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Category Archives: Outfit

A Novel

Our Lady Of The Blues

Book VII

The Heart Of The Matter

by

R.E. Prindle

Clip 15 and End.

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

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

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

page 1961.

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

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

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

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

page 1962.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1965.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1966.

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

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

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

page 1967.

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

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

     Judge Guy Pascal quietly raised his eyebrows.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1969.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1970.

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1971.

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1972.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TOBACCO ROAD.

The Man Who Had Life Made At Twenty

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

page 1974

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

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

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

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

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

page 1975.

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1976.

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

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

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

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

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

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

     ‘Yeah.  All three of us were there.’

     ‘Must have been it, then.’

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

page 1977.

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

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

     ‘Oh yeah?’

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

     ‘Ya?  Anybody I know?’

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

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

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

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

page 1978.

     ‘Sure.’

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

     ‘What do you think happened?’

     ‘Mel got on that train bound for Glory?’

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

     ‘Mel died.’

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

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

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

     Buzz’s wife Melanie opened the door.

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

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

page 1979.

     ‘I guess you heard the news, Dewey?’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1981.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1892.

     ‘You making me walk home alone?’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1983.

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

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

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

That Sad Old Wintry Feeling

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

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

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

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

page 1894.

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

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

     ‘I turned you in.’  She repeated.

     ‘Turned me in for what, Susan?’

     ‘For those rapes.’

     Dewey looked at her closely.  He was mystified.

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

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

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

page 1986.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1986.

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

     ‘What did the police say, Susan?’

     ‘They said they thought it was impossible.’

     ‘I should think so.’

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

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

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

page 1988.

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

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

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

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

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

If they gave gold statuettes

for tears and regrets,

I’d be a legend

in

my

own

time.

-Don Gibson.

A Short Story

 The Price Of Freedom

In Both Lira And Dollars

by

R.E. Prindle

 

From The Archives Of

Yesterday’s News Service

Our Motto:  Real News Never Goes Stale

 

     Lincoln Adams sat quietly sobbing in the dark.  He now realized what he had done.  His best intentions had been turned back on him.  He wasn’t thinking but his actions passed in crowded review through his troubled mind.

     He remembered the proudest day in his life when he and Ginnie Wolfe had exchanged vows.  He had taken the vow to protect quite seriously.  Thus when a few days after returning to work from his honeymoon his boss had told him to clean out his office and leave he had been devastated.  He then found that his former employer was blackballing him.  So-called theft.  Not a charge that he could defend himself against as he was never publicly accused but a mere hint that there were irregularities in his accounts.  Unless he got a lucky break he either would have to leave Chicago or accept a laboring job.  He didn’t want to declasse himself.

     He sat on his bench hunched forward his eyes turned upward as though expecting help from above when a kindly looking fellow appeared, a well dressed and groomed gentleman sat down beside him.  He was holding the help wanted section of the Tribune in his hand.

     Clearing his throat gently he said:  ‘Tough times.  Jobs aren’t easy to come by.’

     ‘You don’t know the half of it.’  Link groaned out half tearfuly looking over at the man.  He saw a kindly handsome face that was unseamed given the man’s apparent advanced years.  The man seemed genuinely concerned about him.

     ‘Oh, I think I do.’  He said, quietly oozing commiseration.  ‘When I was your age I might have been in the same situation myself.  Might have been?  I was…’

      ‘I’ll bet it wasn’t quite the same.  You don’t…’

      ‘Oh sure, your boss fired you to cover up some cash shortages and now he’s blaming it on you, out of consideration for you of course he’s not pressing charges.  Now you can’t get a job.’

     ‘How did you know?’

     ‘I didn’t know for sure.  I just guessed.  These things are so common.’

     ‘Yeah?  What do you do about it?’

     ‘I may be able to help.  You see, I believe in you.  I don’t know what it is about you but you just seem like a man who deserves a break.  That looks like a wedding ring on your finger.  Just get hitched?’

     ‘Yeah, three weeks before I got fired.  I don’t know how I’m going to take care of her like she deserves.  She’s the most beautiful girl in the world.  Now I’ll probably lose her.’

