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Category Archives: fiction

God’s Own Singer Of Songs Goes Home

A Short Story

by

R.E. Prindle

 

When Earth’s last picture is painted

And the tubes are twisted and dried,

When the oldest colours have faded,

And the youngest critic has died,

We shall rest, and faith, we shall need it

-Lie down for an aeon or two,

Till the Master of all Good Workmen

Shall put us to work anew.

And those that were good shall be happy;

They shall sit in a golden chair;

They shall splash at a ten league canvas

With brushes of comet’s hair.

They shall find real saints to draw from

-Magdalene, Peter and Paul;

They shall work for an age at a sitting

And never be tired at all!

And only the Master shall praise us,

And only the Master shall blame;

And no one shall work for money,

And no one shall work for fame.

But each for the joy of the working

And each in his separate star

Shall draw the Thing as he sees it

For the God of Things as they are.

  1. Kipling

 

I was on my hands and knees with the paper opened out before me on the floor when I came across a startling news item. Darius Trued had committed suicide. It was July 24, 1949. I remember the date clearly. The news blip said he had blown his head off with his step-father’s shotgun. I was speechless. How could somebody I knew commit suicide? By coincidence we had met in the public library just two weeks before where he told me his story since leaving the Orphanage.

If you remember, Darius was the little boy who had nearly hemorrhaged to death after his tonsil operation. I didn’t mention it then but as a result of ‘having saved his life’ Darius felt an obligation to me and we had to become friends.

He was something over two years younger than me, he was only nine when he tubed it, and so for the first part of my sojourn in the Orphanage he’d been down in the infant’s quarters. This was a very terrible pace; I have no idea what effect it had on his plastic young mind. God only knows what horrors were impressed on him down there. The horrors of the Orphanage were not the sort that you would find that obvious. The place wasn’t exactly like the death camps of Auschwitz or Dachau, there wasn’t killing and beating going on. It was more subtle than that but the effect was the same, if you came out, you came out with a different view of humanity. If you had been given a tour you would probably have said: This is really OK…for them. But not for you.

But we were young and impressionable, we needed positive reinforcement. We needed something to bolster our self-respect. As bad as it was up above in the older boy’s dorm it was a lot worse in the infant’s quarters. I would never go in there so I don’t know how many kids there were, I imagine thirty from the sound of their continual yowling and screaming. There were only two or three women to deal with those thirty infants. They were all demanding attention every minute of the time. It’s not that the women were not of the kindest disposition, it’s not that they didn’t try, but you can only spread one woman so thin. It was impossible to give each child the attention they needed so they just lay around and screamed. Once one got started they all began in sympathy. The cacophony was horrendous and very emotionally disturbing.

After a year of that they sent Darius upstairs with us Big Boys. I must have been nine at the time so Darius was maybe seven, probably sixish. Downstairs they had told Darius that I had saved his life so when he came upstairs the first person he wanted to meet was me.

When a new boy came in it was quite a thing so we were all gathered around to evaluate this new kid. The difference of two years between seven and nine is immense. The housemother came leading this little kid up to me by the hand. He had this big happy grin on his face like I don’t know what he expected. Maybe he was just happy to get out of the infant’s quarters. Maybe he thought I was going to be his big brother, I don’t know, I didn’t even care.

I do know that I didn’t need any little kid hanging on me all the time. I was alone and had withdrawn pretty far into myself. I didn’t want to come out for anybody. I was no longer looking for the ‘human’ touch; I’d had enough of that. I was trying to avoid it.

The woman led this little guy right up to me and introduces me as the guy who saved his life. Give me a break! All I did was open the door to the infirmary, look at all the blood spattered on the walls and went and got help. That wasn’t as easy as it sounds either; it was hard to get their attention. And then they made fun of me like I was always inventing things. I had to endure that humiliation for the little bastard. So now I was saddled with him.

You know…you know…all I knew up to this point were heart-rending stories of tragic situations. Darius’ story wasn’t any exception. I was too young to understand then but I knew something funny was going on. It all came together in later years. You see, the reason that Darius was in the Orphanage was because his mother was a prostitute. She put him in the Orphanage so he would be out of the way.

She hadn’t come around all the time Darius was in the infant’s quarters but she began popping in every couple weeks or so after he came upstairs. She always gave Darius a couple bucks so that between that which Darius was only too willing to share with the guy who ‘saved his life’ and this pop bottle money and whatever else I was able to scrounge we were the financial elite of the Orphanage.

You can feel the guilt building up, can’t you. I took from him and I didn’t quibble.

Now, Darius had a couple problems. He had some sort of skin ailment where his whole left arm from just above the elbow to his finger tips was crusted and thick kind of like sandpaper. I don’t know what it was and it wasn’t his fault. Everyone accused him of being unclean and not washing but that wasn’t true. They all ridiculed him and it was very hard on the kid. What can I say, everyone made fun of me too, everyone made fun of everyone else. I made fun of everyone in self-defense.

I was no slouch at giving insults either. It wasn’t just the Orphanage either; everyone in society is busy tearing the other guy down. I’m afraid I wasn’t very sympathetic which hurt Darius a lot but I had saved his life so he thought we were pals for life.

There wasn’t anyone in the Orphanage that could be called a happy soul. You already know my story there. I was one of the gang. We were all pretty dark but I wasn’t mean and nasty and neither was Darius. Darius expressed his distraction by composing little songs. He had a very sweet voice and could hit and sustain notes, stay in key, carry a tune and all those musical things. I’ve never been able to do those things, as much as I’ve wanted to. That was the only time I’ve ever known envy in my life.

I’m not going to try to reproduce any of his songs although I do remember lines of two or three but they wouldn’t make any sense now and without his plaintive sorrowful voice and despairing gestures the effect wouldn’t be the same. They were all sad songs anyway. The kid could improvise for hours. I don’t know how anybody with such a small vocabulary could express so much in so many different ways.

So, alright, so the kid is God’s own singer of songs and I wasn’t. So, what do I care. On top of my own problems his songs might as well have been hosing me down with acid. How much pain can anyone bear? Fortunately this only lasts for a year before I leave and coincidentally so does he. I went to the Wardens but his mother remarries some monster of a prick, as Darius told me, and takes him out of the Orphanage.

Before she does however she took Darius to this place where she lived and Darius insists that I go along. Why me? What did I ever do to anybody? Saving lives is perilous work, I would have thought twice if I’d known what was going to happen. The place his mother stays is not exactly a whore house. The place was merely the house out of which the women worked. I know what was going on there although I was too young to understand the implications then. It is only much later that I am able to reconstruct it and make sense of it. How much Darius understood of it I can’t say although he never discussed the visit or his mother with me again.

I only learned the nature of the place by accident. As it happened one of these women took a shine to me. She was a real beauty too. She must have been a real sensualist who wanted to induct a young boy like me into the mysteries. She had this beautiful room just filled with this enormous bed. Her colors were blue and white, everything in a becoming disarray; there were mountains of comforters, sheets and pillows. I was thoroughly enthralled. She could have done anything to me she wanted and I wouldn’t have been afraid.

She was leading me into this paradise when Darius’ mom spotted us. She hurried over and broke it up; acted real sanctimonious about it too. Too bad for me; I’m sure I would have been given a new slant on life that I would surely have appreciated. It might even have made a different man of me, so to speak.

Well, the madam, or house-mother, took the woman and Darius’ mom aside in my hearing admonished them. She told them that under no circumstances were men to be allowed in the house. For her thing to work, she said, there had to be an absolute appearance of propriety. The girls would have to have their ‘dates’ pick them up at the door and then do their business elsewhere.

The two women objected that Darius and I were only little boys but the Madam interjected that boys grew into men and no boys or men were allowed. Darius and I were not to be brought back. Darius’ mom wasn’t ready to leave so were sent out in the back yard to play.

You can be sure that the neighbors had a pretty good idea of what was going on so Darius and I were given the cold shoulder, anybody who was outside their house went in. I had had enough of rejection so I was only irritated the more. I took it out on Darius. I could say I wasn’t aware of what I was doing but if I did you would have little reason to believe me as I would you. Of course, we all know what we are doing but it’s not exactly like we willed it. It’s more like we just hoped that it would happen.

We were playing catch. I could hear this ferocious sounding German Shepherd in the yard behind Darius. I managed to throw the ball over the hedge into the nextdoor yard. Naturally it was Darius’ responsibility to retrieve it. He came back with wide open eyes to tell me that a giant ferocious German Shepherd was standing over the ball. Well, this Alsatian was not a meek dog. But just as everybody in the Orphanage was suffering from more hurt than they needed or deserved, the addition to Darius’ store of pain was perilously close to the top. I mean how much more could any of us stand, not that we stopped inflicting it on each other.

Then I really did it to Darius. I betrayed his trust in an unforgiveable way. You know, really, the unkindest cuts of all are those that don’t look like much to anybody else. You’ve got to remember that we all lived in the House of the Distraught, fourth floor.

I had a high school teacher who used to put these maxims on the blackboard. One of them was: When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on. That guy was a homosexual so you know he knew what he was talking about. Well, I was kind of Darius’ knot; I was all there was between his holding on and his losing his grip. So when I failed him he fell.

No big deal really. I mean I lost the end of my rope too. The irony is that there is no place to fall. You just end up standing on your feet but living in a different reality that is inhabited by the same people but who look like other people. Who needs ‘em anyway? But then my reaction may not have the same as Darius’.

Darius and I went out and bought a goldfish and a bowl, his money. Cost a quarter each. We kept them on top of the bookcases down in the library where no one ever went but me, and now Darius. That way nobody would kill the goldfish.

Just as Darius wanted to be my friend more than I wanted to be his I wanted to be friends with the Darwan’s son Skippy more than he wanted to be friends with me. As he was the son of the Orphanage administrator everyone else avoided him and his brother Cappy. The Darwens had no use for me so I was actually toadying up. I could only expect from them what happened.

When you’re at the bottom you, or at least me, will do anything to acquire some respectability. Once again I knew what I was doing but as, on the same level that love is blind, I didn’t care.

I tried to hang around with the younger Darwen, Skippy, who was my age or maybe a year older. He took advantage of me but thought it was his due for tolerating me. He was a sadistic little bastard. He used to catch frogs then lay in his bed with one of those spring guns that shot suction cups and try to blow the frogs up. This was a really low point in my life. I used to retrieve the suction darts for him so he could try again. That was a long time ago and I only did it once, maybe twice. I stopped trying to hang around with him after that.

What caused this incident with Darius was that there was this movie about this wonder horse who, as this movie made you believe, single hoofedly defeated the Japs on some tropical South Pacific island. I either wanted to go or was made to believe I wanted to go. Skippy and Cappy were biking it down and I was allowed to go with them. Most expensive trip I’ve ever taken.

That I was allowed to go along with them indicates that some sadistic dirty trick was involved. That I went with them knowing that dirty tricks against we orphans was their stock in trade show my level of desperation. I knew better. All I can say in my defense is that I was trusting to my luck. My luck wasn’t trustworthy.

They had bikes and I didn’t. I was at an immediate disadvantage. To begin with Skippy suggested I hold onto the back of his seat and trot along beside him. Even I recognized the humiliation of that. Being of a resourceful turn of mind I suggested I ride on his back fender. Skippy vetoed that but suggested I ride on the crossbar. I thought that it would be possible that others could confuse me for his little brother; I declined so I could avoid humiliation. Riding the crossbar is a painful thing, especially when Skippy was taking every bump as hard as he could.

I soon objected to that.

Then Skippy suggested I could sit on the handlebars and rest my feet on the lugnuts of the front wheel. This was much more easy in the planning than the execution. The nuts were only about a quarter inch wide so no firm purchase was possible. As my feet continually slipped off as I tried to balance on the bars it was inevitable that my heel got caught in the spokes. I tore the heel off my shoe, breaking four spokes of Skippy’s wheel.

We were downtown, two blocks from the Temple theater when it happened. Skippy wobbled the bars, my feet came loose and I broke three or four spokes and well as taking the heel off my shoe. Skippy was mock irate and said I would have to pay for the damage. He calculated the damage to his bike and said I owed him five dollars. Five dollars was a lot of bottles at two cents each. While a dollar bought a lot in kid terms, five dollars was equivalent to the national debt. I had to tell him that I didn’t have five dollars and didn’t know where I could get it. He said I could owe it to him.

But, when we got to the Temple he took my seventy-five cents admission saying that I now owed him only four twenty-five. I had to walk back to the Orphanage alone crying in my heart over the impossible figure of four twenty-five.

Well, Skippy hounded me for the money every day. Darius was mad at me over the German Shepherd so he wouldn’t loan me any money at all. It’s slow work accumulating bottle money when you need a lot. Skippy suggested that I could offset the debt with some of my meager possessions. Needless to say he took them at less than ten cents on the dollar. So I was down to some few cents left to pay. Under Skippy’s constant hectoring I was desperate to pay him off. I had already given him my gold fish and bowl when in desperation I thought of Darius’ gold fish and bowl to discharge my so-called debt.

And then I didn’t have the guts to just come right out and tell Darius what I had done. I let him discover it. I didn’t think a twenty-five cent gold fish was too high a price for saving a guy’s life but in the orphanage where they’ve even taken away your pride whatever you do have assumes an exaggerated importance. Or maybe it was the principle of the thing.

Darius was hurt beyond all belief. He was really hysterical. To be honest I felt so ashamed. I knew I had done something really wrong. I didn’t know what to do with myself. Here we both were, despised by the outside world, outsiders within our own world falling out with each other. It was all my fault too. I couldn’t lay off even a particle of blame on someone else. It is true that Skippy was a sadistic scumbag but I knew that before I debased myself by forcing myself on him to go to the Temple. Every way I turned for a way out I found a closed door. The only refuge I had was that I’d saved his life, as Darius kept telling me, and I figured his life must have been worth a quarter.

That was what I figured. Darius thought I had betrayed his sacred trust. So, well, we all make mistakes. I was just miserable.

That all transpired in the fall of 1947 when my whole world was spinning so crazily I couldn’t even tell it was spinning. Like I said; when you let go of the rope you enter a new reality. Darius wouldn’t speak to me anymore while I put a big X on Skippy. Old Man Darwen got fired for embezzlement that spring, while in June 1948 Darius and I both left the Orphanage.

I went to the Warden’s of course while Darius’ mom remarried and he was taken to live with them.

I had no sooner walked away from the Orphanage when all that became a closed book that happened in another lifetime. The gold fish thing is one of those things that bothered me on a daily basis then as now but I forgot Darius.

 

-II-

 

I was living another life when I ran into Darius at the public library. The Wardens and I were down there for some reason, I don’t know, maybe they wanted to check out a book, when Darius touched my shirt in the most timid manner from behind.

I turned and around and actually didn’t recognize him. In only a year this kid had been beaten to a psychological pulp. He was totally distracted. He no longer had any personal identity left. He wasn’t even breathing the same air everyone else was. It wasn’t pleasant for me to be reminded of my own past so I was about to brush him off but with eyes that could no longer see outside his mental trauma he implored me in this strange birdlike voice to come with him as he had something to tell me.

My god, I saw into his anguished mind and could not refuse him.

Only a year, only a year had elapsed since we had left the Orphanage but our lives were so crowded with debilitating incident that it might as well have been three or four lifetimes. Things were moving so fast that I had no time for reflection to make some sense of it. Everything was just scenery passing by a train window. For Darius that year had been all the time he needed to complete his education in this world.

Darius, who then only nine, took me by the hand and led me into the children’s story telling room and holding both my hands he began telling me the story of his life since leaving the Orphanage. He didn’t really tell it to me but he sang me his adventures in that high birdlike twitter he was using in a series of sort of poetic lay. Darius had a real gift for putting his thoughts in poetic form. It was as though he had three of the Muses on his shoulders singing the words to him while he merely repeated them in a trancelike fashion.

I don’t know what a distracted picture I might have presented to him but Darius was no longer looking at the world through his windshield. He was completely withdrawn within himself. His eyes were turned inward. I’m sure he saw me and his surroundings but only in the most passive manner, sort of like seeing the reflection of the world inside of the train window at sixty miles per.

As before he spoke or sang in this high twitter through pursed lips as though he were whistling. He held me firmly but gently telling me he had to tell me this as I was his only friend. Only I would understand. I guess he’d forgotten the gold fish. I didn’t want to listen because Darius was an unwelcome intrusion from a past I did not want back in my life. I’m probably the only guy who could understand what he was talking about and be able to even partially sympathize. As he was holding onto me firmly and gently even imploringly I had no choice.

Darius’ mother remarried with full intentions of giving up her former profession but the guy she married didn’t have much character. He didn’t exactly mistreat Darius but there was a cold indifference in his attitude that dashed any hopes Darius had of having a decent family life.

Part of this Darius told me and part of this I conjecture. His step-father ran up some gambling debts that he didn’t have the money to pay. He turned to his wife for help suggesting that she ply her old trade. Following the precepts of her former Madam Darius’ mom had come through her experience without too much damage to her reputation. People knew but because of the Madam’s precautions not as many as you might think. Mainly her patrons. She had learned the lesson and was reluctant to practice in the Valley. So in that very summer he was released Darius’ family took a working vacation in Toronto, Canada.

Darius was unaware of the true situation as it unfolded. The truth only dawned on him later. Too bad for him, I would have suppressed it. The three of them checked into a motel. Darius’ mother walked over to the side of the road to begin soliciting right there and then. Darius saw this and was somewhat mystified as to what his mother was doing. Well, the motel manager was not mystified, he knew exactly what she was doing. He wasn’t going to have any of that done out of his motel either.

He accosted Darius’ mother and her husband in the courtyard. As Darius was standing by he informed his mother that he couldn’t have prostitutes working out of his motel. Darius had no idea that his mother had been or was a prostitute, so he became very angry with the manager, taking it as a personal insult, laying into him with both his little fists screaming that the man couldn’t call his mother a prostitute.

The manager was a pretty decent guy and when he realized that Darius was innocent of his mother’s and step-father’s doings he relented rather than humiliate the little boy. He said they could stay but to practice her trade somewhere else than in front of his motel.

My heart nearly broke at this story but it was only a preamble to a worse. The sequel made clear to Darius his mother’s true past. The poor little guy just couldn’t handle it. Of course, who knows how his mind was affected down in the hell hole of an infant’s dormitory. Dormitory? Heck, there was so much noise going on all the time down there who could sleep? The poor guy had probably been awake a whole year before he came upstairs, that certainly would have weakened his resistance.

There was a big change in the way Darius told the second story too. He had sung the first story in the first person. Strangely he never looked directly at me but off to the right with his head down.

In the second half he switched to the third person like he was telling about someone else. I guess it was too much for him to bear. I read a story by Jean Genet once in which five or six guys gang raped him. He tells the story as though he stood by watching some other get sodomized. You see, when it all bets bad enough in order to protect your sanity you just step outside yourself and let them do whatever they will to your body but you don’t let them touch your mind but you still have to live with the results. Darius did that although he wasn’t capable of actually maintaining the lie. Given enough time he would have suppressed the memory into his subconscious where it would have made him schizophrenic or maybe worse sometime later on.

Or, maybe he might have been able to turn it into something else like maybe his father dying. Or, who knows, maybe he’d have been able to manage his way out. Life is funny, you can’t never tell. Of course, also, maybe he might have become a serial killer, teach everyone a lesson.

Here the story gets really incredible. It took me years and years to figure this out but I finally did. I probably will not be believed but as Mark Twain said, of course truth is stranger than fiction, the truth doesn’t have to be plausible. How true that is. The finest stories in the world can’t be told because they require too great a suspension of belief.

Now, Darius didn’t know who David Hirsh was but he got the name right. I knew who David Hirsh was but a mental block prevented my dealing with him on a conscious level. So I didn’t know to whom Darius referred at the time but he gave me a very accurate physical description which I did remember and was able to connect up decades later.

Hirsh apparently had visited the house out of which Darius’ mother worked. Whether or not he had anything against Darius’ mother or his step-father, Hirsh’s perversity apparently followed diverse and devious channels so it’s difficult to figure. He must have had some strange variant of homosexuality that, while he didn’t violate little boys directly, he literally screwed their minds. You know my history with Hirsh. Hirsh now came after little nine year old Darius. Aww, didn’t Hirsh have anything else to do? Didn’t he have enough money to entertain himself in other ways?

As I said, Hirsh was seen around the Orphanage so perhaps he saw Darius there, or maybe Darius’ mom had mentioned him to Hirsh on a ‘date.’ Perhaps he took a perverse delight in adding to the torments of a disadvantaged child. Perhaps he was saying that as a little Jewish kid he had felt tormented by others. Maybe he felt he had been in the exact same situation and no one had taken pity on him. Perhaps he thought he was just passing it on. Madness lasts a lifetime and takes many forms.

The setup he organized was incredibly elaborate but he was able to control all the variables to make it work. I’m sure he saw himself as a man of consummate genius, some sort of Einstein of perversity.

First, unknown to Darius, of course, he went to Darius’ mom to proposition her. She declined at first because she was sincerely trying to go straight. But, as Hirsh pointed out to here it wasn’t like he was asking her to do what she had never done before. One more time wouldn’t hurt. The pay was good and he wanted her to be sure to bring her son along.  I’m afraid I can’t tell about golden hearted prostitutes, Darius’ mom had no scruples to overcome, she was only too glad to do it. She just asked the details then went along.

There was an old decrepit amusement park just North of Bay City called Winona Beach. The place was within a few months of shutting down. On weekdays there was virtually no one there, they didn’t even operate the rides.

This was a Wednesday, Darius’ mom showed up at Winona Beach with Darius in tow. The day itself was sultry and overcast threatening a rain shower which it didn’t deliver. There was literally no one in sight when Darius and his mom arrived save for a few employees. The merry-go-round was still and there was no mirth in the Fun House.

Following Hirsh’s instructions Darius was left on the boardwalk. It was a real boardwalk elevated about twelve to fifteen feet above the beach forming the midway. Darius’ mom entered a door to the side of the Fun House, mounting a flight of stairs leading to a room over the Fun House where Hirsh awaited her. Darius was told to wait outside.

Doing this in an amusement park over the Fun House was a capital joke for Hirsh’s mad criminal mind as he was having fun in so many ways at someone else’s expense. He was really a shameless guy.

He brought along his son Michael and that gang to torment Darius. Even though I was outnumbered by them in my encounters I was at least he same age but at nine they were much bigger and more savvy than he. Hirsh had no business turning big kids like that loose on a nine year old kid. Hirsh had already demonstrated his shamelessness and would again but he was so base in this that my mind just boggles. It’s like he wasn’t human and if he was he had found ways to distort ‘human’ out of all recognition.

Darius said, or rather sang, that they didn’t lay a hand on him but butted and jostled him with their shoulders hoping he would fall off the boardwalk. Of course, Hirsh was watching from his window over the Fun House with Darius’ mom making her laugh at Darius’ plight. How perverse do you have to be to take pleasure in making a boy’s mother laugh at his tortures? Shameless whore that she was she respected Hirsh’s power more than her son’s welfare and laughed heartily.

Then one of the Hirshes suggested that people often dropped money through the boardwalk to the sand below. Sid Cohen showed Darius seventy-five cents he said he found down there. As much to get away from them as anything else Darius went down below the boardwalk. Then as a big joke all the Hirshes stood over him and peed on him through the gaps in the slats. As they did they looked up at Hirsh’s window where they were rewarded with peals of laughter from Hirsh and Darius’ mom.

Darius had no idea why he was being treated so badly by complete strangers. There was no way he could get away from them. When he went back up they hustled him into the dance hall. The hall was adjacent to the Fun House. The owners had built a viewing place behind some slats like a venetian blind high up so they could monitor activity on the dance floor from above the Fun House. You know, either keep fights to a minimum or watch their stooges start them. Darius was by now thoroughly unhappy. As he was trying to escape the taunts and jostling of the Hirshes the bartender, or whatever he was, big burly guy, charged at him shouting get out of here you little bastard, we don’t want your kind around here.

Darius almost broke down when he had to tell how frightened he was as he fled the place while the little Hirshes rolled on the floor laughing at him. Darius actually told me that he heard his mom’s voice laughing but as he told it he seemed to edit it out so that he seemed to forget, or suppress it, as he told it. It was bad enough that I had betrayed his trust over the gold fish; his mother’s betrayal was so much worse. I guess he had to go through some pretty deep denial to keep his mental balance, such as he had. Even then he hadn’t seen the worst yet.

So, this fat old bartender comes out and shouts at him that he couldn’t be much of a boy or he wouldn’t have scattered like that. Did Darius think, he said, that he would actually hurt him? Well, Darius did think that and I don’t blame him. The Hirshes didn’t follow Darius outside so he sat on this bench around a big oak tree next to the merry-go-round looking down the boardwalk wondering when this nightmare was going to end and feeling like he really was a failure because he ran from the big fat bartender.

Now, the boardwalk curved along the beach in a manner that Darius was looking directly at the window behind which Hirsh, delirious with delight at Darius’ distress, was screwing his mother for a few dollars. Whether it was a happy inspiration or Hirsh’s devious projection of reality actually happening, as Darius watched the blinds were pulled up where Darius could see his mother facing him on her hands and knees while Hirsh worked her behind doggy style. Maybe she was embarrassed finally and didn’t know what to do but she laughed out loud at Darius, stuck out her tongue and wagged it at him.

I don’t know for sure that Darius was even aware of what he was telling. I mean, I don’t know how much he consciously remembered and much was just welling up from his subconscious where it would return unremembered by Darius’ conscious mind. I mean, the kid was hurting so bad that I didn’t want to be near him let alone share in his terrible anguish.

Shortly after his mother came down the stairs motioned to him to get in the car telling him they were finished and were going home. They were finished! Who were they? Darius and his mom or the Hirshes and Darius’ mom. Finished at what? Demolishing the poor little kids sanity?   He then said that he told his mom that he didn’t want to know her anymore.

I had listened in shocked silence but that sent me through the floor. I was immobilized by the end of his story. Darius then actually kissed my hands and said I was the only friend he’d ever had. Just about that time Jack Warden shows up and orders me out to the car. ‘What are you queer?’ he says in the most derogatory way. ‘No, I’m not queer.’ I say, not even knowing what queer was at that time. I didn’t know what it was but I knew if it was bad I couldn’t be it.

So, I left Darius standing there.

If I was Darius’ best friend he was in sadder shape than either of us knew because I couldn’t use his distress. I had enough of my own. If I had added his to mine it would have broken me. I just couldn’t do it, he would have to fend for himself. Life was just as hard for me too. I dismissed him from my mind, didn’t think about him at all until two weeks later I read that he’d solaced his mental problem with a load of buckshot.

A shotgun. Wow! The kid sure as hell had a lot more nerve than I did. But, you know, I’ve thought about it and I don’t really think he was trying to commit suicide. This may sound funny but I think he was just trying to put his eyes out. Somehow he didn’t think the buckshot would go any further than that; it would stop short of taking his head off.

That’s what I think. His eyes had seen too much. His intellect and will had been totally emasculated. It was something like George Bernard Shaw who thought his peculiar vision of the world was the result of being able to see more accurately than other men, or Jackson Brown who makes the same complaint in his song Doctor, My Eyes. Darius’ reaction was much the same as that of Oedipus who put out his eyes with the clasps of if his mother who was also his wife’s brooches when he could no longer deal with the reality that he had married his mother. A little further in and he too would have committed suicide. The minds of both he and Darius were incapable of resolving their mental dilemmas. So I suppose you could say Hirsh murdered Darius. It was a good law and order crime. At the time I knew nothing of Hirsh’s involvement. I couldn’t recognize Hirsh. I had my own eyes and mental emasculation to worry about.

In way I was almost relieved that Darius had done it because I had no room for his troubles and my own. Saving his life hung over me. How did I even know he wanted his life saved. I mean, he had every reason to believe that he had been deserted by his mother, he was down there in that infant’s hell hole, alone and deserted. How fearful he must have been of his tonsil operation. When he passed me in the hall he did say that he had to go and die now. So, maybe he had a death wish. Maybe he’d already had enough then. Maybe subconsciously he was taking advantage of an opportunity so his subconscious mind made him hemorrhage. Maybe I ruined his chance to change this world for the next and so he made me responsible for the rest of his life. It sure seemed like he thought I owed him something. I didn’t care. I didn’t want any part of it. I was just being a good scout, that’s all.

I stood on my knees with my hands on my hips for some few minutes before I closed the door on that one and moved on to the next. There were lots of news items I hadn’t read yet and besides I hadn’t even gotten to the funnies

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Far Gresham And His Angeline

A Short Story

 

Pages wrung from the Memoirs of Far Gresham

7/4/76’

Edited by R.E. Prindle

 

As I have told you I have never had the blues. But, as the weather system of the planet is characterized by a system of highs and lows, tropical low pressure systems being the most intense of lows, so, while I have never had the blues I have flirted with the blues while evading the depths of the blues comparable to those feared tropical lows. So, it was on the evening in question. A Pacific low pressure front was passing through, bringing with it the steady splash and drips of its persistent precipitation. The drops hit the skylight and roof with two distinct tones, answered by drops pelting the windows and the gurgle of the drainpipe.

I stood in the dark looking out the windows at my own reflection suspended like a phantom on the glass. The vision of myself stirred up memories from my past that haunted my mind just below the limes separated from conscious memory by an invisible but impenetrable barrier. There lay those troubling skeletons of the past that I had spent my life trying to exhume. The suppressed memories, those most painful episodes in a troubled life that dominated my consciousness from the beyond and directed my energies into unfruitful channels.

Loosing the spectres of the past was my preoccupation. I had long studied Freud and De Sade, self-analysis of my psyche had often nearly driven me mad, but how could, how can I desist. Our minds are on the same beam of the same wave length so I can tell you this without overt shame or embarrassment.

Reading, my usual refuge and solace, had failed me on this particular evening. I had replaced on their shelves, Athenian Propertied Families, 600-300 B.C., Mackay’s Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, as well as Robertson Smith’s Religion of the Semites.

I opted for a bottle of scotch and some old phonograph records instead. Now, I’m not what you would call a drinker, and you know I’m not, but this night as I saw the Blues sitting on my couch batting her eyelids at me, I thought I’d fortify myself against the rain with some protection and possibly open a door on one of those troublesome memories. Aiming for lighter hearted frivolity I got out some old Louis Prima records and tried to lift my spirits. Oh, of course I was amused by Josephina Please No Leana On Da Bell and Louis Prima’s other amusing fripperies, but as I sipped at my scotch I found a need for more ineffable sadness. Thus, just as Prima was swinging into Bongo, Bongo, Bongo, I Don’t Want To Leave The Congo, I levered the tone arm up and began digging through my collection for someone giving voice to the Hurt. I passed up Hank Snow and his Nobody’s Child and Webb Pierce singing Pass that bottle over here because they don’t reach the area I was reaching for, although both are great singers of sad songs.

Reaching down into the section labeled ‘Moaners’ I pulled up Jesse Winchester’s first LP and Mickey Newbury’s It Looks Like Rain. Mick and Jesse knew enough about rain to satisfy my desires. My bottle was half empty as my brain fogged over and the notion of lying down occurred to me. The rain was still descending as I weaved toward the bedroom with the lyrics of Winchester’s Yankee Lady and Newbury’s plea for his sweet Angeline dancing around in my brain. I had hopes, even in my sodden state, that my memories would be jostled around and one might come up. One did, but I wish now that it never had.

I stood for a moment clutching the door jamb while trying to relocate my balance. I had wanted to connect links with suffering humanity and I had. I was feeling lower than a catfish on the bottom of the mouth of the Mississippi way down South in New Orleans. I oriented myself in the direction of my bed and gave a shove. With a deftness unplanned and of which I would not have thought myself capable I caught the covers up and in my fall slid between the pale blue lower sheet and the light pink upper sheet. I didn’t have wait for Morpheus, where did I read that? let’s just say Sleep for Sleep took my head and slammed it into the downy white pillow case. I disappeared into the abyss of oblivion.

Sometimes, most of the time, sleep is never so deep that you’re unaware of your blood circulating or your hair growing or any one of a number of physiological matters, but this night, probably because of the alcohol or possibly also because of psychic exhaustion I slipped below the level of the abyss of oblivion where the sun has never penetrated. It there had not been a bottom I would probably be falling yet.

My exhaustion was psychical rather than physical. After a couple of hours of amnesia, my body sated with rest, the alcohol in my blood stream diminished, but not yet dissipated, set off discharges in my mind that lifted me from the pleasure of oblivion to the threshold of pain. I lay there flickering in and out of consciousness until I reached a state of half waking half dozing.

I didn’t dream, but my liberated sub-conscious sent up images from my subliminal reservoirs faster than I could grasp them. Just as I was about to recognize an image it fled before my mental grasping. And then, I can’t explain it, it’s only happened twice in my life, my inner being, my doppelganger, my alter ego, that image of myself that was in the rain splattered window, that phantom who may be more real than myself, perhaps he is the guardian of my sanity, he who suppresses and hides my most painful memories, puts them in a place where they can’t harm me, transweaves the unpleasantnesses of my life into a fabric that makes my life presentable, who didn’t, can’t make himself known, seemed to say, although nothing could be heard: ‘Alright, you want to see, look.’

Then somewhere along the limes where my conscious and unconscious meet, a hatch, a skylight, opened up and I was shown, I don’t say remembered, I was shown the worst moment of shame and sorrow I have ever known. The guilt of a thoughtless and callous man rose up and took possession of me. I let out a low moan. It was too late to turn away.

Don’t think badly of me. It was my fault but I wasn’t entirely responsible. There were mitigating circumstances. I’m sure you will agree once you know. Let me tell you the story. I’m sure you will find mitigation to soften your censure into a compassionate pity, empathy, or even sympathy. Never judge a person until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes.

I was eighteen, no nineteen, when I committed a despicable act. But let me begin the story much earlier so that you can understand much better. No man can be understood without a knowledge of his childhood. My own was not imbued with the vibrant and cheerful colors of happiness. No, my friend, it was quite the reverse. Nor do I seek your pity although I will not reject your sympathetic attention. I have always been of the opinion that one must accept the situation in which one finds oneself and try to convert that dross into gold. To shed your past like a caterpillar sheds his skin and emerges transformed into a newer, better creation, or at least a more attractive one. I hope that when my life is over, when my trials are done, when my sorrows have ended, will not have failed in this task.

I am not an orphan, per se, but I was abandoned by my mother when I was seven. She left me on the steps of the Municipal Orphanage and I never saw her again. My life in the Orphanage is not germane to this story, but you must know the social hardships which orphans must endure. Orphans are social outcasts. Just as a man without a country has no place to rest, so the child without a parent is an unsanctified outcast of society, driven to the fringes of the sanctified. Forced to the edge of the pale, if not, out side it. He becomes a species of outlaw who has committed no crime. Nobody’s child, a child with no protector. A wanderer in a desert with no boundaries while always being its geographical center. He is despised and victimized by adult and child alike. He is compelled to wear the badge of inferiority just as the Jews in Medieval times were required to display their yellow Mogen David. The orphan wears his like the Negro wears his skin.

