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Category Archives: Road Stories

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 Novel

Our Lady Of The Blues

Book VII

The Heart Of The Matter

Clip 14

by

R.E. Prindle

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

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

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

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

page 1911

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

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

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

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

Social Dynamics

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1913.

     ‘Who are you and what are daggers?’

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

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

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

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

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

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

Darktown Strutters Ball

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

page 1914

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

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

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

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

page 1915.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1916.

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

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

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

page 1917.

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

     Ah, discrimination.

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

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

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

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

page 1918.

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

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

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

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

page 1919.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1920

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

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

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

page 1921.

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

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

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

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

page 1922.

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1923.

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1925.

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

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

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

1926.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1927.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1928

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

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

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

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

page 1929.

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

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

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

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

1930.

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

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

…the Sun ariseth in his majesty;

Who doth the world so gloriously behold

That cedar tops and hill seem burnish’d gold.

Venus salutes him with this fair good morrow:

‘O thou dear god and patron of all light,

From whom each lamp and shining star doth borrow

The beauteous influence that makes his bright…

or

The senat house of planets all did sit,

To knit in her their best perfection.

or

Be Mercury, set feathers to they heels,

And fly like thought from them to me again.

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

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

page 1931.

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

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

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

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

page 1932.

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

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

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

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

page 1933.

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

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

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

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

page 1934.

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

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

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

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

page 1935.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1936.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Detroit City Once Again

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

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

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

page 1938

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

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

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

page 1939.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1940.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1941

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1942.

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

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

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

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

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

     ‘Wow.  They still got dinky hamburgs.’

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

     ‘I didn’t.’

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

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

page 1943.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     ‘Oh yes.  Our families were very close.’

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

page 1944 

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

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

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

The Ballad Of Meggy Malone

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

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

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

page 1945.

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1946.

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

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

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

page 1947.

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1948.

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

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

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

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

page 1949.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1950.

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1951.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1952.

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

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

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

     ‘Then what happened?’

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

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

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

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

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

page 1953.

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

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

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

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

     ‘Yes.’

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

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

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

page 1954.

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

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

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

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

page 1955.

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

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

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

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

page 1956

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

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

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

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

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

pare 1957.

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

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

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

page 1958.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1959.

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

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

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

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

page 1960

 

A Novel

Our Lady Of The Blues

Book VII

The Heart Of The Matter

by

R.E. Prindle

Clip 13

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

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

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

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

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

page 1861.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1862.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1863.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1865.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     Logically it must be true.

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

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

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

page 1867

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

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

     Well and good.

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

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

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

page 1868.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1869.

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1870.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1871.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1872.

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

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

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

page 1873.

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

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

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

     ‘OK.  Where’s that?’

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

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

page 1874.

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1875.

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

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

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

     Terry Gaste scoffed.

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

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

page 1876.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1878.

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

 

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

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

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

page 1880.

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

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

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

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

page 1880.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1881.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1882.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1883.

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1884.

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

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

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

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

page 1885.

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1886.

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

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

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

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

page 1887.

     What will come of this?

     Historically no very promising results are in the offing.

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

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

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

page 1888

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1890.

     This is unjust.

     What is Mr. Farrakhan to do?

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

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

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

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

page 1891.

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

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

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

     ‘Humph.’

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

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

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

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

page 1892.

Ain’t No More Cookies In This Cookie Jar

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

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

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

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

page 1893.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1894.

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

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

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

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

page 1895.

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

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

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

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

page 1896.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1897.

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1898.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     She would take him in.

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

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

1899.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1900.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1901.

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

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

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

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

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

The Green Green Grass Of Home

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

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

page 1902.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1904.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1905.

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

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

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

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

page 1906.

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1907

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

     There is a criminal network too.

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

     Dalton ignored him.

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

     ‘You’ve fulfilled the contract?’

     ‘That’s right.  Send the money.’

     ‘How do I know?’

     ‘Because I said so.  Send the money.’

     ‘I have to be sure.’

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

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

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

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

page 1908.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1909

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

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

Days Of Future Passed

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

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

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

page 1910.

    

 

 

 

A Novel

Our Lady Of  The Blues

Book VII

The Heart Of The Matter

by

R.E. Prindle

 

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

When life seems full of clouds and rain

And I am filled with naught but pain,

Who soothes my funkin’ bunkin’ brain?

Bert In Blackface

Nobody.

And when winter comes with snow and sleet

And me with hunger and cold feet,

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

Nobody.

Refrain.

Now I ain’t never done nothin’ to nobody

And I ain’t never got nothin’ from nobody

no time.

Until I get somethin’ from somebody sometime

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

no time.

Then summer comes all cool an clean

And all my friends see me drawin’ near,

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

Nobody.

Last Christmas Eve, ’twas about daybreak,

I was in that railroad wreck.

And who pulled the en-jine off my neck?

Not a livin’ soul.

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

And I ain’t never got nothin’ from nobody

no time.

Until I get somethin’ from somebody sometime

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

no time.

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

page 1810.

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

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

     Politically the result took the form of Affirmative Action:

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

Until I get somethin’ from somebody sometime

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

No time.

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

page 1811

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

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

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

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

page 1812.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1813.

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

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

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

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

page 1814.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    ‘No.’  The woman said laughing.

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

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

     ‘Hell no.’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     ‘Just change your name…’

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

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

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

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

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

page 1818.

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

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

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

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

Hitchhiking Is No Picnic

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

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

page 1819.

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1820.

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1821.

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

     ‘Wow.  You must really be thirsty.’

     ‘Yeah. I was anyway.’

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

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

     ‘How long you been on the road?’

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

     ‘Where you going?’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Four Strong Winds

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

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

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

page 1823.

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

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

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

     ‘We get a lot of snow here.’

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

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

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

page 1824.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     ‘Yes.  We talk.’

page 1825.

     ‘Is she always there?’

    ‘Well, no.  Not always.’

     ‘See.’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1826.

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

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

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

     ‘What do you mean?’

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

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

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

     ‘Sure it is.’

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

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

     1827.

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

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

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

     ‘I’m going to check.’

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

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

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

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

page 1828.

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1829.

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

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

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

     ‘Yes.’  Dewey replied.

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

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

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

page 1830

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

     ‘What kind of books?’

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1832.

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

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

     ‘What books did you try to insert?’

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

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

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

page 1833.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1834.

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1835.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

pare 1837.

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

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

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

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

     ‘Evaline Hicks at Valley Melville?’

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

page 1838.

     ‘Yes.  Now what about ephemeral fruits?’

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

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

     ‘Yes, I do.’

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

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

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

page 1839.

     ‘How’s that.’

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1840

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

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

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

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

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

page 1841.

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

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

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

page 1842.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1844.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1845.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1847.

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

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

     My mother and I learned a great deal from her.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1848.

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

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

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

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

page 1849.

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

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

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

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

page 1850.

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

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

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

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

page 1851.

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1852.

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

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

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

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

page 1853.

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

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

     Does this make sense to you so far?’

 

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

page 1854

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

     Further the entombment of Merlin was recorded by Church figures.

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

 

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

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

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

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

     Some other people or civilization devised it.

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

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

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

page 1856.

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

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

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

page 1857.

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

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

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

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

page 1858

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

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

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

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

page 1859.

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

     Once again I am extrapolating Greek mythology back in time.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1860

 

 

A Novel

Our Lady Of The Blues

Book VII

The Heart Of The Matter

by

R.E. Prindle

Clip 11

     The cop had pointed down Main to the bus station and told Dewey that he didn’t want to catch him on the road again.  Dewey had been stupified by the distance into Claremore.  He had also been conscious that they had been no other cars on the road.

     He was so turned around that, as in Berdoo, he didn’t know the right road.  Actually Main was the highway but as the highway took a left as it entered town from Tulsa Dewey had put his thumb out on a street to nowhere.  Fascinated by Claremore Saturday Night he didn’t even try to evaluate his situation.  Perhaps his thumb went out automatically as he stood there.  At any rate the kids noticed him.  He smiled when a car full of girls pulled up beside him.  One of those good looking Claremore chicks leaned out the window and breathed in what she thought was the most sultry of voices:  ‘Hey Sailor, want a ride?’

     She was sultry enough for Dewey but he knew he was being put on.  The dream of what might have been charmed Dewey so much that rather than hurt her feelings he played along.

     ‘Sure.’  He said reaching for the door.

     The girls pulled away rapidly as he knew they would.  At the same time the boys who had toyed with him on the highway noticed him.  The one shouted out:  ‘There’s the murderer.’  Dewey thought it best to step on down to the bus station.

page 1761.

     The bus station was also known as the Claremore Hotel.  The Hotel was a big ramshackle houselike affair.  The waiting room, sales office and checkin desk was like a big living room.  There were some half dozen men and women sitting around.  As in OK City some folks in Claremore considered the bus station and hotel a social gathering place.  They must have been looking for action because none of them subseqently got on the bus.

     Dewey stood silently while both sides looked each other over.  Then he walked over to buy a bus ticket to St. Louis where he could have been found the next morning if you looked quick.  The attendant who also owned the hotel ran a judicious eye over the Sailor.

     Dewey was running on adrenalin and he had that weary look about him.  His head was thick from lack of sleep.

     ‘I’ll take a ticket to St. Louis.’ Dewey said, incautiously opening his billfold in front of the hotelier to take out a twenty while revealing the sheaf of ten twenties.

     The eyes of the hotelier lit up.  Why should he not have all the money?  He looked at Dewey more closely.  It was apparent that Dewey had been on the road for days.  The exhaustion his excitement concealed from himself plainly showed.

     The hotelier put the ticket he had half withdrawn back into the drawer.

     ‘I’m afraid I can’t sell you a ticket.  We close this window at ten o’ clock.  It’s now eleven thirty.’  He said pointing to a clock on the wall over his shoulder.

     ‘What am I going to do?  I have to keep moving.  Get on that bus.’

page 1762

     ‘Here’s an idea.’  The hotelier said more slyly than he intended.  ‘This is a hotel, you know.  I’ve got rooms.  You look like you could use a good rest, shave and shower.  A room is only five dollars.  You’ve got plenty.  Why not stay for the night and catch the bus in the morning.  There’ll be another bus along.  There always is.’

     Dewey wasn’t going to lay over five minutes if he could help it besides a deja vu vision flashed through his mind of someone entering his room as he slept and stealing his money.  A deja vu is merely a mental projection of an interpretation of impressions.  The hotelier had merely been so obvious that Dewey’s subconscious had been able to ascertain the hotelier’s intentions and telegraph them to his conscious mind.  The projection had been so strong that it created not only a deja vu but a false memory.

     All his life Dewey would have a memory of the visual impression of laying asleep as a person entered his room and rifled his pockets.  He could see himself the next morning complaining to the hotelier.  He could see himself standing on the street without a dime in his pocket or a way home.  He saw no reason to make such a false memory a reality.

     The hotelier had a key in his hand pushing the registration book at Dewey while placing a pen in his hand.

     ‘No thanks.’  Dewey said.  ‘I’ll pay the driver.’

     The bus pulled in on time.  Dewey stepped up; the driver asked for his ticket.  Dewey explained why he didn’t have one and offered to pay cash.  The driver explained that he wasn’t authorized to accept cash telling him to go back into the hotel to get a ticket.  Dewey said this time that the ticket window closed at ten 0′ clock.

page 1763.

     ‘That’s news to me.’  The driver said getting out of the bus to check.

      ‘Hey, Bill.’  He said once inside.  ‘How come this sailor doesn’t have a ticket?  What’s this about closing the window at ten o’ clock?’

     ‘Oh, that guy, Bob.  He just doesn’t have the money.  He’s been hitchhiking.  The State Police brought him in and told him to get on the bus and keep moving.  I’d be happy to sell him a ticket.  He just doesn’t have the money.’

     The hotelier made a last effor to keep Dewey off the bus hoping to rent him a room.

     ‘He says he’ll sell you a ticket.’  Bob said getting in his bus.

    ‘Well, he wouldn’t and I’m not going to try again.  I’ll just pay you.’

     ‘I’m not allowed to take cash.’  Bob said closing the door in Dewey’s face.

     Dewey watched the tail lights disappear in the distance.

Bad Motorcycle With The Devil In The Seat

     As Ollie said to Stan:  ‘This is a fine kettle of fish you’ve got us in.’  Dewey put his hands on his hips watching the receding tail lights as he wondered what he was going to do next.  Hitching was impossible while he was not going to rent a room.

page 1764.

     The revelers of Claremore Saturday Night had all gone home with the exception of a few stragglers who gathered loosely around to watch the stange oddity of a sailor.  Dewey had been pacing up and down for a half hour or so when with a roar a big customized Harley Davidson crashed down the drag, chrome forks way out in front.  The rider pulled up in front of Dewey.

     The rider was a big burly guy with a face that looked like Iwo Jima after the Naval bombardment.   The guy must have been through a couple wars because nature never in the history of mankind had made a face that way.  He had a World War II German helmet on his head while the back of his jacket proclaimed that he was one of the Screamin’ Demons.

     He placed his size fourteen engineer’s boot neatly at the toe of Dewey’s shoe.  If Dewey hadn’t been so groggy he might have looked frightened but his reflexes were so delayed he was cool as a summer breeze.

     The biker stood surveying him for a minute or so with his mouth half open as though he were about to laugh.  Finally Dewey flipped his chin up by way of acknowledgment.

     ‘Hi.  I’m Rodeo Frank Danesworth.  I heard ya was in town.’

     Dewey took that to mean that someone had told Frank that there was a sailor lounging around on Main.

     ‘Hi.  Dewey Trueman, Frank.’  Dewey shouted over the burps and blats of the motorcycle of which Frank had apparently removed the muffler.  ‘Yeah. Passin’ through.’

page 1765.

     ‘Miss your bus?’  Frank asked giving the gas hand a couple of twists that created a roar that shook the ground beneath Dewey’s feet.

     ‘Guy in the hotel refused to sell me a ticket.  Said the window was closed.  Driver woudn’t take cash.  Here I am.’

     ‘Tell ya what.  If you want to ride on my hog I’ll take ya into Joplin where ya can buy a ticket.  How’s that?’

     A man standing in the heart of darkness with only one way out no matter how questionable ought to take the chance.  Rodeo Frank had a terrifying aspect but a terrifying aspect can conceal a heart of gold.  As Dewey always repeated:  There’s time enough to bid the devil good morning when you meet him.  He bit his lower lip as if ruminating.  Which he was.

     ‘The bus has got over a half hour head start.  Do you think you can overtake him?’

     ‘Put your hat in your pocket and hop on.’  Rodeo Frank replied making his hog sound like a 707 lifting off.

     Dewey placed his bag between he and Frank and got into the seat behind the Screamin’ Demon.

     Frank popped the clutch and with a slight rear the mean machine plunged down Main and the darkness at the edge of town.

     Frank was not a cautious rider.  If Dewey thought you were overdriving your headlights in a car the little headlight on the Harley was practically useless except as a signal for oncoming traffic of which there wasn’t any.  Frank ran his hog up to ninety miles an hour which was the same as driving blind.  Maybe Frank could see the road ahead of him but Dewey could see only where the asphalt joined the shoulder.

page 1766.

     The noise was deafening.  Mile after mile wore away.  There were no cars on the road coming or going.  After twenty minutes a huge semi passed rocking the bike while creating terror in Dewey’s heart.

     Then far in the distance the glow of tail lights could be discerned.

     ‘We got him now.’  Rodeo Frank roared.

     Frank closed with the bus rapidly.  As time to pass it approached the lights of sixteen wheeler came towards them in the other lane.  Dewey thought that Frank would slow down until the semi passed but Frank hadn’t earned that face by backing down.

     He goosed that hog up to a hundred.  He started around the bus just as the semi closed with it.  Eyes wide in terror Dewey made the mistake of shifting in his seat.  That loosened the tails of his raincoat allowing the wind to enter pulling the skirts loose where they streamed out behind him snapping in the wind.

     The enraged truck driver let loose with a deafening blast of his air horn as the din of the bike reverberated off the sides of the bus and semi.  In a space no more than five feet wide Rodeo Frank Danesworth let out an exultant scream of ‘yahoo’ which flew back past Dewey’s ears.  Dewey was just screaming in terror which fortunately did not carry forward over the speed and din of the three vehicles.

page 1767.

     An angry Bob driving the bus looked down to recognize Dewey as the bike sped past rapidly disappearing in the black of the night covering Joplin.

     Frank wheeled through the parking lot of the station stopping smartly in the front door.  I don’t mean in front of the door; I mean half in and half out.

     ‘How was the ride?’  Frank shouted as Dewey tremblingly climbed off, carefully trying to sense whether his pants were loaded or not.

     ‘That was terrific Frank.  You’re quite a rider.  How much do I owe you?’  Dewey asked politely knowing or at least hoping Rodeo Frank wouldn’t want anything.

     ‘Hey, I was glad to do it, pardner.  I was in the service myself.  Korea ’52.  Good luck Buddy.’  Frank said revving the bike wildly making the whole building shake as he backed his bike out.

     ‘Korea ’52.  Must have been where he got that face.’  Dewey thought as all eyes were riveted on him as he walked to the ticket counter.

     The Joplin station was never empty.  Joplin was a major crossroads; buses came in all night long.  The cons were thinned out but they sat and waited.

     One nudged the other:  ‘See that guy?  Remember him?’

     ‘No.  Who is he?’

     ‘Came through here summer last year.  He was real rude to some nice guys.  We should fix him.’

     ‘Think we oughta?  Know who that guy on the Harley was?’

page 1768.

     ‘No.’

     ‘That was Rodeo Frank Danesworth.  He’s with the Sccreamin’ Demons.  If this guy is a friend of Rodeo Frank’s I’m not messin’ with him.’

     ‘I’ll find out how well he knows him; might be a chance acquaintance.’

     Dewey was sitting on a bench reliving the passage between the bus and the Semi when the con approached him.

     Dewey recognized him from last summer too.  Not in the mood to talk Dewey replied in a curt manner that seemed as tough as Rodeo Frank looked:  ‘Back off.’

     Thinking Dewey was maybe that tough through his association with Frank the country con backed off.

     While he and his friend stood a ways off studying Dewey Bob wheeled his big Grey Dog into the station.

     Heaving a sigh of relief Dewey climbed aboard.

No Relief

     ‘Say, ain’t you the guy on that motorcycle that come near to scaring me to death back there?’

     ‘I don’t know.’  Dewey said trying to evade the issue.

     ‘There was only one bike out there from Claremore to here.’

     ‘Must have been us then.  We were out out there.  Me and ol’ Rodeo Frank Danesworth.’

     ‘He’s one of those Screamin’ Demons, ain’t he?’

     ‘If you can believe the logo on the back of his jacket.  I’m not one of them.  The guy was decent enough to get me to Joplin which is what you should have done in the first place.’

page 1769

     ‘Didn’t have a ticket.’

     ‘Well I do now so I’m going to sit down.’

     Dewey found an empty bench halfway back sliding into the window seat where he propped himself up to sleep into St. Louis.

     No sooner had he dozed off than he was awakened by a hot weight pressing against his left shoulder.  Opening his weary eyes he looked to determine the cause.  He found himself looking into a pair of bulging eyes.  He knew what they meant.

     Gathering his failing wits about him Dewey pushed the man back.

     ‘Get over in your half.’

     ‘My name’s Lyle.  I need some companionship.’

     ‘Not in my seat you don’t.  Get away from me.’

     ‘You don’t understand.’

     ‘That’s what you think.’

     ‘No you don’t.  See, I work in a top secret government project.  I spend three weeks at a time in rooms seven levels underground.  I work all alone one hundred feet below the surface.  I never see the sun.  I don’t have any companions.  Every third week I get out and then I just have to have some companionship.  This isn’t just for tonight.  I have a whole week off.’

     ‘They don’t have any buildings seven levels underground in Joplin.  There isn’t even any government in Joplin.’

     ‘You don’t know.  I do.  There are dozens of super secret installations all across the country.  I should know.  I work in one, don’t I?’

     ‘I don’t care if there’s a super secret installation every square mile.  Get back in your seat.’  Dewey said giving Lyle another shove.

     But Lyle needed companionship and was not to be so easily dissuaded.  He continued to pester Dewey until raising his voice in exasperation Dewey disturbed the other passengers.  they complained to Bob.

     Bob stopped the bus.  He walked back authoritatively to Dewey’s seat and said:  ‘Oh, you again.’

     ‘Why me again?  This guy won’t stay in his seat.  He wants mine.  Make him move.’

     ‘I’ll tell you what, Sailor.  Why don’t you move?  Here, come sit in this seat behind me or get off the bus.’

     Dewey didn’t want to do it but to resist the injustice meant that he would be thrown off the bus.  The lesser of the two evils was to accept the seat behind the driver.  He got up and moved.

     He now sat next to a little old lady who eyed him suspiciously.  Dewey felt the futility of trying to explain so he just shut up.

     There was a faint glow on the horizon.  He asked Bob how far to St. Louis.  Told it was about sixty miles he sat glumly having been forced to give up his sleep.  Rosy fingered Dawn illuminated St. Louis as the bus headed for the terminal.

page 1771.

THE OTHER SIDE OF BIG RIVER

East St. Louis Toodle-pp

     Dewey stumbled down out of the bus glad for the opportunity to leave Lyle behind him.  Having put off his weariness for three days he was not conscious that he had been up that long.  The trip had become a mania.  He should have taken the bus directly to the Valley but the notion of hitchin’ had become an idee fixe.  He couldn’t shake it.  His judgment had become a little cloudy and confused.

     Oklahoma would be the last State that would provide reasonable weather.  The route up through Missouri had been the transition into the cold of winter.  Northern Illinois, Indiana and Michigan were in the grip of a cold front of which Dewey had no knowledge because he hadn’t the foresight or interest to buy a paper and find out.  It couldn’t have mattered; facts couldn’t have influenced his fantasy anyway.

     Stuck in the bus station in St. Louis he didn’t know how to get to the highway anymore so he determined to buy a ticket to East St. Louis across the Mississippi to begin fresh from there.

     Dewey did not know that East St. Louis was a completely Black town- Little Africa.  Nor would the racial ethos of the nation allow the information to be published warning Whites for fear of antogonizing Blacks.  The Urban Aristocracy like to condemn Southern Whites as bigots.  They pretend that the North welcomes Blacks.  In fact when Blacks fled the South in numbers during and after the Great War their entry into the North had been deeply resented and stoutly resisted.

page 1772.

     While the North had no experience in disciplining Blacks they nevertheless tightly restricted Black residence to a certain area which they were only allowed to leave for certain purposes.  This caused a great deal of resentment among the Blacks which resulted in several extensive and bloody race riots in the years around 1920   You can read that ‘Race War.’

     One of the worst had been in East St. Louis where it became celebrated in song:  The East St. Louis Toodle-oo.  As a result the Blacks won the town.  Thus Dewey was preparing to get off the bus in what was in fact a Negro city state.  In the era of integration no Whites were allowed, day or night.  Whites were not only expected to get out of town by sundown, there was no excuse for them to be there during the day.

     Naturally in the American way this fact was not acknowledged in public nor spoken of openly as that would have been ‘racism.’

     America conceals this sort of secret well.  Dewey was unaware of what he was doing.

     ‘I’ll take a ticket to East St. Louis.’  He announced to the woman in the ticket booth.  She evinced some surprise at this destination.

page 1773.

     ‘Do you know where you’re going?’  She asked, taking his uniform into consideration.

     Dewey merely thought she was questioning his sense of direction.

     ‘Yeah, sure, of course I do.  Why?’

     ”It’s just that not too many ‘people’…’ She meant White people.  ‘…go to East St. Louis..’

     ‘Oh well, I’ve just got to get across the Mississippi.’  Dewey said nonchalantly.

     The ticket seller began a remonstration but then thought better of it, not wanting to appear ‘racist’ and justified herself with the thought that Dewey was on the lam and had to get out of Missouri.  She said no more.

     Not feeling too tiptop Dewey stepped off the bus in the little East St. Louis station.  The driver made an involuntary move to restrain him, throwing in arm in front of him looking at him as though he were a madman.  Dewey gave him a strange look and brushed past.  He was surprised to find that everyone was Black, even the ticket seller.  He’d never seen a Black in that position before.  He noted the looks of astonishment he received on their faces so he smiled politely but didn’t know what to make of it other than that few people got off the bus in East St. Louis.

     ‘Now I’ve got to find the highway.’  He grumbled to himself as wide eyes watched him leave the station while three youths got up to leave through the back.

     He stepped outside to find numerous highway signs.  It seemed that every highway in America converged on this station.  There were several.  Not having looked at a map while being very groggy Dewey had no idea which highway he needed.  Just as well.  He picked a number with a shield around it indicating a US route which required him to cross the street.

page 1774.

     Dewey’s appearance on Black Main Street snapped heads around.  Several pairs of Black eyes glared darts of hatred at him.  They were hungry for white meat.  While Dewey was studying the signs a big Black guy 6/3, 280 brushed by him forcing him from the sidewalk into the gutter.  ‘Better keep movin’ White Boy.  Don’t want your kind in my town.  Better be gone by sundown, if you know what I mean.’  The man said with barely stifled rage and hatred that not only implied but stated danger.

     All innocence, Dewey looked after the departing Black man.  ‘Wow!  Pretty aggressive, I’ve never heard of that before.’  Dewey said without too much concern, especially as the guy was three times his size.

     Tired and turned around Dewey stuck his thumb out on a East Bound highway.  The three Black youths who had circled around him from the bus station drifted up to stand uncertainly around behind him on the sidewalk eyeing him with obvious malicious intent.  Dewey’s little pearl handled Japanese knife would have been no match for their shivs which they fondled in their pockets as they worked up the nerve to attack.

     Dewey got lucky, very, very lucky.  It was the shortest wait for a ride he ever had.  As soon as the driver of the ’58 Chev saw him from a block away reading the situation very accurately he sped up then screeched to a stop in front of the sailor.  Flinging the door open he shouted:  ‘Get in, get in, hurry.’

     Dewey was aware that he was about to become dead meat as the youths edged slowly closer as Dewey inched out to middle of the street which is where he was when the driver stopped.  Dewey was not loath to leap in the car but he thought that a sudden movement would break the spell of the snake like weaving of the Blacks so he as casually as he could got in the car.

     ‘Push down that lock.  Hurry. Don’t waste time.’  The man appeared to be terrifed reaching past Dewey to slam down the lock post.  He was not a moment too soon because a black hand was already on the door handle.  It was possible that they might have pulled Dewey out.  The driver floored it nearly taking the Black’s hand off.

page 1775.

     ‘Are you crazy?’  The driver chastised him.  ‘What in hell are you doing hitchhiking there?  Did some bastard drop you off?  Man, this is East St. Louis, I don’t even like to drive through it.’

     ‘Well.’  Dewey began mystified.  “Im hitchiking home for Christmas and I just got off the bus from St. Louis.  It seemed the easiest way to get across the Big River.’

     ‘Wow, are you ever lucky I came along at the right time.’

     ‘Oh yeah?  Why’s that?  I mean, thanks for the ride but why am I luckier than that?’

     ‘You really didn’t know where you were?’

     ‘Yah.  East St. Louis.’

     ‘East St. Louis toodle-oo.  That’s where you you were.  White men don’t live long in East St. Louis.  That’s a Black town.  They hate White people.  They kill them.  Back in the twenties Blacks started to take over the town and they had one of the worst race riots the country has ever seen.  Bloody fighting in the streets.  Since then the Blacks have taken over and White man’s life isn’t worth a plugged nickel.’

     ‘Aw, they wouldn’t have killed me, would they?’  Dewey asked incredulously.

     ‘Listen another five minutes and those three Black guys near you would have sliced you to pieces right there on the street.  Didn’t you see them?  Next thing you’d be body surfing down the Mississippi to New Orleans.’

     ‘Wow.  Driftwood on the river.’  Dewey said, thinking back to the hatred on the face of the guy who had shoved him into the gutter but still incredulous unable to believe that such a thing could be true in his own country.

page 1776.

     ‘Uh huh.  Discrimination may be a terrible thing but it cuts both ways.  Black guys may be charming and OK when they’re outnumbered in a White environment or one on one but a White guy in where he’s outnumbered and discrimination takes on a whole new meaning.  Shoot man, you might as well have been standing in the middle of the South Side of Chicago.

     Or one of those white hoboes who got in the freight car car with those eight Black guys.  Ever hear of that?’

     Dewey racked his nearly addled brain:  ‘You mean the Scotsboro Boys?’

     ‘Yes.  You don’t think they weren’t really guilty do you just because some Commies and Liberals decided to go to bat for them to embarrass the Southerners, do you?’

     ‘Jeez, I don’t know.  I just thought maybe they were and maybe they weren’t.’

     ‘Well, think about it.  You were dead meat back there among all Blacks.  Now, picture a White woman and two White Boys getting into a box car and finding eight Black guys there.

     I’m not saying she was a virgin but how much proof has been offered that she was a prostitute as the Commies claim.  Even if she was that doesn’t make it ‘all right’ for the Black guys to rape her.

     Eight guys to two with a White woman involved and hatred shooting out of the yes of both Blacks and Whites?  Come on, those Black guys saw their opportunity and took it.  Innocent my ass.  I don’t think the first judgment was a miscarriage of justice but I think the second one was.

page 1777.

     I mean…’  The driver couldn’t get over it.  ‘…you don’t know how lucky you are that I came along at that moment.’

     Dewey didn’t realize how lucky he was but he took the driver’s word for it as he watched him shiver and shake in his stead.

     Dewey began to muse on this as he carried on a desultory conversation.   Then looking out the window he saw a sign on the highway that read:  Louisville, 160 miles.  Turning to the driver he said:  ‘Louisville?  Louisville? Is that the same Louisville as in Kentucky?’

     ‘Yes, that’s where I thought you were going.’

     ‘Oh well, you know what?  I’m going the wrong way.  I’m trying to get to Michigan.  I don’t mean to be a nuisance but could you stop and let me out?’

     ‘Oh sure.’  Said the driver who was a genuinely decent man.

     Dewey hopped out crossing to the other side of the highway.

     Once again he didn’t have to wait very long.  A blue and yellow ’55 Buick pulled over.

    ‘How far you goin?’  Dewey asked as he climbed in.

     ‘Chicago.’  Said Black Jack David Drainsfield who was driving.

Black Jack David Came Down From The Hills

…rather drink muddy water

and sleep in a hollow log,

Than hang around Mobile

And be treated like a dirty dog.

Trad.

Ain’t I A Dog?

-Ronnie Self

page 1778.

     ‘Great.’  Thought Dewey.  ‘I’ll ride right through East St. Louis.’

     ‘Hi.’  The driver said amiably almost apologetically.  ‘I’m Black Jack David Drainsfield and the lady in the back seat with you is Dixie Darlin’ and this is my wife up front, Dixie Belle.  We’re traveling from Mobile to Chicago and you’re welcome to ride with us.’

     ‘Thank you very much Black Jack Davy.  I’m Dewey Trueman and I’m on my way from California to Michigan on Christmas leave.  Your lift is very much appreciated.’  Dewey replied in kind amazed at the florid politeness of Drainsfield while looking curiously at the Dixie Darlin’ and the Dixie Belle.’

     As can be told from their monikers the trio was having a difficult task adapting to the rigors of getting on in the world.  When one’s own name seems to be be an inadequate entree into one’s world one adopts a pseudonym that one imagines adds luster to one’s person.  It was on that basis that David Hirsh renamed himself Yehouda Yisraeli which might be translated something like the Quintessential Jew of Israel.  The trait is quite common in Jewish circles where one finds such names as Israel Israelson.  One young Jewish lady in the US in the early nineteenth century named herself Suzy American and actually functioned under that name.

page 1779

     Dewey too was under pressure to escape into an alternate identity but his were were all so grandiose that he lacked the chutzpah to adopt them.  One which would later be used by Peter Fonda in the movie ‘Easy Rider’ was based on the comic book character Captain America.  One has to credit the Rovin’ Gambler with the good sense not to fall into that trap.  Even in the movie Easy Rider Fonda as Capt. America cut a laughable figure.

     As it wa Dewey knew the sources of the name Black Jack David, Dixie Darlin’ and Dixie Belle so he knew immediately their psychological history.  All three names came from songs.  Black Jack David or Davy depending on the version was the hero of an old Scottish ballad.  David comes down from the hills feelin’ so gay and merry.  There, although he is a pauper who can offer his beloved nothing but a pallet on the ground, he meets, woos and wins the wife of the Lord of the Manor on nothing but his manly vigor.  Dewey knew Drainsfield’s whole history in that moniker.

     The two women took their pseudonyms from a hillbilly song called Dixie Darlin’:  ‘She’s my Dixie Darlin’; She’s my Dixie Belle.’  So, Dewey knowing who he was with relaxed.  Not of hillbilly origins himself he had an aunt who married one of the hill folks who had migrated to Michigan to work in the auto plants.  That aunt had doted on Dewey so through his Uncle Paul he was acquainted with the mental rhythms of Hillbillies not to mention the fact that his early eyars had been lived with his ear glued to every Hillbilly radio station in the Midwest.

page 1780

     Those were a considerable number because the great Midwestern basin in the US has no mountainous obstruction for over an area of a couple thousand miles wide and a couple thousand in depth.  At night signals from the super powerful Mexican stations run by Americans in such places as the legendary Del Rio, Texas that had a signal big enough to beam to Mars and maybe Jupiter came in crystal clear.  The great hillbilly stations in Tennessee, Shreveport, Louisiana, Waterloo, Iowa, WWVA in Wheeling, West Virginia and WCKY in Cincinatti, Ohio were all favorite stations.  The CKY obviously stands for Cincinatti/Kentucky.

     Dewey was with his people.

     ‘Comin’ up from Mobile, huh?’

     ‘Yep.’

     ‘How long have you lived down there?’

     ‘Only a couple years.  How’d you know I wasn’t from there?’

     ‘Well, you call yourself  Black Jack David and Davy came down from the hills feelin’ so gay and merry so I assume you’re from the hills somewhere.’

    ‘The Smokies.  Yeah, it got too hard to make a livin’ up there so my folks moved down to Mobile trying to better themselves.’

     ‘How’d they do?  Got a new car anyway.’

     ‘Tsha.  No thanks to them.  Got this in Chicago.  Man, people in Mobile treat hill folk like dirty dogs.  I wasn’t going to stand for that.  Not me and not my wife and not my sister.’

page 1781.

     ‘No, sir.’  Dixie Darlin’ who playing solitaire with funny looking cards on the seat beside Dewey piped up.  ‘Not no way.  I’m better than them curs anyway.  I’d a left without him.  I ain’t no White Trash.  I don’t care what they say.’

     Much is made of the migration of the Southern Negro to the North but there were actually two streams of internal migration following the Drinking Gourd to ‘freedom.’  Of the two peoples the most despised were the men and women known down South as Poor White Trash.

     Except for the fact that they were White the Hillbillies were as culturally different if not more so than the Blacks.  Even in their home country they were an odd lot.  The immigrants who accupied the hill regions of Amrica were what is known as Scotch-Irish or the Border people of England and Scotland.  Rob Roy types.  They were a quarrelsome, feuding, illiterate lot on their arrival on these shores.  Their customs and attitudes were markedly different from the Puritans who occupied New England, the Cavaliers of Virginia and Midlands Quakers who took up a midland location in America in Pennsylvania.

     Isolated in the hills their culture was reinforced by their insularity.  While immigrants flowed into the midstates and the Northeast thence West to Michigan and Chicago to create the smarmy culture of the North they bypassed the Eastern mountain spine of America.  Thus the Hill Folk developed in a pure unblended fashion which made them stranger than any blending immigrant group.

     Not given to learning on the Border they sought little education in their hills.  Thus, in addition to their singularity they became a synonym for ignorant bumptiousness.  The Urban Aristocracy degraded them below the Negro in social status.

page 1782.

     It is said that the Hatfield-McCoy feud of Kentucky gave them this obnoxious character.  It may be true that the most celebrated feud in history tainted the entire people but I doubt it.

     Making their living the coal mines all down the line added more to their character than the Hatfields and McCoys.

     No.  Immigrants slandered them more than any legendary feud.

     The nature of immigration into the United States is purposely misunderstood and misrepresented by the Urban Aristocracy for their own ends.  They are willing to sacrifice the hill people to their goal.  You have to break a few eggs to make an omelet; just hope they are not your eggs and somebody else doesn’t end up with the omelet.

     Emigration is never easy whether from East Europe to West Europe of from North to South in Europe.  Sicilian migrant laborers in Northern Europe during the nineteenth century were treated no differently than in the US.  Eastern European migrants to West Europe were often expelled and sent back to where they came from.  Such cultural clashes were unwanted by the native peoples.

     Immigrants and first generation offspring made up half of the US population during 1900 to 1950.  When they arrived they were often treated worse than the Negroes; certainly cruelly exploited economically.  They were stripped of their language while their customs were treated contemptuously.

page 1783.

     This was to be expected.  Nowhere else in the world would they have been treated differently of perhaps as well.  After all the majority prospered immediately and certainly within twenty years of their arrival.  Once acclimated they were treated with a respect that would not have been accorded their social castes, which were nearly all proletarian, in their homelands.

     Nevertheless, the rhetoric of the US is that of liberty here in the land of the free and the home of the brave.  Many of the immigrants were as well as or better educated than most Americans.  It galled them for Americans to adobt superior attitudes while treating them as stupid or ignorant simply because they spoke with foreign accents.

     They looked around for someone else to belittle while justifying themselves.  There was always the Negro but they were unsatisfactory simply because they were Negroes.  Looking further afield they found the Hillbillies who, they felt, fit their needs admirably.  So they pointed the Hill people out as evidence that Americans weren’t all they were cracked up to be.

