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Category Archives: High School

A Novel

Our Lady Of The Blues

Book VII

The Heart Of The Matter

by

R.E. Prindle

Clip 15 and End.

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

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

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

page 1961.

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

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

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

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

page 1962.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1965.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1966.

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

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

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

page 1967.

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

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

     Judge Guy Pascal quietly raised his eyebrows.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1969.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1970.

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1971.

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1972.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TOBACCO ROAD.

The Man Who Had Life Made At Twenty

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

page 1974

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

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

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

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

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

page 1975.

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1976.

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

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

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

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

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

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

     ‘Yeah.  All three of us were there.’

     ‘Must have been it, then.’

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

page 1977.

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

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

     ‘Oh yeah?’

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

     ‘Ya?  Anybody I know?’

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

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

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

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

page 1978.

     ‘Sure.’

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

     ‘What do you think happened?’

     ‘Mel got on that train bound for Glory?’

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

     ‘Mel died.’

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

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

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

     Buzz’s wife Melanie opened the door.

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

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

page 1979.

     ‘I guess you heard the news, Dewey?’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1981.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1892.

     ‘You making me walk home alone?’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1983.

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

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

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

That Sad Old Wintry Feeling

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

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

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

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

page 1894.

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

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

     ‘I turned you in.’  She repeated.

     ‘Turned me in for what, Susan?’

     ‘For those rapes.’

     Dewey looked at her closely.  He was mystified.

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

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

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

page 1986.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1986.

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

     ‘What did the police say, Susan?’

     ‘They said they thought it was impossible.’

     ‘I should think so.’

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

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

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

page 1988.

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

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

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

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

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

If they gave gold statuettes

for tears and regrets,

I’d be a legend

in

my

own

time.

-Don Gibson.

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A Novel

Our Lady Of The Blues

Book VII

The Heart Of The Matter

Clip 14

by

R.E. Prindle

     Rather than being awakened to a grim reality Dewey slept soundly until Sunset.  Then, opening his eyes to Darkness while still exhausted he wove in and out of consciousness the night through until daylight brought the world back.  It wasn’t fun but it was unavoidable.

     He had to take three baths and shave twice before he felt clean.  He had no time to reflect on what had been a momentous experience for him.  Each segment of his trip was seared across his memory but the scars were too fresh for examination.  It would be very late in life before he made any attempt to understand.

     For now he was only interested in, as the saying goes, carpeing the diem.  Having finally ggotten back he wanted to get out and relive his past.  Unfortunately the past can only be relived on paper such as this.  His past in any real sense was gone forever.  He now learned that you can never go home again.  I forget who said it but they said:  The past is a foreign country.  They do things different there.  How true.  Not only do they do things differently there, like puppets they can be made to form any pose, assume any attitude, express any opinion and then change them completely when viewed from a different perspective.  The truth is hard to capture but whatever is captured is part of the truth.

     It was at this moment that Dewey, how shall I say, intuited the fact that the past was a sealed book.  What had happened had happened; what had been done was over.  It was all over; the fat lady had warbled.  He didn’t think about it; he didn’t understand it but he knew it.

page 1911

     Still worn out he sat around all day trying to think of where to begin.  As he thought it seemed that his last leave had all but severed his relations with anyone he had known.  He had walked out on Denny Demwitter, still he didn’t know who else to call.  Denny naturally was at work.  His mother said he would call back.

     Louis on return from school had stopped by Caterina to pick up the mail.  There was a letter from Red Hanrahan.  Dewey tore it open and fourteen dollars fell out.  The loan had been paid along with a sanctimonious note adving Dewey of the evil of charging interest.  Dewey pocketed the money throwing the sentiments in the trash.

     Denny returned his call that evening.  He advised Dewey that this was Christmas; he had a girl and their plans were set but he would see if he could include Dewey in something.

     That was that as far as Dewey was concerned.  Now he had to figure out what to do with his remaining days.

Social Dynamics

 

     He got up the next morning with a feeling of despair not knowing what to do.  Coming back for Christmas now seemed the least wise thing he could have done.  Feeling lackluster he decided to wander on down to Trinkow’s Drug to look over the pulps and magazines as in days of yore.

     The days of yore were just that.  The pulps had all but disappeared, a victim of the TV screen.  The number of interesting magazines was thinning fast too.  Since his mohter’s house was locked up he couldn’t even get his civilian clothes.  He was condemned to walking around in his sailor suit which displeased him greatly.

     As Dewey idly searched the magazines he was noted by John Dickman who also was standing around.  Dickman didn’t have a steady job.  He considered a steady job for fools only.  He didn’t want one.  He had been able to put his busybody proclivities to economic use which made his habits legitimate in his eyes.

     He earned an adequate amount of as an informant or sort of researcher cum private eye for a number of attorneys.  He could always immediately provide some background on nearly anyone in town while being able to come up with an in depth report within a matter hours.  When every you talked to him you were providing him with valuable information.

     Trueman knew who Dickman was from seeing him at Melville but he had never spoken to him during those three years.  He wouldn’t have recognized him now.  Dickman accosted Trueman:

     ‘How…uh…how do you know the Daggers.’  He asked carefully avoiding using Dewey’s name as he considered himself better than him.

     ‘How’s that?’  Dewey asked turning to meed him.

     ‘I asked how you know the Daggers.  That’s simple enough isn’t it?’  It was simple; it was also rude and vulgar but since Dickman considered himself above Trueman it was imperative to speak down to him.

page 1913.

     ‘Who are you and what are daggers?’

     ‘You remember me.’  Dickman said softening a little at the truculent tone of Trueman.  ‘John.  John Dickman.  I went to school with you.  Don’t be coy.  The Daggers from Bay City.  One of them was in here yesterday looking for you.’

     Now Dickman was giving out valuable information rather than receiving it which he was always loath to do.

     Dewey stared at Dickman hard.  He understood.  ‘Duelin’ Dalton Dagger was in here looking for me?’  He said, concealing his alarm.

     ‘Yes.  He seemed to know you very well.  He wanted to know where you lived.  I took him over to your parent’s place but you weren’t there.’

     ‘You…took…over…’  Dewey began and stopped.  He wondered how or why this guy he barely recognized knew where he lived and how he knew Dagger.  Dewey looked at him again in one intense but brief study then without answering turned and walked out.

     ‘Geez, what a busybody.’  He thought, flushed from a haunt where he had intended to stay for a couple hours.  Now secure in his mind that Dagger wouldn’t be able to find him Dewey still had the full day before him.  He decided to wander over to Melville to relive old memories.

Darktown Strutters Ball

     One says he decided to wander over but in fact Dewey was compelled to revisit the scene of his failed hopes and spoiled dreams.  He was drawn to this scene of ruined expectations.  His mind lowered istself into a half conscious, half subconscious state where his motivations were separated from his volition.

page 1914

     He loved this vale of regrets, this Herman Melville High School, but it was a love built on sadness.  The solidity of the old pile impressed him as he approached.  There was a sense of dignity in the old building so unlike the frivolous nature of modern construction.  The grandfathers had built it with the reverence due to a temple of learning.  Its traditions were the traditions of modesty yet with the merited pride of achievement.

     His familiarity with this temple of learning on Bercilak as entered was as fresh as the day he left it.  He had no idea what he was going to do as he entered but the old wounds ever fresh from his subconscious directed his steps to the second floor wing containing Mrs. Hicks’ classroom.

     His arrival coincided with the change of classes.  Just as he reached the second floor landing the bell rang releasing the charging streams of students.  There was a changed quality in their manner from his day.  Back then he remembered that they had strolled, emerging cockily and moving leisurely like young lords of the manor down the hall challenging anyone to do something about it.

     These students seemed to run from class scurrying down the hall as though in a mad dash for the safety of the next classroom.  This year’s Seniors had been sophomores the year he graduated so he might possibly know but few of them and none of the Juniors and Sophomores.  As luck would have it, sticking out like a sore thumb in his uniform, nearly everyone he did know saw him.

page 1915.

     Ange, his first sweetheart, turned to scuttle away so as not to be noticed.  Susan Doughty, her replacement, saw him from a distance and went the other way.

     His brother, Louis, spotted him, coming over to say a few words with shining eyes.  Dewey was troubled by rising subconscious motifs so he was not too communicative.  While they were bandying a few words Diane Dever came rushing up.

     Diane had had a crush on Dewey ever since he had delivered papers to her door in eleventh grade.  She had desperately tried to stay in touch when he left for the Navy.  Dewey had written to her during his first year but having no real affection for her he had discontinued writing when the Teufelsdreck went overseas.

     Besides he had been so beaten down by his enemies, so reviled and belittled that he couldn’t see how any girl could love him.  He didn’t feel he could hold his own against his fellows so he didn’t want to be humiliated in front of any girl he might love.

     From Diane’s behavior now her cruch seemed to be true love.  Her plans for Dewey had seemed realizable when he had been writing to her but then he had just stopped answering her letters.  Perhaps, she thought, it was something she said.  Perhaps she had been trying to impress him with her virtue too much.  As with many women who aren’t getting the attention they want she thought she could win Dewey with sex or perhaps in her desperate love she threw caution to the winds hoping to get his attention with promises.

page 1916.

     she rushed up excitedly overjoyed to see him.  The halls were thinning as she spotted him.  Melville had been all White when Dewey had attended but he noticed the presence of Black Boys in the crowds as they came out of the rooms.  Now he understood why the Whites had all seemed to be running to the safety of their next classroom as the Black Boys took up threatening positions in the middle of the halls, somewhat like hall monitors, to harass White stragglers.

     As Diane greeted Dewey she subconsciously straddled his leg rubber her vulva up and down.  She may have meant nothing but a mating call but she caught the Black Boys attention.  Nothing their looks Dewey quickly said he would call her, which he never did, but she was satisfied and scurried off in that scooting run now characteristic of White students.

     Louis gone, Dewey drift4d down the hallway toward Mrs. Hicks’ room with the intent of looking in.  HIs memories were conflicted further by the sight of the Black Boys eyeing him wonderingly.  Two years earlier and there would have been Whites leisurely jousting their way down the halls but now with two full minutes to go before classes only an occasional straggler came down the hall closely hugging the lockers along the side so as to get the greatest distance between them and the Black terrorists in the middle of the hall.  It was a form of respect the Black Boys could appreciate.

page 1917.

     Some half dozen Blacks were in Mrs. Hicks’ class which caused surges in Dewey’s mind that, while he couldn’t have explained them, would have been impossible to explain had he been fluent rather than inchoate.

     Ah, discrimination.

     None of these Black Boys had experienced the discrimination he had.  It made Dewey angry when people spoke of discrimination against Blacks when he had experienced worse and without the comfort of sympathetic fellows who felt as he did.

     As related in the Sonderman Constellation when Dewey had left Junior High Hirsh/Yisraeli had secretly enrolled him at Melville Trade School rather than Melville High so as to get him out of the sight of son and friends.

     When Dewey showed up at Melville for tenth grade he was told that there was no place for him, he should trot over to Trade School and assume the position.  Dewey had refused, sitting around the office for three days until Hirsh and the administration capitulated.  After all the Law required that all youths be given the opportunity for a high school education, Black or White.

     Next Dewey elected for college prep courses.  Hirsh and the administration refused, wanting to put him in the Business Curriculum.  They told him he wasn’t entitled for what he was asking.  He had to brush aside their objections that he would never be going to college.  How they knew what he might or might not do was anybody’s guess but as Dewey looked at these Black Boys in Mrs. Hicks class he smilingly wondered how many of them would be going to college except on an athletic scholarship in which intellectual abilities might be a liability.

page 1918.

     In a truly desperate attempt to intimidate him into taking the less prestigious business curriculum, while showing their hatred for him, he was assigned to Mrs. Hicks’ college prep class which contained Michael Hirsh as well as most of his friends.

     Evaline Hicks had been the instructor of the elite of the Valley since the late thirties when she arrived from State.  She had a spectacular aura of respectability about her as well as being a top notch scholar.  She epitomized all the Western Civilization hoped to be.

     When Dewey presented himself in her class the Hirshes as a body rose from their seats to force him back driving him back by main force out of the room into this veryhallway on the very spot he now stood where his subconscious steps had led him.  Then several girls from the Business English class across the hall came out like the sirens of Greek mythology to entice him with sexual promises, I did you not, into their classroom.  Whoever came up with the notion that girls were chaste in the fifties must never have been there.  Perhaps it is the same girls speaking now as mothers trying to impress their daughters with their former virtue.  It’s not like they weren’t wonderful just the same.

     Informed once again that he would never go to college he replied that he would and fought his way back into the classroom.  After Mrs. Hicks had restored order he was grudgingly allowed to take a seat.  How’s that for discrimination?

page 1919.

     None of the Black boys in Mrs. Hicks class would ever go to college but they were now given seats in her sacred grove on a silver platter that they could not apprecieate.  Dewey laughed to himself as he watched them wondering what a sailor was doing in school as these memories and comparisons surged around his subconscious.  Animosity and hatred glowed from their eyes as the last White straggler scurried past them protected y the presence of Dewey.

     The Whites had learned their lesson well and quickly.  A full thirty seconds before the bell rang there wasn’t a White fact to be seen in the halls.  Much different than when Dewey had attended Melville.

     A few Blacks had attended Melville the past year as clumps of Negroes breached the Eastern Defenses crossing over from the East Side into Carroltown Township, just North of the Valley, that fed into Melville.  Larger numbers had crossed after N-Day so now there were now two or three hundred Black students out of twenty-eight hundred.

     The Blacks were unwelcome across the River, just as Montagues would have been amongst Capulets.  Think social rather than racial.  The defense lines would be reformed forcing them back across the River to the East Side during the year.  They were told to stay on the East Side.  Melville would be White again the next year.  For a while.

     No one understood how the Black population grew so fast.  The flood of newcomers moving North from the South was an unrecognized fact.  The Valley News never tried to explain or acknowledge it.  They didn’t understand either.  the subject then as now was taboo.

page 1920

     Originally contained in the First Ward until the ward was literally bursting the Blacks were now spilling out into the adjoining wards on the way to taking over the Northeast and Central East Side.  The Whites were pushed South and further East reclaiming swampy lower ground where they were joined by the incoming White hillbillies hoping for the same unskilled factory jobs as the Blacks.

     Much has been made concerning the low scores of Blacks on the Scholastic Achievement and IQ tests but the scores were pre-ordained.  It should be noted that West Side White scores were also consistently higher than East Side White scores.  The tests were culturally weighted toward an upper class White standard.  West Side families were more likely to have magazines and books in their homes than the factory workers and Hillbillies of the East Side.  Melville also sent a much higher percentage of its students on to college than Valley High of which the West Side was very proud.

     The Blacks simply had not come into contact with the achievements of Western Civilization while actually despising them.  Mrs. Hicks class was a model of the problem of educating Blacks to White or Western Civilization standards.  Western Civ quite naturally excluded all things Black from discussion.  Education was a White world; Whites had made the world from the fifteenth century on.  Just a fact.  They now had to be made ashamed of their achievement ‘to redress the balance.’

page 1921.

     A surprising number of teachers at Melville had Masters degrees.  Mrs. Hicks not only had onee but she was only a few credits from obtaining her PhD.  As per the discussion between Dewey and Terry Gaste in the De Soto Mrs. Hicks was a serious scholar.

     She was not exactly a feminist or perhaps Feminists were not yet known by that name but she took her Sex seriously while also having lesbian tendencies.  She was well developed in all areas of English literature.  She was deep into Medieval studies.  Her accomplishments were such that it must be said that the West Side was repaid handsomely for whatever salary they gave her.

     She was in advance of her times by giving a slightly different course of instruction to the girls over the boys.  The girls were privately instructed in the Romance of Tristan and Isolde with its stress on platonic love.  Perhaps in our misguided coeducational fantasy it is necessary to somehow impart the duties, hopes and aspirations of each sex apart from the other.  Co-education may be a fantasy.  Anything would be better than the smutty environment we’ve created now.

     Now, as to the psychology of the Blacks.  You don’t have to read a lot of Black literature to find what is missing in Black education.  There are no references to White literature or history in Black literature.  From Richard Wright to Iceberg Slip you are given a picture of reality devoid of literary references.  Apparently Blacks don’t read White literature.  Their lack of interest in White matters is part of their inability to respond to White education.

page 1922.

     This is not a question of money.  Those Blacks who had grown up in theValley attending grammar schools, Junior Highs, and High Schools had as much money spent on them as White kids.  Black kids migrating from the South didn’t but there was no difference between these two Black groups in scholastic achievement.

     The problem was not one of money but culture.  In their daily lives the Black kids did not spend a lot of time reading anything.  They were all functionally illiterate.

      The layering of psychologies was such that Blacks had the burden of a couple layers of psychology than Whites.  Both groups had to deal with their personal psychologies.  They had to maintain their self-respect vis-a=vis their communities.

     That done the Whites faced integration into a White society in which they were more or less accepted and knew their way around.  The Blacks had to relate their personal and community psychologies to the structures of the alien White community, a community that traditionally had rejected and supressed them on every level.

     This led to the development of different possibilities and ultimately a completely separate and antagonistic culture.  What goes in Black Culture may be a crime by White laws.  Conversely what may be seen as a crime in Black eyes might not to White eyes.  There is a terrific conflict in standards.  Also irreconcilable.

     This is nowhere more evident than in the relation between the sexes.  The Pimp was a culture hero in the Black world.  In the White world he had no status.  In the Black he had money’; he knew how to shine.  Thus Black men tended to look on women as a means to wealth.  Nor was this different than their situation in Africa.  When they saw a woman they saw a potential prostitute or in their slang a hole or ho.  John Lennon of the Beatles was indeed very rude to ask how many holes it took to fill Albert Hall.  If you had a few holes in your stable you were set up.

page 1923.

     This attitude was reflected in their music, which is say, everyday psychology, in such songs as ‘Shake Your Moneymaker.’  If you don’t know what a ‘moneymaker’ is it’s that ‘thang’ between a woman’s legs; ‘Jimmy Mack’  is another name for a pimp.  Mr. Lee, Mr. Lee.  When Little Richard burst onto the scene screaming ‘Long Tall Sally sure likes to ball’ you may be sure that not one in a hundred White Folks knew that ‘to ball’ was not a verb meaning ‘to party’ but one meaning ‘to fuck.’  Thus Little Richard was screaming, if you’ve never heard Little Richard I mean he was actually screaming: Sally sure likes to fuck.  Probably for money.

     It didn’t take long for fast Whites to learn what that meant.  Now imagine a little five year old girl who had heard the song on the radio shaking that ‘thang’ as she shouts:  Long Tall Sally sure like to ball.  It happened, my friends, and her parents thought she was cute.  The cultural differences were immense.  Blacks and Whites used the same words but didn’t speak the same language.

     Now, imagine a corps of young Black pimps released into a White hen house where the girls had never even seen a prostitute, Black or White.  Consider that these girls had been raised on the ideals of virtue as contained in the Romance of Tristan and Isolde.  ‘Tight ass White girls’ as the Blacks would say.  It will be seen that their defenses agains Black ho recruiters were minimal unless the distance between the two cultures was maintained.  Instead they were told that there were no cultural differences between Blacks and Whites and that they were evil if they ‘discriminate’ against Black Boys.  In those days Black men ran Black stables of holes; today they are mixed.  Pimps aren’t nice to their holes either; read Iceberg Slim’s book ‘Pimp.’

     In those days the pimp was a Black culture hero, today the role is shared by White men acting Black.  In the year 2000 Hollywood produced an animated cartoon in which one character was a tow headed White seven year old pimp.  What was the cute little guy selling?  His sister or mother?  What a difference forty years makes.

     Then there was the racial warfare to take into accunt.  Except to the blind it was already evident on the playing fields of America.  Let’s face it.  Blacks had to be careful or they might be beaten without recourse.  Blacks attending Melville had to traverse the entire White West Side.  In those days students were not routinely bussed to school, although it was around the corner, only the rural students were.  Everyone else had to find their own way.  thus the Blacks had to walk across town or pay for the city bus.

     Whether they were set on or not the apprehension was real.  Blacks felt in physical danger at Melville which they countered with a pre-emptive terrorism of their own on the principle that a good offense is the best defense.

page 1925.

     Coming from the East Side which was economically inferior the Blacks had to traverse the whole of the West Side which was forbidden to them at all other times.  Dewey had grown up without ever seeing a Black face on the West side of the River and very few South or East of the First Ward.  While the physical appearance of the rest of the town wasn’t significantly different from the First Ward it contained all the mysterious wonders of the White world.  the true differences in life styles was heightened in the Black imagination.  There were White women in those houses.

     These supposed splendors were also joys and delights that were seemingly forever denied to them and that on the unfair basis of color, as opposed to what?  Social caste?  Weren’t they treated as dogs.  Dogs.

     The arrogant Urban Aristocracy was either cruel or inexplicably unaware of the consequences of their actions.  Weren’t they after all educated people?  They treated their orphans worse than they treated the Blacks.  When Dewey was in the orphanage the children would occasionally be taken to the home of some well-to-do ‘benefactor’ for lunch.   There they saw all the things money could buy including the luxurious mansion and acreage.  When they were taken back to the orphanage the house mothers carefully explained to them that they would never be allowed to enter such a desirable life style.  Such was only for their ‘betters’ and betters was heavily emphasized.  Orphans too were ‘niggers’ who were to be forever denied.  What is discrimination?

1926.

     The effect on Blacks was much the same.  If it wasn’t said it was understood that they would never be allowed to live int he same style much less among the Whites.  If you don’t think Blacks and orphans experienced some bitterness, you’re mistaken.  The big difference and this caused Dewey some bitterness too was that the racial lines allowed Blacks security as a group while the orphans were isolated individuals within the White society without support.

     Still the orphans were not cut off from education by color discrimination, just discrimination.  Once the Blacks entered the classrooms their minds had never been prepared to digest the material presented to them while they believed it was impossible for them to participate as social equals.

     White minds had been prepared in varying degrees to ingest and digest the material while at the same time they knew or hoped they could apply apply the material by assuming places of stature in society where the information would be useful.  Class lines couldn’t stop the demand for educated workers in an expanding economy.

     At least for some of the Whites.  The Whites had already been divided into three classes.  Those Whites destined to be useful to the Urban Aristocracy by making things for them had been separated out and sent to Herman Melville Trade.

     Those not destined for the manual trades and been organzied in the Business Curriculum which was inferior to the elite of the College Prep Curriculum in which those destined for success were enrolled.  The elite of the College Prep was assigned to the most prestigious English teacher, Mrs. Hicks.

page 1927.

     The second division of the elite went to the class of Miss Mattie Crump.  Miss Crump was an adequate teacher but she had none of the flair and imagination of Mrs. Hicks.  Evaline Hicks, by the way, had never been married.  The Mrs. was as honorary a title as a Kentucky Colonel.

     Once in Mrs. Hicks’ class you were usually there for the three years of high school.  Dewey had braved his way into Mrs. Hicks’ tenth grade class; Hirsh in a rage had him exiled to Miss Crump’s class in the eleventh grade.

     Dewey had immediately recognized the difference in quality.  He had appealed to Mrs. Hicks to be transferred back to her class but she was either unable or unwilling to do so.  She promised to take him back in twelfth grade which word she honored much to Hirsh’s chagrin.

     Thus while Dewey fully appreciated Mrs. Hicks’ skills he had been discriminated against, kept from her class in the eleventh grade  by prejudice.  Now these Black Boys who completely negated the talents of the teacher, who were unable to appreciate what she could have done for them where given preferential treatment over the likes of the White Deweys.  The sailor could only sneer at the Whites and laugh at the Blacks.

     So the Urban Aristocracy treated the Blacks as a unit the same as they treated the Jews as a unit.  the two ‘minorities’ were given defferential and preferential treatment outside and independent of the class distinctions of the Whites.  Every Black and every Jew who was willing and able could have a shot at the Golden Ring as adjuncts of the White elite while two thirds of the Whites were placed beneath Negroes and Jews and the lower half of that over at Herman Melville Trade being taught to be useful servants.

page 1928

         The Jews knew what to do with their boon while the Blacks would take decades to make any progress at all and that was given to them on a silver platter hand fed with a silver spoon.  For now these angry Black kids were incapable of competing with the Whites except on a physical basis.  Hence they emphasized the physical.

      Now came the great change in so-called American education.  The shift was from education to inculcation.  As the Blacks couldn’t increase their abilities fast enough the Whites had to be brought down to their level in the interests of  ‘equality.’

     The notion of education as a bringing forth as explained by Terry Gaste had to be discarded.  Mrs. Hicks having a classical education naturally taught the same.  Learning don’t come easy.  Doesn’t matter whether you’re Black or White learing is work.  She had set herself the task of drawing fortth her students step by step so that they could decipher for themselves what had previously been undecipherable.  After all the learning process is a continual pushing to enlarge the envelope.

     In Dewey’s time, as before his time and after for a while, Whites had to struggle through the Greek ;myths, the Song of Roland and excerpts from Mallory’s Morte d’ Arthur in the fifteenth century dialect.  Talk about stretching your mind; it hurt.  There were many Whites, even then, who objected to learning the antiquated language.

page 1929.

     In the intellectual climate of the times the only relevance of the Greek myths was as didactic pretty stories used as figures of reference in literature.  Showed you were educated if you knew a bunch.  Thus it helped to know who Apollo was to understand what was meant when some guy other than yourself was being described as a real Apollo.  It always seemed to be the other guy, too.  There was nothing too intellectually challenging there, just some memory work.

     Roland and Arthur while being more linguistically demanding were still in the realm of  fairy tale therefore not really challenging except for the language.  By the time you got to Shakespeare, that’s where your heartaches began.  The Whites had to study and think to have their intelligence drawn out while the Blacks just shined it on.  Fuck it.

     This transition from Ghetto to Melville was more than a few miles; it was the transition from the limitations of the Negro dialect to the full glories of the modern English language.  The two peoples were nearly speaking two languages.  The Whites used English the Blacks had never heard while the Blacks used words and phrases like ‘to ball’ that had no or different meanings to Whites.

     Besides the very word ‘English’ stuck in the Black craw.  The Blacks hated the English by which they meant their old owners.  If you have listened to Harry Belafonte on his Carnegie Hall LP you will get a very genteel feel for the hatred and anger the Blacks have against the ‘English.’

1930.

     The transition from Black Culture to White Culture was difficult to impossible for the Blacks which none of the Urban Aristocracy educator took into account.  The Blacks were now asked to deal with a despised twice or thrice removed foreign English Culture as an ideal expressed in terms five hundred years old or more.  I mean, for Whites a gloosary is real hand if not essential to understanding Shakespeare.

     Imagine Black or teen Whites presented with these examples of the Bard’s artistry:

…the Sun ariseth in his majesty;

Who doth the world so gloriously behold

That cedar tops and hill seem burnish’d gold.

Venus salutes him with this fair good morrow:

‘O thou dear god and patron of all light,

From whom each lamp and shining star doth borrow

The beauteous influence that makes his bright…

or

The senat house of planets all did sit,

To knit in her their best perfection.

or

Be Mercury, set feathers to they heels,

And fly like thought from them to me again.

     Kind of makes you wish you’d paid better attention to those Greek myths, eh?

     The strangeness of the the Shakespearian idiom compared to the Black idiom infuriated Black Folk.  The polite disdain of Harry Belafonte was joined by the rage of the Southern Negro Preacher, Jesse Jackson.

page 1931.

     The Blacks sat in the class dumbly, angry at the Whites who seemed to hand the material so easily although they were struggling to learn the material themselves.  Even Mrs. Hicks didn’t know  what ‘The senate house of the planets all did sit’ really meant.  She and Smyrna Gaste, Terry’s mother, whould have had to have been friends for her to learn that.  Freedom on conscience has its limits.

     In retaliation for being made to feel really stupid the Blacks disrupted the class.  ‘Charlie Brown, he’s a clown’ as one popular song put it.

      Mrs. Hicks’ favorite book for tenth graders was George Eliot’s ‘Silas Marner.’  How much George Eliot’s being a woman writing under a man’s name influenced her decision can never be known but it seems that there is a concealed feminism there.  The idea of George being a woman created a minor sensation in Dewey’ class.

     She lost half of Dewey’s elite alla White class with old Silas while half of the half hacked their way through Eliot’s choppy jumpy class conscious style.  The last quarter of the class claimed to enjoy the book.  The phone country dialect was a real treat as Eliot subdivided class from class to arrive at the bottom of the social structure which was, however, above that of the Blacks.  Even Thomas Hardy was exasperated by her style while Anthony Trollope thought there was little chance of Eliot’s books surviving time.  You never can tell.  No one was ever assigned a Trollope novel to read even though he is far superior to Eliot.

page 1932.

     Two years after Dewey there wasn’t a Black guy in class that even cracked a book.  They just sat seething and getting angrier and angrier while feeling more inferior each session.

     Harry Belafonte’s mild rejection would burst forth in an angrier denunciation a few years later when the volitilce Jesse Jackson, successor to Martin Luther King, Junior stood up at Stanford University and shrieked in that emotional Southern Black churchy manner:  “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Western Civilization has got to go.”  Niftly little phrase maker he; he wanted to throw out the baby and the bath at the same time.

     Strangely enough in that bastion of the Urban Aristocracy’s elite his White listeners agreed with him.  Mencken was right after all.  they chucked the likes of Shakespeare and George Eliot out the window embracing the semi-literate, half educated Black psychologist from Martinique, Frantz Fanon.  Fanon was passed off as ‘French.’

     But by then the ‘e-ducere’ was a thing of the past as educators pounded all kinds of  inferior literature from William Golding’s puerile ‘Lord Of The Flies’ to Chaim Potok’s racist ‘The Chosen’ into the heads of  their charges.  The idea was no longer to educated students but to inculcate them with the prevailing prejudices.  Theprocess was much the same as the conditioning given the Jews over the Haman shriek.  You either responded correctly to cue words or you were excommunicated from the flock, kicked out of school and denied employment that might lead to influence.  THEY called you a bigot.

page 1933.

     The Whites had so lost the ability of intellectual discrimination that they embraced the ephemeral fruit of Fanon’s novel ‘The Wretched Of The Earth’ as though it were the Holy Bible.  Once can understand a Black Panther like Huey Newton walking around with the book in his pack pocket but required reading for the Urban Aristocracy at Stanford?

     Made to feel inferior in the classroom the Blacks turned to aggression in the halls; and what agression.  Rapes and beatings escalated the level of violence to unheard of proportions.  Even in the post-Blackboard Jungle days when White Boys attempted the same things the crimes were not allowed to become institutionalized.  The administration had moved to break up the White gangs.  The Black gangs were immune because of their race.  The administrators sat quietly in their offices with their hands folded; to discipline them would have been an insult to the Black race.  ADL, NAACP, they were all hoping to create an incident, get involved, make things happen.

     So the test scores just continued to drop.  The Blacks didn’t any smarter; the Whites just dumbed down.  The Blacks got bolder; the Whites put more time into evasive measures than study.  Tricks were turned in the toilets.  Twenty years later the streets would be filled with ‘the homeless’ who didn’t even exist in 1958.

     Black influence functioned much as the influence of the barbarian Germans functioned in ancient Rome.  The Germans flooded in surveying Roman marvels that they had no ability to understand.  The difference in capabilities was such and so insurmountable that the Germans just destroyed rather than trying to emulate.

page 1934.

     So with the Blacks.  Just as they felt they were being defaced they defaced the physical plant at Melville.  Nearly pristine after forty years of use by Whites things began to be chipped and broken just like at Black dominated new Valley High.  Unable to understand the English of the classroom the Blacks invented a script that was incomprehensible to Whites and scrawled it as grafittie over every blank surface.

     The Urban Aristocracy never did catch on and hasn’t to this day.  the notion of Blacks having a distinct psychology is just as foreign to them today as it was then.

     Just before the bell rang, the Whites, who learned the new guidelines quickly, had flet to class leaving Dewey and a file of Black Boys eyeing each other.  As Dewey looked down the line he reflected that each and every one of these children of supposed poverty were dressed better than he had ever been.  they wore expensive slacks and costly shirts.  Their belts were not ordinary leather.  they wore their clothes well too.  Unable to compete intellectually they could at least look better than their White counterparts, if anybody could look better in that shade of green pants.  Just as in the Navy, they looked sharp.

     Dewey was older and in uniform so they fidgeted restlessly unsure whether to harass him or not.  Finally their minds made up they began a show of power by strolling past him with one of their peculiar walks which are meant to show how cool they are.

page 1935.

     They hip hopped toward Mrs. Hicks’ door with a walk so leisurely that Dewey would have fallen over unable to balance himself at such a slow pace.  The entry was delayed by a full three mintues as they increased the volume of their noise as they pomped through the door with a contemptuous smirk at the Whites.

     Another full five minutes were taken to seat themselves.  Remember that photo of that cute little Black girl in the pink pinafore being escorted down the walk by those big White National Guardsmen in Little Rock a scant year previously?

     There was no establishment photographer around to catch this shot of her big Black Northern brothers.  Nor would such a photograph have been published.  The last ‘blood’ to enter stopped with his back to Mrs. Hicks.  Facing the class he coolly unzipped his fly spreading his trouser tops ostensibly to tuck in his shirt.  He was wearing no underwear.  Being sure to give the White girls a sight of his shaft he smirkingly zipped up then hip hopped to his seat.

     Willie had stuck it in the face of the White Folks just as his counterparts in professional baseball were doing every time they stepped to the plate.  Jackie Robinson in 1948 had been instructed to be humble, to endure whatever insults the Whites might give him.  Ten years later the table were turned.  Every Black player who stepped to the plate reached down to grab his root and shake it in the face of White America.  Back to their roots.

     White Americans sat respectfully and watched the Black ballplayers shake that thang.

page 1936.

     Not to be outdone in Mrs. Hicks’ class another North of the Ohio Emmett Till leaned over to a White girl, who was just as cute as that little Little Rock pink pinafore, saying loud enough to be overheard:  ‘Say, honey, you too beautiful to be walking around in those rags.  Let me teach you how to shake that thang, put that money maker to work.  Man, you go with me and you be walkin’ around in silks and furs.  Don’t give me no answer now, think about it.  Dig you later.’

     The White girl sat paralyzed not so much from fear as from being unable to respond properly for fear of being called prejudiced.  Black Boys and Girls tittered and giggled pleased at their unopposed success at putting a couple over on the White Folks.  Emmett Till laughed from his river bottom.

     The flower of Western Civilization sat grimly behind her desk watching the degradation.  All that wonderful education had come to this.  Another couple years and George Eliot would be chucked out in favor of that obscene parody of literature written by an arrested adolescent:  The Lord Of The Flies.

     Thus while not only disrupting the class the Blacks incited disrespect for discipline which the White Boys would quickly learn to imitate.  If it’s good for a black gander it’s good for a white one.  The standard of education disappeared as mere indoctrination replaced it.  Test scores sank and sank year after year.

      What did you think was going to happen?  There were other ways of handling the situation but the Urban Aristocracy wouldn’t hear of them.  Society would accept their point of view or else.

     You won’t read any of this in history books which are censored to eliminate it because to merely relate the truth is bigotry to these ‘democrats.’

     The memory of these momentous events to Dewey became a compressed pellet if information in his mind as he walked out the door indisgust, shame and fear for his people.  He knew what he knew but he couldn’t tell it.  Decompressing the pellet into its elements so he culd express what he understood would take decades.  Even then it was forbidden knowledge.

Detroit City Once Again

     When Dewey graduated form high school in the recession year of 1956 about half the men in his class went into the service.  of the other half about half toughed it out at home while the remaining quarter of the whole trekked off to college.  About half of Dewey’s eating club went to college.

     Among those was LeBaron Briscoe.  The University and State were the favored home State colleges.  The third most popular college in the State was Wayne State University in Detroit.  Detroit was in Wayne County.  No doubt it was named after Mad Anthony Wayne the famed Indian fighter.  An early day Custer if I remember correctly.

     LeBaron attended Wayne State with a Melville alumna by the name of Meggy Malone.  Meggy had been in a terrible car accident the week before finals which had broken most of the bones in her body.  she was laid up at Wayne State Hospital.  Several girls from the Valley were attending her around the clock.  People had seen Dewey enter town.  A news of sorts, the information was learned y Meggy’s attendants, from them to her as gossip.  For reasons to be explained she expressed a desire to see Dewey.

page 1938

     Meggy knew all the members of Dewey’s eating club quite well.  She was an especial friend of LeBaron Briscoe who had been in Dewey’s eating club.  LeBaron agreed to drive Dewey up to Detroit to see Meggy.  So a request was make to Denny Demwitter who called Dewey to inform him that he had found something for Dewey to do.  How would he like to drive up to Detroit with Briscoe?  Alright with Dewey.

     LeBaron Briscoe picked Dewey up at eight for the long drive to Detroit.  The drive was only a hundred miles but it took a lot longer to get there than it did between San Diego and LA.

     The morning was a frosty 10 degrees above zero.  LeBaron and Dewy had known each other well without ever becoming close friends or even real friends.  In a way the trip was a means of getting to know each other.  Dewey was discussing the changes to the Dixie Highway as the road to Detroit was called.  In Dewey’s day it had been a two lane road but was now four lanes; what they called a freeway in Michigan but the cars stopped to enter the highway rather than having on ramps and integrating themselves into traffic as in California.  Dewey was chatting about this to LeBaron’s uncomprehending ears when the highway before them to the extent of a mile appeared as a solid sheet of ice.

page 1939.

     Not being a driver Dewey was unaware of the extent of the danger.  LeBaron who did exercised what caution he could but he was on the ice before he could slow down; there was no longer a chance of applying the brakes.  Then in the middle of the sheet a strong wind gusted across the highway.  Fortunately the wind pressure was equal the length of the car so it didn’t spinout nor did they break traction but the car drifted eerily from the slow lane into the fast lane.  The lane was empty but then a fresh gust pushed the car out onto the divider toward the oncoming traffic.

     There was no barrier, the divider wasn’t even built up; the sheet of ice ws level into an adjoining field.  LeBaron was adept.  He kept the car headed forward which required great skill.  Dewey became a little panicked demanding that LeBaron pull back across the highway.  In his anxiety he came close to breaking LeBaron’s concentration.  The car continued to slide toward the oncoming traffice but then the gust died down allowing LeBaron to pilot the big sled back into a lane just as they reached the edge of the ice sheet.

     Dewey’s breath exploded outward in relief as the tires hit concrete.

     ‘What did you get so exicted for Dewey.  What did you think I could do?’  Lebaron asked.

     ‘Geez, Bare, I’m sorry.  I don’t know.  I don’t have a driver’s license and it never freezes in California so I mean, I’ve never been in anything like that before.  I’m glad you stayed so cool, kept your presence of mind.’

page 1940.

          When they got to Detroit LeBaron drove Dewey to a McDonald’s hamburber stand for lunch.  McDonald’s was brand new at the time; Dewey had never heard of it.  The sign said that only three million had been sold; that’s how new the chain was.  The first three million had been sold Without Dewey noticing a single one. 

      ‘Let’s stop and get a bag of burgers.’  LeBaron said.

     ‘Yeah, sure.’  Dewey replied wondering why LeBaron said a bag rather than ‘a’ or a couplc.

      They pulled into a rather grotty parking lot.  Dewey sat there waiting for the carhop.  Up to that time all drive ins had means of taking your order from the car.  They either had female carhops wearing funny demeaning sexual uniforms or a speaker phone on a pole like at drive in theaters.

     ‘C’mon, let’s go.’  Lebaron said.

     ‘Go where?  Where’s the speakers so we can order?’

     ‘We have to go up to the window to order, this is different.  Better.’

     ‘Not only better but more inconvenient too.’  Dewey quipped.

     The little dump was busy, long lines stretched back from the two windows into the cold.  There was no indoor seating just lines of people at the windows buying hamburgs.  The stand was pretty grungy looking too.

     ‘Two hamburgs and ries, mustand and onion only.’  Dewey ordered.

     ‘There isn’t no mustand and onion only; they come with everything.’

page 1941

     ‘Just hold the rest of everything and give me mustard and onions.’

     ‘If you don’t want to order just get out of line and let the other people up.’

     ‘They only come one way Dewey.  Just ask for burgers and fries.’

     This was the beginning of the American tradition of our way or the highway.  Dewey did order but he wasn’t happy.

     Back in the car Dewey opened his bag to take out two quarter dollar sized tidbits.

     ‘What are these, bite sized?’  Dewey asked puzzled.

     ‘You should have got a dozen like I did.  They’re small but they only cost fifteen cents.’

     ‘Yeah, well, so what?  It looks like ;you end up with a lot of bread and ‘everything’ but little beef.  Why don’t they make ’em for sixty cents and give you something to eat?’

     ‘McDonald’s is the coming thing, Dewey.  They’re going to have thousands of these everywhere in the country.’

     ‘Not if they don’t make their hamburgers bigger they won’t.’

     ‘Oh yes they will.  They’ve researched the market carefully and I’ve researched them carefully, McDonald’s is going to be big.  I’m buying stock as soon as it’s offered.’  LeBaron said with that gut wrenching tone that says you’ve made a momentous decision with life and death consequences.’

     ‘Stock?  You mean shares like on Wall Street.  You mean this dump is listed?’

page 1942.

     ‘It sure will be.  A thousand shares that’s what I’m buying.’

     ‘A thousand shares?  Look at this dump Bare.  You can’t even go inside.  This is just a stupid little hut that could blow away in the wind.  They don’t even sell anything but these stupid dinky little jerkburgers, fries and  Cokes.  Where’s that at?’

     ‘And milk shakes.  You’re missing the fine points, Dewey.  I’ve really studied this.  Look at the arches on either side of the building.

     ‘Yeah.  Bigger than the building.  Hot stuff.’

     ‘See, but at a distance the arches form an M for McDonald’s.’

     ‘Wow.  They still got dinky hamburgs.’

     ‘That’s the beauty of psychologically.’  LeBaron said with breathless fascination at the immensity of the idea of tiny hamburgers.  ‘You think you’re getting a lot for just a little money.  Promotion is more important than the product.  I’ve taken a few classes.’

     ‘I didn’t.’

     ‘You’re not representative of the sample, Dewey.  Take my word for it this is going to be big.  If you’ve got any money buy stock now.  You’ve got enough for a couple hundred shares don’t you?  That’s all it will take.’  LeBaron said throwing two tiny burgers into the hopper at once.

     ‘Well, if the price will be what you say I could buy a hundred, but jeez, Bare, look at this dump.  These things aren’t even going to be worth anything.’

page 1943.

     So much for Dewey as a financial prognosticator.  Had he bought he would have more than doubled his money by the time he got out of the service.  LeBaron did all right over the next forty years with his thousand shareds.

     ‘I appreciate your financial advice, Bare.  But you didn’t come up to Detroit just to show me this dump did you?’

     ‘No.  You know who’s in the hospital.  Margaret Malone.  We should drop over to see her.’

     ‘Who’s Margaret Ma…you don’t mean Meggy Malone do you?’  Dewey asked in horror.

     Dewey remembered  Meggy Malone from high school where he had despised him. constantly interfering with him.  Dewey didn’t remember her from kindergarten and second grade but she was on of the group of Michael Hirsh that had given him his central childhood fixation, nor did he know of the influence she had had onl his eating club.  Dewey thought she hated him but he didn’t understand why.

     ‘You know Meggy Malone, Bare?’  Dewey asked astonished.

     ‘Sure.  Margaret’s one of the most terrific people I’ve ever known.  If any of us are ever going to amount to anything she’s the one.’

     ‘Really?  I didn’t know that.  Did you know her in high school?’  Dewey asked who realized for the first time that there may have been a lot he didn’t know about his friends.

     ‘Oh yes.  Our families were very close.’

    ‘No kidding?  Well, you know, Bare, Meggy and I didn’t get along very well at all.  I don’t have any choice but to go with you but if I’d known you were going to see her I wouldn’t have come so when we get there I’ll just wait in the car.’

page 1944 

     LeBaron started the car with a smile heading in the direction of Wayne State.

     Dewey looked back at the arches to see whether they mad an M.  They did.

     ‘I still wouldn’t waste my money.’  He thought.

The Ballad Of Meggy Malone

     There is a school of thought that says there is no such thing as an accident.  As a categorical the notion must surely be false; however in the general psychological sense it must be true.  Nearly every ‘accident’ in my life could have been avoided by either forethought, conscientious attention to detail or awareness of  other people’s intent.  At anytime the subconscious take over you may be sure the action was directed.

     Had LeBaron not been intent on avoiding an accident, had he been the least bit suicidal, the ice slick might easlily have been the death of them both.  On another level even driving in those conditions was to ‘invite’ an accident.

     Meggy Malone would never have admitted that she had caused her accident to happen.  Caught in a miasma of depression her subconscious sought an accident in an attempt to avoid a painful reality.  To have taken that curve under freezing conditions at the speed she did was deliberate death seeking.  Her story varied until she got it right.  At first she said she absent mindedly took the turn at that speed but it all came out the same; she oped to crash and crash she did.  She headered into a metal light pole as she skidded off the road and rolled the car three times down the embankment.

page 1945.

     Thrown under the dash by the crash with enough force to crush several bones the successive rolls finished the job.  She had to be torched out of her near coffin to be rushed to Wayne State Hospital which was nearby the campus.

     It took several days to straighen out a number of multiple fractures while toward the end those which were already knitting had to be broken again.  Now with her conscious mind in control she felt ‘lucky’ to be alive.

     Psychologists would have described Meggy’s pre-accident state of mind as ‘complicated.’  The only thing complicated abut it was that the psychologists would have lacked all the pertinent details to evaluate it.

     Meggy wasn’t complicated at all.  She had simply been brought up to believe the world was her oyster and that she was the knife to crack it open.

     Her parents and their circle of friends were intellectual leaders in the Valley.  They thought highly of themselves while they all wanted their children to exceed them.  This would prove that excellence was not a personal achievement but a genetic superiority that placed them above their fellows.

     Unknown to Dewey, LeBaron and Meggy’s families had been very close.  LeBaron’s father was head of the Social Studies Department at Melville while Meggy’s father was recently elevated to Superintendent of Schools in the Valley.

page 1946.

     Financially inferior to the business types the families nevertheless enjoyed greater prestige.  Within this tight circle of very proud people Meggy’s parents had relentlessly developed the notion that Meggy was to be treated as the crown of creation presumably because her combination of genes was superior.  Within that restricted environment Meggy was equal to the task.  By the time she reached high school everyone within the elite deferred to her.

     Backed by her parents attainments she believed herself to be a superb intellect because of her genes and this treatment.  She wasn’t stupid but she wasn’t all that bright either.  Some more discriminating eyes would have noticed a few genetic deficiencies.  Still, she graduated with a 4.0.  The grade was nevertheless specious.  On more than one occasion Meggy had received a B or even once a C.  On each occasion she had indignantly stormed up to the teacher to demand that her grade be changed to an A on the basis that she was an A student, always received As and if she hadn’t this time there was something wrong with the teacher.  In each instance the teacher had changed the grade to an A.

     Dewey had watched her do this the first semester of tenth in Mrs. Hicks’ splendid English class.  Dewey had drawn a B which infuriated the Hirsh crowd.  He snickered as Meggy stormed about being an A student.  Meggy had fixed a hateful eye on him exclaiming:  ‘You aren’t even supposed to be in this class.  You Hillbilly.’

page 1947.

     There probably was some basis for her belief is his origins because a this time Dewey had a raucous vocal style in an attempt to gain attention.  Mrs. Hicks explained the importance of modulating his voice to him.  He always respected the teacher so he learned to speak in more even tones.

     Meggy in her way insisted that he had cheated in benefiting from Mrs. Hicks’ instruction.  She was even more unrelentling in her persection of him after that.

     Still, she did graduate with a 4.0 while being the cynosure of the class and hence the West Side.  She prepared to enter the wide world to repeat her success after graduation.

     A student of Meggy’s apparent stature should have selected the most prestigious University over Wayne State.  The subconscious knows what the conscious mind rejects.  Perhaps Meggy’s confidence had been undermined by one too many temper tantrums to obtain an A.  Perhaps subconsciously the fear of failure gnawed at her confidence.  Not that Meggy feared flunking our but in the big pond of the U she knew she could never be more than a small fish.

     She sensed that without the support of her circle things would not be so easy.  At any rate her worst fears had been realized in her first term.

     She didn’t draw a 4.0 nor could she intimidated anyone into changing here Bs and Cs into As.  She wasn’t the cynosure of the university nor was it possible for her or anyone else to be.  She also realized that after college if she did realize the fantasy of who she thought she was the effort would take years and years during which she would have to struggle as a non-entity.  Meggy was no Amazon warrior.

page 1948.

     As her Junior year began she experienced a continual sinking in her stomach, a swooning sensation in her head as her subconscious drove hom her fears.  A persistent depression sat in as she sought a way out.  Quitting was impossible as was flunking out.  An apparent suicide was disreputable.  An ‘accident’ was possible but it would have to be so serious that if she didn’t die an aborting of her ‘future’ was possible.  That way it wouldn’t be quitting, it wouldn’t be suicide and it wouldn’t be her fault.

     Thus Meggy lay in bed in hospital over Christmas having missed first term exams while she would be laid up long enough to be unable to finsh her Junior year on schedule.  Full recuperation could be stretched out to two years.  Meggy could return home to resume her life as cynosure without a sense of shame.

     Even attended by her coterie of maidens a la Isolde she felt low.  She needed to talk to someone beneath her to levitate her spirits.  when one of her maidens had scornfully told her that Dewey Trueman was in town she had a girl call her dear friend and admirer LeBaron Briscoe.

     LeBaron sincerely worshipped the ground on which Meggy trod.  He would do anything for her.  In her despaire at Wayne State he had counted on LeBaron for that unstinting admiration which he alone at the college could give.  Thus he pulled into the hospital parking lot with Dewey aboard.  What a coincidence that Dewey should return on leave just after Meggy had her accident.  Life is funny that way.  It couldn’t have been planned.

page 1949.

     Dewey had been nervous all the way from McDonald’s to Wayne State.  He couldn’t remember that Meggy had been on of Michael Hirsh’s friends who had trapped him in that semi-circle in second grade which had afflicted him with his central childhood fixation.  He didn’t know how Meggy had been trying to have him thrown out of his own eating club; in fact he had no specific memories of Meggy because he blocked all that unpleasantness out but like a dark shadow he knew she had been behind a lot of unpleasantness toward him.  He knew she hated him.

     ‘Listen Bare, you go on up alone.  I’ll just wait here in the car.’

     ‘Oh no,m Dewey, you’ve got to come up.  Margaret want to see you.’

     ‘Meggy Malone wants to see me?’  Dewey asked incredulously.  ‘How long has she been calling herself Margaret.’

     ‘Ever since we started at Wayne.  Come on, Dewey.  It’s the polite thing.’

     ‘That’s what you think.’  Dewey muttered under his breath.  Then:  ‘Bare, me and Meggy never got along.  She despises me; she called me a hillbilly in tenth grade.  She was always in my hair at Melville.  Always belittled me.  I can’t believe she wants to see me.’

     ‘Dewey, Meggy is the most wonderful girl I’ve ever met.’  By which LeBaron meant that it was an honor for Dewey to be despised by Meggy.  ‘I would ask her to marry me except she’s too good for me.  I only wish I was worthy of her.  You’ve got to come up; I promised her.  For the sake of the dinner club if nothing else.  Come on.’

page 1950.

     Dewey drew in his breath, compressed his lips and flipped the sun visor up and down a couple times.

     ‘She’d better be decent.’  He said getting out of the car.

      They do things so much differently in the big city.  The hospital was disguised to look like a spiffy new ranch style building even though four stories tall.  The upper floors were set back from the front line of the building giving it that neat clean construction that made Americans feel that they had solved all life’s more difficult problems.  That confidence is gone now.  Now buildings all have a fortress like quality.

     Meggy had a swell new private room.  If you had to be laid up this was the right place.  She was immobile on her back arms and legs in casts.  She was able to move nothing but her neck and head and she had to be careful about that.  Any other movements sent racking pains beyond the limits of the painkillers to kill.  She still had bruises and inner injuries.

     Meggy was secure in her prejudices.  She thought Dewey shared her opinion of him.  She thought he accepted the position of imploring inferior.  She though Dewey would consider it an honor that she had asked for him.  She had projected that feeling on her maidens who snickered playfully as Dewey entered, prepared to fun him a little.

     Dewey caught their mood flinging it back at them while he grasped Meggy’s projected understanding of their relationship with contempt.

page 1951.

     As LeBaron and Dewey entered the room Dewey gasped as LeBaron went down on his knee beside Meggy’s bed.

     ‘Please don’t shake the bed, Lee.’  She said sweetly at this sign of obeisance.

     She called him Lee.  In a flash Dewey realized that so did the rest of the guys in the eating club except when he was around.  Crushingly Dewey realized his own crowd had always treated him as an outsider.

     ‘Oh gosh, Margaret, I’m so sorry to see you this way.’

     ‘These things happen, Lee.’  She said magisterially.  Then looking at Dewey she asked regally as thought Isolde to her serf:  ‘How have you been, Dewey?’

     Dewey’s mental teeth ground as his stomach rolled over in revulsion.  How dare this woman who got grades by demanding them act superior to this ‘hillbilly.’

     ‘As good as can be, Meggy.’  He said between his teeth.

     ‘It was good of  you to answer my summons.’  She said with maternal condescension.

      Did she say ‘summons’?  Dewy thought as he watched her haughty mien seconded by the giggles of her maidens.  ‘Does she think I’m a peon?’

     ‘Well, uh, Lebaron had to come up to Detroit and he asked to come along so I did.’  Dewey replied sotto voce as thought twisting his hat in his hands.

     LeBaron was commiserating with Meggy’s condition when Dewey decided to ask for a point by point description of her accident.

page 1952.

     ‘Well, I was driving along just off campus when the accelerator got stuck.’

     ‘You mean that the gas pedal jammed down by itself somehow?’

     ‘Yes, if you wish to put it so crudely.  Then it continued to accelerate until the car was out of control.  The car was speeding when I went into the turn.  Then the car went out of control and it hit the lightpole.’

     ‘Then what happened?’

     ‘The force threw me off the seat under the dash which was painful enough but they told me it saved my live.  If I had remained in the seat or been thrown out of the car I would be dead.  I’m lucky I guess.’

     ‘The gas pedal stuck all by itself?  How come?  I’ve never heard of that before.’  Being ‘summoned’ plus the preposterousness of the story rankled Dewey.

     ‘I don’t know how it happened, it just did.  I don’t know that they have explained it yet.’

     Dewey’s plan cleared in his mind.  He had warned LeBaron of his relationship with Meggy while Meggy certainly knew before she ‘summoned’ him.  Dewey started cracking one liners.  Meggy tried to restrain herself but she finally had to start laughing.  Her laughter ground her broken bones together which sent her well past the threshhold of her painkillers.

     Dewey let it settle down.  Just as he was preparing a second barrage LeBaron caught Meggy’s eye signal suggesting they leave.

page 1953.

     ‘Come on, Dewey.’  LeBaron said deprecatingly taking his arm.

  Dewey was more than willing to leave while he had no intention of saying goodbye.  Meggy could have let it lie but as LeBaron and Dewey approached the door she said icily:  ‘It won’t be necessary for you to come back to see  me again, Dewey.’

     Between being summoned and dismissed Dewey found it more than he could bear.  His seething hatred caused by subconscious memories and the conscious memories of the demeaning manner Meggy had used toward hi  in school burst through with the vengeance felt by a Richard Speck.

     ‘Do you see this uniform I’m wearing, Meggy?’

     ‘Yes.’

     ‘Well, this uniform means I’m in the Navy.  If the Reds start shooting I’m there to protect even you.  I’ve got another three days of leave.  If you had any smarts you’d know it wasn’t necessary to say anything.  If I had nothing to do I would still have better things to do than visit you.  I don’t know why you ‘summoned’ me anyway because you never liked me.  I’m real sorry you got hurt so bad.  I hope you’re not crippled for life.  Goodbye Meggy.  I don’t think you’ll ever see me again because I’m not coming back to theValley when I get out and if I ever do I won’t look you up.’

     Meggy’s maidens gasped slapping the air at Dewey while LeBaron eyed him mournfully and reproachfully.

    ‘What did you think was going to happen LeBaron?  I told you she didn’t like me and I’d wait in the car.  Is that what you brought to Detroit for?  To answer Meggy’s summons?  then take me and show me where she had her accident.’

page 1954.

     Strangely LeBaron was only too willing to show Dewey this consecrated tragic spot.  He had sat gazing at it mournfully on a couple occasions.  As I said they do things on a different scale in the big cities.  In the Valley this stretch would have been merely functional but in Detroit at the great Wayne State University this avenue that led into the University was quite grand.  The roadbed was immense.  While ostensibly only four lanes generous aprons made it seem very large.  As Dewey suspected Meggy must have been driving at a suicidal speed, seventy or eight, to force the accident.  He didn’t believe the gas pedal story.

     This time he kept his mouth shut.  The two men had little to say to each other on the drive back.   They parted never to speak to each other again.

     Meggy was not so lucky.  Had she known the consequences of ‘summoning’ Dewey into her presence she would have shuddered at her folly for that summons became a pivotal point in life.  Perhaps she had been seeking to triumph over Dewey in the second grade at Emerson when in answer to Michael Hirsh’s and her set’s request she had taken part in Dewey humiliation.

     she had been proud to march out of class with the feeling she was part of a powerful group.  When she stood in the semi-circle around Dewey, second from Michael Hirsh to the left of his keystone glaring hatred at Dewey she had felt the power and the glory.  When at Michael’s command Dewey had begun his step forward and frozen in mid-step at Michael’s further command she had had a prepubescent climax.  When Dewey remained frozen in that position for the entire recess she had giggled and giggled with electric pulses at the joy of humiliating another.

page 1955.

     She little knew that the scene had been so humiliating that Dewey had blocked her and it out of his consciousness.  But the Shadow knows.  In her way she had sought to repeat the situation to alleviate her misery on his hospital bed.  the Shadow of the Past in Dewey’s mind had risen to crush her in her folly.  ‘Summons’ indeed.

     The mind is an amazing thing.  Acts of arrogance or vengeance have serious consequences for the perpetrators.  ‘Let sleeping dogs lie’, and ‘vengeance is mine, saith the Lord’ are excellent maxims.  Mind your own business.  The conscious mind thinks it can handle the situation in an objective manner but the subconscious mind knows that subjectivity controls the microcosm.

     Meggy’s accident was too fresh in her mind for her subconscious to have digested it.  When, three year later, her subconscious had constellated the incidents associated with the accident her encounter with Dewey had most unfortunate results.

     The contellation included bits and pieces ofher past only related circumstantially with the accident.  Her mind brought up guilt for the second grade induced by the pain caused by her summoning of Dewey.  It was too late.  Both situations constellated as the central motif of her accident.  One of guilt and one of fear.

page 1956

     Subconsciously Meggy had caused the accident in order to retreat from a most painful reality.  In typical female fashion she refused responsibility insisting that the accelerator stuck increasing ‘the car’s’ speed.  Her subconscious refusing to accept responsibility grasped for another explanation so it passed responsibility to Dewey Trueman.

     Now the female subconscious is XX.  As both chromosomes are X they must be clothed by females.  But the longing for the missing y chromosome is translated into a longing  for the male; particularly his penis or ego.

     Thus when the contellation was completed and took its final form in the dream life of Meggy Malone three years later she relived the terror of the accident in this way:  As she was driving a male demon’s foot came down on top of hers forcing the pedal to the floor.  As the ends of her broken bones clattered together causing her to relive the pain she hurtled toward a giant open mouth representing the maw of death.  Just before she entered the mouth snapped shut exposing concrete teeth.  Just before the crash she would awake screaming falling out of bed.

     She no longer recognized Dewey, of course, but the demon assumed the low class hillbilly characteristics she projected on him.  This dream was only the beginning, verse one of the Ballad Of Meggy Malone, as it were, as her interesting sequel will show in verse two, same as the first.

     Meggy went back to the Valley where for two years she recuperated.  The events of her accident constellated in her subconscious while consciously she brooded about how she was to realize the expectations of her childhood.  It wouldn’t be right to say that she didn’t want to marry but she just couldn’t find anyone who merited her favors.  Not only had her parents exalted her beyond human limits but the notions of chivalry and Tristan and Isolde she had picked up in Mrs. Hicks’ class made her yearn for a knight in shining armor who just didn’t exist.

pare 1957.

     During her convelescence from 1959 to 1961 the racial scene continued to heat up.  Meggy was always on the right side.  Now that the right side had clearly shifted in favor of Blacks Meggy was wholeheartedly in sympathy with the Negro plight.  She didn’t bother to learn anything about the distince Black psychology, the existence of which she would have denied, but she knew what was right.

     Her new attitude required a revisdion of her past history and beliefs but that was done without effort on the plane of consciousness.  She simply turned the past inside out.  Whereas Dewey had been punished in second grade for interfering with his group’s social policy toward Negroes in kindergarten she merely changed so that Dewey was justly punished for having discriminated against the Black kids that year.  The solution was simple and neat nor would she have been able to be budged from her new story; it was set in concrete.

     Having absolved herself from her part she turned to her future.  She needed a job but the employment, as she referred to it, would have to increase her dignity while allowing her to help ‘the poor Black people.’  It also had to carry its own prestige to elevate Meggy from her depressed conditions.

page 1958.

     The years of inactivity had benefited Meggy’s appearance rather than hurt it.  She gained weight but she gained it the right way.  From a rather spindly girl she became a solid square built woman whose appearance alone commanded respect.  As her face filled out her homeliness rounded into a kind of beauty.  Her weight was evenly distributed on her torse; square shoulders and nicely rounded hips.  Even her skinny legs added the weight right.

     Having a tasteful conservative notion of dress her clothes and manner as she looked in the mirror just before leaving to apply for the job gave her a pleasant surprise.  This was the Meggy who always should have been.

     She had settled on the Law courts as the scene fromw hich she would do good in the world.  She didn’t want to become a legal secretary to an attorney because an attorney to her was a mere moneygrubber.  She decided to become a secretary and legal aide to a judge.  There, withher ability to project soldity and integrity, she was accepted at her own valuation eventually assuming an almost judgelike preeminence.

     She was attached to the court of a newly elected judge by the name of Guy Pascal who was beginning what was a long and seemingly illustrious career.  This appointment was not to be entirely fortuitous for either party.

     Judge Pascal had been born Guido Pasquale.  As this sounded too Sicilian for him he dropped the final E and changing the QU for a C while shortening Guido to Guy he became ‘Americanized.’  Guido Pasquale when he left for the U, he returned as Guy Pascal.

page 1959.

     Guido Pasquale was the son of Giangiacomo ‘Jack’ Pasquale.  For those of you who have read Vol. I of the City On the hIll Jack Pasquale was the man Dewey had seen harassed for being an immigrant on a street corner in 1947.  One of the boys harassing Jack had been Dennis Malone who was Meggy’s older brother.

      The past has a way of rearing its head.  Jack Pasquale was not a forgiving man.  Vengeance was part of the way of life to the Sicilian.  Jack memorized the name of each of the boys who had harassed him vowing eternal hatred.  He damn well meant it, too.

      As the leader of a large family Jack inculcated his hatred into this numerous progeny.  Now some twelve years later Guido had insinuated himself into a position to take vengeance no only on the Anglos as a whole but on the Malone family in the person of Meggy.  He would.  It would cost him his position and reputation but he would do it.  One should always understand vengeance belongs to the Lord; let him have it.

     Now when it come to ‘discrimination’ the notion only applies to Anglos.  It is forbidden to Anglos to use terms like Wops and Micks but it is not forbidden for ‘minorities’ to have such feelings and use such terms.  The Italians indulge themselves.  Read the literature.  The Italians really like fast Mick and Polack girls.  If you’ve seen some of those Italian mamas you can understand why Italian men may marry them but they don’t want to sleep with them.  Guy sought to make Meggyhis mistress from the start which in itself would be vengeance on the Malone clan.  He soon found out she wasn’t fast but was morally stout as a brick wall.  She rebuffed him with all the dignity of a medieval queen to an upstart admirer.  Guy was put in his place where he was to stay for the duration.  However he vowed that if she ever gave it to another man she was going to get it from him one way or another.

page 1960

 

A Novel

Our Lady Of  The Blues

Book VII

The Heart Of The Matter

by

R.E. Prindle

 

     The Souls of Black Folk had taken definite form when Bert Williams captured the essence  in his magnificent song: ‘Nobody.’

When life seems full of clouds and rain

And I am filled with naught but pain,

Who soothes my funkin’ bunkin’ brain?

Bert In Blackface

Nobody.

And when winter comes with snow and sleet

And me with hunger and cold feet,

 Who say: Yars a quarta boy, now ya’ll go and eat?

Nobody.

Refrain.

Now I ain’t never done nothin’ to nobody

And I ain’t never got nothin’ from nobody

no time.

Until I get somethin’ from somebody sometime

Well, I don’t intend to do nothin’ for nobody

no time.

Then summer comes all cool an clean

And all my friends see me drawin’ near,

Who says:   Come on over  here, man, and have a beer?

Nobody.

Last Christmas Eve, ’twas about daybreak,

I was in that railroad wreck.

And who pulled the en-jine off my neck?

Not a livin’ soul.

Now, I ain’t never done nothin’ to nobody

And I ain’t never got nothin’ from nobody

no time.

Until I get somethin’ from somebody sometime

Well, I don’t intend to do nothin’ for nobody

no time.

     An excellent version of the song is available by the musicologist Ry Cooder on his disc: Jazz.

page 1810.

     Williams’ lyrics accurately portray the despair of the maltreated Negro in the heart of the Jim Crow period.  The formation of the psychic block that forms the ‘hole’ in the Black soul is also apparent in the frustration of being abused without recourse.  Dewey knew what Williams’ was talking about; he suffered from the same problem.

     The intense anger which could not be safely expressed during the era is suppressed and sublimated into a festering resentment.  At the end of the Jim Crow period and the beginning of the Self-Wareness Period this hurt, anger and resentment erupted in the Black revolt of the Long Hot Summer of ’67.

     Politically the result took the form of Affirmative Action:

And I ain’t never got nothin’ from nobody no time

Until I get somethin’ from somebody sometime

Well, I don’t intend to do nothin’ for nobody

No time.

     Thus Affirmative Action is an attempt to get somethin’ from somebody at the expense of someone else.  It is important to deprive a White person of something for no good reason to compensate Blacks for being denied and deprived for no good reason earlier.  As the slang has it:  What goes around, comes around.  But the resulting injury created against Whites will have to be compensated by Blacks later along.  What goes around just keeps coming around. So, hey, hey, baby take a whiff on me.

page 1811

     On the social level the attitude is reflected in the phenomenally high crime rate among Black  youth.  Rather than work which would be doin’ somethin’ for somebody, most likely White employers, a large percentage of Blacks prefer to do nothin’ for nobody no time.

     The problem considered in the abstract is, however quite different than dealing with it in the concrete.  Actual personalities are much differerent than hypothetical situations.  Whoever said:  In order to make an omelet you have to break a few eggs was not talking about his own eggs.  One only talks so blithely about breaking eggs when they belong to someone else and you’re going to eat the omelet.  The question was a serious one for White women who lived down along the interface where they were prey to Black men.

     ‘All those Black bastards want is our women.’  Black Jack thrust in demandingly while Dewey searched for an approach to an answer.

     Dewey had had little experience with Black people, and that all bad, as he had been fortunate enough to have been brought up in an entirely White environment.  this was so even though just across the River at Valley High the juxtaposition of the two races caused innumerable conflicts.  In many ways there was open racial warfare.

page 1812.

     A girl he had known and had a crush on in Junior High had transferred to the East Side where she had been raped by a Black guy and had his baby thereby destroying her life. Society looked at it as her fate as an inevitable sacrifice, especially as the egg broken wasn’t one of theirs.  But, you know, omelets.  That’s the way it goes.  Dewey had taken it personally.  Society forbade him to mention the race of the Black guy but his subconscious was not so easily intimidated.  You can shut a man up buy you can’t keep his brain from working.

     Dewey was not an integrationist.  He was opposed to miscegenation.  His notions on these issues were separate from his notions on equal opportunity and fairness.  His talents had been shunted aside to provide greater opportunity for the elite.  Even among whites the Aristocracy favored itself over the Other Half.  Fairness was not a concern of the Aristocracy.

     Thus Dewey did not oppose denying the Negro opportunity.  The reason d’ etre of the United States, officially at least, was fair play.  But you had to know how to get it.

     On the other hand any advance of the Blacks could only be done at the expense of Whites.  In order to raise Blacks Whites would have to be denied opportunity.  And we know which Whites.  The Aristocracy would not have to pay.  All the expenses would be borne by the Other Half of the social order where both Dewey and Black Jack Davy were.

     Dewey understood how Black Jack felt.  His mind went back to that dance at Castlemont when he had seen and overheard the girls talking.  The riots and battles down South had their effect on him.  While the Blacks might be fighting for ‘justice’ they were also creating injustice.  Affirmative Action meant that they would be given preferential treatment over Whites who had worked hard to prepare themselves and would now be denied.

page 1813.

     Dewey didn’t know the answer but he saw no reason to offer up his body as a sacrifice to appease Blacks and gratify the guilt of the Urban Aristocracy.

