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Category Archives: Hitchhiking

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

Clip 13

     Now, Leda gave birth to two eggs.  The other egg contained the female twins, Clytemnestra and Helen, she of Troy.  Thus the two women represent Spring and Autumn, or the Equinoxes, while the males  represent Winter and Summer or the Solstices.  Helen, of course, is Spring the ever beautiful while Clytemnestra is the hag at the end of the year.

     These four  divisions were obvious facts.  The cross in the circle represents the four turning points of the year. The problem was to know exactly where you were in the year so you could regulate farming or take advantage of the migrations of animals.

     The answer is really quite simple. All you need to do is establish a starting point and begin counting. Of course, you have to learn to count first.  The easiest point is to determine the shortest day of the year on December 21st.  Once you have determined that then all you have to do is count the days till it returns.  So, except for the puzzling phenomenon of Leap Year you know exactly how long the year is and where each day will fall.  So mankind had located itself in relation to a complete cycle of days.  Yes, there were competing systems. 

     I believe that the Atlanteans discovered the principle of the solar year over one hundred thousand years ago.  It is also impossible that language for transmission of the idea should have been very advanced that long ago.

     The next question is how do you retain the knowledge or, in other words, pass the information from generation to generation when language is so primitive.  First you need a group of scholars or priests whose function is to keep the archives.  They pass the information on as a story in pictographs.  Hence the story of the year was created; it was entitled the Zodiac, at least by the Greeks, the ancient title or titles we cannot know.

page 1861.

     But we do know that the story had been fully developed for tens of thousands of years simply because the celestial Zodiac which must have developed after the terrestrial was established when the disruption in civilization occurred during the Age of Leo as is proven by the Egyptian and Mesopotamian evidence as well as the modern scientific evidence of the ending of the ice age.  All at the same time.

     The Greek Zodiac divides the signs into quarters of three related signs as well as symbols outside of, but related to, the Zodiac such as Castor and Polydeukes and the Hydra.

     The Dioscuri represented each half of the solar year while the twin girls represented the Equinoxes.  We will disregard the Equinoxes.  The two most important signs of the Zodiac are hence Sagittarius and Cancer.  Each sign concerns itself with a solstice or turning of the year.

     Sagittarius the Archer of December twenty-first is shooting an arrow.  It is not obvious where the target is but it must be the heel of Cancer in the person of Polydeukes the Sun King, who begins his boxing exploits on June twenty-first.  The arrow is as fleet as the horses of which Castor is the master.

     The next sign, Capricorn, represents the return of hope as the waters of northern rivers begin their rise.  In the Olympian Zodiac Capricorn is ruled by Hestia, the goddess of the hearth as families cluster around the central fires for warmth.

page 1862.

     Half goat, half fish the meaning is probably that the goat represents life as he is often seen in Mesopotamian mythology nibbling the leaves of the tree of life.  The fish no doubt represents the repletion of the finny denizens which provide a food supplement through the lean months.

     After Capricorn Aquarius the water bearer brings back the purifying and fructifying waters of life that irrigate the fields preparing them for virgin growth.  Thus it is that Hera can be matron and virgin at the same time.Thus Mary bears Jesus in virgin birth.  In the Olympian Zodiac Aquarius is ruled by the Earth goddess Hera.

     The water bearer is thought by many to be Ganymede the cupbearer of Zeus.  Why Ganymede isn’t clear.  Other than the most peautiful youth on Earth who so appealed to Zeus that he was  translated to Heaven on the wings of an eagle, as the sign is ruled by the Earth goddess Hera it would make sense to associate him with Attis, Adonis or any other of the Great Mother’s annual consorts.  Ganymede’s ascension is associated with Troy.  That war was fought between the Matriarchal and Patriarchal points of view.  Aphrodite, as Great Mother, was the patroness of the Trojans so with the defeat of the Matriarchy at Troy the Eternal Youth may have been abducted into the Patriarchal scheme to emasculate the Matriarchy, so to speak.   Without a male consort the Great Goddess must wither away.

     At any rate Ganymede is obviusly fertilizing the Great Mother for another annual cycle.

     Next Pisces reprented by twin fish swimming in opposite directions, male and female represents the fecundity of the coming Spring season.  The symbolism of the Male and Female going in opposite directions but still connected may represent the fact that while men and women are very different they are still phyiologically connected.  Christian mythology should be considered seriously in this context as Pisces is the sixth ‘king’ since the deluge.

page 1863.

     Aries the Ram butts the budding plants from the ground.  First growth seems very slow so it needs encouragement.  Another Greek image is that of Persephone rising from the underworld while gods with hammers and tongs crack away the crusted earth to bring her forth.

     Taurus who is ruled by Aphrodite in the Olympian Zodiac is nearly as self-explanatory as Leo.  The Great Mother and her greatest consort, the immense raging bull.  Having been released by Aries the crops burst forth with wild energy.  Compare the lusty look of the Rose as it shoots.

     Gemini, the next sign which includes the end of May and the first two thirds of June, is a very orderly sign.  Placed after the wild excesses of Aries and Taurus it is followed by the torrid destructive signs of Cancer and Leo.  Gemini is appropriately governed by Apollo whose mottoes are:  Everything in measure and Nothing in excess.

     Castor and Polydeukes reappear as the twins or Dioscouri passing the year from one of dearth to one of plenty.

     Cancer, which follows, is one of the two important axes of the year.  The Unconquerable Sun reaches the apex of its power on the first day of Cancer but then begins its slow decline.  the mythology of Cancer the Crab is especially rich.

     The arrow shot by Castor or Sagittarius now comes to Earth lodging in the heel of the valiant Sun King, Polydeukes.

     In the earlier traditions in all probability the Sun King was not able to cut off the immortal head of the Hydra.  The Greeks in mortal combat with the Matriarchy implausibly have Heracles, who they substitute for the Sun King, succeed in killing the immortal head of the Hydra.

     The Greeks added a lot of complications to the story but I will attempt to eliminate them with Heracles only in his role as the Sun King.

     The Hydra, which dwelt in the Lernean swamps near Argos in Greec, was a monster with seven heads.  Six were mortal while the seventh was immortal.  The battle had to be fought anew each year.  Heracles, in legend, was said to have killed the immortal head of the Hydra but this is not borne out by the subsequent history of the world nor, indeed, was it possible.

     The six mortal heads are quite obviously the six months between the two solstices which the Sun King destroys one by one until he victoriously passes the torch to Castor on December 21st.

     Like the axis of the Unconquerable Sun in the December position the seventh head of the Hydra represents the opposite axis of the solar year and cannot be destroyed.  Indeed, no sooner does the Sun King cut off the mortal heads than the Hydra grows six more.

page 1865.

     The meaning of the Crab isn’t entirely clear but the Crab is thought to walk backwards or sideways which it does.  Thus by seizing the Sun King by the heel it drags him slowly back into the swamp causing the days to shorten.  Probably it was felt necessary to cause  the Sun King to be drawn back as he destroyed the six monthly heads.

     Thus Sagittarius and Cancer fully explain the two halves of the year.

     The sign of Leo is self-explanatory.  The raging lionof the heat of mid-summer lays waste the fields returning them to their virgin condition.

     Hence Leo is followed by Virgo the Virgin to lie fallow until Aquarius reimpregnates the Earth.  The myth was told of Hera that she knew of a secret spring in which she bathed once a year to restore her virginity.  This is another way of saying that the Earth is renewed each year by the Spring rains.  Virgo and Aquarius are the meaning of the myth.   The Virgin Mary is probably associated with the myth also.

     Libra bearing the scales of justice marks the fall equinox when the seasons tip from the third quarter into the fourth quarter.  She is the balance between the two halves of the second half of the year.

     Scorpio is not clear to me except that scoprions get into the sandal and bite the heel.  The heel is a convenient symbol of death in Greek mythology.  As Scorpio is governed by Ares in the Olympian Zodiac the notion of senseless killing is reinforced.  Ares was a violent thug who fought and killed for the pleasure of fighting and killing so Scorpio may represent the mad assassin of the old year.

     That brings us back to Sagittarius when the Unconquerable Sun triumphs and the Archer fires off the arrow for the new year which lands we now know where.

     In relation to Scorpio it is signficant that Sagittarius is facing toward the new year rather than back toward the old.  So Scorpio may in fact represent merely the death of the old year.

     The symbols are of recent Greek origin but the story must have been formulated early in ante-diluvian times.  Especially so since the Zodiac has only a celestial existence in Greek mythology but not a terrestrial one.  At what time the Zodiac was translated to the sky can probably never be known for sure but I think we may be sure that the six kings previous to Leo had alredy completed at least one full circuit.

     Logically it must be true.

     Now, the question is, who formulated the Zodiac so long ago.

     For want of a better name it could only have been the people of the land the Egyptians called Atlantis.

     All the evidence points to the existence of a civilization antecedent  to the Great Flood.  The Flood was the point of discontinuity.  Thus the Flood and Atlantis may represent the same event.  After the Flood the world entered a long dark age emerging only with ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia.

page 1867

     But, while the evidence of the earliest known civilizations, those of Egypt and Mesopotamia survive, the question is why not the remains of this earlier civilization.

     In Egypt the flooding of the Nile is a blessing so they could not consider a flood disastrous.  However earthquakes occur in the Delta causing submersion of coastal lands so the Egyptians depicted the disappearance of Atlantis as falling beneath the waves because of a great earthquake.  Floods were less benign in Mesopotamia so a Great Flood submerged the previous civilization.  Both versions agree that the big event occurred during the Age of Leo and involved submersion.

     Well and good.

     Now, modern science postulates that a great ice age existed prior to Leo that had endured for something like a hundred thousand years.  During this ice age so much water was impounded that ocean levels dropped by several hundred feet.  I quote science.  Thus the entire continental shelves of the world would have been exposed and habitable.  Huge areas of the Asian Pacific would have been exposed.  Scientists say that the Bering strait was several miles wide.  Most of the Mediterranean Basin would have been above water.

     One assumes that prior to the onset of this Ice Age that those same shelvings had been under water.  Thus as the waters receded it follows that flora and fauna, including man, would exist where they had never existed before.

     Emigrants are usually those least able to compete successfully at home.  The successful are quite content to remain in possession at home.

page 1868.

     Those displaced persons who are faced with new challenges often come up with new answers.

     There are many drawbacks, or unsolved probelms, with the theory of evolution.  More adaptable variants of the same species often exist in competition with less adaptable variants.  But the less adaptable may have more physical vigor than the more  adaptable leaving the latter at a competitive disadvantage.  For instance you and I might be more adaptable than Jack Dempsey but in a fist fight with him we’re going to get lumped and not him.

     Thus Neanderthal man may have existed side by side with Cro-Magnon man but in primitive technology he had the upper hand.  Thus as the shelves became available for habitation it is probable that the weaker Cro-Magnon moved away.

     At any rate the shelves must have been inhabited.  These weaker but more adaptable people used their intelligence to create a civilization rather than using mere brawn to wrest a living from Nature.

     In the Mediterranean the Southern shelf opposite Malta and Gozo would have been an excellent place to found a city state.  The upland ranges surrounding the Basin must have been an astonishing sight of rivers cascading down from the uplands.

     The islands must have been imposing awe inspiring sights towering out of the water as mountains.  The coastal Atlantean undoubtedly learned to build boats to cruise the placid waters of the long narrow sea.

     The majesty of the Nile cascading from what would then have been the first cataract at Giza to the sea in full flood must have been unimaginably awesome as also the mighty roar of water descending from the Black Sea.

page 1869.

     And then, apparently within a couple hundred years the ice caps melted returning the seas to their former levels.  The achievement of this civilization disappeared beneath the waves as the flood rose, yea verily, even to the mountain tops or as the Egyptians put it, fell into the sea.  The evidence of this civilization disappeared beneath the waters.

     However there is no reason to believe that the waters rose so fast that the people were destroyed also.  No.  They undoubtedly fled the rising waters scattering to the margins of the sea or to the uplands of the world.

     Some undoubtedly fled into sub-Saharan Africa where over the course of a few centuries they became melanized blending in with the native population.   Some formed the Berber tribes.  The similarity of Negro mythology to Mediterranean mythology is not accidental but a result of diffusion.  The similarity was added to  in later centures when exploratory parties from Libya crossed the Sahara.

     Man is and always has been an inveterate traveler.  Various other bands of Atlanteans penetrated into the uplands of Europe, Asia Minor and the Nile Valley.  Some traveled to India and some farther afield to China.

     By far, most settled on the margins of the new sea level around the Basin.

     Agriculture began simultaneously in every part of the world.  Are we to believe that yokels all over the world individually decided to farm at the same time or was the notion diffused by the forcible ejection of farmers from the same area?  I leave it to you to make your own decision because argument is useless; nothing can be proven at this time.

page 1870.

     My own opinion is that agriculture must have been practiced by the Atlanteans and was diffused in their flight from the inundation.

     The largest part of the displaced Atlanteans quite naurally retreated up country to the African littoral occupying that coastal strip incuding the developing area of the Nile Delta where they became known as the Libyans.

     The Libyans were always extremely intellectually well developed being ahead of both the ancient Upper Egyptians as well as the later Greeks.  Lower Egypt before the unification must then have been an Atlantean kingdom.  Where else could the legend of Atlantis come from?  Certainly not from the land bound Upper Egypt.

     There is an example of attempted agriculture in Upper Egypt at this time but it was abandoned.  Why?  Certainly not because the proper conditions were lacking.  I surmise that a colony of Libyans made the attempt.  I think that the novel concept of plowing the ground so outraged the Upper Egyptians that they either killed or drove the Libyans back to the Delta.

     It is possible that the Atlanteans developed a system of writing which is reflected in Egyptian hieroglyphics.  The followers of Edgar Cayce believe that an ante-deluvian deposit of books lie beneath the paws of the Sphinx in some subterranean passageways.  I don’t know that it is true but I don’t find the notion absurd.  It is quite possible that the Atlantean priesthood fled with all their sacred writings, if any.

page 1871.

     At the same time they most likely carved the image of Leo on the rock outcropping where it sits in a manner akin to Mount Rushmore.  So matters stood while the ‘kings’ changed posts in the sky until the Delta Libyans were conquered by the Upper Egyptians about thirty-three hundred BC.  The Upper Egyptians remained dominant through the first three dynasties.  Then a Libyan dynasty succeeded to the throne.  The Red Crown of the Delta was triumphant.  Immediately the pent up energies of several thousand years exploded in a building frenzy which we call the Pyramids.  The Pyramids must duplicate some notion of the world order of the Atlanteans.

     Actually the Pyramids are only the half of the world order that has survived.  Just as important as the City of the Dead was the City of the Sun or Heliopolis or the Holy City of On across the Nile to the East.  Its monuments were less durable than those of the West and have been all but obliterated by the religious jealously of  later Asian conquerors.

     Someday it will be found that the whole complex is a great bit of magic meant to preserve earth from another disaster like that which happened to Atlantis.

     How do you like that for a strange notion, Dewey?’

     ‘I never heard anything like it.’  Dewey said for the words had blown through his staggering mind like the Boreas from the North Pole, making the same impression.  The notion had little relevance for him as his mind was unprepared to receive it.  The requisite foundation of knowledge was not there.  Mental preparation is the key.  However he was still alert enough to check the logic of the story.  There was nothing absurd in the presentation of facts while Gaste seemed to be informed on his subject so he saw no reason to take objection.

page 1872.

     ‘I have thought a great about what I have just told you, Dewey, and while I have no proof that academics would consider incontrovertible yet something did happen for which no explanation has ever been offered.  All lines of inquiry lead to the edge of the water whether Egyptian, Mesopotamian or modern science.  You are the only person I have ever told this to.  I would never present it to a body of educators.  It’s always best to be careful about introducing new and unusual notions that no one has ever heard before.  Even J.G. Frazer who was a very careful academic using tried and true methods was attacked.  I couldn’t endure that.  I couldn’t stand the way my mother and I were treated because of her beliefs.  I mght ultimately be proved right on my main theses but I would be attacked on details that couldn’t be verified.  I would rather have less honor than to be totally reviled.’

     ‘Sure, but if everybody thought that way I don’t know how progress would be possible.  If Galileo hadn’t advanced the theory that the Earth went round the sun where would we be?’

     ‘Well, exactly where we are, but yes.  Galileo paid a heavy price for speaking in advance of his times.  And that price wasn’t in ephemeral fruit either.  Ha, ha, ha.’

page 1873.

     ‘Yes, but I think Mrs. Hicks was right.  I’d rather be Galileo any day.  I mean, what’s this society going to be like after a lifetime of football, baseball and sports and TV shows that don’t have any logic?’

     ‘You mean you don’t think there’s anything of value in American culture?  You think it’s all ephemeral fruit?’

     ‘No.  I think some things of value are happening but because they have value, because they are substantial fruit they have to slink around in the shadows where only outriders of ephemera can find them.  You gott be out there riding those fences.’

     ‘OK.  Where’s that?’

     ‘Well, you know, I make the midnight run up to San Francisco most Fridays and back again on Sundays.  They only let them play silly love songs on daytime radio.  But at night you can pick up stations with really maverick outlaw DJs that play some real good music with some real cutting edge meaningful social criticism.

     Now, don’t get me wrong, because I think they’re really good and it shows what a high wire balancing act they’re doing but the Kingston Trio gets on daytime radion because rather than criticism they make wry or cute observations.  The Kingston Trio have the real genius, don’t get me wrong, but songs like Tiajuana Jail like all pop music is meant to  please everyone and offend no one.  ‘Tom Dooley’ the same way.  They take out the social criticism and give it the real folk ballad flavor and it almost cuts it.  You know the Kingstons are biting their tongue though.

page 1874.

     At night you get the real stuff, after midnight, by guys like the Chad Mitchell Trio and Tom Paxton.  Guys with sharp eyes and witty tongues.  So they keep them off daytime radio and these guys are actually lucky to be alive.  If it weren’t for freedom of speech you’d find those guys floating down the river.’

     ‘What?  Are you serious?  This is America.  You can’t do that.’

     ‘Oh, yes you  can.  It’s done all the time.  Look at this.  They didn’t have any room for me in the Navy when I wanted to join.  I had to wait seven months for a place to open up.  but they make a spot for Elvis Presley just to destroy his career.  Then they assign him to the tank corps.  How long do you think he’s going to last when the Russkies charge over the line?  I think the estimate is seven minutes..

     I mean they’re destroying Jerry Lee Lewis.  And Little Richard threw all his Jewels in the ocean, gave up rock n’ roll and took to the minstry to escape persecution.  I think they would have killed him if he hadn’t.  Black or not.’

     (In just a couple months Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper will be killed in a small plane crash, the favored form of assassination.  Thus the first wave or rock n’ rollers was decimated.  the rest of them got the hint.)

     ‘Who’s this ‘they who’re doing this?’  Gaste asked with the tinge of contemptuous disbelief that people show when they find something distasteful.

page 1875.

     ‘Oh, you know, Barry Goldwater, John Tower, the John Birch Society, all the social reactionaries that fell out of the McCarthy thing.’  Dewey had no cause to mention McCarthy or even the Conservatives; the reaction to Rock and Folk was very broadly based and included large numbers of so-called Liberals and educated people.

     ‘Yes, they’re a pretty nutty group.’  This was a strong political opinion for Terry Gaste to express but as a Liberal he considered Conservatives as Neanderthals living in the nineteenth century at best.

      ‘I wouldn’t go that far.’  Dewey protested.  ‘Conservatives are usually right while Liberals are always wrong.’

     Terry Gaste scoffed.

     ‘You bet.  I’m a Conservative but I”m younger than the guys who fought the war for ‘freedom’ but can’t accept the consequences so I can accept modern tastes as natural where they think it’s evil, like, for instance, rock n’ roll.  But since they reject the inevitable they’re just old and in the way.  They’re still defending the old ideals in an antiquated obtuse way.

     When Mighty J…um…McCarthy went down…’  Dewey almost committed a social faux pas by treating McCarthy as a valid person and not a demon but corrected himself in time.  After all Freedom of Conscience has its limits even in America.  ‘…these guys were all turned out in the Wasteland.  They were overwhelmed, they don’t know how to get there from here; so they persecute anyone who dares to criticize their point of view either explicitly or implicitly, friend or foe.  They would kill these folksingers if they weren’t college graduates and they thought they could get away with it.  They’re destroying their careers already or, at least, trying to inhibit them.’

page 1876.

     (Barry Goldwater would actually force Chad Mitchell out of the business because of a very funny parody of him called ‘Barry’s Boys.’  Anyone with a conflicting opinion walked on gilded splinters.)

     ‘Well, we Liberals aren’t wrong on the ideal.  But Conservatives agree on the ideal.  After all there are reactionaries allied to the Conservatives just as radicals go hand in glove with Liberals.  Reactionaries and Radicals disagree on what should be done; Conservatives and Liberals disagree on how it should be done.

     There is no question that Blacks have not been given equal opportunities  but that is all they’re entitled to.  The question is at bottom a social question not a racial one.  White guys from the other side of the tracks have been denied equal opportunity too so the problem is how to take down the barriers for everybody not to keep sanctions on the White underclass while releasing the Blacks.  That’s what the Liberals want to do.

     What will happen is that discrimination won’t end it will just shift.  You Liberals will make the White guys from the other side of the tracks pay the whole price of integration and call that fair.  You will take from them to give to the Blacks but you won’t give up one smidgen yourselves.  Even then you completely reject Black culture.

     You say you can’t understand the lyrics of Little Richard because he doesn’t articulate but really you can’t understand him because he speaks in the Black idiom.  You will admit only those Blacks who will play your game by your rules, adopt your styles and manners, your way of talking.  They ain’t no ghetto eight rock ever gon’ be admitted to polite White society.  So there’s going to be a big blow up.’

     ‘I think you’re wrong there.  Black people want what we want.  I think they’re intelligent, decent people who will find it is their best interest to adopt better manners and improve their speech and they will do so.  I see a smooth assimilation.’

     ‘Won’t happen.  It’s not in the interest of Blacks and guys from the other side of the tracks to play your game because you control the game and your rules are always you win, outsiders lose.  You will only give on humiliating terms.  Therefore Blacks will have to riot to get any respect at all.  Has to happen.  Trouble coming every day.

     Besides, nobody’s saying that Blacks are stupid or mean and nasty.  Liberals always assume that if you don’t believe exactly as they do that you believe the opposite of their views.  They demonize you into beliving all kinds of atrocious things.  You guys all think that your beliefs are virtuous and that you are therefore virtuous.  Anyone who disgrees with you is not.

page 1878.

     Besides, it doesn’t matter whether Blacks are intelligent or not; that’s just one of  your smokescreens.  My point is that you won’t accept them unless they imitate you and abandon Black culture.  They have to become off color White to pass among you.  Some will do that.  But they’re going to be an awful lot can’t or won’t know how or want to.  Then it is inevitable that Conservative or reactionary Blacks will reject the whole notion of becoming intellectually White anyway.  They’ll probably come up with some such slogan as ‘Black Is Beautiful And White Isn’t.’

 

     Needless to say the trends Dewey was percipient enough to anticiapate had been developing in the Black community since they migrated from the South to Harlem and Chicago.  They would lead to some very interesting twists on the ‘minority’ scene.

     The discontent expressed in the ‘Back to Africa’ movement of Marcus Garvey in the teens and twenties would go through many transformations and end up as the Nation of Islam which was the conservative direction Dewey knew must happen.  The process was already happening although Whites didn’t understand it or report it properly in their newspapers and journals.

     Looking ahead, in the eighties and nineties the movement was headed by Louis Farrakhan.  He was a decent sort who took the right approach of trying to put things into an historical perspective.  Education for Blacks in short.  The Black perspective must necessarily step on White Folk’s toes.  They simply must interpret their history in their own way regardless of White people’s opinions.  Something in the Constitution about freedom of speech.  One can only assert oneself at someone else’s expense.  As Farrakhan was organizing an independent Black analysis of history he was naturally rejected by the so-called Liberal community.  One of those ‘anyone but him’ type things.

page 1880.

     In 1958 the word ‘bigot’ was rarely used.  ‘Prejudice’ was more usual but understanding the difference is essential to understanding the temper and tone of subsequent decades.

     Traditionally a bigot was one who had an unreasoning belief in the rightness of his own point of view.  Thus during he Enlightenment Catholicism was always referred to as bigoted because it wouldn’t, and still can’t, tolerate another religious point of view.  this is true of any faith whether Judaism, Nazism, Comunism, Moslemism or what have you.  Infidels, unbelievers, anti-Semites, the part of the world that is not of your faith can be despised and reviled.

     Beginning about this time, 1958, the word ‘bigot’ began to take on a different coloring.  It began to mean a White Christian who was unwilling to  bend the knee to other races, religions or creeds.  In other words, a Christian could a bigot but a Jew couldn’t; a White could be a bigot but a Black couldn’t.

     It was not enough for White Christians to be tolerant; one was compelled to assert that all other races, creeds and religions were more worthy than your own and more pointedly, you.  ‘Hey, hey, ho,  ho, Western Civilization has got to go became the war cry.  One was constrained to accept such absurdities as voodoo or fetish worship as respectable religious expressions.  People even demanded that animal sacrifices be legalized.

page 1880.

     Thus the freedom of religion clause of the Constitution was used to overturn reason.

     In this conception of bigotry two groups, for certain, claimed exemption from bigotry, the Blacks and the Jews.  Vis-a-vis White Christians (which includes the Scientific Consciousness) this could cause no problems as Whites were willing to abdicate their identity to Blacks and Jews.

     Then the unthinkable happened.  The minority coalition turnout to be not so monolithic.  Analyzing their history the scholars of the Nation of Islam began to say uncomplimentary things about their erstwhile allies, the Jews.

     In reviewing history Louis Farrakhan and his Minister of Culture found that Black Folk had been exploited by the Jews.  The Nation of Islam declared this and were promptly branded as infidels or, anti-Semites.

     What now?  How to deal with intra-minority conflicts in the Haven of the world?

     In 1870 there were not many Jews in the US.  Then the transfer of the Jewish population of Eastern Europe began.  By 1920 there were four million Jews in the US.

     The Jews have always blamed America the Beautiful for the transformation of Jewish culture that apparently happened on these shores.  In truth there was no transformation.  The changes already begun in the Old Cuntry were accelerated.

     The International White Slave Trade was the first unit of organized crime.  That business was called into existence by the wholesale emigration of Europeans to not only the United States but to all of North and South America, South Africa, Australia and diverse points, Shanghai for instance.  There were millions of men without women.

page 1881.

     The Jews rushed to fill the void by supplying the women.  This in turn created gangsterism as we know it.  Jewish gangs were thus not a creation of the New World but had already developed in the Pale even as they now dominate Jewish society in Israel.

     When the Jews emigrated to New York, the home of the scientific consciusness, they already had a history of socialism and gangsterism.  The loss of traditional values was only exacerbated by the opportunities to be found in the New World.