     Great agitators arose.  Among them was a vindictive, demented but effective person name H.L. Mencken.

     Now, in 1914 the Great War came along.  The War interdicted immigration more effectively than the legislation which followed the war in 1920 and 1924.

     Once again the Urban Aristocracy misrepresents the unity of America during the war.  It is true that Anglo-Americans had the ascendancy which allowed them to bring America in on the side of the Allies.  They controlled the newspapers but opinion was more evenly divided than that.  The Central Powers always counted on their people to influence American policy in ways in which they proved unable.

page 1784.

     At the time of the war there were millions of German and Austro-Hungarian immigrants in the United States.  In addition the Irish favored the Central Powers because both peoples were fighting the English.  The Jews favored the Central Powers over the Allies because the Powers were fighting the Jews’ arch enemy the Russians.  The Jews did not become pro-Ally until after the Bolshevik Revolution at which point they rushed millions of dolars in loans in aid of what they believed was their cause.

     All of these peoples acted as foreign nationals and not as American citizens.

     The people of the Central Powers who had emigrated to the United States were treated as disloyal citizens.  All things German were castigated.  Germans were treated in a manner that made the treatment of the Japanese in World War II look mild.

     The War ended.  H.L. Mencken was a German who deeply resented the way he and other Germans had been treated during the War.  Muzzled by wartime censors, when the struggle was over he went on a psychological rampage, castigating America, Americans, the Anglo-Saxon race and all it’s ideals.

     Allied with a journalist of the Jews, George Jean Nathan, he created the then influential magazine, The American Mercury.  The alliance with the Jews was important.  In the pre-Hitler days the Jews proudly carried the banner of German culture as well as their own.  They had hailed the German victory in Russia as one of their own.

page 1785.

     Mencken himself adopted and popularized many Yiddish words and phrases which were in fact neologisms to his goyish readers.  Yiddish was still thought of by the Jews as their native language.  It was only after the Second World War that the use of Yiddish atrophied to the point of uselessness.  In Russia the Jews were plumping for an autonomous Jewish people with Yiddish being one of the official languages of Russia.

     In the wild enthusiasm of the Bolshevik victory the introduction of Yiddish phrases was probably thought of as an opening salvo for the creation of an autonomous Jewish people in the United States with Yiddish as a second official language.  Never forget that the Jewish Cultrual Revolution was to last from 1913 to 1928.

     By the use of Mencken it was thus that the Jewish counter-culture might begin to flow into the dominant culture to subvert thought toward the idea of an autonomous Jewish people.

     Mencken’s attacks on the Hill folk, Anglo-Saxonism and the Boobocracy of America as he termed it had the effect of dividing the Urban Aristocracy from a major constituent and pitting it against it.  Divide and rule.

      This attitude was abetted by the formation of the Anti-Defamation League of the B’nai B’rith in 1913, which was the opening year of the Jewish Revolution.  The ADL began immediately to attack it’s list of ‘known’ anti-Semites which further divided ‘good’ goys from ‘bad goys.’  In an effort to show that they were not prejudiced against Jews the ‘good’ goys turned viciously on their own people and against their own best interests.  Always ask this question:  Is it good for the Jews?

page 1786.

     The crowning blow against the Hill People was delivered in 1932 by a semi-literate Communist by the name of Erskine Caldwell.  Caldwell comes across in his writing as a vicious bigot.  Tobacco Road, his most famous and infuential novel, appeared in ’32 followed by God’s Little Acre in 1933.  Both books sold in unprecedented millions in the heart of the Depression penetrating so deeply into the consciousness of America that for decades there was no one who had not heard of Tobacco Road and believed in its excistence.

     In the Communist manner it was Caldwell’s intent to demean the Hillbilly below the status of the Negro in which he succeeded.  This would not be the last time that the elevation of the Negro would be attempted by lowering the status of the Whites.

     In an introduction to the novels written in the latter years of the twentieth century a Negro writer describes the pride of place he felt when after reading the two tracts he realized or hoped he would never sink as low as Hillbillies.

     The fear of Tobacco Road plagued White youth for at least two generations to be later replaced by the image of Archie Bunker of TV fame who was created by a Jewish writer.  It was no coincidence that one of the early anthems of the Folk Rock era was a song called Tobacco Road.  In it the writer notes that he is not going back to the Tobacco Road he has escaped.

page 1787.

     Thus by the late forties Hillbillies had been thoroughly ‘niggerized’ taking their place on the bottom rung of the ‘minority’ ladder below the Negroes.  It no longer mattered what they might believe individually as a whole ethos had been projected on them by the Urban Aristocracy and the Negroes.

     In the post war years this vision of Hillbillies as a quaint stone age people was furthered by such comic strips as Snuffy Smith and the tremendously influential ‘L’il Abner’ by the Jewish writer, Al Capp.

     Although convicted of child molestation at the end of his career destroying a fine reputation Capp was revered in the forties and fifties by an audience that did not reflect on what he was up to.  Capp was able to infuence fashion and change American social mores.  Girls and women embraced the styles of his heroine, Daisy May, down to the off shoulder blouse and cut off jeans.  He called the name of this hillbilly haven he invented, what else?, Dog Patch.  Following some of these themes through can be an amazing experience.  One of the customs of Dogpatch was the tradition of women asking men out.  The custom was strictly forbidden in real life.  His character who did this was called Sadie Hawkins.  By mid decade in the fifties every school in America was holding Sadie Hawkin’s days where the girls could ask the boys for a date.

     Capp’s influence peaked in the sixties when Dogpatch moved to Hollywood in the TV series ‘Beverly Hillbillies.’  After that the hills were filled with Urban Cowboys while Archie Bunker replaced the Beverly Hillbillies.  Same tune, different words.

page 1788.

     Capp’s efforts in the forties were seconded by several Jewish film writers among whom was the semi-literate Red, Lester Cole.  He keenly felt the ridicule immigrants endured before 1920 so he wrote scripts where he invented an ignorant Hill dialect that assuaged his tortured feelings although it made him a bigot.

     Thus having fled his Dogpatch for Mobile, Black Jack David Drainsfield was treated like a dirty dog by the Southern Aristocracy in that Dixie metropolis.  Unable to endure such treatment he did what all self-respecting Whites and Blacks did.  He headed up North to ‘freedom.’

     He found the same reception up river as did the Negroes.  He was ridiculed and despised as a sub-human.  Like the Blacks he was driven mad by this savage treament.  He was young so he had the strength to resist but at the stage of entering life he was driven from pillar to post.  Caught in an existence from which the only escape was transformation he was at a stage of indecision.  Unable to assimilate easily into the smarmy culture of Chicago he sought refuge from time to time by returning to Mobile.  Once there he realized the impossibility of enduring life as a dirty dog from Dogpatch so he returned to Chicago which he was doing now.

     Like the Black Folk of Richard Wright’s novels he asked repeatedly:  ‘Are we just dogs to be treated so?’

     Well, Al Capp thought so or he wouldn’t have named his Hillbilly Nirvana Dogpatch.  The Urban Aristocracy thought so or they wouldn’t have projected the character of Dogpatch on them.

page 1789.

     Thus from H.L. Mencken through Erskine Caldwell to Al Capp the true source of the Hillbilly character is derived.

     Drainsfield like all people who fled this character to be derided, which he certainly was, both in Mobile and Chicago, was at great pains to establish his integrity.  It was not his intention to travel through East St. Louis up 66 but to take an alternate route up the Indiana line.

     He was extremely fearful that Dewey might distrust him so he went to great lengths to assure Dewey that his route was a better way to Chicago.

    ‘This is just as good a road but it saves a lot of miles.  We bypass East St. Louis which is the last place in the world I’d want to break down.  It is still the road to Chicago so don’t worry that we’re taking you somewhere else.’

     ‘It’s alright Black Jack.  I can read the signs on the highway.  Don’t worry.’

     Now heading up the Indiana line they all settled back for the long haul to Chicago.  Pleased with the nice hop Dewey had again reconciled himself to hitchhiking.  He turned his attention to the Dixie Darlin’ who, as she played her game of solitaire quietly sang the lyrics of an old Hawkshaw Hawkins’ tune:

Don’t want no warmed over kisses

Or yesterday’s sighs;

I want everything fresh

Even brand new lies.

If you don’t have what I want

Another boy may,

If it ain’t on the menu

There’s another cafe.

page 1790

     Hawkshaw Hawkings had already been all but forgotten so Dewey was pleasantly surprised to hear one of his favorites.

     ‘Oh wow.  You know Hawkshaw Hawkins?’

     ‘Of course.  I know everybody in both kinds of music.  I like them all.  Every one.  Do you know Cowboys Copas?  And Floyd Tillman?  And Ernest Tubb? and Ferlin Husky?  And Rex Allen? And Montana Slim?  They’re all Western singers.  Do you know them?’

     ‘Oh yes.  I do.’  Dewey replied.

     ‘How do you?  You don’t talk like us; you talk real Yankee like.’

     ‘Uh, I am from Michigan which is why I talk Yankee but some of my family were hillbillies from Kentucky and I’ve listened to hillbilly music all my life.’

     ‘You mean Country music, don’t you?’  Darlin’ had already been taught to be ashamed of her origins.  The term Hillbilly came across to her like ‘nigger’ would to a Black.  In fact Hillbilly was used by the Aristocracy in exactly the same derogatory sense as nigger but acceptable to them because Hillbillies were White hence they could be defamed at will.  There was no Hillbilly Anti-defamation League.

    ‘No, Dixie Darlin’, I mean hillbilly as in the Carter Family, Bill Monroe and Roy Acuff.  I mean Hillbilly as in American music expressing American ideals and not this smarmy immigrant Tin Pan Alley garbage.  I have my Hillbilly roots and I’m not ashamed of them, nor should you be.’

page 1791.

     ‘Well, we get treated real bad because we’re from the mountains both in Mobile and Chicago.  Why’s that?  We didn’t do nothin’ to nobody no time.”

     ‘That is no reflection on yourselves; merely the ranting of narrow, bigoted persons who are beneath your dignity to recognize although you still have to deal with them.  Just stand up for your rights and turn their own evil back on them.  They are low, not you.

     Just a second Darlin’, you said you like both kinds of music.  Do you mean Tin Pan Alley and Hillbilly or what?’

     ‘No.  I mean both Country and Western.  I will not use the word Hillbilly and I would appreciate it if you didn’t too.’

     ‘No.  That’s all right Darlin;.’  Black Jack David said.  ‘I think he’s one of us.’

     Dewey had never considered Country and Western as separate but he now stood corrected.  The corpus of these singers formed a large part of the ephemeara of Dewey’s intellect.  Ephemera are the most important part of one’s identity.  Songs, movies, radio shows, ads, newspapers and magazine articles that are forgotten by history almost as soon as they are voiced but are carried in the memories of individutals throughout their lives is the stuff of the personality.

     With the exception of Ferlin Husky one of the Bakersfield hillbillies and not a Western singer who was contemporary, the rest of her list of favorites were all of the late forties and early fifties and now all but forgotten.

page 1792.

     As ephemeral as they were to society at large they formed a great deal of Dewey’s outlook on the world.  He knew dozens of songs by them.

     ‘I really liked ‘Signed Sealed And Delivered’ by Hawkshaw Hawkins.’  He said knowingly, meaning to impress Darlin’ with his encyclopedic knowledge.

     ‘That was by Cowboy Copas.’  She corrected.  ‘You can’t fool me.  I know just about everything there is to know about music.’

     Dewey nearly took her correction as a reproof since he was rather vain about his knowledge of music.  Instead he chose to deflect the conversation.

     ‘Well, all those are good but really old.  Do you like anybody new like Elvis Presley?’

     ‘I liked Elvis when he was a hill…Country singer.  After he went mainstream he changed and this Army Elvis is something else again.’

    ‘Yeah, but Elvis is a hero.  Before Elvis there was nothing and now there’s a chance for everyone.  You know how they say that Elvis sings like a Black guy?  Does he sound that way to you?  I don’t get it.’

     ‘Me and Belle saw Elvis at the fairgrounds in 1955 before ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ came out.  I didn’t think there was anything Black about him at all.  Wouldn’t have liked him if there was.  Sounded a lot like Bill Monroe to me.’

     What in musicology are known as the Sun Years was the decisive period in post 1950 music.  Sun was a record label formed by a man named Sam Phillips.  Originally Phillips scouted out Black singers and either sold the masters or issued the songs on Sun Records.  The Black artists were a small and not very lucrative market in the early fifties.  Phillips is reported to have always said that if he could find a White man who could sing Black he would make a million dollars.

     Presley according to Phillips was the genuine article.  He sold his contract to RCA for $37,000.’

     Society with its guilt complex about Negroes has accepted the judgment that Presley sang like a Black man without question or reservation.  I, as the author, was a teenage bronkin’ buck in 1954, ’55 and ’56 and to this day I cannot fathom what Phillips might have meant.

     Black men sang in a variety of styles none of which Presley sounded like.  Black styles ranged from Billy Daniels, the Ink Spots, Louis Jordan, James Brown, Hank Ballard and Little Richard to name only a few.  Presley’s style bore no resemblance to any of those.  In fact any White man copying them would have sounded so ludicrous he would have been laughed off the stage.

     Phillips himself discarded his Black stable as soon as Presley attracted a stable of White hillbilly artists.  None of Phillips White artists sounded remotely Black from Elvis to Johnny Cash to Roy Orbison.  They were all hillbillies and the music they created was immediately known as Rockabilly which to my mind says all.  The same people that hated Hillbilly hated Rockabilly as well.

     Actually Darlin’ was correct.  The early Presley Sun recordings all sound like jumped up Bluegrass a la Bill Monroe.  The flip side of Elvis’ first ’45 was even Monroe’s Blue Moon Of Kentucky which begins in the traditional style that Presley interrupts with the statement:  ‘Hold it man, that don’t move me.’  Then they jump it and do the song Rockabilly fashion.

page 1794.

     Nor did Phillips’ Sun label have much impact in the ’50s.  The affection for the music and style is a latter day romantic movement.  At the time I was the only person I knew who had the records and one of the very few who had heard of them.

     I had no affinity for Black music.  I probably would have rejected Elvis if he had sounded Black.  The record store used to order Sun releases for me.  If a release was by a Black artist I gave it back; if Rockabilly I bought it.

     It was not that I was prejudiced against Blacks but their music didn’t ‘move me’ and that includes that sacred cow ‘gospel music.’  The stuff was far too ethnic  to appeal to White ears.  Only in the late ’50s when the Black edge was taken off Negro singers could Whites tolerate the stuff- except for Little Richard and Fats Domino of course.

     Whatever you may think of Berry Gordy he and his Motown label really put the Black singer into White ears.

     The basis of Phillips’ statement remains a mystery to me.  Like most Americans he probably deluded himself that he respected Black culture while he actually rejected it.

     Black Jack David whose real name was Derek had been intrigued with Dewey’s identification of himself with Hillbillies.  He relaxed a little and began to converse with Dewey person to person instead of across a great divide.

page 1795.

     ‘They sure make it hard on us in Chicago though.  Almost as bad as in Mobile but different.  They laugh at us for our music which is real American but they claim to really like Negro music which just sounds noisy and illiterate to me.  You have to be dumb to sing the blues.  Like the Carter’s say:  Stay on the sunny side of the street.’

     Dewey was still ignorant about the Blues and didn’t know a lot about the sunny side of the street either.  He had heard a fair amount but he couldn’t identiy the structure of the Blues.  The stuff just dounded like a lot of repetitious moaning to him.

     It was a phenomenon that White Folk in general professed a high regard for Black music, although they didn’t buy much of it, while they shunned Southern White Music like the plague.

     White Southern singers were basic folks without a lot superfluous education but there was still a higher level of musicianship than with Blacks while their lyrics were, how shall we say, less earthy than those of the Blacks.  No White person would have been allowed to write much less sing a song in mixed company called ‘Drop Down Mama.’  Yet White people would listen to a Black man sing the sexually explicit lyrics and ooh an aah at the sensual freedom of Black Folk.

     Well, you know, what was a wide awake guy to do but shake his head and wonder.

     Just as Sun was establishing Rockabilly music out of Memphis by the early  and mid-fifties the corpus of songs and the stable of Blues performers that would carry through the century had already been defined and recorded by Marshall Chess of Chess/Checker records in Chicago.  The most influential of the early rock n’ rollers, Chuck Berry, also came from Chess.  Marshall Chess seemed to know a lot more about Black music than Sam Phillips.

page 1796.

     Elvis Presley kind of steamrollered Chuck Berry when he broke with Heartbreak Hotel but Berry established the archetype of Rock n’ Roll music in ’55 with his hit Maybelline.

     Thus by the late fifties both streams of migration from the South were entrenched in Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland and points North.

     Black Jack and Dixie Belle had met and married in Mobile leaving for Chicago for the first time shortly thereafter.  They migrated for the same reason their Black counterparts did.  Not considered ‘niggers’ they were deemed ‘Poor White Trash.’

     Black Jack didn’t want to remain poor, he didn’t object to being called White but he definitely hated the trash part.  He was no fool.  He could see at a glance that he was as good or better than the so-called Urban or Southern Aristocracies but he also realized that he would never be able to escape the stigma of Poor White Trash.  Skin color isn’t the only stigma.

     He couldn’t go back to the hills so the only escape was North.  Blackjack, Dixie Belle and Dixie Darlin’ followed the drinkin’ gourd ending up on the South Side of Chicago across the street from the Black South Side.

     The change was momentous; as much a cultural shock as that of Country Blacks seeing the big city for the first time.  The Hillbillies ‘pure’ English ways clashed with the smarmy hybrid immigrant culture that had developed in Chicago.  They were almost as obvious as the Black Folk.

page 1797.

     A comparable situation would be the invasion of Los Angleles by the Arkies and Okies of the 30s.

     Twenty years after, a term of opprobrium in LA was to call someone an Okie even as his culture was transforming LA.  Fifty years later a Mafioso bigot by the name of Quentin Tarentino would portray the type negatively in his movie ‘Pulp Fiction.’  Actually he made fun of Anglo-Saxons in all his movies.

     Still, the only reason that LA had a Country music scene is because there were so many Okies in the Basin; there and in the Bakersfield/Fresno area.  The Okies still stuck out in LA like Blacks and were treated the same or worse.

     Black Jack David, then still know as Derek, felt himself in a desperate situation.  He knew his own worth.  He was sure of his value as a human being; he wasn’t about to stay and be treated like a dirty dog.  Everywhere he turned he was derided.  He had little formal education.  His manners, while not worse than, were not the manners of immigrant Chicago.

     He was laughed at and derided as though he had been a Negro.  Not naturally offended by Blackness he nevertheless developed a resentment towards them or, rather, passed the resentment he felt at his treatment to them.  The Blacks considered him as though emigrants from Tobacco Road feeling free to despise him.

     Needing to escape the Chicago environment from time to time he made frequent trips to Mobile.  As a mirror decoration instead of a pair of fuzzy dice or a garter he had an upside down cross.

     ‘Uh, I notice your cross is upside down.’  Dewey stated.  ‘Why? did you get it cheaper because they put the hole in wrong end?’

     The Dixie Belle turned in her seat to smile at Dewey:  ‘My husband is a fully ordained minister in the Church of the Second Coming of The Golden Dawn.’

     There was a mouthful of religion.  It shut Dewey up.  He turned to look out the window at the racing landscape.

This Land Is Your Land

     They were moving rapidly into the grip of the Northern cold front.  The softer features of the barren prairie landscape were being turned into cold hard features by the frost.  What should have been land promising of the rebirth of vernal pleasures looked merely like an industrial resource waiting once again to be exploited.

     Americans had no love of their environment; even on a scientific level ecology had no meaning for them.  They had always come to rape the land converting it into a dollar value that could either be taken back to Europe or, if necessary, lavished on a home establishment.

     Initially the ability to rape had been severely inhibited by the limits of ‘human resources.’  The phrase is another attempt to substitute money for people.  But as technology improved in the nineteenth century the ability to rip the land asunder to ‘develop’ the country increased.  Alfred Nobel, the man in whose honor all those grandiose prizes are awarded, provided the penultimate means of maiming the environment when he invented TNT or dynamite as it is otherwise known.

page 1799.

     This enabled man to blast into the solid rock at Cripple Creek in pursuit of a handful of yellow dust or open the rich coal seams across this continent of ‘unlimited’ resources.

     Nobel might justly be characterized as a demon but the devil arrived in the disguise of a man called LeTourneau.

     Like so many monsters LeTourneau was a smallish man given to a certain amount of flab but the man’s imagination was of gigantic diabolical proportions.

     Small  himself his diseased imagination caused him to create earth moving machines of what might be called indescribable dimensions if they hadn’t been hatched on a drawing board.  Still the behemoths stagger the mind.

     Rather than tunnel into the earth, a concept known as ‘strip mining’ was devised and employed a few miles away in the coal fields of Southern Illinois.  Huge shovels bigger than the biggest building of ninety percent of American towns with a shovel capacity of 100-150 tons were built.  Le Tourneau chipped in his two tons worth by building gigantic trucks capable of transporting a shovelful.  Then raised their load capacity to two hundred and three hundred tons.  Three hundred and sixty ton trucks are said to be on the horizon.

page 1800.

     Thus the ‘overburden’ could be scooped off and dumped somewhere else.  The ‘money’ hidden beneath the earth could easily be gotten.  The ‘resource’ could be consumed in a trice.  Having gotten the money out the operators left a huge gaping scar on the landscape on one hand and vast mounds of debris on the other.  The money had been gotten, the land was now worthless.

     There was no thought of even attempting to repair the damage.  There was no concern for the beauty of the landscape or the quality of life for the remaining ‘human resource.’

     As bad as that was let us follow Mr. LeTourneau’s creation to the twenty-first century.  By this time his trucks are bigger than most houses being twenty-seven feet wide and twice and long.  the trucks themselves are three stories tall while appearing as toys beside the monster shovels.

     Now, there was still a lot of coal in the Appalachian seams but the operators said it couldn’t be economically ‘recovered’ by conventional methods.  As always the environment meant nothing, or less than nothing, to Americans.  This means you and not just a class of evil exploiters.  You would have done the same.

     Combining the contributions to human happiness of both Nobel and LeTourneau the operators came up with a simple solution.  They merely planted enough dynamite to blow the mountain tops off several miles at a time.  As they had to have someplace to dump the ‘overburden’ they moved the ‘human resources’, the descendants of the Hatfields and McCoys , out of their ancient homes in the valleys or hollers or bottoms, and using Mr. LeTourneau’s magnificent machines they dumped the mountain tops down into the valleys.  And they did this with their eyes wide open.

page 1801.

     The child is father to the man.  The mines of Illinois were a concept in embryo which Dewey recognized but his mind could not conceive the horrible denouement which insanity would perpetrate.

     The premonition apparent in his mind he heaved a sigh turning back to Dixie Belle and her pride in her husband who was a fully ordained minister in the Church Of The Second Coming Of The Golden Dawn.

Black Jack David In Chicago

     ‘When was the First Coming Of The Golden Dawn?’  Dewey asked.

     ‘You’ve never heard of Aleister Crowley?’  Belle asked.

     ‘No.’  Dewey said flatly.

     ‘Well, my husband knows all about him.’  Belle said.  ‘This is my  man, Black Jack David.’  She added superfluously but with infinite pride.

     Dewey had never heard of Aleister Crowley.  Since neither David nor Dixie Belle was going to mention him again contrary to Dewey’s expectations suffice it to say that he was a psychotic drug addicted sex therapist cum magician of a Theosophic stamp although the Theosophists rejected him.

     In the last quarter of the nineteenth century a guy named MacGregor Mathers started a group called the Golden Dawn in England.  The Irish poet, W.B. Yeats, who wrote a poem called ‘The Second Coming’, was its most famous member.  We may presume that Black Jack combined the poem with the sect to come up with his own variation.  Obviously he fully ordained himself.

page 1802.

     Crowley became a member of the original Golden Dawn and managed to steal their Arcana thereby appropriating the sect to himself.  The original followers went their separate ways.  Crowley turned the sect into a sex and drug cult whose motto, like that of the Abbey of Thelema was:  Do What Thou Wilt.

     Crowley and the sect underwent vicissitudes.  Crowley died in 1947.  The sect ended up, as things of this nature will, in LA.  In fact, their publishing house was located in Barstow.  The house Dewey had been taken to in Pasadena, in the story he related to the Darrels, had actually been a coven of the Golden Dawn.

     Black Jack David was unaffiliated with any other known group.  He and the Dixies were the entire congregation of the Second Coming Of The Golden Dawn.  Black Jack David like Napoleon had ordained himself.  They did have a couple of almost converts in Chicago.  Always a believer in omens Black Jack had immediately recognized Dewey as the lieutenant he needed, miraculously provided by God.

     Black Jack’s program didn’t make much sense.  It was a crude amalgam of Protestant Christianity, the Golden Dawn and general Rosicrucian Theosophy.  Black Jack had picked up most of it on the streets but he had done some desultory unsystematic reading.  The principal incredient of his system was the ‘magick’ Black Jack thought he needed to save his life.  He too was looking for a miracle.

page 1803.

     As all these things are, the Second Coming was merely a projection of the psychological  needs of Derek Drainsfield.  He felt completely rejected and scorned.  He sought salvation.  More than that he had what it took to create it.

     ‘Why is the cross upside down?’  David asked rhetorically finally getting around to Dewey’s question.  He eyed Dewey anxiously as he wanted to make a good impression on the disciple the Lord had provided.  ‘Well, I’ll tell you.’

     ‘Uh huh.’  Dewey said with weary expectancy.

     ‘Justice and decency are overturned in this world.  The Christ has been displaced in this orb of despair by evil, vile and materialististic men.  That cross will remain upside down until those men are defeated and the Rose of Sharon is restored to its rightful place.’

     Dewey was suitably impressed.  The explanation was better than he had expected.  ‘What kind of magic do you have to do that?’  He asked facetiously.

     ‘The right kind.’  Black Jack triumphed.  ‘Did your magick have a K at the end?’

     ‘What magic?’

     ‘That magick.’

     Dewey paused for a moment to seek Black Jack’s direction.

     ‘I spell it M A G I C.’

     ‘Aha.  The wrong kind of magick.  Add a K to that and you’ve got the right kind of magick.’

page 1804.

     Dewey was baffled.  Black Jack was retailing Crowley’s self-help system contained in a book called: ‘Magick: Theory and Practice’ or, in other words, how to become what you would like to be as an act of will.  Magic is important to Christian and Theosophic systems but is discredited by materialist and scientific approaches.  Hence Crowley put a K at the end of magic in the hopes of making the notion credible.

     ‘Oh.  the only kind of magic I know of that will achieve what you want is the A-Bomb and then only because it wipes everyone, evil or not.’

     ‘How did you know about that?’  Black Jack asked startled as though Dewey had divined the secret.

     ‘How do I know about the A-Bomb?’  Dewey asked equally incredulously.

     ‘Yes.  It’s in Chicago you know.’

     ‘I know the atomic pile was in Chicago but how is the A-Bomb in Chicago?’

     ‘The missing one.’  Black Jack pressed on assuming Dewey knew what he was talking about.  ‘It’s somewhere in the nigger district on the South Side.’

     ‘What missing one?’

     ‘The one that disappeared from the stockpile a few years ago.  It’s in Chicago, I know.’

     ‘An A-Bomb disappeared?  How’s that?’

     ‘A patriot named James Burnham published a book in 1954 called ‘The Web Of Subversion’ in which he says that an A-Bomb has been stolen from the stockpile.  He thinks that it’s in private hands somewhere in America.  I’ve got it figured out where.’

     ‘There’s a missing A-Bomb?  Why do you think it’s on the Black South Side?’

     ‘Where else would it be?  Chicago’s the center of the country.’

     Dewey was stopped.

     ‘Well, OK, but why in Darktown?’

     ‘Well, come on.  Where’s the last place in Chicago you would look for it?’

     ‘Uh. I’m not too familiar with Chicago.’

     ‘Well, that’s it.  It’s in the basement of some building right in the heart of Niggerville.’

     ‘In that case you can be sure I’m not going to look for it.’  Dewey said laughing.

     ‘Black Jack’s not afraid.  He goes in there lots.’  Belle reproved.

     ‘Why not?  We’ll need it.’  Black Jack said excitedly thinking that he’d already recruited Dewey.

     ‘Need it for what?’

     ‘I thought you understood.  It’s the magick we need to turn the cross around.  You said it.  First we get the bomb and then we send a note to the President and the Mayor and the Chief of Police telling them that we are holding Chicago as hostage.  Unless all our ransom is met we’ll destroy Chicago.’

     ‘What’s the ransom?’  Dewey asked curiously.

page 1806.

     ‘We want all the malefactors of great wealth and men of evil disposition delivered unto us.  Then we’ll execute them and save the world.  Then the cross will be upright again.’

     Dewey saw that he was in the presence of the ultimate do-gooder.  Was it the boldness of the plan or the absurdity of the premiss that took his breath away?

      ‘Personally I hope the bomb goes off and kills everyone of those of those niggers.’  Suddenly burst from Darlin’ who had been playing quietly with her deck of  ‘funny looking’  Tarot cards.

     ‘I swear I’m going to carry a gun and the next nigger that lays a hand on me is going to get his head blowed off.’

     ‘Amen.’  Dixie Belle intoned.

     ‘Something’s got to be done about that too.’  Added Black Jack David.  ‘Don’t you think so.’  He aggressively asked Dewey.

     Dewey didn’t know what to reply.  The great sweep of Black rebellion was moving across America.  Freedom Riders were active in the South.  Pent up hatreds were erupting in the North and West.  In less than ten years cities from California to New Jersey would go up in flames as Blacks revolted against their situation.  Americans minimized the destruction because it happened here but the hundreds of square miles that were burnt over was topped only by the destruction in bombed over German of World War II.

     True the Blacks fired their own neighborhoods but Dewey would be able to understand that.  After all, if you can’t get away from what is hateful to you it has to be destroyed.  As Dewey knew in his case; to heal oneself psychologically the old self has to be destroyed in order to replace it with the new.  Black frustration, the revolt of the dogs in their kennel, the desire to bit their leash in two, was comprehensible to Dewey.

page 1807.

     The period was one of great transition for Black people as well as America.  If the history of the Blacks can be divided into three periods:  The Slavery Period, the Jim Crow Period and the Self-Awareness Period, then the Blacks were transiting from the Jim Crow Period to that of Self-Awareness.  the transition was fraught with great danger.

     The musical transition was from Rhythm and Blues to Soul music.  (Do you like soul music? No?  Well, then do the Trouser Press, baby.)  In progressing from R&B to Soul music the Blacks acted out the central problem of their existence.  They had a hole in their soul.  Not a criticism, not their fault, just a fact; they had and have a damaged psyche.  It’s bad too.  We always complain about what hurts us the most.  Furthermore the hole can be accurately identified and described.

     The man who put his finger on it was the old vaudevillian by the name of Bert Williams.  Bert performed in the years around the beginning of the twentieth century.  Thus he was the legatee of the Reconstruction Era.  History may be abstract but those who suffer through it have to deal with painful psychological realities.  Life may be a cosmic joke but it is not funny to be the butt of it.

     Bert Williams was a very perceptive guy and an excellent poet in the popular style.  He embodied the Black dilemma in a Coon Tune that is still sung today titled ‘Nobody.’  I will reproduce the lyrics in full in a moment but first let’s discuss the evolution of the Black pysche as evidenced in its musical stages.

page 1808.

     One of the most wonderful descriptions of the development in American of William’s period is the Irishman Mark Sullivan’s truly magnificent six volume social history titled ‘Our Times.’

     Sullivan was an especially acute observer of musical trends.  He says more about Black culture and history in a few pages than most authors get into multi-volumes.  As well as being concise he is perceptive and accurate.

     He was quick to understand that a change in a people’s music represents a change in their psychical attitude; something that Goldwater reactionaries should have picked up on in relation to their White offspring.  Thus one can accturately trace the psychological history of America, also know as the Land of the Thousand Dances, by understanding its popular music.  If you follow the bouncing ball  and don’t get hung up on your preconceptions you won’t have any trouble.

     thus as Black music developed after emancipation a first phase was the era of Darky Songs when Blacks were fresh from the Plantation.  That’s what the White Stephen Foster built his reputation on.  This was followed by the era of Coon Tunes.  There is a different psychology in each.  The permutations of Ragtime and Jazz came through the twenties and thirties followed back out into the Urban Blues, Doo-Wop and the Rhythm and Blues of the forties and fifties.  R&B merged into Sould and Soul disappeared into Rap.  Each musical expression represents a distinct psychological reaction.  Blacks substituted the term Soul for Psyche.

page 1809.

 

 

    

    

    

 

A Novel

Our Lady Of The Blues

Book VII: The Heart Of The Matter

Clip 9

by

R.E. Prindle

     Yisraeli had made contact with one of them with whom he was having breakfast while hoping for Trueman and Zion to show up.  His pretext for the meeting was market research. 

     The homo, Lips Carmody, was spilling out all his repressed needs to Our Lady who he thought would immediately go back to Escondido and fill them when Yehouda spotted Trueman on the other side of the highway as Showbaby drove into the lot.

     ‘Oh my god!’ He ejaculated.

     ‘What?’ Lips asked.

     ‘Do you see that sailor over there?’

     ‘Yes.”

     ‘He…he is one of the most savage homosexual baiters in San Diego.’

     ‘You don’t say?’

     ‘I do say.  You would do the brotherhood a big service by keeping his weeny moving right out of Barstow.’

     ‘I will.’  Lips said getting up to match his action to his words.

     He passed Showbaby on the way out.  Show had delayed entering on a signal from Yisraeli.

     As Carmody went out to hustle Trueman through town Yisreali and Showbaby went out to alert Dagger who was standing by his car.

     ‘That’s him in the sailor suit, Dagger.  Here’s your other five hundred.  I’ll send the rest to you in Bay City.’

page 1681.

     ‘Five hundred?  Supposed to be a thousand.’

     ‘I was in a big hurry since you weren’t organzied.  I must have grabbed five hundred by mistake.’  Yehouda stuffed five one hundred dollar bills into Dalton’s shirt pocket contemptuously.  One might understand Our Lady’s wish to appear the Big Man but it was a mistake.

     Dalton considered himself a man among men and he didn’t consider Yehouda a man.  Dalton wouldn’t be belittled by a mere twit.  Hadn’t he decked his sergeant, who was a real man, and done time in the brig like a man the Marines couldn’t handle?

     Dalton spilled the bills back out of his pocket as contemptously as Yisraeli had put them there.  At the same time he seized Our Lady by the throat lifting him off the ground.  It might have been an interesting experience for Yehouda if Zion hadn’t been there.

     Quickly scooping up the bills before the desert wind wafted them into the hills Show did everything he could to soothe Dalton.  He didn’t want a scene in a parking lot that might bring the police.  He added fifty dollars he had on him to the five hundred talking smoothly and rapidly.  Always keep the other guy’s mind occupied by a ceaseless drone of bull patter.  They listen rather than acting.

     While Showbaby was pattering on Lips was harassing Trueman.

     ‘You better get out of town right now, buddy.  We don’t want your kind around here.’

     ‘What kind is that?  Sailors?’  Dewey asked dumbfounded by this guy’s hostility.

page 1682.

     ‘Don’t get cute with me.  You know what I mean.  I’ve heard about you.’

     ‘Dewey turned and walked a hundred yards away in an attempt to get away from Carmody.  Lips pursued, still berating him.  This happened several times until Dewey had traversed the little town and was near its Eastern limit.  He had all but gotten out of town.

     Somewhat satisfied Lips said:  ‘You better be outta here, buddy.  If i come back in an hour and you’re not gone I’ll have you arrested as a vagrant.’

     ‘A vagrant?  You gotta be nuts.  You can see I’m in uniform; therefore I have visible means of support.’

     Men of Carmody’s stamp are not influenced by facts or logic.

     ‘An hour, wise mouth.  You hear!  One hour.’

     Trueman didn’t believe him but he couldn’t account for his unbounded hostility either.  And he was vulnerable.  These were the times when sheriffs had little fiefdoms which they culd run without regard to law or outside interference.  Many ran speed traps where hapless motorists were fleeced of large sums of money and sent packing.  Not infrequently they never made it out of town under their own power.  The Interstates would change all that in a few years, people shot through bypassing these petty tyrants.

     Dewey did have the two hundred dollars on him.  If picked up the bunko artists called cops would get it all.  He would probably spend a couple days in jail then be sent back to San Diego and billed exorbitantly for the expense.  No recourse either.  Dewey became very alert to the fact that he was living on his wits.  Not to mention his thumb.

     Back at the motel, mutual threats having been exchanged Dalton took the five hundred fifty.  Shaking his fist menacingly at Yehouda he shouted:  ‘You better get the rest to me pronto or I’ll come back here and kill your shifty ass.’

     A few minutes later he stopped in the middle of the highway throwing the door open:  ‘Get in.’  He leered in menacing tones.

    Hyperion To A Satyr

     Dagger had a scary aspect.  Dewey didn’t like his looks.  He thought he recognized him from the motel parking lot where he had heard the ruckus and seen Dagger grab Our Lady by the throat.  He decided to decline the ride even though certain arrest was awaiting him.  But, out there on the highway etiquette requires a good reason for refusing a ride.

     ‘How far are you going?’  Dewey asked hoping for a short distance so he could decline.

     ‘Bay City.’  Dagger said with a confidential smile.

     ‘Bay City?’  Dewey thought, utterly taken back.  Bay City, Michigan?  He couldn’t imagine another Bay City out there in the desert so he got in.

     ‘Bay City, Michigan?’  Dewey asked incredulously.

     ‘That’s right.’