     ‘Now, now.  I’m sure it’s not as bad as all that.’  He smiled benignly, reassuringly.  Just looking at him restored your confidence.  ‘I should introduce myself.  I’m Richard Cole, you can call me Dick.  What would you say if I said I could get you a job, a good job, this is in the bookkeeping field though you might have to take some night classes…’

     ‘I’m an accountant.’  Link blurted.

     ‘CPA?’

     ‘No.  Just an accountant.’

     ‘You might be perfect.  This is a good job, good pay and most importantly you don’t ever have to worry about being fired.  If you take it it’s a lifetime job.’

     ‘Who’s it with?’

     A firm called Statistical Tabulating Company.  It’s not an ordinary company.   They take a real interest in the lives of their employees.  Would you like to talk to them?’

     Lincoln Adams did talk to them.  He accepted the job.  The first thing they had done after a six month probationary period was to transfer him to St. Louis.  Link didn’t like it but he was in no position to refuse.  He had to take care of his Ginny.

     She was worth caring for.  She was a beautiful young woman just coming into her full womanly perfection as she approached the magical age of twenty.  She was truly in love with Link too, until…

     Through his muffled sobs Link heard a car door slam.  He looked at the clock.  Four-thirty in the morning.

     He went tothe door, opened it to find his beautiful Ginny staggering up the walk, drunk, dazed and confused, in a highly excited condition so blind she couldn’t actually see where she was going.  Link reached out to guide her.  She pulled her arm away in instinctive revulsion, growling under her breath.

     It was then that the full weight of pain, of self-loathing, of self-hate, oh god, oh god, it was as though a sledgehammer fell from the sky crushing the right side of his brain nearly paralyzing the right side of his face.  His Anima had also been assassinated.

     Pain!  There’s the excruciating pain of breaking bones, of crushing blows, of screaming anguish and then there’s the pain of psychic wounding.  The enervating, paralyzing numbness of knowing you have damaged and been damaged in ways that can never be repaired.

     For three days Ginny didn’t get out of bed or say a word.  For three days Link sat in his chair paralyzed as he sobbed quietly.  Physical pain could heal…but this?

     Then on the fourth day the doorbell rang.  Barely able to rouse himself Adams dragged himself to the door opening it a crack:  ‘You!’ He exclaimed.  ‘What do you want?’

     ‘May I come in?’  Dick Cole asked in his quiet controlled manner pushing the door open as he did.  ‘Are you alright?’

     Lincoln Adams looked at his recruiter through tear bleared eyes.

     ‘I came down from Chicago right away when they said there might be some problems.  Can I help?’  He cooed as though, no, he was,  he was  genuinely concerned.  He was a kindly man.  That’s why he had been chosen; he was the right man in the right job.

      ‘I…I…I don’t want this lifetime job anymore, Mr. Cole.  I’m turning in my resignation.’

     ‘I don’t think you understood properly, Link.  this is a lifetime job.  It’s yours for life whether you will or not now.’

     ‘I don’t want it for the rest of my life.’

     ‘There is no rest of your life beyond the tenure of this job, Link.  You have a lifetime contract.  Contracts are sacred in America.  The day you violate the contract they will exercise their option and terminate your life.  That’s what lifetime means.  The termination of your life is in their hands where you placed it.  Voluntarily I might add.  You didn’t have to take this job.’

     ‘But nobody told me that I would have to let them use my Ginny, my beautiful Ginny, as a prostitute.’

     ‘Well, there may have been certain details overlooked at the time but it’s so hard to mention everything.  Besides you must have realized there would be strings attached to guaranteed lifetime employment?  There’s no such thing as a free lunch, young man.’

     ‘But they must have done horrible things to her.  You should have seen her and now she won’t even recognize me.  She just turns away and stares at the wall.’

     ‘I know, I know.  It’s awfully hard on them the first time but they get used to it, learn to enjoy it.  If it’s any comfort to you they really liked her.  They thought she was beautiful too.  After an injection and she was relaxed I can assure you she seemed quite gay.’

     ‘Injection?’

     ‘Yes.  A little heroin make them more pliable and, of course, a habit guarantees compliance.’

     ‘A heroin habit?  My Ginny?  Besides we can’t afford that.’