In our case we were dressed in oversized or undersized clothes. We were compelled at various times to wear mismatched socks or shoes. Oversized shoes and socks that were more hole than sock. Shirts so large that the sleeves had to be cut back to expose our hands, the ragged edges flapping at our wrists. Our hair was cut with cowlicks sprouting every which way. We were made to look ridiculous and we were sent to public school that way.

I have often envied Blacks and Jews their solidarity. Despised though they may have been they could find solace, or at least as much as humankind will allow, in each other. We, while in a world of our ostensible peers, despised each other as we were despised. At school we were not allowed to win, often not allowed to compete, and were denied any success. The gates of Christian charity were closed to us, although by a misconstruction of the world charity, the ‘decent folk’ distributed largesse, which they misconstrued as charity, to inflate their self-esteem, to us in the form of small conscience offerings at Christmas and, perhaps, also Easter. It was demanded that we be the hewers of wood and carriers of water for out betters with the parents. But the worst was yet to come.

When a child turned ten he was no longer welcome at the Orphanage. Orphaned or abandoned he was even rejected by the custodians of the damned. At ten the Angels of Charity arrived to claim their due. Our prospective foster parents arrived to claim their due. Our foster parents came to pick up a means of livelihood and a slave for the house. I was either selected by or assigned to, I don’t know which, the Wardens. The Wardens did not really need the money they were sent for my care each month, or, that was not their prime motivation, although precious little of it was ever spent on me. What they wanted was a clown.

The Wardens were much less than successful. Jack Warden, or Mr. Warden as I was compelled to call him, had delusions of grandeur based on some sort of imagined connection to the royalty or nobility of ancient England. He even kept a collection of coats of arms on the wall. He would point to this particular one and say, ‘Yeh, that’s the one. That’s the one right there. That’s the one all right.’ Just like it was his, but I knew it wasn’t. He was white collar over at Malleable Iron so that he could maintain his dignity over the blue collar workers.

The Wardens lived in a decent house on Bay Street which was O.K. but beneath his supposed dignity. Anne Warden, Anne as she said had been the queen of England, affected manners which she thought were the immaculate reflection of the ‘well born.’ But, I shouldn’t complain because those affected manners have stood me in good stead. They had two sons, Skippy and Cappy. Cappy was two years older than I was and Skippy was four. Neither boy was amounting to anything. The townsfolks’ opinion of the Wardens was much less exalted than their own. The status of Skippy and Cappy was therefore not of the highest. The Wardens were not totally oblivious to reality. While they were masters of delusion they were also acutely aware of the disparity between their illusions and reality. They could not levitate their sons over the children of more affluent and successful people. They could invent innumerable reasons for themselves but the neighbors rebuked them when they made exorbitant claims for the lads.

I was the solution to their problems. On the one hand they could demand credit for their charity from the neighbors and on the other society paid them to keep a fool for their boys. What radio beam I followed to keep me on track I’ll never know. I suppose religion had something to do with it. I had been compelled to attend church since a small boy. I knew the Baptists, the Methodists, and non-sectarians, whatever their fantasy might be. Now, as the Wardens were very sanctimonious, I found the Presbyterians. I was always revolted by both the Bible and its devotees, but as the Bible is the dream story of a despised and ineffectual people whose lives are irradiated by an irrational hope, I identified with that strange peoples’ desperate situation and seized the only life raft that fate had to offer me. I embraced hope as a fat man embraces a full refrigerator at midnight. I made hope my own. It was all there was between myself and psychic desolation. For the Wardens drove me further and further into a mental zone that was very far from normal. As my childhood progressed I became aware of two existences. The one, the despicable clown that I was compelled to be and the other, the real me, that stood aside and watched and doled out encouragement and hope to the wretch who walked in my shoes.

As society would not honor Skippy and Cappy in the manner they thought was their due, I was to give them that status in their eyes. I was denied and ridiculed. I was placed in impossible situations so that I might perform badly, while Skippy and Cappy would then show their superiority by ‘doing the job right.’ One time I was made to mow the lawn with a dull mower and compelled to watch in silence and mortification while Skippy ‘did the job right’ with a sharpened mower. But it’s more important that you see what I was forced to become.

While the boys were dressed well, I was made to look shabby and unkempt. Just as at the orphanage my clothes never fit. I had to wear Skippy’s worn out shoes. Cappy’s old clothes, although I actually outgrew him. By high school I was flopping around in big shoes and a pair of too small grey gabardine pants with a shiny behind. High in the leg and the crotch pulled up tight between my legs. The pocket openings were all frayed and the pockets all worn out. You could see your reflection in the seat of the pants the cloth was so shiny. Girls wouldn’t even look at me.

Then after Skippy and Cappy graduated it was even worse. Neither went to college as was expected. Both just kind of bummed around. The Wardens turned on me savagely in their disappointment. They wanted me to be even more ridiculous as they now thought their sons had failed them. I don’t like to drink because sometimes the memory of it drives railway spikes through my brain.

I don’t know when it started but I know that it was the result of the accumulated opprobrium, ridicule and denial that I had endured all my life. It became an especial burden as I became old enough to understand, even if in primitive outline, what was being done to me. I rejected all accusations of unworthiness and knew in my heart and grasped intellectually that I was as good as my detractors. Nevertheless the weight of their scorn and hatred, which they of course denied, bore down heavily on me. As my various neuroses and eccentricities developed in relation to my ostracization I began to hear a sound in my ears, a roar as mighty as Niagara. It stood as a barrier between myself and the world, or rather the world from me. I had to listen to people around it, with an especially attentive ear. I was afraid.

I held myself together through high school but upon graduation, abandoned by everyone, ridiculed and laughed at by the Wardens, I fell apart. I became ineffective. I had difficulty tying my clown shoes. I often had to make two, three or four attempts before I could succeed at that simple task. Once while receiving change from the paper boy I turned my hand sideways just as he released the change which clattered to the floor. I was mad with anguish and self-criticism. The hope that had sustained me fled and I was hopeless.

Throughout the summer I knew not what to do. When the days began to shorten and daylight began to flee, I, by association, thought that I must flee. I had some few dollars that I had manage to save and putting on my clown shoes, my shabby grey pants with the short legs and high crotch, an old white T-shirt, and a too small denim jacket that I had inherited from Cappy, I walked out the Warden’s house for the last time. I can still hear the slam of the screen door. The tongue and groove on the green painted porch numbered ten. I can see them all as my shoes passed over them.

I wanted to get far away. As I had never been far away before I thought in short distances. Primary in my mind was to leave the Valley. I rejected going to Detroit and the South because I knew I couldn’t deal with that many people. I thought of going out in the Thumb but the Wardens had relatives in Caro and I didn’t want to be close to them at all. For, probably psychological reasons I decided to head up north the Grand Traverse, the Great Crossing. A divide, that once crossed would divide me forever from a hated and hateful childhood. As my mother had abandoned me I would symbolically abandon her. Not that she cared. I had never heard from her.

Blinded by my desperate urgency I walked out of that house of the distraught and just kept walking. I wouldn’t have spent the money anyway but it never occurred to me to take the bus. It never occurred to me to put out my thumb; I just walked along listening to the roar in my ears which seemed to be intensifying, to be getting louder, it seemed to be engulfing my brain. I don’t remember much of my flight. I remember passing the multitudinous churches of Midland. That city was dominated by large chemical plants and a chemical stench constantly hung over the whole city. In my distracted state I imagined that that oppressive smell was emanating from that army of churches. No love had I even known from sanctimonious hypocrites of God.

After Midland the roar in my ears seemed to affect my vision. I saw and registered nothing. The tears repressed for eighteen years began to flow and I walked and walked, sobbing and sobbing.

I don’t even know whether I stopped to rest or not. I just kept picking those big clown shoes up and laying them down. Because of the size of the shoes I had to lift my knees high to bring my foot forward. I was oblivious to the catcalls of passing drivers appalled by the sight of the strange apparition that I was. At night, local boys drove by and threw beer cans at me. One reached out the window and tried to hit me with his fist. I grabbed at his arm and pulled it back. I escaped their wrath for playing ‘unfair.’

As I say, I walked on and on until my woes engulfed me, until my body and mind separated and we existed in two different worlds. As my body trudged on my mind descended by stages into a hell of despair. Oblivion overwhelmed me, nothingness became my reality. I don’t know what happened.

When my senses returned, when the terrible fog lifted and dissipated and became a mere haze I found that I must have left hell and gone directly to heaven. My overall impression was white but I was surrounded by the most heavenly colors. White, a delicate pink and the palest of blues. My head was resting in billows of soft, clean, white pillows, the cases of which I had never seen the like. My body was covered by the sheets, pink and blue and a down slightly darker blue comforter. Above, the white underside of a blue canopy glowed cheerily back at me. It was daylight but still semi-dazed I lay there drifting in and out of consciousness. Then just as the sun was going down I heard a door open and shut. I looked over to find her smiling down at me. It was Angeline, my redemptress.

A feeling of security warmed my heart and saying nothing I slipped off into unconsciousness for the night. When I awoke sometime before dawn she was lying there beside me, sleeping peacefully. Not daring to move I lay there quietly studying her. She began to stir. I pretended to be asleep and she, solicitous for my welfare, dressed quietly and left for work. As I tried to rise I found I couldn’t and spent the morning fitting my mind into my body. The reunion was difficult and imperfect. I would spend decades trying to match the edges.

I found myself weak and lethargic, unable to concentrate or even to grasp my situation. Sometime in the morning, feeling the pangs of hunger I compelled myself to rise and seek nourishment. During the process of alimentation I surveyed my surroundings. My shelter, and it was little more than that, was a one room shack. It was small and mean but immaculate. The lovely bed, although bed is an inadequate description of the little paradise in which Angeline reposed for her slumbers, was in one corner. A bathtub was adjacent to it. On the other side of the room where I now sat, were her kitchen facilities. Dressers and a table with chairs occupied the front of the room. In the middle of the front wall was the door.

After eating, still exhausted, I lay down again to rest.

It was as though I had received a great injury, suffered a debilitating illness for as the fall turned into winter I remained faint and listless. As the approach of spring became imminent my mind began to regain its sharpness and my body its vitality.

Angeline was very patient with me, neither pressing me nor hurrying me. In those few months, even in my depressed state I came to appreciate and love her. She was twenty-five and had also had a difficult childhood; which fact I only surmise as she never talked about her past nor complained about her present. She sought complete self-sufficiency and within reason did everything for herself. She eschewed radio and television and even never bought magazines or newspapers. She wanted to create her own perfect world without obtrusions from an unsympathetic and hostile reality. In the time I knew her I never saw her with another person.

My own laughable wardrobe had disappeared and she had tailored new clothes for me. She knew how to do everything. Where she learned I don’t know. Even my oversized shoes were gone, replaced by a pair of moccasins Angeline had sewn. For the first time in my life I was dressed in clothes that fit. Clothes that were meant to dignify me not ridicule me. Clothes that signified manhood not foolhood.

Angeline worked as a waitress in town. What town I can’t remember except that it was on the South side of Lake Michigan near the Grand Traverse. It was a small town which I never had occasion to visit. Angeline’s cabin was on the rise looking out over the cool blue waters of Lake Michigan, over the Grand Traverse separating the Upper and Lower Peninsulas. The place where Lake Michigan without any discontinuity or break changed its name to Lake Huron.

On those cold wintry days I often sat on a stump looking out over the Great Crossing, the Grand Traverse, that might someday separate me from the past; that might lead to a new and better life on the other side.

Angeline was always cheery, what cheeriness I know I learned from her. Much cheerier she was than I. I was not the best company that winter and I often wondered why she didn’t turn me out. She didn’t. Angeline had the capacity to make the best of everything. She would warm up the coldest night and cool off the hottest day. She could make the darkest corner bright. She was able to nurse me back to health.

So my winter of recuperation passed in the heaven created by Angeline. Recovering by day, fed by a divine cook in the evenings and passing my nights beside the loveliest incarnation of womankind. Angeline would have been no-one’s cover girl but there was no woman more beautiful than she.

As Spring came on my strength and energy returned. My psyche began to repair itself and I attempted to recover the mental balance that I had always been denied. As the days grew longer and daylight appeared between Angeline’s return and nightfall we began to take long walks through the woods and down to the lake shore. There were delightful little streams in the woods, there was an abundance of wild flowers. The air was sweet and fresh. The skies were clear and blue. Berries as summer progressed. There was nothing more a man could want-except escape from a hateful past that lay too close behind.

As I began my slow recovery I felt the need to tell the world of the way it really was, to save it from doing to others what it had done to me. I began to write about my pain in little stories. I sent them to magazines but they all came back. The world was not interested in my pain, or perhaps my pain was so fresh that the jagged edges terrified whoever my readers may have been. Angeline encouraged me and urged me on, so that I never quit trying.

The roaring in my ears had continued and continually distracted me. I was compelled to be patient with it for there was no way to avoid it. But then, one night that summer during my sleep that mighty Niagara ceased to flow. When I awoke that morning I was aware that something was different but I didn’t know what. Something was missing, it was so quiet. And then when Angeline spoke to me it was as though I could hear her voice clearly for the first time. It was then I realized that the roaring had ceased. The very worst part of the pain must have dissipated. My joy suffused by body and the look of love and gratitude with which I embathed Angeline brought a flush of pleasure to her cheeks. Whatever happiness I was able to give her, she enjoyed it then. I could never understand what pleasure Angeline could find in me. I wanted to be pleasant and charming to her and I tried very hard to be so, but I know that my injuries were so grievous, my self-absorption so complete, that I couldn’t have been.

We spent the summer and fall roaming over our little paradise, dipping our feet in the cool streams and exploring the lakeside. And then came the winter once again. We still walked in the woods on Angeline’s days off and it was there on that cold January day that we came on our portent of disaster. We discovered a deer that had been injured by a bow hunter. The arrowhead and the broken shaft of the arrow were still lodged in the deer’s foreleg. The wound had festered and the deer was in great pain limping pitifully. If it had been healthy it would have run away before Angeline could have charmed it. Perhaps Angeline could have charmed it anyway; she was that spontaneously wonderful. The deer, with the trust and docility of one bereft of hope, subordinating its fear out of desperation to his pain, submitted to Angeline’s graces and the two of us guided the poor beast to Angeline’s little cabin.

She lavished attention on the deer; with all the care of a loving and open heart she began to nurse him back to health.

I am ashamed. It wasn’t jealousy. It wasn’t envy. I too had enough compassion to help the deer. It was a feeling of foreboding. My own pain had been so great, indeed its dissolution had only a year earlier just begun, that I had been unable, it had not occurred to me till then to ask Angeline how it was that she had found and brought me to her home to mend. I wish I had not thought to ask myself that terrible question then. I certainly could not have been a prize. My face must have mirrored the distraction of my mind. I was wearing those ridiculous clothes, dirty from I don’t know how many days of tramping along the highway. I was grateful to Angeline then; I’m even more grateful today, but I couldn’t help comparing myself to that deer on which she lavished as much love and attention as he had lavished on me.

I didn’t really think about it, I didn’t consciously dwell on it, but my past, just behind me, began nipping at my heels. As I stood outside her door and gazed out toward the Grand Traverse, escape from that past seemed possible and necessary. Without really thinking about the notion of flight, or leaving Angeline behind, the notion began to take shape in my mind.

As winter passed once more and the beauties of April and May arrived the deer, now healed, walked away, looked back at us, nodded a goodbye one morning and disappeared into the woods. I stood by Angeline and watched him leave saying nothing. That April and May I enjoyed her company as never before while I, myself, grew more sad and morose.

Then one day in May we were out walking through the woods, I with my head down absorbed in my depression when in an effort to cheer me she said: ‘Oh, Greshie, look up, look at the sky, isn’t it beautiful?’ And it was. It was a sky such as only happens in Michigan. The clouds were drifting in majestic rows from the northwest. Each wisp was bigger than a cream puff. Each separated from its neighbors by an equal distance; each row separated from the other rows by an equal opening. These serried battalions of fluffy white clouds marched on in endless succession across the blue of a fading day. Each cloud was tinted with overtones of pink. Pink, white and blue. Angeline’s colors. The colors of happiness with which she surrounded herself, surrounded us each night in her arbor of bliss. She pointed this out to me glowing and joyous. Of course I shared her joy, but I also noticed a dark grey band forming behind each of the thousands of clouds.

When we returned to the cabin, the blue of the Grand Traverse was still visible in the fading light of a perfect day. It was then, I think, that I knew that I would be leaving soon.

Now, I didn’t think any of this out at the time and perhaps I’m only making excuses for myself now, but Angeline was on this side of the Grand Traverse at the end of my childhood and my life lay on the other side. Perhaps if I had made the crossing and she had found me on the other side things would have been different. As part of my future rather than my past, I might never have had to leave her. I was once again numb. How could I tell her. What could I say. How could I find words to say it. What right did I have to leave the savior of my life. There were no answers that came to my mind. There were no answers. None.

And this is my shame. That deer had more compassion than I had. He at last gave Angeline a nod goodbye. With me, Angeline just came home to an empty cabin and an empty bed. Oh God, I’m so ashamed of myself. How could I be so cruel and heartless. I who knew what cruelty and heartlessness were. How could I….

Still, as the ferry pulled from the slip heading out across the Grand Traverse, I was aboard it. As the ferry glided across the water I stood looking back along the shoreline hoping to sight the scene of my salvation. It was already too far away, around a bend in the coastline which I would never be able to find again. It had vanished from this earth as far as I was concerned. My Eden existed for me in memory alone and I had forgotten that.

I became conscious, as with tear blurred vision I gazed outward, of the twitters of other passengers around me. Not knowing what to think I cautiously and discretely looked about me. They were laughing at me. Dismayed I searched for a reason. Then I discovered that the moccasins and clothing that had been so perfect in the House of Love were not appropriate for the vulgar wide world. No matter, they were crafted with love by the loveliest woman the world had ever known. They were men’s clothes not fool’s clothes. I knew the truth and it was sufficient for the day. Tears of gratitude coursed down my cheeks.

My tears ran over my cheeks, past my ears and onto the pillow as I awoke to the reality of the present. Still partially intoxicated I sat up on the side of the bed elbows on knees head in hands, trying to calm my aching heart. What had I gained and what had I lost? At the Wardens I used to spread the Sunday Funnies on the floor to read them. On the masthead had been a picture of Puck bearing the legend: Oh, what fools ye moral be.

Exuent.

Pages torn from the unexpurgated memoirs of Far Gresham

Fragment dated 1/26/1992

Edited by R.E. Prindle

Do you remember me? Or did I ever introduce myself? It doesn’t matter. I am the master of reality. You know me; I encompass you. You and I are one, not two, One. I am what you think you are; you are the sum of my thoughts. Last night I had the strangest dream. You were in and out of my consciousness as I dreamed my dream. You were the woof; I was the warp. Do you remember that dream?

I had been reading Justine by De Sade. De Sade lives in your subconscious, rolling around, directing your actions, but you are afraid to look him in the eye. You deny the basis of your existence and thus falsify your perception of life and refuse to come to terms with the contradictions of your nature. Did I say you and your? Did I say I? I say a fusion, there is no individuality, all flows from the godhead in an uninterrupted stream, now one aspect prominent and then submerged and then another and yet another. Parmenides? Yes, he is here too.

It was at the part leading up to Teresa’s escape from the church of St. Mary in the Woods; from those monks, those priests who lived so far beyond the edges of self-control. Before dropping off to sleep, the passage having struck me so forcibly I ruminated once again on those twin engines of despair that that emerged from the furnaces of modernity, the Revolution in France to dominate the thought of and characterize the nature of the tumbling years that spewed forth from the cornucopia of Time in a flood, the washes of which trouble the minutes of the moment, railing about the limes of our consciousness as though a stereo played so that only the loud passages intrude into our awareness but the quiet passages still trouble our dreaming awakeness.

Despair, despair, the negation of hope. The ugly overwhelming beauty; beauty submitting to the ravages of the hopeless. Life as it is now lived. Holy Mother full of grace, grace us with relief.

I dreamed my dream or my dream visited me in the depth of the night when I was ill prepared to receive it or defend myself against it. It blazoned through the mirror of my mind which was unprepared and failed to capture the photographic clarity, the cinematic verity with which it existed for that moment, for that eternity which vanished. But let me tell you what I remember or perhaps now invent, perhaps the gleaning of a lifetime of observation, viewing, reading or phantasizing. In my dream, shared by you I was sitting on a sofa in a long narrow room. The sofa, a normal sofa, perhaps brown, perhaps maroon, more likely I would own a maroon sofa. Am I molding the dream to my own needs? No, I don’t think so, for my dreams are of a fabric with myself, with you. With you, who need me who are me.

My book lay open on my lap as the bible is required to lay open in the church ceremony. To be closed would be sacrilege. Neither I nor you, we are not sacrilegious.

Before me was a woman and a man. I can only guess, but perhaps the woman represented the concept of Sex and the man represented the Libertine. The woman was lovely. She was the dream of that you, I, we, the One ever hoped that the warmth of the flesh could ever be. Her figure was opulent, her throat and copious breasts defied description. The memory of her features is vague and perhaps unnecessary. The promise of the fulfillment of desire overwhelmed the atmosphere.

The two were about to engage in sportive sex. I was asked whether I wished to join. I looked blankly back, extending my senses to penetrate the nature of the situation. A vague aura of soft danger emanated from the two. I politely declined. They, she was sitting or reclining in what was either a plastic swimming pool or a rubber life raft, he was poised over the Sex Goddess, posed to begin his redemption. An aura of tentative horror began to fill the room. As the moment approached an innocent, yielding threat began to emanate from the woman. She smiled one last inviting smile at me and then two began to sport about. The woman never lost her self-possession, following or leading as the moment required. Her sense of anticipation of his desires was marvelous to behold. The man never attempted self-control. The man quickly roared through arousal to excitement, high excitement and into frenzy and beyond as shall be seen.

When his frenzy had attained an intensity beyond which I could ever have imagined the woman suggested an injection of some strong chemical drug. I had then and have now no idea what it could have been. The very smell of the drug which immediately overwhelmed my senses not only hinted at but exclaimed destruction.   The acrid and corrosive aroma was such that I wanted to shout out a warning, but he was so eager for the sensation in his excitement that I thought better and clutched the book I was still holding more tightly in an attempt to still my quaking hands.

She injected the eager man and he at once disappeared into a deeper frenzy which intensified as he indulged his fantastic desires on the woman. His frenzy, I say, expanded as he ran through his excesses. Incredible as his earlier exertions had been he now was reaching a new plateau. Without asking his permission, her own face now glowing in anticipation, she reached for her hypodermic. Once again the air was rent by that terrible odor as she injected him another time. He had no means of assent or denial. I was horrified, watching quietly and objectively as he immediately redoubled his efforts as he sought to realize the mystery of her nature and perhaps his own. The woman submitted to, encouraged, led him into his most outrageous desires. How she survived his, what were now brutal attacks can only be explained by the irreality of the unreality of my dream.

Suddenly the narrow room was filled with a dark light. I was unable for a moment, almost a moment too long, to apprehend the vision which arose before me, for the man under this extreme stimulation had realized his inner reality, the reason for his existence. A holographic image of his hopes and fears terrifying and ugly but with a beautiful mathematical symmetry and intense dark tones sparkling with an impossible black light. As the image gained definition and a clarity of reality it became apparent that the vision was emanating from the mind’s eye of his desires, filling the room before me. As the man’s vitality was eroded and his essence consumed the vision faltered and began to fade. As much in awe at her achievement as myself the Sex Goddess exclaimed excitedly, ‘Can you see it too, Far, can you see it too?’ She hoped I too would enjoy what she had conjured as intensely as she did. I sat amazed, stunned, stupefied. I was shaking uncontrollably. I understood what I was seeing and accepted its impossible reality but could not make consciousness accept the fact. I was terrified as I watched because I knew that in the realization of his desires he had sacrificed himself on the altar.

His effort spent, the clamor, noise and commotion in my room subsided. My ears cleared, my eyes refocused, my dazed and dazzled mind sought its equilibrium, my breathing lost its rapidity and sank to normal, my body stopped quivering, my hands stopped shaking, my book saturated with perspiration was shredded and ruined.

As I say, my senses returned to me, my perceptions were startled anew. I saw the woman holding a transformation in her hand. The man was no longer with us. He had turned into a white cat. He sat hind quarters down, his front paws rigidly distended supporting his emaciated panting heaving body. His ribs were plainly visible while his pulsating belly heaved rapidly. His fur was distended into sweated tufts. He appeared not insane, not mad, but still in a frenzied state of rut. I noted with a revulsive horror, mixed with a grudging sympathy, that his eyes, little red eyes, bulged beyond their sockets, their pupils forming a raised blip on the ball. At first glance he appeared ferocious but then the truth became apparent that he was a frozen, immobile panting statue. His tongue extended, he was panting heavily and would pant that way forever.

Trapped within the realization of all his desires he was now separated from the external world. Like the man who got on the subway with his dime in his pocket only to learn that the fare had been raised to fifteen cents when he tried to exit he was doomed to ride forever, unable to leave the subterranean world for the lack of a nickel. The Libertine was trapped within himself; in a tunnel at which there was no light at the end.

The woman who had endured brutal treatment and had shown cuts, bites, bruises and welts which had made me dizzy with fear for her was now miraculously returned to a wantonly inviting freshness which aroused a hunger deep within me which I fought to resist. She appeared to be filled with remorse rather than gratitude that it was all over. As the traumatized cat sat in her hand, she would flip his desensitized head up which would then fall back to its former position, alive but lifeless. She did this repeatedly muttering, perhaps in a low wail possessing a shadow of satisfaction, perhaps in a plaintive plea to undo what she had done: ‘I only wanted him to have a good time; I only wanted him to have a good time.’ She turned a warm, succulent, inviting smile on me, a smile that would have made the nose on one of the faces on Mt. Rushmore twitch, and said once again: ‘I only wanted him to have a good time.’

I don’t know that I made a move to go to her or whether my resolve not to was weakened for at that time the night faded before the dawn and the rising sun cast a beam through my window and one reality gave way before another.

 

Exuent The Dream

A Short Story

The Attack Of The Massagetae

by

R.E. Prindle

 

While it is quite true that life is never easy there are moments that stand out as so insane as to be beyond belief. Truth and fiction. A writer can write any absurdity, any nonsense, any seeming impossibility he wants but there is always a real life situation that goes beyond it. Madness lurks in the human mind.

Man is a vile beast. This story goes to prove it.

Dewey was walking up to the seeming perfect love nest he and Vanesa had found in the Marin County town of Larkspur. The place had been the perfect dwelling to start their life as newlyweds. They had been overjoyed to find it. Now two weeks after their return from that honeymoon that tranquility had been blasted.

It was with heavy reluctant steps Dewey trudged up the lower slope of Mt. Tamalpais. He had to tell Vanessa that he had been fired from his job. He had been fired unjustly by a sadistic boss who was visiting his own early experience on another but in this world of seemings and appearances the accusation was immaterial and unprovable. The stark fact was that in his first month as a provider he had proved inadequate to the task.

Worse still was the knowledge that his former employer would blacklist him. He had a high hurdle to clear.

He turned the corner to begin the steeper climb to the duplex which lay in the sunshine above the lowering foggy skies on the level. As he climbed the steps to the porch he noted a rucksack beside the door.

Staring at it curiously he opened the door to find a man intimidating Vanessa.   The man glowered at Vanessa with obvious rape on his mind.

‘What’s going on here?’ Dewey said, repeating a phrase he had once heard a sheriff use, stepping between the man and Vanessa.

‘Get out of here, man. Didn’t you see my rucksack by the door?’

‘I think you’ve made an obvious miscalculation, pal, you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time.’ Dewey stated in a firm voice but puzzled at the chutzpah of the man.

‘I said get out! Didn’t you see my rucksack by the door? You can come back when I’m finished.

‘Yeah. I saw your rucksack. Leave now.’

‘I’ll leave when I’ve done what I’ve come for! Don’t you know what that rucksack means, ignoramus? Amongst the ancient Massagetae of Scythia all women were the common property of the men. When a warrior was visiting a woman he planted his spear at the entrance of her hut. No one, not even her husband, interrupted the man until he finished and left. My rucksack is the equivalent of that spear!’

‘You’re quoting Herodotus to me to justify raping my wife, you scumbag.

Dewey’s left arm shot up straight, finger pointing to the door. ‘Get out.’ He shouted his voice quavering between rage and wonder at the man’s unparalleled chutzpah.

‘I will not. I…’

‘You will! Call the police honey.’ Dewey asked Vanessa taking care to not give her name away to the creep.

Vanessa still paralyzed from fear merely fluttered her hands but the man realized his game was up.

‘You uncivil bastard!’ He said, moving toward the door. ‘When word of this gets out your name will be mud around here.’

‘If word gets out Jack, You’ll have the police at your door. Only a fool would advertise that he’s a criminal.’

The man began to really move toward the door snatching up his rucksack as he passed through. ‘God, I hate a prick.’ He called back over his shoulder.

He walked on the down the hill where he was met by two confederates, Sammy Glick and Steve Levine.

‘Didn’t go over too well, eh, Jack.’ Smiled Sammy as though the matter had been a big joke.

‘What a prick! He wasn’t as dumb as we thought. He knew our routine came from Herodotus. I tried to brave him down but he wouldn’t go for it.’

‘Yeah, we know. We were watching from the trees across the street. You looked a little shaken when you left though. Did he pull a gun?’ Steve ventured.

‘He wanted to call the police and accuse me of attempted rape. I tried to intimidate him by saying we’d smear his name in the neighborhood when we got the word out but he said if I talked about it the police would be at my door. Now it think about it, it was really close. If he calls the cops they may see it as attempted rape.’

‘Don’t worry. He doesn’t know your name. Well smear him some other way.’ Sammy said. ‘Steve, you go down to the head of the street in case the police do come. When they do, stop them. By that time I’ll have something thought up. Some outrageous chutzpah, don’t worry.’

‘Man, It’s really too bad though. She’s a choice little piece.’

‘Yeah, I know, nice ass, big jugs. Besides it would have been the funniest thing. I imagined this thing where every night when he came home one of us would be in there with her, our ‘staff’ at the door. I could just see the prick sitting on his stoop waiting fur us to finish.’ Sammy chuckled low down in his throat. ‘Wouldn’t that be a gas?’

Sammy saw himself as a big clever man triumphing over his lesser. Such was morality in the California of 1963. It was going to get worse. Back in the house Dewey comforted Vanessa who was quite shaken. To have this insanity crushed on top of Dewey being fired came close to breaking his spirit. As vile as he knew the world to be he was stunned to find it as sick as this. He still had a long life of learning ahead of him

He didn’t call the police because the police had never listened to him before. He saw no reason for them to do so now.

‘I don’t think he’ll be back, Vanessa, but if he does have the police number memorized and call them immediately. Yell out the window to Trudy downstairs. Throw something at him.’

Dewey still had to find a convenient time to tell her he’d been fired.

Book VI

Our Lady Of The Blues

A Novel

The Shadow Knows

by

R.E. Prindle

 

Fighting his own battles far from San Diego another threat to Dewey’s wellbeing was going forward in the mind of Yehouda Yisraeli, Our Lady Of The Blues.

Many things had happened for Yisraeli in the five months the Teufelsdreck was overseas. When the ship left he had his porn business and the Faux Playboy Club. When it returned he had added two more sleazy bars- the Diamond Horseshoe and the Tropical Vista- as well as having laid the groundwork for his own record label- Michael Records.

Yehouda had no ear for popular music but his sidekick, Showbaby Zion did. Showbaby, who was another Jewish ‘expatriate’ from reality, had come west from Baltimore. On the way he dropped the name Irving Cohen in favor of Hoveve Zion. Hoveve was an alternate spelling of Choveve and from that his moniker was corrupted to Showbaby.

He was a follower, quite content to play Robin to Yisraeli’s Batman. Even though he was twice as intelligent as Yehouda and had all the ideas he couldn’t function without a leader.

It was he who suggested Yisraeli pick up the Diamond Horseshoe as a lead in to the record business. The Horseshoe was northwest of Escondido in an unincorporated area. It was one of those nondescript bars offering exotic dancers backed by a hot piano player. In those far off days before Playboy, Hustler, the Sexual Revolution and the abolition of censorship had freed the base desires of man from all restrictions of expression the Horseshoe was a barely licit business catering to only the crudest elements of society.

The girls were not allowed to dance nude or to engage in the grossest ‘dance’ steps. They had to wear bottoms if only a G-string and pasties over their nipples. Most preferred long tassels dangling from the pasties.

These slightly less than topless bars were the successors of burlesque. By 1958 the longstanding traditions of burlesque had been banished from society. If the last burlesque house had not yet been closed its demise was only a few months away. American had convinced itself that vice could be abolished by an act of will. All the Red Light districts in the country had been abolished at the turn of the decade. California’s most famous, the Barbary Coast of San Francisco, had been closed at that time. The well meaning but not very bright moralists who demanded the closure of these districts had no idea that they were merely transforming American society into a pit of immorality by dispersing these illicit areas throughout the population.

In San Francisco the resident of the Barbary Coast merely moved a few blocks west up to lower Broadway and recreated the center of Sin City in that area. Subsequently the whole of San Francisco has been corrupted.

Hank Williams commemorated the change in his song about how the displaced whores who still remained whores destroyed the decent girls when they brought their illicit mores to decent neighborhoods when they were expelled from the Red Light districts.

Thus we allow well meaning but stupid reformers to corrupt our lives in the name of decency. The Horseshoe was one of many clubs that opened in formerly clean areas. Men like Yisraeli who bore a grudge against society were thus given means to undermine the society they hated.

For Showbaby the main attraction of the Horseshoe was a Black pianist and singer name William Morris. Zion had great hopes for the pianist but they were not to be realized as the player had been shorn of all will and hope. Young, too, only twenty-eight.

Forced to turn elsewhere for talent for their fledgling label Showbaby was open minded enough to see the potential of the developing Surf Music groups. At the time Surfboarding was brand new in California. The excitement of the pastime gripped the imaginations of White youth. Surfers were a wild party loving group. They wanted something new and different in music. Thus arose the style known as Surf Guitar. Dick Dale and the Deltones would emerge as the premier Surf group. Confined mainly to the Southland they were not especially well known outside Surf circles.

Showbaby latched onto a group known as Con Crete and the Rebars. They were never to become that famous but they had a following and sold enough records in the Southland to form the basis of Yisraeli’s small but lucrative label.

For Yisraeli the label was merely another means to undermine society. A man of some intellectual reach he realized the limitations of male porn to corrupt general morality. The clubs were effective solvents also but their appeal was limited to an audience that was in search of such entertainment hence already corrupt.