     ‘I’m going to the Valley.’  Dewey replied awestricken at this good luck.  At least, he thought, it would be a forty-eight hour trip from here.

     ‘I know.’  Dalton replied mysteriously.

page 1684.

     Dewey, taken aback, looked sharply at Dalton:  ‘What do you mean, you know?’

     For answer Dalton rudely reached over and pushed down the lock.  Accelerating sharply he said:  ‘Don’t try to get out of the car if you don’t want to get hurt.’

     Dewey pondered this remark thoughtfully.  First the guy in Barstow says he’s heard of him and now this guy says he knows he’s going to the Valley.  Strange, but following his own maxim that there’s nothing to worry about until it’s time to worry about it or, as the Irish proverb has it:  There’s time enough to bid the devil good morning when you meet him.  Dewey didn’t panic but as it was clear that push might come to shove he began to take stock of Dalton and his situation.

     As he now studied the driver he saw a relatively good looking but crude, fellow.  Not handsome in a gorgeous Cary Grant way but handsome enough to pass muster.  However his features were brutish betraying not only a lack of education but a lack of sympathy for refinement or benevolence of any sort.  Dalton did look like a murderous criminal which is why Dewey hesitated in the first place.

     A pair of black motorcycle boots rested on the pedals topped by a pair of black denim trousers.  Hoodlum tough guy dress.

     A peculiar short sleeved canned pea green shirt with a pierced embroidery design on the sleeve ends covered a good but not overly developed torso.  What, Dewey wondered, did that really very feminine shirt mean?  Indecision he decided.  When Dalton had grabbed Yisraeli by the throat standing at his full six foot three inches his presence had been enough to throw the fear of God into Our Lady.  Dewey didn’t think he could win a face to face confrontation with such ferocity but that pea green shirt with the frilly cuffs showed Dagger could be manipulated.

page 1685.

      Neverthless Dalton looked like the self-centered single minded ruffian he was.

     Fortunately for Trueman Dalton was a brute, a mere belly with arms and legs.  It’s not so much that he didn’t have mental capacity but he had been brought up to despise intelligence, education, study and diligence.  He was what Daddy Dagger called a natural man.  One would be tempted to say that he couldn’t read or write but he had passed the Navy intellegence tests to get into the Marines.  Probably his recruiter gave the box A key.

     It is certain Daddy Dagger couldn’t read or write; he was a real natural too.

     That wasn’t because the Daggers were incapable but because they didn’t want to.  They despised all the accoutrements of civilization except, of course, cars, guns and beer.  They were the equivalent of the primitive man.  The men of the Golden Cronian Age.  They were what the Revolution aspired to turn all men into in an orgy of ‘equality.’

     Equality.  The central thesis of the Revolution is worth looking into.

     As I said before the Cronian or Revolutionary consciousness is one of the four principal approaches to life.  The other three being the Matriarchal, Patriarchal and Scientific.  They have all existed coterminously from the beginning.  The trails are quite clear if you’re attuned to following them.  The central and uniting symbol of the Cronian consciousness is the Phrygian Cap.

page 1686

     The origin, history and meaning of the Cap has never, to my knowledge, been investigated.  Its meaning is so obscure that there seems to be no handle with which to begin discussion.  Nevertheless I will at least offer some tentative suggestions.

     The cap is invariably red which is the color of stern justice as well as blood.  There is no sterner justice than the shedding of blood.

     In form the cap is a visorless cone bent in the middle so that the top or bell inclines toward the forehead.  The cap was a characteristic of the ancient Phrygian people.  Phrygia was the area of Anatolia between the coastal settlements of Troy and the North of the inland Hittite Empire.

     The Phrygians were either expelled from or left the southern Danubian region to cross the Dardanelles settling in Anatolia.  Although the knowledge of the Phrygians themselves if the sketchiest it is probable that they settled in Anatolia just before or during the hegemony of the Hittites.  Most certainly displaced by the great migrations of the Aryans taking place at that time.

     The evidence indicates that they were a people antecedent to the introduction of agriculture which they rejected preferring a reactionary existence as hunter gatherers.  It may be conjectured that the agriculturists drove them from the Danubian Basin much as the sodbusters outsted the cattlemen in the US.

page 1687.

     Once in Anatolia they continued their Cronian ways rejecting all the appurtenances of civilization.  That may have included a rejection of Anatolian religious practices.  A rejection of religion remaining a Cronian tenet to the present.

     As to the origin of the Phrygian cap.  The cap of divintity amongst the Hittites was a tall conical rimless cap.  There is evidence that the Phrygians had a hand in the destruction of the Hittite Empire.  As a gesture of contempt it is possible that the Phrygians wore the cap broken and bent forward as a sneer or rejection of divinity.

     The earliest mention of the Phrygian cap that I know of occurs in the story of the Phrygian King Midas with his asses ears which occurs in Greek mythology.

     One must remember that the Greek myths of the Bronze Age only began to be written down with Homer and Hesiod in perhaps the eighth century which was a full 300-800 years after the events they record.  the rest were recorded mostly from 100 BC to 300 AD or even later so it may be assumed that not only did their recorders not have direct knowledge but that they had lost the key to their meaning.  That means that they changed or edited the myths so that they had meaning for themselves.

     Midas himself was the son of a Satyr and a goddess; thus his origins are definitely Cronian; couldn’t be clearer.  In the myth, Marsyas, a Satyr challenges the God Apollo to a musical contest in an access of pride.  Naturally Apollo won although he had to cheat to win.  In the first face off Marsyas was judged the equal of Apollo.  Apollo then challenged Marsyas to turn their intruments upside down and play a round that way.  Well, as Apollo was playing the harp and Marsyas was playing the pipes it is not difficult to see who won that one.

page 1688.

     As the penalty for his presumption Marsyas was flayed alive by Apollo.

     During the contest Midas had taken the side of Marsyas for which Apollo punished him by giving him the ears of an ass.  Thoroughly embarrassed by his condition it is said that Midas invented the Phrygian cap to conceal his ears.

     Concealed beneath his cap the only person who knew Midas had asses ears was his barber.  Midas swore him to absolute secrecy.  The barber was bursting with his secret and had to tell somebody.  He dug a hole by the river bank and sticking his head deep in the hole he whispered that Midas had asses ears.

     He covered the hole up and walked away much relieved.  However with the spring floods reeds grew over the hole and thus learned the secret.  When the wind vibrated the reeds just right they could be heard to sing:  King Midas has asses ears.  Well, the secret was out, there was nothing left for Midas to do but kill himself which he did.

     It seems clear from the myth that the Greeks considered the Phrygians spiritual competitors.  The Trojans had been material competitors and they had been eliminated by the Trojan War.  Spiritual competitors cannot be eliminated by physical means so the Greeks concocted a myth in which higher civilization as represented by Apollo destroyed the Cronian society in a spiritual contest.

page 1689.

     To perpetuate the Greek victory the Cronians were characterized as asses and their key symbol the Phrygian Cap was belittled as a mere means of concealing the asses ears which they all had.

     The rejection of civilization for some impossible golden age was silly in the eyes of the Greeks and has remained so to rational people down to the present time.  There are many deprecating references to these impractical people in the literature of the ages.  There are Roman references in which the Cronians are ridiculed for pursuing an impossible dream.

     Nevertheless the attitude persisted clandestinely until the Revolution erupted in France in 1789.  The Cronian day appeared to have come, they stepped out of the shadows.  The French figure of Liberty wears a Phrygian Cap perched jauntily on her head.  The Cronians have been very active since then around the world, not only in Europe.  In America, in the form of the Masonic Illuminati, they were perceived as a serious threat in the years around 1800.  The Civil War caps of the enlisted men are merely Phrygian Caps with the bell truncated and replaced by a flat surface to disguise their true nature.  Thus one may assume that the Revolution was active in the War Between The States.

     The Phrygian Cap played a role in the Revolution of 1917 in Russia.  the ideals continue in various Red groups in existence today.

     Their concept of absolute equality is as ridiculous today as it was in the early Stone Age.  It is inherent in the genetic makeup of the male of the species to wish to dominate his fellow man.  A man always feels he is entitled to a jot more than his fellows.  Thus the competition starts to make sure one is not surpassed.  Thus it has been, thus it is, thus it will always be.  The problem is always who will be the first among equals.

page 1690

     People will not be absolutely equal.  if we consider the two men in this car speeding across the desert floor, while they are of the same economic and political background one is superior to the other as Hyperion to a Satyr but the Satyr would never accept that decision.

     In ancient Greek art the Cronians are portrayed as roving wild men wandering the glens and glades of the mountains depicted as Satyrs and Centaurs.  They at that time and Duelin’ Dalton Dagger here were half man and half animal.  Not that they were physical hybrids but their minds hadn’t developed enough to separate them from their bestial habits.  They were animals with untrestrained bestial appetites and no mental self control.  In the sense of Apollo’s doctrine of Everything in Measure, Nothing In Excess, and Know Thyself they were outside the pale.  Like Midas they chose the inferiority of Marsyas’ efforts over the superior music of Apollo.  They were goat men with or without the ass ears of Midas.

     The Satyrs were not men in the original state like Dalton Dagger.  They had more or less advanced with civilization, something like the American Indians versus the Whites.  Their modern equivalents were good with guns, decent with cars, but only decent, and could swill an ocean of beer.  From the outside to a not very discriminating eye they looked like ordinary men and women.  But they had to be handled with discretion.  Yisraeli hadn’t known the difference.  Had it not been for the self-effacing discretion of Showbaby he would certainly have been severely beaten if not stomped to death.  Dalton would have escaped too; the lines of guilt were too clearly drawn for anyone to turn him in.

page 1691.

     It would also have taken a discriminating eye to have noticed the profound differences between Dalton and Trueman.  Dewey was everything that Dalton should have been.  But having been pushed down from childhood by people no better than Dalton but better dressed he was rising from the depths that concealed his true nature.  Dewey was deeply imprinted in his face and posture with the brutalization of his youth.

     Apart from the pimples which plagued him and repelled everybody there was a wild staring violence coupled with a doe like timidity to his countenance.

     If physiognomy is destiny Dewey should have spent a few hours before a mirror adjusting his outer appearance to his inner reality.

      It was that rising bubble syndrome.  Dewey was in a state of slow becoming.  If Dalton was the finished equivalent of a satyr Dewey was the developing equivalent of Themistocles, Pericles or ever Hyperion.  Dewey’s mind aspired to the stars.  Dalton’s was mired in his physical reality.  Dewey revered all the attainments the Dagger family despised.

     Disenfranchised, a lamb driven from the fold, a saint wandering in purgatory, an exile on Main Street, he nevertheless believed that by dint of application, hard work and honesty he could succeed not only in the material sense but attain an honored place in society.  In other words, he was drunk on hope.  His big disappointment would be to discover that society is not honorable.  The pillars of society were made of India rubber.  The really big men were merely Dalton Daggers in Brooks Brothers suits.

page 1692.

     The utopian philosophers of the nineteenth century who filled many long and weighty tomes of sentimental ruminations about the causes of crime being poverty and degradation would have been startled if they had seen the objects of their pity come into their own in the twentieth century.

     The causes they had ascribed to crime had all but disappeared but crime had grown exponentially.  In those far off days they imagined that the ‘working man’, they saw as a distinct economic species, unoppressed by the need to slave long hours for low wages would emerge from that cocoon like a butterfly to flit about the libraries and museums in ardent longing to be equal with the refined speculators of thought.

     In the prsent, fully able to indulge their ardent longing for refinement ‘working men’ long only for beer, popcorn, pornographic television and snow mobiles.  Football, basketball and sports in general is the ‘culture’ the ‘working man’ aspires to.

     Now that the ‘working man’ has time and money for museums and libraries they remain empty.  Their only visitors are the same small minority that always inhabited them.

page 1693

     Zola, Hugo and Sue wouldn’t have known what to make of our Duelin’ Dalton Daggers.  These redhots would have thrown their model into disarray.  All their maunderings would turn to ashes in their mouths.  All their compassion and pity for those innocents turned into criminals by a heartless society would be wasted.  All those innocents weren’t turned into criminals they were criminals posing as innocents.  Javert is the true hero of the nineteenth century not Jean Valjean.

     If Dalton had wanted to read ‘Les Miserables’ or ‘Germinal’ or been capable of it, he would have recognized his fellow savages and broken down laughing at the maudlin descriptions of them.  Hugo and Zola may have been well meaning fellows but their evaluation of mankind was hopelessly askew.

     They should have known that a criminal ethic existed.  They should have known that there were doctrinaire criminals just as there were doctrinaire liberals.  Dalton Dagger was not a criminal for any other reason than that he saw the role as the accurate view of life.  No other view made sense to him.  Only fools could hold another view in his opinion.

     The Good Father was wrong; there is such a thing as a bad boy.  There are badmen and badwomen, bad families, even bad societies.  They will never reconstruct themselves; it is a waste of time trying to reconstruct them.  Henry Ford ruined his empire by benevolently giving ex-prisoners jobs; allowing them into his work force.  They corrupted his workers turning Ford Motors nearly into a criminal organization.  Tolerating them corrupts society.

page 1694.

     There can only be political equality of the one man, one vote sort; there can be no absolute equality.  The Revolution chases a chimera.  The very nature of the masculine physical animal precludes such a possibility.  The Animus demands precedence; it demands that all others be subordinate to it.  The only thing that prevents its expression is the jealousy of other men.  No one has the power to enforce dominance over his fellows so each man is compelled to seek the cooperation of others to achieve his goals.  If not he will be defeated hand to hand or by the sabotage of the united group.

     The Revolution only despises rewards for personal initiative which makes them feel inferior.  As a defensive measure against inadequacy they seek to control the benefits of society and distribute the good things of this world on the basis of favoritism rather than initiative.  That is the only way they can succeed.  Equality for the Revolution is merely a Red Herring to delude the masses.  Remember the very term ‘masses’ is a Red invention.

     Dewey eyed this monster, this Dalton Dagger, for monster he was, trying to think of the best opening to penetrate his mind.

     Dalton helped him along:  ‘I’m Duelin’ Dalton Daggerze.’  He said out of the left side of his mouth facing full forward over the steering wheel while eyeing Dewey askance to the right.  He had a way of pronouncing, or rather mispronouncing his name so that he andded an extra ZE as in Daggers-za.

Page 1695.

     ‘How do you spell that?’  Dewey asked trying to organize the sounds in his mind.

      ‘Anyway I choose.’  Dagger said, evidently trying to establish physical intimidation.

     ‘Oh, to be sure.’  Dewey replied contemptuously matching the pea green shirt to the personality.  Dalton though a non-entity in Dewey’s mind became manageable.  ‘But, I mean, how did you spell it on your driver’s license?’

     ‘How do you know I got one?’  Dagger said stupidly, trying to evade a direct answer to a direct question which was common to his class.

    ‘Oh gee, I don’t know, will they sell a car to you without a driver’s license?’  Dewey replied nonchalantly, feigning picking something off the tip of his tongue then appearing to flick it into Dagger’s face.

     Trueman was a little too cool for Dagger.

     ‘I told the Marines to spell it DAGGER.’  Dalton said still evading a direct answer in order to preserve his imagined superiority.

     Dewey looked at his driver closely, eyed his haircut, there was that of the Marines about Dagger.  Within a few weeks it would have disappeared completely but it was still there.

     ‘You don’t pronounce that Dagger?’  Dewey asked not trying to conceal his contempt.

     ‘I pronounce it Daggerze or any goddamn way I want.  I’ll pronounce it Smith if it pleases me.’

     ‘Oh yeah, probably have to.’  Dewey sneered.  ‘So tell me Daggerzzze.’  Dewey said insultingly, loathing the ignorance of the man.  ‘You’re going home on leave to Bay City?  That’s it?’

     Dewey was jousting for intellectual preeminence to counter Dagger’s physical superiority which he keenly felt.

     ‘No!  That’s not it!’ Dagger said in exaggerated tones.

     ‘What is it?  You’re not patrolling the highway to help errant sailors.  Are you?’

     Dalton had expected to instill trembling fear into Dewey who was after all slight and unprepossessing.    He didn’t like the parody and disrespect with which Trueman spoke to him.

     ‘I got me a dishonorable discharge from the Marines.’  Dalton said with as much pride as though he had engineered Grand Coulee Dam.

     This was a completely unexpected reply.  Dewey was flabbergasted.  A DD was cause for shame and regret in his mind.  He thought Dalton was using bravado to cover his himiliation.

     ‘A Dishonorable Discharge?  They don’t just give those things out for no reason.  What did you do?’

     Getting a DD was not the easiest thing to do as Ponzi’s case showed.  For the Navy to give up on a guy was a very serious matter.  There were all kinds of discharges before you got to the bottom rung of Dishonorable.

     ‘I stomped the hell out of my Sergeant.  Damn near killed him.  When they asked if I had remorse I said hell no I wasn’t sorry.  If I had the chance I’d do it again and finish the job.’

page 1697.

     ‘You stomped him?  Why?’  Dewey now took Dalton seriously.  He realized that he was in a car with a certified psycho.  ‘Put me on, Dagger.  You have to be crazy as hell to punch a Petty Officer.’

     ‘I didn’t punch him.  I beat the hell out of him.  Stomped the son-of-a-bitch after I knocked him down.  Broke his nose and jaw for him and he probably sported black eyes for a month.’  Dagger grinned with fierce pride.  ‘I would have killed him but they pulled me off.’

     Dewey involuntarily shrunk within himself.  He wasn’t sure that Dalton was telling the exact truth but if he was Dewey realized that he was in a car with a dangerous maniac who was, in effect, holding him prisoner.

     ‘Wow!  They must have sent you directly to the brig.  No passing GO there.’

     ‘Damn right they did.’  Dalton replied once again with a savage pride.  ‘Just got out.  That’s why I’m on my way back.  My old man thinks I finally made the grade.’

     ‘You sound like it’s a good thing to go to the brig.  I always thought the brig was a pretty rough place.’

     ‘Damn right it is.  You gotta be tough.  You gotta be a real man.  You wouldn’t last a minute.  Real men go to the brig rather than put up with the chicken shit crap they shovel at you.’

     ‘Guess I’m not a real man by your standards.’  Dewey laughed.

     ‘No, you’re not.’  Dalton said complacently.  ‘Not many guys are.  Hell, the Marines advertise they’re looking for a few good men but when they get ’em…’ He said jamming his thumb into his shirt to indicate himself.  ‘…they don’t know what to do with ’em.  So I showed ’em.  I’ll take brig time and a DD any day than follow rules from some stupid Sergeant that I can stomp to shit.’

page 1698

     ‘Yes, indeed!  Hallelujah!’  Dewey thought.  ‘There is something authentic in this guy’s manner.  This guy is a total whacked out psycho.’

     ‘I guess you’re lucky he didn’t die.’  Dewey said lethargically so as not to arouse Duelin’ Dalton.

     ‘How’s that?’  Dalton asked maliciously.

     ‘Well, I mean you would have murdered him.  They would have put you away for life.’

     ‘There ain’t a prison in the world that can hold Duelin’ Dalton Daggerze if he wants out.  You ain’t never killed a man?’  Dalton asked suddenly remembering that Yisraeli had said that Dewey had killed his son.

     ‘Who me?  Hell no, Dagger, why would I want to kill anybody?’

     There was something authentic in Dewey’s tone that gave Dalton pause.  He intuitively believed the sailor casting a pall of irresolution over his determination.

     ‘I have.’

     ‘You have?  You killed some one Dagger?  When was that?’

     ‘Couple weeks ago.’

     ‘Oh yeah?  Who and what for?’

page 1699

     ‘The brig guard.  He was a real asshole.  Always used to go around shocking me with this electric cattle prod.  Taught him though, didn’t I?’

     Dewey stared out the side window thoughtfully.  He remembered the story of the guy found in the surf in Tijuana.  He dimly remembered that something had been stuck up the guy’s rectum.  Dalton’s story could be true.  He reflected on how Kanary had talked him into hitchhiking.  He thought of a couple strange rides he’d gotten on his way to San Bernadino.  He thought of the guy who had picked him up in the desert as though he had been looking for him.  He remembered the very peculiar attitude of the stranger who had threatened him across Barstow; how Dalton had said ‘I know’ when Dewey said he was going to the Valley.  Dewey had seen the contretemps in the parking lot between Yisraeli and Dagger and now he thought he recognized Dagger as the aggressive one.  An aggressor who was now trying to keep Dewey prisoner in his car; kidnapping him in effect.

     Dewey couldn’t know about Yisraeli or about what was happening in the Field to threaten his well being.  He didn’t know that Dalton held a contract on his life.  All he could do was Respond to the Challenge he saw before him.  He thought he had better belittle Dalton a bit.

     ‘Yeah?  What did you do blindside him when he wasn’t looking?  Same as the Sergeant?’

     Dalton came unglued.  He seized the wheel convulsively looking menacingly at Dewey:  ‘Blind sided him?  Blind sided him?’  He shouted vehemently.  ‘Duelin’ Dalton Daggerze don’t never blind side nobody.  I stepped right out of ranks and popped that Sergeant.  I invited I.P. Rivers down to Tiajuana for a carouse after I got out to show him I had no hard feelings, drove him out in the flats and challenged that faggot to a fight and beat him fair and square.  I gave him a shock with the cattle prod where he wanted it most.  Blind sided him?’

page 1700.

     Dagger took his right hand off the wheel and shook his fist in Dewey’s face.  ‘You better take that back.’

     At the mention of the cattle prod Dewey clearly remembered the story of the sailor they found bumping up against the rocks in the surf with the cattle prod up his ass.  He couldn’t believe that the killer had picked him up but he felt the danger.

     ‘OK, OK, OK.  So if I’m wrong, I’m wrong but I’m not taking anything back.  So you’re a mean motor scooter.  Don’t pop a vein on me and run off the road.’

     ‘I’m a man not a coward,’  Duelin’ Dalton screamed.

     ‘No.  No.  Hell, no.  You’ve got to be a tough guy to kill somebody, Dagger.  No doubt about it.’  Dewey stared at Dalton in disbelief but showing no fear.  There was no longer any doubt in his mind that Dagger was telling the truth.  Now his mind dwelt on how Dagger had slammed down the lock.  His thoughts took a turn toward self-preservation.  In defiance of Dalton he flipped the post up.

     ‘You better not be thinking of getting out.’  Dalton shouted.

     ‘I seldom jump out or cars doing eighty miles an hour Dagger but if I want out you sure as hell aren’t going to stop me.  Give me land, lots of land:  Know what I mean?’  Dewey sneered.

page 1701

     They had been racing across the Mojave’s bleak sere landscape.  It was now late afternoon nearly forty-eight hours had passed and Dewey reflected that he hadn’t even yet cleared California.

      They now approached the Highway Patrol checkpoint at Needles.  At that time you had to be checked in and out of the Promised Land.  If you had fruits or vegetables coming in you had to surrender them to the HWP.  The notion was that California was light on bugs.  They didn’t want to let any new ones in.

     Going out they were checking for nuts, I pesume, and wanted to send them on their way.

     ‘Awright now, when we come to the this Highway Patrol station you better not try to get out and you better not try to signal to the cops.  I’m warning you.’  Dalton menaced.

     Dalton was projecting his designs on Dewey but Dewey was mystified by Dalton’s singular behavior.

     ‘Oh yeah.  I’m going to get out and start hitchhiking right in front of the cops.  I’ve got a ride but I’m going to get out and get arrested?  I’ll tell you what Dalton, just keep heading East at eighty per and I’m with you all the way.’

     Dewey was way behind time.  He wasn’t worried about Dalton because he knew beyond question that Dalton wouldn’t attack him awares.  Even though Dalton could have swept the desert with him he knew the man would not make a frontal assault.  Even though Dalton’s words gave the impression that he had designs on Dewey he had no idea Dalton was commissioned to kill him.

page 1702.

     Dalton gave the correct answers to the Highway Patrolman and they were excused form California.  They sped across the line into Arizona.  Dalton began to prepare Dewey for a demand for gas money.

     ‘Listen to the way this baby purrs.’

     ‘Yeah.  Sounds good, Dagger.  Real quiet.’

     ‘You don’t think this ’53 Olds came that way when I bought it do you?’

     ‘Don’t know.  Are you a mechanic?’

     ‘Damn right I am.  The best.  There ain’t nothing I can’t fix in a car.  Nothin’.’

     ‘Guess you take care of all the loose ends; nothin’ you don’t know?  You’re a magno expert no doubt.’

     ‘I am.  Oh sh…, look at that guage.’

     ‘Oh, you can read guages too?’

     ‘You bet, buddy.  This one tells me I’m going to have to stop for gas pretty quick.’

     ‘OK.  Go ahead, you’ve got my permission.’

     ‘I don’t gotta have your permission but I gotta have five for gas.  Give me five for your share.’

     ‘Give you five for my share of what?’

page 1703.

     ‘Five dollars for your share of gas, wise ass.’  Dalton said indignantly.

     ‘There’s something you probably failed to notice when you picked me up, Mastermind, I’m a hitchhiker.  I don’t have five dollars and I don’t share expenses.  If I wanted to pay I would be on a bus and I wouldn’t have to put up with you.  You had a chance to get rid of me back in Needles but you like my company so much you threatened me if I got out of the car.  If you’re tired of me I’ll get out at the gas station.  OK?’

     ‘You got to have money.  Two hundred dollars.  In know it; where is it?’

     Dewey was struck with Dalton’s reference to the two hundred dollars but he didn’t betray it.  The mystery of the last several hours just got deeper.

    ‘Two hundred dollars?  You think I would hitchhike with that much money with guys like you on the road?  Hell, I could fly if I had that much.  Sorry Dagger, no money, I’m broke.’

     ‘How are you going to eat?’

     ‘I’m not.  I thought I could get back in forty-eight hours so there wouldn’t have been any need to eat but it doesn’t look like I’m going to make it.  I’ll probably be half dead before I get back.’

     Dalton smiled, looked out the driver’s side and muttered half under his breath:  ‘You’re going to be all dead.’

     Dalton had been told that Dewey would have two hundred dollars and that it would be his.  He considered it already his.  In his mind Dewey had an obligation to him for the money.

page 1704.

     ‘Where you got it?  In your shoe?’  He said as he eased the Olds back on the highway.

     ‘Don’t got it anywhere.’

     Dalton looked at Dewey warily.  Maybe the guy wasn’t such a chump after all, he thought.  Dalton had all the arrogance of the criminal mind.  No matter how many times they lose they think they’re smarter than all other brains combined.

     Yisreali had told him Dewey would have the money.  Dalton never questioned how Yisraeli would know, which of course, Yisraeli actually didn’t.  He was only guessing.  Convinced that the money was there which, as it turns out it was, Dalton wanted to know where he had it.

     It is a peculiarity of thieves that they must see the object of their desires before they can actually go after it.  Thus if Dalton actually saw the money and where Dewey kept it his mind would have been at ease.  There would be no possibility he couldn’t find it when he wanted it.

      Dewey who was no man of the world and not in the least bit devious kept his money where any self-respecting man kept it, in his billfold on his hip.  But Dalton, who, while not a man of the world but very devious, imagined the money was sewn into the lining of Dewey’s coat, pinned in some inaccessible place or concealed in a money belt or a shoe.  For Dewey there was only one place his money could be; for Dalton dozens including a false bottom to Dewey’s duffel bag.  Dalton just didn’t know where to start looking.  Well, nobody said that just because thieving was dishonest it would be easy.

page 1705.

     As Dalton was devising phrasing less obvious than:  ‘Where’s the money?’ they arrived at a fork in the road.  As the inimitable Mr. Berra said:  ‘When you come to a fork in the road, take it.’  The boys fully intended to do that but there was the question of which tine to follow.  The signs on the highway indicated that if they went left they would reach the town of Flagstaff; Phoenix lay at the end of the right tine.

     As Dalton was planning Dewey’s murder which ever way they went he thought generously to offer him the choice of roads.

     ‘Which way do you want to go?  Phoenix or Flagstaff?’

     As much as a turn to the left distressed Dewey he had seen enough desert in the Mojave so that the prospect of hundreds of miles more was not very appetizing.  The very name of Flagstaff had so much romantic appeal for him that there was really no contest.

     In his youth he had written a story centered around his imagined concept of the town.  Later he had read a great story in one of the Western pulps of a guy stuck in a cabin in Flagstaff during a snowstorm of such magnitude that it made Noah’s flood look like an April shower.

     This guy had the misfortune to have to go potty during this twenty or thirty footer.  No indoor plumbing obviously but the guy had been brought up well.  Rather than let fly out the back door into the snowbank where his impropriety would have melted with the Spring thaw he felt obligated to trek out to the outhouse which miraculously had somehow not been buried beneath the drifts.

page 1706.

     Here’s the tough part of the story.  Although he could see through the driving snow well enough to find his way to the outhouse he somehow couldn’t find his way back to the cabin.  Perhaps his mission had been more urgent on the out trip than on the return.

     Overcome by God only knows what exhaustion, altitude sickness, whatever, he falls to the ground where he turns into a solid block of ice instantaneously.  When the snow did melt that Spring they found the poor sod with his head only inches from the threshhold.  There had been a heavy moral to the story but Dewey lost it in the welter of details.

     You know how it is, some inconsequential stories live on vividly in the memory.  Dewey wanted to see a legendary snowstorm.  This was the middle of December so he imagined or hoped that one was raging at this very moment.  Without hesitation he said:  ‘Flagstaff.’  and thereby for reasons irrelevant to his situation made the decision as will become clear that saved his life.

     ‘Do you believe in fate?’  Dalton asked portentously.

     Just at that moment the voice of Tex Ritter burst from the radio.  Tex had a voice that commanded attention so conversation was suspended for a moment.

Tex sang:

If the ocean was whisky

And I was a duck,

I’d dive to the bottom

And never come up.

But the ocean ain’t whiskey

And I ain’t a duck.

So I’ll play Jack O’ Diamonds

And trust to my luck.

page 1707

     ‘That’s what I believe.’  Dewey said pointing at the radio.

     ‘You’re a drinker?’  Dalton asked thickly for whom the conditional was an incomprehensible mystery.

     ‘Aw, Dalton.  I think you’re missing the philosophy of the thing.’

     ‘What’s that?’  The Mastermind asked stupidly.

     Dewey could see the man was hopeless; he decided to shine him on a little.  ‘Old Philosopher.  Good Bourbon label, don’t you think?’

     ‘Uh, no, I drink Jack Daniels, Black.’  Dalton replied proudly.  ‘There ain’t nobody doesn’t think JD ain’t the best bourbon.’

     ‘Oh yeah?  Well, Jack Daniels isn’t bourbon; it’s Tennessee Sour Mash sippin’ Whiskey.’

     ‘It’s bourbon.’

     ‘Doesn’t make that claim on the bottle.  Read it.’

     As they began the climb to Flagstaff night was coming on.  As they climbed and night fell it grew colder and colder.  Dalton turned on the heater.

     He continued to question Dewey about his money.  As the time came closer to the moment he had decided to act he became more proprietary toward his intended sacrifice.  Like many a murderer he thought his intended victim belonged to him.  He was foolish enough to let it show.

page 1708.

     Dewey had no notion that Dagger actually intended to murder him but it seemed clear that Dalton intended to rob him and leave him standing by the side of the road.  Dewey thought a show of force might be beneficial so he reached in his pocket to withdraw his pearl handled Japanese knife with the long thin blade.

     Dalton watched eagerly thinking Dewey was going to show him the money.  The pin on the blade was so worn that in one motion Dewey withdrew the knife and flipped it open like a switchblade.

     Dalton thought it was one.  He developed a pensive brow.  He didn’t like it but he saw it merely as an obstacle requiring greater caution.

     A sign on the highway pointed to Flagstaff.

     ‘Oh darn.’  Dewey said.  ‘I hoped we would go through Flagstaff.  I wanted to see it.  I guess it’s off the highway.’  Then he said something incomprehensible to Dalton.  ‘Shucks, there isn’t even any snow on the ground.’

     Dagger decided it was time to act.

     Now, if you believed Dalton back there in the Mojave when he said he fought the Sergeant and Rivers fair and square you were just as gullible as the rest.  Dalton was as fond of the bushwhack as any American male.  He had blindsided the Sergeant and bopped Rivers over the head from behind.  He didn’t intend to give Dewey a chance either.

     ‘Oh, I’m so tired.’  Dalton said stifling a false yawn.

page 1709.

     ‘What say we pull off on a side road and get some sleep.’

     So long as they were heading East at eighty per Dewey was content fo humor Dalton complacently so that Dalton thought Dewey was a very placid harmless sort of guy.  At his suggestion of stopping it was Dewey’s turn to fly into a rage.

     ‘Oh no you don’t.  Are you crazy, Dagger?  What the hell are you talking about, pull over?  I’m already fifty-eight hours on the road.’  He said bitterly thinking of Teal Kanary.  ‘I’m not going to stop.  You leave the road and you let me out here or, by god, you’ll learn the reason why.’

     Dalton was startled by the outburst, even intimidated.

     ‘I’m getting too tired to drive.’  He whined.

     ‘Then pull over and let me behind the wheel.  I’ll drive and you can get in the back to sleep.’

     ‘You don’t have a license.’

    ‘Since when does a guy like you worry about laws, eh, killer?  You don’t need a license to drive, old desperado, you only need a license to show a cop.  I haven’t seen a cop since the Needles.

     ‘I’m not going to let you drive my car.’

     ‘Then shut up, keep driving and turn on the heater, it’s cold in here.’  Dewey said flipping out his knife for emphasis.

     ‘The heater is on.’  Dalton whined who, they both realized, had been shivering in his short sleeve canned pea green shirt for some time.

     ‘Then why is it so cold?’  Dewey asked drawing his coat about him.

page 1710

     ‘I don’t know.’  The master mechanic wondered.

     ‘Oh, hey, wow, look at that.’  Dewey said noticing an elevation sign.  ‘We’re at seven thousand feet.  I didn’t know Flagstaff was up that high.’

     ‘Oh my god.’  Dalton gasped as he realized why there was no heat.

     ‘Oh my god, what?’  Dewey replied nonchalantly.

     ‘Oh Jesus.’ 

     ‘Oh my god, oh Jesus what?  Come on, if you’re cold get a jacket out of your trunk and let’s keep going.’

    ‘My car’s froze up.’

     ‘What do you mean your car’s froze up?  What does that mean?  How could that be?’

     ‘Damn you.  You wanted to come this way.  it’s all your fault.  If we’d gone by way of Phoenix this wouldn’t have happened.  At seven thousand feet it’s probably zero outside.’

     ‘So what?’

     ‘My radiator froze.  That’s why there’s no heat.’

     ‘How could that be Dagger?’   It’s not so cold that anti-freeze freezes.’

     ‘I don’t have any anti-freeze.’  Dalton said sheepishly.

     ‘Dewey was flabbergasted.  ‘No anti-freeze?  Why not?’

     ‘It wasn’t cold in LA.  I didn’t need it.’

     Dewey sat back.  He knew it was too good to be true.  What a miracle it had seemed to get a ride straight through.  He now saw himself back out on the highway.

page 1711.

     ‘Hey Dalton.’  He said with false warmth in his voice.  ‘Let me get this straight.  Number one, you’re a master mechanic who knows everything there is to know about a car.  Number two, you’re from Bay City, you grew up there, you know it’s colder than an ice cube at the North Pole and you tell me that because it’s warm in LA, even though you’re going to Bay City in December that you don’t put anti-freeze in your car?’

     ‘Oh man, I was trying to save money.’

     ‘Boy, you’re a lot more stupid than I thought.  So what’s going to happen?  Is the car going to stop running?’

     ‘No.  It’ll be OK until it warms up and melts, then the radiator and probably my block will burst and it will overheat.  Then we’ll stall.’

     ‘My advice  then is to turn North.  Keep it frozen and we’ll be alright.’  Dewey said facetiously and maliciously.

     ‘Don’t be facetious.’  Dalton said.

     ‘Oho, don’t be facetious.  The desperado, Duelin’ Dalton Dagger knows a polysyllabic big word.’

     Dalton, now that he realized there was no possibility of heat realized he was very cold.  He also didn’t want to murder Dewey in this circumstance.  He might be stuck out there alone.  Dewey’s desire to see Flagstaff had saved his life.  Thanks to a story in a pulp magazine read seven years before he was still alive.

     ‘God, I’m cold.  Let me have your coat to wear.’

     ‘Why would I do that?  Then I’d be cold-er.’

     ‘You’ve got that wool shirt.’  Dalton said referring to Dewey’s middie.

page 1712.

     ‘Well, Dagger, just stop and get a jacket out of the trunk.’

     ‘I don’t have a jacket in the trunk.  I don’t have anything in the trunk.  This shirt is all I’ve got.’

     ‘What?  You’re going to Michigan in the dead of winter and all you’ve got to wear is that short sleaved pea green shirt with the frill on the sleeve?  It’s even a terrible color.  I wouldn’t have mentioned it otherwise.’  Dewey said in disbelief.

     ‘Yes.  I thought the heater would keep me warm.’

     ‘Without anti-freeze?  OK.  Given your intelligence or lack thereof, I guess I can accept that.’

     ‘You going to let me wear your coat?’

     ‘Hell no, Dagger, you’ll have to freeze.’

     Dalton stared glumly ahead as he drove shiveringly through the night.  Fortunately the radiator freezing didn’t affect the radio so as they rolled down the mountain in the black starlit night the voice of Hank Snow warmed the atmosphere if not the temperature as he sang with seeming sardonic intent:

The Last Ride.

In the Dodge City yards of the Santa Fe

Stood a freight made up for the East.

And the Engineer with his oil and waste

Was grooming his great iron beast.

While ten cars back in the murky dusk

A boxcar door swung wide.

And a hobo lifted his pal aboard

To start on his last ride.

A lantern swung and the freight pulled out

The Engineer gathered speed.