     Jewish gangsters dominated the New York criminal scene giving the city a criminal tincture epitomized in the movie ‘Guys And Dolls.’  These criminals were no lovable Nathan Detroits either.

     One of the most notorious was a psychopath by the name of Arthur Flegenheimer who as a nom de guerre assumed the name of Dutch Shultz.  Flegenheimer was of such a social disposition that in the course of a conversation he inserted the barrel of his pet .45 into the mouth of his acquaintance and pulled the trigger.  Oh sure, the gun was loaded.  Whether you took it as a joke or not depended on which end of the barrel you was at.  Flegenheimer laughed.

     Foibles such as this can make a man’s reputation.  The boy’s act was so much admired that you see its replication in movie after movie today.

page 1882.

     This Flegenheimer was in the numbers racket.  He worked Harlem.

     Now, Harlem from the turn of the century until a few years before 1920 had been a Jewish colony.  In anticipation of the rush uptown from the Lower East Side Jewish developers had outsized the rush by a large number of excess apartments.  You see, immigration was a very large industry, considered to be a growth industry by some.

     The growth was choked off by the Great War placing the developers in a position developers don’t like to be in.  Bankruptcy loomed.  The internal migration of the Blacks which began about then was a godsend.  That’s why Harlem is Black.

     The Black Folk migrated from the Deep South where they had a rural existence.  They were bumpkins in the White sense.  They had also been held in political subjection, denied education and economic opportunity.  Thus Black Folk faced a terrific psychological dilemma.  They not only moved from one State to another and from one culture to another but from one era to another.  Their migration South to North was actually the equivalent of moving from Europe to America, from the nineteenth to the twentieth century.  Even their language was different.

     Not only was there geographic displacement but they moved up a couple ratchets of time ways into a burgeoning technological twentieth century that even the Whites who were creating it didn’t understand.  Whites were desperately trying to acclimatise themselves to this new environment; Blacks were a good generation and a couple light years behind.  In addition Blacks were still treated as subhuman in New York.  They were still denied equal opportunities but their expenses climbed dramatically.  Only the lowest jobs on the ladder were open to them.

page 1883.

     In those days Whites could exhibit their racial pride in ways that are no longer open to them.  No one is any longer accorded the scope of referring to Blacks as monkeys, apes or subhumans.  Flegenheimer and Jewish gangsters were children of their times.  They did refer to Blacks in those terms as they fleeced the poor devils of the hard earned by the numbers racket.  Just because you win don’t mean you get paid.

     We’ll probably never know how many Blacks were murdered for complaining and similar offences to their betters.  One may assume that a real guy who was capable of inserting the barrel of .45 automatics into mouths during the course of a normal conversation was not overly nice in running his complaint department.

     These were real injuries suffered by Black people as a race at the hands of the Jewish people.  Mr. Farrakham according to the mores of our times had a right to request an apology as well as a cash indemnity of a substantial size from the Jews.

    Oh, but the Jews, it may be argued, can’t be condemned as a whole people for the actions of one man.

     Here’s where we get into some real hair splitting: this is where the faithful and the infidels separate.

     Well, but, Mr. Farrakham might argue, according to Jewish rules you can.  Certainly the German people by this logic could not be held responsible for the actions of this individual named Adolf Hitler.  But the Jews do say the whole of the German people are responsible.  Postwar Germans have sent billions of dollars in reparations to Israel, a State the did not exist during the Second World War.

page 1884.

     Certainly the Jews of New York were well aware of Flegenheimer’s activities; they were splashed across the front pages of every New York daily.  Mr. Farrakham might easily have demanded a few hundred millions indemnity from Israel to the Nation of Islam neither of which had been in existence in Flegenheimer’s time.

     Logic, naturally enough, has nothing to do with faith.  An act can easily be right for oneself but wrong for another.  I don’t know what principle of law that might be applied but I’m sure one can be found or created.

     Now, here’s an interesting point.  Jews had suffered in Europe.  Blacks had suffered in the United States.  Thousands of Black had been killed since Emancipation; Jews never had.

     Blacks had suffered at Jewish hands; Jews had never suffered at Black hands; not only in Harlem.  Jews had been the dominant people in the slave trade.  Jews had ridden out with the first Ku Klux Klan.  It is possible to quantify Black suffering.  Blacks were psychologically defenseless.  They had been stripped of all security on coming to the New World.  So much of their abuse had been on the psychological level.  Blacks were compelled to accept the White opinion of themselves that they were stupid, shiftless and no account.  Denied the right to decent employment and the self-respect that brings, perhaps the conclusion was inescapable, even to themselves.

page 1885.

     Black women were less of a threat than Black men so Black men suffered the double injury of being comparatively less effective than White men while being subjected to their women who found it easier to get work.

     Hence what appears to be a bizarre psychological reaction by Black men to difficult if not impossible circumstance.  Liberals of Terry Gaste’s stamp cannot even begin to understand the Black man’s place in American society.

     The ability to assert one’s identity has to come from within it cannot be enforced by an assumed attitude.  For that reason Louis Farrakham organized the million man march on Washington.  The march had a salutary effect on the pride and self-assurance of Black men.

     The idea was not unreasonable but the reaction to all those Black men gettig uppity was.  Efforts were renewed to discredit Farrakhan.

     Now, the Jews had never suffered oppression in the United States.  They were more offending than offended against.  The Jews glory in a four thousand year history of oppression.  Judaism never forgets nor can it make a reasonable allowance for its own reprehesible actions.

     Young Jews go through an intense psychological indoctrination.  The notions are not a matter of education but inculcation.  They are stamped into the brains of the youths.  About twenty-five hundred years ago a man acquired a very bad reputation among the Jews.  That man was called Haman.  He was a man who became a symbol.  During one of the Jewish holidays a story is read.  At every mention of the name Haman the congregants break out into a wild orgy of hate filled screaming and shrieking.

page 1886.

     Receiving this Pavlovian training against Haman at the mere mention of the name an automatic reaction is conditioned.  Thus if it were said, as it was, that Henry Ford was another Haman every Jew could and did turn toward him with concentrated hatred beaming from their eyes.  Louis Farrakham became the Black Haman.

     The question became which minority was going to have to bend the knee to the other.  There could be only one group of champion sufferers.  Which was going to be the top sufferer?  The Blacks had been suffering for only three hundred years in the United States; the Jews, not the same Jews as in the United States, but the generic entity called Jews, had been suffering for four thousand years, sometime, somewhere in the world.  That’s a pretty good record for suffering, still if you’re going to get sentimental abut suffering one can negate the Jewish claim and say that suffering is the lot of mankind. If you’ve got a higher trump, let’s see it.

     The Jewish organization was more powerful than the Nation of Islam.  Louis Farrakham and his Minister of Culture were held up to ridicule as anti-Semites.  This powerful and authentic voice of his people was driven from the counsels of his country.

     The President should have had tete-a-tetes with him for he represented a formidable component of American minorities, which is to say, all American peoples.  But Louis Farrakhan is called an anti-Semite.  He is therefore considered subhuman.  Now we’re back to Arthur Flegenheimer and the apes.

page 1887.

     What will come of this?

     Historically no very promising results are in the offing.

     The Jewish role in history has been one of appalling destruction.  The Jews always claim to be innocent victims while the rest of the world are savage beasts.  They have been quite successful in convincing the world it is so.  Don’t hate me for being a dissenter; after all truth is on my side, not faith, but truth.

     Take it back to that allegory of Jesus on the cross.  Apart from modern theorizing, what the story says and what the world has always believed is this:  J.C. comes bringing the light of love into the world.  As the son of God he brought a new Dispensation from God invalidating the Old Dispensation between He and the Jews.  Travel or something like it had broadened God’s view.  Formerly the tale had been told that God especially loved his chosen people the Jews.   But it is now written that God so loved the WORLD that the sent his only begotten to redeem not the just the Jews but everyone in the whole world.  He’s got the whole world in his hands.

     This notion was a frontal attack on Judaism.  Had the Jews accepted the notion they would have been no more than any other ethnic component of the world.  For in rendering unto Caesar that which Caesar’s and unto God all that was God’s all national distinctions would have been erased.  One world, one people.  Pretty communistic, eh?

page 1888

     Threatened in the worst possible way by what they considered a false messiah their religious authorities complained to Caesar, denounced Jesus as a criminal thus rendering to Caesar that which was Caesar’s.  I think there’s actually a joke in there.  In terms familiar to the Catholic Church which derives its basis from Judaism the spiritual authorities tried Jesus first, finding him guilty of heresy.  In a term of the Catholic Inquisition they then ‘relaxed’ Jesus to the civil authorities for execution.

      The religious are supreme hypocrites.  They do not kill on their own account they ‘relax’ victims to be killed by others.  By this means they think to wash their hands of blood guilt.  Thus Pilate washes his hands of the blood of Jesus as a pointed gesture to the untainted hands of the religious authorities.  His hands will be no bloodier than theirs.  The Catholic Church employed this method from beginning to end of the Inquistion.  The concept is a very important one which must be understood.

      On this principle the Jews can say with a certain plausibility that the Roman killed Jesus and not themselves.

     The result of the execution of  Jesus was the horrible wars between Jews and Romans that shook the foundations of the world.  The Jews were nearly exterminated while the Empire began its decline.  This sort of provocation and result has continued down through history.

     A quite similar occurrence took place in the United States in 1953.   The Jewish Rosenbergs were accused of having given the secrets of the Atom Bomb to the Soviets, which they had.  As with Jesus the Rosenbergs were tried in a Jewish court of law.  They had a Jewish judge and a Jewish prosecutor and were defended by a Jewish lawyer.  None of the officials operated independently of the ADL and the AJC.  So, one may say the Rosenbergs were tried by the Sanhedrin- Jewish spiritual authorities.

      Found guilty they were condemned to death, just as Jesus had been, then ‘relaxed’ to the American civil authorities for execution.  Today the Jews can and do claim the Rosenbergs were unnecessarily and unjustly executed by Americans in a wanton display of anti-Semitism.

      An age old principle finds its way down through the ages into modern times.

     So, this brings us down to Haman Louis Farrakhan who has been tried and condemned by the Jewish spiritual authorities as an arch anti-Semite.  They demand he be placed outside the Pale, cut off from human society.  Whether Jewish, Catholic or any other faith the heretic must be denied communion with the faithful.  He must be placed ouside the law.  That’s what outlaw means.

     But, Louis Farrakhan is the leader of a very numerous ‘minority.’  A minority which is essential to both the physical and spiritual well being of the United States.  After all they are ‘native sons.’  Whereas the President ought to be conferring with Mr. Farrakhan about the problems of Black Folk he is spurned by the White House.  It is certain that were he invited the Jews would begin the Haman shriek disturbing us all.

page 1890.

     This is unjust.

     What is Mr. Farrakhan to do?

     What he has done is hold conferences with the arch enemies of the United States such as Saddam Hussein.  This is regrettable even deplorable.  However he has been declared an outlaw in his own country by his own people.  He has been politically lynched as an anti-Semite.

     There are forty-five  million Black folk dispersed throughout the United States.  Acts of Islamic terrorism have already occurred in America.  What if, by a union of Arab and Black terrorists, the United States is turned into a bloody battlefield?  What if America’s enemies destroy America from within as, say Iraq, was destroyed from above?  What good will stealth bombers do against domestic terrorists?

     What will the Jews who will have brought this situation about say then?  Farrakhan had been ‘relaxed’ to the civil authorities and the result was America’s own fault and not theirs.  What is worse the Government who listened to them and heeded or themselves?  Thus the Government elevates one ‘minority’ over another.  This is sort of like Congress establishing a religion which it is forbidden to do.    

     Is this the result of a liberalism that will accept Negroes only on its own terms?  Dewey had every reason to believe that Conservatives were more practical in their understanding and resolution of problems.

page 1891.

      ‘I don’t think it will happen that way.’  Terry mused.

     ‘Liberals are always wrong but time will tell.  Besides, Terry, Blacks don’t have any idea what the game is or how to play it.  They’ve always been kept so far outside that the rules don’t make sense to them; they’ll have to make their own.  Then you Liberals will feel betrayed.  The problem is just too difficult for an easy resolution.  There has to be trouble.  Watch out.

     So Conservatives understand problems as well as Liberals do but Conservatives have an accurate understanding of the issues, human nature and results and Liberals don’t.’

     ‘Humph.’

     Although he disagreed with Dewey down the line Terry Gaste found this conversation more gratifying than Dewey’s earlier discourse on his love life.  Now that they were getting close to Benton Harbor he began to be concerned that Dewey still intended to hitchhike across Michigan.

     ‘You know, you really ought to think about taking a bus from Benton Harbor.  There is almost no traffic at night.  You’ll have a very difficult time getting a ride and it’s so cold.  You might freeze to death, literally.’

     Dewey’s resolve to hitch collapsed at Gaste’s  words.  He caved in.  He’d been out there much longer than those forty-eight hours he’d planned on.

     Gaste was kind enough to drop him at the Greyhound station in Benton Harbor even though he would have to drive back to St. Joseph.  As chance would have it Dewey arrived just as a bus was about to leave.  A few minutes later Dewey was bouncing in a near empty bus across the last stretch into the Valley.

page 1892.

Ain’t No More Cookies In This Cookie Jar

     Seated on the bus vague shapes seemed to pass before his eyes in the sepulchral darkness until the dull light of the northern winter entered his eyes as the bus passed through St. Charles.  Rosy fingered Dawn was hidden behind the low thick clouds.

     Dewey was very, very tired by this time, worn out, mentally exhausted by his last effort at conversation with Terry Gaste.  His mind wasn’t wandering or anything of that sort but it had no fixed point of concentration.  Terry’s words seemed to ricochet through his mind without making an impression.

     As tired as he was, nervous energy was driving him as though he were in the pink of condition.  He had now been on the road with no sleep for five days.  Had he taken the bus in San Diego as intended he would have arrived forty-eight hours earlier.  That was when he’d told his mother he’d be there.  He had forgotten to tell them he was going to hitchhike or, rather, he believed he would have been there in forty-eight hours.  It would have been a surprise.

     Now, groggy from hunger and lack of sleep on the bus his mind had slipped.  He believed he was on his original plan.  Thus as he stepped off the bus he expected to be met.  His disappointment was bitter.  He never did realize why no one was there and he never forgave them.

page 1893.

     He had carefully arranged himself, clothes, face and attitude on the bus.  He was not an effusive guy but now he planned a warm greeting.  He planned to throw his arms around his mother- it was Christmas.

     He wore a silly little smile on his face as he stepped off the bus.  He kept it there for several minutes as he walked around the small bus station looking for her.  Rather than keep his despair to himself he walked over to the ticket window to ask the attendant if anyone had been waiting for him.

     “Has anyone left a message for Dewey Trueman?’  He asked hopefully.

     ‘No. No one.’ The attendant said looking up briefly with the wry smile of someone who’s been through this before and hopes the answer will suffice.

     Desolated, Dewey accepted the answer.  Then he noticed how cold it was.  Ten degrees Fahrenheit, but above zero, thank god.

     Along with the atmospheric cold enveloping his body, psychological cold enveloped his mind.  The demons of the past oppressed him.  Perhaps coming back hadn’t been such a good idea; perhaps he should have hung around Lake Arrowhead.

     He would have to walk home.  The walk didn’t bother him, walking was what he did best, but he felt  the taunting eyes of his enemies staring out from windows or driving by with silent smiles.

     He needn’t have worried.  Over half his class in the recession of 1956 had gone into the services.  None of them were around and if any were they were on leave themselves, too busy to concern themselves with him.  Some classmates had hightailed it out of town at their first opportuniy in an attempt to escape the oppression.  Those who had gone to college were either not home yet or not coming home.  Nevertheless his progress down Melmoth Avenue was noted; the busybodies are never still.

1894.

     As he walked he began to grow visibly weaker.  By the time he reached the house on Caterina he was clenching his teeth.  He wanted to go to bed.  Usually the back door was unlocked but when he turned the knob he found himself locked out.  He pounded on the door although he knew no one would be home, searched for a hidden key.  No answer, no key.  He went around to the front door hammered and rang the bell.  No answer.  He rang the bell unmercifully in wild desperation.  Still no answer.

     He walked around the house a couple times like the moron in the story who, having found himself locked out, ran around the house until he was all in.  Finally in desperation he was standing in the back yard with his hands on his hips glowering angrily at the windows of the back porch turning to a truly desperate frame of mind.

     Big boys don’t cry.  Dewey was too exhausted to cry although a tear tried to form in either eye.  As he stood thus in the freezing air not knowing what to do and incapable of examining his alternatives Alicia Ikestead stepped out of her back door the second lot over and called to him:  ‘Dewey, Dewey.’

     Dewey looked over.  He was horrified that he would have to speak to an Ikestead.  The ends of his mind were already flapping wildly, snapping in the hurricane of disjointed emotions released by his abandonment.  Now the demons contained in the right side of the brain in that dead spot above the ear were partially released blending with the shame and fear of the blighted hopes of the past.  Visions of mortifications danced before his eyes like stars caused by a concussion to the back of the head.

page 1895.

     His breathing, if breathing it was, came fitfully and hard against the frigid air or was suspended while he struggled for control of his being.

     The Ikesteads, for no fault of their own that Dewey had ever been able to discover, had always been the most despised family on the street.  No one would ever have thought to speak to them.  Dewey, against all the principles he held sacred, had acquiesced in this prejudice.  Indeed, as he had sought to secure his own self-respect against the batterings of society he had kept them beneath him to ensure his own sense of worth.  Even then his self-esteem had been badly shaken.

     The Ikesteads, like all those held in contempt, had turned their rejection against themselves.  Tormented by others, feeling the pangs of worthlessness they had in turn mercilessly tormented each other.

     As a justification of Dewey’s contempt for them he always remembered that Alicia had chased her brother out this same back door from which she was now addressing him brandishing a carving knife.  He alone had witnessed the scene but he projected knowledge of it on everyone.  As he knew of nothing else to soundly establish their inferiority the scene had been the cornerstone of his contempt.

page 1896.

     If the Ikesteads were held in contempt it was also true that Tuistad and his mother, he and his brother were held in little regard.  This was a matter of deep chagrin for in Dewey’s inner sanctum he held himself in high regard and rightly so.  His home life under Tuistad and his mother had been very distressful and unhappy reinforcing the unhappiness of his life in society to the point of insanity.

     At one dinner, which was always the focal point for creating frustration in him by Tuistad, he had laid his fork down to exclaim to the infernal gods:  “Life can’t always be this bad.’ but it always was or worse.

     Louis, his brother, suffered all plus bore the brunt of Dewey’s despair.  Thus in one of their ceaseless fights Louis grabbed a knife and chased Dewey out the back door.  The scene had been witnessed.  The effect had been catastrophic on Dewey.  The interface between he and the Ikesteads had been breached.   Dewey’s self-respect was jeopardized.

     Shortly thereafter he witnessed Daryl Sonderman chase his brother Ward out of their house kitty corner to Dewey’s.  Daryl had been wielding a knife.  Dewey’s arch enemies, the Sondermans, had witnessed the same scene between himself and Louis and were parodying or ridiculing Dewey as he had felt toward the Ikesteads.

     They made a mistake.  For while Dewey recognized that they were attempting to ridicule him their parody could be taken at face value;  Dewed did so defusing their joke.  The Sondermans in their hatred unconsciously made Dewey a gift of his self-respect which they would never have done consciously.

page 1897.

     As the Sondermans considered themselves part of the elite the effect was that Dewey could raise himself considerably.  The effect was also one of obliterating the basis of the contempt of the Ikesteads that he held.

     Dewey had never ever consciously thought of the three incidents but as his contempt of the Ikesteads had been breached by the incident of the Sondermans he was able to speak to Alicia now.

     Dewey didn’t even know the girl’s first name.  Startled he turned with his customary contempt to see what she wanted.  Thoroughly beaten down Alicia did not question or appear to resent Dewey’s unjust attitude.  He had been gone for two years; he would never again be part of this scene.  As by a miracle all those prejudices were dispelled from his mind.  He softened his contempt then let it fall from him as no longer relevant.  He suddenly saw his former attitude as an evil that had been forced on him by the contempt of others for him.

    ‘What…what is it?’  He elided a crab to a coo.

     ‘Well, Dewey…’ Alicia said very pleased to have an excuse to talk to someone she considered superior.  ‘…your mother asked me to tell you that they’ve gone to Waukegan and won’t be back till after New Years.’

     Dewey was stunned.  Twenty-five hundred miles, five days on the road, dirty and exhausted and he was now less at the end of his journey than when he began.  His exhausted weary mind flapped in the North wind.

page 1898.

     ‘Gone to Waukegan?’  He croaked.  ‘In Illinois?’

     ‘Yes. Your father’s gotten a promotion.  They’re going to move there.’

     Dewey’s mother hadn’t seen fit to tell him.  This was news.  Dewey’s tired mind was unable to rationalize his situation.  His conscious and subconscious minds were comingled while the right side of his brain released a steady stream of demons sometimes also known as voices.  All his repressed thoughts and emotions shot up into his conscious mind which was unable to digest or control the molten lava of his soul.

     ‘They gave a message to me.’  Alicia said stringing out her information so as to prolong the delicious sensation of talking to someone other than her family.

     Dewey just stared at her dumbly unable to form a sentence in reply to her.

     ‘They said you were to go over to your grandmother’s and she would take you in.’

     She would take you in.   The words caromed around Dewey’s brain amid the centrifugal and centripetal explosions of his mind whirling end over end inside and outside his brain.

     She would take him in.

     How many times would his mother put him out to foster homes?  This was the last.  He would give her no more opportunities.

     At least he had some idea of what to do other than head back.  He thanked the girl with as much civility as he could muster.

1899.

     He gathered his remaining wits about him, picked up his bag and trudged off through the cold to grandma’s house.  She wasn’t even his real grandmother; she was his step-father’s mother.  She had given him no reason to care for her and now he developed an unreasoning dislike of her.  Both she and his mother not to mention his mother’s mother.  What a group of cold unloving women they were.  There was nothing of the mother about any of them.

     This was the final rejection by his mother that he could take.  First she had put him in foster homes, then into the municipal orphanage.  After that she had driven him into the Navy.  Now, she didn’t even have the decency to inform him that she wouldn’t be home when he got there.

     Perhaps Alicia Ikestead had not used her exact words but maybe she had.  Maybe that was exactly what his mother meant.  He was not of her; his grandmother would take him in.  Twenty years of fobbing him off on other people and now his grandmother would take him in.

     And then, my god, she insulted him by using the Ikesteads to tell him.  What kind of calculated insult was that?  Did she hate him so much that she chose someone he considered beneath him to tell him.  Since when had she spoken to the Ikesteads?  Never in his memory.

     Was she telling him that that twenty year old girl she had been when she gave him birth had resented her pregnancy so much that she could not cease punishing her child?  If so, he didn’t think much of her either.

page 1900.

     Dewey neither hated nor resented he only condemned.  He now condemned his mother to the seventh layer of hell as coldly and dispassionately as any judge in court.  He struck her from his mind, so to speak.  She was no longer among the living.

     Walking along, breathing heavily as he labored against his fatigue he worked up what little rage he could.  then, like an arrow shot in the air in California on a trajectory seemingly designed to hit him here the memory of Dalton Dagger pierced his mind.

     Dagger said he would find him in the Valley.  Dewey knew he would try.  Dewey wasn’t afraid so much but he did want to avoid unpleasantness.  He didn’t want to give Dalton the twenty dollars that he thought he expected but if you called the police on a guy like Dagger who had no fear of consequences, if fact, didn’t recognize them, there was no telling what he might do.

     So Dewey’s mind drew on the tangled skein of emotions as he covered the fifteen blocks to grandma’s house.  Finally he stood on the sidewalk before her door.

     ‘She’d darn well better be here.’  He spoke out loud in audible despair.

     In truth he would have collapsed on the spot and frozen to death if the door hadn’t opened.

     His brother Louis opened the door.  ‘Dewey.  Boy, what took you so long.  We expected you a couple days ago.’

     ‘Yeah, well, what a trip.  I came up route sixty-six.’  He said savagely, angry with himself for the debacle of the last five days.

page 1901.

     ‘What happened?’  Louis asked excitedly astonished at Dewey’s appearance.

     ‘I’ll have to tell you later Louis.  I haven’t had any sleep since San Diego and I’m really tired.’  Dewey had lost track of time completely.  He had no idea how long exactly he’d been on the road.

     ‘By the way if someone named Dalton Dagger comes to the door don’t open it.  Tell him I never showed up.’

     Dewey staggered upstairs.  As there was no room for him in the sacred room formerly occupied by his step-father and his step-uncle and his aunt’s room was occupied by his brother an army cot was set up in the hallway for Dewey.

     Too tired to protest he wrapped a blanket around his clothes and all and fell into the army cot asleep.  As he flopped down his hat fell off rolling across the floor.

The Green Green Grass Of Home

     While Dewey slept Dalton Dagger rolled into town.  He was only four hours behind Dewey.  In fact if Dewey had elected to hitchike from Benton Harbor Dalton would have overtaken him to roll up alongside him in the dark.  Had that been the case then Dewey would most probably have been found at the bottom of a ditch when the snow melted.

     When Dewey had disappeared into Oklahoma Dalton’s interest had immediately shifted to his car.  In his peculiar thought processes he believed that the Amarillo mechanics owed it to him to fix his car at their most reasonable rate.  It was the same as his belief that Yisraeli owed him the balance of Dewey’s death price whether he killed him or not.  Likewise Dalton believed that Dewey belonged to him because he had a contract on his life.  Dalton was very good at forming indissoluble unilateral bonds.

page 1902.

     Thus the intensity of his demand that Dewey ask the Darrels to give him a ride had been so compelling that Dewey had acted against his own will in the matter.  Yisraeli had still to learn that the man he was dealing with was not as disposable as a pair of infant’s diapers.  Thus when Dalton strode back into the garage grounds the mechanics gave him all their attention.  Wisely so.

     When I say Dalton strode I mean that he walked with the assertive self-confidence of a man who had shown the Marines what one of the few good men really looked like.  There was definitely no diffidence in his walk; John Wayne would have gotten out of the way.  He had the confident walk of a lion who was not to be denied.  As the poet put it:  The Assyrian came down like a wolf on the fold.

     The mechanics still thought they had the upper hand but they were mistaken.

     ‘Alright fellas, how long is it going to take to fix up my car.  I’ve got to get back on the road in a hurry.’

     ‘Well…’  Saul Grampas the owner and chief mechanic began in that drawling manner that betrays that the mechanic has no intention of telling you the truth about anything and is going to steal every dime he can.   ‘…we can’t be sure how bad the damage is, you know, the block is sure to be cracked.  Radiator’s definitely shot.  I don’t know how long it’ll take us to find one for this…what is this?…’53 Olds, uh huh.  If we can’t get a new one and the dealer might not have one in stock anyway, might have one, might not, you know, it might take, oh I don’t know, maybe three or four days to get one down here from Denver.’