     ‘We’ve taken that into consideration Link.  There’s no reason you should be burdened by the expense.  I’ll tell you what we’ll do.  We’ll take Ginny off your hands taking the financial burden ourselves.’

     ‘What?  You’re going to take her from me?  But she’s my wife, you can’t just take her.’

     ‘You’re right Link.  That would be theft.  Here, I’m authorized to give you two thousand dollars for her to make everything legal.  I’ll just go get her.  And Link, you’re expected to be back on the job tomorrow.  Be there or be square.’  Dick Cole said with a chuckle.

     Lincoln Adams was too stunned, too confused, too paralyzed by guilt to object as Dick Cole led Ginny past him from the house.

     Ginny passes out of the story now.  Several years later in 1962 Link and the whole St. Louis office was transferred from St. Louis to San Francisco.  Tabulating cards were not becoming passe as the new computers muscled in on information storage and retrieval.

     The Outfit was always on the cutting edge of technology.  Oh yes, If you haven’t already guessed Lincoln Adams was employed by the Chicago Mob, the Outfit.  The organization was now fronted by the most repulsive of its thugs, Sam Giancana.

     Just as Dick Cole had learned to accommodate himself to his enslavement by the Mob so Lincoln Adams had attempted to sublimate his enslavement.  For that is what the lifetime job meant.  Both men had sold themselves to the Mob in the exact same way an ancient Greek debtor sold himself into slavery.

     However his betrayal and the loss of Ginny was like a knot of asphalt forever lying in the pit of his stomach.  His feeling of guilt and shame was too immense for him to psychologically digest.  He wanted to vomit it all over someone else; pass the monkey from his back to another’s.  Intellectually he believed this psychologically impossible feat was possible.

     At the beginning of 1963 Dewey Trueman walked into the office of Stat Tab looking for a job.  Lincoln Adams took one look at Trueman and recognized the man he intended to dump on.  There was something in the sorrowful hangdog expression on Trueman’s face, that in his posture that expressed a resigned hopelessness and a muted fear that indicated to Adams that he would be successful in passing his burden on. 

     He controlled his excitement as he casually interviewed him.  He asked Trueman if he was married.  When Trueman replied no but that he was engaged with the marriage set for September when he would need time off for a honeymoon.  Adams actually relaxed closing his eyes as he leaned back in his chair in relief.

     The applicant got the job.

     Trueman went to work attempting to settle into the job.  He was taken back by the mysterious way the company did business.  His office headed a long row of cubicles on each side of an aisle not unlike a prison block.  I guess if you’re in the Mob certain architectural details you’re familiar with stick in the mind.  The cubicles were occuped by ten ‘salesmen.’  All Anglos.  As salesmen however they never left the office to sell nor did they ever obtain any sales.  They merely sat at their desks waiting.  From time to time one, two or three phones rang and the corresponding number of salesmen got up looking very tough, adjusting their clothing, then marching out in a very determined way not exactly befitting a pesuasive sales demeanor.

     As an accountant Dewey was mystified how a company with so few accounts could maintain such a large staff.  Even then he was never able to find any of the accounts in the phone book.

     Even the computer technicians seemed peculiarly inept acting almost as though they’d never seen a computer before.  Of course, in those days computers were a new phenomenon.  Few people had any experience with them while fewer still could be said to have an intimate knowledge of them.

     Dewey was pondering all this one day as he sat eating his lunch in a nearby hamburger shop.  San Francisco had a knack with food, even simple food like a hamburger, which couldn’t really be found anywhere else in the country.  Even though he was not well traveled Dewey knew he was getting hamburgers such as he would never enjoy again.

     Back to the point, having finished his lunch he stepped out from the door from which he could see the entrance to his office.  As he looked he saw Capt. Richard Walker leaving the building with a satisfied air.  Walker had been Trueman’s employer at Overseas Shipping, his last job.  Dewey had left voluntarily but with indications that he was no longer wanted.

