Skip navigation

Category Archives: Homosexuality

Book VI

Our Lady Of The Blues

A Novel

The Shadow Knows

by

R.E. Prindle

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘He killed my son.’

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

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

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

‘Busy tonight.’ He jeered to himself.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Mr. Show.’ He said around Torbric.

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

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

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

Jackpot!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Oh, horrible.’

‘Yes. He was the only son I had.’

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

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

‘You know what?’

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

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

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

Bert Torbric was horrified as he well should have been.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Advertisements

Our Lady Of The Blues

Book I, Clip 2

by

R.E. Prindle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Isn’t that pronounced Day Cartes?”

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

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

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

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

‘Right.  How’s that?’

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

‘Three weeks?  Isn’t that AWOL?’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘No.  Who is he?’

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

‘Oh yeah?  Real fighter, huh?’

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

‘Not a fair fighter, huh?’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Trueman, come up to the forward bollocks.’

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

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

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

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

‘What the hell is a Daddyo or Catman?’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘To your battle station, Sailor.’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Oh, wow!  Muscle Beach?’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Well, I was drafted so I had to go.’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Pssst..  Here he is.’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘No, but I’m not stupid either.’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Yep.  First Time.’

‘Welcome to San Diego.  What a dump.’

‘Well, I don’t know.  Just got here.’

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

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

‘What were you doing in Philadelphia?’

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

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

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

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

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

‘Philadelphia was that bad?’ 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Well, Big Bill put out an APB and called in Wobblies from all over the country.  We descended on Spokane by the thousands.  They couldn’t arrest us fast enough.  They had to improvise new jails.  And we still kept coming, speaking and singing our minds.

Damn ‘em.  In the middle of winter they turned off the heat in those jails and turned fire hoses on those men, and some of ‘em was women, people froze to death, murdered by the bastards, and lots more were completely broken in health, total wrecks, never the same again.

But, we won, damn ‘em, we won. They had to let us say what we wanted.  That gave us courage, confidence, then we thought we could make ‘em back down on the entire West Coast.  We did it some other places.  But they treated us like enemies even though we were as good a citizens as themselves- better, like we was an invading army or something.  They even made a pact in Portland that the police could brutalize us at will and no lawyer would represent us in court.

Well, some of us were miners and a lot us were migrant workers.  In those days we harvested the crops but when no White man would suffer the indignities those SOBs put on us why they sent and got Mexicans who would, that’s why the crops are all harvested by braceros today.

Well, we came down to help out the harvesters and invaded Fresno.  There was another terrible struggle there but we won that one too.  The next place we were going to break was San Diego- Imperial Valley out here, you know.  By that time they had enough experience with us and they were mean enough and criminal enough to take us on.  Before the main guard got here some guys tried to speak right here on this street.  Those guys were dragged off and beaten.  Then others chained themselves to these lampposts right here with chains so they couldn’t be dragged off.  They’d have been further ahead to let themselves be dragged off.

All the Wobblies rode the rods.  That was the way they traveled.  So they knew we’d be coming in on the freights.  There was only one line into San Diego and that came down from LA.  They knew exactly where we’d be.  Well, the bulls let us board in LA, told them and they was waiting for us.’

Craddock’s emotions overcame him.  He stopped in his tracks, his legs trembling beneath him.  His voice broke but he recovered his emotions enough to check his sobbing.  He continued his narrative but with a look in his eyes as if he had actually been there.  Dewey was amazed at his apparent ability to relive events that happened to someone else and fifty years before.

‘Well, the guys came off the top, spilled out of the cars and slid of the rods boiling up from beneath the cars all confident and exuberant when they were met by an army of men with baseball bats and steel pipes.    The San Diego bastards laid into them without restraint or mercy.  There was nothing the Wobblies could do.  If they defended themselves they would be arrested for resisting arrest.  If they didn’t they’d be killed or worse.  What could they do?  They had to eat shit.  They broke and ran, hightailed out of San Diego County and dept running until their legs collapsed under them.

Not everybody escaped.  Some got caught my grandpa among them.  They weren’t going to jail us because it cost too much money.  Nearly broke Fresno to house and feed us.  That’ why they gave up.

First they just beat the hell out of everybody with their bats then they took the men out in the fields where they had fires going.  They were heating branding irons in the fire.  They made the men strip then they branded a big red IWW right on their ass.’

Dewey gasped.

‘If that wasn’t enough,’ Craddock’s voice went surly, ‘If that wasn’t enough then they tarred and feathered them.  Put tar right over my grandpa’s burn.  The they hit ‘em another couple times and told them to get the hell out of San Diego county.

They had to run barefoot and hurting for a long ways until they could slow to a walk.  There was my grandpa with this big brand, naked under his tar and feathers, no clothes for when he got it off.  He either doesn’t know what happened after or he won’t tell.  He didn’t go insane but he might as well have.  He was never the same forever after.  He never got over it.  Used to tell me about it all the time.’

‘You’re not kidding me?  They actually branded him with a red hot iron like a cow?  IWW, wow.’

‘That’s right.’

‘Wow oh wow or double wow.  I can’t hardly believe it.  Right here in America?  San Diego?’

‘That’s right.  Everytime I hear them talk about the Nazis like they’re some kind of unique devils I just have to shake my head and wonder.  The way I see it anybody who has the power to enforce his will on his enemies will do so and in whatever violent way appeals to his imagination.  This is no innocent nation.  I didn’t mean to rant to you but every time I even think of this place I get angry.’

‘O boy, no problem.  I never knew these things before.’  Dewey said politely.  He still didn’t know about these things.  His prejudices formed by his schooling precluded such things ever happening in America.  While he didn’t necessarily wish to call Craddock  deluded he thought that he had probably been victimized by his granddad who undoubtedly told a good story.  But Craddock had it right.  That’s the way it happened.

‘Yeah, wow, well I guess we didn’t have any Wobblies in Michigan.’  Dewey said innocently.

‘Oh sure you did.  Wobblies were all over the country.   We were trying to organize industrial unions, you know, as opposed to the Craft Unions of the AFL.  We wanted everybody in an industry to belong to the same union, then all the unions would syndicalism into one big union.’

‘Sounds like the CIO.’  Dewey mused.  He was no union man and despised the CIO and UAW member. Walter Reuther.

‘Exactly.  A Congress Of Industrial Organizations.  When the Wobblies were destroyed in WWI people changed their tactics a little, changed the rhetoric and kept working.  Then with Roosevelt and the Wagner Act we got the break we needed.  With the government behind us changing the rules in our favor we were quickly able to bring the really big industrial organizations like auto and steel to their knees.’

‘Oh yeah?  UAW.  Those guys are all Commies aren’t they?’  Dewey said becoming suspicious of Craddock and his Wobbly tales.

‘No. No. They aren’t.  the Communists are something entirely different.  They’re a foreign organization trying to impose a foreign ideology.  We’re Americans and we want American justice for the workers of the world.’

Dewey picked up on workers of the world and became wary of Craddock?’

‘You’re not Reds then?  Huh?’

‘Well, they call us Reds but we’re not.  You know how it is, they call everybody that won’t be industrial slaves Reds.’

‘Oh yeah.’  Dewey said, but still polite.  He believed that all unions were controlled by Reds or Mafia.  ‘So, how about IWW in Michigan?’

‘Hmm.  OK, there was a splinter IWW in Detroit.  You see, the big industrial car plants in Detroit were ideal for industrial unions so the IWW was very active in Detroit.  You may not know this but Henry Ford only doubled wages to take the wind out of our sails.  We were doing great in his plants until he did that.’

The idea boggled Dewey’s mind.  ‘How’s that?’

‘Well, we were working hard to organize Detroit, and Ford too, and then old Ford doubled wages and really set us back temporarily.  We taught him a lesson, though.’

Dewey had never heard anything like this and being anti-union he didn’t approve.  Craddock’s Wobbly hard luck story was being undermined by what looked suspiciously Red to Dewey.

‘How’d you take care of him?’

‘Well, like I say, Ford was the first company the UAW tried to organize.  That guy wasn’t going to tell us what to do, we were going to tell him what to do.  But earlier, it took us a few years but by 1920 we had sown enough dissent in the workplace to make life damn hard for him, the old bugger, work slowdowns, sabotage, things of that sort.  He dropped all that altruistic bull roar pretty quick.  Trying to pass himself off as some kind of friend of mankind.  We exposed him.  After we got through with him he was just like anybody else.  Turned him hard and erratic.  Ruined his mind.’

‘Just a minute now.  You implied that you were involved in that Commie march on Ford where they were going to occupy River Rouge and smash the machinery?’

‘I don’t know nothing about that.’  Craddock who had been very well informed a moment before backtracked.

‘Yeah, well, when that Commie Reuther and those rats marched on Ford, in 1935 or so, right?, they weren’t after worker rights they were on the way to take over the government.  Those guys are always dumb enough to think that workers can rule the world, they’re so dumb they thought they’d start with River Rouge.  Now, what do you say the Wobblies had to do with that?’

‘Well, we were fighting Communist influence.  I told you they were foreign and we’re American.

Dewey had listened attentively.  Craddock’s later statements undermined the sympathy he had created with his grand father’s misfortunes.  Dewey had a difficult time separating the Wobblies from the Commies.  Comparing the march on Ford with the invasion of San Diego he now thought that the San Diegans had acted in self-defense, although if what Craddock had said was true, with unnecessary violence.  They had indeed repelled an invading army that meant them harm.  Still, he was insufficiently informed of what Craddock was talking about.  Rather than say anything more he nodded sagely, filing this information away in his mind for future reference.

‘Well, you certainly are well informed.’

‘Oh, with my granddad around I should be.  He’s got quite a library of stuff and besides they hurt him so bad that he’s always pulling his pants down to look at that IWW brand.  So what do you want to do?’

By this time they were all the way downtown across from the El Cortez Hotel.  Everywhere you looked there was an ocean of blue with bobbing white caps.

‘Geez, I don’t know.  What is there to do?  I mean, I’m not old enough to drink.  Are you?’

‘No.  I’m just going to turn twenty.  You’re still eighteen.  Hmm.  Well we could go to a movie.’

‘Yeah.   I suppose we could always do that.’  Dewey said without enthusiasm.  ‘What’s playing?’

The two of them walked up a side street to a decent if not first run theater.

‘Hi, hey, look.  Brigette Bardot.  She’s hot.  What do you think?’

‘I don’t know.  What’s the second feature?  ‘The Incredible Shrinking Man.’  Looks like some kind of science fiction thing.  Probably something mutated by atomic vapors.  Sure, OK.’

‘Boy, that Bardot is something isn’t she?’

‘Yeah, something else, hot enough for me.  Man that scene where she was in bed and tucked the sheets between all her private parts right up to her box!  Wow!  Not much of a movie otherwise.  I really think it was immoral.  The Incredible Shrinking Man was better.  What a concept.  The guy goes through a cloud of atomic vapor and it reverses his growth so that he starts shrinking.’

Our Lady Of the Blues, Book I, Clip 2e, posted 6/13/12

‘Aw, who’d ever believe that.;  Craddock said with the lack of imagination that characterized those ideological enthusiasts even though what they believe is even more preposterous.

‘Yeah, but just imagine the guy’s anguish as he gets smaller and smaller and finally gets so small he just falls between the molecules of dirt and disappears to the center of gravity.  What a trip, huh?’

‘Yeah, well, it just couldn’t happen, that’s all.’

‘Sure.  It’s impossible, but you know it’s kind of like being put in the orphanage where you get pushed further and further back in society until you become so inconspicuous that nobody notices you and you just kind of disappear.’  Dewey said making a personal connection that was not very obvious to anyone else.

