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Category Archives: St. Louis

 

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 Short Story

 The Price Of Freedom

In Both Lira And Dollars

by

R.E. Prindle

 

From The Archives Of

Yesterday’s News Service

Our Motto:  Real News Never Goes Stale

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     ‘How did you know?’

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

     ‘Yeah?  What do you do about it?’

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

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

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

     ‘I’m an accountant.’  Link blurted.

     ‘CPA?’

     ‘No.  Just an accountant.’

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

     ‘Who’s it with?’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     Lincoln Adams looked at his recruiter through tear bleared eyes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     ‘Injection?’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     The applicant got the job.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     He cast an inquiring look at Trueman.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     ‘I don’t know.’

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

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

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

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

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

     Adams interest was piqued.  He raised his eyebrows inquiringly.

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

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

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

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

     Adams held back a guilty retch.  He knew.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      ‘How could you do that?’

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

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

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

Disco Donn Demands Deliverance

by

R.E. Prindle

Part II-3

     Turkish spies amongst the Jews learned of their Messianic hopes, one hesitates to call them intentions as there was little hope of success.  Sabbatai was called to Adrianople where the Sultan resided and there he apostasized to Mohammedanism.   He put on the white turban of the Moslems.  Thus redemption of Israel was once again placed in the indefinite future.  God wasn’t willing to forgive the transgressions of his people just yet.

     The future began to take shape in the wake of the great reorganization of society known as the French or Great Revolution.  In that great attempt to strike down all racial, national and class barriers the social disabilities  of the Jews, at least, were struck down.  The Jews were incorporated into the various states as full citizens.  This is known by the Jews as the emancipation of the Jews.  The difference being a matter of loyalties.  The states expected that the Jews would give their undivided loyalty to the appropriate State, much as the Catholics and Protestants did.  But the highest loyalty of the Jews remained Israel.

     The failure of Zevi had taught the Jews a lesson.  They saw the futility of relying on one man as a redeemer.  Henceforth the redemption would depend on the whole people.  The notion of Redeemer was transferred to the that of the Revolution.  Thus the Jews began working toward redemption through a revolution.  The Euroamericans gave this new millennial urge the name of the International Jewish Conspiracy.

     As the idea took shape in the mind of Israel, the Messiah of the Revolution would come in the years 1913-28.   Their plan was revealed time and time again.  There were intelligent sociologists in every State that recognized the plan.  They were apparently unable to explain the process satisfactorily in the face of Jewish obfuscation.  The Jews were able to denounce them as diseased, unbalanced, wacko anti-Semites.

page 101

     Thus the Jews made great progress during the nineteenth century ending in the seizure of the Russian State and the nearly successful takeover or all central and eastern Europe.  Every action creates a reaction which explains the intense reaction throughout the world toward the Jews during the years 1920-46.

     Lacking a territorial base or an army the Jews had to work by devious means.  The method was early exposed but on the surface is so risible as to appear ridiculous.  European sociologists said they were trying to get all the money through Capitalism while seizing control of the labor force by socialism or unionization.  No adequate explanation was offered so the sociologists became the butt of jokes.

     Several decades later the process is clear.  In fact Howard Sachar, a Jewish historian, explains it.  Here are two examples.  These are pertinent to the story because Norm and Art Barsky attempted the ruse against Dewey Trueman.

     IN 1859 the Italians wished to drive the Austrians from Italy.  At the time the Rothschilds and other Jewish financiers were at the apex of their success.  If they didn’t control the money markets they didn’t miss much.  Modern financial methods for raising money by the States did not yet exist so they were dependent on loans from the Jewish financiers.  Austria was especially dependent on the Rothschilds for loans.

     Thus while dissension was fomented in Italy, the Rothschilds refused to loan money to Austria.  With no money above the line the Austrians were unable to deal with dissension below the line.  Thus Jews controlled the politics of the situation through finances.  The Austrians were forced to retire from Italy.  The Jews were able to direct the course of European history to their own advantage unobtrusively from behind the scenes.

