What are doing out of your room, you little demon.’

     I was surprised she didn’t recognize me as not being one of her charges.

     ‘You can’t touch me!’  I bellowed, hoping to avenge the inmates in some little way.  ‘I don’t live here, I live at the Municipal Orphanage.’

     ‘Well then you get out of here right now or I’ll thrash you anyway.  You children there, get back in your room and close that door.’

page 84.

     I raced down the stairs and out into the dark street.  I had been given food for thought as I walked up Nelson to the Home.  I appreciated the freedom to be by myself on my own.

page 85.

     5.

 

     I was also given food for thought one day when a couple who wished to adopt a child came to examine the candidates.  It was the custom to send the prospective adoptees into the playground where as they milled around the adopters could examine them.  Certainly from the adopters point of view the precedure had relevance.  The adopter could observe the children’s form and motion, posture and demeanor, which believe me are important indicators of the child’s state of mind.

     The administrators sent we orphans out into the yard.  Then the house mother told me to go out and join them.  I looked at her blankly.  I hadn’t seen my mother since my admission but then I had never seen her at the Johnson’s, and not more than once or twice at the Smith’s.  I feared that she had abandoned me but it wasn’t clear to me that she had.  I protested that I wasn’t an orphan, that I had a mother.  The house mother gently insisted, pushed me out the door.

page 86.

     Once outside I intruded into the formation of orphans waiting with countenances reflecting hope and terror.  There were about thirty of us out there.  As I walked into their midst the amorphous mass began some mysterious process of shifting and slid about to assume a new order which allowed for me.  I didn’t know why I was there so I stood bold and fearless.  The others milled and wheeled nervously.

     I had been out there some few minutes, the others longer, when the adopting couple arrived.  The woman was quite clearly frantic to have a child.  The man clearly showed his distaste and contempt for us.  It was quite obvious that the woman had begged and pleaded with him to allow her to adopt.  His arrogant attitude clearly showed his intention to obstruct her efforts.  I hated him instantly and with good reason.

     I was at that time a platinum blond.  I was however only several months from a very rapid change to brown.  The woman too was blond.  She was a nice looking woman, well dressed in a conservative way.  Her husband wore a grey plaid suit, he was carrying  the jacket.  They were obviously affluent and on the way up.  Still the woman’s husband had an arrogant unintellectual look.  Something told me I had a better library in my head than they had in their house.

     In order for them to have made an intelligent decision they would have had to have mixed with us for hours and interviewed their choices extensively.  They, or rather, she expected to walk into the yard and lead a child out like a puppy.

page 87.

     In her nervous excitement she rushed out into our midst.  I don’t know whether it was prearranged or whether she was merely attracted to the color of my hair and my bold, relaxed stance.  She would have taken me on the spot.  I might have gone with her.  As she bent down to talk to me I spied the house mothers watching expectantly from the doors and windows.  Over her shoulder I spied her husband who came up a few paces behind her.  His revulsion at the prospect of introducing me, or rather, any of us, into his household molded his features and was reflected in his apprehensive stance.  I might enter his household but it was clear that the man would torment me to death.  There was an unwarranted air of superiority about the man that revolted me.  One could see that he didn’t have anything going for him but his clothes.  I had already made my decision about him.

     His wife was kneeling before me and saying:  ‘Would you like to go home with me and be my little boy?’  My eye was fixed on her husband.  She looked over her shoulder at him then turned back to me.  ‘Hmm.  Would you like to be my little boy?’

     It was apparent to me then, if not transparently clear, that I had been irrevocably abandoned.  I had a choice to go with this woman and take a chance on her husband and probably have a comfortable childhood, or tolerate my current wretched existence.  I shot another penetrating glance at him and saw reluctance if not rejection in his eyes.  There was no room in his life for another man’s child.

page 88.

     I looked at her and said coldly:  ‘I can’t.  I already have a mother.’  The woman burst into tears and rushed from the yard followed by her husband who cast what I can only describe as a grateful look over his shoulder at me.  I returned his clance with a contemptuous hateful glare.  I knew I was a better man than he.  My experience had placed me years beyond him in perceptive abilities.  He wouldn’t have been able to keep up with me.

     The others stared in disbelief.  I had rejected their dream, their fantasy.  Their crushed hopes turned into a lingering resentment against me.  Still, I had rather be crushed, abandoned and forgotten than submit to that man’s cold tolerance.  Orphans have their own gods.