     ‘You’re full of shit, man.  You can fix this thing in a couple hours.  If you don’t have a radiator here you can get one right away or youcan jury rig another one.  I have to be on the road right away so stop jawing and get the cork out.  I’ll help you.  Come on, hurry up.  That other stuff can wait.’

     ‘Now, just a minute, fella.’  Saul said stepping forward intimidatingly.

     ‘Uh uh, no just a minute.’  Dalton said stepping into Saul and raising his fist with a look of conviction on his face that said Saul was a dead man.

     Saul’s assistant, Slim Weazel, picked up a monkey wrench and glared at Dalton.  Slim lacked the concentrated force in his gaze that was needed to give his actions conviction.

     Dalton seized a four foot iron bar that was leaning against a stack of tread bare tires, held it before him grasped in the middle so he could thrust or club.  Dalton was a very formidable guy.  At six-two he was still compact and sturdy as a statue.  That combined with an eager demonic light that came into his eyes made the mechanics who were less committed to a savage set-to quail.  Saul didn’t take a step back but he rocked on his heels.  As he did Dalton gave a nearly imperceptible sardonic smile and, while without actually moving, intimated his intent to smack Saul with the right end of the iron bar.  Saul’s eyes involuntarily fixed on it.

page 1904.

      ‘I can call the police?’  Slim said shakily, involuntarily making it a question, his eyes fixed on Dalton’s iron bar.  Put into this form of a semi-question the statement confirmed Dalton in his conviction that he was the winner.

     ‘Go ahead and try.  You’ll never reach the phone.  Both you guys’ll be laid out here.  Besides what’re you going to tell them?  You’re trying to cheat me out of my car?’

     ‘If you hurt us you’ll go to jail.’  Slim said wealkly, capitulating.

     ‘So fuckin’ what?  I just got out.  You’ll still be dead.  Is my going to jail worth that?’  Dalton replied with a fiendish grin.

     Dalton’s bravado worked.  When he showed no fear of the consequences of violence Saul thought it best to just fix the damn car and get this lunatic out of there.

     With Dalton’s help they did.  Dalton even remembered to put anti-freeze in this time.  Thus in two hours Dalton was back in shape.  He even cut his own deal on the repair bill forcing Saul to settle for half of what he asked.

     Then hunger and drowsiness overtaking him, he first had a good substantial T-bone then holed up in a motel for some rest.

      At twelve-thirty in the afternoon as Dewey lay sleeping he entered the Valley.  Dalton and his family were known quantities to certain people in the Valley even thought the Daltons were from Bay City.  their character was feared and despised.  Dalton did not know he was that well known so unbeknownst  to him the rules of the road changed to the rules of reputation.

page 1905.

     Anyone with intelligence might have found it difficult to locate Trueman’s address not knowing his parents’ name.  But Dalton knowing Dewey lived on the West Side using a certain illogic that worked obtained directions to the major intersection of  Court and Melmoth.  Once there he went into Trinkow’s drug store and loudly demanded if anyone knew where Dewey Trueman lived.

      His method may appear crude but his results were concrete.  As it happened a busybody named John Dickman who had been in Dewey’s class at Melville was present.  He looked up.

     ‘Dewey Trueman’s not here.  He left town two years ago.’  He said eyeing Dagger with curiosity.  Without necessarily being famous the Dagger family was notorious to those who dealt in histories of this fashion.  The majority of the residents in the Valley had never heard of the Daggers yet they were very well known in certain circles, the police for instance.

     As noted Dalton was of a species of savage wild man.  The family was not unknown within prison walls.  There was usually at least one member of the family inside at any given time.  Dickman, as a busybody, knew many arcane facts about many obscure people.  He cherished any story that brought another man or woman below his level.  He lived to despise others.  He was not unuseful to the authorities.

page 1906.

     ‘Yeah, he is.’  Dalton grunted, menacing the world before it menaced him.  ‘I’m a Navy buddy of his.  He’s on leave and I’m supposed to meet him here.  I lost his address.’

     Dickman thought itover quickly as he sized up Dalton.  He had never seen Dagger but with sure intuition he guessed who he was merely from his manner.  Dickman bore goodwill to no man; they all fall sooner or later as he put it.  Dickman had pissed on the best of them.  He craved excitement at the expense of others.  He thought Dagger might provide some amusement for him.

     ‘His family lives not too far from here.  Here let me show you.’  The guy had the instincts of a natural born reporter; first on any scene.

     Dickman led Dalton to the house on Caterina St.  Fortunately for Dewey they only went to the front door.  Had they gone around to the back there is no question but that Alicia Ikestead would have helpfully sent them to grandma’s house.  They would  have been at Dewey’s door.

      No one answered nor was any movement visible inside so Dalton dismissed Dickman.  He didn’t thank him; he dismissed him, much more than Dickman deserved.

     Dalton, who now thought Dewey owed him two hundred dollars for the expenses incurred in Amarillo as well as his life hung around town until six-thirty when he went back to the house a second time.  Disappointed again he drove on up to Bay City intending to come back on the weekend.

page 1907

     Dalton was not a man to waste time.  At eight-thirty he was on the phone to Yehouda Yisraeli.  Yehouda was stunned.  Like all men who think they are clever he thought everyone he dealt with was stupid.  He believed he was dealing incognito with Dalton because of the aliases and blinds he had put up.  Dalton had his own file on Yisraeli, including his phone number.

     There is a criminal network too.

     ‘Where’d you get my number?’  He stammered incautiously.

     Dalton ignored him.

     ‘Alright, the job’s done.  I fulfilled my end of the deal so get my twenty-five hundred wired to me immediately, first thing.  I’ll pick it up at Western Union, twelve sharp, tomorrow.  It had better be there.’

     ‘You’ve fulfilled the contract?’

     ‘That’s right.  Send the money.’

     ‘How do I know?’

     ‘Because I said so.  Send the money.’

     ‘I have to be sure.’

     ‘Well, I can come back there and plant you under the same cactus, Alligator.  You dig that?’

     There was a pause then Yehouda said firmly:  ‘Alright.  The job’s done, the money will be there.’

     ‘It better be if you know what’s good for you.’  Dalton threatened slamming down the receiver.

     Yisraeli believed Dalton.  He rejoiced that his enemy was dead.  He had no intention of sending Dalton twenty-five hundred dollars.  Yisraeli was shrewd.  Being from the Valley and having been influential there he was able to place Dagger firmly when the latter was back in his home environment.

page 1908.

     ‘Oh, those Daggers.’  He said to himself.

     He reasoned that Dalton had just gotten out of the brig, took pride in his dishonorable discharge, and violent as he undoubtedly was it wouldn’t be long before he was back in jail.  He mused a while about what it would take to set  Dalton off.  Just shorting him would do it but the crafty Yisraeli wanted to make sure Dalton would do something drastic.

     He decided to send only five hundred dollars thinking that would unbalance Dalton but give him enough money to tie one on.  Yehouda’s hopes were more than justified.  Angrily looking at the five hundred dollar check he went into a towering rage.  He was spoiling for a fight.

     That night he and a couple friends drove out to the Hillbilly Heaven roadhouse near Mt. Pleasant.  If you’re looking for a fight there is no better recommendation than a hillbillybar.  This particular bar was frequented by a bunch of guys for whom no outing was complete without a fight.

     Dalton got his fight.  His rage at Yisraeli was so great that he actually killed his man.  Stomped him to death.  Thus after only a few days home Dalton was downtown in the can awaiting trial for manslaughter.  He got five years, which was a lot for those times when first degree murderers might only serve three.  He would have been out in the early sixties but he was a very troublesome inmate.  His release was delayed until 1969.  At that time he was once again a free and roving man.

page 1909

     Yehouda when he heard the news felt entirely justified in withholding the other two thousand.  Dewey knew nothing of it but when Dalton didn’t show up at Grandma’s house the next morning his apprehensions for the future were allayed.

     Yehouda in his excitement passed the word to Kanary that Trueman was dead.  Kanary spread the word aboard the Teufelsdreck.

Days Of Future Passed

     How many of us really know what’s going on?  The Field is vast, we are small.  Historical motifs affect us.  Economic motifs affect us.  Political motifs affect us.  While Dewey slept now soundly, now fitfully the drama of Duelin’ Dalton Daggers swirled around his existence.

     Trueman’s mother had not informed him she would not be home.  She had done him a disservice and a psychological injury but had she been in town what might have been the result?  She and her husband Tuistad would have been at work.  Louis would have been at school.  If, groggy from being roused from his weary sleep Dewey had been confronted by the madman Duelin’ Dalton Dagger at his door what might have been the result?

      It is one of those questions that can never be answered.  Suffice it to say the result would not have been pleasant for Dewey.  Thus by a peculiar twist of fate Dewey avoided the necessity of a Response to what would have been a very difficult Challenge.

page 1910.

    

 

 

 

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

Book VII

The Heart Of The Matter

by

R.E. Prindle

Clip 11

     The cop had pointed down Main to the bus station and told Dewey that he didn’t want to catch him on the road again.  Dewey had been stupified by the distance into Claremore.  He had also been conscious that they had been no other cars on the road.

     He was so turned around that, as in Berdoo, he didn’t know the right road.  Actually Main was the highway but as the highway took a left as it entered town from Tulsa Dewey had put his thumb out on a street to nowhere.  Fascinated by Claremore Saturday Night he didn’t even try to evaluate his situation.  Perhaps his thumb went out automatically as he stood there.  At any rate the kids noticed him.  He smiled when a car full of girls pulled up beside him.  One of those good looking Claremore chicks leaned out the window and breathed in what she thought was the most sultry of voices:  ‘Hey Sailor, want a ride?’

     She was sultry enough for Dewey but he knew he was being put on.  The dream of what might have been charmed Dewey so much that rather than hurt her feelings he played along.

     ‘Sure.’  He said reaching for the door.

     The girls pulled away rapidly as he knew they would.  At the same time the boys who had toyed with him on the highway noticed him.  The one shouted out:  ‘There’s the murderer.’  Dewey thought it best to step on down to the bus station.

page 1761.

     The bus station was also known as the Claremore Hotel.  The Hotel was a big ramshackle houselike affair.  The waiting room, sales office and checkin desk was like a big living room.  There were some half dozen men and women sitting around.  As in OK City some folks in Claremore considered the bus station and hotel a social gathering place.  They must have been looking for action because none of them subseqently got on the bus.

     Dewey stood silently while both sides looked each other over.  Then he walked over to buy a bus ticket to St. Louis where he could have been found the next morning if you looked quick.  The attendant who also owned the hotel ran a judicious eye over the Sailor.

     Dewey was running on adrenalin and he had that weary look about him.  His head was thick from lack of sleep.

     ‘I’ll take a ticket to St. Louis.’ Dewey said, incautiously opening his billfold in front of the hotelier to take out a twenty while revealing the sheaf of ten twenties.

     The eyes of the hotelier lit up.  Why should he not have all the money?  He looked at Dewey more closely.  It was apparent that Dewey had been on the road for days.  The exhaustion his excitement concealed from himself plainly showed.

     The hotelier put the ticket he had half withdrawn back into the drawer.

     ‘I’m afraid I can’t sell you a ticket.  We close this window at ten o’ clock.  It’s now eleven thirty.’  He said pointing to a clock on the wall over his shoulder.

     ‘What am I going to do?  I have to keep moving.  Get on that bus.’

page 1762

     ‘Here’s an idea.’  The hotelier said more slyly than he intended.  ‘This is a hotel, you know.  I’ve got rooms.  You look like you could use a good rest, shave and shower.  A room is only five dollars.  You’ve got plenty.  Why not stay for the night and catch the bus in the morning.  There’ll be another bus along.  There always is.’

     Dewey wasn’t going to lay over five minutes if he could help it besides a deja vu vision flashed through his mind of someone entering his room as he slept and stealing his money.  A deja vu is merely a mental projection of an interpretation of impressions.  The hotelier had merely been so obvious that Dewey’s subconscious had been able to ascertain the hotelier’s intentions and telegraph them to his conscious mind.  The projection had been so strong that it created not only a deja vu but a false memory.

     All his life Dewey would have a memory of the visual impression of laying asleep as a person entered his room and rifled his pockets.  He could see himself the next morning complaining to the hotelier.  He could see himself standing on the street without a dime in his pocket or a way home.  He saw no reason to make such a false memory a reality.

     The hotelier had a key in his hand pushing the registration book at Dewey while placing a pen in his hand.

     ‘No thanks.’  Dewey said.  ‘I’ll pay the driver.’

     The bus pulled in on time.  Dewey stepped up; the driver asked for his ticket.  Dewey explained why he didn’t have one and offered to pay cash.  The driver explained that he wasn’t authorized to accept cash telling him to go back into the hotel to get a ticket.  Dewey said this time that the ticket window closed at ten 0′ clock.

page 1763.

     ‘That’s news to me.’  The driver said getting out of the bus to check.

      ‘Hey, Bill.’  He said once inside.  ‘How come this sailor doesn’t have a ticket?  What’s this about closing the window at ten o’ clock?’

     ‘Oh, that guy, Bob.  He just doesn’t have the money.  He’s been hitchhiking.  The State Police brought him in and told him to get on the bus and keep moving.  I’d be happy to sell him a ticket.  He just doesn’t have the money.’

     The hotelier made a last effor to keep Dewey off the bus hoping to rent him a room.

     ‘He says he’ll sell you a ticket.’  Bob said getting in his bus.

    ‘Well, he wouldn’t and I’m not going to try again.  I’ll just pay you.’

     ‘I’m not allowed to take cash.’  Bob said closing the door in Dewey’s face.

     Dewey watched the tail lights disappear in the distance.

Bad Motorcycle With The Devil In The Seat

     As Ollie said to Stan:  ‘This is a fine kettle of fish you’ve got us in.’  Dewey put his hands on his hips watching the receding tail lights as he wondered what he was going to do next.  Hitching was impossible while he was not going to rent a room.

page 1764.

     The revelers of Claremore Saturday Night had all gone home with the exception of a few stragglers who gathered loosely around to watch the stange oddity of a sailor.  Dewey had been pacing up and down for a half hour or so when with a roar a big customized Harley Davidson crashed down the drag, chrome forks way out in front.  The rider pulled up in front of Dewey.

     The rider was a big burly guy with a face that looked like Iwo Jima after the Naval bombardment.   The guy must have been through a couple wars because nature never in the history of mankind had made a face that way.  He had a World War II German helmet on his head while the back of his jacket proclaimed that he was one of the Screamin’ Demons.

     He placed his size fourteen engineer’s boot neatly at the toe of Dewey’s shoe.  If Dewey hadn’t been so groggy he might have looked frightened but his reflexes were so delayed he was cool as a summer breeze.

     The biker stood surveying him for a minute or so with his mouth half open as though he were about to laugh.  Finally Dewey flipped his chin up by way of acknowledgment.

     ‘Hi.  I’m Rodeo Frank Danesworth.  I heard ya was in town.’

     Dewey took that to mean that someone had told Frank that there was a sailor lounging around on Main.

     ‘Hi.  Dewey Trueman, Frank.’  Dewey shouted over the burps and blats of the motorcycle of which Frank had apparently removed the muffler.  ‘Yeah. Passin’ through.’

page 1765.

     ‘Miss your bus?’  Frank asked giving the gas hand a couple of twists that created a roar that shook the ground beneath Dewey’s feet.

     ‘Guy in the hotel refused to sell me a ticket.  Said the window was closed.  Driver woudn’t take cash.  Here I am.’

     ‘Tell ya what.  If you want to ride on my hog I’ll take ya into Joplin where ya can buy a ticket.  How’s that?’

     A man standing in the heart of darkness with only one way out no matter how questionable ought to take the chance.  Rodeo Frank had a terrifying aspect but a terrifying aspect can conceal a heart of gold.  As Dewey always repeated:  There’s time enough to bid the devil good morning when you meet him.  He bit his lower lip as if ruminating.  Which he was.

     ‘The bus has got over a half hour head start.  Do you think you can overtake him?’

     ‘Put your hat in your pocket and hop on.’  Rodeo Frank replied making his hog sound like a 707 lifting off.

     Dewey placed his bag between he and Frank and got into the seat behind the Screamin’ Demon.

     Frank popped the clutch and with a slight rear the mean machine plunged down Main and the darkness at the edge of town.

     Frank was not a cautious rider.  If Dewey thought you were overdriving your headlights in a car the little headlight on the Harley was practically useless except as a signal for oncoming traffic of which there wasn’t any.  Frank ran his hog up to ninety miles an hour which was the same as driving blind.  Maybe Frank could see the road ahead of him but Dewey could see only where the asphalt joined the shoulder.

page 1766.

     The noise was deafening.  Mile after mile wore away.  There were no cars on the road coming or going.  After twenty minutes a huge semi passed rocking the bike while creating terror in Dewey’s heart.

     Then far in the distance the glow of tail lights could be discerned.

     ‘We got him now.’  Rodeo Frank roared.

     Frank closed with the bus rapidly.  As time to pass it approached the lights of sixteen wheeler came towards them in the other lane.  Dewey thought that Frank would slow down until the semi passed but Frank hadn’t earned that face by backing down.

     He goosed that hog up to a hundred.  He started around the bus just as the semi closed with it.  Eyes wide in terror Dewey made the mistake of shifting in his seat.  That loosened the tails of his raincoat allowing the wind to enter pulling the skirts loose where they streamed out behind him snapping in the wind.

     The enraged truck driver let loose with a deafening blast of his air horn as the din of the bike reverberated off the sides of the bus and semi.  In a space no more than five feet wide Rodeo Frank Danesworth let out an exultant scream of ‘yahoo’ which flew back past Dewey’s ears.  Dewey was just screaming in terror which fortunately did not carry forward over the speed and din of the three vehicles.

page 1767.

     An angry Bob driving the bus looked down to recognize Dewey as the bike sped past rapidly disappearing in the black of the night covering Joplin.

     Frank wheeled through the parking lot of the station stopping smartly in the front door.  I don’t mean in front of the door; I mean half in and half out.

     ‘How was the ride?’  Frank shouted as Dewey tremblingly climbed off, carefully trying to sense whether his pants were loaded or not.

     ‘That was terrific Frank.  You’re quite a rider.  How much do I owe you?’  Dewey asked politely knowing or at least hoping Rodeo Frank wouldn’t want anything.

     ‘Hey, I was glad to do it, pardner.  I was in the service myself.  Korea ’52.  Good luck Buddy.’  Frank said revving the bike wildly making the whole building shake as he backed his bike out.

     ‘Korea ’52.  Must have been where he got that face.’  Dewey thought as all eyes were riveted on him as he walked to the ticket counter.

     The Joplin station was never empty.  Joplin was a major crossroads; buses came in all night long.  The cons were thinned out but they sat and waited.

     One nudged the other:  ‘See that guy?  Remember him?’

     ‘No.  Who is he?’

     ‘Came through here summer last year.  He was real rude to some nice guys.  We should fix him.’

     ‘Think we oughta?  Know who that guy on the Harley was?’

page 1768.

     ‘No.’

     ‘That was Rodeo Frank Danesworth.  He’s with the Sccreamin’ Demons.  If this guy is a friend of Rodeo Frank’s I’m not messin’ with him.’

     ‘I’ll find out how well he knows him; might be a chance acquaintance.’

     Dewey was sitting on a bench reliving the passage between the bus and the Semi when the con approached him.

     Dewey recognized him from last summer too.  Not in the mood to talk Dewey replied in a curt manner that seemed as tough as Rodeo Frank looked:  ‘Back off.’

     Thinking Dewey was maybe that tough through his association with Frank the country con backed off.

     While he and his friend stood a ways off studying Dewey Bob wheeled his big Grey Dog into the station.

     Heaving a sigh of relief Dewey climbed aboard.

No Relief

     ‘Say, ain’t you the guy on that motorcycle that come near to scaring me to death back there?’

     ‘I don’t know.’  Dewey said trying to evade the issue.

     ‘There was only one bike out there from Claremore to here.’

     ‘Must have been us then.  We were out out there.  Me and ol’ Rodeo Frank Danesworth.’

     ‘He’s one of those Screamin’ Demons, ain’t he?’

     ‘If you can believe the logo on the back of his jacket.  I’m not one of them.  The guy was decent enough to get me to Joplin which is what you should have done in the first place.’

page 1769

     ‘Didn’t have a ticket.’

     ‘Well I do now so I’m going to sit down.’

     Dewey found an empty bench halfway back sliding into the window seat where he propped himself up to sleep into St. Louis.

     No sooner had he dozed off than he was awakened by a hot weight pressing against his left shoulder.  Opening his weary eyes he looked to determine the cause.  He found himself looking into a pair of bulging eyes.  He knew what they meant.

     Gathering his failing wits about him Dewey pushed the man back.

     ‘Get over in your half.’

     ‘My name’s Lyle.  I need some companionship.’

     ‘Not in my seat you don’t.  Get away from me.’

     ‘You don’t understand.’

     ‘That’s what you think.’

     ‘No you don’t.  See, I work in a top secret government project.  I spend three weeks at a time in rooms seven levels underground.  I work all alone one hundred feet below the surface.  I never see the sun.  I don’t have any companions.  Every third week I get out and then I just have to have some companionship.  This isn’t just for tonight.  I have a whole week off.’

     ‘They don’t have any buildings seven levels underground in Joplin.  There isn’t even any government in Joplin.’

     ‘You don’t know.  I do.  There are dozens of super secret installations all across the country.  I should know.  I work in one, don’t I?’

     ‘I don’t care if there’s a super secret installation every square mile.  Get back in your seat.’  Dewey said giving Lyle another shove.

     But Lyle needed companionship and was not to be so easily dissuaded.  He continued to pester Dewey until raising his voice in exasperation Dewey disturbed the other passengers.  they complained to Bob.

     Bob stopped the bus.  He walked back authoritatively to Dewey’s seat and said:  ‘Oh, you again.’

     ‘Why me again?  This guy won’t stay in his seat.  He wants mine.  Make him move.’

     ‘I’ll tell you what, Sailor.  Why don’t you move?  Here, come sit in this seat behind me or get off the bus.’

     Dewey didn’t want to do it but to resist the injustice meant that he would be thrown off the bus.  The lesser of the two evils was to accept the seat behind the driver.  He got up and moved.

     He now sat next to a little old lady who eyed him suspiciously.  Dewey felt the futility of trying to explain so he just shut up.

     There was a faint glow on the horizon.  He asked Bob how far to St. Louis.  Told it was about sixty miles he sat glumly having been forced to give up his sleep.  Rosy fingered Dawn illuminated St. Louis as the bus headed for the terminal.

page 1771.

THE OTHER SIDE OF BIG RIVER

East St. Louis Toodle-pp

     Dewey stumbled down out of the bus glad for the opportunity to leave Lyle behind him.  Having put off his weariness for three days he was not conscious that he had been up that long.  The trip had become a mania.  He should have taken the bus directly to the Valley but the notion of hitchin’ had become an idee fixe.  He couldn’t shake it.  His judgment had become a little cloudy and confused.

     Oklahoma would be the last State that would provide reasonable weather.  The route up through Missouri had been the transition into the cold of winter.  Northern Illinois, Indiana and Michigan were in the grip of a cold front of which Dewey had no knowledge because he hadn’t the foresight or interest to buy a paper and find out.  It couldn’t have mattered; facts couldn’t have influenced his fantasy anyway.

     Stuck in the bus station in St. Louis he didn’t know how to get to the highway anymore so he determined to buy a ticket to East St. Louis across the Mississippi to begin fresh from there.

     Dewey did not know that East St. Louis was a completely Black town- Little Africa.  Nor would the racial ethos of the nation allow the information to be published warning Whites for fear of antogonizing Blacks.  The Urban Aristocracy like to condemn Southern Whites as bigots.  They pretend that the North welcomes Blacks.  In fact when Blacks fled the South in numbers during and after the Great War their entry into the North had been deeply resented and stoutly resisted.

page 1772.

     While the North had no experience in disciplining Blacks they nevertheless tightly restricted Black residence to a certain area which they were only allowed to leave for certain purposes.  This caused a great deal of resentment among the Blacks which resulted in several extensive and bloody race riots in the years around 1920   You can read that ‘Race War.’

     One of the worst had been in East St. Louis where it became celebrated in song:  The East St. Louis Toodle-oo.  As a result the Blacks won the town.  Thus Dewey was preparing to get off the bus in what was in fact a Negro city state.  In the era of integration no Whites were allowed, day or night.  Whites were not only expected to get out of town by sundown, there was no excuse for them to be there during the day.

     Naturally in the American way this fact was not acknowledged in public nor spoken of openly as that would have been ‘racism.’

     America conceals this sort of secret well.  Dewey was unaware of what he was doing.

     ‘I’ll take a ticket to East St. Louis.’  He announced to the woman in the ticket booth.  She evinced some surprise at this destination.

page 1773.

     ‘Do you know where you’re going?’  She asked, taking his uniform into consideration.

     Dewey merely thought she was questioning his sense of direction.

     ‘Yeah, sure, of course I do.  Why?’

     ”It’s just that not too many ‘people’…’ She meant White people.  ‘…go to East St. Louis..’

     ‘Oh well, I’ve just got to get across the Mississippi.’  Dewey said nonchalantly.

     The ticket seller began a remonstration but then thought better of it, not wanting to appear ‘racist’ and justified herself with the thought that Dewey was on the lam and had to get out of Missouri.  She said no more.

     Not feeling too tiptop Dewey stepped off the bus in the little East St. Louis station.  The driver made an involuntary move to restrain him, throwing in arm in front of him looking at him as though he were a madman.  Dewey gave him a strange look and brushed past.  He was surprised to find that everyone was Black, even the ticket seller.  He’d never seen a Black in that position before.  He noted the looks of astonishment he received on their faces so he smiled politely but didn’t know what to make of it other than that few people got off the bus in East St. Louis.

     ‘Now I’ve got to find the highway.’  He grumbled to himself as wide eyes watched him leave the station while three youths got up to leave through the back.

     He stepped outside to find numerous highway signs.  It seemed that every highway in America converged on this station.  There were several.  Not having looked at a map while being very groggy Dewey had no idea which highway he needed.  Just as well.  He picked a number with a shield around it indicating a US route which required him to cross the street.

page 1774.

     Dewey’s appearance on Black Main Street snapped heads around.  Several pairs of Black eyes glared darts of hatred at him.  They were hungry for white meat.  While Dewey was studying the signs a big Black guy 6/3, 280 brushed by him forcing him from the sidewalk into the gutter.  ‘Better keep movin’ White Boy.  Don’t want your kind in my town.  Better be gone by sundown, if you know what I mean.’  The man said with barely stifled rage and hatred that not only implied but stated danger.

     All innocence, Dewey looked after the departing Black man.  ‘Wow!  Pretty aggressive, I’ve never heard of that before.’  Dewey said without too much concern, especially as the guy was three times his size.