The Engineer pulled his throttle out

And clucked to his fiery steed.

Tens cars back in the empty box

The hobo rolled a pill.

The flare of the match

Showed his partner’s face

Stark white and deathly still.

As the train wheels clicked 

Over the coupling joints,

A song for a Rambler’s ear,

The hobo talked to the still white form

His pal for many a year.

(Spoken)

For a mighty long time we rambled Jack

With the luck of men that roam,

With the back door stoop for a dining room

And a boxcar for a home.

We dodged the bulls on the Eastern route

And the cops on the Chesapeake.

We traveled the Leadville narrow gauge

In the days of Cripple Creek.

We drifted down through Sunny Cal

On the rails of the old SP,

Of all that you had through good and bad

a half always belonged to me.

You made me promise Jack,

That if I lived and you cashed in,

To take you back to the old churchyard

And bury you there with your kin.

You seemed to know I would keep my word,

For you said that I was white.

Well, I’m keepin’ my promise to you Jack,

‘Cause I’m takin’ you there tonight.

I didn’t have the money to send you there

So I’m takin’ you back on the fly.

It’s a decent way for a ‘bo to go

Home to the bye and bye.

I knew that fever had you Jack,

But that doctor just wouldn’t come.

He was too busy treatin’ the wealthy folks

To doctor a worn out bum.

(Sung)

As the train rode over the ribbons of steel

Straight to the East it sped.

The Engineer in his high capped seat

Kept his eyes on the rails ahead.

While ten cars back in the empty box

The lonely hobo sighed.

For the days of old

And his pal so cold

Who was taking his long Last Ride.

page 1715.

     Dewey had been listening with concentration so he didn’t hear Dalton when at the line ‘Takin’ you back to the old churchyard’ Dagger turned to the window to mutter ‘except you ain’t goin’ to see no churchyard.’

     ‘Boy, don’t you think that’s great.’  Dewey said in wonder.

     ‘What’s so great about it?’  Said the dull witted uncomprehending sluggard.

     ‘Well, I mean, there’s the romance of it.  All those fantastic references to the Leadville narrow gauge in the days of Cripple Creek…’

     ‘What’s a Leadville narrow gage doin’ in a Cripple Creek?’  Dalton asked suspiciously fearful Dewey might know something he didn’t.

     Dalton was on pretty safe ground because although Dewey knew what a narrow gauge railway was and he knew Leadville was in Colorado the rest was pretty well encompassed by romance.  It sounded sensational to him.  He ignored Dalton’s question.

     ‘…well, you know, what I mean is it’s the romance of the rails.  Besides Hank Snow can get more words into a three minute song than anyone I know.  The guy who wrote that song is easily as good as Robert Service or Thayer.  I mean, that’s just a nice verse story.’

     ‘Shut up.’  Dalton said unceremoniously.

     Little did Dewey know he was rolling down the great divide between the old America and the new.  The railroad song was already a thing of the past; next up were truckin’ songs about the great Interstates.

     And so the driver with the man in the passenger’s seat pierced the night with their bright head lights while they bid the coast goodbye without a sigh to head for the old Northwest.  They sped on down the mountainside to a destiny on the other side.

     The faint flimmer of pre-dawn light rose to reveal a desert covered with sage brush.  As the light increased the ribbon of highway called 66 was visible as a narrow line far below.  As rosy fingered dawn revealed the earth in all its glory far in the distance perhaps a hundred miles away, or maybe more, the city of Albuquerque was revealed against the opposing mountain range.

     ‘Must be in New Mexico.’  Dewey said in awe just to pronounce the sacred name of a State.

     ‘Must be.’  Dalton said between clenched shivering teeth although the temperature had risen significantly with the desert and the dawn.

     They rolled on down to rejoin Highway 66.

     Dalton had developed a cold throbbing hatred for Dewey over the last six frigid hours.  While Dalton was still throwing off the chills in his canned pea green short sleeved shirt with the frilly cuff Dewey had been comfortable  for hours in his rain coat.

     As Dalton warmed so did his engine.  The needle of his heat gauge rising inexorably toward the red.  Dalton lamented the impending loss of his car but worse still he deeply lamented his failure to put anti-freeze in the radiator which allowed Dewey to justly call him stupid.  He felt stupid.  He hated Dewey even more because he knew he was stupid.  But as with all people who are foiled in their hopes by an able opponent he felt grudging admiration for Trueman.  Dalton felt that it was a shame he had to die.

page 1717.

     Dalton glimmered that his best opportunity had passed up on the mountain.  He hoped his car might not be so damaged that it couldn’t be repaired for not too many dollars.  If that came about then, he thought, it would be a matter of who could stay awake the longest.

     As the sun levitated up the sky the bitter cold of night left Dalton’s limbs.  Dalton bitterly resented that Dewey hadn’t lent him his coat.  Dewey couldn’t believe that anyone going to Michigan in the winter wouldn’t have the foresight to provide himself with the proper gear.  Dewey substituted the word ‘foresight’ for ‘stupid’ and used it with enough emphasis to irritate Dalton.

     Dalton redoubled his efforts to discover where Dewey had concealed his cash.

     Entering Albuquerque he devised a ploy.  He needed gas but he knew Dewey wouldn’t give him money for that.  A little grocery store sat across the street from the gas station he selected.

     ‘I’m hungry.  While they’re gassing me up let’s go over to that grocery store to get something to eat.’

     ‘Go ahead.  Get something for me.’

     ‘OK.  Give me the money.’

page 1718.

     ‘I don’t have any money.  I just thought it would be a nice gesture if you bought something for me.  Kind of show your appreciation for my pleasant company, you know what I mean,  after all we’ve been through together and all that.  I’d think you were an OK guy.  That’s worth something isn’t it?’

     ‘Not that much and I’m not that OK.  Go hungry.’

     Dalton crossed to the grocery store.  As he did Dewey stepped to the side of the highway to put his thumb out.  Futile gesture as there was no morning traffic.

     Dalton emeged from the store to become enraged.  He saw his two hundred dollars trying to escape.

     ‘Hey Trueman, get your ass back in the car.’  Dalton shouted sternly to the astonishment of various loungers and attendants.

     ‘Listen Dagger, your car’s finished.  I’m catching another ride.

     ‘Oh no you’re not.’  Dalton said shifting his food to his left hand and doubling up his right threateningly.  ‘Get back in the car.’

     ‘Even you aren’t stupid enough to get in a fight in a strange town.  Or are you Dagger?  Cops’ll put you right back in the jug you stupid jarhead; only a psycho would answer an ad for a few good men.  That you got sent to the brig doesn’t mean that you’re a better man it means that you’re even more stupid and psycho than the rest.  Dig it!’

     Dalton was hurt.  Strangely instead of getting angry he broke out in a little pout thrusting his lower lip out and bringing his eyebrows down over his eyes.

page 1719.

     Seeing Dewey’s contempt it began to dawn on him that the hothouse atmosphere begun in Barstow the previous day had evaporated.  He didn’t want to admit that he had lost the opportunity but he realized that conditions had changed.

     ‘My car still runs good.  We’ll get there.  Come on.  Hop in.  It’s OK.’

     ‘Well, there’s water dripping out under there.  You’ll probably overheat and die on the highway.’

     ‘No, I won’t.  It’s OK.  Honest.  Come on.’

     Acting on the premise that a sure ride is better than a potential ride Dewey got back in the car.

     Surprisingly the damage to the car wasn’t that bad, which is to say, it was a slow leak rather than a rapid drain.  Dalton kept it at eighty per through Tucumcari and into the Panhandle of Texas.  As the day warmed up out on the Texas plains the car slowly pegged in the red.

     By the time they reached Amarillo Dalton had slowed to fifty for the last seventy miles or so.  Even then the engine wasn’t that hot; there was no blast of heat coming through the fire wall.  The car could be repaired very cheaply.

     As they passed through Amarillo Dalton became increasingly concerned.  Tired of and Dalton and his incessant clamoring to know where his money was Trueman informed the ex-Marine that if he couldn’t do eighty he was getting out.

     Thinking of Trueman only as an additional twenty-five hundred Dalton didn’t know which to lament more the loss of his car or Trueman’s price.

1720. 

     Just on the East side of Amarillo a combination auto repair and junkyard appeared on the North side of the road.

    ‘Better pull in there Dagger.  Once we’re out of Amarillo there won’t be any better places.’

     Incoherent with despair Dalton pulled in.

     The Olds was a very good looking car for a ’53.  The body was sound.  The engine was great.  Dalton had an excellent choice is a used car.  Actually the only think wrong with it was a couple seals had burst.  The mechanic’s eyes lit up as Dalton bounced steaming unto their lot.  They gave him two choices; overpay or leave the car.

     Like all men who work cars for a living they pretended that they didn’t know what was wrong with the car.  Could be next to nothing could be the engine.

     ‘It’s the radiator.’  Dalton said with assurance.  ‘I know all about cars; more than you guys do.  How much for a used one?’

     ‘Hmm.  ’53 Olds.  We don’t have a junker on the lot just now.  We’d have to check around for a rebuilt one.  Hmm.  Might take a couple days to find one.’

     ‘Couple days!;  Dewey cried, slapping Dalton on the shoulder of his pea green shirt.  ‘I’m in a hurry.  Thanks for the lift Dalton.  So long.’

     Dewey crossed the highway with a sense of relief to put his thumb out.

    ‘Hey…hey…you…can’t…come back.  You can’t do that.’

     Dewey was worth twenty-five hundred to Dalton while the war was only worth a couple hundred so he quickly opted for Trueman.

page 1721.

     ‘What are you doing, trying to get away?  You listen to me.’

     While Dewey had always suspected his danger he now realized the extent of that danger.

     ‘Trying to get away?  What the hell are you talking about Dagger?  Your car’s dead and I’m not waiting two days to fix it.  Screw you.’

     ‘Yeah?  Well, listen Trueman, we’re together.  From here on we’re hitchin’ together.’

     ‘What? Are you crazy Dagger?  Nobody’s going to give two guys a ride.  I’m not going to spend weeks out here just because your car broke down.  Didn’t even break down.  You’re so stupid you didn’t put anti-freeze in it because it was warm in L.A.’

     Dalton knew Dewey had a good argument; no one would pick both of them up.  He tried a last expedient.

     ‘Well, OK. Now listen, I’m going to tell you what you’re going to do.  You’ve got your uniform on so it’s going to be a lot easier for you to get a ride than me.  So, I’m going up ahead of you by a couple hundred feet and when anybody stops to pick you up if you don’t tell them to pick me up too when I get to the Valley I’m going to look you up and kill you.’

     Dewey did believe Duelin’ Dalton Dagger.  He was convinced that Dalton would try to kill him but he mistakenly believed Dalton would never be able to find him.  His mother had divorced and remarried so that even if Dalton knew his name he didn’t know his mother’s.  By that time Dewey thought Dagger was really psycho and might a way anyway.

page 1722.

     ‘Oh yeah, sure Dagger, no problem.’  Dewey promised as Duelin’ Dalton Dagger took up a position up road.  He stood there glaring menacingly at Trueman poised to run after him should the sailor try to run the other way.

     No sooner had they taken up position than a ’48 Hudson pulled over to pick Dewey up.

     Dewey wasn’t worried that Dalton would find him in the Valley but there was many a mile yet between him and his destination.  It was entirely possible Dewey surmised that Dalton might overtake him further up the road.

     This presented a danger for while Dewey had the foresight to realize the consequences of his actions Dalton didn’t.  Therefore, Dewey reasoned, if Dalton overtook him and Dewey wouldn’t cooperate the idiot was liable to start a fight and maybe get them both arrested.  He thought it expedient to attempt to appease Dalton.

     As he got in the back seat of the Hudson he was relieved to find most of the seat was already taken up by boxes of various description.  The two guys in front were so big there was no room for the ex-Marine.

     ‘Say, could you do me a favor and let the guy up there know there isn’t room for him?’

     ‘We’re not going to stop.’

     ‘I know.  Just shrug your shoulders and hold up your hands helplessly or something so he’ll know I tried.

page 1723.

     Killers On The Highway

     Dewey settled back in his seat and began to take note of himself.  He began to examine what now appeared to be a pile of junk beside him while the passenger reached his left hand over the seat clutched like he was picking up an old rag:  ‘I’m sorry we couldn’t pick up your friend but we’re moving and there’s only room for one.’

     ‘Thanks for stopping.  That guy wasn’t any friend of mine.  His car burnt out.  If you can believe it he’s going to Michingan and didn’t put anti-freeze in his car because it was warm in L.A.  Car froze up in Flagstaff last night.  Threatened to kill me if I didn’t ask you to stop.’

     ‘Kill you?  My, that’s violent.  Do you think he would have?’

     ‘I think he’d try.  Wouldn’t get very far with me though.  How far are you going?

page 1724.

     ‘We may take you as far as Tulsa.’

     ‘Oh great.’  Dewey said having no inkling of how many miles that was.

     ‘Yes.’  Said the man in the passenger seat whose name was Daryl.  ‘But.’  Daryl added significantly.  ‘We’re going to leave the highway here soon and take an alternate route.  We will drop you off here if you like or you can ride with us on the side road.’

     Dewey heaved a sigh at this sinister note.  His intuition told him to get out.  They had put him in the back seat which might have meant only that they thought three in the front seat of the huge Hudson might be crowded or it could be meant as a sign of disrespect.

     Daryl had shaken hands with his left which in common parlance meant ‘left hand to a nigger or inferior.’  Now they were to take a less traveled road giving him the option to extricate himself or by staying giving permission to do with him as they liked.  Dewey had hitched enough to read signs either on or off the highway.  There was danger with the homos before and danger behind him in the person of Dalton Dagger.

     If he got out of the car on 66 there was the real risk that Dalton might overtake him in a matter of minutes.

     ‘Christ.’  Dewey thought.  ‘Dagger would give up his ride just to get me.’

     Dalton had threatened to kill him while these guys hadn’t although as a pair of queens, big strong ones at that, anything was possible.

page 1725.

     ‘Well, you’re still going to Tulsa?  I mean, you know, the road…’

     ‘Oh yes, the road we’ll drive crosses 66 in Tulsa.’

     ‘Well, OK.  I’ll ride along with you.

     It will be noticed that Daryl didn’t ask Dewey how far he was going.  That was because he thought he knew how far Dewey was going and that was one hundred miles short of Tulsa.

     Highway 66 was a not very wide two laner before the Interstate and the new road was narrower and rougher than that.  As Darrel, the driver, eased the car North of the highway into this cowpath Dewey had misgivings.  He didn’t know it but by not getting out he had given the Darrels permission to kill him.  In their mind they had given Dewey his chance to live or die.  They were fair men.  Since he hadn’t gotten out he had consented to acquiesce in the homos’ plan.

     As it was Dewey was completely disoriented.  He had been up so long that, while the nervous tension of the journey prevented his being drowsy, his reactions were somewhat impaired.  In addition the novelty of his surroundings completely threw him.  He had lost a sense of time and place.  He knew it was daytime because the sun was shining but that was all.

     He was unaware that he had been given a princely lift but it was about four hundred miles from Amarillo to Tulsa which is not a ride to sniff at.  Dewey had a good map of the United States in his head.  He knew where Tulsa was in relation to Chicago and back to L.A. but he had no real notion of mileages.

page 1726.

     He hadn’t even looked at a map before he left San Diego so he had little idea of the physical realities of distances between cities.  He had known where California was and he knew where Michigan was so he just put his thumb out.  In a lot of ways Dewey was a boy wonder.

     Looking again at the pile of junk beside him he noticed that there were some things piled on top a large box that was covered with a black cloth.  He rapped the box with his knuckles; it seemed to be made of wood and empty.

    ‘Hmmm, the box is empty.’  He mused apprehensively to himself.  Why would anyone who was moving transport an empty box?’

     Recalling him from his reverie Daryl said:  ‘You’re real lucky to get a ride in Oklahoma.  You will have a real difficult time East of Tulsa.’

     ‘Oh yeah?  How’s that?’

     ‘Just a few days ago a family- mother, father, brother and sister- picked up a hitchhiker.  I guess they liked him because they took him home, fed him and everything.  What do you think he did?’

     ‘I don’t know.  Passed gas?’  Dewey snickered in a feeble attempt at humor.

     ‘No, silly.’  Daryl laughed slapping the air at him.  ‘He murdered the whole family and threw them down a well.’

page 1727.

     ‘Oh wow!’  Dewey said disbelievingly.  ‘Did they catch him?’ 

     ‘I don’t think they have yet.  He’s still a killer on the loose.’  Daryl said rolling the phrase on his tongue as though to make its flavor last.

     ‘Likely story.’  Thought Dewey.  ‘Just my luck to be passing through at this time.’

     ‘Well, I’m not going to kill anyone kind enough to give me a ride.’  Dewey said thinking to reassure them in case they were worried.

     ‘No.  I should think not.’  Daryl continued.  ‘But it isn’t only people that pick up hitchhikers that get killed.  Lots of hitchhikers get killed too.’  Daryl turned a flabby cheek toward Dewey over the back of the seat and looked at him signficantly.

     There was that hint of violence again.  All the details were pointing to something sinister.

     ‘Gosh, what is this?’  thought Dewey.  ‘Why is my life constantly hopping out of the frying pan into the fire?’

     He began to study the two Ds more attentively.

     He was in a precarious situation at the same time more or less dangerous than his situation with Dalton Dagger.  In point of fact the Darrels cruised this stretch of highway from Amarillo to Tulsa picking up hitchhikers who were subsequently never heard from again.

     They had explained the pile of junk beside Dewey as belongings they were transferring to a new address.  Thinking they were pitiful small belongings for two such large men Dewey had said noting but he was still wondering why they were transporting an empty box.

page 1728.

     Dewey had been right in his surmise that they were two old queens.  The men were deeply psychically injured.  As Homosexuals it was almost a miracle they had found each other because both had been injured in exactly the same way at exactly the same age and both had reacted in exactly the same way even to physical type.  They were like Tweedledee and Tweedledum except their names were spelled Daryl and Darrel.

     Both were large men; six foot three, husky running to fat and very strong.  They had huge arms; they could bend an iron bar.  Their prissy manner contrasted with their apprearances.  Their affectation of the feminine was grotesque in their persons.  They might have passed as twins but they had only gone to the same school in different places.

     Both had been sexually abused by their fathers while still in their cribs.  They had been only sixteen months old.  There was no possibility that they had a conscious memory of it but they had subconsciously processed the information and as they grew their subconsciouses had directed them in the same way.

     They keenly felt their violations as a breach of trust.  Thus they had cruised the highway of a weekend for the last two years looking for hitchhikers who would be grateful and trusting.

     When they found the right person they would activate the central childhood fixation of their violation.  Both men possessed two distinct minds.  A very powerful subconscious and a feeble conscious mind.  When they murdered the subconscious mind was in control.  Unlike Richard Speck who was aware but unconcerned at what he was doing the Darrels had no conscious memory of their crimes.  You could have questioned them to doomsday on a conscious level and they would truthfully have denied any knowledge of the murders.

page 1729.

     But, if you had known the symbols n which their subconscious minds dealt with their activities there is no chance that they wouldn’t have told you all in symbolical language.  After all, subconsciously they did not know they were doing wrong.  They were only doing symbolically to others what had been done to them.  For if they had had their trust betrayed in an identical manner and no one had been punished for wrongdoing why should they?  And there is a symbolic death and even an actual psychological death or murder in the violation of one male by another.  After one’s symbolic murder the whole of one’s life becomes an extended effort to ressurect oneself at the expense of others.  Not only others but preferably innocent others just as one’s self had been innocent.

      The most brilliant literary evocation of the homosexual dilemma is in the final scene  of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick.

     In that scene which takes place on the great wide bosom of the ocean, or feminine symbol of the unconscious Capt. Ahab has confronted the great white whale of homosexuality and lost.  Now, Moby Dick is a story of a man’s or, several different men’s, struggle with their homosexuality which takes place on many levels.  Ahab himself has lost a leg, a substitute for his penis, to the great white penis, Moby Dick, which is a symbol of the cause of his homosexuality.

page 1730.

Next

 

A Novel

Our Lady Of The Blues

Vol. VII, Part 8

The Heart Of The Matter

by

R.E. Prindle

   

     The formerly complacent mien of the First Class Bos’n’s Mate took on a troubled air.  He walked around the ship with knitted brow.

     And then he caved in to his desires.  If he would never bunk in the Chief’s quarters he could at least create a Petty Officer’s section in First.  The other Petty Officers were enthusiastic for the idea so they decided to requisition the port tiers of bunks for themselves.

     Pardon called Trueman out of muster: ‘You come along too, Frenchey.’

     Both men stepped out of ranks to follow Pardon.  Trueman was somewhat surprised because he was usually told where to go over the side and dismissed.

     Pardon had dissimulated his longings for far too long.  In his own mind he had always considered Trueman as his man just as Dieter had his favorites.  He now meant to set up his own little establishment with Trueman as his man.  He was going to train Trueman in the fine art of overseeing.

     In all his previous work parties Trueman had insisted on equality.  No one had ever overseen him nor had he overseen anybody.  The work load was shared.  He had accepted criticism only from the Petty Officers and that of Castrato only resentfully.

     Dieter had trained several of his favorites in the art of overseeing.  The overseer has the job of supervising the work making sure paint lines are staight and paint is scaled and applied accurately.  He does not participate but stands around observing.  An observer is necessary but the act was not part of Trueman’s psychology.

page 1631.

     ‘OK, you two follow me below into the Deck compartment.’

     Dewey stepped in behind Pardon.  Frenchey made no effort to move.  Always of a sullen mood the attempt on his and Trueman’s lives on the smokestack had made him even more reluctant to participate in shipboard life.

     Dewey went back and took Frenchey by the arm to lead him below.

     ‘Zees ees no going to be, oh, how you say eet in Eenglish, hard, ees eet, Dewey?’

     By that Frenchey meant was this going to be another attempt on his life.  Trueman didn’t comprehend the meaning.

     ‘This is the deck force, Frenchey, no rocket scientists allowed.  Nothing can be too hard.  For Chrissakes this is the Navy; they break everything down so everything can be done by the lowest intelligence.  Everything in the Navy is, Frenchey.  Then they print manuals that explain everything so that even if you didn’t have anyone to tell you what to do you wouldn’t have to make decisions, difficult or easy.  Come on La Frenniere loosen up, we just have to get along in this asshole environment for a few more months.  We’re both under a year.

 

     ‘Mon nom est Frenchey, Meeshur.’

     Trueman was growing weary of that game too.

     ‘So it is, Frenchey, so it is.  My apologies.’

page 1632.

      ‘OK, Trueman, this job is important, take as long as you need to get it right.  Can you do it?’

     ‘Oh, come on, Pardon, of course I can do it right.  But…’  He stepped closer and whispered in Pardon’s ear.  ‘…why don’t you take Frenchey and give him something else:  Come on, don’t make this harder for me than it has to be.’

     Pardon igorned Trueman.  “OK, Trueman, you’re in charge of the work detail.  Frenchey you take orders from Trueman, OK?’

     ‘Oui, Meeshur.’

     ‘Uh, Pardon, I usually work with someone as a team.  No one’s in charge.’

     ‘Things have changed.  You’re in charge on this job.  I want you to oversee.’

     Trueman groaned inwardly but for once was wise enough not to argue.

     They were standing in the new Petty Officer’s quarters on the port side.  The Seamen had been relocated to make room for the Petty Officers.

     ‘This is a pretty simple task and I’m counting on you to do it right Trueman.  I got the best man for the job.’  Pardon’s humor was unintentional but Trueman smiled anyway.

     ‘Oh yeah.  Thanks, Pardon.’

     ‘You see these footlockers?  I want you to paint numbers on them one throught twenty-six.’

     ‘What for?  You guys can’t find your footlockers without numbers?  Nobody else has numbers.  You see, there’s three of these under each tier of bunks.  Top bunk get this one on the left, middle-middle, lower, right.  No disrespect intended to a man of your seniority Pardon but that’s how it’s been done.’

page 1633

     ‘I see you’ve grasped the general principle brilliantly as usual Trueman but I want them numbered, OK?  You’ve got the principle down now work on following orders.’

     ‘A good sailor can geet keeled following zee orders, Meeshur.’  Frenchey put in sullenly.

     Pardon ignored Frenchey while Trueman rolled his eyes.

     ‘Well OK, you want numbers you get numbers.  Who’s got the supplies?’

     ‘Everything is ready for your use, Trueman.  Number stencils.’  Pardon said placing his finger on them.  ‘Paint.’  He held up two little cans of cream colored paint.  ‘And brushes.  Now, Trueman explain how you’re going to do this so I know you understand.,’

     This detail may sound ridiculous but in the Navy one assumes nothing and even then you’ll be wrong.  If there is a way to mess it up, and there always is, it will be messed up.

     ‘Well.’  Said Trueman.  ‘First tell me where number one goes and where I’m supposed to end up.’

     ‘Nice eye for detail.  Alright.  This is number one.’  Pardon said placing his hand on a locker.  ‘And you end up opposite.  Down this side and up the other.’

     ‘OK.  Up this row to the hatch we cross over and come back here.’

     ‘Right.’

     ‘OK.  So these locker lids are each twenty-six inches wide.  So I put the single digit numbers exactly in the middle so the numbers are centered right?  Double digits one number on each side of center.  You don’t want them on the left or right corners?’

page 1634.

     ‘Excellent, Trueman, excellent.’

     ‘Uh huh.  So far I’m doing all your work for you, Pardon.  You’re supposed to be giving me the instructions.  And how far back from the edge do you want this?’

     ‘One inch.’

     ‘OK.  If I have any questions I’ll call you Pardon.’

     ‘I know i’ve put the job in the right hands.  Fall to, Trueman.’

     ‘Right, Pardon.’

     As Pardon walked away Frenchey said sullenly.  ‘I do not like thees, Meeshur Dewey.’

     ‘What do you mean?’

     ‘I do not see why these Monsewer Petty Officers have to have a separate location.’

     ‘I know what you mean, Frenchey.  I don’t like it either.  It seems like they’re really trying to create a class structure.  The idea of Third Classes lording it over Seamen really makes me angry.  Everyone has always been equal while this arrangement makes them think they’re superior to us but we’ve put in our objections now there’s nothing we can do about it.’

     ‘Oui, Meeshur.’  Frenchey said with profound seriousness.  ‘But I am Sailor.  I am not servant.  Cleaning ze toilays ees for others.  Eef they wan’ to have numbers on their lockers then that ees their personal preference.  No one else having ze numbers.  They can do eet themselves.  I do not clean zee toilays and I do not paint zee numbers.  We do not have to do thees personal service.’

page 1636.

     ‘I understand your point, but I don’t know how we’re going to get out of it, Frenchey.’

     ‘I weel appeal to zee Capitaine.’

     ‘I’m not sure he would listen to you on this one, Frenchey.  I agree it’s a personal service but I’m not sure that would matter to anyone else.’

     ‘Eet ees clearly so.’

     ‘To us, Frenchey, but I don’t think it’s so clear cut that the rules wouldn’t be interpreted against us.  You know they want to hang us and you know they won’t stop at murder.  Right or wrong I think they would nail us hard if we refused.’

     ‘Well, we don’ hav’ to do eet well.’

     ‘C’mon man, I always do my work right.’  Trueman said eyeing Frenchey with apprehension.  Deep resentment flowed from Frenchey’s eyes.  His justified sense of injury and wrong was dangerously near the surface.  Trueman decided to be cautious.

     ‘Here, you mix up this can of paint, Frenchey, I’ll be right back.’

     Trueman went off to find a pencil.  When he returned Frenchey was still standing with the paint can in his hand.

     ‘You go ahead and mix that up.’  Trueman said as he walked over to locker number one.  Frenchey sullenly popped the lid, stirring the paint slowly.  Trueman carefully numbered each locker in pencil.  Then he checked each one counting off the numbers.  He wanted no mistakes.

page 1636

     Frenchey had stirred the paint and set the can down.  He was going to insist on being told each move.  Trueman heaved a sigh as he realized that Frenchey was going to sabotage the job even if his best friend was sabotaged along with it.

     ‘OK, Frenchey, now measure the locker and put his number one exactly in the middle.  See.  I put each number in pencil so you can’t make a mistake.’

     ‘Thees is too deeficult for a mere Deck Ape, Meeshur Dewey.’

     ‘Uh, why don’t you go find Pardon and tell him the job is too complicated for you.  Maybe he’ll relieve you.’

     Frenchey went in search of Pardon.  An hour or so later he was back fuming and muttering to himself.

     ‘Well?’

    ‘He say I am to shut up and do as I am told.’

      Trueman looked at Frenchey closely.   The man was walking the edge.  His sense of the injustice of his treatment aboard ship was reaching the breaking point.  Trueman had no idea what to do.  He just said:  ‘Here Frenchey, I’ll show you how.’

     Frenchey knew very well how.  He could have done the job standing on his head but he wasn’t going to do it.

     Dewey demonstrated the method to Frenchey who stood with clenched lips quivering with rage.  The job was too much like a personal insult for his sensibilities.  He thought that if Petty Officers wanted numbers they could paint them themselves.  He was a sailor not a servant.  He had his point.  He remembered only too well having had to clean the head.  Perhaps Castrato and Ratman had prevailed on Pardon to have Trueman and Frenchey do personal service.

page 1637.

     Trueman sympathized fully with Frenchey but he could also sense a trap.  Just as on the smokestack he knew how to deal with it.

     Having explained the task to Frenchey Trueman stepped back to oversee in the prescribed manner.  While Trueman worked fast impatient of obstruction or delay just wanting to get the job done Frenchey was a master obstructionist.  He was quite prepared to take so much time as to make this job the last he would ever do in the Navy.

     He looked up at Trueman watching him:  ‘You are a Seaman just like me, Meeshur, Dewey.’

     For Trueman this was an irrefutable argument.  He certainly would not have stood still for Frenchey’s overseeing himself.  Perhaps this was the trap.  Neither he nor Frenchey knew how desperately Blaise Pardon yearned for the dignity of the Chief’s quarters.  Trueman had no notion that Pardon considered him his fair haired boy nor did Frenchey realize that he and Trueman were considered a pair.  Pardon from his point of view had every reason to believe Frenchey would cooperate with Trueman.

     Trueman got Frenchey’s point.  If he oversaw the job would never get done.  If he chipped in and checked Frenchey’s work the job might get done but he couldn’t work and supervise Frenchey’s work at the same time.  His anxiety to get the job done won out.

     ‘OK, Frenchey, I’ll take one through six and the opposite side.  You take from the break and that opposite side but you can’t dally.  I want to get this job done.’

page 1638.

     ‘What you say ees fine, Meeshur.’

     Dewey and Frenchey went to work.  Dewey wanted to please Blaise so he gave his best effort carefully centering the numbers one inch from the edge.  He gave a quick check on Frenchey from time to time who seemed to have the job right although intentionally a little sloppier.

     The morning had been wasted while only half the afternoon was used effectively.  The job was less than half done at knocking off time.

     That the job was one that would allow the Petty Officers to lord it over the two Seamen became apparent after dinner.  Frenchey bunked closer to the Petty Officers so he was first insulted.

     Bent Cygnette, who was only a Third Class called Frenchey over.

     ‘Hey, Frenchey, goddamn it, look at this.  This is pretty sloppy work.’

     Frenchey who was ready for them refused to budge.

     ‘I am not ze one to talk to, Meeshur.  I am only humble servant.  Messhur Dewey he ees zee overseer.  Talk to heem.’

     Cygnette called out to Trueman.  Trueman feared Cygnette but was alerted by the appeal to Frenchey.  He was not going to let a miserable Third Class anything attempt to boss him especially on off hours.

     ‘What do you want, Cygnette.’  He called over from the starboard side.

page 1639

     ‘Get your ass over here and look at this Trueman.’

     ‘Get your ass over here and explain yourself, Cygnette.’

     Cries of ‘ooh, hoo hoo’ rose from several throats.

     ‘Trueman’s asking for it now.’  The seamen got up ready for a confrontation.  But as tough as he acted Cygnette was never ready for a direct confrontation.  He always found a way out while seeming to be tough.

     “If you’re looking for trouble Trueman I’m your man but this isn’t the time or place.  Get over here and look at this workmanship.’

     ‘I don’t take orders from Gunner’s Mates during hours, Cygnette, and I sure as hell don’t take orders from one after hours.  If you’ve got a complaint take it up with Pardon who’s standing right next to you there.  He’s your man, I’m not.’

     ‘You’re a damn mouthy sailor, Trueman.’

     Trueman really didn’t want to push it given Cygnette’s reputation as a brawler but he had to speak back.

     ‘If you’ve got a problem with anybody in deck, Cygnette, take it up with Pardon.  I’m sure he’ll be able to help you.’

     ‘Fuck!’  Cygnette expleted noncommitally.

     ‘I told you thees ees to humiliate us Meeshur Dewey.’  Frenchey said the next morning as they were back on the job.

     ‘It’s not like I disagree with you Frenchey but there isn’t anything we can do about it.  Let’s just finish the job and get it over with.’

     Frenchey made no more demurs and they did finish the job.  The numbering looked good.  Dewey had returned the tools to the paint locker when Frenchey came up behind him.

page 1640

     ‘There ees a problem, Meeshur Dewey.’  The master saboteur said defiantly.

     ‘What kind of problem, Frenchey?’

     ‘I have make zee mistake.  I have paint zee same number two of zee times.’

     ‘Frenchey, how could you do that?  I numbered the lockers in pencil to prevent that.’

     ‘I do not know how eet happens, Meeshur, but I know eet ees so.’

     After the first day Trueman had approached Pardon to be relieved of Frenchey.  He had explained that he could do it better and faster without him.  Pardon had been adamant that Frenchey stay on the job.

     Trueman assumed that Frenchey had used the same number on either side of the passageway.  Now the prospect of stripping half the numbers to repaint them was too much for Dewey.  He had no idea of the vindictiveness of the Arizona sailor.  Trueman made one of the stupidest mistakes of his life.

     ‘Aw, just forget it Frenchey, those guys are so dumb they’ll never catch on.’

     The anger seething in Frenchey’s soul drove him on.  He managed to be in the area when Castrato spotted the error.  Technically Frenchey was not responsible as Trueman had been appointed overseer but as Frenchey had rejected an overseer he was actually responsible but so what.

page 1641.

     ‘Here, look at this, two of the same number.  What gives?’

     ‘I am only ze ‘umble deck hand, Meeshur, I am following zee orders.’

     ‘You were ordered to use the same number twice?’

     ‘Messhur Dewey, my overseer, say Petty Officers too dumb to notice.’

    Heads snapped around.  Pardon stalked over to Frenchey.

     ‘Trueman said we’re too dumb to notice that?’

     ‘Oui, oui Meeshur.’

     Pardon walked stiff legged across the compartment in high dudgeon.

      ‘Trueman.’  He began with as much emotion as he had ever been know to exhibit.  ‘You’ve got two of the same numbers over here.  Come over here and look.’

     Trueman, believing the identical numbers were on opposite sides of the aisle was prepared with a humorous patter but he was surprised the Petty Officers, who he sincerely believed were too dumb to notice, had noticed so quickly, walked over to take a look intending to be amazed.  When he was shown the lockers nine and ten side by side both with nine stenciled on them but clearly marked nine and ten in pencil he was dumbfounded.

    ‘And you thought we would be too dumb to notice that?’

    Dewey looked at the double dyed perfidious Frenchey standing smugly with his arms folded across his chest.  He ceased at that moment to exist for Trueman.

     ‘Hey, Pardon, I didn’t realize they were next to each other, I thought they were on opposite sides of the passageway.

page 1642.

     ‘Oh, so you didn’t think we were too dumb to notice them side by side but we’re still dumb enough not to notice them across the aisle?’

     That was what Trueman believed but he couldn’t say it.  Why, he thought, hadn’t he checked Frenchey’s work out first.

     Trueman was hurt.  Deep down hurt.  Not only had be been betrayed by Frenchey but he had earned the disrespect of the only man aboard that he had respect for and that because he had assumed that he knew what Frenchey had done.  The loss of Pardon’s respect was more than he wanted to lose; given his own personality there was no chance now that he had been criticized by Pardon that any raprochement could take place so he threw the relationship to the winds.

     ‘What the hell did you expect, Pardon?  I told you to give La Frenniere another job.  I told you he wouldn’t work.  He couldn’t accept an overseer and I don’t blame him.  I couldn’t accept him or any other asshole deckhand.  He simply would not move a finger unless I worked too.

     Look at that penciled number, Pardon.  There is no possible way that he made a mistake.  He hates you; he did it on purpose.  Furthermore he hates you with a good reason.  Numbering these lockers isn’t Deck work.  If you guys wanted numbers it was your responsibility to number them yourselves.  We aren’t your personal servants.

     Plus you tried to kill him by sending him up on the stack.  Why wouldn’t he hate you?  You could have stopped that Pardon, you could have intervened but you didn’t.  You’re just as guilty of attempted murder as Dieter and that asshole Castrato.’  Trueman perorated pointing a finger at the Second Class.

     Having finished he slunk out of the area chagrined at this ruptured relationship with Pardon but subconsciously seething in anger at the First Class because he had permitted the attempt on both La Frenneire’s and his own life.

     ‘Zat was very well said, Meeshur.’  La Frenniere said following Dewey.

    ‘Oh shut up La Frenniere, shut up.  You asshole.  I don’t care how much you hate someone else, I don’t care how justified it is but you never fuck yourself.  Get that stupid, you never fuck yourself.  And also you never fuck your friends.  You’re so stupid, La Frenniere, that you did both.  Now get away from me and don’t ever speak to me again.’

     ‘But, Meeshur…’

     ‘And cut that phony French crap, La Frenniere.  You’re not French; you’re from Arizona.’