     ‘Well, I know it’s a problem out in California.  I spend a lot of liberty time in Oakland which is almost half Black.  I know that in high schools like Castlemont any girls that don’t clear out immediately after school are considered fair game for Black guys who scour the halls looking for the late ones.  The girls don’t even complain if they do get raped.  It’s just assumed they were asking for it or they would have cleared right out.  Boy, I don’t know what to do about it.  The best thing you can do is get as far away from the Black areas as possible.’

     ‘That may be the only answer.  They pull knives on girls in Chicago.  You have to watch out all the time so they don’t get the jump on you.  I know a couple girls who got the big thrill while a knife point was buried in their throat.  Cops won’t listen to you in Chicago either; at least not where we live.’  Dixie Darlin’ said matter of factly while she comtemplated the card of the Hanging Man.

     ‘That’s just it.’  Black Jack said.  ‘There’s a double standard operating here.’

page 1814.

     ‘Yeah, I know.  This is a country of double standards, triple standards, heck, quadruple standards.  Everything depends on who you are; there’s nothing honest in America.  What’s a virtue in one case is a fault in another.  No consistency.  Some go to jail some walk.  One guy kills somebody, he walks; another guy kills somebody he gets the chair.  Lots of duplicity all the time.  Doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with money either.’

     Black Jack didn’t want to drift from his theme so he brought the conversation back.

     ‘The Second Coming Of The Golden Dawn deals with all those problems.  It’s a modern religion for modern times.  It  won’t be too long before we’re more important than the Catholics.  We’re going to revitalize and rejuvenate America; bring it back to the ideals that made it great.  And you’re going to be in the middle of it as my lieutenant.

     Dewey was about to frame a reply when Black Jack spotted a wreck on the highway.  The crack up was a fairly serious one.  One car must have wandered over the meridian hitting  the other head on.  The cars were really nothing more than twisted metal.  The bodies lay around on the ground in sickening postures.  A number of cars had stopped leaving groups of people either milling or standing around.

     Dewey hoped that Black Jack would just drive through as the sight of mangled and torn bodies had no appeal for him but as a minister Black Jack thought his services might be needed.  The three Chicagoans bored in close to get a good look.  Dewey hung back disgusted and revolted.  Two Black men and a woman stood not too far away.

     ‘Say man.  You dig who that White guy in the plaid jacket is?’ One man asked.

     ‘I know him.  Tha’s that crazy peckerwood who’s walkin’ around the Stockade in black face, ain’t he?’  The other said.

     ‘Black face? Wha’s he do that for?’  The woman asked.

     ‘Nobody kin figure it out.  Funny dude, man.  Acts like we don’t know he’s white with burnt cork on.  Shit, he so dumb he even put blacking on the palm of his hands.’

    ‘No.’  The woman said laughing.

     ‘Shit yes.  Nobody kin figure what he be doin’.  He be tryin’ to get funny stuff on us he better be careful or the laugh is goin’ to be on him.’

     ‘I don’t know what else he kin be doin’.   Kin you?’

     ‘Hell no.’

     Dewey’s chest heaved as he suppressed the laughter welling up inside him.  He got back in the car where he could laugh in safey.  If those Black Folk had known the real reason they wouldn’t have known what to think.  Black Jack in black face; Dewey giggled away.  Then with a masterful effort he suppressed his laughter as Black Jack and the girls came back to the car.

     ‘I just can’t believe it.’  Black Jack lamented.  ‘I just can’t believe it.  A terrible crash on the highway like that and I didn’t hear nobody pray.’

     ‘Didn’t hear nobody pray?’  Dewey asked thinking that the last thing he had thought about.

     ‘No.  there was whiskey and blood mixed together in the glass where they lay but I didn’t hear nobody pray.  I was the only one who had the sense to call down the mercy of the Lord on those poor mangled souls.’

     Mercy of the Lord on those poor mangled souls.’  Dewey repeated in wonder at what mercy those poor mangled souls could expect.  They’d had little mercy in this world and in the next they were on their own.

     ‘Amen, brother.’  Black Jack intoned.  ‘We’re going to get along just fine.’

     Then Black Jack and Dewey came to that old fork in the road.  Black Jack said:  ‘Now, right up here we have to turn left to go into Chicago; if you go straight that will take you up into Gary.  Like I say:  I need you in Chicago to build the Second Coming Of The Golden Dawn and save America and probably the world.  What say, are you made of the right stuff?’

     ‘Uh, no, Black Jack.  I can’t.  I’m in the Navy.  I have to get back or they’ll courtmartial me.’

     ‘They can’t courtmartial some one who isn’t there, Dewey.  What’s wrong with you?

     ‘Sure, Black Jack but it would ruin my life.  They would come and get me.’

     ‘Oh, sheez.  No one’s going to come after you.  They wouldn’t even know where to begin looking.  You’d be like that A-Bomb in Darktown.  Why would they think you were in Chicago?’

     ‘Because it’s the center of the country?  Aw, come on, Black Jack, when I get a driver’s license or apply for jobs they’d get me right away, besides, let me tell you something you don’t know;  Chicago is no California.

     ‘Just change your name…’

     ‘Aw, Jesus, change my name!  I’m not going to Chicago with you Black Jack.  Now, let me out here.’

     Black Jack was a very disappointed guy because he had convinced himself that Dewey had been sent by God to be his lieutenant.  Providence had failed him or, perhaps, he had misinterpreted the signs.  Dewey’s wanting to depart seemed to Black Jack a betrayal on the order of the kiss Judas gave Jesus.

     He continued to half remonstrate with and half excoriate Trueman as he got out of the car.  Dewey took it all in good measure because, after all, he had been given a handsome and entertaining ride and besides, as screwy as he considered most of Black Jack’s ideas he liked him.

     Dewey knew what longing and frustration were.  He knew what it meant to be reviled and rejected for no good reason.  He took Black Jack’s raging as just the raving of an injured psyche.  If the wounds were aggravated then society would just have to pay the price of its sins whatever that price might be.  That was only just.  If the wounds were allowed to heal then Black Jack would probably be a pretty decent guy.

     In fact, Black Jack, or rather, Derek Drainsfield, as he did resume his original identity, turned out straight.  He was able to move away from the Interface as Dewey suggested.  As his women were no longer in danger from Black predators the pressure on his psyche decreased and as his mind cleared he once again realized that fear and revulsion were not bases for religion.

page 1818.

     He turned to a gospel of love and wealth.  He shed most of his repulsive majick elements of his approach leaving Aleister Crowley behind while miving closer to Rosicrucian Christianity.  he remained a preacher.  He was seeking to be respectable.  He attained his goal.  He had a congregation that varied between five and six hundred.

      They were well satisfied with him while he was content with tending his flock.  Circumstances required him to take a compassionate stand on race relations which he did but the misgivings he had acquired down on the Interface never left him.  As, why should they?

     ‘Good luck finding that A-Bomb, Black Jack.  Good bye Dixie Darlin’- Belle.’  Dewey said politely shutting the door.  ‘Thanks for the ride.’

     More hurt than angry Black Jack drove away muttering about the guy’s ingratitude under his breath.

Hitchhiking Is No Picnic

     ‘Christ, it’s cold.’  Dewey thought as the heat from the car left him.  A cold blast of wind whistled down across Lake Michigan to rattle his teeth.

     ‘Oh, not again.’  Dewey said to himself as a cop car pulled to a stop in front of him.  There was Navy on the Great Lakes so he wasn’t such an oddity to the Illinois State Police as he had been to those in Oklahoma.

page 1819.

     The cop was one of those tall big men of limited mental resources who really like to lord it over other men.  Maybe he was just amusing himself.  Taking Dewey’s leave papers and ID he sat for fifteen minutes in his car leaving Dewey to shiver in the cold.

     He got back out offering a few sneering comments then dropped Dewey’s papers to the ground and drove off.  That good strong North Wind caught Dewey’s leave papers sending them off like an eagle taking wing.  There was little sense in chasing them so Dewey stood watching as they wafted back down the highway.

     ‘Oh well, I probably won’t need them anymore.  Boy, cops must all be cut from the same mold.’  Dewey thought as his resentment against the police grew.  ‘And they wonder why everybody despises them.’

      It’s not so much that they receive the same education in police academies as that they all do come from the same mental approach to life.  They’re just bullies with badges made safe from retaliation.

     The sun was going down.  The temperature was dropping.  Once out of his face Dewey had other things to think about than coppers although he was acquiring a bitter understanding of the attitudes of men like John Dillinger and Pretty Boy Floyd the Outlaw.

     A couple rides later he was dropped off in front of a service station in Gary, Indiana.  Named after Judge Gary.  Night had fallen on the lakeside city.  A superb lake effect snowstorn was in progress from Gary up to Benton Harbor from which point Dewey intended to shunt East across Michigan to the Valley.

page 1820.

    Gary was not yet the Black town it would be.  Eventually it would become another East St. Louis.  For the present Dewey was safe from racial harassment.

     He took up a position under the lights of the station sign where he could really be seen.  It was a pitiless night.  No one would stop.  Every time a semi went by, which was every other vehicle, the big rigs swirled the snow wildly burying Dewey in the rearranged drift.  The hours passed.

     Finally a big rig pulled to a stop.  The tractor was a nice new cab over but the driver was crossing over to Cleveland.

     The driver seemed decent enough, tried to explain to him that there would be no traffic heading North.  He told Dewey that it would be better to cross over beneath Detroit and go North from there where there would be a lot more traffic.

     Dewey feared Detroit for a number of reaons of which race was one, while the time involved crossing then heading up the Dixie seemed excessive.  That coupled with the fact that his mind was slowing from lack of both sleep and nourishment determined his decision.  He had no idea that the highway would have less traffice than the Claremore road if possible.

     Without being aware of it Dewey had become quite dehydrated.  Suddenly his thirst hit him.  He looked over to spot the Coke machine in the gas station.  Really discouraged he walked over and drained five bottles of Coke in a row.  They were the old 7 oz. size.

page 1821.

     This gave the attendant who had been watching him an excuse to talk to him.

     ‘Wow.  You must really be thirsty.’

     ‘Yeah. I was anyway.’

     ‘How come you didn’t take the ride that trucker offered?’

     ‘Oh, he was going East to Cleveland.  Offered to drop me off below Detroit but gosh, that’s several more hours and I’ve been on the road forever.  This was supposed to be a forty-eight hour trip.'[

     ‘How long you been on the road?’

     ‘I don’t know.  I started last Thursday.’

     ‘Where you going?’

     ‘The Valley in Michigan.  Thought I’d cut over at Benton Harbor.’

     ‘Oh man, that’s a tough one any night.  Very little traffic.  In this storm there probably won’t be any at all.  Sunday night too.  You should have taken that trucker’s offer.  Tell you what I’ll do for you.  I’ll ask any driver going North if they’ll give you a ride.  You can stand out there if you want.  I’ll call you over if I find someone.’

     Dewey thanked him kindly but was so discouraged he forgot about it immediately.  He was digging himself out of the umpteenth snow bank when the attendant called to him.

     ‘Hey, hey Sailor, come on.  I’ve got a ride for you.’

     Dewey couldn’t believe his ears but he stepped smartly over.

     ‘He’s going to St. Joe.  Says he’ll give you a ride.’

     Dewey thanked the attendant but didn’t offer the tip he was obviously expected to give and hopped in.

Four Strong Winds

     As the saying goes:  Dewey was running on empty.  There weren’t even any fumes left.  He was going simply because he was going.

     There were several towns they had to pass through on the way to Benton Harbor not to mention the good sized city of South Bend but all Dewey would ever be able to remember was big white snow flakes falling from a patent leather sky and the blazing white snow banks illuminated by the headlights.  The night had the surreal aspects of the Hopper picture ‘Nighthawks At The Diner.’

     Terry Gaste, the driver, was the first respectable looking person Dewey had seen for days.  He was a pleasant looking man of about twenty-seven.  Plump, even quivering with baby fat, delicate, well dressed, well groomed, impeccably mannered, he was meticulously cared for.  Every hair of his dark head had a well defined place for which it occupied.  He looked like he had just shaved.  He had an air of refinement.  In fact, he was a high school English teacher at Benton Harbor.  Even out in the boonies Benton Harbor had more cachet than its twin city St. Joseph so Terry Gaste lived in St. Joe where rents were cheaper.  Hard to believe.

page 1823.

     If Dewey hadn’t been grappling to keep his grip on reality he would have thought that Gaste was a very creditable guy.  Having been five days on the road he mainly noticed that Gaste seemed very effeminate.

     ‘I offered you a ride because in this terrible weather I thought I might need your help if I got stuck.  You would help me if that happened wouldn’t you?  You wouldn’t just abandon me?’

     ‘No.’  Dewey said.  ‘That’s a very fair exchange.  This is a lot of snow.  We don’t get snow like this up in the Valley.  Cold, but no snow.’

     ‘We get a lot of snow here.’

     ‘I always noticed that.  There’s a strip right across Southern Michigan that always gets a lot of snow.  I mean look at these snowbanks, four or five feet high.  Couldn’t have been any worse than that storm in Flagstaff.  What are you doing out so late in this weather?’

     ‘I’m returning from Chicago.  I live in St. Joseph but I teach English in Benton Harbor.  My girl friend lives in Chicago and I visit her every weekend.  I make this trip every week.’

     Dewey’s mind was about to go free form.  It was about to take the same relationship to his body that the Milky Way takes to Earth.  Fortunately he still had enough control not to express an unasked for opinion of Terry Gaste.  His own thoughts were that Gaste was gay but he had enough sense to stay in the closet in Benton Harbor.  Dewey thought that he probably went to Chicago on weekends for sex.  Heaven was merciful to Trueman; he kept his speculations to himself but converted his opinions into a series of malicious comments.

page 1824.

     ‘Wow, that’s a long way to go to see your girl firend.’

     If Dewey’s mind had been functioning he might have reflected on that statement.  Gaste was driving only two hundred miles round trip.  Dewey thought nothing of an over night jaunt from San Diego to LA which was about the same distance.  He regularly traveled twelve hundred miles round trip to San Francisco on a weekend.  And then he had to hitchhike more often than not.  But in Michigan a hundred miles seems like a great long trip.

     ‘I don’t mind.  We’re in love.  She’s worth it.’

     ‘Really?  I don’t know if I could do that.  I’d get a girl in Benton Harbor.’

     Then Dewey egan to talk about things that, had he been rested, he wouldn’t have mentioned.  But under that patent leather black and white environment of shimmering snow flakes and dazzlingly white snow banks an inchoate fear seized his vitals causing unnamed specters to be released from the right side of his brain.  Perhaps his subconscious flooded his conscious mind.  No, that wasn’t it.  It was the right side.

     ‘I’m quite happy this way actually.’  Gaste said trying to edge off the subject.

    ‘Boy, I’d be afraid she’d be cheating on me.’

     ‘Oh no.  I have absolute trust in her.’

     ‘Oh, I don’t know.  Do you call her weekdays.’

     ‘Yes.  We talk.’

page 1825.

     ‘Is she always there?’

    ‘Well, no.  Not always.’

     ‘See.’

     ‘See what?  She can’t always be home.  That doesn’t mean she’s out with someone else.’

     Dewey’s emotional development had been arrested by the sharp break in his routines caused by entering the Navy.  He still had a teenage notion of fidelity.  Thus his fears now amounting to a panic kept him on the subject even though he could see the discomfort he was causing Gaste.

     He liked Gaste and could see his error but he couldn’t get his mind out of its rut.  He insisted to the point of being obtuse.  Gaste, who was kind and considerate to a fault was being driven to his wit’s end.  Perhaps for that reason his concentration wavered.  The car lost traction and slid up against the snowbank.

     Gaste couldn’t regain traction.  The tires spun uselessly.

    ‘I think you’re going to have to get out and push.’  Gaste said tersely fearful that Trueman wouldn’t keep his end of the bargain.

     ‘Oh well.  Nobody rides for free.’  Trueman replied with mock ruefullness, thankful for the intrusion into his feeling of nauseating panic.

     Pushing was out of the question.  Gaste’s De Soto, the marque of the car wasn’t mentioned but his was the last model year of De Soto, ’58 if I remember correctly, blue and white, was a heavy car but even had it been lighter Dewey’s feet would have slid out from under him.

page 1826.

     Dewey had no intention of being stranded for hours, there must be a way out.  He noticed that as slick as the road was and as high and firm as the snowbank was it was possible to perhaps wedge himself between the snowbank and the car and push the car sideways back into the road.

     ‘There’s no way I can push it, Terry.’  He ssid speaking rhough Gaste’s open window.  ‘This road’s too slick.  But we can try this.  I’ll wedge myself in between the car and the snowback, when I shout  Now! give it the gas and I’ll push sideways with my foot.  That might get it out of the groove it’s in and back in the road where the wheels won’t be in slick ruts.’

     ‘You don’t think you will hurt my car, do you?’

     ‘What do you mean?’

     ‘If you push with your foot on the fin the metal might cave in.’

     ‘Terry, in a contest between me and steel I’ll bet against myself every time.  You should too.’

     ‘Well, I suppose it’s worth a try.’

     ‘Sure it is.’

     Dewey got into position and shouted to Gaste to give it the gas.  Belying his apparent timidity Gaste gunned the engine mightily.  Dewey pushed.  Almost perfect; the DeSoto left the ruts and shot out into the middle of the road straight as an arrow as Dewey slid down the snowbank with a painful bump.

     There was a moment of anxiety for Dewey as he feared Gaste might drive off without him.  Such was not the case.

     1827.

     In the first place Gaste was much too decent a guy to even think of abandoning Dewey even though Dewey’s chatter had him running up walls.  Also if he spun out once he could spin out twice; why take chances, still he thought Dewey might have dented his car.

    ‘You didn’t dent my car.’  He asked Dewey as the sailor, smiling at his success, slid back in the seat.

     ‘No.  It worked perfectly, Terry.  We’re even pointed straight down the road.  I was afraid it might to into the opposite snowbank.  Let’s go.’

     ‘I’m going to check.’

     ‘It’s alright Terry, don’t check.  Let’s go before we lose traction again.’

     Gaste hopped out  to run around the car like a ferret to check Dewey’s word.  Finding the fender without a dent he got back in the car much relieved.  Easing the car forward slowly they regained traction.

     In the time he had been able to divert Dewey’s rattling chat Dewey had revealed some rather remarkable details of his journey.  He wasn’t aware yet of the effect of the trip on himself but Gaste was amazed even horrified at the details Dewey had given him.  The motorcycle ride with Rodeo Frank had made quite an impression.

     Now determined to keep Dewey off subjects offensive to himself, Gaste had a line of converstaion ready when he got back in the car.

page 1828.

     Dewey himself had had a transformation out in the cold.  Still obsessed with the legendary snowstorm in Flagstaff he could hardly  believe that that storm was worse than this one.  He therefore dismissed the story as some writer’s hyperbole thereby putting to rest a piece of ephemera that had bothered him for years.

     The combination of white snow and black sky blew through his mind like a gale.  The extreme black shininess of the deep browed sky seemed to him like Mother Space while the cold white flakes came down like bits of bone white death.

     The reason that the car had slid was that a snow plow had preceded them turning the road into a white carpeted path of packed snow which added to the sharp contrast accentuated by the ricocheting light from the headlamps.

     Dewey’s mind was overwhelmed by the white and black as he half slid and half skated back to the car.

     His despair caused him to conceive his situation as one of death in life.  A quiet panic festered in his mind.  His fatigue began to swirl his mind as though it were the center of four strong contending winds, like the great swirl of the Milky Way sliding backwards from the center of the Big Blast through space.  The white and black seared his mind.

     As the conversation developed Dewey made connections and expressed opinions that would have been blocked by a rested and conscious mind.  He expressed opinions and analyses he never knew he had.  He could never have repeated them on the spot nor could he have remembered them after rest.

page 1829.

     Meaning to seize the initiative Terry Gaste used the key that opened Dewey’s mind to a flood of opinion that Gaste had not expected.  There had been nothing said to this point that gave any indication of Dewey’s intellectual depth.  Indeed, his pimpled face and cold staring expression indicated just the opposite.  Gaste had expected to toy with him and dazzle him with his brilliance.

     Gaste was impressed by the idea of Dewey having hitchhiked all the way across country from San Diego.  Like many others in his class Gaste repressed such desires but greatly romanticized them.  He had also read Jack Kerouac’s ‘On The Road’ that had been out for over a year now.  He imagined there was some similarity between Kerouac’s and Trueman’s experience.

    ‘Have you read that new book ‘On The Road’ by Jack Kerouac?’  He asked expecting that Dewey had never heard of it.

     ‘Yes.’  Dewey replied.

     ‘You have?’  Gaste said raising the pitch of his voice in surprise.  Before he went on he sought to know how as he imagined not without reason that Dewey would have been cut off by Navylife from more recent literary developments.  ‘Umm, do you read a lot?’

     ‘Actually quite a bit.’  Dewey replied.  ‘That book you mentioned was one they passed aound.  I had to read it, as it were, I didn’t like it but it has made a terrific impression aboard ship.  They talk about it all the time.’

     ‘You had to read it?  Why’s that?’

page 1830

     ‘Well, being aboard ship is a pretty peculiar way to live.  There’s a whole big difference between what is called the  ‘officers’ and the ‘men.’  I’m obviously of that part called ‘the men.’  Being in the Navy is like being in the orphanage or in prison.  They don’t allow for a lot of individuality.  It’s very easy to be thought weird.  They don’t want you to know anything they don’t.  If you do that makes them feel insecure and inferior.  They don’t want you read, become familiar with literature like, oh say, Victor Hugo or John Dos Passos, so certain books are passed around that you are expected to be familiar with or not.  They don’t care if you don’t read the books; they do allow for greater ignorance than theirs.’

     ‘What kind of books?’

     ‘Well, mostly they’re kind of dirty, soft corn porn, you might say.  Although some have a quite serious side and even have a backhanded moral or, at least, lesson you have to a fringe person to get it.  One of them was about a guy who got knocked over the head, had amneisa, and becomes a criminal under an assumed name, naturally, as he can’t remember his own.  Happened to me I’d use the name of the guy who lived kitty corner from me, mess up his reputation.  His wife goes in search of him.  In the pursuit she becomes a prostitute because, even thought this course is repugnant to her, she believes this is the only way to find her beloved.  It goes on like that.  Some guy cornholes her and we get a description of  her patting her rectum back into shape.  Stuff you need to know to get through life.  In the end the boy gets his memory back but instead of being angry with his wife he cherishes her because she made this great sacrifice of her virtue just for him.  So crime is kind a natural part of life is the moral.  It kind of keeps your mind off the stars and in the muck so you don’t get to thinking you’re better than the scum you live with.  That’s what the French call ‘egalite.’

     ‘Do you mean as in the slogan of the French Revolution: Liberte, egalite, fraternite?

     ‘That’s it.  What egalite means is than anyone who tries to excel is put down.  Therefore egalite cancels liberte  and makes fraternite impossible because who would want to associate with such a bunch of bums.  Ha ha ha.’

     ‘But what was the moral of this book about the woman who became a prostitute?’

     ‘The argument goes that you would forgive your wife if she became a prostitute to save you, wouldn’t you?  Of course you would, is the correct answer.  And then, by extension, that if you would forgive her for screwing other guys to save your life then it is ridiculous to be jealous of your wife if she is screwing other guys for pleasure.  So you should just let anybody who want to screw her screw her and just shut up.  Nothing is good or bad but thinking makes it so, see?  My argument was that it may work well when you’re screwing the other guy’s wife but you aren’t going to be so tolerant when it happens to you.  I asked if they thought I should be jealous if any of them were screwing my wife, should I have one,  and they said no.  Then I asked how they would they feel if I were screwing their wife and to a man they said they would stomp my ass into dust.

     Anyway if you approve prostitution or promiscuity for one reason then it can’t be wrong for any reason.  So the tendency of these books including ‘On The Road’, seems to be in inculcate a tolerance for criminality.  Besides which all these guys are all hypocrites.’

page 1832.

     ‘Do you know how these books are selected?  Who does it?’

     ‘Not exactly.  But control seems to be coming from the midships area.  I tried to get a couple books inserted in the rounds but they were coldly rejected so I have to believe the books were selected for a political purpose.  Pretty undemocratic censorship, hey?’

     ‘What books did you try to insert?’

     ‘Well, from the content of the books I’ve seen passed around it wouldn’t do any good to try for books you English teachers think are literature, but, you know, there is much more pertinent writing than guys like Mailer, Roth or Herman Wouk going around.

    I mean they even gave a Pulitzer prize to that piece of crap, ‘The Caine Mutiny.’  What an impossible story.  I doubt if  Wouk was even ever aboard ship.  But then other stuff doesn’t get a chance with major publishers.  Actually ‘On The Road’ is an exception.  That book is outside the acceptable tradition of polite literature, what you might call ‘outlaw.’  It’s about the same mental caliber as this book called ‘Junkie’ that was passed around.

     There’s a couple of very interesting publishers who put out this kind of stuff in Kerouac’s style.  One’s Ace and the other is Gold Seal.  Ever heard of them?  No?  You’ve probably seen them on the paper back racks.  One despises them because they only come out in paper back, no hard cover.  Turned up your nose and walked away, eh?  I had to get over the prejudice myself.  Broaden out, it won’t hurt you.

page 1833.

     Gold Seals’s got one, out of several I’ve read, that’s particularly interesting called ‘I Am Legend.’  I tried to get this one in.

     (This book was later made into a distorted movie verson that completely betrays the impact of the novel, called ‘The Omega Man’ starring Charlton Heston.  This story was converted into a version acceptable to the Revolution.  It was again released as ‘I Am Legend’ after the turn of the century as the story of  Black and White race issues.)

     It’s about a world in which vampires start out as a small persecuted group, somewhat like the early Christians or present day Commies, but gradually enlarge in numbers until there are more of them than us.  Finally there is only one regular guy left, everyone else has been turned into a vampire.  Technically the vampires cannot suck each other’s blood without dying out as there is no fresh blood left but if that were allowed, no story.

     Finally there’s only one guy left.  He goes around by day killing as many vampires as he can find.  they turn around and persecute him by night.  They assault him in his impregnable, apparently fire proof wooden fortress all night long.  Never could figure when he got any sleep, must have been a bundle of nerves.

     There’s a real stalemate until the vampires learn how to survive in daylight.  Then they put on tanning lotion, must have been left over on some drugstore shelf, on the most beautiful of their women.  In my book she must have been fair of face, 40D, 25, 38.  Like them proportions?  But the author was vague.

page 1834.

     She infiltrates this guy’s lair, betrays him and he ends up being on the gallows.  The last sane man left alive, hence he is legendary.

     I don’t know why my shipmates rejected it unless it was resistance to the end.’

     That was part of it.  The book was interpreted as an anti-Communist allegory.  Dewey was correct in sensing that control of the books came from midships.  The Revolution’s agent on board was Teal Kanary and the Yeoman’s office was midship.

     At this time the Navy was very sensitive to Communist infiltration.  All swabbies were supposed to be on lookout for Communist agents and report them.  The Navy only understood the problem in terms of espionage not as social attitude.  The Revolution accordingly disparaged the notion of espionage but Russian agents did exist.

     The author was once stopped at gunpoint on Treasure Island because he had inadvertantly strolled into an unmarked restricted area at night.  The Navy didn’t post warnings so that attention wouldn’t be called to the area.  The Russian spies adopted the perfect camouflage; they were among the officers supervising the area.  Navy arrogance was such that they thought officers could do no wrong.  Any such spies were above suspicion.  It was ‘the men’ you had to look out for.

     The Communist Party was only the political arm of the Revolution.  the Revolution exists on many different fronts.  It is wrong to assume that the Revolution is interested only in armed revolt.  That method will succeed only under very special conditions which have been present merely two times in the last three hundred years: 1789 and 1917.  The better method is to bore from within.

page 1835.

     The Revolution takes place more effectively in literature, movies and records where White standards are systematically undermined and replaced by Red ideals.  Hence the books passed around the ship were subversive to White morality.  ‘I Am Legend’ was subversive or Revolutionary objectives.  Thus, the book was thrown back in Dewey’s face.  So much for the slogan of liberty, equality and fraternity except as double speak.

      ‘Well.’  Terry said, trying to get back on ground he understood.  ‘But, didn’t you think ‘On The Road’ was a terrific read?’

     ‘It bothered me.  I saw just a bunch of petty grifters involved in theft, drugs and illicit sex.  Have you heard of this guy Allen Ginsberg?’

      This was getting onto ground forbidden to Terry Gaste.  It might be OK to have heard of Ginsberg amongst the academic community but certainly not to be familiar with his work.  Ginsberg had after all used the word ‘fuck.’  In these antediluvian days before Lenny Bruce had made the seven forbidden works commonplace the use of the f word was enough to disqualify anyone from consideration.  Gaste had read Ginsberg’s ‘Howl’, even recently, but the knowledge was carefully concealed by the high school English teacher.  However here in his car with the heater going in a freezing snowstorm with Dewey he felt safe to talk freely.  He didn’t think Dewey would ever be able to turn him in.

     ‘You mean the poet who wrote ‘Howl?’  Terry said with awe of both Ginsberg and Dewey who he would never have thought would have ever heard of the ‘poet’ Ginsberg.  Terry didn’t seem to realize that the poem was directed at precisely the social class of Trueman and not at polite culture.

     ‘Poem?  Oh yeah, maybe.  I think the title, Howl, is the whole message.  He could have skipped the verbiage.  This guy is supposed to be the poet type guy in ‘On The Road.’  He was Kerouac’s friend.  He’s the model and in Howl he has this line about how he has seen the best minds of his generation driven insane of something to that effect.  If these guys in ‘On The Road’ are the best minds of his generation I think we should all check into the asylum right now.’

     In fact, one of the best minds, Neal Cassady, model for Dean Moriarty in the novel, had set up a major marijuana smuggling operation in San Francisco surpassing that of the Kreskins.  He, however, had been caught.  He was at this time undergoing trial and about to be sent to San Quentin.

     ‘You feel that strongly?’  Terry said, feeling disappointed. 

     ‘Sure.  the book is just another example of ephemeral fruits to my way of thinking.’

     The term was so unexpected in this little capsule inching along the frozen slippery path in the snowstorm behind the snow plow which they had overtaken but couldn’t pass that Gaste had to laugh.  ‘Ephemeral fruits?’

pare 1837.

     ‘Yeah.  It’s like so much happening today.  It doesn’t have any intellectual value.  I mean, they got this guy in San Francisco by the name of Lenny Bruce whose whole pitch is dirty words.  I mean, you know, his whole act seems to be to introduce the words Fuck and Cocksucker into parlor conversation.  The guy’s disgusting yet he’s a hero to some of these guys aboard ship.  I mean, that’s really something to strive for, isn’t it?  Really betters humanity, doesn’t it?

     All the things we’re doing, filling our minds with, are just shallow entertainment so-called, perhaps entertaining but actually demeaning.  After all a mind has only so much time a day for something to be put into it.   When all that is put in is nothing but stupid movies and crusades to say Fuck in normal conversation, that’s not very intellectually nourishing, don’t you think?  We’re just gorging ourselves on sterile information.’

     ‘What do you mean by ephemeral fruits?  Is this a term you’ve conceived.’

     ‘Who me?  No.  It’s something I picked up in Mrs. Hicks’ English class in twelfth grade.  Stuck in my mind.  I like the sound of it:  Ephemeral fruits.  You should know it being an English teacher and all.’

     ‘Evaline Hicks at Valley Melville?’

     ‘Mrs. Hicks is all I know.  One doesn’t inquire into the first names of old broads and English teachers; but yes, I went to Herman Melville in the Valley.  Valley Melville as you guys down here refer to it.’

page 1838.

     ‘Yes.  Now what about ephemeral fruits?’

     ‘Well, it comes from a Greek myth, she was big on Greek myths, King Arthur, Roland and all that, where the monster Typhon takes on Zeus, beats him up, takes out his tendons and leaves them in a sack somewhere.

     Then to help out Zeus in his exremity some nymphs feed Typhon with ephemeral fruits that look good but contain no nourishment so that the more Typhon gorges himself the weaker he gets.  you see the comparison I’m making, right?’

     ‘Yes, I do.’

     ‘Yes.  Well, Mrs. Hicks had this theory about Typhon.  She didn’t call it a theory, I think she said it was an hypothesis.  You have to take responsibility for theories but you can get away with hypotheses.  It’s kind of like a  joke.  Anyway, you’ve heard of the island of Thera?  Exploded some time way back when?  Bigger than Krakatoa, bigger than the H-Bomb to hear people talk who weren’t there.

     So, she figures if this happened that it would make such a huge impression on everyone that it would have to be mentioned in Greek mythology, but it doesn’t appear to be.  But, she says, it has to be.  So she thinks that maybe the story of Typhon and Zeus is a mythological account of the explosion of Thera.  but, uh, I don’t know.’

     ‘I’m sure I don’t either.  Evaline, uh, Mrs. Hicks has been injudicious enough to mention her, uh, hypothesis at a couple conferences I’ve attended.  I think she’s a delightful lady but she lost credibility over this issue.’

page 1839.

     ‘How’s that.’

     ‘Well, no one’s ever heard it before.  There’s no authority for it.’

     ‘Well, yeah, but she only said there must be a reference to Thera and I think there must and that Typhon might possibly be it.’

     In fact as subsequent events have shown the author, there is every reason to believe that the explosion of Thera is accounted for by the myth of  Hera, Zeus and Typhon.  Let us consider it a moment, especially as the myth would eliminate Thera as a place for Atlantis.

     At one time Zeus ingested the goddess Metis but found her not entirely digestible.  She gave him a great headache.  This was relieved when he gave girth to Athene through his forehead.  This birth without female aid made Hera very envious.  In a fit of rage she gave birth to the monster Typhon without the aid of a male.  Typhon had roots deep into the earth while his head touched the stars.  Great wings sprouted from his shoulders which hid the sun.  His name has been interpreted to mean stupefying smoke or hot wind.  He was said to emit great boulders from his mouth as well as belching fire.  Sounds like a volcano to me.

     There are some who say the thrashing of his tail roused great tidal waves.

     Zeus stared bugeyed when he realized that this giant was invading his realm of the sky.  The earth monster of the Earth goddess Hera was attacking the Lord of the Sky.  The Great One was not keen on battle but to battle he must.  The skies flashed and roared from Zeus’ thunderbolts as he hurled them against the wasting hot breath of Typhon.

page 1840

     The mighty monster brought the Great One down, crushing him as though a matchstick.  Zeus being immortal could not be killed so Typhon stripped the body of the tendons rending Zeus immobile.  Then Typhon put the tendons in a leather sack which he hid in a cave in Cilicia, a nation on the coast of Anatolia.  The body he chucked away leaving Zeus an immobile hunk on the ground.

     Typhon would have emerged triumphant except that the great gods Hermes and Pan located the sinews and restrung the inert Father of the Gods.  As they were doing so the Fates fed Typhon with basket loads of Ephemeral Fruits.  The more the monster ate the weaker he got, thus Zeus returning to battle was able to defeat Hera’s creation returning the cosmos to normal.

     The myth on the surface of it appears to be merely a pretty tale.  When Herodotus, the father of historians hence a father of mine, was in Egypt he told the priests the story of Phaeton and Helios.  The priests advised him that the myth undoubtedly concealed an historical event, as in their opinion, all myths did.

     The myth of Phaeton concerns his desire to drive the horses of the sun across the sky.  He approached his father Helios who reluctantly consented.  Phaeton was unable to control the great beasts so the sun wobbled in its course coming so close to earth that the resulting fires nearly destroyed mankind.

     One would have been hard pressed to give a natural explanation to that one until the Summer of 2000 when a scorching heat wave in Greece drove the temperatures up to 120 degrees igniting the dry brush into great fires burning out of control.  Such a season might be described by people with meager meteorological knowledge as the sun wobbling off course close to earth.

page 1841.

     Let us suppose the ancient Egyptians to be right.  Let us suppose that the myth of Hera and Typhon is based on an actual event.  The myth is, of course, undated.  It merely happened once upon a time.  The myth does however perfectly describe the eruption of a specific type of volcano.  Thera was a dormant volcano of the type of Krakatoa, St. Helens and Mazama.  Both St. Helens and Mazama are in the Cascade Range of the Western United States.

     World famous Crater Lake is located in the crater created by Mt. Mazama when it exploded in prehistoric times.  Mazama was a big one of 12,000 to 14,000 feet which is apparently about as big as the type of volcano gets.  The mountain of Mazama was bigger than the island of Thera.

     The author was present when Mt. St. Helens exploded in the 1980s.  He was about sixty miles to the South in Portland, Oregon.  The rupture occured nearly at the summit.  The explosion sent rocks flying for miles as though hurled from Typon’s mouth.  The hot pyroclastic blast of gases rolled down the Northeast slope flattening tens of thousands of acres of forest.  The volcano vented gases and ash for two or three days which rose billowing up to 40,000 feet or better until they flattened out like a thunderhead drifting with the prevailing wind which was a Zephyr.

page 1842.

      The falling ash blocked the sun in Yakima, Washington about fifty miles East where ash accumualted to a depth of about eighteen inches.  A terrifying situation even when you knew what was happening..  Spokane, three hundred miles away received several inches.

     Mt. St. Helens was a nine thousand foot mountain before it exploded and about 6000 after the eruption.  The missing three thousand feet was not blown away by the explosion but worn away the venting ash and gases.

     St. Helens and Thera appear to have been about the same size so there is no reason to believe that Thera was a more cataclysmic disaster than St. Helens.

     People who imagine a fantastic disaster say that Thera exploded with a force of hundred hydrogen bombs.  This is so much nonsense.  St. Helens didn’t go off with even the force of one hydrogen bomb.  Such a disaster is geologically impossible.  What must have happened at Thera was what happened in Washington State in the nineteen eighties, a very impressive eruption but nothing equating a hundred hydrogen bombs.

     Hera being an earth goddess was assigned the parentage of Typhon because she represented Gaia, or Earth.  The eruption must have been terrifying to people without knowledge of volcanic causes so the event was interpreted as Hera challenging Zeus, the sky god, through her creation.  As Zeus’ sinews were hidden in a cave to the East of the eruption that means that the Zephyr was blowing the ash East at the time.  The great billows of ash would be interpreted as blocking the sun.  The thunderhead would interpreted as the head of Typhon reaching to the stars.

     There is no chance that the ash covered Greece to the West or Egypt to the South.  The ash would have streamed East in a fairly narrow band.  Thus Cilicia would have corresponded to Yakima in Washington State.  Further to the East the Hittites have a myth quite similar to Hera and the Typhon.  Their relationship to the explosion would have been approximately that of Spokane, Washington so their myth lacks the terror of the Greek myth.  The Hebrew Yahweh may also be based on the eruption.

     Initially the Sky God was overpowered hence his sinews were deposited in a cave in Cilicia where the ash fall was undoubtedly the heaviest.  Caves are representative of Gaia, so one may say the sinews were buried in the Earth.

     The Fates feeding Typhon Ephemeral Fruits merely means that after a couple days the repressed gases were vented and the vented ash had worn away the mountain sides creating present day Thera, or Santorini.   The ash stopped and Typhon died.

     Mrs. Hicks’ hypothesis cannot be conclusively proven although as indicated above it must be true.  It must also be true that there is a thick layer of ash in Cilicia that can be dated back to 1600 BC or so when Thera erupted.  Comparatively however the eruption of Thera could not have been of greater magnitude than St. Helens.

     Dewey added to the explanation of Mrs. Hicks’ theory:  ‘But I don’t know whether she’s right or not.’

     ‘I’m sure I don’t.’  Terry assented.  ‘I think it was very foolish of Evaline to give voice to her opinion in public; that is something that can’t be done.  All people are hypocrites on that score.  Any crowd of people can find comfort only in a trite acceptable explanation of something.’ 

page 1844.

     Gaste cast a sideways glance at Dewey who was so exhausted his eyes were spinning.  Terry thought to himself that now was the time to vent all those opinions boiling inside him that he could confide to no one without risking his reputation.  He was positive that what he had to say would never go beyond the confines of his car.

     ‘I don’t mean to say that I personally thought ill of Mrs. Hicks for having a controversial opinion but I certainly had to side with the majority to protect my career.’  Terry cleared his throat.  ‘I’m certainly familiar with controversial opinions; I have one or two myself which I wouldn’t dare mention in public.’

     ‘I guess I was right all along.’  Dewey said to himself preparing to push Gaste’s hand off his knee without offending him so much that he would make him get out into the swirling snowstorm.

     ‘First, let me give you a little background on myself so you will know how I come by these opinions.  I was born in Battle Creek and grew in up in Grand Rapids.  Of course I have a sound academic education from Wesleyan but my real education began, as it were, at my mother’s knee.’

     Dewey relaxed.  It was clear to him that Terry was not going to approach him.  As the English teacher appeared to be off on a long explanation Dewey put his brain in overdrive just letting Gaste’s story flow around his mind like the the light from a distant star around our own sun.

page 1845.

     ‘My mother was almost, well, she was really an obsessed woman.  She drove my father away when I was five when she declared to me that I would be the little man of her life; a man who would never leave her.  Strange that we no longer speak, wouldn’t you say?

     We were inseparable.  She took me along with her everywhere.  She made me her assistant and trained me in her researches at a quite early age.  She was obsessed with Astrology and by reference to the so-called Occult.  the Occult is merely a counter religion without its own pope; there is nothing inherently evil about it.

     She actually supported us in relatively decent tyle by casting horoscopes.  You would be amazed at the number of people who use Astrology.  Wealthy successful people too.  I was never able to develop the gift of gab that is necessary to be successful as an Astrologer but my mother could reel off these incredible analyses that were quite often correct: past, present and future.

     She wouldn’t admit that she was superstitious so she clothed her interest in scientific dress.  She learned enough about Astronomy and mathematics so she could pinpoint one’s natal horoscope.  She became quite learned in Greek, Mesopotamian and Egyptian mythology and consequently so am I.  That’s why I’ve always liked Evaline so much.

     My mother’s patter as a consequence of this really substantial learning was very impressive.  Her clients really got their money’s worth.  She astounded them with revelations of their past and present which gave credence to her predictions for the future.  You might think that she researched her clients but she didn’t.  She had a remarkable ability to read a person’s character from their appearance.  She used to say that a person carried their whole history about them in their physiognomy, posture and dress.  Every fold of the clothes, every drape, every gesture and twitch, every line of their face tells who they are and what’s happened to them she used to tell me.   Vocabulary and speech patterns also give one away, the tone of the voice.  She was as remarkable in her way as Sherlock Holmes in his.  I once saw her identify a man as having gradutated from Ohio State on verbal clues which have always escaped me and I still think about it almost every day.

     She considered herself a genius but she couldn’t differentiate between academic standards and Occult methods.  She was always hurt because the academics not only rejected her but wouldn’t even listen to her.  She was right in thinking she was more learned too.

     When we were in Grand Rapids she cultivated a relationship with Cornelia Steketee Hulst.  Have you heard of her by any chance?  No.  Well, she was a very learned woman in Ancient History, gone now, but she lost her academic standing when she sided with an out of favor group of scholars who believe that a period of Matriarchy preceded the Patriarchal society in which we live today.  They are opposed and derided by the controlling Patriarchal academics who take a very narrow view of Greek history and mythology.

page 1847.

     They project a vision of the Greeks which fills their emotional needs but isn’t supported by the facts.  They willfully disregard many salient points so as not to damage the fabric of their beliefs.  But being numerically superior they succeed.

     At any rate Mrs. Hulst no longer had official standing.  Her very intelligent studies were published by what amounted to her private press ‘dedicated to freedom of speech.’

     My mother and I learned a great deal from her.

     So, now you know how I know what I know.

     Now I’m going to lead into a very controversial subject through the story of the Great Flood.  This is strictly my own opinion.  It has little relationship to the thought of either Mrs. Hulst or my mother.  As Mother was into Astrology I had a lot of time to study and think about the Zodiac.

     No. No.  I know Astrology as a means of predicting the future is a lot of hooey but, remember, the Zodiac is a historical fact having had a great influence on hstory as I hope to show you.  Poor old Mother couldn’t even get the academics to admit the Zodiac was an historical fact.

     The question is, did the Flood really occur and, if so, how and when did it happen.  I’m not talking about the version in the Bible but about the earlier Sumerian account on which the Bible story is based.  Have you ever heard of that?  No.  Well, the story is related in an epic poem called the Gilgamesh.  It precedes the Biblical story by thousands of years.

     My researches have led me away from a riparian explanation.  Scientific studies tell us that the planet was in the grip of an ice age that ended something like ten thousand years ago.  During the ice age the seas are thought to have been several hundred feet lower than they currently are when untold millions of tons of water were stored in glaciers and ice caps.

page 1848.

     Back in those ante-diluvian times it was said that a civilization existed that was known as Atlantis.  No. No. Please, just listen.  This civilization was referred to by the Egyptians and hinted at by the Mesopotamians.  The myths of the Greeks and Hebrews do not share this ancient tradition but merely reflect it as they are much too recent on the stage of history to have authentic traditions.    

     I hesitate to mention some of these things because some of the people who hold some of these views or views like them have been so discredited.  But my Mother was influenced by people like Edgar Cayce and Madame Blavatsky.  You know the names but that’all…well, they were privy to a lot of knowledge which is not academically accessible or acceptable.

     I say this confidentially, but in the light of our present knowledge of evolution and such matters if you compare the discredited Madame Blavatsky with an academic scholar like J.G. Fraser I think you will find in certain areas that Madame B. was light years ahead of Fraser and he was on the academic cutting edge, barely acceptable in his time.

     Madame B’s ‘Isis Unveiled’ came out thirty years before Frazer’s ‘Golden Bough’ but her understanding of the the meaning of Genesis is so much more profound than Frazer’s that she sounds modern while he sounds archaic.  Reputations are such that the two roles will never be rectified.

page 1849.

     As I say, my Mother was exposed to opinions of which very very few people are aware.  There are people who actually believe that the Sphinx was carved during the Zodiacal Age of Leo.  At the time the Greek legislator Solon was in Egypt the priests told him that Atlantis had existed some nine thousand years previously.  That would be under the sign of Leo the Lion.  The Sphinx was carved in the form of a lion.  Coincidence?  Perhaps.  But let us go over to Mesopotamia and examine some of their legends.

     I don’t know how much knowledge you have Dewey but some of the names I’m going to mention may be unknown to you.  If they are don’t let that bother you.  You won’t need specialized information to understand the import of what I’m saying.

     Now, in the Gilgamesh epic of Sumer Gilgamesh lives during the reign of the Fifth King after the Deluge circa two thousand BC.  We have tended to disregard such information as mere fancy or fable.  If that were true it would mean the Ancients were just talking from the backs of their necks for no other reason than to amuse themselves.  I don’t think that’s true.  I think they’re talking sense but we just don’t know the frame of reference.

     The fifth king?  What can that mean?  Well, if we interpret each Age or Sign of the Zociac as a king and move back four signs from the Age of Aries which was just dawning in the period of Gilgamesh one finds Taurus, Genini, Cancer…and Leo.  So the Egyptians say that Atlantis disappeared under the sign of Leo and the Mesopotamians say that the Great Flood occurred during the reign of King Leo.

page 1850.

     This means that the Zodiac as a means of time reckoning is very old indeed.  It also indicates that the system had an existence before the Flood being inherited from a predecessor people.  it is interesting that the Mesopotamians said that the Gods existed before the Flood.

     The Gilgamesh epic itself on one level depicts the transition from one ‘king’ to another.  The transition is from the Age of Taurus to the Age of Aries.  The mind of man depicts the transit as one of conflict between the two signs.  For instance, Gilgamesh rules in the guise of Taurus while his successor, Enkidu, although the story seems garbled by later redactors who didn’t understand, is named a Wild Man living beyond the pale of civilization who is drawn into civilization where he serves his apprenticeship as a shepherd, a function of Aries, before going to Ur to challenge Gilgamesh, the representative of the old Age in a wrestling match.  There are differing outcomes to the match but I’m sure the version that has Enkidu triumphing is the original.

     In fact, after becoming friends, Gilgamesh and Enkidu combine their efforts to kill the ‘Bull of Heaven.’  What can this mean but that the Age of Taurus has been replaced by the Age of Aries.

     Thus a shepherd ushers in the Age Of Aries the Ram just as Christ ushered in the Age of Pisces becoming a Fisher of Men.

page 1851.

     Consider Greek mythology.  We know that Zeus did not always exist.  We are given the details of his birth.  We are further told that he will not rule forever but will be replaced by one of his sons.

     We know that Zeus did not survive the transition from Aries to Pisces.  When exactly was Zeus born?  It must have been two thousand years earlier.  In other words Zeus was an Arien god who could not survive the transition into the Age of Pisces.  A different age requires a different archetype.  He had replaced his Taurean father, Cronus.  Being immortal Zeus merely slid back a notch in the Zodiac until Aries returns twenty three thousand years later. 

     The period around two thousand BC was also a time of troubles in Egypt.

     The Jewish god, Yahweh, was also an Arien god.  Is it a coincidence that in the transition from Aries to Pisces that Jewish religious fanatics believed that the ‘End of Days’ was transpiring and that in the new world order they were to come into their own?  Is it possible that the terrible Jewish wars were based on Astrological motives?

     Why the Jews should have become so inflamed at that precise moment is a question to be investigated as it appears that no other people took the changing of the Ages quite so seriously.

     Judaism therefore is a survival of an Arien religion into the Age of Pisces and will even survive into the Age of Aquarius.  This makes the religion an anachronism and a real curiosity.  Could Jewish problems in the Age of Pisces be related to their refusal to accept the archetypes of the New Age?

page 1852.

     The rest of the world accepted the Piscean gods but not without travail.  By the time of Constantine the Piscean religion of Jesus the Christ had triumphed.  We can look for a major change in relgious outlook when the Aquarian archetypes replace the Piscean ones of Jesus and Mary.

     May I be so bold as to offer a prediction as to the nature of those archetypes?  The character of Jesus is a strange one.  He is curiously effeminate.  He is also a god of bread and wine as is indicated at the Last Supper when he offers the disciples a wafer as the flesh of his flesh and wine as the blood of his blood.  By that act he associates hemself with the rites of Eleusis, hence connecting himself with the Greek god, Dionysus.

     In later years the wine god Dionysus was connected with the rites of Eleusis where he was associated with the bread of Demeter.  Jesus is related only to the gentler effeminate side of Dionysus who was nearly half man, half woman.  Thus only half of Dionysus was associated with the Piscean incarnation of Kyrios Christos.  the other orgiastic wild nature side of Dionysus was absorbed by the Medieval creation of the Green Man.

     The Green Man is eternal resurgent nature.  Now, Aquarius is the the water bearer.  His rule in the Olympian Zodiac is Hera the goddess of Earth.  The Age of Aquarius is almost upon us so I predict that when the archetypes of the Piscean religion are replaced by the Aquarian, those archetypes will be the Green Man and Hera in the person of Gaia.  Remember, you heard it here first.

page 1853.

     But I digress.  Nor was the influence of Astrological beliefs, as distinct from the Zodiac, limited merely to the replacement of Aries by Pisces.  As you may have noted if you read the astrological column in the newspaper the sign of Pisces is two fish facing in the opposite directions connected by a cord.  One is male, one is female.

     Now, this is really extraordinary.  The first thousand years is ruled by the male, Jesus, while rulership reverses in the second half of Pisces to the female, Mary.  This actually happened.  Beginning sometime after the year one thousand the importance of Christ in the Catholic Church was superseded by Mary so that during the last half of Pisces the female spirit has been uppermost.  This is most extraordinary.

     Does this make sense to you so far?’

 

     (Terry, while adept in Greek mythology and astrology was not versed in Arthurian lore.  If he had been he would have noticed the supersession of the male principle in even more dramatic form.  Merlin, who had been the magician of the first thousand years of Pisces falls in love with Vivian, The Lady Of The Lake.  She induces him to transmit his lore to her.  Merlin knows what his fate is to be but he makes no attempt to avoid it.  When Vivian has obtained the lore, she imprisons Merlin in the female Earth under a great rock where he remains today, alive and expecting release.  One may assume that he may be assimilated to the Green Man and that his release will occur during the Age of Aquarius, the seventh king from the deluge.

page 1854

     There are probable other evidences of this remarkable change in direction in mid-Pisces.  What is outstanding is that the course of history is being influenced by subterranean currents which are not visible and do not appear to be directed by known secret societies.

     Further the entombment of Merlin was recorded by Church figures.

     This mystery is not imaginary but actually occurred and continues into the Age of Aquarius.  Ask yourself why the song ‘The Dawning Of The Age Of Aquarius’ was placed in the musical ‘Hair’ which song heralds the actual dawning of the Age of Aquarius.  Consider the relatively intense interest in the Green Man who appears to be emerging as the male archetype of the Age.  Consider the emergence of the cult of Gaia who is the female archetype.  The days of the Piscean archetypes are indeed numbered.  Who directs or how such movements are directed is a mystery and well worth investigating.)

 

     ‘Sure it make sense but I’m sure I don’t have enough knowledge to judge whether it’s true or not.’

     ‘I’m sure I don’t know whether it’s true nor not either but this is where my thoughts are leading me.  Now, Mrs. Hicks’ notion of Thera being accounted for by the myth of Hera and Typhon is satisfying because it eliminates Thera as a possible site of Atlantis.  There is no need to have two myths do the same thing besides which the myth of Atlantis is not integral to Greek culture.  The myth only makes its appearance in Greece from six hundred to three hundred BC when Solon brings it back from Egypt and Plato popularized it.

     Besides Thera couldn’t have made an impression so far South as Egypt.  There is no evidence of the explosion in their mythology.  At least I haven’t found any.

     If we accept the evidence of the Sphinx and the idea that the ‘five kings’ of Mesopotamia represent astrological ages then it follows that the Zodiac was operative before the Flood.

     Some other people or civilization devised it.

     The Mesopotamians also list epochs of thousands and tens of thousands of years before the Flood.  Because of the influences of the Hebrew Bible with its absurd chronology these epochs have been dismissed as hyperbole.  Folk myths.  As I think the notion of the five kings makes sense as Astrological ages then probably too do these eons which add up to about a hundred thousand years.

     What happened in those hundred thousand years?  I reason that the Zodiac originally represented the story of the terrestrial year.  After all the signs mean nothing in the celestial Zodiac but the signs accurately represent the progress of the terrestrial year.

     Now, the celestial Zodiac is imagined as a belt of astral constellations that surround the horizon.  what it means when we say that we are in the Age of Pisces is that the constellation of Pisces is in the due East position of the Zodiac so that the Sun rises in it.  When the year two thousand or so arrives as a result of precession Pisces will appear to have moved back while Aquarius will appear to slide into the sun position.  Thus as the Age of Taurus was slain by the Age of Aries, Aquarius will flood out Pisces.

page 1856.

     Yes.  Precession.   The Precession of the Equinoxes is a term that describes the effect of the Plane of the Ecliptic.  Yes.  The planet is off center or tilted by about twenty-three and a half degrees.  On the vernal equinox one might expect the sun’s ray on the equator to strike the same spot every year.  This is not the case because of the ecliptic.  The ray actually strikes several hundred yards behind the previous year’s place so that  a period of twenty-five hundred years or so passes before the Sun’s ray strikes at the beginning point.

     This immense period is known as the Great Year.  The notion with the Ancients is always as above, so below.  It therefore follows that as the Zodiac applies to the terrestrial year so also must it apply to the Great Year.

     The Hermetic philosophy is a belief system that evolved out of the collapse of the Egyptian belief system after the Persian conquest.  Its characteristic saying was as above, so below and vice versa.  Thus the concept of as above, so below may appear to be much later than the origin of the Zodiac but just as the embryo contains the individual from birth to old age so every idea man has or ever will have is contained in the seed of his origins.

page 1857.

     As a teacher we are taught that the word educate is from the Latin term ‘e-ducere’ which means to lead from.  thus every idea leads from or is developed from its seed at the beginning of time and can be traced back to it.  It may be that no Atlantean ever used the words as above, so below but the translation of the Zodiac from Earth to the sky proves the concept was in his mind.

     Where was I?  Oh, yes.  The celestial Zodiac progresses backward or counter-clockwise through the Great Year.  A circle is of three hundred sixty degrees now as then so that it takes seventy-two years to pass through a single degree which would be scarcely noticable to the small number of priests who lived as long so I don’t believe any one priest was so quick as to note one degree of movement, extend that out to the whole process and formulate the concept so that his fellows could accept it, understand it and pass it on.  That’s rubbish.

     So I think the phenomenon of the Great Year had to be observed at least four times.  The first time to notice it, the second to formulate it, the third to prove it and the fourth to establish it.  That amounts to about a hundred thousand years which coincides with the Mesopotamian dates.

     The purpose of the celestial Zodiac was obviously as a counting and mnemonic device.  By noting the position of the celestial Zodiac immense notions of time could be kept.  Before writing, events of importance could be associated with each degree of an age while previous ages were visible with their memories attached.  For instance, the Flood is said to have occurred five ages back.  Had it happened in the previous Great Year it would be said that it happened seventeen kings back.  Twelve plus five.  Or, alternatively, thirty-five thousand years ago.

page 1858

     So much for the origins of the celestial Zodiac.  The signs we use to represent the ages of the Zodiac go no further back than the Greeks.  Still the notions behind the signs are undoubtedly identical to the notions of the originators.  As the embryo grows in form it changes but the genetic identity remains the same.  Do you see what I mean?

     Science has always been present in the world but its idea has to be drawn from point to point in sense of e-ducere.  That’s why it is ridiculous to compare the nineteenth century views of primitives with Mediterranean mythology.  The Med mythology is an education of a hundred thousand yeawrs in the most active speculative area on Earth with results obtained no where else.

     Idea after idea was drawn from previous thought in the clash of opinions leading to intelligence.  In backwaters like Australia there was no real means of advancing thought so the society stagnated.  One might think of e-ducere as cross fertilization.

     The discovery of fire was not scientific because as the Ancients say, it was the ‘gift’ of the gods.  Fire hardening a stick to make a spear is science no matter how primitive.  However the greatest scientific advance of  early man was the development of the ability to measure the length of the actual solar year.

page 1859.

     Possibly early man used the moon as his first calendar.  If so, however long it took him to discover it, he learned much more quickly that the moon had little value as a timekeeper.  He needed something better which he recognized in the solar year.

     Once again I am extrapolating Greek mythology back in time.

     The first thing man noticed was the two halves of the solar year.  In one half the days lengthened with his hopes while in the other half the length of the days diminished increasing his fears.  Thus in Greek mythology you have the myth of Castor and Polydeukes or by his Latin name, Pollux.

     In the Greek myth Zeus coupled with an Earth goddess named Leda when he assumed the form of a swan.  Leda then laid two eggs.  Out of one emerged the two halves of the solar year, Castor and Polydeukes.  Castor was mortal while Polydeukes was immortal.

     Castor who was a trainer of horses represents the first half of the year from December twenty-first to June twentieth.  He is probably associated with horses because one has the impression that the first half of the year passes so quickly and horses are so fleet.

     Polydeukes rpresents the second half of the year as a boxer.  He was a boxer because, as I read it, he fights the shortening of the days while battling against the Hydra to prevent the Unconquerable Sun from being extinguished.

     Castor is mortal because his half of the year is terminated when the days begin to shorten.  Polydeukes is immortal because in his battle to defeat the Hydra he is successful in that the days begin to lengthn at the end of his term.

page 1860

 

 

A Novel

Our Lady Of The Blues

Vol. VII, Part 8

The Heart Of The Matter

by

R.E. Prindle

   

     The formerly complacent mien of the First Class Bos’n’s Mate took on a troubled air.  He walked around the ship with knitted brow.

     And then he caved in to his desires.  If he would never bunk in the Chief’s quarters he could at least create a Petty Officer’s section in First.  The other Petty Officers were enthusiastic for the idea so they decided to requisition the port tiers of bunks for themselves.

     Pardon called Trueman out of muster: ‘You come along too, Frenchey.’

     Both men stepped out of ranks to follow Pardon.  Trueman was somewhat surprised because he was usually told where to go over the side and dismissed.

     Pardon had dissimulated his longings for far too long.  In his own mind he had always considered Trueman as his man just as Dieter had his favorites.  He now meant to set up his own little establishment with Trueman as his man.  He was going to train Trueman in the fine art of overseeing.

     In all his previous work parties Trueman had insisted on equality.  No one had ever overseen him nor had he overseen anybody.  The work load was shared.  He had accepted criticism only from the Petty Officers and that of Castrato only resentfully.

     Dieter had trained several of his favorites in the art of overseeing.  The overseer has the job of supervising the work making sure paint lines are staight and paint is scaled and applied accurately.  He does not participate but stands around observing.  An observer is necessary but the act was not part of Trueman’s psychology.

page 1631.

     ‘OK, you two follow me below into the Deck compartment.’

     Dewey stepped in behind Pardon.  Frenchey made no effort to move.  Always of a sullen mood the attempt on his and Trueman’s lives on the smokestack had made him even more reluctant to participate in shipboard life.

     Dewey went back and took Frenchey by the arm to lead him below.

     ‘Zees ees no going to be, oh, how you say eet in Eenglish, hard, ees eet, Dewey?’

     By that Frenchey meant was this going to be another attempt on his life.  Trueman didn’t comprehend the meaning.

     ‘This is the deck force, Frenchey, no rocket scientists allowed.  Nothing can be too hard.  For Chrissakes this is the Navy; they break everything down so everything can be done by the lowest intelligence.  Everything in the Navy is, Frenchey.  Then they print manuals that explain everything so that even if you didn’t have anyone to tell you what to do you wouldn’t have to make decisions, difficult or easy.  Come on La Frenniere loosen up, we just have to get along in this asshole environment for a few more months.  We’re both under a year.

 

     ‘Mon nom est Frenchey, Meeshur.’

     Trueman was growing weary of that game too.

     ‘So it is, Frenchey, so it is.  My apologies.’

page 1632.

      ‘OK, Trueman, this job is important, take as long as you need to get it right.  Can you do it?’

     ‘Oh, come on, Pardon, of course I can do it right.  But…’  He stepped closer and whispered in Pardon’s ear.  ‘…why don’t you take Frenchey and give him something else:  Come on, don’t make this harder for me than it has to be.’

     Pardon igorned Trueman.  “OK, Trueman, you’re in charge of the work detail.  Frenchey you take orders from Trueman, OK?’

     ‘Oui, Meeshur.’

     ‘Uh, Pardon, I usually work with someone as a team.  No one’s in charge.’

     ‘Things have changed.  You’re in charge on this job.  I want you to oversee.’

     Trueman groaned inwardly but for once was wise enough not to argue.

     They were standing in the new Petty Officer’s quarters on the port side.  The Seamen had been relocated to make room for the Petty Officers.

     ‘This is a pretty simple task and I’m counting on you to do it right Trueman.  I got the best man for the job.’  Pardon’s humor was unintentional but Trueman smiled anyway.

     ‘Oh yeah.  Thanks, Pardon.’

     ‘You see these footlockers?  I want you to paint numbers on them one throught twenty-six.’

     ‘What for?  You guys can’t find your footlockers without numbers?  Nobody else has numbers.  You see, there’s three of these under each tier of bunks.  Top bunk get this one on the left, middle-middle, lower, right.  No disrespect intended to a man of your seniority Pardon but that’s how it’s been done.’

page 1633

     ‘I see you’ve grasped the general principle brilliantly as usual Trueman but I want them numbered, OK?  You’ve got the principle down now work on following orders.’

     ‘A good sailor can geet keeled following zee orders, Meeshur.’  Frenchey put in sullenly.

     Pardon ignored Frenchey while Trueman rolled his eyes.

     ‘Well OK, you want numbers you get numbers.  Who’s got the supplies?’

     ‘Everything is ready for your use, Trueman.  Number stencils.’  Pardon said placing his finger on them.  ‘Paint.’  He held up two little cans of cream colored paint.  ‘And brushes.  Now, Trueman explain how you’re going to do this so I know you understand.,’

     This detail may sound ridiculous but in the Navy one assumes nothing and even then you’ll be wrong.  If there is a way to mess it up, and there always is, it will be messed up.

     ‘Well.’  Said Trueman.  ‘First tell me where number one goes and where I’m supposed to end up.’

     ‘Nice eye for detail.  Alright.  This is number one.’  Pardon said placing his hand on a locker.  ‘And you end up opposite.  Down this side and up the other.’

     ‘OK.  Up this row to the hatch we cross over and come back here.’

     ‘Right.’

     ‘OK.  So these locker lids are each twenty-six inches wide.  So I put the single digit numbers exactly in the middle so the numbers are centered right?  Double digits one number on each side of center.  You don’t want them on the left or right corners?’

page 1634.

     ‘Excellent, Trueman, excellent.’

     ‘Uh huh.  So far I’m doing all your work for you, Pardon.  You’re supposed to be giving me the instructions.  And how far back from the edge do you want this?’

     ‘One inch.’

     ‘OK.  If I have any questions I’ll call you Pardon.’

     ‘I know i’ve put the job in the right hands.  Fall to, Trueman.’

     ‘Right, Pardon.’

     As Pardon walked away Frenchey said sullenly.  ‘I do not like thees, Meeshur Dewey.’

     ‘What do you mean?’

     ‘I do not see why these Monsewer Petty Officers have to have a separate location.’

     ‘I know what you mean, Frenchey.  I don’t like it either.  It seems like they’re really trying to create a class structure.  The idea of Third Classes lording it over Seamen really makes me angry.  Everyone has always been equal while this arrangement makes them think they’re superior to us but we’ve put in our objections now there’s nothing we can do about it.’

     ‘Oui, Meeshur.’  Frenchey said with profound seriousness.  ‘But I am Sailor.  I am not servant.  Cleaning ze toilays ees for others.  Eef they wan’ to have numbers on their lockers then that ees their personal preference.  No one else having ze numbers.  They can do eet themselves.  I do not clean zee toilays and I do not paint zee numbers.  We do not have to do thees personal service.’

page 1636.

     ‘I understand your point, but I don’t know how we’re going to get out of it, Frenchey.’

     ‘I weel appeal to zee Capitaine.’

     ‘I’m not sure he would listen to you on this one, Frenchey.  I agree it’s a personal service but I’m not sure that would matter to anyone else.’

     ‘Eet ees clearly so.’

     ‘To us, Frenchey, but I don’t think it’s so clear cut that the rules wouldn’t be interpreted against us.  You know they want to hang us and you know they won’t stop at murder.  Right or wrong I think they would nail us hard if we refused.’

     ‘Well, we don’ hav’ to do eet well.’

     ‘C’mon man, I always do my work right.’  Trueman said eyeing Frenchey with apprehension.  Deep resentment flowed from Frenchey’s eyes.  His justified sense of injury and wrong was dangerously near the surface.  Trueman decided to be cautious.

     ‘Here, you mix up this can of paint, Frenchey, I’ll be right back.’

     Trueman went off to find a pencil.  When he returned Frenchey was still standing with the paint can in his hand.

     ‘You go ahead and mix that up.’  Trueman said as he walked over to locker number one.  Frenchey sullenly popped the lid, stirring the paint slowly.  Trueman carefully numbered each locker in pencil.  Then he checked each one counting off the numbers.  He wanted no mistakes.

page 1636

     Frenchey had stirred the paint and set the can down.  He was going to insist on being told each move.  Trueman heaved a sigh as he realized that Frenchey was going to sabotage the job even if his best friend was sabotaged along with it.

     ‘OK, Frenchey, now measure the locker and put his number one exactly in the middle.  See.  I put each number in pencil so you can’t make a mistake.’

     ‘Thees is too deeficult for a mere Deck Ape, Meeshur Dewey.’

     ‘Uh, why don’t you go find Pardon and tell him the job is too complicated for you.  Maybe he’ll relieve you.’

     Frenchey went in search of Pardon.  An hour or so later he was back fuming and muttering to himself.

     ‘Well?’

    ‘He say I am to shut up and do as I am told.’

      Trueman looked at Frenchey closely.   The man was walking the edge.  His sense of the injustice of his treatment aboard ship was reaching the breaking point.  Trueman had no idea what to do.  He just said:  ‘Here Frenchey, I’ll show you how.’

     Frenchey knew very well how.  He could have done the job standing on his head but he wasn’t going to do it.

     Dewey demonstrated the method to Frenchey who stood with clenched lips quivering with rage.  The job was too much like a personal insult for his sensibilities.  He thought that if Petty Officers wanted numbers they could paint them themselves.  He was a sailor not a servant.  He had his point.  He remembered only too well having had to clean the head.  Perhaps Castrato and Ratman had prevailed on Pardon to have Trueman and Frenchey do personal service.

page 1637.

     Trueman sympathized fully with Frenchey but he could also sense a trap.  Just as on the smokestack he knew how to deal with it.

     Having explained the task to Frenchey Trueman stepped back to oversee in the prescribed manner.  While Trueman worked fast impatient of obstruction or delay just wanting to get the job done Frenchey was a master obstructionist.  He was quite prepared to take so much time as to make this job the last he would ever do in the Navy.

     He looked up at Trueman watching him:  ‘You are a Seaman just like me, Meeshur, Dewey.’

     For Trueman this was an irrefutable argument.  He certainly would not have stood still for Frenchey’s overseeing himself.  Perhaps this was the trap.  Neither he nor Frenchey knew how desperately Blaise Pardon yearned for the dignity of the Chief’s quarters.  Trueman had no notion that Pardon considered him his fair haired boy nor did Frenchey realize that he and Trueman were considered a pair.  Pardon from his point of view had every reason to believe Frenchey would cooperate with Trueman.