     Tired and turned around Dewey stuck his thumb out on a East Bound highway.  The three Black youths who had circled around him from the bus station drifted up to stand uncertainly around behind him on the sidewalk eyeing him with obvious malicious intent.  Dewey’s little pearl handled Japanese knife would have been no match for their shivs which they fondled in their pockets as they worked up the nerve to attack.

     Dewey got lucky, very, very lucky.  It was the shortest wait for a ride he ever had.  As soon as the driver of the ’58 Chev saw him from a block away reading the situation very accurately he sped up then screeched to a stop in front of the sailor.  Flinging the door open he shouted:  ‘Get in, get in, hurry.’

     Dewey was aware that he was about to become dead meat as the youths edged slowly closer as Dewey inched out to middle of the street which is where he was when the driver stopped.  Dewey was not loath to leap in the car but he thought that a sudden movement would break the spell of the snake like weaving of the Blacks so he as casually as he could got in the car.

     ‘Push down that lock.  Hurry. Don’t waste time.’  The man appeared to be terrifed reaching past Dewey to slam down the lock post.  He was not a moment too soon because a black hand was already on the door handle.  It was possible that they might have pulled Dewey out.  The driver floored it nearly taking the Black’s hand off.

page 1775.

     ‘Are you crazy?’  The driver chastised him.  ‘What in hell are you doing hitchhiking there?  Did some bastard drop you off?  Man, this is East St. Louis, I don’t even like to drive through it.’

     ‘Well.’  Dewey began mystified.  “Im hitchiking home for Christmas and I just got off the bus from St. Louis.  It seemed the easiest way to get across the Big River.’

     ‘Wow, are you ever lucky I came along at the right time.’

     ‘Oh yeah?  Why’s that?  I mean, thanks for the ride but why am I luckier than that?’

     ‘You really didn’t know where you were?’

     ‘Yah.  East St. Louis.’

     ‘East St. Louis toodle-oo.  That’s where you you were.  White men don’t live long in East St. Louis.  That’s a Black town.  They hate White people.  They kill them.  Back in the twenties Blacks started to take over the town and they had one of the worst race riots the country has ever seen.  Bloody fighting in the streets.  Since then the Blacks have taken over and White man’s life isn’t worth a plugged nickel.’

     ‘Aw, they wouldn’t have killed me, would they?’  Dewey asked incredulously.

     ‘Listen another five minutes and those three Black guys near you would have sliced you to pieces right there on the street.  Didn’t you see them?  Next thing you’d be body surfing down the Mississippi to New Orleans.’

     ‘Wow.  Driftwood on the river.’  Dewey said, thinking back to the hatred on the face of the guy who had shoved him into the gutter but still incredulous unable to believe that such a thing could be true in his own country.

page 1776.

     ‘Uh huh.  Discrimination may be a terrible thing but it cuts both ways.  Black guys may be charming and OK when they’re outnumbered in a White environment or one on one but a White guy in where he’s outnumbered and discrimination takes on a whole new meaning.  Shoot man, you might as well have been standing in the middle of the South Side of Chicago.

     Or one of those white hoboes who got in the freight car car with those eight Black guys.  Ever hear of that?’

     Dewey racked his nearly addled brain:  ‘You mean the Scotsboro Boys?’

     ‘Yes.  You don’t think they weren’t really guilty do you just because some Commies and Liberals decided to go to bat for them to embarrass the Southerners, do you?’

     ‘Jeez, I don’t know.  I just thought maybe they were and maybe they weren’t.’

     ‘Well, think about it.  You were dead meat back there among all Blacks.  Now, picture a White woman and two White Boys getting into a box car and finding eight Black guys there.

     I’m not saying she was a virgin but how much proof has been offered that she was a prostitute as the Commies claim.  Even if she was that doesn’t make it ‘all right’ for the Black guys to rape her.

     Eight guys to two with a White woman involved and hatred shooting out of the yes of both Blacks and Whites?  Come on, those Black guys saw their opportunity and took it.  Innocent my ass.  I don’t think the first judgment was a miscarriage of justice but I think the second one was.

page 1777.

     I mean…’  The driver couldn’t get over it.  ‘…you don’t know how lucky you are that I came along at that moment.’

     Dewey didn’t realize how lucky he was but he took the driver’s word for it as he watched him shiver and shake in his stead.

     Dewey began to muse on this as he carried on a desultory conversation.   Then looking out the window he saw a sign on the highway that read:  Louisville, 160 miles.  Turning to the driver he said:  ‘Louisville?  Louisville? Is that the same Louisville as in Kentucky?’

     ‘Yes, that’s where I thought you were going.’

     ‘Oh well, you know what?  I’m going the wrong way.  I’m trying to get to Michigan.  I don’t mean to be a nuisance but could you stop and let me out?’

     ‘Oh sure.’  Said the driver who was a genuinely decent man.

     Dewey hopped out crossing to the other side of the highway.

     Once again he didn’t have to wait very long.  A blue and yellow ’55 Buick pulled over.

    ‘How far you goin?’  Dewey asked as he climbed in.

     ‘Chicago.’  Said Black Jack David Drainsfield who was driving.

Black Jack David Came Down From The Hills

…rather drink muddy water

and sleep in a hollow log,

Than hang around Mobile

And be treated like a dirty dog.

Trad.

Ain’t I A Dog?

-Ronnie Self

page 1778.

     ‘Great.’  Thought Dewey.  ‘I’ll ride right through East St. Louis.’

     ‘Hi.’  The driver said amiably almost apologetically.  ‘I’m Black Jack David Drainsfield and the lady in the back seat with you is Dixie Darlin’ and this is my wife up front, Dixie Belle.  We’re traveling from Mobile to Chicago and you’re welcome to ride with us.’

     ‘Thank you very much Black Jack Davy.  I’m Dewey Trueman and I’m on my way from California to Michigan on Christmas leave.  Your lift is very much appreciated.’  Dewey replied in kind amazed at the florid politeness of Drainsfield while looking curiously at the Dixie Darlin’ and the Dixie Belle.’

     As can be told from their monikers the trio was having a difficult task adapting to the rigors of getting on in the world.  When one’s own name seems to be be an inadequate entree into one’s world one adopts a pseudonym that one imagines adds luster to one’s person.  It was on that basis that David Hirsh renamed himself Yehouda Yisraeli which might be translated something like the Quintessential Jew of Israel.  The trait is quite common in Jewish circles where one finds such names as Israel Israelson.  One young Jewish lady in the US in the early nineteenth century named herself Suzy American and actually functioned under that name.

page 1779

     Dewey too was under pressure to escape into an alternate identity but his were were all so grandiose that he lacked the chutzpah to adopt them.  One which would later be used by Peter Fonda in the movie ‘Easy Rider’ was based on the comic book character Captain America.  One has to credit the Rovin’ Gambler with the good sense not to fall into that trap.  Even in the movie Easy Rider Fonda as Capt. America cut a laughable figure.

     As it wa Dewey knew the sources of the name Black Jack David, Dixie Darlin’ and Dixie Belle so he knew immediately their psychological history.  All three names came from songs.  Black Jack David or Davy depending on the version was the hero of an old Scottish ballad.  David comes down from the hills feelin’ so gay and merry.  There, although he is a pauper who can offer his beloved nothing but a pallet on the ground, he meets, woos and wins the wife of the Lord of the Manor on nothing but his manly vigor.  Dewey knew Drainsfield’s whole history in that moniker.

     The two women took their pseudonyms from a hillbilly song called Dixie Darlin’:  ‘She’s my Dixie Darlin’; She’s my Dixie Belle.’  So, Dewey knowing who he was with relaxed.  Not of hillbilly origins himself he had an aunt who married one of the hill folks who had migrated to Michigan to work in the auto plants.  That aunt had doted on Dewey so through his Uncle Paul he was acquainted with the mental rhythms of Hillbillies not to mention the fact that his early eyars had been lived with his ear glued to every Hillbilly radio station in the Midwest.

page 1780

     Those were a considerable number because the great Midwestern basin in the US has no mountainous obstruction for over an area of a couple thousand miles wide and a couple thousand in depth.  At night signals from the super powerful Mexican stations run by Americans in such places as the legendary Del Rio, Texas that had a signal big enough to beam to Mars and maybe Jupiter came in crystal clear.  The great hillbilly stations in Tennessee, Shreveport, Louisiana, Waterloo, Iowa, WWVA in Wheeling, West Virginia and WCKY in Cincinatti, Ohio were all favorite stations.  The CKY obviously stands for Cincinatti/Kentucky.

     Dewey was with his people.

     ‘Comin’ up from Mobile, huh?’

     ‘Yep.’

     ‘How long have you lived down there?’

     ‘Only a couple years.  How’d you know I wasn’t from there?’

     ‘Well, you call yourself  Black Jack David and Davy came down from the hills feelin’ so gay and merry so I assume you’re from the hills somewhere.’

    ‘The Smokies.  Yeah, it got too hard to make a livin’ up there so my folks moved down to Mobile trying to better themselves.’

     ‘How’d they do?  Got a new car anyway.’

     ‘Tsha.  No thanks to them.  Got this in Chicago.  Man, people in Mobile treat hill folk like dirty dogs.  I wasn’t going to stand for that.  Not me and not my wife and not my sister.’

page 1781.

     ‘No, sir.’  Dixie Darlin’ who playing solitaire with funny looking cards on the seat beside Dewey piped up.  ‘Not no way.  I’m better than them curs anyway.  I’d a left without him.  I ain’t no White Trash.  I don’t care what they say.’

     Much is made of the migration of the Southern Negro to the North but there were actually two streams of internal migration following the Drinking Gourd to ‘freedom.’  Of the two peoples the most despised were the men and women known down South as Poor White Trash.

     Except for the fact that they were White the Hillbillies were as culturally different if not more so than the Blacks.  Even in their home country they were an odd lot.  The immigrants who accupied the hill regions of Amrica were what is known as Scotch-Irish or the Border people of England and Scotland.  Rob Roy types.  They were a quarrelsome, feuding, illiterate lot on their arrival on these shores.  Their customs and attitudes were markedly different from the Puritans who occupied New England, the Cavaliers of Virginia and Midlands Quakers who took up a midland location in America in Pennsylvania.

     Isolated in the hills their culture was reinforced by their insularity.  While immigrants flowed into the midstates and the Northeast thence West to Michigan and Chicago to create the smarmy culture of the North they bypassed the Eastern mountain spine of America.  Thus the Hill Folk developed in a pure unblended fashion which made them stranger than any blending immigrant group.

     Not given to learning on the Border they sought little education in their hills.  Thus, in addition to their singularity they became a synonym for ignorant bumptiousness.  The Urban Aristocracy degraded them below the Negro in social status.

page 1782.

     It is said that the Hatfield-McCoy feud of Kentucky gave them this obnoxious character.  It may be true that the most celebrated feud in history tainted the entire people but I doubt it.

     Making their living the coal mines all down the line added more to their character than the Hatfields and McCoys.

     No.  Immigrants slandered them more than any legendary feud.

     The nature of immigration into the United States is purposely misunderstood and misrepresented by the Urban Aristocracy for their own ends.  They are willing to sacrifice the hill people to their goal.  You have to break a few eggs to make an omelet; just hope they are not your eggs and somebody else doesn’t end up with the omelet.

     Emigration is never easy whether from East Europe to West Europe of from North to South in Europe.  Sicilian migrant laborers in Northern Europe during the nineteenth century were treated no differently than in the US.  Eastern European migrants to West Europe were often expelled and sent back to where they came from.  Such cultural clashes were unwanted by the native peoples.

     Immigrants and first generation offspring made up half of the US population during 1900 to 1950.  When they arrived they were often treated worse than the Negroes; certainly cruelly exploited economically.  They were stripped of their language while their customs were treated contemptuously.

page 1783.

     This was to be expected.  Nowhere else in the world would they have been treated differently of perhaps as well.  After all the majority prospered immediately and certainly within twenty years of their arrival.  Once acclimated they were treated with a respect that would not have been accorded their social castes, which were nearly all proletarian, in their homelands.

     Nevertheless, the rhetoric of the US is that of liberty here in the land of the free and the home of the brave.  Many of the immigrants were as well as or better educated than most Americans.  It galled them for Americans to adobt superior attitudes while treating them as stupid or ignorant simply because they spoke with foreign accents.

     They looked around for someone else to belittle while justifying themselves.  There was always the Negro but they were unsatisfactory simply because they were Negroes.  Looking further afield they found the Hillbillies who, they felt, fit their needs admirably.  So they pointed the Hill people out as evidence that Americans weren’t all they were cracked up to be.

     Great agitators arose.  Among them was a vindictive, demented but effective person name H.L. Mencken.

     Now, in 1914 the Great War came along.  The War interdicted immigration more effectively than the legislation which followed the war in 1920 and 1924.

     Once again the Urban Aristocracy misrepresents the unity of America during the war.  It is true that Anglo-Americans had the ascendancy which allowed them to bring America in on the side of the Allies.  They controlled the newspapers but opinion was more evenly divided than that.  The Central Powers always counted on their people to influence American policy in ways in which they proved unable.

page 1784.

     At the time of the war there were millions of German and Austro-Hungarian immigrants in the United States.  In addition the Irish favored the Central Powers because both peoples were fighting the English.  The Jews favored the Central Powers over the Allies because the Powers were fighting the Jews’ arch enemy the Russians.  The Jews did not become pro-Ally until after the Bolshevik Revolution at which point they rushed millions of dolars in loans in aid of what they believed was their cause.

     All of these peoples acted as foreign nationals and not as American citizens.

     The people of the Central Powers who had emigrated to the United States were treated as disloyal citizens.  All things German were castigated.  Germans were treated in a manner that made the treatment of the Japanese in World War II look mild.

     The War ended.  H.L. Mencken was a German who deeply resented the way he and other Germans had been treated during the War.  Muzzled by wartime censors, when the struggle was over he went on a psychological rampage, castigating America, Americans, the Anglo-Saxon race and all it’s ideals.

     Allied with a journalist of the Jews, George Jean Nathan, he created the then influential magazine, The American Mercury.  The alliance with the Jews was important.  In the pre-Hitler days the Jews proudly carried the banner of German culture as well as their own.  They had hailed the German victory in Russia as one of their own.

page 1785.

     Mencken himself adopted and popularized many Yiddish words and phrases which were in fact neologisms to his goyish readers.  Yiddish was still thought of by the Jews as their native language.  It was only after the Second World War that the use of Yiddish atrophied to the point of uselessness.  In Russia the Jews were plumping for an autonomous Jewish people with Yiddish being one of the official languages of Russia.

     In the wild enthusiasm of the Bolshevik victory the introduction of Yiddish phrases was probably thought of as an opening salvo for the creation of an autonomous Jewish people in the United States with Yiddish as a second official language.  Never forget that the Jewish Cultrual Revolution was to last from 1913 to 1928.

     By the use of Mencken it was thus that the Jewish counter-culture might begin to flow into the dominant culture to subvert thought toward the idea of an autonomous Jewish people.

     Mencken’s attacks on the Hill folk, Anglo-Saxonism and the Boobocracy of America as he termed it had the effect of dividing the Urban Aristocracy from a major constituent and pitting it against it.  Divide and rule.

      This attitude was abetted by the formation of the Anti-Defamation League of the B’nai B’rith in 1913, which was the opening year of the Jewish Revolution.  The ADL began immediately to attack it’s list of ‘known’ anti-Semites which further divided ‘good’ goys from ‘bad goys.’  In an effort to show that they were not prejudiced against Jews the ‘good’ goys turned viciously on their own people and against their own best interests.  Always ask this question:  Is it good for the Jews?

page 1786.

     The crowning blow against the Hill People was delivered in 1932 by a semi-literate Communist by the name of Erskine Caldwell.  Caldwell comes across in his writing as a vicious bigot.  Tobacco Road, his most famous and infuential novel, appeared in ’32 followed by God’s Little Acre in 1933.  Both books sold in unprecedented millions in the heart of the Depression penetrating so deeply into the consciousness of America that for decades there was no one who had not heard of Tobacco Road and believed in its excistence.

     In the Communist manner it was Caldwell’s intent to demean the Hillbilly below the status of the Negro in which he succeeded.  This would not be the last time that the elevation of the Negro would be attempted by lowering the status of the Whites.

     In an introduction to the novels written in the latter years of the twentieth century a Negro writer describes the pride of place he felt when after reading the two tracts he realized or hoped he would never sink as low as Hillbillies.

     The fear of Tobacco Road plagued White youth for at least two generations to be later replaced by the image of Archie Bunker of TV fame who was created by a Jewish writer.  It was no coincidence that one of the early anthems of the Folk Rock era was a song called Tobacco Road.  In it the writer notes that he is not going back to the Tobacco Road he has escaped.

page 1787.

     Thus by the late forties Hillbillies had been thoroughly ‘niggerized’ taking their place on the bottom rung of the ‘minority’ ladder below the Negroes.  It no longer mattered what they might believe individually as a whole ethos had been projected on them by the Urban Aristocracy and the Negroes.

     In the post war years this vision of Hillbillies as a quaint stone age people was furthered by such comic strips as Snuffy Smith and the tremendously influential ‘L’il Abner’ by the Jewish writer, Al Capp.

     Although convicted of child molestation at the end of his career destroying a fine reputation Capp was revered in the forties and fifties by an audience that did not reflect on what he was up to.  Capp was able to infuence fashion and change American social mores.  Girls and women embraced the styles of his heroine, Daisy May, down to the off shoulder blouse and cut off jeans.  He called the name of this hillbilly haven he invented, what else?, Dog Patch.  Following some of these themes through can be an amazing experience.  One of the customs of Dogpatch was the tradition of women asking men out.  The custom was strictly forbidden in real life.  His character who did this was called Sadie Hawkins.  By mid decade in the fifties every school in America was holding Sadie Hawkin’s days where the girls could ask the boys for a date.

     Capp’s influence peaked in the sixties when Dogpatch moved to Hollywood in the TV series ‘Beverly Hillbillies.’  After that the hills were filled with Urban Cowboys while Archie Bunker replaced the Beverly Hillbillies.  Same tune, different words.

page 1788.

     Capp’s efforts in the forties were seconded by several Jewish film writers among whom was the semi-literate Red, Lester Cole.  He keenly felt the ridicule immigrants endured before 1920 so he wrote scripts where he invented an ignorant Hill dialect that assuaged his tortured feelings although it made him a bigot.

     Thus having fled his Dogpatch for Mobile, Black Jack David Drainsfield was treated like a dirty dog by the Southern Aristocracy in that Dixie metropolis.  Unable to endure such treatment he did what all self-respecting Whites and Blacks did.  He headed up North to ‘freedom.’

     He found the same reception up river as did the Negroes.  He was ridiculed and despised as a sub-human.  Like the Blacks he was driven mad by this savage treament.  He was young so he had the strength to resist but at the stage of entering life he was driven from pillar to post.  Caught in an existence from which the only escape was transformation he was at a stage of indecision.  Unable to assimilate easily into the smarmy culture of Chicago he sought refuge from time to time by returning to Mobile.  Once there he realized the impossibility of enduring life as a dirty dog from Dogpatch so he returned to Chicago which he was doing now.

     Like the Black Folk of Richard Wright’s novels he asked repeatedly:  ‘Are we just dogs to be treated so?’

     Well, Al Capp thought so or he wouldn’t have named his Hillbilly Nirvana Dogpatch.  The Urban Aristocracy thought so or they wouldn’t have projected the character of Dogpatch on them.

page 1789.

     Thus from H.L. Mencken through Erskine Caldwell to Al Capp the true source of the Hillbilly character is derived.

     Drainsfield like all people who fled this character to be derided, which he certainly was, both in Mobile and Chicago, was at great pains to establish his integrity.  It was not his intention to travel through East St. Louis up 66 but to take an alternate route up the Indiana line.

     He was extremely fearful that Dewey might distrust him so he went to great lengths to assure Dewey that his route was a better way to Chicago.

    ‘This is just as good a road but it saves a lot of miles.  We bypass East St. Louis which is the last place in the world I’d want to break down.  It is still the road to Chicago so don’t worry that we’re taking you somewhere else.’

     ‘It’s alright Black Jack.  I can read the signs on the highway.  Don’t worry.’

     Now heading up the Indiana line they all settled back for the long haul to Chicago.  Pleased with the nice hop Dewey had again reconciled himself to hitchhiking.  He turned his attention to the Dixie Darlin’ who, as she played her game of solitaire quietly sang the lyrics of an old Hawkshaw Hawkins’ tune:

Don’t want no warmed over kisses

Or yesterday’s sighs;

I want everything fresh

Even brand new lies.

If you don’t have what I want

Another boy may,

If it ain’t on the menu

There’s another cafe.

page 1790

     Hawkshaw Hawkings had already been all but forgotten so Dewey was pleasantly surprised to hear one of his favorites.

     ‘Oh wow.  You know Hawkshaw Hawkins?’

     ‘Of course.  I know everybody in both kinds of music.  I like them all.  Every one.  Do you know Cowboys Copas?  And Floyd Tillman?  And Ernest Tubb? and Ferlin Husky?  And Rex Allen? And Montana Slim?  They’re all Western singers.  Do you know them?’

     ‘Oh yes.  I do.’  Dewey replied.

     ‘How do you?  You don’t talk like us; you talk real Yankee like.’

     ‘Uh, I am from Michigan which is why I talk Yankee but some of my family were hillbillies from Kentucky and I’ve listened to hillbilly music all my life.’

     ‘You mean Country music, don’t you?’  Darlin’ had already been taught to be ashamed of her origins.  The term Hillbilly came across to her like ‘nigger’ would to a Black.  In fact Hillbilly was used by the Aristocracy in exactly the same derogatory sense as nigger but acceptable to them because Hillbillies were White hence they could be defamed at will.  There was no Hillbilly Anti-defamation League.

    ‘No, Dixie Darlin’, I mean hillbilly as in the Carter Family, Bill Monroe and Roy Acuff.  I mean Hillbilly as in American music expressing American ideals and not this smarmy immigrant Tin Pan Alley garbage.  I have my Hillbilly roots and I’m not ashamed of them, nor should you be.’

page 1791.

     ‘Well, we get treated real bad because we’re from the mountains both in Mobile and Chicago.  Why’s that?  We didn’t do nothin’ to nobody no time.”

     ‘That is no reflection on yourselves; merely the ranting of narrow, bigoted persons who are beneath your dignity to recognize although you still have to deal with them.  Just stand up for your rights and turn their own evil back on them.  They are low, not you.

     Just a second Darlin’, you said you like both kinds of music.  Do you mean Tin Pan Alley and Hillbilly or what?’

     ‘No.  I mean both Country and Western.  I will not use the word Hillbilly and I would appreciate it if you didn’t too.’

     ‘No.  That’s all right Darlin;.’  Black Jack David said.  ‘I think he’s one of us.’

     Dewey had never considered Country and Western as separate but he now stood corrected.  The corpus of these singers formed a large part of the ephemeara of Dewey’s intellect.  Ephemera are the most important part of one’s identity.  Songs, movies, radio shows, ads, newspapers and magazine articles that are forgotten by history almost as soon as they are voiced but are carried in the memories of individutals throughout their lives is the stuff of the personality.

     With the exception of Ferlin Husky one of the Bakersfield hillbillies and not a Western singer who was contemporary, the rest of her list of favorites were all of the late forties and early fifties and now all but forgotten.

page 1792.

     As ephemeral as they were to society at large they formed a great deal of Dewey’s outlook on the world.  He knew dozens of songs by them.

     ‘I really liked ‘Signed Sealed And Delivered’ by Hawkshaw Hawkins.’  He said knowingly, meaning to impress Darlin’ with his encyclopedic knowledge.

     ‘That was by Cowboy Copas.’  She corrected.  ‘You can’t fool me.  I know just about everything there is to know about music.’

     Dewey nearly took her correction as a reproof since he was rather vain about his knowledge of music.  Instead he chose to deflect the conversation.

     ‘Well, all those are good but really old.  Do you like anybody new like Elvis Presley?’

     ‘I liked Elvis when he was a hill…Country singer.  After he went mainstream he changed and this Army Elvis is something else again.’

    ‘Yeah, but Elvis is a hero.  Before Elvis there was nothing and now there’s a chance for everyone.  You know how they say that Elvis sings like a Black guy?  Does he sound that way to you?  I don’t get it.’

     ‘Me and Belle saw Elvis at the fairgrounds in 1955 before ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ came out.  I didn’t think there was anything Black about him at all.  Wouldn’t have liked him if there was.  Sounded a lot like Bill Monroe to me.’

     What in musicology are known as the Sun Years was the decisive period in post 1950 music.  Sun was a record label formed by a man named Sam Phillips.  Originally Phillips scouted out Black singers and either sold the masters or issued the songs on Sun Records.  The Black artists were a small and not very lucrative market in the early fifties.  Phillips is reported to have always said that if he could find a White man who could sing Black he would make a million dollars.

     Presley according to Phillips was the genuine article.  He sold his contract to RCA for $37,000.’

     Society with its guilt complex about Negroes has accepted the judgment that Presley sang like a Black man without question or reservation.  I, as the author, was a teenage bronkin’ buck in 1954, ’55 and ’56 and to this day I cannot fathom what Phillips might have meant.

     Black men sang in a variety of styles none of which Presley sounded like.  Black styles ranged from Billy Daniels, the Ink Spots, Louis Jordan, James Brown, Hank Ballard and Little Richard to name only a few.  Presley’s style bore no resemblance to any of those.  In fact any White man copying them would have sounded so ludicrous he would have been laughed off the stage.

     Phillips himself discarded his Black stable as soon as Presley attracted a stable of White hillbilly artists.  None of Phillips White artists sounded remotely Black from Elvis to Johnny Cash to Roy Orbison.  They were all hillbillies and the music they created was immediately known as Rockabilly which to my mind says all.  The same people that hated Hillbilly hated Rockabilly as well.

     Actually Darlin’ was correct.  The early Presley Sun recordings all sound like jumped up Bluegrass a la Bill Monroe.  The flip side of Elvis’ first ’45 was even Monroe’s Blue Moon Of Kentucky which begins in the traditional style that Presley interrupts with the statement:  ‘Hold it man, that don’t move me.’  Then they jump it and do the song Rockabilly fashion.

page 1794.

     Nor did Phillips’ Sun label have much impact in the ’50s.  The affection for the music and style is a latter day romantic movement.  At the time I was the only person I knew who had the records and one of the very few who had heard of them.

     I had no affinity for Black music.  I probably would have rejected Elvis if he had sounded Black.  The record store used to order Sun releases for me.  If a release was by a Black artist I gave it back; if Rockabilly I bought it.

     It was not that I was prejudiced against Blacks but their music didn’t ‘move me’ and that includes that sacred cow ‘gospel music.’  The stuff was far too ethnic  to appeal to White ears.  Only in the late ’50s when the Black edge was taken off Negro singers could Whites tolerate the stuff- except for Little Richard and Fats Domino of course.

     Whatever you may think of Berry Gordy he and his Motown label really put the Black singer into White ears.