     Capt. Walker had visited Stat Tab to tell them that Dewey had absconded with $20,000.  This was an absurdity as well as a lie as Trueman had stolen nothing and wouldn’t be working at Stat Tab if he had.  Twenty thousand was a lot of money in those days.  Four or five times Dewey’s annual salary.  What Trueman had done was uncover a scheme in which about $20,ooo a voyage was being skimmed from overcharges by Capt. Walker and his clique in the office.  That was $20,000 a voyage and overseas ran twenty-two voyages a year.

     Capt. Walker fearing exposure although none in fact was possible from Dewey’s quarter was intent on hounding Trueman out of San Francisco.  His intent at Stat Tab naturally was to get Trueman fired.

     Unaware of the situation that Stat Tab was a Mob front and unaware that Trueman’s situation as he told it now exactly paralleled that of Lincoln Adams, his interview had the opposite result he intended.  As Adams and his boss believed Capt. Walker who was a very impressive man well practiced at appearing impressive as any sea captain must Adams now could feel Trueman was in his power.  He realized now that it was impossible for Trueman to quit.  Thus he formulated a plan.

     For his part Trueman gradually came to understand that he was employed by the Chicago Outfit.  His contact in the Chicago office was none other than Dick Cole.  Cole was the same genial man with a confidence inspiring manner of speaking.  Still, there was something guarded in his manner while he would never answer the questions that puzzled Trueman.

     Then it was announced that the owner, Luigi Bigwini, was to make his annual inspection tour on June 18th.  This was a big deal.  The Mafia was able to get labor to do what they objected to anywhere else without a complaint.  On the key day Trueman and the salesmen were stood at attention outside their cubicles as though soldiers on parade.

     Bigwini himself was out of central casting; in fact he might have been rejected for being too authentic, nearly a caricature.  He was a short homely Mafioso wielding a big cigar- big fat long cigar- almost as big as he was.  He spoke in that gruff throaty tone like any good fella of the movies.  Strangely he projected a strong aura of someone who wanted to be liked.

     Dewey responded to this stepping forward to pat Bigwini on the shoulder.  The salesmen’s head turned in amazement while Adams and his boss, Ralph Schlesinger, gulped in anticipation of Bigwini’s response.  Trueman was still on the outside.  He worked for Stat Tab but wasn’t on the payroll of the outfit.  Bigwini was flattered by the response marking Trueman as a possible comer in the Dick Cole mold.

     After Bigwini’s visit things changed for Trueman .  Bigwini on his return to Chicago recommended Trueman to Dick Cole.  Cole’s attitude change to Trueman reached Adams.

     Emboldened by he belief that Trueman was a thief who couldn’t affort do quit he began demanding that Trueman stay on the job until seven-thirty at night while demanding he come in on Saturday mornings.

     Trueman lived in the East Bay city of Hayward which was an hour and a half trip by bus so working late would eliminate his chances of seeing his fiance during the week while ruining his weekend.  Dewey complained that he wouldn’t be able to see his girl but Adams only smiled.

     Dewey knew he couldn’t quit but for different reasons than Adams thought.  His previous job had lasted only nine months while his job before had been two years.  He realized that having been referred to a company like Stat Tab by the employment agency meant Capt. Walker had already sabotaged his reputation.  He knew he was in deep but hoped that if he held on for two years he would be able to move.

      As his wedding date drew near word came from Chicago to offer him a lifetime job.  Since June 18th Dewey had put a lot of twos together, he was well beyond four.  He now realized why the salesmen never left the office to sell.  He understood the grim look on their faces as they went off to persuade their victims.  Both Vegas and Stateline as well as Reno provided a number of people who had to be persuaded to pay their gambling debts.

     Trueman had made a very good impression on both Dick Cole and Bigwini so they realized that the offer of a lifetime job wold have to come from someone other than the basic thug.

     They selected a member named Herb Allen.  Herb was a literary type who was writing a crime novel.  He now became friendly with Trueman.  If he could succeed as a recruiter that would give him more stature and security within the Outfit.  He himself was more hangdog than Trueman with the reason Adams had.  In time he might have become as suave as Dick Cole.

     Aware of his own precarious situation Trueman listened with bated breath as Allen outlined the lifetime job.  Over the years the Outfit had become a little more sophisticated outlining some of the pitfalls.