     As gods go, the repirth of the Savior gave the Old Master Fiddler an opportunity to demonstrate his skill.  I was sitting in my library as Easter was coming around looking at the spot where the Flying Horse of Oz had been, when I overheard a conversation between Jack Darwen and his two apprentice fiddlers, Cappy and Skippy.  Cappy and Skippy- here was an incompetent, inept man in his last job before falling out of society into a quasi-criminal existence and he calls his kids Captain and Skipper.  What fantasy, what delusion.  He had nothing to teach them that would make them leaders.  He had no example to set them that would put them on the path to success.  As I listened he was telling them how to take advantage of the unfortunate wretched inmates of the Orphanage.  Play a refrain of that lugubrious ‘Fanfare For The Common Man’ for him.

page 89.

     A gala Easter egg hunt and festive Easter dinner had been planned for us.  The Easter egg hunt was to be held in the front yard of the Home which was capacious and nicely landscaped.  Cappy and Skippy should not even have been allowed to participate.  They weren’t even inmates and besides Cappy was thirteen and Skippy eleven.  Inmates were farmed out to foster homes at ten.  The reason was that the fear of boys at puberty or near puberty mixing with six, seven and eight year olds would lead to fagging and homosexuality.  In those day homosexuality was not attributed to chemical changes in the brain or genetics but to the sex drive.  Of course puberty might be accompanied with chemical changes in the brain  but homosexuality is probably more directly related to sex drive coupled with opportunity.

     But Cappy and Skippy were older than any of us.  Guys like Jack Darwen believe that they are smarter and more clever than anyone else in the world.  Their arrogance is matched only by their contempt for their fellows.  The Old Master Fiddler had been twice fired for dishonesty.  I would get him again soon.  But his protective denial refused to let him see that he had failed precisely because his lack of cleverness had been so obvious.  The world was smarter than he.  Still he could point to the books and clothing he was pilfering and nobody knew.  No one but the whole children’s home.  Now he was instructing his boys how to fiddle us orphans.

     He was explaining to them very carefully where the eggs were to be placed.  I listened attentively.  He also explained to them how many eggs he believed that would be necessary for them to take first and second place.  There were to be three prize Easter baskets for the top three finishers.  Those baskets turned out to be mighty fine prizes by our, or any other, standard.  When they had the requisite number of eggs they were to stop.  Just as this hunt was rigged so are all hunts, drawings and lotteries.  The winners are already determined.  I never willingly participated in such games gain.

Page 90.

     I had, as Bessie Smith said, my own.  None of the others at the Home did.  They needed things like the Easter egg hunt.  Unfortunately, Jack Darwen had an element of truth in his uncharitable assessment of mankind, these kids were sheep waiting to be fleeced.  A wise shepherd cares for his flock; the Old Master Fiddler was not a wise shepherd and that is why he was always caught with the fleece in his hand.

     Easter morning broke wet and cloudy.  This did not dampen the ardor of the inmates.  They were eager and ready.  I had the egg locations memorized too and I was prepared to beat out Cappy and Skippy when what do you suppose the Old Master Fiddler did?  He gave Cappy and Skippy a head start.  I gritted my teeth.  Cappy and Skippy walked up to where the two largest caches were placed with an air of self-assurance that betrayed their game.  Cappy was much bigger than the rest of us; for our purposes he was almost an adult.  He strolled over reached down looking back at his father who snorted with pleasure, gave him a wink and said:  ‘Well, look what I found.’  He was just one lucky guy.

page 91.

     It was only then that we inmates were released.  I ran to two of the other locations Darwen had named and retrieved nine eggs.  I found four more.  I knew that I was probably therefore in third place.  I slowed my search and looked over at the Darwens.  They were looking on with vast amusement.  Their expression said:  ‘Look at the little fools scramble and we’ve already won.’

     Disgust welled up in me.  I too knew contempt.  I walked up to Cappy and offered him an egg.  ‘Here Cappy, do you need another egg?’  I said as sarcastically as possible.  Secure in his self-conceit Cappy failed to note the sarcasm.  ‘Sure, Gresham, thanks.’  He actually took it.  As he cracked it to eat he pursed his lips and gave a quizzical look at this father as if to say:  ‘We’re so smart and they’re so simple.  They deserve to be cheated, don’t you think?  Ha. Ha.’

     His father gave him a wrinkled smile, shrugged and said softly:  ‘Cattle fit only to be led to the slaughter.’

     With my egg Cappy still finished first and without it I still finished third.  But, I said to myself, I still should have finished first.