     The basis of Phillips’ statement remains a mystery to me.  Like most Americans he probably deluded himself that he respected Black culture while he actually rejected it.

     Black Jack David whose real name was Derek had been intrigued with Dewey’s identification of himself with Hillbillies.  He relaxed a little and began to converse with Dewey person to person instead of across a great divide.

page 1795.

     ‘They sure make it hard on us in Chicago though.  Almost as bad as in Mobile but different.  They laugh at us for our music which is real American but they claim to really like Negro music which just sounds noisy and illiterate to me.  You have to be dumb to sing the blues.  Like the Carter’s say:  Stay on the sunny side of the street.’

     Dewey was still ignorant about the Blues and didn’t know a lot about the sunny side of the street either.  He had heard a fair amount but he couldn’t identiy the structure of the Blues.  The stuff just dounded like a lot of repetitious moaning to him.

     It was a phenomenon that White Folk in general professed a high regard for Black music, although they didn’t buy much of it, while they shunned Southern White Music like the plague.

     White Southern singers were basic folks without a lot superfluous education but there was still a higher level of musicianship than with Blacks while their lyrics were, how shall we say, less earthy than those of the Blacks.  No White person would have been allowed to write much less sing a song in mixed company called ‘Drop Down Mama.’  Yet White people would listen to a Black man sing the sexually explicit lyrics and ooh an aah at the sensual freedom of Black Folk.

     Well, you know, what was a wide awake guy to do but shake his head and wonder.

     Just as Sun was establishing Rockabilly music out of Memphis by the early  and mid-fifties the corpus of songs and the stable of Blues performers that would carry through the century had already been defined and recorded by Marshall Chess of Chess/Checker records in Chicago.  The most influential of the early rock n’ rollers, Chuck Berry, also came from Chess.  Marshall Chess seemed to know a lot more about Black music than Sam Phillips.

page 1796.

     Elvis Presley kind of steamrollered Chuck Berry when he broke with Heartbreak Hotel but Berry established the archetype of Rock n’ Roll music in ’55 with his hit Maybelline.

     Thus by the late fifties both streams of migration from the South were entrenched in Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland and points North.

     Black Jack and Dixie Belle had met and married in Mobile leaving for Chicago for the first time shortly thereafter.  They migrated for the same reason their Black counterparts did.  Not considered ‘niggers’ they were deemed ‘Poor White Trash.’

     Black Jack didn’t want to remain poor, he didn’t object to being called White but he definitely hated the trash part.  He was no fool.  He could see at a glance that he was as good or better than the so-called Urban or Southern Aristocracies but he also realized that he would never be able to escape the stigma of Poor White Trash.  Skin color isn’t the only stigma.

     He couldn’t go back to the hills so the only escape was North.  Blackjack, Dixie Belle and Dixie Darlin’ followed the drinkin’ gourd ending up on the South Side of Chicago across the street from the Black South Side.

     The change was momentous; as much a cultural shock as that of Country Blacks seeing the big city for the first time.  The Hillbillies ‘pure’ English ways clashed with the smarmy hybrid immigrant culture that had developed in Chicago.  They were almost as obvious as the Black Folk.

page 1797.

     A comparable situation would be the invasion of Los Angleles by the Arkies and Okies of the 30s.

     Twenty years after, a term of opprobrium in LA was to call someone an Okie even as his culture was transforming LA.  Fifty years later a Mafioso bigot by the name of Quentin Tarentino would portray the type negatively in his movie ‘Pulp Fiction.’  Actually he made fun of Anglo-Saxons in all his movies.

     Still, the only reason that LA had a Country music scene is because there were so many Okies in the Basin; there and in the Bakersfield/Fresno area.  The Okies still stuck out in LA like Blacks and were treated the same or worse.

     Black Jack David, then still know as Derek, felt himself in a desperate situation.  He knew his own worth.  He was sure of his value as a human being; he wasn’t about to stay and be treated like a dirty dog.  Everywhere he turned he was derided.  He had little formal education.  His manners, while not worse than, were not the manners of immigrant Chicago.

     He was laughed at and derided as though he had been a Negro.  Not naturally offended by Blackness he nevertheless developed a resentment towards them or, rather, passed the resentment he felt at his treatment to them.  The Blacks considered him as though emigrants from Tobacco Road feeling free to despise him.

     Needing to escape the Chicago environment from time to time he made frequent trips to Mobile.  As a mirror decoration instead of a pair of fuzzy dice or a garter he had an upside down cross.

     ‘Uh, I notice your cross is upside down.’  Dewey stated.  ‘Why? did you get it cheaper because they put the hole in wrong end?’

     The Dixie Belle turned in her seat to smile at Dewey:  ‘My husband is a fully ordained minister in the Church of the Second Coming of The Golden Dawn.’

     There was a mouthful of religion.  It shut Dewey up.  He turned to look out the window at the racing landscape.

This Land Is Your Land

     They were moving rapidly into the grip of the Northern cold front.  The softer features of the barren prairie landscape were being turned into cold hard features by the frost.  What should have been land promising of the rebirth of vernal pleasures looked merely like an industrial resource waiting once again to be exploited.

     Americans had no love of their environment; even on a scientific level ecology had no meaning for them.  They had always come to rape the land converting it into a dollar value that could either be taken back to Europe or, if necessary, lavished on a home establishment.

     Initially the ability to rape had been severely inhibited by the limits of ‘human resources.’  The phrase is another attempt to substitute money for people.  But as technology improved in the nineteenth century the ability to rip the land asunder to ‘develop’ the country increased.  Alfred Nobel, the man in whose honor all those grandiose prizes are awarded, provided the penultimate means of maiming the environment when he invented TNT or dynamite as it is otherwise known.

page 1799.

     This enabled man to blast into the solid rock at Cripple Creek in pursuit of a handful of yellow dust or open the rich coal seams across this continent of ‘unlimited’ resources.

     Nobel might justly be characterized as a demon but the devil arrived in the disguise of a man called LeTourneau.

     Like so many monsters LeTourneau was a smallish man given to a certain amount of flab but the man’s imagination was of gigantic diabolical proportions.

     Small  himself his diseased imagination caused him to create earth moving machines of what might be called indescribable dimensions if they hadn’t been hatched on a drawing board.  Still the behemoths stagger the mind.

     Rather than tunnel into the earth, a concept known as ‘strip mining’ was devised and employed a few miles away in the coal fields of Southern Illinois.  Huge shovels bigger than the biggest building of ninety percent of American towns with a shovel capacity of 100-150 tons were built.  Le Tourneau chipped in his two tons worth by building gigantic trucks capable of transporting a shovelful.  Then raised their load capacity to two hundred and three hundred tons.  Three hundred and sixty ton trucks are said to be on the horizon.

page 1800.

     Thus the ‘overburden’ could be scooped off and dumped somewhere else.  The ‘money’ hidden beneath the earth could easily be gotten.  The ‘resource’ could be consumed in a trice.  Having gotten the money out the operators left a huge gaping scar on the landscape on one hand and vast mounds of debris on the other.  The money had been gotten, the land was now worthless.

     There was no thought of even attempting to repair the damage.  There was no concern for the beauty of the landscape or the quality of life for the remaining ‘human resource.’

     As bad as that was let us follow Mr. LeTourneau’s creation to the twenty-first century.  By this time his trucks are bigger than most houses being twenty-seven feet wide and twice and long.  the trucks themselves are three stories tall while appearing as toys beside the monster shovels.

     Now, there was still a lot of coal in the Appalachian seams but the operators said it couldn’t be economically ‘recovered’ by conventional methods.  As always the environment meant nothing, or less than nothing, to Americans.  This means you and not just a class of evil exploiters.  You would have done the same.

     Combining the contributions to human happiness of both Nobel and LeTourneau the operators came up with a simple solution.  They merely planted enough dynamite to blow the mountain tops off several miles at a time.  As they had to have someplace to dump the ‘overburden’ they moved the ‘human resources’, the descendants of the Hatfields and McCoys , out of their ancient homes in the valleys or hollers or bottoms, and using Mr. LeTourneau’s magnificent machines they dumped the mountain tops down into the valleys.  And they did this with their eyes wide open.

page 1801.

     The child is father to the man.  The mines of Illinois were a concept in embryo which Dewey recognized but his mind could not conceive the horrible denouement which insanity would perpetrate.

     The premonition apparent in his mind he heaved a sigh turning back to Dixie Belle and her pride in her husband who was a fully ordained minister in the Church Of The Second Coming Of The Golden Dawn.

Black Jack David In Chicago

     ‘When was the First Coming Of The Golden Dawn?’  Dewey asked.

     ‘You’ve never heard of Aleister Crowley?’  Belle asked.

     ‘No.’  Dewey said flatly.

     ‘Well, my husband knows all about him.’  Belle said.  ‘This is my  man, Black Jack David.’  She added superfluously but with infinite pride.

     Dewey had never heard of Aleister Crowley.  Since neither David nor Dixie Belle was going to mention him again contrary to Dewey’s expectations suffice it to say that he was a psychotic drug addicted sex therapist cum magician of a Theosophic stamp although the Theosophists rejected him.

     In the last quarter of the nineteenth century a guy named MacGregor Mathers started a group called the Golden Dawn in England.  The Irish poet, W.B. Yeats, who wrote a poem called ‘The Second Coming’, was its most famous member.  We may presume that Black Jack combined the poem with the sect to come up with his own variation.  Obviously he fully ordained himself.

page 1802.

     Crowley became a member of the original Golden Dawn and managed to steal their Arcana thereby appropriating the sect to himself.  The original followers went their separate ways.  Crowley turned the sect into a sex and drug cult whose motto, like that of the Abbey of Thelema was:  Do What Thou Wilt.

     Crowley and the sect underwent vicissitudes.  Crowley died in 1947.  The sect ended up, as things of this nature will, in LA.  In fact, their publishing house was located in Barstow.  The house Dewey had been taken to in Pasadena, in the story he related to the Darrels, had actually been a coven of the Golden Dawn.

     Black Jack David was unaffiliated with any other known group.  He and the Dixies were the entire congregation of the Second Coming Of The Golden Dawn.  Black Jack David like Napoleon had ordained himself.  They did have a couple of almost converts in Chicago.  Always a believer in omens Black Jack had immediately recognized Dewey as the lieutenant he needed, miraculously provided by God.

     Black Jack’s program didn’t make much sense.  It was a crude amalgam of Protestant Christianity, the Golden Dawn and general Rosicrucian Theosophy.  Black Jack had picked up most of it on the streets but he had done some desultory unsystematic reading.  The principal incredient of his system was the ‘magick’ Black Jack thought he needed to save his life.  He too was looking for a miracle.

page 1803.

     As all these things are, the Second Coming was merely a projection of the psychological  needs of Derek Drainsfield.  He felt completely rejected and scorned.  He sought salvation.  More than that he had what it took to create it.

     ‘Why is the cross upside down?’  David asked rhetorically finally getting around to Dewey’s question.  He eyed Dewey anxiously as he wanted to make a good impression on the disciple the Lord had provided.  ‘Well, I’ll tell you.’

     ‘Uh huh.’  Dewey said with weary expectancy.

     ‘Justice and decency are overturned in this world.  The Christ has been displaced in this orb of despair by evil, vile and materialististic men.  That cross will remain upside down until those men are defeated and the Rose of Sharon is restored to its rightful place.’

     Dewey was suitably impressed.  The explanation was better than he had expected.  ‘What kind of magic do you have to do that?’  He asked facetiously.

     ‘The right kind.’  Black Jack triumphed.  ‘Did your magick have a K at the end?’

     ‘What magic?’

     ‘That magick.’

     Dewey paused for a moment to seek Black Jack’s direction.

     ‘I spell it M A G I C.’

     ‘Aha.  The wrong kind of magick.  Add a K to that and you’ve got the right kind of magick.’

page 1804.

     Dewey was baffled.  Black Jack was retailing Crowley’s self-help system contained in a book called: ‘Magick: Theory and Practice’ or, in other words, how to become what you would like to be as an act of will.  Magic is important to Christian and Theosophic systems but is discredited by materialist and scientific approaches.  Hence Crowley put a K at the end of magic in the hopes of making the notion credible.

     ‘Oh.  the only kind of magic I know of that will achieve what you want is the A-Bomb and then only because it wipes everyone, evil or not.’

     ‘How did you know about that?’  Black Jack asked startled as though Dewey had divined the secret.

     ‘How do I know about the A-Bomb?’  Dewey asked equally incredulously.

     ‘Yes.  It’s in Chicago you know.’

     ‘I know the atomic pile was in Chicago but how is the A-Bomb in Chicago?’

     ‘The missing one.’  Black Jack pressed on assuming Dewey knew what he was talking about.  ‘It’s somewhere in the nigger district on the South Side.’

     ‘What missing one?’

     ‘The one that disappeared from the stockpile a few years ago.  It’s in Chicago, I know.’

     ‘An A-Bomb disappeared?  How’s that?’

     ‘A patriot named James Burnham published a book in 1954 called ‘The Web Of Subversion’ in which he says that an A-Bomb has been stolen from the stockpile.  He thinks that it’s in private hands somewhere in America.  I’ve got it figured out where.’

     ‘There’s a missing A-Bomb?  Why do you think it’s on the Black South Side?’

     ‘Where else would it be?  Chicago’s the center of the country.’

     Dewey was stopped.

     ‘Well, OK, but why in Darktown?’

     ‘Well, come on.  Where’s the last place in Chicago you would look for it?’

     ‘Uh. I’m not too familiar with Chicago.’

     ‘Well, that’s it.  It’s in the basement of some building right in the heart of Niggerville.’

     ‘In that case you can be sure I’m not going to look for it.’  Dewey said laughing.

     ‘Black Jack’s not afraid.  He goes in there lots.’  Belle reproved.

     ‘Why not?  We’ll need it.’  Black Jack said excitedly thinking that he’d already recruited Dewey.

     ‘Need it for what?’

     ‘I thought you understood.  It’s the magick we need to turn the cross around.  You said it.  First we get the bomb and then we send a note to the President and the Mayor and the Chief of Police telling them that we are holding Chicago as hostage.  Unless all our ransom is met we’ll destroy Chicago.’

     ‘What’s the ransom?’  Dewey asked curiously.

page 1806.

     ‘We want all the malefactors of great wealth and men of evil disposition delivered unto us.  Then we’ll execute them and save the world.  Then the cross will be upright again.’

     Dewey saw that he was in the presence of the ultimate do-gooder.  Was it the boldness of the plan or the absurdity of the premiss that took his breath away?

      ‘Personally I hope the bomb goes off and kills everyone of those of those niggers.’  Suddenly burst from Darlin’ who had been playing quietly with her deck of  ‘funny looking’  Tarot cards.

     ‘I swear I’m going to carry a gun and the next nigger that lays a hand on me is going to get his head blowed off.’

     ‘Amen.’  Dixie Belle intoned.

     ‘Something’s got to be done about that too.’  Added Black Jack David.  ‘Don’t you think so.’  He aggressively asked Dewey.

     Dewey didn’t know what to reply.  The great sweep of Black rebellion was moving across America.  Freedom Riders were active in the South.  Pent up hatreds were erupting in the North and West.  In less than ten years cities from California to New Jersey would go up in flames as Blacks revolted against their situation.  Americans minimized the destruction because it happened here but the hundreds of square miles that were burnt over was topped only by the destruction in bombed over German of World War II.

     True the Blacks fired their own neighborhoods but Dewey would be able to understand that.  After all, if you can’t get away from what is hateful to you it has to be destroyed.  As Dewey knew in his case; to heal oneself psychologically the old self has to be destroyed in order to replace it with the new.  Black frustration, the revolt of the dogs in their kennel, the desire to bit their leash in two, was comprehensible to Dewey.

page 1807.

     The period was one of great transition for Black people as well as America.  If the history of the Blacks can be divided into three periods:  The Slavery Period, the Jim Crow Period and the Self-Awareness Period, then the Blacks were transiting from the Jim Crow Period to that of Self-Awareness.  the transition was fraught with great danger.

     The musical transition was from Rhythm and Blues to Soul music.  (Do you like soul music? No?  Well, then do the Trouser Press, baby.)  In progressing from R&B to Soul music the Blacks acted out the central problem of their existence.  They had a hole in their soul.  Not a criticism, not their fault, just a fact; they had and have a damaged psyche.  It’s bad too.  We always complain about what hurts us the most.  Furthermore the hole can be accurately identified and described.

     The man who put his finger on it was the old vaudevillian by the name of Bert Williams.  Bert performed in the years around the beginning of the twentieth century.  Thus he was the legatee of the Reconstruction Era.  History may be abstract but those who suffer through it have to deal with painful psychological realities.  Life may be a cosmic joke but it is not funny to be the butt of it.

     Bert Williams was a very perceptive guy and an excellent poet in the popular style.  He embodied the Black dilemma in a Coon Tune that is still sung today titled ‘Nobody.’  I will reproduce the lyrics in full in a moment but first let’s discuss the evolution of the Black pysche as evidenced in its musical stages.

page 1808.

     One of the most wonderful descriptions of the development in American of William’s period is the Irishman Mark Sullivan’s truly magnificent six volume social history titled ‘Our Times.’

     Sullivan was an especially acute observer of musical trends.  He says more about Black culture and history in a few pages than most authors get into multi-volumes.  As well as being concise he is perceptive and accurate.

     He was quick to understand that a change in a people’s music represents a change in their psychical attitude; something that Goldwater reactionaries should have picked up on in relation to their White offspring.  Thus one can accturately trace the psychological history of America, also know as the Land of the Thousand Dances, by understanding its popular music.  If you follow the bouncing ball  and don’t get hung up on your preconceptions you won’t have any trouble.

     thus as Black music developed after emancipation a first phase was the era of Darky Songs when Blacks were fresh from the Plantation.  That’s what the White Stephen Foster built his reputation on.  This was followed by the era of Coon Tunes.  There is a different psychology in each.  The permutations of Ragtime and Jazz came through the twenties and thirties followed back out into the Urban Blues, Doo-Wop and the Rhythm and Blues of the forties and fifties.  R&B merged into Sould and Soul disappeared into Rap.  Each musical expression represents a distinct psychological reaction.  Blacks substituted the term Soul for Psyche.

page 1809.

 

 

    

    

    

 

A Novel

Our Lady Of The Blues

Book VII: The Heart Of The Matter

Clip 9

by

R.E. Prindle

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

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

     ‘Oh my god!’ He ejaculated.

     ‘What?’ Lips asked.

     ‘Do you see that sailor over there?’

     ‘Yes.”

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

     ‘You don’t say?’

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

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

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

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

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

page 1681.

     ‘Five hundred?  Supposed to be a thousand.’

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

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

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

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

     While Showbaby was pattering on Lips was harassing Trueman.

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

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

page 1682.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Hyperion To A Satyr

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

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

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

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

     ‘Bay City, Michigan?’  Dewey asked incredulously.

     ‘That’s right.’

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

     ‘I know.’  Dalton replied mysteriously.

page 1684.

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1685.

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1686

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

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

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

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

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

page 1687.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1688.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1689.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1690

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

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

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

page 1691.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1692.

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

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

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

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

page 1693

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

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

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

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

page 1694.

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

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

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

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

Page 1695.

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

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

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

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

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

     Trueman was a little too cool for Dagger.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1697.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1698

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

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

     ‘How’s that?’  Dalton asked maliciously.

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

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

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

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

     ‘I have.’

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

     ‘Couple weeks ago.’

     ‘Oh yeah?  Who and what for?’

page 1699

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

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

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

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

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

page 1700.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1701

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1702.

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

     ‘Listen to the way this baby purrs.’

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

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

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

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

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

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

     ‘Oh, you can read guages too?’

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

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

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

     ‘Give you five for my share of what?’

page 1703.

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

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

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

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

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

     ‘How are you going to eat?’

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

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

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

page 1704.

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

     ‘Don’t got it anywhere.’

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

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

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

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

page 1705.

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1706.

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

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

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

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

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

Tex sang:

If the ocean was whisky

And I was a duck,

I’d dive to the bottom

And never come up.

But the ocean ain’t whiskey

And I ain’t a duck.

So I’ll play Jack O’ Diamonds

And trust to my luck.

page 1707

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     ‘It’s bourbon.’

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

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

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

page 1708.

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

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

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

     A sign on the highway pointed to Flagstaff.

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

     Dagger decided it was time to act.

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

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

page 1709.

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

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

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

     Dalton was startled by the outburst, even intimidated.

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

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

     ‘You don’t have a license.’

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

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

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

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

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

page 1710

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

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

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

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

     ‘Oh Jesus.’ 

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

    ‘My car’s froze up.’

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

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

     ‘So what?’

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1711.

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

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

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

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

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

     ‘Don’t be facetious.’  Dalton said.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1712.

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

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

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

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

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

     ‘You going to let me wear your coat?’

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

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

The Last Ride.

In the Dodge City yards of the Santa Fe

Stood a freight made up for the East.

And the Engineer with his oil and waste

Was grooming his great iron beast.

While ten cars back in the murky dusk

A boxcar door swung wide.

And a hobo lifted his pal aboard

To start on his last ride.

A lantern swung and the freight pulled out

The Engineer gathered speed.

The Engineer pulled his throttle out

And clucked to his fiery steed.

Tens cars back in the empty box

The hobo rolled a pill.

The flare of the match

Showed his partner’s face

Stark white and deathly still.

As the train wheels clicked 

Over the coupling joints,

A song for a Rambler’s ear,

The hobo talked to the still white form

His pal for many a year.

(Spoken)

For a mighty long time we rambled Jack

With the luck of men that roam,

With the back door stoop for a dining room

And a boxcar for a home.

We dodged the bulls on the Eastern route

And the cops on the Chesapeake.

We traveled the Leadville narrow gauge

In the days of Cripple Creek.

We drifted down through Sunny Cal

On the rails of the old SP,

Of all that you had through good and bad

a half always belonged to me.

You made me promise Jack,

That if I lived and you cashed in,

To take you back to the old churchyard

And bury you there with your kin.

You seemed to know I would keep my word,

For you said that I was white.

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

‘Cause I’m takin’ you there tonight.

I didn’t have the money to send you there

So I’m takin’ you back on the fly.

It’s a decent way for a ‘bo to go

Home to the bye and bye.

I knew that fever had you Jack,

But that doctor just wouldn’t come.

He was too busy treatin’ the wealthy folks

To doctor a worn out bum.

(Sung)

As the train rode over the ribbons of steel

Straight to the East it sped.

The Engineer in his high capped seat

Kept his eyes on the rails ahead.

While ten cars back in the empty box

The lonely hobo sighed.

For the days of old

And his pal so cold

Who was taking his long Last Ride.

page 1715.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     ‘Shut up.’  Dalton said unceremoniously.

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

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

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

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

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

     They rolled on down to rejoin Highway 66.

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

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

page 1717.

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

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

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

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

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

     ‘Go ahead.  Get something for me.’

     ‘OK.  Give me the money.’

page 1718.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1719.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1720. 

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

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

     Incoherent with despair Dalton pulled in.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1721.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1722.

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

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

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

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

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

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

     ‘We’re not going to stop.’

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

page 1723.

     Killers On The Highway

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

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

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

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

page 1724.

     ‘We may take you as far as Tulsa.’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1725.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1726.

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

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

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

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

     ‘Oh yeah?  How’s that?’

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

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

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

page 1727.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     He began to study the two Ds more attentively.

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

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

page 1728.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1729.

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

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

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

page 1730.

Next

 

A Short Story

The Magic Shop

or

Time Travel In Einstein’s Universe

by

R.E. Prindle

 

     Possible universes indeed!  Does anyone think such things can possibly exist.  Just wishful projections of a religious consciousness.  That’t the way I see it but Dr. Anton, a man of science, no less, says he has his doubts.

     Well, we were walking down the street the other day when we noticed a slight shimmer in the atmosphere ahead of us.  We had already walked through it before we had time to even wonder what it was.  There was a slight tingle as we passed through but as nothing else seemed to change, the street was no different, while when we looked back we recognized each landmark where it had always been before; traffic, the people, there seemed to be no difference although it did seem as though we were looking back through a mirror into a parallel universe.

     We had already discussed it as some prank of the atmosphere when passing along a wall I noticed what seemed to be a sparkle emitting from a standard Portland cement wall.  Holding Dr. Anton back for a moment I stepped up to investigate.  As I drew nearer a quaint old fashioned shop door appeared from nowhere.  It wasn’t there before.  The sparkle I had seen was coming from a red neon sign above the green door which read “The Magic Shop.’

       When Anton came closer the same door became apparent to him.  He drew my attention to a red splash on the lintel of the door which he said was sheep’s blood but I swear it just looked like red paint to me.

     I knew that, as a hundred years earlier when this same door had appeared in London, if we were the right sort we would be able to pass over.  And, dear Reader, we did.  You look like the right sort so why don’t you pass over with us into the Magic Shop.

     The door had one of those old fashioned bells above it that tinkled as we entered.  The door swung shut and then through the window we saw a man outside rush for the door but we only heard a thud as he hit the wall.  He wasn’t the right sort, we were.

     There was an elfin like man behind the counter who smiled quietly at us but only inclined his head to the right.  When he did so you could look through the hole where his nose and chin touched.  If you had good aim you could have thrown a golf ball through with nothing but a whiff of air to account for its passage.  As the indicated direction was straight in front of us we turned from him to see a golden arch with this legend above it:  This Way To The Things That Were.

     There were rows of busts beside and above the shimmering pulsating arch.  I was used to seeing pseudo antique busts of Caesar, Milton, Athene and the like but these were extremely lifelike busts of people for which I thought there could be only a minimal demand.  In fact, I thought, anyone with such a stock of goods must necessarily go bust, pronto.  No pun intended.  I mean, who’s ever going to buy a bust of Edgar Rice Burroughs, H.G. Wells was there, Carl Jung, Sigmund Freud, Arthur Conan Doyle, Edgar Allan Poe, Fennimore Cooper and H. Rider Haggard; I was staggered by the last because I didn’t know anyone who could recognize him except this guy George I know.  And that guy’s into deep strange.

     Just as a lark I said hello to Edgar Rice Burroughs.  I was stunned when he said “Hello Warbaby’ back to me.  I staggered back in amazement managing to utter:  How’s things?  I was absolutely stunned when the Great ERB smiled back and said:  ‘I like the things you’ve been writing about me, Doug.’  I was about to salute Bertie Wells just to see what he would answer back when Dr. Anton noticed that the clerk was motioning us to move along by pushing the backs of his fingers at us.

     What cheek, I thought.  I’m a free born All-American Boy, nobody tells me what to do.

     My god, I thought, on the split screen of my mind, those aren’t plaster busts those are real heads.  I was really talking to Edgar Rice Burroughs the inventor of the Gridley Wave, or at least, the inventor of Gridley.