     ‘If you accept,’  Allen said.  ‘You’ve got to remember you have to give something for something you get.  Once you’re in you can’t quit.  You belong to the Outfit for life.’

     He cast an inquiring look at Trueman.

     Trueman’s immediate response was no but he wanted to make it look like he was deliberating so after looking at the ceiling for a few moments, inspecting each corner of the room he said:  ‘Hmm.  Sounds interesting.  Can I think about it for a day or two, talk it over with my fiancee?’

     ‘Oh, and one other thing.’  Alled ruefully said.  ‘Once you’re in your wife is in.  They might want to borrow her for an evening every now and then.’  Allen passed his hand across his brow rubbing the left side as he thought of the times his wife had been ‘borrowed.’

     Dewey looked at him reflectively for quite a while as he let the enormity of the suggestion penetrate his mind.  Slowly he realized that he was to allow his wife to be protituted.  That he was to be his own wife’s pimp.

     ‘That’s out of the question, Herb.’  He said sotto voce realizing the extremely dangerous situation Capt. Walker had gotten him into.  He realized there was no difference between Capt. Walker and Luigi Bigwini except the surface sheen.  Bigwini was probably the better man and more honest.

     ‘Well, you think about it, Dewey.’  Herb said.

     ‘I don’t have to think about it, Herb.  It’s out of the question.  I don’t want a lifetime job.’

     When his reply got back to Lincoln Adams Link sat quietly rearranging his plans.  In his mind’s eye he had seen himslef taking first dibs on Trueman’s wife.  He wanted to see Trueman suffer the same anguish he had suffered.  He didn’t want the guilt and shame of selling Ginny anymore.  He wanted to pass it on, he wanted it shared.  He was disappointed that Trueman had declined the lifetime job but he should have quit at the same time.  Adams therefore still had a card up his sleeve.

     Trueman married, honeymooning on Mt. Lassen at the South end of the Cascades.  The Outfit had connections everywhere.  Adams had one of his men siphon battery acid out of the battery of Trueman’s car.  On the return trip the battery meter fluctuated wildly from discharge to charge.  Pulling into a dealership in Eureka Trueman was fortunate enough to find an honest repairman who put water in the battery sending him on his way with no charge.

      Adams had hoped and Trueman had feared the cost would break him.  On the day of Trueman’s return Adams nailed Trueman as he entered the office telling him he was fired, just turn around and leave.

        If Adams had expected Trueman to beg for his job thus allowing Adams to bring him into the control of the Outfit he was mistaken; Trueman just turned around and left.

     As he had been in the same situation as a young man Adams slandered Trueman unmercifully but that has nothing to do with our story.

     The story resumes two years later at the Cal-Neva Lodge at Lake Tahoe.  For whatever reasons, the outfit had the San Francisco ofice of Stat Tab closed at the end of 1964 with the lifetime employees being dispersed.  Lincoln Adams was reassigned to the Cal-Neva.

     While Gus Russo in his book ‘The Outfit’ describes the Cal-Neva as some sort of very profitable plum it was nothing of the sort.  The resort is situated in the perpetual shadow of mountains both East and West.  The place was grim and foreboding.  Further the place was situatied at the North End of Lake Tahoe to which there was no other reason to go.  Harrah’s and Harvey’s at the South End were the places to go followed by the invasion of the Las Vegas mob with the erection of the Sahara about this time.  The Sahara was so obviously mobbed up that it stood a poor third to Harrah’s and Harvey’s.

     Adams himself was bumked up in a huge Mafia compound on the East Side of the lake a few miles above the South End.  Large numbers of mobsters were coming and going at all times from the compound which blighted the East Side if not the entire lake.

     Adams might have been able to settle in without too much discomfort but for the fact that Chuckie Ulsio took a visceral dislike to him.  Chuckie thought that for an Anglo Adams put on airs.  Chuckie decided to put Adams in his place.

     Now, these mobsters not only had a license to kill but being more enamored of the physical rather than the intellectual they took advantage of body building methods to become not only big but bulked up with bulging muscles.  If as Arnold Schwarzenegger said:  A good pump is better than sex some of these guys were well prepared to forego women.

     Chuckie’s sidekick Angie Penisio although only five-five had shoulders and chest nearly equal to his height.