Yehouda wanted something that would invade the entire space of his victims. Their homes, their cars, their minds, the very air they breathed. Records such as the salacious ‘Baby, Let Me Bang Your Box and Hank Ballard’s ‘Work With Me Annie’ and its sequel ‘Annie Had A Baby’ showed him the way to corrupt the very mind of the world. The airwaves could used in a corrosive way.

‘Baby, Let Me Bang Your Box’ with its very suggestive title devolved into a clever denouement in which ‘Box’ was not the woman’s pudenda but her piano stayed within permissible lines but still got the corrosive point in. The singer had essentially said over the radio ‘Baby, I want to fuck you’ which everyone got but still stayed within barely acceptable limits. The same was true of ‘Work With Me Annie’ which described the sexual act also in ambiguous terms.

But the piece de resistance for Yisraeli would be the tune ‘My Boy Lollipop.’ Yehouda had an oral fixation. ‘My Boy Lollipop’ for all of us not too dumb to see through its obvious meaning was a story of fellatio. Even the chorus of ‘lol, lol, lollipop, lol, lol was the very simulation of the tongue movements of the act. And the Girl Group got away with singing it to prepubescent girls over the radio. Of course, the girls were Black to further camouflage objections.

At the same time there was a great horror of oral sex which inexplicably dissolved to become the accepted norm in a very few short years. Perhaps Lenny Bruce helped. ‘My Boy Lolllipop’ probably had its share in dissolving the horror. The horror was so great at the time that the most celebrated criminal case of the era involved Caryl Chessman who had been given the death sentence for forcing women to suck him off while on dates. At the time murderers were walking after serving a mere two or three years so the severity of Chessman’s death sentence demonstrates the detestation in which oral sex was held.

Yisraeli along with Lenny Bruce and other malcontents thus wanted to convert the US into a nation of cocksuckers. Suffice it to say, they succeeded. Thus, while his sidekick, Zion, was trying to produce successful records Yisraeli would seek out the most subversive lyrics.

In the name of social justice he would also seek to promote Black acts. While appearing benevolent he was really trying to stick it to the goyim by making them do what they didn’t want to do. Besides in racist America Blacks were indulged by letting them get away with indecencies that Whites weren’t. No White artist could possibly have gotten away with a recording called ‘Baby, Let Me Bang Your Box’ but nobody was going to call a Black on it. Thus, while appearing to be the progressive agent of change Yisraeli indulged his most criminal proclivities. The role of the Negro in the record business was very much that of the hope of White entrepreneurs to leap frog over the backs of Blacks to fortune.

There was a certain type of beaten down White man whose only hope was to exploit someone more beaten down than he. Thus, his natural prey was the Negro. White women loved to sleep with Negroes because it was the ultimate in sinning. It transgressed the ultimate taboo.

White people thought Blacks were mysterious, inexplicable, living in a mysterious uninhibited primitive consciousness that was the ultimate in freedom. The White entrepreneurs who were as denied and repressed as the Blacks they exploited found excitement in robbing these people who while taboo like themselves were yet so free to express themselves.

Yisraeli was of this White school. He both hated and loved the Black man but mostly he despised him. In his own way William Morris exemplified the Black man to Yisraeli. He was immensely talented yet so weak that he drowned himself in liquor. He thus made himself despicable to Yisraeli’s immense satisfaction. Yehouda was both disappointed and pleased that Morris failed him.

Then too, the record industry was inherently dishonest. The record labels cheated the artists, stole from songwriters and generally refused to disburse any money they didn’t have to. Blacks thought they were singled out but this was not true; the labels cheated everyone. They viewed the artist as a resource for exploitation, something like a gold mine, to get the maximum return. You didn’t share the revenues with the gold mine hence the artists were treated like dirt.

The labels believed that they did all the work from production to distribution to promotion. The artist provided nothing but the inspiration which had cost him nothing. They could see no reason why he should be paid. If he wanted to make money then as they had made him famous for nothing he could cash in on his celebrity by getting up on the stage and shaking it around. They really wanted a cut of the artists performance money too but they couldn’t figure out how to get it. Oh well, the performances were free publicity for their records.

This aspect of being able to cheat and steal was very appealing to Yisraeli’s damaged psyche. No artist was ever to get a dime in royalties out of Our Lady Of The Blues.

On this particular night Yehouda and Showbaby were sitting around the Horseshoe sipping their ginger ales, yes, ginger ales, both men were too astute to become drunks, talking over prospects when it occurred to Yisraeli that Trueman should be coming back soon. This was in late February 1958 just before the payroll bomb burst on the Teufelsdreck.

‘He’ll be back soon.’ Yisraeli said moodily out of the blue.

‘Who?’ Zion said reflectively tossing peanuts in his mouth.

‘Who else? Dewey Trueman.’ Was Yisraeli’s moody reply.

‘Oh, yeah. Him.’ Zion said with just a hint of disgust.

‘I don’t know why you let that guy bother you so much. Try to think about business.’

‘He killed my son.’

‘Umm. I forgot.’ Zion said who, as many times as he had asked, could never get a satisfactory answer as to how Trueman had killed Michael.

‘Well, I haven’t. That sort of thing has got to be punished.’ Yisraeli growled as he got up to make a toilet run.

‘The past is the past.’ Zion thought to himself as Yehouda walked away. The he raised his eyes as the door opened and a man pushed through. A big fellow. Six-four with the girth of a two hundred eighty pounder. Taking a moment for his eyes to adjust to the darkness of the sleazy bar the man saw William Morris at the piano, a slatternly white woman doing some ‘sensuous’ gyrations on the stage above the bartender and Zion sitting on a stool at the round of the bar.

‘Busy tonight.’ He jeered to himself.

Bert Torbric was a meeter and greeter. He operated on the principle that the more people you knew the better the chances of latching onto something good. He had had one such success several years previously, as he told it, when he had been at a session with a couple composers. On that evening they had come up with ‘Melancholy Baby.’ Torbric had made a couple unwanted but accepted phrasing suggestions for which he demanded and received one third credit, although unacknowledged on the records, hence, even though his name didn’t appear, he considered himself a composer.

That was the extent of Torbric’s talent, however, never forgetting that success he was always on the alert for an opportunity in the music biz.

As his eyes focused he recognized Showbaby Zion sitting alone on his stool. Sitting down beside him he joked: Showbaby! Out slumming?

Showbaby laughed good naturedly. All the bar habitues humored each other.

‘This place is too good for slumming, I can show you places Bert. What’s a high society type like you doing down here?’

‘Oh, you know. I was in the neighborhood.’

Bert ordered a double Jack Daniels on the rocks and was swapping comments on the crusty old bird swinging her tassels in figure eights when a figure with the faint odor of the toilet swooped up ghostlike and silently slid onto the stool beside Torbric.

‘Mr. Show.’ He said around Torbric.

‘Hello, Yehouda.’ Showbaby said, getting the drift. ‘By the way, this is a guy I know- Bert Torbric.’ His introduction and tone indicated Bert wasn’t to be taken seriously.

But, Yehouda Yisraeli was a crafty guy who always had his eyes out for the main chance. As he put it: ‘You never know when a guy might turn up useful.’ Still, he noted Showbaby’s opinion.

He gave Bert a warmer hello then the introduction warranted. As it was, both Showbaby and Yehouda were right but for different reasons. Yehouda, who always ferreted out as much information about an acquaintance as he could threw out a polite: ‘How’s the wife and kids?’

Jackpot!

Bet didn’t wear the ring but he answered: ‘Great. Just great. You know, my oldest son just got out of boot camp. I’m pretty darn proud of him. That kid’s going to have a great career in the Navy.

‘Just out of boot camp? You don’t say.’

‘Yeh. We aren’t losing him though; his ship is based down in San Diego so he’ll be home at least on most weekends.’

‘What did he get, one of those big carriers?’ Asked Yehouda who knew more about the ships of the fleet than the Secretary of the Navy.

No, he got one of the smaller ones, which is OK, they’re easier on a kid than the big ones, a Destroyer Escort, DE 666, the USS Teufelsdreck. Strange name.’

Yehouda’s lip froze to his glass, his color rose, his temples throbbed as he recognized opportunity. ‘Did you say the USS Teufelsdreck?’

‘Yeh, yeh. My boy’ll be home for weekends.’

‘Well then, so will mine.’ Yehouda said to himself in a sarcastic undertone. ‘The lord has delivered my enemy unto me and I will smite him hip and thigh.’

‘You didn’t ask me about my son.’ He interrupted Bert who was launching into his ‘Melancholy Baby’ story.

‘…had a hand…you have a son? How is he?’

‘He’s dead.’ Yisraeli blurted out for dramatic effect but came across as a macabre comic. ‘I had a son, past tense, I no longer do. He was murdered by a pervert.’

‘You don’t say. Sliced him up; shot him?’

‘No, worse than that. He was forced off the road at high speed. It was horrible. His head was buried up the shoulders in the mud of the ditch.;

‘Oh, horrible.’

‘Yes. He was the only son I had.’

‘Well, his killer is probably rotting in jail now.’

‘No. It was a deserted road and the lousy cops said there wasn’t enough evidence to bring the son-of-a-bitch to justice but I know.

‘You know what?’

‘You mean who. It was this dirty little pervert by the name of Dewey Trueman.’

‘You mean he was a pervert because he ran your son off the road?’

‘Oh, no, no. No! This guy is bad seed all the way. Insanity has been in his family for generations. I’m sure. His old man is rotting in the Michigan hospital for the criminally insane at this very moment. I helped put him there. Everybody knew Trueman was going to do something we just didn’t know what or when. Kids from broken homes are all like that anyway. They’re just bombs ticking away. You will hardly believe how depraved he is. He was caught in the act of giving a row of guys blow jobs outside a roller skating rink.’

Bert Torbric was horrified as he well should have been.

‘Umm, a monster and a pervert at the same time. He should be put away, in an insane asylum, like his father. I agree with you that stuff is hereditary.’

‘Yes. He should be put away.’ Yisraeli said seizing on the idea. Knowing his own mental anguish it would, the thought, be a great balm to his emotions if he could know that Trueman was serving his time as a surrogate.

‘You won’t believe this Bert.’ Yisraeli said in his most heartfelt tone. ‘But, he’s not only in San Diego but your son will be contaminated by serving on the same ship he’s on.’

‘You can’t…the Teufelsdreck?…mean that!’

‘I can and I do. There must be some way you could help me punish him and save your son from contamination at the same time, isn’t there?’

‘Gee, I don’t know what I could do…wait a minute…maybe there is something.’

‘What?’ Yisraeli’s eyes glistened with hope.

‘Well, a fellow I went to school with, Gerry Godwin, got a Ph.D in psychiatry. He’s got the right job. Asylum for the criminally insane at Atascadero…’

‘Oh, yes.’ The idea took Yisraeli’s breath away. It would be better than killing Trueman. He knew his own mental turmoil, felt his anguish every minute of every day, there might be considerable balm if he could put Dewey away in an insane asylum. Just as Yisraeli was trapped in his own blighted mind and couldn’t get out, Trueman would be trapped in an insane asylum with dangerous maniacs unable to get out. It would be a living hell…and…Yisraeli would know exactly where Trueman was every minute of every day and be able to dwell on it. It was too perfect.

‘…but, even if you got him in, he would be AWOL and the Navy would just come and get him out.’

‘That’s not necessarily so. Nobody need know where he is except for us. He gets put in under a different name, maybe if he did come visit my family…’ Bert said, projecting a scenario, ‘but, he left, say on Saturday, never returned and we haven’t seen him since. He’s just AWOL. Who could ever find him? They wouldn’t know where to look.’

‘Ohhh, yeah. Yes. That would be a perfect crime.’

‘Crime? I thought you said he deserved it.’

‘That’s what I meant, the punishment would perfectly fit his crime. Can I count on you to do that?’ Yisraeli asked eagerly.

Up to this point Bert Torbric had just been talking. He now realized how serious Yisraeli was. If there is money in it he thought, I’ve got a windfall worth more than ‘Melancholy Baby, ever was.

‘Sure. It could be done, but there’s expenses involved, you know. I can’t spend my own money for your benefit.

‘It would be for your son’s benefit too. Well, listen.’ Yisraeli said trying to first get something for nothing. ‘I’m starting a record company. Showbaby will be with me and I could use a guy knowledgeable in music like you. There might be a good paying job in it for a guy like you.’

‘Might be a job, but the expenses are certain, Yehuda. I might be interested in helping you direct this record company that you might start but I would have to cover my expenses.’

‘How much do you think your expenses would be?’

‘Oh, I don’t know.’ Torbric said studying Yisraeli’s potential. ‘I would think two thousand dollars.’

‘Two thousand dollars? What would you have to do other than drive up to Atascadero and back?’

‘Say! Listen, Yehouda, I got the contact, I got to ask for a big favor, maybe it’s a big favor, I don’t know. Besides it takes planning for Chrissakes. I can’t just collar this bozo, throw him in a car and take him up there. That’s kidnapping. He’s gotta volunteer. I gotta involve my son. Rome ain’t built in a day.’

‘Uh, huh, well, you know, I’m starting this record company on a shoestring. How about a thousand?’

‘No. I’ll need a thousand for me and five hundred for my boy.’

‘Oh geez.’ Yisraeli said, rocking back and forth on his stool in agony. ‘You’ve got a point. I don’t say you don’t have a point. But gosh, how about twelve-fifty. I don’t know how I can come up with more than that. I don’t even know how I can come up with that much.’

Tory Torbric wasn’t going to get anything anyway so Bert assented. Twelve hundred fifty dollars to put a man in an asylum for the criminally insane for life. What a bargain.

The men shook hands as Bert studied Yisraeli in an effort to determine if he was for real. Ascertaining that he was he sat back deciding to await the issue.

Yisraeli shortly after excused himself to drive home in an exaltation of pleasure to work out the details for Trueman’s incarceration.   He would be there on the pier when the Teufelsdreck was welcomed back to the States by the dependents.

The Vampyres Of New York

Clip 10

A Novel

by

R.E. Prindle

 

I sat comfortably in my chair with a glass of excellent Cabernet looking benignly at Lessing, Giusti, Barron Cammell and in the speaker’s seat, Max Savings. There was some uneasiness as the Chicago insurrection was still raging, other disturbances were taking place in cities with majority Negro populations. While cause for concern, the concentration of Negroes in urban centers localized the disturbances rather than making them general.

In many other majority Negro areas most of the Negroes had found it expedient to head for the big cities. Thus the Negro-White situation was rather cleanly divided. Of course Manhattan was a different situation. The Negro population had halved over the past three years so while seven and a half percent was still a large population on Manhattan Island their minority status quietened them somewhat while having been expelled from the Aryan areas even those are untouched directly by the gathering storm. The news today had announced the formation of a New Islamic Republic in lower Manhattan so hostilities were imminent from that part of the city.

I think it struck all of us as odd that we were to discuss events that occurred a hundred years ago having little or no reference to today. It seemed rather eerie. Nevertheless Max began:

Max: All of us are old enough for the Bolshevic Revolution to have influenced our lives. Those born in the year 2000, now turning eighteen, may not have even heard of it, or if they have, its irrelevance to them leaves the mention of it forgotten.

Those born after, say, nineteen-eighty are old enough for more to have heard of it and perhaps taken cognizance of it but except for the few more scholarly the Revolution lacks meaning. The names of the participants save Lenin and Stalin have no true meaning to the majority of Americans living. Even the term American now has little real meaning. It is good to have some company tonight who share my interest. Sometimes walking down the street I feel like a time traveler visiting the future or perhaps a transient from a parallel universe, a man from Mars.

So, the greatest heist in History has gone down the memory hole. The theft of the wealth of a great and extensive nation.

The seizure of the government of Russia by the Bolshevics was accomplished by men who had never know power, men who had no experience or notion of governing, no background in economics nor did they ever have any idea of what money is. Thus when they gained power they were astonished to find that civilization was based on money, and they had no idea where money came from. They immediately destroyed the economy, that is the taxation base so that the only liquid wealth they had was the gold reserves and they were running through those fast.

Knowing nothing of relative value they valued the accumulated wealth of centuries at face value not realizing you could flood the market on things of extrinsic value such as jewels and art works but thing of intrinsic value such furs were only used goods that sold at fire sale prices.

Nevertheless they plowed ahead. Since they were murdering the aristocracy the aristocrats grabbed whatever of value was portable and fled the country. Thus, not only were these confiscated goods a drug on the market but for decades they were a drug on the market. The emigres growing more impoverished by the year they sold their jewels and other portable wares while becoming a laughing stock.

Imagine having been the equals in the highest society then walking around in worn out outdated clothes, no money, while being mocked as ‘Count’ if you dared to say who you had been. And then as former autocrats of Russia they were despised and hated as much as the Germans have been since the last quarter of the nineteenth century.

As they walked the streets, warehouses in the new Soviet Union, the name Russia having been obliterated from the maps, were packed with long rows of stolen or ‘appropriated’ fur coats, furniture, painting and any removables of value. Not only did the Soviets steal from the aristocrats but in an anti-Christian frenzy fabulous churches were invaded, priestly vestments, irreplaceable icons, gold and silver vessels, anything, anything of value was removed. The Soviets themselves were then on the same level as the displaced aristocrats. They had miles of stolen goods but no money.

The Money Trust, both gois and Jews, was willing to make loans to them but the amount of money required to maintain the old Russian Empire couldn’t be obtained through loans; loans were just stop gap measures and since the Soviets had no income they couldn’t pay the loans back anyway let alone the interest.

In desperation they took like some Jewish old clothes peddlers to trying to hawk old fur coats, paintings, used furniture. The Soviet Union in many ways was founded on vengeance. As has been said of the Russian Revolution- Where are the Russians? In fact there were few of them. Mostly they came from the subject peoples of the Russians- Letts, Poles, Jews, Georgians, from everywhere but mostly Jews.

As Dostoyevsky sagely remarked in the nineteenth century: The Jews would kill us all if they had us in their power. Well, now the Jews had the Russians in their power and, in fact, they were killing them; those that hadn’t the opportunity or wisdom to flee.

Barron Cammell: Hold It! Hold it! This isn’t going to some anti-Semitic Jew bashing like that one’s over there is it? The Jews! The Jews! Always the Jews! The first to be blamed and last to be forgiven. Show me some proof that even one Jews was involved.

Me: Leon Trotsky.

Barron: Trotsky was a secular Jew; he wasn’t religious. An atheist.

Me: OK. So he was an unreligious, secular, atheist Jew. What does it take to be a Jew in your eyes Barron?

Lessing: Barron! Barron! Let’s not have any outbursts. This is a fraternal society. We can express ourselves freely without rancor.

Max: It’s just history. The fact are easily ascertained.

Me: Barron, it is no more clear than in Russia that the Jews work as a national unit and secondarily as an international people working together in their own interest against all other interests in battle for supremacy. Why then are you offended that Max is placing them in the place and time?

Barron: Oh, shut up, you.

Lessing: Barron, no rudeness now.

Barron: I don’t know why you brought that guy here Lessing. Everything was fine until he showed up.

Hodding Giusti: No, Barron, things were about the same. It was just that no one had investigated anything where the Jews played as prominent a role.

Barron: They certainly did in my report on the Rothschild’s yet I didn’t accuse them of any crimes. I praised their economic acumen.

Hodding: Well, you were very generous to the Rothschilds. You barely touched on how they got their money or how they bent the rules.

Barron: You mean innovated, how they changed the way things were done.

Hodding: Merely another way of saying the same thing although laudatory instead of critical; after all theft is theft and everyone at the time knew it was theft. Time and an eraser have just altered the reality in the mainstream consciousness. A legend or myth has replaced the reality. Such altering of the past was nearly a cottage industry by the time I retired. But, let Max go on.

Lessing: Yes, Barron, after all Max puts a lot of time and effort into his presentations.

Barron: So do we all. Except for him (indicating me) obviously.

Max: I may resume then? Nevertheless, the largest faction of revolutionaries was Jewish or of Jewish origin, since Barron insists that Trotsky wasn’t Jewish for various reasons, hoping to distance them from the mass, as it were. I won’t call it recent research since the obvious has been known since the Tribe arrived at the Finland Station, however only recently, that is a few years ago, have the Jews admitted publicly that they were the engine of the revolution. I hope we can consider that settled.

It can be no coincidence that while thousands of Christian churches were looted or destroyed not one synagogue was touched so that only Russians were expropriated. Needing money and having little except the accumulated things stolen from the nobility and churches, the Soviets determined to convert the stolen things to cash. This was an incredible stash. Whatever the Nazis are said to have appropriated from the Jews was miniscule in proportion while a large part of their wealth was probably fenced goods from the revolution.

I use as my main source Sean McMeekin’s History’s Greatest Heist: The Looting of Russia by the Bolsheviks published in 2009.

As the Jews primarily were responsible for accumulating these trinkets they naturally had the networks in Europe and the US to dispose of the stuff.

Barron: Stop it! Stop it!

Lessing: Barron, please! Have some respect.

Max: Of course as all the stuff was in a legal sense stolen, the Soviet Union itself was acting as the fence. There was opposition in the West to becoming receivers of this stolen merchandise. There certainly were protests from Russian emigres when they could identify items that had belonged to them.

Curiously their claims were disregarded unlike with the Jews after WWII during which claims without a shred of evidence were awarded from items appropriated from the Nazis, different in no way from the Jewish Soviets.

Barron: There is a great deal of difference, somewhere between six and ten million Jews were murdered by Nazi thugs in the Holocaust.

Me: Six to ten? It keeps going up. Let me point out though that the Jews, as a national group, atheist or religious, were complicit in the murder of millions and millions, using your method, Barron, tens of millions of Russian aristocrats and kulaks, simple folks, and whoever didn’t keep their heads down or make it to the border.

Barron: I believe we can lay the blame for that at Stalin’s feet.

Hodding: I don’t believe we can.

Barron: Well, that’s certainly as it is in the historians I read.

Lessing: There are other histories.

Max: May I go on? Thank you. The attempt, as I say, to sell the stuff ran into opposition so that it was necessary to operate underhandedly in which the main operatives were what Henry Ford called the international Jews.

Barron: Name one.

Me: Armand Hammer.

Max: Yes, he was certainly one of the biggest. And what Jews were big buyers, especially for jewels and paintings? This leads us on to wonder how many paintings Jews were reclaiming as theirs had formerly belonged to Russian aristocrats or came from the Hermitage, that is the Czar’s personal stash.

Certainly these selling activities during the twenties were well known to the Nazis so that one might say they had an immediate example perhaps making them believe they were reappropriating Aryan treasures, to use the term. In any event theirs was not a unique crime. Nazi crimes may be considered as an extenuation of Soviet crimes.

Barron: Oh my god!

Lessing: Hush!

Max: One of the main conduits to the US, if not the main conduit was the Jew Armand Hammer. He was quite notorious at the time being resented and hated on a fairly wide scale. While it was forbidden to attack him as a Jew, anti-Semitic, he could be attacked as a Communist or tool of the Communists, which he denied on both counts. Needless to say he denied he was a Communist although his fortune was made by the Soviets.

Even his name, Arm and Hammer, bespoke his father’s politics. Hammer’s fortune was made in the Soviet Union and then he was chosen as the chief conduit to dispose of the aristocrats’ treasures in the United States. Can it be any wonder then that Hammer acquired one of the great art collections in the world for himself. How many other art works were funneled into Jewish art collections such as that of the movie star Edward G. Robinson’s?

Barron: Can you prove that Robinson bought from Hammer?

Max: Not at this time but it does make sense. For instance, David Bazelon who was the Alien Properties Custodian during WWII made Chicago’s Jews, he was a Jew from Chicago, wealthy after the war when he sold whole industries confiscated from the Germans cheap thereby making fortunes, giving Chicago’s Jews great economic power.

Barron: Can you prove that?

Max: Certainly. Those sales are public knowledge and above board.   The government records exist. Hammer’s sales may have been more clandestine although Andrew Mellon’s collection can be traced to Hammer. Mellon’s paintings were eventually given to the US National Gallery where they reside today, unclaimed by any Russian although had they belonged to Jews you can believe they would have been ‘restored’ by now.

Barron: You sound embittered by that.

Max: Indeed I am for crime anywhere is a reflection on me if I hold my silence. Heard that one before Barron? Or, all that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing?

The point is that Hammer’s collection was composed of stolen merchandise of which he was both a fence and receiver that could be traced to the original Russian owners, but neither Hammer nor any of the Jewish buyers who knowingly and gloatingly bought stolen merchandise ever returned it to the rightful owners. All legal actions taken by the rightful owners were thrown out.

Yet, when artworks were taken by the Nazis the Jews demanded that such, under very tenuous evidence of the former ownership, were given to them. Many probably obtained from the Russian hoards.

Even though the Jewish population losses were horrendous, six million are claimed to have fallen in the holocaust alone while other massacres such as Babi Yar and what we might call natural wartime attrition may have claimed a million or two which should have nearly exterminated the whole European Jewish population but miraculously didn’t. Thus, perhaps, using figures wildly eight million or more Jews perished out a possible ten million yet claimants sometimes multiple claimants after 1945 were there to claim anything that might possibly have been owned by Jews.

Barron: Do you depreciate Jewish suffering to concentrate on a few dollars. How heartless.

Max: You can be exasperating Barron. I don’t denigrate anything, both Whites and Jews have been known to kill for a few dollars more. The point I’m trying to make is that the Jews are not long suffering innocents and that on the one hand they conducted according to McMeekin the greatest heist, that is theft, in history and on the other hand play innocent victims. The end I’m trying for, I suppose, is that neither the Germans nor anyone else need feel guilty for causing Jewish suffering anymore than the Jews feel guilty for causing the untold suffering of the European Holocaust endured through two world wars. If Freud and the members of the B’nai B’rith wanted to see Europeans and Europe dead then between two world wars they nearly did. They sought the destruction of Russia and achieved it when Russia was wiped off the map becoming the USSR. As a Union of Republics, the Jews being one, they on paper, at least, achieved autonomy. When it became time to murder the much despised Czar and his family Jews did it.

It seems to me the height of obtuseness to believe the Jews are a holy and innocent people.

Barron: It seems to me that you and that over there lack compassion. I think you’re being heartless and are despicable.

Me: Compassionate? Compassionate? There’s no one more compassionate than me. My heart bleeds for the whole of suffering humanity. All of it not just an infinitesimal part called Jews. I see the suffering of one as representative of the whole. How can anyone be happy knowing that some poor individual somewhere is unhappy, to quote Liberal dogma. What is going on outside our windows as we sit comfortably sipping fine wine is equal to any suffering in the history of the world. I feel their pain but, still, this is excellent wine and they will have to pry my cold dead hands from the stem of this glass before I give it up. There Barron, was that passionate enough for you?

Lessing: Hear, hear! If I feel guilt I’m sure it isn’t too obvious.

Hodding: History shows that the suffering is not evenly distributed over the entire population. Even in the worst suffering some suffer more and some suffer less. I choose to suffer less. Pass that bottle over here.

Lessing: I found your presentation interesting Max. I really wasn’t aware of the confiscation of the material wealth of Russians by the Bolsheviki.

Max: Who said I was finished, but if I am, I suppose I am. It is quite a story. I was driven off my prepared remarks to a large degree by Barron’s vociferations.

Me: You made your point anyway. I rather enjoyed the controversy but then I am a child of controversies. Barron, what’s the problem here? Since you speak of Jews you know there is a collectivity that calls itself Jewish or it would be useless to speak of Jews. If there is such a collectivity then that collectivity must have some identity, some standards of conduct that it acts on. Since the collectivity functions in the external world it must be observable. Right?

Barron: Yes, of course, but that is no reason for Jew bashing.

Me: Well, analyzing those activities, whether the analysis is correct or not doesn’t constitute bashing does it?

Barron: It’s the intent that makes the difference. You are…you are…

Me: Ok, I’ll finish for you: You are an anti-Semite. Right?

Barron: Not me, you are.

Me: Right. I was just finishing the sentence for you. But Max didn’t say anything that wasn’t true did he?

Barron: That’s not the point. The truth is irrelevant. Some things just shouldn’t be said.

Me: The truth is irrelevant? I give up then. When true things can’t be said there is no hope. Civilization falls to the ground.

Lessing: A good report none the less. Let’s call it a night.

 

We all gave as jolly or cordial a good night as possible. Barron even bent a little although avoiding me in his gaze. As I was leaving Lessing asked for a meeting. I said I had to see about my suits from James Carter. I would give him a call after talking to Goldbladder. As I was leaving, my phone rang. It was Ange.

Ange: Partly, Merivale is at the door. I can see him.

Me: How does he look, Ange? Agitated, determined, worried, what?

Ange: Sort of angry, I can’t tell.

Me: Does he have his cell phone visible?

Ange: Yes.

Me: But he’s not trying to use the door speaker?

Ange: I, I, I don’t know

Me: OK. Hold on Ange, I’m going to speak to Lessing for a moment. Don’t hang up. Lessing, Steinberg’s at the condo trying to get Angeline to come to the door. You have his cell number, right? Can you give him a call and advise him he isn’t acting in his best interests?

Lessing: I think so. Ask Angeline to report on his reaction.

Me: Ange. Lessing is calling Steinberg now, keep your eye on the monitor and tell us his reaction.

Lessing: Merivale, Lessing here. We’d appreciate it if you ceased bothering Angeline.

Steinberg: I just want to talk to her Lessing.

Lessing: That isn’t possible Merivale. Angeline is no longer under your control. She is with Perry now. They consider themselves husband and wife. You have already damaged her enough. Be a good fellow and just leave. Go home.

Steinberg: Damn it, Farquhar, I’ve got rights. I…

Lessing: Rights are exactly what you don’t have Merivale. Rights are what you don’t have and actually never have had. I shouldn’t have to tell you that there are serious criminal acts here.

Steinberg: You’re not threatening me, Farquhar, because if you are…

Lessing: Call it what you will, I’m telling you we’ve got you by the shorthairs. Whatever happens you lose.

Steinberg: This is some sort of anti-Semitic trick isn’t it Farquhar?

Lessing: Good God, Steinberg, we’re talking crime, not religion.

Steinberg: Judaism isn’t a religion.

Lessing: Who cares what Judaism is Merivale. Be wise, turn around, get on the elevator and don’t come back.

Ange: He just looked into his phone, Partly. He looked at the elevator and then back at his phone.

Me: Tell him to leave again, Lessing, he’s ambivalent.

Lessing: Angeline doesn’t want to see you Merivale. She’s thinking of calling security; avoid a ruckus and get in the elevator.

Merivale: Fuck you Farquhar. Watch your step.

Ange: Oh, good, Partly, he’s walking back to the elevator. He’s leaving.

Me: Excellent Ange. Have a relaxing cup of tea. I’ll be there within the half hour. Good job, Lessing. I’ll pass a message through Goldbladder this Monday at my fitting.

Lessing: Will Merivale get it?

Me: Oh yeah. Goldbladder will have minutes of this meeting tomorrow. Steinberg within minutes of my fitting.

Lessing: And the minutes of the meeting will come from Barron, you think?

Me: Sure of it. Alright I’ll call you Monday evening to relay what happened. Great reading from Max. See you later.

 

Things are moving very fast now. My own present life has been one of stress that almost makes me dizzy. I have to make an effort to stay calm. On the home front managing Ange is demanding all my powers so that I have to develop a second personality to deal with external matters. My greatest pleasure, reading, has been shot to hell, no time, while squeezing in writing has forced me to reorganize my time usage.

Dealing with the New York situation has me, uh, ‘rising to greatness.’ I’m learning to delegate whatever can be delegated and hope for success.   Cooperating in an unprecedented emergency has been high. The ethnic cleansing of our area goes more smoothly than might be expected. The major problem is our people who have been conditioned to sacrifice their interests to others and who resist the expulsion of Negroes, Moslems and others. In order to discourage others some of these fanatics have been excommunicated , expelled North into Negroland or South into Moslemland. Tribeca being somewhere between is a mad confusion of peoples. Obviously the American Experiment has hit the rocks.

Saturday and Sunday morning then I spent working with Ragnar and his gym crew and delegations working out governmental problems within our community, maintaining Western Civilization as best we can. It’s sort of like the frontier of the nineteenth century. This is not easy. Afternoons I spent with Ange. While we consider ourselves married we still have to get to know each other.

Central Park is now safe so we spent Saturday strolling the lanes and exchanging confidences about ourselves to each other. Ange is more lovely than I could have hoped for, beautiful in mind and body.

Sunday we combined romancing with touring community neighborhoods to get some firsthand knowledge of how things are shaping up. Unsettled to say the least but people seemed to be concerned for themselves and each other. Transitioning from one state of being to another isn’t easy. So far, so good.

Then Monday was the day for my fitting. Everything going to hell but business as usual. Have to remain centered. Amazingly, amongst the growing chaos the stock market is holding up well. Instead of losing I’ve actually gained a few points in my investments. Of course I have to be nimble. Amidst all this nonsense I find myself plotting my investments. Well, life goes on, nothing stops for tea.

Our area was well below forty-fifth street so there was no problem getting from Tribeca to forty-fifth although I did have to cross the border from Tribeca into Whitelands. Our armed troops were patrolling the streets.

Me: Any problems getting gas, Ragnar?

Ragnar: No. All deliveries are flowing through without any problems. We are getting food shipments from Jersey both through the tunnels and across the Hudson. No interference through the Bronx as yet. Our membership has been growing which we have been able to accommodate so far through expulsion of others but as we’re prepared for trouble Bronxside we’re organized to invade if necessary. It would be nice to have Columbia in our fold.

Me: What does Lessing say about Obama?

Ragnar: So far DC is in a dither. Fires burning in too many places for them to wrap their heads around. Incredibly they were so confident in their agenda that they had no clue this was coming. You’ve probably noticed the jets and copters overhead but so far they’re only making noise. Lessing says they are calling in troops from NATO and other places as our troops are depleted here in the US, or what used to be the US, but where they will deploy first we don’t know.

Me: Yeah, well, I’ve got more important fish to fry just now. I’ve got suits to fit.

Ragnar: I sure hope you can handle it, Boss.

Me: Might not be the highest assignment but I’ll be better dressed for one now.

Ragnar: Especially in hot pink.

Me: You spying on me Ragnar?

Ragnar: Word gets around. Not everyone in town wears a hot pink suit with matching hat and shoes. People do talk.

Me: Yeah? Well I’m going to have a little pink mask too. Fantomas in splendor.

I hopped out of the limo, entered and mounted the staircase. Let’s see what Abe is up to.

Abe: You’re on time as usual, I see.

Me: I’m pretty consistent Abe. Time is money and all that.

Abe: According to Freud so is shit.

Me: Ah ha, ha. Well he’d know better about that than me. However I am willing to pay in kind if you like Abe.

Abe: That was just a bad joke. We’re sticking to your card.

Me: Great. So how close are we to getting the suits?

Abe: This might be the last fitting. Here let me show you something. Check out these shoes, this hat, and these gloves.