     Trueman got Frenchey’s point.  If he oversaw the job would never get done.  If he chipped in and checked Frenchey’s work the job might get done but he couldn’t work and supervise Frenchey’s work at the same time.  His anxiety to get the job done won out.

     ‘OK, Frenchey, I’ll take one through six and the opposite side.  You take from the break and that opposite side but you can’t dally.  I want to get this job done.’

page 1638.

     ‘What you say ees fine, Meeshur.’

     Dewey and Frenchey went to work.  Dewey wanted to please Blaise so he gave his best effort carefully centering the numbers one inch from the edge.  He gave a quick check on Frenchey from time to time who seemed to have the job right although intentionally a little sloppier.

     The morning had been wasted while only half the afternoon was used effectively.  The job was less than half done at knocking off time.

     That the job was one that would allow the Petty Officers to lord it over the two Seamen became apparent after dinner.  Frenchey bunked closer to the Petty Officers so he was first insulted.

     Bent Cygnette, who was only a Third Class called Frenchey over.

     ‘Hey, Frenchey, goddamn it, look at this.  This is pretty sloppy work.’

     Frenchey who was ready for them refused to budge.

     ‘I am not ze one to talk to, Meeshur.  I am only humble servant.  Messhur Dewey he ees zee overseer.  Talk to heem.’

     Cygnette called out to Trueman.  Trueman feared Cygnette but was alerted by the appeal to Frenchey.  He was not going to let a miserable Third Class anything attempt to boss him especially on off hours.

     ‘What do you want, Cygnette.’  He called over from the starboard side.

page 1639

     ‘Get your ass over here and look at this Trueman.’

     ‘Get your ass over here and explain yourself, Cygnette.’

     Cries of ‘ooh, hoo hoo’ rose from several throats.

     ‘Trueman’s asking for it now.’  The seamen got up ready for a confrontation.  But as tough as he acted Cygnette was never ready for a direct confrontation.  He always found a way out while seeming to be tough.

     “If you’re looking for trouble Trueman I’m your man but this isn’t the time or place.  Get over here and look at this workmanship.’

     ‘I don’t take orders from Gunner’s Mates during hours, Cygnette, and I sure as hell don’t take orders from one after hours.  If you’ve got a complaint take it up with Pardon who’s standing right next to you there.  He’s your man, I’m not.’

     ‘You’re a damn mouthy sailor, Trueman.’

     Trueman really didn’t want to push it given Cygnette’s reputation as a brawler but he had to speak back.

     ‘If you’ve got a problem with anybody in deck, Cygnette, take it up with Pardon.  I’m sure he’ll be able to help you.’

     ‘Fuck!’  Cygnette expleted noncommitally.

     ‘I told you thees ees to humiliate us Meeshur Dewey.’  Frenchey said the next morning as they were back on the job.

     ‘It’s not like I disagree with you Frenchey but there isn’t anything we can do about it.  Let’s just finish the job and get it over with.’

     Frenchey made no more demurs and they did finish the job.  The numbering looked good.  Dewey had returned the tools to the paint locker when Frenchey came up behind him.

page 1640

     ‘There ees a problem, Meeshur Dewey.’  The master saboteur said defiantly.

     ‘What kind of problem, Frenchey?’

     ‘I have make zee mistake.  I have paint zee same number two of zee times.’

     ‘Frenchey, how could you do that?  I numbered the lockers in pencil to prevent that.’

     ‘I do not know how eet happens, Meeshur, but I know eet ees so.’

     After the first day Trueman had approached Pardon to be relieved of Frenchey.  He had explained that he could do it better and faster without him.  Pardon had been adamant that Frenchey stay on the job.

     Trueman assumed that Frenchey had used the same number on either side of the passageway.  Now the prospect of stripping half the numbers to repaint them was too much for Dewey.  He had no idea of the vindictiveness of the Arizona sailor.  Trueman made one of the stupidest mistakes of his life.

     ‘Aw, just forget it Frenchey, those guys are so dumb they’ll never catch on.’

     The anger seething in Frenchey’s soul drove him on.  He managed to be in the area when Castrato spotted the error.  Technically Frenchey was not responsible as Trueman had been appointed overseer but as Frenchey had rejected an overseer he was actually responsible but so what.

page 1641.

     ‘Here, look at this, two of the same number.  What gives?’

     ‘I am only ze ‘umble deck hand, Meeshur, I am following zee orders.’

     ‘You were ordered to use the same number twice?’

     ‘Messhur Dewey, my overseer, say Petty Officers too dumb to notice.’

    Heads snapped around.  Pardon stalked over to Frenchey.

     ‘Trueman said we’re too dumb to notice that?’

     ‘Oui, oui Meeshur.’

     Pardon walked stiff legged across the compartment in high dudgeon.

      ‘Trueman.’  He began with as much emotion as he had ever been know to exhibit.  ‘You’ve got two of the same numbers over here.  Come over here and look.’

     Trueman, believing the identical numbers were on opposite sides of the aisle was prepared with a humorous patter but he was surprised the Petty Officers, who he sincerely believed were too dumb to notice, had noticed so quickly, walked over to take a look intending to be amazed.  When he was shown the lockers nine and ten side by side both with nine stenciled on them but clearly marked nine and ten in pencil he was dumbfounded.

    ‘And you thought we would be too dumb to notice that?’

    Dewey looked at the double dyed perfidious Frenchey standing smugly with his arms folded across his chest.  He ceased at that moment to exist for Trueman.

     ‘Hey, Pardon, I didn’t realize they were next to each other, I thought they were on opposite sides of the passageway.

page 1642.

     ‘Oh, so you didn’t think we were too dumb to notice them side by side but we’re still dumb enough not to notice them across the aisle?’

     That was what Trueman believed but he couldn’t say it.  Why, he thought, hadn’t he checked Frenchey’s work out first.

     Trueman was hurt.  Deep down hurt.  Not only had be been betrayed by Frenchey but he had earned the disrespect of the only man aboard that he had respect for and that because he had assumed that he knew what Frenchey had done.  The loss of Pardon’s respect was more than he wanted to lose; given his own personality there was no chance now that he had been criticized by Pardon that any raprochement could take place so he threw the relationship to the winds.

     ‘What the hell did you expect, Pardon?  I told you to give La Frenniere another job.  I told you he wouldn’t work.  He couldn’t accept an overseer and I don’t blame him.  I couldn’t accept him or any other asshole deckhand.  He simply would not move a finger unless I worked too.

     Look at that penciled number, Pardon.  There is no possible way that he made a mistake.  He hates you; he did it on purpose.  Furthermore he hates you with a good reason.  Numbering these lockers isn’t Deck work.  If you guys wanted numbers it was your responsibility to number them yourselves.  We aren’t your personal servants.

     Plus you tried to kill him by sending him up on the stack.  Why wouldn’t he hate you?  You could have stopped that Pardon, you could have intervened but you didn’t.  You’re just as guilty of attempted murder as Dieter and that asshole Castrato.’  Trueman perorated pointing a finger at the Second Class.

     Having finished he slunk out of the area chagrined at this ruptured relationship with Pardon but subconsciously seething in anger at the First Class because he had permitted the attempt on both La Frenneire’s and his own life.

     ‘Zat was very well said, Meeshur.’  La Frenniere said following Dewey.

    ‘Oh shut up La Frenniere, shut up.  You asshole.  I don’t care how much you hate someone else, I don’t care how justified it is but you never fuck yourself.  Get that stupid, you never fuck yourself.  And also you never fuck your friends.  You’re so stupid, La Frenniere, that you did both.  Now get away from me and don’t ever speak to me again.’

     ‘But, Meeshur…’

     ‘And cut that phony French crap, La Frenniere.  You’re not French; you’re from Arizona.’

     La Frenniere had hurt Dewey.  He had breached Dewey’s defenses against the indignities of having to associate with men he considered beneath him to whom he would now be open to justified ridicule.  Doing his job right had always justified Dewey in his mind against his slovenly deck mates.

     Now he took his vengeance out on La Frenniere.  The little spell La Frenniere had thrown over the ship to make them call him Frenchey had been dispelled.  He had been identified once again as Dennis La Frenniere.   He now stood naked before his shipmates just as he had denuded Trueman.  No one ever called him Frenchey again.  He had to deal with the indignities he felt in his own identity.

     His pain at having to face Navy life without his screen as Frenchey was more than he could bear.  His personality began to unravel before everyone’s eyes.  He took to standing and weeping quietly.  It was not his intention to go on a hunger strike but he stopped eating just the same.

     He was transferred while Dewey was on leave.  Discharged it would take several years before he would be able to function again.  You know it ain’t easy; some have to fall by the wayside.

     Trueman recovered as best he could but as he had managed to insult everyone in First in his defensive tirade he noticed a definite pressure drop.

Tory Torbrick Redux

     Finding a circle is never easy.  Cast aside by Trueman Torbrick who was no hail fellow well met was either unwanted by the other sailors or rejected them.  The Navy was a tough life.  Just as at sea there was water everywhere but none of it was fit to drink so in close proximity to a couple hundred men there were very few with whom one wished to associate.

     Guilt bound Torbrick to Trueman so even though Trueman wouldn’t speak to him he ingratiated himself with Roque Da Costa, McLean and Whatley.  Soon he was making the trip North with them.  Trueman was forced once again to associate with him.

     Still convinced that Trueman was insane he continued to behave in a deprecating manner toward him as though he were a technician handling dangerous materials which Trueman found distasteful.  Having succeeded in forcing himself on Trueman Torbrick then wanted Trueman to ride in his car rather than theirs.

page 1645.

     Dewey had had problems with McLean.  Joe in his hatred of Trueman, which is to say himself, always gave preference to Da Costa  and Whatley and even Torbrick.  After the accident the convertible top had been sprung letting in copious amounts of air which at high speed at night even in Southern California was brisk enough to be uncomfortable.

     The cold air overwhelmed the capacity of the heater.  The only way to stay warm was to crouch down on the floor in front of the heater.  McLean always gave the front seat to Da Costa or Whatley having Trueman ride in the back.  Now that was chill.  In an effort to keep warm Trueman to McLean’s delight had to lean over the front seat to catch warm air from the heater.

     In the blindness of his friendship Trueman was incapable of seeing McLean laughing in delight at his discomfort.

     As much as he hated to favor Torbrick the prospect of another November drive in the very nearly open car of McLean of which the top was shredding was too much for Trueman.  He took the ride.

     As a special reward for some reason the Navy gave the men a Friday off.  Thus Trueman and Torbrick set off at five AM for the trip North to take full advantage of the long weekend.

     In order to get someone in trouble, to get them to show their ‘true character’ it is necessary to place them in harm’s way.  If Trueman having been lured to Tijuana and its whorehouses, had been led into a fight, he would undoubtedly have been taken by the gendarmes to the legendary Tijuana jail.  Thus his ‘true character’ would have been revealed.

page 1646.

     For the rest of his life he would have had to lie when asked if he had ever been arrested or in jail or defame himself by admitting it no matter in how comical or deprecatory a manner.  The key to defaming a person is to create a criminal record for him.

     Thus, even though Trueman didn’t have a driver’s license Torbrick insisted that he drive.  This even though Trueman freely admitted that the only time he had ever driven a car was the few miles in San Juan Capistrano when he had been hitchhiking.

     Driving without a license is a relatively serious violation of the Motor Vehicle Code.  Especially so if your driving could be interpreted as dangerous or reckless.  If Trueman had considered he would have refused to drive but he was eager to drive so he took the opportunity.

     Torbrick had a ’56 Ford.  Hard to tell where his old man got the money for that.  It was a good driving car.  Without being expert Trueman quickly got the knack.  By the time they passed the towers of Disneyland he was negotiating the five lanes if not with the relaxed aplomb of the Marine, Bill Baird, at least adequately.

     Torbric during the whole journey sat with his back to the door staring at Trueman as though he were some artefact on display at a museum.  He had the habit of talking to Trueman as though he were a psychiatrist examining a real psychological oddity which transcended normal experience by too far and a half.  Trueman found this exasperating and offensive.

page 1647.

     By the time they got through the Stack the smog in LA was biting.  LA was perhaps the first city in America to have a real smog problem.  They were to have smog alerts in which they were warned to not breathe deeply.

     As an interesting aside the hippy cartoonist of the LA Free Press, Ron Cobb, always used to ridicule the LA airport by having all his characters standing around in gas masks.  Gasmasks certainly would have been useful at certain times.  The restaurant outside the terminal took revenge on him by inventing the Cobb salad.  Actually a very tasty salad the ingredients were chopped up into small particles and blended together as they wished they could do to Ron Cobb.  It’s really quite funny if you dwell on it a while.

     The smog was intense and biting on that day although not hazy but clear.  The sun sliced brightly through the air but the acid really smarted causing the eyes to tear.  In an effort to avoid blinking Trueman narrowed his eyes into little slits that reduced the area of exposed eyeball.  To Torbrick leaning against the door looking at him it looked as though Trueman was driving with his eyes shut.

     ‘Open your eyes, Dewey.  You can’t see the road with your eyes closed.’

     ‘My eyes are open, Torbrick and I can see the road.  If I open them wide it hurts so much I can’t see the road.’

page 1648.

     ‘N-n-no.  You’ve got your eyes closed.  I can see it.  Open them please.’  Torbrick thought there was no insanity that was beyond Trueman.  As unreasonable as it was to suppose that Trueman was driving the Hollywood Freeway with his eyes closed Torbrick persisted in his belief.

     ‘Look Torbrick, if you’d rather drive I’ll stop the car right here and you can take over.’

     ‘Oh god, Dewey, you can’t just stop, there’s no place to pull over.’

     ‘I can stop and I will if you don’t shut up and leave me alone.’  Dewey said in exaperation but not conviction.  The threat was enough to silence Torbric who thought Trueman was crazy enough to do it.

     Although Trueman enjoyed driving, the trip was the most exasperating and boring that he would ever take.  Torbrick was the most commonplace of minds.

     They got into Oakland early Friday afternoon.  School was not yet out so Trueman dumped Torbrick to go up to Castlemont High to suprise Louise and walk her home.

     Castlemont only two years before had had only a few Black students but the Blacks continually arriving from the South had pushed deep into the forty and fifty blocks and were rapidly appropriating the sixties so that in a scant two years Castlemont had become half Black.  You want to talk about stresses.

     A lot of attention has been paid to White resistance to Black inroads in their neighborhoods but it should be remembered that those Whites were displaced from familiar and loved areas to have to go seek new roots elsewhere.  It is wrong to think that Blacks wanted them in the neighborhood.  The Blacks felt much more comfortable among their own.

page 1649.

     A great many White lives were disrupted as high school students had to try to integrate themselves into new school environments which is an impossible thing to do.  The social costs were perhaps higher for the Whites who were displaced than for the Blacks who displaced them.

     Dewey had gone to an all White school so he was startled to see so many Black faces.  Although he had thought he would walk Louise home, once inside the school he realized that he had no means to find her.  Fortunately he ran into Donna Popp who lived up the block from Louise.

     Donna was a very nice girl but afflicted with extreme hairiness.  Not the light downy kind but the long black hairs that made her resemble a female Wolfman.  She overcame this liability by being quite a wonderful person.

     ‘Oh, Dewey.  I’m so glad you’re here.  No, Louise skipped school today.  She’s not here but don’t leave me, Dewey.’

     ‘Uh, OK, but why not, Donna?’

    ‘Gosh, I was late getting out of class.  If I don’t get out right away with the rest of the girls the Black guys will rape you.’

     ‘You’re kidding me.’  Dewey replied, astonished as he looked down the hall at the dozens of Black boys standing around with hungry eyes like tigers lurking in the jungle.

page 1650.

     ‘They can’t get away with that, Donna.’

     ‘Oh yes they can.  It’s happened to two friends of mine already and Louise had a close call.’

     ‘But why weren’t they arrested?’

     ‘Because they’re Black and if they get arrested they’ll cry discrimination and start a riot;.’

     The Black guys stared hungrily in Dewey’s and Donna’s direction not sure whether to attempt it or not.  Dewey put on his toughest Navy look and stance which established the relationship as he and Donna hurried out.

     ‘Are you and Louise going to the dance tonight?’

     ‘I don’t know.  Is there a dance tonight?’

     ‘Uh huh.  The homecoming dance.’

     ‘I’ll ask Louise when I get there.  Want me to carry your books?’   

     ‘Sure, thanks.’

     Dewey dropped Donna off at her door continuing up the block to the house of Louise.  Louise was busy but said that yes they were going to the dance.  Dewey wandered off to return later.

     Louise and Dewey with a gaggle of her friends entered the gymnasium where the dance was sparsely attended.  The transition from a White school to a Black school was apparent in racial tensions that Dewey had never experienced.  The Blacks sat on one side of the gym while the Whites sat on the other.  The Blacks glared intense hatred and resentment across the basketball court while the Whites rendered impotent by their parents of the Greatest Generation sat and cringed in guilt.

page 1651

     The music was provided by a phonograph.  Each side seemed to have a preference for specific records; the Blacks preferring a down home primitive sound while the Whites preferred a more sophisticated Rock and Roll.  There may be voices of dissent that Black music was coarse, primitive and really unmusical but then if you haven’t listened to ‘White Port And Lemon Juice’ what can you really have to say?  Records were alternated as neither side would take the floor with the others on it.

     Dewey watched fascinated unable to envision the tensions that existed in the classrooms.  The Blacks, many of them fresh up from ‘Bama had been placed in classes by age not by ability so the quality of education must have suffered severely.  Some may say that I am unfairly characterizing the preparation of the Negroes but if you’re going to argue that the quality of education depends on the amount of money spent and that the amount spent on Black schools in the South was much less than that spent on White schools then it logically follows that the Black students fresh from points South had inferior educations and weren’t qualified for their grade years.  I mean, really, you are bound to honor your own arguments.  Logical consistency has been thrown overboard for racial interests since those times but it never hurts to have a reality check from time to time.

      Several of the girls behind Dewey on the bleachers stared anxiously across the gym at some of the Black boys as they discussed them with a mixture of fear and awe and anticipation that they might soon be raped by them with no recourse. 

     ‘See that one; that’s Bobby Thomas.  You got to watch him.  He’s really after me.  I have to get out real quick or he’ll grab me.  He’s always got four or five guys around him.  You know how it is when they surround you so nobody can see while one of them does it to you.  God, right there against the lockers, standing up.’

page 1652.

     ‘I know, it hasn’t happened to me yet but my friend Marsha got it a week ago.  She’s really feeling bad, poor kid, not much you can do about it though.  You’ve just got to learn to live with it.’

     ‘Yeah, but it’s bad enough to get pregnant and have a white baby, who wants a Black one?  How do you explain that to anyone?’

     ‘I know.  No one will believe you got raped.  They’ll say you asked for it.  I can’t even begin to convince my mother how bad it is.  She and my dad go on about he fought the Nazis so people could be free.  Some freedom.  Which people is it that he was trying to make free and which was he trying to enslave?  They just tell me not to be prejudiced.  They’re just like us they say.’

     ‘Yeah, except if a White guy raped you you could put his ass in a sling.’

     Dewey listened to this with, if not unbelieving ears, astounded ears.  He had no idea as yet that life had become a war zone with the advantage on the other side.  To make any complaint was to brand oneself as a racist.

     In a few years he would learn that a hell on earth had been created by the Founding Fathers and enforced by the Greatest Generation.  Trouble was coming everyday, indeed.

page 1653.

     Dewey dropped Louise off with a sense of amazement, compassion and pity.  Dewey wondered how he would have been able to put up with it.

      Louise and her parents were gone on Sunday so after putting around all day with Torbrick they got on the highway at six for the trip back.

     About midnight Torbrick began to worry Trueman about staying awake.

     ‘Look Torbirck I’ve been doing this for months and I’ve never had any trouble staying awake, see?  You don’t go to sleep when you’re in someone else’s car.’

     ‘I know, but tonight might be different.  I’d just feel better if you took a couple of these bennies.’ Torbrick said producing a box.

     ‘I don’t take drugs.’  Dewey snarled.

     ‘I know, I know.  I’m not asking you to take drugs but if you don’t take a couple of these to stay awake you might crash the car and never wake up.’

     Dewey gave Torbrick a sharp look, offended that he would try to get Dewey hooked on drugs while posing as his friend.

     ‘I don’t want to get hooked on drugs, Torbrick, if you’re worried you drive.’

     ‘You can’t get hooked one time, Dewey.  I’d feel better with you driving.  C’mon, it’s important to stay awake.’

page 1654.

     Dewey reluctantly swallowed one of the pills to shut Torbrick up.  The bennie didn’t so much keep him awake as dull his mind and slow his reflexes.  The pill didn’t dull his mind so much that he didn’t see the red light of the Highway Patrol flashing behind him.  He knew he wasn’t speeding so he didn’t know what it could be.  His task now was to make it look like Torbrick was driving.

     Tory suppresed a little glee sure that Trueman was in trouble.  He made the mistake of getting out of the car when Trueman did.  As usual the cop took a long time getting out of his car.

     Trueman had walked back towards the police car, Torbrick meeting him behind the Ford.  Trueman put the keys in Torbrick’s hand stepping over to the passenger side of him.

     The cop got out doing a casual cop power stroll up to the car.

     ‘Know why I stopped you?’  The cop demanded.

     ‘Speeding?’  Torbrick said hopefully not realizing that he now appeared to be the driver with keys in his hand.

    ‘No.  You’ve got a taillight out here.’  The cop said tapping the light on the driver’s side which was indeed broken  out.

     ‘Oh,  It’s his car.’  Dewey said swiftly getting into the passenger’s seat.

     Well, I’m not going to give you a ticket this time but you better get that fixed right away.’

     ‘Yes, I will officer.  Thank you.’

     ‘By the way, let me look at your driver’s license while I’m here.’

     After a quick review Torbrick slid into the driver’s seat.

     ‘That was pretty slick, Dewey.  He didn’t even know you were driving.’

     ‘I didn’t think it was too bad myself.  Home, Torbrick.’

     They both laughed.  Dewey had avoided danger while Torbrick glanced at him admiringly but this was the last time Dewey elected to ride with Torbrick.  It wasn’t that he didn’t have a driver’s license which was a risk he could accept but he deeply resented Torbrick’s having forced the bennie on him.  If he hadn’t known before he now knew that Torbrick was not a true friend.

     He wondered who had broken the taillight which had been intact in San Diego.  It didn’t occur to him to suspect Joe McLean who would be the author of that little trouble and many another woe.

     The two men walked aboard the Teufelsdreck while it was still pitch black.

page 1656.

THIS SIDE OF BIG RIVER.

A Journey Of Twenty-five Hundred MIles Begins With A Single Step.

     Our Lady had hired his assassin but in his excitement he had forgotten to arrange for Dewey to be out on the highway; a small detail but an essential one.

     By now Yisraeli had a pretty good psychological profile on Trueman.  As he hadn’t gauged the conflicts raging in Dewey’s mind but dealt only with external manifestations Our Lady found him unpredictable.  He had discerned Trueman’s predilection for novelty and he had found his enemy easily suggestible.

     He had Kanary and a few of his confederates plant the notion of hitchhiking across country in Dewey’s mind.  Hitching across country is no light matter; hitching is always dangerous; nobody knew that better than Trueman so he turned a deaf ear to the notion.

     Time was of the essence as the lawyers say.  Dewey had to be gotten off the bus quickly.  If Trueman had little cash on him he still had two years of allotments sent to the bank in the Valley.  He could have afforded to fly without any difficulty.  Cursed by his mother of the Steel Womb he had been persuaded by her to allocate half his wages against the future.  As J.P. Morgan once said:  People always have two reasons for going anything; a good reason…and the real one.

page 1657

     Had Dewey sat down and reasoned the matter out he would have realized that even the good reason for foregoing his present wasn’t good enough.  He wasted three years punishing himself by extreme poverty for no good reason.  Three of the best years of his life which he should have been enjoying were thrown into a steel womb.  But then that wasn’t his mother’s real reason.  The real reason was that she would never stop punishing him for not having been a girl.

     If questioned she would have said she wasn’t aware of it but that would have been nonsense too.  There is no unconscious.  In the way of the psychotic she just didn’t consciously acknowledge her motives to herself.  And so Dewey scrubbed his best interests to buy a ticket for a bus ride he knew he wouldn’t be able to tolerate.

     That’s where Our Lady got his leverage.

     He kept the pressure on.  Thus while his confederates were extolling the virtues of hitching Dewey was ruminating on the horrible prospect of that bus ride.

     His fellows kept up a patter about fabulous hitchhiking feats.  One lucky guy had caught a non-stop ride to New York City a few seconds after he put his thumb out.  By alternating as driver he made it back in forty-eight hours.  Forty-eight hours!  Now there was incentive.

     It was even proved, as it were, that by using some mathematical formula by dividing the speed of light by the retrograde motion of Mars that you could actually be in New York before you had debunked in San Diego.  Dewey’s interest had been piqued but he had already bought the bus ticket.

page 1658.

     Kanary reported the situation disconsolately to Yisraeli.  Our Lady instructed Kanary to deal directly with Trueman himself taking him by the hand if necessary to get a refund on the ticket and then to lead him to the highway.  Kanary protested that Trueman would never trust him.  Kanary made the mistake of projecting his perception of their relationship on Trueman believing Trueman hated him as much as hated Trueman.

     It was true that Trueman distrusted Kanary but Yisraeli had divined that Trueman’s desire to be liked would easily overcome a feeling of distrust by a display of apparent friendship.  Kanary did as he was instructed.  His guilt and hatred was such that he was not able to project much friendliness.  Trueman remained suspicious but as he really did want to be liked he lowered his guard.  Kanary took him to the bus station he get his refund.

     Kanary then told him that he knew an excellent location to begin.  Here there is no accounting for Trueman’s stupidity.  He knew there was only one highway East out of San Diego.  He knew that Kanary flew to San Francisco and never hitchhiked anywhere so there was no reason for him to know a good place to stand heading East.

     Another remarkable thing in Trueman’s conduct is that he never consulted a map or carried one.  he had an excellent general notion of the layout of the country; he knew where all the cities were in relation to the othr cities so he always knew the general direction he wanted to go.  That was good enough for him.

page 1659.

     A journey of a thousand miles may begin with a single step but the problem remains where the first step will be taken.  Yisraeli himself had a crazy scheme that shouldn’t have worked but it almost did.  This was really a case of dumb and dumber.

     Yisraeli’s plan was to send Trueman North out of San Diego through San Bernardino and Barstow.  Somewhere in that distance his agent, Dalton Dagger, was supposed to murder Trueman leaving the body out in the desert for the rodents to gnaw.

     Dewey knew 99 thoroughly  and was familiar with 101 but he had never been East or gone North up 395.

     Highway 101 runs border to border on the West side of the Coast Range while 99, now Interstate 5, runs from border to border between the Coast Range and the ranges of the Sierra Nevada and the Cascades.  Highway 395 which ran from border to border on the East of the Sierras and Cascades was uncharted territory.

     Dewey knew the lay of 395 in San Diego because it ran down the length of Balboa Park.  From that knowledge he knew there was no good hitchhiking access.  Kanary said he would show him where.  That was such a nice little service on Kanary’s part for a a man he didn’t like that it should have made Dewey go back to the bus station for his ticket.  But it didn’t.

     On the morning of December 13th Dewey and Kanary could be seen picking their path through the traveling derricks toward the gate of the Naval Station.  In a peculiar homosexual ritual Kanary carried his wallet and personal effects held chest high in his two hands like the talisman of a princess conducting the victim to the place of execution.

page 1660.

     Trueman was amazed that Kanary could leave the ship on a weekday morning but then that’s why Yeoman is such a sensitive post.  Not only does all correspondence pass through their hands but they have great discretionary latitude with their time.  Describing Kanary’s Naval career would be another large branch of this story containing much revealing detail.  But as the sage said:  That’s another story.

     As they walked through Balboa Park Kanary was no longer able to conceal his disgust and hatred.  He kept three paces behind Trueman as though he were herding a sheep to the slaughter.

     They came to an overpass above a deep thirty foot cut with steep ivy covered embankments and no shoulder.  Dewey was incredulous.

     ‘You got to be kidding Kanary.  I thought you said you knew a good access place.  That’s dangerous.  It’s high speed and there’s no place for a car to pull over.  Jesus, I’m liable to be picked up by the cops before I get a ride.’

     ‘Well.’  Said Kanary with ill concealed scorn.  ‘You can always take the bus.’

     ‘Yeah, but I’d waste a whole day now.’

     ‘That’s the way it is.’  Kanary sniggered.  He now considered his self made enemy as good as dead.  ‘So long.’  He said holding his purse up breast high with a little bow.  ‘If I never see you again it will be too soon.’  He turned casting a hateful glance over his shoulder at Trueman and walked away.  Teal Kanary had been quite successful in darkening his own world.  He thought the impending doom of Trueman would be a lightning flash to illuminatie it.

page 1661.

     Dewey was perplexed.  He wasn’t clear yet that he was heading North but the highway was not propitious for hitchhiking.  He looked up the highway but he couldn’t see a better place to start.  Grumbling to himself he crossed the overpass scrambling down through the ivy of a very steep embankment.  The curb was abutted to the roadbed so there was no place for cars to pull over.  Standing with one foot in the ivy while the other was propped up nearly chest level on the embankment he surveyed the old concrete cracked two lane road, one each way, as he put his thumb out.  The cars whizzed by; there seemed no propect for a ride.

     ‘Oh god, I’ve been set up.’  He realized belatedly.  ‘If the cops get here first so much for my leave.’

     The psychological necessity for the perpetrator is to see the victim entangled in his mesh.  They will always come to see.  The fellow you know who stands to watch you in your toils is the man who set you up.  If they are really devious they will send a decoy as a scapegoat to draw your attention if they think you’re hep.  Then they come along second or stand further in the background but they always come to watch.  There are some devious people out there.

     As Dewey stood there the car bearing Yisraeli, Beverly and Anne was speeding toward him.

page 1662.

     Both Beverly and Anne had entered the plot with glee.  Beverly who was still reeling under the blows of fate was only too glad to pass her torment on to another.  Move that monkey along.  Like so many deluded folk she though she could liberate herself by putting that monkey on someone else’s back.

     Anne, who had been told that Dewey was her brother’s murderer, was only too glad to see the victim before ‘justice’ was done.

     Dewey like any good hitchhiker made eye to eye contact with every passing driver.  Thus for a hundred feet he watched the occupants of the oncoming car seeming to laugh and point at him.  Our Lady drew his finger across his throat as they passed as an indication that Dewey was to be terminated.

     Drivers sometimes did strange things as they passed.  This was one of the strangest.  Dewey noted it because of its strangeness.  The only interpretation he could make of it was that a cop was close behind.

     Yisraeli’s plan was not overly complicated but it had a number of uncontrolled variables.  Dalton Dagger was supposed to be right behind Yisraeli to pick Trueman up.  Yisraeli, who was not without a sense of humor, wanted to joke with Trueman.  Aboard ship when Yisraeli’s confederates had told the story of how the hitcher’s first ride had been coast to coast they were setting Dewey up.  Thus when Dewey would ask how far Dalton Dagger was going his very first ride would a non-stop to the Valley.  Then when Dalton murdered Dewey on the highway to Barstow, Our Lady would have a great laugh.

page 1663.

     However Dalton was not that reliable.  Punctuality and Dalton spoke only from a distance over a great chasm so he wasn’t even close to beginning.  Yisraeli’s plan was already getting sketchy.

     By some miracle the car behind Yisraeli did stop to pick up the sailor.  Trueman blessed his luck while a line of cars piled up behind his ride who obviously had to stop in the middle of the single Northbound lane.  Even though the car had stopped almost in front of Trueman by the time he slammed the door there were ten irate drivers behind.

     ‘I’m only going as far as Escondido.’

     ‘That’s alright.  Thanks for getting me out of that spot.  I’m amazed you stopped, especially since all those driver’s got so angry.’

     ‘Ahh, nothin’.  I do what I want.  I’m king of this or any other road.  If they don’t like it let ’em suck my exhaust pipe.  I stop where I damn well please.’

     Dewey was always too concerned about the rights of others.  He both admired and condemned the driver’s self-centered attitude but he could have used a little of it.

     Yisraeli had noticed Trueman being picked up in his rear view mirror so he kept his eye on the car until he could swing off the highway and come back on the on ramp and get behind it.  Thus when Trueman took up his position in Escondido he was amazed to see the same people laughing and pointing at him again.

     There were not nearly so many traveling to Riverside and San Bernardino as there re were to LA so three hours later he was still in the same place as the local traffic passed him by.  He began to reflect that this was the 13th.  Not superstitious but wary of superstitions he began to wonder why he would have picked a day like the 13th to begin.  Of course he hadn’t.  He’d been managed into it by Yisraeli through his surrogate Kanary but Dewey had forgotten or never noticed.  Our Lady always was a joker.

page 1664. 

     The sun was going down when a car pulling an airstream stopped to pick him up.  Dewey thought they were merely an exuberant couple as they headed up the highway.  But then as the car and airstream swerved across the lane into oncoming traffic Dewey realized that they were not only exuberant but exceedingly drunk.  He tried to keep his cool as the distance between the drunks and the oncoming car closed.

     ‘Don’t you think you should change lanes?’  He politely inquired as the grille of the oncoming car loomed in exquisite detail in his vision.

     ‘Arrr, you’re not one of them goddamned nervous nellies are you?’  The driver jocularly asked as the car and airstream drifted back across the line as the whites of the oncoming driver’s eyes loomed large in Dewey’s sight.

      ‘Say, why don’t you come up to the cabin and loosen up and have a good time with us?’

     ‘Oh now, I’d like to, you know, but I’ve only got a two week leave and I’m going back home.’

     ‘Awww, screw home.  Forget it.  Come on and spend a couple weeks with us.’

page 1665.

     ‘That’s a terrific offer but I think I’ll go home.  It’s been a long time.’

     All this time the car and airstream were weaving across the line.  Dewey began to curse Kanary wishing he’d taken the bus instead.  There was no doubt in his mind that he was going to die on that highway.  But then the road to Lake Elsinore appeared on the left.

     ‘Come with us.’  The driver iterated.

     ‘No.  I’ve got to get out.’

     The driver feinted a turn then let Dewey out into a twilight in which the sun had already disappeared.

     ‘Good luck in the dark on this road, honey.’  The driver’s wife gloated maliciously as Dewey shut the door.

     Dewey became apprehensive as night did indeed follow.  But then, miraculously, a car stopped in front of him.

     ‘I’m not going very far.’  The driver who was a young guy of twenty-five said.

     He was a malicious fellow.  He drove Dewey down the highway another twenty miles then dropped him out in the blackness in the middle of nowhere.  Then he continued on down the highway to San Bernardino with a sour laugh.

     Dewey began to lament the error of his ways.  The night was pitch black.  There were no streetlights or light of any kind.  He was dressed in his blues with his dark blue raincoat.  The hat on his head was his only light colored garment.  ‘Aw, Jesus.’  He lamented.  ‘Nobody is going to be able to see me.  I’ll probably still be here in the morning.’

page 1666.

     The road was no 101 much less a 99; there were very few cars passing by.  In the dark of the night and his own mental gloom Dewey lost all track of time imagining that it was much later than it was.  Only a couple cars passed by over the space of two hours as Dewey stood back by the side of the road.  Gradually he realized he couldn’t even be seen.  He had no chance.  His only hope was to stand out in the highway like a specter, jumping back out of the way as the cars passed.  He did this a couple times over the space of an hour until he felt the danger of the maneuver when a car swerving to the side of the road to avoid him nearly took him out.  Cursing his decision to hitch for the stupidity it was he had resolved to wait it out till morning not realizing how early it was when, standing off to the side as he was without even his thumb out, a car passed screeching to a stop a quarter mile down the road.

     Dewey was sure they’d drive off when he got to them so rather than run he began a leisurely stroll.

     ‘Come on. Hurry up.  Run.  We stopped for you didn’t we?’

     Dewey did run and he was not disappointed.

     ‘How far are you going?’  Dewey asked.

     ‘Berdoo.’

     ‘Oh way, all the way to San Bernardino?’  Dewey said with relief.  ‘Thanks a lot.’

     ‘Why didn’t you run sooner?’  The driver’s girl friend asked.  ‘We wouldn’t have waited forever.’

     ‘I didn’t even think you’d see me as dark as it is and all.’  Dewey replied apologetically.

     ‘You’re darn lucky we did in those dark clothers.  You should have worn your white suit.’

     ‘Good idea but I can’t.  Dress blues are the traveling uniform.’

    They dropped him off at the main intersection of San Bernardino.

     San Bernardino was the birth place of the Hell’s Angels Motorcycle Club.  As such Dewey had always avoided the place.  Berdoo was a tough working class city situated on the East edge of the LA megalopolis with Mt. Whitney, the highest place in the then United States to the northwest and Death Valley the lowest place in the US to the East.

     Now Dewey was thoroughly disoriented.  Because of the long duration of the short trip of only a hundred miles from San Diego he imagined that it was three or four in the morning while it was not yet midnight.

     He was astonished to see the drag full of dragsters on a Thursday night.  ‘God, they must never let up in San Bernardino.’  He thought.  And in truth they didn’t.

     As the raucus dragsters rolled thorugh the intersecition Dewey became completely turned around.  In his turmoil he imagined it must be Friday night.  That put the dragsters in the proper perspective but Dewey had lost a day.

      As he stood at the intersection his confusion increased.  He began to wonder why he was going North when he sould be going East.  Thus he made the mistake of turning East into San Bernardion.  He soon found that it wasn’t easy to walk along the drag in uniform.  Not only were the dragsters less civilized and more abusive than on Lankershim but the worst of his fears was realized when a cop car braked to a stop across his path.

page 1668.

     Dewey began to curse Teal Kanary because this cop could terminate his leave by sending him back to the base.  If that happened the Navy would still consider him on leave so he would be unwanted while he had wasted precious time making it impossible to go on.  As he had no money or at least not enough to pay for two weeks ashore he began to suspect that Kanary had done him an intentional disservice.

     The LAPD might have been mean but at least they were slick with a fine sense of style.  San Bernardino could compete with Oakland for klutzes.  The cop was young, not more than twenty-three or twenty-four.  He was the worst.  He hoped to make the LAPD from Berdoo but it was a hopeless wish.  The distance between a criminal and a cop is as narrow as an attitude.  Like the criminal the cop had been on the short end of the stick through high school.  Unlike the  CWOB the CWB is not willing to sacrifice his well being to get back at society.  CWBs are sadistic; CWOBs are masochistic.  So the CWB joins the force where he can get away with bullying citizens.  Young cops especially like bullying young men.  This one had just gotten out of the Navy so he carried a grudge against sailors.

     Dewey held his breath.

    ‘You hitchhiking son?’  How they love to demean a man by calling him son.

page 1569.

     ‘Well, yeah.’  Dewey said apologetically, not having the chutzpah to deny an obvious fact.  ‘I’m going home on leave for Christmas and I’m just passing through.’  It was a chance Dewey thought he had to take.  If the cop sympathized he would wave him on , if he were hard nosed Dewey would be in the squad car.

     ‘You’re out of bounds, bub.’  Every CWB ignored the out of bounds rule.  This guy sounded like he was going to enforce it.

     ‘I don’t need an out of bounds pass, I’ve got my leave papers.  I’m going back to Michigan for Christmas.  Dewey said, humbling himself to death.

     ‘Let’s see ’em.’

     Dewey flipped open his raincoat and indicated the papers in his inside pocket.  He didn’t want to hand them over to the cop because once he gave them up the CWB might not give them back.  These guys, always nasty, could be quite vicious; they could get mean enough to hurt without any reason.  Psychocops on the loose.

     ‘Hand them to me and your ID too.’  There was a rude peremptoriness in his tone that dared Dewey to either give it back or eat dirt.  Well, you couldn’t expect a decent person to take the job, could you?

     Dewey forked over his leave papers and Navy ID.

     ‘I want your driver’s license too, boy.’

     ‘Don’t have one.’

     ‘What do you mean you don’t have one?  Everybody’s got one; don’t lie to me boy.  I can make you wish you never did.’

page 1670

     ‘I don’t have one.  My step-father wouldn’t let me drive and since I don’t have a car I don’t need one.  If I had a car I wouldn’t be standing here now, would I?’  Dewey said showing more irritation than he should have.  Any show of spirit drives this type of cop mad.  The CWB looked at him sharply but as he thought Dewey had previously been suitably humble if not obsequious the cop threw Dewey’s ID and leave papers at his feet.

     ‘Here’s what I can’t figure; if you say you’re going to Michigan what are you doing on this road?’

     ‘Well, this is going East isn’t it?’

     ‘This is East alright boy, but you’ve got to go North if you want to go East.  All this road will do is lead you up to Arrowhead.  Go back to the intersection and take a right.  If you do that I won’t take you in.  But remember, if I come back in a couple hours and you’re still hitchhiking I’m going to take you in.  Now, get going.’  He commanded.

     Dewey stooped to pick up his ID while cursing the cop under his breath.  On the bright side the CWB had probably saved him several hours from going the wrong way.  On the other hand he would have missed his rendezvous with Dalton Dagger and might have had a relaxing time at the lake.  Not Dewey, he wasn’t that flexible.

     Back on the highway Dewey stood for an hour until a car pulled over.  The driver had no sooner opened his mouth than Dewey groaned inwardly.  Another one.

     In point of fact the homo was justified in thinking Dewey was out for some action.  The highway over the pass was virtually unused from sundown to sun up.  Dewey was standing in the middle of a strip of bars; logically what other reason could he have for hitching there.  If time was of the essence Dewey was wasting his.  One can only assume that Our Lady was having the laugh of his life.  How was this for a joke?

page 1672.

     ‘What’s a good looking sailor like you doing out by the side of the road at one in the morning?’  The dark visaged homo asked.

     ‘i’m on leave; trying to get to the East.’

     ‘Oh yes, to be sure.’  The driver lisped.  ‘Short a little money?  Well, it’s awfully hot in here.  My heater is extremely efficient, if you get my drift.  Open up your coat.’  He commanded obviously eyeing Dewey’s crotch.  Dewey realized this was going to be a short ride.

     ‘That’s alright.  I’m comfortable.’  Dewey replied.

     ‘You mean you’re not going to open your coat?’

     ‘No, I’m not.’

     ‘Well, listen Mister, let me explain the facts of life to you.  Nobody rides for free.’

     ‘Well, then, let me out.  I don’t want to pay the fare.’

     ‘I certainly will let you out you prick teasing bastard.’

     Dewey was dropped a hundred yards or so outside the Berdoo city limits.  He was beginning to feel desperate.  He was not crossing the country at a forty-eight hour pace.  Heck, he wasn’t even crossing the country.  He was still going North.

     The cop who had harassed him passed slowly by.  On the other side of the city limits the cop knew Dewey was beyond his jurisdiction, but, oddly enough, there are no greater lawbreakers than the police; they have immunity.  Maybe, the cop reasoned, Dewey would resist arrest whereby he could be charged with that.

page 1672.

     In hesitating the cop had driven by.  Dewey was in a state of panic as he watched him turn around.  But as the cop was pulling up opposite Dewey a huge tractor and double bottom drew between to offer Dewey a ride.  Dewey thankfully heaved his bag up in preparation to scrambling in the cab while Abe Griswold, the driver, grinned down insolently at the SBPD.

 A Rolling Stone On The Lost Highway

I was totin’ my bag

Along that dusty Berdoo Road

When along came a semi

With a high and canvas covered load.

‘If you’re goin’ ‘cross the mountain pass

With me you can ride.’

So I climbed up in the cabin

And settled down inside.

He asked me if I’d ever seen a road

With so much dust and sand.

And I said:  ‘Listen Bud,

I’ve traveled every road in this here land.

I’ve been everywhere, man

I’ve been everywhere,

Across the deserts bare, man

I’ve breathed the mountain air, man

Of travel I’ve had my share, man

I’ve been everywhere.

-Hank Snow ‘I’ve Been Everywhere.’

page 1673

     Abe Griswold wasn’t really that generous a character; he just really enjoyed thumbing his nose at authority.  Like many truck drivers he had no place in the structure of society.  His place was no place so he was continually in motion and always at home.

     He was quick.  From his perch high above the road he had seen the little drama unfolding as the CWB circled back to harass Trueman.  Having foiled the cop he laughed down at him with a sneer as the CWB shook his fist at him.

     An added incentive for Abe was the novelty of seeing a sailor hitching on this highway so he not only had the privilege of thwarting authority but he was going to have a laugh at Trueman’s expense too.

     His cab was one of those huge old monsters.  Maybe a White or a Freightliner, no cab over, the snout extended out in front of the windshield to the horizon.  You could have played football in the cabin it was so big.

     The truck roared unmercifully;  the noise was deafening, the vibrations set your teeth rattling.

     Abe wanted to talk.  Through practice he had adjusted his hearing and vocal projection so that he could both hear and speak over, or rather, through the terrific din.  Dewey’s voice was light and high.  While he tried to comply with Abe’s wishes his voice wasn’t strong enough to stand the strain.

page 1674.

     He managed to explain to Abe that his destination was Michigan which raised Abe’s eyebrows and brought a suppressed smile to his lips at what he considered rightly an eccentric route.  He decided Trueman must be a real original.

     Abe explained that he would drop him off at the foot of the pass on the desert floor.  Abe picked up gravel on the other side of the moutains hauling it back to Riverside.  His bottoms were empty at the time.

     He advised that he wouldn’t hit the desert floor until surise offering to let Dewey use his fair sized sleeping quarters behind the seat.  Abe seemed to be somewhat reminiscent of the satyr so rather than be at his mercy alseep Dewey chose to stay awake.

     The big rig having passed through the gears, which are something like ten or fifteen, it labored up the pass.  Abe did have designs on Dewey but he was more the rapist than the seducer so Dewey was alright so long as he stayed awake.  The main road led straight over the pass but there was a long loop to the North that Abe took hoping to outlast Dewey, taking him while he was asleep.  Then he could dump the sailor out of the cab a million miles from nowhere.  It might be a couple days before Dewey reached civilization if he ever did.

     Dazed by the noise and the incredible bumpiness of the ride which shook his internal organs in fifteen different directions there was no chance Dewey would go to sleep.

page 1676.

     Having completed the loop the big rig crested the summit.  Abe just let that big double bottom screech on down the mountain side.  What little Dewey could see of the mountain in the headlights was bleak and sere.  Bare rock climbed sheer outside the windows giving the impression they were in a chute or very narrow canyon.

     As Dewey watched with eyes wide Abe didn’t even touch the brakes he just guided that monster missile down the grade.  The scream of the engine seemed to increase to match the roar of the wind howling by.  The canvas covers of the bottoms flapped and whistled while the sides of the empty bottoms began alternate concave and convex fluctuations with a deep bellow.

     Dewey’s eyes opened wide as terror began to show on his face.  As he stared out the windshield he could see that Abe was overdriving his headlights by a considerable distance.  The light from the headlights was still on the canyon walls as they flashed by.  Dewey thought Abe had lost control.  Laughing like a madman Abe enjoyed Dewey’s terror.

     They rolled through the pitch darkness for what seemed like hours until disgorging unto the desert floor they arrived at the crack of dawn.

     The transition from mountain pass to desert floor was complete in a moment.  It seemed as though the mountain range was set on the level desert floor without any intervening hills or grades.  Abe finally touched the brakes bringing that huge twenty wheeler to a stop.

page 1676.

     ‘I take a right here.  Get another load of mountain from the East side and drive it over to the West side.  Moving mountains is what I do for a living.  Just keep going on this highway and it’ll take you East.  Watch out for the coppers now.  So long pal.’

     Dewey thanked Abe, jumped down and watched him drive off laughing madly.

     Dewey wondered what the joke was.  Then he began to look aorund as rosy fingered dawn lighted up the desert landscape.  On taking stock of his situation he realized what a diabolical old jokester Abe was.  All life was just a quip in the cosmic comedy to him.

     Dewey took a full half hour to orient himself on the deserted highway.  He wasn’t very successful.  He had been up a full twenty-four hours now.  His nerves were tingling from the terror of the ride with Abe Griswold.  He had covered a couple hundred hundred miles due North away from his goal.  Not a propitious start; he could give up his forty-eight hour hopes.

     As he was dwelling on his misfortune rosy fingered dawn disappeared and the sun blazed up in the East like a big red rubber ball.  Dewey had become so disoriented he thought the sun was rising in the West and thought nothing of it.

     Every where he looked he saw nothing but bare ground.  No grass, no bushes, no trees.  He was in the desert; nothing but rocks and dirt.  He looked back to where he had come.  The mountains rose abruptly from the Mojave floor.  The highway disappeared into the slot of the defile from which the truck had emerged so that it appeared that the road ended abruptly at the mountain side.  The mountains rose up sere; nothing green was visible.

page 1678.

     Dewey turned slowly around.  Everywhere he looked there was nothing but yellowish-redish-brownish dirt.  Way off across the valley foor in the distance another even more sere mountain range rose.  If more sere was possible, and it was.

     ‘Jesus Christ.’  Dewey thought.  ‘This is the desert.’

     Dewey had been standing for an hour without a single car passing as the reality rather than the nature of desert pressed itself on his mind.

     ‘Not exactly a well traveled road.’  He observed to himself trying to make light of his situation.

     Then he began to feel warm enough to take off his coat.  As he did he remembered that deserts were hot, dry unforgiving places as in the song Cool Water:  Keep a movin’ Dan, he’s a devil not a man, and he spreads the burnin’ sands with water.’  It occurred to him that he could dehydrate and die by the side of the road with a glass of ephemeral water in his hand.  After all he’d had nothing to drink since breakfast the previous day.

     Anxiety seized him as he thought he understood what Abe was laughing about.  Dewey was the cosmic joke.  Two hours after he arrived he was still waiting for the first car to pass.

     As of three o’ clock the previous day Yisraeli hadn’t realized that Dalton Dagger had not yet left.  When Showbaby told him that Dagger was still fiddling with his car Our Lady panicked.  His heart was set on Dewey’s death at this time in this way.  He threw caution to the winds and made further contact with Dalton.  That was of course Dalton’s wish.  Dagger was not a passive instrument in Yehouda’s hands; he had his game too.

     He’d already spent the thousand he’d been able to collect.  Even though he’d accepted it in lieu of half payment he felt he’d been cheated which he had and would be.  Now confronted with his employer he obstinately held out for his other thousand.

     Yisraeli replied that as he hadn’t even left yet he would only give it to him in Barstow because he had jeopardized if not destroyed the Porn King’s plans.

     Yisraeli was desperate.  He knew that it would be extremely difficult to get rides on the Berdoo road so he surmised or hoped that Dewey wouldn’t have passed through Barstow before he could get there.

     He placated Dagger by promising, Our Lady Of The Blues, was a great promiser, the additional thousand if and when he got Dewey in his car.  Dagger laughed out loud when Yisraeli said he wanted his thousand back if they missed Trueman.

     Yisraeli took first things first and bundled Dalton into the latter’s car and drove straight through to Barstow where Our Lady passed the night in a motel while Dalton nursed his grudge against Yisraeli in his car as he had no money for a room.

     Yisraeli called Showbaby instructing him to cruise the highway in the hopes of locating Trueman.  Showbaby had gotten as far as San Bernardino the previous night when he actually spotted Trueman getting into Griswold’s truck.  An inquiry told him the probable destination of the gravel carrier.  He took a room in a motel rising with the sun as he began a slow cruise over the pass hoping to spot the victim.

page 1679.

     By eleven o’ clock two cars had passed Dewey both going the other way.  At eleven-fifteen Abe returned from the gravel pit to honk at him as he turned for the pass.  Shortly thereafter a car emerged from the defile to the Mohave floor.  This was Showbaby.  He couldn’t miss Dewey as he was the only spot of color moving in the desert within miles.  The temperature was rising and Dewey was getting desperate.  Still, he couldn’t help noticing the leisurely pace of Showbaby’s car and the manner in which he stopped before him as though he were looking for him.  Dewey slid in.

     Showbaby treated Trueman to the cool detestation which is the lot of the victim.  Zion drove at a very leisurely pace as they passed through Victorville toward Bartsow.  He neither spoke nor acknowledged Trueman’s presence.  He never said how far he was going.

     Annoyed by what seemed to be a sinister attitude and the slow pace Trueman was about to ask to be let out when Barstow hove on the horizon.

     ‘This is as far as I’m going.’  Showbaby said indicating with a thrusting forefinger that Trueman was to get out.

     Then he turned into the lot of the motel and to Yisraeli and Dagger who were waiting.

     Yisraeli who mailed his porn everywhere had a few customers in Barstow.  Generally speaking his customers revered him as a porno saint.  They little knew that he was merely a businessman who really had scant respect ofr them.

page 1680.

 

    

    

 

 

 

 

A Novel

Our Lady Of The Blues

Book VII

by

R.E. Prindle

 Clip 4

     ‘Nothing, unless you’re buying.  No money.’

     ‘I’m not buying.’

     ‘I’m not eating.’

     ‘You’re going to have a cup of coffee at least.’

     ‘Don’t have a dime.’

     Stan looked at Dewey.  He admired his strength of will but he was sure Dewey was lying which of course Dewey was.  He had that twenty but he wasn’t about to show it.

     They got back into the yellow VW to continue on in the brilliant yellow sunshine bursting almost into song over the Great Valley of California.  Zippity do dah.

     Stan probed insistently as they drove past the outskirts of Bakersfield.  He was going to get that twenty.  Had it been a pre-beating Stan he might very well have but with his stuffing missing Stan lacked real nerve.  He could be hit in a couple places where it still hurt.  It would have to be a sucker punch on Dewey.  He tried another ploy.

     There is no natural water in the San Joaquin but clever Californians had built and were building massive dams that provided irrigation water.  Large amounts of that water were used to irrigate cotton fields in the Kern County desert.  Bakersfield is actual desert.  As they were driving past the budding cotton a plane was flying ground level dusting the cotton for boll weevils or whatever.

     Stan brought the VW to a halt by the side of ninety-nine.

     ‘Look they’re crop dusting.  Let’s watch for a while.’

     ‘Uh, I’m in a hurry man.  Why don’t I get out?

page 1431.

     ‘Relax.  Just watch.’

     Dewey doubled his fist keeping his eyes on Leland, ready to defend himself because he realized his danger.  He would have to be knocked out or killed for Stan to get his twenty.

     Stan’s right arm draped over the seat to feel for a wrench on the floor but he needed surprise also.  He needed Dewey to look the other way but Dewey’s tenseness indicated he wasn’t about to.

     With a sigh Stan put the VW in gear but now he was sore.

     ‘You aren’t a nice guy.’  He said with a pout.  ‘You don’t deserve to ride in this People’s Car.  You’re not real people.  Get out.’

     ‘Thanks for the ride anyway, man.’  Dewey said opening the door before the car came to a complete stop.  ‘Sorry about the twenty.’

     Dewey had to turn away to keep from laughing in Stan Leland’s face.  Leland had maybe carried him sixty miles which represented twenty cents in gas.  Did Leland really think Dewey was going to fork over twenty dollars for a quarters worth of fuel when Leland had to use the same amount of gas anyway?

     Leland drove off in a huff cursing Trueman’s back.

     Dewey focused his eyes before him.  He was standing in front of a strip mall.  One of those glitzy but commonplace California restaurants was in front of him.  Inside he could see the owner or manager hopping around anguished at the sight of him.

     Dewey turned around to survey the Great Central Valley of California.  It was bright and it was hot.  The highway structure was an immense pre-asphalt love affair.  A divided highway of concrete led in two lanes each way, the center strip itself was two lanes wide.  A two hundred mile long row of oleander bushes obstructed the glare of oncoming headlights at night.  The oleander, which is a very beautiful flowering bush, is drought resistant which is an essential quality for the Valley.  They are poisonous to cattle but that seemed to be of little consequence in the middle of the highway, although everyone always mentioned it.  They grow maybe ten feet high.

page 1432.

     Highway 99 had a paved shoulder which increased its width as well as an unpaved shoulder.  Another ten feet was kept bare before a chain link fence seprarated 99 from what was called a frontage road which allowed locals to get from place to place without entering the highway.  So all in all there were six lanes and spare.  The whole complex was two hundred fifty feet wide.  The road was the old fashioned kind that was just laid on top of the ground rather than dug in.

     When they built the concrete rollerball chute called Interstate 5 a couple decades later they set it over by the concrete canals carrying water from Shasta.  They built 5 on the same principle as the canals except the channel carried cars and trucks instead of water.  The highway games played on 5 were real live rollerball.

     But 99 was a more humane road.  It bypassed all the towns from the Grapevine to Modesto.  For whatever reasons 99 was the main street of Modesto.  The wide apron made it a very good hitchhiking road; cars could stop easily and safely.

page 1433

    The temperature was building up as Dewey looked back in the restaurant to find the manager with his nose pressed to the glass violently gesticulating at him.  Finally he ran to the door opening it a crack to shout at Dewey:  ‘Move along.  Move along.  Hitchhiking’s against the law.  We don’t want you around here.’

     Dewey looked at him in some wonder then thought that maybe buying a cup of coffee might placate him.  Dewey had no sooner opened the door than the little man shouted at him:  ‘Get out. Get out.  No service for you.’

     Dewey was mystified giving an uncomprehending shrug.  What the heck, he was in uniform, Uncle Sam’s own Blues.  Even a couple customers intervened for him.  ‘Take it easy, Mel.  What’s the problem?  He’s only a sailor, for Chrissakes, he’s serving the country.  Because of him you can sleep more securely at nights.’

     ‘If he’s an example of what is serving the country I won’t be able to sleep at all.’

     Dewey gave him the look anyone would give a looney as he stood half in and half out.

     ‘I want you out of here or I’ll call the police.’  The man named Mel raved hysterically.

     Dewey left stepping back to the highway.  Mel called the police anyway.

     Ten minutes later a Bakersfield Police car, not the California Highway Patrol, pulled up in front of him.  He was accompanied by a young civilian of nineteen years who stared at Dewey silently.  The CWB got out of the car approaching Dewey:  ‘Are you hitchhiking?’  He half said, half challenged in the CWB manner.

page 1434.

     Dewey had stepped back on the grass so as to give credence to the notion that he was not hitchhiking but just taking the air but then thought better of it.

     ‘Yeah.  I am.’

     ‘You know it’s against the law.’

     ‘No, I didn’t know that.  You see so many guys hitchhiking.’

     ‘Yeah.  Well, it is.’

     Mel stuck his head out of the door:  ‘That’s him officer, that’s him.  Arrest him.’

     In point of law, which is irrelevant to the CWBs, Dewey was outside the Bakersfield city limits and hence beyond the jurisdiction of the CWB.   The cop looked at the civilian  who hadn’t taken his eyes off Dewey:  ‘Is that him?’

     The boy solemnly shook his head no.

     ‘I’m not going to take you in this time, Sailor, but you better be gone if I come back.’

     ‘I certainly hope to be.’  Dewey smiled.

     ‘Arrest him.  Arrest him.’  Mel screamed.  ‘That’s him.’

     The CWB waved Mel off.  Mel in his hysterical fear locked his door causing problems with people who wanted out and preventing people from entering.

     Dewey was looking at him shaking his head whan a car stopped in front of him.

     ‘Get in man.’  Came a voice with an unmistakable Mexican accent.

page 1345.

     Dewey turned to find a ’56 Chevy with five Mexicans in it looking aggressive.  Dewey may have had to get away from that spot in a hurry but not that big a hurry.  He’d rather take his chances with the CWBs.

     ‘I’m going all the way to Oakland.  You’re just going up ahead a ways, right?’

     ‘Yeah.  That’s right man.  Get in, man, we give you a ride anyway.’

     ‘That’s alright.  I’ll wait for a longer hop.’

     ‘Get in the middle.’  The guy on the right back said holding the door open for him.

     A very dangerous situation it was.  Shotgun in front was cleaning his nails with a stileto.  The other guy in back had his hand on the door ready to leap out.  The restaurant was locked.  It would take five guys with knives about thirty seconds to finish him.  Dewey decided to trust to his charm as limited as that was, he got in the middle in the back.

     Martin Luther King the apostle of non-violent resistance was heading for his mountain top from whence he proclaimed that White Americans were bred in the bone racists.  Black Folk claim that King was the greatest man America ever produced but he was nothing but a back country screeching pastor of a patriarchal consciousness thing.  True, the cause was just; true, there were egregious wrongs that had to be corrected but King himself was a weak reed who left his wife at home while he panted after White women in the pursuit of his notion of justice.  That he was any kind of spokesman for the cause at all was an accident of fate.  Even his own people were beginning to repudiate him before he died.

1436.

     The overblown rhetoric of his speeches would have been laughed at in the mouth of the most respectable White preacher.  ‘I have been to the mountaintop’ spoken seriously is such pompous nonsense that Whites should be ashamed of themselves for even pretending to revere such bull roar.

     However King was the harbinger of the emerging Black Revolution.  A Revolution which would do the inevitable of dividing Americans into a group of more or less autonomous peoples held loosely together by economics.  Just as the Black gangs which coalesced from the riots of ’67 into an incipient form of Black government by the end of the century so these Mexicans flooding across the border could have a complete disregard for the United States that meant nothing more to them than hot Chevy cars, money and a more affluent style of living than was possible for them to create for themselves South of the Border down Mexico way.  Heck, it was even bad form to call  them Mexicans in the United States, their nationality being a form of insult to them on this side of the border; one had to call them ‘Hispanics.’  They might ridicule Americans and Gringos but they were nothing but a joke closely resembling the caricatures of themselves that appeared in US magazines and newspapers.

     Now Dewey sat between two giggling Mexicans while the Shotgun sneered at him over the seat:  ‘Hey may, we give you a ride you never forget.’

page 1437.

     ‘Oh yeah?  I remember every kindness never done to me.’  Dewey replied sarcastically to show he was in control with a forced smile that he hoped looked fearless.

     The car went down 99 about ten miles then the driver turned left towards the coast range onto a dirt road.  The car began to lurch through the dusty fields.

     ‘Better let me out here.  I’m going North.’

     ‘Hey, Gringo, you going where we want you to go.  We let you out when we want to let you out, man.  Only then and not before.  Sabe?  We goin’ to have some fun withchu.  Whatchu think of this stinking America, man.  I think it smells very bad, whatchu think?’

     ‘Seems to be good to you.’  Dewey returned feebly slowly putting both his hands in his pockets to disguise that he was reaching for his long thin Japanese pocket knife.

     ‘Good for us, man, you fool.  What we doin’, we workin’ for the man plantin’ and harvestin’ his potatoes while he  driving around in his El Dorado Cadillac.  You call that good.’

     ‘I see what you mean.  America does suck.’  Dewey agreed adding sotto voce:  ‘…to allow dicks like you in this country.’

     ‘That uniform you wearing, man, it only makes you look stupid.  Your Navy sucks, too, man.’

     ‘I agree with you wholeheartedly there ,man.’  Dewey said with true sincerity.  ‘But I want out now.’

      So saying he pulled his knife out flipping the loosely hinged blade out and clapping it to the throat of the driver.

page 1438.

     ‘Stop the car.’

      The Mexicans had been taken by surprise as Dewey’s apparent resignation had implied no resistance.  The driver didn’t think about it, he just brought the car to a smooth stop trying to avoid the potholes.

     ‘Open the door and let me out.’  Dewey told the Mex on his left.

     Dewey reversed the blade drawing the blunt edge across the driver’s neck as a warning as he brought the point to bear on the Mex standing in the door.  He backing up as Dewey pushed the knife forward as he got out.

     ‘Fuck Pancho Villa.’  Dewey snarled as he moved back toward the highway.

     ‘Puto.’  The Mex spat out.

     ‘Dildo.’  Dewey called over his shoulder.

     Dewey didn’t know what puto meant and the Mexican didn’t know what dildo meant so they were even on that score.

     Dewey thought they might try to run him down but they drove off through a cloud of dust.

     The highway was a good mile and a half distant which was a long walk through what was now blazing heat in his heavy woolen blues.  Dewey slowed his brisk walk into a leisurely stroll so as not to soak his uniform through giving him a heck of a stench.

     White guilt prejudice prevented Dewey from correctly analyzing his encounter with the Mexicans.  It was considered bad for Whites to see racial matters in their true light.  Thus even though these Mexicans did not consider themselves Americans or have any respect for the country they sucked off, White prejudice required Dewey to dismiss the true situation from his mind replacing it with the fiction that these were oppressed people who had fled despotic conditions for a better life in an America Whites had created.

     What bullroar.

     They were just grubbers who realized that Mexico would never amount to anything in the hands of Mexicans while the good life worth sponging off lay across the border with the despised Gringos.

     Twenty minutes later Dewey was back by the side of the road warm but not sweating;  He’d managed to walk in some style.  The thermometer was edging over a hundred.  The sun rays crashed down on him in unrelenting bombardment.  Dewey’s mind began to drift.

     There were many stories of aliens abducting people in their flying saucers at the time.  While Dewey refused to believe them his disbelief was not so strong that he ruled out the possibility.  He did watch the night sky for unidentified flying objects.

     As he looked up into the dazzling blue glare he thought this might be a good time to be abducted.  He was ready to volunteer.  He could imagine a saucer hovering above him shooting down a ray of light separating his molecules into a vapor to beam him aboard.

     ‘They might even serve me some cosmic cookies and a glass of intergalactic mile.’  He was musing as a car slowed to a stop just ahead of him.

page 1440.

      ‘Ah, air conditioning.’  He smiled as he slid into the shotgun of a ’58 Buick Roadmaster.  ‘Better than a flying saucer.’

     ‘Have you had an experience?’  Wally Reid, the driver, asked as he slipped back into traffic. 

     ‘I’m heading for Oakland.’  Dewey said.

     ‘Uh huh.  I’m going to Sacramento.  Drop you off at the Manteca cutoff.  How’s that?’

     ‘Couldn’t be better.’

     ‘What’s this about a flying saucer?’

     ‘Oh nothing.  I was just fantasizing about being beamed up and given cookies and milk.’

     ‘Strange you should say that.  That’s happened.’  Reid began taking the comment at face value.  ‘My sister-in-law had a terrible experience with a flying saucer.’

     ‘Your sister-in-law was abducted?’  Dewey said in astonishment.

     ‘Word of honor.  She wouldn’t lie to me or Chuck, my brother.’

     ‘No.  What happened?’

     ‘This happened just a couple weeks ago.  They kept her for two whole days.  She was driving home from work, worked late, when a saucer zoomed over her and beamed her up like inside a giant flashlight beam, car and all.’

     ‘No!’

     ‘Oh yea.  There were about fifteen of them.  Zoomed back out into space.  You should hear her description of what Earth looks like from out there.  A big blue marble.  They wanted to know how Earthlings have sex.  So she says that for two days they worked her over.  They poked and fondled and did her up.  Felt her tits all over.  She says they were really mystified by the nipples.  She had to explain everything to them.  They had this device they put in her mouth that translated everything she said into their language.

page 1441.

     Once they understood how to put it in after she explained it to them she says each guy took a turn or two on her.  They weren’t gentle either, probably because they didn’t have any experience with screwing Earth style.’

     ‘Jeez.  What did they look like?’

      ‘Just like you’d expect.  Green with these giant heads and bulging eyes.  You know, like they don’t do any physical work, just cerebral stuff, so they’re all brain and no brawn, muscles just withered away, opposite of us.’   Wally said with unintended humor which was nevertheless caught by Trueman who suppressed a smile.  ‘Skinny thin bodies and arms with long thin peckers, twice as long as ours but she says they felt like worms, you know,  they could bend and twist like corkscrews.  Kept at her for two whole days.’

     ‘Wow.  Did they give her any cosmic cookies or intergalactic milk?’

     ‘No.  They fed her with tubes.  She’s still got some needle marks on the inside of her arms.  Then after they finished with her they beamed her back down but they weren’t too careful about it either.  They bashed the car up pretty bad.  Bonnie didn’t look too good either.’

page 1442.

     ‘How’s that?’

     ‘Well, they were aliens so I guess they did weird things.  They chopped her hair up something terrible.  They could have at least cut it off even but they cut it short in uneven lengths and cut clumps out here and there.  Not only was her hair a mess but she was black and blue all over from the rough treatment plus those puncture marks on her arms.

     Wasn’t all bad though.’

     ‘No?  What was good?’

     ‘Heck, can you imagine what it will look like?  This kid’s going to be a real freak, half human, half alien.  Chuck and me figure our fortune is made.  We’ll be able to exhibit it for millions.  Everybody will want to see it, don’t you think?  Wouldn’t you?’

     ‘I sure do.  I’d like to see it I’m sure of that.’

     Trueman and Reid chatted away merrily in this vein through Modesto to the Manteca cutoff.

     ‘So long, Dewey.’

     ‘So long, Wally.  Thanks for the ride.  Good luck with the alien baby.’

     Dewey crossed the highway to take up a position on the cutoff.  He got his thumb out and then broke down in laughter.    It was good rich deep throated laughter, straight from the belly.

 page 1443.

     ‘Those guys actually believe Bonnie’s going to have an alien baby.  Ha ha.  Cracked the car up when they carelessly beamed the car down.  Ha ha ha.  Boy, that Bonnie must have the gift of gab.  Wonder what they’ll do when the alien baby looks just like some guy Bonnie knows.’

     Dewey struggled to control his laughter as he got funny looks from a couple of drivers.  He still had a big smile on his face when a ’56 Ford Fairlane with two men and two women motioned for him to hop in.

     The back door opened so Dewey got in the back; safer when there was someone in the back seat anyway.  If the Mexicans had made him get in the front Dewey might not have been able to control the situation.