‘What?  What are you talking about?  I’ve never been in an orphanage.’

‘Maybe some one else has.’

‘Who?  You?  Have you been in an orphanage?’

‘Oh gosh, I don’t know.  I’ve been so many places I have trouble remembering where I’ve been.  Well, this is one exciting liberty.  Hope they’re not all like this.  I mean, I like movies, but…’

‘If you want some real excitement you can spend a night there.’  Craddock said laughingly pointing with his thumb at the YMCA, another ‘hotel’ on Broadway.

‘What?  The Y?  How do you spend a night there?’

‘That’s a hotel too.  They’ve several floors of rooms.’

‘Cheap?’

‘Oh yeah.  Dollar and a half.  ‘Course all the toilets are common and you don’t want to have to use one of those at night.’

‘Why not, how’s that?’

‘Nearly everyone that stays there is queer.  After midnight they take over the halls and if you aren’t one of them you’ll get initiated real quick if you leave your room.’

‘Aw, you’re kidding me, that can’t happen.’  Dewey drawled.  He began to doubt Craddock’s Wobbly stories now.

Arrived back at the Broadway Piers they had to wait an hour for the landing craft which they had missed by a minute before turning in to await another day on the firing range.

Casting off from alongside another ship was an unmitigated delight.  As easy as a cream puff.  The Teufelsdreck led the squadron out to sea, The Deviant bringing up the rear.  The Commodore shepherded his flock after the Deviant’s humiliating performance on the preceding day.

The sea was choppier with medium swells as was the norm off San Diego.  As they steamed out Dewey received the port watch again.  Out at some distance, say ten miles, an aircraft carrier surrounded by its Destroyers was drilling its pilots on take off and landing.  The planes were thrust off the bow by the catapults into the wind, circling and landing again.  Dewy was breathlessly enthralled keeping his glasses glued to his eyes.

As he watched a pilot came across the bow on his return who seemed a little high to Trueman.  Sure enough, the pilot missed the wire but rather than roaring off he just plopped down rolling toward the stern.  Reaching the stern he just kept right on rolling and plummeted into the ocean, making Davy Jones richer by millions.

‘Wow, did you see that?’  Trueman asked the bridge in awed tones.  ‘Did you see that?’  The guy missed the carrier and fell in to the ocean.’

Captain Descartes leaned over the divider separating the bridge from the lookouts.

‘What’s that you say, Port Lookout?’  He asked dryly.

Dewey became more restrained.  Holding his glasses in his left hand he pointed in the direction of the carrier.  ‘The pilot just missed his landing and fell in the ocean, plane and all.’

‘What carrier would that be, Lookout?’

‘What carrier?  Why that one right over there.’

‘Right over there.  As port lookout it is your duty to report any sightings you might make to the bridge.  I don’t recall that we’ve had the pleasure  of hearing you report any aircraft carriers to the bridge.’

‘Well,’  Dewey said in his naivete.  ‘It’s right over there, anybody can see it.’

‘That isn’t the point, Sailor.  I might be preoccupied or involved in something else consequently missing it.  We all have our tasks here.  In your present capacity yours is to watch and report to me.  Mine is to receive not only your reports but those of everyone else, collate the information, make the requisite decisions and keep the ship on an even keel.  That’s a pretty good system, don’t you think?’

‘Oh, yes Sir.  I certainly do.’

‘Well then, Lookout, do your job.’

‘Yes, Sir.’

‘Well?’

‘Well what, Sir?’

‘Report what you see.’

The Carrier was direct abeam so there was no need for Dewey to consult his compass but in his nervousness he preferred to read the numbers.  ‘Uh, aircraft carrier and Destroyers at 270, distance, uh, two miles Captain.’

‘Thank-you Lookout, I noticed its presence some time ago but it is nice of you to call it to my attention.  Be a little more prompt in the future.’

Descartes droll manner sent the bridge a tittering.  They had a good laugh on Dewey but he learned his lesson.  One might even say he learned it with a vengeance.  Like so many things that happen to us we do not respond on the moment but the insult or indignity or whatever festers in our subconscious to erupt at a later date.

Dewey was beginning to relax in his task when the battle station klaxon sounded.  He did not hesitate as he had the previous day but dropped his glasses, dropped down to the boat deck and scampered back to the forties.

The Purvurse was up today so the forties crew assumed their stations and lolled around the gun tub.  Dewey was still excited by the jet dropping off the end of the carrier.

‘You should have seen it Frenchy.’  He excitedly exclaimed.  ‘The pilot missed the wire and just rolled off the stern.  The DDs immediately put out boats but it didn’t look like they found him.  Wow, think of that, the guy kills himself and dumps millions of dollars worth of plane into the ocean and it’s only practice.’

‘Gosh, no kidding…’   Frenchy began.

‘Aw, that’s nothing.’  Happens all the time.’  Bent Cygnette sneered from his perch by the gunsight.  He sat there legs crossed sneering down at the gun crew.  He came across as a real obnoxious tough guy but in fact he wasn’t.  He was a real marshmallow inside, which is not meant as an insult, so to conceal his own insecurity he adopted a tough guy persona to get by.  He was very successful; everyone on the ship, officers and all, treated him with deference.

‘Baloney.’  Dewey retorted.  ‘If it happened all the time there wouldn’t be that many planes on the carrier.’

‘Happens all the time.’  Cygnette reaffirmed indicating his displeasure at not being acceded to.

‘Oh yeah?’  Dewey challenged not wishing to be cheated of the wonder of the thing.  ‘How many times have you seen it personally?’

‘Lots.’

‘Bull. How do you see it?  You don’t stand lookout.’

‘Hey, listen Trueman, or whatever your name is, you may be new but you watch how you shoot off your mouth…’  Bent was beginning when he was interrupted by the sound of the Purverse’s forties erupting.

Eyes shot up to the clouds in search of the sleeve.  The Purvurse was able to keep its shots out of the water but as it turned out the Deviant had better success hitting the water than the Purvurse hitting the sleeve.

The gunners of the Purvurse were sadly out of practice because the three inchers had even less luck with the sled.  With two out of three ships out of the running a current of confidence ran through the gun crews that the Teufelsdreck would win that E.

‘You going over, Dewey?’  Frenchy asked.

‘I don’t know.  Maybe.  You going?’

‘You’re not going, Trueman.’  Al Spirin, an old hand, soon to be transferred, barked.

‘Oh yeah?  Why not?’

‘Check the bulletin board, dunce, you’ve got the twelve to four.’

Dewey looked at Spirin coldly but thought he’d better check the board.  The bulletin board was in the passageway in front of the head and across from the ship’s store.  Rather than push past a line of naked men waiting for showers, Dewey exited by the after hatch using the outside deck to enter above the showers.

He stepped up to look at the watch list as the Yeoman, Teal Kanary, was posting information about the next day.

‘Darned if I don’t.’  Dewey reflected.

As he turned away his and Kanary’s eyes met.  There was an audible crackle on both sides.  Dewey saw ‘toady’ written all over Kanary while the latter read ‘nice ass.’  Neither spoke.  Dewey brushed past Kanary to return below to clean up at his leisure, hop into his bunk and wait for his eleven-thirty wake-up call which came soon enough.

Yale Cataloge, a First Class Radarman was Petty Officer of the Watch.  He was nearing the end of his first enlistment but satisfied with his lot he intended to ship over.  He accordingly was assuming an Old Navy persona.  Since he had signified his intentions he was admitted to the ranks of career men.  He had adopted the knowing, condescending way of Old Navy.

The manner, done properly, was very attractive.  Cataloge was a very decent guy, one might say he was born to the manner.  As he was possibly only a hair away from being a Chief there was no need to befriend him but he and Trueman  always had a very cordial relationship.

The other member of the watch was Dart Craddock who Dewey had met the previous evening.  Craddock gave Trueman a good introduction to Cataloge so that the two got off on the right foot.  In the course of the conversation Trueman asked who the Officer of the Day was.

‘Lieutenant Junior Grade Bifrons Morford is OD.’  Cataloge replied, his elaborate sarcastic introduction proclaiming his distaste for the officer.

‘Bifrons?  His mother named him Bifrons?’  Dewey queried.  He had already met Morford as he was the Operations officer.  Morford had questioned him about a couple details of his record, as short as it was.  The Yeoman’s Shack was under his supervision.

Well, I guess his mother was classically oriented.’  Cataloge said with a little smirk.  ‘In Latin it means two faced.  Suits him too.’

‘Just like the god Janus, face in front, face behind, no taking him by surprise.’

Cataloge raised his eyebrows.  Knowledge of Janus might be considered useless knowledge in Deck and subject one to ridicule but such learning merited respect in the forward compartment.

As they were talking Dewey looked out over the bay to see the landing craft approaching.  Alone, standing in the middle of the craft he saw Bifrons Morford.  The Lieutenant had all the appearance of having had an extended tete a tete with Jack Daniels.

Dewey was shocked.  ‘Isn’t that Lt. Morford there?’  He asked Yale Cataloge.

‘Yeah, sure is.’  Cataloge drawled back.

‘I thought you said he was OD.’

‘I did.’

 

‘Well, that looks like he’s coming back with a little lubrication to me.’

‘The good Lieutenant explained to our predecessors that as there was no need for him aboard ship that he would be stepping ashore for a few minutes.  A few minutes seems to have turned into a number of hours.’

‘He can’t do that, he’s on duty.’

Yale gave Dewey a long suffering look of the magus to the neophyte.

The craft maneuvered alongside.  The Teufelsdreck didn’t have a captain’s ladder, the Teuf just suspended a metal ladder over the side.  Morford had had such a long and friendly chat with JD that he missed his grasp tumbling back down into the craft.  He managed to pull himself up on deck on his second attempt.  Dewey and Dart moved over to tie up the craft but the pilot waved them off and immediately pulled away.

All three men of the watch were totally offended by Morford.  None was more offended than Dewey who was quite puritanical in certain matters.  None of the others were prepared to be quite as self-righteous as Dewey.  They threw up a feeble half-hearted salute per regulations but Dewey stood judgmentally  with is thumbs hitched in his guard belt.  It is impossible to describe the look of hauteur that clutched his countenance.

Morford would have been much further ahead to have ignored the slight, he almost did, he had already turned to walk away when the affront to his dignity as an officer and drunken gentlemen penetrated his alcoholic haze.

‘Get your thumbs out of your belt, Sailor, and salute your officer who is come aboard.’

‘Ah, that’s alright, you won’t remember tomorrow.’  Now, according to Navy regulations there was no excuse for Dewey’s insolent and impertinent reply.  However there were more than two witnesses to Morford’s patent breach of regulations not to mention his obvious drunkenness on duty.  Considering himself to be of overpowering manhood Morford decided to brazen it a little further.

‘What’s that Sailor?’

Morford had transgressed all the bounds of responsibility in Dewey’s mind, as he had in fact, so Dewey was not inclined to give an inch.

‘I say when you go tilting at windmills it’s better to tilt them than to be tilted.  Ha ha ha.’  The little laugh at the end did not dull the edge of the riposte.

Morford had felt the affront and now the unrepentant insolence of Trueman tore  at his sense of dignity, such as a man in his condition could feel.  A cold rage rose in it.  JG Morford checked it in the nick of time; he was not so inebriated that he had lost his own sense of danger.  He struggled to form a retort that would put Trueman in his place.  He seized at the reference to Don Quixote.  Like all the officers but in an exaggerated manner Morford thought all enlisted men were a different species from the officers.  They allowed them only animal skills considering intellectual endeavors beyond them.  Assuming Trueman had not read Don Quixote he said:  ‘You bear a great resemblance to a certain half of Don Quixote’s fair mistress Rozinante.’