Me: I didn’t order gloves.

Abe: No, but I knew you’d want them. Look at this matching hot pink to go with the suiting.

Me: But they’re not fluorescent Abe.

Abe: Get out of here ungrateful One. Do you have any idea how much work this has been?

Me: No, but I have an idea what it’s going to cost. Remember I don’t have a first born.

Abe: We know. By the way how did it go at the whatchamaycallit club you belong to go.

Me: Something tells me you can tell me Abe.

Abe: Do you think we have the place wired or something?

Me: Something.

Abe: What would that something be?

Me: Not what Abe, who.

Abe: Oh, I see.

Me: Sure you do. So what did you boys think of Max’s presentation.

Abe: We thought it was anti-Semitic. We’re beginning to think you guys are Nazis as well.

Me: Paranoia becomes you Abe. Max is an historical researcher he simply reported what was true. We’re true historians Abe. We don’t distort the facts to fit an agenda. You have only yourselves to blame.

Abe: Sometimes the truth doesn’t have to be revealed.

Me: The other night wasn’t one of them. So what else is bugging you Abe?

Abe: We know you’re Nazis because your goons are forcing we Jews out of Little America or whatever you call your enclave. That is anti-Semitism and it has to stop.

Me: Nobody is forcing anybody to leave Abe. Those Jews you referred to wanted to be in Brooklyn in your national colony there. You aren’t going to deny that Brooklyn is a Jewish colony are you?

Abe: How would you like it if we forced Whites out of Brooklyn?

Me: We’d love it Abe, almost pay you to do it but we’d still make a big noise about it, just to put you in a bad light. Times have changed Abe, national lines have been drawn. Anti-Semitism doesn’t have the meaning it did anymore.

Abe: A big noise hey? Wait till you see the new issue of New York magazine. By the way, I see you people have started a new magazine, the New York Beobachter, is that what it’s called?

Me: I’ve always like your sense of humor Abe. No, it’s the New York Intelligencer. We have two hundred and thirty-four subscribers already. We expect to double that shortly.

Abe: I suppose you write that crap?

Me: No, Abe. I haven’t contributed as yet. So far we’ve used stringers to report local events and analyses plus relying on letters to the editor. So far, so good. Want to take a bundle of a hundred back to Brooklyn?

Abe: I don’t live in Brooklyn; I live in Manhattan.

Me: Really? Where abouts?

Abe: Not too far from you I imagine in what we call the Tribeca Free State.

Me: Yucka, yucka, Tribeca Free State, that’s good Abe. Well then, it’s either Brooklyn or the Free State for your emigres but they will have to move; we’re not much on diversity from embedded elements, we have enough problems with our own of various backgrounds.

So, is this the last fitting before delivery Abe?

Abe: There will be a last touch up to make sure everything is true. That’s next for all your suits. Make an appointment.

 

I did. As I entered the apartment Angeline greeted me breathlessly to announce: Partly, I just got a call from Lady and they’re coming back now. All hell broke loose in Europe. They were lucky to catch the last plane out.

Me: Damn. I suppose that will bring the stock market down, at least temporarily. Well, where are they now?

Ange: She said they were a couple hours out. They should be here tonight.

Me: You’ve got everything spic and span, no problem there. Just a minute while I call Ragnar to let him know.

Ragnar, we just received news that Lady and Miles will be back in a couple hours.

Ragnar: I know, they called. I’m on my way now.

Me: Ragnar already knew. He’s on his way. We’re shipshape here. Cook something up in case they’re hungry.

Ange: Lady didn’t sound very happy I was here.

Me: I’m sure she was surprised. She had no reason to suspect I would marry.

Ange. It didn’t sound like that. There was a note of disapproval in her voice. Maybe she thinks I’m not worthy.

Me: Honey, nobody’s opinion but mine counts. I know your worth, I know the criminal acts that were committed on you. There is no better person in the world than you, however the career of Angeline II, of which you are still not totally aware is still out there; for many people that is the only Angeline Gower they know. We don’t know but perhaps Miles attended one of those parties and, well, who knows? Be prepared for the worst but we can’t let that affect us.

Ange: But Partly, I don’t want you to be hurt.

Me: Honey, nothing can hurt me. I am proof to the world. I know how things function. Let me call Lessing to see if he knows. Lessing…

Lessing: I’m on my way. Hold the fort.

Lessing is on the way Ange, everything is under control. We can only wait.

When the keys began turning in the locks Lessing, Ange and I were in our places and ready. The early return was obviously due to the eruption of the Moslems in France and the incursion from Germany to the East. We should soon have some details.

Lessing: There’s the keys. I’ll go open the inner door.

 

The Carmichaels literally burst through the door in high agitation.

Lady: You can’t believe the turmoil over there. France is in flames from Marseilles to the Belgian border; Belgium is in flames. They are looting, burning and killing on all sides. They are every where, everywhere, Notre Dame was blown sky high. Churches everywhere are being blown up or burned. The clergy are being murdered. The uprisings are in all parts of France. While the army has been mobilized to combat the invaders from Germany, the troops are ambushed from all sides.

Good God, never in my lifetime, never in my lifetime did I believe something like this could happen.

Me: (clearing my throat) Welcome back to the Tribeca Free State Miles and Lady.

I said nothing but I had written that this exact same thing would happen. At my age I didn’t know whether it would happen in my lifetime but anyone who followed EU policies could see it coming.

Miles: Tribeca Free State? What are you talking about?

Lessing: Well, Miles, things have been happening here too. Manhattan is now several different States. You have the Moslem Caliphate in Lower Manhattan, the Tribeca Free State here, the New American Republic in mid-Island both East and West, the African Chieftanship in Upper Manhattan and the Bronx. So things are different. And then there’s the Orthodox Hebrew Theocracy in Brooklyn, Queens isn’t clear and we haven’t heard much from Staten Island but it appears it might be Whiteland.

Miles: Egad! The Tribeca Free State! Why that?

Lessing: Nobody is so dominant that it can be claimed but we’re doing our best to get it into the New American Republic.

Lady: Well, at least the lights are still on.

Me: Yes, we were able to seize control of the grid. We’re using it to try to freeze out the Moslems. They have no power at all, of course, that has raised some havoc with Wall Street but they can always go back . Once we cut off their water they will have to vacate. That adds to the woes of Staten Island and Long Island, New Jersey but it’s unavoidable.

Miles: So war is going on here too?

Lessing: Yes, Miles, you might call it a phony war as so far there hasn’t been too much shooting; we’re all still sparring with each other, waiting to see what Obama will do. So far, we assume he’s ‘assessing the situation.’

Lady: My God, is it the end of the world?

Me: It is certainly the end of civilization as we’ve known it. But then that began back at 9/11, now we’re really into it. But, you said something about Merkel inciting it.

Lady: Yes. Over there they think Merkel had the plan when she admitted all those Moslems in ’15 and ’16. The French think it’s a continuation of the Nazis. They think Merkel is rearming Germany and once the Moslems are out of Germany with France in total turmoil Germany will attack Moslem France and begin the conquest of Europe.

Me: Far out! Crazy little Mama Merkel. Who would have believed it. I suppose the Moslems are smashing the wine stores.

Lady: Yes, of course, but what a thing to mention.

Me: Damn.

Lessing: Ata boy, Perry, first things first.

Lady: Now that you mention it Perry I’m afraid that you and that woman will have to vacate the apartment. We’re sorry our agreement isn’t viable. Force majeure. You do understand, don’t you?

Me: Of course, Lady. Angeline has her own condo so we’ll move over there. We’ll pack and leave tomorrow. I can assure you I have no objection and no regrets. I can’t thank you enough for a very wonderful experience. I’m sure Lessing can fill you in after you’ve recovered from your flight and as we are all fighting the good fight I hope we can be friends and associates.

Lady: I’m sure we can Perry. But, I’d prefer you spent the night at…her…apartment and pick up your things tomorrow.

Me: Certainly. I understand fully and as I say Lessing will fill you in later. We’ll take our leave then.

Lessing: give me a minute Perry and we can go uptown together if you like.

Me: Sounds good Lessing. Alright with you Ange?

Ange: (suppressing a sob) Yes. I’m yours Partly.

 

Proceed to Vol. I, Clip 11

 

 

The Vampyres Of New York

Vol. I, Clip 8

by

R.E. Prindle

 

Story continues:

Ange: Partly, I tremble when I think about growing up in a country fraught with dangers I could never conceive as a child. For me my life has been an amusement park House of Horrors. The adaptations I have made to survive terrorize me. I haven’t been able to sleep well because of horrifying nightmares. Perhaps that is why I went catatonic as you say. I’m alone, or I was, and defenseless against forces I can neither evade or control. Life is a nightmare with that bastard Adelstein hounding me, demanding what I don’t want to give and he is the most powerful judge in New York.

You want me to tell you my story and I’m almost in tears thinking back to my girlhood. As you know I was born in nineteen forty-eight; that was in Orange County, California during the Gidget and surfing days. It was all oranges, sun and water, a near paradise.

Me: So you became aware somewhen around nineteen sixty.

Ange: Yes, and my parents got divorced at the same time. I was an only child and so I went with my mother. I don’t know what she was thinking when she divorced my father. He took care of her. She was a beautiful airhead and at the risk of being vulgar she didn’t know her ass from a hole in the ground. Men flocked to her and she couldn’t handle herself at all. It was horrible. Finally my father put me in Warren’s Finishing or I don’t know how I would have made it through my childhood.

Fortunately my father stuck with me. After Warren’s I went to UCLA and from there believe it or not, I graduated from Harvard Law School. That was in nineteen seventy-six.

As you may believe I was very good looking and had this amazing chest and you know what it was like in the Sixties, Seventies and Eighties.

Me: Only hearsay. I was married. Since then, of course, I’ve done a lot of reading. UCLA. You missed the Really Big Shoo up at UC but you must have around for Sunset strip in the Sixties. Sex, drugs and rock and roll and all that . How did you survive that?

Ange: You were up in Northern Oregon at that time?

Me: My wife and I left the Bay Area in sixty-six for grad school in Eugene then I opened a record store that became very successful. LA was the record capital of the world so I spent maybe three or four weeks a year on business in LA. I caught some of it but more from the fringe. I felt threatened too, perhaps in a different way but for me the terror started in Sixty and never let up until I got clear in about two thousand five. It was hard, hard travelin’ through those years. I can tell you stories.

Ange: Yes. I wish that Pill had never been invented. Of course as a silly young woman I had to have it.

Me: They beat the drums loudly, didn’t they? The Pill, the drugs, the disintegration of society; there was no safe place.

Ange: The drugs! I can’t tell you how many women I saw destroyed by some joker with cocaine. My father warned me about drugs and thank god I listened to him. Not that I didn’t do them a little, but on top of Dad’s warning I had a strange inhibition as though some hand prevented me from taking them.

Me: Really? That is strange. But, tell me, you were twelve in sixty, eighteen in sixty-eight just as things really got rolling. You say you lost your virginity in sixty-six. Was your mother from Michigan? Did you grow up in Michigan?

Ange: I was born in Battle Creek but we moved to Orange County shortly after. Have you ever been to Battle Creek?

Me: Yes, relatives there.

Ange: That’s where mother got in trouble. Some boy seduced her when she was sixteen and I was born when she was seventeen. My grand parents were horrified. They took me from her and raised me while they banished mother as a disgrace to them. That’s when she went up to the Grand Traverse where she met you or this other you. She was allowed to come back shortly after you left when I met her for the first time. She married father and we left for California.

She used to speak to me of ‘that boy’ often. She could never understand why you left without saying goodbye. Why did you?

Me: I have often thought about this Ange with an aching heart. You see, I had a broken wing and your mother had a broken wing. To salve her hurt she took to injured and things with broken wings. Toward the end she came across a deer injured by a hunter. She brought it to her cabin where she lavished all her attention on it bringing it back to health.

Then, one day, when it had recovered it looked at her with those big doe eyes lowered its head and walked away, disappearing into the forest. I thought, I don’t know what I thought, I was far from healed but I knew I that to leave too and so I just disappeared too.

I’ve always been ashamed of that but still I had no choice. In order to survive I had to cross the straits and disappear into the UP.

Ange: Where did you go?

Me: Oh, I don’t know. It’s all a blank space. The next thing I knew was that I was in Madison Wisconsin. I was already in the Naval Reserve so not knowing what to do I went active for three years and when I came out I was beginning to become Partly Wright. The name wasn’t really my mother’s joke, it was mine.

So, how did a young girl like you react to the Sixties. It was a pretty strange time. Strange Days like Morrison sang.

Ange: The Sixties pretty much passed over me. I was boarded at Warren’s most of the time so I was pretty insulated. At UCLA I spent most of my time in classes. Other than listening to a few records I don’t remember being too involved in what was going on and then I left for Harvard.

Me: From the West Coast to Boston. That must have been culture shock.

Ange: Talk about culture shock! I learned a thing or two at Harvard apart from law.

Me: I can imagine. And then you came down to the Big Bagel and then what.

Ange: Well, I had good grades, finished in the top ten percent, passed the Bar and was recruited off the lot by a middling level firm did well and was then taken by Barton, Adler, Adelstein and Dollop, a top firm.

Me: Adelstein? Is that where you met this Merivale Adelstein character.

Ange: Yes. A black spot in my life that, that I will never be able to erase.

Me: Oh, sure you will, I can erase that for you but tell me but this BAAD

Firm. A black spot. What exactly is your grievance, Angeline?

Ange: I don’t know. I can’t put my finger on it but every time he leaves I have this revolting feeling and I hate him. I always have to take a shower.

Me: Every time he leaves. Yes, I think I see. So you are aware of his coming and going but not what happens while he’s with you, is that right?

Ange: Well, I never thought of it before but no, I don’t remember anything between his coming and going, it’s just a black spot, and I always feel dirty.

Me: Hmm. And this list of women you gave me. How did you know them?

Ange: Oh, we all worked at BAAD.

Me: Let me guess. You were all blond and attractive.

Ange: Yes, either natural or peroxide.

Me: And why did you leave the old firm…what was it called?

Ange: Gorden, Oils, Oswald and Dustbin.

Me: I see, so you went from GOOD to BAAD. Why did you go to BAAD?

Ange: Well Merivale made me an offer I just couldn’t refuse; it was nearly double what I was getting at GOOD.

Me: How about that. Very nice offer. So he was impressed by your work at GOOD?

Ange: That was the funny thing. He never checked. I thought it must have been because I was from Harvard.

Me: Well now, these women hired at BAAD, did they all get real nice salaries too?

Ange: Oh yes, BAAD paid its women well. Even the receptionist made a fabulous wage for a receptionist. It was nearly a dream.

Me: I think it was a dream Ange. Do you know what a Monarch slave is my darling girl?

Ange: No-o-o.

Me: I’m beginning to understand your situation at BAAD.

Ange: You mean catalepsy?

Me. If you prefer. I’m going out on a limb here but you know what hypnotism is don’t you?

Ange: Of course. What do you mean?

Me: Umm, I don’t know how they did this. By any chance did the firm require you to see their doctor for a physical exam?

Ange: Yes, we all did, Dr. Wormowitz.

Me: Right! And was Adelstein the only Jew at BAAD.

Ange: Well, Partly, I’m not prejudiced or an anti-Semite so I don’t look for that but yes, now that you mention it Jews might have been half or more of the attorneys.

Me: And the attorney’s you knew best were all more or less chummy with Adelstein and you women were all Anglos, perhaps?

Ange: Partly, I don’t know what you’re getting at.

Me: I will tell you Ange. In your present state of mind you might not find what I have to say believable. Just listen, ask questions if you need to, think it over, that is, sleep on it and then we will see if it applies to your situation.

I think what we’ve got here is a problem in psychology. Hypnotism and suggestion. That’s a problem society is unwilling to address and of which most people have little to no awareness.

In the nineteenth and early twentieth century when thinkers began to develop a rational understanding of mental processes the discipline was co-opted by a Viennese Jew, Sigmund Freud, who then began perverting psychology through psycho-analysis for Jewish national ends.

I am not opposed to psycho-analysis per se, Ange, in fact I use it for the basis of my understanding of the mind, but a discipline can be used for good or evil and psychoanalysis has been organized for evil ends; not all practitioners are guilty and may even not be aware of the ends others are seeking.

Freud himself developed little merely adapting and organizing what other researchers had discovered while taking all the credit and suppressing the others. Two very influential in the development of Freud’s program were the Frenchman Gustave LeBon and the Russian Ivan Pavlov. LeBon gave Freud the key to mass hypnosis while Pavlov showed him how to master indoctrination and conditioning.

Freud was fortunate in having developed his program, I won’t call it a theory, just as the great hypnotic media of movies, sound recordings, radio and later TV came into existence, all developed by gois. Thus the means for a blanketing dissemination of propaganda came into existence making his program possible.

As a Jew Freud hated the European civilization that had made the Jewish ideology obsolete and like his hero the Carthaginian General Hannibal who ravaged Rome he wished condign punishment on Europe and Europeans. As a field of battle he chose European mores and morals and by extension North America.

Freud’s rise also coincided with the years of projected Jewish redemption that the Elders Of Zion had scheduled for nineteen thirteen to nineteen twenty-eight. Freud made himself a leading light of the redemption, one might almost say its Messiah. This is clear if you read his collected works aright.

The redemption was going along swimmingly. In Europe the Great War worked to the advantage of the Jewish people. Heavily represented, very influential, at the Paris Peace Conference they achieved signal goals in Europe, especially in the German Weimar Republic that Jews consider the high mark in achieving their goals. In the new Soviet Union they had replaced the Russians as the directing force in government. The native Russians essentially became Monarch slaves.

While Jews practically owned the Wilson government in the United States their plans hit a snag when the Republicans won the nineteen twenty election. At the same time in reaction to their success in Washington during the war Henry Ford began his expose of their anti-American activities that lasted for seven years. The Republican Interregnum endured until nineteen thirty-three when their Democratic stooge, Franklin Roosevelt, regained the presidency.

Then, just as it seemed that success was in reach from the US to the Soviet Union, the Big Clinker showed up in Germany overturning the Weimar Republic and upsetting their plans of capturing Euroamerica. If not the whole story this overturning of the Weimar Republic caused their rage against Hitler compounded by what they would call his anti-Semitism.

Now arising in America during the Great War as a publicist, Freud’s nephew, his wife’s cousin, Edward Bernays, had established his career as a leading Public Relations and advertising man. He had visited his uncle a couple times receiving indoctrination from him. The Jews considered Hitler’s German triumph as evidence of the basic irrationality of the Demos when left to their own devices. Therefore the Demos had to be hedged out, that is controlled so as to remove any threat to the Jews.

As Freud’s agent in the US, much as August Belmont had been the Rothschild’s, Bernays acted to blunt the will of the Demos. As he expressed it a rational elite had to take direction of the Demos to prevent another irrational outburst as had happened in Germany. In his position of Public Relations and advertising he was able to slant advertising to achieve mind control advancing those controls. By the Sixties Jews had captured, for all practical purposes, the advertising industry managing the direction of advertising content.

To set the scene wholly, when Hitler displaced the Weimar Republic he also displaced the whole of Freud’s subversive Psycho-analytic Order. While psycho-analysis was based or disguised as science it was set up as an Order along the lines Medieval Chivalry. Thus the Order’s goals were political rather than medical.

The displaced Psycho-analytic Order, as well as other orders such as the Frankfurt School almost entirely re-located in the United States, mostly in New York and Hollywood, the two most important Jewish colonies in the US. While the gois had a visceral reaction to psycho-analysis it prospered mightily until by the Fifties and Sixties it dominated intellectual attitudes.

That’s a brief history of Freudianism for our purposes Ange. Now, if you haven’t any questions we’ll go on to the application of Freudianism in the US situation.

Ange: This is different than anything I’ve ever heard Partly, where have you read this? Especially the part about the what?, the Jewish redemption?

Me: I am an historian Angeline. The history you and the public read is heavily redacted and edited for Jewish purposes, one might say a conditioning of the mind. Nearly all of it is written by Jews or vetted by them. Thus only a homogenized version of history favoring Jewish goals is made available. Any exposure of its falsity is punished.

The major Jewish actors of the twentieth century are virtually unknown although their influence on the period was immense. I doubt if you have even heard of the most prominent Jewish actor of the period, Bernard Baruch.

Ange: Not that I remember.

Me: I thought that would be the case yet he was known as the advisor of presidents from Wilson to Eisenhower. You may have heard of Felix Frankfurter but I doubt if you know anything but the name.

Ange: Hm, no, not even the name.

Me: Felix is down the memory whole then too. He was as influential as Baruch. Tsk, tsk. Well, historically the Jews have functioned as an autonomous or near autonomous and separate nation within the nations and heavily influenced the Paris peace talks of WWI to place themselves in a very advantageous position vis-à-vis the Europeans. The talks enabled them to virtually takeover Weimar Germany.

In the US they were actually depicted as having their capital in New York City while the American capital was in Washington DC. Thus if you treat them as an autonomous nation working for their own interests as against those of the Americans you get a different and more accurate picture of the period than if you merely read what you are intended to and not read what is forbidden. Right?

Ange: I, well, I suppose so.

Me: What I tell you is true. So, that’s the bare bones of the history of the period. I have lots of corroborating evidence in my blog articles. You can read them if you want. So, now, leading into your situation.

As I say, Freud wanted to destroy and change the moral order of Europe. Having spent some time with Jean-Martin Charcot at the Salpetriere in Paris and with the important hypnosis developers Liebeault and Bernstein at Nancy as well as reading LeBon Freud acquired the means to undermine the mental state of Europeans while he developed his method. This is why the Nazis burned his books; they knew what he had done and what he was up to. These were all defensive moves.

His first assault was to attack the dream mechanism and put the understanding of dreams on a sound basis. This was actually a signal service but very unsettling to conventional understanding. Significantly his motto for the Dream book which while from a quote from Vergil in Latin essentially said that if he couldn’t make it in the gentile world he would create a hell and destroy them. You may think this is a stretcher but fourteen years later the Great War erupted that gutted the manhood of the Aryans.

I think the actual translation is closer to if the gods wouldn’t help him he would resort to Satan. And he did. Satan triumphed in nineteen sixty-six when Time Magazine asked on its cover: Is God Dead?

You might think that’s a stretcher too, but as Gustavus Myers said of his History Of the Great American Fortunes, it’s all facts, all facts.

Freud’s Dream book was not an immediate success but its sales volume grew year by year. As Freud recognized Dreams slipped the subconscious and had to be interpreted in that light. He also realized that life revolved around sex although he misinterpreted the meaning of sex, and he knew how disturbing the sexual act is. Emphasizing sex was a perfect way to unsettle society.

Europe’s efforts for two thousand years had been to get the sex impulse under control. They had succeeded to some extent, probably as much as could be done but Freud wanted to and did release the sex impulse to full indulgence. His Three Essays On The Theory Of Sexuality in which he defended homosexuality and proposed childhood sexuality threw the gois into a tizzy knocking them off center. These are legitimate topics of research but Freud always approached these things from the smutty side. As D.H. Lawrence noted Freud wasn’t trying to reform morality his goal was to destroy it. Sex being the potent disturber, he made his assault on the European vision of Woman that put her on a pedestal. The attack was fierce; he wanted to make a wanton of Woman, sluts and in the Sixties that was achieved. It was laughingly referred to by the knowing as ‘women’s liberation.’ Ask yourself, and Ange I wasn’t thinking, who benefited?

It was also necessary to disarm the goi so that there would be little or no resistance. This was a two pronged attack. The first was to induce guilt for thinking ill, or realistically, about Jews. For this the notion of anti-Semitism was exploited. In control of the media the Jews were always eulogized while it was forbidden to call attention to, for instance, Jewish criminality which by the way they now celebrate, while on the other hand goish faults were dwelt upon.

The Jewish Order of B’nai B’rith organized its terrorist arm to seek out any offenders and if they didn’t heed the warning they would hurt. For small fry this worked well but when the virtually immune Henry Ford appeared on the scene the Jews really had to exercise their powers. It took twenty years but by nineteen forty Ford was on the edge of bankruptcy. The government and most of society had been organized against him. Rust never sleeps and the Jews never desist.

Freud discovered cocaine in the eighteen eighties becoming something of an addict at the time while destroying a few lives by pushing it. He learned firsthand of the power of such a morality dissolvent and what it did to the mind.

His drug years are usually glossed over while it is said that he kicked the habit. Maybe. But how many do? I’m convinced that he remained a user all his life although he obviously brought his use under control.

Nevertheless, in the twenties, having discovered the effects of heroin the Jewish New York gangster Arnold Rothstein organized the heroin trade on a commercial basis. Of course most if not all drugs were legal until nineteen ten and hop heads, as they were known at the time, had always been around but now began a concerted effort to promote heroin use.

There were also synthetic drugs such as amphetamines. Amphetamines were synthesized in the 1890s. Strangely enough in the first thirty years of the century vitamins, previously unknown, were discovered. This led for some strange reason to the combination of amphetamines and vitamins into a feel good cocktail. It was believed that the vitamins neutralized the harmful effects of the drug.

Somewhen about nineteen thirty a Jew by the name of Max Jacobson claimed to have invented the potent mix. Max isn’t particularly reliable so he may have or he may have picked up the idea from someone else. In any event flushed out of Germany he showed up on America’s hospitable shores with his vial in his hand. By nineteen sixty he was medicating a large portion of New York City.

Numerous other drugs and psychedelics were synthesized over the forties and Fifties so that by the Sixties the cornucopia of mood elevators and depressants were legion. Many of these new stimulants were legal through most of the Sixties.

Lurking behind this was the development of the understanding of hypnosis, suggestion and post-hypnotic suggestion which is what you experienced if I’m correct Ange. The mothers of mind control. The Holy Grail of what many people sought for many various reasons.

You remember, Ange, that the Jews speaking through Eddie Bernays thought that an elite, that is a code for themselves, had to control the mass psyche to prevent them from aberrant behavior, code for anti-Semitism. The method would have to be through suggestion, indoctrination and conditioning.

If you examine the media through that lens it is easy to see how they manipulate the mass psyche. TV, movies and records are the key media and those have always been Jewish owned and controlled. If you watch the internet for your news you will quickly become aware of what the programmers want you to think. Deviate and society itself will correct you as the conditioning also teaches one to reject any unauthorized opinions.

However, specialists want more complete control. Thus the operators emphasizing indoctrination and conditioning go directly into the mind compelling the subject to delete old memories and opinions and replacing them with induced memories and opinions. This is facilitated by suggestion under hypnosis and post-hypnotic suggestion. Once the suggestion is accepted by the mind at any time in the future the suggestion will be performed. If you’ve seen the Manchurian Candidate you know how it’s done. A trigger word or gesture over the phone or anywhere will activate the suggestion.

The North Koreans used what was then called brainwashing during the Korean War on POWs to get them to renounce their allegiance to the US. The CIA under that strange one, Allen Dulles, experimented extensively. By the Sixties using sex, drugs and the media all highly hypnotically suggestive repeated over and over means the Jews were well on the way to conquering the mind of America; a truly remarkable conquest.

The Pill removed the fear of pregnancy, hence sex ‘liberated’ woman but also turned her into a piece of meat. Then in sixty-two Betty Friedan, a Jew, delivered the coup de grace to the Chivalric conception of Woman with her book The Feminine Mystique. By rejecting the Mystique or Chivalric approach, that women did, they were delivered to the meat market. As the Negroes said they were holes or ho’s to be used and discarded. This was especially clear in the world’s meat market, New York City. The Vampyres of New York had arrived fangs bared.

As I mentioned, in nineteen sixty-six Time Magazine signaled the changing of the guard when its cover blared Is God Dead? That created quite an uproar at the time, quickly obscured as time rushed on. It might be coincidence or it might be the Freudian plan unfolding but Time Magazine being published in New York City, the largest colony of Jews in the world was always if not controlled, majorally influenced by Jews as was the publishing industry in general.

No surprise then that in sixty-six Ira Levin, a Jew, published his novel Rosemary’s Baby. Rosemary was of course impregnated by Satan giving birth to his baby Andy in imitation of Mary and Jesus. Thus Satanism replaced Christianity. Roman Polansky the movie director, a Jew, immediately set about turning the book into a movie that was a smash hit in sixty-eight. Polansky made very few, possibly no changes, to the story. After Rosemary’s Baby the whole movie industry became Satanic. That would have been when you were sixteen and eighteen Ange. You are probably familiar with The Exorcist and the flood of movies of the kind.

Ange: Yes I am. That movie horrified me. I have even seen Rosemary’s Baby but I just thought it was a movie. But, I think I can see how society did change from God centered to Satan centered now that you’ve explained it. But except in a general way how does that apply to me?

Me: It sets the stage for what I am going to suggest happened to you Ange. Once you changed employers from GOOD to BAAD I think you must have some memory black outs, blank spots once you get to BAAD. Would that be correct?

Ange: Well…there are things I can’t explain, like waking up sore all over without being able to explain it as I couldn’t remember how it might have happened. At times even though awake I thought I was sleepwalking.

Me: Yes. I am probably right then. Now you must understand Angeline that on sexual matters I don’t follow the Liberal agenda. I find feminism puerile, self-serving and unrealistic. Sex matters are totally dependent on biology. Nature has created what nature has created no tinkering can change that and certain consequences have fallen out of that creation that cannot be denied. Because men have an Xy chromosome they are more or less self-sufficient; because women have the other two X chromosomes they are more dependent. Men are stronger, women are less strong. In point of fact men have no other use for women other than sexual and perhaps as beasts of burden. That may sound rude but if women had no sexual use but remained women they would be superfluous to men. However as women are conscious and intelligent beings men have to make certain concessions to them to maintain harmony. We call that Love.

There have been ways attempted around those concessions however, for instance, the harem in which a rich or important man gathers a group of women about him distributing his favors by his own peculiar method. As with all solutions there are unintended consequences, expense being a major one and the envy of other males another although to be surrounded by women is enervating.

Another solution most famously tried on slave plantations of the West Indies was to select favored females and then bringing them up with their every wish or whim fulfilled while being trained to be compliant in sex. Perhaps not too distant in concept from the Japanese Geisha girls.

The Negro slave women were difficult in numerous ways being unsatisfactory. Then fortune shown on the planters. Along about sixteen sixty or so Oliver Cromwell chose to subdue the Irish. Being the good self-righteous Protestant that he was he was especially brutal. He rounded up tens of thousands of Irish men and women selling them into slavery, chattel slavery, in the West Indies where they were put to work in the fields with the Negro chattel slaves. The beauteous Irish girls were more spirited and lively than the African women, however when half breeds were created the combination was just right to create near ideal sex, or Monarch, slaves. The women were near ideal however they did have to be coddled from birth and that can be downright irritating to more brutal male desires. The women’s attitude was easily ruined. So that solution was somewhat less than satisfactory.

Interestingly as New Orleans was part of the French West Indies when Haiti revolted and thousands of White planters fled to the Gulf Coast and New Orleans they brought that tradition with them so that the system continued to exist in Louisiana and as I understand it a few such women still exist there although only those men of a certain standard of wealth and temperament can possess one as the women must be maintained in their complete innocence.

The hope then was how to have women trained to gratify men’s desires without the unpleasantness of having to be directly concerned with them. This is where the advances in Freudian psychoanalysis, Pavlovian conditioning and hypnotism come in. I believe that you were part of that grand experiment along with the women on your list. You were all Monarch slaves.

Ange: Partly, what you are getting at is just too incredible. I’ve never heard of Irish slaves in the West Indies. What you said just doesn’t seem possible.

Me: I can assure you it was, not only that but those indentured servants in the American colonies you read about were actually slaves although technically not chattel. Still, men and women both worked in the field cheek by jowl with the Negroes. Hence the strong mixing of Negro and White blood. If you don’t have the historical background, and there is no reason you should have, check it out on the computer after we finish. It is there plus there are many books now dealing with the subject. So, I’m not talking through the back of my neck, Ange. I am a bona fide historian.

Ange: I believe you, dearest Partly, but it is all just so incredible.

Me: Not so incredible as may be revealed in your case Ange. I think we have a fearful tale to tell. Just remember that Hera loves her daughter and I have been sent as her priest to absolve you of all responsibility. All responsibility Ange, you are as innocent as a new born baby.

Ange: Yes, I believe you Partly. You have already saved my life and I’m sure that Hera and you can redeem it.

Me: Redemption is of the mind and can never be complete. So, now, we’re going to have to examine what happened after you went to BAAD.

Let’s start with your physical by Doctor Wormowitz. I think he may be the key. From his name did you think he was Jewish?

Ange: Yes, he was Jewish. He had a big Star of David in yellow facing you on his desk and other Jewish memorabilia scattered through his office including a couple pictures of Auschwitz on the wall.

Me: No secretary, just he and you in the office?

Ange: Yes, that’s right.

Me: What do you remember about the physical Ange:

Ange: Oh…well…I…I can’t recall anything.

Me: I imagine not. What do you recall between entering his office and leaving it?

Ange: I remember sitting down and then hearing him say close the door softly when I left.

Me: Right. So you were hypnotized while in his office and have no memory of what went on.

Ange: Hypnotized? I can’t believe that. He didn’t try to hypnotize me, I would have resisted.

Me: You didn’t know what hit you Ange. When I went to visit my parents and the Little Bastard once in Keokuk where they lived the Bastard took me to a party at his so-called friend’s house. Apparently completely without my knowledge or compliance his friend’s wife hypnotized me in the midst of assembled people. It took me a long time to realize what happened but I have a blank spot from the point where I was standing talking to them to where I moved across the room. I became aware that she was staring into my eyes. I thought then that she was trying to hypnotize me so at that point I pitted my will against hers and shook her off. Came out of it just as I was about to really go under. I have no idea what happened between us whether she planted a post-hypnotic suggestion or not. Wormowitz put you under without your realizing it. He must have begun indoctrinating you into sexual practices; so he must have implanted a signal or sign, a word, that would flip you in and out of trance in a split second. Do you remember any words or signs that these guys at BAAD flashed you or the other women?

Ange: No, no, I don’t remember anything like that. They did have this odd twitch when I saw them talk to some of the other girls.

Me: What twitch was that?

Ange: I guess they got nervous when they walked up so they scratched the lobe of their ear like this.

Me: Of course. Rubbed it three times. That’s it, Ange. With that sign they could flip you in and out at will.

Ange: That’s really hard to believe, Partly.

Me: OK, Ange. Watch this, I am going to put you under on the count of three. One…two…three.

And there it was. Ange flipped into her party girl, hot babe persona.

Me: Ange I command you to remember that I have just hypnotized you. I’m going to flip you out now.

At this point I rubbed my right ear lobe three times. But, instead of flipping out she leaped into my lap and began to French kissing me. I didn’t know what else to do so I responded in kind. While I was thinking she clasped my hand to her breast which upset my thinking momentarily. Christ, what could the counter-sign be? She had my right hand clasped to her breast so in my anxiety I put my left hand up to scratch the back of my head accidentally hitting my left ear lobe.