     So, one day Chuckie blocked a door Adams was trying to pass through; ‘Back inside punk.’  Chuckie sneered.  ‘We got somethin’ to talk about.’  Angie followed him in closing the door behind him.  Adams gulped being now confronted by the Incredible Hulk and the Near Incredible Hulk.

     ‘I don’t like your attitude around here, Adams.  I mean, you don’t show enough respect.’  Chuckie said planting the very broad expanse of his trousers on half the desk while angie stood leering cracking his knuckles.

     ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about.’  Adams began ass though talking man to man rather than slave to man.

     ‘That’s it, Adams.  Your tone of voice ain’t submissive enough.  You don’t cast your eyes down to the floor.  You walk around here like you won the place rather than being here on sufferance.’

     I don’t know what you’re talking about.  I work here.  I’m not a slave.’

     ‘What did you say?  You’re not a slave?  Then why don’t you try to quit your job?  I’ll tell you why.  Because we own you.  You give us any shit and they won’t ever find even the nail on your little finger.’

     Adams opened his mouth to say something but found he had nothing to say.  He realized that he was a slave.  Still he seized the hips of his pants hoising them up with a defiant:  ‘I’ve got my rights.’

     ‘No, you ain’t got no rights.  You’ve got obligations and duties whatever I say you do you do and you better hope I’m in a good mood when I say it.  Let me give you a little history lesson, Lincoln Adams.  Let me show you where the real power in this country lies.  Adamses may have founded this country and Lincoln may have freed the Negro slaves but we Sicilians have taken this country over and enslaved you pussy Anglos with all your stupid laws.

      Whe we Italians came to this dumb country, I mean America, you Anglos had the whip hand.  You treated us Italians, especially us Sicilians, like we was dirt beneath your feet.  We got all the shit work, the pick and shovel crap, while you Anglos kept all the cushy jobs in those big high rise offices to yourselfs.’

     Adams was going to interject that the Sicilians were illiterate and not qualified for anything but pick and shovel but then thought better of it.

     ‘But there was a flaw in your system.  You thought people are better than they are.  You tried to keep people from their natural tastes like gambling and whoring.  Prohibition.  What kind of fools do you think try to keep people from doing what they want?…That’s the question Adams.  I need an answer.’

     ‘I don’t know.’

     ‘The correct answer is:  Dumb shit Anglos like us.  Say it.’

     Adams writhed but with an eye on Angie said:  ‘Dumb shit Anglos like us.’

     ‘Yeah.  That’s right.  Dumb shit Anglos like you.  We ain’t as dumb as you think just because we don’t waste the best yers of our lives shut up in stupid schools that don’t teach you nothin’ about livin’.  You left the field wide open and we stepped in.  We got the money and power and we call the shots.  I’m going to tell you something few people, even in our world, know.  You think some loony named Oswald shot Kennedy, don’t you?  Uh huh.  It was us.  You know why?  Because those asshole Kennedys double crossed us.

     In 1959, Joe Kennedy, the old man, comes to Chicago to inplore our boys to get his boy Jack elected President of the United States of America.  We thought it would be the next best thing to having one of ours in the Oval Office.  If Jack Kennedy then why not Bill Bonano, huh?  That’s what we couldn’t figure out.  What makes Kennedy legit and Bonano not.  Figure that one out, hey?

     So we got this bootlegger’s son elected.  We voted the graveyards so many time in Chicago those old bones turned to dust.  We provided that asshole with his margin of victory.  So what does the little shit do?  He sics his brother Bobby on us.  Makes him the Attorney General.  What a double cross.  But we got him good.  Not only does he catch a couple slugs but before he does we humiliate him so bad he almost pushed the Red Button in anger.  The asshole didn’t know whether he was coming or going.’

     Adams interest was piqued.  He raised his eyebrows inquiringly.

     ‘You ever heard of Marilyn Monroe?  Well Jack and Bobby was both fucking her only I don’t know if Jack knows Bobby’s getting some too.

     You remember when Monroe goes on TV singing that breathy Happy Birthday, Mr. President?  Well, Sam sees it too.  He gets an idea.  He says:  ‘If she’s good enough for the President of the United States she’s good enough for me.’