    The second instance involves the First Russian Revolution.  A war between the Jews and the Russian State had been going on for decades.  Industrialism had created a proletariat in Russia.  Russia was engaged in a contest for Manchuria with the Japanese.  The Japanese were unable to pursue their goals for lack of money.  A man called Jacob Schiff in the United States raised hundreds of millions of dollars of American money for the Japanese.  His efforts were abetted by the Jewish consortium of Europe.

     At the same time Schiff and others prevented loans being made to Russia.

     With the economic situation under control the Jews fomented strikes and rebellion on the labor front.  The result was that the enemy of the Jews, Russia, lost the war with Japan and had to change the structure of the government to placate the Jewish rebels.

     This procedure is known as getting the victim between the upper and nether jaws of the vice.  Once pinioned the victim can be filed into any shape at leisure. 

     The Jews of course denied everything and still do.  But just as the sociologists saw what was happening so did certain politicians.  Jewish history had been well studied by both the Germans and the Russians.  They were quite aware that a slaughter of the peoples would follow a Jewish victory as indeed did happen in Russia in the years following 1917.  Once again denied although as obvious as the Nazi death camps to anyone who wants to study the period.

page 103.

     Nineteen-seventeen to nineteen-twenty-four or so was the high tide of the redemption period.  Success seemed imminent.  The reaction however created two very strong personalities  in Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin.

     There were many signs that were to proclaim the Redemption.  Among them was the notion of Gog and Magog, great cataclysmic armageddons.  This prophecy was fulfilled by the two great wars bracketing the twenties and thirties.  Hitler’s contention was always that the Jews caused the wars.  He was probably correct.

     At any rate the Jews believed that they had isolated and surrounded the last great anti-Semite.  Stalin’s activities in Russia had not sunk in yet.

     In the United States the redemption was in full swing.  In 1899 the the founder of Reform Judaism in the United States, Isaac Meyer Wise, had predicted that the redemption would occur within twenty-five years.  The massive immigrationof Jews from the Pale gave the Jews an ample power base in the United States.  From 1913 to 1945 in a line of politicians from Woodrow Wilson through Al Smith to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the Jews created the coalition they hoped to direct.  They did attain a position of great influence.

     Thus while Hitler and Stalin were tightening the screws on the Jews in Europe, in the United States the Jews were isolating all American nationalists and devout Christians under the names of Facscists and ‘anti-Semites.’  The only serious opposition to their program came from Henry Ford in the twenties.  He, in his American naivete, thought he could persuade the Jews to end their historical confrontation with Euroamerican society.  He was mistaken.  He was isolated and ostracized by his fellow Americans.

page 104

     There was not much active opposition to the Jews in the United States; after all Americans had always considered themselves neo-Hebrews.

     Nevertheless all dissident religious or nationalist voices were identified and isolated in an aggressive program of vilification.  In 1943 as Hitler and Stalin were destroying the Jews, those in America were calling for concentration camps to isolate the ‘anti-Semites.’  This is true.  In a country that had always prided itself on the separation of church and State the Jews were calling for laws outlawing dissenters from their religious views, or as they called them, anti-Semites.

     No one could have foreseen the extermination of Eastern and Central European Jewry.  Thus the Revolution as Redeemer failed as disastrously as Bar Kochba in Roman times and Sabbatai Zevi at the end of Medieval times.

     In the twenties and thirties the Jews believed that they were to come into their own in ‘America, my home sweet home.’  In the land of plenty, the plenty was to be at their disposal.  Everyone else would be their servant or slave.  A life of indolence and ease analogous to that enjoyed by the post-war Kuwaitis would be theirs.

page 105.

     Louis Barsky, Art’s father, exulted in the hope.  He implanted the expectation in Art who had been born in 1923.  Art grew up filled with the hope.  He was aquiver with hope as the war against the Axis began.  He really believed he would begin that life on V.E. day.  The stage was certainly prepared in the United States.

     In 1948 the ancient Jewish hope would be realized when the head and tail of Ouroboros were put in place as Israel became a Jewish State.