That was it. She flipped back to reality or, perhaps better, to her alternate or first personality.

Ange: Well, aren’t you the flirt Partly? How did you get me in your lap without my knowing it, Fresh One?

Me: I hypnotized you using Wormowitz’s signal Ange. That’s was the physical you were taking. You were being put under the control of the men of BAAD. You were then a sex slave. You were an improvement on the West Indies or Geisha model. You couldn’t remember what happened when you under when you were out. They had no responsibility for you. Being well paid kept you on the job. Don’t you remember saying you would remember if you were hypnotized?

Ange: Yes, of course I remember saying that, you told me too but how did I get on your lap and when did you begin to feel me up?

Me: You followed your conditioning well Ange. We’re going to have to experiment with your trance state to learn what they had you do and figure out how to back you out of it. By the way, was Merivale Adelstein a young lawyer at BAAD then?

Ange: Yes. I’ve known that bastard for a long time. How I hate to see him coming.

Me: I’m sure you do. How would you like to get your revenge by tearing his eyes out?

Ange: Nothing would give me greater satisfaction.

Me: OK. That was an easy one. That is what you are going to do. First let’s clear up your career at BAAD. In its own way this is a horror story, Ange, that you might find unsettling or maddening. I’m going to have to do another cleansing of you by Hera before we continue. Your mind has to be prepared. It’s almost five o’ clock. Let’s have a bite to eat and then a cleansing. You’re going to be conscious this time but I want you to open yourself, be receptive to my suggestions. Believe. Accept without resistance.

Now, here Ange, undress and put on this green silk wrap. Green is the color of rebirth. When Hera or the Earth blossoms in Spring she is a fresh virgin green. You were released from your former self at the first ceremony, with this rite you will be born again shedding your old self much as the first stage of a rocket falling away, a future without that burdensome baggage. Once free of that I will put you to bed and you will enjoy a healing and refreshing sleep until sunrise. You will awake to a new world without fear of a past that will appear as a novel written by someone else.

Ready? Now throw your raiment from you and slip into the cleansing waters. Hera will reveal a past concealed from you by the machinations of evil men. As they captured your soul by devious means you had no responsibility for their actions as they affected you. You are innocent. Your will had been taken from you supplanted by their wicked desires by criminal means. You will now reaquire your will.

Their means was suggestion that I am now removing and replacing that suggestion with the love of Hera for her daughter. You will respond to the sign of the ear only from me. No other is to be observed by you. You will respond only to my voice, no other.

You are to avenge yourself on Merivale Adelstein. At the opportune moment when confronted by Adelstein I will sign you to attack him. Your strength will be tripled, your fury will be irresistible. Tear at his face with your nails. Ignore all consequences until I say cease.

You are once again purified. Hera bless you.

 

With that I patted Angeline dry, placed her in bed, tucked her in, planted a sweet kiss on her lips and said: Sleep, my beloved.

She closed her eyes and was lost to the world till the sun rose over the horizon.

As I went out into the living room the phone lights began to blink so I said hello.

Lessing: Hello, Perry. Haven’t seen you for a few days. You OK?

Me: Hi, Lessing. I’ve been busy with another problem. Demanding. Didn’t mean to ignore you. How have things been?

Lessing: More and more interesting. You have heard the news about the Rabbis?

Me: No, Lessing. I haven’t had any news for a few days now. What about the Rabbis?

Lessing: Our lifetime president ordered them all rounded up.

Me: Rounded up? As in collected for further disposition?

Lessing: Yes. They have apparently been put in a camp put in operation to receive them. It’s unbelievable. I don’t know what to think.

Me: I can’t say I’m surprised. I won’t say I saw it coming but he’s had it in for the Jews from the beginning. I don’t know why they couldn’t see it. He didn’t happen to nab old Soros did he? Along with the Rabbis that would more or less wipe out the leadership cadre leaving the people rudderless.

Lessing: Soros is out of the country, may have had advance word. What do you think is next?

Me: Probably a general roundup when they get more space. Has he done anything to empower the Moslems? Anything in Sharia law, something like that?

Lessing: There is talk of Sharia law being permitted in the Moslem colonies but nothing firm yet. But, what is the other problem you spoke of?

Me: It’s sorta difficult to explain over the phone but I have found the means to virtually take control of the courts so we’ll be more secure than we are.

Lessing: How did you do that?

Me: I’ll have to explain face to face. Just let me ask: Do you know Merivale Adelstein?

Lessing: Adelstein? Sure.

Me: He’s in the bag and the knot is tied.

Lessing: Hard to believe. When can we meet?

Me: Give me a couple days to complete my matters here. How about Friday for lunch?

Lessing: Sounds good.

Me: OK. Oh, and I’m bringing my wife Angeline Gower so there will be three of us. Pick out a place that is always empty or close to it so we can talk low.

Lessing: Your wife! Angeline Gower! The woman who worked at BAAD?

Me: Yes. Do you know her?

Lessing: I know of her but I’m so flabbergasted I don’t what to say.

Me: It’ll keep till Friday. We’ll need a planning session on Saturday too.

Lessing: You’re sure about that?

Me: Yes. Be prepared for some excitement on Saturday. Should be fun. If anything happens give me a call; otherwise Friday for lunch.

 

Of course I knew the conversation was recorded so I sent Ragnar with a different set of instructions. We probably couldn’t elude the authorities but we could make it a little difficult for them.

Continued on Clip 9.

Our Lady Of The Blues

Book I, Clip 2

by

R.E. Prindle

Our Lady Of The Blues: Book I, Clip 2a. Posted 6/08/12

He even swam in the fountains in the yard afterwards, and though he did not get very wet, that night his eyes were moist at the thought that the best part of his life was at an end.

Thus Ordway describes the ‘happiest time of his life.’  So it was lived in the politest of societies.  But there still came a time in his life when the ideals he had been taught as a child came into conflict with the ideals of an older broader corrupt society.

Cabot was asked whether he was moral to which he answered yes.  He was then held under until he learned to answer ‘not more nor less than anyone else.’  In other words he descends to a lesser level of morality and he is corrupted by a lower standard.  The question then becomes who determines the level of corruptness and how low do we go.

In American society at large the Judeo-Italian notion of criminality had been lowering the standards of society for six decades.  American society had been unprepared to deal with the level of corruptness brought into American life by the immigrants.  The country had neither laws nor attitudes to resist this incredible degree of criminality.  Indeed, the politicians demanded that society turn a blind eye to this behavior lest Jews and Italians be offended.

Even the greatest crime buster in the history of the world, J. Edgar Hoover, Chief of the Federal Bureau Of Investigation, leader of the G-men, denied the existence of organized crime until after this period.  The renowned crime fighter had built his reputation on defeating lone cowboy desperadoes like John Dillinger, Lester Gillis alias Baby Face Nelson, Pretty Boy Floyd and the Barker Gang, but he did not have one single achievement against  the urban Judeo-Italian gangs.  Even the arrest of Lepke Buchalter of Murder, Inc., had been arranged by his fellow gangsters to get him out of the way.

In a couple of years the Kennedy family would employ Mafia muscle to swing the presidential election to themselves.  Thus, in sixty years the vilest criminal elements had come to an accord with the US government.  Further the US government would employ criminals in a plan to assassinate the man who had dispossessed the mob of their criminal enterprises- Fidel Castro.

Thus the descent into corruption from Ordway in 1921 to Kennedy in 1960 was incredible.  Obviously at the time of this story the lowest elements of the underworld were determining the moral level of the United States.  If it was OK for them, if the law would tolerate the murderous crimes of the underworld, then would the rest of the people of the country expect less for themselves?  No.

While Ordway was of a very privileged class nevertheless Dewey Trueman and the majority of his shipmates had enjoyed a variation of Ordway’s life until his dunking.  But now the adjustment the crew of the Teufelsdreck would have make to their dunking was much greater.  The gangland focus was shifting from Havana to Las Vegas.  Boomtimes in the desert with its gambling, prostitution and corruption would undermine morality in the fleet.

As Dewey lay with his back to his shipmates attempting to deal with the homosexuality and crime that he intuited aboard the ship his mind reeled.  What was he to do?  Could he let them duck him and come up saying he was no moral than they?  Should he accept the conditions and ‘go with the flow’ which might cost him all of his self-esteem or resist, fight the corruption, and suffer the consequences of his ‘arrogance.’

Could he endure as someone who couldn’t respect himself?  Dewey already suffered from low self-esteem inflicted on him in his childhood.  It was recovering this self-esteem that was the central battle of his life.  Rather than sacrifice his own identity on the altar of conformity, of ‘going with the flow’ in whatever direction that might lead he had better resist.  Better to be battered shapeless than to knowingly assume the position.  Thus, when he awoke the next morning his will was armored for a fight to the finish.  He would attempt to sink no lower than had Ordway.

Mustered the next morning Dewey was given a work assignment.  Life aboard ship began in earnest.  Having just returned from an Asian tour of duty the ship was in deplorable condition.  It appeared that no work had been done for at least six months.  It was as though they were beginning from scratch.  Yet the miracle was that this bunch of uncaring misfits would have the Teufelsdreck shipshape within ten days attributable to the genius of Navy organization.

Dewey was assigned to repair damage to the peeling numbers on the bow.  He and an old hand, Lester Peebles, were assigned the task.  Peebles was to be transferred shortly so there is no need to give his description except to say that he was short, weasel faced, slovenly and of low moral order.

Dewey, young and naïve, believed it was his duty to work as fast and as well as circumstances allowed.  Peebles, who had been around, knew that one worked as slowly as possible and caused as many obstructions as possible.  He knew that the standard was that a four hour job should take a minimum, a bare minimum of two days.  He accurately reflected shipboard standards so it was also his job with a new man to condition him to reality.

You will see how brilliantly the Navy organized to overcome this inherent sabotage which could not be avoided.  Central to the Navy’s success of course was that the work force could not walk off the job and quit.  Without that coercion even the Navy must have failed.

The bow of the Teufelsdreck was about fifteen feet above the waterline thus one man would work over the side while the other tended him.  The roles alternated  after lunch.  Dewey as new man was the first to go over.  A wooden board called a stage was lowered over the side to stand on.  At the lowest point the stage was only inches from the water.  The bow curved out at the top so the stage was three or four feet away from the side at the bottom.  There are several metal rings welded to the bow of a ship if you look closely.  A smaller line passed through a loop, snugs the stage up close to the side to facilitate work.

Even so work is not easy.  You have to hold onto a stage line with one hand and paint with the other while balancing on a wobbling board.  It can be done however.

Dewey went over the side and slid down the stage line.   He snugged up, examined the numbers up close and took his wire brush out of his back pocket to begin to scour the numbers clean.

Up to this point the process had consumed the whole morning so Dewey climbed back up the line to go to lunch.

Lunch over at one, it took Peebles till one-thirty-five to find his way back to the fo’csle.  It took him another full forty-five minutes to get over the side.  This was quite clearly a four or five day job.  It took seven.  Like Penelope unweaving the work of the day at night, Peebles managed to undo what Trueman had done so that Trueman had to do it over.

Over that period of time Peebles filled Dewey in on shipboard gossip.  He preferred to speak to Dewey when Dewey was on the stage.

‘Yeah, Descartes is a pretty good old boy.  He’s a man’s man.’

‘Isn’t that pronounced Day Cartes?”

‘Is it spelled Day Cartes?  Peebles looked at Trueman suspiciously.  Seemed pretty clear cut to Peebles, nor was his logic wrong.

‘Yeah, but it’s French, like Rene Des Cartes.  I’ll bet he pronounces it Day Cartes himself.’

Peebles had dropped out school in the ninth grade.  He had no way to even follow Dewey’s argument.  He spelled the name out in his mind and could find no other pronunciation than DessCartes.  He looked down hard at Dewey wondering how stupid or troublesome the guy would be.

‘Uh, doesn’t matter.  You call it what you want and I’ll call it what I want.’  Peebles tried to regain his thought.  ‘Anyway the Captain is an alright guy.  He understand how to manage men.’

‘Right.  How’s that?’

‘He doesn’t try to enforce silly rules.  You know, if something important comes up and you can’t get back to the ship for two or three days he doesn’t even give you a Captain’s Mast.  You don’t know Stan Casien but he’s been gone three weeks now.’

‘Three weeks?  Isn’t that AWOL?’

‘Will be if he doesn’t come back.  But, that’s just it, if he doesn’t come back then he must have a good reason.  The Captain will understand that.’

‘Well, don’t you think he would have to be tried for desertion?’

‘Not if he’s got a good reason.  You see, Captain De…the Captain would understand that.  That’s why he’s a man’s man.’

In fact Capt. Descartes was not only tolerant he was lax.  He so desired the esteem of the men that, in certain cases, he let them get away with so much and ran such a loose ship that he was about to be transferred to shore duty.  When Stan Casien did return after more than a month AWOL Capt. Descartes scandalized the squadron by giving him only seven days restriction although, contrary to Peebles’ expectations, he did give Casien a Captain’s Mast.

The lenience of the sentence was such that discipline aboard the Teufelsdreck evaporated completely.  The lack of order nearly drove Trueman mad.

‘You met Bent Cygnette yet?’  Peebles asked giving the stage line a twitch which sent the stage swinging wildly as Dewey overcompensated to regain his balance.  His brush swiped wildly smearing the white of the number over the gray of the side.

‘Come on, Peebles, knock it off; you made me smear the paint.’

‘Yah.  You’re pretty clumsy.  Ha ha ha.  Ah, just a little extra work that’s all.   We’ve got plenty of time.  You do understand that don’t you?  We got all the time in the world.  Keep your cool.  Cygnette?  Know him yet?’

‘No.  Who is he?’

‘Gunner’s Mate.  Seaman.  Gonna be Third Class before too long though.  Real tough nut, him and his sidekick, Kunkle.

‘Oh yeah?  Real fighter, huh?’

‘Don’t say I said it ‘cause I don’t want no trouble but I kinda wonder about his reputation.  I mean, you know, a lot of his fights are done this way.  He and Kunkel go to a bar.  Cygnette picks a fight, Kunkel goes outside first, Cygnette leads the guy he picked a fight with outside.  Kunkel waits beside the door, then pops the guy as he comes out and then Cygnette lets him have a couple.  Fight’s over.’

‘Not a fair fighter, huh?’

Let’s just say he likes to have the percentages on his side.  A real follower of Casey Stengel.  He’s a good puncher though.  Good man.  I don’t want to get in his way.  I seen him once coming back from liberty.  There’s this drunk sailor in a phone booth.  Cygnette hauls him out and whales on him.  I think he’s tough alright but all his fights I heard of are like that.  Got everybody on board scared though.’

‘Oh Yeah.  Bent Cygnette.  Hmm.  I’ll look for him.’

At the end of the seven days orders came for the Teufelsdreck to put to sea for gunnery practice.  By this time the ship, although not shipshape had been pretty well cleaned up.  As Dewey looked about it was possible to take some pride in the steel beast.

Gunnery practice was one of the highlights of shipboard life.  Here was high fun on the high seas.  When a ship had gunnery proficiency it was allowed to paint a large white E on the smokestack to announce to the fleet that a crackerjack crew was on board.  If awarded your efficiency grade for two or three years in succession a hash mark was painted below the E for each year.  The Teufelsdreck had a bare stack when it left port but on its return the old bucket was entitled to wear an E.  Hashmarks would be awarded for the two successive years.

Exercises for the four ship squadron were held day by day so for four days the Teufelsdreck steamed out every morning to return every evening.  The ship was reassigned from the Naval Station to the Buoys.

There was always a war going on in Dewey’s mind between the forces of Dark and Light.  In other words he had a split personality or, in still more other words, he did not have an integrated personality.  It is highly doubtful whether he was more or less disintegrated than those about him but as he was not interested in impressing them, as they were with each other, he did little to conceal his disorder.

He would have expressed matters in the light that he was exploring the parameters and trying to rectify the situation, in other words, integrate his personality.  On the good ship, the Golden Vanity, everyone is his own prince thus Dewey’s shipmates tended to see themselves as the epitome of perfection while all others were wallowing in the slough of despond.  Dewey understood that his will and actions were not correlated which he saw as a deficiency but at the same time he saw no one better off.  His pride was offended when others treated him, as they did, as less than themselves.  Or, perhaps, he was over sensitive and tended to project his deficiencies on others.  He knew that his perception of reality was off center.

Patient virtue must suffer so he dismissed everyone else as irrelevant.  Nevertheless his depression sat on him as the great Alaskan Depression swirls around that gulf and never leaves.  His sunny days were merely a relaxation or shift in the depression.  But even though always under a low pressure system he could see and appreciate the glorious light of the adjoining high pressure system.

Thus even as the Deck Force gathered on the fo’c’sle to cast off the lines, each member trying to increase his own stature by bringing the others down, Dewey contrasted their dark presence with the radiance of the glorious Southern California sunshine.

During the preceding week the Naval characters of the seven sailors had solidified.  Tidwell was darker and more withdrawn than ever.  Dennis La Frenniere had been thoroughly terrified into the character of Frenchy.  He now spoke with a terrible French accent addressing everyone as Meeshur.  Brand and Dant formed a close Damon and Pythias solidarity and bore up rather well with each other’s support.  Kind of a little Memphis Mafia.

‘Cracker Jack’ Driscoll, who was a real cracker from Waycross, Georgia, while responding to Trueman’s cynicism  was gradually realizing he had found a real home in the Navy.  Driscoll had been thoroughly beaten down in his home town.  He had been denied any prospects whatsoever, tormented at school, denied on the streets and belittled in his home.  He had been forbidden to have aspirations.  The only prospect before him had been degradation and inferiority.  There would have been no way for him to rise from the bottom of the barrel had he stayed in Waycross.

Driscoll was a very good looking kid.  His face was a cross between Clark Gable and Sam Ketcham.  Six foot, exquisitely proportioned, his intelligence had it not been inhibited by his emotional turmoil would have been more than adequate.  His will, while not paralyzed was so severely inhibited that the Navy appeared to him the only way to realize any dignity in life.  For him the Navy was a giant step up.

His self-esteem and will had been so severely depressed that he never thought to seek a rating with quicker advancement possibilities and more dignity.  He was a cracker and he could only have cracker ambitions.  He would merely apply himself with deep intensity to being a Bo’sn’s Mate.  The rating was closed but by superhuman effort, the good will of the Petty Officers and the manipulation of rules and regulations he would actually attain the rating of Third Class Bos’n’s Mate within two years.  This was almost, heck, it was unheard of.

Our Lady Of The Blues: Vol I, Clip 2b

Trueman’s own malaise and rebelliousness had drawn the attention of the Petty Officers to him.  Handled correctly he might have been as bright an addition to Deck as Driscoll.  But Dieter and Parsons and Castrato were but ordinary deck types and responded to problems in ordinary ways.  Driscoll was eager so they rewarded him appropriately in opposition to Trueman who was angry and rebellious so they sought to break him.  Had they tried to understand him and bring him along they would have had a second jewel in their crown.

By attempting to break him, which it was vanity to attempt, they only aroused his ill-will.  Trueman’s powers of will and resistance were only aroused by persecution.  Trueman’s powers of will and resistance were greater than theirs of persecution.  In addition he was not stupid.  He was the brightest and the best on the Deck Force.  He understood the futility of bashing your head against a brick wall thus his resistance would never be so open as to give them a legal hold on him.

Trueman’s resistance was to men and not to things.  This was a trait he shared with Negro culture.  Thus while others showed their disdain for authority by malingering and destroying property Trueman showed his by insulting authorities and doing quick good work and respecting the ship and its accoutrements.

Now, as the ship was casting off Dieter took the opportunity to harass Trueman by giving him peremptory and conflicting orders.

‘Trueman, come up to the forward bollocks.’

‘Aye, aye, Daddyo.’  By calling the Chief Daddyo, which was in no way so disrespectful as to warrant censure, Trueman craftily undermined Deiter’s authority and safely showed his contempt for him.  Dieter, not being a fool, understood Trueman’s intent and method.  At the same time he didn’t know what a Daddyo was.  He was not only of a much earlier generation but the Navy insulated him from social change.  He had no notion what made these younger men tick.

No sooner had Trueman taken a place by the forward lines than Dieter ordered him to go back to the aft lines and stand against the bulkhead of the boat deck.

‘Aye, aye, Catman.’  Dewey said cheerfully as  he stepped back to the aft lines.

Dieter was as mystified by Catman as he had been by Daddyo.  Lest he allow himself to be cursed surreptitiously  he turned to Pardon.

‘What the hell is a Daddyo or Catman?’

Pardon mused for a minute before replying.  He was naturally a kind hearted man who sought his repose in all things.  He didn’t want any problems to get out of hand.  Things got so messy and unpleasant when they did.

‘Ah, Chief, It’s just the way these kids talk nowadays.  I don’t think it’s insulting.  Actually, it’s kind of complimentary.  I mean a Cat is a real cool guy that’s gone in every way, as they would say.  So, really, Trueman is just being familiar.  I don’t think he understands your position yet.’

‘Well, I think I can help him understand that, right now.’  Dieter said, trembling with rage lest even Pardon was putting him on.  Nevertheless, the Chief was all-Navy so he behaved in an all-Navy way.

Concealing his anger as best he could he descended on Trueman.  Assuming a standard authoritarian pose he placed his right foot on a bollock, placed his elbow on his knee, placed his left hand in his right and addressed Trueman thusly:  ‘Listen, Trueman.  It’s like this, you can call me Chief or Chief Dieter in any combination you choose and I will respond.  But, don’t ever call me Sir, I’m not an officer, and also, unless you are looking for trouble, don’t ever call me Daddyo or Catman.  Am I clear?’

‘Oh sure Chief Dieter, I just though you were a real cool cat gone in every way  but if you’re not, you’re not.  If I was wrong I admit it.  I apologize.  I’m big that way.  Please accept my apologies, Chief Dieter.’

Dieter sensed that there must have been half a dozen taunts in Trueman’s brief respectful reply but if so he would have had to sacrifice his dignity to reach them.  You don’t get to be a Chief by being caught out so easily.  Dieter nodded sagely and retired.

The lines cast off, the squadron steamed slowly West in the bay turning North to steam past the Broadway Piers into the channel.  There were four ships in the squadron.  In addition ot the Teufelsdreck their was the USS Deviant, DE 667, The USS Purverse, DE 668 and the USS Desade, DE 669.  The Deviant was the flagship with the Commodore aboard.

The four ships made a beautiful sight as they steamed past the buoys with their big Tenders.  Then they moved into the narrow channel that separated the mainland from North Island.  The channel was barely wide enough to let two Destroyers pass each other.  A constant topic of conversation in the fleet was that all an enemy had to do to trap the fleet in San Diego harbor was to sink a barge athwart the channel.  Probably would have worked; the channel was not very deep either.  Aircraft Carriers couldn’t enter the Bay.

Out of the channel the squadron turned West and made for the open sea.  It was a day of days.  The weather was, of course, perfect and the sea was nearly as smooth as glass.  There were no little choppy wavelets disfiguring the great flat swells.  At times the bottom was clearly visible.

About thirty miles out the ships hove to waiting for the targets.  The Deviant was the first to fire as a concession to the Commodore.  Nothing ever happens on schedule in the Navy so it was about three before the drone and sleds showed up and the klaxon for battle stations was sounded.

Dewey, who had been introduced to that marvelous institution, the Watch, was on Port lookout when the alarm went off.  Now, when the alarm goes, you literally drop everything and race to your battle station.  If your pain brush was in mid-stroke you actually dropped the brush on the deck and took off.

Dewey, not realizing this, was standing around waiting to be relieved when the Officer of the Day admonished him.

‘To your battle station, Sailor.’

‘Uh, well, I’m waiting to be relieved Sir, don’t want to abandon my post.’

‘You are standing in someone else’s battle station, Sailor.  Don’t wait to be relieved.  Get to your battle station.’

From his position on the bridge Dewey could see everyone else’s response so he dropped his glasses, scurried down the ladder to the boat deck running aft into the gun tub of the forties to which he had been assigned.  The containers holding the Mae Wests and helmet had already been broken open.  A set found its way into his hands.

Donning his helmet and cinching his Mae West was fairly exciting stuff straight out of the comic books,  Don Winslow and all that.  When all were properly attired they all stood looking at each other.  As the Deviant was up, there was time to distribute the tasks.  One half of the crew was new to the forties.  The necessity for drill in the Navy never ceases.  The constant changes in personnel always means tasks have to be reviewed.

The forties required ten men.  One to elevate and lower the barrels, one to rotate the platform, four loaders and four ammunition handlers.  The guns were manned by Deck and Gunnery combined.  The Gunners naturally took the most prestigious tasks but then it was their job, they were entitled to them.

Bent Cygnette took the task of elevater while his sidekick, Art Kunkel, rotated the platform.  Two Gunners and two Deck were loaders while four Deck were handlers.  Dewey was a handler.

The loaders stood on the platform and rammed the shells into the breach.  The shells came in a clip of four.  The handler passed a clip up to the loader who dropped it into the hopper.  Only the first clip had to be rammed, that is pushed down into the breach.  After that firing was automatic.

The clips were kept four to a canister, The canisters lined the side of the tub.  The handlers grabbed a clip and passed it up.  The expended casings were ejected out on the deck of the tub.  Thus, after a hundred rounds  or so had been fired off, the roll of the ship combined with a flooring of round casings made the task exacting to say the least.

Tasks assigned and explained, nomenclature cleared up, the crew settled down to watch the Deviant in action.  All DEs are named after enlisted heroes.  Thus one ship was named the Sullivans after the famous brothers who all went down to Davy Jones locker together.  No histories were extant of the four remarkably named men, Teufelsdreck, Deviant, Purvurse or Desade.  It’s probably just as well.  They were probably four of the biggest foul-ups in the fleet.

The squadron was put into sort of a line as the Deviant prepared to exercise its guns.  The forties were always exercised first and then the threes.

‘There it is.’  Someone shouted as they spotted the drone.  The drone was an unmanned airplane that towed a sleeve the size of a fighter plane.  The gunners were expected to put a few holes in the sleeve.  After the run the sleeve was pulled in and the holes, if any, counted.

The firing began by the crew of the Deviant’s forties underscored once again the need for constant drill.  The drone flew by.  The gunner depressed the barrels as far as they go instead of elevating them.  The sea was spattered by forty millimeter shells.  Another couple inches and the gunner might have sunk his own ship.  They were not in a straight line; the Teufelsdreck was ahead of and turned at an angle to the Deviant.  All of a sudden it seemed possible that the Deviant could just as well have opened up on the Teuf.

Everyone swallowed hard as they realized that gunnery practice could be serious.  The Deviant wasn’t going to get an E for Excellence for that barrage.  The sled was brought up for practice with the threes.  A sled was a barge with a tall sail on it.  The idea was to hit either the barge or put a shell through the sail.  The sled is pulled by a harbor tug on a very long leader.

Boy, you know, when you’re on a roll, you’re on a roll.  The Deviant’s three inchers opened up on the tug by mistake.  Fortunately for the tug the Deviant’s three inch gunners weren’t any better than those on the forties.  Nevertheless the tug boat crew returned to port properly relieved and several pounds lighter.

In addition the entire crew of the Teufelsdreck were so amused they couldn’t stop laughing all the way back to port.

The Deviant, being the flagship, had the honor of tying up to the buoys first which was a tedious job.  The other three ships nested next to her with the Teufelsdreck on the outside.  For reasons that were never clear the Teufelsdreck was considered the bad boy of the squadron.

What made it the bad boy was unknown.  The ship and personnel obtained the only E in the squadron and held it for three successive terms.  The seamanship of the crew was better than the rest.  For whatever their faults the two captains of the Teufelsdreck were better commanders than the others.  The Chiefs were sharper, the crew was more effective.  They were no worse at inspection than the other crews.  Maybe the officers, crew and ship looked too good and did things too well.  Whatever the reason the ship and crew were kept at a distance.  Of course, most of the crew were bad boys, unorthodox, rebellious; things happened on the Teufelsdreck that didn’t happen elsewhere.  Serious things.

Exercises were finished late in the day.  The cruise back into the harbor would end about seven when liberty would be declared.  Hence dinner was pushed forward a little bit while the crew cleaned up preparatory to donning their dress blues.

Dewey had not been ashore since coming aboard.  He hadn’t wanted to combine the stress of acclimating himself to shipboard life while undergoing the additional stress of finding his way through a strange city.  This night he decided he would to look San Diego over.

Although standing naked before twenty-five or thirty men was repugnant to him, he was determined to stay as clean as possible.  He, therefore, swallowed his pride and trooped up each night for his shower.  Not all men did, some were conspicuous by their absence; some managed on the Saturday night rotation.  One could always be sure of seeing mostly the same group of men each night.

Conspicuous by his presence was always the queer Storekeeper, Paul Duber, who made showers the social event of his day.  He, with a couple others could always be seen lounging on the fore side of the showers, the line forming to the aft.  While in reporting these things everything is stark and clear, at the time Paul’s presence was not understood by everyone nor with shipboard tolerance was there any reason to be overly critical.  This night as all night’s  he stood leering in penis and ass heaven wisecracking and making knowing comments.

Duber spotted Trueman when he entered the line.  He stood waiting for him.  Most everyone in line stood around self-consciously trying not to  appear that way.  The indignity of it tore at their minds as well as at Dewey’s.  Dewey never could suffer in silence; he had to spout off.  He had to visit his own humiliation on someone else.

One of the great masters of complacency was a Fireman by the name of Ragnar Ock.  This man was, or had been in civilian life, a body builder.  He was a very fine specimen of the art, although a trifle short at 5’ 8” and a bit too square. But he was not overbuilt.  He was quite perfect.

Like all body builders he reveled in his appearance; indeed, why would one go to all that bother if one didn’t?  Also like all body builders he was exceedingly mild in manner.  No intellect but a very pleasant guy.

While most men held their towel in the middle drooping from the right hand like a rag, half stooping to conceal their embarrassment, Ragnar stood erect and tall with a far away dreamy unconcerned look in his eyes.  Unlike the others he very neatly draped his folded towel over his right forearm which he held level like a waiter taking orders.  His soap dish lay in an upright palm at the end of his straight wrist.  Well, you know, it was a very legitimates solution to the problem.

Dewey found it indescribably funny.  His own shame and torment was visited on the docile, mild mannered Ragnar Ock.  Dewey was offended both by the man’s build and his towel.  Neither could be attacked directly.  Indeed, discretion was of the essence.  Dewey didn’t transgress the bounds but he trotted right down on the line.

Dewey hated to be spoken to as he stood there with his dong hanging out be he didn’t hesitate to speak to Ragnar Ock.

‘You must be a body builder.’  Dewey stated with perhaps more admiration than he acknowledged to himself.  After all, Dewey had read the Charles Atlas ads in comic books for years.  He was a skinny little kid who got sand kicked in his face on the beach.  He had even sent for Atlas’ body building kit.  Ragnar had achieved what Dewey secretly yearned for, Trueman didn’t think anymore of him for that.  Envy.  One of the few times in Dewey’s life.

Our Lady Of The Blues: Vol. I, Clip 2c

  ‘Yes.’  Ragnar replied with becoming modesty, flattered by the attention.  ‘I work out, or did, in Los Angeles.’

‘Oh, wow!  Muscle Beach?’

‘I’ve been there, but I don’t hang out there.  I have to work for a living so I’m afraid I haven’t been able to develop myself to that extent.  Also I want only to look strong and trim.  I don’t want those huge muscles.’

‘Well, you look huge enough.’  Dewey said, once gain his admiration getting the best of him.

‘Thank you.’  Ragnar replied with an appreciative blush.

‘How are you going to maintain yourself aboard ship?’  Dewey asked with feigned innocence.

‘Oh, I go ashore and work out at the gym every night I have liberty.’

‘Well, yeah, but when we go out to sea that’ll be hard to do.  What then?’

‘I guess I won’t be able to work out then.’

‘No. Well, what happens when you don’t work out?  Does everything just turn flabby and sag?’  Dewey asked with inexcusable cruelty.

That was a very unpleasant thought for Ragnar.  It excited fears he tried hard to repress.  His countenance clouded.

‘Well, I hope that won’t happen.’  He said miserably.

Throughout the conversation Dewey noticed that Ragnar spoke with a faint accent.  He spoke slowly and deliberately but correctly but Dewey who had a keen ear picked up faint traces of a Swedish accent.

‘Uh, you speak very well, but it seems that you have just a trace of what?  A Swedish accent?

Ragnar brightened up again.  ‘Yes, I’m a Swedish citizen, but I’m living in Los Angeles.’

‘You’re a Swedish citizen?  Why are you in the US Navy then?  What jurisdiction does the US have over Swedish nationals.?’

‘Well, I was drafted so I had to go.’

That didn’t make any sense to Dewey nor did he think it likely.  He was searching for a possible question when Ragnar volunteered:  ‘Yes.  I was drafted in Sweden too and had to do two years in the Army.’

Dewey was thunderstruck at the injustice of being drafted twice.  It mattered little to him where else one might have been drafted; one disruption of one’s life was enough,; two tours was incomprehensible.  Dewey stood actually trembling in sympathy with his mouth hanging open.

‘That’s not right.’  Finally escaped from his lips.  ‘You oughta complain.  Wow, I’ll help you.  We’ll go see the Captain as soon as possible.  It isn’t right you should have to go through this twice.’

‘No.  Thank you.  But it’s alright.’  Ragnar said with engaging forbearance.

‘No it’s not alright.  It’s criminal.  We’ll complain, get you out of here.’  Dewey exclaimed imagining that everyone would be as indignant as he was.  He envisioned the whole crew petitioning the Captain.

‘No. It tell you it’s alright.  It’s just the way things are.  One has to accept  these things, do as one is told.’

Heresy, heresy screamed through Dewey’s mind but Ragnar was so firm that Dewey had no choice but to desist.  Still, he never had respect for the man again.  The idea of accepting things without fighting against them was foreign to Dewey.

By this time he was at the head of the line where Paul Duber stood waiting for him.  Duber stood with some two or three other men who hung out naked around the showers every night.  Some three or four other regulars lounged in the wash room where some other men were shaving preparatory to going ashore.

Duber and his buddies had been quietly discussing the equipment of the various men as they did every night.  They loved it.  They were kind of like potheads who, while they are toqueing, run through mental catalogs of all the grass they’ve smoked comparing the virtues of each.

The Teufelsdreck had an exceptionally good looking crew.  With the exception of a few old sods like Paul Duber, fat and out of shape, the men were young, slender and well proportioned.  Some were sturdy, some Apolline, some lean and willowy like Dewey.  Looked at from a homosexual perspective there was reason for Duber’s gravid mouth, inflamed lips and thick stiff tongue.