     ‘You look as happy as though you’ve embraced the spirit of Jesus.’  John Ahrens, the driver, said in the sepulchral tones of the lay preacher.

      That took the smile off Dewey’s face.  The next largest group after the homos in the habit of picking up hitchhikers were the religious nuts.  In a lot of ways they were worse and actually more dangerous than the homos.

     Dewey forced a laugh out of his throat:  ‘That too; but my last ride was telling me about how his sister-in-law was abducted by flying saucer aliens…’

     ‘That happened to her too.’  Susan Strable exclaimed from the front seat.

     A smile flickered out on Dewey’s face.  ‘Happened to you too, hey?’

page 1444

     ‘No.  But it happened to Jack.’  She said indicating Ahrens.  ‘They flew away at tremendous speeds and took him to seventh heaven and he had a long talk with Jesus and Jesus sent him back to establish the true church of God.’

     Four very serious, very critical sets of eyes fixed themselves on Dewey watching his reaction.  Dewey sobered up immediately.  This was no laughing matter; he was in with religious nuts.

     ‘I heard somebody else did that too.  Let me think.  Oh yeah, a while back a guy name Mohammed flew up to Seventh Heaven on a horse.  I forget the horse’s name.’

     ‘In Greek it was Arion.’  Ahrens extolled who didn’t know the name of Mohammed’s horse either but rather than admit it resorted to a circumlocution that nobody could check or deny.

     That had Dewey stumped since he couldn’t remember the Arab name he was in no position to question Ahren’s assertion.  Ahrens was quick and plausible.  He hadn’t flunked out of the seminary for nothing.  He hadn’t so much as flunked out as been thrown out.  His answers may have sounded plausible but they were invariably wrong.  Nevertheless Ahrens would defend them with violence if necessary.

     Rather than tolerate his madness he had been thrown out.  He hadn’t taken that well either.  He had been on his way back to the President’s office with a 12 gauge under his arm when he had been intercepted by the police.  With the certitude of the righteous Ahrens had been marching down the middle of the street like Gary Cooper at high noon.

page 1445.

     The Christian gentlemen of Mt. Larynx Theological Seminary declined to press charges on condition that Ahrens to far away and stay there.  Oakland was some distance from St. Larynx.

     ‘But the Moslems are full of baloney.’  Susan Strable continued.  ‘No horse can fly as fast as a flying saucer.’  Dewey nodded in agreement.  ‘Besides Jesus told Jack that Mohammed was just a big fibber and wasn’t even there.  At least he didn’t talk to Jesus.’

      ‘Oh well, Mohammed went to talk to a different god, Allah.  Maybe Jesus was out to lunch at the time.’

      ‘There is only one god, the Moslems got that right, but his name isn’t Allah.  The real name of God is too sacred to repeat to the profane so you’re not going to hear it from me.  Suffice it to say, the truth resides in me.’  John Ahrens intoned majestically.

     ‘Boy, that’s for sure.’  Susan affirmed.  ‘But Jack found out for sure that those athiests are all nasty liars.  God isn’t dead.  And the reason people can’t see heaven anymore now that we’ve had our own space things, sputniks or whatever, heaven is retreating from earth at one second less than the speed of light each year.  So while it’s sure going to be hard to get there you can make it if you try.’

     ‘Amen, Susan.’  Ahrens said approvingly.

     ‘So now Jack’s the head and founder of the Intergalactic Church of Christ Immersed In The Extraterrestrial Blood.  We’re going to be bigger than the Catholics and Billy Graham put together.  What do you think of that?’

page 1446.

     ‘Where are you based?’

     ‘Oakland, California.’

     The car had exited the Manteca cutoff entering Highway 80 for the run across the Altamont.  Dewey was beginning to get uncomfortable.  the thought of any church being Immersed In Extraterrestrial Blood, whatever that was, threw the fear of God into him.  Space traveler or not Dewey knew that the Intergalactic Church was rooted in the viciousness of Genesis as they all were.  Judaism was the religion of blood.

     ‘Well, I certainly wish you luck in overtaking the Pope and Billy.  I think you’ve got a long haul in front of you though.’

     ‘We were hoping you’d join us.’  Ahrens sort of commanded.

     ‘No-o-o.  I’m in the Navy.  Can’t do that.’

     ‘Why not?  You must be based in the Bay Area.  You’re returning now.’

     It was getting to close to 5:00 PM on Saturday night so Ahrens wasn’t completely out of line in his surmise.

    ‘No. I’m from San Diego.  Have to be back tomorrow.’

     ‘Humph.’  Ahrens ejaculated, thinking to himself that Dewey was a liar.  ‘That’s not very probable.  You may not even be in the Navy.  I’ll bet you’re just using that uniform to make it easy to get rides.

     ‘You better come along.’  Susan said.  ‘You don’t want to get Jack mad.’

     ‘I suppose not.’  Dewey sighed.  ‘But, I’m not going along anyway.  Let me out at the MacArthur overpass.’

page 1447.

     ‘I think he’s OK.’  The other man spoke confidentially to the back of Ahren’s head.

     ‘We’re not letting you out.’  Ahrens said with a nod.  ‘You’re coming with us.’

     ‘Ooh.’  Susan cooed, seizing Dewey’s hand.  ‘What an honor.  They’re going to sacrifice you.’

     ‘Oh yeah?  Right on.  Just let me out.’

     Susan’s head bobbed up and down affirmatively as she tucked her lower lip into her mouth.  ‘Jesus needs blood to keep the world on its axis, he told Jack.  So far we’ve only used the blood of the neighbor’s cats and dogs.  But now we’re going to move up to people because dog and cat blood isn’t keeping the axis too steady.’

     ‘You let me out.  Now! Or you’ve got big trouble Jack.  Screw you and your Intergalactic Church.’

     Ahrens cast an angry glance back at Dewey but the determined look on Dewey’s face made him think twice.  He slammed on his brakes skidding up over the curb with a jolt:  ‘You’ve got five seconds.’  He commanded.

     Dewey didn’t waste any of them.  If he hadn’t had to bend down to pick up his bag he would have made it.  Ahrens squealed back on the highway throwing Dewey into the ivy.  Dewey got up.  He was half a mile from the MacArthur off ramp.  He decided to walk it.  Hitchhiking in what he now considered his hometown was repugnant to him so he walked down to 86th which was a considerable hike.  By the time he reached Da Costa’s, Roque and McLean had already gone out for the night taking Terry with them.

page 1448.

     Pete Da Costa refused admittance to the house.  Not knowing what else to do Dewey sat down on the porch step to wait.  Luck was with him.  Roque came back to pick up an item Terry had forgotten.

     ‘What took you so long?’

     ‘I’ll tell you when we have the time.’

     ‘OK. Come on along.’

      Da costa was none too happy with Trueman.  He felt, quite reasonably that Trueman had attempted to use him throwing himself over for Torbrick.  Trueman’s story was different and right also but it would have taken a demon judge to find for him.

     Terry’s friends were throwing a party.  Thus Trueman was introduced into a circle of high school seniors.  It was there he met Louise Tricka.  Louise was another who was drawn to the misfits.  She liked Trueman a lot, possibly because she too was a square peg in a round hole.

     But for tonight Dewey returned with Da Costa, McLean and Terry.  McLean whose hatred for Trueman since Guam had grown not abated had moved into his place quietly defaming him to Da Costa.  Terry had now cast her net for McLean but he wasn’t anymore interested than Trueman.

     ‘I don’t know how to tell you this Dewey, but my father doesn’t want you in the house.’

     ‘Yeah, he already told me, Roque, but I don’t have any place to stay.  I could sleep in the car, couldn’t I?’

page 1449.

     ‘Yeah, I suppose you could do that.’

     McLean snickered shrugging his shoulders with a broad smile.

      Dewey who saw more sunrises than he cared to remember pulled himself erect with the rising sun.  Unshaven and feeling grungy he sat glowering into the rear view mirror until McLean and Da Costa showed on the porch at 9:30.

     Da Costa suggested they go down and look at the grocery store he worked at.  Trueman didn’t care to meet anyone in his condition so he was all for it.

     Under the law your employer had to guarantee a reservist his job when he was discharged so Roque was technically still employed by Lucky Stores as a check out clerk.

     He worked for a nice store down in the Lake Grove district.  Trueman and McLean were properly appreciative.

     Considering that it had taken Trueman a full twenty-four hours to get to Oakland it might seem that he was overly optimistic in leaving for San Diego at 4:00 Sunday afternoon.  In fact, if things didn’t go completely wrong there was just enough time to make it back, if not for reveille, at least for muster.  Trueman cut it close but he always cut it as a hitchhiker.

      Da Costa and Mclean had flown up so Trueman got Roque to drive him up to the Altamont from which he always commenced his return journey.

     Yes, it’s the same Altamont Pass where the Rolling Stones had their disastrous concert which brought the psychedelic era to an end in 1969.  The Pass is a low hill a few hundred feet high leading into the San Joaquin past Tracy into Stockton.

page 1450.

     There was a certain amount of apprehension in Trueman’s mind.  He was taking the word of someone he couldn’t remember that this was possible.  At this point he wasn’t sure that he wasn’t crazy.

     Life is full of delights…and subsequent disappointments.  Dewey hadn’t been standing on the Altamont long before a green ’58 Plymouth pulled to a stop.  The Plymouth hadn’t yet been nudged out of the low price race with Chevy and Ford but it was fading fast.
     ‘Goin’ to Anaheim.’  The driver Jake Rawlins said.  ‘How far you goin’?’

     Dewey’s heart leapt to this throat as his face broke out into a big smile; maybe there was a god in heaven after all.

      ‘Alright.’  Dewey chirped.  ‘Luck is a lady tonight.  I gotta get back to San Diego.  Thanks for the ride.’

     Dewey bounced against the back of the seat a couple times in delight.  As Jake Accelerated to seventy per Dewey figured he’d be in Anaheim in at least six hours.

     Jake was a real nice guy.  Like most normal people he was only almost normal, not quite there.  Unless you’re in an environment like the Navy which requires apparent rigid conformity everyone has their ways.  Jake’s eccentricity was that he was an advocate of steam powered cars.  In fact, he was an expert, a foremost world-wide authority on steam, so he said.  He communicated with other experts on steam power in autos all over the world, especially in Australia.

page 1451.

     The rest of society wasn’t too interested in steam as compared to the internal combustion gasoline engine so Jake was used to a lot of ridicule.  But like all compulsives he had to talk about his fetish.

     Dewey would have laughed but as he was getting a plum of a ride for free, you could tell Jake wasn’t going to ask for anything but an audience, he displayed reasonably good manners.

     ‘Well.’  Dewey said amiably.  ‘Alright.  So why does your Plymouth have an internal combustion engine?’

     Jake was coughing around an answer about corresponding with his contact in Australia about a particularly difficult problem when he spotted another hitchhiker.  It was a Second Class Gunner’s Mate with three hashmarks on his sleeve.

     ‘Career man.’  Dewey thought.  ‘All those guys are pricks.’

     ‘You’ll be sorry if you pick him up.’  Dewey objected.  ‘All those career guys are arrogant.’

     But nice guys always trip over their own nicety; it goes with the territory.  Jake pulled over.  Dewey tried to get out to let Lee Nelson, the Gunner’s Mate, into the middle but Nelson really wanted the end, he kept pushing Dewey back in.  Unable to win that way Dewey said:  ‘I’ll get in the back.’

     ‘No.’  Jake said.  ‘Stay in front.’

     Dewey groaned to himself at Nelson’s triumphant smile.  He knew there was trouble ahead but he just didn’t know what.

     Nelson turned out to be just as arrogant as Dewey expected.  As Jake continued to rattle on about steam power Nelson guffawed at the very notion of steam power ever becoming popular.  There was no question that he was right but he was betraying Rawlins’ generosity.  As Rawlins continued on in his dotty way Nelson began to become abusive.  You never knew when one of these guys might explode.

     ‘Hey, man, be a little more polite.  You’re riding for free.’  Trueman exhorted.

     ‘You don’t believe this dipshit and his steam power crap do you, you simp?’

     Dewey was thrown on his most tactful approach:  ‘Steam powered cars are an accomplished fact.  The Stanley Steamer is a very famous car.  Everything he says about steam is a fact.  Who knows but they may be able to replace the internal combustion engine with steam if it’s improved.’

      ‘You don’t really believe steam is going to replace gas?’

     ‘Perhaps not in my lifetime but I say that it’s an open question that Jake knows a lot more about than you or me.’

     ‘Shee, you’re as dotty as he is.’

     Nelson at least shut up saying nothing further.  Jake and Dewey carried on the conversation or, rather, Jake rattled away.

     Jake was no slouch behind an internal combustion engine.  He sped through the turns of the cutoff slowing down to pass through Modesto.  Modesto was the story of the law in America, the triumph of pragmatism.  The posted speed limit was twenty-five.  But in order to facilitate passage through town signs proclaimed that the stop lights were timed for thirty-two miles an hour so you were encouraged to speed through town to catch all the lights.  Good laughs were had over that one.

page 1453.

     Outside Modesto Jake really barreled.  He kept the plunger in for ninety per.  The old Plymouth was barely making contact with the road.

     Ninety-nine was not a freeway but a limited access highway.  That meant that there were periodic crossings.  The wide meridian made it difficult for drivers to dart across; you needed a little space to make it.

     Just North of Fresno there was a dangerous crossing.  There were no lights and as the East side of the highway was about ten feet higher a car’s headlights shone down rather than across the highway.  The crossing was one of the most dangerous spots on the highway.

     About a mile away Dewey, whose night and distance vision was exceptional spotted an old double front ended Studebaker sitting on the meridian sloping down from the Northbound lane.  Call it deja vu, call it paranoia, call it prescience but the driver’s obvious indecision made it clear that trouble lay ahead.

     ‘Watch that guy up there, Jake.  Watch that guy, change lanes, slow down, this guy’s dangerous.’

     Nelson was one of those loud mouthed First Division jerks:  ‘Aw, for Christ’s sake, relax.’  He said outshouting Dewey.  It was one of those times when all the world seemed to conspire against one’s better judgement.

     The Studebaker just sat there like a spider waiting for the fly.  Then about a third of a mile away it seemed that the driver just took his foot off the brake and slowly coasted out into the fast lane.  If Dewey had gotten Jake to change lanes they would have missed him.  A quarter mile away Jake jammed his foot on the brake.  The Plymouth which now would never know steam turned into a rocket sled but it slid straight down the highway.

page 1454.

     ‘Goddamn you, Nelson.’  Dewey shouted as the distance closed.  By that Dewey meant that if it hadn’t been for picking up Nelson they would have been beyond the crossing by then and Dewey wouldn’t be stuck in the middle with nothing to hold on to, nor would he have been crazy enough to needle a very excitable driver.  Dewey laid off the whole blame on Nelson although Nelson was too stupid and self-centered to understand his complicity.

     Dewey saw certain death before him.  He went limp as a ragdoll and hoped for the best but he saw his broken crushed body on the highway.  The Plymouth slid into the Studebaker at seventy per midway between the bumper and the cab.

     The collision drove the Studebaker fifty feet down the highway where it sat in the middle of the fast lane pointing South.  The Plymouth was totaled.  Dewey bounced around the seat, first against Jake, then his head caromed off the windshield which miraculously didn’t break, then he slammed against Nelson finally sprawled over both.

      Incredibly no one was hurt.  Dewey sat quietly panting.  He reached up to touch his head where it banged into the windshield.  He didn’t even have a bruise.

     The driver of the Studebaker, an old man of ninety years paced the highway between the two cars dazed, a trickle of blood oozing down from his left temple.

page 1456.

     ‘Look at that old fart.’  Jake cried.  ‘He probably isn’t anymore dazed now than he was before.  You guys are going to stick around to give a police statement for me, aren’t you?’

     Nelson already had his thumb out.

     ‘Give the police your own statement you dumb son-of-a-bitch.  All you had to do was change lanes to avoid the accident.  That’s what I’ll tell the police.’

     Incredibly enough a car screeched to a halt between the wreckage and the roadside to give Nelson a ride.  Nelson was either generous enough or guilty enough to motion Dewey to get in but Dewey wasn’t about to ride the middle with Nelson again.  He was shaken up enough to feel bad.  He passed.

     The two thirty year old men who had been in the Studebaker with the ninety year old driver rushed up to Jake demanding his insurance agent.  The accident was nothing less than an insurance scam.  It had been planned that way.

     The police were slow in arriving.

     ‘Hey Jake, I really gotta go or I’m going to miss muster.’   If Dewey had been thinking flexibly, as Van Wye would have done, he would have had himself taken to the hospital, phoned in and had himself a couple days off.

     ‘No, wait.  You’ve got to give me a statement.’

     As he was pleading the CHP drove up.

     Dewey wrote a statement which the CWB didn’t seem to care about snickering like something was going on and he knew what it was.  Dewey flipped his statement to him then stuck out his thumb.

      Luck, as it were, was still with him, a Ford truck pulled over.  Dewey leaped in.  After the obligatory explanation of what had had happened the driver introduced himself.

     ‘Hi, podna, I’m Clint Hartung, known as the Hondo Hurricane.  I’m originally from Hondo, Texas.  How far you goin’?’

      Dewey eyed Clint over.  Clint was a big man, maybe six-four or six-five, built like the proverbial brick outhouse.  Gentle looking though.  He was dressed in some sort of quasi-western fashion.  A big hat, buckskin jacket with fringes, even before the mid to late sixties.  Kind of a checkered cowboy shirt with pearl buttons and black Can’t Bust ‘Ems over engineer boots.  Dewey figured he was going to be stranger than Jake which he was but in a good kind of way.

     Just by way of making conversation Clint started talking movies.  He was a big Western fan which came as no surprise.  Matt Dillon ran through Dewey’s mind as he looked at Clint and listened to him speak.  He had that slow deliberate way of talking that is supposed to indicate no-nonsense manhood.  Pretty good job too.

     As might be expected John Wayne was Clint’s hero. 

     ‘Really, John Wayne, hmm?’  Dewey mused.

     ‘Sure, he’s the greatest living American. You don’t think so?’

      ‘Wayne?  Hmm.  Well I thought you resembled say James Arness,Matt Dillon, more or maybe the wagon master, Ward Bond, more along those lines rather than Wayne.’

     Clint was flattered at the comparison, especially the Arness bit as that was a major part of the persona he had adopted.

     ‘Yeah, those guys are good but John Wayne he just captures the essence of what an American is don’t you think?’

      Dewey didn’t like John Wayne at all even though he was the number one male hero for nearly every man in America.  But, he was used to giving his opinion when asked for it.

     ‘Well, I’m not a big fan of Wayne.  Seen him in lots of movies of course but he always comes across to me like a card board cut out.  It not so much that he portrays the idea of a man but imitates it.  He doesn’t seem natural.  They try to make him too big putting him on small horses so that his feet drag and give him that small rifle that looks like a toy gun in his hand.   Like in Hondo, speaking of the Hondo Hurricane, he seems to be too much bigger than life to be real.’  Dewey almost said that Wayne appeared to him as a fag but then thought better of accusing the guy considered the most manly man in America of being gay.  Still the guy could have played himself in the Village People with that mincing hip twisting walk.  Especially the one he used in Hondo.

     ‘Yeah, I liked Hondo a lot better than Shane although Shane was another good book ruined by the movie.’

     ‘I thought Audie Murphy made a good Shane.’ 

     ‘I thought maybe that was Alan Ladd rather than Audie Murphy.’

     ‘Um, yeah, I guess you’re right.  For me he was too jumpy, nervous and in drawn.  I though Shane was a lot more confident than that.  Besides that bit at the end when he rode off wounded into the sunset and the kid calls out ‘Mom wants you, Shane, Dad wants you and I want you too.’ was too much.  I nearly laughed myself to death.  Hondo was the real thing.  Louis L’Amour could turn out to be a heck of a writer.  I read a couple other of his things but they weren’t anywhere near Hondo.’

      ‘Well, I really like your tastes in literature but I’m not too sure of your interpretation.’  Clint replied ponderously.  The guy was like an elephant walking off a heavy dinner.

     ‘By the way, I’m Dewey Trueman.  Uh, The Michigan Kid.’  Dewey said in a lame attempt to match the Hondo Hurricane.  ‘How far are you going?’

     ‘I’m on my way to Superstition Mountain.  Ever heard of that?’

     ‘Oh yeah.  Sure. Of course.  Dutchman’s gold.  there’s supposed to be a lost gold mine.  Flying Dutchman or something like that.  Guy had it, went down the mountain and couldn’t find it again, right?’

     ‘That’s close, Kid.  I’m a goldminer.  Got my sluice and pans in back.’

     ‘Right.  Where are your claims and mines.’

     ‘I don’t mine properly speaking.  I pan for it or set up my sluice and wash the gravel.  I been up on 49 around Placerville working the streams around there.’

     ‘I thought that was all played out.’

     ‘Sure ain’t like it was in forty-nine but you never know when you might find a crack or crevice that’s loaded.  No luck of that kind yet but I’m always hopin’.’

      Why do you do it if you don’t find gold?’

     ‘Oh, I find plenty of gold, just not a big cache yet.’  Clint groaned out like a Henry Kissinger in slow motion.  He produced a prescription plastic container half filled with gold.

      ‘That’s gold.’  He said with satisfaction flipping it to Dewey.  Dewey looked at the sand and small nuggets with fascination.  He was disappointed.  Somehow he expected ‘gold’ to be more.  This may have been gold alright but without the capital G.  It was just sort of gold and not a lot of it.

     ‘How long did it take you to pan this out?’

     ‘That’s about three-four weekends worth.’

     ‘Where did it come from?’

     ‘That’s from up on the Tuolmne but I’ve been everywhere for gold.  Alaska, the Yukon, haven’t been to the Australian fields yet but I’m on my to Superstition Mountain now.’

page 1458

     Dewey was so impressed with the Hondo Hurricane that he dropped his usual sarcastic manner.

     ‘Wow, this old pickup really flies along I wouldn’t think it could go so fast for so long.’

     ‘My old Ford here?  I put a ’58 Chevy V8 in it.  Now it’s an all American car.  Best both Ford and Chevy have to offer.  Never know when you’ll need the power when you’re a gold prospector.  Lot of claim jumpers out there and of course you never know when you’re trespassin’ on someone else’s claim until it’s too late.’

     Dewey laughed merrily as the eclectic Ford-Chevy truck raced the moon across the Grapevine through the starry starry night.

     Dewey had assumed that Clint would be passing through San Diego on his way to Superstition Mountain so he was both surprised and disappointed when Clint Hartung pulled over to the side to let him out.

     ‘I take the Lancaster turn off here and take the desert route from here, Kid.  You’re welcome to come along if you like but I hate big cities, always avoid ’em when I can.’

     ‘Well, I think I’m better off where there’s lots of traffic so I have to stay on this road.  Thanks for the ride Hondo, and good luck on Superstition Mountain.’

     Clint was flattered to be called Hondo.  He gave the Kid, er…Dewey, a desert hat salute and roared off honking his horn a couple times in acknowledgment of Dewey’s compliment.  Needless to say he didn’t have any luck on Superstition Mountain or anywhere else gold might be found but he lived the kind of life so many men only dream about.  Maybe he’s updated his old Ford truck with a newer engine by now and is still out there gunning the engine for the vanishing point.  I sure hope so.

page 1459.

     One uneventful ride dropped Dewey off at the head of Lankersheim Blvd.  Cruising was still in progress on Sunday night.  Dewey had made good time notwithstanding the wreck on the highway.  At midnight the cruisers had thinned out but were still plentiful.  Three fruits and two fundamentalists brought Dewey to the on ramp of the Hollywood Freeway which was the way he ought to have come if the Marine, Bill Baird, hadn’t driven him astray.

     A red and white ’56 Chevy pulled over for him.

     ‘Going back to the base, I suppose.’  the driver, Al Pscholka mused.

     ‘Yep.’

     ‘Where might that be, if I might be so rude to ask?’

     ‘I’m based in San Diego.  How far are you going?’

     ‘I could be going not too far; or, on the other hand, I could drop you off at the gate in San Diego.  The choice is yours.’

     ‘O-o-oh.  No kidding.’  Dewey replied grasping the situation.

     Acquiring the rudiments of the road doesn’t require long and patient study, especially as your attention is so concentrated.  Dewey was also grasping the concept of keeping them talking as long as possible without getting to the point.

page 1460.

     ‘You must be a traveling salesman or something.’ He volunteered.

     ‘No.  I’m an accountant.  I add up figures.  I know the score.’  Pscholka said with knowing double entendre.

     He was a good looking fellow of about six-two, slender but muscular.  There was a vicious mean spirited look to him.  His shame at his homosexuality made him fairly brutal toward his conquests.  Otherwise he had a mean derogatory attitude.

     ‘Accounting huh?  That must be interesting.’

     ‘Cut the crap.  You know what I want.’

     ‘Who me?  No, I’m not sure I do.’

     ‘You going to give it up or not?’

     ‘I’m not queer if that’s what you mean.’

     ‘I don’t care if you’re queer or not.  I am.  What I’m saying is we can go somewhere and have a good time and I’ll get you back to the base for muster or you can take your chances on the highway.’

     ‘Pull over and let me out then.’

     ‘Did you hear what I said?’

     ‘Only too well.  Did you hear what I said?’

     At this time they were going through the Stack.  There is a hill in LA where five freeways are stacked one above the other.  This is a very impressive sight.  Dewey was trying to take it in with awestruck eyes while still trying to deal with Al Pscholka.

     Pscholka started to edge over when a light went on behind his eyes.  ‘It wouldn’t be right to let you out here just because you won’t suck my dick.  I’m a nicer guy than that.  I’ll take you to a better place.’

page 1461.

     ‘If it’s a question of right or wrong, in my opinion it would be right to let me out here.  I don’t want to inconvenience you any further.’

     ‘No inconvenience, buddy.  Sit tight.’

     At seventy per Dewey had no choice but to sit tight.  At this point he thought that Pscholka was going to drive him off somewhere that he would have no idea where he was or how to get back.  Pscholka didn’t seem to be carrying a weapon so Dewey had full confidence in his Japanese pocket knife.

     But Pscholka was both much more devious and malicious, devious, malicious and knowledgeable at that.  He haunted these roads every Sunday night.  Since he actually would drop sailors off at the gate his shtick had enough appeal to be successful quite often.

     Still, Dewey was astonished when he made the turn down to Anaheim and kept on going toward the Disney towers.  Somewhere along the way Dewey began to notice a very long line of sailors.  Miles of them spaced one to a hundred feet.  Dark blue blobs with white hats topmost merging with the night under the streetlights.

     ‘God, how are they all going to get rides?’  Dewey mused out loud.

     ‘Yes.  How are they?’  Pscholka laughed quietly pulling over to let Dewey out.  ‘Last chance.  This or the gate?’  He leered. 

     Dewey got out.

     He looked to the right horizon to see hundreds of sailors strung out as far as the eye could see.   He looked to the left to see the same sight.  He looked at the sailor in front of him with a quizzical look on his face.

page 1462.

     ‘I know, man.  Just walk down the highway between me and the next guy and put your thumb out.’

     Dewey walked down and stepped in line.  As he did so the sailor on either side stepped away until they were about one hundred feet apart.  Those adjacent to them did the same until a giant wave effect rippled through the line of sailors for miles and miles.  This happened repeatedly for the two hours Dewey was there.  As a sailor dropped off the ripple kept eddying back and forth.  Dewey moved to and fro as though tossed by an invisible current.

     Trueman lost all anxiety as he pondered the situation.  It seemed hopeless.  There didn’t seem to be enough cars on the road to accommodate this portion of the fleet let alone drivers to pick them up.  There wasn’t even any reason to put your thumb out.

     ‘Probably if you do get picked up.’  He thought.  ‘It will be another queer trying to cut a deal or else.’

     He watched the cars pass with drooping spirits.  Suddenly a car traveling the fast lane at a terrific clip caught everyone’s attention from a mile away.  It was a red and white ’55 Chevy.  While everyone had their attention riveted on the car the driver whipped almost at a right turn across all three lanes of traffic to screech to a stop in front of Dewey Trueman.

     Dewey was astonished beyond belief as adjacent sailors looked in envy.  ‘Why me?’  Dewey thought.  ‘What signals am I transmitting, what criteria were those guys using to select me?’

page 1463.

     The door flew open.  ‘Hop in.’  Said the guy in the passenger’s seat getting out.  ‘Ride the middle.’

     It was a messy car.  The back seat was jammed with clothes and household goods.  A Louisville Slugger lay conspicuously in the space between the front and back seats atop some junk with the brand name up.  Dewey looked across at the driver.  Both guys were lean and wiry, probably not queer, but either high or jacked up on some emotion.  They were obviously out joy riding.  Dewey tried to opt out.

     ‘Hey, thanks for stopping guys but I think I’ll pass.  Wait for something else.  Thanks anyway.’

     ‘Aw, hey now, man, you definitely do not want to hurt our feelings.’

     Dewey followed his gaze down to the Louisville Slugger.  He looked behind him out across the plowed fields that would be houses the next time he passed by.  He wasn’t a fast runner anyway.  The guy could bring him down from behind with the baseball bat as he ran.

     ‘Well.’  Thought Dewey.  ‘Maybe I can talk faster than they can.’

      ‘Hurt your feelings?  Aw, no man,  I didn’t realize it was like that.  But, hey, since I’ll be getting out first why don’t I sit on the outside?  Save you some trouble down the road.’

     ‘No, I’m athletic.  Get in the middle.’

page 1464.

     Dewey slid in.  The door slammed shut; the driver accelerated to the fast lane.  The driver, Dave, who did not introduce himself, got right to the point.

     ‘We need your opinion, man.  I got a real difficult situation here.’

     Dewey didn’t like the depth of that quagmire.  ‘Oh yeah?  My opinion wouldn’t be worth much.  Gee, I just turned twenty.  I don’t have much experience at all.’

     ‘You got enough for me, man.  Here’s the problem.’

     All the time Dave spoke the car was going eighty miles an hour.  The seemingly endless line of sailors to the right ebbed and flowed and danced to the right and left like some giant conga line.  The phenomenon was surely one of the most spectacular sights the world had to offer.  By daylight all those sailors would be gone.  Nearly all of them would make it back in time for muster.  This phenomenon happened every single Sunday night for those who had eyes to see and the intellect to understand.

      ‘Ya see, it’s like this.  I used to be married to this woman, beautiful woman, high school sweetheart.  We were very happy but I wasn’t making much money.  Then this guy comes along.  A coal miner.’

     ‘Coal miner?  In LA?’

     ‘Yeah.  So this guy is making a lot of money; coal miners get paid real good.’

     ‘They do?’

     ‘Sure.  They gotta work underground where the coal is which is real dangerous work.  You wouldn’t do it for the minimum wage would you?’

page 1465

     ‘I wouldn’t do it for a lot of money but there aren’t any coal mines in LA.’

     ‘Shut up and listen.  So my high school sweetheart and wife falls for this guy’s bucks.  That’s all she could see was his money, divorces me and goes to him.   This was a couple years ago.  So I become very distraught.  I don’t know what to do, so I join the Army.  While I am in the Army now I meet this very wonderful girl who loves me only for myself, she doesn’t care whether I have money or not.  I married her last month.’

     ‘Where is there an Army base in LA?’

     ‘There is one.  I’m stationed there, OK?  I know.  Now shut up and listen.  So right after I marry my present wife there is a terrible cave in at the mine and my wife’s new husband is killed.’

     ‘Boy, I never heard about that.  Where are those coal mines in LA?’

     ‘Listen, they have steel mills in LA, don’t they?’

     ‘Maybe.  OK.’  Dewey didn’t know but they did.

     ‘Well, you need coal to make steel don’t you?’

     ‘Coke.’  Dewey corrected.

     ‘Coke?’

     ‘Yah.  Coke.  You coke the coal and use the coke.  It burns hotter.’

     ‘What, are you a wise guy?  So you coke the coal, the point is you need coal to make steel, don’t you.  So where there’s steel mills there must be coal mines.  Get it?’

page 1466.

     ‘Boy.’  Thought Dewey.  ‘There’s a stretch in logic.’  But it wasn’t his car and he was in the middle.

     ‘So the mine roof drops on this guy’s melon and he’s got accidental double indemnity life insurance for twenty-five thousand dollars.  So now my ex is got twenty-five thousand dollars and no husband to spend it with.  So now after I’m married to my current wife my ex wants me to come back to her and the twenty-five grand.  What would you do?’

     So this was the trick.  Dewey thought that if he answered one way they would beat him to death with the baseball bat; if he answered the other way they might let him go.  He wasn’t sure what kind of guys they were.  Dave sounded like he was more interested in the twenty-five Gs than in a good woman but it could be a trick.

     ‘Gosh.’  Dewey tried to equivocate.  ‘That’s a tough one; I don’t know how to call it.’

     ‘Call it anyway.  I gotta know because whatever you say determines what I will do.’ 

     That was what worried Dewey.

     He looked right at Dave’s partner, Jack, who was looking at him expectantly, then back at Dave who was urgently demanding an answer.

     Dewey desperately wanted to give the right answer but he was having a hard time reading Dave.

     ‘Funny I didn’t hear about this coal mine cave in.’  He countered.  ‘You think it would have been on the news.’

     ‘Forget the cave in; you were out at sea.  It happened.  Give me your decision.’

page 1467.

     Dewey grasped that how he answered would determine how he was to be disposed of.  Unable to read Dave he decided to go with his own morality and trust to his luck.

     ‘Umm.  I’d stay with your current wife who loves you for what you are, whatever that may be, and is true to you even in the Army which is really saying something.’

     ‘Really?  Yeah, but my ex is a better looker.  Lots better than my current wife.’

     ‘Well, looks are transient and only skin deep.  Fidelity is worth lots more.’

     ‘Sure.  But what about the twenty-five thousand dollars?  That’s a lot of money.’

     Dewey could nearly count the number of twenty dollar bills he’d seen in his life.  If you laid them all out in a row they wouldn’t reach across the dash board.  He had no concept of money but even in the late fifties it was becoming common to speak in terms of millions of dollars so 25,000 didn’t sound like much,  except maybe to a banker calling a loan.  Dewey could see himself spending it in no time.

     ‘Well, she’s left you once for money and twenty-five thousand won’t last long.  Once it’s gone she’ll probably leave you again.  This is Hollywood.  There’s lots of guys with lots of money, lot more than twenty-five thousand.  If she’s that good looking she’s liable to get some taste and get one of those.’

     The unconscious insult slipped past Dave.

page 1468.

     ‘Say, you know, I think you’re right.  You’ve helped out a lot.  I think I’ll stay with my current wife.’  So saying Dave whipped over to the side of the road, shoved Dewey out and sped off.

      ‘Wow.  That was a close one.’  Thought Dewey.  ‘I thought I was going to die for sure.  Coal mines in LA!’

     Dave had dropped him off way at the end of the line of sailors just where 101 jogged off the freeway through San Juan Capistrano.  A couple of disconsolate sailors were standing in front of the rich black loam of the plowed fields.  They were soon picked up leaving Dewey alone.  His anxiety increased as it was getting late.

     A car pulled over.

     ‘Listen, I’ve been driving all day and I’m bushed.  If you can drive and let me sleep, OK.  Otherwise no ride.’

     ‘Of course I can drive.’  Dewey said who had only been behind the wheel once in his life.

     ‘Do you have a license.’

     ‘Are you kidding?  I’ve been around cars all my life.’  Dewey said, artfully avoiding lieing.

     ‘OK.  But I’m really tired and need to sleep.  Get in on the driver’s side.’

     Dewey ran over to the driver’s side and hopped in.  As he got behind the wheel he realized that he was somewhat hazy about shifting.  Fortunately the car was an automatic.

     ‘Do you usually drive your car in D1 or D2.’  He asked what he hoped would be taken as a polite question and not a betrayal of his ignorance.

page 1469.

     ‘I put it in Drive, of course.  Say, do you really have a license?’

      ‘Does Carter have little liver pills?’  Dewey slipped it into D1 and lurched off.

     ‘You can go to sleep now.’  He announced.

     ‘I’m going to watch you a little, make sure you know how to drive first.’  But he drifted off to sleep immediately.

     The night was very dark.  Dewey was driving very tentatively.  He didn’t always see the Stop signs in San Juan in time to stop, driving through them.  There were no other cars on  the road so that didn’t matter.  Past San Juan he was driving very tentatively, barely fifty miles an hours.  He was not only timid himself but emotionally exhausted by a most adventurous trip thus he wandered over onto the shoulder for a moment.  The driver awakened immediately.

     ‘Jesus Christ!  What’s happening?’

     ‘Nothing. I just ran over a narrow part of the road.’

      ‘Narrow part of the road!  Say, you don’t have a license do you?’

     ‘I know how to drive.  They just didn’t make this part of the road very wide, that’s all.’

     ‘Answer my question directly.  Do you have a driver’s license?’

     ‘Not today.  I’m going to get one tomorrow.’

     ‘Just what I thought.  Stop the car.  Get out.’

     ‘Wait a minute.  I can at least talk to you to keep you awake.  C’mon, give me a ride into San Diego.’  Dewey said stopping the car.

page 1471

     ‘Nobody rides for free.  Can’t drive, can’t ride.  Get out.’

     The driver drove off in a frenzy leaving Dewey in the dark by the side of the road at four in the morning but it was really tight now.

     Rosy fingered dawn shone faintly on the horizon before he caught another ride.  He lamented his situation to the driver who was decent and sympathetic.

     ‘I’ll get you back in time.  It’s going to be close but I was in the service myself.  I know how it is.’

     The man did drop Dewey off at the gate.  Dewey gave him a heartfelt thanks.  Past the gate he broke into a run then raced back to the ship.  They were just about to call roll with Dewey stepped into line in full dress blues.

    ‘Trueman.’

     ‘Yo.’

     ‘You’re late, Trueman.’  Dieter glowered.

     ‘Whadya mean I’m late, Chief?  You called Trueman and I said yo.  Sounds like I’m here to me, I can hear myself talking to you, doesn’t it sound like I’m here to you?  I’m talking to ya.’

     ‘Wise ass.  Don’t push your luck with me.  You’re not in dungarees.  You work in that uniform and you go over the side to paint the fo’c’sle.  Get moving.’

     Dewey wasn’t happy about that trying to find a way around it.  On the fo’c’sle he took off his middie folding it up on deck in what he hoped was a secure place.  There was nothing he could do with his pants but he hoped to dink around all morning so he wouldn’t get paint on them.

page 1471.

     Dieter showed up on the fo’c’sle to torment him followed by Blaise Pardon.

     ‘You’re out of uniform, Trueman.  Put that middie back on.’

     ‘Go down and change, Trueman.’  Pardon countermanded.

     Dieter gave him a dirty look but let the matter slide walking aft.  That was one the reason the old salts had no use for Pardon;  he was too reasonable.

Dazed And Confused

     Life moved along at a pace that was beyond bewildering.  There was no time to ingest the stream of happenings let alone digest their significance.  Dewey experienced life like a leaf blown by a storm, every touch down was too brief and fleeting to leave a sense of meaning.  Whatever understanding he had took place on the subliminal level.  He was way too busy just staying alive; catching his breath was out of the question.

     His nervous excitement was such that he was unaware that he wasn’t even getting enough sleep.  On the weekends he got no more than six hours.  During the week he got not much more.

     His agony was such that he preferred to be away from the Navy as much as possible at whatever cost.  Two weekends a month was not enough; he wanted all four.  The only chance he had to do this was to find a stand-in.  In this he was in luck.  The ET who replaced Dart Craddock was called Corey Wells.  His situation was that he wanted liberty on all weekdays while the weekends meant nothing to him.  He was willing to swap the one for the other.

page 1472.

     The two sailors were brought together and an agreement was struck.  The question remained whether both men would honor the terms.  Even on such a small ship as the Teufelsdreck where one would think it rash to incur enmity the men betrayed each other without a second thought.  No one seemed to worry about their reputation.

     It was always possible that either man would refuse to honor his obligation.  If that happened the other was AWOL and not available for his watch.  Thus, initially at least, it was necessary for Trueman to have a backup.  Trueman took Wells’ duty first so Wells had a friend in reserve which proved unnecessary as Trueman always kept his word.  Trueman, whose friends were all leaving for the same weekend, agreed to pay Laddybuck two dollars a day to stand his watches in addition to Laddybuck’s own, who had duty, if Wells defaulted.  Trueman and Wells were grateful to find someone who was honest and whose needs were complementary.  Thus Trueman had every weekend free for the next several months.

     Kanary tried to interfere by shifting watch times but he found he was messing with more than Trueman being compelled thereby to keep his hands off.

     Trueman’s other problem was eating.  Navy food as prepared by Bocuse was intolerable to him.  He could eat only one out of three breakfasts so he filled up on toast.  Lunches were tolerable but the soggy green beans that accompanied every other dinner meant that he ate sparingly.  On the weekends he ate little if at all.  Needless to say a toothpick cast a bigger shadow than he did.

page 1473.

     Nervous excitement masked any sleep or nutritional defects Trueman might have had.  He had a strong consititution.  However the general trend of events was very unsettling to his mind.  The question of who had tried to commit him to the mental institution was worrisome.  That Tory Torbrick was the agent of someone was obvious but it seemed impossible that the Navy should have assigned him to the Teufelsdreck with that object in mind and he had known who Dewey was when he came aboard.

     Without knowledge of Yisraeli Trueman was mystified.  He indirectly associated the attempt with Kanary from whom he felt the pressure of discrimination but he could assign no cause.  He ruled out Captain Ratches and he refused to give Dieter the credit of enough intelligence to conceive or execute such a plan.

     However his suspicions seemed confirmed during the year’s K-gun exercizes.  On the day the U.S. Marines went ashore in Lebanon the squadron took to sea to further the Navy’s apparent attempt to rid the sea of tuna fish or any other living matter.

     First Division gathered around the Depth Charge racks and K-guns to perpetuate their skill at sowing the seas with high explosives.  Trueman took his former position at the second starboard mortar.  Dieter stood looking at him as the bile rose to his face to give him that liverish complexion.

     His mind roved longingly back to his attempted entombment of Trueman in the Depth Charge locker.  Snarling inwardly he ordered Trueman to go below during the exercizes.  Trueman was in no position to debate or disobey so he stepped down the after hatch to First.

page 1474.

     Dieter walked over and dropped the hatch on him.  As Trueman sat alone in the compartment his ubiquitous nemesis the queer Kanary dogged down the port hatch then crossing over to starboard, glowering menacingly as though he were actually executing Trueman, he dogged the starboard hatch.

     The fantastic Dieter having failed to destroy Trueman in the Depth Charge locker now dreamed that he was blowing Trueman up in First.  The aft charges were exploded with little more than a distant rumble.  But then the K-gun charges fired to the side began to report.  The first charges were deep but you could still hear the displaced water rushing up to the side of the ship followed by a dull thud as the pressure hit the side.

     The mad Bos’n’s Mate was nearly insane with rage at Trueman’s lack of reverence or interest in his exploits as the Hero of Saipan.  As the exercise progressed the charges were set for shallower and shallower depths.  The thuds became clangs as the displaced water crashed against the hull followed by the plate rattling concussion.

     Becoming more enraged as the charges become shallower Dieter ordered the next at sixty feet down two hundred feet out.  The force increased considerably.  The plates not only clanged but rattled as the sound reverberted up and down the hull.  The force rocked the ship a little but it didn’t heave out of the water as it had the previous year.

page 1475.

     Dieter slipped into another world.  He was about to order the next charge at the shallowest and closest in.  The charge at that speed,depth and distance might have burst the plates.  Dieter was so far gone in his chagrin as to sink his ship in an attempt to trap Trueman below.  From Saipan to sinking his own ship.

     However the last charge had brought the Captain to his feet.  Standing in the starboard lookout with his glasses trained on Dieter he had the bridge talker call Dieter to the phone.

     ‘That’s enough for today, Chief.  Pack it in and clean it up.’

     ‘Yes, Sir.’  Dieter replied as his mind slowly returned from its nether regions.

     The sailors who had it figured out blew out a sigh of relief.  The Mad Chief was derailed from committing a crime of the first magnitude.

     The after hatch was propped up as the Gunner’s came down to replenish their Depth Charges.  Dieter followed them down to gaze first lovingly into the hold he had wanted to place his nemesis and then over at Trueman as though he wished him there.

     Trueman did not consciously process the information entering his brain.  It went directly into his subconscious where it worked like yeast in bread.  He had a little over a year to go; he knew he must be very wary.

     His mental malaise was exacerbated by the subsequent discharge of the men of low I.Q.  As in Guam over fifty men left the ship at one time.  They received their orders on the same day streaming off the Teufelsdreck at a happy gallop.  As Trueman looked at Dieter he thought ruefully that the fat mad Chief should join them.  Trueman was wrong though, Dieter wasn’t that dumb he was the proud possessor of a score of thirty-three.

page 1476.

     As the ship had never been fully replenished after Guam in addition to the departure of the Black sailors the crew was very depleted.  First was nearly half empty as a couple dozen bunks were left unused.  Trueman who had been spitefully moved from his favorite bunk to a middle bunk in the starboard center tier now took the opportunity to move back to his former bunk announcing that anyone who didn’t like it could kiss his ass.  As no dissenting voices were raised it may be assumed that all were unpleased with the opportunity to kiss Trueman’s ass.

     The pleasure of the unwonted roominess was destroyed as the replacements began to come aboard.  The amazing thing was that the low I.Q. sailors had been the most objectionable men on board.  However the replacements, if of a higher I.Q., were even worse but in different ways.

     These were all men of the high school class of ’57.  Now it is a fact that the class of ’56 had the highest ever scores on the scholastic aptitude tests.  Beginning in ’57 the scores began a long decline that to my knowledge hasn’t ended yet.

     The causes of the decline in the way of society are debated with no results but it must be true that years subsequent to ’56 did not digest the material if they received it.

     This fact was evident to the perplexed members of the crew.  The new men’s reactions to Navy discipline were even more deplorable than those arriving with Dewey.  The new men even made Frenchey seem like a stellar performer.  Frenchey had always gone through the paces but the new men refused even to do that.  Worse, they even seemed incapable.

page 1477.

     The class of ’56 seemed to be different than earlier years but intermediate between those and subsequent years.  Somehow they were neither of the Depression mentality or the Affluent mentality.  They were neither as solemn and dutiful as the earlier years nor as flighty and irresponsible as the subsequent years.

     The education and expectations of the younger men seemed entirely different from what had gone before.

     The difference of a single year had changed their expectation toward affluence.  Born in ’39  they had come to an age of awareness in the post-war years.  Too young to have a memory of the Depression or War years they knew only the boom years of the late forties and fifties.

     Having begun high school in ’55 and ’56 they were all of the Rock and Roll generation.  The class of ’55  had missed the Rock and Roll influence completely.  In that respect their tastes were those of the preceding generation.  The class of ’56 had been mixed in its influence.  Half had rejected Rock and Roll completely while a quarter accepted it as part of what was happening; another quarter, to which Dewey belonged, had embraced the music wholeheartedly.  Still, Dewey had little in common with the new men on that score.

      In addition the new men, while not of the TV generation, had grown up with it during their teen years thus identifying completely with the tube while Dewey had only known TV for about three years before leaving high school.  It is to be assumed that the classes before ’56 had less TV time than that or none.  So that while the new men had been absorbed into the TV phenomenon, earlier men saw TV as a phenomenon not part of their psychic organization.

page 1478.

     Howdy Doody, Kukla Fran and Ollie and the Mickey Mouse Club were alien to the older men.  The importance of the Mickey Mouse Club especially should not be under estimated.  The World War II vets like Dieter had no inkling of the emerging consciousness.

     In addition and most importantly the new men had attended high school while the civil rights movement was gearing into full swing.  The resultant uproar was very disquieting as the schools began to move from educational institution into Thought Management systems.  Learning became subsidiary to attitude formation.

     Black-White relations were managed by a small percentage of Whites concentrated in the universities, the press, publishing, entertainment and like influential areas.  They were and are a self-righteous group of people who will use any excuse to belittle others and magnify themselves.  They consider their opinion paramount to the law or perhaps more accurately they equate their opinion with the law.  They have been in control from the times of Reconstruction to the present.  They assume that they are pure and all others are foul and evil.

     They assumed that all other Whites were and are incurable bigots.  They assumed that all others had to be tightly controlled and beaten into submission.  They moved from individualism into collectivism.  They were censorious; they would tolerate no discussion of the problems and difficulties except on their own terms.  Hence, while claiming to be pure democrats they imposed an authoritarian system not less severe than Hitler or Stalin punishing by expulsion from the community of anyone who dissented from their explicit viewpoint for any reason.

page 1479.

     Small violations were met with draconian punishments.  A sportscaster using the word ‘nigger’ in private conversation would be stripped of not only his livelihood but his self-respect.  These criminal demons would actually equate such a person with Hitler.  In a word they had been driven insane by their self-righteousness.

     In their efforts to punish other Whites by making them consort with Negroes they wantonly insulted Black Folk by denying that they were capable of educating themselves.  They completely destroyed the Black educational infrastructure turning an entire cadre of educators out on their ears from satisfying and rewarding careers to menial tasks.  These Whites didn’t look forward and they didn’t look back.  They weighed and evaluated nothing they merely acted out of their self-righteousness.

     No consideration was taken of either the Negro intellect or the White intellect.  No attempt at psychology was made.  Thus with no preparation of either Blacks or Whites, Blacks were thrown into what Blacks considered a hostile environment.

      Now, the image of this little Black girl in her cute little pink dress being escorted down the walk by the Army in Little Rock is a very effective piece of propaganda but cute little Black girls would never be the problem.  Big Black boys with knives and razors bent on vengeance would be.

page 1480.

 

 

    

    

The Sonderman Constellation

by

R.E. Prindle

 

Foreword

 

A dream. A recollection. Dreams and thoughts. Dreams and thoughts expressed as symbols. The individual human mind being a part of society and an historical continuum seeks symbols to express an unutterable reality, thus a common set of symbols expresses the common problems that humans have. Isn’t that what Jung’s collective unconscious really is, just a common dreamscape where everything is commuted into universal symbolism? I think so.

What is the greatest repository of psychological symbolism in the world? Don’t you think it’s Greek mythology? There is certainly no lack of interest in the Greek myths. Greek mythology is one of the most active topics on the internet; not only are there many sites but many active sites, sites constructed with loving and reverent care. And why not? Greek mythology is the largest repository of psychological symbolism in the world and by far the most profound. The significance of the Bible pales in comparison.

The Sonderman Constellation is placed within the framework of that body of profound thought. The ordinary events in a boy’s life take on cosmic significance.

The construction of the Sonderman is somewhat unusual. As the novel is meant to present a reality from within the mental workings of one mind and one mind only the logic it follows is personal but intelligible. The narrator has an identity only in his own mind. In that state he is trying to make contact with yours. That is what a good novel does; flow from one mind to another. Cast in the form of a memoir the story is valid even though decades and even generations separate the story from the present.

The Unknown Narrator gropes for a way to make his life make sense to himself and you. You are he- he is you. Hence the prefatory motto ‘The unexamined life is not worth living.’ The Delphic credo: Know thyself. The two quotes delineate the story.

The second chapter- The Pyschonautica- is the most significant of the book. It is through the Greek foundations of psychology that the actions of the protagonists the Sondermans and the Hirshes become intelligible. It is through mythological symbolism that their minds are explored. Perhaps that is what Jung means by his term the collective unconscious.

Regardless of what the reader may think the author is not the Unknown Narrator. No matter how much the author envisions the past through his own lens he is not the Unknown Narrator, he who narrates things not exactly as they were but as they may have been. The persistence of memory is strong but it is impossible to recreate the reality. One might bear in mind the song: ‘Gee, ain’t it funny how time slips away.’

Things suffer sea changes and become distorted by memory and yet it is still the sea and still memory. The narrator is narrating universal symbols and not specifics although specifics form the content of the symbols. This is a story of the collective unconscious.

The story elements are meaningful only in that context. The narrator in the first chapter attempts to give the story a setting within the framework of personal psychology and the manner in which the personal psychology relates to and incorporates the external world into his own mind; hence the chapter title: The Psychogenesis. The beginning of the psychosis.

The narrator is not the protagonist. His antagonists the Hirshes and Sondermans are. The narrator is just driftwood on the river buffeted by currents that he cannot resist.

The story will progress through to the full blown psychotic reactions of both the Narrator and Sonderman. No matter what crimes or nonsense are going on in the outside world the action is in the mind of the narrator and hence yours since he is carrying on a dialogue with you.

The second chapter- The Psychonautica- places the story within the context of the mythos, the collective unconscious. This is the key chapter of the book and the most popular as evidenced by the hits to my website: reprindle.wordpress.com.

Once the first two chapters provide the necessary background for the reader to properly evaluate the action, the last two chapters narrate the consequences, the development of the psychoses.

The story is played out in detail in Chapters III and IV. Chapter III -The Psychodramatica- tells of the Narrator’s preposterous journey through Junior High, the absurd adventures with Sonderman that end up with their apparent estrangement mid ninth grade.

The last chapter- The Psychoses- details the mad adventures in High School during which as the narrator develops intellectually he separates the external from the internal reality.

While the story takes place during 1950-56 the memories of the unconscious range back into the distant past and into the recent past that also shape the development of the Narrator’s mind while incorporating future events that show how his indoctrination finds expression. Dream waiting to be dreamt having been ordained by the psychological traumas of the past, present and future of both the Narrator and the collective.  There is nothing but memory within the collective unconscious.

The good news is that the story has as happy an ending as was possible; the bad news is that it was hell getting there.

When reading just let your mind drift through the story. Let the details add up until they form one continuum. By the second or third reading you will be learning the song and the tune.

As a musical reference, as I was writing, as a model for the story, I bore Pauline Olivero’s electronic piece titled I of IV in mind. It’s early electronic. I don’t recommend it; it’s not for everyone, but you can try it if you want. Steve Reich’s ‘Let the Bruise Blood Come Out’ is on the same record. Might have been an influence on the story too. We’ll never know.

Go to Chapter One of The Sonderman Constellation

 

The Angeline Constellation

A Story Of Young Love

A Novelette

by

 R.E. Prindle

After the wars were over,

And I was coming home to you;

I saw a Rainbow at Midnight,

Out on the ocean blue;

I saw your face in that Rainbow…

Sung by the Texas Troubador, Ernest Tubb

     I was not invited to many parties.  I  didn’t know why I was invited to this one.  I was not a popular boy.  I had never done well at parties.  As I watched myself compared to others I saw that I lacked the party spirit.  This may sound odd, but there is a party attitude that was quite beyond me.  Perhaps she had already fallen in love with me and requested the hostess to invite me so that she might meet me.

     I was fifteen, she was thirteen.  The party was a hayride held on Thanksgiving.  I had heard of hayrides. They were a very popular diversion in the Valley.  I found their idea pleasing and romantic.  I was looking forward to this one.  It was my first and only.

     I, perhaps, trying to overcome a sense of inferiority tried too hard to impress the others, I was perhaps too boisterous.  Or perhaps I was only there at her request and the others preferred that I not be there.  I was introduced to her but she failed to make an impression on me.  I might have thought her too young.  All the rest of the kids were my age, she was the youngest there.

page 1.

    In those days my desire to be liked was so strong that I was willing to force myself on others.  As we got in the wagon I tried to be gay and jovial.  I thought that was what was wanted.  It was, but not in the manner I employed.  My efforts were rebuffed.  As we rode along I tried romancing the girl next to me but was given a reception as cold as that November night in Michigan.

     She had gotten as close to me as she could which was on the other side of the girl I was trying to romance.  She only had eyes for me.  She was chatting with me, demanding my attention over the girl between us.  My anguish at my lack of acceptance was extreme.  She was grasping for my hand across the girl between us.  We began holding hands over her.  The girl wouldn’t move or let me past her.  She neither wanted my company nor would she scoot out of the way.  I scarcely knew what I was doing but desperation made me accept the advances of this thirteen year old girl.  In a few months to a year perhaps she would not have been able to be so forward.

     We spent the ride holding hands.  I was not sincere, only desperate for acceptance.  The ride ended.  We returned to the house and continued the party in the basement.  I now was obligated to talk to this slip of a girl.  She seemed to adore me.  I was mystified but continued to talk to her with no idea of romance. 

     At the time the comedian George Goebel was approaching the apex of his early career.  I identified with the sad sack comedians.  I imagined to myself that I had anticipated Goebel’s delivery on my own.  My mind was so perfectly attuned to sad humor that I had no trouble convincing myself that I had anticipated them all.  Perhaps I had.

page 2.

     We talked but I made no attempt to be as friendly as the hayride might have given her occasion to expect.  I was a very lonely not very confident boy.

     She said to me:  “Do you know that you talk just like the comedian George Goebel?”

     I fatuously replied that:  “No. I talked like this before I ever saw George Goebel on TV.”

     “I like it,” she replied, anxious to believe me.  “It’s quite a coincidence though.”

     “Well, I said knowingly, “There’s only so many ways you can talk.  I guess it’s actually fairly common.”

     I didn’t believe myself, I felt like falling through the floor.

     By then the party was breaking up.  She and I were almost the only ones left in the basement.  A few apples still bobbed in the tub of water.  I was about to say goodbye when some girl walked by and said to my back:  “Ask her out!”  So I guess that she had asked to have me invited.

     Oh, I was so afraid.  I was desperate and lonely. So desperate and lonely that I almost preferred to be alone.  Still I wanted a girl friend.  Someone to call my own.  More as a reflex to the command, anonymous suggestion, rather than desire, I asked to see her again.  Even with more encouragement than any boy had a right to expect, I still put it in the most awkward insensitive way possible.

page 3.

     “Would you like to see me again?”  I said.  “I mean would you like to go out on a date with me?”

     “Oh yes, I’d love to.”  She eagerly responded.

     “Well,” I said, casting about for an occasion, “There’s a dance at Melville- that’s where I go school- (“Yes, I know.”  She quickly interjected.) Would you go to  the dance with me?”

     “Oh, I’d love to,” she said.  “But my grandmother won’t let me go unless she meets you first.”  She said anxiously, shifting from foot to foot, fearful of having made too great a condition.

     “Why your grandmother?”  I replied startled by the thought of a grandparent rather than a parent.

     “My parents are dead and I live with my grandmother.  The rest of my family lives in Waterloo.”

     Waterloo?  Waterloo, Iowa?  They had a terrific hillbilly station that broadcasted out of Waterloo.  Suddenly I was interested in this girl.  Ange was her name.

     “Hmm.  I guess I could come by next Friday and call on you to meet her.  Would that be all right?”

     The tension fell away from her, her relief was visible.  “Oh sure, that would be fine.”

     I was to call on her the next Friday at seven.  I left her there to be taken home and began the walk back to Caterina where I lived.

     I was terrified.  I realized that she liked me, but I couldn’t understand why.  My childhood had been terrible.  I tried to exude confidence but I walked around quaking inside.  My mother had divorced when I was four.  At five I was placed in a foster home.  At six I was moved to another.  At seven I was placed in the Municpal Orphanage by my mother.  At ten, when she was remarried, she retrieved me.  My stepfather and I didn’t get along.  Sometime in the Children’s Home I had antagonized the regular kids- those from homes with parents- at school for not being submissive as an orphan should be.  They had punished me for being uppity then.  They had never forgiven me and continued to punish me.  I was considerably psychologically battered.

page 4.

     I didn’t know how much it showed.  I mean I was not aware that it showed so much.  Talking like George Goebel should have been a giveaway to me.  On top of my battering my face had broken out in the seventh grade.  It continued to be a mass of pimples untill I was twenty-two.  Then the pimples began to diminish only gradually.  Most terrifying to me was that as I left the ninth grade at an even five feet tall I had feared that I would be short.  Given my pimples, my battering and my height, it was more than I could bear.

     Then between ninth and tenth grades a miracle happened.  Sometime in the summer I began growing.  I grew nearly two inches a month for three months.  When I met Ange I was five-six and a half but I still acted and thought five feet tall.  I was amazed to learn that she was five-one and a half as I towered, or so it felt, above her while I felt shorter.

     I had experienced more rejection than acceptance.  I wondered all week long what she could see in me.

page 5.

     On Friday night I put on my best clothes.  My mother and stepfather seemed to have wanted to punish me by making me wear stupid clothes.  During the summer I had grown so much I hd humiliated myself for money by caddying at the Valley Country Club.  Actually if you worked hard the pay was pretty good.  I worked hard.  I was there at six every morning to get an early number so I would have a chance of going out twice.  Perhaps carrying double each time.  I had made several hundred dollars working seven days a week.

     My mother and stepfather had insisted I put every dime in the bank.  Every dime! I had never had any spending money in my life.  Not a dime!  I began to report less than I made and hid my money in different places.  The Country Club deducted a certain sum of money from each outing to be placed in a fund to be given to us at the end of the season.  The notion was that then we wouldn’t have spent all our money foolishly.  I had refused to give that money up.

     I had grown six inches.  You may guess at how my pants fit.  My mother refused to buy either me or my brother new fall clothes.  She and my stepfather forbade me to spend my own earnings on new clothes.  I asked her in the most responsible manner for new clothes for my brother and me.  She refused.  I had to go to school looking like a fool.  Then one day she came home with a full length fur coat.  She modeled it for me and had the audacity to ask how I liked it.  I was incensed, outraged.  Permission or not I resolved to buy me new clothes.

page 6.

     I went out and got me charcoal grey flannels and  a pink dress shirt which were the rage at Melville as well as a grey V-neck sweater.  My parents had an unerring instinct for geek clothes.  They insisted that I had spent too much.  I absolutely refused to take my clothes back as they demanded.  No! No!  A thousand times No!

     As If left for Ange’s I at least was dressed presentably, although there was nothing I could do about my pimples.  They ravaged my face and my mind.  Ange lived South of me on Melmoth Avenue.  She lived in a grey rectangle on a corner.  The porch was no more than a stoop attached to the front of the house.

     When she opened the door she was shy.  “I wasn’t sure you were coming.”  She said clasping her hands behind her back.

     “Sure, I said I would.”  I replied.  “I wouldn’t ever stand you up.”

      This remark seemed to please her as she beamed a golden smile at me.

     She was more beautiful than I remembered.  Not necessarily in a Miss America sense, nevertheless I found her appearance very pleasing.  She had a lovely face, longer than round with a funny little pug nose that came close to disfiguring her but having failed enhanced her appearance.

     She was very slender.  I remember her as being taller than she was.  She was dressed all in grey.  A grey wool straight skirt that fell just to the bottom of her calf and a grey cashmere sweater. I noted the cashmere with pleasure as it bespoke the quality I so desired.

page 7.

     We both said:  “You look nice.”  at the same time.  Laughing together  she took me into the living room to meet her grandmother.  Now that I had seen her again I was afraid I would not be agreeable to her grandmother.  Ange was still thirteen.  I could have done nothing but understand if her grandmother had refused me.

     Her grandmother acted as though I were a statue talking only to Ange.  She eyed me up and down and from side to side.  I could tell she didn’t approve of me.  She looked at Ange and said in what I considered a chilly manner:  “You’re sure that this is what you want?”

     Ange nodded yes.

     Her grandmother looked at me quizzically and said:  “Well, you should know best what you want.”

     “All right then, Grandmother, please go up to your room now as you promised.”  Ange rather artlessly said.

     Still ignoring me Ange’s grandmother gave her a questioning look and then mounted the stairs to the second floor.

     Ange raced to the foot of the stairs and exclaimed after her:  “Now you stay up there like you promised.  Don’t come peeking at us.”

    A muffled “I won’t.”  came down the stairs.

    Ange’s grandmother never spoke to me again.  When I next came to visit she was already upstairs and never came down.

     Ange put her hand on my arm and smiled betwitchingly at me.

page 8.

     “Let’s sit down.”  she said, sitting in the middle of the couch.  I was awkward.  I was terrified.  I sat in an arm chair so afraid I was almost trembling.  I had no idea what to do.  This was the first time I had been alone with a girl in my life.

     “No, on the couch beside me, Dewey.”

     I was shy, I was very shy.  She liked me, obviously.  But why?

     I slid over next to her.  Slowly, ever so slowly we leaned into each other until the warmth of our bodies mingled.  My mind was all consternation.  Two years older and I was the child.  She looked at me petulantly.  Then swinging her legs under her on the couch she took my arm and put it around her.

      Her scent, her warmth, her beauty was overwhelming.  I was petrified.  We sat and talked in that pose until eleven o’ clock.  Then I thought I had better leave.  I loved her.  I put her on a pedestal.  She seemed to love me.  I could have, I think I could have, kissed her goodnight, but to tell the truth I had never kissed a girl in a romantic way and I didn’t know how.  Coupled with my terror, I was too paralyzed to even think of trying.

     I left more mystified than ever.  Why did she like me?  Like Me! I thought.  She positively thought I was Prince Charming.  She seemed so much more mature than I.  Whatever she saw in me, whatever it was I couldn’t see it.  She had told her grandmother she wanted me.  She meant to have me.  It was a love I had longed for but now forebodings arose in me as I searched for what made her love me.  Anxiety welled up within me, trepidation seized my soul.  Yet she was much more lovely than I remembered her.  I loved the way she dressed.  She was actually perfect.  I loved her, I knew I loved her.  I thought of the klutz I had been; sitting in the arm chair!  She was so mature.  I wondered if she would forgive me.  I was serious.  I trembled.  Tears welled up in my eyes.  I feared losing her before I had obtained her.

page 9.

     I was solely concerned with my own emotions.  the bludgeoning life had given me precluded any thought of others.  With better balance I would have seen the obvious- that she was head over heels in love with me.  As a mad egoist I would have scented opportunity.  But then mad egoism is another side of this life that I am thankful I was spared.  I walked home in a euphoric haze.

II.

     Strangely I made no attempt to telephone her over the next week as I waited impatiently for the dance at school.  As I think now, this must have caused her some anxiety.  Perhaps she picked up the phone a hundred times to call me but put the receiver down each time afraid to offend me by being overeager.  Perhaps her anxiety was overwhelming too.

      I knocked on her door Friday trying to be as radiant as a face full of pimples could be.  She threw open the door and greeted me with a radiance that dazzled me off my feet.  She was even more beautiful than I had remembered doubled yet again.  I struggled to control my elation as I entered the door.  She was ready to leave and called goodby to her grandmother.

page 10

     I had the use of no car.  My parents evil- did I say evil?- how else can I explain their behavior as they denied my every happiness until they drove me from their house-evil to the core- would never allow me to drive all through high school.  They not only refused the use of their car but wouldn’t even allow me to take Driver’s Ed.  We had to walk.  Of course Ange didn’t mind.  It was actually closer to Melville from Ange’s house than it was from mine.  It was a short walk up Melmoth to the Star and then a mile up Mackinac St. to Melville.

     As we came up to the Star we passed Buddy’s Super Market.  Buddy, if there was such a person, had opened the first modern super market in the Valley.  What was at that time considered a giant of 20,000 square feet.  People wondered if such a giant store could make it.  Stupid question.  I had been gazing at Ange marveling at her good taste.  She had on a grey overcoat of a design that I have never ceased to love.

     I was gazing at her as we talked.  Approaching the Star intersection I looked up.  Much to my surprise I saw Buzz Gronski carrying groceries out of Buddy’s, that is, he had a job as carryout.  He was a very unpleasant reminder of my summer as a caddy.  Buzz had adopted the mannerisms of the gangster.  He must have seen a lot of old Cagney movies.  He had posed as a tough guy at the Country Club with a little gang of caddies he had developed.  When I started the summer I was only five feet tall and less than a hundred pounds.  It’s all right to be scrappy at that size but it’s tough losing all your fights.  I didn’t like getting beat up.  I thought I was circumspect, the bigger boys thought I was chicken.

page 11.

     As the summer started I thought I would be five feet tall forever.  I just wanted to earn money.  Many caddies arrived late, Buzz and his friends among them.  They then tried to terrorize the early birds into giving up their priority to them.  Buzz, who was short himself, never actually came after me.  His friend, Charley Horse, who was much bigger than me, did.  Charley got me up against the wall.  Grabbing me by the throat he forced me to my knees and demanded my place.  I should have punched him back but I didn’t.  I was damned if I was going to get up early to be first and then give my place to him.  He could hit but I wouldn’t give up my place.  Naturally he was afraid of reprisals from the caddy shack and didn’t hit me.  While retaining my place I still lost a certain amount of dignity.

     Under pressure from these jerks I did something that nearly destroyed my self-respect.  I began to tell lies to keep up with them.  I don’t mean fibs; I mean tall stories.  I invented events meant to aggrandize myself.  Fortunately I was caught out almost immediately.  I returned to my correct moral standards but the memory of my lapse haunted me.  My self-respect required complete honesty.

page 12.

      As I saw Buzz now my immediate reaction was one of apprehension.  But then I had grown and he hadn’t.  I now ‘towered’ over him.  With the respect for tall men that short men cannot conceal he now deferred to me.  He was also ashamed to be seen as a bagboy.  Eyeing Ange he also placed himself in a class below me.  As he hurried to place his bags in the customer’s trunk he didn’t answer my greeting.

     Ange, of course, asked:  “Who is he?”

     I was not only ashamed at having caddied, but my lack of resistance to the hazing I had taken and my lapse of integrity had left me with a feeling of guilt.  I struggled to find an answer that would be the truth without revealing my summer employment.  I thought if if Ange had known I caddied  she would leave me on the corner and go home.  I couldn’t think of anything, I didn’t want to.  I told her the unvarnished truth.