     La Frenniere had hurt Dewey.  He had breached Dewey’s defenses against the indignities of having to associate with men he considered beneath him to whom he would now be open to justified ridicule.  Doing his job right had always justified Dewey in his mind against his slovenly deck mates.

     Now he took his vengeance out on La Frenniere.  The little spell La Frenniere had thrown over the ship to make them call him Frenchey had been dispelled.  He had been identified once again as Dennis La Frenniere.   He now stood naked before his shipmates just as he had denuded Trueman.  No one ever called him Frenchey again.  He had to deal with the indignities he felt in his own identity.

     His pain at having to face Navy life without his screen as Frenchey was more than he could bear.  His personality began to unravel before everyone’s eyes.  He took to standing and weeping quietly.  It was not his intention to go on a hunger strike but he stopped eating just the same.

     He was transferred while Dewey was on leave.  Discharged it would take several years before he would be able to function again.  You know it ain’t easy; some have to fall by the wayside.

     Trueman recovered as best he could but as he had managed to insult everyone in First in his defensive tirade he noticed a definite pressure drop.

Tory Torbrick Redux

     Finding a circle is never easy.  Cast aside by Trueman Torbrick who was no hail fellow well met was either unwanted by the other sailors or rejected them.  The Navy was a tough life.  Just as at sea there was water everywhere but none of it was fit to drink so in close proximity to a couple hundred men there were very few with whom one wished to associate.

     Guilt bound Torbrick to Trueman so even though Trueman wouldn’t speak to him he ingratiated himself with Roque Da Costa, McLean and Whatley.  Soon he was making the trip North with them.  Trueman was forced once again to associate with him.

     Still convinced that Trueman was insane he continued to behave in a deprecating manner toward him as though he were a technician handling dangerous materials which Trueman found distasteful.  Having succeeded in forcing himself on Trueman Torbrick then wanted Trueman to ride in his car rather than theirs.

page 1645.

     Dewey had had problems with McLean.  Joe in his hatred of Trueman, which is to say himself, always gave preference to Da Costa  and Whatley and even Torbrick.  After the accident the convertible top had been sprung letting in copious amounts of air which at high speed at night even in Southern California was brisk enough to be uncomfortable.

     The cold air overwhelmed the capacity of the heater.  The only way to stay warm was to crouch down on the floor in front of the heater.  McLean always gave the front seat to Da Costa or Whatley having Trueman ride in the back.  Now that was chill.  In an effort to keep warm Trueman to McLean’s delight had to lean over the front seat to catch warm air from the heater.

     In the blindness of his friendship Trueman was incapable of seeing McLean laughing in delight at his discomfort.

     As much as he hated to favor Torbrick the prospect of another November drive in the very nearly open car of McLean of which the top was shredding was too much for Trueman.  He took the ride.

     As a special reward for some reason the Navy gave the men a Friday off.  Thus Trueman and Torbrick set off at five AM for the trip North to take full advantage of the long weekend.

     In order to get someone in trouble, to get them to show their ‘true character’ it is necessary to place them in harm’s way.  If Trueman having been lured to Tijuana and its whorehouses, had been led into a fight, he would undoubtedly have been taken by the gendarmes to the legendary Tijuana jail.  Thus his ‘true character’ would have been revealed.

page 1646.

     For the rest of his life he would have had to lie when asked if he had ever been arrested or in jail or defame himself by admitting it no matter in how comical or deprecatory a manner.  The key to defaming a person is to create a criminal record for him.

     Thus, even though Trueman didn’t have a driver’s license Torbrick insisted that he drive.  This even though Trueman freely admitted that the only time he had ever driven a car was the few miles in San Juan Capistrano when he had been hitchhiking.

     Driving without a license is a relatively serious violation of the Motor Vehicle Code.  Especially so if your driving could be interpreted as dangerous or reckless.  If Trueman had considered he would have refused to drive but he was eager to drive so he took the opportunity.

     Torbrick had a ’56 Ford.  Hard to tell where his old man got the money for that.  It was a good driving car.  Without being expert Trueman quickly got the knack.  By the time they passed the towers of Disneyland he was negotiating the five lanes if not with the relaxed aplomb of the Marine, Bill Baird, at least adequately.

     Torbric during the whole journey sat with his back to the door staring at Trueman as though he were some artefact on display at a museum.  He had the habit of talking to Trueman as though he were a psychiatrist examining a real psychological oddity which transcended normal experience by too far and a half.  Trueman found this exasperating and offensive.

page 1647.

     By the time they got through the Stack the smog in LA was biting.  LA was perhaps the first city in America to have a real smog problem.  They were to have smog alerts in which they were warned to not breathe deeply.

     As an interesting aside the hippy cartoonist of the LA Free Press, Ron Cobb, always used to ridicule the LA airport by having all his characters standing around in gas masks.  Gasmasks certainly would have been useful at certain times.  The restaurant outside the terminal took revenge on him by inventing the Cobb salad.  Actually a very tasty salad the ingredients were chopped up into small particles and blended together as they wished they could do to Ron Cobb.  It’s really quite funny if you dwell on it a while.

     The smog was intense and biting on that day although not hazy but clear.  The sun sliced brightly through the air but the acid really smarted causing the eyes to tear.  In an effort to avoid blinking Trueman narrowed his eyes into little slits that reduced the area of exposed eyeball.  To Torbrick leaning against the door looking at him it looked as though Trueman was driving with his eyes shut.

     ‘Open your eyes, Dewey.  You can’t see the road with your eyes closed.’

     ‘My eyes are open, Torbrick and I can see the road.  If I open them wide it hurts so much I can’t see the road.’

page 1648.

     ‘N-n-no.  You’ve got your eyes closed.  I can see it.  Open them please.’  Torbrick thought there was no insanity that was beyond Trueman.  As unreasonable as it was to suppose that Trueman was driving the Hollywood Freeway with his eyes closed Torbrick persisted in his belief.

     ‘Look Torbrick, if you’d rather drive I’ll stop the car right here and you can take over.’

     ‘Oh god, Dewey, you can’t just stop, there’s no place to pull over.’

     ‘I can stop and I will if you don’t shut up and leave me alone.’  Dewey said in exaperation but not conviction.  The threat was enough to silence Torbric who thought Trueman was crazy enough to do it.

     Although Trueman enjoyed driving, the trip was the most exasperating and boring that he would ever take.  Torbrick was the most commonplace of minds.

     They got into Oakland early Friday afternoon.  School was not yet out so Trueman dumped Torbrick to go up to Castlemont High to suprise Louise and walk her home.

     Castlemont only two years before had had only a few Black students but the Blacks continually arriving from the South had pushed deep into the forty and fifty blocks and were rapidly appropriating the sixties so that in a scant two years Castlemont had become half Black.  You want to talk about stresses.

     A lot of attention has been paid to White resistance to Black inroads in their neighborhoods but it should be remembered that those Whites were displaced from familiar and loved areas to have to go seek new roots elsewhere.  It is wrong to think that Blacks wanted them in the neighborhood.  The Blacks felt much more comfortable among their own.

page 1649.

     A great many White lives were disrupted as high school students had to try to integrate themselves into new school environments which is an impossible thing to do.  The social costs were perhaps higher for the Whites who were displaced than for the Blacks who displaced them.

     Dewey had gone to an all White school so he was startled to see so many Black faces.  Although he had thought he would walk Louise home, once inside the school he realized that he had no means to find her.  Fortunately he ran into Donna Popp who lived up the block from Louise.

     Donna was a very nice girl but afflicted with extreme hairiness.  Not the light downy kind but the long black hairs that made her resemble a female Wolfman.  She overcame this liability by being quite a wonderful person.

     ‘Oh, Dewey.  I’m so glad you’re here.  No, Louise skipped school today.  She’s not here but don’t leave me, Dewey.’

     ‘Uh, OK, but why not, Donna?’

    ‘Gosh, I was late getting out of class.  If I don’t get out right away with the rest of the girls the Black guys will rape you.’

     ‘You’re kidding me.’  Dewey replied, astonished as he looked down the hall at the dozens of Black boys standing around with hungry eyes like tigers lurking in the jungle.

page 1650.

     ‘They can’t get away with that, Donna.’

     ‘Oh yes they can.  It’s happened to two friends of mine already and Louise had a close call.’

     ‘But why weren’t they arrested?’

     ‘Because they’re Black and if they get arrested they’ll cry discrimination and start a riot;.’

     The Black guys stared hungrily in Dewey’s and Donna’s direction not sure whether to attempt it or not.  Dewey put on his toughest Navy look and stance which established the relationship as he and Donna hurried out.

     ‘Are you and Louise going to the dance tonight?’

     ‘I don’t know.  Is there a dance tonight?’

     ‘Uh huh.  The homecoming dance.’

     ‘I’ll ask Louise when I get there.  Want me to carry your books?’   

     ‘Sure, thanks.’

     Dewey dropped Donna off at her door continuing up the block to the house of Louise.  Louise was busy but said that yes they were going to the dance.  Dewey wandered off to return later.

     Louise and Dewey with a gaggle of her friends entered the gymnasium where the dance was sparsely attended.  The transition from a White school to a Black school was apparent in racial tensions that Dewey had never experienced.  The Blacks sat on one side of the gym while the Whites sat on the other.  The Blacks glared intense hatred and resentment across the basketball court while the Whites rendered impotent by their parents of the Greatest Generation sat and cringed in guilt.

page 1651

     The music was provided by a phonograph.  Each side seemed to have a preference for specific records; the Blacks preferring a down home primitive sound while the Whites preferred a more sophisticated Rock and Roll.  There may be voices of dissent that Black music was coarse, primitive and really unmusical but then if you haven’t listened to ‘White Port And Lemon Juice’ what can you really have to say?  Records were alternated as neither side would take the floor with the others on it.

     Dewey watched fascinated unable to envision the tensions that existed in the classrooms.  The Blacks, many of them fresh up from ‘Bama had been placed in classes by age not by ability so the quality of education must have suffered severely.  Some may say that I am unfairly characterizing the preparation of the Negroes but if you’re going to argue that the quality of education depends on the amount of money spent and that the amount spent on Black schools in the South was much less than that spent on White schools then it logically follows that the Black students fresh from points South had inferior educations and weren’t qualified for their grade years.  I mean, really, you are bound to honor your own arguments.  Logical consistency has been thrown overboard for racial interests since those times but it never hurts to have a reality check from time to time.

      Several of the girls behind Dewey on the bleachers stared anxiously across the gym at some of the Black boys as they discussed them with a mixture of fear and awe and anticipation that they might soon be raped by them with no recourse. 

     ‘See that one; that’s Bobby Thomas.  You got to watch him.  He’s really after me.  I have to get out real quick or he’ll grab me.  He’s always got four or five guys around him.  You know how it is when they surround you so nobody can see while one of them does it to you.  God, right there against the lockers, standing up.’

page 1652.

     ‘I know, it hasn’t happened to me yet but my friend Marsha got it a week ago.  She’s really feeling bad, poor kid, not much you can do about it though.  You’ve just got to learn to live with it.’

     ‘Yeah, but it’s bad enough to get pregnant and have a white baby, who wants a Black one?  How do you explain that to anyone?’

     ‘I know.  No one will believe you got raped.  They’ll say you asked for it.  I can’t even begin to convince my mother how bad it is.  She and my dad go on about he fought the Nazis so people could be free.  Some freedom.  Which people is it that he was trying to make free and which was he trying to enslave?  They just tell me not to be prejudiced.  They’re just like us they say.’

     ‘Yeah, except if a White guy raped you you could put his ass in a sling.’

     Dewey listened to this with, if not unbelieving ears, astounded ears.  He had no idea as yet that life had become a war zone with the advantage on the other side.  To make any complaint was to brand oneself as a racist.

     In a few years he would learn that a hell on earth had been created by the Founding Fathers and enforced by the Greatest Generation.  Trouble was coming everyday, indeed.

page 1653.

     Dewey dropped Louise off with a sense of amazement, compassion and pity.  Dewey wondered how he would have been able to put up with it.

      Louise and her parents were gone on Sunday so after putting around all day with Torbrick they got on the highway at six for the trip back.

     About midnight Torbrick began to worry Trueman about staying awake.

     ‘Look Torbirck I’ve been doing this for months and I’ve never had any trouble staying awake, see?  You don’t go to sleep when you’re in someone else’s car.’

     ‘I know, but tonight might be different.  I’d just feel better if you took a couple of these bennies.’ Torbrick said producing a box.

     ‘I don’t take drugs.’  Dewey snarled.

     ‘I know, I know.  I’m not asking you to take drugs but if you don’t take a couple of these to stay awake you might crash the car and never wake up.’

     Dewey gave Torbrick a sharp look, offended that he would try to get Dewey hooked on drugs while posing as his friend.

     ‘I don’t want to get hooked on drugs, Torbrick, if you’re worried you drive.’

     ‘You can’t get hooked one time, Dewey.  I’d feel better with you driving.  C’mon, it’s important to stay awake.’

page 1654.

     Dewey reluctantly swallowed one of the pills to shut Torbrick up.  The bennie didn’t so much keep him awake as dull his mind and slow his reflexes.  The pill didn’t dull his mind so much that he didn’t see the red light of the Highway Patrol flashing behind him.  He knew he wasn’t speeding so he didn’t know what it could be.  His task now was to make it look like Torbrick was driving.

     Tory suppresed a little glee sure that Trueman was in trouble.  He made the mistake of getting out of the car when Trueman did.  As usual the cop took a long time getting out of his car.

     Trueman had walked back towards the police car, Torbrick meeting him behind the Ford.  Trueman put the keys in Torbrick’s hand stepping over to the passenger side of him.

     The cop got out doing a casual cop power stroll up to the car.

     ‘Know why I stopped you?’  The cop demanded.

     ‘Speeding?’  Torbrick said hopefully not realizing that he now appeared to be the driver with keys in his hand.

    ‘No.  You’ve got a taillight out here.’  The cop said tapping the light on the driver’s side which was indeed broken  out.

     ‘Oh,  It’s his car.’  Dewey said swiftly getting into the passenger’s seat.

     Well, I’m not going to give you a ticket this time but you better get that fixed right away.’

     ‘Yes, I will officer.  Thank you.’

     ‘By the way, let me look at your driver’s license while I’m here.’

     After a quick review Torbrick slid into the driver’s seat.

     ‘That was pretty slick, Dewey.  He didn’t even know you were driving.’

     ‘I didn’t think it was too bad myself.  Home, Torbrick.’

     They both laughed.  Dewey had avoided danger while Torbrick glanced at him admiringly but this was the last time Dewey elected to ride with Torbrick.  It wasn’t that he didn’t have a driver’s license which was a risk he could accept but he deeply resented Torbrick’s having forced the bennie on him.  If he hadn’t known before he now knew that Torbrick was not a true friend.

     He wondered who had broken the taillight which had been intact in San Diego.  It didn’t occur to him to suspect Joe McLean who would be the author of that little trouble and many another woe.

     The two men walked aboard the Teufelsdreck while it was still pitch black.

page 1656.

THIS SIDE OF BIG RIVER.

A Journey Of Twenty-five Hundred MIles Begins With A Single Step.

     Our Lady had hired his assassin but in his excitement he had forgotten to arrange for Dewey to be out on the highway; a small detail but an essential one.

     By now Yisraeli had a pretty good psychological profile on Trueman.  As he hadn’t gauged the conflicts raging in Dewey’s mind but dealt only with external manifestations Our Lady found him unpredictable.  He had discerned Trueman’s predilection for novelty and he had found his enemy easily suggestible.

     He had Kanary and a few of his confederates plant the notion of hitchhiking across country in Dewey’s mind.  Hitching across country is no light matter; hitching is always dangerous; nobody knew that better than Trueman so he turned a deaf ear to the notion.

     Time was of the essence as the lawyers say.  Dewey had to be gotten off the bus quickly.  If Trueman had little cash on him he still had two years of allotments sent to the bank in the Valley.  He could have afforded to fly without any difficulty.  Cursed by his mother of the Steel Womb he had been persuaded by her to allocate half his wages against the future.  As J.P. Morgan once said:  People always have two reasons for going anything; a good reason…and the real one.

page 1657

     Had Dewey sat down and reasoned the matter out he would have realized that even the good reason for foregoing his present wasn’t good enough.  He wasted three years punishing himself by extreme poverty for no good reason.  Three of the best years of his life which he should have been enjoying were thrown into a steel womb.  But then that wasn’t his mother’s real reason.  The real reason was that she would never stop punishing him for not having been a girl.

     If questioned she would have said she wasn’t aware of it but that would have been nonsense too.  There is no unconscious.  In the way of the psychotic she just didn’t consciously acknowledge her motives to herself.  And so Dewey scrubbed his best interests to buy a ticket for a bus ride he knew he wouldn’t be able to tolerate.

     That’s where Our Lady got his leverage.

     He kept the pressure on.  Thus while his confederates were extolling the virtues of hitching Dewey was ruminating on the horrible prospect of that bus ride.

     His fellows kept up a patter about fabulous hitchhiking feats.  One lucky guy had caught a non-stop ride to New York City a few seconds after he put his thumb out.  By alternating as driver he made it back in forty-eight hours.  Forty-eight hours!  Now there was incentive.

     It was even proved, as it were, that by using some mathematical formula by dividing the speed of light by the retrograde motion of Mars that you could actually be in New York before you had debunked in San Diego.  Dewey’s interest had been piqued but he had already bought the bus ticket.

page 1658.

     Kanary reported the situation disconsolately to Yisraeli.  Our Lady instructed Kanary to deal directly with Trueman himself taking him by the hand if necessary to get a refund on the ticket and then to lead him to the highway.  Kanary protested that Trueman would never trust him.  Kanary made the mistake of projecting his perception of their relationship on Trueman believing Trueman hated him as much as hated Trueman.

     It was true that Trueman distrusted Kanary but Yisraeli had divined that Trueman’s desire to be liked would easily overcome a feeling of distrust by a display of apparent friendship.  Kanary did as he was instructed.  His guilt and hatred was such that he was not able to project much friendliness.  Trueman remained suspicious but as he really did want to be liked he lowered his guard.  Kanary took him to the bus station he get his refund.

     Kanary then told him that he knew an excellent location to begin.  Here there is no accounting for Trueman’s stupidity.  He knew there was only one highway East out of San Diego.  He knew that Kanary flew to San Francisco and never hitchhiked anywhere so there was no reason for him to know a good place to stand heading East.

     Another remarkable thing in Trueman’s conduct is that he never consulted a map or carried one.  he had an excellent general notion of the layout of the country; he knew where all the cities were in relation to the othr cities so he always knew the general direction he wanted to go.  That was good enough for him.

page 1659.

     A journey of a thousand miles may begin with a single step but the problem remains where the first step will be taken.  Yisraeli himself had a crazy scheme that shouldn’t have worked but it almost did.  This was really a case of dumb and dumber.

     Yisraeli’s plan was to send Trueman North out of San Diego through San Bernardino and Barstow.  Somewhere in that distance his agent, Dalton Dagger, was supposed to murder Trueman leaving the body out in the desert for the rodents to gnaw.

     Dewey knew 99 thoroughly  and was familiar with 101 but he had never been East or gone North up 395.

     Highway 101 runs border to border on the West side of the Coast Range while 99, now Interstate 5, runs from border to border between the Coast Range and the ranges of the Sierra Nevada and the Cascades.  Highway 395 which ran from border to border on the East of the Sierras and Cascades was uncharted territory.

     Dewey knew the lay of 395 in San Diego because it ran down the length of Balboa Park.  From that knowledge he knew there was no good hitchhiking access.  Kanary said he would show him where.  That was such a nice little service on Kanary’s part for a a man he didn’t like that it should have made Dewey go back to the bus station for his ticket.  But it didn’t.

     On the morning of December 13th Dewey and Kanary could be seen picking their path through the traveling derricks toward the gate of the Naval Station.  In a peculiar homosexual ritual Kanary carried his wallet and personal effects held chest high in his two hands like the talisman of a princess conducting the victim to the place of execution.

page 1660.

     Trueman was amazed that Kanary could leave the ship on a weekday morning but then that’s why Yeoman is such a sensitive post.  Not only does all correspondence pass through their hands but they have great discretionary latitude with their time.  Describing Kanary’s Naval career would be another large branch of this story containing much revealing detail.  But as the sage said:  That’s another story.

     As they walked through Balboa Park Kanary was no longer able to conceal his disgust and hatred.  He kept three paces behind Trueman as though he were herding a sheep to the slaughter.

     They came to an overpass above a deep thirty foot cut with steep ivy covered embankments and no shoulder.  Dewey was incredulous.

     ‘You got to be kidding Kanary.  I thought you said you knew a good access place.  That’s dangerous.  It’s high speed and there’s no place for a car to pull over.  Jesus, I’m liable to be picked up by the cops before I get a ride.’

     ‘Well.’  Said Kanary with ill concealed scorn.  ‘You can always take the bus.’

     ‘Yeah, but I’d waste a whole day now.’

     ‘That’s the way it is.’  Kanary sniggered.  He now considered his self made enemy as good as dead.  ‘So long.’  He said holding his purse up breast high with a little bow.  ‘If I never see you again it will be too soon.’  He turned casting a hateful glance over his shoulder at Trueman and walked away.  Teal Kanary had been quite successful in darkening his own world.  He thought the impending doom of Trueman would be a lightning flash to illuminatie it.

page 1661.

     Dewey was perplexed.  He wasn’t clear yet that he was heading North but the highway was not propitious for hitchhiking.  He looked up the highway but he couldn’t see a better place to start.  Grumbling to himself he crossed the overpass scrambling down through the ivy of a very steep embankment.  The curb was abutted to the roadbed so there was no place for cars to pull over.  Standing with one foot in the ivy while the other was propped up nearly chest level on the embankment he surveyed the old concrete cracked two lane road, one each way, as he put his thumb out.  The cars whizzed by; there seemed no propect for a ride.

     ‘Oh god, I’ve been set up.’  He realized belatedly.  ‘If the cops get here first so much for my leave.’

     The psychological necessity for the perpetrator is to see the victim entangled in his mesh.  They will always come to see.  The fellow you know who stands to watch you in your toils is the man who set you up.  If they are really devious they will send a decoy as a scapegoat to draw your attention if they think you’re hep.  Then they come along second or stand further in the background but they always come to watch.  There are some devious people out there.

     As Dewey stood there the car bearing Yisraeli, Beverly and Anne was speeding toward him.

page 1662.

     Both Beverly and Anne had entered the plot with glee.  Beverly who was still reeling under the blows of fate was only too glad to pass her torment on to another.  Move that monkey along.  Like so many deluded folk she though she could liberate herself by putting that monkey on someone else’s back.

     Anne, who had been told that Dewey was her brother’s murderer, was only too glad to see the victim before ‘justice’ was done.

     Dewey like any good hitchhiker made eye to eye contact with every passing driver.  Thus for a hundred feet he watched the occupants of the oncoming car seeming to laugh and point at him.  Our Lady drew his finger across his throat as they passed as an indication that Dewey was to be terminated.

     Drivers sometimes did strange things as they passed.  This was one of the strangest.  Dewey noted it because of its strangeness.  The only interpretation he could make of it was that a cop was close behind.

     Yisraeli’s plan was not overly complicated but it had a number of uncontrolled variables.  Dalton Dagger was supposed to be right behind Yisraeli to pick Trueman up.  Yisraeli, who was not without a sense of humor, wanted to joke with Trueman.  Aboard ship when Yisraeli’s confederates had told the story of how the hitcher’s first ride had been coast to coast they were setting Dewey up.  Thus when Dewey would ask how far Dalton Dagger was going his very first ride would a non-stop to the Valley.  Then when Dalton murdered Dewey on the highway to Barstow, Our Lady would have a great laugh.

page 1663.

     However Dalton was not that reliable.  Punctuality and Dalton spoke only from a distance over a great chasm so he wasn’t even close to beginning.  Yisraeli’s plan was already getting sketchy.

     By some miracle the car behind Yisraeli did stop to pick up the sailor.  Trueman blessed his luck while a line of cars piled up behind his ride who obviously had to stop in the middle of the single Northbound lane.  Even though the car had stopped almost in front of Trueman by the time he slammed the door there were ten irate drivers behind.

     ‘I’m only going as far as Escondido.’

     ‘That’s alright.  Thanks for getting me out of that spot.  I’m amazed you stopped, especially since all those driver’s got so angry.’

     ‘Ahh, nothin’.  I do what I want.  I’m king of this or any other road.  If they don’t like it let ’em suck my exhaust pipe.  I stop where I damn well please.’

     Dewey was always too concerned about the rights of others.  He both admired and condemned the driver’s self-centered attitude but he could have used a little of it.

     Yisraeli had noticed Trueman being picked up in his rear view mirror so he kept his eye on the car until he could swing off the highway and come back on the on ramp and get behind it.  Thus when Trueman took up his position in Escondido he was amazed to see the same people laughing and pointing at him again.

     There were not nearly so many traveling to Riverside and San Bernardino as there re were to LA so three hours later he was still in the same place as the local traffic passed him by.  He began to reflect that this was the 13th.  Not superstitious but wary of superstitions he began to wonder why he would have picked a day like the 13th to begin.  Of course he hadn’t.  He’d been managed into it by Yisraeli through his surrogate Kanary but Dewey had forgotten or never noticed.  Our Lady always was a joker.

page 1664. 

     The sun was going down when a car pulling an airstream stopped to pick him up.  Dewey thought they were merely an exuberant couple as they headed up the highway.  But then as the car and airstream swerved across the lane into oncoming traffic Dewey realized that they were not only exuberant but exceedingly drunk.  He tried to keep his cool as the distance between the drunks and the oncoming car closed.

     ‘Don’t you think you should change lanes?’  He politely inquired as the grille of the oncoming car loomed in exquisite detail in his vision.

     ‘Arrr, you’re not one of them goddamned nervous nellies are you?’  The driver jocularly asked as the car and airstream drifted back across the line as the whites of the oncoming driver’s eyes loomed large in Dewey’s sight.

      ‘Say, why don’t you come up to the cabin and loosen up and have a good time with us?’

     ‘Oh now, I’d like to, you know, but I’ve only got a two week leave and I’m going back home.’

     ‘Awww, screw home.  Forget it.  Come on and spend a couple weeks with us.’

page 1665.

     ‘That’s a terrific offer but I think I’ll go home.  It’s been a long time.’

     All this time the car and airstream were weaving across the line.  Dewey began to curse Kanary wishing he’d taken the bus instead.  There was no doubt in his mind that he was going to die on that highway.  But then the road to Lake Elsinore appeared on the left.

     ‘Come with us.’  The driver iterated.

     ‘No.  I’ve got to get out.’

     The driver feinted a turn then let Dewey out into a twilight in which the sun had already disappeared.

     ‘Good luck in the dark on this road, honey.’  The driver’s wife gloated maliciously as Dewey shut the door.

     Dewey became apprehensive as night did indeed follow.  But then, miraculously, a car stopped in front of him.

     ‘I’m not going very far.’  The driver who was a young guy of twenty-five said.

     He was a malicious fellow.  He drove Dewey down the highway another twenty miles then dropped him out in the blackness in the middle of nowhere.  Then he continued on down the highway to San Bernardino with a sour laugh.

     Dewey began to lament the error of his ways.  The night was pitch black.  There were no streetlights or light of any kind.  He was dressed in his blues with his dark blue raincoat.  The hat on his head was his only light colored garment.  ‘Aw, Jesus.’  He lamented.  ‘Nobody is going to be able to see me.  I’ll probably still be here in the morning.’

page 1666.

     The road was no 101 much less a 99; there were very few cars passing by.  In the dark of the night and his own mental gloom Dewey lost all track of time imagining that it was much later than it was.  Only a couple cars passed by over the space of two hours as Dewey stood back by the side of the road.  Gradually he realized he couldn’t even be seen.  He had no chance.  His only hope was to stand out in the highway like a specter, jumping back out of the way as the cars passed.  He did this a couple times over the space of an hour until he felt the danger of the maneuver when a car swerving to the side of the road to avoid him nearly took him out.  Cursing his decision to hitch for the stupidity it was he had resolved to wait it out till morning not realizing how early it was when, standing off to the side as he was without even his thumb out, a car passed screeching to a stop a quarter mile down the road.

     Dewey was sure they’d drive off when he got to them so rather than run he began a leisurely stroll.

     ‘Come on. Hurry up.  Run.  We stopped for you didn’t we?’

     Dewey did run and he was not disappointed.

     ‘How far are you going?’  Dewey asked.

     ‘Berdoo.’

     ‘Oh way, all the way to San Bernardino?’  Dewey said with relief.  ‘Thanks a lot.’

     ‘Why didn’t you run sooner?’  The driver’s girl friend asked.  ‘We wouldn’t have waited forever.’

     ‘I didn’t even think you’d see me as dark as it is and all.’  Dewey replied apologetically.

     ‘You’re darn lucky we did in those dark clothers.  You should have worn your white suit.’

     ‘Good idea but I can’t.  Dress blues are the traveling uniform.’

    They dropped him off at the main intersection of San Bernardino.

     San Bernardino was the birth place of the Hell’s Angels Motorcycle Club.  As such Dewey had always avoided the place.  Berdoo was a tough working class city situated on the East edge of the LA megalopolis with Mt. Whitney, the highest place in the then United States to the northwest and Death Valley the lowest place in the US to the East.

     Now Dewey was thoroughly disoriented.  Because of the long duration of the short trip of only a hundred miles from San Diego he imagined that it was three or four in the morning while it was not yet midnight.

     He was astonished to see the drag full of dragsters on a Thursday night.  ‘God, they must never let up in San Bernardino.’  He thought.  And in truth they didn’t.

     As the raucus dragsters rolled thorugh the intersecition Dewey became completely turned around.  In his turmoil he imagined it must be Friday night.  That put the dragsters in the proper perspective but Dewey had lost a day.

      As he stood at the intersection his confusion increased.  He began to wonder why he was going North when he sould be going East.  Thus he made the mistake of turning East into San Bernardion.  He soon found that it wasn’t easy to walk along the drag in uniform.  Not only were the dragsters less civilized and more abusive than on Lankershim but the worst of his fears was realized when a cop car braked to a stop across his path.

page 1668.

     Dewey began to curse Teal Kanary because this cop could terminate his leave by sending him back to the base.  If that happened the Navy would still consider him on leave so he would be unwanted while he had wasted precious time making it impossible to go on.  As he had no money or at least not enough to pay for two weeks ashore he began to suspect that Kanary had done him an intentional disservice.

     The LAPD might have been mean but at least they were slick with a fine sense of style.  San Bernardino could compete with Oakland for klutzes.  The cop was young, not more than twenty-three or twenty-four.  He was the worst.  He hoped to make the LAPD from Berdoo but it was a hopeless wish.  The distance between a criminal and a cop is as narrow as an attitude.  Like the criminal the cop had been on the short end of the stick through high school.  Unlike the  CWOB the CWB is not willing to sacrifice his well being to get back at society.  CWBs are sadistic; CWOBs are masochistic.  So the CWB joins the force where he can get away with bullying citizens.  Young cops especially like bullying young men.  This one had just gotten out of the Navy so he carried a grudge against sailors.

     Dewey held his breath.

    ‘You hitchhiking son?’  How they love to demean a man by calling him son.

page 1569.

     ‘Well, yeah.’  Dewey said apologetically, not having the chutzpah to deny an obvious fact.  ‘I’m going home on leave for Christmas and I’m just passing through.’  It was a chance Dewey thought he had to take.  If the cop sympathized he would wave him on , if he were hard nosed Dewey would be in the squad car.

     ‘You’re out of bounds, bub.’  Every CWB ignored the out of bounds rule.  This guy sounded like he was going to enforce it.

     ‘I don’t need an out of bounds pass, I’ve got my leave papers.  I’m going back to Michigan for Christmas.  Dewey said, humbling himself to death.

     ‘Let’s see ’em.’

     Dewey flipped open his raincoat and indicated the papers in his inside pocket.  He didn’t want to hand them over to the cop because once he gave them up the CWB might not give them back.  These guys, always nasty, could be quite vicious; they could get mean enough to hurt without any reason.  Psychocops on the loose.

     ‘Hand them to me and your ID too.’  There was a rude peremptoriness in his tone that dared Dewey to either give it back or eat dirt.  Well, you couldn’t expect a decent person to take the job, could you?

     Dewey forked over his leave papers and Navy ID.

     ‘I want your driver’s license too, boy.’

     ‘Don’t have one.’

     ‘What do you mean you don’t have one?  Everybody’s got one; don’t lie to me boy.  I can make you wish you never did.’

page 1670

     ‘I don’t have one.  My step-father wouldn’t let me drive and since I don’t have a car I don’t need one.  If I had a car I wouldn’t be standing here now, would I?’  Dewey said showing more irritation than he should have.  Any show of spirit drives this type of cop mad.  The CWB looked at him sharply but as he thought Dewey had previously been suitably humble if not obsequious the cop threw Dewey’s ID and leave papers at his feet.

     ‘Here’s what I can’t figure; if you say you’re going to Michigan what are you doing on this road?’

     ‘Well, this is going East isn’t it?’

     ‘This is East alright boy, but you’ve got to go North if you want to go East.  All this road will do is lead you up to Arrowhead.  Go back to the intersection and take a right.  If you do that I won’t take you in.  But remember, if I come back in a couple hours and you’re still hitchhiking I’m going to take you in.  Now, get going.’  He commanded.

     Dewey stooped to pick up his ID while cursing the cop under his breath.  On the bright side the CWB had probably saved him several hours from going the wrong way.  On the other hand he would have missed his rendezvous with Dalton Dagger and might have had a relaxing time at the lake.  Not Dewey, he wasn’t that flexible.

     Back on the highway Dewey stood for an hour until a car pulled over.  The driver had no sooner opened his mouth than Dewey groaned inwardly.  Another one.

     In point of fact the homo was justified in thinking Dewey was out for some action.  The highway over the pass was virtually unused from sundown to sun up.  Dewey was standing in the middle of a strip of bars; logically what other reason could he have for hitching there.  If time was of the essence Dewey was wasting his.  One can only assume that Our Lady was having the laugh of his life.  How was this for a joke?

page 1672.

     ‘What’s a good looking sailor like you doing out by the side of the road at one in the morning?’  The dark visaged homo asked.

     ‘i’m on leave; trying to get to the East.’

     ‘Oh yes, to be sure.’  The driver lisped.  ‘Short a little money?  Well, it’s awfully hot in here.  My heater is extremely efficient, if you get my drift.  Open up your coat.’  He commanded obviously eyeing Dewey’s crotch.  Dewey realized this was going to be a short ride.

     ‘That’s alright.  I’m comfortable.’  Dewey replied.

     ‘You mean you’re not going to open your coat?’

     ‘No, I’m not.’

     ‘Well, listen Mister, let me explain the facts of life to you.  Nobody rides for free.’

     ‘Well, then, let me out.  I don’t want to pay the fare.’

     ‘I certainly will let you out you prick teasing bastard.’

     Dewey was dropped a hundred yards or so outside the Berdoo city limits.  He was beginning to feel desperate.  He was not crossing the country at a forty-eight hour pace.  Heck, he wasn’t even crossing the country.  He was still going North.

     The cop who had harassed him passed slowly by.  On the other side of the city limits the cop knew Dewey was beyond his jurisdiction, but, oddly enough, there are no greater lawbreakers than the police; they have immunity.  Maybe, the cop reasoned, Dewey would resist arrest whereby he could be charged with that.

page 1672.

     In hesitating the cop had driven by.  Dewey was in a state of panic as he watched him turn around.  But as the cop was pulling up opposite Dewey a huge tractor and double bottom drew between to offer Dewey a ride.  Dewey thankfully heaved his bag up in preparation to scrambling in the cab while Abe Griswold, the driver, grinned down insolently at the SBPD.

 A Rolling Stone On The Lost Highway

I was totin’ my bag

Along that dusty Berdoo Road

When along came a semi

With a high and canvas covered load.

‘If you’re goin’ ‘cross the mountain pass

With me you can ride.’

So I climbed up in the cabin

And settled down inside.

He asked me if I’d ever seen a road

With so much dust and sand.

And I said:  ‘Listen Bud,

I’ve traveled every road in this here land.

I’ve been everywhere, man

I’ve been everywhere,

Across the deserts bare, man

I’ve breathed the mountain air, man

Of travel I’ve had my share, man

I’ve been everywhere.

-Hank Snow ‘I’ve Been Everywhere.’

page 1673

     Abe Griswold wasn’t really that generous a character; he just really enjoyed thumbing his nose at authority.  Like many truck drivers he had no place in the structure of society.  His place was no place so he was continually in motion and always at home.

     He was quick.  From his perch high above the road he had seen the little drama unfolding as the CWB circled back to harass Trueman.  Having foiled the cop he laughed down at him with a sneer as the CWB shook his fist at him.

     An added incentive for Abe was the novelty of seeing a sailor hitching on this highway so he not only had the privilege of thwarting authority but he was going to have a laugh at Trueman’s expense too.

     His cab was one of those huge old monsters.  Maybe a White or a Freightliner, no cab over, the snout extended out in front of the windshield to the horizon.  You could have played football in the cabin it was so big.

     The truck roared unmercifully;  the noise was deafening, the vibrations set your teeth rattling.

     Abe wanted to talk.  Through practice he had adjusted his hearing and vocal projection so that he could both hear and speak over, or rather, through the terrific din.  Dewey’s voice was light and high.  While he tried to comply with Abe’s wishes his voice wasn’t strong enough to stand the strain.

page 1674.

     He managed to explain to Abe that his destination was Michigan which raised Abe’s eyebrows and brought a suppressed smile to his lips at what he considered rightly an eccentric route.  He decided Trueman must be a real original.