‘This is great stuff…’  Duber was saying for the umpteenth time.  ‘…but you know I’m enraged there aren’t any big ones.  They’re all smallish like on those Greek statues.  I mean, where are those big honkers you read about?’

‘Well, they’re all flaccid.’  Peter Grinch, a Second Class Disbursing Clerk replied.  ‘Ya can’t really tell about a dick unless they’re hard.  I remember one really remarkable transformation…’

‘Pssst..  Here he is.’

Duber looked hard at Trueman.  Duber thought Trueman had really violated etiquette on the previous occasion by disdainfully walking off.  According to Duber’s rules men were required to engage in badinage with him in lieu of sex.  If you can’t screw ‘em in the ass you get to screw ‘em some other way.   Homo rules.  The other two men had spoken up for themselves, only Trueman hadn’t.  What was wrong with him?

Duber had felt humiliated and rejected.  For Christ’s sake Trueman might just as well have come out and called him a queer, he thought.  He now wished to visit his own failure on Trueman.  Although Duber’s intentions at the head of the line were vaguely understood by most and clearly understood by a few, Duber could not be open in solicitation or could others openly censure him for perversion with out risking raising the ire of the Homo Mafia.  There was an unwritten rule that homos were to be tolerated so long as they stayed closeted.

The homos kept up a constant pressure to be allowed to function more openly, while heteros kept up the pressure to make them contain their libidinous desires.  A ship is a self-policing entity.  Everything is kept in check by the knowledge of one’s own limitations.  Fights were prevented only by mutual consent.  Theft was rampant but would have to be flagrant to merit censure.  To openly condemn homosexuality would be to incur the wrath of homosexuals.  If you were outspoken things would happen to you.  Letters might be withheld, packages smashed, laundry disappear, slander and backstabbing; all the things that went on anyway but organized and intensified.  There was always tension and an uneasy truce.  Woe to the wary straggler.

Thus while Duber wished to pick a fight with Trueman he couldn’t mention his real reason, that his homosexual sensitivity had been violated.  He had to select a specious reason.

‘Ha…’ He snarled.  ‘…so you’re the wise guy who’s so dumb he thinks that Capt. Desscartes pronounces his name Day Cartes.  Huh?  That you?’

Dewey was taken back by the man’s violence.  He hardly thought that a difference of pronunciation was a cause for such vituperation.  Dewey was unaware of Duber’s true motivation.  He looked at Duber like he was crazy.

‘Well, pal, Descartes is French.  The French philosopher Rene Des Cartes is pronounced Day Cartes so I see no reason that Capt. Descartes isn’t too.’

‘French philos…hey…you got a college education?’

‘No, but I’m not stupid either.’

‘Don’t go putting on airs with us, Trueman.  You’re just like us.  You ain’t got no college education so don’t go talkin’ over your head or we’ll put you in your place.’

‘It may be over yours but it’s not over mine.  So I guess you’re already in your place.’  Dewey said with sullen resentment.  He was supremely sensitive about his educational status.  With or without a degree he considered himself the equal of any college graduate.  If he hadn’t studied he at least considered himself as intelligent as anybody.  He was not about to be censored by some queer buffoon.

‘Oh yeah?  Well listen smart ass…’  Duber was now pushing his luck, not only with Trueman but the self-policing sentiment of the crew present began to take sides in Trueman’s favor.  ‘…you didn’t happen to see the name of the ship just forward of us today, did you?’

‘You mean the Deviant?’  Dewey asked with unconscious humor.  He hadn’t paid attention to which ship was in front of them.

‘No, I don’t mean the Deviant, Mr. College Professor.  I mean the DESADE.  I suppose you pronounce that Day Ade, huh?  Well, that ship is the Des-ade.  Anybody here will tell you that.’

‘Oh, for Christ’s sake.’  Dewey said stepping into a shower stall.  ‘That’s not even comparable.’

‘Not comparable.  Listen to this asshole talk.  Not comparable.  Nobody talks like that.  You mean, it’s not the same.’

Duber appealed to the crewmen for their support with that statement.  He was met by cold stares and stony silence.  He had over stepped the bounds.

‘What do you think of that?’  He roared at his pals.

‘Aw, you’re right, but forget it Duber.  The guy ain’t worth it.’

‘The guy ain’t worth it.  That’s for sure.’  He roared in Dewey’s direction.

‘Go suck an orange.’  Dewey snapped stepping out of the shower.

‘Oranges ain’t his favorite.’  Came a laughing voice from the washroom.

Duber turned to look,  In the interval the situation passed.

Cleaned up and anxious for liberty Dewey gathered on the foc’sle with the rest of the Deckapes to tie up alongside the Purverse.  Fortunately for the crew of the Teufelsdreck the Commodore demanded preference for the Deviant and that vessel was given the more unpleasant task of securing the ship to the buoys.  Lines had to be secured both fore and aft to prevent the nest from swinging around a single buoy.

The task of dropping fenders to keep the Teufelsdreck and Purvurse from bumping directly against each other and passing lines back and forth was easily accomplished.  As they were at the buoys there was no reason for the Deviant to put up rat guards.

By the time Dewey changed into dress blues and got to the Quarterdeck the number of sailors going ashore was huge.  The method of transport from ship to shore was by landing craft.  If you’ve seen movies of Marines storming the beach of some tropical Japanese held island in WWII the craft was identical to that used by the Marines.

There was a large space for about thirty men to stand.  The sides of the craft were six feet high to conceal the occupants from enemy fire.  The landing craft were provided for both the Deviant and the Teufelsdreck so each outside ship transported the sailors of two ships.

There was no hope of crowding aboard the first craft and not much for the second.  By the time the craft returned the third time to load the sun was very low on the horizon.  It would a short liberty.

The ride took a short fifteen minutes as the blunt bow of the craft did not exactly cleave the waves.  It was flat bottomed and stable.

The craft pulled into a slip at the Broadway Piers.  Rather than fight to get up the ladder Dewey preferred to wait until everyone was out and he could get up at his leisure.  As last man he bid farewell to the pilot turning to get his first glimpse of San Diego.

Stepping past the phone booths that were crowded with sailors anxious to make calls Dewey emerged into the fading light.  In those days Highway 101 was the most fabled highway in America along with Route 66.  Both highways figured large in the imaginations of American youth.  Looking out Dewey emitted an amazed laugh.  It seemed impossible but he was standing on the dead end corner of Highway 101 and Broadway.  He might as well have received a five pound box of chocolates for his birthday.

The vision was one that completely went beyond his imagination.  This was the actual location, the very spot that 101 began.  You had to turn left off 101 and go down Broadway, right to head up to LA.  Dewey turned to look up Highway 101.  It was really a beautiful sight.  In those days before maniacs with bulldozers sculpted and shaped the land to their insane specifications, in those days before concrete was used to fossilize their ideas and encase both nature and the human in rigid straight-jackets things were left more or less in their natural state.  There was some room to move.  Things were real and not totally artificial and phony.  There is a space from the bay to the first range of hills of about a mile.  This is all sandy.  In those days the builders didn’t cut into the landscape to form the roadbed  but just laid the bed on the land following the natural contours of rise and depression.  Highway 101 with its sandy shoulders looking all natural, lovely and mysterious began its northward journey to the Canadian border.  Dewey himself all new and young seeking mystery and adventure gazed up the road in open mouth wonder as though at a miracle.

‘It’s just a highway.’  A voice beside him said dispelling his enchantment with its lack of wonder.

‘I suppose so, but it’s still Highway 101 and this very spot we’re standing on right here is where it all begins.’

Dewey looked at the shoulder patch of the man who spoke to find he was from the Teufelsdreck.  The insignia told him the man was an ET and his chevrons read Seaman.  His face showed him to be decent and intelligent, if unimaginative.  He was about 6’2”.  He appeared OK to Dewey.

‘You’re an ET on the Teufelsdreck?’  He stated rather than asked.

‘Um hmm.  I’m Dart Craddock.  I was on the cruise to the East.  You’re a new deckape, aren’t you?

‘Yeah, name’s Dewey Trueman.  I’m from Michigan.’

‘Oh yeah?  I’m from Idaho.  Coeur D’ Alene.  First time ashore?’

‘Yep.  First Time.’

‘Welcome to San Diego.  What a dump.’

‘Well, I don’t know.  Just got here.’

‘You’re not going to like it.’  Craddock said as they began the walk down Sailor’s Row into town.  ‘This place has got a bad name.’

‘Well, it looks alright.’  Dewey said complacently ignoring the offensive sailor dives lining lower Broadway.  ‘If you’ve ever seen Philadelphia this can’t be all that bad.’

‘What were you doing in Philadelphia?’

‘Receiving Station.  That’s where I was introduced to this bilge.  Saddest day in my life, then it just keeps getting sadder.’

Craddock laughed.  ‘I know what you mean.  But at least it’s only a temporary contact with this crap.’

‘Temporary contact, permanent damage.’  Dewey retorted in a disgruntled but philosophically resigned manner.

Craddock was impressed with Trueman’s discourse.  It must be remembered that Deck was the most despised division aboard ship.  Even Wipers in the engine room borrowed some dignity from the machines they wiped but Deck’s chores were considered menial.  The other ratings raided Deck for any men of promise.  The ETs were already eyeing Tidwell.  Craddock looked approvingly at Trueman.

Our Lady Of The Blues: Book I, Clip 2d

‘Philadelphia was that bad?’ 

‘Even worse.  I don’t see what’s so bad about San Diego, weather’s a lot better than Philly.  Doesn’t look so old and dirty.’

‘I guess I’m prejudiced for personal reasons.  My grand pop was tortured here, almost murdered, just barely escaped with his life.  Had scars he could show.’

‘Oh yeah.  What’d he do rob a bank.  Why was he tortured?’

‘No.  He was an honest man.  It was done for political reasons.’

Dewey was stunned.  This surely couldn’t have happened in the American history he’d been told about, freedom of opinion and all that.  Of course, childhood history never told of anything but the heroic exploits of the Revolution, War of 1812, Andrew Jackson and the Civil War.  Oh right, let’s not forget Mad Anthony Wayne.  Dewey had never been in a history class that got beyond the Civil War, wouldn’t have mattered if he had, some things are too embarrassing to mention.  He’d read Huck Finn with its tarring and featherings but had only understood it through the eyes of a child and that was as close to the mention of torture he’d gotten.

‘Tortured?  Nobody in America’s ever been tortured.’

‘You child, you.  That’ what you know.  If you were from Idaho you’d know better.  You probably don’t know Coeur D’ Alene but we’re way up north on the Canadian border not far from Spokane.  That’s across the State line in Washington.

We used to be a big mining area, you know, at the turn of the century, and those mine owners were cruel men, sons-of-bitches.  They didn’t just want your labor for nothing, they wanted your blood for free.’

Craddock’s voice trembled as though he had actually lived through those times.  All this had been so impressed on him by his grandfather that the memory was more real than anything that had happened to himself.

‘The men tried to organize, formed the Western Federation Of Miners, but the mine owners fought them with guns, goons and dynamite.  When my grandfather and the men fought back with guns and dynamite the mine owners called in the Pinkertons and the State called in the Army.

Who they didn’t kill, they crushed.  We had to go to work for them like slaves, just to survive.  We had some good leaders like Big Bill Haywood and they got Governor Steunenberg who betrayed his own people.  They arrested them but we got Bill Haywood off, too.  They thought they had him good but they couldn’t find a jury in the State of Idaho that would convict them.  Besides they didn’t really have any proof of who got Steunenberg anyway, they just wanted to hang the leaders of the WFM.

Then Big Bill formed the Wobblies.  The IWW.  The Industrial Workers Of The World.  Ever heard of ‘em?’

‘Not unless they fought in the Civil War.’  Dewey joked.  But finding his joke inappropriate, no doctrinaire has a sense of humor about his hobby horse, Dewey quickly covered:  ‘No.  This is all really new to me, Dart.  I never heard of any of this before.’

‘Well, it’s all true.  Anyway, when my granddad helped form the IWW that really scared the daylights out of all the bloodsuckers in the Northwest.  West Coast.  They slandered us terrible, told lie after lie.  All we wanted was a fair wage and human dignity.  Was that too much to ask?  Hell yes, from them.

After doing every single thing they could do to destroy us finally in Spokane they told us to get off the streets, we weren’t allowed to even recruit members or tell our grievances.  Well, we set up soap boxes anyway and harangued anyone who would listen.  Then they started arresting us because we were speaking our minds.  In America, the land of free speech, just for saying what we thought.

Well, Big Bill put out an APB and called in Wobblies from all over the country.  We descended on Spokane by the thousands.  They couldn’t arrest us fast enough.  They had to improvise new jails.  And we still kept coming, speaking and singing our minds.

Damn ‘em.  In the middle of winter they turned off the heat in those jails and turned fire hoses on those men, and some of ‘em was women, people froze to death, murdered by the bastards, and lots more were completely broken in health, total wrecks, never the same again.

But, we won, damn ‘em, we won. They had to let us say what we wanted.  That gave us courage, confidence, then we thought we could make ‘em back down on the entire West Coast.  We did it some other places.  But they treated us like enemies even though we were as good a citizens as themselves- better, like we was an invading army or something.  They even made a pact in Portland that the police could brutalize us at will and no lawyer would represent us in court.

Well, some of us were miners and a lot us were migrant workers.  In those days we harvested the crops but when no White man would suffer the indignities those SOBs put on us why they sent and got Mexicans who would, that’s why the crops are all harvested by braceros today.

Well, we came down to help out the harvesters and invaded Fresno.  There was another terrible struggle there but we won that one too.  The next place we were going to break was San Diego- Imperial Valley out here, you know.  By that time they had enough experience with us and they were mean enough and criminal enough to take us on.  Before the main guard got here some guys tried to speak right here on this street.  Those guys were dragged off and beaten.  Then others chained themselves to these lampposts right here with chains so they couldn’t be dragged off.  They’d have been further ahead to let themselves be dragged off.

All the Wobblies rode the rods.  That was the way they traveled.  So they knew we’d be coming in on the freights.  There was only one line into San Diego and that came down from LA.  They knew exactly where we’d be.  Well, the bulls let us board in LA, told them and they was waiting for us.’

Craddock’s emotions overcame him.  He stopped in his tracks, his legs trembling beneath him.  His voice broke but he recovered his emotions enough to check his sobbing.  He continued his narrative but with a look in his eyes as if he had actually been there.  Dewey was amazed at his apparent ability to relive events that happened to someone else and fifty years before.

‘Well, the guys came off the top, spilled out of the cars and slid of the rods boiling up from beneath the cars all confident and exuberant when they were met by an army of men with baseball bats and steel pipes.    The San Diego bastards laid into them without restraint or mercy.  There was nothing the Wobblies could do.  If they defended themselves they would be arrested for resisting arrest.  If they didn’t they’d be killed or worse.  What could they do?  They had to eat shit.  They broke and ran, hightailed out of San Diego County and dept running until their legs collapsed under them.

Not everybody escaped.  Some got caught my grandpa among them.  They weren’t going to jail us because it cost too much money.  Nearly broke Fresno to house and feed us.  That’ why they gave up.

First they just beat the hell out of everybody with their bats then they took the men out in the fields where they had fires going.  They were heating branding irons in the fire.  They made the men strip then they branded a big red IWW right on their ass.’

Dewey gasped.

‘If that wasn’t enough,’ Craddock’s voice went surly, ‘If that wasn’t enough then they tarred and feathered them.  Put tar right over my grandpa’s burn.  The they hit ‘em another couple times and told them to get the hell out of San Diego county.

They had to run barefoot and hurting for a long ways until they could slow to a walk.  There was my grandpa with this big brand, naked under his tar and feathers, no clothes for when he got it off.  He either doesn’t know what happened after or he won’t tell.  He didn’t go insane but he might as well have.  He was never the same forever after.  He never got over it.  Used to tell me about it all the time.’

‘You’re not kidding me?  They actually branded him with a red hot iron like a cow?  IWW, wow.’

‘That’s right.’

‘Wow oh wow or double wow.  I can’t hardly believe it.  Right here in America?  San Diego?’

‘That’s right.  Everytime I hear them talk about the Nazis like they’re some kind of unique devils I just have to shake my head and wonder.  The way I see it anybody who has the power to enforce his will on his enemies will do so and in whatever violent way appeals to his imagination.  This is no innocent nation.  I didn’t mean to rant to you but every time I even think of this place I get angry.’

‘O boy, no problem.  I never knew these things before.’  Dewey said politely.  He still didn’t know about these things.  His prejudices formed by his schooling precluded such things ever happening in America.  While he didn’t necessarily wish to call Craddock  deluded he thought that he had probably been victimized by his granddad who undoubtedly told a good story.  But Craddock had it right.  That’s the way it happened.

‘Yeah, wow, well I guess we didn’t have any Wobblies in Michigan.’  Dewey said innocently.

‘Oh sure you did.  Wobblies were all over the country.   We were trying to organize industrial unions, you know, as opposed to the Craft Unions of the AFL.  We wanted everybody in an industry to belong to the same union, then all the unions would syndicalism into one big union.’

‘Sounds like the CIO.’  Dewey mused.  He was no union man and despised the CIO and UAW member. Walter Reuther.

‘Exactly.  A Congress Of Industrial Organizations.  When the Wobblies were destroyed in WWI people changed their tactics a little, changed the rhetoric and kept working.  Then with Roosevelt and the Wagner Act we got the break we needed.  With the government behind us changing the rules in our favor we were quickly able to bring the really big industrial organizations like auto and steel to their knees.’

‘Oh yeah?  UAW.  Those guys are all Commies aren’t they?’  Dewey said becoming suspicious of Craddock and his Wobbly tales.

‘No. No. They aren’t.  the Communists are something entirely different.  They’re a foreign organization trying to impose a foreign ideology.  We’re Americans and we want American justice for the workers of the world.’

Dewey picked up on workers of the world and became wary of Craddock?’

‘You’re not Reds then?  Huh?’

‘Well, they call us Reds but we’re not.  You know how it is, they call everybody that won’t be industrial slaves Reds.’

‘Oh yeah.’  Dewey said, but still polite.  He believed that all unions were controlled by Reds or Mafia.  ‘So, how about IWW in Michigan?’

‘Hmm.  OK, there was a splinter IWW in Detroit.  You see, the big industrial car plants in Detroit were ideal for industrial unions so the IWW was very active in Detroit.  You may not know this but Henry Ford only doubled wages to take the wind out of our sails.  We were doing great in his plants until he did that.’

The idea boggled Dewey’s mind.  ‘How’s that?’

‘Well, we were working hard to organize Detroit, and Ford too, and then old Ford doubled wages and really set us back temporarily.  We taught him a lesson, though.’

Dewey had never heard anything like this and being anti-union he didn’t approve.  Craddock’s Wobbly hard luck story was being undermined by what looked suspiciously Red to Dewey.

‘How’d you take care of him?’

‘Well, like I say, Ford was the first company the UAW tried to organize.  That guy wasn’t going to tell us what to do, we were going to tell him what to do.  But earlier, it took us a few years but by 1920 we had sown enough dissent in the workplace to make life damn hard for him, the old bugger, work slowdowns, sabotage, things of that sort.  He dropped all that altruistic bull roar pretty quick.  Trying to pass himself off as some kind of friend of mankind.  We exposed him.  After we got through with him he was just like anybody else.  Turned him hard and erratic.  Ruined his mind.’

‘Just a minute now.  You implied that you were involved in that Commie march on Ford where they were going to occupy River Rouge and smash the machinery?’

‘I don’t know nothing about that.’  Craddock who had been very well informed a moment before backtracked.

‘Yeah, well, when that Commie Reuther and those rats marched on Ford, in 1935 or so, right?, they weren’t after worker rights they were on the way to take over the government.  Those guys are always dumb enough to think that workers can rule the world, they’re so dumb they thought they’d start with River Rouge.  Now, what do you say the Wobblies had to do with that?’

‘Well, we were fighting Communist influence.  I told you they were foreign and we’re American.

Dewey had listened attentively.  Craddock’s later statements undermined the sympathy he had created with his grand father’s misfortunes.  Dewey had a difficult time separating the Wobblies from the Commies.  Comparing the march on Ford with the invasion of San Diego he now thought that the San Diegans had acted in self-defense, although if what Craddock had said was true, with unnecessary violence.  They had indeed repelled an invading army that meant them harm.  Still, he was insufficiently informed of what Craddock was talking about.  Rather than say anything more he nodded sagely, filing this information away in his mind for future reference.

‘Well, you certainly are well informed.’

‘Oh, with my granddad around I should be.  He’s got quite a library of stuff and besides they hurt him so bad that he’s always pulling his pants down to look at that IWW brand.  So what do you want to do?’

By this time they were all the way downtown across from the El Cortez Hotel.  Everywhere you looked there was an ocean of blue with bobbing white caps.

‘Geez, I don’t know.  What is there to do?  I mean, I’m not old enough to drink.  Are you?’

‘No.  I’m just going to turn twenty.  You’re still eighteen.  Hmm.  Well we could go to a movie.’

‘Yeah.   I suppose we could always do that.’  Dewey said without enthusiasm.  ‘What’s playing?’

The two of them walked up a side street to a decent if not first run theater.

‘Hi, hey, look.  Brigette Bardot.  She’s hot.  What do you think?’

‘I don’t know.  What’s the second feature?  ‘The Incredible Shrinking Man.’  Looks like some kind of science fiction thing.  Probably something mutated by atomic vapors.  Sure, OK.’

‘Boy, that Bardot is something isn’t she?’

‘Yeah, something else, hot enough for me.  Man that scene where she was in bed and tucked the sheets between all her private parts right up to her box!  Wow!  Not much of a movie otherwise.  I really think it was immoral.  The Incredible Shrinking Man was better.  What a concept.  The guy goes through a cloud of atomic vapor and it reverses his growth so that he starts shrinking.’

Our Lady Of the Blues, Book I, Clip 2e, posted 6/13/12

‘Aw, who’d ever believe that.;  Craddock said with the lack of imagination that characterized those ideological enthusiasts even though what they believe is even more preposterous.

‘Yeah, but just imagine the guy’s anguish as he gets smaller and smaller and finally gets so small he just falls between the molecules of dirt and disappears to the center of gravity.  What a trip, huh?’

‘Yeah, well, it just couldn’t happen, that’s all.’

‘Sure.  It’s impossible, but you know it’s kind of like being put in the orphanage where you get pushed further and further back in society until you become so inconspicuous that nobody notices you and you just kind of disappear.’  Dewey said making a personal connection that was not very obvious to anyone else.

‘What?  What are you talking about?  I’ve never been in an orphanage.’

‘Maybe some one else has.’

‘Who?  You?  Have you been in an orphanage?’

‘Oh gosh, I don’t know.  I’ve been so many places I have trouble remembering where I’ve been.  Well, this is one exciting liberty.  Hope they’re not all like this.  I mean, I like movies, but…’

‘If you want some real excitement you can spend a night there.’  Craddock said laughingly pointing with his thumb at the YMCA, another ‘hotel’ on Broadway.

‘What?  The Y?  How do you spend a night there?’

‘That’s a hotel too.  They’ve several floors of rooms.’

‘Cheap?’

‘Oh yeah.  Dollar and a half.  ‘Course all the toilets are common and you don’t want to have to use one of those at night.’

‘Why not, how’s that?’

‘Nearly everyone that stays there is queer.  After midnight they take over the halls and if you aren’t one of them you’ll get initiated real quick if you leave your room.’

‘Aw, you’re kidding me, that can’t happen.’  Dewey drawled.  He began to doubt Craddock’s Wobbly stories now.

Arrived back at the Broadway Piers they had to wait an hour for the landing craft which they had missed by a minute before turning in to await another day on the firing range.

Casting off from alongside another ship was an unmitigated delight.  As easy as a cream puff.  The Teufelsdreck led the squadron out to sea, The Deviant bringing up the rear.  The Commodore shepherded his flock after the Deviant’s humiliating performance on the preceding day.

The sea was choppier with medium swells as was the norm off San Diego.  As they steamed out Dewey received the port watch again.  Out at some distance, say ten miles, an aircraft carrier surrounded by its Destroyers was drilling its pilots on take off and landing.  The planes were thrust off the bow by the catapults into the wind, circling and landing again.  Dewy was breathlessly enthralled keeping his glasses glued to his eyes.

As he watched a pilot came across the bow on his return who seemed a little high to Trueman.  Sure enough, the pilot missed the wire but rather than roaring off he just plopped down rolling toward the stern.  Reaching the stern he just kept right on rolling and plummeted into the ocean, making Davy Jones richer by millions.

‘Wow, did you see that?’  Trueman asked the bridge in awed tones.  ‘Did you see that?’  The guy missed the carrier and fell in to the ocean.’

Captain Descartes leaned over the divider separating the bridge from the lookouts.

‘What’s that you say, Port Lookout?’  He asked dryly.

Dewey became more restrained.  Holding his glasses in his left hand he pointed in the direction of the carrier.  ‘The pilot just missed his landing and fell in the ocean, plane and all.’

‘What carrier would that be, Lookout?’

‘What carrier?  Why that one right over there.’

‘Right over there.  As port lookout it is your duty to report any sightings you might make to the bridge.  I don’t recall that we’ve had the pleasure  of hearing you report any aircraft carriers to the bridge.’

‘Well,’  Dewey said in his naivete.  ‘It’s right over there, anybody can see it.’

‘That isn’t the point, Sailor.  I might be preoccupied or involved in something else consequently missing it.  We all have our tasks here.  In your present capacity yours is to watch and report to me.  Mine is to receive not only your reports but those of everyone else, collate the information, make the requisite decisions and keep the ship on an even keel.  That’s a pretty good system, don’t you think?’

‘Oh, yes Sir.  I certainly do.’

‘Well then, Lookout, do your job.’

‘Yes, Sir.’

‘Well?’

‘Well what, Sir?’

‘Report what you see.’

The Carrier was direct abeam so there was no need for Dewey to consult his compass but in his nervousness he preferred to read the numbers.  ‘Uh, aircraft carrier and Destroyers at 270, distance, uh, two miles Captain.’

‘Thank-you Lookout, I noticed its presence some time ago but it is nice of you to call it to my attention.  Be a little more prompt in the future.’

Descartes droll manner sent the bridge a tittering.  They had a good laugh on Dewey but he learned his lesson.  One might even say he learned it with a vengeance.  Like so many things that happen to us we do not respond on the moment but the insult or indignity or whatever festers in our subconscious to erupt at a later date.

Dewey was beginning to relax in his task when the battle station klaxon sounded.  He did not hesitate as he had the previous day but dropped his glasses, dropped down to the boat deck and scampered back to the forties.

The Purvurse was up today so the forties crew assumed their stations and lolled around the gun tub.  Dewey was still excited by the jet dropping off the end of the carrier.

‘You should have seen it Frenchy.’  He excitedly exclaimed.  ‘The pilot missed the wire and just rolled off the stern.  The DDs immediately put out boats but it didn’t look like they found him.  Wow, think of that, the guy kills himself and dumps millions of dollars worth of plane into the ocean and it’s only practice.’

‘Gosh, no kidding…’   Frenchy began.

‘Aw, that’s nothing.’  Happens all the time.’  Bent Cygnette sneered from his perch by the gunsight.  He sat there legs crossed sneering down at the gun crew.  He came across as a real obnoxious tough guy but in fact he wasn’t.  He was a real marshmallow inside, which is not meant as an insult, so to conceal his own insecurity he adopted a tough guy persona to get by.  He was very successful; everyone on the ship, officers and all, treated him with deference.

‘Baloney.’  Dewey retorted.  ‘If it happened all the time there wouldn’t be that many planes on the carrier.’

‘Happens all the time.’  Cygnette reaffirmed indicating his displeasure at not being acceded to.

‘Oh yeah?’  Dewey challenged not wishing to be cheated of the wonder of the thing.  ‘How many times have you seen it personally?’

‘Lots.’

‘Bull. How do you see it?  You don’t stand lookout.’

‘Hey, listen Trueman, or whatever your name is, you may be new but you watch how you shoot off your mouth…’  Bent was beginning when he was interrupted by the sound of the Purverse’s forties erupting.

Eyes shot up to the clouds in search of the sleeve.  The Purvurse was able to keep its shots out of the water but as it turned out the Deviant had better success hitting the water than the Purvurse hitting the sleeve.

The gunners of the Purvurse were sadly out of practice because the three inchers had even less luck with the sled.  With two out of three ships out of the running a current of confidence ran through the gun crews that the Teufelsdreck would win that E.

‘You going over, Dewey?’  Frenchy asked.

‘I don’t know.  Maybe.  You going?’

‘You’re not going, Trueman.’  Al Spirin, an old hand, soon to be transferred, barked.

‘Oh yeah?  Why not?’

‘Check the bulletin board, dunce, you’ve got the twelve to four.’

Dewey looked at Spirin coldly but thought he’d better check the board.  The bulletin board was in the passageway in front of the head and across from the ship’s store.  Rather than push past a line of naked men waiting for showers, Dewey exited by the after hatch using the outside deck to enter above the showers.

He stepped up to look at the watch list as the Yeoman, Teal Kanary, was posting information about the next day.

‘Darned if I don’t.’  Dewey reflected.

As he turned away his and Kanary’s eyes met.  There was an audible crackle on both sides.  Dewey saw ‘toady’ written all over Kanary while the latter read ‘nice ass.’  Neither spoke.  Dewey brushed past Kanary to return below to clean up at his leisure, hop into his bunk and wait for his eleven-thirty wake-up call which came soon enough.

Yale Cataloge, a First Class Radarman was Petty Officer of the Watch.  He was nearing the end of his first enlistment but satisfied with his lot he intended to ship over.  He accordingly was assuming an Old Navy persona.  Since he had signified his intentions he was admitted to the ranks of career men.  He had adopted the knowing, condescending way of Old Navy.

The manner, done properly, was very attractive.  Cataloge was a very decent guy, one might say he was born to the manner.  As he was possibly only a hair away from being a Chief there was no need to befriend him but he and Trueman  always had a very cordial relationship.

The other member of the watch was Dart Craddock who Dewey had met the previous evening.  Craddock gave Trueman a good introduction to Cataloge so that the two got off on the right foot.  In the course of the conversation Trueman asked who the Officer of the Day was.

‘Lieutenant Junior Grade Bifrons Morford is OD.’  Cataloge replied, his elaborate sarcastic introduction proclaiming his distaste for the officer.

‘Bifrons?  His mother named him Bifrons?’  Dewey queried.  He had already met Morford as he was the Operations officer.  Morford had questioned him about a couple details of his record, as short as it was.  The Yeoman’s Shack was under his supervision.

Well, I guess his mother was classically oriented.’  Cataloge said with a little smirk.  ‘In Latin it means two faced.  Suits him too.’

‘Just like the god Janus, face in front, face behind, no taking him by surprise.’

Cataloge raised his eyebrows.  Knowledge of Janus might be considered useless knowledge in Deck and subject one to ridicule but such learning merited respect in the forward compartment.

As they were talking Dewey looked out over the bay to see the landing craft approaching.  Alone, standing in the middle of the craft he saw Bifrons Morford.  The Lieutenant had all the appearance of having had an extended tete a tete with Jack Daniels.

Dewey was shocked.  ‘Isn’t that Lt. Morford there?’  He asked Yale Cataloge.

‘Yeah, sure is.’  Cataloge drawled back.

‘I thought you said he was OD.’

‘I did.’

 

‘Well, that looks like he’s coming back with a little lubrication to me.’

‘The good Lieutenant explained to our predecessors that as there was no need for him aboard ship that he would be stepping ashore for a few minutes.  A few minutes seems to have turned into a number of hours.’

‘He can’t do that, he’s on duty.’

Yale gave Dewey a long suffering look of the magus to the neophyte.

The craft maneuvered alongside.  The Teufelsdreck didn’t have a captain’s ladder, the Teuf just suspended a metal ladder over the side.  Morford had had such a long and friendly chat with JD that he missed his grasp tumbling back down into the craft.  He managed to pull himself up on deck on his second attempt.  Dewey and Dart moved over to tie up the craft but the pilot waved them off and immediately pulled away.

All three men of the watch were totally offended by Morford.  None was more offended than Dewey who was quite puritanical in certain matters.  None of the others were prepared to be quite as self-righteous as Dewey.  They threw up a feeble half-hearted salute per regulations but Dewey stood judgmentally  with is thumbs hitched in his guard belt.  It is impossible to describe the look of hauteur that clutched his countenance.

Morford would have been much further ahead to have ignored the slight, he almost did, he had already turned to walk away when the affront to his dignity as an officer and drunken gentlemen penetrated his alcoholic haze.

‘Get your thumbs out of your belt, Sailor, and salute your officer who is come aboard.’

‘Ah, that’s alright, you won’t remember tomorrow.’  Now, according to Navy regulations there was no excuse for Dewey’s insolent and impertinent reply.  However there were more than two witnesses to Morford’s patent breach of regulations not to mention his obvious drunkenness on duty.  Considering himself to be of overpowering manhood Morford decided to brazen it a little further.

‘What’s that Sailor?’

Morford had transgressed all the bounds of responsibility in Dewey’s mind, as he had in fact, so Dewey was not inclined to give an inch.

‘I say when you go tilting at windmills it’s better to tilt them than to be tilted.  Ha ha ha.’  The little laugh at the end did not dull the edge of the riposte.

Morford had felt the affront and now the unrepentant insolence of Trueman tore  at his sense of dignity, such as a man in his condition could feel.  A cold rage rose in it.  JG Morford checked it in the nick of time; he was not so inebriated that he had lost his own sense of danger.  He struggled to form a retort that would put Trueman in his place.  He seized at the reference to Don Quixote.  Like all the officers but in an exaggerated manner Morford thought all enlisted men were a different species from the officers.  They allowed them only animal skills considering intellectual endeavors beyond them.  Assuming Trueman had not read Don Quixote he said:  ‘You bear a great resemblance to a certain half of Don Quixote’s fair mistress Rozinante.’

 

Our Lady Of The Blues

Book I

By

R.E. Prindle

Books V and VII have already been published on reprindle.wordpress.com

If fortune has removed you from the foremost position in the State, you should nevertheless stand your ground and help with your words, and if someone stops your mouth you should nevertheless stand your ground and help in silence.  The service of a good citizen is never useless; by being heard and seen, by his expression, by his gestures, by his stubbornness and by his very walk he helps.

–Seneca:  Tranquility Of Mind

Prologue

The Sins Of Satan

     A lonely young man sits on his seabag at the head of the pier.  He sits contemplating a ship.  The Ship was a Destroyer Escort.  The Ship was the USS Teufelsdreck, DE 666.  The young man had been assigned to serve aboard it.

The young man thus sat because an Old Salt had told him that as he was about to spend an undetermined time aboard it that he should take time to evaluate it so that he could confirm himself as to its character so as to make the best of the time he must serve aboard it.