     The Easter baskets for first and second places were really magnificent.  I couldn’t reconcile myself to seeing both of them going into the Darwen’s quarters.  Angry as I had ever been I began to agitate among the inmates.  I wanted to make some kind of protest.  But they were only sheep waiting to be sheared, cattle fit only to be led to the slaughter.  I had set myself an impossible task, they acquiesced in the their fate.  Well they knew who they were, not only at the Orphanage but at Longfellow School.

pp. 92-93.

     I had two lives as did all we inmates.  We had our little micro society of the Children’s Home and we mingled with the outside world, the world of the parented children at Longfellow, for the Home was in the Longfellow district.  Longfellow district was adjacent to the Emerson District.  Longfellow was next on the South, thus the families of the Hirshes and Websters with their allies straddled the lines of the two districts.  I was vulnerable to David Hirsh both at the Home and Longfellow although Hirsh’s action must necessarily be vicariously enjoyed as neither he nor Michael could be present at either the Home or the School.

     My entrance into the Orphanage had not only placed me completely in Hirsh’s power but advantageously to his interest dropped me into the lowest social stratum in society.  American society is organized on racial lines rather than class lines.  The results are the same.  Thus all Whites are advantaged and all Negroes, for instance, are disadvantaged, regardless of actual circumstances.  All Jews are persecuted and all gois are persecutors regardless of actualities.  If we had been Blacks, Jewish, Japanese or whatever we could have appealed to the benevolence of the whole community for redress as a political entity.  The Blacks or Jews or Japanese would have put up a universal cry of injustice and sympathetic members of the unaffected groups would have rallied to their support.

     Such was not the case with us, we were White Judaeo-Christians within our own unsympathetic society.  We were unprotected, outside the law.  Our society could do what they would to us and we had no appeal, or anyone to appeal for us.  Within the classroom we were discriminated against as rigorously if not more so than the Blacks, who were just above us on the social scale.

     At Emerson the social gradation had been Eloy and Morlocks- betters and inferiors.  At Longfellow the Eloy and Morlocks still existed but we of the Children’s Home became a class of pariahs- White Niggers.  Our situation was somewhat analogous here in free America to the Jews of Nazi Germany.  This is no joke nor an exaggeration as my story will show.

     Like the Blacks we were not allowed to excel academically.  Unlike the Jews we had no social structure to retreat into that would honor our abilities and push us in the larger society.  We were alone and we ourselves eschewed solidarity.  Like Blacks they would say that we were naturally intellectually inferior.  They said so for the same reason, to allow free play would have meant that some Blacks and some of us would have surpassed their own giving the lie to their notion.  For either us or Blacks to excel over them would disprove their claim to superiority.  Thus a species of apartheid was practiced on both ourselves and Blacks.  This was in America the land of equality.  The land of moral superiority over South Africa or the old Soviet Union.

     During the times, during the forties and later, since the introduction of Blacks into the United States, there would be those who argued that Blacks did not have the mental capacity to excel intellectually.  Their studies can be based on whatever they choose; the truth is that Blacks were not allowed to excel.  They were not only denied the opportunity but those who persisted against the longest of odds were brutally beaten back.  If they persisted further they might probably be killed outright- lynched.  In a word, they were driven down so hard that their wills were broken.  Hope was denied them.  Their eyes glazed over and they just kept shufflin’ along.

     Shut up with their fellows in their segregated neighborhoods they developed their own mores, which, since they were denied White means and methods, became very individualistic, even outre.  These ways were then ascribed to nature and used to ridicule them.  Their intelligence was depicted as ludicrous.  They were called Shine and Darky.  Laughed at and ridiculed in schools, physically denied opportunity, let alone equality, there was no use trying.  What was the use?

page 96.

     Unable to break the White resistance to their pleas, they accepted their fate, even accepted inferiority, without further murmur.  So the Black nigger, the jigaboo, was created by American Biblical society.

     The same process was turned on we of the Children’s Home.

     The parented children refused to sit with us.  They invariably turned their backs to us, spoke to us over their shoulders.  We were constantly harassed and attacked physically.  Each day was a fight.  It was imperative that we be placed lower than them.  When divisions were made we were invariably in the second or lowest section.  To give the appearance of fairness, as the lawyers say, one of our members mgiht be placed in the first reading or arithmetic section, invariably a girl, but the rest of us had no hope of advancement whether we excelled or not.  Thus we had to rise above the worst rather than be developed by the best.  The parented children were in the first section whether they deserved it or not.