     So, the Rat Packers are a little off form now but then they were in top form.  Two of ours, Frank and Dean run this pack with the Jewboy, the one-eyed nigger and this Anglo pimp and gopher who they let hang around named Peter Lawford.  What’s this guy Lawford ever do but stand to one side either being ignored by the immigrants or being abused by them, his mouth hanging open waiting for orders just like you Adams.

     But this guy Lawford is married into the Kennedys so he’s some sort of pimp or go between between this Monroe broad and the President.  You see how good we are.  We share Lawford with the President of the United States and he knows to do what we say or he ain’t such a pretty boy anymore.  He’s our slave just like you, just all them tushes walking around makes you drool so much.  All Anglos, no Italians among ’em.  All Anglos tush.  We buy and sell ’em, trade ’em like baseball cards.  You know what I mean?’  He said looking at Adams sharply.

     Adams held back a guilty retch.  He knew.

     ‘So Sam and Frank have this Lawford guy bring this Monroe broad up here to the Cal-Neva for a fun weekend.  The Anglo pimp brings up his Anglo whore.  Get it?  Ha, Ha.  That’s funny.

     If Sam is sore at the Kennedy’s Frank is very unhappy too.  I mean, both these bust their ass to get this son-of-a-bitch elected.  Imagine Frank Sinatra pulls out the stops, brings Sam Giancana in, even organizes balls a and this…this more than a son-of-a-bitch says Frank can’t even attend the party because he’s a political liability.  Sam is so totally embarrassed y this thing that he has to do a real song and dance with Accardo and Ricca to survive.  For a minute there it looks like old Frankie boy is going to take a hit.

     Then Sam sees this Monroe broad singing Happy Birthday Dear Mr. President and it’s like a light bulb goes on in his head.

     Like eveybody knows Frank’s got Lawford by the hangers so he has ‘Petah’ bring Monroe up for the weekend.

     Before she even knows what’s happening they got her so zonked on downers she’s just a puppet.  I don’t personally approve of doing this to no broad myself figuring a good backhand to the chops gets the same results and they’re alert enough to put their hearts and souls into it or else but then Sam and Frank have got their own ideas.

     Jesus Christ, you should a seen it.  It was like they was banging the President himself.  Sam is banging her in the ass screaming:  ‘Take that you double crossing bastard.’ while Frank is laughing like a maniac shouting out:  ‘How does it feel?’  The poor broad is out of her senses so loaded with shit she can’t stop puking, later they had to pump her stomach to get some of the shit out there so she could go on breathing.  All in all Sam and Frank have themselves a very rewarding and entertaining evening.’

     ‘You sound almost like you seen it.’  Adam said ruefully.

     ‘I did see it.  Me and Lawford both of us.  Petah took the pictures they sent to the bastard.

      ‘How could you do that?’

     ‘Oh, you’re new here yet.  There is underground passages connecting all the huts, peep holes, doors in closets whole thing.  So we make Lawford watch this whole thing, take pictures, then send him back to tell Jack and Bobby with the snapshots.

     They go crazy, Jack especially.  A seek later this Monroe broad is back in LA but she is in depression like you wouldn’t believe.  I mean, she is destroyed.  She calls up her boyfriends to tell them to do something about it, like, you know, hit Frank and Sam, but they send this Lawford shit to tell her she is disgraced and they don’t want to have anymore to do with her.  Who could face life after that?  Maybe somebody does kill her, I don’t know.  But for myself I don’t see how she has any choice but to kill herself.  In a way I feel sorry for the broad.  That was a lot to take.

     So you see, Lincoln, I tell you these things so you know your position among us.  Think!  He was dishonored through his broad, Jack Kennedy took a shot a couple years ago.  None of our boys have been accused and they never will be. We elect Presidents by the ‘democratic’ process and we kill them with impunity.  Sam’s doin’ OK; Frank sings to sold out auditoriums.  Kennedy’s in his grave.  Know your place.  I don’t want to hear no more of this Chuckie crap.  I’m Mr. Ulsio to you.  Same goes for Angie.  Now get the hell out of here before I mop the floor with you.  Move!’