 

 

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

Who’s Fooling Who?

by

R.E. Prindle

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Finis

 

A Short Story

The Voice Of The Turtleneck

from the

Boulevard Of Broken Dreams Collection

by

R.E. Prindle

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     ‘Your name?’  Turner said with insulting dryness.

     ‘What’s that?’  Dewey sparred.

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

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

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

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

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

     ‘Sure.  Why not?’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     Turner interrupted him.

     ‘Tell them that they have nothing to fear…’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                                          End.

 

A Novel

Our Lady Of The Blues

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

The Heart Of The Matter

Back In The USSA

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1331.

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

     Kanary went back to speak to Trueman.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1332.

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

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

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

     ‘Where is he?’  Pardon asked in alarm.

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1333.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1334.

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

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

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

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

     Trueman was only too happy to see him go.

Does Anyone Know The Way To Long Beach?

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

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

page 1335.

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1336.

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

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

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

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

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

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

     ‘Wow!  So did you ever screw her?’

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

page 1337.

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

     ‘So what happened to her?’

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

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

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

page 1338.

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1339.

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

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

     ‘How’d you lose them?’

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

     ‘Still seems pretty eccentric.’

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

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

page 1340.

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

     ‘No.’

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

     ‘No, I haven’t.’

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

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

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

     ‘No. It’s short for Torrance.’

     ‘Torrance?’

     ‘Yes.’

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1341.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1342.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     ‘Oh.  What did you do?’

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

page 1343.

     ‘I’ve done some composing.’

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

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

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

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

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

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

     ‘How much?’  Dewey kept burrowing.

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

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

page 1344.

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1345.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1346.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     ‘Guilt for what?’

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

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

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

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

     ‘We’ve got till tomorrow.’

     ‘I want to go back now, Torbrick.’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1348.

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

Second Verse, Same As The First

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

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

     ‘No.  Yours did.’

     ‘Mine?  How’s that?’

     ‘You haven’t heard?’

     ‘Obviously not.’

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

     ‘I’m for it.  How does it work?’

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

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

page 1349.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1350.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     Yah, maybe.  Thanks for nothing, Torbrick.’

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

page 1351.

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

     Trueman was stunned and infuriated at being abandoned.  Had he been closer to 101 he would have caught a bus back to San Diego but Long Beach is fairly out of the way to the main stem of California so Dewey thought he would be just as far ahead to wait it out.

     Among the many conversations he had had with Southlanders aboard ship he had heard the Redcars mentioned.  Dewey was intrigued by the name.  Even though LA was fully committed to cars and freeways there still existed at that time an interurban trolley system known as the Redcars.  Today it would be known as a mass transit system.  Same function but I guess the latter name sounds more scientific.  The rails were soon to be torn up only to be relaid thirty years later.

     Dewey decided to spend the day riding the Redcars much to the disappointment of Yehouda Yisraeli, who you may be sure, was watching.

     The day would stir deep memories and trauma from Dewey’s youth but not as Our Lady expected.  Dewey had left the Valley in what can only be described as the deepest of depressions.  In its own way the Navy had been Trueman’s salvation.  Back in the Valley after graduation he had been reduced to a non functioning capacity unable even to get up in the morning.  The Navy provided a framework within which Trueman could function with minimal effort.   The Navy was the crutch of crutches for the walking wounded of the nation.  Had Dewey remained at home he would probably have been unable to function at all sinking slowly into an inert mass.

page 1352.

     Even now Dewey was very discouraged.  While he would have objected to a description of a feeling of inadequacy every attitude, every movement of his body was shaped to cover up just such a feeling.  His high voice and deferential, reticent manner betrayed just such a feeling.  Under stress he invariably fell back on a defensive clownish manner that removed him from any conflict while being contemptuously dismissed by his opponents.  Such contempt was immediately transformed in his subconscious into an acceptable correction so that he never showed any irritation at being so treated.  Still, he fought manfully to overcome his feeling of inadequacy.  Such a feat is not a matter of will but of the rearrangement of the intellect to expel the causes and replace them with positive motivations.  Dewey did not yet understand this but believed he could will himself into character.

     Mental images are always an important indication of where we are if we pay attention to them and are willing to understand their meaning.  Dewey, who did not understand the following image except in the obvious sense, compared his life to a tiny compressed bubble rising from the bottom of a very deep sea.  As the bubble wobbled upward the pressure decreased allowing the bubble to expand realizing its potential as it rose.

     Dewey’s fear for this bubble, he would never have been able to explaine why he feared for the bubble, was that it might become trapped beneath some sort of overhang or projection of a shipwreck and be forever arrested in its ascent.

page 1353.

     The psychological implications should be clear to all.  In another image Dewey dreamed that he stood beside an empty manhole with the cover still quivering.  It was not clear but it was still obvious that he had just emerged from the sewer.  Both images aptly described his psychological interpretation of his origins.

     Since it is axiomatic that one can never learn what one does not already know it is clear that Dewey knew what he did not yet comprehend.  As these images accompanied him constantly it may be assumed that his subconscious was unceasingly worrying him and prodding him forward and upward.  He had only to grasp the meaning and the symptom would disappear.

     He had made tremendous progress in the year and a half since he left the Valley and under the most adverse of circumstances.  A ship full of strangers in the Navy is no place to dwell on your psychology.  Fortunately for Dewey most of the damage had already been done.  The fodder for his dreams and nightmares for the rest of his life until he succeeded in integrating his personality had already been received.  Some fine mental line had been crossed on the return from the Pacific.  Prior to the return his psyche had been unable to handle its input.  His mind had been overwhelmed by the data.  From now on no matter how devastating his experiences he would be able to incorporate then into his experience and understand them to deal with them on a rational basis.  His very difficult task would be to clear his mental landscape of its trash heaps.

page 1344.

     With the elimination of the roar of the Niagara in his ears the foundation of his depression, so great was the distance on his road to recovery, had been passed.  In the journey of a thousand miles only the first step had been taken.  While the bubble would rise it would only rise slowly because of the intense pressure from above.  Dodging projections like Our Lady Of The Blues aggravated Dewey’s anxiety.

     Such was his mental state as he waited for the mass transit system.

     Now, it’s a good long way from Long Beach to LA.  The Redcar was a trolley but in any other state in America it would have been a trainride.  In Michigan the ride would have the equivalent of from the Valley to Detroit.

     An engine with three or four cars would not have been inappropriate.  Thus when a single Redcar showed up at the stop, not station, but stop, Dewey was not prepared for a most surrealistic experience.  Such a simple thing as a trolley ride would be a major life changing experience.  Why life changing?  As the author I don’t really know.  Perhaps the reader will be more perceptive.  Dewey was certainly not aware of it.

     As the trolley moved through the Long Beach stops there was no difference than being on a bus with steel wheels.  But then the Redcar burst through the city limits and began rolling through open countryside.  I do not report the actual scenes but only as they appeared through Dewey’s subjective reality on his road to psychic transformation.

     It seemed to him as though he was physically in the car but psychically perched on one of the long thin strands of coulds that streaked the immense gray-blue sky.  At that time the area was not completely built up but was open land.  Oil was the business of Long Beach.  Strewn across this near desert landscape of bare soil interspersed with hardy tufts of grass innumerable oil pumps slowly rotated rising and falling in slow motion now in unison now to the beat of an unseen solitary drummer.  Silently working, now the shiny piston fully exposed now plunged back into the sheath, working, pumping laboriously but effortlessly drawing up to the surface its p0ison that once released on the land must lay it waste unless genius turn it into something useful.

page 1355.

     Even so there was no splash of oil upon the ground or even into visible storage tanks.  the unseen subterranean bile was drawn from hidden recesses in the subconscious memory of the earth where without seeing the light of day it was mysteriously transported to processing refineries where the useless evil smelling bile was transformed into a myriad of useful products some of which were capable of transforming the Stygian dooms of night into the bright warming light like sunshine.  It could be done in Dewey’s mind; it must be done.

     The thick steel connecting rods, like drivers on a locomotive drew the heavy balance at the other end of the traveling beam to earh while the still heavier counter balance reared it back into the sky.  Over and over and over, silently, with no visible source of power.  The bile flowed and flowed and flowed ceaselessly in an endless unseen stream from the sewer of the earth like a bubble rising to be recreated into light.

1356.

     Care was necessary.  Planning.  There was a price for the release of pressure.  So much oil had been pumped from beneath the warm California sun that a greater depression occurred.  The earth sank into the created abyss.  The great concrete seawall at Terminal Island had cracked and broken as the earth sank beneath the foundations.  In places the bay washed over the sunken seawall.  Care must be taken lest one drown in one’s own tears.  Genius had learned its lesson.  Other pumps silently filled the depleted subterranean spaces with sea water to shore up the sinking surface.  All the while pumps rose and fell and Dewey’s bubble struggled upward to his seat in the clouds.

     For the first time in California he noticed that the grass was green.  True, this was after the spring rainy season so the grass was still growing; it wasn’t the dull straw color that characterizes California nine months of the year.  Still Dewey’s mental state had been such that all he had ever seen was sere desert.  What greens he had acknowledged were dull and lifeless.  The green grass came as a revelation like a flicker of light in inspissating gloom.

     His astral being high on its cloud watched himself rolling through the green desert of black oil in the little Redcar.  He could see the stops strung out along the line; stops out in the middle of the desert from the dwellings.  and yet people got on and off.  The lone tiny Redcar trundling through this strange delusive immensity slowed to a stop.

     As Dewey watched breathlessly, tense and anxious for unknown reasons, a girl, perhaps a woman in years, but with all the dazzling freshness of a young girl, mounted the steps to enter the car.

page 1357.

     Dewey gave an audible gasp.  He was entranced by the vision.  The gasp had been so loud that everyone in the Redcar had turned to look at him.  The girl herself, lonely as a poppy on the green hills of earth, fixed a steady inquiring glance on him.  Someone considerately changed seats so that when the girl sat down there was a space beside her for Dewey.  A space for Dewey?  Yes, a space for Dewey.

     Dewey was transfixed but he was also immobilized.  Like the stationary pumps outside the windows the black bile of his past was distributed from one point to another for processing purification.  Dewey’s mind was as crude oil.  The beauties it contained were enclosed in the thick viscosity of an undifferentiated past.  Old memories of Ange collided with his recent desires to render him incapable of action.

     He sat breathlessly clutching the steel bar atop the seat in front of him.  The tiny Redcar rolled through the immensity until the girl’s destination had been reached.  The girl got up.  People looked to see Dewey’s reaction.  Perhaps he would make his move now.  The girl fixed a receptive look on Dewey.  Perhaps on this enchanted evening the stranger who would redeem her life had arrived.  She got off but not hurrying away she stood on the dock looking at Dewey waiting and hoping for his move.

     The Redcar driver who had been watching the little drama had seen and approved.  All the world loves a lover.  He held the door open an extra moment longer, two, to give Dewey time to go to her.

page 1358.

     The pumps in Dewey’s mind moved resolutely up and down; the heavy counter weight falling with emphasis.  The black bile of Dewey’s past was drawn up and shunted away.  He sat frozen, humiliated by his own inaction.

     A myriad of thoughts passed through his mind.  There was only one type of woman he responded to.  She was a replica of the girl, the only girl, who had fixated him oh so long ago when he was fifteen.  Fifteen to nineteen.  What do you think?  Is it only a matter of four years?  No, no my friends, out across the Betelgeuse Bridge time is an irrelevant concept, in space time is frozen.  ‘The’ girl had lived in his heart forever.  The second that it took to put her there had never passed away.