     At practice the parented kids were allowed to taunt us and harass us as we attempted the assignments.  We were made to feel inferior in every way; not least in our attire.  There was no rational excuse for our being dressed so badly.  The clothing donated to the Orphanage was of good if not superior quality.  The clothes we wore had actually cost more than many of the parented classmates.  True, house mothers like Mrs. Stout took some of the best to their children and it’s true that the Old Master Fiddler disposed of the very best for his profit, but our clothes could have fit, they could have been repaired, they could have matched.

page 97.

     The real reason was that we had to appear ludicrous and hence inferior.  Darwen, that small minded petty criminal ass insisted that we appear inferior to his own.  The parents insisted that we appear inferior to our classmates.  The community desired a group at which they could smile, shake their heads in disbelief and feel superior.  Just as Blacks were thought to be naturally inferior so were we White Niggers.  We should therefore wear badges of inferiority to avoid confusion with their own.  Just as the Nazis were making Jews assume the Yellow Star of David to identify them, so we were dressed like clowns.

     The Blacks had their skin to separate them, we were given ill fitting bizarre clothing.  The boys were just returning after having defeated intolerance over seas, or so we were told.

     The gulf between we two groups must have been enormous.  I know we looked different but the neurotic distortion of reality overruled for a time my conscious grasp of the facts.  Our walk, our talk, our bearing, our demeanor displayed the difference.

     David Hirsh, while keeping an eye on me, yes to took time from work to spy on me, as I and my fellows tramped the twelve blocks to school, appreciated the change in my status.  Word was passed to the Eloy of Longfellow and I was given special ostracization and harassment.

     Hirsh also pursued me at the Orphanage as he racked his brains to find ways to discomfort me.  I was already walking around like a clown at his behest but gratification was not enough for him he wanted to injure me.

page 98.

     He was a man prolific in devious ideas.  One day, or rather night, a couple of older boys, fifteen or sixteen, were scheduled to stay overnight.  The story was that they were in between foster homes and needed a place to stay for the night.  They were neither in between foster homes or jobs, they were thugs.  I doubt they had been inside a school for years.  We were scruffy but these guys were as coarse and crude as inner city dropouts.

     I had heard they were in the Home but I had neither seen them or had a desire to.  Lights had been turned out and we were all in bed when some kid a year younger than me crawled over to my bunk and asked me to into the bathroom with him.  I  was incredulous.  Why?  He went on about how these two guys were there and what terrific guys they were.  He insisted and kept on insisting.  Finally to shut him up I said I would go and take a look at them.

     The door to the bathroom was kept closed but the lights were always left on.  We stepped inside and here were these two incredible hoodlums with evil shining in their eyes.  They were waiting for me.  Evil people must wait a long time for a good person to go bad on his own, perhaps forever.  It’s nearly always necessary to give a good person a nudge, to entrap them if you can.  I think it is possible to cheat an honest man but a pure heart cannot be corrupted.

      I was unaware of homosexuality so I was not clear about their purpose.  They were there to penetrate me.  Rape was out of the question as my shouts would surely be heard.  These ugly guys were going to attempt seduction.  the conversation developed into broad hints of penetration which passed me by.  My little cicerone volunteered the suggestion that they show me their way of wiping one’s behind.  This technique consisted of pushing your middle finger through a piece of toilet paper and inserting the finger in the rectum.

     ‘Come on over here and I’ll show you.’  Said one of the cruds.

     We had been making a fair amount of noise.  Who should be on duty that night but Mrs. Miller.  I have no idea how many people were in on this or whether one of my peers meant to do me a disservice by informing on me, who knows, maybe it was just a friend trying to help me.

     Just as  I was about to direct a heated retort at the scum the door burst open with a rampant Mrs. Miller illumined in the door way.

     ‘You boys get out of there.’  She bellowed.  She had a wide leather belt in her hand with the added refinement of the buckle at the loose end.  Mrs. Miller knew how to get petty vengeance on men, she was always ready.  My cicerone bolted.  Some unlucky kid had a bed right in front of the door.  To avoid being smacked it was necessary to jump on him in his bed on the way out.  My cicerone timed it perfectly leaping off the unsuspecing boy as the belt buckle whizzed harmlessly behind him.

     ‘Come on out of there you miserable boys.  I’m not going to have any of that going on while I’m responsible whether I lose my job or not.’

page 100.

End of Clip 2, go to Clip 3