     I was trying to expostulate to Dr. Anton, I expostulate rather well, grabbing hold of his shoulder pad as he grabbed my belt pulling me through the arch.  First time I’ve ever seen him intimidated by a clerk who, by the way, shouted cheerily:  Mind that first step.

     All three of us must have missed it because after a short tumble we found ourselves sitting on a brightly lit concrete floor.

     I and you, Reader, were slow in getting our wits about us.  By the time our heads stopped spinning we got up off the floor to find Dr. Anton looking around him.

     Warbaby, do you know where we are?  He asked while I was still dazed, so I mumbled out not exactly.  It’s as bright as it is because of those kleig lights.  Anton said wonderingly.  I think we’re on a Hollywood sound stage.  Must be a thirties period piece,  I answered looking around at the people I thought were playing stagehands.

     No, Anton said, I think this is the thirties.  Remember that sign above the golden arch that said:  Things That Were?

     Aw, come on, Anton.  You’re not going to try to make me believe that we’ve traveled through time and space are you?  Well, he said, look over there at that portly little round man.  Yeah, I said, you mean that actor made up to look like H.G. Wells?  Dr. Anton gave me one of those impatient looks of his as though he were talking to an idiot.  I can tell you quite frankly, he wasn’t.  That’s not an actor made up as H.G. Wells, that is H.G. Wells.

     Why sure, Anton, I said thinking he wasn’t goint to catch me out.  No. He said. I think I know when and where we are now.  This is Hollywood in 1935.  I believe we’re on the soundstage for the movie ‘Things To Come.’  Oh yeah, I smiled brushing a fleck of dust from my dungarees.  Dungarees?  I wasn’t wearing dungrees when we entered the Magic Shop.  I don’t even own a pair.  I went to scratch my head in perplexity but found it covered by one of those British motoring caps.  Another thing I don’t own.

     When I looked over at Drl Anton he was wearing nearly the same thing except he had one of those stupid little blue Russian Revolutionary caps on his head.  And it really wasn’t his head; it was someone else’s.  So was his body.  Say, this was developing into a mystery.  Anton, is that you?  I asked looking back at Reader who was standing patiently by with one of those big metal cases on either side of his legs.

     Yes, it’s me, Warbaby, but I’m not alone, nor are you or Reader.  You see, I’ve just discovered, there’s a reason that no time traveler has ever been seen.  Apart from the fact that time travel doesn’t exist I sneered.  No, that’s not it.  But in any particular past time all the space has already been taken up.  Nothing can be altered or changed because as the Greek philosopher said:  What is is and cannot not be .  Whis is not, is not and cannot not be.  Nothing can be altered or changed in a completed time period because there is no room for any new matter.

     Well, I said archly, then how are we where we can’t be?  This may seem strange, Anton said, which I thought required no further comment, but I’ve just discovered what thousands perhaps milions already know.  We can exist here because of an almost undetectable thin membraneous vacuum around the brain.  As we all know nature abhors a vacuum so there is this one small interstice of time and space that can be filled without displacing reality.  Get it?

     You’re the scientist, I said, laughing up my sleeve.

     This may account for unaccountable aberrant actions by otherwise consistent people.  Anton said wonderingly.  They had this time traveller sharing space in their head.  Their mind waves must have clashed, you know, like static on the radio.

     Here I said snidely that that probably accounts for why Edgar Rice Burroughs invented the Gridley Wave; to keep his mind clear.  Even then when the power wasn’t on he thought he was mad and two different people.  Perhaps you have something there, Anton, I chuckled.  You know I think something is ridiculous when I chuckle.

     I suspect your psychology practice is going to boom when you get back Anton and start doubling your billing by charging one person for two different minds.  I think you may have hold of something of value here if you know how to exploit it.

     Talk about making a living, Anton said disregarding my sarcasm in the wonder of the moment, see who that is in the Director’s skull?  Who?  That’s ;your old friend J. Richard Gott.  Dick Gott here in 1935 in this studio?  What a coincidence.  Well, yeah, you could call it a coincidence but do you see who he brought in the skull of that gorgeous starlet standing by his chair?  That’s his great-great-grandmother at twenty.  Knock out isn’t she?     I didn’t know that was possible, Warbaby.  Shoot, anything’s possible in one of Einstein’s universes, I said.  You ain’t seen nothing yet.  It’s all mirrors and mathematics.  Give these guys a postulate and they’ll come up with the numbers to prove it out.  You know Gott.  I suspect he climbed up a superstring in our time, swung from string to string like Tarzan, slid down that superstring to go back and pick up his GG Grandmom, picked her up back whenever then climbed back up the superstring to move over to 1935 then slid down with her here.  That Gott, he’s already himself as his own mom and dad.  He had to slide down a number os superstrings to pull that off.  I don’t know which one he slid down to get his GG Grandma but I imagine if he gets her pregnant he’s going to have to create a whole new genre of relationships to explain it.  Try to trace your ancestry from that one.

     It hurts my host’s head to think about it.  They won’t work it out in this universe Anton but this place is madder than a superstring of Edgar Rice Burroughses.  How’s that?  Well, take a look Anton, everybody here is somebody else.  Everyone here has a time traveler wrapped around his brain.  Try to disentangle that one.

     I must be right then, that must be why no one has ever seen a time traveler.  It’s not that they’re just like you and me but they are you and me.  I mean, we look just like these stagehands we’re in like Gott looks like Menzies.

     Hmmm.  A thought occurs to me Warbaby.  What if time travelers were wrapped around our brains when we left the present to enter 1935?  We would be triple deckers, Anton.  We may have trapped out TTs in a sort of time warp where they can never go backward or forward until we return to where they got off the inter-sidereal time-loop.  Look at what H.G. Wells started.  If we don’t get back there’ll probable be a couple unused superstrings stranded in time and space.  Perhaps stranded in the interstice where time and space join.  Like one of those oil fields in Texas.

     Reader, pick up those boxes we’re being directed over to camera three.  This is a better place too, Anton, we’ve got a better view of Wells.  Look at that old lecher fondling the folds of that starlet’s gown.  Look at him, just at bust level.  I don’t blame him though.  She’s no Kali Bwana but she can stand next to my fire any time she wants.

     Warbaby!  Warbaby look! Follow Wells’ line of vision to over behind camera number one.  Oh my god!  That’s Edgar Rice Burroughs.  Quick Anton, freeze the frame.  How do you do that?  Just squint your eyes.  I recognize the Einstein of 1905 as your fellow traveler.  Squint quick.  Albert Einstein of 1905 is wrapped around my brain?  No kidding?  I can just barely see him and I don’t know how you picked him up but that’s him.  Look, everyone is frozen in place.  Time has had a stop.  Well, we all knew that time must have a stop sometime but this is just a pause Anton.  It’s like we moved the frame out of context to a parallel universe.  Everything is moving along as it was before so the future won’t be thrown out of kilter by a few minutes. It’s like we have shifted to a different memory bank in the archival universe.  When the pause is ended we’ll just drop back in this 1935 scene and universe where we stepped out.

     Boy, to go back in time seventy years to remove a moment of time from milieu and drop it back in again.  Sometimes I think I must be dreaming.  It could be, Anton, it could be.

     You see, Anton, even in an Einstein universe I think we’ve got a problem here.  Yes?  What?  Well, Anton, if this is as you say, the set of ‘Things To Come’, then the bad news is that the movie was filmed in England and not in Hollywood.  We know that Burroughs was never in England so how can boths Wells and Burroughs be on the same ‘Things To Come’ soundstage in Hollywood?  Hm, Mr. Scientist?

     Time travel hasn’t been fully explained, Warbaby.  I suppose not, Anton, but how can two places thousands of miles apart be in the same place at once.  Speak, oh Master, your humble student listens.

     I’t s not as difficult as it may sound, humble student.  I believe what we’re in here is a photo-mirage of inter-sidereal time.  I believe two images have been super-imposed with bits entangled and disentangled differently so as to produce a melange effect.  You have the seeming impossibility of a British set on a Hollywood soundstage with Wells and Burroughs together.

     Yes, we do have that seeming impossibility.  Just to make a good story better, Anton, now that the frame is frozen and we can form images a little better, do you realize that there are three different Einsteins on the set?  Look, you’ve got the Menzies/Gott/Einstein, then over there that actress and actor holding hands is wrapped with a 1954 Einstein and a 1960 Marilyn Monroe.  Her brain is wrapped with a post-mortem Victor Mature.  The old buzzard found a way to make it with him and her without anyone knowing. A regular sandwich.   First he moved ahead in time and space to make the date then they both came back to this set of ‘Things To Come.’  Must be one of his favorite movies.  After the movie’s over he will drop her off in 1960 then drive home to 1954.  How does that account for Victor Mature?  Mature must have been an inter-sidereal hitchhiker who was stranded while hitching and then died back on earth so he truly had no body on his bond.  And then he got lucky and how, hey?  Then there’s a 1943 model Einstein watching quietly from the skull of a bit player.  He must just have been curious.  If all three get together they can compare notes on how they developed his theories.  This is terrific although I’ve forgotten whether I’m Warbaby and you’re Polarion or vice versa.

     I haven’t.  You’re Warbaby and I’m Anton and that is Reader.

     Well, I’m getting dizzy even if you aren’t Anton.  I didn’t thing Wells and Burroughs had ever met yet as you see here they are.

     They still haven’t me Warbaby and they never will.  I’ll tell you what I think has happened.  We know that Wells, hated may not be the right word, resented Burroughs, um, doing variations on some of his stories.  Monster Men might as well be the Island Of Dr. Moreau.  The Mars series reverses the situation in ‘The War Of The Worlds’.  Not only that but Burroughs criticized some of Wells’ ideas from The Time Machine in Tarzan And The Jewels Of Opar.

     Burroughs on the other hand who began writing twenty years after Wells must have had his mind blown by that fantastic spate of sci-fi stories by Wells from 1895 to 1905 or fantasias as they were then called.  That stuff can stil bowl you over, especially if you’re under twenty-five and as spacy as we are now.  Burroughs had to revere the master.

     It must be that Wells knew Einstein so he got him to disentangle the noumenon of the London studio from England and reentangle it here.  Then Burroughs must have been notified that Wells was in town and came on down to take a  look at him.

     Just look.  Wells has that look of detestation in his eyes while Burroughs combines a haughty grandeur with the look of a puppy dog wanting to get in his master’s lap.

     You’ve studied up on this Warbaby.  What’s the story?  It’s simple enough, Anton.  Wells was, of course, famous when the Great War started while Burroughs had only begun to reach for fame so Wells had no idea of his work until after the War perhaps by 1921 perhaps when someone pointed out Burrughs novels to him.

     There was certainly no copyright infringement by ERB, nothing that was plagiarism but Wells thought, or rather, he didn’t realize that he had created at least one new genre in literature, that of science fiction, as well as futuristic or speculative fiction.  Since you’ve called on me to wax learned, Anton, Herman Hesse thought up something he called the Glass Bead Game about 1943.  The Glass Bead Game involved writing stories placing yourself in a different time and character.  Guys like Wells and Burroughs had mastered the art decades earlier.  Anyway Wells  chose to be angry with ERB.  In 1923 he wrote a story called Men Like Gods in which he invented a Burroughs character and then killed him off.

     Burroughs responded in his fiction and the feud went on until 19- well, today, here, now.  These guys should have been great friends.  Just look at them, Anton, Burroughs has, is going to rather, sell hundreds of millions of books in every country on earth.  He has already created one of the great psychic projections of mankind in Tarzan.  At this very moment we’ve frozen in time he is the world’s best selling author.

     Wells there at sixty-nine has written a dozen novels that will be popular and influential when we get back to our present.

     Both men will have many works successfully translated to the screen.  Back home this one, Things To Come, will be given four and a half stars by reviewers.

     We are literally looking at two intellectual giants of the twentieth century.  Two men of incredible talent revolving around each other like like two great planets in space, perhaps chasing each other around a ‘donut’ atmosphere as Burroughs would have it.

     See if you can get your Einstein to snap a picture of this which will appear on your camera back home when we get back.  Can he do that?  Sure, get the 1905 model of Einstein to do it, mirrors and mathematics, no problem.  Darn, Warbaby, when we passed the time warp it must have discharged my battery.  I don’t have any power.  Well, just send us an inter-sidereal email.  Anton.  My machine’s turned off.  What do you mean your computer’s turned off, Anton, nobody turns off their computer?  I’ve been getting too many bad jokes, Warbaby, I want to discourage them.  Use yours.

     Einstein’s brain wrap is on yours, not mine.  They won’t be able to work out the mathematics of brain transfers for another decade beyond home yet.  We’ll have him drop this still back into the moving picture and get on with our lives.

     Ooh, H.G. got a little flesh with his index finger just then.  Funny what an attraction those things are for us.  Those are real, too, no implants yet.

     There goes Burroughs Warbaby.  Looks kinda hurt.

     Yeah, back to Tarzana, probably traveling along the Gridley Ware.  I wonder what Wells thinks of a guy like Burroughs who has practically created his own parallel universe in the California sun and lives in it, no less.  Imagine a guy buying enough land for a town, subdividing it and then calling it after his own literary creation.  Levitt, created Levittown, Warbaby.

     Not the same thing Anton.  Jimmy Jones created Jonestown in the jungle too which was a much weirder story than Tarzana and still not the same thing.

     Oops, where are we going?  Lunch time, Warbaby, everybody off to the lunch box.  Good, we’ll be able to sit around and get all the good gossip.

     Whoo! Where are we Anton?  Back in the Magic Shop, Warbaby.  There won’t be any gossip for us.  Where’s the clerk pointing now?  I think he’s showing us the back door, Warbaby.  We may be the right sort but I think we’ve overstayed our welcome.

     Here we are back in the street, Warbaby.  I think this is regular old 2008.  I think we’re on the real side of the membrane too, can’t see your Einstein anymore.  Well, that was quite an adventure.  Yeah, too bad we couldn’t get that picture.  You know the battery may have been cleared when we passed through the shimmer.  Too bad.  If we could have claimed we found that picture in a drawer that would have been worth a little and proved something as true that never happened and in living color too.  History, huh?

     Well, Reader, it was nice of you to come along but we have to part now.  I hope you had an enjoyable interlude.  Watch out!  Don’t trip over that superstring.

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.

 

 

    

    

A Novel

Our Lady Of The Blues

Book VII

by

R.E. Prindle

Clip 3

     And so Cracker Jack tried to work himself back in.  It proved to be impossible as his finger prevented his working while complications kept him going back and forth to hospital.  In the end the Navy had to discharge him.  The tragedy was that because of his frail self-esteem caused by his brutalization back in Georgia he was prevented from ever realizing his potential.  He eventually became an odd job and handyman.

     Torbric sat down by Dewey amid the hubbub of Cracker Jack’s return.  Tory was all chutzpah; he had no shame.

     ‘Hey, Dewey.’

     ‘Torbrick, what in the world could you possibly want with me?’

     ‘Hey, I don’t know what you’re so touchy about, Dewey.  I just wanted to see if you’d like to come up to Long Beach this weekend.’

     ‘What?  Are we going to Atascadero again?  Dewey sneered, amazed at Trobrick’s lack of conscience.

     ‘No.  My pop and me thought you would like to meet Beverly Warnack.’

     ‘Who’s Beverly Warnack?’  Dewey asked, forgetting Torbrick’s mention of the psychiatrist at the hospital for the mentally disturbed.

      Dewey’s lack of violence precluded Atascadero, Bert thought maybe a regular asylum would do.

     ‘Is that all you know, psyciatrists?’  Dewey asked.  Having narrowly escaped confinement on the grounds he wasn’t violent Dewey was in no mood to give Bert and Tory another shot at him where violence wouldn’t be the issue.

page 1382.

     ‘Yeah.’  Torbrick laughed self-consciously in answering the question.  ‘I guess so.’

     ‘Listen Torbrick.  I don’t ever want you to speak to me again.  Understand?’

     Torbrick walked away but he didn’t understand.  Guilt now bound him closely to Trueman.  As good as his word Trueman ignored Torbrick completely.  Unable to break down Trueman’s defenses Torbrick did an end run ingratiating himself into Trueman’s clique; in that manner he succeeded in forcing himself on Dewey again.

     For now Dewey finished his shoes.  Unable to bear the expense of transportation he had made a momentous decision.  He decided to begin hitchhiking to Oakland.

On The Road Again

     The best and bravest are dead.  All that are left are the scum- the liars and cheats, the dancers wallowing in the fat of the land.

-Homer

     To undertake hitchhiking was a difficult decision for Trueman.  The desperateness of his situation is indicated by his decision to do so.  Dewey had always considered hitchhikers as semi-desperadoes.  Men who lived on the edge of the abyss of despair.  When his high school friend had become a hitchhiker around town Dewey was able to quell his dissatisfaction only with the utmost effort.  He had believed Larry had become declassed.  He was now willing to join the ranks of the declassed in order to escape the oppressiveness of the Navy.  His life was changed the moment he put his thumb out.

page 1182.

     In total he hitchhiked to Oakland no more than a dozen times but those dozen times made such an impression on him that he always believed that he had hitched all three years for tens of thousands of miles.  Each and every trip was packed with adventure and rare experience.  His life and well being were frequently on the line.

     The distance itself was staggering.  San Diego to Oakland was over six hundred miles in distance, thirteen hundred miles round trip.  While faster than the bus he was on the road for a minimum twelve hours each way.  The trip wasn’t worth it but he made it anyway.  The most that can be said was that he learned a lot about life and people.  Too much of nothing, as one poet put it:  ‘I wish I didn’t know now what I didn’t know then.’

     From the beginning he abandoned the policy of obtaining an out of bounds pass.  He found it humiliating to petition Sieggren on one hand while on the other it was a very minor offence that the California police couldn’t do anything about  anyway.  In a State full of desperadoes of the most desperate description what is a sailor without an out of bounds pass?

     Part of Dewey’s position was that his steps were being dogged in San Diego.  Our Lady was not about to let up on him.  Dewey had no idea why he was dogged but he knew it was so.  His weekly flights to Oakland took Our Lady by surprise.  While a man on the road is an open target by the time Yisraeli got organized his opportunity was almost over.

page 1383.

     Dewey took the bus, perhaps No. 30, out to the end of the line on Highway 101.  The San Diego CWBs would pick up sailors for hitchhiking in San Deigo so when you took up your position on the sand beside 101 your prayer was to get a ride from someone before the cops nailed you.

     Saying goodbye to his past Dewey stepped to the side of the road to put out his thumb.  Sailors always hitched in uniform as Uncle Sam’s blues were a sure guarantee that you would get easy rides.  There were many people who had sympathy for servicemen.

     Putting out your thumb is no lightweight matter.  Your style determines whether you will get a ride and who will give it to you.  Some guys hold their thumb up over their shoulder pointing down the road; some stick their arms straight out from the shoulder with the thumb held horizontal.  Some stick their thumb straight up in the air but that is guaranteeing you’ll be picked up by a fag.

     Dewey emulated his high school friend, Larry, by holding his arm down at waist level palm up, fingers closed, thumb pointing down the road.  It helps to jab it toward the centerline when a car passes to remind the driver what you’re after.  Other then that wear your most respectable face and stand up straight.

     A lot of guys find it necessary to insult a driver who seems to be passing them by bringing the thumb up in an arc ending with the middle finger erect.  Dewey was not of this frame of mind besides which many drivers do not make their decision until abreast of you or past you having looked you over carefully.  Both hitcher and driver are taking real chances.  Lotta crazy people in this world.

page 1384.

     Dewey had just put out his thumb when a local pulled over to pick him up.

     ‘I’m just going down the road a couple miles but it’ll at least get you out of the normal range of the police.’

     Dewey thanked him getting out a couple exits down the road.  The first ride in San Diego was frequently of this nature.  Locals who would not ordinarily pick up hitchhikers would at least move a sailor far enough our of range of the police to prevent his being picked up and returned to base.

      Rides were easy to pick up on 101 from San Diego to LA.  You seldom stood around long nor did you have to deal with homosexuals until you passed Anaheim.  After that every ride through LA would likely be a fruit.

     A couple short hops got Dewey above the Marine Base at Camp Pendleton.  Cpl.  Bill Baird picked him up.

    ‘Hi.  Bill Baird, Lubbock, Texas.’

     ‘Hi.  Dewey Trueman, uh, The Valley, Michigan.’  Must be the way the Marines do it, Dewey thought.

     ‘Havin’ a good time in your enlistment?’  Bill asked in the most relaxed laid back manner Dewey had ever seen.

     ‘Not so much I’m going to reenlist.’  Dewey replied in the usual sarcastic manner he considered wit.

page 1385.

     ‘I can follow you down that rabbit hole.  I’m taking the medical.’  Bill volunteered.  ‘How about you?’

     ‘You mean the under 30 and out?’

     ‘Yeh.’

     ‘I don’t qualify, otherwise I would.’

     ‘Well, I qualify and I’m taking it.  Bunch a guys are.  I can’t take this chicken shit outfit anymore.  We got some pretty crazy hombres, I can tell you.’

     ‘Yeah.  Know a few myself.’

     ‘We had this guy, Dalton Dagger?  This was somethin’ else.  He’s over in the brig now.  He was always touchy as hell, crazy as a loon.  He’s over in the brig now.  A couple of months ago he stepped out of ranks and just whaled into the Sergeant.  Stomped his ass bloody and royal, I can tell you.  Not that the bastard didn’t have it coming.  Lucky he didn’t kill the bastard.  Whatsa’ matter?  Why you so tense?’

     ‘No particular reason.’  Dewey replied.  ‘You’re one of the most confident drivers I’ve ever seen.’

     This was a particularly busy day on 101.  As the car moved into traffic above Anaheim the cars were bumper to bumper four lanes across.  Traffic was moving at fifty-five while Bill was moving at sixty-five.  Laid back and casual Bill slid his car into spaces no bigger than his automobile steering across all four lanes at a time always pursuing a zig-zag course but never slackening speed.

     Dewey was almost rigid and he gasped at some of spaces Bill slid his car into and out of.  Out of was almost more impressive than in.

page 1386.

     Aw man, relax, relax.  I know what I’m doing.  Here take one of these you won’t have no worries at all.’

     ‘What is it?’

     ‘Just a mo-o-o-d controller.  Tranquilizer.  Take it, make you feel real good.’  Bill handed Dewey a triangular black pill.

     ‘Drugs?  Uh, no thanks.’

     ‘Suit yourself.  Everybody at Pendleton’s doin’ somethin’.  Some really far out stuff too.  Man, there’s stuff nobody’s ever heard of.  We got this one guy, Jim Alexander?  Got some peyote buttons.  You know peyote?  Never heard of it?  Well, there’s this cactus grows down in Mexico, close to the ground, has these little buttons on ’em, you eat those and you get high.  Bitter as hell, get you sick.  After you eat ’em, if you can get ’em down, you throw up, after you throw up you get high.  Don’t like ’em myself.

     So anyway, Alexander ate a bunch of ’em, got real high, way up there; havin’ quiet conversations with the Architect of the Universe, know what I mean, really wiped his windows clean in that celestial gas station, opened the doors of perception for him.  Ever know that book Doors Of Perception by Elvis Harley, you will.

     So, ol’ Jim liked that so much about two weeks ago he ate twice as many, got way up there, high as you can go, he’s up there yet.  Still hasn’t come down.  I bet he’ll have stories to tell if he ever makes it back.’

     We…well, don’t you think he may have damaged his mind permanently?’

page 1387.

     Naw. why would he do that?  He just probably likes it up there, talkin’ to God and everything, wouldn’t you?  Wish I could.’

     ‘Well, I mean, how’s he do his work?’

     ‘Work?  He don’t have to work no more.  They got him under observation.  He’ll have some stories, I bet.  I’m tellin’ you everybody’s high on somethin’, or lots of different somethins. too.  Boy, the things I’ve taken.  Mushrooms, go-o-o-d.  Ever heard of LSD?  You have?  No kiddin’.  Man, get some of that right away, G0-o-o-der.  Rearrange your priorities right away.’

     Dewey was doing his best to relax.  He looked around hoping a cop would stop Bill so he could get out but the CWBs are never there when you need them.

     ‘You know I like you.’  Bill said.  ‘Don’t know why, there’s just something about you.  Dig this.  Know where I’m going?  Gotta get married.  Knocked this chick up.  Pissed me off, she shoulda been more careful. I’d walk but her mother got this phone in her hand, police on the other end.  Chick’s only fifteen, you see my problem?  No, you don’t.  No money, nada, not a sou.  Gotta go through with it though or it’s off to the hoosegow with me.  You could probably help me out.  You see, back in Lubbock I got this girl that’s hot for my dick, she can’t get enough, almost afraid for my health to go back, wouldn’t, but her old man’s got millions in the bank and wells pumping in the fields, you followin’ me?

     So, I get my medical and I go back to Lubbock and sit around humpin’ the bird with a bottle in one hand and joint in the other the rest of my days.  Betterin’ than those talkin’ to God blues, don’t you think?  That’s where you can help me out, dig?’

page 1388.

     ‘How’s that?  You want me to take the swing shift, give you a break?’

     ‘Ha, ha.  No. No.  You know what you could do for me?  You could marry my little chiquita here, satisfy her mother, know what I mean?  Get me off the hook, she doesn’t like me anyway.  Chiquita’s a hot little number soon as she drops her loaf.  Can’t get enough.  What do you say?’

     ‘Um, Bill, you know I’m not really in the marryin’ mood today.’

     ‘Hey, Dewey, this is buddy talkin’.  You won’t help a buddy out?’

     ‘Bill, helpin’ buddys is what I do best but I’m not going to get married.  I’m on my way to Oakland.’

     ‘You ungrateful son-of-a-bitch.  I give you a ride and you won’t even do me a favor?  Get out.  Get out.’

     The car was at the end of the freeway at Sepulveda Blvd.  They might easily have flown off the end if Dewey hadn’t refused to get married because relaxed Bill Baird was paying more attention to Dewey than the road.  As it was he slammed on the brakes pulling to the side of the off ramp by coincidence.  Cars nearly piled up behind him.

     ‘Get out, goddamn you, you ungrateful son-of-a-bitch.’

     Dewey wasted no time getting out of the car.  Shaking his fist at him Bill Baird rammed the pedal to the metal spinning down the ramp without even checking the traffic.  Jim Alexander must have been interceding with God for him.

     This left Dewey on foot in LA with little idea where he was or how to get North.

Pressure Gonna Drop On You

     Dewey was from the midwest.  Californians by which midwesterners generally meant Southlanders, were considered actual lunatics by midwest standards.  They were considered humanity stood on end.  The dichotomy was current in California in the LA-San Francisco rivalry.  The Southland was preeminently the home of nuts.  It was considered quite appropriate that LA was the home of Looney Tunes.

     As a midwesterner this attitude was part of Dewey’s intellect.  He was not alone.  Literature is replete with contempt for the Wasted Angels.  Why the Angels should be humanity turned upside down is not really all that complex a problem.  Anyone with an ounce of understanding however would have placed his money on the Wasted Angels for the future of mankind.