     And here ‘she’ was again.  And she would accept him.  Dewey thought that to go to her would provide a balm for his remaining time in the Navy.  He could see himself taking up with her.  He would go to her every weekend to refresh his soul.  She would renew his life after a weekend of tortures.  Ah, but, Dewey reflected, he was in the Navy.  His desires were but the desires of desperation.  He had only the need to take; he had nothing to give.  His intentions were not honorable.  When his time was up he would lose interest in her and have led her astray for nothing.  The Navy was no place for two people in love.  And so he eased back in his seat while the driver moved out of the stop shaking his head in wonder.

page 1359.

     The spell of the journey was broken.  Whatever adventure was to have been achieved had been achieved.  Dewey got off at the next stop to take the desolate ride back to Long Beach.  He no longer noticed that the grass was green.  He was down from the cloud, body and soul being within the Redcar.

     He had nothing to say to Tory Torbric on the ride back to the Naval Station.

Waiting For Lefty Or Someone Just Like Him

     When McCarthy had been destroyed the pressure on the Reds had been  completely removed.  The counterrevolution had been completely emasculated.   The next counter offensive came from the ineffectual John Birch Society.  Conservatives were now known as lunatic warhawks.  The movie Dr. Strangelove released in the mid-sixties caught perfectly the Red vision of the conservatives of the period.  The effect was so complete that Dewey believed he had seen Dr. Strangelove in 1958.

     The Reds themselves were in the ascendant but disorganized by the McCarthy onslaught.  The Reds were still a threat to anyone who incurred their displeasure.  The threat, When the Revolution comes, watch out. was frequently heard.  Dewey in his simplicity thought it was a joke but it wasn’t; it was an actual threat from covert Reds.

     Yisraeli had been active consolidating his sources and means throughout the San Diego fleet.  He had a very substantial homosexual network.  He knew of ship movements almost before the Navy knew them itself.  Homosexuals were standard bearers of the Revolution.  They expected that the New Order would put them on top.

page 1360

     A key factor in the success of the Bolshevik Revolution had been the revolt of the sailors of the great Kronstadt shipyards near St. Petersburg.  They had actually been a Soviet all by themselves.  The Space Cadets of the Revolution in America believed that if the sailors of San Diego revolted seizing the fleet that the Revolution would succeed in America.  This was openly discussed.

     Disregarding the fact that there was no groundswell of support for Redism in the fleet the Red segment walked around in a quiver of anticipation.

     Teal Kanary had high hopes tempered with a growing sense of internal desperation.  Going back to the Th. Crapper warehouse escapade in Brisbane his sense of purity had all but been destroyed.  His Captain’s Masts and Court Martial had worked their way into his subconscious.  He had worked out conscious defenses but the mind is controlled from the subconscious.  Just as Dewey’s dreamwork for the next thirty years was formed so the basis of Kanary’s dreamwork and character had been irrevocably formed.

     Now lacking the confidence that had characterized his pre-Brisbane days he was called upon by Captain Ratches to betray the foundation of his existence.  Ratches, who understood the wellsprings of power was capable of taking direct action but only when direct action might appear inculpable.  While Erect had paid the price for his criminal activity on the equator the instigator, Paul Duber, had not.

page 1361.

     Ratches’ informers had kept him well appraised of the obvious characters of men aboard ship.  Thus he knew of the gatherings in After Steering while overseas, what they did and who attended.  He knew that both Duber and Kanary were queers.  Thus he proposed to set one to expose the other in a rather diabolical move.

     Jim Kanary, Teal’s father, while talking to Ratches on the dock when the ship returned had extolled his son’s virtues.  Foremost among Teal’s supposed virtues was a highly developed sense of loyalty.  The Captain had been informed that he could always count on Teal’s honesty and support.

     Ratches had taken it wryly at the time but now he thought to turn the Yeoman to good use.

     If anything, Duber, counting on the imminent arrival of the Revolution, had been more flagrant than ever.  He was very close to being queenly.  With a sly smile Ratches proposed through Bifrons Morford, although Ratches was present at the interview, that Kanary invite Duber up to the Yeoman’s shack to entrap him in an amorous vice.

     Kanary was shocked and dismayed at the clash of his values but as Morford let the word ‘loyalty’ drop a few times Jim Kanary had entrapped his son into a position where he could not say no.  His errors overseas had been unthinking errors which, though their effect was profound, could still be treated consciously as genuine mistakes.  Kanary was now called to premeditate the betrayal of his innermost secret character.

page 1362.

     He had some very painful moments of deliberation after Bifrons and Ratches left him alone.  That evening he called his pop.  Jim Kanary listened patiently as his son explained things in terms that included his own homosexuality.  Teal placed it more in the context of a McCartyite naming of names.  The American Communists had elevated the crime of naming names into the ne plus ultra of criminality.  They somehow managed to overlook the fact that they approved of Stalin’s forcing the naming of associates and accomplices during the Great Purge Trials of the mid-thirties.  They would also be able to overlook the same fault in Mao during the Cultural Revolution.  But then, for Reds integrity is a matter of whose foot the shoe is on.

     Jim Kanary pointed out that a good Communist must always be willing to seem to betray his convictions for the good of the Party but that a temporal betrayal without spiritual implications had no mundane effect on the purity of one’s intentions.  It was the same with the Stalin-Hitler pact.  One day you were an anti-Fascist the next day you were in bed with them and then the next day you weren’t.  It all worked out in the wash.  Right?

     That was easy enough for Teal to comprehend so he said:  ‘Sure, Dad.’  and hung up.  Temporal rationalization was an easy matter.  Teal’s conscious mind, his intelligence, had no difficulty with that but the heart, the subconscious, is a different matter.  Already drowning in a sea of doubts about himself Teal Kanary now went down for the third time.  He passed through the plane of existence into a different entity.  He was now a double agent and acquired a doppelganger.

page 1363.

     The entrapment of Duber went off without a hitch.  A kick on the door at the right moment had exposed Duber’s dual nature for Ratches and Morford to see.

     Then the problem arose as to who would press charges.  The homosexual community was a secret society, a fifth  column.  Retribution against the prosecutor could come from any direction in any number of clandestine ways.  Ratches was no fool, he quailed before the prospect.  While Duber had been exposed before all, that is, his proclivities were made incontestable, manifest and obvious there was no one to denounce him.

     Ratches, who thought Trueman had sufficient reason to hate Duber, made it clear to him that he could take vengeance on the Store Keeper.  But Trueman was less a fool than he used to be.  Time had been teaching him that it was unnecessary to be vocal about his feelings about homosexuality.  Neither Ratches nor Trueman would have admitted fear of the homosexual community but both chose discretion as the better part of valor.

     However as Duber had been exposed no practicing homosexual could be tolerated in an all male community.  Not even other queers wanted to be seen with him.  Duber became isolated.  He could no longer stand at the head of the shower line ogling the sailors and smacking his gravid lips.

     The Revolution was too slow in coming for Paul Duber.  Unable to endure isolation he turned inward alone and confused.  When his enlistment was up he chucked in his twelve years to return to civilian life.  A few years later he could be found on the streets of LA hanging around the bus station.

page 1364.

Three Strikes And Out

     Tory Torbrick had enough sense not to push Trueman too hard for the next few days.  Nevertheless when he had informed his father that Trueman had told Tory that he no longer wished to go to Long Beach Bert realized that the time to move was now, or he could kiss twelve hundred-fifty smackers goodbye.  He instructed Tory on what to say and not to take no for an answer.

      Thus Trobrick approached Trueman:  ‘Got any plans for the weekend?’

     ‘Yes.’

     ‘You could probably change them though.  Yu won’t get a chance like this for a while.’

     ‘Chance for what?’

     ‘Well, you know how you like to always see new things, go new places, well, my pop’s going up to Atascadero to visit an old school chum.  We thought you might enjoy going along.’

     ‘Where’s Atascadero?’

     ‘Oh, it’s up in the Bay Area around San Jose.’  Tory lied as he had been instructed.  Atascadero is above San Luis Obispo and below Paso Robles on 101 a long way from San Jose.  But, as Bert had no doubt his friend, Doctor Godwin, would admit Trueman it was thought best to keep his location as secret as possible from him so that if he did get word out he would direct his people to the wrong area.

page 1365.

      Little did they know that Trueman’s mother was of the mind to say:  Like father like son and let her son rot as his father was.

     ‘Oh yeah?  What do you do, just go up ninety-nine?

     ‘Uh, well, you can but it’s a lot easier to go up one o one.’

     ‘One o one?  Really?  All the way?’

     ‘Yeah.  Straight shot.’

      Well, Dewey thought,  What could happen?  He did like to go to new places.  True, he didn’t like or trust the Torbricks but this was the Navy.  He didn’t really like any of the people he had to associate with so it wasn’t so much a choice between good and evil as the lesser evil.  Besides it would be a weekend when he wouldn’t have to spend much money.  He could conserve his resources.

     ‘Yeah, Torbrick, alright.’

     Saturday moring found the entire Torbrick family and Trueman out on fabled Highway 101.  The highway was much less traveled than 99 and much more picturesque.  Up through the bizarrely named town of Oxnard to Santa Barbara and out through San Luis Obispo into the wild and gorgeous canyons that go all the way to San Jose.

     As they approached the town of Atascadero Dewey asked where the Bay was as Tory had told him that Atascadero was just above San Jose on the Bay.  There was nothing too subtle about Bert Torbrick.  He didn’t yet know what chutzpah was but he had it in spades.  He merely waved a hand and said:  ‘Just up ahead there.’  He rolled past the long green hedges of the Atascadero State Hospital For The Criminally Insane and up to the gate.

page 1366.

     Because of his father Dewey had often been taunted about being placed in an insane asylum.  He was familiar with numerous stories about persons being unjustly  committed by family, friends or even strangers who then had to plead to be let out.  It was a fate that haunted him from the depths of his mind.

     ‘Atascadero State Hospital For The Criminally Insane?  What are we doing here?’

     Tory who was riding in the back with Trueman made an involuntary move to restrain Trueman lest he leap from the car.  As it appeared that his worst fears might be realized Trueman was too paralyzed to even think such a thought.

     The guard telephoned Dr. Godwin to clear Torbrick then opened the gate to allow him in.  An immense expanse of the most vivid green, almost chartreuse, lawn spread away like the ocean.  The huge forbidding asylum lay far back across the lawn.  Dewey looked at it and swallowed hard.  He was already in, the gate had closed behind him.  Even though he’d heard of this sort of thing he had never believed it could be done.  You never do until it happens to you but, my friends, whatever you have heard has happened somewhere, sometime to someone.

     Dewey relaxed his apprehension somewhat when they didn’t drive up to the big house but turned into a semi-circular driveway before a neat little white house that glistened like a little island in the sea of chartreuse.  Dr. Godwin opened the door with the air of one braving danger which was in no way misplaced.

page 1367.

     ‘Hello, Bert.’  He said in as affable a manner as his jittery nerves would allow motioning them to hurry.

     ‘You’ve met my wife Isadora?’  Bert said.

     ‘No, I don’t believe I have.’  Dr. Godwin replied quickly introducing his wife, Anne.  ‘Hurry now, hurry.’  Doctor Godwin insisted as the others straggled out of the car.

     ‘This is my daughter Margaret, my son Hawthorne and my eldest boy Torrance that I told you about.’  Bert introduced once inside.