The young man sought to follow this very good advice although he had none of the skills requisite to use as this was his first tour of duty.  Nevertheless he sat and stared.  As he did elements of his fate were coming together.  Other young men assigned to the Teufelsdreck were picking their way across the Naval Station toward it.

Two other men stood on the port wing of the boat deck idly observing the young man on his seabag.  The drama was about to begin.

The Navy

     The Navy may be the last surviving feudal organization in the world, along with the other branches of the military.  This is that society in equilibrium that certain social historians waxed eloquent as the perfect social structure in which the competitive anxiety of modern times was replaced by the bliss of everyone knowing a place and knowing where his was.  And, one might add, be quite content to stay there.

If those historians really believe that let them explain the hyper-violent reaction called The French Revolution  In the Navy most men just took their discharge papers as soon as they were able and walked away.  Only a certain type of person could endure it.

As a practical society based on voluntary, if temporary, association the Navy was a truly amazing organization.

It would be very easy in the author’s hatred of it to merely revile it.  But that would be to willfully fail to understand an essential and admirable unit of society.  As the Navy must exist it could exist on no other basis.

Unlike a business enterprise the Navy had unlimited access to money whether it succeeded or failed.  The chiefs of staff realized that they would never have access to the best and brightest.  They would have to recruit from the least successful ranks of society.  But, they had access to unlimited manpower.  One must also bear in mind that this was the military; in times of war any unit was subject to sudden depletions of manpower.  In manning ships this had to be taken into account.  Thus at some time in the past all tasks had been reduced to their minutest component elements.

Even though one man might be able to perform several elements by himself a man was assigned to perform each segment.  Thus, where a crew of three might suffice, ten were employed.

The tasks were devised in such a way that a man of minimal intelligence or experience could perform them without stretching his mind.  While this was brilliant organizational strategy it also reduced the quality of men who would tolerate such stultifying tasks.  Career men tended to be the dullest of men.  In fact men who couldn’t make it on the outside.

Bu, now, notice a curious effect.  The Navy was an alchemist which could turn men of lead into men of gold over a period of twenty years.  In the first place after twenty years at the young age of thirty-eight you were discharged and given a life time pension of half your wage.  And then, these men, mostly released as Chief Petty Officers, were eagerly sought after by employers as great catches.  Thus men who were unemployable twenty years before became especially desirable.  Amazing, huh?  Believe me they weren’t any smarter twenty years after than they were twenty years before.

The organization of the Navy was of the simplest.  At the top was the Captain of the ship.  He was a king, there was no disputing his word.  He was the law.  There was a code he had to follow but the rule was do as you were told first, complain later.  Later it was a moot point so the code was ineffectual; the captain was the law.  Theoretically if he told you to jump over the side you could be court-martialed for disobeying the order.

The ship belongs to the captain.  He spoke of the ship as ‘my ship.’  He spoke of the crew as ‘my men.’  He wasn’t wrong either.  His executives were his fellow officers aboard ship.  Each was assigned a single task that left them thirty-eight hours of leisure during a forty hour work week.

Below Captain and Officers were ‘the men.’  They are the backbone of the Navy.  All a ship needs to function is a Captain and men.  The officers were a superfluous caste whose only function was as a training ground to become captains.

The ship was run by the Chiefs.  They alone had the knowledge to make it function.  They alone had the time in rank to understand the tasks.  The officers in training who were ignorant of how things worked were forced to defer to the Chiefs almost as equals, although the Chiefs were still enlisted men.  If a division officer couldn’t get along with his Chief he was in deep trouble.  Thus once again the Navy turned inferiors into superiors.  The Chiefs knew everything but did nothing.  Except for certain formalities and emergencies their time was their own.

The First Class Petty Officers actively supervised the men with the assistance of the Second Class Petty Officers.  The title ‘Petty Officer’ means exactly what it says; they were minor officers but without executive status.  Being minor they had no real dignity.  Neither First nor Second Classes actually did any work but it was their duty to instruct.

Third Class Petty Officers and Seamen did the work.  One entered the Navy as a Seaman Recruit and issued forth from boot camp a Seaman Apprentice.  One took a test to become a Seaman but it was in reality a mere formality.  For payroll purposes these ratings were styled E (for Enlisted) 1-7.

By rotating Sailors every couple of year or whenever it suited the Navy the Regulars became familiar with many different ships, each other and most contingencies.  Although it was possible to spend one’s entire enlistment on Tin Cans, that is say Destroyers and Destroyer Escorts with breaks of Shore Duty, by the time you were on the way out you had been around the Navy.

At this time the difficulty of Navy life was compounded by the division of the fleet into Regular Navy and Reserve Navy.  In 1955 the Naval Reserve Act was amended.  Up to that point a Reserve signed on for eight years with no obligation to go active.  After August of 1955 the term was reduced to six years but you were obligated to spend two years on active duty.

Most men joined the reserves in high school.  It then made sense to take your two years of active duty directly after high school.  So beginning at about this time the Navy had a surfeit of eighteen year old recruits.  The fleet was very very young.

Also at this time the Old Guard which had served way back before the Gods were born during the Big One were leaving the service.  Their psychology, formed in the teens and twenties was quite different from the psychology of the Reserves, both officers and men, formed in the forties and fifties.  Thus not only did the old timers have expectations which the Reservists couldn’t understand but the Reservists were despised as not being Regular Navy thus creating a serious dichotomy in the souls of the boys in blue.

The frictions were intense.  What interest the Reservists might have had was destroyed by the attitude of the old timers and Regulars.  They said things were falling apart; the Reservists thought the Navy was stupid as it had nothing to do with them.  The result was disintegration.

It should also be borne in mind that the men came from the least successful segments of society.  They came pretty much from the lower half of their high school classes.  It might be an unpleasant fact but it is true, they no visible prospects outside.  There were many intelligent men amongst them but on the whole they were not the best and brightest.  Many were fleeing from unpleasantness at home.  Perhaps a pregnant girl friend they didn’t want to marry.

At the time it was the custom for first offenders to be offered the alternative of jail or the service so not a few of the men were criminals on the lam.

The differences between the expectations of the Officers and the Men were so pronounced that the officers, who were supervising only the dregs of society, where not unwarranted in mis-believing they were gods among mortals.  They acted like it, especially those who were Reservists, and they paid for it.  At least aboard the Teufelsdreck.

The Ship

     The Teufelsdreck was in 1957 fourteen years old.  Commissioned during the war it had survived a number of campaigns out among the islands.  It was no longer young but it was still a grand old specimen of the shipbuilders art.

It was not only no longer young but was now obsolete.  The march of progress and rendered it nearly useless.  This time was the cusp of the transition from the armaments of The War to modern rocketry and electronic warfare.  They would try to update the old ship but it was just too small for the upcoming modern Navy.

The Teufelsdreck was an example of the smallest warships afloat.  It was only three hundred six feet long, twenty-five at the beam.  It wasn’t even big enough to assume life, to develop sinews, or circulate the life blood of the small ship it was.  It had no majesty.

Its bigger companion, the Destroyer at four hundred twenty five feet, assumed the real majesty of a man of war.  The DE was just a toy ship.  Its whole purpose was to intercept torpedoes destined for the real ships.  When the flotilla was on the Main it rode the waves in three rings.  The carriers which needed all the protection they could get were in the middle.  The Destroyers flanked the carriers while out on the perimeter the DEs flanked the Destroyers.  Enemy subs flanked the DEs.

The main armament of the Teufelsdreck was it K-guns and Hedgehogs, both powerful anti-submarine weapons.  The K-guns lined both side of the fantail, while two long racks were positioned to drop depth charges off the end of the ship.

The K-guns were K shaped mortar-like devices designed to throw a depth charge a hundred or three hundred feet or so from the ship.  The depth charges could be set for depths up to several hundred feet before they detonated.  Whether they sank a sub or not they destroyed all marine life within a couple hundred yards.  It was really something to see big fish boil up from the depths exploding from the bubble into the air.

The Hedgehogs were on the forward boat deck.  They were so named because they were placed in a bank of three rows of five grenades each.  They were a contact explosive.  The grenades, much like the WWI German hand grenades in form, were like a gallon wine jug set on a stick.  Placed on electric prods they blew out in a pattern a hundred feet across.  If they hit anything on the way down they exploded.  Woe to any passing whales.

Legend had it that a DE fired off its Port bank, then, turning under the barrage nearly had its bow blown off.  But, then, that may have been only apocryphal .  It hardly seems possible; but, then, the Navy had an amazing ability to foul up.

If you’ve seen old WWII movies, and who hasn’t, you’ve seen twenty millimeter guns in action.  As part of modernization the twenty millimeter guns had already been removed from the Teufelsdreck.  The twenties were those big shoulder harness machine guns you see in the movies where the valiant sailor appears to have two barrels poking out of his chest as he tries to bring the Jap planes down.

Thus, as you looked at the beautiful contours of this man made wonder the first gun tube was empty.  Behind it was the gun tub of one of the two three inch guns.  The other was on the fantail.  The three inch was the last caliber fired in the open air.  The next size up, the five inch, required a protective turret.  The five inch also had a separate bullet and propellant.  The  three inch was a single shell over two feet long.

The forward mount was considered the prestige battle station.  Both the Bos’n Mate Chief and the Gunner’s Mate Chief supervised its action.  The First Lieutenant supervised the Chiefs.  There was quite a crowd up there.

All the guns were great fun but the three inch was a sight to see.  It required a rammer and four loaders in addition to the complement of overseers.  The loaders took a shell out of the storage bin, cradled it in the right arm holding the base in the left hand.  They ran around the tub under the barrel to hand the shell to the rammer.  This prestige job was the prerogative of the leading seaman.  As the gun fired, the recoil brought the breech down exposing the barrel tube.  The shell was then rammed into the tube with the heel of the hand to release the breech which snapped into place with incredible force ready to fire.  You had to watch your fingers.

The report of the three inch was incredibly loud and sharp.  Even with ear plugs if you were passing under the barrel when it went off you were jerked off your feet flying a foot into the air, feet splayed.

In the last few months of its existence the Teufelsdreck was outfitted with automatic threes.  The sound was so intolerable they couldn’t be worked.  Plus they tore up the decking with their rapid recoil.

The final little bit of armament, the jewel in the lotus, was the quad forty millimeter gun mount.  Ah, now there was a toy.  In the movies they are the four barrels recoiling at different times in a remarkable rhythm.  God loved the forties.

The sailors, those who had the capacity, always wondered why the structure above decks was called a superstructure.  Super is merely the Latin, meaning above, that structure above the structure.  This was the boat deck and the bridge.  Altogether a very stylish ship.

Book 1, Clip 1b. Posted 6/04/12

The Locale

     There are three magnificent land locked seas on the West Coast; Puget Sound on the Canadian border, San Francisco Bay midway between Puget Sound and the southern terminus on the Mexican border, San Diego.

Puget Sound is home to the naval base at Bremerton.  San Francisco has Mare Island near Vallejo, Hunters Point dry docks in South San Francisco, Treasure Island , an artificial fill adjacent to Yerba Buena Island and the Alameda Naval Air Base and docks next to Oakland.  There is, or was, some trifling Navy at Long Beach and then you have the true home of the Pacific fleet in all the complexes of San Diego.

The Pendleton Marine Base was just north of San Diego.  The West Coast boot camp was in San Diego.  San Diego Bay debouches to the North between a narrow peninsula and the main land.  Entering the bay North Island Naval Air is on the west side while the San Diego airport was on  the east.  Jets took off and landed constantly on both sides all day long.

Further up the bay on the main land were the Broadway Piers, a long row of moorings, since gone I’m sad to say.     At those you would step off the ship and be in downtown San Diego at the terminus of Highway 101.  These berths were given for good behavior and ostentatious purposes.  Much more visually impressive was the long string of buoys in the middle of the bay.

At some were the massive Destroyer and Submarine tenders.  Huge floating machine shops with dozens of lathes and other tooling equipment.  They were six hundred feet long with a fifty or sixty foot beam.  They sat high out of the water with many decks.

Nested next to those were four or five Destroyers or Escorts.  Half a dozen submarines were along side the Sub Tenders.  Strung out along the other buoys were dozens of Destroyers, Escorts and other ships of the line.  Ships were coming and going at all times.  The sense of power and majesty was overwhelming.

Turning East up the bay the north side was lined with Naval establishments for miles.  Row after row of berths.  Huge traveling cranes, gigantic buildings.  The transition from 1900 when the area was virtually undefended to the present huge Navy was a remarkable transformation.

The Navy was everywhere.  It is not unfair to say that at the time if there had been no Navy there would been no San Diego.  San Diego belonged to the Navy.

Paradise was an armed camp.

From the Grapevine to the Border is what is known in California as the Southland.  The land of Disney Girls and Playboy Bunnies; golden haired surfer boys with shaggy, shaggy hair and fantasy land movie hopefuls.

The sun never stops shining.  It never gets so cold you need more than a T-shirt.  So long as you’re near the water the temperature is always between seventy and eighty with a pleasant inspiring breeze that is better than any artificial stimulant.  As soon as you’re away from the water you’re in an unbearably hot desert.  If you’re not sensitive to heat it still isn’t bad.

The coastal areas from San Diego to LA provide the finest climate in the world.  The only tragedy is that so many people realize this truth.  In 1958 the population density was tolerable.  There were enough people so that you were rarely alone but not so many that you felt oppressed.

This area from San Diego to Los Angeles was all Navy ground.

The Times

     There has never been a time when America stood still.  Change has always swept through the country like a tornado through Kansas.  There has never been a time to stop, look and evaluate what was happening.

In order to deal with the cascading torrent of events America has always resorted to convenient lies.  Americans became pious liars.  Unpleasantness was glossed over or denied.  Facts were rearranged to suit desires.  An official version was given that was perilous to deviate from.  But any structure based on false premises will sooner or later become top heavy and come crashing to the ground.  There is no use to lie and so I won’t.

The generation coming of age had been brought up on a fabric of lies since they were born.  Deceit and hypocrisy had been all they had known.  They would begin a generation long revolt against hypocrisy that would be severely suppressed and punished by their elders.

The problem lay between the contrasts of the ideal and reality.  We were all made to believe that our elders were inherently good and decent people.  The rest of the world was corrupt but our clean, decent and honest parents were above all that.

Contrasted to that was the situation in Havana.  There in Cuba a Communist named Fidel Castro was attempting to overthrow the government and expel the American influence.  They wanted to oust the American criminal cartels that had taken over Havana establishing a regime of degeneracy, gambling and prostitution.

It is nearly impossible to describe the vile entertainments devised to amuse the American tourists.  Dirty, foul sex acts, real degeneracy that befouled the imagination.  True, we were encouraged to look down on the Cubans who provided this perverted entertainment but who were the people paying for and enjoying this filth.  Our parents.  Those same people who had created the purest Republic in the world.

And who were these American gangsters.  Shhh.  This is part of the big lie that no one of us is supposed to acknowledge.  They were part of the ‘wretched refuse of Europe’s teeming shore.’  The quote comes from the plaque placed on the base of the Statue of Liberty written by the Jewish poetess, Emma Lazarus.  The quote referred to the Jews arriving from Eastern Europe.

Nothing is more distorted by historians than the history of immigration.  It may be appropriate to point out that this gift of the French people, the Statue of Liberty, was originally built to place at the Caribbean side of the projected French enterprise of the Panama Canal.  It was to have been entitled ‘The Statue of Commerce’ in that capacity.  When the Panama Canal company went bust the statue was redundant.  The French, with no hint of a smirk sent it to America as the ‘Statue of Liberty’.  The Jews affixed the plaque welcoming their nationals and the statue, plaque and all, became an expression of the ego of America.

When these immigrants reached American shores they blamed their defects on the United States and arrogated their virtues to themselves.  The criminals operating in Havana were all Jewish and Italian.  Their claim was that conditions in America made them criminals.  They said there was something in the American air that bred criminality.  If so this air had not influenced the English, Poles, Germans and what have you to the excesses displayed by the Jews and Italians.  Not that every people doesn’t have its share of crooks but we’re talking about systematic, organized criminality in which murder forms an essential element.  A concept of crime that sought legitimation for criminal behavior as just another business activity.  They sought to make it just another economic activity.  Thus, not only was Havana developed as a criminal and degradation center by these two nationalities but they conspired to undermine morality on American soil by spreading the blight of gambling, prostitution and degradation to Las Vegas and from thence back to New York City and its environs.

Thus, as Castro closed down Havana, Sin City in Nevada a couple hundred miles from San Diego was beginning its tremendous corrupting influence.  The degradation of Havana moved north to the Big Apple.

Organized crime, the direct product of immigration, cast a pall over the world view of the generation.  We were all expected to accept responsibility, guilt, for American criminality which was in reality the activity of two immigrant nationalities.  At the same time we were forbidden to declare our innocence because to do so was to cast obloquy on Jews and Italians which was taboo.  One’s mind churned, madness bubbled up.  Do you wonder why crime has spread to be such a problem in America?

This problem was added to the race issue.  No generation can be responsible for the actions of those who came before.  The sins of the fathers do not belong to the children.  But because previous generations had enslaved Negroes and then forced them into a Jim Crow existence, the Negroes, finally emerging from their subordination expected our generation to recompense them for what had happened to earlier generations of Negroes.  It was not enough for them to be equal, they in their turn wanted to subordinate Whites.

This is not an unexpected psychological reaction.  Nothing could be more normal.  But because they desired it is no reason it should be done.  True, it was a difficult psychological problem that they would have to be helped to get over but that was no reason to punish an innocent generation for the actions of their forefathers.  Nevertheless the entire generation was brutalized for the acts of their fathers.

The brutalization was done in some interesting ways.  One was the reverence for the Negro culture.  America has no sense of culture so this reverence was introduced from England that does.  Rock and Roll traveled from America to England where it was combined with Negro Blues music to form British Blues.  This music was adopted by America and expanded into White Blues.  Thus a people raised on freedom adopted the mentality of slaves through the medium of song.  Real conditioning.  It was a remarkable transition to watch.

The race problem was compounded by the Atom Bomb.  As we all know the Atom Bomb was dropped on Japan.  This fact was portrayed, never mind the Japanese attacked us first, as an act of blatant racism.  Somehow the act of using the A-bomb transformed Americans into vicious aggressors.  All the lost American lives were forgotten when we dropped the Big One.  Some of the Japanese survivors were brought to the US for medical treatment as though they had been innocent victims.  It was forbidden to celebrate our victory over Japan.  Our victory was portrayed as a regrettable act of racism.

Combined with the A-bomb had been the removal of the Japanese in the Western Defense Command of the US to detention camps.  Anyone who has studied the issue knows that this was warranted.  But it was portrayed as another example of White bigotry.  Another load of guilt for White boys.

At one and same time we were expected to be perfect Americans who had brought to the world the only light it has ever seen while having perpetrated the only crimes the world has ever known.  The attitude would be epitomized a few years later by the Jewish writer Eugene Burdick in his novel ‘The Ugly American.’  Mr. Burdick assured us that although we were giving away millions of tons of food the natives despised us because we misunderstood the spirit of giving.  Having been softened up for years Americans went for the image hook, line and sinker.

Also savaging our minds was the great social revolution being led by the Communists.  Publishing is controlled by the Reds then as now so criticism of the Revolution has always been discountenanced.  Never mind the savage repression of liberty in Russia, we were told it couldn’t happen here.

Well, there were many of us who did think it could happen here so we fought valiantly to make sure it wouldn’t.  From 1917 to 1954 the war was waged in open terms.  The last wave of resistance went down to defeat in 1954 when Joe McCarthy failed us all.  He did manage to take the old Red apparatus down with him.  So in the period of 1957-59 the New Left was regrouping, forming a coalition that would be known as Political Correctness but it was only the Revolution having adapted to American ways.  They just changed the name from Communism to Political Correctness.

There was the amazing hedonism of Hugh Heffner and Playboy to be dealt with; the silliness but social destructiveness of Walt Disney who was now to so profoundly alter American consciousness.  Everyone was about to become a Disney boy or girl,

All these psychological challenges ripped the minds of the young.  All required decisions to be made.  Is it any wonder that America turned to drugs.  Unsure of who they were or what was right or wrong or what was expected of them the young of America turned to popping pills for relief.

Drugs were not a problem that developed in the late sixties  Drugs were a problem that became obvious in the late sixties; that is to say the problem couldn’t be denied any longer.  The problem developed in the late forties and through the fifties.  The chief problem was not marijuana, cocaine or Heroin.  The chief problem was the endless supply of pills turned out by the American pharmaceutical industry.  Uppers and downers were and always had been America’s drug problem.

By 1957-59 drugs were endemic in the Navy.

These were the major problems we all wrestled with at the time.  Some didn’t wrestle, some gave in and ‘went with the flow.’  But some of us wrestled.  We were called social misfits.

The Man- Dewey Trueman

     A man expresses the truths and myths that he holds of himself in the ephemera of his life.  It is by way of songs, the snatches of poetry, street doggerel, sayings, movies, TV shows, novels and stories, slogans and folk images that a man characterizes himself to himself.  It is through the archetypes of song and legend that he fits himself into the scheme of things.  Having adopted a persona a man usually lives up to it.  America has always been the home of the ‘Ramblin’  gambling’ , man.’

For many men that is the only self-respecting role they can find for themselves.  ‘The Roving Gambler.’

I am a Roving Gambler,

I’ve gambled all around,

I’ve gambled out in Washington,

I’ve gambled over in Spain,

Now I’m on my way to Georgia

To knock down my last game.

     The Roving Gambler archetype formed a substratum in Dewey’s psyche.  The self-destructiveness of the role was such that Dewey had to fight to suppress it or transform the image into something manageable.

The main image by which he perceived himself was found in another old American folk song titled ‘Nobody’s Child.’  The song quite literally encapsulated a phase of his life, a phase that formed his identity.  The child of the song is an orphan.  One verse was identical to a situation of Dewey’s:

Oh yeah, they say they like my

Curls of gold.

Oh yeah, and they like my

Eyes of blue.

But they always take

Some other child,

And I’m left here

With you.

Book I, Clip 1c, posted 6/05/12

Dewey, too, had been in the orphanage.  He had had hair of gold and eyes of blue but those qualities which society says it admires so much were a curse rather than a blessing.  Rather than joy they brought him pain and sorrow.  He was, also ‘A Man Of Constant Sorrow’.  Rather than a reason for acceptance they became a cause of rejection.

This image which was to stay with him for decades was also as negative and self-defeating as that of the Roving Gambler.  Dewey had a lot of psychological detritus to remove.

When he left the orphanage it was to spend eight years in an insane home environment.  Dewey had been what is known as a good boy.  He had always been honest and obedient.  These qualities known by society as virtues brought him only scorn and revilement.

Unappreciated at home and relentlessly persecuted at school because of self-assertion against the ruling clique in kindergarten, Dewey had had his self-confidence slowly crushed out of him.

But as the husk is intact the man lives on; he cannot die or levitate himself to a better existence.  By the time Dewey had been driven from his home town he had nothing to keep himself on his feet but inertia.  Except for the fact that life says:  ‘Keep on, keep on, keep on moving.’  Dewey would have been a shapeless heap of rubble by the roadside.  His identity had been compressed into a dot no bigger than the period at the end of this sentence.

What we see sitting on his seabag at the head of the pier then is a man faced with the daunting task of remaking himself from less than nothing into something which he can admire and respect.  The dot will have to decompress itself in such a subtle way that like one of those tiny sponges contained in a capsule it will expand into a complete entity.

Dewey will not complete the transformation in this volume.  This volume is only the beginning of the rebirth of Dewey Trueman.

Part One

Permission To Come On Board

     Dewey Trueman sat on his seabag eyeing the Teufelsdreck.  His advice had been good.  It was a wise thing to take the measure of your new assignment.  Dewey was inexperienced.  He had no way to evaluate the ship.  This was the first one he had ever seen.

What he did see was not very promising.  The Teufelsdreck had just returned from an Asian tour of duty.  The ship, even to an inexperienced eye, looked like a wreck.  The ship was dirty, paint was peeling, even the numbers were disfigured, the men were loose and unkempt.  The ship appeared to be devoid of discipline.

“How am I supposed to fit into that?’  Dewey thought with a sinking feeling.

As he sat watching he too was being observed.  Lt. Bifrons Morford stood leaning on the railing of the boat deck talking to his Yeoman, Teal Kanary.  Both were new to the 666.  Indeed half the old crew was being transferred.  Dewey was one of seventy new faces coming aboard.

‘What’s wrong with him?’  Morford asked idly, unaware of Dewey’s good advice.  Good advice often seems ignorant to uninformed minds.

‘Must be afraid to come on board.’  Kanary joked.

‘Well, then he’s not totally lacking in good sense.’  Morford jibed back.

As Dewey sat and Morford and Kanary joked a number of seamen were wending their way across the Naval Station in search of the Teufelsdreck.  Just then a bright eager face hove into Dewey’s view.

‘Hi!  Are you going aboard the Teufelsdreck?’  He cheerfully asked Dewey.

‘Uh, yeah, I am.  You?’  Oh yeah?  My name’s Dewey Trueman.’

‘Hi, Dewey.  I’m Dennis La Frenniere.  I’m going to be on the Deck Force.’  He said with evident pride that betrayed his ignorance of what that meant.

‘Yeah, me too.’  Dewey replied as another sailor named Don Tidwell showed up to join the party.  They were joined by others swelling the party to seven.

Soon they were all joking and laughing.  You couldn’t find seven merrier guys.  They were such a jolly group and so pleased with each other that each figured fate had done them a neat turn.  Laughing and shouting they moved down the pier past the peeling numbers of the 666 by Bifrons Morford  and Teal Kanary to the gangway across which was the quarterdeck of the USS Teufelsdreck, DE 666.

It would have been better had Dewey ignored his good advice and gone on board alone.  He would have slipped aboard more inconspicuously.  But now this shouting laughing mass of recruits only aroused the antipathy of the ‘old hands.’   Many of them were only awaiting replacements so they vented the frustrations of their long Asian tour on the new men.  There was nothing serious but it set a tone among the new men that was to last.

Morford, who was Officer Of The Day, came down from the boat deck to examine them more closely.  Jack Cornford who was the Petty Officer Of The Watch collected the papers and directed the recruits, who were all deck hands, to First Division quarters.

‘Welcome aboard.  Capt. Descartes is only to happy to have you.  I’m sure we’ll all get used to you too.’

Cornford pronounced the name Dess Cartes.  Blaise Descartes had been captain for fourteen months but the crew still didn’t know how to pronounce his name.  Unfortunately for Dewey he did.

There was a little sign hanging on the bulkhead that announced that the Teufelsdreck was under the command of Blaise Descartes.

‘Does he pronounce the name Dess Cartes or Day Cartes?’  Dewey asked giving the name the French pronunciation and the same that Descartes himself used.

Cornford tapped the sign.  ‘Read it, Sailor, if you can, that is.  DESCARTES, Dess Cartes.’  Cornford looked at Trueman sharply thinking him completely stupid.

‘Yeah, but in French that’s pronounced Day Cartes.  Like the philosopher Rene Des Cartes.’  Dewey said apologetically.

‘Uh huh.  Well, in case you ain’t noticed this ain’t France.  These here are the United States Of America.  You are aboard the USS Teufelsdreck, DE 666.  It’s pronounced Dess Cartes.’

‘Oh yeah?  What did they do, suspend the law of gravity on the Teufelsdreck as well as the rules of pronunciation?’  Dewey tried to joke while maintaining his position.

Cornford wasn’t having any of it.  ‘You got a…what’s your name?  Trueman, uh huh…you got a college education there Mr. Trueman?  No?  Well then you’re just like us so don’t get smart with me.  Alright now, Sailors, go back to the fantail,  Back there in that direction there’s an open hatch, go down the ladder there and you’re in the First Division.  Take this wiseguy Trueman with you too.  Savvy him up a little.’

The incident was trivial enough.  It could have been righted quite easily by someone with a little social sense.  Dewey didn’t have social sense so he inflated it to mega proportions.  He thought he was ruined.  All his fears and anxieties coalesced around this incident to form a giant core of resentment in his mind.  He developed a bad attitude that he was never to lose.

The next few days of transition into the society of the ship was extremely difficult both for Trueman and the rest of the new men.  The cheerful laughing group of men who had requested permission to board the Teufelsdreck in a spirit of high adventure would all sour in one form or another.  The spirit of the new men was converted to a seething, sullen mood of rebellion.

Once below deck the new men were subjected to the hazing of the old crew.  Simple requestd for information were treated as occasions for abuse.  The simple act of locating a vacant bunk was turned into excruciating torture that lasted for over an hour.

Dewey finally obtained an upper bunk on the inboard side of the starboard hatch.  Even that cost him a certain diminution of respect.  The bottom bunk in the row had been available.  Most sailors prefer the bottom bunk but  Dewey wanted the top bunk.

‘That bottom bunk’s taken, sailor.’  Some voice commanded even though the bunk was made up as empty.

‘I don’t want it anyway, I want the top bunk.’  Dewey replied as civilly as he could to the bestial snarlings.

‘I said you can’t have the bottom bunk.’  Was offered  as a non-sequitur.

‘You’ve got it big fella.  I don’t want it.  Keep it.’  Dewey replied firmly.

Probably Dewey should have replied with a blunt:  Because this is what I want.  Socially the Navy is only a step up from prison.  If this had been prison the sailors would probably have resolved the situation by making him fight or go under but prison rules were modified to a more orderly method in the Navy; fighting was not allowed.  As usual nonetheless Dewey made the mistake of being civil.  Civility in American society, as has been often remarked is interpreted as weakness.  Real men eat raw meat and spit it in your face.

‘If you’re on the bottom you always have to get up to let people use their lockers; if you’re in the middle you’ve got someone above and below, if you’re on top you’re above everyone.’  Then Dewey threw in:  ‘Is that simple enough for you?’  just to show he was tough.

The old hands interpreted the remark as disdain which they resented rather than toughness.  Dewey’s English was also too good for them.  They didn’t want anyone putting on airs making them think they were inferior.  They wanted you down in the hole where they were.

‘Above it all, huh?  Up there is where the fart smells go.  Haw, haw, haw.’

‘Aw, Christ this going to be fun.’  All seven new men thought as they lifted the lids to the lockers to stow their gear.

Dewey stood up from time to time in disgust.  A sailor’s personal space aboard ship was a three by three square two feet deep.  Everything you owned had to be stashed in there.  Of course every time you moved all your possessions had to fit into your seabag.  A seabag over fifty pounds was a real burden so it behooved you to stay light.  As Dewey would find there was more than room enough.

As he stood contemplating his gear he looked around to orient himself.  There were six tiers of bunks stretched across the compartment.  Each tier was three bunks doubled end to end.  All told there were about sixty bunks in First Division with those located in nooks and crannies included.  The lockers were beneath each tier.  There was a hatch on each side leading forward through the Engineering compartment and another aft leading to after steering and the barber shop.

First Division was composed of the Deck Force, Gunner’s Mates and Sonarmen.  In the hierarchy of intelligence Deck was at the bottom.  The Gunner’s Mates next to the bottom preferred to look down on the Deck Apes.

In the old Navy this might have been true but every man coming aboard was a Reservist.  They raised the tone of the whole Navy let alone the Deck Force.  In the rapid fire banter going around Dewey quickly picked up the drift of things.  Not only was his English better but he had a sharp mind with a well honed edge.

After settling in and having a dinner of rudely cooked and evil tasting food Dewey climbed into his bunk.  If he couldn’t organize his new reality in a day perhaps he could shut it out by a trip to dreamland.

Six o’ clock reveille and the routine began.  Dewey once again was revolted.  He grabbed his douche bag to go up and wash.  What a sight.  There were nine wash basins for over a hundred men.  Since about ten men never washed the ration was actually a little better.

The place was jammed with men fighting for basins so Dewey decided to eat first.

The mess hall was forward underneath the bridge superstructure.  Dewey got in the line which extended up the ladder and out on the deck.

‘Better get used to it buddy, this is the way it is.’  A resigned friendly voice said noticing Dewey’s impatience and irritation.

Dewey turned to look at the voice.

‘Hi.  I’m Kerry Maclen, Sonarman.  I just came aboard eight days ago when this bucket got back from Wespac.  I haven’t been here much longer than you but I’ve got some things figured out.  One of ‘ems it doesn’t get any better than this.’

Dewey calmed down and began chatting with Maclen as the line moved slowly forward  through the hatch, then standing on the steps of the ladder.  Finally grabbing a tray, mug and silverware he started moving down the line accumulating a tray full of what passed for food.

The stuff looked bad and tasted worse.  Prison fare was probably better.  Dewey looked at the tray as he realized that he wouldn’t be gaining any weight aboard the Teufelsdreck.  He couldn’t eat that ‘chow.’  At least the Teufelsdreck had the sense not to refer to the crap as food.  He couldn’t even stand to look at the ‘chow.’

In desperation he grabbed four slices of bread, looked for mold and checked to see whether the spread was butter or oleo.  Thankfully the Navy thought enough of the men to provide real butter.  As they were not so thoughtful as to provide jam Dewey carefully spread a thin layer of mustard over the butter.  This was to be his breakfast for the next three months until he had a reaction to the mustard.

Our Lady Of The Blues Book I, clip 1d, posted 6/06/12

‘Quite a breakfast.’  A voice seated next to him commented.

‘You don’t expect me to eat that garbage, do you?’  Dewey replied contemptuously.

‘Plenty good enough for me.’  The other gruffed stuffing his face.

‘I guess I haven’t been deprived of food long enough like you.’  Dewey said popping the last piece of bread, butter and mustard into his mouth as he got up to go wash up.

As he threw his douche bag on the ledge above one of the sinks and thrust his face into the mirror the half-crazed demon possessed reflection that stared back at him made him realize that he had made the mistake of his life.  Not that he hadn’t realized it much earlier.  Not that he hadn’t had misgivings when he stood in line with fifty other suckers to be sworn in.  Also it wasn’t that the Navy didn’t realize that every sucker in line would repent of his oath.

The Navy had experience, and how.  They knew all the objections; they countered all the arguments.  The Navy knew who they were dealing with too; they weren’t delicate.

‘If you show up later and say you didn’t move your lips, forget it.  There is no mental evasion or reservations that will do you any good,  It’s all been tried before.  It won’t work, you’re all sworn in.’

How Dewey resented the fact that he hadn’t stepped out of line and left before the oath was administered.  As he thought back he was sure that he hadn’t raised his right hand but there was no way to prove that now nor would it matter if he could.  He was in.

He knew he had made a mistake when he had obediently bent over and spread his cheeks so the Navy MD could study the fine sight of his asshole.

God, what a spiffy job; spend your whole life walking down lines of buttocks deciding on that basis whether a man could be a sailor or not.  There were a couple of men excused from service on the basis of failing the asshole test.  Even then the Navy doctor was so stupid he passed three out of ten he shouldn’t have.  Thirty per cent of the guys aboard were queers.