     Abe explained that he would drop him off at the foot of the pass on the desert floor.  Abe picked up gravel on the other side of the moutains hauling it back to Riverside.  His bottoms were empty at the time.

     He advised that he wouldn’t hit the desert floor until surise offering to let Dewey use his fair sized sleeping quarters behind the seat.  Abe seemed to be somewhat reminiscent of the satyr so rather than be at his mercy alseep Dewey chose to stay awake.

     The big rig having passed through the gears, which are something like ten or fifteen, it labored up the pass.  Abe did have designs on Dewey but he was more the rapist than the seducer so Dewey was alright so long as he stayed awake.  The main road led straight over the pass but there was a long loop to the North that Abe took hoping to outlast Dewey, taking him while he was asleep.  Then he could dump the sailor out of the cab a million miles from nowhere.  It might be a couple days before Dewey reached civilization if he ever did.

     Dazed by the noise and the incredible bumpiness of the ride which shook his internal organs in fifteen different directions there was no chance Dewey would go to sleep.

page 1676.

     Having completed the loop the big rig crested the summit.  Abe just let that big double bottom screech on down the mountain side.  What little Dewey could see of the mountain in the headlights was bleak and sere.  Bare rock climbed sheer outside the windows giving the impression they were in a chute or very narrow canyon.

     As Dewey watched with eyes wide Abe didn’t even touch the brakes he just guided that monster missile down the grade.  The scream of the engine seemed to increase to match the roar of the wind howling by.  The canvas covers of the bottoms flapped and whistled while the sides of the empty bottoms began alternate concave and convex fluctuations with a deep bellow.

     Dewey’s eyes opened wide as terror began to show on his face.  As he stared out the windshield he could see that Abe was overdriving his headlights by a considerable distance.  The light from the headlights was still on the canyon walls as they flashed by.  Dewey thought Abe had lost control.  Laughing like a madman Abe enjoyed Dewey’s terror.

     They rolled through the pitch darkness for what seemed like hours until disgorging unto the desert floor they arrived at the crack of dawn.

     The transition from mountain pass to desert floor was complete in a moment.  It seemed as though the mountain range was set on the level desert floor without any intervening hills or grades.  Abe finally touched the brakes bringing that huge twenty wheeler to a stop.

page 1676.

     ‘I take a right here.  Get another load of mountain from the East side and drive it over to the West side.  Moving mountains is what I do for a living.  Just keep going on this highway and it’ll take you East.  Watch out for the coppers now.  So long pal.’

     Dewey thanked Abe, jumped down and watched him drive off laughing madly.

     Dewey wondered what the joke was.  Then he began to look aorund as rosy fingered dawn lighted up the desert landscape.  On taking stock of his situation he realized what a diabolical old jokester Abe was.  All life was just a quip in the cosmic comedy to him.

     Dewey took a full half hour to orient himself on the deserted highway.  He wasn’t very successful.  He had been up a full twenty-four hours now.  His nerves were tingling from the terror of the ride with Abe Griswold.  He had covered a couple hundred hundred miles due North away from his goal.  Not a propitious start; he could give up his forty-eight hour hopes.

     As he was dwelling on his misfortune rosy fingered dawn disappeared and the sun blazed up in the East like a big red rubber ball.  Dewey had become so disoriented he thought the sun was rising in the West and thought nothing of it.

     Every where he looked he saw nothing but bare ground.  No grass, no bushes, no trees.  He was in the desert; nothing but rocks and dirt.  He looked back to where he had come.  The mountains rose abruptly from the Mojave floor.  The highway disappeared into the slot of the defile from which the truck had emerged so that it appeared that the road ended abruptly at the mountain side.  The mountains rose up sere; nothing green was visible.

page 1678.

     Dewey turned slowly around.  Everywhere he looked there was nothing but yellowish-redish-brownish dirt.  Way off across the valley foor in the distance another even more sere mountain range rose.  If more sere was possible, and it was.

     ‘Jesus Christ.’  Dewey thought.  ‘This is the desert.’

     Dewey had been standing for an hour without a single car passing as the reality rather than the nature of desert pressed itself on his mind.

     ‘Not exactly a well traveled road.’  He observed to himself trying to make light of his situation.

     Then he began to feel warm enough to take off his coat.  As he did he remembered that deserts were hot, dry unforgiving places as in the song Cool Water:  Keep a movin’ Dan, he’s a devil not a man, and he spreads the burnin’ sands with water.’  It occurred to him that he could dehydrate and die by the side of the road with a glass of ephemeral water in his hand.  After all he’d had nothing to drink since breakfast the previous day.

     Anxiety seized him as he thought he understood what Abe was laughing about.  Dewey was the cosmic joke.  Two hours after he arrived he was still waiting for the first car to pass.

     As of three o’ clock the previous day Yisraeli hadn’t realized that Dalton Dagger had not yet left.  When Showbaby told him that Dagger was still fiddling with his car Our Lady panicked.  His heart was set on Dewey’s death at this time in this way.  He threw caution to the winds and made further contact with Dalton.  That was of course Dalton’s wish.  Dagger was not a passive instrument in Yehouda’s hands; he had his game too.

     He’d already spent the thousand he’d been able to collect.  Even though he’d accepted it in lieu of half payment he felt he’d been cheated which he had and would be.  Now confronted with his employer he obstinately held out for his other thousand.

     Yisraeli replied that as he hadn’t even left yet he would only give it to him in Barstow because he had jeopardized if not destroyed the Porn King’s plans.

     Yisraeli was desperate.  He knew that it would be extremely difficult to get rides on the Berdoo road so he surmised or hoped that Dewey wouldn’t have passed through Barstow before he could get there.

     He placated Dagger by promising, Our Lady Of The Blues, was a great promiser, the additional thousand if and when he got Dewey in his car.  Dagger laughed out loud when Yisraeli said he wanted his thousand back if they missed Trueman.

     Yisraeli took first things first and bundled Dalton into the latter’s car and drove straight through to Barstow where Our Lady passed the night in a motel while Dalton nursed his grudge against Yisraeli in his car as he had no money for a room.

     Yisraeli called Showbaby instructing him to cruise the highway in the hopes of locating Trueman.  Showbaby had gotten as far as San Bernardino the previous night when he actually spotted Trueman getting into Griswold’s truck.  An inquiry told him the probable destination of the gravel carrier.  He took a room in a motel rising with the sun as he began a slow cruise over the pass hoping to spot the victim.

page 1679.

     By eleven o’ clock two cars had passed Dewey both going the other way.  At eleven-fifteen Abe returned from the gravel pit to honk at him as he turned for the pass.  Shortly thereafter a car emerged from the defile to the Mohave floor.  This was Showbaby.  He couldn’t miss Dewey as he was the only spot of color moving in the desert within miles.  The temperature was rising and Dewey was getting desperate.  Still, he couldn’t help noticing the leisurely pace of Showbaby’s car and the manner in which he stopped before him as though he were looking for him.  Dewey slid in.

     Showbaby treated Trueman to the cool detestation which is the lot of the victim.  Zion drove at a very leisurely pace as they passed through Victorville toward Bartsow.  He neither spoke nor acknowledged Trueman’s presence.  He never said how far he was going.

     Annoyed by what seemed to be a sinister attitude and the slow pace Trueman was about to ask to be let out when Barstow hove on the horizon.

     ‘This is as far as I’m going.’  Showbaby said indicating with a thrusting forefinger that Trueman was to get out.

     Then he turned into the lot of the motel and to Yisraeli and Dagger who were waiting.

     Yisraeli who mailed his porn everywhere had a few customers in Barstow.  Generally speaking his customers revered him as a porno saint.  They little knew that he was merely a businessman who really had scant respect ofr them.

page 1680.

 

    

    

 

 

 

 

 

A Short Story

The Magic Shop

or

Time Travel In Einstein’s Universe

by

R.E. Prindle

 

     Possible universes indeed!  Does anyone think such things can possibly exist.  Just wishful projections of a religious consciousness.  That’t the way I see it but Dr. Anton, a man of science, no less, says he has his doubts.

     Well, we were walking down the street the other day when we noticed a slight shimmer in the atmosphere ahead of us.  We had already walked through it before we had time to even wonder what it was.  There was a slight tingle as we passed through but as nothing else seemed to change, the street was no different, while when we looked back we recognized each landmark where it had always been before; traffic, the people, there seemed to be no difference although it did seem as though we were looking back through a mirror into a parallel universe.

     We had already discussed it as some prank of the atmosphere when passing along a wall I noticed what seemed to be a sparkle emitting from a standard Portland cement wall.  Holding Dr. Anton back for a moment I stepped up to investigate.  As I drew nearer a quaint old fashioned shop door appeared from nowhere.  It wasn’t there before.  The sparkle I had seen was coming from a red neon sign above the green door which read “The Magic Shop.’

       When Anton came closer the same door became apparent to him.  He drew my attention to a red splash on the lintel of the door which he said was sheep’s blood but I swear it just looked like red paint to me.

     I knew that, as a hundred years earlier when this same door had appeared in London, if we were the right sort we would be able to pass over.  And, dear Reader, we did.  You look like the right sort so why don’t you pass over with us into the Magic Shop.

     The door had one of those old fashioned bells above it that tinkled as we entered.  The door swung shut and then through the window we saw a man outside rush for the door but we only heard a thud as he hit the wall.  He wasn’t the right sort, we were.

     There was an elfin like man behind the counter who smiled quietly at us but only inclined his head to the right.  When he did so you could look through the hole where his nose and chin touched.  If you had good aim you could have thrown a golf ball through with nothing but a whiff of air to account for its passage.  As the indicated direction was straight in front of us we turned from him to see a golden arch with this legend above it:  This Way To The Things That Were.

     There were rows of busts beside and above the shimmering pulsating arch.  I was used to seeing pseudo antique busts of Caesar, Milton, Athene and the like but these were extremely lifelike busts of people for which I thought there could be only a minimal demand.  In fact, I thought, anyone with such a stock of goods must necessarily go bust, pronto.  No pun intended.  I mean, who’s ever going to buy a bust of Edgar Rice Burroughs, H.G. Wells was there, Carl Jung, Sigmund Freud, Arthur Conan Doyle, Edgar Allan Poe, Fennimore Cooper and H. Rider Haggard; I was staggered by the last because I didn’t know anyone who could recognize him except this guy George I know.  And that guy’s into deep strange.

     Just as a lark I said hello to Edgar Rice Burroughs.  I was stunned when he said “Hello Warbaby’ back to me.  I staggered back in amazement managing to utter:  How’s things?  I was absolutely stunned when the Great ERB smiled back and said:  ‘I like the things you’ve been writing about me, Doug.’  I was about to salute Bertie Wells just to see what he would answer back when Dr. Anton noticed that the clerk was motioning us to move along by pushing the backs of his fingers at us.

     What cheek, I thought.  I’m a free born All-American Boy, nobody tells me what to do.

     My god, I thought, on the split screen of my mind, those aren’t plaster busts those are real heads.  I was really talking to Edgar Rice Burroughs the inventor of the Gridley Wave, or at least, the inventor of Gridley.

     I was trying to expostulate to Dr. Anton, I expostulate rather well, grabbing hold of his shoulder pad as he grabbed my belt pulling me through the arch.  First time I’ve ever seen him intimidated by a clerk who, by the way, shouted cheerily:  Mind that first step.

     All three of us must have missed it because after a short tumble we found ourselves sitting on a brightly lit concrete floor.

     I and you, Reader, were slow in getting our wits about us.  By the time our heads stopped spinning we got up off the floor to find Dr. Anton looking around him.

     Warbaby, do you know where we are?  He asked while I was still dazed, so I mumbled out not exactly.  It’s as bright as it is because of those kleig lights.  Anton said wonderingly.  I think we’re on a Hollywood sound stage.  Must be a thirties period piece,  I answered looking around at the people I thought were playing stagehands.

     No, Anton said, I think this is the thirties.  Remember that sign above the golden arch that said:  Things That Were?

     Aw, come on, Anton.  You’re not going to try to make me believe that we’ve traveled through time and space are you?  Well, he said, look over there at that portly little round man.  Yeah, I said, you mean that actor made up to look like H.G. Wells?  Dr. Anton gave me one of those impatient looks of his as though he were talking to an idiot.  I can tell you quite frankly, he wasn’t.  That’s not an actor made up as H.G. Wells, that is H.G. Wells.

     Why sure, Anton, I said thinking he wasn’t goint to catch me out.  No. He said. I think I know when and where we are now.  This is Hollywood in 1935.  I believe we’re on the soundstage for the movie ‘Things To Come.’  Oh yeah, I smiled brushing a fleck of dust from my dungarees.  Dungarees?  I wasn’t wearing dungrees when we entered the Magic Shop.  I don’t even own a pair.  I went to scratch my head in perplexity but found it covered by one of those British motoring caps.  Another thing I don’t own.

     When I looked over at Drl Anton he was wearing nearly the same thing except he had one of those stupid little blue Russian Revolutionary caps on his head.  And it really wasn’t his head; it was someone else’s.  So was his body.  Say, this was developing into a mystery.  Anton, is that you?  I asked looking back at Reader who was standing patiently by with one of those big metal cases on either side of his legs.

     Yes, it’s me, Warbaby, but I’m not alone, nor are you or Reader.  You see, I’ve just discovered, there’s a reason that no time traveler has ever been seen.  Apart from the fact that time travel doesn’t exist I sneered.  No, that’s not it.  But in any particular past time all the space has already been taken up.  Nothing can be altered or changed because as the Greek philosopher said:  What is is and cannot not be .  Whis is not, is not and cannot not be.  Nothing can be altered or changed in a completed time period because there is no room for any new matter.

     Well, I said archly, then how are we where we can’t be?  This may seem strange, Anton said, which I thought required no further comment, but I’ve just discovered what thousands perhaps milions already know.  We can exist here because of an almost undetectable thin membraneous vacuum around the brain.  As we all know nature abhors a vacuum so there is this one small interstice of time and space that can be filled without displacing reality.  Get it?

     You’re the scientist, I said, laughing up my sleeve.

     This may account for unaccountable aberrant actions by otherwise consistent people.  Anton said wonderingly.  They had this time traveller sharing space in their head.  Their mind waves must have clashed, you know, like static on the radio.

     Here I said snidely that that probably accounts for why Edgar Rice Burroughs invented the Gridley Wave; to keep his mind clear.  Even then when the power wasn’t on he thought he was mad and two different people.  Perhaps you have something there, Anton, I chuckled.  You know I think something is ridiculous when I chuckle.

     I suspect your psychology practice is going to boom when you get back Anton and start doubling your billing by charging one person for two different minds.  I think you may have hold of something of value here if you know how to exploit it.

     Talk about making a living, Anton said disregarding my sarcasm in the wonder of the moment, see who that is in the Director’s skull?  Who?  That’s ;your old friend J. Richard Gott.  Dick Gott here in 1935 in this studio?  What a coincidence.  Well, yeah, you could call it a coincidence but do you see who he brought in the skull of that gorgeous starlet standing by his chair?  That’s his great-great-grandmother at twenty.  Knock out isn’t she?     I didn’t know that was possible, Warbaby.  Shoot, anything’s possible in one of Einstein’s universes, I said.  You ain’t seen nothing yet.  It’s all mirrors and mathematics.  Give these guys a postulate and they’ll come up with the numbers to prove it out.  You know Gott.  I suspect he climbed up a superstring in our time, swung from string to string like Tarzan, slid down that superstring to go back and pick up his GG Grandmom, picked her up back whenever then climbed back up the superstring to move over to 1935 then slid down with her here.  That Gott, he’s already himself as his own mom and dad.  He had to slide down a number os superstrings to pull that off.  I don’t know which one he slid down to get his GG Grandma but I imagine if he gets her pregnant he’s going to have to create a whole new genre of relationships to explain it.  Try to trace your ancestry from that one.

     It hurts my host’s head to think about it.  They won’t work it out in this universe Anton but this place is madder than a superstring of Edgar Rice Burroughses.  How’s that?  Well, take a look Anton, everybody here is somebody else.  Everyone here has a time traveler wrapped around his brain.  Try to disentangle that one.

     I must be right then, that must be why no one has ever seen a time traveler.  It’s not that they’re just like you and me but they are you and me.  I mean, we look just like these stagehands we’re in like Gott looks like Menzies.

     Hmmm.  A thought occurs to me Warbaby.  What if time travelers were wrapped around our brains when we left the present to enter 1935?  We would be triple deckers, Anton.  We may have trapped out TTs in a sort of time warp where they can never go backward or forward until we return to where they got off the inter-sidereal time-loop.  Look at what H.G. Wells started.  If we don’t get back there’ll probable be a couple unused superstrings stranded in time and space.  Perhaps stranded in the interstice where time and space join.  Like one of those oil fields in Texas.

     Reader, pick up those boxes we’re being directed over to camera three.  This is a better place too, Anton, we’ve got a better view of Wells.  Look at that old lecher fondling the folds of that starlet’s gown.  Look at him, just at bust level.  I don’t blame him though.  She’s no Kali Bwana but she can stand next to my fire any time she wants.

     Warbaby!  Warbaby look! Follow Wells’ line of vision to over behind camera number one.  Oh my god!  That’s Edgar Rice Burroughs.  Quick Anton, freeze the frame.  How do you do that?  Just squint your eyes.  I recognize the Einstein of 1905 as your fellow traveler.  Squint quick.  Albert Einstein of 1905 is wrapped around my brain?  No kidding?  I can just barely see him and I don’t know how you picked him up but that’s him.  Look, everyone is frozen in place.  Time has had a stop.  Well, we all knew that time must have a stop sometime but this is just a pause Anton.  It’s like we moved the frame out of context to a parallel universe.  Everything is moving along as it was before so the future won’t be thrown out of kilter by a few minutes. It’s like we have shifted to a different memory bank in the archival universe.  When the pause is ended we’ll just drop back in this 1935 scene and universe where we stepped out.

     Boy, to go back in time seventy years to remove a moment of time from milieu and drop it back in again.  Sometimes I think I must be dreaming.  It could be, Anton, it could be.

     You see, Anton, even in an Einstein universe I think we’ve got a problem here.  Yes?  What?  Well, Anton, if this is as you say, the set of ‘Things To Come’, then the bad news is that the movie was filmed in England and not in Hollywood.  We know that Burroughs was never in England so how can boths Wells and Burroughs be on the same ‘Things To Come’ soundstage in Hollywood?  Hm, Mr. Scientist?

     Time travel hasn’t been fully explained, Warbaby.  I suppose not, Anton, but how can two places thousands of miles apart be in the same place at once.  Speak, oh Master, your humble student listens.

     I’t s not as difficult as it may sound, humble student.  I believe what we’re in here is a photo-mirage of inter-sidereal time.  I believe two images have been super-imposed with bits entangled and disentangled differently so as to produce a melange effect.  You have the seeming impossibility of a British set on a Hollywood soundstage with Wells and Burroughs together.

     Yes, we do have that seeming impossibility.  Just to make a good story better, Anton, now that the frame is frozen and we can form images a little better, do you realize that there are three different Einsteins on the set?  Look, you’ve got the Menzies/Gott/Einstein, then over there that actress and actor holding hands is wrapped with a 1954 Einstein and a 1960 Marilyn Monroe.  Her brain is wrapped with a post-mortem Victor Mature.  The old buzzard found a way to make it with him and her without anyone knowing. A regular sandwich.   First he moved ahead in time and space to make the date then they both came back to this set of ‘Things To Come.’  Must be one of his favorite movies.  After the movie’s over he will drop her off in 1960 then drive home to 1954.  How does that account for Victor Mature?  Mature must have been an inter-sidereal hitchhiker who was stranded while hitching and then died back on earth so he truly had no body on his bond.  And then he got lucky and how, hey?  Then there’s a 1943 model Einstein watching quietly from the skull of a bit player.  He must just have been curious.  If all three get together they can compare notes on how they developed his theories.  This is terrific although I’ve forgotten whether I’m Warbaby and you’re Polarion or vice versa.

     I haven’t.  You’re Warbaby and I’m Anton and that is Reader.

     Well, I’m getting dizzy even if you aren’t Anton.  I didn’t thing Wells and Burroughs had ever met yet as you see here they are.

     They still haven’t me Warbaby and they never will.  I’ll tell you what I think has happened.  We know that Wells, hated may not be the right word, resented Burroughs, um, doing variations on some of his stories.  Monster Men might as well be the Island Of Dr. Moreau.  The Mars series reverses the situation in ‘The War Of The Worlds’.  Not only that but Burroughs criticized some of Wells’ ideas from The Time Machine in Tarzan And The Jewels Of Opar.

     Burroughs on the other hand who began writing twenty years after Wells must have had his mind blown by that fantastic spate of sci-fi stories by Wells from 1895 to 1905 or fantasias as they were then called.  That stuff can stil bowl you over, especially if you’re under twenty-five and as spacy as we are now.  Burroughs had to revere the master.

     It must be that Wells knew Einstein so he got him to disentangle the noumenon of the London studio from England and reentangle it here.  Then Burroughs must have been notified that Wells was in town and came on down to take a  look at him.

     Just look.  Wells has that look of detestation in his eyes while Burroughs combines a haughty grandeur with the look of a puppy dog wanting to get in his master’s lap.

     You’ve studied up on this Warbaby.  What’s the story?  It’s simple enough, Anton.  Wells was, of course, famous when the Great War started while Burroughs had only begun to reach for fame so Wells had no idea of his work until after the War perhaps by 1921 perhaps when someone pointed out Burrughs novels to him.

     There was certainly no copyright infringement by ERB, nothing that was plagiarism but Wells thought, or rather, he didn’t realize that he had created at least one new genre in literature, that of science fiction, as well as futuristic or speculative fiction.  Since you’ve called on me to wax learned, Anton, Herman Hesse thought up something he called the Glass Bead Game about 1943.  The Glass Bead Game involved writing stories placing yourself in a different time and character.  Guys like Wells and Burroughs had mastered the art decades earlier.  Anyway Wells  chose to be angry with ERB.  In 1923 he wrote a story called Men Like Gods in which he invented a Burroughs character and then killed him off.

     Burroughs responded in his fiction and the feud went on until 19- well, today, here, now.  These guys should have been great friends.  Just look at them, Anton, Burroughs has, is going to rather, sell hundreds of millions of books in every country on earth.  He has already created one of the great psychic projections of mankind in Tarzan.  At this very moment we’ve frozen in time he is the world’s best selling author.

     Wells there at sixty-nine has written a dozen novels that will be popular and influential when we get back to our present.

     Both men will have many works successfully translated to the screen.  Back home this one, Things To Come, will be given four and a half stars by reviewers.

     We are literally looking at two intellectual giants of the twentieth century.  Two men of incredible talent revolving around each other like like two great planets in space, perhaps chasing each other around a ‘donut’ atmosphere as Burroughs would have it.

     See if you can get your Einstein to snap a picture of this which will appear on your camera back home when we get back.  Can he do that?  Sure, get the 1905 model of Einstein to do it, mirrors and mathematics, no problem.  Darn, Warbaby, when we passed the time warp it must have discharged my battery.  I don’t have any power.  Well, just send us an inter-sidereal email.  Anton.  My machine’s turned off.  What do you mean your computer’s turned off, Anton, nobody turns off their computer?  I’ve been getting too many bad jokes, Warbaby, I want to discourage them.  Use yours.

     Einstein’s brain wrap is on yours, not mine.  They won’t be able to work out the mathematics of brain transfers for another decade beyond home yet.  We’ll have him drop this still back into the moving picture and get on with our lives.

     Ooh, H.G. got a little flesh with his index finger just then.  Funny what an attraction those things are for us.  Those are real, too, no implants yet.

     There goes Burroughs Warbaby.  Looks kinda hurt.

     Yeah, back to Tarzana, probably traveling along the Gridley Ware.  I wonder what Wells thinks of a guy like Burroughs who has practically created his own parallel universe in the California sun and lives in it, no less.  Imagine a guy buying enough land for a town, subdividing it and then calling it after his own literary creation.  Levitt, created Levittown, Warbaby.

     Not the same thing Anton.  Jimmy Jones created Jonestown in the jungle too which was a much weirder story than Tarzana and still not the same thing.

     Oops, where are we going?  Lunch time, Warbaby, everybody off to the lunch box.  Good, we’ll be able to sit around and get all the good gossip.

     Whoo! Where are we Anton?  Back in the Magic Shop, Warbaby.  There won’t be any gossip for us.  Where’s the clerk pointing now?  I think he’s showing us the back door, Warbaby.  We may be the right sort but I think we’ve overstayed our welcome.

     Here we are back in the street, Warbaby.  I think this is regular old 2008.  I think we’re on the real side of the membrane too, can’t see your Einstein anymore.  Well, that was quite an adventure.  Yeah, too bad we couldn’t get that picture.  You know the battery may have been cleared when we passed through the shimmer.  Too bad.  If we could have claimed we found that picture in a drawer that would have been worth a little and proved something as true that never happened and in living color too.  History, huh?

     Well, Reader, it was nice of you to come along but we have to part now.  I hope you had an enjoyable interlude.  Watch out!  Don’t trip over that superstring.

The Boulevard Of Broken Dreams

From The Boulevard Of Broken Dreams Collection

by

R.E. Prindle

Chapter I

Unemployed in Camelot

 

     Dewey sat down.  California- God, what a climate.  Here it was November and the weather was still delicious.  Was still?  It never ended.  Storm clouds were merely a break in the sunshine, scarcely noticeable, even welcome.  Even in dark San Francisco the sun shone brighter, the air was more clear, more fresh, more balmly than anywhere.

     It was almost a delight to be unemployed as Dewey took a seat on the bench to wait for his two o’ clock interview.  Almost a delight but not quite.  Dewey’s career, his assualt on the world, was going nowhere.  He knew his situation was very precarious.  The worst was that the persona he projected was not well received.  He sensed that there was someone, a part of a group, that defamed him wherever he went.  He was conscious of being stalked but that could be overcome if people liked him, if he knew how to ingratiate himself.  But he didn’t.  The blows of his childhood had made him a cross between servile and obsquious combined with an attempt to assert his self-worth that came across as arrogant.

     Even now as he sat on the bench on Montgomery just off Market a man stood across the square staring at him steadily.  He was waiting to follow Dewey wherever he went.  He would then report Dewey’s whereabouts, a phone call would be made and whatever chance Dewey had would be dashed.

     There was no sense approaching the guy, he would only retreat before Dewey leaving Dewey in the awkward and humiliating position of chasing him down the street.  All Dewey could do was endure him.

     Dewey opened his copy of  ‘Troubled Sleep’ by Sartre so as not to waste valuable time while he waited.  His copy was from the Bantam series of World Classics.  A fine collection of titles that he bought wherever he found them.  He gazed up from his book from time to time to wonder who the guy came from.  Dewey thought he must either report to Capt. Leon Douglas of Ocean Services or Barney Dolittle from Statistical Tabulating.  Those were Dewey’s last two employers.

     He knew that Douglas was following him because he had seen him enter Statistical Tabulating during lunch break.  Did the dirty work himself which was somewhat unusual.  But if you do want the job done right, do it yourself.  The attitude toward himself at STC had changed after the visit.

     Dewey could guess what Douglas had been about.  He had had several hints that he was being slandered from various employment agencies.  No one openly accused him but he was treated as though they assumed he was a thief.  The companies he had been sent to were also of low quality, not career opportunities.  Dewey had been forced out of Ocean Services when he had discovered a major graft scheme, they were now turning around the charge of theft in self-defense.  Tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of dollars were being systematically plundered from Ocean Services.  Dewey, who was a Jr. Accountant, had stumbled across it while auditing invoices.

     Ocean Services ran a fleet of tankers on a triangular trade from Peru to Japan down to Indonesia and up to San Francisco and back to Peru; iron ore from Peru to Japan, oil from Indonesia to San Francisco.  The seamen employed were Japanese; thus supplies were appropriate to Japanese tastes.  As he audited the invoices Dewey thought from the amount spent that the seamen must be getting luxury goods.  He didn’t know what the supplies were as the terms were Japanese and the prices were in yen but they converted into hefty sums in dollars.  These guys were eating one heck of a lot better than Dewey had in the Navy.  Then one day Dewey came across an item for cathartics at $10.00 U.S. per tablet.  Dewey stared at the item.  Cathartics?  He knew he was right but he checked the dictionary to be sure.  He was right.  The firm had been charged $10.00 for an Exlax tablet.

     When he presented the discovery to Capt. Douglas, the president of the company, he had expected to be congratulated.  Instead he had been informed that it was his job to merely extend the lines not to analyze them.  He was told to get back to his desk and forget about it. 

     Shortly thereafter it was made apparent to him that he was not only superfluous but unwanted.  They tried the classic ruse of transferring him to another company that would be more suitable to him.  As he had only been on the job six months job changing would be a perilous undertaking.  Although he had held his previous job for two years, leaving to better his prospects, his employability would be suspect on leaving Ocean Services.  If he were released from the successor job shortly after being hired which he suspected was their intent he would be unemployable.  Ocean Services had a prestigious location at Kearny and California.  Dewey wasn’t going to be sent to any more prestigious locations.

     He had then taken a job at STC which as it turned out was owned by a Mafioso from Chicago.  The staff had all been sent out from St. Louis.  Dewey’s luck was still bad.  His boss was Barney Dolittle.  Dolittle had been fired as a young man just after he had married and was with a pregnant wife.  Dewey married in September of 1963.  A week later he was back on the street.  Dolittle had been very upset that Dewey’s wife wasn’t pregnant.  He had vowed to keep Dewey from getting another job.  Dewey thought that the guy staring at him might be from Dolittle.  He wasn’t, he was from Capt. Douglas.

     Even though Dewey didn’t know it he was the possessor of a dangerous secret.  He knew of the corruption at Ocean Services.  He didn’t know what Douglas thought he did.  Dewey thought the culprit was the purchasing agent, Dean Mangeon.  He wasn’t aware that everyone in the company was in on the take, nor that Douglas was receiving the lion’s share.  Douglas in his guilt gave Dewey too much credit.  Dewey was still too inexperienced to understand the pervasiveness of corruption in society.  The Captain to protect himself found it necessary to hound Dewey out of Baghdad By The Bay.  Douglas had quietly become a millionaire, he would to to great lengths to protect his ill-gotten gains.

      Dewey looked down to see a Chronicle on the bench beside him that wasn’t there when he sat down.  It was folded to the want ads.  An ad was circled in red pencil.  Stanford University was advertising for psychological subjects for testing.  Dewey read it.  The pay was very good.  He thought that he might be able to pick up some money and also learn something about himself.  But then he decided that it would interfere with his job hunting.  Had he answered the ad and been accepted he would have been destroyed.  Like Harvard, and over over at UC in Berkeley, Stanford was doing drug experimentation.  In this case they were shooting subjects full of methamphetamines- the very best and purest speed- just to see whether the subjects would flip or flop.

     Dewey laid the paper down.  The clock opposite said five to two.  His appointment was just across Market.  He slipped ‘Troubled Sleep’ into his inside breast pocket.  The building was a great Art Deco piece from the 30s.  It looked better from the outside.  The marble inside was OK but the entire core of the building was a lattice work iron cage.  The elevators even were iron cages pulled up and down on the exposed steel cables.  The building would give him nightmares for decades.

     He was made to wait half an hour.  He saw his prospective employer hang up the phone.  ‘The job’s already been filled.’  He called from his desk.  ‘Sorry.’

     As Dewey left he saw the guy from the square enter the elevator.  ‘Just as Well.’  Dewey thought as he cruised around the floor for a better look.  ‘I don’t think I could work in this place, much too spooky and weird.’

     How much difference in your life can half an hour make?  As the elevator reached the ground floor the building erupted into surrying activity.  Office doors opened, people ran out staring at each other in disbelief.  ‘Oh, my god!  The President’s been shot.’  November 22, 1963.  An old world when Dewey went up the elevator, a brave new one when he came down.

     Jack Kennedy had been shot.  A great weight lifted from Dewey’s shoulders.  The shooting didn’t come as a surprise.  He had been expecting it.  Hoping for it?  Ah well, Jack Kennedy aroused deep antagonism.  And then there had been the Bay Of Pigs.  Half the country had been sullenly resentful.  The air of oppression had lain heavy on the nation.  Now it was over.  Dewey heaved a sigh of relief.  But he felt guilty about it.  His attitude was so complicit that he almost feared discovery as an accomplice.

     Things had changed, now the darkness was not all below the top of his head.  He had been given new life.  As he moved out the door in slow motion it seemed that above his eyebrows all was light while below he moved in darkness.  How strange.  The killing of Kennedy had freed his conscious mind from the control of his subconscious.  He was on his way to freedom.  How strange.  Yet it was true not only for himself but for the country.  The pall that had descended on the nation with the anti-Communist struggles beginning in the forties had been lifted.

     He passed through the revolving doors to flatten himself against the wall slipping down Market like a fugitive.  Auto traffic had stopped and loose paper was swirling in eddies down the street.  People were running every whichaway shouting:  ‘Hey, President Kennedy’s been shot.  They killed Kennedy.’  The mood was not one of dejection but one of elation.  Kennedy was gone.  The land was free again.

     Dewey looked up at the blue November sky, felt the warm bright California air walking up toward Powell and the center of things.

     All the street characters for which San Francisco is so justly famous were running, jumping, shouting:  ‘Hey, they did it, they shot him.  Kennedy is dead.’  So they had.  Many walked as though zombies stunned that the President had been shot.  Dewey, too, was amazed.  His belief that the United States was too civilized for assassinations was disproved.  The last time a president had been shot was at the turn of the century.  Even then the assassin had been a crazy foreign anarchist.  Now Dewey would have to reassess his country.  He would find that it wasn’t even civilized and becoming worse every day.

     There was no doubt in Dewey’s mind, he didn’t even ask himself why, that Kennedy had been killed by the conservatives.  Ask who?  He wondered why it had taken them so long.  Threats had been heavy in the air for months.  Hadn’t Kennedy been warned not to go to Dallas?  Hadn’t the threat been, stronger than an implication, that the cowboys would kill him if he went?  Hadn’t he publicly said that he would not be deterred by threats?

     As Dewey looked around he saw shock on the peoples’ faces but he didn’t see dejection.  He even saw men shaking hands in deep satisfaction.  ‘Hey, didja hear Kennedy, the President’s been shot?’  Having heard Dewey walked wonderingly down to the Embarcadero to catch a bus home.

     The ride to Larkspur in Marin County was unusually quiet.  Everyone seemed lost in their own reflections.  Dewey himself, was breathing heavily.  A great and oppressive weight had been lifted from him.  ‘Free at last.’  He thought.  Free at last.  God almighty, I’m free at last.’  He was premature but at least the stone had been rolled away and he was free to be born again.

Chapter 2.

As In A Dream

     ‘Hi, Honey.  You don’t have the TV on, you haven’t heard?’

     ‘Haven’t heard what, Dewey?’

     ‘They shot him.  They killed Kennedy.’

     ‘Who shot him?’

     ‘I don’t know.  Them, you know, his enemies.  Turn on the TV.  We gotta see this.’

     See this they did.  The coverage was non-stop and in living color.  The TV reporters were agog.  They even interviewed demented drunks who claimed they were the good friends of John F. Kennedy.  The reporters of the various channels were actually shocked when they discovered a guy on a barstool who claimed to know Kennedy was a fraud.  Unless you consider ‘He was a real good guy’ as proof of acquaintanceship.  Oh well, it was the first time; the reporters would get a lot of practice in the ensuing years.

     ‘Wow!  I wonder why he was riding in an open car?’

     ‘Why, Dewey?’

     ‘Well, he was warned not to got to Dallas because they were going to shoot him.  Jackie pleaded with him not to go.  Everybody knew he was going to get it.  Why make it easy?’

     ‘Why did they want to shoot him?’

     ‘He’s a Catholic.  He betrayed the American ethos.  We hate him.’

     ‘What do you mean he betrayed the American ethos, Dewey?  What’s that got to do with being Catholic?  America’s a land of religious tolerance, isn’t it?’

     ‘Well, Honey, it’s a land where Protestant Anglo-Americans tolerate everyone else but they don’t tolerate us.  Where to start?

      First off, Kennedy’s a liar and a cheat.  Second, he’s got an unholy alliance with the news people.  I couldn’t stand the way he tricked and lied to the people to get their votes when he was nominated and then blatantly and openly betrayed them.  Not only that but the newspeople justified his chicanery as just politics.  Since his election, and there’s people that say that was rigged too, they have been singularly uncritical.  They even treat his failures- really gross imcompetent failures- like the Bay Of Pigs and the Missile Crisis in Cuba- as successes somehow.  Anybody else they’d fry.

      Then they started this Camelot thing- that stupid song The Impossible Dream- as symbolical of some fabulous new era he was inaugurating.  Some kind of Irish King Arthur come again in triumph over the bad Anglo-Saxons.  For Christ’s sake the guy was the Grand Inquisitor- a new Torquemada.  That’s why I say they shot him because he was a Catholic.  Not because he was a member of the Catholic Church but because he acted to enforce the same kind of orthodoxy rather than freedom of conscience.  He thought like a Catholic, he thought like a Pope.  Anyone who didn’t back his program was a heretic.  Not just misinformed or even wrong, but a heretic.  Outside the pale.  There was no room for discussion or another opinion.

     That’s the real reason Americans have never wanted a Catholic president.  The fear was always that he would be more loyal to papal ideas than to the American Constitution.  That’s exactly what he did.  That’s what he had to do.  You can only do what is in your brain.  If you think in terms of freedom of conscience then you can’t help but act on the basis of freedom of conscience.  It’s the way your mind is organized.  If you think in terms of orthodoxy and heresy then you cannot help but act that way.  You must act out your education, your brain is organized to think that way.  You can’t will such thoughts out of your mind.  Kennedy was Catholic; he was orthodox and if you didn’t agree with him you were a heretic.  I’ve been living in fear for four years.