     Dr. Godwin motioned Dewey to a seat on the bench of an upright piano that sat against the wall as the rest sat around him in a semi-circle staring at him anxiously but quietly.

     ‘And this is the…this is the…uh, young man I told you about.’  Bert stammered searching for the least offensive, least reviling term.

     Dr. Godwin turned his eyes on Dewey and studied him attentively.

     Dewey put it all together in an instant.  He was there to be committed.  Tory was staring at him with starting eyes as the excitement of his perfidy overwhelmed him but in the sincere conviction that Dewey was ‘criminally’ insane.

     Bert stared at him as though he were twelve hundred-fifty dollars under the middle shell of a shell game.  He didn’t want to lose that money.  Bert’s wife and daughter and other son sat tensely awed by such a legendary place.  Mrs. Godwin stood to Dewey’s right looking at him fearfully lest he explode in a murderous paroxysm.

page 1368.

     Dewey aware of his danger went limp, relaxing more than he would have done in ordinary circumstances to as to preclude any gestures that could be construed as ‘wild.’  He knew that any animation could be construed as proof of violence.  He looked deep into the jittery eyes of Dr. Godwin.  That man had been dealing with dangerous types far too long.

     ‘Yes.’  Dewey said to himself, looking into him.  ‘You’ve been on the job too long.’

     Godwin’s mental agitation showed in his extreme nervousness, ever alert to jump out of the way or restrain yet attempting to look calm and in control.  He was never in as much danger as one might think; a simple touch to a pressure point in the neck would lay out the most ferocious man.  Of course, you did have to find the pressure point first.

     Looking past Godwin out the window to the left Trueman could see the two guards at the gate watching for signs of danger.  To the right Dewey saw an inmate standing on a small ladder in the bright California sun above the bright chartreuse lawn with a pair of hedge clippers furiously hacking into the dark green hedge.  There was no doubt by the man’s attitude that he was insane.  In his hands as he hacked violently at the hedge the shears seemed a lethal weapon.

     Dewey looked at the tense apprehensive wife of the doctor to ask:  ‘Do you really live in this house?’

     ‘Oh, yes.  Why?’

     ‘How can you stand it?  Aren’t you terrified?’

     ‘No.’  The woman lied.  ‘Why should I be?’

     ‘Well, there’s one reason right there.’  Dewey said motioning casually at the lunatic just outside the neat little house in the middle of the chartreuse lawn with his eyes.  ‘Don’t you worry he might try to kill you?  Look how he’s handling those shears.’

     The lunatic slashed at the hedge his lenses meeting Dewey’s eyes as he assumed they were talking about him.  In his wild delusions he thought since Dewey was talking about him it must be love.

     ‘Oh, there’s nothing to worry about.  We keep the doors and windows locked at all times, all I would have to do is call the guards.  The State gives us air conditioning so we’re comfortable.  Unlike many we don’t have to mind the heat.’

     ‘Well, yeah, but those are glass windows and he has steel shears in his hands.  Put those through a window and he’d have plenty of time before the guards got here.  Has he ever killed anyone?’

     ‘Him?  He eviscerated his mother and father but that only makes him dangerous to them.  That doesn’t make him dangeous to anyone else.  Anyone he doesn’t love for instance.  He just looks wild.’  Dr. Godwin said.  ‘How about you?’

     ‘How about me what?  Both my parents are living and I don’t look violent.’

     ‘Have you ever hurt anybody?’

     ‘No.’  Dewey said truthfully and quietly.  Then he said perhaps imprudently:  ‘Don’t you think you’ve been on this job too long, Doctor?  Don’t you feel like you should take a long vacation.’

page 1370.

      ‘Why do you say that?’  Godwin asked.

     ‘Well.’  Dewey said still looking deep inside Godwin.  ‘You’re real nervous, jittery even, tension all over your face and body.  ‘I mean.’  Dewey said shifting his gaze to the lunatic just outside without moving his eyes, even then the lunatic, perhaps a paranoid delusive, sensing Dewey was talking about him, gnashed his teeth while shearing the same spot in the hedge wildly.  ‘If you look at that guy’s eyes out there you can see that his brain is disconnected from them, I mean, he can see things so he doesn’t trip over them but he’s entirely disconnected from reality.  The objective world means nothing to him because he projects his subjective delusion on it.  When the world doesn’t respond as he thinks it should he blames the world; doesn’t even examine his own understanding.  I mean, like, he’s been trimming that exact same spot since I’ve been sitting here.  I bet if you accuse him of mutilating the hedge he’d turn the shears on you.

     I mean, his mind is so tangled up that it’s not connected to his eyes.  It’s kind of like if he were a deckhand on a ship trying to dock he had his lead line connected to the hawser and had the monkey fist in his hand but his lead line was so tangled that there was no slack between the hawser and the monkey fist.  Every time he tried to throw the monkey fist at the dock to connect with the dock, or in another word, reality, his tangled line would just fall to the deck.  He would have to stand out to sea forever because it will never occur to him to untangle his lead line.  If he ever did he would be sane but still guilty of murder.

page 1371

     But, you, you’re different.’  Dewey was dangerously naive.  ‘I mean, your face looks just as distracted as his but by your eyes I can see that you are still connected to your brain.’  A gasp went up from everyone but Dewey didn’t notice as he was staring acutely into Godwin’s soul.  ‘So you can deal with real things in a real way.  I mean, you know, you’ve got some idea of where it’s at but you’ve been dealing with lunatics so long that the connection is stretching thin.  And you don’t have to be sane to know where that’s at.  Do you dig me, Daddyo?’

     ‘Yes, Dewey, yes.  I think I do dig you.  But you?  Where are you at?’

     It might be construed that Godwin was mocking Dewey by his repetition of the hip jargon but he wasn’t.  He was in the habit of adapting his speech patterns to those of his patients.  Dewey just assumed that Godwin knew his brain was connected to his eyes, so to speak, as indeed Godwin was looking deep into his eyes and making connection.

     ‘Me?  Where am I at?  Well, you know, I’m waiting for ships that never come in.  I’m kind of standing at the end of a long pier looking lonely out to sea.  A long pier, way out over the water.  I’m way out at the end with the toes of my shoes over the edge, standing, looking, standing, stretching, looking, looking out to sea.  Staring way out at the horizon watching for sails or the trail of smoke from a stack.  I’m watching and waiting for ships, for ships that never come in.  I wonder where they can be?’

page 1372

     ‘Maybe your ships will never come in, Dewey.  What then?’

     ‘What then?  I don’t know but I know they’re out there and I know I will at least get my chance.  If I get hungry I can just walk back up the pier and get a hamburg at a hamburg shop…with mustard and onions, fries, lots of salt, no catsup.  If I leave even for a second though I might miss my ship.  Even though I’m surrounded by water I’m still connected to land.  In a way I’ve not only got the water but the land.  I’ve got my bucket and it doesn’t have a hole in it.  God bless the child that’s got his own.  Can you dig where that’s at, Doc?’

     Godwin broke ocular contact starting back in his seat at the question.  He could dig where that it was at.  He thought it was quite normal; he didn’t think it was too dissimilar from his own situation.  Seldom had he heard such an understanding articulated so well.

     Shrugging his shoulders at Bert he said quietly with a well controlled sense of revulsion:  ‘You can go now.’

     ‘Dr. Godwin, aren’t you going to…going to…keep him?’

     ‘Bert.  This is an asylum for the criminally, the violently insane.  As you can plainly see.’  He said, indicating Trueman.  ‘This man isn’t violent.  We can’t take up our valuable beds with harmless types like this.  Besides he criticized me and no insane person criticizes a doctor.  He tries to manipulate him.’

     Sensing that Trueman was to be dismissed the lunatic just outside the window threw his shears down violently driving the points six inches into the ground.   He stomped about wildly in a tight circle for a few seconds then snatching up his shears he violently stalked away shaking his shears at Dewey through the panes of glass.

page 1373.

     Paranoid delusive?  Or just tuned to a different wavelength.  How could he have possible known that Dewey had just escaped confinement?  Did Dewey imperceptively relax his features?  Change his posture thus telegraphing Godwin’s decision?  Did the others make some barely perceptible motion of disappointment or was he so attuned to Godwin that he read him like a book?  Paranoid or hyper-sensitive?  Or did he just distort the implications of what he did see?  After all that is what insanity is.

     Dewey in his turn had seen the lunatic’s fierce clipping as hostility to himself; some sort of jealousy perhaps because Godwin was giving attention to someone else.  This was not the case.  The lunatic had fallen in love with Dewey at first sight.  As a murderer of those he did love, he was quite obviously incapable of expressing affection in a normal manner.  Dewey conversely had been ill-treated so long that he interpreted interest in him as hostility as that was the only kind of interest he had ever known.  Truly there would have been a tremendous clash of personalities had Godwin accepted Trueman.

     The lunatic stomped off as Dewey saw but then either reconsidering or attempting to outfox the guards who were watching he doubled back around the little white house in the sward of chartreuse to get closer to Trueman.  As the party filed out of the door of this fantastic setting the lunatic slipped out from beside the house appearing to be brandishing his shears.

     There was a slight hitch in the fabric of space-time as all members present oriented themselves to the situation.  The Torbricks hurriedly got into their car while Dewey coldly studied the lunatic as though standing at the end of his pier he watched the man trying desperately to reach him with his tangled line.  He was just some poor desperate seaman who could not be rescued, who could not be saved.  Dr. Godwin for as jittery as he appeared had the quiet confidence of a circus lion tamer in the cage with his beasts.

     ‘Albert.  They’re leaving, Albert.  This has nothing to do with you.  We weren’t talking about you.  This is something else completely.  Go back to your room now.  Go back, Albert.  Go.’

     Then turning to Bert he said coldly:  ‘And Bert, you won’t ever have a reason to contact me again.’

     Albert cocked his head at Dr. Godwin as if he was spoken to like a cat looking at his owner but otherwise immobile holding his shears up before him.  Godwin was now between Albert and Dewey so Dewey quickly slipped around the car gettin in on the far side as Tory gave no indication of letting him in on the near.

     Once Trueman was in the car Bert threw out a hasty goodbye quickly swinging the car around in the drive heading toward the gate.  ‘I wonder why he said please don’t contact him again?’  Bert mused to his wife.  Dewey looked back to see hurt and disappointment in Albert’s eyes.  The iron gate swung open as they approached.  Passing through they entered the street as the massive steel gate swung slowly shut behind them.

     Dewey remained immobile for a couple hundred yards not daring  to look back until he felt safely delivered.  He knew how his father must have felt, deserted and betrayed by his loved ones as they led him into the labyrinth without his Aridane’s thread for a safe return.

page 1375.

     Then he swung around to cast a last look at the Atascadero State Hospital For The Criminally Insane.  The enormity of the attempt on his life and happiness hit him.  He realized that had Dr. Godwin had had less integrity he would never have seen the light of day again.  The Navy would never have been able to locate him if they tried.  Nor would they have tried.  In AWOL cases they just figured you’d turn up sooner or later.

     Decades later if he survived the massive doses of drugs and electric shock therapy and other brutal so-called therapies applied by people nuttier than the inmates he would still be listed as AWOL.

     Trueman heaved a sigh of relief.

     Tory Torbric who had been turned toward him silently watching him said with a suppressed giggle:  ‘That was a real close one, wasn’t it?’

     ‘Maybe you’re right Torbric; maybe criminality is hereditary.  Can be passed from father to son.’