Dewey heaved a sigh, oh, lord,  he didn’t heave a sigh, the life’s breath fled out of him but he couldn’t die; he was in the Navy.  In?  In big.  His wild staring eyes studied the reflection that he would see for the duration.  His sink was the middle one on the left bulkhead.  Three sinks aft, five sinks port bulkhead, three sinks forward bulkhead.  The smell of over a hundred men assailed his nostrils.  Over a hundred had been there before him this morning as they would every morning for the duration.  The stench of a hundred urinating, shitting, stinking men.  Four pissoirs, four stools, four showers, eleven sinks.  Dewey dry retched into the sink.  Jesus Christ! What had he done?  The only thing worse could be prison.

Having sworn in had been bad enough but then being a Reserve and having already completed boot camp between eleventh and twelfth grades, the Navy had sent him to the Receiving Station at Philadelphia.  Lor’ what an education that had been.  Already better than half crazed by his home environment he had blown through the bottom; under every seeming basement there is yet another depth.  He had blown through the bottom of the bottom; hell, he had found new depths that had never been explored.

Every new man at the Receiving Station had responded to that new and hostile environment better than he had.  Dewey had entered a limbo that it is surprising that he survived.  A reality he had never suspected became an unavoidable apparition of disgust.

Caught somewhere between a free life and a prison environment Dewey had not known how to respond.  The homosexual threat was rampant.  Unprepared to respond to such open aggression on the part of homosexuals Dewey had responded by only showering rarely and then only at times when the showers were unused.  Even then gayboys showed up to check the action, stand and inspect his dick.  His timidity hadn’t gone unnoticed.  Always preying on the ignorant and timid he had been assailed in the showers and had had to fight his way out rather than submit.

As he looked over at the shower stalls on the starboard side an involuntary shudder went down his spine.  Three more fucking years of this shit!  He thought.

The criminal degradation of the Receiving Station had truly blown his mind.  The thievery was incessant.  The cons and cheating were all the time.  Drug addiction!  Dewey had never seen it before.  Then, at muster they lugged a First Class out on a stretcher.  He was ‘sick.’  He was suffering from a heroin overdose.  As they carried this son-of-a-bitch past Dewey the bastard shot out a projectile of vomit all over him.  The horror  of it was more than Dewey could stand.  He brought both fists down on that sick degenerate bastard’s stomach, knocking one of the bearers aside and spilling that idiot First Class out on the pavement.  Dewey moved in to stomp that ignorant bastard to death but was quickly restrained by a couple sailors who got some of that diseased puke all over themselves.  Several hours passed before Dewey regained a semblance of composure.

‘Jesus,’ he thought, ‘What is this?  What is this?  Is there no refuge?’

In truth there wasn’t, neither on the base or ashore.  Who knows who they were but everywhere he went it seemed he was being followed.  The Navy was on tight security because of the Cold War, but was it necessary to follow a sailor when he wandered down to look at the mothballed Cruisers or was it just some queers on the make.

It seemed like everybody was out to tear every other body apart in one way or another.  Every way he turned faggots were waiting to batten on him.

Standing in the subway one night at one in the morning he looked across the tracks to the top tier of that multi-tiered structure to see some faggot staring at him as the queer masturbated at his sight.  ‘My god,’  he thought, ‘Don’t these guys have any self-respect.’  If the truth were told, no they don’t.

Another night he was walking down Broad to the base, avoiding the subway, when a worker type pulled up offered him a ride back to the base as he was going that way himself.  Naively Dewey believed him.  Seething with anger Dewey had finished his walk back to the base after having repulsed the queer’s advances.  Back at the base the Marine sentry was giving him a bad time mistaking what Dewey thought was politeness for timidity.

The face looking back at Dewey reflected the horror of all these incomprehensibilities.  He had been assigned  West.  Somewhere between Philly and San Francisco or, perhaps, after his visit to the Navy dentist, he had toughened up, put on a hard face, a mean face, a face that said:  ‘Up yours.’

The dentist had been a lunatic, a madman.  He did more damage to Dewey’s mouth in an hour than the A-bomb had done to Hiroshima.  Dewey learned his lesson; he never visited another Navy dentist or doctor during his enlistment.  He’d rather pay for good attention than be mutilated for free.

Dewey looked in the mirror again and found that he was panting.

“Yeah, I don’t like it either.’  Came from a voice from across the area.  ‘Nobody does.  But there’s nothing we can do about it now.’

Dewey focused on the present to see a sailor fourth sink, port bulkhead shaving and watching him mirror to mirror.  Shaving!  Aaaargh.  Dewey let out a long anguished mental scream that still seemed to emit from the face in the mirror.  Shaving!   Shaving was a private act.  It was between you and the mirror.  Only faggots watched other men shave.  Guys invited hopeful conquests  into the head to watch them shave.  Bulls showed off for catamites in that way.  Now, here was some guy speaking to him while he shaved.

‘Yeah, this is pretty hard to get used to.’  Dewey replied rather than get a reputation for being difficult but still hoping not to encourage further conversation.  Fortunately the other guy was finishing up, it was getting close to muster and he left with a hurried:  ‘Keep it together.’

‘Keep it together?’  Dewey was already blown apart.  He would have to bring it together.  He not only had to organize and overcome his childhood traumas he would have to survive this new madness.

Still, there was no way out but deeper in.  He would have to go out the other side.  He threw his douche bag- douche bag- Jesus Christ- into his locker, squared his hat, passed through the Engineering compartment to climb the ladder to the main deck, stepped through the starboard hatch into the light to see the men of First Division lining up for muster.

The line that separated Dewey from insanity was the physical world.  Having stepped from the encasing steel of the ship, the delightful climate of waterfront San Diego embraced him.  The strong sun enveloped him.  The fresh invigorating sea breeze wafted around him wrapping him in sensual delight.

Then his eyes fell on Chief Dieter, First Class Gunner’s Mate Emmanuel Ratman, and First Class Bos’n’s Mate Blaise Pardon.  They were eyeing him with idle curiosity as the last arrival.  In his state of mind he took it as hostility and snarled back.

Muster!  He saw two lines of sailors standing at parade rest.  He walked down to the end of the line and took a place.

‘You there.’

‘Yeah?’

‘You’re Deck, right?  Back down in this group.’

Dewey noticed there had been a break in the line.  He had apparently lined up with the second group- the Gunner’s Mates.  He moved back down the line to the other end to take a position in the back rank.  He extended the line by one person.

‘Step forward to the front rank.  Looks better.’

Dewey stepped forward, but his teeth ground.  He knew he had to obey the order but as he looked at the three Petty Officers he felt innately superior to them.  He was.  Ratman, the Gunner’s Mate, was an illiterate stupido.  He was even incapable of reading the muster.  How he had ever been able to pass the written tests to become a First Class was open to conjecture.  The Navy takes care of its own.  They probably read the questions to him pointing to which box to mark after he gave the his answer.  That he had been in eighteen years and hadn’t made chief told against him.

Ratman had a brownish open pored complexion and eyes that betrayed neither intelligence nor stupidity.  They were just kind of blank and unseeing.  Nothing seemed to register.  He had the habit of holding his mouth open and flicking his tongue up and down, projecting it in and out.  Rats might not have the same characteristics but the habit seemed to fit his name.

Blaise Pardon, the First Class Bos’n’s Mate, was a decent sort.  He was only interested in getting through the day with the least conflict possible.  That was a positive virtue.  He was another eighteen year man but Deck was a closed rating, the fact did not count against him.  It was nearly impossible to advance your rating in Deck.

As the rating was the least demanding in the Navy and as it was much more secure than trying to earn a living on the outside more career men were in Deck than anywhere else.  Even the Gunner’s Mates was relatively open compared to Deck.  You were guaranteed to make Chief in twenty.  Even a mutant like Ratman would be given his Chief’s outfit as a gift on his way out.  Maybe he even deserved it, who knows?

All of the ratings that required intelligence were wide open.  To take Electronics Technicians as an example.  A man could easily make First Class within a four year enlistment.  This was actually too fast on a cultural basis.  There were cases of ETs making Chief within four years.  This was absolutely destructive to Navy morale.  There may have been no question that the man had learned his rating that well; however he had not absorbed Navy culture to any extent.  He was not yet Navy.  He had no investment in the tradition, no esprit de corps, no veneration for the career.  Most of them became ego maniacs destroyed by their rapid advancement.

Angus Dieter, the Chief Bos’n’s Mate was everything a career Navy man should be.  He had been in seventeen years.  He wore his uniform with all the assurance and aplomb of a man born to the station.  He was overweight but by just the right amount.  His bulk was actually magnificent in his dress blues and in his khakis, which he wore during work hours.  He certainly distinguished his uniform.  Even his hat seemed as though it had been molded expressly for his head.

As the guns of the Teufelsdreck didn’t warrant a Chief Gunner’s Mate Dieter was Chief for the entire First Division, which he relished.  It gave him additional  importance which he wore well.  He was especially resplendent in the golden sunshine and the soft caressing uplifting air.  Dewey still didn’t like the way Dieter had commanded him to step forward.  The war was on.

After the names had been called and all found present the day’s tasks were assigned.  The two Sonarmen, Maclen and Hubie Blake, left for the Sonar shack below the Mess Hall.  The old hands were sent off to their tasks.  The seven new men were taken on an orientation tour by Pardon.  This would ordinarily have been done by the Second Class, Norm Castrato, but he had gone to sick bay that morning along with the Second Class Gunner’s Mate Lion Ratfield.

Before the tour Dieter delivered a talk about nomenclature.  Nomenclature is, of course, important but perhaps Dieter in his attempt to establish his authority was a bit overdone.  The seven reservists had all been developing hostile reactions since they had first stepped aboard.  Everything about shipboard life repelled them.  They would all display their repulsion in different ways but a little wave of revulsion greeted Dieter’s speech.

‘Now, I know you boys come from soft family backgrounds where you’re used to having your own way.  Well, you’re in the Navy now.  There’s only one way in the Navy and that’s the Navy way, no ifs ands or buts.  Screw with us and you’ll never see the highway again.  If you don’t want to do it our way there ain’t no way you’re going to enjoy your sojourn among us.  Do I make myself clear?  Alright.

Now, in the Navy all the things have different names than in civilian life- learn them or else.  For instance your are not standing on the floor- you are standing on a deck.  That why you are called Deck Hands.  That behind you is not a wall, that is a bulkhead.  There are no walls aboard ship, only bulkheads.

That thing with steps you see there attached to the bulkhead is not a staircase, it is a ladder.  That thing on the fantail leading below- not downstairs- below- is also a ladder even though you might think it looks more like stairs than a ladder.  The opening in the bulkheads you go through are called hatches.  All such openings are hatches whether as in the officer’s quarters they look like doors or not.  You do not go to the toilet or washroom you go to the head.  On that note, I’ll leave you where you belong, in the head.  Ha ha ha.  Pardon will show you around the ship.  By the way, you may call me Dieter or Chief or Chief Dieter at your discretion.  Do not call me Sir, Angus or Hey You.  I am not an officer and first names do not exist in the Navy.’

Our Lady Of The Blues Book I, clip 1e posted  6/07/12

‘Also call you asshole‘ seemed to arise from the seven but I doubt if a tape recorder would have picked it up.

Pardon then took them in hand and conducted them on a tour of the ship in much the same manner as you were introduced to it in the  prologue with the addition of details that will appear later.  This tour destroyed any illusions the seven may have had.

Dennis LaFrenniere, who was from Tempe, Arizona was taken back.  His illusions about a big adventure had been completely destroyed  There was an unforgiving brutal reality about the day that bore him down.

‘What did you think of it, monsieur?’  He civilly asked Dewey.  Trueman had taken to Dennis immediately and like what appeared to be a carefree devil may care attitude.  He was surprised by the somber depressed manner of the question.

Dewey was unaware of the edge the day had given to his own attitude.  He was resentful and agitated as Dennis was somber and depressed.  He realized only too well that, as Dieter had said, it was the Navy way or no way.  Trueman’s teeth were on edge.  The Navy would have to give to get what he had to offer.

‘I don’t think this is going to be any fun at all, Dennis, but we’ve got to get through it.’

LaFrenniere turned his troubled distraught eyes to the deck.  He couldn’t face it as himself.  A future of days like today was quite beyond his mind to handle as himself.  A film closed over his mind as he began to leave Dennis LaFrenniere aside and assume the identity of- Frenchy.

For the rest of his tour he would answer only to the name of Frenchy.  He would retreat into that identity and not come out until he was discharged and safely back in Tempe.  He became temporarily insane.

Dewey passed Don Tidwell coming back from evening chow but Tidwell’s gloomy withdrawn lips passed by without a word.  Tidwell, too, had taken a dim view of Navy life.  He was from Phoenix, Arizona.  Like Trueman and LaFrenniere he had a high score on the General Intelligence Test.  He took his score more seriously than he should have.  He had come from a literate family too, thus feeling himself above, not only everyone in First but everyone on ship.  He retreated within himself into a blue funk from which he would never emerge until he took his discharge papers in hand.  Even then his life’s outlook had been altered for good.

Dewey sat in mess hall looking at what it pleased the Navy to call food on his tray.  He couldn’t eat it.

‘Whatsa’ matter?  This is pretty good chow.’  The man next to him said, looking at him curiously.

‘Oh god, this stuff is garbage.’  Dewey said in disgust.

‘I’ve eaten a lot worse, I can tell you, when I could get it.’

‘No kidding?’’  Dewey replied incredulously.

‘You can bet on it.  I’ve gone without supper many a time.  When you’ve done that, you’ll eat anything.’

‘Hmm.  Well, I haven’t ever done that and if I had it wouldn’t make any difference to me.’  Dewey said, picking up his tray and shoving it through the opening into the scullery fully loaded on his way back to Deck.

Passing out of the port hatch he had to step around the cook who was blocking his way.  Bocuse was a First Class Cook, that is his rating was First Class.  He was slovenly, unshaven, dirty and fat.  He was an alcoholic who was never sober.  He was dirty minded, mean, lowdown and hateful.  He could cook better than he did but he was venting his ill-will toward humanity on the crew of the Teufelsdreck.  He was inventing a new cuisine; he was turning edible food into garbage.

‘In your way?’  He snarled at Dewey.

‘You the chef?’  Dewey replied, noticing his dirty apron.

‘I’m the cook, Navy doesn’t have chefs.’  Bocuse snarled.

‘I stand corrected.’ Dewey snarled back.

Bocuse didn’t get the insult until breakfast next morning when with he start he flipped an egg off the overhead.

‘Gonna do something about that son-of-a-bitch.’   Dewey thought as he entered the compartment.

The horrors of showering in Philly he hoped were behind him.  Dewey, as well as the other new men, was a modest fellow.  None of them saw any reason for walking around in the nude.  Hence Brant Crowson and Dant Ralston and Dewey went up to the showers together.  Crowson and Ralston were from Memphis.  They all put on their shoes leaving their undershorts on, carrying their soaps and towels.

As usual they were greeted by a long line.  As they took their places at the end they were greeted by sniggers and hoots.

‘What now?’  Ralston asked, resentful of being in the ‘wrong’ again.

‘Oh god, I don’t know.’  Trueman grimaced, waiting for the news.

‘Well, what have we here.  Three prima donnas?’  Came a voice from up ahead somewhere.

Dewey. Brant and Dant looked at each other unwilling to ask the obvious question.

After a repeat of the taunt and a pause Dewey turned to the man in front of him asking quietly  hoping for a quiet answer:  ‘What’s happening, man?’

The man was considerate:  ‘It’s your undershorts.  Look around.  Everyone’s nude.’

‘Yeah…but…so what?  Does this mean we all have to do it?

‘Well, it’s the way things are done. See?  You have to go with the flow.’

Dewey turned to Brant and Dant:  ‘Uh, none of these guys has underwear on.  I guess we aren’t supposed to either?’

‘Why not?’

‘’Cause that’s the way they want it, I guess.  We’re supposed to ‘go with the flow.’

The three of them returned to their compartment and took off their shorts.  Still unwilling to let it all hang out they independently adopted the same expedient; they wrapped their towels around them.

Trooping back to the end of the line they were greeted by the same voice:  ‘What do we have here now; three girls in skirts?’

They bowed to the inevitable removing their towels to stand immodestly displaying their wares for those who were most interesting in seeing.

‘How do you keep from getting athletes foot standing in those dirty showers?’  Brant asked.

The next guy in line offered the suggestion:  ‘Well, you see, you get a pair of these thongs…’ He said holding up his foot for the three to see.  ‘…and then you don’t take them off.  You shower with them on.’

‘Oh yeah?  Where do you get those?’

‘You can buy a pair at the ship’s store tomorrow.’

‘Yeh.  Where’s the ship’s store?’

‘It’s the compartment right ahead of the showers.  The door opens on the passageway on the other side of the hatch.’

‘Oh yeah?’

‘Yeah.  Good prices.  Cigarettes and candy are cheap.  No taxes.  They only have essentials.’

‘Oh, thanks man, we appreciate it.’

‘No problem.’

The new men inched up the line.  As their turn came up the voice grabbed a shower stall to check out their ‘hardware’ as he called it.  The voice was Paul Duber.  He was more or less openly known as a queer.  He was of a certainty, but in Navy etiquette unless you openly chose to be a queer, in which case you would be discharged, no one would dare to openly challenge you.  Duber was the least discreet of all the queers aboard.  He acted manly but did his best to let you know he was available.  He was actually criminal in his desire.  He drew a very thin line between seduction and rape.  He was the leader of the homosexual contingent that set the tone of the ship.

The first men into the showers in the evening turned the showers on.  They ran continuously until the last man left.  Thus, as you entered you only checked the temperature to make sure your predecessor hadn’t left you a scalding joke.  A good share of the men were vicious and delighted in hurting others.

The four stalls were arranged in pairs opposite each other.  Duber grabbed the rear forward stall so as better to ogle the new men.  There is nothing so exciting to a queer than a dick.  They study each one as a rare work of art.

‘Don’t drop your soap, honey, I might not be able to control myself.’  He snickered from his corner.  He jested but his jest carried an actual threat.  There was no disguising his meaning.

‘If you want my bar, here it is.  Jam this up your ass.’  Brant said insolently.

Duber was delighted.

‘O, he he.  A guy with a sense of humor.  I like that.  How about you two too.’

‘Here’s my bar, too.’  Dant said.

‘Awright.  How about you?’  Duber said leering at Trueman.

‘Go sit on an anchor fluke.’  Dewey replied with overflowing disgust.

‘Say, what’s wrong with your friend here.  Talks like a real tough hard ass.’

Dewey who was wasting no time gave himself a final rinse and stepped out of the shower without another word.

‘Goddamn those queers.’  He muttered beneath his breath slipping into his shoes, grabbing his towel, stalking off drying as he went.

Memories of Philadelphia flooded his mind causing indescribable pain to him.  Maybe others had greater facility in going with the flow but in Dewey’s darkened psyche the queers presented an insurmountable problem.

His mind was in angry agitation as he self-consciously pulled on his shorts  feeling the other men’s eyes on his ass.

‘Say, I’d be a little more careful bending over like that in front of us.  You might get a surprise.  ‘Course you’d probably like it.’  One of the old hands said hopefully.

‘Pretty skinny little ass.’  Came with a laugh.

‘Kiss it.’  Dewey snapped.

‘Ooh, hoo hoo.’  Came back with jeers and guffaws.

Dewey angrily hauled himself into his upper bunk, pulled his blanket over his head and turned his back on the others cursing them under his breath.  He wasn’t good at mental adjustment.  The Navy life was going to take some real mental adjustment.  Dewey could have made it a lot easier on himself with a more pliant attitude.  None this had to be so serious.  But, locked in the cage of his experience Dewey was quite incapable of moving out of himself a little to adapt to these new challenges.  His response were definitely inadequate.

As in all unstable social situation the lowest elements of society were able to grab a disproportionate share in shaping the morality of shipboard life.  Creating the flow, as it were.

To an experienced hand the process was simple.  You had to oppose the lower morality and impose your own higher morality.  This was not as simple as it seemed.  But by your level of opposition you at least prevented an actual criminal environment from developing.

The same thing happened in high society as well as in low society.  The Teufelsdreck was definitely low society.  Let me quote- or, actually reproduce in its entirely- a little book by one Samuel N. Ordway, Harvard Class of ‘21 entitled ‘Little Codfish Cabot At Harvard.’  Ordway at least liked his environment while few except the lowest liked the Teufelsdreck but the process of shaping the mind to the new environment is the same.

Little Codfish Cabot was born into the precincts of the Harvard Yard.  His father was a Cabot and his mother was a Cod.  The fish part is generic.

While still very young he was sent to a New England Church School but not before he had been soaked with atmosphere- which left him a little fuzzy because he was so young.

At boarding school he learned to weather teasing- and to fight- and not to be shocked by naughty stories and swearwords- and to be a man- and to play baseball.  The boys all called him Cod and he had to go to Chapel twice every day.

But he did not learn anything.

So he had to go to the Widow’s where he was crammed through the examinations and practiced living in the way he had learned at school life should be lived- when you get the chance.

Thus Codfish Cabot became a Freshman at Harvard.  His class was welcomed at Phillips Brooks House by Dean Briggs who spoke on ‘College Life.’

He persuaded his father to give him an automobile in which he drove chippies riding on the river bank; and, when he grew tired of that, to Revere Beach.

Once or twice he went to a Friday Evening.

He bought Rabelais and Boccaccio, and two weeks later paid thirty dollars for James Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’.  It was a bargain.

He went with a Sophomore whom he met in English to a Copey’s Monday Evening.  Later, he took the Freshman from Passaic who lived across the hall.

He shot on the Freshman Rifle Team because he like to be considered an outdoorsman- and made the business board of the Red Book by getting ads from his father.

He took Miss Holland Saltontail to the Freshman Jubilee and because he told her that Boston Society must not show itself inferior to New York they both got drunk.  It was Miss Saltontail’s first experience.

Cod was no cad, and in his Sophomore year they elected him to the Dickey.  After stripping him to the waist and running him through the mill they slid  him into a tank of water and asked him if he was moral.

When he said he was, they ducked him for a liar.

Not because he wasn’t a cad, but because he was a Cod they elected him to the Porcellian.

Thereafter he got on probation and lived like a normal Harvard student.

His father gave him some more ads, and by receiving two permanent full pages, he became an editor of the Lampoon.

They made him lean out of the window on the corner of Plimpton Street and the Gold Coast at midnight and yell ‘Help, help, help, – don’t shoot-  I’ll marry the woman!’  (That is what you have to do when you make the Lampoon.  It is perfectly proper.)

Because he also made the Phoenix, and the Stylus, and the Hasty Pudding, and the Liberal Club- the last to show he was democratic and an independent thinker- his father had to double his allowance to pay dues.

He went to all the mass meetings and smokers- and always lent his voice in the defeat of the Eli.

He ceased going to Brattle Hall dances.

He learned to refrain from donning his hat prematurely in English 2.

After three and a half years, he had attended one of Prexy Lowell’s teas, – and had eaten once at Memorial Hall,- when he decided to leave Harvard and go into business.  (After going to chapel three thousand, two hundred and sixty times in six years at school, he had not attended since, nor pursued the Bible further; there was now no time to acquire needed knowledge for divisionals.’

But this did not preclude his taking part in the Class Day exercises with his class, nor becoming engaged to Miss Holland Saltontail on that day.

 

A Contribution To The

ERBzine Library Project

The Beau Ideal Trilogy Of

P.C. Wren

Beau Geste~Beau Sabreur~Beau Ideal

Part II

Review Of Beau Geste

by

R.E. Prindle

Contents:

Part I:  Introduction

Part II:  Beau Geste

Part III: Beau Sabreur

Part IV:  Beau Ideal

At the present time our actions are largely influenced by our theories.  We have abandoned the simple and instinctive mode of life of the earlier civilizations for one regulated by the assumptions of our knowledge and supplemented by all the devices of intelligence.

-Charles Howard Hinton, Scientific Romances

     Nothing presents a greater contrast between the ‘simple and instinctive life of the earlier civilizations; than that of the scientific European civilization.  The contrast in the Beau Ideal trilogy will be between the science of Europe and the simple instinctive beliefs of Islam.

     P.C. Wren, the author of this marvelous trilogy was a contemporary of Edgar Rice Burroughs born in the same year of 1875 although dying  in 1941.  He too was one of that favored generation that saw the end of the horse and buggy era and the development of the machine age.  One marvels that Burroughs witnessed the disappearance of the white spots on the maps of the world  while experiencing jet propelled fighter planes shattering his windows with sonic booms at the end of his life.

     Wren was born in England becoming a school teacher in the Raj of India.  He left India in 1917 when it was claimed that he did a five year stint in the Legion which means he would have been discharged in 1922.  There seems to be some doubt of any service in the Legion, heightened  I should think by the fact that he published two books during that period.  He had published some 14 titles between 1910 and 1924 when he hit the jackpot with Beau Geste.

     It seems much more likely that he acquired his FFL ideas from a 1910 volume, In The Foreign Legion, by a German writer named Erwin Rosen.  The Rosen book can be downloaded from the internet which copy is the one I read.  One can easily pick out the passages that form the whole of the FFL content of the Beau Ideal trilogy.  Wren may have spent some time touring the bulge of Africa but even then there is no scenery described that couldn’t have been written by Edgar Rice Burroughs who never left his own sunny shores.

     As Wren is supposed to have spent the rest of his life in England one wonders where he picked up his amazing knowledge of American and Hobo slang.  His two American characters, Hank and Buddy, seemed true to life to me.  Their home in Texas was probably also borrowed from Erwin Rosen’s early days as recounted in In The Legion.

     Wren, somewhere along the line read some Burroughs while it seems clear that Burroughs read the Beau Ideal trilogy being influenced by it.  This is fairly clear, for instance, in Tarzan Triumphant.  In that book Tarzan battles some desert nomads while one compares this passage from Beau Geste with the lost ribes inside Burroughs’ volcano.  Beau Geste, Lippincott, First Edition, 39th Impression:

     After riding for some three or four hours towards some low rocky mountains, we reached and approached a narrow and lofty pass.  This we threaded in single file, and coming to the top, saw an endless plain out of which rose a gara, an abrupt and isoalted plateau, looking like a giant cheese, cliff sided, with a flat top; the whole, I suppose, about a square mile in area.

     Apparently it was quite inaccesible and untrodden by the foot of man, or even of mountain sheep or goats.  Only an eagle, I imagined, had ever looked upon the top of that isolated square mile of rock.

     I was wrong, however, the place proving to be a gigantic fort- a fort of the most perfect kind, but which owed nothing to the hand of man.

     Circling the cliff-like precipitous base of the mountain, we came to a crack in the thousand foot wall, a crack that was invisible at a hundred yards.

     Into this narrow fissure the sheikh led us in single file, and squeezing our way between gigantic cactus, we rode along the upward-sloping bottom of a winding chasm that was not six feet wide.

     Suddenly our path was cut by a deep ravine, some three yards wide, a great crack across the crack in which we were entombed…

     So, adapted for Burroughs’ purposes one has a major portion of Tarzan Triumphant.  As we will see Wren borrowed prfusely from other writers including Rosen.

     Wren does an interesting thing.  While the time frame is rather loose, the time frame seems to be from, say, 1888 to 1910.  There is no mention of the recent Great War although the Bolshevik Revolution is hinted at.  The first volume, Beau Geste, which means Good Deed, is written in the style of the mid-nineteenth century.  The story is divided in two parts with a framing tale, the prehistory of the Geste Brothers in England and the events in the Legion Etrangere.  Beau Geste could have been written by Trollope or Ouida.  It does bear some resemblance to Ouida’s Under Two Flags.  The second title, Beau Sabreur shades into the pulp style while the third, Beau Ideal is full blown pulp and then some.  Thus while contrasting scientific and mythopoeic civilization Wren literally transits from mid-Victorian to pulp writing styles.  The banter of the characters also changes from the English style of the young Gestes to the hobo slang of Hank and Buddy.  Very nicely done.  You have to read the trilogy in sequence though to get the full effect.

     Wren has been influenced by Conan Doyle as he specifically says that Beau Geste is a mystery story a la Sherlock Holmes.  He might as well have added, based on Wilkie Collins’ Moonstone.

     But, in many ways, his story is overridden by his obsession of the Beau Ideal.  His point in the opening chapters is to establish the high moral character of the Gestes.   In this  he is relentless almost to the point of being dogmatic.

     While the novel is set, perhaps, in the late eighties or early nineties it was published in 1924 after the Bolshevik Revolution and the Red challange not only to high ideals but ideals of any kind.  With the Communists it was the ends justify the mean, with Wren it was a code of honor, a sense of fair play, of Marquis of Queensbury rules, of chivalry, in two words, of a Beau Ideal- a beatiful ideal.  A utopian hope equal to that of any H. G. Wells and the Communist myrmidons.

     Wren, along with most English and Americans would have been brought up in that great compendium of Western values- the stories of King Arthur and high chivalry.  Few people other than specialists would have read more than Mallory’s Morte D’ Arthur although a steady stream of contemporary interpretations was produced in the nineteenth century including Tennyson’s Idyls Of The King and Howard Pyles’s four volume rendering  published from 1903 to 1910.

     Pyle’s work was very likely read by Edgar Rice Burroughs but likely not until after he began writing  or perhaps the 1903 first volume earlier.  Traces show in some settings but more especially in his reversion to Pyle’s Arthuring phraseology, especially ERB’s clumsy and bothersome use of the word an for if.  Much of his stilted dialogue can probably be traced back to Pyle.

     Pyle’s Arthur is part of a neo-Romantic movement that contrasted highly with the scientific views of both ERB and Wren.

     The Arthurian stories are quite frankly the longest fairy tale in the English language expecially in the Pyle verson.  His books are all magic and enchantment in a land of Faerie.  I’m sure Burroughs would have been drawn to the work because of Pyle’s work as an artist and very famous book illustrator.  His version is very beautifully and charmingly illustrated by himself.  One can compare Pyle’s Arthur with L. Frank Baum’s Oz series as an influence on Burroughs.

     So, Wren, I believe, viewed the desert tribes in the light of the earlier Faerie world view that was embedded in the English and American mind, through the lens of science that made a sharp distinction between the West and the primitive desert tribes.

     Wren introduces the main protagonists in their English Arthurian setting.  The three Gestes, Isobel, Henri de Beaujolais and Otis Vanbrugh.  Otis, the American, is visiting relatives when he meets the Gestes, Isobel and Claudia.  He falls in love with Isobel worshipping the ground she walks on in high chivalric manner.  Wren spends pages on banter before getting to the crux of the matter, the theft of the jewel, the Sapphire called the Blue Water.

     Michael, or Beau Geste, is the personification of the Beau Ideal.  Thus when the jewel is stolen by Claudia, which only he knows, he chivalrously assumes the guilt leaving for the Legion Etrangere.  His brother Digby confesses to throw doubt on Beau’s guilt also heading for the sands of Africa.  John Geste who has just discovered his love for Isobel and become engaged also leaves it all behind disappearing into the night.  Otis goes back home.

     John assumes his brothers have joined the Legion so acting on that assumption alone he goes to Paris and does so also.  From his joining in Paris to Fort Zinderneuf the account of the Legion closely follows Rosen’s account of his adventure in his book, In The Foreign Legion.

     John Geste joins in exactly the same manner, has exactly the same adventures en route to Africa and aboard ship across the Mediterranean.  If  Wren had actually been in the Legion there would have been no reason for him to hue so close to other’s experiences so I think it’s clear that he himself was never in the FFL.

     By luck John finds Beau and Digby in Oran where all three are assigned to the same company posted to the Legion city, Sidi Bel Abbes.  This company is then marched to Fort Zinderneuf somewhere in the South either in the actual Sahara or in the Sahel but toward Nigeria.

     The rumor of what is referred to as the diamond gains currency and the brothers are thought to be jewel theives.  A number of people are conspiring to obtain the jewel.  In fact Beau does have the Blue Water.  I’m not going to get into the story of the stone, it has nothing to do with the Beau Ideal.  If you’ve seen the movie, Beau Geste, you may remember, if not, if you wish to know you’ll have to see the movie or read the book yourself.

     Once on station disaster strikes, the troops mutiny just as the Arabs attack and the entire contingent save John is killed.  As the men die the Sergeant sets each one at his post to give the appearance that the fort is fully manned as the survivors race from port to port firing at the Arabs.

     The mystery, of course, is that when the relief column arrives under the command of de Beaujolais, the Arabs have fled leaving a fort manned by dead men.  Wren here introduces the Communist villain Rastignac.  Hank and Buddy who were in the Geste’s company had been assigned to other duty which was with de Beaujolais.  They arrive in his column.  All three of these characters, four with de Beaujolais will figure largely in the two sequels.

     For now Rastignac refuses an order to enter the fort whose eeriness is unsettling.  Doing his duty de Beaujolais fires point blank with his pistol which misfires saving the traitor’s life.  The bugler who is Digby Geste volunteers to enter the fort promptly doing so.

     He discovers the dead Beau and the Sergeant who has Beau’s bayonet in his torso.  Digby also disappears so the mystery of the fort intensifies as de Beaujolais enters to find the mysterious sight of Beau and the Sergeant with the walls lined with dead soldiers.

     Skipping to the essentials, Rastignac rouses the men to mutiny while they are about to do when a fire breaks out in the fort saving de Beaujalais’ face.

     So the main story ends.

      Wren then has to set up the sequels.  These involve de Beaujolais, John Geste, Hank and Buddy and Rastignac.  Otis Van Brugh is temporarily not in the picture.  Wren also wants to set up his notion of the Beau Ideal.

     John Geste has already slipped over the back wall.  Digby now follows him.  Buddy and Hank are selected to slip through the imagined Arab lines to bring help.  All four meet behind the fort.  Wren had read Rosen, who he follows closely, so he knows it is certain and gruesome death at the hands of the Arab women to be on foot in the desert.  Hank and Buddy already have camels so two more are procured.  The band then sets out for the desert.

     They disguise themselves as Arabs experiencing various adventures like errant knights of Arthur.  Here Wren displays his seeming near total lack of experience on the burning sands.  His mountaintop encampment appears to be a combination of Burroughs and Verne’s City In The Desert.  Digby is killed in a battle with Arabs while John Geste comes down with fever being taken back to Nigeria by Hank and Buddy from whence he returns to England.

     Buddy had been lost on the burning sands so as part of the loyalty of the Beau Ideal Hank goes back in search of him.  And so Beau Geste ends.

     The mystery of Fort Zinderneuf will be explained in the sequel.  John feeling guilty for failing his friends in the tradition of the Beau Ideal will return to look for them.  Otis Van Brugh shows up in Africa with his sister Mary.  De Beaujolais becomes an agent of the secret police of France a la Tarzan but as an officer of the Spahis, a different force than the Foreign Legion.

     Wren then cleverly and amusingly builds on Beau Geste in the two remaining novels but in a different story.  Overall, nicely done.

     The review of Beau Sabreur follows.