     You never understood why I got so upset about General Walker- you remember him- they were grooming him as the conservative presidential opposition, but, at the time I thought it was that they were imitating the Russians in saying anyone who didn’t agree with them was crazy.  That wasn’t it.  They weren’t imitating the Commies; the Commies and the Catholic Church treated the problem of freedom of conscience in the same way.  If you’re not orthodox you’re a heretic or, as the Commies put it, you’re insane.  Same thing.  So what does Kennedy do?  Since the newsboys are his dogs they portray General Walker as being insane.  They destroyed him with stupid pictures that could have been taken of anybody.  Walker was an American.  He just disagreed with them which was his God given American right.  But Kennedy said:  If you’re with us you’re OK; if not, you’re insane.’

     I couldn’t explain my reaction at the time.  Then, right after that, they announced that they were going to let the crazy people out of the asylums and establish a house on every block where the crazies would have to report.  You didn’t take that serious either but all that meant was that if you weren’t orthodox you would be crazy and everyone in the neighborhood would know it.  That way the opposition would be isolated and rendered ineffective.  They were crazy.  You would have to go along with the program or else.  Very Jesuitical.  The Spanish Inquisition would then be established in America.

      You know who the busybodies are that would have empowered.  No, I’ve been living in fear and that’s gone.  I’m not for killing people but now that it’s done it’s the best thing that could have happened to the country.  I’m glad.  The son-of-a-bitch deserved it.  I could never be orthodox.  Anyway that’s why they killed him because he was a Catholic inquisitor.  Not because he was a member of the Chruch but because he wanted to install the inquisitorial attitude over that of freedom of conscience.  The Inquisition is part and parcel of Catholicism.’

       ‘Oh, they just arrested the guy.’

     ‘Oh yeah?  Who?’  Dewey asked, who had already guessed the course of events.

     ‘Some guy named Oswald.  Lee Harvey Oswald.  Oh, wow, I guess you were wrong Dewey.  He’s a Communist.’

     ‘A Communist, huh?  Boy, that’s convenient, isn’t it?  Next thing they’ll say Khruschev sent him.’

     ‘He was in Russia for a while.  Left here, went there and then came back.’

     ‘What’d they say they picked him up a mile or so from this book store where they think the shot came from?  How’d they know it was him?  Did he just look like the kind of guy who would shoot a president?  Now, that’s rigged; too convenient.  I’ll bet they kill him before he ever gets a chance to say anything.

     No.  No Communist did it.  Why would they want him dead?  He was giving them everything they wanted.  He was just a big talking back peddler.  Did you ever read about their father, Joseph P. Kennedy?  I mean, Jack’s not the first one they got; they killed his first son, Joseph Jr. during the war.  the Old Man has lots of enemies.  The guy’s a crook.

     He makes his fortune during prohibition in the liquor business.  Gives him the advantage of having connections on both sides of the law, I guess.  Twice as many places to make enemies.  So after prohibition he tries to go legit.  He even gets the Superdip, Roosevelt, to make him ambassador to England.  Roosevelt sends an Irish Catholic as ambassador to Protestant England.  So what does Kennedy do?  As an Irishman he hates the English so he’s pro-Nazi and openly anti-Semitic.  Boy, the soul of descretion.  England’s at war with Germany and Hitler’s killing millions of Jews and this guy’s a pro-Nazi and anti-Semite ambassador to England.

     So, at this point, it’s not who doesn’t like this guy but who does?  Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. is a flier.  He has a mission to fly over Germany.  Just like Jack people tell him not to fly because he wont’ come back.  He flies it anyway.  What happens?  His plane blows up just after take off.  Nazis got him, right?  Maybe the load wasn’t properly balanced.

     Anyway the warning was clear.  Joe Sr. wasn’t welcome in society.

      Look at the place he lives, a compound.  The whole family has to live behind a fence.  They need a lot of security.  Why?  Because a lot of people must want to see them dead.  Who lives behind walls?  Criminals and orphans, that’s who.  The Kennedys weren’t orphans.  So he’s told to lay low and he makes his son the first Irish Catholic president of the United States.  Who wanted to kill Jack Kennedy?   Lots of people.  Probably if they discovered who killed Joe Jr. they might discover who killed Jack.  And if Bobby knows what’s good for him he’ll lie low too.  Cause if he runs for president they’ll kill him too.’

      The world doesn’t stop, not even for dead presidents.  Dewey was out looking for a job the next day.  He returned home to turn on the evening news.  What to his wondering eyes should appear but the assassination of the supposed assassin.  Who shot Lee Harvey Oswald?  The super-patriot, Jack Ruby.

      ‘Well, imagine that.’  Dewey said to Angeline.  ‘Imagine that.  A Jewish low life criminal shot Oswald.  If you don’t dislike him because he’s Jewish you can hate him because he’s a criminal.  Now, watch this, if Ruby doesn’t die of food poisoning or some such, they’ll certify him as insane so they can discredit whatever he says.  Jeez, this is embarrassing.

     But, what do I care?  I’ve got to get a job, we’ve got to pay the rent.’

Chaper III

Living Water In A Stagnant Pool

      If Dewey hadn’t realized it before he now quickly grasped that he was not going to be referred to top flight companies or even good jobs.  He saw that he was never referred to a single major company of which, it goes without saying, San Francisco was full of.  The realization gradually dawned on him that he had been demoted from the first rank of employability.

     None of the agencies would tell him so but as he saw inferior people sent out on interviews denied him he had to alter his attitude.  Talking did him no good; thus when he was handed an address with a shrug of the shoulders that said:  You can have this or nothing, he accepted the interview.

      He was sent to a mortgage banking firm called Lowell, Smith and Evers.  Mortgage banking firms contracted with lenders to manage their properties.  The big money was still in the East.  The terrific expansion in California was financed by them.  In California entire cities were thrown up overnight or so it seemed.  When the City of Fremont consolidated its five burgs an entire metropolis sprouted within a few years.  Giant tracts of hundreds of house were financed from back East.

     In order to sell the houses quickly the builders took in anyone whatever his qualifications.  Thus the first few years of a tract was a sorting out process.  Those who couldn’t or wouldn’t meet their payments were eliminated to be replaced by those who could or would.  The result of such building and selling was chaotic.  The mortgage banking firms in an attempt to keep the deliquencies low hired people to go in and bully the mortgagees into paying.  This is the job destined for Dewey.

     Dewey considered himself an accountant.  He wasn’t.  He didn’t even have an inclination for it.  Even in Jr. College night school he veered away from business courses as soon as he thought he had enough, which was too soon by far.

     He saw this job for what it was; an undesirable position which could only be filled by the desperate.  He was aware that he wasn’t going to make it in a highly structured office.  He’d been in three now.  He’d been a social success in none of them.  Further, he knew it was impossible for him to be a social success; he was too unbending in his moral views.  He couldn’t tolerate the petty thieving that formed the basis of that society.  He worked too hard; wanted to get ahead too much and didn’t realize that socializing was more important that working hard.  He was too deficient in office politics.  He was in a quandary.

     If Lowell, Smith and Evers was a step down for Dewey he was a prize to them.  He was much better than what they usually got.   Whatever else was said about him he never missed work nor was he ever late.  He dressed well, talked and acted knowledgeably.

      He was interviewed by Bill Masters to whom he would be responsible.  Art Carson sat in on the interview.  As Dewey never saw Carson again he never learned his function.  It was apparent from the beginning that he was going to get the job.  Masters was selling hard, Dewey was a plum to him.  Dewey was against the wall; he had to accept.

      The financial terms were quite good although the job would lead nowhere.  Four hundred eighty was a good salary  for the time plus he was given a ’63 Chevy to drive which was always in his possession.  That was probably worth a hundred dollars a month extra.  Still he was acutely aware that he’d not only been exiled but cast out.

     He took his exclusion as a door closed.  There was no way back in.  He did not take it as a reflection on himself.  If the others thought little of him he thought less of them.  For him to have felt rejected he would have had to have respected the others.  He didn’t find them admirable; he found them contemptible.  Still, they occupied the citadel and he didn’t.

     At work the next morning Masters introduced him to his cicerone, Darby Ramme.  Ramme was another plum for Lowell, Smith and Evers.  As incredible as it may sound Ramme was a graduate of Stanford University, a year younger than Dewey.  He was only five-eight but he had a cheerful, bright countenance.  Stocky and bouncy he had an open and direct manner which belied his sneaky and malignant self.

     As yet unaware of his negative side Dewey thought that they might become friends.  This was not to be as Darby had a rather exalted notion of himself.  What flaw in his character led him to this job was difficult to discern.  Darby had majored in Political Science at Stanford.  College education in America is little more than vocational training thus upon graduating Darby found that he had a BS degree and no vocational training.  The only jobs available to him were sales jobs.

     Darby expected better having his sights on rising to the presidency of, perhaps a bank.  He was of good family, got a degree from one of the top universities within the alloted four year period, looked good and had excellent manners.  He was brutally disappointed.  He was compelled to accept a job selling coffee in Chicago.  The job paid well but was a terrific blow to Darby’s pride.  He was a Stanford graduate and here he was going from supermarket to supermarket having to talk to managers respectfully who maybe or maybe not hadn’t graduated from high school even.  Darby felt, rightly or wrongly, that their manners were atrocious.  He very likely was right.  He also suspected that to be accepted he would have to jettison his own excellent manners and adopt theirs.  He was probably right about that, too.  His mind revolted at the idea. 

     Darby didn’t actually have to stock the shelves himself, but even going into the markets, having to greet the clerks and all; it was a shattering blow to his self-esteem.  Not to mention that as a West Coast boy he hated Chicago.

     Darby chucked it all, came back West to take a job dunning delinquent mortgagees at Lowell, Smith and Evers.  Dewey sympathized with Darby but as he soon found out, he was placed in a class beneath the supermarket managers.  Darby had made a positive impression on Dewey which he now destroyed.  Dewey turned his back on him.

     Where he had listened attentively he now became critical.  Darby gave him much to criticize.  Darby’s psychological reaction to his coffee job was to work at Lowell, Smith and Evers so he could work off his frustration on the mortgagees.  He carried on vendettas with them.  In addition he spent half his time spying on the junior collector.

     The job was an emotionally tough one.  The mortgagees hated you.  They were openly resentful.  If you were susceptible, the treatment could be very demoralizing.  It had been to the fellow Dewey replaced.  He had been unable to perform the work.  Darby had tracked him down to a movie theater one afternoon.  The delighted joy Darby related in catching him and having him sacked offended Dewey.

     Darby explained the job to Dewey:  ‘We’re dealing with a lot of deadbeats.  These people just don’t want to pay their rent.’  He said, with obvious relish.  ‘So our job is simply to remind them that they haven’t made two monthly payments.   We don’t collect anything; we don’t take any checks; we just tell them they haven’t paid.  That happens after the tenth of the second month.

     The company manages thousands of houses all over Northern California but expecially here in the Bay Area.  On the eleventh of each month we get a stack of computer cards of the delinquent mortgagees and then we go to work.

     The Bay is divided into several areas.  Right from the start, no arguments, I get Contra Costa.’

      ‘Concord, Walnut Creek and all that?  You can have it.  I don’t like it out there.  Too dry and hot for me.’

     ‘All right.  You get Santa Clara County and Tropicana Village.  You get the East Bay and I get the Peninsula.’

      Stanford is on the Peninsula.

     ‘Wait a minibite.  You live in Berkeley so I can see why you want Contra Costa County but the East Bay’s a natural for you.  I live in Marin…’

      ‘You live in Marin?  County?  Really?  That’s a nice area, I wouldn’t have thought that.’

     ‘Uh huh.  We like it.’  Dewey said resenting the implication that he wouldn’t live in a nice area.  Dewey began to think there was more to fine manners than just manners.

      ‘I live in Marin,’  Dewey continued, ‘so why don’t I take Marin and Sonoma, the Peninsula and Santa Clara.  You can have the rest, which isn’t much.’

     ‘No.  I’ll take Contra Costa, Marin and the Peninsula and you can have the rest.’

     The question was moot to Dewey.  He just wanted to show he couldn’t be pushed around.  Within a couple months he would end up with everthing except Contra Costa County itself anyway.

     ‘All right, why don’t you go home for the day.  Come in tomorrow.  We’ll get organized and I’ll start showing you the ropes.’

Chapter IV

Lunch Without Nourishment

     Capt. Douglas now lived in fear of exposure.  His feeling of guilt was immense.  The extent of the corruption he controlled was virtually worldwide.  It involved dozens of people in the home office, Japan, Indonesia and Peru.  Douglas was negotiating for Chinese crews from Hong Kong for which the amount of graft was even greater.  Even if he didn’t go to jail his loss of prestige would kill him.

     The Old Sea Dog’s connections in the sleazy maritime world would be destroyed as well as the reputation he was busily constructing in San Francisco society.  His own vision of himself as an international mastermind would vanish like smoke on the water.  His carefully cultivated facade of respectability would look like a bad con job. He would no longer be a fixture at the brokerage house that Charles Schwab was establishing just down the street.

     His guilt drove him to deplorable lengths.  His fears were baseless.  Trueman had no intention of making a fuss.  Capt. Douglas’ criminality, if Dewey had suspected it, was no concern of his.  It was bad enough that he had lost a good job.  It was worse that his future had been made uncertain.

     What could Dewey hope to achieve by accusing Douglas?  There was no case for the police.  The situation was beyond their concern or even jurisdiction.  Dewey might go to the parent company, Marcona Mining, but what would that effect:  They would undoubtedly consider him sour grapes because he hadn’t been able to cut it if they they weren’t in on it.  Was Douglas afraid of blackmail?  No, Dewey had nothing to warrant suspicion for interfering with Douglas.  It was simply that Dewey knew and by knowing prevented Douglas from glossing over his crime to himself.  He couldn’t give it another name; he stood exposed to himself for what he really was- a thief.

     The Kennedy assassination set a train of thought in motion that made murder a viable solution to dilemmae.  Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King would be eliminated as political problems over the next few years.  People were murdered on all social levels.  Richard Speck and Charlie Whitman would appear in the summer of ’66.  The Zebra killings shortly thereafter.  Serial murderers became commonplace.  Had this been the seventies Dewey would undoubtedly have had an accident.  He might have been run down by a car going the wrong way down a one way street.  Perhaps a brick might have fallen on his head as he walked down the street.

     Or perhaps, once the Black Zebra killer started shooting White people in drive by shootings on street corners, Dewey might have been dispatched by  a hired Black thug.  A mugging, innumerable ruses could have been employed.  But this was 1963.  America had not yet been turned into a nation of murderers who solved their problems with guns and bombs. Or even insane weirdos like George Carlin who advocated gunning down anyone who disagreed with you on his TV show.

     So long as Dewey remained in San Francisco he remained visible evidence of Capt. Douglas’ guilt.  In the Captain’s eyes an honest Dewey remained a symbol of Douglas’ dishonesty.

     At present Douglas saw no way to expel Dewey from the City, but perhaps he could reduce Dewey’s moral superiority beneath his by inducing Dewey to commit a crime and actually go to prison.  Douglas thought that then his status would be restored in his own mind.

     Dewey turned up for work the next day.  Darby Ramme whiled away the morning showing Dewey some of the ropes.  Dewey was a quick learner, he was able to readily understand things.  This disturbed Darby whose need for superiority required less intelligent people not more.  Like all such people in such circumstances he had becoma an obscurantist.  He gave out conflicting explanations to as to confuse issues allowing himself to appear superior as he had to explain details over again.

     Dewey who had been dealing with difficult accounting problems for three years saw through the whole thing.  He just patiently let Darby go through his paces.  When lunchtime came Darby, to show his disdain for Dewey, airly dismissed him to have lunch by himself as it appeared it would be beneath Darby’s dignity to lunch with him.

     Dewey had no problem with this.  Darby had revealed his identity to Trueman.  If Darby didn’t like him, he was not offended.  As he saw it Darby had started with all the advantages.  If a guy with a degree from Stanford could sink from a job selling coffee to supermarkets to badgering mortgagees for payment then that meant to Dewey that the guy had nothing going for him.  He wasn’t offended by Darby’s attitude.

     Other problems concerned him; he believed, not incorrectly, that he was being exiled from San Francisco.  He found San Francisco a delightful, pleasant place.  It hurt him to be kicked out.  True, he would report in every Monday for news and assignments but that was no compensation at all.

     As he considered this his last day in Baghdad By The Bay he wanted to make the most of his lunch hour.  There was a little hamburger bar down on Kearny and Market that he had found while working at STC.  The place was run by a North Beach Italian guy who really knew how to cook a hamburg.  With a heart full of nostalgia for a lost paradise, Dewey walked up Market to Kearny.

     Capt. Douglas had not let him out of his sight.  He had known Dewey had gotten the job almost before Dewey.  As the job was a serious demotion from what Dewey had been doing the employment agencies believed they had done their job; he had been removed from socially acceptable employment.   Captain Douglas was still not content.

     When Dewey had gotten the job he realized that he would not be content to merely have Dewey out of town.  Dewey had to be a lower criminal than himself.  As said before the Captain had friends on the waterfront.  ‘Captain’ was not an honorary title for Douglas, he had commanded ships at sea for twenty years before assuming the presidency of Ocean Services.  He knew corruption as only those who have worked the waterfronts of the world can know corruption.  He had been complicit if for no other reason than if he hadn’t he would never have had a cooperative crew.  Accidents would have happened; thing just wouldn’t have gone well for him.

     Thus having conceived his plan he had no trouble finding an agent to implement it.  As Dewey was a dutiful husband and respectable citizen abjuring the nightlife where he would have been more vulnerable the Captain would have to catch him on the fly.

     As Dewey left his building his Shadow followed his movements.  At that time lower Market was a semi-slum.  All the condos and modernization was yet to begin.  The streets were virtually deserted at any time of day.  As soon as Dewey entered the diner a phone call was made and the plan was put in operation.  The Shadow stationed himself outside the diner on the curb to keep control of the situation. 

     Dewey had eaten there many times while at STC.  Jim Solieri who owned and operated the place knew him at sight.  He was interested in Dewey but had never struck up a conversation.  But as Dewey hadn’t been around for a couple months he thought he would have a chat.

      A peculiarity of Solieri’s place was that he refused to make french fries.  As some form of compensation he always placed a couple Italian pepperoncini on the plate.  Pepperoncini are not hot peppers but it is necessary to cultivate a taste for them.  For a while Dewey had disdainfully left them lying on the plate.  But then one day by some magic of the chemistry between pepperoncini, the hamburg and his taste buds the little peppers had really hit the spot.  From that point on Dewey had asked for seconds; he even bought a jar for home.

     Today he took a big bite from his hamburg, following it with one of his two pepperoncini with obvious relish.

     ‘I remember when you sneered at those things.’  Solieri offered.  ‘Now look at you, can’t get enough.  I knew you’d come around.’  He flipped a couple more on Dewey’s plate.  ‘Haven’t seen you for a little while.’

     ‘No.  I had to get another job.  Haven’t been in the area.’

     ‘Another job, huh?’  Solieri said appraising Dewey from another point of view.

     ‘Yeh.’ Dewey said ruefully.  ‘Be my third in little over a year.  Fourth in three years.  Damn.’

     ‘I know what you mean.  Been there myself.  Maybe you’re just not the corporate type.’

      ‘Maybe.  But, you know, what am I going to do.  I mean, you know, I’m somebody too.  I’m at least as good as they are, maybe better.  I gotta lotta talent, I think, abilities, you know, I don’t want to get left behind.  You can dig that, I suppose.’

     ‘I can.  And I’m not putting you down, as you can see I’m flippin’ burgers.  Of course, I own the stand.’  He added defensively.  ‘Didn’t start out that way.  I used to be like you.  Don’t know what it is but I just didn’t fit in.  I’m thirty.  Went from job to job, no offense and I’m guessing, but just like you they kept getting worse and worse until I couldn’t stand it anymore.  So I went off on my own.  Started a nice little Italian restaurant.  Good food, well prepared, nice place.  But, you know, I just couldn’t manage the employees.  Like a lot of guys I thought that employees acted up because they had bad bosses.  Well, I’m a good guy so I didn’t think I ‘d have any trouble.  Boy, was I wrong.  You give ’em an inch and they’ll take the whole hundred yards.  Any boss is their enemy; they just resent working for anybody.  In point of fact you gotta know how to be tough to make them do their work.

     How much detail you want?  As you can see this is a one man operation’

     ‘Really, huh?  Well, um, do you make enough money here.’

     ‘How much is enough?  I do OK.  You’d be surprised what kind of profit a place like this can turn out.  But, no, I don’t make enough.  I live comfortably but frugally.’  Solieri was actually cheap.  ‘Invest as much as I can.  Done OK there.  So if I keep it up by the time I’m fifty I should be OK.  Just in case I reach fifty.  But, you dig, I have to work for myself.  You might have to do the same.’

     ‘Might have to do something.’  Dewey said reflectively.  Notions were already circulating through his mind as he apprehensively viewed the blight placed on his career.  But as he wished to raise himself in his own estimation as well as the world’s his thoughts gravitated more toward attainments in the scholarly world.  He aspired more to the dignity of the college professor than the merchant prince.

     ‘You’ve got a good thing going here but I think I’d rather get a PhD and be a college professor.’

     Solieri smiled indulgently:  ‘How much chance is there for that?’

     ‘Well, I don’t know.  I’m going to night school at Junior College.’  Dewey confessed, naively raising a silent laugh from Solieri.  ‘I’d have to find a way.  Don’t have one now.’

     ‘So, you learning anything in Junior College?’  Solieri asked sarcastically.

     ‘Oh, sure, hard to believe you’re getting anywhere sometimes but it’s all required classes so what do you do?  I read a lot on my own, too.’

 

     ‘Oh yeah?  You got any great wisdom you can share.’  Solieri was one of those who considered books one of the worst things in the world.

     ‘Well, I’ve got a theory on the origins of the solar system you might like.’

     ‘Sure, shoot.’

     ‘Um.  You ever heard of a guy called Immanuel Velikovsky- ‘Worlds In Collision?’

     ‘I saw the movie.’

     Dewey laughed:  ‘Naw, that was ‘When World’s Collide.’  Good movie though.  No.  Velikovsky’s got some pretty weird ideas.  Hard to believe a lot of it.  But he makes an issue between the gasseous planets like the Sun, Jupiter and Saturn and the five rocky inner planets.’

     ‘Only four aren’t there.’

     ‘He includes the asteroid belt as an exploded planet.  To explain the rocky planets he thinks that a live intelligence ejected them from Jupiter.  Well, I don’t think there’s live intelligence on Jupiter but I think it’s possible that the planets were ejected by natural causes.’

     ‘Oh yeah?  How’s that?’

     ‘Well, I’ve never heard a good explanation where the gaseous planets or the rocky planets came from except that the solar system was once a huge swirling mass of gas that formed the three gaseous planets but you have to take the view that all matter is one.  For instance, the Sun the Earth and Jupiter although they exhibit different external characteristics are all made of this same material.  The external differences are only the result of size and gravity.  The sun being huge, the gravitational force pressing in on the center makes it incandescent.

     Jupiter being very large but nowhere near as large as the sun must have a core that is more than molten but less than incandescent so that the heat produced combined with gravity vaporizes its outer matter into various densities of gases.  OK?’

     ‘Yeah, I’m following you.’

     ‘Now, the Earth being smaller yet has a molten core but the gravitational pressure in relation to its size allows the exterior layers to cool forming a crust.  So all three are of identical composition but different form.

      So, if that’s clear then your next problem is how the planet got here from Jupiter.  Like I say, Jupiter has various layers of gases moving, I hypothesize, at different speeds.  So, as these various layers rub together globules of solid matter form, kind of like a pearl in an oyster.  When they get large enough they are ejected by centrifugal force.  Like, there’s actually an asteroid belt on either side of Jupiter.  Why would a planet explode on either side of Jupiter and nowhere else?  So, I don’t think these are exploded planets but smaller ‘pearls’ ejected over the eons.

     Really big ‘pearls’ are developed and they were ejected with enough velocity to enter the sun’s gravitational pull where they find orbits far from Jupiter.  Probably the moon was ejected too but was captured within Earth’s gravitational pull.  It’s supposed to be moving slowly further from Earth so probably the Sun’s attraction is greater than Earth’s.  So what do you think?’  Dewey asked, fearing a burst of derisive laughter.

     ‘Not bad.  Not bad.  I don’t know whether it’s true of course.  But it’s at least  as good as the cosmic dust theory I’ve heard.’

     ‘Oh yeah.  That’s the official scientific theory, that the solar system was filled with dust and then the dust particles were attracted to each other bonding into ever bigger agglomerations until the rocky planets as we know them were formed.  Hard for me to believe too.  Sure hope the magnetic polarity isn’t reversed or we’ll all become comets.’

     ‘One problem though, so why isn’t their life on Mars or Venus?’

     ‘Oh, Venus probably because it’s too close to the sun, way too hot.  Although since it’s about the same size as Earth it should have a molten core.  Mars is too small for a molten core to sustain itself.  Probably just warmish in the center.  Same with the moon.’

     ‘Sounds like you really thought that one out.’  Solieri began when a Beatnik type burst through the door.  He was the agent from Capt. Douglas.  The two best ways to destroy a man’s reputation are sex and drugs.  If it’s possible to project a man as a homosexual he will lose all credibility.  For that reason the charge of homosexuality is projected on nearly all great men from Caesar and Napoleon on down.  Great men can survive the charge, lesser men may not be able to do so.  The charge of drugs destroys a man’s respectability entirely.  When a man is free of either curse then the possibility of entrapping him in overt acts or the appearance of such acts exists.  A charge of homosexuality would reduce Trueman to a station far below that of Captain Douglas, allowing him to reassert his own sense of dignity.  A charge of drugs which at that time meant marijuana or heroin would result in a prison sentence, especially if Capt. Douglas came forward to put the bug in the ear of the police with his claim of theft.  Capt. Douglas would do anything to reclaim his self-esteem.

     As far fetched as his plan may appear, more far out plans have been attempted and succeeded.  There is only one thing that can protect a person from the assaults of stalkers and that is character.  Things happen so fast and come from such unsuspected quarters that only a firm set of ideals can save one.

     The guy who had burst through the door was Job Seth, the agent of the agent selected by Capt. Douglas to place temptation in Dewey’s path.  Having made Trueman his enemy Capt. Douglas had assigned what to him was the most despicable character he could think of- a Beatnik- a hipster.  Douglas who was dapper nineteenth century style with a pencil thin mustache from the thirties projected the lifestyle on his opposite member- the Beatnik- on Dewey.

     Job Seth was of course an imposter.  His impersonation of a Beatnik was hilarious.  Not being part of the culture he chose as his role models the Maynard Ferguson character from the Dobie Gillis TV show and Jughead from the Archie comic book series.  He didn’t wear Jughead’s beanie but he mussed his hair up for the disheveled Beatnik look.  But he was careless so that it was easy to see that a single combing would give him a conventional appearance.  He had on the black vest, the horizontally striped T-shirt, black and white, and a dark pair of baggy cotton pants actually secured be a rope for a belt.  He wore the obligatory Beatnik sandals with the wide leather straps and studs.  But, not only was he wearing socks but they were socks no self-respecting Beatnik would own, the black ribbed knee stocking of the middle class employee.  Even as the bell was still jangling above the door both Dewey and Jim Solieri exchanged an amused and knowing smile.

     ‘Check this out.’  Solieri said from the corner of his mouth.

     ‘Seth wasn’t clear as to which diner was his target.  He first rushed to a diner at a side table, looking out the window at Dewey’s shadow for confirmation.  The man shook his head and pointed at Dewey.  Both Dewey and Solieri caught the motions.  They gave each other signficant glances.

      There was a stool empty beside Dewey.  Seth rushed over in what he thought was the best hipster style plunking himslef down leaning bodily against Dewey.

     ‘Hey, man.’

     Dewey shoved him over. 

     ‘Hey, man.  Didja hear me?’  He said leaning over the counter so as to look directly in Dewey’s face.

     ‘You talking to me?’

     ‘Hey, man, like, I’m looking ya right in the eye, ain’t I, man.’

     ‘Say what and git.’

     ‘Like, don’t get sharp, man.  Like, maybe I got something to say you might want to hear.  Be cool.’

      ‘I’m so cool ice cream wouldn’t melt in my hand, man, but, like, you know, like this, I’ve got my own thing going.  Somehow you’re not part of it.  So, buzz off.’

     Solieri interrupted:  ‘What’ll ya have?’

     ‘Hey, don’t bug me, man.   Like, I’m talking to this guy here.  Alright?  What’s your name, man?’

     ‘You can call me Jack, Joe.’  Dewey said, realizing he’d have to humor this guy until he finished his hamburg or just leave it.  His situation wasn’t so prosperous he could just get up and leave it.

     ‘Like, man, like what do you think of this Viet Nam war thing.’  Seth said, launching into what he considered a hep topic which he projected as a major concern of Dewey’s.

     ‘Little.’  Dewey replied, hoping to shuck Job off.  Out of the corner of his eye he was watching the Shadow who stood in rigid attention leaning forward on his toes.

     ‘Aw, man, how about the way Diem treats those Buddhist monks.  Disgraceful.  You call that freedom?  So bad they have to pour gasoline on themselves and burn to cinders.  Huh, man?’

     ‘Yeah, well, like they better pray the Commies don’t get them or they’ll find out what.  Did you ever notice there aren’t any monks in North Viet Nam?  I wonder why.’

     ‘Yeah, man, well, maybe you’re right.  Why trouble your head about some gooks.  We got problems right here, right.  I mean, like, good thing there’s some escape routes, right?’

     Dewey was munching fast on his hamburg, in a hurry to get away.  He tried to ignore him.  Job grabbed his arm, Dewey pulled away.’

     ‘Like, what I got is something you won’t ever have to worry again.’

     Dewey was down to a couple bites glancing at Solieri who was staring down at Seth with a contemptuous glare.

     Seth leaned over whispering into Dewey’s ear:  ‘I got a couple high tension reefers in my pocket.  Let’s go up to my place and ingest ’em.  My old lady and her girl friend are waiting.  Come on, man, let’s go, you ain’t got nothing better to do.’

     ‘You’re right I don’t have anything better to do but I gotta go to work.’  Dewey said, washing down his last bite with a slug of coffee.  ‘Late already.  Gotta go.’  He waved to Solieri.

      ‘Hey man, don’t be square, be cool like me.’  Job yelled.

     ‘I’m too cool to fool pal.  See ya around.’

     Dewey’s shadow had disappeared as Dewey emerged into the street.  The Captain’s rather far fetched plan had been to give Dewey the two numbers and let him into an apartment where a naked eight year old boy waited.  The police would burst in immediately leaving Dewey with a lot of fast talking to do.

     As Dewey hurried back he passed a drug store with one of those columns of mirrors on all four sides.  A sullen, morbid face met his.  He started back in disgust then realized that he was looking at his own reflection.

     He was quite startled because for a moment he had seen the image that he was projecting to others.  His conscious image of himself was nowhere apparent.  Instead the face that he had been given by his tormentors stared back at him.  Seth had activiated the morbid loathing of Dewey’s subconscious self.  Of the two Dewey’s, the worst, was what people were seeing, the bright cheerful Dewey was not visible.

     Trying not to be conspicuous Dewey took a  moment to brighten up his countenance and tried to stroll back nonchalantly rather then aggressively marching.

     Rather than going out as promised Darby dinked the afternoon away then told Dewey to meet him the next morning at his house in Berkeley.

Chapter 5

The Medium Is The Message

And The Mediator Is Its Prophet

      Dewey got up on the San Rafael Bridge for the drive to Berkeley and his appointment with Darby Ramme.  The sight of himself in the mirror on the previous day had had an unsettling effect on himself.  He knew the poisons that had entered his mind from childhood.  He knew how potent they were and he knew where they came from but he couldn’t identify the fixation of his life hidden behind a massive wall of fear.

     Dewey was aware that his actions were controlled from his subconscious.  He was perpetually at war with himself trying to impose his conscious rational goals on his subconscious opinion of himself; an opinion that had been imposed on him from outside evil forces.  In the terms of hypnosis, the suggestions given him.  The evil force of ill-wishers and his mother.

     The evil forces had inundated his youthful consciousness.  He had been too young to reject or manage their influence.  He had been trying to break free since he left home at eighteen and realized the hole he had been placed in.  He had actually made wonderful progress but he had begun from such a low level that his progress was scarcely discernible to himself, let alone others.

     Dewey had never sought professional help but he had taken to reading various tracts of Freud.  His understanding of Freud was that the individual himself was sick, that is, that the pathology came from within.  It seemed that Freud believed that the individual was responsible for his own malaise.  Dewey didn’t think that was necessarily so.  This was tantamount in his mind to saying that a small fish gulped down by a larger fish had the fish eating disease.  To Dewey this ignored the Field itself as well as the fact that the smaller fish obviously was not prepared to face the dangers inherent in the Field.  Properly informed the smaller fish would have been able to avoid the larger fish.  No, Dewey knew he was an innocent man.  He knew that he was responding to something that had been done to him but he didn’t know what.

     He had come to terms with his mother’s contribution to his malaise.  As far as he knew there was nothing in their relationship subconsciously concealed.  He did not love or respect her.  He considered that the crimes she had committed against him were the result of ignorance.  She just wasn’t a responsible mother, not every woman can be.  All women have the physical apparatus to become mothers but not all women have the emotional requirements to actually mother a child.  As someone put it:  Some girls just want to have fun.  That had been Dewey’s mother.

     She had been a silly woman.  She had never understood the worthlessness of men.  Rather than devote herself to her two sons who should have been her treasures she was always willing to sacrifice their interests for men who had no respect for her.  Miserable luck to have gotten her, Dewey thought, but the luck of the draw.

     Of the two influences he was most concerned with those who had given him his face and his body language.  He had somehow to eliminate their influence.  He could not, under any circumstances, allow them to triumph over him by accepting the character they had tried to impose.  Unable to free up his subconscious he could only resort to Emile Coue’s autosuggestion.  Suggest to yourself a course of behavior and then let your mind bring your actions in line with your wishes.

     As he pulled up in front of Darby’s house he was a little disappointed.  The Bay Area, especially Berkeley, was filled with romantic, quaint, secluded houses and apartments.  Dewey’s flat in Larkspur was one such, nestled against the hillside of Mt. Tamalpais.  Darby lived on one of the those straight avenues well West of the California campus.

     The street was all rentals, filled either with students or the innumerable campus hangers on.  Darby was in the latter class.  Unable to accept the consequences of his graduation and the disappointment of his first job Darby had retreated to the security of the college atmosphere where he had done so well and found so much contentment and happiness.  In so many words, he had retreated to the security of the womb.

     Luckily there was a parking space right in front of the house.  Dewey eased his big ’56 two tone green Chrysler into the space.  The used car salesman had had a field day with him.

     Dewey often wondered why he had bought the car, other than that he needed a car, of course.  It didn’t seem to represent him at all.  It might have been that he had been a push over for the salesman but, no, he had been drawn to the car.  Consciously he would have chose a ’56 Chevy, he really did love the ’56 designs.  The ’56 Chevy was a fantastically good looking car.  He had always loved the extravagant two tone coloring of the year.  The Chrysler had a light green top with a dark green body.  Like all the cars of that year it had enormous fins.  Perhaps that was it.  The Chrysler had fins that swelled up from the body like the belly of a reclining woman from the Mound of Venus.  An additional echo of the motif was repeated in a quiet reverberation contained within the two strips of chrome.  The light green of this strip across the dark green of the body was enclosed in a graceful swell of chrome strips repeating the swell of the fin of the fender.  Perhaps Dewey had been seduced into buying a sexy car.

      Not least of the subconscious appeal had been the Chrysler ads of those years in which a busty woman opened the driver’s side door and thrust her enormous breasts into the viewer’s face.  The ads had certainly gotten the attention of the male population of the country.  Anyway the car was a good buy; it had never given him any trouble.

     Darby let him into the house.  The place was done up in admirable minimalist taste.  Not what Dewey had expected.  Maybe there was something in the location of the place he didn’t know about.  On a table sat a bowl with what looked like a couple dozen aspirin tablets in it, blue on one side.

     ‘What are those?’  Dewey asked curiously thinking that they couldn’t be candy.

     ‘Oh, you can have one if you want.’  Darby said with a mischievious smile.

     Darby’s wife, Selene, bustled busily into the room.  She was a very attractive tall slender woman.  She had a very superior attitude as they all did.

     After introducing them Darby said mysteriously:  ‘See. Didn’t I tell you so.’

     Selene muttered something, then banged out the door.

     Dewey and Darby followed.  The company had given Darby a ’64 Chevy to drive.

     ‘Is that your car?’  Darby said pointing to the Chrysler.  I wouldn’t have thought it.’  He said to Dewey’s reply.

     ‘I wouldn’t have either.’  Dewey replied, himself mystified by his choice.  As he spoke an image of a laughing big busted woman thrusting her bosom from behind the wheel flashed through his mind.  The ad had apparently imprinted itself on Dewey’s mind because he would buy Chrysler products the rest of his life as the image flashed across his mind.

     ‘I’m from Chevy country,’  Dewey continued, nevertheless looking at Darby’s Chevy disapprovingly, ‘back there they’d string you up for buying anything else.  I hated them.’

     Obviously there was a conflict in Dewey’s mind.  the mind is a funny place to live.  The pain of growing up back in Chevy country had contributed to his rejection of General Motors’ cars.  He always felt vaguely uncomfortable in them.  He sought to remove himself from his past by rejecting Chevys, even though he thought fifties Chevys the best looking cars on the road.  But, heck, Louis Chevrolet couldn’t even pronounce his name right.  He said:  Louie Chevrolay.