     Tory’s comment hit Dewey like a taunt.  Dewey’s subconscious desires assumed the ascendance for a moment.  It is possible he might have done what his subconscious desire directed.  He drew the the knife with the pearl handle and thin six inch blade he had bought in Japan from his pocket.   The pin of the cheap knife was already so worn that Dewey just flipped the blade from its scabbard.  The effect was electrifying.

     Tory’s eyes went  as wide as they ever would as he shrank guiltily back against the side of the car.  Bert who had been keeping a guilt ridden eye on him through the rear view mirror emitted a fearful gasp.

page 1366.

     ‘That would be a silly thing to do, Dewey.  If you cut my throat you’d be killed too when the car crashes into those trees.’  He said pointing to a row of closely set eucalyptus.

     ‘Naw.  We aren’t going fast enough and besides God protects the insane.  You know that, don’t you Mr. Torbrick?’

     Bert involuntarily drove the pedal into the floor so that they would be going fast enough if they hit the trees.

     ‘Oh now, Dewey…’

     ‘Bert, you heard what your ex-friend in there said.  You can see I’m not violent.  I’m not crazy either and I’m not a sneaky criminal like you and Tory either.’

     Neither Bert nor Tory had any inclination to muddy the waters by denying the accusation so they said nothing more.  Dewey sat and pondered who could be behind the Torbricks as he corrected figured they weren’t acting on their own initiative.  The true reason was beyond his knowledge so he could only assume it was someone aboard ship.  He couldn’t imagine that Kanary had the influence nor did he think Morford had the power.  He was therefore at a loss to explain it.  He was now aware that he had more than a direct frontal assault like that of Tyrone to fear.  His apprehension would estrange him even further from the crew.

     Once in Long Beach Dewey ordered Tory to take him back to the Naval Station immediately.  Guilt caused Torbrick to comply without demur.  Nothing more was said on the way back to the Naval Station.

page 1377

Un Homme Declasse

     Just as Kanary’s betrayal of his leader, Paul Duber, had combined with his past transgressions to darken his mind altering his personality for good so the fear of incarceration in an insane asylum intensified all the anxieties afflicting Trueman.  He too became darker and more wary.  With slightly over a year before discharge the duration actually became a race to retain his sanity.  He began to undergo subtle changes of behavior of which while conscious of them they yet seemed to make sense.  Fortunately for Dewey they were reactions to these specific events.  They would disappear when the causes did unlike Kanary’s psychic situation.  Still, Dewey would always be amazed that he had done without reflection that which was in fact the product of a distressed and distracted mind.

     He was now thoroughly disgusted with Torbrick.  He meant to have nothing to do with him.  He now realized the foolishness of succumbing to Torbrick’s request to visit him in Long Beach as his relationship with Roque Da Costa was irreparably damaged.  Da Costa quite rightly believed his friendship had been betrayed or compromised.

     It now appeared that Trueman would have to shift for himself if he wished to return to Oakland so Our Lady had accomplished something.  As he knew no one in Oakland but Da Costa a cloud was cast over his future plans.  But as he intended to enroll in the Thought Management System called Oakland City College he had to resolve his dilemma.

page 1378.

     Kerry Maclen or Joe McLean, as he was now known, had developed a vengeful hatred for Trueman after Dewey had refused to share his guilt in Guam when McLean stupidly tried to smuggle beer on board.

     McLean was of a devious criminal disposition.  Had he been Trueman he would simply have had nothing more to do with him but as a criminal he meant to make Dewey pay.  He knew he would have more opportunities as a friend than as an enemy.  If he could he would implicate Trueman in criminal activities and then see that he was caught.  If not he would sponge off Dewey sabotaging the man and his efforts.  Thus he readily fell in with Dewey’s palaver about attending Oakland City College.

     When Dewey made his Long Beach trips Joe seeing his opportunity stepped into his shoes with Da Costa.  While Dewey was occupied in Long Beach McLean had been traveling to Oakland with Da Costa.  Being of an opportunistic nature he had no qualms about dating Da Costa’s sister Terry.  Through her he fell into a circle of Juniors and Seniors from Castlemont High School.  As he was of a congenial manner he quickly made other friends abandoning Terry for dates with various girls in the Castlemont circle.

     Naturally he boasted of his success to Trueman.  This was the break Trueman needed.  McLean as his ostensible buddy had no choice but to acquiesce.  McLean had also ran into his old confederate in crime, Jim Chance, in Oakland.  Chance was working daytime as a warehouseman on Airport Way, which is a great job for a thief, and burgling warehouses at night using the information obtained on the job.  When he and McLean and Kreskin got together again the basis of the East Bay distribution network for Kayo and Soter Kreskin’s dope smuggling business came into existence.

page 1379

     Dewey had crossed Tory off.  Bert however still had his eyes on that twelve-fifty which Our Lady had refused to pay because of his failure to place Dewey in Atascadero.  Secure in his h0me and recovered from guilt he had the chutzpah to have Tory ask Dewey back for another weekend.

     Dewey was preparing for the trip to Oakland.  He was trying to get a good spit shine.  Just as Torbrick was approaching him a cry of holloa went up from the Deck hands.  Cracker Jack Driscoll stepped through the hatch back from the hospital.

     The doctors had saved his finger.  They’d stitched it back in place.  Now holding his bandage swathed hand against his chest middle finger sticking straight up a shy smile wreathed the sailor’s handsome face.

     ‘My god.’  Thought Dewey.  ‘He’s actually glad to be back.’

     ‘Good news.’  Cracker Jack said almost timidly.  ‘I can stay in the Navy; they’re not going to discharge me.’

     ‘Congratulations, great, yowsah’, came from all sides including Dewey.

     ‘Isn’t that great, Dewey?’  Cracker Jack asked.

     ‘If that’s what you want, Driscoll.  Personally I would have taken the discharge but then we all have different tastes.  Welcome back aboard.’

page 1180.

   

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

A Novel

Our Lady Of The Blues

Part VII

by

R.E. Prindle

The Heart Of The Matter:

Back In The USSA

 

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

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

-A. Conan Doyle

 

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

page 1279.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1280.

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1281.

     Including her husband Lane Vincent.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     ‘Control yourself, Vincent.’  Morford sternly admonished.

     Vincent couldn’t hear him.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1283.

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1284.

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1285.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1286.

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

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

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

     ‘About what?’  Ratches idly inquired.

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

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

     ‘They want their restrictions lifted, Sir.’

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

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

     ‘What are you suggesting, Lance?’

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

page 1287.

     ‘Killed?  What do you mean?’

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

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

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

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

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

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

     The restricted men were released two days later.

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

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

page 1288.

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

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

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

     ‘Really!  Heroin?’  Dewey said in awe.

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

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

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

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

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

     ‘Everything go alright?’  Soter asked superfluously.

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

How Now, Young Sailor?

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

page 1289.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1290

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

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

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

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

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

page 1291.

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

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

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

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

page 1292.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1293.

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

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

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

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

page 1294.

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

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

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

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

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

Replacement Troops

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

page 1295

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

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

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

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

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

page 1296.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1297.

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

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

     ‘I really wanted to meet you.’

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1298.

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

North To Oakland

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1300.     

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1301.

     ‘Thanks.’  Dewey said in a startled voice.

     ‘Whadya come for, the movies?’

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

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

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

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

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

     ‘Great.  I’ll go with you.’

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

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

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

page 1302.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1303.

     ‘I’m no faggot.’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     ‘I know, I know.’

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

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

page 1304.

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

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

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

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

     ‘Move your feet.  I want this seat.’

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

page 1305. 

     ‘No.’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1306.

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

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

     ‘Yeah.  I read.’  Dewey replied miserably.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1307.

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

     ‘Look buddy, just put out your cigarette.’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1308.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1309

     The San Francisco bus station was deserted that early in the morning.  Dewey grabbed his bag to walk up the deserted street to Market, the main drag of San Francisco.  The dark night glistened in twinkling patent leather black against the lights of Market.  As Dewey looked down Market he was relieved to see the street deserted.

     He took no more than three steps than simultaneously down the entire length of Market a person or two stepped into the street from every doorway on both sides of the street.  Each looked hopefully in his direction eager to be chosen for whatever adventure he might propose.

     There were winos, homos of every description, men who looked like women and women who looked like men.  There were even lonely women hoping for any kind of companionship.  As Dewey walked along Market there was a delicious shiver of anticipation for the habitues of this midnight obsession.  What was in his bag?  Which one would he choose?

      Sneers of indignation were launched at Dewey’s back as he passed each hopeful leaving them crushed and rejected.  They spat hatefully at his heels.  Block after block Dewey passed them by as he walked down Market.

     When he turned to make his way to the Key Systems terminal for the ride over the Bay Bridge to Oakland a wave of pain washed over him as the injured devastated souls sank back into their doorways to stand in the withering night in hopes that a car might pull up to select one to make his life meaningful.  But the sun would come up driving them back to their lairs before a redeemer would arrive.  Today there is no salvation.

page 1310.

     ‘Man, what a town.’  Dewey said as he climbed the steps to the trains.  The arcades were all closed.  Only a couple sailors on the way back to Treasure Island waited for a train. 

     Da Costa lived out on E. 86th Street about five blocks off East 14th which was the North-South drag of Oakland.  East 14th was the longest street Dewey had ever seen stretching from the bay all the way to the future Fremont over four hundred blocks long.

     Da Costa, who had just arrived let him in without having to knock which was well because Roque’s father was a cranky old soul.

The Heart Of Oakland

     Pietro, or Pete, Da Costa had emigrated to the United States as a young boy with his parents.  He was now sixty-three.  He was a widower who had sired four offspring: three girls and Roque.  The two older sisters were both married and out of the house.  Roque’s younger sister, Terry, at seventeen was fifteen years younger than the oldest sister.

     Oakland had a substantial Portuguese population.  They were a clannish lot who believed that they had suffered serious discrimination at the hands of the Anglos.  They were very sensitive about being confused with Mexicans, who they considered inferior, because of the similarity of the names.

     Gomez and Rodriguez were not to be confused with Gomes and Rodrigues.  The final S designated a Portuguese while the Z was emblematic of the Mexican.

page 1311.

     Pete Da Costa but illy concealed his rage that his son had brought an Anglo home.  He let Dewey know that he was not welcome in his home.

     Rather than face his father’s anger Roque whisked Dewey out of the house.  ‘He’s kinda living in the past.’  Roque lamented the first generations traditional lament.  ‘Still hasn’t left the old country in his heart.  A lot of the old guys are still fighting battles from years ago.  Come on, I’ll show you the stomping grounds.’

     Roque was able to borrow his father’s car which he headed down East 14th toward the cannerys and the heart of Portuguese Oakland.  In the old days the immigrant Italians and Portuguese had staffed the cannerys such as the big Del Monte plant that backed onto High Street.  High Street led across the channel to the city of Alameda.  Oakland itself is the seat of Alameda County.  Adjoining it to the West is the City of Alameda on Alameda Island with its huge Alameda Naval Air Station.  The big carriers like the Kearsarge home based at Alameda.

     As the boys drove up to the Big Top Drive In just east of the cannerys what the Bay Area called the ‘high fog’ still obscured the sun.  The high fog was responsible for giving the city its dull dark cast.  Anyone else would have called the ‘high fog’ cloud cover.  The fog or clouds formed out over the ocean during the day then as the temperature dropped in the evening the moisture laden air condensed into clouds which were drawn through the Golden Gate by winds created by the cooling land.  The East Bay and San Francisco were the most affected areas.  Contra Costa county which is actual desert was either unaffected or burned off early.  The Peninsula West across the bay from Oakland was usually bright and sunny.  Santa Clara County with San Jose at the South end of the bay was usually covered over to East San Jose.  That cover usually burned off about noon.

page 1312.