     “I caddied at the Country Club last summer before I met you, Ange.  He was just some guy that caddied there.”

    “Oh,” she said, not seeming to disapprove.

     I wanted to discredit Buzz in her eyes.

     “He and some of his friends were real crooks.  They used to steal cases of pop off the truck while the driver was filling the machine.”

     “You didn’t help, did you?”

     ‘Oh, gosh no, Ange.  I wouldn’t even drink a bottle which they tried to force me to do.  That’s why this guy wouldn’t speak to me.  It was kind of a reproach.  I wasn’t one them.”

     She turned an admiring glance on me, secure in her judgment of me.

page 13.

     As I walked along beside this pure flame I felt a sense of inadequacy.  My summer haunted me.  I wished I had hit Charley.  I wished I hadn’t needed the money that I got from the Country Club members.  I felt defiled.  I looked at her again wondering what she could see in me.  I was uneasy.

     The dance was uneventful.  The school band played its two best tunes- Night Train and Blue Moon- with some trash in between.  I knew Al, the leader of the band and got him to play the two tunes again.  I liked them both.

     We began to walk back to her house.  The weather in the two weeks since Thanksgiving had turned cold.  This night it was already fifteen, headed for ten, maybe eight, above.  The evening had only increased my respect and love for Ange.  I had placed her on a pedestal before, but now I was virtually worshipping her.  My anxiety had my stomach muscles, always taut, tight.  I had a lump in my throat and difficulty breathing.  Combined with the weather I was very conscious of my body.  Ange seemed relaxed.  How could she be so young and still be so confident?

     She had taken the glove off her left hand and walked with it exposed to the cold by her side.  Even a simpleton could have known enough to take her hand in his.  But block after block I agonized over whether I should risk it.  I looked at her and through my haze of fear I thought I sensed that she felt rejected because I hadn’t taken her hand.  I thought that for a moment she considered giving up and putting on her glove.  I thought that she despaired of my loving her.  Finally I decided that her hand would freeze if I didn’t take it.  I timidly asked:  “Is it all right if I hold your hand?”

page 14

     “Oh,” she said with obvious relief, “I thought you’d never ask.”  As cold as her hand was, I believed it.

    We now walked hand in hand.  It was a beautiful hand she had.  I couldn’t cease trembling at my good fortune.  It was a cold night.  Both are hands were cold.  I suggested putting them both into my jacket pocket to warm them up.  She consented.  I will remember the contented, perhaps even euphoric, way she walked beside me overjoyed at the close contact we immersed ourselves in.

     As we walked through the freezing cold, the cold was driven back by the warmth of our love.  Rather than two cold children walking down the street I felt as though we had turned into little suns floating through the ether, aglow ourselves, if unable to dispel the cold pressing in around us.  Rising above my insecurities I was happy.

     Suddenly we were before her house.  The little stoop of her house was no place to spoon.  We were on display.  I was confronted with a terrifying decision.  Should I try to kiss her or not?  Protocol required me to attempt it as this was our second date.  Yes, of course, I knew the answer was obvious.  Still I said goodbye without kissing her.  She grabbed my jacket and pulled me back:  “Wait!”  She commanded.  She looked up at me expectantly her lips poised to receive mine.  I knew I had to, I knew I wanted to kiss them.  Anxiety still shrouded my mind.  I didn’t know how.  Oh yes, simple enough, but now I was terrified that I would disappoint her.  In indecision I stepped backward.  She misunderstood me and pulled me back again whispering:  “Not yet.  Don’t leave me yet.”

page 15.

     I had to act.  I wanted to do it right, to show her I could be very romantic.  Suddenly every big movie kiss I had ever seen flashed through my mind.  Pouncing like a tiger I threw my arms around her.  Bending her down backwards, as I thought I remembered in the movies, I lowered her to a level where her body was at right angles with her knees.  Startled by my rapid move and thrown off balance her arms reflexively tightened around my neck.  We were in a close embrace.  I can only guess how clumsy my kiss was.  Movie scenes flashed through my mind while I tried to determine how long I should hold it.  As the seconds ticked away I decided that it was time.  With the same suddeness I had seized her I now staightened her up and put her on her feet.

     I knew I had failed.  How could I fail?  She loved me.  “I hope that was alright.”  I stammered.  “I never kissed a girl before and just did it like I’ve seen in the movies.”

     She was aglow.  “Oh no, it was perfect.  You’ve never kissed a girl before?”  She giggled and broke into a merry little laugh.

     “Well, on the cheek, my cousins, but not like that.”

     She threw her arms around my neck and kissed me again.  Her lips were soft and perfect.  The sky was filled with stars that had descended to earth and revolved around my head.  She laughed again, took my cheeks in her hands and looked with merry joy into my eyes.  She opened her door, looked back at me with a complete ecstasy and disappeared within.  The stars retreated into the heavens.  The cold surrounded me and clutched at my heart.

page 16.

     I turned to make the long walk home alone.  It was no longer a friendly universe.  The warm glowing light had disappeared.  The stars had fled my brow and returned into the cold dark sky.  It was just another dark cold night.  The windows of Buddy’s Super Market had long since been dark when I walked past.  Then a discomforting thought entered my head.  I didn’t know how I was going to get back into the house.  My mother and stepfather refused to let me have a key.  They had caused a row before I left.  They hadn’t forbidden me to date but they had belittled Ange as not good enough for me, whatever that meant.  I was asked how I was going to get back in the house at midnight.  In my simplicity I said through the door like always.  I was told the door would be locked, they would be asleep and I wasn’t to disturb them.  If I did they wouldn’t get up to let me in.

     I couldn’t understand why they obstructed my chances for happiness.  It was bad enough facing a hostile world without being harassed from behind by your own family.  Mrs. Otto, two houses down Monroe, had observed our relationship.  She had observed me and made an unfavorable evaluation.  She and her husband were having their own problems.  Shortly after she threw him out she told me what she thought of my step-father.  I was too young to understand much of what she said.  The only thing that really stuck was:  “I’ll never forgive him for what he’s doing to you.”  She was coldly analytical.  But since she was the kind of feminist who blamed men for cloudy days, I only listened.  Actually my mother was as bad or worse than my step-father but Mrs. Otto would never have believed that.  Nor was it clear what she thought he was doing to me.  Now I know he was trying to belittle me into an impotence which he himself felt.  My problem now was to be potent enough to get into the house.  It was close to eight above.  I knew that if I woke them they would only shout through the door:  “You were warned, you’ve got no one to blame but yourself.”  They were like that, that’s what they always said.  I had been almost treated better in the orphanage.

page 17.

     I cast about for some friend who might be coming home late from a date but that was chancy and another long cold walk too.  I had no choice but to wake my brother up.  We fought constantly; if he was in a snit he wouldn’t do it either.   He was my best chance.  I wove my way up the side streets from Court past the library turning at each corner until I reached Bond St., a block to the south of Monroe.

     We lived on the corner in a square little house with a bizarre porch.  The porch itself was conventional enough but it was reached by a semi-circular concrete staircase with rounded edges to the steps.  Whoever designed such a stairway must have been from Dixie.  When the ice and snow packed on the steps it was almost impossible to get a footing.  I decided to try the side window first.  I crashed through the frozen bushes in the dark.  We still had a coal furnace.  The fires were banked every night which left a very cold house.  To avoid possible asphyxiation each storm window, which was placed over the regular windows to form insulation, had three holes drilled in the bottom to let in fresh air.  I could make my brother hear by speaking through these.  I called to him softly.  I called several times keeping my voice low.  I know he pretended not to hear me.  I tapped on the window with frozen fingers; still no response.  Finally I decided to try the window facing the front porch.  Rather than crash through the bushes again I went completely around the house.  The steps were so slippery I couldn’t keep my footing so I had to crawl up the steps.  Darn cold work and I was risking tearing the knees out of my grey flannels.  I could hear my parents chuckling in my imagination if I did.

page 18.

     Worse still, I was conscious that the night had a thousand eyes.  I knew my neighbors; I knew that I was being observed by at least someone.  I knew they would gossip on the morrow.  One of my favorite songs had always been “Don’t Talk About Me When I’m Gone.”  I hated to be discussed whether by friends, neutrals or enemies.  My voice was directed now at my brother rather than past him across the room.  The door was only slightly ajar so I didn’t think my parents would hear.  Of course they had lain awake waiting for my return, but I didn’t know that.

     Calling and tapping I finally got a response from Rip Van Winkle.  “What do you want?” was his asinine answer.  “Get up and open the door and let me in.  I’m freezing.”

     “If I get up I’ll freeze too.”

     This was no joke; I knew I was asking for a favor.  The temperature in the room was probably fifteen.  Winter nights were so cold that once the spot beneath your body in bed was warm, to move even an inch was to encounter painfully cold sheets.  I always found a comfortable position and then didn’t twitch a muscle all night.  We had a hardwood floor too.  My parents wouldn’t give us a throw rug.  When your feet hit that frozen floor it was almost worse than a blistering beach on a hot summer day.

page 19.

     “I’d do it for you.”  I hissed at him.  I honestly thought I would have too.

     After much imploring he said:  “Go around to the back.”

     “No, Louie, open the front door.  I’m right here.”

     “Oh, alright.”  He grudged.

     I had the decency to thank him.

     This ending was rather an imperfect one for a perfect date.

III.

     In the excitement of my first kiss I had forgotten to make another date.  I had to call her.  There were no more dances so I hadn’t known what to suggest.  Taking a girl to some vulgar movie house was never my idea of a date.  Ange said just come on over.  She said that I could come over anytime, I didn’t need dates.  I countered that I didn’t want to antagonize her grandmother.  She said not to worry about her grandmother, she would take care of her.

     Apparently Ange’s womanhood was superior to her grandmother’s.  I verily believed that she was a sliver from the fountainhead of womanhood.  I marveled at here seeming mature awareness.  I marveled at Ange.

page 20.

     That week my brother and I had a discussion about opening the door for me.  In a tradeoff of responsibilites it was agreed that he would get up and let me in.

     On Friday I put on my jacket and began the walk to Ange’s.  What a jacket.  It was unbearably stupid and old fashioned.  A girl would have to be deeply in love to be seen with anyone wearing that jacket.  My mother’s fur coat had it all over the jacket.  When my mother bought me the jacket she asked which of the jackets on sale I preferred.  I chose something someone might want to wear.  Having determined what I did not want she insisted on buying it.  The ugliest jacket in the whole store.  I had to take it.  Not so with my graduation suit.  She wanted me to buy some godawful piece of junk, using my own money no less.  At eighteen I went without rather than humiliate myself wearing trash.  This jacket was incomprehensively bad.  That a manufacturer could have thought that he might make money on a run of them was inconceivable.  The designer must have been out of the asylum on a weekend pass.  That a cutter had cut the pattern showed how little he cared for his craft.  He should have rejected the pattern outright.  That a wholesaler bought hundreds and sold them to retailers was the con job of the century.  the Brinks hold up robbers could have learned from him.  He didn’t even have to worry about going to jail.  That a retailer thought that a customer existed who wouled buy it shows both how savvy and savage retailers can be.  This guy knew and was mean enough to exploit it, that a mother who hated her child would buy it.  Well, money is money.  He’s probably leaning against the wall of this shop cackling still.  I wasn’t laughing.  There’s a place for him in the seventh hole in hell where his reward is waiting for him.  I had to wear the ugly thing.

page 21.

     But I was on the way to wear the stars that had settled on my brow.  The memory of her warm lips on the cold night dispelled gloomy thoughts from my mind.  I wanted to feel my best, look my best and be my best for Ange.

     The kiss had altered our relationship.  The intimacy had raised a slight barrier for me that had to be overcome.  I was shy, even embarrassed, when she opened the door for me with her eyes shining.  God, what a lovely girl.

     How could I ever have thought her an insignificant slip of a girl only a few weeks ago, now to be drawn completely under her spell.  I threw off the jacket as quickly as I could.  I threw it behind the couch out of sight. 

     “Oh, here, let me hang it up.”  Ange said putting her hand out to get it.

     Forgetting myself, I seized her hand meaning to say: “No, forget it.”

     Perhaps she interpreted the suddeness of my movement as ardent affection, perhaps it was.  It did break the discomfort of shyness.  She clasped my hand lovingly in both hers and raised it to her lips almost as in ecstasy.  My heart melted, my joints turned to butter, my legs almost gave out beneath me.  Perhaps I swooned against her.  I can’t remember.  I just remember next having her in my arms on the couch.  She was no weight at all.  I pressed her close imbibing the perfume of her youthful innocent devotion.  The twin dynamos of her small breasts pulsed warm waves of love through my trembling frame.

page 22.

     As only young lovers can we sat holding each other for an eternity of bliss.  Perhaps an hour.  The balm of her love on my troubled and tormented mind obliterated all thoughts of sorrow or misery.  My past disappointments vanished as a vapor before the healing rays of the sun.  My present angers and humiliations were wafted away as before a light summer breeze.  But a dark foreboding rose like a lazy bubble through viscous oil.

     Did she know my travails?  I was an unhappy boy.  My two anthems were songs by the western singer, Hank Snow: ‘I’ve Got A Troubled Mind’ and ‘I Don’t Hurt Anymore.’  The titles are self explanatory.  Hillbilly songs don’t fool around.  I sang the latter as a prayer and the former as a lament.  I had the insiders understanding of sad sack comedians- there will never be another Jackie Vernon- and I knew the whole catalog of sad songs.  For a joke I sang along with ‘I’ve got tears in my ears from laying on my back on my pillow crying over you.’

     I didn’t know if she knew that I carried this load of sorrow around with me.  Oh, I had a sense of humor.  I could make Ange laugh and be merry.  I tried not to let my sorrow show but it is the unconscious mannerisms and conversational traits that give one away.  The walk, the gestures, the choice of words and phrases, it is even found in the way we wear out clothes, let alone the choice of clothes and colors.  I knew I was unhappy.  Even though I would always be kind and gentle to her, I wanted her to know the sorrow that possessed my mind.

page 23.

     Not knowing what else to do I took her face in my hands.  Holding her eyes level with mine I tried to penetrate the barrior of vision that separated us.  I tried to dissolve the distance which exists between two, not to become one, but to show her everything that was happening in my mind.  At first a pleasant smile played abut her lips as our eyes met and we saw each other, perhaps for the first time.  Then I was successful and our lenses stopped resisting each other.  The plane of existence disappeared and we saw into each other’s souls.  Our divine essence flowed back and forth on the waves of union, the bridge of adoration through our eyes.  I was intent that she see what I wanted her to see so I kept the inner vision open praying not to break the spell.  But her lips quivered and opened with a slight gasp.  She lost contact as her eyelids fluttered and half lowered.  Her hand involuntarily rose and clasped mine in a warm embrace.  Now, in my turn, I tenderly kissed her hands as she swooned forward placing her lips gently against mine.

     We dissolved back against and into the couch, where a tangle of melted flesh we half sat and lay wholly in a blissful daze.  The effect was overpowering.  It was as though our warmth had coalesced to form one sun emiting its rays out into our own universe.  It was the gods’ gift to we two for one brief moment.  The moment was at once lost, the sweetness lives on a faint echo of a memory never to be recovered.

     I knew that I had failed in my intent to show myself to her, or if I hadn’t she must have been to young to know and understand.

page 24.

     Than a moment of distress came over me.  I hadn’t planned carefully enough.  No, not what you think.  I had a horror of bodily functions.  I had always taken care when I was with Ange that I didn’t have to go to the bathroom.  But now my bladder was exploding.  I didn’t want her to know that I had to go to the bathroom.  I was terrified that she think that I was inconsiderate.

     Perhaps she had seen something in my mind that I hadn’t been aware of, for as my brow furrowed and I searched for words to form the question, she said gently:  “It’s over there Dewey.  Go through the dining room, it’s on your right.”  I was in acute misery because of my lack of planning.  I felt like I was defiling her as I got to my feet and found my way to the bathroom.  Thank God I had carefully zipped my pants before I opened the door because when I did she was standing outside waiting for me.  She clasped my hand and leaning against me led me back to the couch.

    “Oh, Ange, listen, I’m awfully sorry…”  I said almost sobbing the most intense embarrassment I was ever to know.

     “Sorry about what, Dewey?”  She said a little shiver of alarm rippling through her body.  She feared she had displeased me somehow.

     “T- t- that I had to…that I didn’t plan better.  That I embarrassed you so.”

     “You mean because you had to go to the bathroom?”  She said incredulously.  “Don’t worry about that, Dewey, we all have to.”

page 25.

     “Yeh, I know, but I didn’t want to embarrass you, Ange.”

     “I’m not embarrassed Dewey.  I was beginning to think you weren’t human.”

     She said it in such a naive manner that her meaning that she really thought I was more than human was apparent.  I uttered a nervous laugh of pleasure at the sincere flattery, ransacking my stuttering mind for an equal compliment.  She saved me by throwing her arms around my neck and giving me a kiss with pouting lips.  Now that we had exchanged vows, she seemed to be much more free with me than I with her.

     “It’s getting late Darling, I don’t want you to, but you’d better go.”

     I started for my jacket when I was arrested by her gasp.

     “Oh, Dewey, I almost forgot to tell you, I hope you’ll forgive me.”

     I picked up my stupid jacket and put it on to get it warmed up before I went outside.  “Tell me what, Ange.”

     “You know I have family in Waterloo?”

     “Yes.  You said.”

     “Well, schools out Wednesday and I have to go back to Waterloo for Christmas.”

     We were in front of the door now, both hands held.  My mind reeled.  I hadn’t thought about it but I assumed we would spend Christmas day together.  I stood there looking left to right my mouth opening and closing.  Finally I said:  “Will you be back for New Years?”

page 26.

     She groaned a heartfelt “No.”

     “You can’t go for both Ange.”  I was not forbidding it, I was just protesting against a great injustice.

     “I know, I don’t want to,” she stroked my cheek, “but I have to.”

     Her grandmother shouted down the stairs:  “Ange, has that boy left yet?”

     “No. He’s going now, Grandmother.”

     “It’s late and I’m responsible for you.  He can’t stay this late.”

     “You’ll have to go, Dewey.”

     “Well, can I see you Monday or Tuesday before you go?”

     “Oh, no, Dewey,”  she moaned, “I won’t be able to see you before I get back.”

     I drew her to me and kissed her goodbye.  I was very disappointed but there was nothing I could do.

     Before she had closed the door behind me the cold and darkness had descended on me and embraced me.  I was robbed immediately of the euphoric warmth of her embrace.  I felt betrayed because she was going to be gone so long at such an important time.

IV.

     I hadn’t wanted her to go.  She was thirteen and I was fifteen, what could we do?  In the great void it left in my memory disquieting thoughts entered.  A man struck by a lightening bolt tends to organize his life into before and after.  My before was clear, my present surrounded me, my future lay shrouded in the mists of a fearful obscurity.  My past had been all pain, without knowing it I was merely now gliding through the eye of the storm.  I didn’t know it; I feared it.

page 27

     I wandered about during school vacation hoping for her return and attempting to worry things out.  The air remained crisp and cold.  The Valley never received a heavy snow.  The heavy snows fell down South or up North.  There were perhaps drifts  of a foot, bare ground and a layer of three to six inches.  It was old snow.  It had fallen in two or three falls during the past two weeks.  The sun had played on its surface melting it into a crust of ice.  A couple years earlier if I had stepped carefully it would have borne my weight, now I broke through with no resistance.

     For the last couple days the skies had become solid overcast.  The great stream of clouds stretched West and North across the continent stretching out into the tropical seas beyond British Columbia into the Pacific.  They would last a while.  I have always loved clouds.  I have loved their infinite variety.  There is nothing like the awe inspired by the great thunderheads of summer rising in great boiling columns forty thousand feet into the air, moving with the majesty of the gods across the sky until the Rider On The Storm of the towering mass of vapor slides overhead and discharges a volley of lightening bolts in a scattering and awesome display of sexual prowess.

     I loved the little puffy white clouds that speckled the sky.  I loved the great galleons that threw their shadows before as they sailed on into oblivion.  I have read writers who have described the sky overhead now as ‘clouds like a tin sheet,’ ‘a leaden sky,’ or ‘lowering slate sky.’  No man who knew clouds could write like that about them.  No man who had ever shared a Young Girl’s heart could ever describe a downy grey sky in those terms.  My eyes perceived an infinite variety of greys.  Each one an exact shade of Ange’s raiment.  A grey for her skirt, a grey for her sweater, a grey for her coat and a grey for her lovely eyes.  I gazed up at that sky in deep admiration.  As snowflakes appeared from nowhere and rather than falling seemed suspended in the air I stood on tiptoes and stretched up to kiss the lovely grey sky.  I wondered if the air would be redolent of Ange.  Of course I was foolish and realized it immediately.  I put my heels back on the ground and walked with my head bowed.

page 28.

     Where had she come from and why?  Why had she chosen me to bless with her existence that I had captured and stored in my heart.  I was so selfish.  I was so afraid.  My hope was artificial, sheer bravado.  What had I to offer her?

V.

     In time the sky cleared and she returned.  It was different now.  Not so that it could be seen or felt.  Uncertainty had entered my being.  I now saw her two or three times a week.  That was as much as her grandmother would allow, wisely so.  Schoolwork had to be done.

page 29.

     Ange had a role in a church play.  She invited me to see her in the role.  I don’t remember what the play was about; I didn’t care.  Ange had asked me and that was enough.

     In the seclusion of her house we had been able to keep the world at bay.  In the bliss of our love we floated above the housetops, above the trees, in a universe of our own.  We were one with the light fluffy clouds high above the earth, removed from the dross of earthly impure elements.

     But as we moved about in the mundane world of men and women we had, or rather I had- Ange didn’t seem to notice- to take into account the buffeting of hostile intentions.  I thought now that everyone had to like me as Ange loved me or Ange would stop loving me.  I sat in the theatre while Ange stood back stage.  She fixed adoring eyes on me from the wings while she waited for her part.  She was oblivious to all else I could hear the murmurs of others in the audience.  Perhaps their comments were normal badinage with which they discussed all swains.  Probably the difference in our ages caused comment.  Though in love, I was certainly conscious of her youth.  But my face was covered with pimples, my jacket was ugly and it didn’t represent the real me; the orphanage was part of my past and I came from a broken home.  I knew they all knew.  Perhaps when one said:  “What does she see in him?”  they were merely being curious.  Perhaps they wanted to know.  Maybe as we had never been intruduced they wondered what I was like.  Maybe.  I took their comments, I don’t think I’m far off, as rejection, as detestation for me.  I thought Ange might discover whatever they didn’t like in me.  My past had given my demeanor and actions a caste that seemed to replicate the attitude wherever I went.  I was acutely conscious of their critical evaluation.  I may have been hypersensitive.  But I sat in the middle, as it were, of what I interpreted to be a species of revulsion and the silent adoration of Ange gazing steadfastly at me from the wings as though I were the angel sent down from heaven to please her.  Who was right?  I was too inexperienced to dismiss them and accept unqualifiedly the love that was offered to me by my sweet Ange.  Self doubt plagued me.  I wished that Ange would temper her obvious devotions.  Jealousy probably drove the other auditors to despair as they redoubled their whispered comments.

page 30.

     I prayed that Ange might diminish her attention to me.  In my embarrassment I looked away.  But then, knowing that I couldn’t refuse her adoration and not wanting to give her the least doubt of my own affection, I returned her gaze.

     Then her turn to perform came.  Ange scandalized the crowd.  As she spoke her lines she turned toward the audience and spoke her lines in such sublime innocence to me alone.  Oh, Ange, how I loved you, how you flattered a heart that wished to steal you from a hard hearted world and hide you away in my heart, but how I wished you hadn’t done that.  I was emotionally unequipped to withstand the storm of indignation that swept the the auditorium of that most Christian of churches.  Still, it was such a lovely gesture that I haven’t recovered my senses yet.

     One woman ignoring my presence stated indignantly:  “I don’t care how fascinated she is with that pimple faced boy- at her age it’s only fascination, what could she know of love- but that doesn’t give her the right to ruin this play for everyone else.

page 31.

     I could let “pimple faced boy” go by but I had to defend my Love.  “Ange didn’t ruin the play.”  I said, next offering a correct, but in the circumstance irrelevant, evaluation of the play.  “It wasn’t a very good play, she enhanced it merely by being in it, it was impossible for her to ruin it.”

     “Impossible to ruin it!  Young man my daughter wrote that play.”

     “Well, the first one’s always the toughest, if she’s got talent the next one will be better.”  I volunteered, quoting some forgotten critic I had read.

     Ange had joined me in the midst of the exchanges.  The woman flashed indignation all over me, thinking me a very impertinent boy.  Perhaps I was but she could have kept her comments about Ange to herself.  At least she, an old woman, should have had the sense not to utter her absurdities in my presence.  If you throw a stone into a pond you shouldn’t be surprised if you get splashed.

     Outside the church when we were alone and our universe had returned to its rightful form, Ange shyly took my hand and lovingly admonished me for having given Mrs. What-was-her-name the why for.  She was pleased that I had defended her.  It irradiated her being.  Alone with her once again in an adoration I could endure I didn’t mention my discomfort under her gaze in the church.  I thought I would but I couldn’t find words that I thought wouldn’t hurt her.  I couldn’t stand to see the love dimmed in her eyes for an instant.  I sighed and just assumed that the opportunity wouldn’t happen again.

page 33.

VI

     We couldn’t spend all our time together talking, kissing and spooning on her couch.  We did have to go on dates.  As our romance went on I found to my discomfort that I was being drawn into the circle of her family and acquaintances.  She had other family in the Valley than her grandmother.  She also had other friends.  Some were boys, but it never crossed my mind that she would look at them.  She didn’t.  But my paradise was with Ange alone and her grandmother who I never saw.  My vision was of Ange.  Had she been a picture in a museum I would have been oblivious to all the others.  I didn’t need them.  I didn’t want them.  Ange so excelled all others that they seemed shabby in comparison.

     My social station was not too high.  I, as well as Ange’s grandmother lived nevertheless in decent neighborhoods, if not the plushest.  Our neighbors reflected, in varying degrees, certain cultural standards.  I considered myself to be of a certain cultural class.  I considered Ange to be above class, to walk on air, to discourse with other angels.

     In my personal psychology I thought myself a victim of circumstances.  A frog prince, captured in an ugly body awaiting only liberation.  The beautiful Ange validated that opinion of myself.  I knew I could only be released from my prison by leaving the Valley behind and exhibiting my true worth in some glittering capitol that left a burg like the Valley in its true perspective.  Ange saved me from being myself.

 page 34;

     But her friends, her relatives, the people I had to meet and with whom I was expected to ingratiate myself lived out in the north neighborhoods of town.  They not only lived there but they belonged there.  They had no culture or intellectual pretensions.  I don’t want to go to lengths exapatiating on the quality of my manners, but if I was gauche from time to time, Ange’s people were unfamiliar with the word.  They thought manners were putting on airs.

     Ange had manners.  Her grandmother lived on South Melmoth.  I had no idea what her people in Waterloo were like but I just assumed that they lived in a nicer house than either I or her grandmother did.  Through Ange I was compelled to mingle with these people and I didn’t like it.  There was a vast distance between our cloud castle and those people.  I didn’t want my dreams dashed by crudity.  Forgive me, Ange.

     I couldn’t make them go away, they encroached on my vision of happiness.  They didn’t know what true love was.  They were becoming a problem as were the other kids at school.  Alone Ange and I could stroll hand in hand through the Garden of the Gods; at social functions I had to work hard to keep the real world at bay.  My failure would become accumulatively apparent.

page 35.

     I nevertheless felt obligated to show my Darling Angeline the worldly pleasures at my disposal.  My own soul revolted at basketball and football spectacles.  I didn’t attend many games, especially basketball games, but I invited Ange to go to one.

     Our basketball court served as both the boys and girls gyms.  The court was divided in two by an immense folding door.  The bleachers were contained in huge cabinets.  When in use the cabinet doors slid back and the bleachers were rolled out to serve their purpose.

    We arrived at the game and found seats about seven or eight rows up along the long wall near the end of the bleachers in the boys side of the gym.  We had no sooner been seated than an older woman with a couple of boys in tow climbed the bleachers to take a seat behind us.  As they began the ascent Ange recognized the woman as her aunt.  The boys were cousins.  Thus I began to be introduced to her family. I didn’t even like my own family.  I saw no reason to be drawn into hers.

     It was only natural that Ange’s people would show interest in the boy she was dating.  The boy she raved about as a paragon among boys.  It was more than dating, we were deeply involved, although, in my own self-centered way that excluded the rest of the world, I didn’t understand the depth of our involvement.  Ange was mine and mine alone.  I didn’t have to share her anymore than I had to share my baseball glove.  The glove fit my hand.  It was mine.  Ange and I suited each other.  Ange was mine.

     At the time I was unaware that Ange was telling her family about us.  I just didn’t think about it.  I told no one about her, neither family nor friends.  I just assumed she did the same.  She was in love, she expressed her love differently than I.  It’s also true that my parents took no interest in my affairs, while Ange as a young girl would solicit the attention of her relatives.  She, with her joy in me, had told them of her perfect love, had even been effusive.  In her rapture she had even told them we would marry.  If not in those words at least in a manner that indicated that we thought we had or, indeed, had found life mates.  The idea occupied Ange’s mind; in my own it rumbled along in the long wave lengths below the audible range.

page 36.

     Her aunt and family naturally were interested in whether I was sincere or taking advantage of a young girl’s heart.  Our ages were a difficult point with them and with me.  I was open to the charge of cradle robbing.  It made no difference that Ange had found me and not I her, I was older and a boy.  I was responsible; I accepted the responsibility.  I was still sensitive to the charge; I had no intention of dishonoring my Angeline.  She was my beauty; a lovely thing has to be kept lovely by loving care.  They don’t stay that way on their own.  It must have the attention lavished on it to maintain its lustre.  I had resented comments made by people who knew us as we had entered the gymn, this woman, her aunt, annoyed me.

     Ange’s cousins intruded in my fantasies of who we were.  We had always been on our best, our very best, behavior with each other.  We had never had a cross word.  Whe had never even had a disagreement.  I was elevated above the ruck of common life in her presence.  She made my life shine.  I imagined us as I hoped we would be throughout life.  Her cousins and her aunt reflected a side of life that cast shadows on my mirror.  Ange wouldn’t understand, they were her people.

page 37.

     The game progressed as basketball games do.  Up one end of the floor and back to the other.  We were playing Lake Harbor.  They had an all Black team.  We were all white.  They had this one terrific player who could win the game for his team.  He was winning it for them.  We were not, as they say, prejudiced but we didn’t want to lose to a bunch of Black guys.  The gym was definitely hostile to Lake Harbor.  Our hope was that their good guy would foul out, then we knew we would win.  As he was half the team he tried too hard and got a couple quick fouls.  When he got his third one the whole gym erupted into a great howl of delight.  The attitude of the crowd was slightly on the ugly side.

     Ange looked over at me and said:  “Gee, Dewey, basketball games are sure thirsty work.”  My first reaction was a thick headed “Yea, sure are.”  Then a shaft of light penetrated and I realized that her statement must have been some conventional witticism she had heard and that she wanted something to drink.  I thought a second and said:  “But, Honey, if you have something to drink you may have to go to the bathroom.”  Ange flushed at my use of Honey and cast a look back at her aunt, who was leaning over our shoulders to catch every word, to see whether she had heard it.  “That’s alright Dewey, they have restrooms here.”  She missed the point, I didn’t want to be reminded that she was human.  “OK.  I’ll be right back.”

page 37.

     I heaved a sigh and looked out over the gym.  The refreshment stand was at the other end by the entrance to the girl’s gym.  I usually had to fight my way from one end to the other.  There was always someone to try to trip me or whatever.  I knew Ange would be watching me every foot of the way.  I wanted to look good.  It occurred to me that I could go around the corridor from the boys gym to the girls gym and back without walking the length and breadth of the gym.  Gracik was taking tickets.  He was infuriated because I was with a girl and he wasn’t.  He’d given me a surly “Who’d go out with you.” as Ange and I had entered.  Once I got out he might give me a hard time getting back in.  I resolved to walk the length of the court.

     I was only fifteen but I knew enough to know no one would interfere with me when I was empty handed.  Lake Harbor’s  guy hadn’t made anymore fouls, we were falling behind, the crowd was restless.  I made it to the refreshment stand OK and got Ange her drink.  I knew the person guarding the girl’s gym door pretty well.  I could at least get back in if I tried the corridor.  I decided to chance Gracik at the other end.  Even with my stub in my hand he made it too difficult to get back in.  I could have tried to force it but he would have caused me embarrassment, probably spilling the drink.  I went back to the girl’s gym entrance and started back around.

     The players, big guys, were thundering up and down the floor.  Drinks in those days were open topped, they didn’t use lids so I had to balance the drink carefully.  I could have topped it off a little but then if I drank I might have to go to the bathroom and embarrass myself in front of Ange.

page 39.

     I had walked the breadth of the court.  I spotted Louis Schreiver as I turned the corner.  Schreiver was always in my hair.  Fortunately he wasn’t overly bright.  He always telegraphed his intentions.  One could explain it to him and he still couldn’t understand.  I intuited his plan this time before it was clear in his own mind.  He was going to wait until just before I passed, then pretend he heard someone above him call his name, then jump up and back into me while waving up above.  Shee, get a new new one, Louis.  I was close to the boundary line watching Schreiver when this big guy came rolling down the court on the line.  He was six-eight, two hundred forty.  A very imposing guy.  It was sort of like having a big eight wheeler bear down on you at a crossing.

     I saw Schreiver make his move.  In order to make it look like a Law and Order accident he stopped looking at me at all.  He had a mental image of the situation, sort of like a turn around jump shot with your back to the basket.  But this big guy was coming down one side of the line, I was on the other.  I saw Louis start to stagger backwards.  Istopped and stepped away from the line.  Schreiver had been watching only me, not paying attention to the game.  Now ignoring me as he staggered backward he was counting on bumping into me to stop him.  You could see the look of anticipation on his face.  I wasn’t behind him.  Louis staggered right across the line into the way of the big steamroller.  Louis’ friends’ smiles of anticipation shifted from alarm at Louis’ fate to angry scowls at me because I had avoided my projected part in their little drama.  They thought I had caused Schreiver’s embarrassment.  The school’s mood had been so ugly that Lake Harbor accused us of having gotten into their guy’s way intentionally to put him out of the game.  The Ref to defuse the situation actually gave Lake Harbor the benefit of a technical foul.

page 40.

     All the way down the gym I had to answer “What happened?”  “I don’t know, a guy stepped out in front of the Train.”

    I was quite a hero to Ange as I had seen the collision close up.  I didn’t try to explain what really happened.  I got the drink to her without a mishap.

     Her aunt was saying something about calling on them as we left.  I nodded my head but my thinking was that it would be a long time from now.

     Sure enough Ange had to go the bathroom.  Angels don’t pee.  Angel have no impurities.  I had accommodated myself to the fact that Ange was human.  I always knew it if I had tried to avoid the fact.  She had excused herself a few times before which I had accepted.  Now she was going to use a public restroom!  There was nothing I could do about it.  I would never be cross with her but I had told her so.

VI.

     During the succeeding weeks I was drawn further into the acquaintance of Ange’s relatives.  I recognized the inevitability of it but I resented it deeply.  Ange and I, I and my Angeline, had a refuge from an ugly and threatening world.  We still whiled away our evening hours in each other’s arms on her couch.  The bliss of her warmth and her sweet aroma still transported me to pleasant worlds distand from this struggle for existence.  The one made the other bearable.

page 42.

     In her arms the frog prince realized for a moment a potential he had difficulty attempting to realize in his parents’ house, on the streets of the Valley and the halls of Melville.  I was nevertheless able to sustain a more elevated opinion of myself elsewhere than among her relatives.

     I am a democrat, but still a snob.  I found her relatives’ appreciation of the meaning of life distinctly inferior to me.  They had an earthy quality.  It was enough for them to eat, rut  and sleep.  My own parents, far from intellectuals, still subscribed to a couple magazines.  I myself had a good sized library for a fifteen year old.  Relatively passive in my demands otherwise, I insisted, demanded, on receiving at least as many books at Christmas as socks and underwear.  My eyes were on the stars not in the furrows.

     Ange’s relatives had neither books nor magazines.  They were strictly functional in the decor of their houses.  They had none of the accoutrements of civilized life about them.

     Ange herself was oblivious.  I imagine she was lost in the wonders of love.  She lived to please me.  I saw no reason to be critical of her anyway.  She was happy.  I guarded her jealously.  Her relatives were of the animal spirits.  They accepted sexual relations in barnyard terms.  I don’t believe that they would have objected to our having sexual relations but they also wanted to know about it.  I didn’t even let on that Ange and I had ever kissed.  I suppose her grandmother had told Ange’s relatives that all we did was sit on the couch and kiss but still I thought that was no one’s business but our own.

page 47.

     Her aunt would make prying comments like:  “Pretty hard to control your self when you’re going hot and heavey, eh?”  The she would arch her eyebrows and give an inquiring knowing smile like she thought I was goint to offer details of what she imagined.  I felt like I was being dragged down.  None of Ange’s people associated with anyone I knew.  There was a world of difference between Ange’s grandmother’s house on the corner of S. Melmoth and this North side neighborhood.

     We were supposed to go visit a cousin of hers one Saturday.  I called to pick her up.  She greeted me at the door in jeans.  Old jeans.  I didn’t even know she had any.  She, in that wonderful light way that had entered into my existence so completely, said:  “You don’t have to dress up to go see my cousins, Dewey.”

     I didn’t know how to express my disappointment.  I couldn’t be angry with her.  I couldn’t chastise or criticize her, still I was near the edge of tears.  “It’s just Ange, you look so beautiful in your skirts.  Besides I’m not dressed up to visit your cousins, I’m dressed up to see you.  I’ve never seen you in…’ I almost said pants, but then I selected a more negative word, “trousers before.”

page 44.

     “These aren’t trousers, Dewey, these are jeans.”  She said spinning around to show me.  Throwing her arms around my neck giving me a loving little kiss on the lips she said:  “Don’t I look beautiful in jeans too, Dewey?”

     Well, of course, what could I say?  “Oh, Ange, you’d look beautiful in anything.”  But she missed the point.

     It was a long walk to the North side.  When we arrived her aunt and uncle were gone and her cousin Adele was there with her boy friend.  I was a year older than the other two who were both fourteen.  I had met Adele and was meeting her boyfriend for the first time.  I had always thought Adele OK, I was always less critical of girls, but hr boy friend struck me as crude and vulgar.  He was.  He and Adele were not in love as I considered Ange and I to be.  My impression was that they were just dating each other.

     After introductions and some light banter things began to drag a bit.  I was rather glum under the circumstances.  The he kind of roped Adele around the neck with his arm.  They began rolling and tumbling on the floor.  Ange displaying some elation looked first at them and then at me suppressing a little giggle.  I knew what was going on.  I didn’t like it.  I was certainly not going to get down on the floor with Ange and tumble around with them.  There was no reason for him to put his glove on my girl.  I knew that sometime soon I would have to increase my attentions to Angeline.  I suspected that she wanted me to.  We had discussed such things after her aunt’s rude comments.  Ange had left me with the sighing impression that that was what lovers do.  I knew, I had hpes of sex but not now with the girl I loved and respected.  I was struggling.

page 45.    

     Adele’s boyfriend seeing that we were not going to join in tried a different tack.  “Hey, want to see a game we play?  I pretend I’m the driver and Adele’s the car.”  He put her left arm out like it was a gear shift.  “See, here we shift into second.”  He said, moving her extended arm down.  “Oh,oh, look out, there’s a pedestrian,” he said, giving her left breast a couple quick squeezes.  “Beep, beep.”

     Ange emitted a delighted little laugh, pleased at the humor of the joke.  I didn’t laugh.  I didn’t think it was funny.  He looked over at me to see my response.  I gave him a stony stare, Adele became embarrassed and turned red.  I didn’t want to see anymore.  I excused myself to go get a drink of water.

     “You don’t have to excuse yourself, Bud, just do it.”  Adele’s boy friend said with a smirk.  Yeah.  Ange and I were in the wrong place.  My brow furrowed and my lips compressed as I stood before the sink staring into the glass of water.  I felt we have been besmirched.  I thought it was time to go.

     I made some excuse about a long walk, took Ange by the hand and we left.  I was deep in thought.  Wondering, wondering.  Ange in her innocence looked upat me shyly from time to time.  Then she giggled and said- she had a way of breathing out her words-  “What did you think of their game, Dewey?”

page 46.

     As she spoke a quiver rippled her palm which was in my hand.  Mine involuntarity closed a little tighter on hers.  A little shiver convulsed her but I didn’t want to dim the angel lights from her eyes.  Our relationship had progressed rapidly from love to the deepest emotional attachment.  Apart from consummation there was no further room for development.  Maturation perhaps, but not development.  That meant to both of us, I think, that we were married in all but fact.  She certainly acted the part of a contented wife.  I did not object.  I did not find it an imposition.  What else could she think?  We lived and breathed each other.  But she was thirteen, I was fifteen.  When I was eighteen she would be sixteen.

     Apart from Angeline I was unhappy with my life in the Valley.  Events seemed to be conspiring to deny me the opportunity to develop my talents.  My parents were not going to send me to college.  I was not emotionally prepared to succeed there anyway.  I would barely make it out of high school.

     My step-father’s mother had told me stories about her brother Louie who they had driven from the family.  They appeared to have no good reason for it, just some type of familial spite that repeated itself agains a member of each generation.  Some irrational psychological tradition required them to do it.  In his generation it had been Louie.  He had fled the family and gone to Australia.  I thought  that they had picked me for the Louie of my generation.

page 47.

     I couldn’t stay.  I was marking time to leave.  As I know looked at my Angeline I saw impossibilities.  I knew she was deeply in love with me and would do anything I asked.  If, when I had graduated I had asked her to quit school and follow me I know she would have done it.

     I knew I had a troubled mind filled with tangled emotions.  I knew that it would take me years to sort out those tangled emotion and reintegrate my personality in a productive direction.  Had Ange been my age, as two graduates I could have chanced taking her with me.  I had it in mind to go as far away as possible.  Unlike Louie I didn’t intend to leave the country, I intended to go to the West Coast.  I had even picked out the town and state- Eugene, Oregon.  I had selected Eugene for no more sound reason than that Eugene was my  middle name and it was an unusual name for a town. 

     Eugene was a lumber town and the home of the University of Oregon.  I thought I could get a job in the mills and go to college in my spare time.  But I couldn’t see me showing up as an eighteen year old boy with a sixteen year old wife.  It wouldn’t be fair to Ange.  Oh, I intuited that she would be glad to work to put me through college.  But then what could a sixteen year old girl do but be a waitress?  I could subject my Angeline to verbal abuse from a bunch of crude loggers.

     I felt Ange tug my hand down trembling in anticipation of my answer.  “Hmm, Dewey?”

     In her insistence we had stopped walking.  She was pressing up against me giving me an intent hopeful look.  In her anxiety she forget herself and pulled my hand down against her delta.  Fortunately we were close enough together so no one could see.  Her warmth and perfume were overwhelming.  It was as though two suns hurtling through space had been caught in each other’s orbit.  Rotating around each other they hurtled on caught in each other’s solar embrace.  They were so close together that the long solar flares of fire shot from their surfaces, were drawn into each other’s gravitational pull.  The flames shot from sun to sun embathing each in turn in the other’s flaming essence.

page 48.

     There was no higher heaven.  Immersed in this lovely girl’s glow I was yet struggling to identify my state of mind.  I was not yet ready to speak.  I gave her a look meant to indicate that I was lost for words.  Seeking to gain time I let out an “Hmmm,” gesturing with my free hand.

     I loved her.  She was unspotted.  Yet here was an opportunity for a situation that I had seen that others had.  I longed for such a situation myself.  But now that it presented itself a dichotomy arose in my mind.

     Several couples beginning in Jr. High had formed just such a relationship, perhaps beginning in the eighth grade.  Ange was now in the eighth grade.  I was dimly aware that Ange thought she was “wedded” for life.  It slowly dawned on me that these other girls had made the same committement to their boy friends.  Howie Holland and Allie Simpson were one such couple I knew.  I was in awe of Howie’s luck.  Allie was a beautiful girl.  It was their example that had created hopes in my breast.  Now those hopes could be realized.

page 49.

     But now, I realized that everyone knew that Howie was getting it from Allie.  We knew that Allie was doing it.  Howie had the strut of a stud who knew his woman.  He was proud of it.  He couldn’t help showing it.  He must show it.  They couldn’t conceal it.  Allie had sacrificed her honor for Howie.  But everyone knew she did it.  The vultures were constantly circling ready to descend and get some if Howie and Allie broke up.

     The same was true of many couples.  I also became dimly aware that thes were marriages of convenience for the boys.  They would probably be voided when the time came.  Their use over the girls who had given their all would be discarded.  They wanted to marry their childhood sweethearts and first loves.  They had been committed loving wives.  As I had suspected all along, everyone of them was thrown over at graduation.  Their hearts were crushed.

     I could have Angeline on the same basis for the next two and a half years.  I looked down at her tenderly.  My tenderness melted her heart.  Yet, I knew some of my weaknesses.  As fiercely as I now protected her I fearted that after consummation my need for recognition might force me to act the boor, to advertise our relationship.  I had seen how the other boys walked.  They were less than discreet.  I didn’t see how I could be any different, I feared I might be worse.  I had seen the strain placed on the girls too.  Everyone knew.  They couldn’t conceal it.  I knew that I had acted toward them differently because I knew.  They knew I acted differently.  I thought Allie, for instance was a good girl, but I secretly believed that she was less good than some others.  I didn’t want to cause Ange any grief.  I didn’t know what to do.

page 5o.

     Angie tugged my hand again and gave me an inquiring smile.  I laughed lightly and kissed her cheek tenderly but thoughtfully.  Then too, there was always the chance that she would get pregnant.  This was a fearsome thought.  I would have married her but our lives would probably have been ruined.  Especially if I was only the eleventh grade and she the ninth.

     Just as if I married her and took her with me when I left town.  A child or two and we could probably be stuck in a mill job for life.  Besides, I, selfishly, did not want her pregnant, ever.  She was everything to me.  I didn’t want children, I didn’t need them.  I loved her and her alone.  I didn’t want to have to spread that love and I didn’t want her to distribute it to even our children.  I felt another tremblor pass from her palm to my heart.  I had to say something.

     “I didn’t like their game Ange.  I thought it was crude and vulgar.  When I make love to you, Ange…”  What was I saying?  It just came out, an expression of what I had been thinking.  “When I make love to you I want it to be pure and unblemished.  I want a memory we can both cherish forever.”  My God,  I couldn’t stop my mouth.  I was making comitments I didn’t know yet I wanted to keep.

page 51.

     Ange’s mouth opened with incredulous joy at my words.  I was promising her everything she wanted from me.  I wanted to change my words, to say what I had said differently but I didn’t know how.

     Ange’s mind couldn’t contain the good news.  Her ecstasy flooded out in all directions.  Almost beside herself her perspiring little palm clutched my hand with a desperate clasp of complete satisfaction.

     ‘Oh yes, Dewey.  Oh yes.  I feel exactly the same way.  That is exactly the way I feel.  I couldn’t express it any better.  You said exactly what I feel.  When we do, that’s exactly the way I want it, when we do.”

     We walked in silence, each of us lost in our own thoughts and reveries.  Two clasped hands pulsed out messages of love, but I was afraid.

     I got her to her door.  We were forbidden to spend the evening together as we had had the whole day to ourselves.  Ange’s mind was still busily sifting and reexamining what I had said.  She was still at a loss for words.  Right there in the daylight on her stoop she threw her arms around my neck goodbye that promised her whole existence when I should take it.  What was I to do?

VII.

     The turmoil in my mind reached an extraordinary pitch.  All the treasure the gods could bestow on a man had been bestowed on me but at such a time as I was incapable of using it properly.  As in the old fable of the gold fish that so beautiful in the water but was only a dead fish when landed my dilemma was the same, or so it appeared to me.  No matter how I turned the matter over in my mind it came up disaster.

page 52.

     I was inarticulate.  I could not express my dilemma in words.  Thought, if they may be called thoughts, flashed through my mind in pictures and symbols.  I loved Ange.  I respected her.  I didn not want to damage that wonderful trust and sympathy she showed me.  I knew that sooner or later we would have a fight, that her whole hearted unabated affection would be clouded over but I wanted to postpone that day as long as possible.  I cherished my image of her.  I wanted her to be able to cherish her image of me.  Circumstances were crowding down on me forcing that image from my grasp.  I simply didn’t know what to know her family.  I feared that Ange would be trapped in their plebian view of society.  I thought I could handle the pressures from my classmates.  They were, after all, part of life and couldn’t be avoided.  I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to deal with the sex well.  I was just a dumb kid.  A heavy responsibility would be placed on me, not so much to protect Ange from others, but to protect her from myself.  I didn’t know to the extent of my own shortcomings but I was apprehensive about them.  Besides the day after we did it I knew that her grandmother and family would know.  If I didn’t telegraphy it, Ange, in her pride of being the complete little woman, without even being aware of it, wouldn’t be able to conceal it.  For her it would be the seal of our relationship, for me it would be the beginning of insatiable lust.

page 53.

     No matter how I looked at it I saw my lovely Angeline besmirched.  It began to appear to be a clear choice between tarnishing my Angel or allowing her to remain in pristine beauty.  Sometimes one can love too much.

     Ange had received my words as holy affirmation of our desires.  A sort of peace enveloped her as she waited patiently for the sacred moment to arrive.  There was a beautiful placid air of expectation surrounding her.  If possible, she was even more tender and loving to me than before.  I reciprocted fearing myself.  Why, oh why, had Ange chose me?

     My emotions had reached a bursting point.  I had no idea which way I would go.  Then fate tilted the balance.  I was walking her home from some social function, I have no idea what it was, we were approaching the Star.  We were holding hands, I more thoughtful than usual, she as admiring and trustful as ever.  Then our dream crumbled to dust in my mind.  A little musical note emitted from her bottom as she passed gas.  I turned to stare.  She compressed her lovely little cheeks in embarrassment hoping to stop any further emissions.  As flatulence goes her emission was almost pretty.  It had a well rounded pear shaped tone.  I can hear it yet.  She squeezed my hand and laughed merrily as did I  but her pedestal had crumble beneath her.  What a silly boy I was.  Even can come out of good.  Good and evil merely exist together.  It takes a truly virtuous mind to be able to maintain them in their seprate spheres.  I did not have that kind of virtue.

page 54.

     As we had walked, a huge full moon had risen before us in golden splendor.  It now sat dazzlingly among the branches of the trees.  To someone behind us we would have appeared as shadows on the moon.  As I looked at this dazzling golden disc it began to slowly dissove into shades of blue.  How could the golden moon turn blue?  I wanted to verify the sight with Ange.  I pointed and began to explain but she said unfeelingly:  “Yes, I see.  Isn’t that a beautiful golden moon?”  I wanted to say no it isn’t golden, Ange, didn’t you see it turn blue?  But in that moment a gulf between our minds had opened.  Something had changed in me.  I had somehow come to a decision.

     We kissed goodbye.  I started walking down S. Melmoth.  By the time I had reached the Star tears were streaming down my face.  I was vaguely aware of the decision I had reached.  My only justification was one and it was futile.  Angels don’t fart.

VIII.

     Immaturity might be an explanation but not an adequate one.  Insensitivity offers no explanation at all.  Fear of losing the obtained but unrealizable hope of my life is the only explanation I can offer.  She was mine but I knew that I couldn’t have her.  The fear had been on me from the beginning.  Even as I entered her mind to show her mine I knew that I was secretly purloining her soul.  I took it from her and stored it in my heart.  She had been only too happy to let me have it.  Now with Angeline safely in my heart, my mind, my will was paralyzed.

     With what must have seemed a perverse cruelty I did the most incomprehensible thing I have ever done in my life.  I simply dropped Ange.  She could have had no indication of her fate.  As I kissed her goodbye there was no indication that I would never call on her again.  There had been no argument, there had been no fight.  There had been in indication I was displeased with her.  I wasn’t displeased with her.  I loved her.

page 55.

    She was the mountain of my pride.  She never called me on the phone to see what the matter.  But a young girl’s heart cannot be crushed without some protest.  I got home from high school before she left Junior High.  She lived only a few blocks from South but for some reason she went to Lindsay.  She walked up Bond past Monroe on her way home.  One day on her way home she looked up Monroe anxiously hoping to see me and have me call to her.  I was in the yard.  I saw her.  Numbly and dumbly I let her walk on by.  I saw her recoil within herself when I made no response.  The heavens fell shrieking about both our heads.

     Her family was desperate.  Her aunt sought me out somewhere and confronted me.  With apparent inner franticness, hoping, I think, that I would recant, she said simply:  “Why did you do it?”  I had to answer. I wanted to answer.  I answered with characteristic clumsiness:  “We went too far, too fast.”

     “I thought so!”  She said, shaking her head grimly in a knowing way.

     It suddenly dawned on me that she thought I meant I had bedded Ange.  “No! No!”  I exclaimed.  “I didn’t mean that.  I meant that we had fallen too deeply in love too quickly.”

page 56.

     I meant that I had had no time to adjust to paradise.  I had been caught in something I couldn’t understand.  But she began walking away quickly.  “You disgust me!”  was tossed over her shoulder.  She wouldn’t have, no one could have understood anyway.  Besides I was in the wrong.

     I can only guess, but Ange was dreiven nearly to distraction.  The sweet trusting girl whose love had been betrayed so dastardly humbled herself before her pride which fell into the dust, a sacrifice to her great love.  She had been wronged and that sense of having been wronged prevented her from making a direct appeal to my sense of justice.  After had aunt had reported her conversation with me perhaps Ange dimly realized my perplexity.  Perhaps she was only desperate.

     Instead of walking up Bond on her way home she now took to making a lonely walk without friends up Caterina which brought her directly to my parents’ door.  I tremble with fear of the humilation she must have felt as her aching heart compelled her dragging feet to perform their reluctant duty.  I saw her walk by on more than one occasion.  With eyes that spotted every movement no matter how shadowy she knew that I saw her.  Whatever the misunderstanding, whatever my problem, it would have been a simple matter to open the door and greet her. I didn’t.

     Her pain was great, her love was greater.  She couldn’t sacrifice her pride by imploring me for reasons.  I had begun the silence; it was up to me to break the silence.  I couldn’t.  I wouldn’t.  My fear of losing Angeline was too great.

page 57.

     Ange conceived one last desperate hope.  I guess, but perhaps she left school early and patiently spied my return from school from a distance.  I don’t know whether she knew but it was my habit to get the mail just arter I returned to the house.  When she had seen me enter the house, my parents rule was that my brother and I use the back door, she took up a position before my front porch directly in front of the door.  When I opened the door to get the mail I wouldn’t be able to miss her.  I would have to break the silence.  I would have to accept or reject her.  If she only wanted to assuage her pain she could reject me.

    Oh Ange, I wish your plan had succeeded.  Rather than make a futile trip to the mail box, as was my custom, I went to the bay window from which I could see the mailbox to percieve whether there was any mail in the slot provided for that purpose.  There on the sidewalk head bowed in silent supplication stood Ange.  Her books were clutched to her breast in the manner girls carried them.  I loved her, I wanted her, but my cruel fate had placed what had been in my arms beyond my reach.  I didn’t fully understand myself, I couldn’t begin to explain to Ange.  Had I been able to explain, my reasoning would have been beyond anyone’s understanding, let alone that of the beautiful Ange.

     it was not fear, it was not indecision, it was with calm if numb resovle that I took up a position opposite Ange on my side of that terrible door.  The pure flame of Angeline burned in my heart.  I had taken her from Ange.  The goodness, the purity, the transcendent beauty of her had been placed where she was safe, where no one could take her from me.  Without ever having thought about it I had devised a means of obtaining the beautiful goldfish without removing it from its pond.  Angeline floated up to become my Anima at that time.

     The gods loved her.  In a quick council they resoved to spare her, to unite the flame of her essence with my existence, in deference to my youth they sent flights of angels with caressing and soothing song to move my heart.  They sang:  Go to her!  She is yours!  We make a free gift of all a man can desire in your world.  Take her, press her to your heart and receive the peace of a perfect love.

     The angels were used to prompt obedience.  But I knew things of which they were not aware.  They knew celestial perfection; I knew of the corruption of the furrow.  I held my ground.  I began to erect barricades around my heart to protect the image of my love.  Dismayed but tolerant of my youth the gods sent a further flight of angels to move my heart.  Their song was sweeter than that of the flight that had preceeded them.  The raptures they promised were a temptation beyond mortal man’s will to resist.  I resisted.  I strengtened the barriers of my heart.  Even gods lie.

     The gods believed me insolent.  They meant for the Girl Ange to have her desire.  Great streams of harpies and furies rose up from their subterranean dwellings, they streamed from their dark caves.  Wheeling high in the obliterated skies they descended on me to drive me forth; to break the plance of the door separating Ange from her desire.  Their mere appearance was terrifying.  The pain they inflicted was excruciation.  The wheeled past my body in the black birdlike forms tearing little pieces of my flesh away.  I was stripped of flesh to the bone.  But my heart had been surrounded by solid oad within which burned the purest flame of the sweet virginal love of the Girl Angeline.

page 58.

     In their form of great black birds with more than imposing beaks the harpies and furies tore at my mind while great tidal waves of sound crashed over my brain.  It would have been easier to go to Ange but still I stood firm.  Out of the corner of my eye through the bay window I saw the broken hearted girl, Ange, abandon her vigil trodding her hopes into the dust as she left my door forever.

     In anger and disgust the gods commanded the harpies and furies to fill my brain with their droppings as they returned to their dismal haunts.  The gods now decreed that I was to be given no surcease, no rest.  The defiance of omnipotence cannot be done with impunity.  I cared not; for the pure virginal flame of Angeline’s love burned with a warm glow in my heart.  Through it all I kept her.  I had won out.  She, Angeline, was mine.  Only mine.

     Her love was worth a great price, I paid the price over again with interest.  But, with no regrets.  Je ne regret rien.

     The birds returned every night to haunt my dreams and prevent me from sleeping through the night.  All the nightmares took different forms, but they all had the same meaning and they all left me sitting bolt upright between sweated sheets.  I was too young at the time to know what I had done.  to understand any of this.  I did not understand the nightmares nor did I know why they began that very night.  The most persistent nightmare, in symbolism that should have been so easy to interpret, was of this very house.  My very brain.  I was in the house.  Some force, whether malevolent or not I could never determine, was trying to force entry.  Figures stood about observing my distress.  Cold and without pity.  I now recognize that one of them was Ange, evjoying her revenge.  I was unable to lock the doors.  The locks wouldn’t turn.  I ran back and forth between the front and back doors trying to keep the force without.  I even had to defend those little ventilation holes in the storm windows.  Of course I was always able to keep that force out.

page 59.

     Now I realize that force was Ange’s love.  I had cruelly driven her away in real life, howcould I fail in my nightmares to do the same.

IX

     I don’t think Ange ever ceased loving me.  How could she, I had placed her essence in my heart.  She was mine now, she didn’t belong to herself.  It had been Spring when I had driven her away.  I can only guess what a long lonely summer she must have had.  A summer during which she had possibly conjured up long warm days of bliss.  I had promised her that I would make her mine.  Perhaps she had visions of love as we spent long hours in each other’s arms.  Did she still pray that I would come back?

page 60.

     I went about my affairs as though nothing had happened, as though Ange had never existed.  I probably hadn’t forgotten her, but I didn’t think about her; at least not consciously.  As must be obvious I never actually stopped thinking of her.  She was never off my mind.  But I could bear Ange on my mind with Angeline in my heart.  Of course my heart was unavailable for anyone else’s love, which I did not comprehend.  I did not rush out to find another girl friend although I was now available.  The consequence of my selfish and fearful desire to hide my love from the world in my heart was that no other girl could compare to that virginal flame steadily burning in my heart.  The flame came from the untarnished virtue of the first love of a young girl.  It is the pearl of great price.  It is only there once in any girl’s life and only at that time of her life.  With each passing year, even month or day, she becomes bemirched with the foulness of the world.  Without ever realizing it her innocence is chipped aeay.  She becomes knowledgeable.  Her love, perhaps quite against her will, becomes more worldly.  Angeline’s virginal flame could never become worldly.

      But, what had I dont to Ange?  In attempting to spare her a hurt that seemed inevitable to me at the time I soiled her life worse than if I had proceeded in a blindly self-serving way.  Even had I taken her love and used it only to discard her, as others did to their girls, she would at least have had a pleasant girlhood.  She would have had pleasant memories to solace her heart.  She would know others in the same situation.  Her fate would have been comprehensible to her.

page 61.

     Looking back, I could have prepared her for the fact that I would leave town at graduation.  I could have explained that I wanter to finish school.  In two years the worst excesses of the mental ravages of my childhood would have dissipated.  They did dissipate. With that maturity gainedI could have come back to her if she still wanted me.  In any event she would have been spared the degradation she endured.  Her young girl’s heart would have been kept pure that much longer.  Those alternatives did not present themselves to me at the time.  I do not attempt to exonerate myself, only to understand what I did.  It seems so cruel and heartless.  The reverse was my intent.

     Ange must have brooded during the summer and the fall.  That next winter I went down to Reuchlin Park.  Reuchlin Park was a large natural hollow, slough, that was flooded every winter to create a huge outdoor skating rink.  When there was snow the slopes of the basin were used for sledding.  I don’t know how Ange knew I was there that night.  I hadn’t known I was going, I had told no one.

     Perhaps in her anguish she and her friends and relatives were spying out all my movements.  Maybe her cousins spotted me and telephoned her.  It seems farfetched that she would still be so preoccupied with my memory.  I guess I failed to understand the extent of the injury I caused her.  But on that night, as it happens, I struck up an acquaintance, or rather they struck up one with me, with a couple guys.  They suggested playing in the snow at the South end of the park.  I demurred; there was never anyone on those slopes; I saw no reason to be there.  They invented reasons and I went along.

page 62.

     They adopted, as what seemed to me a rather sinister attitude as we reached the South slopes.  We threw a few desultory snowballs.  I was about to bid them farewell when I looked up and there in her grey coat silhouetted in the white floodlights against the black sky was Ange.  I was taken by surprise.  Why I expected that I would never see her again I don’t know, but I did.  Now, suddenly as a spectre, here she was before me. 

     “Hello, Dewey.”  She intoned as though her voice came from beyond the grave.

     I stuttered out an Hello Ange.  For the first time my cruelty and heartlessness became apparent to me.  I hadn’t stopped loving her.  But how silly would my explanation sound if I were foolish enough to attempt it of the pure flame of Angeline in my heart.  Foolish enough to attempt it?  I wasn’t even aware of it myself.  But, before I could say anything to her, she turned on her heel and walked away.  What pain she must be enduring.

     Just as I had walked out her life without a word, without an explanation, she now thought to pay me back in kind.  But she would not be able to do so.  I had left her but she had not left me.  Had she been wise, had she known on that night when our essences mingled, she would have taken my soul from me, then I could not have left her.  Better yet she should have sent me away.  I still loved her.

page 63.

     X.

     That was the winter her grandmother passed away.  I don’t which was the most disastrous for Ange:  Her love for me or her grandmother’s death.  The pain I caused her was immediate and apparent; the injury done her by her removal to the North edge of town was slow and invisible.  Of course, her aunt, with whom she went to live, loved her and wanted the best for her.  Within their means and understanding I’m sure they provided it.  But there were no books or magazines in her aunt’s house.  All the unapparent but significant apparatus that elevates the intellect and forces one’s aspirations to the astral level were missing.  The electric satan- the television set- ran continuously from dawn to retiring but the evil it spewed forth in the guise of entertainment would no nothing to raise her level of consciousness.

     Even had she been going with me, still my struggle to prevent her aunt’s family from unduly influencing her mind and character would have been misinterpreted.  I would have had to keep with with me except in the dark hours of the day.  She would had had to live with me during her waking hours.  Had my parents allowed it, who know, she might have been a civilizing influence on them.  Perhaps I would have unintentionally given my mother the daughter she had always wanted.

page 64.

     It was far better for Ange that Angeline was safe in my heart where Ange’s true image couldn’t be tarnished.

     I next saw her in the summer between the eleventh and twelfth grades during the Fourth Of July fireworks display at Reuchlin Park.  She was sitting on a blanket high on the slope of the central section tending to the North end of the park.  As I remember it there was a great deal of difference in character between the South end, the central section and the North end of the park.  In the North end the lower ground was a swampy morass.  Through the trees, across the railroad tracks, that were no longer in use, one could see the old cemetery.

     She beckoned to me to sit with her.  Strangely, I thrilled to her voice.  I was now seventeen.  I had a greater understanding of the world.  With approaching maturity I had a better, if vague and undefined, understanding of what I had done to her.  Her injury was obvious.  I was willing to do what I could to relieve her hurt.

     I would have seen her and allowed her to take her spite out on me.  Especially during the late winter and early spring I had witnessed how mean people can be to each other.  I had been down to the bus station while my mother saw her sister off on a visit to Detroit.  There were a bunch of guys at the station on their way to the US Naval Receiving Station in Philadelphia.

     I didn’t really know this guy who started talking to me, although we were aware of each other’s existence.  He was twenty-one.  I was only sixteen and a half.  He was under extreme stress, he had to talk to someone.  I seemed sage to him.  Because he recognized me he began talking to me as though he knew me well.  To me he appeared the epitome of what I would like to have been.  Tall, well dressed in the conventional way, confident and in charge of himself.  Apparently, as he spoke, I learned that he made himself over from something like what I was.  Beneath her surface swagger lingered fear and insecurity.  He had just got his life working for him.  He had what he considered a good job.  He had been recently promoted.  On the basis of that promotion he and his sweetheart, with whom he was deeply in love had been married.

page 65.

     He had enemies, powerful enemies.  He said he knew who they were but he didn’t name them, they remained shadowy.  Had he told me who they were I might have secretly avenged him.  I was an attentive listener.  He went on.  When he had returned from his honeymoon he had found his draft notice waiting for him.  I believed then that he had powerful enemies.  Men were clamoring to get into the service, there was a waiting list, there was no need to draft anyone.  It became apparent to me then that the draft could be used as a political weapon.

     So here he was, his job gone, with a lovely young wife form whom he would be separated right after marriage for two years.  How cruel on his enemies’ part.  How vicious.  His worst fear was that he would lose his wife.  I could sympathize with his fear.  Most of our State recruits were assigned to the East Coast.  He said he intended to hitchhike home every time he could get a seventy-two hour pass.  I was impressed.  The East Coast was so far away in my imagination that it might as well have been on another planet.  The risks of being AWOL several hours or a day were great.  To be AWOL was to be brought before a Captain’s Mast and your Navy reputation was in jeopardy.  No small matter.

page 66.

     I listened to him and watched him with intense interest.  His bus arrived.  He waved goodbye to me as, shaking with trepidation and anguish, he boarded the bus.

     I wondered if people were out to get him.  I seached out this address and walked by it several times.  I saw his young wife who was a very lovely young woman.  She worked downtown.  She took the bus home every night at five-thirty.  I contrived to become acquainted with her and even walked her to her house on occasion to learn how she and her huband’s situation was developing.

     He did manage to hitchhike home on two occasion over the next three months.  Then his squadron was sent on a Mediterranean cruise.  By the time he returned his home had been rifled and taken from him.  I was never able to learn why his enemies hated him so.  Perhaps it was a simple matter that in having raised himself from an inferior social status he had aspired to and won the love a girl considered above him.  Perhaps he had won her over the hopes of someone who considered himself a social better.  I don’t know but the denouement may give some indication.  He enemies had the power to crush his heart, to defile his love, to emasculate his manhood.

     His wife had been a good girl; thus a direct approach would have failed.  Girl friends of a higher social station appeared who discovered her good qualities and befriended her.  She was flattered by their attention and accepted their friendship.  then there were gatherings where her friends had dates and she was a spare wheel.  Then a boy was provided, a very charming boy, handsome and well connected, just as a sort of escort so she wouldn’t feel left out.  Thus she was gradually weaned from the notion of fidelity and compromised.  Then, without her realizing it, she began to be passed around to other men in the circle.  Gradually the quality of the men was reduced until she was seeing men of the station the sailor’s enemies considered his.  The sailor could hear their laughter redounding around the world.

page 67.

     Thus his enemies by using the draft as a weapon to separate him from his wife and involving his wife in a whirl of parties and social affairs deftly robbed him of his happiness.  He was still overseas not yet fully aware that his love had been defiled, that his marriage was a thing of the past, that the cup of life had been lined with a bitter rim.  His wine, no matter how good, would always have to pass the bitter rim of his glass.

     Angeline was safe in my heart.  Who knew what my enemies might have attempted when I left home.  Fut this sailor’s circumstances had increased my compassion for Ange.  She, I and Angeline would not have to worry.  Ange could never be defiled.

     The change in her from when she had lived with her grandmother was obvious.  Her manner had lost some of its refinement.  This was occurring at the very critical stage of passing from late girlhood into young womanhood.  My interest in her was clinical as well as personal.  Even though I had shattered her self-esteem and confidence I hoped to be able to restore her self-respect.

page 68.