     One can only imagine the horror of the realization that the main body of the Ouroboros was crushed in Germany and the East.  Redemption had failed yet again.  The Revolution as Messiah was a bust.

     Art Barsky looked out on the world through tears of bitterness.  There was no life of ease for him.  He would have to work for a living unable to enjoy the plenty that he thought was rightfully his.  He had to work.  Oh, he did well enough.  He made a lot of money selling women’s nylon stockings.  But every year his bitterness and rage mounted.  He had his son Norman, the young lord.  Norm had graduated from college, married and fathered his own son in one fell swoop.

     Art had communicated his and Louis’ attitude to Norm.  But there seemed no way for Norm to realize his heritage.  Thus when Harry Grabstein called Art with his proposition concerning Dewey Trueman it was a godsend.

     Norm was briefed and sent West with his shiksa and child to claim his inheritance.  As Trueman didn’t realize that his business rightfully belonged to Norm some deception was required.

page 106.

     Getting hired was no problem.  Retail sales is an entry level position for high school dropouts and malcontents who can’t hold a job elsewhere.  Record stores in general draw the dreamy types, separated and withdrawn from objective reality.  As the term then was- spaced out.

     The recorded word has a tremendous appeal to them.  It is as though the voice of god speaks from the groove.  A standard story was of the guy who dropped a couple hits of acid, turned Black Sabbath’s album ‘Paranoid’ up to ten and saw god.

     The bands and singers were certainly thought of as oracles or prophets, super prescient people who understood the whole of the entire.  Thus singers told them truth directly.  Spoke to them through their stereos.   Ras le bol was one of the primary messages- screw it all.  Consequently these people didn’t stay on the job too long while they did as little work as possible while there.  Getting to work on time?  Who would buy that load of bullshit?

     Thus Norm, wearing the same outfit as in the mountains except that he had the de rigeur leather jacket of the times instead of the flowering vest and shirt, presented himself for employment.  He literally burst noisily into the store.  He asked for a job letting it be known that he wouldn’t take no for an answer.  If Trueman hadn’t had an opening at the time he soon would have.  Norm Barsky presented a bizarre persona but it was a time of bizarre personas.  Trueman was curious as to his story.

page 107.

     Norm had more ambition than the listless drifting types Trueman normally saw.  He wasn’t creative but told what to do and how to do it he was capable of not only doing it one time but being able to repeat the action without repeated istruction.

     He quickly acquired greater responsibility, soon becoming Dewey Trueman’s manager.  This was all done within two months.  Things move fast in the the record business.  Tomorrow will soon be yesterday.  Sell them hits while they’re hot.

     Norm had began to organize the employees around himself and against Dewey as soon as he had been hired.  In fact he had the floor functioning smoothly for nearly the first time in the store’s history.  Trueman himself handled the buying and all the other chores but was unable to supervise the floor full time.  He was pleased with Norm’s performance.

     At the same time he noticed the alienation of the personnel from himself as Norm sought their loyalty.  When he became manager he could speak with the authority of ‘Don’t worry, I’ll take care of it with Dewey.’  Thus as the store was actually his in his own mind he began to give liberties to the crew.  He allowed them to take records home gratis.  He gave Rolfe Kusinen money from the till to buy, or rather, upgrade, as it was known, his new stereo system.  Then, as Rolfe’s old records were scratched he allowed him to bring them back and exhange them for new records.  Norm backed his car up to the back door and loaded a few boxes in to pick up some pocket ‘change.’  Nor did he think he was stealing.  In his mind he already owned the store, Trueman was working for him.  Stealth was necessary because Trueman was not yet aware of the new arrangement.

pate 108.

     Norm quietly nudged aside Trueman’s influence with the sales reps.  He represented his assumption of power as an accomplished fact but urged them to keep it quiet as Trueman was sensitive to the fact.

     By early November he believed he was in the position for a takeover or, as he expressed it, ‘a palace revolution.’

     He told Dewey that his father was coming to town and that as, next to his father, he admired Dewey most of all he would like Dewey to meet his father.