     Oakland was kept perpetually cool by the cloud cover…and gloomy.  Gertrude Stein was once quoted as saying of Oakland:  There’s no there, there.  That isn’t entirely correct, there’s plenty of there there, they just don’t know what to do with it.  It seems like only the dullest mentalities chose to live in Oakland.  It is their lack of interest in everything that makes it appear that there is no there there.

     In San Francisco the mix of races and nationalities created an exciting cosmopolitan atmosphere but in Oakland the same mix as working class folk thuds along like a ruptured inner tube and just lays there.

     They were perpetually at war with themselves and society.  They accepted the cannery jobs as fate with no appeal.  Many of them never left the several square bocks of their neighborhood nor did they have any desire to.  For entertainment they had contests with the police.

     The High Street Bridge was the nightly scene of high speed chases between themselves and the police.  In those day municipal police had no jurisdiction beyond their community limits.  the middle of the bridge was the ending of the jurisdiction of the Oakland police and the beginning of those of Alameda.

page 1313.

     If any of the Wild Boys saw flashing red behind them they immediately took off for the High Street Bridge hoping to get over it before they were hauled off.

     High St. lay athwart the Black enclave of West Oakland to the North and East Oakland to the South.  The blacks who were a fairly recent phenomenon being brought West only in the forties were still resented by the Whites who kept them in what Iceberg Slim called the Stockade.  By keeping them out of sight the Whites tried to ignore their presence.  William Knowland who ran the most boring newspaper in the world ever exposed to the light of day, The Oakland Tribune, made the mistake of his life by trying to pretend they didn’t exist.

     The Blacks liked Oakland perhaps for the reason that Gertrude Stein detested it.  They seemed to fit Oakland like the proverbial hand and glove.  At the time they were approaching 30% of the population.  Within a few short years they were to be over 50%.  As Knowland excluded Black affairs from the pages of the Tribune they had no reason to read the paper.  So the distribution of the Tribune shrank daily as Blacks displaced Whites.  Any Whites who didn’t want to be bored to death read the San Francisco Chronicle or Examiner.  Those newspaper cats ran exciting stories like:  Why Doesn’t San Francisco Have Good Coffee?’  And it wasn’t that there wasn’t excitement in the world at the time either.

     That’s how boring the Tribune was, they couldn’t even think up exciting leaders about coffee.  On the other hand, who cared whether Oakland had good coffee or not.  The lack of good coffee kind of complemented the lack of there there.

page 1314.

     Historians concerned with Black history all seem to think that the doings of Mike King down in Birmingham jail were representative of Blacks all over the country.  Yes, friends, Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the most successful name changes in history, comparable to that of M. Arouet who changed his name to Voltaire.  Marty King’s real name was Mike.  That also means that he as a Jr. his father was also Mike.

     The South was only one part of Black society.  The more adventurous Blacks, or those who didn’t mind cold weather, split the South for the North and West.  Once freed of the danger of lynching they changed their whole attitude quickly.  White culture toward Blacks outside the South was repulsion tinged with indifference.  Without developed mechanisms to intimidate Blacks they allowed themselves to be intimidated by Blacks.

     One of the most notable civil rights figures of the sixties was then residing in Soledad Prison.  Eldridge Cleaver had been one of those who wasn’t going to take it anymore.  He honed his raping skills in the Stockade on Black girls then crossed East 14th to prey on White women.  He would have been in Soledad a lot longer except for the civil rights movement that made egregious crimes into legitimate social protest.

      West Oakland or the Flatlands as the Blacks called it in opposition to what would soon be White enclaves in the hills was a very lovely area.  The trees were old and stately; the lots were all level and spacious.  But in the Black intellect whatever Whites will let them have must be of no value or they woudn’t let them have it so they despised what were, in fact, the choice lands of Oakland.

     Further South in East Oakland where the burgeoning Black population was expanding with geometric force a lot of conflict was occurring down along the interface with displaced Whites.

     People didn’t understand the nature of the Black/White confrontation.  Because the movement of the Blacks was within the borders of the United States the Black immigration into Oakland was seen as internal movement whereas it was in reality an invasion of an alien people.  It was fortunate that there was no large scale warfare as in New York, Chicago, East St. Louis, LA and other places where Blacks had migrated in large numbers.  After all half the city would turn Black.

     The absorption of so many aliens ill adapted to life in a foreign situation would have been next to impossible if they were White and wanted.  Many were country folk unused to city ways, most were illiterate or barely literate.  Frankly, they didn’t know how to act.  The police force which was all White didn’t understand them and didn’t react properly to their alienation.

     The Blacks reacted badly to the p0lice whose harassment they believed was directed especially at them.  This was not true.  The Oakland police force was a savage repressive force of vulgar beasts without the class or shine of the LAPD.  The OPD pulled cheap suit crap the LAPD would have sneered down their noses at.

page 1316.

     The crudos of of the OPD had no qualms about stopping female drivers and demanding sex.  They had no qualms about stopping men with their dates and demanding the men allow them to have sex with their dates.  They had no qualms about demanding sex from men.

     They would write you up for doing ninety down a city street when you were safely within the speed limit to negotiate the speed down depending on whether you would accede to their wishes.  The CWBs in Oakland were truly Criminals With Badges.  It had nothing to do with whether you were Black or not.  If you were Black they may have called you a nigger; if you White they called you White Trash.  The guys they called White Trash had no recourse and never made the papers; the guys they called niggers could get the people who called other Whites White Trash to act on their behalf.  Racism in America?  You bet.

     In 1966 the Black resentment would erupt into the Black Panther Party led by Huey Newton who attended Oakland City College at the same time Dewey did.  It was a strange coincidence that Roque Da Costa would be a victim of the Panthers.

     Roque returned to work at Lucky Stores on his discharge.  He had worked his way up to manager by 1968.  One day a Panther came in demanding that Da Costa cash his stolen check.  He refused to show Roque any ID so Da Costa rightly refused to cash it.  The Panther accused him of racism rather than good business practices.  Da Costa waved him off.

     The next morning when Roque was out emptying the trash the enraged Panther drove by and shot him dead.  Maybe Roque would have been better off at Safeway  than Lucky.

page 1317.

     At the time Blacks were not often seen outside the Stockade so even though they were nearing a majority of the population in 1958 the segregation was nearly complete except for adventurous sorts like Eldridge Cleaver.

     Thus the drive in hangout of Da Costa and his crowd even athough virtually surrounded by Blacks was completely White.  The Anglo influence was nil; the patronage was entirely of South Mediterranean provenance.

     This was a fairly rough crowd.  Toughness was at a premium compared to the more genteel Anglo hangouts.  They had their own problems too, don’t get me wrong.

      ‘OK, Dewey, now it’s really improtant to act like you’re ready to fight.  It’s all just show and push and shove unless you act chicken and then they’ll really come after you.  So just do your strut now.’

     ‘OK, man.’

     As they walked up they were greeted by an acquaintance of Da Costa’s.

     ‘Hey, Roque.  Where ya been; haven’t seen you ya around lately.’

      ‘Hi, Sam.  I just got back from Hong Kong.  Been gone for a while.’

     ‘Just got back from Hong Kong!  Get outta here.  You’re talking to Sammy boy, Roque.’

     ‘I really did just get back from Hong Kong, Sam.  I’m in the Navy now and we just returned from a Pacific tour.  I’ll be around a little more now but I’m stationed in San Diego.’

     At the mention of the Navy Sam noticed Dewey who doing his tough act, with his long sour face, it was a pretty good imitation of mean looking.  Sam had been around some of the Navy bars near the Air Station.  Tough Navy bars were legendary in California.  Sam went into defensive posture.

page 1318.

     ‘Oh yeah, Navy, huh?  Anybody want to fight?  C’mon.  We’ll choose up sides and smell armpits.’  He said clowning a pose where he lifted his arms and strutted left and right.

     Sam got a good laugh, Dewey was accepted as Da Costa’s buddy.  But the longer he talked to the Da Costa crowd the more Dewey was repelled.  Dewey had nothing in common with the negative immigrant attitude.  He didn’t understand how these guys could be so down.  Coming from the Children’s Home Dewey had more reason for despair than these guys yet they had no hope, no ambition, no desire to improve their situation.

     Dewey watched a Wild Boy dash past on the way to the bridge running a red light followed by a squad car as he wondered what he exactly hoped from Oakland.  His mind was made up to make this place home so he pondered thoughtfully as Da Costa drove back to 86th. Street.

     As luck would have it Dewey picked up a racking cough somewhere on the way North.  It was one of those uncontrollable dry things.  Coming at night as it did Dewey wasn’t able to buy cough drops.  As everyone turned in, try as he might, Dewey couldn’t stop coughing but hacked away non-stop all night.

     Already enraged at having an Anglo in the house the cough was sufficient grounds for complaint against Trueman’s visits.

     By noon the next day it was time for Trueman to leave if he was going to get back in time.  On the bus ride to the Key Station the cough disappeared as quickly as it had begun.  One can only guess that Trueman’s subconscious was trying to tell him something.

     The thugs hanging around the bus station zeroed in on Trueman as he was their age.  Bus stations always have a group of low class thugs hanging around because the people who ride buses usually come from the least affluent levels of society.  Trains still took a better class while the affluent types clustered in the airports.  Fighting the toughs off Trueman boarded the bus for the trip back.

     Whereas San Francisco had been deserted at three in the morning when he’d arrived the pimps and hustlers still filled the LA terminal at one AM when the bus pulled in.  They recognized Trueman from the previous Friday.  The layover was short but Trueman realized they had his number.

     The bus had taken much too long.  It had also been very unpleasant.  As Dewey wended his way back through the Naval Base at four-thirty in the morning he thought there had to be a better way.

The Wages Of Sin

     Dewey got every other weekend off.  While he was waiting for the next forty-eight to come up the rest of the squadron returned from their magnificent seven day layover in Honolulu.  Dewey was put out at his fellows who had been so stupid as to accept pay advances they should have known would get them into trouble.

      Even though they had sacrificed Hawaii his shipmates were too dull to regret it.  Mostly they lamented that being on half pay for their durations diminished their enjoyments.  Many tried to make up their pay shortages by other means.

page 1320.

     The first such casualty of the over payment scheme was Trueman’s overseas pal, Parsons.  Practical morality is largely the fear of censure by one’s fellows.  While one might never disappoint the expectations of family and friends in one’s home town the same rules of behavior are not necessarily followed in a different milieu.

     On the one hand Parsons felt he had no reputation to lose in San Diego while on the other for less serious crimes the civil authorities simply remanded the transgressor to the justice of the Navy.  As before noted the Navy was tolerant of the deeds of its wayward boys.

     Relying on the leniency of the Navy, Parsons tried to augment his reduced income by burgling a San Diego store.  He was so unfortunate as to be caught in the act on his first attempt.  His expectations were not disappointed; the San Diego police simply turned him over to the Shore Patrol.  Ratches gave him a stern lecture about holding up the strict standards of the Navy and the remarkably lenient sentence of seven days restriction.

     Disappointed at the failure of his burglary Parsons was nevertheless satisfied with the results of his apprehension.  He had not however counted on the reaction of his shipmates.  Most labeled him for what he was, a criminal.  He was surprised to find himself rejected by his fellows with the exception of Screw, Easy, McLean, Kayo Kreskin and the criminal cadre aboard.

     Parsons was stunned when Trueman reluctantly advised him that he could no longer associate with him.  Parsons was incapable of understanding.  He had worked out all the consequences but one, the reaction of his shipmates.

page 1321.