     I had come over and sat by her.  She was pleased that I had but her hurt and anger were such that having sat by her she now ignored my presence.  She wanted me to suffer.  She had interpreted her standing before my door as crawling to me.  She now wanted me to crawl to her.  I probably vaguely understood.  I was uncertain what the consequences would be.  We were not to be married.  Should the result have been a rejection of me I would have assented but if the consequence had been a reunion as plighted lovers that was impossible.  The sailor’s example had shown me perils I had not imagined.  I knew know in a sense that transcended the notion of fate that my future was not mine to control.  There were both impersonal  and personal forces capable of wreaking havoc with my life.

     I was anxious to explain myself but if she wouldn’t speak to me I would leave.  “No, wait.  Stay by me.”  She said as I began to rise.  There may have been some more words I could have said, some move I could have made to dissolve her resistance.  If  so, it was beyond me.  She still refused to speak, gazing out over the crowd.  I excused myself again.  She let me leave.

page 69.

XI.

     After graduation I prepared myself psychologically to leave the Valley forever.  I had no intention of returning.  I was taking one last walk with my brother.  A drive-up hamburger joint had sprung up on a point of the intersection of Bay and Court.  As with all this type of hamburger stand it had attracted a band of toughs who held court there.  My brother and I put on our meanest mien and walked up to buy an ice cream cone.  As we did so a girl dashed up and slapped me on the arm, crying:  “Hey you, Dewey.”  Then dashed away, turned and stared at me in a most distracted manner.  Her face was unwashed, smudged with dirt.  Her clothes, an old pair of jeans and what appeared to be be a boys, shirt, unwashed. I stared in astonishment and then I recognized my own Ange.  The change was astonishing.  It was worse than I had feared it would be.  So this was the result of her aunt’s tutelage.  Deep anger welled within me.  Ange had been, was a beautiful girl, by which I do not mean only that she had attractive features.  She had been, she was, pure of heart.  Glimmers of this future had danced across my mind long ago when I was too young to do anything about it.  Which was crueler, fate of people?

     The little woman who had put me in awe of herself was gone.  To be sure her destruction was also my fault but the deteriortion in her expectation had been her family’s doing.  My little Queen of Heaven had been cast to earth.  I wanted to do something, to say something but she wouldn’t let me.  I implored her:  “Ange…”  but she shouted things at me and danced away.  She was a tough among toughs.  The order of the planets in the heavens would have been beyond my capacity to alter.

page 70.

     I tried to tell her that I was leaving town.  I tried to make her see that she must talk to me now or it would be too late.  She wanted me to humiliate myself as I had humiliated her.  I would have if it would have made her feel better, I wanted to, I owed it to her.  But to do it it would have been necessary to penetrate the psychological barrier caused by my apparent rejection of her.  I didn’t know how to  crawl to her as she had crawled to me.  I would have if I had known how.  It would only have been to help her because it couldn’t hurt me.  I had Angeline where no one could take her from me.  Ange wouldn’t have understod; perhaps she would have been enraged if she had.

     I was desperate to make her understand that this was her last chance to save herself.  I was in tears as I implored her:  “Ange…Ange…”

     She misunderstood.  “Cry!  Cry! and you’ll cry alone, just as I did.  It won’t do you any good.  Hard hearted son-of-bitch.  I’m hard hearted too.  Just the way you made me.”

     She didn’t understand.  I understood only too well.

     The sun set in the West, my extended thumb silhouetted against it.

page 71.

    

XII.

     The worst of the abuse, shame and embarrassment was lifted from my consciousness after a couple years on my own away from parents, town and my past.  The rest of the damage of eighteen years was not discarded so easily.  The psychological overburden was deep and complex.  My actions were not my own.  I was directed by deep subconscious fixations inflicted on me by others.  I knew how if not why.  While I tried to live my life I fought every day every minute to free my psyche.  I studied, I read.  Freud, de Sade, history, biography, literature.  I made a study of popular music.  I worked at the common symbols of psychological doctrines delineated in all those modes of expression.  My fixations were stubborn.  They didn’t want to reveal themselves.  Fear of the unknown prevented discovery for long periods of time.  None of these memories when revealed appeared that fearsome.  Decades passed.  My work went on.

     I once read an article about this pirate chief.  He had finally captured the treasure he had bee seeking all his life.  Once in his possession he didn’t know what to do with it.  Cruising the storm ridden coasts of Newfoundland he determined to bury it where it could never be retrieved.  He had his pirate crew dig a deep pit.  Into the pit he laid the treasure at the bottom.  Then he built a devilish contraption of logs with traps and dangers.  It was so contrived that like the Gordian Knot it could not be unraveled by the mind of man.  His treasure at the bottom, his contraption of great thickness over it, he then killed his crew, threw them in on top of the contraption and shoveled a thick layer of dirt on top.  The grass grew and waved in the breeze like a flag over it all.

page 72.

     So my life had been.  But I was more clever than the builders.  I disassembled the enigmatic psychological structure.  As I resolved each psychological dilemma my character did change and it did change for the better.  Instead of acting compulsively I assumed the direction of my own acts.  As I resolved so I accomplished.  A day came when I had cleared this pit of remembrance but to my dismay no great relief came.  A feeling of oppression remained with me.  I sifted and sifted the memories looking for either another one or key I had overlooked in the detritus arranged in piles before me.  I was at the bottom of the pit of my psychology.  The overburden had been removed.  The structure had been disassembled.  I sat on the edge of the pit staring down into the murky darkness.  Where was my treasure?  Where was the relief I had been working for?  I could now deal in a free manner with the people about me.  My vision was assuming truer perspectives but I still had no relief.

     I sat staring into the bare bottom of the pit.  Then the skies cleared a little bit; the warm healing sun illumined the dark earth.  As I watched a vapor formed and rose.  It coalisced, gained density and form.  As it rose before my eyes I saw the smiling fact of the young girl Ange.  She was my treasure that I had ruthlessly, perhaps desperately might be a better word, placed at the bottom of my memories.  The wrongs that had been done to me had been placed over the great wrong I had done to Ange.

page 73.

     My other fears, my other traumas had disappeared when brought to light.  After a short period of discomfort they had dissipated into a manageable memory.  Less than that.  They had vanished as an oppressive force.  They had all been wrongs done to myself such as what had happened to that sailor.  Now Ange rose up before me.  I could not dismiss her.  I had wronged Ange.  My worst memory was my best memory.  At first I tried to laugh it off.  Well, life is tough, we all have to make our own way.

     It wasn’t my fault, life, circumstances, youth- I dreamed up a myriad of excuses for my behavior.  None were valid in my mind.  Ange’s memory haunted me day and night.  I compared her memory with the image of Angeline in my heart; they were identical.  I walked with my eyes very nearly tearing every minute of the day.  A huge lump was constantly in my throat.  I had wronged an angel.  I was a victim of love.

XIII

     Some girls will kiss and run away.  Some girls thing love is just sport and play.  Some girls thing love is just for a day.  But some girls hope that love is there to stay.  Ange had been one of the last.  I had failed her.  Some boys just don’t care.  Some boys take delight in hurting and just run away.  Some boys take it and leave.  Some other boys throw away the most precious gift the gods can bestow on man.  I was one of those last boys.  I ruminated on what I had done to Ange, that sweet innocent slip of a girl.  I loathed the double blow of fate that had taken her grandmother and setn Ange to the degradation of her uncultivated people.

page 74.

     I feared what her development might have been but I resolved to attempt, at least, to explain myself.  I wanted to ease the pain, if I could, that had been so apparent at our last meeting.  I didn’t know whether she had married.  I interpreted our last meeting to mean that she had pined for her lost love and had never married.

     I had fled the Valley thirty years before.  I had kept my vow and never returned.  Now I felt I must break the vow.  I had never spoken to my family for all those years.  I didn’t know if my brother, Louis, still lived there but I was given a number by the operator.

     Louis still lived in the Valley.  He was very surprised to find me on the other end of the line.  We worked around our mutual hostility and exchanged information about what we had been doing.  Then Louis asked for what reason I had called, certainly not for small talk as he put it.

     “Well, Louis,”  I said, “I do have an ulterior motive.”  I emitted a short nervous laugh.  “Do you remember that girl I used to date in the tenth grade?”

     “You mean that girl we saw at the drive-up just before you left?”

     “Yes, Ange.”

     “You mean you don’t know?”

page 75.

     “No, of course not, how could I know, I haven’t even seen anyone from the Valley for thirty years.  Why, who did she marry?”

     “Why she didn’t marry anyone, Dewey.  She came by the house a couple times after you left.  She thought maybe there would be a letter for her, maybe you didn’t know her address so you sent it our house.”

     “Hmm.  That’s strange. Well, then, what did she do, go to New York or someplace?”

     “No, Dewey, she stayed right here.”

     “OK. Can you get her address and phone number.  I’d like to get in touch with her.”

     “She doesn’t have an address or phone number.”

     “Oh for Christ’s sake Louis, you always we…Stop being mysterious.  Tell me where she is.”

     Louis paused a while before anwering.

     “Dewey, she committed suicide around Thanksgiving of the year you left.”

     “Committed suicide?  Why would she do that?”

    “Yes, Dewey, she committed suicide.  She left a note.  She didn’t mention your name but we knew you were responsible.”

     “I was responsible?”  I cried, denial and anguish rending my soul.  “I was responsible?  What did the note say.”

     “It was just one word, Dewey.”

     “Oh come on, Louie,”  I demanded in anger and frustration,  “What was the word?”

     “Forsaken.”

     “Forsaken?”

     “Forsaken!”

End of the Angeline Constellation.  I will next put up the story of Disco Donn.  It’s a good story, you might like it.

    

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Sonderman Constellation

by

R.E. Prindle

Chapter IV-2

Continued from Chap. IV-1

     Sonderman, who now had the most authority in our club began to undermine my authority as soon as he was selected.  Ever the dupe he followed Hirsh’s directions.  Sonderman was a nothing himself.  Trapped in his father’s box he didn’t have and never could have initiative.  He was a neuter.

     I had started, built up and maintained the club.  Sonderman wore the shirt I had selected one day a week.  He wore it proudly too.  The shirt gave him status and prestige he could never have attained on his own.  Sonderman was and is actually in debt to me for the best times of his youth.  In what form did he show his gratitude?

     Once in the club he began slandering and belittling me constantly on the old ‘bore from within’ principle.  Whereas before we had always had friendly dinners I now became the butt of ridicule.  Everything I said and did was belittled.  I became the victim of practical jokes.

     Sonderman and Hirsh’s first intent was to drive me out but failing that to lower me in the estimation of my fellows to a walking joke, a subhuman who had come to the defense of the Negroes.  Probably Sonderman’s own thinking was that with me out of the way he could claim he had originated the club reducing me to the role of jealous imitator; perhaps he could have represented me as someone who wanted into his club but couldn’t make it.

page 1.

     He demanded the first dinner after he became a member which was in January just before they moved.  The dinner was a studied insult to me.  I was denied a place at the table while the abominable little was seated at it.  He shouldn’t even have been allowed to be there.  I was given a plate and told to sit in the living room by myself.  So, as you see Law and Order has nothing to do with right or wrong or justice; it is a question of police power.

     I stared bemusedly at the torn up rug which Mrs. Sonderman had seen fit to leave on the floor.  What strange people.  Did they walk over it every day picking their feet way up to get over the bumps while cursing me?  What queer notions prompted them to leave that threadbare rug on the floor?

     I would have walked out but I knew what the gig was.  I had to keep the club together till the end of the year.  I couldn’t let the Hirshes humiliate me in that manner.

     It became less and less possible to enjoy myself during the February and March dinners.  Even that dolt, Denny Demwitter, who owed me everything, turned against me.  Now that I think about it maybe my attitude toward Ed Phlatoe had something to do with that.

     Unable to garner the votes to have me ejected Hirsh had his tool Dirk Klutz, who was to host the April dinner, cancel the dinner.  As May coincided with graduation Sonderman determined to void the dinner for that month.

     That was alright with me, an honorable way out.  Given another couple months and they would have defeated me but in their eyes I had been already.  The club disintegrated after the aborted April dinner.  We began to look to the future beyond high school.  Sonderman had already been accepted as a cadet at West Point which accounted for a lot of his prestige in the club at the end.  Some of the others were destined for colleges while half of us including me had less distinguished prospects.  Time would tell who had risen and who had fallen but the future couldn’t be seen by our high school eyes.

page 2.

     Klutz did not escape criticism for reneging on his obligation.  In their single minded pursuit to hurt me they didn’t think of the others they were injuring.  The social status of every member of the club depended on its continuance.  In order to deflect justified condemnation Klutz gave a graduation party to which all the club members but me were invited.  So, in a way Hirsh would have gotten me expelled from the club but giving in to complaints from some other members Klutz said that I could come if I really wanted to.  Well, it was a difficult choice but the end result if I hadn’t gone would have been that I was booted out of my own club so I swallowed my pride and went. 

     As it turned out Klutz, it seemed to me at the time that if not a member of the Hirshes, was in with them because they were all there, the whole bunch.  Symbolically they subsumed our club to them by transferring the dinner meeting to this party under their auspices allowing them to still feel superior.  To heighten their triumph my club members were all shuttled into a game room off the front door while they were escorted past us into the living room and main party.

     When I saw Consuelo and Meggy Malone and Michael Hirsh enter casting disdainful glances in my direction I knew I had been had.  Well, it was a push; I had been invited to the same party they had. Still left a sour taste in my mouth.

page 3.

     If I had been had, strangely so, as I learned later, was David Hirsh.  Hirsh had given egregious offence to his wife’s family who were not the forgiving kind.  They had been nursing this grudge for three years.  On this night they collected the debt.  Michael Hirsh had knock out drops placed in his bourbon and coke.  Then before the drops took effect he was challenged to a drag race.  The drugs hit him just at peak acceleration.  He veered off the road into the ditch hitting a concrete culvert at the intersection.  He didn’t feel a thing. 

     So the querolous Hirsh even though he had defeated me suffered a defeat from which he would never recover.  Ain’t life funny that way?

3.

     Michael Hirsh’s death on graduation night created shock waves in the community.  However as life is for the living and the dead are soon forgotten Michael Hirsh being no longer with the living was no longer of any consequence.

I was still there.

     Judaeo-Christian mores say that the penalty must fit the crime.  Although I had committed no crime I think that surely the imagined insult to the dignity of David Hirsh should have been satisfied long before this.  However graduation was not the end but only the end of the beginning.  A second phase began that lasted for at least another ten years with ramifications that are still going on.

    Not content with having ruined my life through the school years, Hirsh began a program to extend into the future.  As usual he enstooged Sonderman.

page 4.

     I can only guess at the terrible repercussion to Sonderman’s psychology from his failed attempts to injure me and the actual murder of Shardel Wilson.  As people do in such situations he blamed me for his own actions.  I ‘made’ him do it.

     Probably he was brought low in his own estimation by his crimes.  It was necessary for him then to reduce me to a level beneath his opinion of himself.  As he had emotionally emasculated himself he sought to physically emasculate me.  Thus he bent all his efforts toward sodomizing me.

     Hirsh wanted to isolate me, to cast me on the dung heap of society.  He had messed up my club at the end; stung by his son’s death he now wanted to destroy my friendship with Denny Demwitter, to isolate me completely.

     Although a member of our club Sonderman had made no effort to befriend the members.  If he had he would have expected them to visit him; he never visited anyone else.  The summer of ’56, the greatest summer in the history of the world, there is no feeling like being eighteen, was a time of deep recession in the Valley.  Cars weren’t selling so there just weren’t any jobs; we all had time on our hands.  I began the summer spending most of my time at Demwitter’s.

     Sonderman had never voluntarily left his porch in my memory.  Now, violating all his lifelong habits he began to call on Denny.  Demwitter had been putty in my hands but I wasn’t going to  spend all my life trying to shape him.  Sonderman’s influence became more effective than mine after the Blockbusters won the championship.  Demwitter now deferred to Sonderman’s influence.

page 5.

     Except for the football groping under the influence of Sonderman Denny and I had always had a chaste relationship.  We had always respected each other’s person; no punching, wrestling or grabass of any kind.  We had never even discussed girls or sex.

     Now, with Sonderman present the two of them started pushing and shoving, groping in the most obvious fashion; not just a pat on the ass which would have been offensive enough, but grabbing a whole cheek in the hand.  They started goosing, not just lightly, but trying to hook a thumb or finger into the rectum.  Real queer stuff.  Makes me wonder about Ed Phaltoe and Demwitter now.

     Sonderman, who had never left his porch, now began to show up at Demwitter’s shortly after I did.  Obviously someone was watching me and reporting my movements.  Sonderman no longer lived across from me so he couldn’t have seen me leave my house from his perch on the porch.  Sonderman’s style at his house had been to hold court in his bedroom.  I never appreciated that aspect of his behavior as bedrooms were always private with me.  I preferred living room or porches.  Denny and I had always used his living room in winter and his porch in summer.  With Sonderman there everything was moved upstairs to Denny’s bedroom.  Sonderman insisted that all the shades be drawn so we were practically sitting in the dark.

     Now that I think about it  Old S was such a devotee of his hero Roosevelt that it is quite probable that Old S thaught his son to hold court in his bedroom a la FDR.  Sonderman always used to sit on the bed while I stood talking to him.  Roosevelt while president used to hold court in bed in his silk pajamas.  As Dean Acheson said the only thing he could compare it to was the court of Louis XIV.  King’s men aftershave and emulating Louis XIV, it’s not hard to see what Roosevelt was up to.

page 6.

     So the Old Sod was probably training his heir and successor to the manner of command and royalty.

     At Demwitter’s the conversation got more smutty and faggy as time passed.  I read the handwriting on the wall trying to discourage Sonderman’s visits.  Sonderman was intent on his purpose.

     One day I was visiting Demwitter.  He was slouched against the wall sitting on the floor as we talked.  Sitting on the floor was another of Sonderman’s innovations.  Probably because he couldn’t command Demwitter’s bed himself he didn’t want anyone to use it and be in command.  Especially me.

     I was lying belly down on the bed with my chin resting of the footboard.  As Sonderman always showed up twenty minutes after I did it must be true that someone watching me phoned him.  He bounded up the stairway, entered the room and seeing me lying prone on the bed he jumped on my back.  Grabbing me around the neck as he had at the Y he began dry humping me.  I threw him off with great indignation but neither he nor Demwitter seemed to take any notice.

     It was clear that I would have to abandon my visits or become a ‘consenting’ adult.  This direction was made clear shortly thereafter when I went to visit Demwitter.  Some guy I had never seen before was there and then Sonderman came traipsing in.  We sat around talking until Sonderman had a bright idea.  He suggested we turn out the light and masturbate together.  I was still completely innocent sexually.  Even if I hadn’t been, for me sex was something between a boy and his girl not to be discussed with anyone else.

page 7.

     I don’t know whether I had heard the trick discussed or whether I knew enough of Hirsh’s style to divine the trick.  It really wasn’t hard to figure out.  I knew then that this would be the last time I visited Demwitter.  Sonderman and the Hirshes had won the round.  I was isolated.  Demwitter betrayed the best friend he would ever have.

     Sonderman flicked off the lights.  They were so stupid.  Even with the shades drawn there was enough light so that I could see.  Apparently they couldn’t.  I went along with the joke to a point.  I huffed and puffed and slapped the bedspread in rhythm.  Sonderman leaped up to turn on the light expecting me to be the only one masturbating.  I sat looking at him with my most sardonic smile.

     I wouldn’t put up with anymore.  That terminated my friendship with Demwitter.  Once I was gone Sonderman stopped calling on the boob too.  I suppose Sonderman’s version was that Denny was his old friend and I tried to horn in.

     Denny owed me everything.  That he had attained prominence in high shool was due solely to me.  I introduced him to a higher quality of friends.  The other guys he knew were thugs or slugs.  If it hadn’t been for Sonderman’s hope for vengeance on me there wouldn’t have been any Blockbusters for Demwitter to quarterback.

page 8.

     That he should have sacrificed our longstanding honorable friendship for a temporary alliance with Sonderman was incredible to me.  Denny never was smart.  Now that he had betrayed our friendship he was no longer of any use to me and I have never given him a second thought.

4.

     I had been taking a psychological battering all my life.  One personality lay dead on the second grade playing field.  I had never been able to build a viable alternate personality or even persona.  I lacked all male force which is to say my Animus was completely beaten down.  In Freudian terms I had a weak Ego.  Now that the support of the camaraderie of school was gone the prop it had given to my deteriorating mental state was removed.  I collapsed into an inert pile.

     Everyone had their plans.  Some had seemingly glittering prospects at college; some were even lucky enough to find jobs.  I had nothing.  My mother had signed me up to go into the Navy.  She apparently thought that the Navy would be my last foster home.

     My mother! There was a source of information for the Hirshes I never even considered.  She babbled things to anyone who would listen.  Who knows who she talked to, but she had been telling unknown hordes that I was going to make the Navy my career.  She told others but not me that I was going to be a Chief Petty Officer and be back in twenty years.  She never talked to me about it but the story came back to me from some girl I hardly knew and didn’t like.  When I said I wasn’t going to make a career of the Navy the girl grew angry with me saying I was wrong because my mother said I would, just like my mother would know more about it than I would.

page 9.

     The fault lies within?  In the sense that conditioning determines conduct but once the die is cast it is all preordained, only the variables can be manipulated.

     My mind at this point turned to stone.  I was capable of only the slightest exertion as I inertly waited to be called up.  The only friend who stood by me was Larry Dubcek.  He had also enlisted and was waiting to be called up.  As for Sonderman the last two stars in the Constellation were placed just before he left for West Point.

     Our relationship ended on a tragi-comic note.  Although I had sworn I would never speak to Sonderman again after the the incident in Demwitter’s room it chanced that I met this really swinging girl.  She wasn’t my type but she was a total knockout.  I just couldn’t resist her.  She was one of those hot little numbers that you want to meet because you think you know what to do with them but then find out they know a heck of a lot more than you do.

     For a while we were really flaming.  I was even introduced into her family circle as a sort of suitor.  Her hotness was in reaction to a very traumatic experience.  I don’t really understand what I represented to her because I wasn’t her type either.  Her father owned a wholesale janitorial supply business.  I was shown the premises.  Mr. Fotheringay had had the misfortune to call the attention of the Outfit to himself.  The Outfit was the Chicago Mob.

page 10.

     He sold to hotels and restaurants so it was natural that the Mafia should annex his business.  Strangely he was quite open about it with me.  When I, in my ignorance of social realities, reproached him for being involved with the Mafia he gave me a painful snarl and a look that showed both his impotence against the Outfit and his disdain for such a dolt as myself.  He had already suffered unbearable ignominy at their hands and he was to suffer more.

     Terrorism in the United States is treated as a recent importation from the Moslem countries but terrorism has been practiced by the Mafiosi since the turn of the last century.  The Mafia had terrorized Jack Fotheringay in a particularly effective way.

     Briony or Brie Fotheringay when I met her was entering her Senior year.  She was just seventeen.  She was more flashy than beautiful but then it’s a fine line between flash and beauty, I suppose.  At any rate a couple days before her birthday, which was two days before mine, she caught the eye of her father’s Mafia handler, Two Ton Tony Lardo.

     Two Ton Tony was an underboss from the Chicago Outfit assigned several areas in the State including our county the county to the South of us and the county to the North.  He was your typical Mafioso- ignorant and uncouth.  He was six-five and three hundred twenty-five pounds.  Foul mouthed, vulgar and intrinsically obscene.  All he had to do was show up to fill a place with obscenity.  He announced to Jack Fotheringay that his daughter was a good looking piece.  Fotheringay had only been annexed for a few months so he told Lardo that she was none of his business.

page 11.

     The details are unimportant; you can devise them anyway.  Jack personally delivered Brie to Rocco’s Pizzeria down on Thelema then was told to wait in the car.  They had a basement storage room into which this uncouth behemoth carried the terrified Brie by one arm.

     She was about five-four, a mere slip of a girl.  This Mafioso sewer rat literally tore her clothes off.  Without any preliminaries he just rammed it home standing up as she lay back across a chopping block with her head hanging over the edge backward.  Then he grabbed both her ears pulling her up of the table onto her knees and pulled her mouth over his dick.

     Finished with her he gave her a kick in the ass to help her up the stairs as she ran half naked out the back door into the parking lot where her totally devastated father waited for her.  Two Ton Tony followed her out lighting an enormous cigar with one hand while with the other he slowly zipped his pants in Fotheringay’s face.

     Then with a knowing sneer he took his cigar and tapped a picture drawn on the wall by the door.  The picture was of the man with the big nose hanging over a fence with the legend ‘Kilroy Was Here.’  It is hard to tell which hurt Fotheringay the most, but he knew he was powerless, thoroughly emasculated, to resist.  He was a mere cipher.  There was no need to go to the cops; no need to tell you where the cops got that extra little augmentation to the pay envelope.

      As everyone at the time knew, the picture and legend ‘Kilroy Was Here’ was a symbol plastered all over Europe by the troops of the Arsenal Of Democracy as they rolled up those nasty Nazi armies.  Lardo and Fatheringay had talked about the matter previously.  While Fotheringay had been terrorized by the thundering ‘Arsenal Of Freedom’ fighting in the ranks at the Battle Of The Bulge Lardo had been sitting pretty back home with plenty of forged gas rations, stolen food rations, hijacked new tires for his late ’41 Roadster, he was important enough to get one of the few ’42s, and plenty of money in his pocket to spend on the bevy of women without men and fewer morals.

page 12.

     He got so much nooky he laughed to Fotheringay that for all he knew Brie was his own daughter conceived while Fotheringay was stupid enough to be off fighting people he didn’t even know in Europe.

     Fotheringay watched Lardo tap Kilroy with rueful eyes.  Had he fought a war to make the world safe for criminals?  Had he defeated Hitler just so he could become enslaved to a despicable Mafioso?  It seems so.  It was true.  The Fotheringays of the world had the power to defeat the Nazis but not the power to rule out and out criminals in their own homeland.  Zeus is one tricky fellow.

     It was one of those moments from which you never recover.  Never did a man feel more helpless and ashamed as his lovely sweet sixteen Brie shivered and cried beside him.  What could he do about it?

     The Mafia was very nearly protected by the Law.  Even though we had watched breathlessly in 1951 when Senator Kefauver confirmed and revealed the existence and influence of the Mafia the top cop in the country, J. Edgar Hoover of the fabled Federal Bureau Of Investigation, denied their existence.  He refused to move against them.

page 13.

     Hoover was the guy who stood gloating over the dead body of the folk hero John Dillinger while ignoring the activities of Al Capone who led the Outfit in Chicago.  Hoover let those creeps dominate the business activity of the Central States and the West.  At this very moment he was abetting a psychopath like Sam Giancana in terrorizing my hometown.

     Even when I was ten years old I knew organized crime existed.  I read comic books.  I went to the movies.  I knew that Hoover had murdered John Dillenger while he allowed Valentines Day Massacres to go uninvestigated and unpunished; he couldn’t even find the guys who did it, nearly a century later the killers are still unproven.

     I am unable to describe my reaction when I saw criminals defy the Kefauver Committee with impunity.  My faith in the masculinity of the government was shattered when I watched Frank Costello get up and walk out of the courtroom saying he didn’t feel like answering any more questions.  Goddamn the cops.

     If any Anglo, if I, had done the same the police would have grabbed us and thrown us back in his seat but the police, the same cops that told me that I, and only I had to walk my bike through intersections, watched as Frank Costello ambled out of the courtroom.

     I saw plenty of Mafia activity in town while decent citizens suffered helplessly with no recourse, slaves to this vile criminal group.

page 14.

     It reached into my family circle.  While not directly involved with the Mafia my uncle Sammy was a goon for the Mob.  Uncle Sammy was a truck driver.  You don’t think of these things at the time but I guess Sammy thought the ends justified the means.  He thought Jimmy Hoffa was a great man.  Hoffa was another fearsome persona from my youth.  Hoffa aligned himself with the Mob, both New York and Chicago.   You know, he had a foot in both camps.  He adopted the terroristic tactics of the Mafia.

     In the early and mid-fifties these guys bombed and killed in a wild frenzy.  My Uncle Sammy was one of the bombers and hit men.  I don’t know who all knew.  I’m sure he didn’t think I did although I took him to task about Hoffa once.  Sammy was a real labor type so he defended Hoffa vigorously.

     Uncle Sammy was real nervous the day after the simultaneous bombing of the Trans-Central States terminal and the killing of its owner.  I stood looking at him accusingly.  He shoved me away angrily saying something about the bastards wouldn’t listen to reason.  He and my Aunt Jo moved across town shortly thereafter.  He never came around to visit, I never saw him again.

     So this was the environment in which Fotheringay suffered and had somehow to endure with no chance of extricating himself.  The cops and judges were under the thumb of the Outfit.  The FBI would have no time for him.  He had gone to fight in the Big One for this.  Was Hitler a bigger villain than Sam Giancana? 

     These illiterate criminal Sicilians owned America. How had the Greatest Generation allowed this to come to pass?

page 15.

     My youth was the transition from the hopes of the ‘Melting Pot’ to what we at the beginning of the twenty-first century call ‘celebrating our multi-cultural diversity.’  This is no longer the beginning of  the twentieth century when these national groups were new requiring ‘tolerance.’  If we are to celebrate our diversity then we are not only free to do so but must analyze what those differences are if the country is to succeed as a political entity.

     Psychologically the Sicilian mentality can be typed.  Their characteristic way of viewing society can be easily described.  There is no mystery.  All you have to do is celebrate this particular diversity.

      Prior to 1950 movie makers felt compelled to celebrate the Anglo Saxon origins of the country.  After 1950 the emphasis changed.  People with ‘foreign’ sounding names had formerly changed them to ‘American’ or Anglo Saxon names. As Monsieur Arouet who became a gentleman by the name of Voltaire said:  The name’s the thing.  So I don’t quarrel with any actor who wishes to change his name to something that may lead to greater success.  John Saxon whole Italian name I forget was the last person who changed his name for immigrant reasons along about 1957-58 or so.  His putdown of the process probably cost him his career as the Anglo-Saxons resented his sardonic use of Saxon.

     Also the emphasis shifted from doing mainstream movies to presenting ethnic movies that celebrated a particular diversity while denigrating the Anglo-Saxons.  Reacting against the sense of inferiority caused by immigrating these always placed the dominant culture in a bad light.  In the manner of immigrant cultures they especially belittled the virtues of the dominant culture.

page 16.

     As we have seen the movies are a powerful medium for conditioning the thought and actions of viewers.  Anglo-Saxon women are always depicted as nymphomaniac bimbos while all other women are depicted as women of high virtue.

     It was thus that Lardo took great pleasure in violating Brie Fotheringay.  He wasn’t really interested in sex per se but he wanted to violate the image the smartass Anglos had of themselves.  They would do nothing to stop him.  He committed his crimes with impunity.  The rules that governed their lives had no restraints for a ‘wise guy.’  If a non-Mafioso had violated Brie in that manner you may be sure he wouldn’t escape the vengeance of Fotheringay and the Law.  Two Ton Tony had a good laugh at America as he sucked on his big Cuban cigar tapping the image of Kilroy.

     The Sicilian ethos was, I must use the word, brilliantly portrayed in the Godfather trilogy of 1972-74 and ’90.  As the movie was co-written by Mario Puzo and Francis Coppola, two Sicilians, it is to be presumed that they knew whereof they spoke.  While the Sicilian psychosis is brilliantly portrayed the analysis limps along behind it but it is there.

     The saga was lovingly executed in epic fashion covering an incredible nine hours.  All of the villainy is done under the cover of sacred ceremonies.  It is necessary for the Mafia to violate everything anyone else respects.  Platoons of wise guys are murdered while the Godfather is attending weddings, baptisms or symbolically in Part III the crucifixion of Christ on stage.  This attitude may hark back to the Sicilian Vespers when the Norman conquerors were locked in churches and burnt, apparently a fixative event.

page 17.

     The basic Sicilian Mafia premise is that they are entitled to all the most prestigious things in life because they entitle themselves to take them.  There is no pretense of earning anything.  They are parasites; they create nothing.

     You get guns and an organization and you terrorize everyone out of what you want.  There is no need to waste effort on education or social niceties.  You merely get ‘respect’ by terrorizing others into submission.  ‘Respect’ means that anyone who shows independence is blown away.  ‘Respect’ means that everyone is servile in your presence.  ‘Honor’ means that if you say you’ll kill a man, you do it.

     As parasites the Mafia makes no contribution to society, they merely consume what others make.

     Just as their transportation in 586 BC destroyed Jewish self-confidence and gave them an apocalyptic vision of history so did Sicilian history fixated the Sicilian mind.  The theme of the Godfather movies seems to be that the winner is the last guy standing when the carnage is over.  That is also what the Mafioso Santos Trafficante of Miami, once said.

page 18.

     The denouement of Part III in a dream sequence stunningly portrays this vision.  The Mafiosi involved themselves with the Vatican in the most intermingling way.  This part was apparently true. The Papacy thinks it is in control but as usual the Mafia uses violence to dominate the Papacy.  The Pope himself is involved in their sewer machinations.  The criminal Mafia has captured the citadel of the Sacred.  Evil rules.

     As the hero Michael Corleone’s son wants to be an opera singer he is placed on the stage.  To a Mafioso to want is to have.  There can be no denial.  Obstacles such as training and talent are not allowed to get in the way.

     The opera is Cavalleria Rusticana which concerns the crucifixiion of Christ.  There, as Christ is being crucified, the murder machine goes into full operation.  In dream like fashion an apocalyse of bodies is falling everywhere.  One in an evocation of the fall of Lucifer descends from the crown of the cupola.  The poisoned Pope dies in bed with a smile on his face.  Corleone’s enemies are falling in carloads as he stands untouched in their midst while tremendous operatic music is being performed.  He’s the man with the most ‘respect.’

     The assassin designated to dispose of Corleone fires off a couple rounds point blank but he somehow misses Corleone and hits his daughter instead.  Sicilian girls count, Anglo girls like Brie don’t.

     The final scene shows an aged Michael Corleone (translated the name means Lion or Stouthearted) sitting alone in a cemetary like a sole surviving anti-Christ where he stares mournfully at the tombstone of the only thing he ever loved in his life, his beloved daughter.  He’s won the battle but the only price is sorrow.  Nice view of life.

page 19.

     Well, if he wasn’t an ignorant moron who caused his own troubles one might feel for him.  As to his daughter what made her more valuable than Briony Fotheringay and all the Anglo women abused by stouthearted Mafiosi?

     Hoover might not have acknowledged the problem but the TV movie ‘The Borgia Stick’ of the early sixties did.  A variation on Jack Fotheringay’s predicament was accurately portrayed in the movie.  In the movie an Anglo is coopted into serving the Mafia where his life becomes a living hell.  He himself is a virtual slave while he is compelled to give his wife as a prostitute.  You might not believe it could happen but believe me it does.  Briony is only one example.

     When I met her she was just emerging from her shock or depression or whatever you wish to call it.  Perhaps she was attracted to me because my name represented a secure English past.  If so she was to be disappointed in me as she was in her father.  It never came to that exactly but our date at Hillbilly Heaven convinced her I wasn’t the man.

     Wherever she was to turn she could find no man who could stand up to the Mob.  Disappointed by her own men, in later life she was attracted to the apparent male superiority of the Mafia.  She became one of their party dolls and prostitutes.

     But all I knew at the time was that she was one hot number ready to go.  I had to make some kind of splash as a spry young fellow.  If you noticed you have never seen me behind the wheel.  That’s because Tuistad and my mother were adamant in not allowing me to drive.  They were terrified I might have a good time or become a normal young man.  So I had this hot little number who was ready to go and no way to get her there.

page 20.

    My only choice was to double date.  I sure couldn’t ask Tuistad to drive.  Graduation had completely disrupted my social patterns so I knew no one but Dubcek, Demwitter and Sonderman to ask.  I was completely disgusted with Demwitter, Dubcek was out of town courting his girl and that left only Sonderman.  So I asked him.

     After the scene at Demwitter’s he thought he was rid of me.  I saw the haughty sneer on his face as he prepared to crush me by refusal but showing some strategical sense for the first time he asked me where I wanted to go.  My heart sank.

     I was a fan of Country and Western music.  This guy named Freddie Hart had a record out that I liked entitled:  Drink Up And Go Home.  It went something like this:

You sit there a cryin’,

Right in your beer.

You think you got troubles?

My friend listen here:

Now, there stands a blind man-

A man who can’t see-

He’s not complainin’

Why should you or me?

Don’t tell me your troubles,

I got enough of my own.

Be thankful you’re livin’

Drink up and go home.

 page 21.

     I was sailing on a sea of troubles that I knew no one wanted to hear or would sympathize with me if they did listen so Freddie’s advice was pretty timely for me.  I took his sentiment to heart.  I have never complained since but just soldiered on.  I thought I would like to hear Freddie sing his song.

     The guy wasn’t appearing in town.  There was a hillbilly bar over by the time line in the central part of the state called Hillbilly Heaven.  It was about fifty miles away.  I had never been there but I knew from the radio announcer that the building was divided into two halves by a floor to ceiling chain link fence.  You could drink on one side while the other side was for underage kids.

     Freddie Hart was playing that weekend.

     Most people despised C&W; Sonderman was no exception which was why I quailed at asking him.  I could see his lip curl in contempt as he prepared his rejection but then a light went off in his head while his lip uncurled and he broke into a wide grin.  I was giving him a better chance than the railroad trestle.  He asked for two bucks for gas and said he’d pick me up.

     I didn’t like the idea of paying two bucks for gas especially as it only cost fifteen cents a gallon and we wouldn’t use more than three or four gallons but I considered myself lucky to get a driver.

page 22.

     I had never seen Sonderman with a girl before so when he picked me up he had a very ordinary looking girl by his side.  She had that cousiny kind of look.  I could never figure out my group; none of them ever dated girls I’d seen before.  They always came from somewhere else as was the case with Sonderman’s date.

     Brie came from a fairly affluent family.  Not rich, but Jack bought one of those new houses in a development; a pretty nice house.  It was three times my house and double the Sonderman’s new bungalow.  You could see the anxiety on Sonderman’s face when we drove up.

     When I escorted Brie back to the car you could see that she knocked Sonderman’s socks off.  I don’t remember Brie as being actually that beautiful but she had this blonde, sophisticated Audrey Hepburn movie star quality that just thrilled you into instant excitement.  It was that quality that Two Ton Tony Lardo wanted to sully.

     We set out for mid-state with Sonderman in a flush.  Hillbilly Heaven was just across the line that divided Eastern Standard from Central Standard.  At the time the dividing line ran through the middle of the State so we left at eight and got there at eight.  I impressed Brie with that one.

     Brie had had some sexual experience before Two Ton banged her.  Now recovering from the trauma she was fixated fast and loose.  She was hot on making out.  She didn’t care whether the sun was up or not.  She threw herself across my lap, flung her arms around my neck and got down to it.  Lardo had taught her that niceties didn’t count so rather than wait for me to get up the courage she guided my hand straight to her breast.  I could have made her right there but I was a little too backward.  Sonderman was stunned at what seemed to be my sexual virtuosity; he spent as much time watching the rear view mirror as he did the road.  There wasn’t that much traffic back in those days.

page 23.

     If you’ve never been to a hillbilly bar it’s quite a shock.  They’re a pretty rowdy bunch.  They let loose like a bunch of Holy Rollers in a frenzy.  Each one is trying to out have a good time the others.  One talks loud the other talks louder, one acts proud the other acts prouder.  Men and women alike.  Man, they call that setting the woods on fire.  The place was packed on both sides.

     Freddie, still a young guy, bounced on stage to do his thing.  They had the stage behind mesh wire fencing too.  On a good night they used to shower the band with beer bottles whether the drummer was on time or not so they put up this fencing so band members wouldn’t have to pluck beer bottles from between their bleeding gums.

     The crowd wasn’t that rowdy this particular night but I was the only one listening to Freddie Hart, or trying to, as everyone was into a noisy something else.  Sonderman got up.  While I watched he went to speak to some long tall raw looking cowboy type.  The guy was six-five and lean as a rail but he still weighed in at two-forty.

     When Sonderman came back he stood over me and pointed down so the cowboy couldn’t make a mistake.  The thirty year old cowboy type came over by us on the other side of the fence where he began making  provocative comments to me.

page 24.

     Sonderman sat smugly so I guess it’s clear why the light went off in his head.  His dad and Hirsh took care of the details.  Hirsh was nearly in a state of shock because of his son’s death.  He considered my survival a gross miscarriage of justice so now he gave up any pretext of Law and Order.  The cowboy was hired strictly on the basis of Mafia Criminality.

     Freddie sang his song.  Since that was what I mentioned I wanted to hear, after the song was over, Sonderman curtly said we were leaving.  He had to try to look powerful in front of Brie, who he hadn’t been able to take his eyes off, by cutting the evening short.  It was his car and I had an hours worth of smoldering makeout time with Briony so I didn’t put up too much of an objection which wouldn’t have done me any good anyway.

     I saw Sonderman motion to the cowboy so he was waiting for me outside the door in the parking lot with a couple other guys.  Those rowdy bars don’t like to have the police come around because sober citizens are always trying to shut the places down so I don’t know whether the bartender put these guys on Cowboy to slow him down or not but they were trying hard to dissuade him.

     The guy was obviously a hired slugger, as I look back on it now, because he raised his great big ham fist not like he wanted to punch me but like he was trying to knock my eye out and fracture my skull.  I could see this guy was a brawler with plenty of experience; I was only eighteen with no fights to my credit but I felt like a virtual midget in front of this towering behemoth.  I mean, I had to tilt my head up to look at that huge fist hovering over me.  There was no doubt in my young mind that he would stomp me to dust.  Something smaller than that if possible.

page 25.

     Boy, I sure didn’t want to fight this guy but I didn’t want to look bad in front of Brie either.  I thought the Cowboy was jealous because I had this hot looking chick.  Fortunately Sonderman got anxious to leave me to my fate.  I guess this was a reenactment of the State game when they tried to drive off without me.  Laughing with satisfaction he grabbed both girls making a run for the car.

     The Cowboy’s friends or bartender’s agents who looked like dogs jumping at an elephant were trying to pull him back telling him to leave the kid alone which cleared the way for me.  I knew Sonderman intended to drive away without me. With bowels quaking I scooted after him grabbing the door as he backed out of the space.  Brie threw it open.  I tried not to look like I was loading my pants.

     Yeah, well, he had humiliated me in front of my hot number.  My manhood was really shaken.  It took me weeks to rationalize the affair and even at that I wasn’t too successful.  It was almost like Brie and Two Ton Tony although hers was much worse than mine.  She seemed to understand, wanting to get back into it hot and heavy, but I was so shaken I was less than satisfactory.

     Sonderman wasn’t finished.  Even though he and Hirsh had failed to have my eye knocked out and my head broken into pieces the effect of Brie on Sonderman was incredible.  He was in love.  His date had been totally outclassed by mine, if his wasn’t his cousin.  Sonderman felt inferior to me which was something he couldn’t tolerate.

page 26.

     When I got out of the car to escort Brie to the door Sonderman put the pedal to the metal peeling rubber for half a block in his haste to leave me cold.  I made some comment to Brie about how jealous he was, kissed her goodnight, then began the long walk home.

     I had plenty of time to think about Hillbilly Heaven as I walked along.  The Cowboy seemed fishy but I was shaken to my socks by him.  I felt that I had really failed a test of manhood but at the time I didn’t see why I should have hung around to get pulverized.  I could have had a readier repartee in avoiding him but I was certainly under no obligation to fight a guy twice my age and three times my size.  Good rationalizing but it didn’t change my feeling of failure.

     Just as today I eat my food standing up as a result of Sonderman so decades later I wore a lot of suits with the pinch waisted Western jacket.  Just like the outfit the Cowboy wore although I have always detested cowboy boots.

     Sonderman had been thrown a loop by Brie.  Even her name, Briony Fotheringay, had an exotic but soundly English tone.  Aristocratic.  In the early fifties English names still carried a lot of weight.  The name itself was a reason for Two Ton Tony to want to dishonor her and through her the detested Anglo-Saxon culture.

     Briony was so much more than Sonderman had ever imagined for himself, let alone me, that he was thrown into a terrified jealousy.  He had to  find a woman to outdo me.  He had to do it quick, too; he only had a couple weeks before he left for West Point.  The pressure was on.

p. 27.

     He suddenly appeared with a girl named Donna on his arm.  She was a real knockout too in a conventional sort of way.   She didn’t have the flair that Brie had but she had a terrific full figure with a really impressive bust line.  That was one thing Brie lacked.  Big ones.

     He and she stood at a distance while he glared at me as though to say:  Check this out.  He didn’t greet me; he just stood there with an arrogant look on his face.  I signed to him.

     That’s one thing about Law and Order guys, they don’t care who they hurt to get what they want.  Once he located her he must have really come on to her.  He had obviously diddled her as he believed I had gotten it from Brie.  Donna stood there clutching his right hand with both of hers like she thought she was betrothed.  Sonderman must really have deceived her in the hope of shafting me.

     He must have talked to her about me a lot because she seemed eager to meet me.  Sonderman pulled her away with a shrug saying I wasn’t worth the bother.

     Sonderman may have thought that he won Donna with his own manly attributes but Donna had been attracted to him by the prospect of being an officer’s wife.  Some women are attracted by the uniform, taking the symbol for the man.  Their desire for the male draws them to the outer symbol as young girls are drawn to horses.  When the true man separates from the symbol they are often disappointed, turning in chagrin to drink or other men or both.

page 28.

     Sonderman cruelly disabused Donna of the notion of being an officer’s wife.  He cut her dead a few days later when he left for the Point.  She had served his purpose when he tried to put me down.  Now useless, she could be discarded without a thought.  Makes me wonder why I was so concerned about Ange when I cut her dead in the same manner.  It must be some shortcoming in my ‘breeding.’

     Sonderman west East to West Point.  I just went West in the Navy.  We parted company forever.  I had no idea that he was the most important male figure of my life.  He had become my Animus.  I judged all men through that lens.  It wasn’t pretty.

     Sonderman did not leave town with the healthiest of minds.  The past weighed as heavily on him as it did on me.  He was able to function better than I but you’ve seen the psychosis he acquired in his childhood and youth.

     The last get together with him at Hillbilly Heaven had left an indelible impression on my mind.  The Cowboy slugger had entered my subconscious attached to a cluster of memories that formed a dream element that persisted for decades which I call the Brown Spot.

     The dream was a simple image of a pulstating brown spot like a round bog in the middle of an open field.  The sight of it roused tremendous terror in my mind.  This was a very tough image to crack especially as it conflated disparate and widely spaced incidents in my life.  I’m still not sure how they are parallel.

page 29.

     I had always been able to remember all these incidents clearly but their combined significance was suppressed and incomprehensible.  In  the strange way that the mind works the trail led backwards from the Cowboy slugger.  Stranger still is that it was not until I understood why Sonderman showed Donna to me that the whole thing cleared up.  I am not clear how Donna and Brie lead back to the initial incident of the Brown Spot.

     However the path from the Slugger led back to an incident between the fourth and fifth grades when for some reason I decided to visit the Junior High I would be attending from the orphanage, but two full years later.

     The fourth grade had just ended.  I thought school would be empty.  I entered the building to look around.  The school was empty except for eight Black boys who were lurking around.  These fourteen year olds spotted a ten year old White boy they could terrorize and they did.  They chased me back and forth through the halls saying all the horrible things they were going to do to me when they caught me.

     They had no intention of catching me but I was so terrified that I ran past the entrance doors several times without seeing them.  That’s how my mother’s breast fixation worked.  Finally I identified the doors and ran out into the sunshine.

     Now, I had risked life, limb and mental health in the kindergarten to defend some Black kids.  I took the harassment of these kids as a betrayal of that deed.  I wouldn’t say I hated Negroes after that but I thought them undependable and untrustworthy.  I would not rely on them for any purpose.

page 30.

     In my liberating or explanatory dream of this incident as I ran through the halls the walls collapsed covering me with brown horse dung.  Evidently I found my conduct with the Black boys as cowardly as I found myself before the Cowboy slugger.

     When nearly buried a path led down to the bottom of the pit to the initial incident when I was in kindergarten.  This memory was the source of the terror associated with the Brown Spot.  This occurred after the Black kids left me to hang out to dry  which leads back to the Black boys at the Junior High.

     When my mother filed for divorce she began to revile my father to me, terrifying me of him and turning me against him.  Thus when my father came to visit me the last time I was too terrified to go to him as he begged me to do.  He accused my mother of turning me against him which she denied with a straight faced lie.  Don’t think I didn’t notice.

     My father left me this really neat dark green corduroy outfit with a spiffy traffic light aplique on the front pocket then he walked out head hung low crying softly and never came back.  I never saw him again, however for a period of years in my thirties I wore nothing but corduroy pants and jackets including a spiffy dark green one.

     Thus the theme of cowardice connected all three shaming incidents creating a brown spot like a big bruise on an apple.  Psychologically the reference to the bruise on an apple has a reference also.

page 31.

     During the war, about 1942, the country was terrified that the Nazis were capable of bombing the whole Midwest to pieces all the way from Berlin; or so Roosevelt let on.  We were said to be a prime target with our auto, now defense, plants.  Even as a little child of four I found this notion ridiculous but my elders had set up a system of air raid drills for our protection.

     My mother and I were on a bus going down Main downtown one night when the sirens went off.  We were all herded out of the bus to stand in storefronts for protection from the bombs.  Even then, as I stood in front of those plate glass windows, I thought we would be cut to shreds if they shattered all over us.

     For some reason I can’t imagine now I was terrified and set up a wail equal to those of the air raid sirens.  As may be imagined this annoyed the other bus riders considerably.  In an act of desperation which I sensed and didn’t appreciate and reacted to a woman reached into her grocery bag and pulled out a nice large apple and handed it to me.

     I examined the apple carefully noting that it had a large bruise or brown spot.  I handed the apple back to her cooly saying:  ‘It’s bruised.’

     She dropped it back in the bag in a huff but she still had her apple and stopped me from crying.

     The relationship between my mother, Brie and Donna is not clear to me although my mother and Brie were both hard women.  I don’t know the meaning of Donna unless it was that she was well built like my mother thus creating an association or, perhaps I associated Sonderman’s treatment of her with my mother’s treatment of my father.  All incidents in personal psychology are related.

page 32.

     The result of all the images was that my father was buried deep in my subconcious under a heap of horse pucky.

5.

…O Zeus and Athena and Apollo

If only death would take every Trojan

And all the Achaeans except us two,

So we alone might win that Sacred City.

–Homer

     Hirsh had succeeded in degrading me but I had avoided his desire that I debase myself.  However as a result of the persecution I had been put into a certain mind set which stigmatized me until I integrated my personality.  You know, psychology is so much more complex than Freud imagined.  He thought that his Oedipus Complex solved everything whereas in fact it is practically meaningless.  If such a complex exists in the universal psyche, which it doesn’t, it would only be a minor and passing part of a man’s psychology.

     Freud had a pretty shallow understanding of Greek mythology.  He wasn’t very well read in it at all.  He seized upon the Oedipus story in an unwarranted manner completely ignoring the reaction of Oedipus when he discovered that he had married his mother.  With a deeper understanding of Greek mythology he might have noticed the myth of Io, the Holy Cow.  Rather than having a desire to copulate with his mother which is beyond a young boy’s ability to imagine it is more likely that he views this woman who has not only fed him from her own body like a cow but has tended to his every need willingly, lovingly and with self-abnegation as his personal milk cow.  At a certain point when the child perceives that this woman is dividing her concern between himself and his father he may fear losing the economic privilege he enjoys.  Thus he may believe temporarily that he is in competition with his dad.  If so, the feeling passes within a couple years as he realizes the true situation.

page 33.

      I can say that I never had a desire for an old used woman from whose womb I had emerged when there were plenty of fresh young heifers around who could do me more economic good in the future than my mother.

     But then Freud was a pioneer and not a developer.

     There are only so many visions of reality that a human can hold.  The uniqueness of the individual is mainly illusory.  Or at least that uniqueness exists only as an individual is representative of a mind set.  I had my own Responses in dealing with the Challenges from the Field but the Field remains paramount in my own and everyone else’s personal psychology.  Then as I began to understand to which psychic fraternity I belonged I recognized some of my fellows.  Over the years I came to realize that I was akin to others in the same mind set.  We all pursued the same goal and our objectives and methods were not all that different.

     Certainly Tim Leary and I were psychic brothers as well as Dr. Petiot, Moses, Richard Speck, Charlie Whitman, Sonderman and the most prominent member of our septum, Adolf Hitler, not to mention Brave Achilles.

page 34.

     The stimuli for each of us was undoubtedly somewhat different but our Responses were also somewhat of the same character if not the same degree.  If we’d all been as capable of Hitler you may be sure we would have acted the same as he did although our personal objectives may have been different.  We wished mass destruction on all our tormentors.  We had our eyes on the gates of that Sacred City and it mattered little who died so long as we passed through those pearly gates, preferably alone.  We sat and sulked in our tents waiting to be called to save humanity.  When that didn’t happen, like Nero we wished that they all had one neck so we could strangle them all at the same time.

     Of the group I am the only one to break on through to the other side and freedom.  The rest remained trapped in their pasts.

     It is not to be assumed from the cast of characters that our mind set among the others is particularly vile.  After all Mao Tse Tung, Joseph Stalin, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Charlie Starkweather, Ted Bundy, Lord Strafford, Hirsh and host of great destroyers belong to other mind sets.  Your is one of them.  Saints and Sinners abound in any of the mind sets.

     But I know my brothers.

     Each of my brothers here mentioned responded to his Challenges from the Field in different ways.  Each chose to resolve his dilemma in his own individual way as his circumstances dictated.

page 35.

     The most conscious or willed Responses were by Dr. Tim of the Ozone Space Patrol and myself.  We both are or were psychologists.  Tim of course was certified by society and I am not.  However I succeeded where Leary failed.  Tim left behind him a fairly extensive body of writing, the most finished of which is of a very high literary quality.  His autobiography ‘Flashbacks’ is very innovative in the first half while his most literary production ‘High Priest’ is, shall we say, unique in format and style.  Very avant garde.  Timmy had it, but he blew it.

     The problem with Tim is that when he realized that the key would be hard to find he gave up; he turned to drugs, no stamina.  The guy really needed instant gratification.

     Tim’s central problem which he inexplicably failed to recognize was his abandonment by his father.  His father’s leaving muddied his waters for all time.  As a psychologist his fixation was staring him in the face but in the peculiar way of fixations it remained invisible to him.  Such is the fear that one is prevented from seeing what is before one’s eyes.

     Like many befuddled people he became a psychologist in the hopes of discovering his problem.  Instead he found that psychologists were impotent before their own and their patients’ illness.  With or without help a third got better, one third got worse and one third stayed the same.  Tim was of the group that slowly got worse.  He accordingly gave up on psychology.  No staying power.  Tim was a sad case.

     Before he gave up he made a fateful contribution to psychological literature while employed at Kaiser.  Interestingly he never mentions Kaiser in his autobiography.  Slides right over it.  He realized he had been manipulated into his psychological disorder.  As Judaeo-Christian thought decrees that the punishment fit the crime he set about to divise the tools for the psychological manipulation of the whole world.  He want everybody else to get screwed up too.  He did this at Kaiser when he devised the personality tests that are still in wide use.

page 36.

    Once the tests were devised Tim had no sense of direction.  The pernicious use of his personality researches remained fallow for the time being except that as Tim sank over the deep end he turned to psychedelic drugs.

     When his LSD researches began he drew into his circle the most pernicious of post-war movements, that of the Beats, the stage was set for his merry pranks.  The so-called Beats, can be summed up by Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs with Ginsberg as the most important member.  Actually the roster of important Beat writers can be rounded out with Leary himself, Bob Dylan and Ken Kesey although the last three are sort of an after Beat.

     Their novo literary plans were lauched and were being propagated by Ginsberg’s ‘poem’: Howl.  Once through the publishing door Ginsberg helped bring out Kerouac’s ‘On The Road’ and Burroughs’ ‘Naked Lunch.’  The three works were slim fare to get and keep their ‘rucksack’ revolution rolling, but boy, did they have an effect.  Thus Ginsberg, who knew the main chance when he saw it, searched out Tim Leary as soon as his psychedelic researches reached his ears.

page 37.

     Ever ingratiating and insinuating Ginsberg’s seed fell on Leary’s fertile mind.  The two men had the same goal but for different reasons.  Leary in effect became the fourth Beat and its Pied Piper.

     Tim had no intellectual content beyond some vague notion of some ‘politics of ecstasy’ but he became a master showman and clown.  When the mind of a generation was blasted apart by LSD which has absolutely no content but opens the mind to immediate reconditioning Ginsberg and the Beats provided the intellectual attitude grafting it onto the blown minds of the generation by using the substance of Leary’s brilliantly manipulative personality theories.

     It must be noted that Leary himself seemed unable to penetrate to anyone’s ulterior motives.  He calls it naivete but such simplicity is almost impossible to believe in one so intelligent.

     Ginsberg’s trained agents infiltrated every Beatnik or Hippie group to graft his value system unto their blown and receptive minds.  This was the brainwashing technique that Leary believed the CIA was probing him for although Doctor Timmy blithely claimed to know nothing of any such technique.  It should be noted that Leary was quite as capable as the CIA of lieing to protect his own.  As an instance, in his autobiography he spectacularly shifts attention away from the crimes of Charles Manson who he defends to direct attention to a similar crime for which the ‘establishment’ Army officer Jeffrey MacDonald  was convicted.  Although the crimes were quite dissimilar in some way he thought the latter crime somehow absolved the drug culture.  Tim was not an honest man.

page 38.

     So as Ginsberg appropriated Tim’s research to further Semitist and homosexual goals, Leary in his frustration contributed to the befuddlement of society just as he had been befuddled by his own central childhood fixation.  As he was naive he considered himself innocent.

     Freud believed that morality was of no consequence.  His belief has been embraced by psychologists subsequently.  Psychology has no concern with morality.  Freud believed that anyone who knew certain ‘truths’ about themselves was incapable of committing an immoral act.  Tim Leary disproves his theory.

     If anyone cares to apply my psychological approach my only fear is that they will liberate themselves without having good morality.  Thus, if criminals, they will only be more effective criminals.  A clear mind and vile methods can never create good.

     So Tim and I differ in methods and goals.  I want to correct and eliminate the evils practiced on me while Tim merely wanted to pass his monkey on.

     Nevertheless his researches are valuable and useful for understanding who you are.  At the very least such an understanding will prevent your being easily manipulated by pernicious people.

     Tim gave vent to his fixation in his way as I have in mine.

page 39,

     Tim never mentions a fear of the law.  In point of fact at the time he was arrested in Laredo he had broken no laws.  Psychedelic drugs had been legal to that time.  So the man was actually railroaded into prison merely because he had made himself unpopular with certain governmental officials.  Still, he must known he was barefoot on a barbed high wire so he should have taken extreme precautions.

     I too have never done anything illegal but I learned very early that laws for me were different than the laws for my enemies.  You’ll remember the cop who said only I had to walk my bike through intersections, so, you see, you don’t have to do anything to end up on the wrong side of the law.  I have always known that innocence is no defense so my ‘paranoia’ has kept me vigilant and alert.  I have never wanted to gratify the hopes of my enemies by spending my life in prison.  Nor did I ever have any intention of killing myself.

     Dick Speck and Charlie Whitman were not of my mind.  Dick was not reflective enough to know what he was doing.  He and Charlie committed their outrages within a couple months of each other in 1966 at a time when I was passing the crisis in my own mental development.  Becoming a serial killer was no longer possible for me but I immediately recognized my kinship to both men.  I too had considered both crimes although Dick Speck’s was not one that would gratify my own malaise.  Speck’s crime was directed against his mother who formed his Anima, thus in his own way he was murdering his Anima which had betrayed him, while mine like Charlie’s was directed against males and, indeed, the whole of society as was Addie Hitler’s and that of Achilles.

page 40.

     Dick Speck, as I imagine is still well known, actually murered six nurses in Chicago one hot summer night.  That his conflict centered on his mother is attested by the fact that he killed young women, so-called Angels Of Mercy.  In attempting to exorcise his central childhood fixation he delivered himself into his enemies hands spending the rest of his life in prison in conditions too horrible to discuss at this time.  Suffice it to say he became his mother.  Society didn’t have the decency to execute him.

     Charlie Whitman took a different approach.  He was the man who barricaded himself in the tower at the University Of Texas.  From there he took pot shots at anyone who fell within his sights.  It was a most futile attempt at exorcising his fixation  with no chance of escape, a mere act of desperate frustration.  At best he killed or wounded a few people but he at least had the self-respect to kill himself when the authorities broke through his barricade.

     I knew that my enemies wanted me to commit some such act which would discredit me while confirming their opinion of me to the world.  By graduation they had formed me and placed  me at the crossroads.  I was programmed for just such crimes; it was up to me to avoid the destiny prepared for me. 

     I had no interest in killing women because I cherished Ange who was my Anima but Dick’s crime thrilled me to the core as I recognized a fraternal brother who had attempted to purify himself of his fixation.  Speck’s act should not be seen as an act of senselessness or revenge but purification.  It failed as I knew that it must.  Purification comes from within rather than without.  No drug, no crime can purify the mind.

page 41.

     A couple years before Charlie climbed the tower I had considered barricading myself at Stanford University, a symbol of social acceptance and my rightful place in society to me.  In my waking fantasy or daydream I commanded a small army to take on the world.  When asked to surrender it was my intent to offer my brain as a scientific specimen to study the working of the mind of the mass or serial killer much as Ted Bundy was to do in an attempt to escape the electric chair.

     Among the reasons I didn’t perform this absurdity was that I didn’t know of a small army that would accept my leadership.  I didn’t even have any friends.  Also I suspected that there was nothing so abnormal about the serial killer’s mind except his exaggerated Response to a Challange that most people would find normal and not remarkable.

     Interestingly enough, in my most desperate moments I thought up an act of desperation that had been considered by the top strategists of the Nazis.  At this time I was living in the Bay Area.  The water supply of the Bay Area is impounded behind a number of massive dams that ring the San Joaquin Valley.  The mighty Shasta Dam had also just been completed which impounded a small ocean.

     During the war the Nazis had formed a plan to bomb the dams surrounding the Bay so that the waters rushed down at the same time would inundate the low areas and disrupt shipping.  The idea occurred to me too.  With the addition of Shasta the effect would have been terrific.  In my plan the waters reached the Bay as the highest tide of the year was coming in.  The enormous flood would have reached into Merced and inundated Sacramento.  The resulting malarial swamp would have got millions.  I probably wouldn’t have entered that Sacred City alone but the devastation would have been a balm to my wounded soul.  But remember, your immoral society had created me.  Responsibility begins at home.

page 42.

     The problem with that one was getting enough plastique and knowing how to use it.  Always something.  I just didn’t have the necessary determination.  Wisely I decided not to try.

     Shortly thereafter I began to organize my baggage better.

     The baggage is important.  For, like Dr. Petiot we all take our baggage with us.  That’s why Tim’s notion of changing consciousness with drugs is so impossible; the baggage remains the same.  The question is do we let it overwhelm us or do we learn to arrange it into manageable units?  Like Tim Leary said only a third learn to do so.  A third just sit on the baggage and a third like Dr. Petiot sink beneath the weight.

     When our attitude is combined with great political skill and determination it becomes most dangerous.  Of the politicians I recognize as being of the same mind set Moses holds the least sympathy for me.  There is a great resemblance between Mighty Mo’ and the most famous representative of our mind set, Addie Hitler.  Both believed that they represented an elect group of people; both were willing to exterminate all other people for the benefit of the elect.  Both ruthlessly eliminated groups of dissidents within their parties.  Both suffered devastating defeats of their programs.

page 43.

     As I say I have scant sympathy for Mo’ but I also find similarities between Hitler and Sonderman.  You may laugh or object to the audacity of comparing myself and Sonderman to important figures like Leary and Hitler and Moses but this is not an exercise in comparing apples and oranges but oranges and oranges.  No matter how influential or inconsequential  the exemplars, these are comparisons within one mind set.  For instance to compare Hitler with Napoleon which has been done is to compare an apple to an orange.  They come from two entirely different mind sets with entirely different motives.  Although they may be similar politically we are dealing with psychology.

     Sonderman and Hitler are examples of Law and Order aspects of our mind set.  Myself, Tim, Mo’, Dick and Charlie are not Law and Order types.  We despise the Law and Order mentality.  Addie Hitler was a foremost example of the Law and Order approach which he combined in the end with our more characteristic chaotic approach.  Contrary to popular opinion he did nothing outside the laws of Germany even if he had the power to write them himself.  He was a Law and Order sort of guy.

     Everything he did was legal.  He resisted the temptation to seize power illegally which he could easily have done.  Once legally in power he legally assumed dictatorial powers and passed laws to suit his purposes but then he was legally empowered to do so acting no differently than other mind sets in the same situation.  That is Law and Order to a fault.

page 44.

     Nor was Addie a particularly innovative man.  He just brought political and historical trends to their logical conclusions.  Totalitarianism was the the order of the day; he perfected it.  In the thousand year war between the Slavs and Germans he merely extended the policty of the Teutonic Knights from piecemeal annexations of Slavic lands to a massive one time takeover effort.

     In the two thousand year old war between the Jews and Europeans Addie merely repeated the Roman solution in its war with the Jews that kicked off the Piscean Age.

     There was no break or discontinuity in historical tradition; Hitler merely brought the trends of the previous two thousand years to their logical conclusions.  Addie was quite conscious that he was creating a New Order.  As he said the Old Order ended with his death.  Unfortunately he committed suicide before he could see the spectacular introduction of the New Order over Hiroshima but, then, those are the breaks.  The guy knew what was happening whether you like him or not.

     Now, the means and methods he chose to end the Old Order were the result of the mind set he had been given as a youth.  He had a Brown Spot the size of a pumpkin.   I don’t know how the cluster was composed but he discusses the last element in his reminiscences or table talk while on the Eastern Front.  He had just graduated from high school.  He undoubtedly was not a popular person with his schoolmates because they got him roaringly drunk to humiliate him.  In an effort to amuse them he wiped his rear with his diploma.  In some manner the schoolmaster learned of this.  No longer drunk Addie was thoroughly ashamed of himself as he should have been.  Not for using his diploma as toilet paper but for allowing others to abuse his good will.

page 45.

     At any rate the incident affected him more than the Cowboy slugger affected me.  Enraged at his youthful treatment in the last and earlier elements of the Brown Spot and capable of killing any enemy he chose with impunity he tried to bundle their necks together and stangle them all ignoring all consequences so long as he might take that Sacred City of the soul just like Brave Achilles.  They both failed.  Hitler was not abnormal.  Far from it.

     Addie’s Animus had been severely blunted while his Anima while not exactly healthy was whole.  He transferred all the energies of his Animus to the Anima and became Matriarchal in intellect no doubt as a tribute to his mother.  A characteristic of the Matriarchal intellect is the belief in the fertility of nature; thus life becomes expendable and replaceable which, in fact, it is.  Compare Hitler with Mao Tse Tung for the Matriarchal effect.

     As a symbol of the attitude let look again to Greek mythology.  These myths are puzzling so I don’t hope to convince you of my interpretations but they are plausible.  In the myth of Demeter and her daughter Persephone, after Hades had abducted Persephone Demeter turns the world into a wasteland in grieving over the loss of her daughter.  In her wanderings she comes to Eleusis where she sits down on a rock to mourn.

page 46.

     There she is approached by a comic toothless old crone by the name of Baubo.  Baubo tries to cheer Demeter up but the goddess remains inconsolable.  Then with a toothless laugh Baubo who is squatting in the birth position lifts her skirts to reveal a baby emerging from the womb.  Demeter laughs and begins to recover.

    Why did Demeter laugh?  To quote the great Calypsonian and the Kingston Trio:  Back to back, belly to belly, I don’t give a damn because I’ve got another ready.  So Baubo’s lesson is what does it matter that you lost one child when you have the means to make many more.  Baubo exemplified the Matriarchal principle.  No matter how many die many times that number are still in the womb.  The individual life is unimportant.

     Hitler’s response to his fixation was to embrace the Matriarchal intellect.  He applied it exactly.  Not only was he indiscriminate in destroying human life, who he killed is irrelevant, but in his frustrated rage at losing the war he was willing to destroy his entire civilization just like Brave Achilles.  Cracow was leveled to the ground.  He gave orders to explode the former jewel of civilization, Paris, in its totality.  It is a miracle that Paris was not leveled like Cracow.  Thank God, Addie, didn’t have the means to reach Chicago.  It is a miracle that Paris was not leveled like Cracow.  Of course, the Allies flattened Berlin and the rest of Germany, so I guess he had some reason to be sore.

page 47.

     When his world had been completely destroyed Hitler put a bullet through his own brain next to Eva Braun who may possibly have been an exemplar of his Anima while ordering his body to be completely destroyed.  My friends, that is complete self-negation.  Thus as I say, Hitler was the perfect exemplar of our mind set.  We’ll never see his like again.

     Speaking of embracing an opportunity, Tim Leary’s death provides an interesting variation.  When he died he had his body put into orbit around the earth.  At some future time when the orbit degrades the missile will enter the atmosphere as a shooting star disappearing in a blaze of glory.

     But wait, that’s not all.  I don’t know if it happened but Leary wanted to have his head removed and frozen with the expectation that at some time science will be able to transplant his brain onto another’s body.  Thus it is possible that he may come back to life in time for his brain to see his body plummet into the sea.  That then would be a headless comet, the first of its kind.  Leary may have been crazy but he didn’t lack imagination.