     It is strange that in this earthly paradise people at one and the same time should be both so happy and so unhappy.

      There is really no physical environment on earth like LA.  By LA I mean from the Grapevine in the North to the Southern border of Orange County and from the Beaches in the West to San Bernardino, Lake Arrowhead and Palm Springs to the East.  That is an immense and diverse piece of land with nearly every inch of it inhabited.  It includes the sweltering basin floor and the areas of Big Bear in the mountains.  Mt. Whitney, the highest point in the lower forty-eight, rises in those same mountains.

page 1390

     The weather is the finest that you can find in the world.  There is never a time when more than a T-shirt is needed for warmth day or night, unlike the French Riviera.  The ubiquity of asphalt and concrete means that there can be some very hot days when the heat is reflected back up but the humidity is low.  It is never as uncomfortable as Miami, Hawaii, Washington D.C. or New York City.

     In addition to the fabulous weather there is no form of natural or manmade entertainment that isn’t available.  There are other pleasant spots in the world like the Riviera and there are other spots for entertainment like Las Vegas but for my money there isn’t anything you can do in either place that can’t be done better in LA.

     The weather gives people a buoyant, ebullient, upbeat bounce but is countervailed by the squalor of the city.  Not that the city isn’t affluent and attractive because it is, or was at the time, but the exuberant expectations of an overly hopeful populace can never be met by reality.  There is an air of anxious desperation that lays over LA like its persistent smog.  In the bright sunshine there seems to be a low pressure system hovering like the Alaska Low to the North.  It wobbles from side to side but it never goes away.   The eye of the system lies over Watts.

     Strangely in this land of religious sects ranging from bizarre witchcraft cults like Aleister Crowley’s Golden Dawn through Rosicrucians, Theosophists, Manly Hall’s Philosophical Research Society, Garner Ted Armstrong’s Ambassador College, the Vedantists and what not to all the Protestant sects and the Catholic Church, there is so little spirituality.  There is only the crassest materialism.  Everyone believes salvation comes from the barrel of a pen and a check book.  Drugs are as commonly consumed as water.  Nor is drug consumption a recent phenomenon but goes back to the teens and twenties and even earlier.

page 191.

     Nor is there any social homogeneity.  LA is a layered construction of immigrants from all over the United States as well as the world.  Like Dr. Petiot they were all the kind of people who like to bring their baggage with them.  This is what gives the place its flavor.  At the beginning of the twentieth century the Anglos controlled the psychological atmosphere but that changed as the century wore on as other ethnic groups began to dominate.  They all have their neighborhoods where they congregate.  Little Thises and Thats.

     The Blacks, the leading subculture in America, invaded the area during and after the War.  As the influx continued during the fifties and sixties they spread over South LA from Watts.

     The increase in the Black population of California of over eight hundred percent during this period was not spread evenly over the State.  The major portion was in the Bay Area and LA which means that those areas increased by a thousand percent or better so that pressure on formerly White areas was rapid and instense.  This huge unassimilable immigration bearing the various Black intellects of Dixie was extremely disappointed on its arrival.  Nowhere else so much as in LA was the promise of the golden life in the Golden State so little realized.  If Whites were disappointed in their pursuit of material salvation the Blacks were enraged.

page 1392.

     As in Chicago and Oakland Blacks were not expected to venture forth from the Stockade without a pass.  They had to have a good reason to be anywhere else.  The Black writer, Iceberg Slim, says that he didn’t leave the Stockade willingly to drive across town for fear of police harassment.  It is to be imagined that he knew what he was talking about.

     It is true that you could travel all over the highways and byways of California without seeing a Black unless you went into one of their areas.  That was an unadvisable thing for a White to do.  In the time Dewey hitchhiked he saw only one Black family not only on the highway but driving any city street.

     In this brooding state of anxious depression amidst the state of hoped for material gratification there is no wonder that the Blacks of LA have erupted into destructive rages on occasion.

     The same anxious tension was endemic to the area but when Whites riot it is not called a justified rebellion to intolerable conditions and retribution is swifter, surer and harsher than any Black will ever experience regardless of what they think.

page 1393.

     I hope I will be excused for having no more than passing sympathy for the Black plight.  Whites are murdered and plundered by the police and nothing is or ever will be said or done about it.  Racism or whatever you want to call it is not just Whites oppressing Black folk.  It is rich against poor, the acceptable vs. the those they have made unacceptable; discrimination is the very fabric of our or any other society here or in Africa.  So Whites know better than to riot.  They resort to crime, vandalism and sabotage and take their punishment piecemeal.  It’s almost a blessing that Blacks don’t know how to do it right.

     In the beginning LA sold itself as a retirement center.  I haven’t seen the statistics but it is said that midwestern farmers sold out the farmstead to luxuriate in the warm California sun.  Iowans are always specifically mentioned with some contempt as though they were inferior to whatever passed for acceptable Wasted Angels.

     On top of them came the Jews.  Everyone knows better than to say anything derogatory about the Jews so they have never been criticized although they form the corrupt core of the LA intellect.  The Southland today is the second largest Jewish area in the US and probably larger than any location in Israel.

     They are so numerous and influential that they have been able to name the giant intersection of San Vicente and Wilshire after the founding Prime Minister of Israel, David Ben Gurion.  As covert objection is apparently taken to this coup you have to look twenty-five feet up the lamp post to see the sign where it has been placed out of reach of dissenters.

page 1394.

     During the Dust Bowl of the thirties Okies and Arkies and Texans who gave up their farms flooded into LA in numbers equaled only by the Negroes of the forties, fifties and sixties.  Unprotected by a condemnation of bigotry their invasion was less welcome than the Blacks and lacking a Hillbilly Anti-Defamation League they were criticized in terms that would have generated successful lawsuits from Jews.  Even in 1958 they were synonymous with total ignorance and treated in a discriminatory manner, usually having to accept jobs in service stations.  They gave LA a pronounced Hillbilly flavor.

     The Italians and Jews of organized crime came in with a rush as the decade of the thirties closed.  They quickly established their presence in their particular manner giving their own peculiar flavor to the business and social situation.  If you want a neat before and after comparison check out the first four novels of Raymond Chandler as compared with the last three.

     There was a substantial Chinese and Japanese population dating back to the nineteenth century and early decades of the twentieth.  After the Asia Exclusion clause of the Immigration Act was eliminated in 1965 at the insistence of the Jews huge numbers of Far Eastern and Islamic peoples arrived.

     Why were the Jews anxious to revoke Asian restrictions?  Well, it was good for the Jews.  If you look at the map you’ll see that Asia stretches from the Pacific to the Mediterranean.  that means Israel is in Asia so no Jews could have legally emigrated to the United States from there.  It is a Jewish principle that no restrictions be placed on them as God’s chosen people.  Thus the Asian exclusion was eliminated to benefit them.

page 1395.

     The huge herogeneous population- LA is the second largest city in the US- had to have employment.  There was little hope that prosperity could be induced and maintained by selling lots to Iowa farmers.  Layers of industry like the layers of ethnic groups began to arrive.  As industry in LA is distributed throughout various communities over a vast area it is quite possible to miss the significance of LA as an industrial center.  Indeed, Dewey did.

     After 1914 the burgeoning new movie industry moved West from New York and environs to locate in LA.  The basic la la land reputation of LA arises from the movies.  Actors themselves are considered unstable people subject to subconscious whims.  Their excesses and style gave the city a much different flavor than say, Pittsburgh, where industrial executives indulged in the same excesses but with a more sedate style.

     The movies themselves brought in droves of hopefuls whose dreams could not be realized.  But the hopefuls were generally good looking and energetic.  They were looking for opportunities and they probably created a good many not only for themselves but for others.  Being an unstable lot the human wreckage was enormous creating an atmosphere of human exploitation.

     The movie industry from the start was the preserve of Jews.  There was no way you could work in the movies unless you kowtowed to Jewish desires.  That meant that all the scripts served Jewish ends.  After the forties the Mafia influence on the film industry increased dramatically.  Soon every fat ugly Italian mobster had a gorgeous Anglo sexpot dragging along behind him.

page 1396.

     The movies followed the discovery of oil.  First in Huntington Beach, Long Beach and Santa Fe Springs then in a number of places.  Thus the basis of industrial prosperity was laid.  As an anti-union city LA was able to attract one of the largest and most diverse concentrations of industry in the country.  With the addition of the crown jewel of aero-space there was no stopping the prosperity.

     Climate, easy money, and sunshine; what more could anyone ask.

     However as people transformed LA, LA transformed people.  Back in their hometowns in settled conditions it was very important to maintain a respectable facade founded on an Augustinian style Christianity.  Activities that might tend to rend that facade were consigned to the basement rather than the light of day.  Then people suppressed their ‘Freudian instincts’ in favor of ‘normality’ and ‘morality.’

     In the feeding frenzy of LA where everyone became anonymous, being the indentity they chose to create for themselves on any given day, Augustinian mores were thrust aside in favor of subliminal Freudian desires.  Chutzpah became more important than morality or polite manners.  Crudeness was applauded.

     In a remarkable switch deplorable Freudian subconscious desires were more or less released into the light of day.  The casting couch morality became the norm while chaste sexual behavior was condemned.  The activities of the basement were elevated to the first floor while Augustinian morality was relocated to attic storage as useless baggage.

page 1397.

     Morality became a catch as catch can affair monitored by the eccentrics rummaging around in the moral attics.  You were only punished if you didn’t have the chutzpah to pull your crimes off.  Everyone was on the make.  If you weren’t strong or quick enough to make you became one of the made.  It was the triumph of American pragmatism.  The only thing that counted was if your scheme succeeded.  Success was morality and if you didn’t succeed you whined on over to your lawyer and filed a lawsuit.  Whether the Wasted Angels needed Freud or anyone else to teach them this is debatable but it was Freudianism in action.

     The tenor of morality was controlled by the Italian Mafia in conjuction with the Hollywood Jews but the style was more of a Protestant or Arthurian sort.  Open and brazen.

     The most important element of the LA mix was the movies.  Now, it is a fact that the movies were and are a Jewish enterprise.  Anything that doesn’t please the Jews isn’t going to make it to the screen.  In the early days the Jews felt constrained to cater to Anglo-Saxon tastes thus Jewish desires and needs were sublimated.  the axis of taste and style shifted however.  An Anglo-Saxon intellect like D.W. Griffith was subtly edged out of the stream or as they say, ‘marginalized.’

     Marginalization is the PC way of saying censored and discriminated against, blacklisted.  As in the old days Jews and Negroes were not welcome now the ‘marginalized’ are discriminated against.  This is called ‘Democracy.’

page 1398.

     Only gois like Cecil B. DeMille who honored Jewish dictates were allowed to survive but they were kept on a short tether.  Chastised for his early portrayal of Jesus as King of Kings De Mille was forced to  turn to the Old Testament epics that glorified Hebrews in expiation.  Thus in the history of the movies you will find many more Old Testament epics than you will find Christian ones.

     The chaste Arthurian heroines of Griffith like Lillian Gish were replaced by big hipped, big busted loose acting women like Jean Harlow and Mae West.  Nice girls couldn’t make it in the movies.

     The Second World War put an end to all that had gone before.  The old Hollywood died.  Television has been given credit for destroying the movies but that is absolute nonsense.  At the end of the century amidst much fiercer competition for the entertainment dollar than in the immediate post war years the movie industry is more successful than in its heyday.  The truth of the matter is that the prewar world of Anglo-immigrant conflict on which the content of the movies had been based had disappeared.  the industry languished in the search for a new ethic which also coincided witht the introduction of TV.

     The Jews of Hollywood formed the new ethic and they formed it in their own image.  They no longer felt the need to cater to Anglo-Saxon tastes.  The movie ‘Gentlemen’s Agreement’ which was about a goy posing as a Jew seeking to create anti-Semitic reactions when they didn’t exist was the opening salvo of the Jewish campaign.

     Interestingly enough this tradition of sensitivity was continued forty years later in a movie by the Jewish producer Steven Spielberg by the title of ‘Men In Black.’

     In this movie an organization based on the ADL has a world wide organization not unlike the International Jewish Conspiracy called the Men In Black.  They seek anti-Semite ‘creeps’ who are all so disguised that a person of reasonable sensitivity could never recognize them.  It takes the highly developed sensitivity, otherwise known as paranoia, of these covert ‘saints’ to recognize them.  In other words the so-called ‘witchhunt’ of the McCarthy era has been sanitized into a holy way of life but with potentially anti-Semitic targets rather than Judaeo-Communists.

     Needless to say the Men In Black were clones of the Man In Black needed to purify the country as sung by the Kingston Trio and the attempt to live it by Johnny Cash.

     Thus by controlling the content of movies the Jews had progressed from ‘entertaining’ the goys to showing them up in ‘Gentlemen’s Agreement’ to controlling them in ‘Men In Black.’  This was a very remarkable achievement in more or less fifty years.

     The Jews did have to make concessions to the brutal methods of the Italian Mafia.  Originally cast as brutal oafs with Anglo-Saxon names in the gangster movies of the thirties the Mafiosi emerged as brutal oafs with Italian names in the post-war years.  The difference was that they made brutal oafishness acceptable.  Movies like ‘The Godfather’ legitimized their methods in turn brutalizing the rest of the population.

page 1400.

     Two other groups shaped the form of the post-war movies.  The ubiquitous Revolution and the Homosexual community.  All four groups functioned quite harmoniously together.  All four wished to sap the Anglo-Saxon government they despised.

     The Revolution was quite subtle.  In movies like The Ugly American they made the charity, kindness and good intentions of the American native seem like the grasping, mercenary moves of a sexual predator.  As in all Revolution movies the Soviets or Chinese Communists come off as the good guys.  In movies like Dr. Strangelove the Soviets and the Red/Liberal government of America seemed to be opposed by an industrial military complex controlled by lunatic Anglo-Saxon Hillbillies.

     The Reds also seized on the novel by Daniel Defoe Robinson Crusoe to defame and revile the Anglo-Saxon.  Discrimination against those of English ancestry was quite common as the century drew to a close.  Defamation was frowned on unless the English were being defamed.

     In the most recent movie version of Robinson Crusoe the colonial peoples get their revenge as Friday make a fool of Robinson Crusoe.  The question is asked what if Friday grabbed the sword first?  Why then savagery would have reigned triumphant, what else?  It would be as in Africa when the English left, one tribe massacring the other.

     So also was the trend to glorify homosexuality.  Homos and Lesbians were always portrayed sympathetically while homosexual sadistic brutality became the normal mode of expression.  More and more movies began to appear in which brutal murders or shootouts took place in public toilets, a sure sign of homosexual influence.  The most favorite scene was when the shooter thought he had his man trapped in the ‘shitter.’

page 1401

     The target always places his shoes and pants to look like he’s on the throne while he has climbed above the stall.  There is only a moment for the obligatory puzzled look on the shooter’s face as he gazes into the empty stall before the shitter descends on him from above like a load of shit.

     A criminal attitude toward life became the standard outlook.  Hollywood called it ‘entertainment.’

     All things conspired in LA to create an unruly atmosphere.  Naturally control of such an unruly lot required a strong police force; nearly an occupying army.  Enter the LAPD.  Los Angeles had the most feared law enforcement agency on either side of the Gestapo or KGB.  The only real difference between the LAPD, the Gestapo and the KGB was a matter of style and that was narrow.

     The Black Folk might like to think they were singled out for rough treatment but in their insularity they just don’t know.  A late century criminal like Rodney King might be able to start a riot by resisting arrest and getting beaten for it but for every Rodney King there are dozens of nameless Whites who are beaten, crippled or killed with no recourse to ‘discrimination.’  A dead White man is only a dead White man who had it coming.  It is only the concept of racism that makes a Black man killed by the CWBs a crime.

page 1402.

     Members of the Gestapo or KGB are fearsomely portrayed in the movies but you don’t know what fear is until you’ve had a jack booted, jodhpured, helmeted, dark visored, CWB with a Dick Tracy array of gadgets and guns belted to his midriff walk up to you with the full intent of knocking you to the ground with his leaded billy if you show impertinent curiosity as to his intent, let alone, spirit.  You better be Black if you want to file a complaint because they throw White boys out on their ear.

     The LAPD walked mean and talked mean with the uncompromising full support of not only the legal system but the financial and political power behind them.  No action would be taken against a CWB no matter what he did or why.  There were corrupt, vicious, criminal and big with a license to kill before .007 made the scene.  They were often used as hit men by the powers that be.

     No one but the terminally insane like Rodney King ever messed with them.  Being Black is a very poor excuse.  There was no question that if you fought the LAPD the LAPD won.  It was a suicide mission.  One tried not to be seen with them even standing next to them.  How could anyone Black or White sympathize with a fool like Rodney King?

     All those bad ass Blacks, wild Hillbilly Boys and assorted desperadoes didn’t pay the LAPD no mind. The Mafia and ADL were greased of course so the LAPD didn’t pay them no mind.  In its relaxed way LA was the toughest city in the world.

     Now, as an innocent at large Dewey Trueman was dropped off in the dark at the end of the freeway on Sepulveda Blvd. with no idea where he was or how to reach the Grapevine.  Dewey scuffed the pavement with frustrated kicks wondering what to do next.  He spotted a gas station a block away where he hoped to receive good information.

page 1403.

     The worst of it might be that some joker would send him down to Watts where he would have one hell of a time of it.  The first major eruption in Watts didn’t occur until 1965 but that doesn’t mean there weren’t a lot of little tremors first.  White was not a popular color in Black Watts.  Even high yellows had to take care down there.

     Luck was with Dewey.  He had developed a good tough scowling Navy walk.  You have to act so tough to get by in America.  A term of approbation during the fifties was ‘that’s tough, man.’ meaning that’s a cool shirt, for instance.   They even wrote a lilting tune called ‘So tough’ to celebrate the condition.  Toughness will get you further than politeness any day.

     The attendant eyed him up.  Respect for the uniform and attitude got Dewey correct directions.  The attendant advised him to go over a couple blocks to La Cienega then North toward the Hollywood hills to Lankersheim Blvd. in the San Fernando Valley, or just the Valley, thence to the foot of the Grapevine.  A formidable forty miles or so through uncharted territory.  Being young and dumb was a big asset to Dewey, otherwise he would have had to think twice.

     Hitchhiking through LA meant running a seventy mile gauntlet of queers.  Dewey was psychologically unprepared for this although common sense should have told him that anyone standing by the side of the road soliciting rides could be construed as being ‘lonely’ and desiring company.  He was concentrating on his own needs which were to get from point A to point B.  Nevertheless the highway is the proper place for sexual adventures.

page 1404.

     As usual the homos were out in numbers so there was no dearth of rides.  Homosexuality was still against the law but the make or made attitude of LA drove large numbers of defeated men into homosexuality in an attempt to regain some masculinity.  If you lost yours you could hope to suck or siphon it out of someone else.

     It always seemed strange to Dewey that these homos were out patrolling the highways.  As many as there were, he thought, you’d think they could find some way to get together or identify each other.  Eventually they did when they created Disco.  However at that time there were few obvious homosexuals.  The closet was the right place to be.  Mostly they relied on hand signals to identify each other like moistening the eyebrow with the little finger.

     In reality they rejected their own as sexual objects preferring virgins instead.  That was where the real manhood was.  Either that or they preferred the danger of strangers in the dark.  There was no difficulty in rolling a gay.  They actually invited beatings being sado-masochistic.

     If you were game for a homosexual adventure or led them on they drove you to secluded spots of which they knew plenty even in the middle of the city.  Most of them wanted to blow you so a crack on the head with a blackjack while they were down there presented no difficulty.  It’s a wonder more of them weren’t killed.

page 1405.

     Most of them got straight to  the point resulting in a two block hop.  Some were more discriminating taking a mile or so to make up their minds.  Dewey’s luck was a succession of two block hops all the way up La Cienega to Wilshire.

     Dropped off on the South side of Wilshire Dewey crossed the street to find himself in a wonderland by night.  Change comes swiftly in LA.  La Cienaga from Wilshire to Santa Monica at the time was a glitzy restaurant row for tourists.  The street was at its apex.  Seemingly imperishable in the bright lights at the time all but Lawry’s would be gone within ten years or so.

     Like Lawry’s these were all mammoth restaurants seating hundreds.  Any one of them would have seated the patrons of all the restaurants in the Valley of Michigan on any given night.  The bustle was gorgeous and immense.

     Much to the amusement of the car parkers and doormen of which each restaurant seemed to have dozens Dewey gawked like any red dirt Georgia farm boy on his first trip to the city.  He yearned to be part of the scene.  Twelve years later when he came back having no other choice but Lawry’s he ate there.  It was a good restaurant but like a bottle of wine promised more than it could deliver.

     For now, heedless of time, Dewey walked slowly up to Santa Monica Blvd. taking it all in.  He stopped before the windows of Zeitlin and Ver Brugge an excellent book store to ogle their fine display.  He would one day shop there but it too followed the restaurants into oblivion.

page 1406.

     He was lucky enough to catch a ride from Santa Monica to Sunset with a foursome enjoying LA to the fullest.

     Like La Cienega Sunset was if not actually in decline on the verge of decline.  This was the time of the TV series 77 Sunset Strip. Raymond Chandler complains of the Mafia and its hold on restaurants.  So organized crime had run the restaurant scene for some time although it was nowhere so obvious as in Dean Martin’s restaurant,  Dino’s, which naturally commanded the central spot on the strip.  Unlike the tourist traps of La Cienega Sunset was where the LA glitterati went to shine.

     The Eve of Destruction lurked on the North side of the street tucked behind the glitter against the hills.  Strangely Dewey found his way there.  Just as the jive talking parking lot attendant of 77 Sunset Strip,   Ed ‘Kookie’ Byrnes, represented the obverse side of hip culture the Beat character Maynard Ferguson would have frequented the coffee shop called the ‘Eve Of Destruction.’  He didn’t stay long.

     As with everything in Hollywood the Wasted Angels sought out the essence of a thing and turned it into a movie set.  If you wanted an authentic coffee house you had to go to San Francisco.  If you wanted artificial people playing at being Beats in movie set coffee houses you went to LA.  In San Diego the scene was like someone who had heard of Beats and setting up a coffee house on that hearsay.  They completely missed the point by called a coffee house:  ‘Socrate’s Prison.’  Really strange.

 page 1407.

     At the time Dewey was rigorously authentic.  As an outsider of society he was quite familiar with hip jargon and Beat attitudes if unfamiliar with them in context.  He was not only offended at the phony coffee house, but the tough Mafioso who regulated admittance of the clientele took offense at his appearance.

     Unlike the later Studio 54 of New York the coffee house couldn’t select its clientele from a long line of hopefuls but it could deny entrance to those it considered unsuitable.  The tough young criminal found Dewey objectionable about the same time Dewey was revolted by what he saw.

      Dewey was already leaving when the bravos moved toward him to drive him out.  Therein lay the corruption of LA.  The Anglo-Saxons were an inclusive people.  Having inhabited America they invited all the peoples of the world to come on over too.  But many of the peoples of the world like the Italians and the Jews were exclusive peoples.  They were narrow and discriminatory.  They only wanted to admit people who met their circumscribed standards of acceptability.

      Clubs may be exclusive but restaurants cannot be.  As the Mobsters drove out people they found objectionable the clientele diminished in proportion to the number of tough acting, though talking Mobsters who thereby dominated the clientele.  As the regular clientele disappeared there were only a bunch of criminals sitting around insulting anyone who walked in.  The Mob restaurants all went out of business one after the other.  They should have formed clubs.  But without any outsiders to impress with their tough tough ways there was no joy in that.

page 1408.

     Their attitude may have worked well in economic backwaters like Sicily and the Pale but in a booming expansive economy the attitude is counter productive.  Of the pool of potential customers the number of rejected is always much greater than those who are acceptable.

     As the Jews and Italians always want to be in the high profile areas the acceptable are too few to meet expenses hence the restaurants always go out of business.  Dino’s was the opening wedge in the destruction of Sunset Strip.  The hammer that drove the wedge in was across the street.  The Beats, who were not a respectable intelligencia were soon to evolve into the Hippies who were neither respectable nor intelligencia.  There was something happening here but no one understood.  By the mid-sixties all the glamor was gone from Sunset Strip.  the Mafia and the Hippies had driven everyone away.

     Rather than put his thumb out amidst the glitz Dewey walked on down to the corner of Laurel Canyon to begin there.  It was one of the longest walks of his life.  Once again his uniform availed him nothing; if anything it marked him as an inconsequential person to be ignored.  Ignored he was; the self-important people intent on entering a Mafia dive like Dino’s blinded by their desire to appear ‘in’ walked right over Dewey as if he weren’t there.  Women as well as men.  They didn’t brush by him they walked right through him.  Dewey was not aware of slipping out of their way but he must have as no physical contact was made nor was he knocked aside.  He saw men and women standing near the entrances looking in his direction and laughing but he never knew why.

page 1409.

     Continuing up Sunset through lights so bright the headlights of cars seemed dim Dewey found his way to the corner, crossing over Laurel Canyon to put out his thumb.  He was picked up immediately.  His ride wasted no time.

     ‘Unzip your fly.’  The homo commanded before the car had reentered the stream of traffic.

     ‘Zip your lip.’  Dewey commanded reflexively in turn.

      That was a fairly witty exchange but the fruit was not in the mood for witty repartee; he wanged to the curb at the first opening.

      ‘Put out or get out of my car.’  He demanded.  ‘Nobody rides for free.’

     ‘That’s right, Jack, and you ain’t got enough to pay the fare.’  Dewey sneered as he slid out of the car.

     He was pulling his middie down and arranging his scarf when a car pulled up before he’d even put his thumb out.  He got in.

     ‘He there, Sailor.  You’re a likely looking guy.’

     ‘For what?’  Dewey asked.

     ‘You can drive?’  His ride asked.

     ‘Are you kidding?’  Dewey sneered.  He’d been behind the wheel once a couple years previously.  He hadn’t done too well but he figured that was his first time.  The next time he’d be a regular Barney Oldfield.

page 1410

     ‘OK.  I’m going to pull up in front of a liquor store up here.  When I get out slide over into the driver’s seat.  I’m going to be coming out of the liquor store in a hurry.  When I do don’t even wait for me to slam the door; have it is gear and just get the hell out of there.

     OK.  Here we are.  See this corner here?  Go up to the next one and turn right.  Don’t let anyone slow you down.  Run ’em over if you have to.’

     The driver took a huge .45 automatic out from under the seat dramatically snapping a clip into place.

     Dewey quickly came up with the sum of four.  they both opened their doors at the same time as Dewey stepped out.

     ‘No, no, man.  Just slide over.’

     ‘This is where I wanted to get out.’  Dewey said politely walking away.

     ‘Aw, chicken shit pansy.  Nobody rides for free.’

     Where have I heard that before?  Dewey asked himself.

     Undeterred by Dewey’s defection his ride entered the liquor store exited in a hurry, got back in his car and shook his fist at Dewey as skidded around the corner.