     As they headed into the tunnel from Alameda County to Contra Costa County Dewey remembered the pills in the bowl.

     ‘How come you keep aspirin in a bowl in your living room.’  He asked bluntly.

     Darby smiled enigmatically:  ‘Oh, those weren’t just aspirin.’  He tried to change the subject but Dewey brought him back.

     ‘Well, Dewey, there’s a lot happening in the world these days and, well, I think it’s just beyond you.’

     ‘Oh yeah?  Well, you offered me one and if I’d taken it, it wouldn’t be beyond me now, would it?’

     ‘I suppose not.’

     ‘It’s gotta be some kind of pill, what is it?’

     ‘Lysergic acid diethymalide.’

     ‘Oh, that’s all.  LSD?’

     ‘You’ve taken it?’  Darby asked incredulously.

     Darby thought he was on the cutting edge.  Even though LSD had been relatively common for at least ten years by 1964, (It was actually isolated in 1938) the academic crowd seemed to believe it had just been discovered.  Dewey now understood at least one of the reasons Darby and his wife believed themselves so superior.  While the Beatniks and Hippies were wallowing in the stuff the college elites treated LSD like a sacrament.  Having once taken it they invariably thought they had been raised above and cut off from the rest of humanity- a new chosen people.  They were amusing to watch if you knew what was happening.

     Darby had gotten his tabs from a psych major, or rather his wife had, who was involved with the experimental program at U.C..  Stanford and Berkeley as well has Harvard had extensive government funding to test the psychological effects of the various pharmaceutical drugs for military applications.  Timothy Leary had been a wild card at Harvard who the system had not been able to control.  Media attention had blown his situation out of all proportion.  It turned that he was only the fall guy.

     ‘No, I’ve never taken it.  I don’t believe in drugs.’  Dewey said.

     ‘How could you possibly know about LSD then.’  Darby asked in wonder.

     ‘What do you mean how could I know about it.  I read TIME magazine for Christ’s sake.  How In do you have to be to do that?  They’ve had big write ups of the Leary guy at Harvard.  How secret can it be?’

     Darby’s pride of place insulated him from what he considered the lower classes.  There was no reason for him to be surprised at Dewey’s knowledge.  ‘You know about Leary, too?’

     ‘Well, Darby, none of this stuff is new.  I wrote an essay on drugs in high school that included a reference to LSD and that was in 1955.  I mean Peyote buttons…’

     ‘How do you know about Peyote?’  The manner in which Darby emphasized ‘you’ offended Dewey.

     ‘Well, Jesus, Darby, I was in the Navy.’

     What’s being in the Navy got to do with it?’

     ‘Jeez, Darby, there were guys into everything.  We had it all- morphine, heroin, speed, peyote buttons, all kinds of little pills that I couldn’t even identify.  I mean, one time I was hitchhiking down on 101 outside San Diego and this Marine from Camp Pendleton picked me up loaded on all kinds of things that he freely offered me.  I refused it, of course.  For Christ’s sake we even had to stop for road blocks between San Diego and LA where they were checking for marijuana smugglers from Mexico.  You should have seen it.  A couple cars even jumped the meridian, turned around and went the other way.  What did they have in their cars, I wonder?

     So, anyway, this Jarhead is telling me about all the drugs they’re using at Pendleton.  He named a whole bunch of stuff, maybe LSD was in it, but he’s telling me about this guy at camp who ingested a whole bunch of Peyote buttons and got way up there, as he said.  Well, the guy thought that was pretty alright so the next time he ingested twice as many.  The driver turns to me with a smile and says:  ‘He’s still up there, he hasn’t come down yet.  Maybe he doesn’t want to.’  Good story, huh?

     The driver himself was loaded.  101 was bumper to bumper, wall to wall that day and this guy is cool and relaxed, he’s just slipping back and forth from lane to lane trying to inch ahead a little faster.  He’s slipping into gaps no bigger than his car.  Everybody on the freeway is staring at us open mouthed.  So, I am, quite seriously, a nervous wreck.  I can see myself a corpse by the side of the highway.  I’m hoping they say something kind in the note they sent to Mom.

     He looks at me with a very benign smile and says:  ‘What’s the matter?  Why are you so nervous?’

     I mean, while he’s looking at me to the right, he slips into a car length gap in the left lane.  Am I nervous?  I am terrified.  So he reaches into his pocket and hands me a black triangular pill.

     ‘Here, take this,’ he says, ‘you’ll feel better.’

     ‘Well, I don’t take it.  The guy was crazy anyhow.  Well, but that’s another story.  But, we had this guy, I used to ride with him up to the Bay Area alot.  He had a car.  He lived in Marin, still does apparently, I saw him, believe it or not, the other day.  He was still loaded.  This guy was a heroin addict, a morphine addict, plus he took everything else there was to take.  Didn’t interfere with his functioning at all.  I’d have been dead.

     I mean, this guy could probably have saved Leary hours of research on LSD or anything else.  He probably tripped from here to the moon before Leary ever heard of LSD.  So, I mean, this stuff is new?’

      Darby was stunned at this difference between the street and the academy.

     ‘How come you haven’t taken it?  It’s awe inspiring.  You can see God.  It’s a tremendous religious experience, a sacrament.’

     ‘Aw, really?  Well, if that’s what you saw, that’s what you saw.  Here’s the catch, there isn’t any God to see.  If you saw him, he was of your own devize.  All you’ll do is mess up your own mind.  You can’t get out of it what isn’t in it, and you can’t put anything in it with a pill.  So, the way I see it you have to organize what’s in it, if you can, then add only the information that’s going to be the most beneficial, if you can, but that’s hard work.’

     ‘You don’t think you can expand your consciousness with drugs?’

     ‘No.  I don’t even know how you can expand your consciousness, whatever that means, unless you mean by adding experience you broaden your understanding.  The only other thing you can hope to do is absorb your subconscious into your conscious; that is to strip away the debris hiding your subconscious motivations from your conscious mind.  Thus instead of being of two minds, you become of one mind.  Beyond that I don’t there’s anything.  Period.’

     Darby had never heard anyone talk this way.  The ‘greatest minds’ of his generation were sold on the efficacy of drugs.

     ‘Have you ever tried any drugs?’  Darby asked caustiously.

     ‘I had something called Nembutal last year when I had a couple wisdom teeth pulled out.  Shouldn’t have done it.’

     ‘Bad trip?’

     ‘No.  I mean the wisdom teeth.  There wasn’t anything wrong with them.  All I did was gratify a dentist’s greed.  Hmmm.  The Nembutal.  No, it wasn’t a bad trip for me.  I might have been for the other patients in the office though.  How so?  Well, man, all my inhibitions went out the window.  I became totally self-centered.  I didn’t respect any social conventions.  I was just looking through people, bobbing and weaving, telling them what was on their minds, explaining them to themselves.  No data, I just knew.  No, I didn’t have a bad trip; I really enjoyed myself, you know, but there wasn’t anything there, no reason to go back, you know what I mean.  You ever read ‘Troubled Sleep?’

     Darby pulled up in front of a house in Concord.  One can only imagine the effect on a housewife when a new white Chevy pulls up and two guys in suits get out holding clipboards and gesticulating toward the house.  It’s amazing that anyone opens the door just because there’s a knock on it.

     Darby’s style was magnificent.  He exuded warmth and compassion while keeping the edge of a threat in the background.  He chatted the woman up with a style Dewey envied.  He explained that there was no problem with Lowell, Smith and Evers that the payment of the rent couldn’t cure.  He inquired about her and her husband’s financial condition.  Oddly enough she told in some detail.  He was affability itself.  Then he admonished her to get the payment in and bid her a cheery adieu. 

     Dewey was astounded.  He couldn’t believe this was the same guy.  Suddenly Dewey realized how uptight he himself really was.  He couldn’t even relax his vocal chords; he barely opened his mouth to speak, releasing his words through clenched teeth.  A wave of admiration rushed from him to Darby.  He would have given his other two wisdom teeth to be so affable.

     ‘Wow. That was terrific.’  He said admiringly.

     ‘Thank-you.’  Darby said with sincerely felt complacency.

     ‘You’ve got to know how to talk to these deadbeats.’  He said with the self-satisfaction of innate superiority.

     ‘Boy, I’ll say.  I don’t know if I can do it like that.’

     ‘Oh, you may be able to learn.  Just watch me.’

     Darby, to put it on the positive side moved deliberately.  On the negative side, as Dewey saw it, he wasted a lot of time.  For the whole morning they only made three calls.  Nor did Darby move systematically or in a straight line.  He seemed to have some mystical way of selecting a card, shuffling though his deck until the right one popped out somehow.  While engaged in this he was lost in absorption.  Dewey sat silently observing him.

     After having driven all over Contra Costa to make the three calls it was time for lunch.

     ‘Why don’t we get a sandwich and drive to the top of Mt. Diablo and enjoy it there?’  Darby asked with the amiability with which he approached ‘deadbeats.’

      ‘You mean go all the way up Diablo to eat lunch?’  Dewey asked incredulously.

     ‘Sure, Dewey.  Great view.  You’ll love it.’

     As Dewey was to learn Darby knew how to make his days as delightful as possible.  He knew the most interesting way everywhere.  He found rusticity in the midst of the concrete Californians love so well; even the concrete took on rustic dimensions when Darby drove through it.  He didn’t even have to point it out to Dewey; it just appeared.  Darby’s whole day was a magic carpet ride; he was just relaxed and paying atttention.  Compared to him Dewey felt as tightly wound as a baseball without a cover.

     Darby drove ten miles to seek out a little deli he had found somewhere in the depths of Concord.  The place was charming, the people were terrific and the sandwiches were unbelievable.  As they walked out Dewey looked back to see nothing that would distinguish the shop.  All he saw was another sandwich shop in another shopping strip.  As he sat in the car he studied the shop trying to see what Darby obviously saw.  He couldn’t see it.

     He studied Darby in a new light as they wound their way up Diablo.  Locating what was apparently his favorite spot, Darby eased the Chevy into a parking space and they sat gazing out over Contra Costa County to the North.

     Diablo is a low mountain rising alone in the middle of Contra Costa.  The county begins in the Oakland hills in the West, bordering the Bay in the North and against the San Joaquin River on the East.  From the relatively lush hills of Walnut Creek it turns into the hot burning desert of Byron.   It was all laid out before them.

      As this was in January the weather outside was frightful but inside the car the radiation from the sun through the windows made it warm and cozy.  Darby was in to the mood to impart lore and instruction.

     From the look on Darby’s face he might as well have been in heaven.  Smiling is not the right word. He, beaming beatifically, so at peace with the world that the notion of unpleasantness didn’t exist for him.  The notion that he was high on LSD didn’t occur to Dewey, but Darby was.  Dewey just thought that he had to learn this attitude.

     Despite his beatific appearance he began the conversation with a ‘deadbeat’ story.  ‘Very few of these deadbeats have a college education.  They’re ignorant people.  They don’t think.  Some of the things we’ve come across are scarcely believable.  There was this fellow in Sacramento.  Never paid.  He let it go to the max every time then caught up.  By max I mean the full six months.  Finally he slipped past the limit and we got to foreclose on him.  Naturally he just abandoned the house.  I’m surprised how many people will do that.  Instead of selling the house, which in nearly every case has appreciated a little, they just walk away.  Not very intelligent.  You wouldn’t believe what this guy did, except that it’s me telling you.  His garage was connected to the house and in order to save money, I suppose, he just opened the kitchen door and chucked the garbage into the garage.  Garbage was piled higher than your head.  The entire garage was full.  Gosh, there were rats as big as beavers.  It cost several hundreds of dollars to haul the stuff away.  You wouldn’t believe how some of these people live.’

     ‘Jeez, I guess I’m about to find out.’

     ‘Uh hum, you sure are.  Now, listen Dewey.’  Darby said in his warm patronizing tone.  ‘We’ll get your car to you tomorrow morning, so take the bus to the office.  One good thing about this job is that, if you’re careful, you’ll never have to buy your own gas.  You can buy gas anytime during the week with no problem.  But never buy on the company credit car on the weekends.  Always fill up the last thing Friday night wherever you’re working and then the first thing on Monday morning.  You’ve got to do it this way or you’ll ruin it for all of us.  If they ever say anything just shrug your shoulders and pretend not to understand.

     One other thing.  Once a year you have to go down to Fresno and again up to Ukiah.  You have to stay overnight.’

     ‘Oh no.’  Interjected Dewey.  ‘I can leave early in the morning and make it back by night.  Neither of those places are that far.’

      ‘No.  No.  You’re not listening to me.  You have to pay at least fifteen dollars for your room.  My first time, with my love of the extraordinary I searched out this place in an old mill by a stream outside Ukiah.  They only wanted a dollar and a half.  I split the difference with them up to fifteen dollars.  You can’t ruin it for the rest of us; you have to do these things this way or else.’

     ‘Yeah. Yeah.  OK.  How did you find the mill for a dollar and a half?  That sounds wonderful, sound of water running by and all.  Did someone tell you about it?’

     ‘Oh, uh uh.  When you get to know me, Dewey, you’ll find that I have a real nose for the picturesque.  We better get going now.  Did you enjoy your lunch?’

     ‘Oh yeah, Darby.  This was terrific.’

     ‘Too bad you don’t have a degree.  Stanford was terrific.’

     ‘Been on the campus.  Liked it a lot myself.’  Dewey replied, as they wound back down Diablo after an hour and half lunch.

     ‘That’s one of the good things about the job you can set your own pace.’

     They made three more calls that afternoon.  At four Darby turned the car homeward.

     ‘You’re off work at five o’ clock so always leave early enough so that you’re in your driveway by five.’

     ‘Not so bad.’  Thought Dewey.  ‘You don’t have to knock on doors before ten and you’re back home at five.  An hour and half lunch.  I might be able to dig this.’

     Quite unaware of himself Darby had become a role model for Dewey.

 

    

A Short Story

From The Boulevard Of Broken Dreams Collection

All The Way From China

by

R.E. Prindle

 

Ruby lips above the water

Blowing bubbles soft and fine

But, alas, I was no swimmer…

Trad.  Clementine

 

     Dewey roused himself in bed, propping himself up on the pillows.

     ‘Where are you going today, Dewey?’ Asked his wife Angeline.

     ‘Nowhere actually.  I’m supposed to work Marin here.  Not a lot to do really.  Just a dozen houses but they’re far apart.’

     ‘I thought you weren’t supposed to do Marin?’

     ‘I’m not but Ramme sends me into his areas every so often.  Must be someone he’s afraid of or unpleasant for him.  Maybe he just doesn’t feel like driving over from Berkeley today.  I don’t know.  He’s an odd duck.  He’s got this Stanford degree and he’s doing the same job I am.’

     ‘Where are you going first?’

     ‘Just over the freeway here in Larkspur.’

     ‘You mean Corte Madera?’

     ‘Yes, Angeline, just over the freeway here. I think it’s one of those houses built on stilts over the tidal flats; you know, out there on the mud.’

     ‘Really?  They’ve got houses out over the bay?’

     ‘Yeah.  I guess they’re fairly defensive.  Some guy told I wouldn’t dare go out there to collect or they’d chuck me over the side, beat me up or something?’

     ‘Really?  Would they do that?  Are you going to go?’

     ‘Sure.’

     ‘Why?  If Ramme doesn’t want to do it why should you?’

     ‘Well, my dear, I’ve never been there before.  Looks pretty strange.  I’d like to see it from the other side.’

     ‘What if they hurt you?’

     ‘Oh, they aren’t going to hurt me.  Nobody has yet.  Nobody’s even tried although I have had a few threats.  What’s to worry?  Just talk ’em out of it, that’s all.  They threaten me and I’ll threaten to burn ’em out at high tide or foreclose on ’em, that’s all.  What do you think of that?’

     ‘You wouldn’t do that.’

     “If I had to pay to get my suit cleaned I might.’

 

     The mud flats Dewey referred to were at the mouth of Tamalpais Creek out into the San Francisco Bay.  At low tide a strand of a couple hundred feet was exposed.  Several houses connected to shore by walkways were built out over them on piles.

     Dewey rolled up about ten to make his call.  His house was not part of the main cluster but was an isolated structure North and East, closer to the creek.  Tamalpais Creek at one time was navigable for small ships but over the years civilization had reduced it to a trickle.  Now it could barely be spotted as it oozed into the bay.

     A parking area about three cars wide was cleared in a little copse of trees and foliage.  Romantic spot, really, which is why the tenant lived there.  A wooden walkway extended about fifty feet from the the shore to the house.

     As Dewey got out of his car he noticed motorcycle tracks in the gravel. 

     ‘What a weird situation.’  He thought.  ‘I’ll bet that house isn’t even on land.  I’ll bet that’s property that belongs to the State.  I’ll bet nobody can own land on the tidewater.  These people must be some kind of squatters.  I wonder how they got a loan on the house?’

     As he stepped out on the walkway he looked over at the main cluster.  ‘I’ll bet you Darby was afraid to make this call so he gave it to me.  What a chicken.’  But he didn’t like the look of those motorcycle tracks.  ‘Might me those damn Hell’s Angels.’

     ‘How strange, how strange.’  Dewey thought as he turned to look back at the shore.  ‘Very picturesque though, very romantic.’

     ‘Come in.’ Floated out the open door before he’d even had a chance to knock.  What a beautiful melodious female voice, spoken in such a languorous sensual tone.

     Dewey stepped inside.  A delightful array of scents caressed his nostrils.  Colors ovewhelmed his senses making his brain tingle.  There seated in a chair by a window looking out over the bay was the most beautiful woman.

     She was beside a table on which sat a large basket of funny looking squat orange fruit, not an orange, not a tangerine.  Dewey had never seen them before.

    ‘Hi, honey.  Have a seat.’  She said with a warm curiosity interested to see what fate had cast up on her shore.

     There was something so voluptuous, so eternally female in her voice that Dewey for the second time tingled.  A strange enervating glow radiated from the top of his spine into his brain leaving him almost euphoric.

     ‘My name’s, Suzanne.  What’s yours?’

     ‘My name?’  Dewey said astonished and surprised.  ‘Um, Dewey.  But I’m from…’

     ‘Oh, we can get into that later Dewey.  Let’s get acquainted first.  Let’s get to know each other.  Wouldn’t you like that?  Would you like an orange?’

     Dewey looked at the basket.  ‘Those are oranges?  I’ve never seen them before.  What kind?’

     ‘Those are Mandarin oranges, Dewey.  They came all the way from China.  Peel me one.  Will you be so kind?’

     ‘Huh?’

     ‘Peel me an orange, Dewey.  You look like you have good hands.’

     ‘Oh, yeah, sure.’  Dewey picked up an orange to peel as he looked around taking stock of where he was.

     Suzanne had a real hep pad; she was a real hep chick.  The genuine article.  The location was too exotic.  The house was small, one room really, with partial dividers setting off the kitchen, the living room and the bedroom.  The delicious Marin air wafted through the house through windows open and looking out in every direction.  Off to the West San Quentin Prison was visible across the black mud extending to the Eastern edge of the water.  The house was now high and dry as the tide was out.

     ‘The tide makes a wonderful sound when it come creeping back in, lapping against the piles.’  Suzanne breathed in that wonderful voice.

     ‘Um.’

     The house was sparsely furnished Zen style with just the right number of peices of undecorated but classically correct furniture, no more than necessary, no less.  The walls were draped in Indian bedspreads or tapestries.  One covered the central part of the ceiling over the exposed central light bulb.

     A turntable, speakers and amplifier were arranged on boards supported by cinder blocks on Suzannes’s left.  Dewey had never seen separate components before.  He easily recogized the phonograph for what it was.  All of a sudden his portable Webcor seemed like trash.  In an instant he had never wanted anything more than a component phonograph system.  Dewey could identify several records lying about.  Suzanne was a real folkie of the old school.  Records on the Topic label by Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Bob Gibson and Bob Camp were there.  A couple Leadbelly sides and a Josh White, Odetta.  Old Weavers records and a Pete Seeger.  The most current stuff she had was the Kingston Trio, Chad Mitchell Trio and Judy Henske.  The two Trios were of the hippest political stuff.  Both were considered dangerous, especially the great Chad Mitchell Trio.

     She kept the place immaculate.  A few books were artfully strewn about.  ‘The Book Of Tea’, ‘Zen Flesh, Zen Bones’, ‘Steppenwolf’, ‘Light From The East.’

     Some of the singer’s names Dewey had only heard of, some were completely unknown to him, they were already part of the past.  ‘The Book Of Tea’ and ‘Zen Flesh, Zen Bones’ he owned himself in those picturesque little Charles Tuttle editions.

     His swung back to Suzanne herself.  She was a very beautiful woman.  She was the epitome of femininity, completely woman, no equivocation if you know what I mean.

     She was sitting on the chair, barefoot with her legs tucked up.  Her feet were beautifully formed, her ankles the neatest.  She wore a rose colored blouse with a darker rose colored vest laced across her midriff.  The vest raised her stunning breasts as if offering them to the world.  Stunning?  My god! They were truly melons, slightly elongated resting on and pressing against the sides of the vest.

     Dewey nearly swallowed his teeth.  She wasn’t wearing a bra.  Very unusual in 1964.  Nipples the size of fifty cent pieces raised, it seemed, a quarter inch above the surrounding flesh pink beneath the rose material.  Dewey bit his lip as he tremblingly peeled the Mandarin orange.

     Looking up he saw that she was still beautiful with a gorgeous full mane of long dark chestnut hair.  She an an enchanting line of freckles across his cheeks and nose. The ample but not overly full lips were drawn back in a half smile.

     ‘Wow!  Dimples on her elbows, dimples on her knees.  A drunkard’s dream if I ever did see one.’  Ran through Dewey’s mind.

     But, Suzanne, Dewey noted, was past her prime.  She was probably close to or over forty.  She had the look of experience, of having been passed around.  Her skin showed the ravages of drug use.  The flesh was slightly dry and wrinkling from excessive exposure to the California sun.  Too much skiing, water-skiing and boating.  Too much of being the good sport.  Too much enjoying the pleasures of being a party girl.  Suzanne was at the stage where she had been superseded by younger and fresher looking women.

     ‘Finished yet?’  She cooed as only a San Francisco Mama can.  She gathered her hair in that languorous sensual way, looking inquiringly at him.

     ‘Yes.  I am.’  Dewey replied as coolly as possible.  ‘Do you want me to split it in half for you, or…’

     ‘Of course, silly boy.  Keep half for yourself.  We’ll share it.  Some for me, a little for you.’

     ‘Uh…OK.  I’ve never had one of these before.  They really come from China?’

     Suzanne nodded, smiling at Dewey’s awkwardness and apparent simplicity.  Suzanne, who knew very few men who wore suits had guessed who Dewey was.  She couldn’t make her mortgage payment, the money wasn’t there.  Perhaps she could wheedle a payment out of him or at least divert his attention so that she could avoid the embarrassment of admitting she didn’t have the money which would have killed her.

     ‘Tell me, Dewey…’

     ‘Oh god,’  thought Dewey, ‘I hope she isn’t going to go into the sound of one hand clapping or if a tree falls in the forest and there’s no one around to here it, does it make a noise.  Boy, I’ve had enough of that.’

     ‘…which do you think is more important, money or relationships?’

     ‘Well, I think you can have both, Suzanne.’

     ‘Yes, of course, Dewey, but which do you think is more important if you could have only one.  Money or relationships?’

     Another guy might have risen to the bait and Dewey saw it there silhouetted on the water but, besides being married, his instincts revealed the hook in the fly.  Somehow he could sense trouble so he took the question as one to be dealt with intellectually.

     ‘Well, Suzanne, that’s a tough one.  Relationships are important of course.  But they are all based on expediency.  When the reason for them disappears so do the relationships.

     Hence in all relationships there is the user and the used.  My wife’s family owns a nursing home and even in the parent-child relationship, which should be enduring, children dump their parents off and never think of them again.  They keep the money.  At least if you have money in the bank, you can always pay the rent.’

     The last remark was made thoughtlessly.  Dewey had no intention of making Suzanne uncomfortable.  She nevertheless felt the sting which disheartened her in her rather perilous situation.  She rose to offer Dewey a cup of tea, subconsciously attempting to arouse him.  It had worked with men so many times before.

     She rose to lean over Dewey breathing in his ear would he like a cup of tea.  Her marvelous breasts swung left and right dazzling Dewey’s eyes.  the magnificent nipples nearly brushed Dewey’s lips.  He could have…it would have been so easy.  Her intoxicatingly wonderful scent nearly loosened his mind from its anchors.  As Suzanne sat back down rolling her breats around Dewey nearly fainted from delight.

     ‘Really, Dewey?’  She breathed in that husky suppressed sexuality.  ‘I’ve found that my relationships have always been the most rewarding things in my life.  Friends are more important to me than anything.’

     ‘Uh huh.  Well, diamonds are a girl’s best friend.’  Dewey thought to himself.

     He didn’t respond directly.  As beautiful as Suzanne was Dewey could see that she was past the age of desirability.  She had been displaced by younger women.  But Dewey liked to talk and Suzanne was venturing into areas he had thought about.

     ‘Well, Suzanne, I’m not from here.  I grew up in Michigan.’

     ‘Oh, really, Dewey?  I’m from Waterloo, Iowa.’

     ‘Wow.’  Thought Dewey.  ‘Waterloo’s loss was San Francisco’s gain.’  He continued:  ‘Waterloo, hmm.  and most of the people in California, like me and you, come from somewhere else.  Close friends are hard to make; everyone seems suspicious of everyone else.  I’ve concluded therefore that once out of childhood it’s impossible to make any real friends.  Even in childhood the friendships are based on relative status which only seems natural in childhood because you grew up with it.  You can see people fly apart after graduation when those distinctions change.

     After childhood, it seems to me that all relationships are built on expediency.  People can be friends only while it is worthwhile to know each other.  Even then there is a sharp struggle for status and social place.  One party has to be dominant.  The struggle for leadership is the most important thing.  If one party won’t go under the relationship can’t exist.

      Everyone wants to be superior to the other.  The concept of equality is only important for the low man on the totem pole.  In a static society maybe a rough sort of equality might obtain but I don’t think so, everyone would just know their place.

     The ability to consider other people as equals is also being seriously undermined by TV.  If you watch the shows you will notice that it is always the story of the mastermind and his stooges.  Some guy, for no apparent reason, thinks he is a leader.  He has no credentials.  He isn’t even successful in a conventional way; he has no training; he is even uneducated if not illiterate.  But he has charisma.  For some reason, brash over confidence, I suppose, we are to believe that this guy possesses the answer that nobody else can find.  Everybody recognizes this take charge guy’s superiority.  His response is always:  I don’t know the answer, but let’s try this.  He never knows anything but he always succeeds.  Everyone hastens to assist him.  Superbly educated scientists subserve him; he commands generals who have been trained to leadership and they leap to obey his commands.

     The TV image creates the reality or, at least, a very large body of imposters trying to assume the image.  I have known all kinds of guys trying to assume that image.  They can’t.  And when you refuse to accord them the dignity, you deny their fantasy, they hate you.  They think you’re the arrogant upstart.

     These guys are going to get really frustrated, twist; in the not too distant future after repeated denials of their omnip0tence; some of these guys are going to crack.  They’re going to show up with guns and just start shooting everybody down.  TV is really being misused.  TV is evil.  None of those guys is ever going to be around when you need them, and they’re users, so I’d rather be sitting cozy with a bundle in the bank rather than trying to cultivate them.’

     ‘You’ll notice I don’t have a TV.  I certainly agree with you about that.’  Suzanne replied who really liked this type of discussion.  ‘But still my friends have been a great help to me.  They give me things and I learn lots from them that I might otherwise not know.  I mean,’  she leaned forward breathlessly, ‘I think you will understand this, because of them I have seen and talked to God.’

      ‘Oh yeah?  How’s that?’  Dewey said trying to conceal his contempt of anyone who claimed to have talked to God.

     ‘Well, my friends are pretty hep.  They know about things lots sooner than other people.’  She said nodding in the direction of the records.  ‘Have you ever hear of LSD Dewey?’

      ‘Uh…no, what is it?’  Dewey lied.

     ‘It’s this new hallucinogen that you take and it opens up your doors of perception so you can see God and have really truly mystical experiences.’

     ‘What’s a hallucinogen, some kind of drug like heroin?’

     ‘No, it’s not a drug, it’s entirely different.  It makes you see things in a way you’ve never seen them before and better, more clearly, with total reality.  I’m an entirely different person.  I feel like a real god compared to people who haven’t taken it.’  She reached out and touched his arm by way of apology for having distanced herself so much from him.  But she spoke the truth.  she now felt in a world, a class apart, they all did.

     Suzanne belonged to the folk half of the post-war period.  She had passed through the whole period but on a level above the Beatniks but below Society.  She had in fact been what would have been known as a groupie for the folk musicians.  she had met and knew most of them and had loved them all.  They all enjoyed her.  She had been a fixture at the ‘hungry i’, that preeminent San Francisco folk nightclub.

     She had never had to work.  Gifts had come her way.  She had never questioned them.  She gave freely of the love she genuinely felt in her heart, the heart of a good loving woman, and she saw nothing amiss in what she considered the outpouring of love in the form of gifts from her admirers.  Perhaps they saw it that way too.  She should have been a little more mercenary requiring something more substantial than what only amounted to baubles.  She would not then have been delinquent in her mortgage payment.

      She was so beautiful, so lovely, so the eternal woman that she could have chosen men with discrimination.  Even in her choice of folkies she chose well if not lucratively.  The folkies were a bunch of great guys.  They had their limitations of course but a more decent group of men never existed.

     Suzanne had been the belle of their balls.  She had presided as queen at all their get togethers.  Of course, she had to be supported, that is, until she got old.  Now, not only was Suzanne superannuated but the whole folk scene was vanishing.  This year was the year of transition from the folk half to the rock half of the post-war era.  The next generation was about to transform the music into folk-rock and blues based electric rock.  There was to be no place left for the acoustic folkies.  The amplified hand held bass guitar destroyed them.

     If any year was crucial to the transition from the old to the the new 1964 was it.  Timothy Leary had lent Harvard’s imprimatur to experimentation in drugs.  The Beats had spread Marijuana throughout the Bay and now LSD and the other hallucinogens would lend Harvard’s credibility to the weed.

     Musical groups like the Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Dead and Big Brother and the Holding Company were already destroying the folk scene.  The ‘hungry i would be replaced by the Matrix and electric music.  Within just a couple years the rock musical sensibility would sweep all other musical forms from the charts.

     The Beat writers who emerged in 1959 were changing the consciousness of the youth.  Marshall McLuhan, that incredible master of nonsense, that twentieth century Edward Lear and Lewis Carroll rolled into one, was about to publish his book ‘Understanding Media.’   Everything but the premiss was wrong, but it was found to be true that the Medium is the Message.  Carlos Casteneda was relating the absurd adventures of Don Juan and J.R.R. Tolkien had woven the fantasy of the Hobbits and their Ring.  All the elements for the rock half of the post-war world were in place waiting to take effect.

     News may travel fast but it penetrates slowly.  As Dewey and Suzanne sat by the river in the warm California sun eating the oranges that came all the way from China neither had an inkling of what was happening.  It was as though a Japanese farmer looking up from his fields toward Hiroshima and noticing  the funny mushroom shaped cloud asked:  ‘What’s that?’

     Suzanne was too old to make the change.  that very lovely woman was about to lose all.  Dewey would catch the wave and ride the crest into shore.  Neither knew they were sitting on opposite sides of the same abyss.  Suzanne’s implicit faith in friends who gave her drugs saddened Dewey.  From his male point of view he could see what had happened and what would happen to Suzanne.  She was totally lovable as the eternal female.  As such he had fallen in love with her at sight.  But, as the eternal female he knew that men were irresistable to her.  She loved to much and too well.  He could never respect such a woman and could love her only from a distance.

     Out of love for Suzanne, at the risk of humiliating himself, he thought to tell here what any woman less a woman than Suzanne must surely know.  Dewey heaved a great sigh, then began:

     ‘As a token of friendship they gave you dugs?  Now, Suzanne one can never get out one’s mind what isn’t in it.  The only way to break on through to the other side if such a thing can be done is by analyzing your own mind.  Drugs will only mess you up, even new stuff like LSD.  All drugs are bad.  Men are peculiar animals!  I love everything about the way you live Suzanne.  I don’t know about a lot of the artists you listen to and I haven’t read a lot of these books you have.  I hate to admit it but I haven’t even heard of a lot of them.  But I’ve done a lot of reading, you know, all kinds of things, I like ancient history a lot.

      And, you know, there was a time when mankind didn’t know about procreation.  The female of the species was the source of increase so Man woshipped the Great Mother.  Women were available to all men, in theory at least, or as a woman might put it all men were available to her.  But then Man discovered paternity.  He learned that he was the inseminator.  In his vanity he became the Creator.  The Great Mother became the passive receptacle of his creativity rather than the source of all things.

     With the knowledge of paternity came the desire for immortality by creating a son in his own image much as God created Man in his own image.  That’s why all men think they’re gods Suzanne.  The Great Mother cult was unrestrained in its sexuality and orgiasm which runs counter to self-control and reason.  Man was also becoming more conscious of who he was and his surroundings, hence he left the Garden and entered the World.

      Now the Great Mother had to be destroyed for those two reasons.  Reason had to supplant unreason and women had to become the property of men so that paternity could, hopefully, be assured.  Beyond that men have no real use for women.  But men like them and want them because they are beautiful and desirable.  But men don’t want responsibilities so if they can get what they want without obligations so much the better.  You dig?

     Men have been good to you because you are beautiful and I suspect, because you know who you are and how to manage them.  But, you know Suzanne, everything changes.  There comes a time when the incoming tide washes away the magnificent sand castles built on the strand.  We have to retreat further inland and start a new life.  Do you get my drift?’

     ‘I think I do, Dewey.’  Suzanne said with a tear in her lovely eye.  No mascara ran down her cheek because she didn’t wear makeup.  She was hep to the bone.  ‘I think what you’re saying is that I should find a harbor for my craft.’

      ‘Well, yes.  In your shoes, I suppose I would leave the well traveled roads and look for that Mansion On The Hill, put the past behind me and look to the future.  You have had the best of lives.  Looking at your records, Suzanne, I can tell by the covers that they’re all old.  I mean, I like folk music too but I’ve never heard of half those people.  You don’t have any Limelighters or Glenn Yarborough, no Christy Minstrels or any new stuff.  Even then Folk has just about run its course.  It’s really turning trite and sappy.

     You don’t look like you could do Jazz and you’re too old for Rock n’ Roll.’  Dewey bit his tongue.  ‘So I’d look to those new vistas opening on the horizon there.’

     Suzanne looked at him long and pensively.  The changes he was talking about clicked through her brain in successive images but she couldn’t retain any of them long enough to form a sentence.  She intuited the truth of what he had said even admired the way he had said it but she liked men, not a man, men.

     She liked the intoxication of feeling universally desired.  What would she do to get that?  No.  The die was cast.

      Dewey really liked Suzanne but now it was time to go.  She had that quality; he wanted to do something for her.  Unfortunately his money was in his billfold, one of those clunky things that made it look like a man had tumor on his buttock.  He didn’t want to stand there and ostentatiously withdraw money to give her.

     ‘Um, I have to go Suzanne.  May I use your bathroom?’

     In the bathroom Dewey took a five out of his billfold, a lot of money to him at the time, put it in his front pocket and went back to Suzanne at the table with the oranges on it.

     ‘Well, Suzanne, I have to leave.  I’ve got work to do but, look, here’s five dollars.  I want you to have it, you know, I mean, uh, keep it.’

     ‘Oh, Dewey, I couldn’t take your money.’

     ‘Sure, just consider it a loan.’

     ‘How would I ever be able to pay you back?’

     ‘Oh, if not me then loan it to somebody else sometime.’

     ‘Here, here Dewey take some oranges.  They come all the way from China.’   She said thrusting three oranges at him.

      ‘Thanks.  I love you, Suzanne.’

      Then Dewey walked out into the sunshine across the causeway.  He got into his car, backed out and was half a block away when the air was split by the roar of two motorcycles.  Fat Tony and Stig wheeled into the parking space.

     ‘Who the fuck was that, Stig?’  Fat Tony roared.

     ‘I don’t know Ton’ but only bill collector’s wear suits.’

     ‘Come ’round here and we’ll stomp his ass good.’

     ‘Damn right.’

     ‘She’s ours now.  Wait’ll you see her.  Cans out to here.  That folk singer guy told me about her.  I was here last night and wooee.’

     Four black engineer’s boots thundered across Suzanne’s walkway.

     ‘Say mama, I’m here, and look who I brought, my friend Stig I told ya about.  Say, who was that guy I saw drivin’ away.  Don’t want to see him no more.  You ours now, Mama.

     What the hell do you call these, bitch?’  Fat Tony said pointing to the oranges.  ‘Why the hell don’t you get some American oranges that look like oranges should.’  So saying Fat Tony pitched the basket of oranges out the window.  The orange balls rolled out across the black mud flat where they would soon be bobbing on the incoming tide.  Some would be left clinging to the foliage on the bank, some would be swept out to sea through the Golden Gate perhaps to return all the way to China.

     ‘Come on, Bitch, get outta those rags and get on your hands and knees me and Stig wanna fuck.  We’re horny as hell.’

     Dewey got on the freeway speeding on down to Mill Valley for the next call.  He looked over at the three oranges on the seat where he had placed them.  Picking them up he tossed them out the window into the middle of the freeway where they rolled down the fast lane.  Sploot, sploot, tires shot the juice into traffic.

      Dewey forgot that he had ever met Suzanne.