     Sonderman completly lacked the chutzpah to either sink to the depts of Hitler or rise to the heights of Leary.  In the turmoil of his mind he completed his studies at West Point.  From which institution Tim Leary was expelled, by the way, and then went to his duty station to await his call from home.  When it came he buried his hopes as completely as Hitler or Leary to heed his father’s call.  What biological clock he was responding to I cannot tell.

     Trained by Law and Order he returned home.  Now, interpreted rightly Sonderman was already a serial killer before he left Junior High.  He had offed Wilson while trying repeatedly to kill me.  Unlike Dick Speck with his lawless murders Sonderman was a Law and Order type guy.

page 48.

     I don’t know if having assumed his role in the social structure of the Valley he participated in other murders but as the Valley is known as the murder capitol of the State I wouldn’t be surprised if he has.

     As I sat talking to him during the Reunion I was closing in on my own delivery from the psychology.  The integration of my personality was not far away.  Had I not turned to psychology for deliverance it is not impossible that in an orgy of self-pity I might have gone on a murderous rampage and killed as many of my classmates as I could.  Not of the Law and Order mentality, I would have been chaotic ending my days in prison as a ‘monster.’  To my shame I wouldn’t have had the integrity to kill myself afterwards.

     As that was what my ‘monster’ enemies wanted I was determined not to give it to them.

     I know that most people think their personality is innate and immutable.  Most people think that they are what they are and that they could never have been any other way.  The fact is that our personalities are shaped and not created.  We become what we are by a system of Challenge and Response from the Field.  What has been done can not be undone but one can escape from its onerous burden.  One can use one’s intelligence.

     As far as morality goes the Challenge of Correct Behavior is given us.  Contrary to Freud morality is more important than psychoanalysis.

page 49.

     The psyche breaks on the rock of morality.  Even a Mafioso like the fictional Michael Corleone broke on the rock of morality.  He felt guilt.  While people applaud the notion of morality most people are incapable of embracing the whole system.  They think they can pick and choose which elements are useful to them disregarding the rest.  People have a public morality as they give lip service to Correct Behavior and a private morality in which they indulge all their whims and hatreds.

     My morality both public and private was purer than that of either Sonderman or Hirsh yet both had better reputations than I did.  Whereas they exuded a certain confidence and unwarranted self-esteem I had been robbed of nearly all my self-respect.  I lacked confidence and assurance.  I was tentative and uncertain which translated into a species of guilt and effeminacy.  I was incapable of projecting the person I felt I was inside.

     While trying so hard to injure me my enemies had done injury to their own psyches.  Remarkably, they were to deteriorate as years passed while I would be able finally to cast off the personality they had imposed on my while returning myself to myself.  I have often wondered who the little Grey One that ensheathed me in my dream might be.  Quite possibly she was the personality killed on the playing field in the second grade.  If so she had been residing in the House of Death.  Perhaps she had been released to reclaim me from my psychic prison.

     Now, here, twenty-five years later, unaware of my true relationship with Sonderman I was sitting across from him.  The old resentment still glowed in his eyes; if I was unaware of our true relationship he wasn’t.  Still thinking we had been friends I was hopeful to reconnect with him so I could join my present, my fractured past and my hopeful future into a whole.

page 50.

     If Sonderman had been initially glad to see me it must have been that he had been waiting twenty-five years to tell me he had always disliked me because I copied him.  Once done I presume that he no longer had any use for my presence.

     The ancient traumas had locked him into a state of arrested adolescence.  It was as though he had never left ninth grade.  Except for the addition of the miles he looked just as he had way back then.  He was still slender and square.  He had the same elfin head.  He still had all his hair combed in exactly the same way.  His style of dressing hadn’t even changed from Junior High.  He wore the same Wrangler jeans, although now that his wife had a washing machine they were clean.  He never had and still didn’t have the cool to wear Levi’s.

     It was appropriate, I think, that the jeans were called Wranglers, obviously chosen to fill some deep psychological need.  His shirt might have come out of his teenage closet.  His shirts had always been cut square across the bottom and worn outside his pants.  He was still in the box in which his father had placed him except now he was running the chemical plant.  He hadn’t busted the block.

     Sonderman wouldn’t know and I can only speculate about the subliminal influence of his mother.  I found it of interest that his first and only child was a girl.  It might be thought that having pleased his mother with a grand daughter he didn’t want to run the risk of antagonizing her by having a son.  What did Sonderman know subliminally?

page 51.

     In contrast, my wife and I had no children.

     His role in the destruction of my eating club was uppermost in his mind.  He looked me square in the eyes in an intended insult to say that he had never once in twenty-five years ever seen a member of the club except for a chance meeting with one whose name he couldn’t recall in an airport.

     If he meant to hurt me, he did.  It also brought to mind a chance encounter with me that he had in the Chicago Greyhound station in the summer of ’57 when I was coming back on leave while he was returning to West Point.

     He fled my presence thinking I hadn’t seen him.  Ever vengeful and mean  he went into the reading room to tell the bartender that I was a Communist.  Then he had someone direct me into the room.  Lest I not order a coke I was directed to the bar.  There out of the blue the bartender told me they didn’t serve people like me in there.  Well, you know, I was pretty darn high class for a Greyhound station.

     When I asked why he told me to just keep my political opinions to myself.  When asked what that meant he told me to look at my shirt.  I was wearing a pink shirt.  I guess he meant that I was a Pinko.

     As Sonderman had been in his cadet uniform he commanded a great deal of respect so everyone was glad to do it for him.

     I was lost in a reverie for a moment.  When I came around Sonderman was staring at me with a hopeful smile on his face.  I guess he was saying that he thought he had taken my club from merely as a lark; neither it nor its members had any relevance for him.

page 52.

     He was clearly in a state of arrested emotional development.  I came to the conclusion that he was daily haunted by myself and the memory of those years.  His mind must have been obsessed with the attempts on my life and his murder of Shardel Wilson.

     The vehemence and finality with which he said I copied his every move must have concealed the guilt he felt but couldn’t acknowledge.  He was the result of the training of his people.  I have no doubt that he had absorbed all the rules of Law and Order.  I have no doubt he was capable of cooperating with his fellow trainees to eliminate anyone he or they wanted either physically or socially.  He was paying the price of that immorality.  Breeding will out.

     His wife was a woman named Donna.  She puzzled me because if this was the same Donna I had seen back then her physical attributes had shrunken considerably.  In fact she looked more like Brie than that earlier Donna.  I could find no discreet way to ask so I was forced to assume that after having been cashiered from the Army Sonderman came home took over the reins of his dad’s business then began to look for a wife.  Apparently fixated by me he didn’t go looking for the full figured Donna but a replica of Brie.  It may be coincidence that his Brie lookalike had the name of Donna but then maybe that had been the attraction.  He had gotten the best of both of them in one woman.  Needless to say all those years later they were still together.

page 53.

     I quickly sensed that Sonderman was extremely distraught, sunk within himself.  His voice came as though from the depths of some tank, with each succeeding drink it became moreso.

     Once the novelty of my appearance wore off he seemed to increasingly resent my presence until he blurted out in searing pain that I had stayed long enough; it was time for me to go.

     I was shaken by the outburst but saw no reason to plead to stay.  It was clear he had achieved his purpose when he said I copied him.  The car I had been loaned had been reclaimed so I was without wheels.  I had to ask him to drive me to my cousin’s house.  He was gracious enough to comply.

     On the way I was surprised to learn that he and Wink Costello were still friends and golfing buddies.  I also learned that Wink was a year younger than us which explained some things.   I sensed his dissociation from reality when he showed surprise that I had known Costello.  I knew why he seemed to be unaware of my relationship to himself, Costello and Little.  It was clear that he had converted the killing of Wilson into something else.  He had somehow conflated my copying him with Wilson’s death, probably thinking that he generously concealed the secret of my murder of Wilson to protect me.

     My family had programmed me to get as far away from the family as possible.  They always did that to one member.  They actually intended me to flee to Australia as Uncle Louie had done.  I just wanted to flee.

     Mr. Sonderman had apparently programmed Little to move away also, probably so as not to interfere with Sonderman’s management of the company.  Little had graduated from the University as a nuclear physicist.  I can tell you I was bowled over, I respected nothing more than nuclear physics.  Then I had the pins kicked out from under me when I was told he was abandoning nuclear physics to become a psychiatrist.

     I very nearly laughed out loud.  What a psychological load of baggage both Sonderman and Little were carrying.  It would take more than psychoanalysis to purge them.  Both Sondermans had a great deal of penance to do.

     Sonderman thought he had slipped when he told me that Little was living on the West Coast fairly close to me.  I could see him make a mental note to call Little to tell him that I might try to contact him.  Before his psychoanalytic training Little was already a more astute psychologist than his brother.  He told him that there was no chance I would contact him.  He was right.  Just the thought of Little makes my skin crawl; he really was an evil guy.

     So my wife and I got out of his car.  Sonderman gave her a last lookover with a wistful eye.  I think he thought that I had topped him again but I’d give it a draw with a shade on my side.  I’m a very generous guy.

      I was unaware I was closing the door on my Animus.  This guy was the image of manhood through which all other males were filtered.  In psychological terms he was the image of the Terrible Father.  My Animus was not clothed with a counter balancing image of the Good Father.  All men were insane as far as I was concerned.

page 54.

     I evaluated all men in comparison to this despicable model.  As I perceived Sonderman he was a homosexual, liar, sneak, cheat and thief.  Now, by his own admission he was a willful failure.

     My public persona had been formed in reaction to him and through him the Hirshes.  While I projected Sonderman’s image on all men I also subconsciously  presented an abject figure to them with which I telegraphed my past.  Thus a cycle of mutual repulsion was perpetuated.  The moving finger had written; the stars were in control.

     I was vaguely aware of projecting the abject image but not knowing where it came from I was powerless to change it.  In order to change my image of myself It would be necessary to change the image of the Sonderman Constellation.

     My life was effectively over.  Regardless of whether I could change myself and the Constellation the baggage as Dr. Petiot realized was still in my hands.  The moving finger had writ.  My education was complete.  Nothing could change that.  Even if the men I knew should show me a new countenance I knew the truth behind any seeming fairness.  I knew who they really were.  And having written the finger moves on.

     Nor, even if I changed, would that change be noticeable to those who already knew me.  They would continue to react to me as they always had.  They might not get the same response but their education as regards me was complete too.

     Like Sonderman’s when he met me their minds were made up so that I would be able to present this new persona to new acquaintances who would be apprised of my old persona by my old acquaintances.  A vicious circle.  I was doomed to be a loner.  It was written in the stars.  The Field dominated.  The Challenges had been made; the Responses had been offered.

page 55.

     The question was: Could I realign the Sonderman Constellation from the brooding theatening image reflected on my face or convert it into one which would be more constructive for myself.  The truth seems to be that like Medusa’s sisters the Anima and Animus are immortal.

     I was given a glimpse behind the Constellation.  It was worse than I imagined.  I had a dream of a house.  I was both inside and outside, above it looking down on it.  The house was being assaulted by myriads of bugs trying to break in.  I fought this image for several days until I came to the conclusion that the house represented my mind and the bugs millions of memories that were trying to destroy my mind.

     I retreated back a bit to the other side of the Constellation but then I realized that as I was both inside and outside the house I was in control of my own mind.  I was the proud possessor of my own mind.  I was one of Leary’s third that healed.

     As I looked up the Sonderman Constellation had begun to change form.  The past after all, while not a jot of it can be washed away, is the past.  It can’t pysically hurt you nor can it reach out for you.  The baggage can be repacked so that it can be carried comfortably.

     All the stations of Sonderman’s stars realigned themselves while I watched apprehensively.  Then I broke out into a laugh.  I was engulfed by merriment.  In place of the threatening aspect the stars formed a portrait of Sonderman’s silly Alfred E. Neuman face grinning idiotically down at me.  There was no reason to fear that Animus.

     So in the end Sonderman assumed his true form.  If I wasn’t free from him at least he was always there for a good laugh.

    What, me worry?

The End Of The Sonderman Constellation,

 

    

The Sonderman Constellation

by

R.E. Prindle

Chapter IV

The Psychosis

…now Zeus had abandoned him

to humiliation in his own homeland.

–Homer

     My relations with Sonderman were interrupted after the Door Monitor incident for about a year.  I don’t remember having anything to do with him at all until the tenth grade.  Even then we didn’t get along and had little to do with each other.

     The failure of the three attempts on my life during those furious months of summer and fall had a devastating effect on Sonderman’s personality.  Whereas before he had been merely withdrawn because of his father’s fixation he now became withdrawn and troubled.  The effect on his physiognomy was quite pronounced.  The conflict of reconciling the immoral demands placed on him by his people with his religious training caused great stress.

page 1.

     The efforts of the Hirshes to injure me never ceased but remained intense all through high school.  They were unrelenting.  Their efforts continued to be intertwined with Sonderman.

     The effects of those months in the ninth grade on my own personality were equally devastating.  I lost all confidence; I became morbid.  I had no affinity for friendship.  I carried as much baggage as any Dr. Petiot, Richard Speck, Charlie Whitman or many another serial killer.  I was in fact trained to become a serial killer.  I had been fused and was waiting to happen.  It isn’t that nobody pulled the trigger that would set me off; had that been my intent there was no one to stop me.

    The result of indulging my resentment would have been to gratify my enemies wishes.  Other people can try and may succeed in making you look bad but all that does is prove to everyone they don’t like you.  There is no real discredit to you.  But if you can be tricked into discrediting yourself then you have been well and truly smeared.  I was resolved to never give them that satisfaction.  I resolved to excel them.  I didn’t know how but that was what I resolved.

     Thus I finished Junior High in a totally despondent frame of mind.  Procrastination was my middle name.  My face had broken out in pimples in seventh grade; their severity increased every year.  This was an additional affliction I just didn’t need.  I was just coming up on five feet tall at the end of the ninth so I had already accepted the fact that I would be abnormally short and slight for the rest of my life.  In combination with my other woes these two things nearly separated me from my mind.  Plus I didn’t have any money.

page 2.

     I don’t know who suggested caddying to me; I would never have thought of it myself.  As I showed up at the country club the day after classes I must have made my decision at least a month before.  It took me at least that long to get going to do anything.  A result of my tormenting was that I became a master proctrastinator.

     My experience was to show me that caddying was a task for the lowest stratum of society so I can only believe the guy who recommended it was one of the Hirshes.  As Hirsh was a member of the country club and could watch me discreetly this must have been so. 

     Then again, as I was always complaining about not having any money some well meaning kid, who didn’t show up to caddy himself, could have suggested it as good enough for the likes of me.  None of them did it because I had never met any of the young things who did caddy before.  Perhaps as caddying placed me securely out of contact with Sonderman for the summer Mr. Sonderman got the suggestion through to me.  They must have been terrified that I would be hanging around.

     At any rate for the first time in my life I had money to spend.  I made a lot of money.  Fifteen dollars a day in 1953.  Even then that was soured by the insistence of Tuistad and my mother that I turn every penny I made over to them.  Every penny!  I was supposed to work all summer yet not be allowed to keep one penny as my own to spend as I pleased.

page 3.

     Do you really believe that we are not the result of other people’s machnations and not our own?  Why did they hate me?  Why wouldn’t they leave me the simplest of pleasures?

     True they opened a savings account for me but it was beyond my control.  You know, I wasn’t stupid.  I would have been happy to save most of my earnings as with my limited wants, lack of friends and long working hours the money was more than I could possible spend.

     I had to resort to a despicable thing.  I was forced to lie.  I refused to give them everything.  I under reported my earnings, spending some and secreting more for use in the tenth grade.  They were going to try to make me go through school without a dime while I had hundreds in the bank.  Literally, they would not let me have a dime– ten cents.  Thus Tuistad and my mother made me steal from myself.  This is a crime of such magnitude that no number of murders could compensate it; not if I killed the whole Valley.  Heck, pimples, Sonderman, the Hirshes, Tuistad and my mother, a world full of crazy people, and they had the audacity to call me– nuts.  Who wouldn’t want to kill them?

     The Bard said the fault lies within ourselves and not in the stars.  Having been conditioned to Respond to Challenges like one of Pavlov’s dogs there is some truth in the former part of the Bard’s opinion but no, the Stars, or The Field, is much more important an influence than the Bard thought.  No, as I have turned out decently there was no other explanation- I was a miracle.

page 4.

     So, as I was single mindedly laboring away with a golf bag on each shoulder great changes were taking place.  My consciousness shifted from childhood to young manhood.  Caddying was a very bad environment for the change to take place as I was actually among criminal types.  I made the change without any loss of integrity, morals or character but it was a very close call.  It wouldn’t have taken much for it to have gone the other way.

     Perhaps the most remarkable change was that while I was lamenting that I would be forever short I grew six inches.  I began the summer as one of the shortest caddies and ended among the tallest.  It was something to see; you could almost watch me grow.  By August several of the shorter caddies were looking up to me in open mouthed wonder.  They had to tell me I had grown because I wasn’t aware of it even though the golf bags no longer dragged on the ground.  I thought I was just getting better at hefting them.

     Mentally I never adapted but found myself awkward and gangly.  I still thought like I was short but my spine and knees hurt all the time.

     Beginning the tenth grade was not so easy.  While my intent is to tell only the Sonderman Constellation I will have to preface this chapter with a rather remarkable machination of the Hirshes so that my mental condition stays in perspective for you.

     When we left ninth grade we had to elect between the high school and Trade School.  I elected to go to high school.  However the Hirshes overruled my own choice unbeknownst to me and had me enrolled in Trade School.  You see how many responsible people had to be involved to remove the form I filled out and replace it with theirs.  The Field; watch the Field.  Then, when I showed up for the first day of high school I was told they had no place for me.

 page 5.

     After thinking things out they told me I must be enrolled at Trade School.  They told me to take a hike over there.  I told them to take a hike back into records and enroll me there.  They flatly refused telling me to leave.  Whether true or not we believed that only dumb kids went to Trade School so I wasn’t about to go there.  In point of fact I hated all that manual arts stuff so much I would have flunked out.

     I couldn’t count on Tuistad or my mother to do anything for me so I stubbornly sat around the office telling them the law required them to give me an education whether they liked it or not.  The conspiracy against me was quite large.  Grown men I didn’t know stopped me on the street to tell me there was no shame attached to going to Trade School.  Whether there was or not I was going to high school where I knew honor was attached.

     After three days they capitulated.  Heck, the Black kids in Little Rock didn’t have as much trouble getting into Central High as I had getting into high school.  I didn’t have the U.S. Army to help me out either.  Nor were my trials over yet.  I signed up for the college prep curriculum.  As all the Hirses were in college prep that meant they would still have to sit in class with me.  Hirsh didn’t want to allow that.

page 6.

     The administrators tried to talk me into the Business Curriculum on the basis that I would never go to college.  This argument took a whole morning but I finally prevailed.  They were not finished; Hirsh was determined that if I wasn’t going to Trade School that I was going to be enrolled in the Business curriculum.

     As a final ploy I was assigned to the premier teacher of English, Mrs. Hicks.  She had been instructing the elite of the Valley since 1938.  Only those who had been instructed by her had the key to move about town freely.  The education she gave was the education that ruled town.  The class I was assigned to contained all my worst enemies.

     By the time I was given my permit to attend Mrs. Hicks class was half over.  I walked up to the second floor right wing to enter her class.  The Hirshes were waiting for me.  They ran in a body, boys and girls together, this was about fifteen people, to physically drive me back out into the hall where I stood as they all screamed at me that they didn’t want me in their class.  They directed me across the hall to the open door of the Business English class telling me I should go there as I would never go to college.  How everyone knew I would never go to college was beyond me.  In any event they were wrong.

     Startled and mystified I was standing in the hall when a girl came out from the Business English class to seize my hand and pull me toward the opposite door.  Believe it or not she even promised sex if I came over.  Her argument was that they knew how to have fun in the Business Curriculum.  I didn’t know anything about sex but I didn’t think anyone had a monopoly on it besides sex is nothing to base your decisions on; it is relatively unimportant except as a drive.  It’s like water; if you’re thirsty you’ll seek some out.

page 7.

     I disdained the young woman to fight my way back into the College Prep class.  I was assigned and I meant to stay.  Mrs. Hicks was finally able to restore order and I was allowed to take a seat.  Thus I was instructed in the tradition of the elite through a miscalculation of Hirsh.

     Everything has its consequences, so while I was not welcome among the elite my ‘rejection’ of the business types was taken badly by them.  They too vented their resentment on me.  The split between College Prep and Business was quite pronounced.  The Valley was a class social structure.

     Once seated the first thing the Hirshes took cognizance of was my growth.  I had left ninth a virtual midget and entered tenth at or above the meridian.  They told Sonderman to check me out.  The effect of my growth on Sonderman was electric.  He hadn’t seen me all summer and now I was taller than he by four inches and still growing.  As a defensive measure Sonderman chose to call attention to my pimples.  Those damn things were to plague me until I was twenty-three and receded only slowly then.

     Perhaps as bad was that my mother made me wear the same pants I wore in the ninth grade.  I mean, the cuffs were midcalf, my gonads hung out like golf balls.  It was devastating.  My mother not only refused to buy me a new pair of pants she expressly forbade me to use my own money for a pair.  There I was in front of all the girls, a virtual buffoon.

page 8.

     Hey wait, that’s not all.  Now fifteen, the peach fuzz was getting really obvious.  Plus there were several long thick hairs that stuck way out.  Now, you tell me why.  Tuistad not only refused to let me shave he refused to let me cut off the long hairs.  I looked stupid.  I tried to smooth the long hairs down with spit continually but that didn’t work for more than a second.  You don’t think I’ve baffled my enemies by growing straight and strong?  Think again.  The best revenge is to live well.  Here I am.

     Don’t think I’ve exhausted the catalog it’s just tht I don’t think you’d believe much more.  The effect may lie within but the cause lies without.

     At first, envy caused Sonderman to associate with me again.  But to compensate for my height he devised way after way to humiliate me and bring me down.  Once again he used a scientific argument to start the fight.  There was a corner on the way home where a path cut across an empty field.  Sonderman made the remark that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line.  I knew this obvious fact  but as the path was bumpy I chose to include the up and down measurements in the calculation.  We were supposed to walk in measured steps, I taking the right angle around the corner and he the diagonal across the lot to prove the point.  We came out even but it started a big argument about how I walked faster than him.  After a month of this unpleasantness I broke off the relationship although I didn’t know the cause of his attitude.

page 9.

     As the year began there were social changes for me.  High school blended the student bodies of two Junior Highs.  I began to make a few friends from the other Junior High so my dependence on Sonderman lessened.  In fact all my friends in high school would be from the other Junior High with the exception of Larry Dubcek.

     Dubcek was the guy the Hirshes had bullied into a fight in Metal class in the seventh grade.  He was still taking the injustice pretty hard.  The Hirshes had really defamed Dubcek to himself over that one.  The guy was a walking scar.  It was a bond between us.

     The interesting thing about my battering was that I never lost faith in my destiny; I continued to live in the mansion of my mind.  Dubcek was just the opposite.  As his name indicates he was of South Slavic origins, both sides.  Although his parents were actual immigrants Larry was born in the US.  There was still a lot of fairly strong feeling against Eastern and Southern European immigrants as Dubcek was growing up.  He had reacted to slurs against his origins unfavorably.  Instead of turning back the evil he had ingested it.  He hadn’t learned to feel superior to his detractors as I had.  He felt resentful and inferior.

     We didn’t talk about such things but perhaps his origins may have been part of the reason he had been attacked by the Hirshes in the seventh grade.  If you remember the Hirshes had struggled for supremacy in the shop classes in seventh.  The harassment had been very intense in the first semester in metal.  They went to great lengths to establish their positiion, discrediting anyone they couldn’t intimidate.

page 10.

    Dubcek was one of those people who stood up for his rights.  The Hirshes provoked him into an actual fistfight in class.  That is to say that they looked like they intended to fight him as a feint to get him to commit himself first, much as Sonderman had done in our fight as Door Monitors.  When Larry put up his dukes in preparation to defind himself he looked like the aggressor when the L&O Hirshes called the ‘cops’ or metal teacher to witness his aggression.  They appeared as the innocents.

     After have framed him they came around to each of us to ask for our support of their version.  If you gave it you had submitted to their authority, if you didn’t you hadn’t.  They had so little discretion they even asked me.  I wasn’t OK in their eyes to start with.  I just laughed at them.  Larry was expelled from school for a week.  What a joke!  I don’t remember him coming back and I hadn’t seen him since then.

     One morning as I was waiting for the bus to school Larry came hitchhiking up the street.  I was waiting for the a public bus because in those days only rural kids rode school buses.  Larry was backing along in hitchhiking fashion with his thumb out.  He was absolutely declasse.  Hitchhiking was only for hoodlums; he was dressed in hood style too.  He was almost perfect for the times.  They could have modeled Fonzi from Happy Days on him.  He wore black denim trousers with motorcycle boots, a black leather jacket with a million zippers all over it and a really terrific ducktail flattop.  As Ray Sawyer of Dr. Hook might say:  Aww, bootiful, man.

page 11.

     Larry’s Response to the Challenge in the seventh grade had been to abandon all hopes of social status placing himself outside ‘polite society’.  He had been defeated in the Law and Order trap.

     I recognized him and began talking to him.  I discovered he was really a great guy.  I liked him, and don’t forget he was dressed as a hood.  I brought up metal class which was still a very, very sore subject but I reassured him by agreeing that he was absolutely innocent and the Hirshes were completely at fault as well as being jerks.  I mean, he thought everybody thought ill of him because he resisted those jerks.

     My bus came but I let it pass as I continued talking to Larry.  I hd plenty of time to walk to school.  A car stopped to give him a ride.  The driver offered me a lift too but I would have declassed myself by accepting so I bid Larry adieu and hoofed it to school.

     We became very good friends after that.  In fact, of all my high school acquaintances I would say that he is the only one who never betrayed my friendship.  It helped that soon after due to my encouragement he gave up his hoodlum attire and dressed normally.

     At about the same time my Anima, Ange, came into and out of my life.  She was to have as profound an effect on my life as Sonderman.  More, since she was a force for good rather than evil.  I have dealt with the Angeline Constellation in full elsewhere so I will only mention the main details here as they coincide with the Sonderman Constellation.

page 12.

     The Bard should really have rethought his attitude.  His opinion is so complete in its simplicity that average minds find it so satisfying they don’t have to think it over.  It just seems obvious.  Of course since the Bard put the words in Hamlet’s mouth it is not necessary that it be his or his complete opinion.  After all, sprinkled throughout the plays are many, many astrological references.  The Bard was a very knowledgeable guy.

     Once again the Field was my controlling factor.  I did a truly horrible thing to Ange but as I was controlled by an attitude from my subconscious I do not feel truly responsible.  I’m sure Ange could never see it that way and I can understand that but the result might have been predicted if one were able to read the writing in the stars.  I have never written about the Mother Constellation but the answer to the tragedy likes there.

     There is no way Ange could have known; if she had she might have been able to avert the consequences of her action.  Listen now, because you might have to stretch your mind a little.  Most people don’t like psychology because it comes too close to home but if you can deal with it life will be much more satisfactory to you.

     As a little child I had been placed in two successive foster homes by my mother.  I was now fifteen, these things happed to me ten, nine and eight years before.  Bear in mind it took me thirty years with an adult brain to unravel this so all that experience on an immature mind compressed into ten years or less was like a tube of paint that had never known brush or canvas.

page 13.

     In the second foster home the incident with the Hirshes on the second grade playing field occurred.  I had no support, no refuge, no one to turn to.

     I was alone.

     It was bad enough to go into the foster homes but my understanding with my mother had always been that it was somehow necessary and temporary.

     Then my mother delivered me the terrible blow of putting me in the orphanage.  I had feared this for some time.  This removed me far to the outside of the pale of humanity.  It was clear to me then that it wasn’t temporary.  I felt abandoned.  Now, this next point is crucial.  It is true that my mother asked for, demanded the permission of my seven year old existence, but, and I understood this, you might as well have the court ask the conemned man whether he want to be hanged or shot.  The prisoner would have no real choice but the judge would be off the hook.  He would be able to say:  Well we asked him and he wanted to be shot.  The pressure of circumstances did force the prisoner to make the choice but it was hardly permission.  I had been abandoned and I knew it.  The woman ceased to be my mother right there.  When I felt Ange abandoned me she ceased to be my girl friend right there.

     The effect of my abandonment by my mother entered my mind below the subconscious level.  How shall I put it;  it shot through both my conscious and subconscious mind into the brain stem like a lightening bolt.  It left invisible scar tissue in its wake.  There was no fixation per se, the abandonment was just a searing fact of life.  I don’t know how I recovered it.

page 14.

     Without being aware of it my mother on evey level had conditioned my attitude toward women from that moment.  The fear of abandonment became the overriding fear in my relationships with them.  That I was ever able to make conscious the effect on me of my abandonment can be viewed only as some kind of miracle.

     Now Ange, poor child, repeated my mother’s crime.  Had Ange the prescience to time things differently the result would have been much happier for both of us.  How could the little girl know?

     She appeared to me in November.  She had selected me as her only beau.  After our first date she announced  that she wanted me to be her only boyfriend.  No, she wanted more than that.  She wanted me for her ‘husband.’  She considered us as already married.

     For decades I had no idea where she had come from before the party at which I met her.  I had no recollection of having seen her before although she obviously was very familiar with me.  Through auto-suggestion I was able to call up that first meeting thus allowing me to reconstruct the entire Angeline Constellation.

     While I was a Door Monitor in the ninth grade a girl asked me to open the door so she could speak to me.  I was reluctant to do so because it might have been another ruse by the Hirshes to get the door open so they could rush in to my discredit.  But, with perhaps insufferable self-importance, I did so.  she informed me that she knew someone who liked me.  I asked who and she mentioned Ange’s name and pointed to where she stood with eager hopefulness.

page 15.

     She looked young.  I asked what grade she was in; the reply was the seventh.  I was at the apex of my ninth grade career; what use had I for a seventh grader.  I snapped that she was too young and slammed the door shut.

     I had only said she was too young.  I hadn’t given any other reason for rejecting her.  She nursed her love for a whole year then, being a year older, she could wait no longer.  She made her move.

     I had no friends.  I was invited to no parties.  Thus when someone who I knew didn’t like me invited me to a hayride party I thought it was just a trick and almost didn’t go.  Ange had asked the girl to invite me and it was there she got my attention.

    Sometime just after Thanksgiving she asked me for my love.  Not quite right.  She wanted my heart and soul.  This was a pretty heavy commitment for a young boy of fifteen who had just been on his first date to make but I made it.  According to the conventions of the time we were ‘going steady’ or ‘married.’

    Poor Ange had been too anxious to obtain her heart’s desire.  One cannot blame a thirteen year old girl for lacking the prescience that few have at any age.  But if she had waited till after Christmas the result would have been more durable and happy.

page 16.

     Ange was a revelation to me.  I had always been unloved so the adoration of this divine child was balm to my wounded soul.  I began to have idyllic dreams about what Christmas vacation would be like when we could be with each other all day every day.

     Then she told me she forgot to tell me that she would be out of town for Christmas vacation.

     What a bomb, what a blockbuster, what a nuclear device!  I was more than crushed; I was vaporised.  My conscious mind dived below my subconscious like a screaming Stuka divebomber to reanimate my abandonment by my mother.  I was being told that I was to be abandoned again.  First my mother, now this marvelous creature who had demanded the essence of my existence and received it.  It appeared that she had done so only to abandon me too.

     The mother I had counted on had done so and now the love that I counted on was doing the same.  The Same!  Same Again!  What were these demons and furies who pursued me?  I had to take measures to protect myself.

      When Ange returned neither she nor I realized what she had done but I could no longer trust her.

     She came back and we resumed our romance.  Ah, but the fear of abandonment was with me.  After walking her home from a dance on Valentine’s Day I kissed her goodnight and stepped out of her life without a word.  I enshrined her in my heart where she could never leave me.

page 17.

     The effect on both of us was terrible.  As sweet as she was in loving she now became terrible as a woman scorned.  She told everyone what a rotten guy I was.  I became known as the ‘Heart Of Stone.’  Girls wouldn’t have anything to do with me.  So I had to bear that through high school too.  Ange became my Anima.

     Still fighting off the Hirshes, out of this period of intense emotional turmoil, I began to make some friends at school.  As my Tom Sawyer fantasies of a romantic childhood had been denied by the Hirshes and Sondermans I now began a sort of Andy Hardy stab at High School.

     My efforts to obtain good grades were blocked by the Hirshes and my own inculcated procrastination.  Grades became less important to me than having friends.  Always go for the grades.  I went all out to develop a strong social life.

     The Hirshes were determined to prevent me from obtaining any honors, achievements or distinctions.  They were even successful in preventing me from getting the automatic A in Gym.  I was the only guy in class, probably in the history of the school, who got a B.

     I know I could have gotten an easy 2.5 by simply doing my homework.  Much more than that would have been impossible because I would have been prevented from getting any As.  I know, because I wrote several A papers for other students but never received one for myself.  The Hirshes, Louis Schriver, even followed me to the public library while I researched trying to have me thrown out as a noisemaker.

page 18.

     I’m not making this stuff up.  While I don’t want to appear to make excuses for myself, after a first good academic year, the Hirshes increased the pressure on me.  Seeing a futility in trying, even having a fear of doing well, I ceased doing any homework.  My grades fell steadily until I barely graduated with an accumulted 1.2.  Without my decent first year and some gracious last minute aid from my teachers I wouldn’t have graduated.

     Thus I threw over school work to concentrate on the social aspects of high school.  Somewhere along the line I heard of eating clubs.  These were Round Robin affairs where the members ate at each other’s houses once a month.  I thought the idea terrific, a perfect example of comaraderie.  A great feeling, camaraderie; I know people who would die for it.  I am no longer capable of it.

     Unfortunately I didn’t know enough people to make it happen; but where there’s a will there’s a way.  As Poimander said:  show me what you want and I will show you how to get it.  I set about finding a way; I kept my eyes open for the main chance.

     The beginning of the club I found in French class.  I sat behind this guy by the name of Denny Demwitter.  Denny was one of those torpid types who spend their lives waiting for catalysts.  I was the catalyst he was waiting for.  He was everything I was not.  He was tall and not unhandsome.  He was athletic; he made the basketball team.  He had a good presence; he never lost his cool.  He was also vacuous; nothing ever went on inside his head.  Really, he was almost stupid but he could be made to appear to be something he was not.  He was the nucleus my club was built around.

page 19.

     While I was the brains, the driver, the ability, I could never have been able to get anyone to rally around me.  I could get them to rally round Demwitter; people like leaders who think slower than they do; that way they don’t have to spend a lot of time catching up or feeling inferior.

     With Denny as my nucleus I was able to ally two others.  Selection was crucial.  Everyone had to fall within certain parameters of social acceptance; yet they all had to be wary of Hirsh influence.  I would dearly have loved to include Larry Dubcek who was a better man than any in the group but he had allowed the Hirshes to declass him.  None of the others would go for him.  While Larry had abandoned the hood image he had assumed in self-defense he would never be able to shake it; he had been perfect of the kind.

     In tenth grade we were just a loose knit group of guys.  Then in the summer of tenth grade I formed a sandlot baseball team.  Little League was brand new in those days, only the littlest kids were regimented into their father’s fantasies.

     Baseball had been one of my consuming interests since I don’t know when.  Ranked a lot higher than stamp collecting in my mind.  No one was going to ask me to be on their team so I had to form my own team.  I had to command all my resources to field nine guys.

     Even though Sonderman and I were reduced to snarling terms, I had been permanently refused entry to his house, I had to swallow my pride to ask him to join.  I didn’t expect him to say yes and I wasn’t going to beg him but much to my surprise he readily but disdainfully consented.  Good enough.  Little the Inseparable tagged along.  Maybe he wanted to be a cheerleader.  Looking back on it you couldn’t pry those two guys apart.  Talk about Damon and Pythias.

page 20.

     Thus I was able to field a team that I gave the unfortunate name of the Lemons.  Oh, yeah, I knew what a lemon was.  Why Lemons then?  I was a Cleveland Indians fan.  They had fielded the greatest team that ever walked onto a diamond.  They won 111 games out of 154.  Never been done before or since.  They had four, count ’em, four, twenty game winners in that fabulous year- Bob Feller, Bob Lemon, Ray Garcia and Early Wynn.

     Then they went into the World Series with the New York Giants and lost four straight.  The series was probably as fixed as the 1919 Black Sox series although the fix was never made public.  I was never quite the same about baseball ever after. 

     I fancied myself a pitcher.  I had a great sinker or fork ball.  I couldn’t throw hard enough to get the ball all the way over the plate so it just dropped in the middle of the plate.  But nobody could hit it and they were all strikes.

     We could hardly be the Fellers or Early Wins although I did consider the latter.  The Garcias didn’t sound right besides nobody in town could pronounce Spanish so we would have been called the Garshas.  Marcia=Marsha; Garcia=Garsha.  Got it?  Tradition was in the townspeoples favor.  So.  Who was left?  Bob Lemon.  My favorite anyway.  So we became the Lemons.  Had white T-shirts with yellow iron on letters that said Lemons and everything.

page 21.

     That was back before Bob Lemon became a hide bound conservative when he coached Spokane.  Of course, if you’re in Spokane you’d better be a hide bound conservative in order to survive.  Later Lemon became a real disappointment.  He became a buffoon on a TV ad advertising lemon flavored tea.  That one hurt me a lot.

    Our team wasn’t bad considering Sonderman tried to sabotage me.  You know, but even then, when we went up against the Hirsh team I was really wary that he might throw it and warned him against it but we beat those guys soundly and then Sonderman turned to me in a fury and asked if I was satisfied.  I sure was.

     We ended up even, five wins, five losses.  I don’t remember what position I played but Sonderman wouldn’t allow me to pitch.  He demanded the position or he wouldn’t play so I had to let him or field eight guys.

     I suppose the Hirshes thought I would be caddying again and out of their sight.  I found caddying too demeaning a job, not to mention the company you had to keep so I had rather be without money than do it again.

     My appearance on the diamond shocked the Hirshes and beating them drove them insane.  They quickly found ways to demean the team, removing us from their sight.  Our first couple games were scheduled with the rest of the teams.  There were about five diamonds grouped together in Reuchlin Park.  With five games going on simultaneously it was quite exciting.  I like it.  Then David Hirsh interfered, he got busy rescheduling and we were set on off days by ourselves.  We were denied the camaraderie.

page 22.

    You think Hirsh was small and petty?  You ain’t seen nothing yet.

     After the season a really nice awards ceremony was held.  All the teams showed up.  My presence there drove the Hirshes wild.  They remembered how I had beaten them.  The Lemons were given some kind of honorable mention.  We were called up on the stage to receive it.  One the way up the Hirshes threw things at me while one stuck his foot out to trip me.

     I was pretty quick on things like that.  I stepped on his ankle and darn near broke it.  He gave out a howl while the other Hirshes stood up and reviled me.  I buckled under the animosity as I had in the second grade.  I’m afraid I embarrassed my team mates.  I was unable to stand up to the hatred and contempt of the Hirshes.  I withered completely before their vituperation.  My body slumped into complete dejection and I played the buffoon and goof for them. 

     But now that I have the mental image conjured into my forebrain it seems that I was demeaned further.  It was my team, I had put it together and kept it together but now I see myself standing at the end of the line while Sonderman was accepting the award on our behalf.  You see how the Hirshes worked;  Sonderman must have been party to it because he walked right up as though it had been his team.  They’d filched that from me.

page 23.

     Nevertheless they considered the season an achievement for me which it was.  As Sonderman was our pitcher he was credited for our success by them.  Hirsh severely reprimanded Old S for letting his son play on my team.  Hirsh wanted me punished for my ‘presumption.’  To Mr. Sonderman’s credit he wasn’t going to involve his son in any more murder attempts so between them they divised an odd but effective punishment.

     I certainly would have satisfied Hirsh by caddying another year but, man, it was just such a demeaning task.  My character would really have been affected.  An alternative form of making money, respectable enough, was delivering papers.  There were three different papers in our medium sized city, the local paper and two papers from the metropolis downstate, the News and the Free Press.  The local paper was a closed corporation.  Everyone in town subscribed so the routes were compact and easily walked but they were passed down from brother to brother.  Although very desirable the routes were unobtainable.

     In those days before papers became social institutions rather than disseminators of news it was a mark of education to subscribe to a daily paper.  You’d rather be dead than not get one.  If you didn’t it was a sure sign you were an ignoramus.  So everyone took at least one paper, some two, and not a few, all three.

    The News and Free Press routes were always available.  The News went begging; a lot of people had to buy it from news stands if they wanted it.  The turnover in paper boys on the Free Press was terrific but they could usually find kids.  Routes for both newspapers covered immense areas as only one in ten or fifteen houses subsribed to the papers.  I had to ride two miles to pick up my papers then pedal two square miles to deliver only forty-eight papers, one for every state in the Union.  Nearly covered that much ground too.

page 24.

     Sonderman approached the job with great enthusiasm.  For myself I was less keen on delivering papers than I was on stamp collecting.  Besides I couldn’t figure out what Sonderman was up to.  There was no longer any reason for him to be friendly to me unless he had a trick up his sleeve.

     Suddenly I was the center of his and that idiot Little’s attention.  Sonderman should have picked that clone off his back and chucked him aside.  Augh!   Sonderman got one of the best Free Press routes then began pressuring me to take a route.

     Sonderman’s route included our neighborhood so he didn’t have to go far to pick up his papers.  He had a more compact route than I  eventually got plus he had about sixty subscribers.  That was a Free Press route.  It was worth eighteen dollars a month but still below minimum wage.  the minimum wage was seventy-five cents at that time.  A paper boy worked for ten or fifteen cents an hour.  But as the master capitalists of the press told us we were independent businessmen.  You can read that:  suckers.  I can tell you this, Colonel McCormick of the Chicago Tribune didn’t build that mansion on ten cents an hour. He built it on the backs of teenage suckers.

page 25.

     But then a funny thing happened.  We took the Free Press.  The first time Tuistad opened the door to find Sonderman waiting to collect he became very angry.  I’d never really seen him so livid.  He immediately canceled the paper.  I mean he walked right over and picked up the phone and canceled, fuming about Old S for days.  He never told me the particulars but his hatred of Mr. Sonderman was something I had never suspected.

     I don’t know what Mr. Sonderman had done or when but he had done it to a lot of people.  Just as the Hirshes were visiting the ‘sins’ of my father on me all those people punished Sonderman for what his father had done.  Within a matter of a couple weeks Sonderman’s route had shrunk to twenty papers.  He gave it up pretty quickly.  He used some ph0ny excuse concocted by his father.  I tried to find out what Old S had done but it was a secret of his generation which they were in no mood to divulge to a kid like me.

     The first route I was offered was a real joke which I disdainfully refused.  This was a News route which was way out on Golfside just beside the country club.  I’d already been thrown out of that neighborhood just for walking through it so I couldn’t see myself delivering papers there.

     I didn’t know where Hirsh lived at that time but that was where he lived.  Other than any laughs he might have gotten from seeing me pedal around the neighborhood the only advantage I can see is that he or one of his cronies could run me down.  Of course it’s possible that he and his friends would have canceled their subscriptions to avenge Sonderman on me.

page 26.

     It’s not so unlikely they would have run me down.  The Valley was a mean vicious town in any circumstances.  They would not give an inch and they always tried to take the mile.  One time in high school I was walking to church.  I had just passed my old paper drop on Court.  The corner was rounded to facilitate high speed turns.  Boy, you’d better look left and right because those people would have run down a woman and a baby buggy.

     I was halfway across the lane when this guy coming down Court saw he would have had to slow down for me to make his turn.  Instead when he saw me entering the lane while half a block away he sped up careening around the corner.  If I hadn’t been looking back I wouldn’t be here.  I saw him coming with an actual murderous look in his eye as though I were committing some crime by being where he wanted to go.  I did a quick two step and arched my back to avoid the car.  Even then the car ran over the heels of my shoes pulling both laced shoes off my feet.

     And all the time this guy was shaking his fist at me screaming insanely for me to get out of his way.  Now that was the true character of the Valley.

     When I was in fifth grade I saw this guy run an intersection in a school zone with kids crossing!  He picked one kid up on his bumper and carried him a hundred yards.  He was allowed to go in his way.

    If I had only one image to show their character, that would be it.  Why anyone thought I was weird I just can’t understand.  Today I am reliably informed that the Valley is the murder capital of the State.  I can well believe it.

     After I refused the News route I was offerd a Free Press route.  That was inconvenient too but I succumbed to the Sondermans’ pressure.  Old S gave me a big lecture about not being a quitter.  I didn’t see how I could be a quitter since I had never started.  Anyway right after I took the route Sonderman quit.  Mr. Sonderman spread the story around about how successful his son had been in adding new customers.  That was my introduction to the rule of politics.  Tell it like it ain’t.

page 27.

     Rather than be a quitter I stuck it out for my whole Junior year.  The Free Press was a morning paper so I had to get up at five-thirty to have the paper on front porches on time for eggs and bacon.  Very often I pedaled in sub-zero weather and a thirty mile an hour North wind that blew papers back in your face.  I’m sure old Colonel McCormick never did that for a dime an hour.

     Following the instructions of Hirsh and Mr. Sonderman the dispatcher was always rude to me; if I hadn’t been afraid of being called a quitter I would have told him to stuff it from the very beginning.

     I was bone tired my entire Junior year.  It was worse than when I went in the Navy when I once had to stand four on and four off watches for weeks.  Beyond wearing me out I don’t know what the joke was.  I can assure you that if that form of childhood American entrepreneurship builds character I’m not so sure Colonel McCormick is such a good example.

     My club developed apace in eleventh grade.  The Lemons had been good for bonding the members of the club.  As the eleventh grade progressed we added members from among the friends of other members.  They weren’t my choices but they were all good fits so that after Christmas we had seven solid members.  All were good guys you could be proud of, no clinkers.  Like me they didn’t come from elite homes but as Hirsh was to say:  As the sum is greater than the parts we assumed a role in the school’s social structure that was first rate.

page 28.

     Our success brought me once again to the attention of the Hirshes.  As by dint of my own efforts I had raised myself to the same level as themselves they began searching for a way to destroy my club.

     Unaware of their concern I was happy.  We began our rounds of eating at each other’s houses.  Strange to say the families of our members took more pride in our club than we did.  The mothers seemed to be genuinely  delighted to cook for us.  Even my mother who I had not consulted before I formed the club was delighted to cook for us.

     In addition we had get togethers for cards and gambling that were a great success.  Our reputation spread.  I can say with satisfaction that that sincerest form of flattery, imitation, spread.  Our greatest days lay just ahead.

     Still obsessed with baseball I tried to form a team in the summer between eleventh and twelfth.  I named this one the Conquistadores.  Had I been ahead of my time I would have called it the Chivalry but I wasn’t ahead of my time.  This year I lacked the element of surprise that I had with the Lemons.  The Hirshes were waiting for me.  Sonderman and a couple others had been warned off while I had been blackballed to the extent that I couldn’t replace them with anyone else.  Prudence forbade me to field a team of seven men but I was so desperate to play I enrolled it anyway hoping to pick a couple spectators to round us out.  You know, Casey was a walk on twenty years after.

     There weren’t any spectators.  We were not allowed to play with the rest of the league.  They scheduled us only when the entire Reuchlin Park was empty.  I kid you not.  There was no one else in the park when we played.  We didn’t have a chance.  We lost every game.  We weren’t advised of any awards ceremony, nor were we invited.  I want to give those six other guys my undying thanks for sticking it out for the whole season.

     Now the Hirshes were really angry.  They wanted to hurt me real bad.  What they came up with was a decent plan too.  As our Senior year began Sonderman did something that was completely out of character for him:  he showed initiative.  Or at least it appeared he did.  He organized a city league touch football team.  He had refused to join the Conquistadores so I thought their was no hope of being on his team.

     I was unaware of what was happening in the Field.  Sonderman didn’t have any initiative he was put up to it by David Hirsh.  This was an attempt to injure me and break up my club.  Breaking up the club may have been an afterthought; their primary purpose was to cripple me.

     To my surprise not only was I on the team but so was every member of my club.  The Hirsh plan sort of backfired; you’ve got to be able to control those variables.

     I had been busy through the summer too.  I was aware that our club had made a strong impression in the eleventh grade.  What we needed now was something to put us over solid.

page 30.

     That summer I discovered an outstanding shirt.  It had both flash and tradition going for it.  The pattern had been around for decades  I’m sure.  They still make the same shirt today fifty years later.  The shirt was a pullover with a blue collar and plaque and thin blue and red horizontal stripes.  I thought if we all wore it one day a week the effect on the school would be electric.  We would be over solid and so we were.

     Thus even though I had barely passing grades I was achieving my social goal.  Except for science and math courses which I didn’t take anyway the rest of the education was irrelevant.  While I did no school work I read voraciously otherwise so it’s not like I wasn’t learning anything.  Besides, and this is important, I looked up every word I didn’t know in the dictionary.

     I was now the social equal of my enemies.  I had defeated their plans.  At least, temporarily.

     The shirts did trigger a response from the administration.  The elements of post-war changes were everywhere gaining momentum.  Unsettling influences were in the air but little understood if at all.  While the elimination of Black segregation may have been just and right it nevertheless undermined the whole basis of society with devastating consequences.  The fight against Communism was raging.  The recognition of organized crime as a permanent and accepted part of society was having terrible effects.  On top of all this was something invented by the media called the revolt of youth.

     We were supposed to be discontented.  We weren’t.  I saw no rebellion or discontent around me but it was a hot topic among Hollywood movie makers.  They saw it everywhere.  One might almost say they invented it.  It really caught on.  Time Magazine along with Life ran huge picture essays showing the youth of various cities in their states of ‘rebellion.’  Teen life was captured as an enduring ongoing entity rather than a mere snapshop of a period of growing up.  Teenagerism took on a life of its own even though a teen passed through the years faster than he could become accustomed to them.

page 31.

     Rebelling teenagers became a meaningless social institution.  Now after fifty-five years of teenage rebellion things are pretty much the same; you’ve got roughly four years to enjoy what used to be known as the best years of your life.  Why waste them in meaningless ‘rebellion?’

     We unwittingly adopted our shirts in the wake of a movie called ‘The Blackboard Jungle.’  It was a good how to flick.  Much of subsequent history can be traced back to it.  We weren’t rebelling or discontented before the movie hit, we were enjoying the best years of our lives, but a lot us became so afterwards.  ‘Blackboard Jungle’ had a tremendous effect on schools across America.  The movie was a watershed in developing the terrible tension in schools since.  The move has been from fists in our town to switchblades in New York to machine pistols nowadays.  There was a definite before and after ‘Blackboard Jungle.’  The question is how did the movie makers think they would benefit from the change.

     The movie dealt with gang fighting in New York City schools.  None of the conditions existing in New York applied to  us but as the movie was a piece of pure education emulators sprang up anyway.  When challenged about the films socially destructive influence movie makers coyly claimed that a movie has no effect on the psychology of the viewers; nor is a movie intended to be anything but simple and pure entertainment; to the contrary all story telling has an instructive and psychological goal.

page 32.

     None of our big brains in society could  come up with an effective argument to disabuse the movie makers of their error in logic.  Strangely while critics allowed the movie makers to prevail they assumed that books and recorded music had a deleterious effect on youth.  Censorship of printed material and recorded music was actively pursued.  Thus, as kids, we were supposedly unaffected by movies while little 45 rpm records with a big hole and comic books were supposed to be driving us wild in the streets.

     Neither attitude seems very sound psychologically.  I’m sure that Prof. Timmy Leary would agree with that.  The power of movies and TV to condition thought processes is immense. Who’s kidding who?  TV was in the infancy of its influence when my class of ’56 was growing up.  Only a few families had TVs before 1950 when it was a novelty.  By 1954 most families had one or were thinking of getting one.  Tuistad bought ours in time for the McCarthy-Army hearings.  Still the classes of ’54, ’55 and ’56 were largely unaffected by TV viewing.  However, with the difference of only one year, the class of ’57 became the first year of the TV generation.  They were different.

     We of ’56 were neither of the earlier generation nor of the later;  we were stuck in the middle.

page 33.

     As movies made up the major part of the programming of TV I think we can analyze both media as a single influence.

     The power of movies to condition attitudes is immense.  The movie makers know that, selecting their material to achieve definite results.  People do emulate what they see.  They may not apply the information in the the exact same way as shown them but once in their minds it will find its way out.

     The power of suggestion of movies is immense.  More immense than any conspiracy Joe McCarthy ever dreamed of.  The screen is much bigger than life filling the entire consciousness to the exclusion of any peripheral distractions.  Aurically one is overwhelmed as the sound is louder than you can think.  The action moves faster and is filled with more detail than you can consciously sort out or comprehend.  The subliminal feed into the mind is incalculable.

     The efficacy of the subliminal feed was proven by an experiment in 1955 in which a message to go buy popcorn was flashed on the screen faster than the eye could apprehend.  I was in the audience.  I remember saying to myself over and over that I didn’t want any popcorn.  During intermission the friend I was with insistently demanded that we go get popcorn.  Snapping more at the screen than him I sternly said that I didn’t want popcorn.  He went and got his.

     As Christ said:  As ye think so shall ye do.  You can only get out of a mind what you put into it.  In our society very little is going in anyone’s mind that doesn’t come from movies and television.  That’s you one the screen.

page 34.

     In point of fact while movie makers deny the influence of picture images and sound they use the medium to decondition minds and recondition them on social issues.  Most movies are preaching to you on one issue and level or another.  Preaching is not simple and pure entertainment no matter what the movie makers may tell us.

     While critics deplore the sex and violence of movies, sex and violence are not really the issues.  The issue is what sex and violence are supposed to achieve for the viewer.  Movie makers are heavily influenced by the teaching of Freud.  Most of their sexual attitudes derive from that source.

     Now, Freud actually believed and stated that extreme frequency of sexual intercourse makes you a better person.  Except for Freud’s great scientific reputation I would have to call him either a fool or a knave.  He had to know better.  The most sexually active members of society are libertines and homosexuals.  Neither can make any claim to virtue.  However it is exactly their sexual ideals that the movies illustrate.

     So as with violence.  Freud advised against ‘repression.’  To repress a violent emotion was to incur psychic damage according to Freud.  The movie makers believe that violence is an effective solution to any problem.  All difficulties can be solved by blowing people away, destroying property or thumbing your nose at authority.  No one in the movies ever reasons a problem through.

     The depiction of sex and violence is not really the problem.  The problem is the misguided attempt to portray them as solutions.  That notion goes back to our old friend Sigmund Freud,or is it Sigmund Fiend?

page 35.

     Prior to ’56 we had enough training to resist the de- and reconditioning ourselves.  From the class of ’57 onwards they had no such ability.  By the sixties the minds of youth were receiving their training and conditioning directly from the screen, big or little.  There was no longer any need to decondition them they had been reconditioned.

     The ability to think a problem through had been destroyed.  Youth merely received their opinions and accepted them as fact.  This was no more apparent than on the over riding issue of the century- the relations between Blacks and Whites which was then reaching a critical point.  The goal of the movie makers was not only to overturn prejudice but to create prejudice against Whites.

     There may have been those who had an unreasoning hatred of Blacks in town but they were nowhere apparent.  It was generally accepted in theory that Blacks were entitled to equality in opportunity.  The problem was how to put the notion into practice without disrupting society.  In other words:  How best to bring Blacks up to White educational standards.

    This feat couldn’t be achieved in the matter of a few years or even in a single generation.  But the Blacks were impatient.  The only way to close the gap was to bring Whites down to the level of Blacks.  It is always easier and faster to bring the higher down than to raise the lower.  It was thought to be better to sacrifice the quality of life of White youth than that the gap should exist.

     The first move for the movies was to show sex between the two races.  The target was always the White woman.  Woman is the weak link in the chain.  Thus the movie makers showed White women throwing themselves at Black men.  The White woman became the whore of the world.  This tended to reinforce the myth that Black men were sexually superior to White men which subtly undermined the sexual confidence of the White male lowering him in his own and his women’s estimation.

page 36.

     However older people are generally more set in their ways so that by the end of the century few White women voluntarily aligned themselves with Black males and even fewer White men with Black women.

     So the proper way to influence attitudes was to try to influence the young.  Now, equality of the races was never the issue in movie maker’s minds.  Like the Northern Puritans in the Civil War their goal was to make Whites inferior just as the North tried to establish the Negroes over the Southern Whites.

     Thus in one TV show aired on Saturday morning to young children Black kids are shown to be uniformly superior to Whites.  The show takes place in a high school where all the authority figures are Black.  The student body appears to be more than half Black.  All the best students are Black.  They are wise beyond their years, more intelligent and better disciplined than the Whites.  More trustworthy too.  The Whites are reversals of the Rastus caricature.  Their hair is dirty and styled as unattractively as possible.  They are more or less white pickaninnies.  They are all dumb; I mean really dumb.  The brightest is not as bright as the dumbest Black.

     The complexions of the Whites are dulled while those of the Black kids are brightened.  The overall intent seems to be a reversal of the roles the races played in the first half of the century projecting the Whites as inherently inferior.

page 37.

     The show has no entertainment value, the intent is merely propaganda.  So the argument that movies are intended purely as entertainment is pure bushwa.

     People believe what they see.  On the social level they are not being shown ‘equality’ they are being shown a Black racist viewpoint whether written by Whites or not.  The notion behind the sex and violence they are being shown can only work to their detriment as the spate of high school shootouts demonstrates.  Blame on the movies.

     Suggestion in the form of sound and pictures which require no imagination or intelligence to construe as would be the case with books is very insinuating.  Movies are passive; books are active.  Books do furnish a mind but movies condition it especially under the influence of Dr. Leary’s mind altering re-conditioning drugs.

     ‘Blackboard Jungle’ showed the discontented the way as it was meant to do.  The Law and Order group in our school had had a monopoly on terror since the seventh grade.  They had successfully imposed their hegemony.  The way was now shown the oppressed how they might turn the tables on their oppressors or, at least, grab a share of the power.  As the apparatus of Law and Order had already been appropriated by other criminals and as Southern Willfulness was beyond their reach all they could do was to resort to Mafioso Lawlessness which was already all to evident in town:  Open naked terror.

page 38.

     So, emulating the movie, a group of ‘Jungle’ toughs set up in the South front stairwell to exact tribute from passers by.  As there were about eight of them they were able to intimidate individual boys.  They were actually grabbing and groping girls.  The girls were terrified.  Under the right conditions, it could easily be seen how they might gang rape a girl right on the stairwell.  They threatened to do so.  The South end began to be avoided.

     Complaints were made to the administration but the officials were reluctant to deal with the less tractable cases.  They only want to demonstrate their power to decent types where there is no danger of retaliation.  They let the stairwell situation build.  That’s just like the cops to let the Mafiosi ride but they play hell with jaywalkers.

     After having been asked by one of the Hirsh girls to escort her up the stairwell which I did to my eternal shame I suggested to the Law and Order faction that they clean the group out.  Heck, we’d known the guys for years; the hadn’t seemed so tough before.  Law and Order guys with the expert training of the Hirshes should have known how.

     You wouldn’t even have to confront them all together in the stairwell.  You could just catch each one alone before or after school, six on one.  The Hirshes knew that gig.  If they wouldn’t respond to persuasion, beat them up.  They find guys in the alley all the time; this is pragmatic America.

     Anyway, if the administration had acted in the beginning the thing could have been broken up with a few well chosen words.  The administration let it drag on until it got real messy with the cops being called in and everything.

page 39.

     Now, when the administration saw our shirts they saw more ‘Blackboard Jungle.’  Hirsh even went into some hysterical thing with them about how Fascism started over shirts.  He said that ‘shirtism’ was one of the causes of the Second World War.  He mentioned something about black shirts, brown shirts, red shirts even some guy in the United States who no one had ever heard of by the name of William Dudley Pelley who had Silver Shirts.  The only shirts he didn’t mention were the sky blue shirts.  I guess he thought we were neo-Nazi storm troopers in blue and red striped pullovers.

     We proved to be more tractable than the boys in the stairwell.  The administrators saw me as the leader of the ‘shirtists’ so they came to talk to me.  I was really less the leader than the prime mover, but, then, what do they ever know?

     You have to stop ‘shirtism’ before it gets started.  When I agreed to discontinue wearing the shirt if it came to that they said that it was OK so long as we weren’t a gang and backed down.  Shirtists rule.

     So just as Sonderman used my club to form his football team we were achieving the pinnacle of our success.  That success was aided by the football team which in turn drove Hirsh to fresh excesses because we were the champions.  Sonderman called the team the Blockbusters.  The word was the name of a big bomb used in World War II.  Block=box.  Busting his way out of the box, I suppose, as breaking up the pinball machine hadn’t done the job for him.

page 40.

     I was afraid I wouldn’t be asked to join so I approached him to see if I would be included.  To my surprise he not only already had me on the team but he had assigned me the position of center. 

     I was astonished at the position because usually centers are big heavy guys.  I mentioned this point which drove Sonderman into one of his foaming rages.  It was as though he took my formation of the baseball team as a personal insult, rather, even an injury.  He became very abusive of me, reviling me as his imitator.  Perhaps this was the genesis of his belief that I copied him.  As I said before, Sonderman was a very intelligent guy; an A student.  But when emotions gain the ascendant they most certainly submerge the intelligence, reason and logic not to mention one’s sense of justice.

     Sonderman went so far as to say I formed the Lemons in imitation of the Blockbusters.  I was incredulous.  What could I say?  I was dumbfounded, at a loss for words.  How could something that happened two summers before be imitative?  Even so, every fool knows that baseball season comes before football season.  Even the Conquistadores came before the Blockbusters.  Who did he think he was kidding?  Nevertheless he stoutly maintained his position, turning aside all my scoffing.  I argued hotly sneering at his absurdity.  Copied him indeed.

     Sonderman must have had a lot at stake because unable to refute obvious reality he went blind swinging out at me.  I suppose his attitude went back to the murder attempts.  The Hirshes and Sonderman had convinced themselves that I was subhuman, lower than the Blacks they made sit on the edge of the sandbox.  Consequently any arguments of mine, no matter how conclusive, were inadmissable.  No matter how wrong they were they attempted to ignore me and stonewall it through.  Sonderman had placed himslf in an untenable position just like in placing the gunmount which resulted in his dismissal from the Army.  Rather than admit he was wrong to someone he considered beneath him he attempted to resolve the argument by force.  Real superior type of guy.

page 41.

     I danced away.  I couldn’t explain it.  I was just happy to be on the team.

    I never did figure out why I was chosen to be center at the time so what I say here is mere conjecture, reasoning backward from the result.  The position of center is vulnerable.  As the center of the line you’re going to get knocked about a bit.  It isn’t unusual for centers to get injured especially about the head, neck and shoulders.  With careful planning and the compliance of the officials a center, I, could easily be cripped or perhaps even killed.

     There were two key games.  One against a team of ex-orphanage guys and one against a Black team from the First Ward.  These games were crucial for me.

     The Blockbusters started out winning and actually posted an undefeated season.  In the first couple games I did surprisingly well.  The other side lined up on the other side of the ball thus I was able to offset the bigness of the opposing center with fancy footwork and clever moves.

     In the third game we played the veterans of the orphanage.  I didn’t like them in the orphanage and they hadn’t liked me.  By then they were all out in foster homes.  I have no idea how they managed to form a team.  They had a real grudge against ‘rich’ West Side kids so they didn’t come to play so much as to fight.  This game was my first real challange because they didn’t line up on the other side of the ball.  When Ihunkered down to hike their center crossed the line to stand directly over my neck.  I can tell you it doesn’t feel good when someone slams his forearms down on the back of your neck repeatedly.

page 42.

     Hirsh who was standing back off to the side of the other team’s bench had set the thing up.  Not only did none of my team members call foul but the officials never called the other team offsides.  It therefore follows that my club members were in on it as well as the officials.  I even overheard observers discussing the situation loudly while I was on the field.  That game was the toughest game I ever played but I came through it and we won.

     The Hirshes and Sonderman were watching sullenly.  My classmates were favorably impressed by my performance.  My stock was rising.  Efforts had to be coming from within the club to debase me.  The most perfect way to destroy or subordinate a man, to reduce him to a state of contemptability, is to sodomize him.  In his emasculated ‘queer’ form he is not only a laughing stock but has to implore you for sexual favors.  It would have done the hearts of my enemies good to see me mincing down the street.

     They had been making efforts to sodomize me for some time.  Sonderman from this time directed his chief efforts to either sodomize me himself or have me sodomized.  Perhaps he thought to transfer his terrified feelings of guilt to me in this manner.  He began to work on Demwitter.

page 43.

     Denny was our quarterback.  A pretty dumb one, too.  Although he should have taken the hike ten yards back in touch, he insisted on the pro style crouch over center and fall back.  The first couple games there was no problem but then as I had survived the game with the orphans without injury his attitude changed.  At Sonderman’s instigation he began to practically fondle my gonads and rectum while he called the signals.

     I considered Denny my creature, or alter ego, so I calmly admonished him expecting him to respect my wishes.  He would for a while until Sonderman instigated him to begin again.

     I didn’t think we played that sharp but we won our first six games on the way to our perfect season.  After we won our sixth game and were certain for a tie for the championship the Hirshes suddenly realized that they would have to see me as a champion on the podium.  Wormwood and bitter gall for them.

     They went into a panic as they realized that their work of over a decade to keep me down would be undone in less than a month and this as a result of their own folly.  The pain would have been too much to bear.

    Remember that because  of my defense of the Black kids in kindergarten they had placed me below the Blacks in status.  Now, regardless of how benevolently the Southeners thought they administered slavery they thought the Negroes were subhuman, separated from themselves by more than color.  The Southener thought of the Negro as a talking ape of whom it was constitutionally impossible to educate as a man.

page 44.

     Thus, when the War Between The States ended the North in a crazy act of hatred elevated the Negro over the White, virtually enslaving the Southern Whites.  Many egregious acts were committed to humiliate Southern White pride.  They were placed under actual civil disabilities.  Southern resentment flared when an illiterate bare-footed Negro was made head of the Greek department of a Carolina University.  The insult was not just making the Negro the head of the Greek department; it was that they thought that this ‘animal’ could ever learn to read and write English.  In their minds the Negro was not only inherently inferior but not human.

     It was in this state of mind that Sonderman and the Hirshes contemplated seeing me as a champion before them.  It would be the same as that barefoot ‘baboon’  being head of the Greek department.  They simply could not allow that to happen.  Because of kindergarten they had planned from the beginning of the season to have the Black team beat me up but those Black guys were a set of variables over which Hirsh had no control.

     East Side versus West Side was always tough but now the issue of color was added.  The hatred of the Blacks for the Whites was the paramount issue.  The game was less important for the Blacks than the opportunity to legitimately beat up Whites.  In this game they could have thrown away the football, armed everybody with baseball bats and body armor and seen who was left standing at the whistle.  Football destruction derby time.

page 45.

     These Black guys, playing as the Diamond Dogs, already had a reputation for being mean and violent.  The game promised to be a brawl.  I wasn’t so worried as I should have been but it’s not like I didn’t know how to take care of myself.  I was still alive.  I was still in one piece.  I wasn’t worried.

     Gossip is always a major item in any town.  Word of Hirsh’s intentions got around.  My mother was alerted by a close friend of hers.  She didn’t take me into her confidence and explain anything to me as usual but she just forbade me to play that game.  A higher duty called to which I would have responded but it chanced to pour on that cold November night.  Coupled with the horrendous reputation of the Diamond Dogs and the fact that I didn’t feel like having my balls fondled in the cold rainy dark by Demwitter I took advantage of my mother’s injunction and said I wasn’t allowed to play in the rain.

     Now, Hirsh had gotten the Black guys up to cripple or kill a player.  He forgot to get the word  to them that the hit was off.  The Dogs were eager to fulfill the contract so since they didn’t know how to identify the player they just began banging up player after player.  They were having fun, the time of their life.  The game was rougher than rough.  We won but all the guys got thoroughly beaten up.  I mean, they were all hurting the next day.  They were all limping with severe bruises.  Sonderman’s right arm was so hurt it hung uselessly by his side for a week until he regained control of it.  There were in a completely unhappy frame of mind.  I can’t imagine what the Diamond Dogs would have done to me at center way over the line.

page 46.

     With that game we clinched the championship.  I was unhurt.  I would be able to play the last two games.  The Hirshes could not bear the thought of seeing me up on the podium to receive championship honors.  There was no longer any room for decorum.  Sonderman just walked up to me in the hall and told me I was no longer on the team.  They thought, to hell with Law and Order; rules are only for the weak.  Neither Demwitter nor any other member protested.  I was denied the dignity I had earned.

     The Blockbusters along with our shirts really established the club.  By that time we were nearly halfway through our Senior year.  A little thought would have shown me that for all practical purposes School was over.  Preparation for graduation would break us up.  For some reason I had my heart set on increasing the membership from seven to ten.

     We were already as successful as we could be.  Hirsh even had adults going around slandering us.  They were using the line that the sum was greater than the parts.  Maybe they thought that seven zeros could add up to more than one zero.  Not likely; if the sum was great then all the parts must have had significant value.  I guess what Hirsh was trying to say was that even though he thought I was nothing I had created something.  I wish I knew then what I know now.