     A block later the CWBs pulled up.  A pair of jackboots and dark visors grabbed him by the arms.

     ‘Just a second, Sailor, we want to have a few words with you.’  the voice of an anonymous Gestapo figure admonished from under his crash helmet behind the dark visor and dark glasses.  ‘We don’t like swabbies comint to our town and committing robberies.’

page 1411.

     ‘I wouldn’t either.’  Dewey said without thinking.

     ‘You getting smart with me, son?’  The officer said pushing Dewey backward across the other CWB’s extended foot.  Dewey crashed to the ground.

     Now if Dewey had been as stupid as Rodney King he would have come up cursing and swinging.  The CWBs would have made no bones about breaking his.  Sitting downtown in the can Dewey would have no recourse but the suffer the indignity and its accompanying jail term.  He would have been just another no account loud mouthed White Boy who deserved no considerations.  No riots for Dewey.

     ‘Now, you were seen getting out of the car of the man who just robbed that liquor store back there.  What’s your story?’

     At least they were nice enough to ask back in those days.

     ‘Uh, no story.  I was…’ Dewey was about to say hitchhiking then thought better of it.  ‘…in a bar back on the Strip and met the guy and we were going to somewhere else when he turned out to be queer.  He pulled over and I got out.  That’s all I know.’

     ‘What bar was that?  Your ID says you aren’t twenty-one yet?’

     ‘Coffee bar.  It was a coffee bar.  The big one back there across from Dino’s’  Dewey corrected himself.

     The CWB leaned close but could smell no liquor.

     ‘That’s it?’

     ‘Yeah.  Of course that’s it.  I’m no crook.’

     The cop had no real reason to hold Dewey, not that he needed one, so he gave indications of letting him go.

page 1412.

     ‘Teufelsdreck, hey?  Where’s your base?  San Diego?  You got an out of bounds pass?’

     ‘This is only LA.  Don’t need one.’

     ‘Maximum’s a hundred miles from San Diego, isn’t it.  Used to be when I was in.’

     ‘Just barely.  They told us LA is OK without a pass.  Exec doesn’t want to be bothered.’

     ‘Oh, ‘they’ did, did ‘they’?  Well, watch your step, bud.  Stay out of trouble.’  The CWB said throwing Dewey’s ID at his feet which seemed to be SOP for CWBs everywhere.

     Dewey let them drive off then put out his thumb.  A car wheeled across traffic from the other side of the street where the driver had been watching.

     ‘What was that all about?’  He demanded, his curiosity shooting out in blue flames.

     Nobody rides for free.  Dewey thought and nobody gets my story for nothing.

     ‘It’s a long story.’  Dewey replied laconically.

     ‘I got time.’  The driver said eagerly.

     ‘Yeah.  Well.  I’m trying to get to Lankersheim Boulevard in the Valley.  You heading in that direction?’

      ‘As a matter of fact, I am.’

     He made all the right turns weaving through the Hollywood Hills as Dewey spun his story out as long as he could beginning with ride from the Marine, Bill Baird.  He had just finished his story when the car descended the hills unto Lankersheim beside Universal Studios in North Hollywood.

     ‘Cops are a bitch.’  The driver said as Dewey got out.

     ‘Sure are.  Thanks for the ride.’

page 1413.

Love Letters In The Sand

     Lankersheim was the heart of the run through LA to the Grapevine.  It was one twenty mile gut through the Valley.  On Friday nights the street was vital as a drag strip.  It may have been the finest drag strip in the nation, wide enough for micro contests of bravado and long enough to exhaust your strength.

     The entire gut was thronged with high schoolers from all over LA.  Thousands of cars inched North while thousand more crawled South.  Boys hung out of cars hooting at girls.  Girls gave them that look promising everything if only they could get together across the throng.

     Cries of ‘Turn the car around, dammit, she wants me.’  abounded on all sides.  The girls knew they were safe but the vanity of the boys made them believe the impossible.  No car could turn around although some daredevil might try from time to time but this only resulted in traffic jams and cursing from the other boys.

     Boys hurled deadly insults to other boys knowing they were safe within the glacial flow of traffic.  In the anonymity of this melange of high schoolers drawn from hundreds of square miles of LA there was a slim chance anyone would ever see anyone else again.

page 1414.

     At strategic points self-appointed marshalls sat on their cars identifying and cataloguing cars they’d seen before.  With little else to do but interfere in other people’s business they plotted and schemed to control this incredible galactic happening that occurred every Friday night.  In whatever manner they worked they were able to determine who could and who could not take part in the parade.

      When they found someone they didn’t like the wheels went into motion and the Lankersheim version of the ADL or Mafia sprang into action.  the car was isolated by the organization; the driver either proved himself or found his safety very uncertain.

     This tremendous show was kids from the classes of ’59, ’60 and ’61.  Their conception of morality had changed drastically from the crowd of ’54,’55 and ’56.  There hadnot been too many saints around in the latter years but by ’58 concepts of the permissable had deteriorated drastically.

     There was scant respect for people or property.  Moral considerations had been swept aside.  Decency was a thing of the past.  More than ever if you couldn’t out tough the toughs there were no social or moral supports to restrain anyone.  Aleister Crowley’s moral: The whole of the Law shall be: Do as thou wilt was but a fact.  The only restraint was outraged public opinion and that worked but slowly.

     Even the, if convicted, and the scope of restriction on evidence was constantly made more difficult, the sentences were minimal.  As heinous as Caryl Chessman’s actions were it was ridiculous he got the death penalty when actual murderers were serving three years or even less.  For many men aboard the Teufelsdreck it was worth three years to murder someone they didn’t like.

page 1415.

     All over LA the youth were committing egregious crimes.  They burgled houses in broad daylight.  If caught they beat up the homeowners laughing them to scorn.  They had the strength to perpetrated while the homeowners didn’t have the strength to resist.  Crowley was taken literally.

     The Old Fuds couldn’t figure out what was going wrong.  Here these kids had everything and they were satisfied with nothing.  This wasn’t the Depression when things had been tough, the Old Ones lamented, these were prosperous times.  But still the kids ran wild in the streets.  Still, as they laughed at their elders and pushed them from sidewalks as they passed.

     The results of immigration and racial strife had come home to roost but nothing could be done about it so the Old Folks made plans to retire behind fences and walls in ‘planned’ communities.  They really thought they could distance themselves from problems in that way.  Crazy world.

     As Dewey looked down Lankersheim he gritted his teeth.  On the one hand all these dragsters meant that it would be difficult to get rides, while on the other it meant that it would have to tough it out to avoid fights.  If he had to fight his uniform would almost certainly be torn necessitation a return to the Base.

     Grimly he put out his thumb.  Here at the beginning of the gut things were at their mildest.  Mingled in all these kids were a myriad number of fruits.  Perhaps they found the gut a happy hunting ground for the young stuff.  At any rate a couple of them moved Dewey a couple miles into the center of things.

page 1416.

     He attracted a fair amount of attention from the dragsters who didn’t see many sailors on their strip.  Dewey fielded threatening comments from the marshalls sitting on their cars and laughed at the goofs hanging out the windows.  He only wished the girls blowing him kissers were half sincere.  In any event he wasn’t about to make a fool of himself by responding to them.

     then his gaze strayed across the street.  To he surprise he spotted Gonzo Lewis in front of a drug store.  Lewis was too preoccupied to direct his attention across the street so he didn’t notice Dewey.  Lewis was in uniform and he was panhandling.  Whether he was doing it to make for his lost income because of the advances or whether it was just a Man With The Twisted Lip routine couldn’t be determined but he appeared to be doing well.

     He stood with a forlorn expression which elicited more of a response than one would think.  People would ask what the matter was.  Lewis explained that he had had his pocket picked so that he no longer had the money to get back to the hsip.  People pressed money into his hands, not only change but folding cash.

     Gonzo was doing OK.  LA was the perfect paradise for him.  He pulled his stunt regularly, a different location each time so he wouldn’t become obvious.  Pasadena one time, Riverside another, Anaheim the next.  Disneyland was a terrific location especially as the clientele of tourists was never the same.  Gonzo was good too, he had his look and act perfected.  he more than made up for however much he had to repay the Navy.  Heck, he collected more each month than the Navy thought he was worth.

page 1417.

     ‘Oakland.’  Dewey said in response to the question of how far he was going as he opened the door.

     ‘Why Oakland?’

     ‘Know some people.’

     ‘On leave?’

     ‘Naw.  Just a forty-eight.  Weekend.  Gotta be back Sunday night.’  Meaning Monday morning but it was understood.

     ‘Already near midnight.  You’ll have to turn around and come back as soon as you get there.’

     ‘Think so?’

     ‘Sure do.  Seems like a waste of your time.  You should stay in the Valley and relax.’

    ‘Sure, but I don’t know anyone.  I can’t afford it.’

 

    ‘You know me.’

     ‘Not very well.  Just met.’

     ‘Time will remedy that.  What say you stay at my place.  We’ll party a bit then maybe I’ll drive you back to the base Sunday night?’

     ‘Aw, gotta get to Oakland.’

     ‘You’re short of money?  I could let you have some.’

     ‘Thanks a lot, but it’s Oakland or bust.’

     ‘You might as well get out there then, you’re wasting my time.’

     ‘OK.  Don’t say it:  Nobody rides for free, right?’

page 1418

      Several fruits later Dewey was standing at the foot of the Grapevine left by a not very considerate driver.  It was now one-thirty in the morning.

     The wise thing would probably have been to turn around and go back but that would probably have taken him all night anyway so he decided to go on.

     The heavy traffic of Lankersheim had disappeared.  It didn’t seem as though anyone was using the Grapevine this late at night.  The worst that could happen had happened, Dewey was on the Grapevine at night.

     The Grapevine was a fifty mile stretch of highway that led over the range of hills joining the Coast Range and the Sierra Nevada.  The Grapevine itself, the highway, twisted and turned through this barren moonscape.  Things could and did happen up there.  If anyone cared to look they would find burial grounds.

     The wisest thing to do was to refuse all rides that didn’t get you completely over the Grapevine down into Bakersfield.  Dewey was too new to understand that so he took a ride that dropped him off where 126 to Ventura to the West split off.

     There Dewey stood in the dark night with the star spangled sky above him.  Navy blues are not a good outfit for hitchhiking in the dark.  Only that white hat stands out.  It didn’t matter too much because traffic had shut down for the night.  He arrived after two.  Only a couple cars passed between then and four thirty when he caught a ride.

page 1419.

     To amuse himself he stood out in the middle of the road daring a car to come along and hit him.  Even more daringly he sat in the middle of the road daring a car to come along and run him over.  He wandered from side to side standing for long minutes with his head tilted back on his shoulders gazing up at distant galaxies too far for the naked eye to see.  It was then his mind slipped into a different mode.  It wasn’t a dream and it wasn’t a day dream it was as though an automatic door opened allowing Dewey to step down a corridor into a house on the beach.  The house was exceptionally clean, neat and orderly, tastefully and sparingly decorated.  A fresh innervating breeze wafted through the open doors and windows.

     Dewey’s first real vision was entering the kitchen.  There was a woman he couldn’t see clearly standing to the left as he entered and another very beautiful woman seated against the far wall in a sort of high chair.  She was immobile, her face impassive, her eyes glazed and fixed; perhaps she was staring into the same invisible galaxy of the same distant super cluster into which Dewey was staring.  Perhaps their eyes met in that distant space.

     Dewey was delighted to find himself in what appeared to be his home as every nerve tingled with delight.  He spotted the sink, picked up a glass to draw some water and burst into song.  Strangest thing of all it was a Pat Boone song.  In the strong mellow unconstrained baritone he only wished he could command he sang:  ‘It was on a day like today, when…’  As he began ‘when’ the woman on the high chair came to life.  The glass and water disappeared.  In a happy joyful demeanor she appeared in his arms joining her voice to his in a soaring soprano.  ‘…we passed the time away, writing love letters in the sand.’

page 1420.

     ‘I thought you’d never come back.’  She exclaimed ecstatically.  ‘I’ve kept myself for you all this time.’

     Dewey was overjoyed to find his lost beauty again although he wasn’t aware she had been lost.

     He was about to say:  ‘Yes, Darling, I’ve yearned for you for so long.’  While leading her outside into the glorious blue of the sky, the buff of the beach and the innervating breeze.  He would have sat with her with the surf rolling in writing actual love letters in the sand.  But the other woman broke in to say what a miracle it was as Dewey’s Anima hadn’t spoken a word since she was thirteen.

     And then the Sheriff walked into the room demanding in a loud stern voice.  ‘What’s going on in here?’

     The stars appeared once again before Dewey’s eyes.  He had lost that beautiful buxom darling once again.  Nor could he find a trace of her as his eyes searched all across the universe from end to end.  The epiphany was over.

     The active memory faded from his mind immediately as his conscious mind descended into the Life in Death Hades of his daily existence.  Only the faint light of her glow remained out where his sight couldn’t see.  She was a hostess on a big mainliner out behind a cosmic cloud his vision couldn’t penetrate.  Where oh where could she be?

     Actually she was where she would ever be, only in his heart and in his mind.  Dewey didn’t have the psychology to understand his epiphany nor if Freud had been there did he have enough to explain it either.  While Freud put the understanding of dreamwork on a scientific basis he himself lacked the science to really develop his notions.  He understood the principle but he was never able to penetrate the veil.  All of his dream explanations in his dream book are less than superficial; at no time does he have an inkling of the true meaning of the symbolism.

page 1421.

     He was too preoccupied with Jewish political problems to actually probe the science of this subject matter.  If dreams can be considered the poetry of the psyche then daydreams are its prose.  Both dreams and daydreams deal with the same psychic traumata.  Both are seeking the same solutions.

     Daydreams since they originate in the subconscious and are manipulated by the conscious are in many way more important than dreams.  As a sort of novel they can be written down exactly as they occur if you are aware enough to capture them.

     With a catalog of a dozen or so the nature of your problem can easily be ascertained.  With that level of interference out of the way your conscious mind is free to probe further while your subconsicous is forced to send up fresh matter.  After a while you’ll bore yourself to death if you’re not careful, ending all your problems.

     Dewey’s experience was neither a dream nor a daydream but an actual ephiphany and a very pleasant one.  His subconscious mind had processed a mass of information so he actually believed rather than corrected for his tastes as one might in a daydream.  Daydreams have to be let flow without hindrance to show their full content.  Unfortunately the tendency is to correct them to bring them into consonance with conscious needs or fears.

page 1422.

     The meaning was quite simple to an analyst with the necessary information.  All of the information didn’t come from within the mind.  In those days there was a real controversy over Pat Boone vs. Elvis Presley.  Boone was the clean cut hero of the upper half of society while Presley was the common, vulgar hero of the other half.  At least that’s how the upper half perceived it and how the other half accepted it.

     As a member of the other half Dewey consciously passionately embraced the cause of Elvis but as he was never one or the other of anything, he shared characteristics of both.  Now, as his psyche, that is to say, his whole mind, processed the data concerning Boone and Presley in light of his own experience it dealt with all the details and not just the ones Dewey consciously dwelt on.  Thus his psyche came to different conclusions than Dewey’s intelligence.

     Dewey’s psyche did know how repressed he actually was.  Since his intelligence and psyche both admired the same thing his psyche fought to show his intelligence the way to freedom.

     Elvis as a member of the suppressed other half sang of their hopes and despairs as in such pre-Army songs as That’s All Right Mama, Mystery Train    and Heartbreak Hotel.  Dewey consciously related to both the despairing content of the songs and the hurt repressed style of delivery.

page 1423.

     On the other hand he sneered at the confident, expansive assertive style of Pat Boone’s  Love Letters In The Sand although he recognized the wholeness of the sound.  The open handed unimpeded baritone delivery from the deep chest was where he really wanted to be.

     The repressed high pitched wailing of the early Presley was where he actually was.

     It should be noted that something happened to Presley in the Army because when he came out he changed his hysterical frantic delivery for a more controlled baritone although not with the contented unrepressed openness of Boone.  It should also be noted that the Army never felt the need for the upper class Boone’s services.  Somehow he slipped through the draft even as an officer candidate.

     So the symbolism of Dewey’s epiphany was quite clear.  The house represents the self so Dewey had exchanged the prison of earlier dreams for a bright, airy, pleasant edifice.  the kitchen is the room of transformations, rebirth as in the loaf in the oven.  It too was impeccably clean.  The glass and water are symbols of the Anima or female.  The ocean and beach outside the windows is clear.  It should be noted that the windows were open to let in the fresh air.

     The woman on the stool who was about the same age as Dewey was quite obviously his Anima which had been repressed at the same time as Dewey’s Animus had been.  Thus as he bursts into song realizing the relaxed full chested baritone style of Pat Boone his Animus and Anima have been made whole again.  The glass and water coalesce into his Anima as she immediately comes back to life embracing his Animus in reunited bliss.

page 1425.

     They would have gone outside to write love letters in the sand had not the Sheriff of Dewey’s censorship  invaded the ephiphany to destroy it.  the Sheriff rlated to an incident in Dewey’s infancy when a real sheriff had just walked into the back door of the house saying the exact same words in his response to hier mother’s telephone call.

     One may presume that the woman who rejoiced at the Anima’s revival was somehow related to Dewey or it may have been the Terrible Mother aspect of his Anima.  Another form of censor.

     In any event the range of information of which Dewey was aware or unaware used by his psyche was both enormous and extremely subtle.  It is truly amazing that Freud with his pinch chested mentality never went beyond the level obtained in his dreambook which was indeed minimal.

     The epiphany vanished from Dewey’s conscious mind.  He had no idea what it meant he only knew he desired it.

     Still basking in his glow he moved back out of the middle of the road as he saw headlights approaching.  The laboring of the vehicle and the clanking of its bicycle chain identified it as a Volkswagen.  Caught between the despair and hope that not getting a ride leaves you with, Dewey just kind of flipped his thumb out in a hopeless gesture.  The little yellow Bug slowed to a stop.  Dewey didn’t have to take more than a half dozen steps to sardine himself into the little Beetle.

     Stan Leland was behind the wheel.  Stan was a desperate character.  He was prepared to kill the hitchhiker for the twenty dollars or less that he assumed Dewey had.  He was convinced the hitchhiker had twenty dollars on him.  That was why he stopped.

page 1425.

     Leland was twenty-five years old.  He had once been a strapping young man but his straps had been snapped for him.  Stan had attended Hollywood High.  He hadn’t come from the rich families but he had been allowed to hang around with them.  Not having the grace of legitimacy he had made up for it with the bravado of the interloper.  Having to be deferential to his group he made up for it by tormenting others.  He didn’t really torment them but he didn’t make any friends either.

      Graduation left Stan stranded.  His group melted away into the universities while he had to find a job.  Stripped of his social status he took up the pose of an aspiring actor.  He was only middling good looking although a lithe six foot two.  His brash self-confidence turned his middling looks into a species of handsomeness.  He thought he was good looking and therefore he was.

     Stanford tried to make up for his loss of social status with an aggressive brashness that tended to alienate rather than endear.  People tended to endure him rather than challenge him.  And then Stan turned twenty-0ne.

     He had secured a couple walk-ons in the movies, you know, carrying a rifle in buckskins along the wagon train and in one he spoke a line but it was cut out.  These successes convinced him of his future, increasing his aggressive demand for status.

page 1426.

     At twenty-one he went up to the Strip to celebrate.  Three or four drinks later his attention was caught by a cute little blond thing serving as a pendant to Fat Tony Carmino’s ego.  Stan compared himself very favorably to Fat Tony in an attempt to lure this worthless slut, but good lay, his way.

     Fat Tony, and he was not without friends, took exception to brash young Stan’s advances to his frail.  Stan didn’t fully appreciate the difference between the people he usually balked and the men of the Mob.  Fat Tony and a couple of guys who didn’t appreciate Stan’s mouth took him outside, drove him to a quiet place and practiced drop kicking him against a wall to see how far he’d rebound.  Stan wasn’t resilient enough to be much fun so they left him in a heap driving back to the strip and Fat Tony’s frail.

     Stan Leland’s body healed but his mind never recovered.  He had had the bravado kicked out of him.  He had lost his brash self-confidence having nothing left but his middling good looks and a slight stoop.  Where he had previously stood tall, almost with a back lean, he now walked, slightly bent and without any real elasticity to his step.  He was cowed.  His movie career was over.  He made money by cons and grifts that occured to him on the spot.

     ‘How far are you going?’  He asked.

     ‘Oakland.’

     ‘I can take you part way.  I’m going to Turlock.’

     ‘Great.  Thanks.’

     The VW clanked into action.  Dewey had never been in one.  While not new to the scene, in 1958 they hadn’t been around all that long.  The air cooled rear engine with its bicycle chain drive sounded strange coming from behind him.  The VWs had low horse power.  They went from 0 to 60 in 60, minutes that is.  Any rise in the ground slowed them to a crawl.  A Chevy would be in the next county before a VW crested the hill.

page 1427.

     ‘Really noisy.’  Dewey said.

     ‘My little Bug?  People’s car.  That’s what Volkswagen means.  People’s car.  Did you know that?’  Stan would never have driven a VW before Fat Tony and the Mob cut him down to size.

     ‘Volkswagen?  Folk’s wagon.  People’s car?  No, I never translated it; never thought about it.’

     ‘Ya.  It was designed by Hitler.  Did you know that?’

     ‘No.  I didn’t know Hitler doubled as a car designer.’

     ‘Designed might be incorrect but it was made by his orders.  People may talk bad about Hitler but he gave the Germans work.  Built the Autobahns for them to drive their Beetles on.’

      ‘Oh, wow.  Quite a guy.’

     ‘Yeah.  I’ve read everything there is on him.  History’s giving him a bum rap.’

     ‘Oh well, if you’re going to start wars you better be prepared to be criticized.’

     Stan thought back to Fat Tony and winced a little.  He’d always considered his treatment unfair, even criminal.  It was, of course, but society had given the Mafia a license to act that way while Anglos were supposed to be above all that and walk around Italians.  Stan’s interest in Hitler had begun on his hospital bed as his mind groped to deal with his pain.

     ‘Hitler gave Henry Ford a medal, did you know that?’

     ‘No.  A medal for what?’

     ‘A lot of people think he gave it because Henry Ford was an anti-Semite but that didn’t have anything to do with it.  It was because of this, the Bug.’

     ‘Uh, Ford financed the Bug?’

     ‘No.  But he made the first People’s Car, the Model T.  That’s really why Hitler admired old Heinrich Ford, because of his production methods and the Tin Lizzie.  That’s why he kept a life sized portrait of Ford not because of some silly Jews.  Those people always exaggerate their importance.  If nobody’s thinking of them they stand up and shout:  ‘Pay attention to us.’

     Ford was criticized for accepting the medal but I think he did the right thing.  Ford might have been run out of Germany if he’d declined the honor.  They made Model Ts for fifteen years and they’re still making the identical Bug over twenty years later.  That’s an achievement worth a medal.  His own country didn’t appreciate him enough to give him one.  What do you think of that?’

     ‘Never thought of it.’

     ‘How much money do you have on you?’

     Dewey turned his head sharply to watch Leland:  ‘None.’

     ‘Nothing?  No money?  Come on, how are you going to eat?’

     ‘I’m not until I get to Oakland.’

     Whether Stan believed it or not Dewey was telling the literal truth about eating.  He never ate or drank on the road.

page 1429.

     ‘Oh come on.  You’ve got to have a twenty on you.  You guys always do.  Nobody rides for free.  You can chip in a little for gas.’

     ‘What?  So far you haven’t even used up a gallon of gas.  These things must get about thirty miles or more to the gallon.  What do want a dime?’  Gas was twenty or twenty-five cents a gallon in those days.

     ‘Where do you keep it, in your shoes?’

     ‘No money.  I don’t have any.’

     Leland decided on a ploy.

     ‘I’m getting hungry.  Why don’t we stop for breakfast in Grapevine here.  Here’s the Grapevine Cafe.  Good food.  I’ve been here before.’

     ‘I’m in a hurry, man.  Go ahead.  I’ll just get back on the road.’

     ‘Hey, you ingrate.  I pick you up in the middle of the night on a deserted road and you’re in too big a hurry to eat with me?’

     ‘It’s not that, man.  But look it’s daylight already.  I’m way behind time;  I should be in Oakland by now.’

     ‘We are having breakfast.’

     Stan had touched Dewey’s guilt.  Dewey was a nice guy, he tried to appreciate what others did for him.  Also he reasoned that he might still be standing outside the Grapevine Cafe when Stan left.  He went along.

     ‘What’re you going to have?’  Stan asked amicably but craftily.

page 1430

 

A Novel

Our Lady Of The Blues

Part VII

by

R.E. Prindle

The Heart Of The Matter:

Back In The USSA

 

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

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

-A. Conan Doyle

 

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

page 1279.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1280.

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1281.

     Including her husband Lane Vincent.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     ‘Control yourself, Vincent.’  Morford sternly admonished.

     Vincent couldn’t hear him.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1283.

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1284.

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1285.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1286.

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

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

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

     ‘About what?’  Ratches idly inquired.

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

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

     ‘They want their restrictions lifted, Sir.’

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

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

     ‘What are you suggesting, Lance?’

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

page 1287.

     ‘Killed?  What do you mean?’

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

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

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

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

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

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

     The restricted men were released two days later.

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

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

page 1288.

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

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

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

     ‘Really!  Heroin?’  Dewey said in awe.

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

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

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

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

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

     ‘Everything go alright?’  Soter asked superfluously.

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

How Now, Young Sailor?

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

page 1289.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1290

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

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

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

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

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

page 1291.

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

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

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

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

page 1292.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1293.

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

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

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

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

page 1294.

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

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

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

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

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

Replacement Troops

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

page 1295

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

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

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

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

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

page 1296.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1297.

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

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

     ‘I really wanted to meet you.’

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1298.

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

North To Oakland

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1300.     

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1301.

     ‘Thanks.’  Dewey said in a startled voice.

     ‘Whadya come for, the movies?’

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

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

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

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

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

     ‘Great.  I’ll go with you.’

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

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

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

page 1302.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1303.

     ‘I’m no faggot.’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     ‘I know, I know.’

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

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

page 1304.

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

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

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

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

     ‘Move your feet.  I want this seat.’

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

page 1305. 

     ‘No.’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1306.

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

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

     ‘Yeah.  I read.’  Dewey replied miserably.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1307.

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

     ‘Look buddy, just put out your cigarette.’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1308.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1309

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

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

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

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

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

page 1310.

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

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

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

The Heart Of Oakland

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

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

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

page 1311.

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

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

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

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

page 1312.

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

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

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

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

page 1313.

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

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

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

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

page 1314.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1316.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1317.

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

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

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

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

     ‘OK, man.’

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1318.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Wages Of Sin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An E With A Hashmark

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     ‘Is he hurt?’

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

     The order for the forties to fire terminated the conversation.

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

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

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

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

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

Whitening The Teufelsdreck.

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

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

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

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