     Parsons considered that his crime was no different than being AWOL for a few hours or even minutes.  He took his seven days restriction considering the matter closed.  The rejection of Trueman and the crew struck his self-conception like a sledge hammer.  He was forced to hang out with the criminal element although he did disavow his criminal ways when he was once again safe with family, friends and hometown.

     A more corrosive effect was made by Kayo Kreskin.  The effect of the forty pounds of heroin on the finances of his father was explosive.  The return was so sensational that Soter’s appetite for the easy money was increased accordingly.  The land of opportunity for Soter and Kayo lay close at hand just South of the border.

     Soter bought Kayo a fifty-eight Edsel, setting him up to make bi-weekly runs from the border to the Bay.  Soter saw no reason to put his son at risk with border crossings so he arranged for delivery of the stuff to be made to a lawyer friend in the yacht harbor of Coronado where Kayo picked it up.

    Trueman with his need to include everyone he liked in his schemes soon included Joe McLean in his weekend jaunts to Oakland.  While there McLean ran into Jim Chance who was continuing his criminal career burgling warehouses in Oakland from his base at the airport.

     In an effort to increase the take Soter persuaded Kayo to recruit some mules.  There was no more likely candidate than Joe McLean.  Joe, who was also feeling pinched on his reduced wages, was delighted to drive for Kweskin.  The couple hundred he received for each trip more than made up for his loss in wages.

page 1322.

     As he had no car, to his further delight the Kreskins bought him a fifty-one Buick convertible.  McLean was in hog heaven.  Teal Kanary also flew a few kilos up to the Bay Area on his fequent trips home.  There may have been other mules as well but in any event Soter Kreskin blossomed as a social lion with his few found means.  He too was in hog heaven though of a different quality than Joe McLean’s.

     His next weekend Dewey chose to fly to San Francisco as were a number of men of  greater means than his own.  At the time Southwest Airlines was the industry phenom.  They were running cattle cars between San Diego, LA and San Francisco at incredibly low prices.  They packed you in like sardines but most people found the resulting frotage sexually exciting.

     This was the beginning of the heyday of sexual promiscuity.  The stewardesses were young, beautiful and wanted the same sexual freedom as men.  This was somthing like saying that nails could have the same freedom as hammers.  Whatever gets used gets abused.  Strangely it took women several decades to discover that all the physical and psychic wear and fell on them.  Then they turned viciously on men to make them pay for their own stupidity.

     That consequence was far in the future.  For the time being the stewardesses seemed willing even eager to be groped amongst the party atmosphere provided by the airlines.  It was as though being able to fly made them giddy.  Through it all the morose and angry face of Dewey Trueman shone like a dirge at a wedding.  Everything in Dewey’s past conspired to exclude him from this merriment.  The high spirits even seemed  an intended affront against him.  For Dewey it hurt so good to feel so bad.

page 1323.

     Not only had Dewey spent more than he could afford for the flight but upon disembarking he discovered that the airport was a long way from where he wanted to be.  San Francisco airport then as now was halfway down the Peninsula between San Francisco and the Santa Clara Valley.  The trip over to Oakland consumed another three hours and more expense than Dewey was willing to absorb.

     Although old Pete Da Costa was no less happy to see him Da Costa’s sister Terry had decided to take an interest in him.  As with so many Southern and Eastern European immigrant women the Da Costa girls had sought to avoid the stigma of inferiority by marrying men with English names.

     By coincidence both of Roque’s older sisters had married men named Clark although Earl spelled his name Clarke with an E while Alton didn’t.  Trueman seemed an eminently suitable English name to Terry.

     Dewey had no interest in her.  Call it what you will but Terry was of a deep olive complexion as was the rest of the family which Dewey disliked.  Then too there was that about the Da Costa style of living which was distasteful to Dewey’s sensibilities.  It bespoke an intellect which was foreign to him and to which his intellect could never adapt.  It may be said, however, that both Mary Clarke and Estelle Clark kept a much more Anglo style of housekeeping although Mary was incomparably the better of the two.

page 1324.

     So Dewey idly passed the weekend flying back to San Diego with time to spare.  He realized that if he had to pay to travel to Oakland that he wouldn’t be able to afford more than one trip a month.  He was so desperate to get away every week that he made a decision that would forever declass him in his own mind.

     He remembered how he had felt pity for his high school pal, Jerry, who used to hitch everywhere.  He had felt then that Jerry had declassed himself and felt pity for him because it always made Jerry inferior in his eyes.

     But now, faced with the horror of not being able to get away from both ship and San Diego he made the fateful decision to put out his thumb.

An E With A Hashmark

     The Commodore was exceedingly wroth with the Teufelsdreck.  Not only was Ratches ruining his own career but the unusual proceedings on board the Teufelsdreck were affecting his own reputation as squadron commander.  The unexplainable logic of the payroll advances abord the Bucket T had been the last straw for the Commodore.  He wanted nothing better than to himiliate Ratches and his ship as he felt he was being humiliated.  See how they liked it.

page 1125.

     Thus the Monday after Dewey’s flight back from the Bay Area the squadron put out to sea for gunnery exercises.  The complement of the Teuf was not yet up to full strength thus the Commodore believed that with a number of green hands and short of men the Teuf would not be able to defend its pants.

     Chief Dieter had not relaxed his animosity toward Trueman.  If anything it had deepened.  Trueman had been assigned some mopping up work on the fo’c’sle.  He was beginning to lose his enthusiasm for working hard although he still did good work.  Rather than hurrying to get the job done he was sitting in front of the 20MM gun tub leaning with his back against it while leisurely scrubbing some discolored area of the deck when he heard the voices of Dieter and Morford discussing him.  Dieter had apparently forgotten the task he had assigned Trueman.

     ‘The guy’s a tough nut to crack.’  Morford said still rueful about his failure to break Trueman over the rammed supply ship incident.

     ‘I know.  But I think if we can break his will his ass is ours.’

     Trueman should have lain quietly and listened instead he stood up to indignantly exclaim:  ‘It’ll be a cold day in hell when you guys will ever break my will.’

     Both men looked at him in surprise.  Without a further word they parted, walking around opposite sides of the superstructure.

     Perhaps in an attempt to break Trueman’s will he was taken off the forties for which he had expressed a liking to be sent up to the Hedgehogs as exercises began.

     As they were not to be fired for gunnery practice Dieter called him down to handle shells for the three inch.

     The forward three was the prestige gun aboard ship.  Dieter, Ratman and Pardon, all three, stood around to supervise.  Premier Seaman Cracker Jack Driscoll, who, by the way, was so devoted to the navy that he had refused the payroll advances, had the prestige job of ramming the shell into the breach.  While not dangerous the task was not without hazards.  When the shell was rammed the breech snapped up with speed and force.  The trick was to not wrap your fingers over the flange of the shell which was a half inch wide but to keep your fingers straight and ram with the heel of your palm fingers extended.

     It was on this day that Cracker Jack Driscoll failed to follow instructions.

     As mentioned before, Boatwain’s Mate was a closed rating.  It was virtually impossible to make Third Class even.  However Dieter liked Cracker Jack Driscoll.  He spent long hours tutoring the man; he moved heaven and earth, pulled every single string that existed to get his man a Third Class chevron.  He had succeeded.  Two weeks after the Teufelsdreck returned Driscoll’s promotion came through.

     One would have thought Driscoll would have been overjoyed but he wasn’t; he was in awe.  As a cracker back in Georgia he had accepted everyone’s opinion that he wasn’t worthy as fact.  Thus as he’d sewn his chevron on his blues he felt he was unworthy of having achieved this insignficant distinction.

page 1327.

     It my be argued that he simply forgot to remove the middle finger of his right hand from the breech but, in fact, he subconsciously wanted to disqualify himself from what he thought was umerited distinction.

     Trueman had raced under the barrel cradling the three inch shell in his arms anticipating the devastatingly sharp crack from the three inch barrel overhead when he was met instead by a scream of pain.

     When he got around to the breech he found Cracker Jack Driscoll attached to the gun by his middle finger.  The accident was so unexpected that neither Dieter, Ratman nor Pardon had made a move to lower the breech manually.  There Driscoll stood with his finger up to the second knuckle inside the barrel behind the shell.

     The pain was excruciating.  Cracker Jack let out peal after peal that was heard all over the ship.  Finally the Petty Officers recovered to grapple the breech down.  Driscoll’s finger wasn’t severed but the finger was definitely hanging by the skin.

     To Trueman’s consternation the first intelligible words out of Driscoll’s mouth were an anguished:  ‘This doesn’t mean I’ll have to leave the Navy does it?’  Then his gaze fixed on Trueman’s wondering eyes who always ridiculed Cracker Jack because he found distinction in being in the Navy.

     Dieter followed his glance to say reprovingly:  ‘Go back to the forties Trueman, you’re not wanted here.’

     In one day Trueman manned the Hedgehogs, a three inch and the forties.  Not many could claim that.

page 1328.

     ‘What happened up forward, Trueman?’  Bent Cygnette demanded.

     ‘Nothing.  Cracker Jack forgot to remove his finger from the barrel before the breech snapped back up, that’s all.’

     ‘Is he hurt?’

     ‘Well, if you think being able to put the first two knuckles of your middle finger in your shirt pocket is being hurt I should think so.’

     The order for the forties to fire terminated the conversation.

     Morford and Kanary were both looking for ways to get Trueman in trouble.  As he walked a narrow line he would have to be induced to commit an indiscretion that could be escalated into a crime.  Having watched Van Wye throwing the spent cartridges overboard during the last exercizes Morford encouraged him to do it again, as if he needed it, but to get Trueman involved so he could be written up.

     One might think that Van Wye was placing himself in jeopardy but the rules can be selectively applied.  Even if Trueman objected that Van Wye also was discarding the cartridges it would be argued that Van Wye was not the one on the carpet, Trueman was, and Trueman was guilty.  He would be told that Van Wye would be dealt with later which he wouldn’t be.

     Thus while Trueman clipped his cartridges to put them back in the cannisters Van Wye threw them over the side.

     ‘C’mon, Trueman, don’t be a simp; just chuck them over the side.  The Navy can afford more.’

page 1329.

     Waste was not Trueman’s way while he also looked up to the bridge where he saw Morford and Kanary eyeing him intently.  He fluffed Van Wye off continuing to clip the shells.  Thus he saved himself a fair amount of trouble.

Whitening The Teufelsdreck.

     Whatever tests the Navy was conducting with the sixteen Black sailors must have been completed.  As the Blacks were put aboard just before the Pacific Tour and removed just after its completion perhaps the notion had been to see how they would react to foreign locales or how the foreigners would react to them.  If that was the case the results were inconclusive as the Blacks had been too terrified to go ashore.

     As no one ever knows what is in store for him from day to day the transfer of the whole contingent could be taken in stride although the situation was certainly unusual.  Unfamiliar with such procedures the Blacks had little idea what transfer meant.

     There was a great deal of discussion as to its meaning and signficance.  The agitated mind of Tyrone Jackson whose preoccupation had always been the imagined insult to Blackness made by Trueman in the laundry room evolved a notion that now that they were to be transferred any crimes committed on the Teufelsdreck would remain a transgression of that ship’s laws and would remain on that ship.  As Tyrone reasoned it he could murder Trueman, then, once having crossed the gangway, he would be beyond the ship’s jurisdiction.  Blacks must have thought that if you committed a crime in Chicago then lammed to LA you only had responsibility to the LA police until you committed a crime there alhtough you couldn’t go back to Chicago.

page 1331.