     Now he wanted to either have me ejected by my clubmates or to destroy the club.  As the former he enlisted Meggy Malone to work to try to shame certain clubmembers into kicking me out.  Meggy was one of the people who surrounded me in second grade; a key Hirsh.  She was one of the three or four most influential girls in school.  She had convinced everyone that she was most likely to succeed, she was actually given that honor at graduation.

page 47.

     She went to work on the guys.  She was able to convince Lebaron Briscoe and Buzz Barrett and oddly enough Denny Demwitter but the other three remained loyal to me.

     As to the latter point of destroying the club, Hirsh tried and succeeded in insinuating two of his own choices.  The most likely candidate to join our club was Sonderman.  Sonderman either from inertia or whatever had never had any friends.  He wasn’t friends with the Hirshes he merely served as their tool because of his father’s relationship with Hirsh.

     Even in school he was always a loner until I was forced to let him into my club.  Perhaps he identified with me in a back handed way assuming that since I ‘imitated’ him my friends were really his and not mine.  At any rate the Blockbusters ingratiated him with them especially after the swell honors dinner and ceremony to  which I was not invited.  He directed his efforts to suborning Demwitter as he was my closest friend and alter ego.

     The Blockbusters had definitely given the club added luster so I was compelled reluctantly to ask Sonderman to join.  As Demwitter insisted that I ask him I suppose there was some humiliation involved in it for me.  Our relations hadn’t improved.  I knew that he undermined me everywhere I went and would do so in the club.  I held out as long as I could but I had to give in.  Sonderman accepted my invitation as coldly as he could doing his best to look down on me despite his small stature.

page 48.

     My last chance was that his mother wouldn’t cook for us.  I stressed this requirement but he said that she would.  Damn that woman! It was the only meal she had cooked for him in his life.

     Thursday Sonderman showed up in our shirt.  He had bought the last one in August in anticipation of joining our club.  The shirt was way too small for him but he wore it proudly anyway.  He was no sooner in than he put forward the name of Dirk Klutz for admission.

     Klutz had also been one of those who surrounded me in the second grade.  Had I known then the humiliation would have been unbearable as it was intended to be.

     I didn’t look beyond obvious motivations, indeed, it was impossible for me to realize what was really going on but I knew that Klutz was not a good fit and was potentially disruptive.  I didn’t know that his purpose was to destroy the club but as he came from much more affluent parents than the rest of us it was clear that problems lay ahead.

     I was unable to prevent his entry.  We still needed the ninth member.  I considered Klutz the tenth.  Denny suggested someone who now makes me suspect his sexual orientation.  The notion just occurred to me as I write.  Actually the guy he suggested was an OK guy and I might have suggested him myself except that I knew he was queer.

     Ed Phlatoe and I went back to the fifth grade just after I got out of the orphanage.  He used to hang around with a guy named Bumme Slider.  Ed introduced me to Bumme.  Slider was the dominant partner in their relationship.  After I hung around with them a while Bumme clued me in.  Once again I didn’t know what homosexuality was but as we all do I got the drift that I was expected to do something I didn’t want to do.  I cut Ed loose.  He and Bumme remained lovers.  However, I was in possession of their dangerous secret.

page 49.

     I had trouble with Bumme ever after that.  He was in typing class in the hour ahead of me in eighth.  I was assigned the same typewriter after him.  He remembered me better than I remembered him.  Maybe he was afraid I would spread the word he was queer.  You know, in those days you wanted to keep that a deep dark secret.  He used to set all the stops in weird positions so I had to clear the machine when I came in.  One time he scratched dandruff an inch thick all over the machine.  OK, an inch is a lot but he was not sparing.

     I saw him at the reunion but he wasn’t too glad to see me.  He was a doctor now deep in the closet in Minneapolis and didn’t pronounce his name Bummy anymore; now he pronounced it Bjoomay, Scandanavian fashion.

     Anyway Demwitter and Phlatoe were better friends than I knew.  I scotched Ed without giving Demwitter the real reason.  About a week or two later Phlatoe compromised himself somehow and it became generally known that he was queer.

     When I told Denny that the was the reason I didn’t think Ed was appropriate Denny just looked at me kind of funny.  I did nominate the ninth guy who fortunately proved loyal to me.

     Meggy Malone contrived to exert her influence while the male Hirshes intrigued to denigrate me to the other members.  Hirsh was so confident that I would be ejected that he selected Jerry Kramer as my replacement.  All of a sudden Jerry was hanging around us virtually as a member.  I never realized why until decades later.  Actually a couple weeks ago when I heard Jerry died.

page 50.

     End of Part IV-1.  Go to Part IV-2.

The Sonderman Constellation

by

R.E. Prindle

Chapter III-2

The Psychodrama

     He played so furiously he tilted the machine just as he was running up the score for a free game.  Then he began to tilt it on purpose.  Then he picked it up and tilted it before he had even shot a ball.

     Looking back at me he hammered the glass with his fist breaking it into smithereens.  The trick box was open!  Looking back at me from time to time he carefully and with great satisfaction removed each fragment.  He cleared the inside of all debris carefully and lovingly as I stood back watching in astounded silence.

     He took a shoe box down from a shelf and carefully placed the glass shards within which he then carefully marked and stored on the shelf as though they were valuable.  I’m sure they represented important pieces 0f his psyche.  The symbolism was so clear I almost burst out laughing.   By this time Sonderman was sweating, his facial features distorted in anguish.  As he smashed the machine around he cast strange exalted glances back at me as though he were saying he would soon be free like me.

     He had opened the box but it was still tilted which conflicted with his desires.  His solution was ready at hand, he removed the tilt mechanism also placing it carefully in the box of glass shards while he carefully wrote in capital letters:  Tilt Mechanism on the bottom of the box.

     Then he proceeded to just hack that topless box to pieces.  He caved the sides in; ripped the legs from the box.  I didn’t know what Little thought but I was absolutely dismayed.  I had no idea what I had been called to witness.  Perhaps Sonderman was trying to declare his freedom from restraint and his independence from his father.  I can only speculate that I was called in to witness because I could do what Sonderman couldn’t.  Perhaps he really felt inferior to me and was now demonstrating that he was, in fact, now equal to or even better than me.

page 1.

     The psychology is self-evident.  The scene occurred in Sonderman’s basement.  The basement is appropriately the domain of the father.  It might also be said to represent the subconscious.  What exactly was the response Old S hoped to elicit from his son by putting the box in his subconscious?  Thus the placement of the pinball machine, or box, in the basement or subconscious undoubtedly activated Sonderman’s feeling of frustration.  He seemed to be incapable of resentment toward his father so he directed it at me as a father surrogate.

     Like the rest of the house the basement hadn’t been cleaned since the Flood.  The dirt and grit was really old.  Things were just strewn across the floor.  There didn’t appear to be any reason why anything had been kept.  Perhaps an old Sod like Mr. Sonderman put all his own tilt mechanisms down there.  Viewing this and having just witnessed the ‘asset to the class” remarkable performance I was at a loss to explain his feeling of superiority.  I said some sharp things to that effect.  Sonderman, his performance ended, ordered me out of the basement perhaps meaning his subconscious.

     When Old S found the wreckage which Sonderman left conspicuously in the middle of the floor he demanded an explanation from his son.  I’m sure that if Sonderman had understood what he had done he would have explained it but since he had been in the control of his subconscious he was at a loss for words.  Or, perhap, I had been invited to be his Fall Guy.  He blamed it on me.

     If he had accepted the responsibility it is possible that he might have freed himself from his father’s domination but by passing the buck to me he negated the effect of his whole performance and returned to vassalage.

     He said I had snuck into the house through the side door while he and Little the Inseparable were out and I did it out of jealousy.  He didn’t explain how he knew I did it or how he knew that I entered through the side door since he wasn’t there but doting fathers will believe anything from their sons.

     Shortly after this display of attempted independence from his father’s fixation I organized the neighborhood expedition out to the wetlands.  Perhaps I somehow contradicted what Sonderman meant to say by the destruction of the pinball machine by doing so.  At any rate the train trestle incident followed shortly.

     The planning of the train incident was perfect of its kind while the execution was flawless.  There was only one uncontrolled variable and that was me.  Unlike the incident in Miss Ryman’s class in which the Hirshes were able to control all the variables I remained the sole uncontrollable element.  Even then the incident was so masterfully executed that except for what must be considered exceptional resourcefulness on my part this plan would have succeeded.  Let’s give credit where credit is due, they were good.

 page 3.

     The number of persons who would have obtained satisfaction was astounding.  The male Hirshes, the Sondermans, the Engineer, the female Hirshes in the caboose and many others who were awaiting the news.  I was expertly managed, having been gotten there without any hint of wrongdoing, marshalled onto the trestle against my own inclination and kept there until the train burst upon me.  Not a hand was laid on me, no KKK or Mafia stuff, yet all the ‘witnesses’ were there and all could tell the same story which was, moreover, within a hair of the truth.  The young ‘uns could have been most proud of their governors expert Law and Order ruse.  The instruction and hands on training they received was magnificent for them.  Such a brilliant opportunity may occur only once in a lifetime.

     Operations such as the trestle incident prove the value of family training over the loose wild ways of orphans and kids from broken homes.  They or we actually are given to chaotic acts of revenge.  We give way to emotional excesses slicing people up needlessly or shooting and stabbing them to death leaving the bodies lying around as evidence.  Where is the discipline?  Where is the self-control?  Is it any wonder that our prisons are filled with such excrescences?  Once again, credit where credit is due.

     In my own handling, after they’d scraped the rails to collect enough of me to call remains these would have been neatly disposed of and I would have been forgotten as never having existed.  My death might even have been salutary; some good might have come from it.  Perhaps my death might have caused an uproar over unmarked railway crossings causing them to be made safe.  Maybe they would have named the crossing and trestle after me.  Laid out flowers there on the anniversary every year.  There’s some kind of immortality in that isn’t there?

page 4.

     Law and Order methods are clearly superior to chaotic methods.  This is nowhere more apparent than in the war that has been going on between the North and South since the founding of the country.  The South could and should take lessons from the North.  Down there they just, or used to anyway, lynch anyone they didn’t like and leave the bodies hanging from trees for everyone to see.  Where’s that at?  They even wrote a song about it called ‘Strange Fruit.’  Strange indeed, kind of the seedless variety.  Come on Southern Guys, this is very untidy.

     The South has a a very strong caste system.  At the bottom are Blacks and Poor White Trash.

     Anyone consistently maltreated like the Blacks and Poor White Trash might get rebellious so they have to be taught lessons from time to time to remind them of their place.  Thus it is necessary to sacrifice a few hundred a year so the remaining learn from their example.

     Now, the ‘best’ White people obviously thought that hanging from trees with hands symbolically tied behind backs was the most effective method.

     Here is where they could learn something from the Law and Order people up North.  The ways of the South might be better described as Willful rather than Chaotic, after all their killings are sanctioned by popular opinion.  Law and Order is superior to either method.  Consider this, wouldn’t it have been better if maybe several hundred Blacks and Poor White Trash just mysteriously disappeared every year.  You know, in kind of the same way that Daddy Warbucks used the Asp and Punjab to make people disappear.  You see, Daddy Warbucks was a real American but the Asp and Punjab were some kind of foreigners who did his dirty work for him.   Get it?  Displace the responsibility.  Did you ever wonder how Daddy Warbucks got away with that?  I used to, all the time.  Law and Order.

page 5.

     The victims could be chosen at random so as not to show favoritism or discrimination.  Why fudge around, just get those troublemakers out of there.  Then once a year they could have the Unknown Dead Darky and Poor White Trash Commemorative Day with the eternal flame, nice touch, where they all stood around the tomb all pious and contrite weeping with their Black Brothers by their side and the Poor White Trash standing off at a distance.  Thus the crimes against the Blacks would be consolidated with the crimes against the Whites and no discrimination on the basis of color would be evident.  That’s what I call good planning.

     No, I’m sure that Law and Order is why the North has always won the war.

     As perfectly planned as the operation against me was, it failed.  Failure is no light matter.  There are always psychological consequences to failure, don’t kid yourself.  The plan had been so beautifully made that closure occurred in the minds of the Hirshes before the fact.  They had visualized my murder to a successful conclusion.  This vision was breached by my survival causing a malaise in their psyches.  I was a walking rebuke to them.  This breach necessitated a further validation to discharge the unexpended energy.

page 6.

     Sonderman’s childish solution had been to implicate me in the attempted burning of his father’s chemical plant.  He couldn’t do it himself so he tried to enlist me.  You see, I would have been just as directed as he was.  While this ploy had technically succeeded this proved psychologically unsatisfactory.  He needed more ample justification.

     Once again Sonderman called to me from the middle of the intersection beneath the streetlight my parents had paid for.  He wanted me to come over and join himself and Little in a game.  My Tom Sawyer phase was wearing thin.  Sonderman hadn’t cooperated to bring my fantasy to fruition.  I suppose the train incident hurt me emotionally.  I suppose it could be romanticized and told in a hilarious nostalgic way but I didn’t feel it that way then and I don’t feel it that way now.  Then I was sullenly resentful, now I angrily denounce them as murderers.

     I was apprehensive now of anything Sonderman wanted to do.  I was now chary of him.  But I still hoped we could be friends so I went over.  Sonderman and Little were actually under psychological stresses probably as great and maybe even more so than mine.  This thing with Sonderman’s father was serious stuff.  So too was the burden of his mother.  Neither Sonderman or I knew but he was frantically resentful of her treatment of his family.  Just as  he had used the pinball machine to punish his father his ulterior motive now was to use me to punish his mother.  Thus in each instance he killed two birds with one stone, Father and me, Mother and me.  His method was to destroy her old threadbare oriental rug and lay it off on me.  He succeeded very well in a Law and Order way.  See, I told you that training was useful.

page 7.

     The game was this, Little was always avidly interested in science.  He had recently come up against the conundrum: What happens when an immovable object comes up against an irresistible force?  The game they divised consisted of one participant playing the immovable object while the other was the irresistible force.  I suggested rolling the rug up because no foothold was possible on the grit, but that was vetoed.  My objection that we would ‘ruin’ the carpet was waved aside.

     By driving hard the Irresistible Force was always able to push the Immovable Object from one side of the carpet to the other.  I had warned Sonderman that the result of digging our toes into the carpet would be huge gaping holes.  That was, of course, what he wanted.  Sonderman gazed at the holes contentedly and said his mother would never notice with a little laugh out of the corner of his mouth.  I had to laugh out loud.  Sonderman just waved me out the door with a dreamy satisfied look on his face.  I had served my intended purpose.

     When Mrs. Sonderman came home the first thing she noticed was the rug.  The two them dumped it all off on me.  They had gotten their mother good.  I don’t know how Mrs. Sonderman rationalized my having done it but she banned me from the house for all time.  See how well Sonderman learned the lesson back there on the trestle?

page 8.

     I assumed from the rug incident that our relationship was over.  My imitation of Tom and Penrod was a thing of the past.

     As failed evil is a serious rebuke and as he needed closure Hirsh himself was afflicted with unexpiated guilt.  Whereas Sonderman’s childish expiation was relatively easy Hirsh required stronger satisfaction.  The trestle incident was only one of a very long series of attempts to either destroy my self-respect or kill me.  He desperately needed to have me debased and ineffective or dead.  In this phase of his pursuit he was using the Sondermans as Fall Guys.

     In order to identify the next two locations in the Sonderman Constellation I am going to have to complicate the story a little by introducing some material that may seem extraneous but will prove to be essential.  So stick with me.

     Sonderman and I associated only sporadically in the summer so I roamed around looking for people to meet.  I met a boy by the name of Shardel Wilson.  I can’t remember how.  I was always roaming great distances (read ten or fifteen blocks) in the neighborhood trying to make my Tom Sawyer fantasy a reality.

     Shardel’s mother had recently been divorced.  She was a very attractive, vivacious woman.  She is still the subject of some of my erotic fantasies.  She had been happily married for the thirteen years of Shardel’s life.  He was her only child.

page 9.

      She had allowed her head to be turned by the compliments of lustful men.  They had convinced her that some great future lay in wait for her if only she divorced her husband.  Perhaps some enemy was trying to screw her husband.  If so, they did.  It’s always done through the woman.

     She immediately exchanged a prestigious address and social life for a cheap second floor apartment in a nondescript neighborhood and the evil attention of several sexual predators passing as respectable men who passed her around.  At the time I met her she did not seem to have yet learned the consquences of her actions.  She still seemed to think these men were going to do something wonderful for her.  She was beginning to show some anxiety though.

     Shard’s life had been shattered.  At thirteen, a most delicate age, he had the social security of a prosperous home substituted by the insecurity of a broken home.  This is quite serious business because children from orphanages and broken homes are shunned and prejudged as troublemakers and actual criminals.  Shardel Wilson had taken quite a fall.  I knew how far better than he did.  As will be seen he acted out this fall symbolically.

     I watched his distress.  I felt a great deal of sympathy for him as I was from a background much more distressed than his; but he was a new recruit, I was a veteran.  I thought I could help him; guide him over the rough spots.

     Since the trestle and rug inidents I had moved away from the Sondermans but as I tried to move away they began to dog my steps.  He says I copied him.  Rather than copy him by sitting on my porch looking out at a silent street I had searched out Shardel.  I went to visit him every day.  Sitting on their porch Sonderman and Little watched me walk by on the other side of the street.  Slowly Sonderman figured out that I had someplace to go.  If I did and if I enjoyed it he wanted to destroy it.  That’s how I copied him.

page 10.

     By nature I was inclusive rather than exclusive so I probably would have needed little persuasion to introduce him to Shardel.  But he wanted to bring that evil twit Little with him.  I hated Little and resented his always incuding himself where he had no right to be.  He not only always tagged along but acted like he had a right to be there.  As a junior he tried to be an equal.

     They put the screws to me to find out where I was going everyday.  I knew what the result would be so I tried to put them off.  This proved impossible for me to do, so I had to take them along to introduce them to Shardel.  Sonderman alone wouldn’t have been so bad but that damned Little.

     Sonderman and Little seemed to show a great interest in Shardel.  Shard had been somewhat distant with me because he was a new declasse who recognized another.  The Sondermans represented to him the social class he had just come from so he immediately clasped unto them as a return to his past.  As he was subseqently always to do Sonderman went right to work turning Wilson against me.  Given Wilson’s insecurity as the new product of a broken home Sonderman succeeded quickly.

     I met Shardel at the period of his most extreme reaction from having been ejected from the Garden.  He seemed to recognize his mother’s shame, which made her a laughing stock among the women of the town and it oppressed him badly.  He interpreted the disruption of his home as a form of death.  Thus he constantly feigned death or injury.  He was excellent at it.

page 11.

     Once we were up in his mother’s apartment.  Shardel was very stressed.  This apartment of hers formed part of my dreamscapes ever since even to the extent of my having extremely realistic sexual intercourse with her in her bed in my dreams.  She was a very attractive woman.  I still occasionally have intercourse with her in my dreams.  Shard’s mother was really a gorgeous woman.  Oh god, I go on, forgive me.  This was only a one room apartment.  Her bed was in an alcove in the front wall with curtains.  Shardel slept on a couch opposite.  Sometimes when his mother entertained men behind the curtains he turned his face to the wall and wept.

     There is no forgiving the fatuity of his mother.

     The entry was down a half dozen steps.  Shardel had perfected the most extraordinary prat fall down those steps you have ever seen.  No slapstick comedian could have done it better.  He was so good he made you want to imitate him.  I tried and was sorry for it.

     He was also very adept at feigning a heart attack.  It was his favorite.  He would persist too, until someone began to call an ambulance, then he would pop up born again.  His pain didn’t go away and he wasn’t reborn, but the magical import of his act was clear.

     The heart attack routine was funny the first couple times but I quickly grasped the game; I hadn’t been in the orphanage for nothing.  As I could see the Sondermans edging me out I lost all sympathy with Shardel.  The Sondermans, from a different background than mine, were not so quick to catch on.  The last time I saw Shardel try it I refused to believe him but even after having seen it several times the Sondermans were convinced.  They ran upstairs to the phone for an ambulance.

page 12.

     After that Shardel renounced me in favor of the Sondermans so I ceased visiting him.  Just before I left the Sondermans began calling him Char like it was short for Charlotte and he was a girl.  I found that ominous.  As Sonderman had forced me out of the picture he had achieved his goal losing interest in Wilson.  Soon he was back at his post on his front porch a vague smile of satisfaction on his lips.

     As the ninth grade began our relations were quite cold.  I resented the Wilson episode more than anything.  A barrier arose between us; we seldom spoke.  However Hirsh was still working on a means to expiate his guilt.  He came up with a plan to sodomize me.  Perhaps his plan also included murder afterwards but we’ll never know for sure.  In his desperation he was sliding to the left of Law and Order.  According to strict Law and Order tenets he shouldn’t lay hands on me but he was becoming increasingly frustrated.

     Thus one day after school Sonderman and Little were waiting for me under the streetlight as I came home.  They were all smiles and compliments.  I was alert but since I wanted Sonderman’s friendship my suspicions wavered.

page 13.

     They wanted to know if I wanted to go swimming at the Y.  I explained that I thought you had to be a member and I didn’t belong.  They said they did have a YMCA membership and they could get me in on a pass so that was no objection.

     I was reluctant to trust them besides I thought they were talking about some future time but, no, they were talking about right then.

     I made a quick decision with both feet firm.  I said I would get my suit and be right with them.  They said a suit wasn’t necessary.  Only boys used the pool so that suits were not only not necessary but the rules forbade their use.

     As homos go where the boys are I suppose the Y must have had a homosexual reputation from its founding.  I know there were a lot of jokes made about the Y and homosexuality at the time.  As I had no sexual experience I had no idea what homosexuality was except that you didn’t want to be one.  I had been told that it meant boys who liked boys.  As physical sexual conceptions were beyond me this definition made little sense to me.  Heck, I liked boys, how could you have friends without liking boys.

     The Y was down on Melmoth Street.  As we pushed open the doors I expected to see scenes of I knew not what.  There seemed to be nothing to fear.  There were even some girls our age walking around as the Y was actually the center of a social scene.  I guess you’ll also find the girls where the boys are so you can take your pick.  My god, it’s probably even more wide open than that.

page 14.

     The pool was in the basement well below the surface almost as far down as the Goodge St. Station.  There was a steel staircase riveted to a brick wall and it seemed like we descended to the infernal depths.  Finally we descended to the showers and locker room.  I always hated locker rooms.  You sexually liberated types can say what you will about the joys of homosexuality but locker rooms always had that musty faggy atmosphere about them.  They didn’t warn you not to bend over to pick up your soap for nothing.  The smart ones had ropes on their soap.

     As the Field was unknown to me my understanding of what was happening was quite different from what was really going on.  I didn’t know that I was there to be sodomized and possibly drowned.  In an effort to soften me up Little and Sonderman began complimenting the size and shape of my penis all but touching it as they pointed to it with apparent awe.  Even if my ‘equipment’ was that good I didn’t go around complimenting boys about their dongs and I didn’t feel comfortable having mine eulogized over by two guys who had never had a good word for me.

     I was unaware that Hirsh had engaged the pool for the duration  of our visit so I was disappointed to find no one else in the pool.  Just imagine sitting in this seventy-five foot high dressing room.

     As we entered the pool area, the queery poolkeeper, Parker Cleftpied, stood before us.  He was one of the baggy pants queers.  Wore his clothes unkempt and baggy to prevent identification.  He admired all our penises a lot but he didn’t single out mine.  Maybe such admiration was de riguer at the the Y.  He backed before us as we entered eyes fixed on our tiny little boy items salivating at each step.  He explained the use of the pool then vanished through a door on the other side.

page 15.

     There he joined Hirsh who was giddily waiting for the sex show he had planned for himself.  I only know they planned to screw me for sure but it is quite possible they intended to hold me under.  If so Hirsh was disappointed on both counts.  Like Clementine I am no swimmer; I take little pleasure in water, ‘living’ or otherwise.  I don’t even think I went in the water.  Parker Cleftpied and the Sondermans made me uncomfortable so I said something like since we were the only ones there I was going to leave.  Rather than being angry I couldn’t believe how solicitous the Sondermans were; you’d have thought I was their favorite girl.

     I dismissed the whole episode from my mind.

     A week later they invited me back.  Acting on the notion that enough people hadn’t been there they also invited their next door neighbor, Wink Costello.  He had been let in on the situation, also coached, which means that Mr. Costello, the school principal, knew what was going on.

     The scene was the same.  The old pervert, Parker Cleftpied, eyeing us hungrily as he disappeared through his door to join Hirsh,  The addition of Wink did make a difference.  The atmosphere was more relaxed.

     They all went and dove off the springboard at the deep end.  I don’t ever get in the pool that way.  I don’t like water over my head.  I use the steps at the shallow end.  As this was a competition pool there were no steps; there was no shallow end.  I slid off the edge into the deep water.  The trio called me down into the deep end.  I don’t like swimming; my only stroke was and is the dog paddle; even then I detested that.  I hauled myself hand over hand along the edge.  As I did I noticed the door through which the pervert had disappeared open a few inches.  He was watching which aroused my disgust.  I began to be apprehensive.

page 16.

     I no sooner got to the deepend than I was surrounded by the trio.  Costello was on my left, Little on my right and Sonderman directly behind me.  Sonderman wrapped his arm around my neck to steady himself then I felt his prick against my ass tentatively as though to ask my permission.  I realized my danger as Little began describing what they were going to do.  Gangbang my ass.  I realized my danger.  I tried to heave myself up out of the pool.  Sonderman pulled me back down from behind while Little and Costello pulled me down from the shoulders.

     There comes a time when one fear overrides another.  They could keep me from rising but they couldn’t keep me from diving so disregarding my fear of being under water I thrust down, pushing my feet against the side of the pool I propelled myself between Wink and Sonderman out into the middle of the pool.

     My move surprised them.  As I surfaced I told them to leave me alone or I would drown myself in the middle of the pool.  They hesitated so I dog paddled to the other side of the pool, got out, dressed and left.

     Hirsh was disappointed again.  As soon as my attention had been diverted by Sonderman’s grabbing me around the neck the two old perverts had come out to get a better look.  I only had a vague sight of this man in black but subconciously I understood, or I couldn’t be telling you now.

page 17.

     Hirsh was driven frantic by this latest failure.  The need for closure was compelling him to riskier moves.  They tried again a couple weeks later.  This time, as well as myself, Wink, Little and Sonderman, ‘Char’ Wilson was remembered and brought along.

     The inclusion of Shardel was especially cruel.  Hirsh was a vicious man.  Among the men Shardel’s mother had been passed to was our man Hirsh.  So he had screwed Shardel’s mother.  And as a matter of fact he had screwed mine.  In high school years he had made a move on my mother which she had repulsed.  Enraged that a low class immigrant Polack ‘broad’ would reject him Hirsh bided his time, ruined her marriage, and then broke her down in the wreckage of her life.  Hirsh always said he got his way no matter what.

     Perhaps this attitude which included his partner in crime, Old Sonderman, was the cause of their being so disliked.

     Having scewed the women he wished to complete the degradation of their lives by screwing their sons.  Not daring enough to make the attempt himself he used his teenage surrogates.

     I can’t explain why I went again.  Certainly their intentions were clear to me.  Maybe I thought that by wearing my black trunks my ass would be covered.  Otherwise all I can say is I needed to have friends, I was young, a kid.  We use a different logic at that age.  As I had my black trunks on old pervert Parker Cleftpied wouldn’t let me into the pool area.  Hirsh must have loved that but, rules are rules.  I didn’t care but I didn’t feel like walking home alone either so I was dawdling in the locker room when Wink excitedly burst in with a terrified look on his face.  He excitedly exclaimed that Shardel Wilson had drowned.  He wanted me to come quickly.  Well, they weren’t going to get me with that one again.  It didn’t occur to me then that they had surrounded Shardel, attempted to screw him, and then drowned him in a reflex action for what they had planned for me.  I don’t know that that’s true but it is possible.  I assumed the Shardel was playing dead again.  So, with a smile and laugh I stepped into the pool area in my black trunks.

page 18.

     Shardel was floating face down, arms outspread, in the middle of the pool.  Sonderman and Little were holding on to the edge of the pool under the diving board staring at Shardel with terrified expressions.  Must have been the spot they cornholed him.  I just thought it was a good act; nice variation.  I stood there for a full minute laughing and joking waiting for Shardel to blow out his breath and emerge with a laugh.  He didn’t do it.  I laughed and joked for another minute; they weren’t going to catch me out.

     Shardel still didn’t move.  Slowly it dawned on me that he was indeed dead.  His breath had already been blown out.  Immediately I intuited what had happened.  Sonderman had screwed Wilson; Shardel had committed suicide from shame.  I gave Costello, who was standing by, an accusing look.  He thrust his hands out in front of him wagging them as though to push the accusation away.

page 19,

     The Sondermans remained at the end of the pool with their free hands covering the lower half of their faces blowing out through their noses.  Their eyes were wide with terror at the unexpected consequence of their action while their minds reeled, vainly trying to find a way to undo the deed.

     Sonderman, that great natural military leader, wasn’t doing any leading.  It was up to me.  I went through the door on the other side of the pool in search of Parker Cleftpied.  The other door concealed a warren of rooms.  The pool was used for high school swim meets so this was where the swimmers dressed.  The only way out was back through the pool area.  I went from room to room calling for Cleftpied but there was no answer.

     There were an amazing number of rooms which I took one by one.  When I entered the last room as far from the entry as possible I was baffled.  He wasn’t there but he couldn’t have gotten out.  Then I spotted another door over in the corner.  I pulled it open.  It was a mop closet.  And there cowering amongst the dirty mops and buckets were the two old queers.  Cleftpied and Hirsh were clutching each other shivering and crying.

     I was really surprised to find the man in black in there, black suit, tie and all.  They refused to come out of the closet so I closed the door and walked back into the pool area.

     I don’t know who called them but when I got back to the pool a policeman, the same guy who told me to walk my bike through the intersections,  and a couple Y officials were already there.  The cop hadn’t stripped to enter the pool area.  He was standing there in full uniform.  They have that privilege.  The Sondermans and Costello were standing before the cop with their little dicks quivering in fear giving their story.  Somebody asked where Cleftpied was so I pointed to the other door said he was in the last room in a mop closet with some other guy.  They went back and dragged the two old perverts out of the closet.

page 20.

     By then I was back in the locker room.  Through the open space to the pool I could see the cop questioning Hirsh.  The man in black was in anguish.  He was afraid they had him.  He had a handkerchief in his hands that he was twisting round and round just beneath his chin.  He kept his knees together and alternately kicked a leg up behind him.  Somebody was running around asking what he was doing there.  That was never explained.  The whole thing was hushed up; it never appeared in the paper.  Law and Order types have their prerogatives.

     They had missed me again.  However Shardel Wilson wasn’t coming home except in a box.  Although no criminal charges were ever pressed the incident had severe consequences for everyone but me.

      Don’t think this added anything to my baggage.  As Wilson had thrown me over for the Sondermans I didn’t care what happened to him.  Bye, bye Shardel.

     I also rejoiced in the discomfiture of Costello, the Sondermans and the man in black.  Of  course since I didn’t know what this was all about so I was more subdued.

     The two Sondermans took a direct hit.  They were now murderers.  However they consciously reasoned it out, The Shadow knows, their subconcious mind had to accommodate their guilt.  Sonderman had to put it in his Daddy’s box; he became more surly and vicious from this date.  Little was nearly driven frantic.  Old S. laid off the blame for himself to Hirsh and me.

page 21.

     The worst affected was Mrs. Wilson who was now bereft of her only son and comfort as a result of her own folly.  She had by now learned her error, realizing that she was only serving as a whore to a number of vicious men.  The circle of men who believed they had access to her body was widening daily.  I never learned what happened to her but I’m sure it was so bad.  She has my compassion.

     Hirsh himself was given the fright of his life when he was dragged out of the closet to be questioned by the police.  He pulled some strings though, called in some favors, he got through it.  He also blamed me not to mention that he now thought I  knew what he was doing.  He had no idea he was invisible to me.  He became frantic to get me at any cost.

     To my knowledge Wink Costello suffered no adverse reaction, but then, I didn’t ever know him very well.

     The jolliest of the whole lot was old pervert Parker Cleftpied.  This was one of the biggest adventures of his sexual career.  Delicious was one of the words he used.  He thought the whole sex and snuff show that cost Shardel his life was ‘delicious.’  He thought the overwhelming fear he felt clutching onto that divine man in black in the mop closet was too delicious.  He thought all those nude little boys when he came out of the closet were delicious.  The floating nude dead body of Shardel was delicious.  Delicious!  He thought it was all delicious.  A homosexual’s dream.

page 22.

     He went home had a huge dish of Fettucine Alfredo with his own special white sauce, drank close to a whole bottle Of Jim Beam and then passed out on the floor in delirious bliss.  What a perfect day!

     At bottom they all blamed me.  Rather than examine their own evil intentions they reasoned that if I hadn’t been alive none of this would have happened.  Freudian analysis has its limitations.  Their argument was irrefutable on that level, of course.  Both Hirsh and the Sondermans had not only the three train incidents to expiate but now the failed rape of me and the inadvertent murder of Wilson.  My sacrifice was absolutely demanded.

     I do not know what soul searching Hirsh and the Sondermans went through but the evidence of this next location in the Constellation indicates they were pushed to the limits of Law and Order.  They may even have been over the line.  Anxiety was taking its toll.

     Mr. Sonderman had been so incensed at the psychological reaction of his sons that he himself took part in the next crime.  The whole crew would take direct action, in fact.  In their frenzy there would be a transition from strict Law and Order to a form of Southern Willfulness.  They were just short of Mafia lawlessness.

     Ever fertile of invention Hirsh next set up an attempt at the homecoming game at State.  You can trace Hirsh’s deteriorating judgment in his inability to control the variables from true precision on the trestle through the progressive deteriorization of the rape attempts to the farce of the State game.  His chances of success were miniscule.  The State game was a knee jerk reaction.

page 23.

     Simmering with resentment at his sons’ distress Mr. Sonderman himself came out under the streetlight to call me to him.  Old S never spoke to me unless it was unavoidable.  I thought he wanted to beat me.

     Just as the Old Sod had readily accepted his son’s story that I had smashed up the pinball machine he now transferred the result of the failed swimming escapade to me.  I was the culprit.  No punishment would be too great for me.  He was no longer willing to allow his sons to be the tools of Hirsh but he was willing for his family to be my psychopomps.

     Unaware of the evil in his heart I accepted his greeting as he told me that he and the boys were going down to the homecoming game at State.  He said he had an extra ticket.  He offered to give me the ticket.  I said thanks but I didn’t have anyway to get there.  Oh no, he said in as affable a manner as he was capable of, he meant that I was to be their guest.

     I was breathless at the chance to go to the State game but I was of two minds regarding Sonderman.  I knew on a fairly conscious level that Shardel Wilson had only been a surrogate for me; I was the intended victim.  Still, my longing for that perfect Tom Sawyer childhood made me hope I could work things out with them.  Maybe they were sorry, I mean, I was OK.  Surely they would see that soon.

page 24.

     Whatever misgivings I had I threw to the winds.  I should have known, I suppose I did know, but so what, this was all I knew; this was the environment in which I lived my life.  This was the way it had always been.  I knew how to handle it; I was surviving every attempt to injure me.  I had no idea where else to go.  This was my life.  This was the context in which I had to live it.  Hope springs eternal in the human breast.

     I knew that the Sondermans had never done anything but try to injure me but I wanted to go to that State game.  I have never been down South to either State or the University.  I equated State with the Corbenic Hotel.  I didn’t know anyone at the Royal Palms who had ever been to college.  I knew that Tuistad and my mother would never take me.

     I find it impossible to reconstruct Tuistad and my mother’s relationship to society.  They bore grudges against Old S and Hirsh and they picked up information on the grapevine to which I was not privy.  The only time they spoke to me was to tell me what to do.  My mother didn’t want me to go to State.  She had also never wanted me to associate with Sonderman.  Whether she had heard something of Mr. S’s intentions on the grapevine or whether it was because of their old grudge against him or whether she was jealous that I would have a good time I am unaware.  I attributed her objections to jealousy.

     After very serious pleading she said she wouldn’t stop me but I wanted five dollars to eat on the way back as Sonderman said they were going to stop.  My mother absolutely refused to let me have a penny.  I had never had one red cent from Tuistad and her from the time I left the orphanage.  I walked around in such cheap threadbare clothing I was embarrassed.  I was dressed better in the Children’s Home for chrissakes.  I shouldn’t have been seen in public, really.

page 25.

     I was a good kid.  I was more than a good kid.  I was more than patient and forebearing.  I was a paragon of Christian virtues.  I did so much work around the house I should have been allowed five dollars a week let alone this once.  I didn’t care whether the Depression was going to come back or not.  Now, once, just once in my life I wanted five dollars for something I really wanted to do and she wouldn’t give it to me.

     Without the five dollars prudence forbade me to go.  I would only risk humiliating myself.  But, ask a man dying of thirst not drink brackish water; you won’t get very far.

     I knew I could get by without refreshments at the Stadium.  I thought I might be able to tap Mr. Sonderman for dinner or at least borrow a minimum amount from Sonderman; he always had money.  The temptation of a trip to see a football game at State was too strong.  I had to take the risk or never go to a State game ever.

     Because I remember this so well since the integration of my personality doesn’t mean it was this clear to me at the time.  All of this was half remembered, half forgotten and none of it was analyzed.  If I had known the State game was a consequence of the swimming incident I wouldn’t have gone– maybe.  I didn’t connect the presence of Hirsh at the pool with his involvement there.  I didn’t even suspect Sonderman of being involved with him.  I only deduced all this when my liberated mind began organizing the Constellation.

page 26.

     I knew I was innocent of destroying the pinball machine and damaging the rug so I thought that, perhaps, Old Sod learned the truth and was trying to make it up to me.  I certainly had no idea that Mr. Sonderman wanted vengeance on me because his son had murdered Shardel Wilson.

     My memory of the trip downstate is pretty vague except that I was bubbling over with enthusiam.  Once we got there I found the college atmosphere a dreamscape.  The place was everything a college should be.  I walked in open mouthed wonder.  The stadium was the biggest thing I had ever seen.  The walls seemed to rise and shimmer.  There was nothing like it upstate.  Downstate was so much richer.

     When we entered I started for the first row on the fifty yard line because I just assumed that Old S was so important that that’s where the seats would be.  Imagine my surprise when we headed for an end zone and climbed and climbed and climbed.  We came closer to the stars than those little cable cars in San Francisco that Tony Bennett sings about.  You couldn’t even see the field let alone the players.

     I was impolite enough to remark on the poor quality of the seats.  I had always been told how superior the Sondermans were; I suppose I half believed it.  On that basis I really expected seats front row, fifty.  The Old Sod’s reputation suffered serious erosion on that day.   Sonderman also sunk in my estimation.  Little couldn’t get any lower.

page 27.

     Although disappointed in the Sondermans the quality of the seats didn’t bother me all that much.  I didn’t care that much about football anyway.  It was just something too much to be there at State.

     We were only three rows from the top of the stadium.  Boy, we might as well have been in the Goodyear Blimp.  The way down to the field was very distant and very steep; a good shove and a guy would tumble a long way before he came to a painful stop.  Sonderman made a couple of prepared jokes about how far a guy would tumble or, turning and pointing to the top ledge of the stadium what a long drop and sudden stop could do to a person’s skeletal structure.

      I was young and had un undeveloped awareness that people always telegraph their intentions- it’s a psychological necessity- with some such remark.  But something in the way he said it reminded me of his remarks on the railroad trestle.  I scented danger.  Little, the evil little twit, joined in the banter.  I didn’t like the way he looked at me when he said that it wasn’t the fall that hurt you; it was the sudden stop.  That was too clever for Little by half.

     When you’re up that high in the stadium you spend the whole game standing on your seat as everyone if front of you is standing on theirs.  I was too short to see over people in front of me so I stood there just kind of looking around.

     Suddenly I was bombarded by spitballs and received a hard shove from behind that threw me into the people in front of me.  At the same time the Sondermans moved away from me looking out on the crowd as though they didn’t know me.  Old S himself totally ignored me.  I found this strange at the time; I had never associated him at all with the previous murder attempts.  It never occurred to me that he was on the planning board.

page 28.

     When I looked back to where the spitballs had come from I found the entire section had been cleared out.  Up on the walkway was the jeering crowd of Hirshes.  I was astounded to see so many of them there although then as now the Hirshes had no faces.  I couldn’t identify them by name then nor can I now.  My psychopomps had gotten me there for Hirsh; they moved a littler further away from me.

     The notion, of course, was that I was to become enraged and chase the Hirshes along the top of the stadium.  I was supposed to go over the top to my death on a fall to the concrete before the ticket gate.   Perhaps I had been tipped off by the jokes of the Sondermans or perhaps this had been going on so long I knew better than to make a rash respnse.

     As I dodged the spitballs I came up with two alternatives.  In one the Hirshes pretended we were friends and dared me to walk along the ledge on the wall.  This would have been consistent with Hirsh’s acro obsession.  At Pfeffercorn Island the test was on the ledge above the dam; at the Shield, a train trestle twenty feet above the creek.  As I said Hirsh’s mind must have been balanced on the edge of a razor blade.  He must have been in constant fear of either staying on or falling off.  Perhaps he was using sympathetic magic to save himself through me.

page 29.

     As I imagine it, assuming I had taken the dare, one of the Hirshes would have rushed gainst my legs claiming that he thought I was falling and he was trying to save me as he pushed me over.

     Failing that plan, which was positive, the other negative alternative I could visualize was that I rush to the top in anger to pursue the Hirsh spitballers; they close in on me and toss me over in self-defense.  The crowd roars at the action on the field; the Hirshes close behind me as though nothing had happened, the body of a thirteen year old boy without identification is found dead on the concrete and nobody saw anything happen.   They were all watching the game.  The Sondermans didn’t know what had happened to me; first I was there and then I wasn’t.  Pretty neat except for all the loose ends.

     It was probably just as well for the Hirshes that their plan didn’t work for there would have been two bodies smashed on the concrete one of which wouldn’t have been mine, maybe neither.  The Hirshes had been after me for a lot of years.  A lot happened that doesn’t figure into the Sonderman Constellation so it hasn’t been told.  I had learned the physical laws of push and shove.  I knew how to grab hold of the other guy use him for leverage to regain my balance and place him where he intended to place me.  I had already chucked one of them off a dock into the water in similar circumstances.  Had they won in the stadium it wouldn’t have been a cheap victory.  One body could be passed over; two would have to be investigated.

     Up to this point Hirsh had been a fairly strict Law and Order man.  As psychopomps the Sondermans were removed from the actual entourage.  As Old S would no longer let them stooge for Hirsh, Hirsh was reduced to implicating his own people.  Further this would have been no apparently accidental death but hand on murder from which he hoped to extricate himself and his.  Thus he was well over the line of Law and Order, even that of Southern Willfulness and into the red of Mafia Lawlessness.

     Hirsh was a criminal.

page 30

     I was pelted with spitballs until the people in front of me got angry at being hit in the back.  A couple threats from the men toned the Hirshes down.  I was so used to the Hirsh tactics I never questioned how they had known I was there nor did it occur to me that they were in league with the Sondermans.  That may seem strange but when you don’t want to face the facts that’s how denial works.  That was an affect of my mental block.

     On the long way down to the field it seemed that the Sondermans resented the fact that I was still there.  As they really thought I would have been thrown over the top my presence once again was a reminder of failed evil.  As the closure had taken place in their minds before we got there they no longer wanted me along.

     I began to wish I had listened to my mother.  I was at a loss.  Why had they invited me?  The anwer only became apparent later when I found the location in the Sonderman Constellation of my memory filed under– Shirts.

     They really didn’t know what to do with me when we got back in the car.  Old Sod had a couple calls to make so I was given a pretty good tour of the campus area.  As it turned out Old S and Hirsh had continued on from Valley High to State so the Sod was on a sentimental journey.  He lovingly pointed out various details of his past for his sons’ admiration.

page 31.

     I was made to wait in the car while they made their calls.  I have no proof that one of the calls was made for some emergency planning with Hirsh, but it seems pretty obvious one was.  Thus even though I wasn’t aware of it I still had plenty of reason for apprehension.

     Then we drove down to the campus shopping street where they were to eat.  Before the so-called student revolution of the sixties and seventies had destroyed these areas there were wonderful shops reminiscent of the turn of the century.  They sold all those wonderful collegiate styles of clothing that the Hippie style drove from the shops before I had a chance to buy them.

     Thus we entered this spectacular restaurant.  This place was very ahead of the Corbenic which now seemed small town, absolutely Hicksville.  The place was designed in Old English style with all that mahogony paneling, green plush, tapestries and all that was de rigeur before the immigrant cultures at war with the Anglos replaced it with pizza parlors and taco stands.  Ironically the style survives albeit transformed into the quintessential hamburger stand as McDonald’s replaces all the rathskellars on American campuses.

     Now, pay close attention.  Here comes the real crux of the matter.  This is the reason why.  If it seems too trivial then your complaint is not with me but to the nature of the human mind.  This is the exact time and place when Sonderman jelled as my Animus.  The problem I dwelt on at the time and later was that I didn’t have any money to spend for dinner, but that wasn’t it.  Reconstructing the scene now I realize that the money was an inconsequential detail.  The real thing was that I had blundered into what was supposed to be my own wake.

     When Old S met with Hirsh on one of those stops he was told to bring me along where I would be properly humiliated.  The restaurant was filled with Hirshes.  This was to have been their victory celebration after having finally gotten rid of me.  I should have been dead and here I was walking in as big as life.  I can only guess that they were pretending I was dead as they had left no room for me.

     The restaurant was completely full.  The maitre d’, one of which I had never seen before, led us to the last available booth.  It was one of those huge semicircular booths that curve around forever seating six.  I followed after the three others who rushed in ahead of me.

     Mr. Sonderman took a seat tightly on the end of the left side.  Little clambered in followed by Sonderman who sat tightly on the edge of the right side.  Thus they must have planned this on one their two stops.  As the booth sat six it had probably been intended for the Sonderman and Hirsh families.

     Even though a space nearly as wide as the railroad trestle was vacant in the center they would neither move over nor let me in.  I threatened to climb over the table to which they sneeringly replied that they would like to see me make such a fool of myself.  Given the choice between that and letting them make a fool of me I should have chosen the former but I didn’t have what it took.

page 32.

     The Old Sod coldly suggested I wait outside.  This staggered my mind so much that I must have swept the suggestion aside.  This must be where I began to get angry.

     In the meantime I was left standing in the middle of the floor.  I was amazed to find all the little Hirshes dancing around me hurling insults at me.  I couldn’t understand how we had stumbled into a restaurant where they all happened to be.  The truth was just too obvious for me to grasp.  Damn that mental block.

     In desperation I sat on the very edge next to Sonderman facing out into the restaurant clinging on for dear life fearing I would slip off at any moment.  What they wanted was to see me standing on the outside in the cold looking in.

     So money was not my problem.  Even if I had had the five dollars there was no place at this spacious table for me.  I don’t know what choice I had but I obtusely refused to understand the true situation.  I mean, I was actually begging the Old Sod to buy me a dinner.  So I could do what?  Eat it on the floor?

     His excuse, and I remember it well, was why would he buy dinner for another man’s son?  I was staggered by this response.  I had no idea of the layers of revenge that were being enacted.  I didn’t know that both Hirsh and Mr. Sonderman had grudges against my mother and real father.  Back in their high school days my mother had refused to put out for Hirsh which he never forgave and sometime later my father knocked him down.  These two Old Sods went way back.

page 33.

     I didn’t know what was behind Old S’s refusal but I was being harassed by the Hirshes who were kicking at my feet trying to knock me off my perch.  Sonderman was giving me the same dispassionate stare that the had given me on the trestle.  Little was beside himself with excitement.  My mind was reeling. In the circumstances things were flying past so fast I didn’t have time to express each and every strand of my emotions; all my retorts tumbled beneath each other unexpressed.  My mind was filled with conflicting responses.  I might easily have asked the old fraud why he gave another man’s son a free ticket and brought him down to State as a friend of his own sons.  Little did I know he would have had a ready answer.  If he didn’t think well enough of me to at least help out with a loan of enough money for dinner, why bother?  It would have made his own experience more pleasant.  Even if he had to wait until I caddied next summer I would have been willing to pay him back double.  But then, I had no idea how much he was enjoying himself.  His thoughts were back on his high school days when he had developed his grudge against my parents.

     Sonderman could have loaned me enough to buy a coke.  I mean, where’s that at?  But then, I was unaware of the Field.  I should have known I was being set up, especially when I was clinging to the edge of the seat watching the Hirshes run around me I noticed the man in black who I had noticed so many times before, most recently in the mop closet after Shardel Wilson’s murder, staring at me ruefully directly opposite me at a one man table by the door, as he chuckled quietly to himself.

page 34.

     Yes, this was Hirsh.  I knew then, I intuited that the Sondermans knew who this guy was.  Mr. Sonderman in a bald faced lie said that he had never seen the man before in his life.  These are the people who thought they were better than me.  I could see that he was lieing so I turned to Sonderman for an explanation.  He wagged his head no and shrugged his shoulders.  Even if our relationship wasn’t as friendly as I wanted he had no right to lie to me like that.  My distrust and dislike of him took seed at that moment as his silly face floated up to place itself as my Animus.  Strange the seed should take so long to flower.

     Hirsh?  Where was this guy coming from?  What sort of juvenile madness fixated his soul?  What great perversion dominated his intellect?  What had I done to him?  I didn’t do anything to him.  What I had done was defend my right against his son.  Yes! My crime was that I had refused to accept the place in society assigned by the great Hirsh.

     For decades I wondered how my self-assertion had triggered such a maniacal response is this man.  Oddly enough I found the answer in the Iliad of Homer which Old S had insisted I read.  On my seventh reading a passage finally registered in my consciousness.  In it Artemis had talked back to Hera.  The old queen became enraged that Artemis would talk back to her superiors.  Artemis didn’t know her place.  So what it was was a simple temper tantrum on the part of the Old Queen because I had dared to assert my rights against his majesty.  He had a queen for a role model.  He had a distorted notion of his own importance.  He may have been a queen but he wasn’t royal.

     The Christian name of Hirsh was David.  He had a son my age named Michael.  I was in grade school with Michael.  The Hirshes were or had been among the wealthiest families in the Valley.  David’s grandfather, Baruch, had established the town’s department store.  Baruch’s son Solomon had consolidated his father’s success.  However the Hirshes had great difficulty adjusting to post-war competitive realities.  National chains had reduced their store from one of supremacy to one of hanging on for life.  David and Michael would never inherit the commercial temple Baruch and Solomon had built.  At the time of this story the Hirshes were rapidly losing their influence.  They still had enough to bend an old loser like Mr. Sonderman to their will.

     When I was five years old I was in kindergarten with Michael.  The Valley was a closed conservative town.  A number of people assumed a dignity that was based on nothing apparent.  None of them had the class they thought they did but they talked about it enough so that class seemed familiar to them.  They thought they knew what it was and that they had it.  The Sondermans sitting in their dirty house thought they were the epitome of it.  It was sort of like a midget talking about being seven feet tall then bending over to pass through doorways.  It just kind of made you laugh but you still had to deal with it.

page 35.

     Anyway because of my mother’s contretemps with Gentleman David Hirsh she had been shown her place which was pretty close to the bottom.  She accepted it without a demur.  I certainly did not feel bound by my mother’s decision but Hirsh thought I was.

     As the son the Valley’s first citizen, for so Hirsh considered himself, Michael was the self-appointed leader of kindergarten class.  He was given paramount treatment by others, the teacher and his elite fellows.  he was being groomed by his father to be the future ‘first citizen’ of the Valley.  As the leader of the ‘best’ kids in the class he had been putting me down all year.  Because of his father’s clash with my mother and father I had already been made the actual dunce of the class and would in all likelihood had accpted the role and remained so all my life had not Hirsh inadvertently delivered me from my thralldom.

     Because of his treatment I was down, thoroughly dejected and rejected, beaten up pretty good.  Then, this was during the War at the time of Stalingrad and the height of the holocaust, a couple Black kids, three to be exact, although one of them was pretty old, were going to be enrolled in class.  During the War they brought a lot of Black people up from the South to work in our factories as all the Whites were off fighting the Axis.  Hirsh was horrified that his son  would come into contact with Black kids.  We were all sternly admonished by Michael that in no circumstances were we to play with the Black kids.

     I was already in their status.  It was forbidden to include me in games.  I didn’t need more trouble so I wasn’t going to resist.  Then Michael said we weren’t even to speak the them.  That seemed unfair, rebellious thoughts began to stir in my head.  Now, for some time I had been ordered to be the last kid to leave the classroom for recess so by the time I got outside Michael Hirsh and the gang of the ‘best’ kids had the Black kids sitting on the edge of the sandbox where they were being told to remain throughout recess.  Good thing for the Black kids there were no ropes around, we had plenty of trees.

     page 36.

     Coming out I walked up just as Michael was shaking his finger in their faces.  He had told them to sit on the edge of the sandbox all recess long and not move a finger.  I thought that was outrageous.  I told him off.  Seeking an alliance with the Black kids I offered to fight Michael and all the rest of the ‘best’ kids with them.  There was my offence.  There was the cause of all the persecution.  I defied the son of the great, the mighty, the giant among men, David Hirsh.  For this act of defiance in kindergarten David Hirsh had been trying to kill me for eight years.  For no offence against him at all that moron Sonderman was helping him.  Surprised at my show of resistance Michael swallowed hard then backed away into the security of his gang.  That was one of those fatal errors where one surrenders one’s authority forever.  The move cost him his leadership but the Black kids left me hanging out to dry.  I was all alone out there.

     Imagine my crime.  Me, a lowly member of society had insulted the dignity of the mighty Hirsh dynasty by asserting my dignity in the ‘Arsenal of Freedom.’  What a crime.

page 37.

     As the year was at an end they threatened to take revenge on me in First Grade.  I moved out of this school district that year to my great relief.  I thought I was safe.  To my horror, the next spring I was moved back into my old school district just after Hitler put a bullet through his brain.  My return at the end of the First Grade surprised them so they had to wait until the second grade to retaliate.

     They gave me no peace over summer vacation.  I was at my foster home with the Johnsons that summer so I didn’t know anyone as the Hirshes had told everyone it was forbidden to play with me.  I was pretty battered and disconsolate as the second grade began.  One the first day it was made clear to me that I was to be chastened at recess.  Once again I was told to be the last kid out of class.  Once out on the playing field of our little school I was enclosed in a semi-circle by Michael Hirsh and the ‘best.’  Michael advised me of my offence in defending the ‘niggers.’  He said I would have to suffer their fate.  I would have to be his nigger and niggers never have any rights.  From that day on I was stripped of any right.  That wasn’t taking much away but probably something.

     Michael ordered me to step forward.  I did.  As I began to raise my foot he ordered me to stop and remain frozen in that position for the duration of recess.  It was equivalent to the ‘niggers’ sitting on the edge of the sandbox.  To my shame, which ceased being eternal when I discovered this fixation, I complied.  However the crime of Michael Hirsh was so severe that he murdered my personality.  No small thing.  The person I had been died that recess.  I lost my identity.  My shame was so great that I suppressed the memory so thoroughly that it was encapsulated in my mind as a fixation while I was never able to recognize any of them again.  In fact nearly any unpleasant person or situation was immediately voided from my conscious mind to my subconscious thereafter.  It was as though what had just happened had never happened.  I developed a strange character in which I could talk to someone who had given me a gross insult as though nothing had been said.  But the speaker was dead to me; it was as though I were talking to a ghost.  I couldn’t remember him even as I talked to him.  Hence I can remember events in accurate detail but I cannot recall most people.  This psychological fact may be difficult to understand but it is true.

     page 38

     I suppose they expected me to apologize to them and accept further punishment in the assumption of my role as their ‘nigger.’  But the Challenge presented to my as yet unformed Animus was so strong my Response had been psychological suicide.  My Animus died.  It was impossible for me to even recognize them in class so they continued to persecute me forever after; not only through Junior High and high school but even in my Navy career and possibly to the present day.  The legacy lives on.

     This second grade incident was my central childhood fixation.  When I was able to uncover it at the age of forty-eight layer after layer of subordinated suppressed experience came to light.  Many memories were actually more injurious than the central fixation but had been rendered less harmful in relation to it.  In addition many layers of Responses had been distorted to conform with my fixation.  Nor were the memories stored in chronological order but in layers of importance related to the central fixation.  There was a great exhilaration of relief as the fixation was uncovered until my memories began to rearrange themselves into my new reality.

page 39.

      Thus without psychiatric treatment I was one of Dr. Leary’s untreated who got better on ‘their own.’  I found the cure that Tim was unable to discover for himself.  Further I was much better off without drugs than Tim was with them.  When I say drugs I am sure that you will include only illicit drugs.  Don’t limit the topic.  Drugs also includes all those prescription items that killed Elvis Presley.  Those same legal drugs that you think you need to deal with reality.  Drugs are drugs whether illegal LSD or prescription prozac.  The nature of drugs doesn’t change because a doctor prescribes them.  Don’t kid yourself.  They all inhibit the ability of the mind to deal with reality.  If you have any throw them away.

     As strange as it may seem I have no regrets for my painful resistance to the Hirshes.  No matter how much pain I endured or the blight they placed on my later life I was ragged but I was right.  They were evil people; the very face of evil.  It is every man’s duty to resist evil.  My resistance was absolutely justified.  I had rather suffer whatever I incurred than to have submitted to their injustice.  Law and Order be damned.  What price Liberty?

     Mentally all subsequent experience was subordinated to that central fixation.  The memories existed on two different levels.  One was vital and organic.  In the other I could examine a clear snapshot of scenes, as it were.  They were inorganic, distorted and filed behind my fixations.  As layer after layer of repressed memory came to light the image of my Anima, Ange, appeared.  Strangely a true understanding of her had been deposited at the very bottom of my mental rubble.  Now that my mind had been united and swept clean of the debris of decades the only things remaining were the Angeline Constellation of my Anima and the Sonderman Constellation of my Animus.

page 40.

     My mind filled like the dark vault of heaven with a million stars of memory, took shape for me.  It came into focus, like some ancient astronomer here am I arranging patterns in my memories to form the Sonderman Constellation that makes the Animus of my psyche.

     As I sat watching Hirsh laugh at me I saw him make a signal to Mr. Sonderman.  The food was about to be served.  Mr. Sonderman didn’t just suggest I wait outside.  I might as well make a clean breast of it no matter how much it hurts.  I was put outside.  I was not to be allowed in the same room with them while they were eating.

     Mr. Sonderman ordered me to wait outside until they finished.  With one eye on Hirsh I indignantly refused.  Old S then nodded to Sonderman who slid over pushing me off my perch onto the floor.  I sprawled out on the floor to the merriment, laughter and pointings of the Hirshes.  I started to laugh along with them but then I must have gone into a daze.

     Sonderman prepared to resist my regaining the edge at any cost.  He was willing to embarrass himself and his family for Hirsh.  I felt sorry for him.  I could see no utility in fighting for the edge and I couldn’t just stand around in the middle of the floor making a spectacle of myself for the surrounding Hirshes.  I bit the bullet retreating outside.

page 41.

     This was late November.  I don’t know how many times mothers remind their sons to take jackets because it will get colder at night.  Whether I forgot or Sonderman said I wouldn’t need one, possibly a grim joke, a little dark humor, I can’t remember, but I needed one.  I walked shivering up and down outside the mahogany stained mullions of the windows of this quality restaurant.  Hirsh sitting against the window turned languidly from time to time to unsmilingly observe my pacing back and forth shivering in the cold while he and his sat in the warm good cheer of the restaurant.  I bet it wasn’t as warm as that closet at the Y.

     How do you explain such a pervert among perverts?  If his god was dumping on him, depriving him of his honors, then he richly deserved it.  Had either he or his been worthy it wouldn’t have happened.  I didn’t deprive his chicken son of his position in kindergarten; Michael deprived himself.  All he had to do was fight; he was too cowardly.

     And what of Hirsh?  So brave and energetic in punishing a mere boy a third his size.  So courageous now in using his tools, the Sondermans, to humiliate me.  How could anyone respect a man who got into a closet to hide with an old queer.  How was he going to hide?  Even when he had to face the music he stood like an old fairy twisting his handkerchief, knees together, kicking his legs up backward in knee jerk fashion.  What a powerful guy!

page 42.

     The very sight of him disgusted and angered me as I paced up and down in the cold.  He angered me.  Then a fear passed over my mind.  Perhaps they intended to abandon me.  They might drive off without me.  I was far from home without even a nickel for a collect call back home.  Even then Tuistad and my mother probably would have refused the call saying I got myself into the situation so I could get myself out.

     I walked back to where the car was parked.  I stood with my hand on the door handle so I couldn’t be left.  Good thing too.

     As I shivered in the cold, resentment of years and years of mistreatment began to well up in me.  I hadn’t ever done anything to anybody.  I began to become indignant.  I was indignant because Hirsh was laughing at me.  I was indignant because I had been on the edge of the seat while all the little Hirshes could point at me laughing and mocking my plight.  I was really indignant at Sonderman for refusing to make room for me.  I was indignant because this guy who I thought was my best friend wouldn’t even loan me a dime for a coke.  I was indignant at having been ousted into the cold and getting colder.  I was so indignant I learned a lesson; no matter how desperate I might be in the future I would never ask anyone for anything or place myself in their power.  I would rather die first.  Up everyone’s.

     Just as I suspected the Sondermans got in on the other side of the car refusing to open the door for me.  Old S started the car to drive away.  I shouted for him to let me in but the old pervert shouted back no.  I vowed to hang onto the handle and let them drag me down the street until I fell off.  I would have too.  That was too much for the old bastard; too many witnesses were around.  He stopped the car and let me in.

page 43.

     My indignation didn’t let up.  I became increasingly intemperate on the way back venting torrents of indignation on Sonderman, Little and their father.  Murderers that they were they maintained a facade that I didn’t appreciate what they had done for me.  What they had done for me! I couldn’t articulate my rage, I was becoming increasingly tongue tied so I couldn’t accuse them of the attempts at murder and sodomy but my indignation grew apace.

     By the time we drove into their driveway we were shouting at each other.  As we piled out of the car Sonderman and I were swinging at each other.  I don’t remember any blows being landed.  I was ordered away as an ingrate while I vowed never to speak to traitors like them again.  I was indignant, I meant it.

     I would have maintained the attitude but once again Sonderman came to me.  Shortly after the game at State Sonderman allowed himself to be used in an attempt to get me thrown off the Door Monitor staff.  As the Patrol Boys were an eighth grade perquisite, the Hall and Door Monitors were a ninth grade perquisite.

      I knew better but as I was always hungry for honors I applied to be a Hall Monitor.  I’d been waiting since seventh grade.  Never in my life will I ever be able to imagine anthing more prestigious than being a Hall Monitor.  I may as well add that being a ninth grader has always been for me the crown of creation.  No other year in life has such significance; not even being a senior in high school or graduating from college.  After ninth grade it’s all down hill.

page 44.

     As a Hall Monitor was a shining exemplar for the seventh and eigth graders before we left childhood for what follows I wanted to play that role.

     Hall Monitors maintained order in the hallways between classes.  They stood in the halls at intervals to prevent students from harassing each other.  We must have been an irascible bunch if one judges from the precautions the teachers took.

    Being a Hall Monitor was a very prestigious role.  The Hirsh group took it as their prerogative.  Only they or those they permitted served.  All the machinations that went on in the Field were beyond my ken but judging from appearances and results the Hirshes were successful in representing my dismissal from Patrol Boys and my subsequent bizarre behavior as reasons to keep me off the Hall Monitors.  In the language of the fifties I was ‘controversial’ which meant untouchable.  The fifties hated controversy which is why it is described as conformist.

     I was unable to join.  That was probably just as well for my own reputation and mental health.  Standing in the middle of the hall I would have been an easy target.  It wouldn’t have taken them more than a week to create a row that would have served as an excuse to remove me.

     There was an alternative.  In the morning before classes the entries were staffed by Door Monitors who admitted teachers and Hall Monitors before the doors were thrown open for general admittance.  The role was much less prestigious than Hall Monitor.  The administration found it difficult to staff it completely.  There was always an opening.

page 45.

     I was accepted.  I was given a post with three others at the right back doors.  The big bank of front doors where the principal entered was the preserve of the ‘in’ Door Monitors, those who had just missed being Hall Monitors or who hoped to replace one during the year.  I was never assigned there.  My presence was only grudgingly accepted at any of the doors.  Nevertheless before the State game things were going acceptably.  I was happy and content.

     Before the State game the Hirsh Hall Monitors had shown resentment at my opening the door for them.  After the State game that resentment increased.  First they heaped little indignities on me which I brushed aside but then Louis Schriver made a grand play to discredit me.  The ploy was a minor variation on the Patrol Boy ruse.

     When a Monitor approached I swung the door open far enough for him to enter then quickly closed it behind him.  Wiseguys would occasionally try to outwit the Door Monitor rushing in behind an entrant so there was a minor contest to beat the Monitor.  Schriver organized a group of kids, grabbed the door holding it open to allow them all to rush inside.  The idea was that I wasn’t capable of performing my job.  Schriver made the mistake of doing it in front of the other three Door Monitors who witnessed against him although we were both called on the carpet.  Schriver was given a reprimand.  I wasn’t thrown off the Door Monitors probably only because there weren’t enough applicants but I was made a ‘floating’ monitor.  In other words I wasn’t given a permanent location but filled in whenever someone was sick.  I guess they hoped I would take the hint and go away.  No such luck.

     The Hirshes had to go to Plan B, Sonderman.  He allowed himself to be enstooged again.

     Sonderman had belittled me for accepting the post of a lowly Door Monitor.  I was amazed therefore when a week or so after Schriver made a fool of himself Sonderman enlisted as a Door Monitor.

     We hadn’t spoken since we swung on each other getting out of the car.  Sonderman was now very stressed.  The box his father had put him in plus the guilt of the attempted murder on me and the actual murder of Shardel Wilson had placed a great strain on his psyche.  He was much darker and raging continually, much closer to the surface.

     When Sonderman joined, the attitude toward me became more vicious.  Efforts were instigated to drive me off the corps but I held on tenaciously.  I had rights too, even if I was the only one who thought so.  I ignored the insults.  Matters were brought to a head one morning when I was assigned Sonderman’s door.  I was extremely annoyed that Sonderman as a new Monitor was given a permanent post while I, with both seniority and service- I had never missed a day- was kept on only as a floater.

     When I was assigned his door that morning I should have known trouble was in store but I couldn’t be aware of the Field.  Sonderman began by showing his teeth, trying to get his sullen resentment out.  He muttered abusive remarks half under his breath, half uttered as verbal thoughts and half spoken to me.  Man, he didn’t have anything to be resentful about; I was the injured party.  Don’t think I didn’t know it; my own resentment bubbled up.  I said some rather sharp things in his direction.

page 46.

     Our quips became loud insults.  I was not consciously aware of the anger I felt toward him because of the trains, Y and State game but I let fly a couple trenchant remarks let loose from deep within my subconscious; they really did the job.

     The dark side of Sonderman flipped up like a flag in a taxi.  Perhaps he had transferred his hostility toward his father to me; exonerating his father and blaming me.  Perhaps he tried to resolve his conflicts by projecting them on me.  At any rate an impotent rage foamed up on his lips.  He let out an immense bellow of pain.

     He didn’t swing at me but he raised his fists close to his chest in a threat, trying to get me to throw the first punch and therefore take the blame as the aggressor.  A common ploy of the Law and Order crowd.  Amazed I backed up a couple steps.  I knew I had more to lose in a fight than he did.  I knew he was ‘an asset to the class’ and I wasn’t.  I would be blamed and he exonerated.  I retreated down the hall before him trying to calm him down, if a man can be calmed by further insults.  But, they were clever insults.  Law and Order taunts.

     It cannot be a coincidence that this happened just as the principal entered.  Sonderman must have received a signal from outside that the principal was coming when he began to harangue me.

page 47.

     Just as we drew abreast of the Front Doors Sonderman with his back toward the door punched out at me so that his punches couldn’t be seen from behind.  Clearly the intent was to get me to take a couple swings which the principal would see thus making me the aggressor.  Sonderman was taking his L&O training much better than that klutz, Schriver.

     As the principal who I could see entered we were just shouting at each other.  Then we quickly separated and were taken into the principal’s office for a dressing down.  I was insulting dismissed from responsibility because as he said, nothing better was expected of me.

     I took that very personally because I was a very good kid.  I had never caused any trouble.  Any careful investigation of the Patrol Boy incident would have shown that none of the fault was mine; heck, they didn’t even investigate it.  This was certainly the first time I had been before him.  His attitude could only have been the result of malignant gossip; he shouldn’t even have known who I was.

     Fortunately I wasn’t dismissed from the corps.  Whether because knowledgeable teachers interceded for me or because I was too valuable for never being absent and willing to be a floater, I don’t know.  At any rate Sonderman quit since he couldn’t pull the same trick twice without discrediting himself while things settled down for me as the Hirshes gave up that fight.

     I have no further memories of Sonderman in the ninth grade.  As far as I considered it our friendship was over.  Rather than having copied him as he charged it can easily be seen that he either  followed my lead or induced me to become interested in what he was doing.

     Junior High was over but my troubles with Hirsh and Sonderman were just beginning.  Now I had to get through High School.  No easy task.  That guy Hirsh had resources, man, that guy had resources.

End Chapter III, The Psychodrama.

Go to Chapter IV, The Psychosis