     Thus as the nether jaw of the vice was prepared the upper jaw would hopefully soon be screwed down.  Dewey, by this time, was aware that Norm’s facade concealed some misdoings.  Intimations of difficultes were coming from both the floor and from the sales reps.  While nothing was said, different attitudes were projected.  He was beginning to have real difficulties adapting himself to the role of ‘Norm’s ’employee’ which role Norm unconsciously assumed.

     Out of consideration to Norm he agreed to meet his father.  They met over lunch at the Willametter River Inn.  Norm and Art arranged a late lunch so as to be undisturbed by other diners.  They sat in the far corner looking out over the river.  Dewey had his back to the restaurant.  Harry Grabstein drifted in to watch from an obscure position.

     Art Barsky now fifty was an embittered man.  Being a salesman is one of the toughest jobs in America.  One’s manhood and dignity are constantly being insulted.  There is no attitude except complete servility that will protect you from the slings and arrows.  If you’re completely servile you’re a failure as a salesman.

page 109.

     Art Barsky had taken refuge in a carney’s attitude.  He viewed his customers as stupid suckers while he was a wise manipulator.  The attitude meshed neatly with his disappointment in the failure of the Redemption.  His attitude was beginning to interfere with his salesmanship.  His best years were behind him.

     The face he presented to Trueman was quite similar to Lee J. Cobb in ‘Death Of A Salesman.’  Trueman had an intuitive dislike of the man.  He also now understood Norm Barsky better.

     Art began by talking down to Dewey.  Trueman responded coolly and laughingly showing his contempt for Art.  Barsky was not subtle enough to pick up on it.  Besides the script was already written.  All Trueman had to do was act his part.  Thus Art very nearly waived aside any civilities getting straight to the point. 

     ‘I’ve got to have my boy here established.’  He said bluntly.

     ‘Well, if has to quit…’  Dewey began.

     ‘No, not quit.’  Art sort of bellowed.  ‘But I can’t have him just working for you.’

     ‘Well, if has to quit…’  Dewey began again.

     ‘No.  Not quit.’  Barsky interrupted again.  ‘The way I see it is he’s indispensable; you can’t get along without him.  He needs something of a permanent nature.’

page 110.

     ‘Well, if he has to quit…’  Trueman began a third time.

     ‘No! Not quit, damn you.’  Barsky blundered on oblivious to objective reality.  ‘If he’s going to make your business for you he should have an interest.  Say, one half…’

     Dewey stared in disbelief.  Norm, who had been watching him intently took the look for one of fear and acquiescence.  Dewey wasn’t an actor in their movie but they didn’t realize it.  Norm kicked his father under the table to indicate they were on the right track.

     Trueman took Barsky for a fool.  His expression turned to a sardonic smile as he tittered a little laugh.

    ‘Oh yeah?  What kind of deal do you have in mind?’  He asked curiously.

     ‘Well we figure the business is worth ten thou but we also figure we’ll really make it boom with our expertise.  We’re Jews you know.  We don’t want you to be unhappy so we’ll give you a bonus making the business worth twenty-five thou but you’re going to have to take a salary cut.  Maybe half.’

     Dewey couldn’t believe his ears.  He valued the business highly perhaps exaggerating its worth but he wouldn’t have taken less than two hundred thousand and would have balked at that.  He had his own expansion plans based on his own expertise which up to this point had been considerable.

     His eyebrow shot up.  ‘Twenty-five thousand?  Cash or check?’  He said derisively.

     Norm’s face lit up.  He thought he was in.  He reached over and patted Dewey’s arm.

     ‘We’ll give you a note.’  the Old Con Man barked authoritatively.

page 111

     Dewey involuntarily blew air through his compressed lips giving the mistaken impression he was giving a bronx cheer.  A little spittle got on Art’s face.

     ‘Well, buddy,’ Dewey began derisively, ‘why don’t I just give you an interest?  You’re going to give me a note.  All that means is that you’ll pay me out of my own profits.  Since I’ve already got a hundred per cent of them do you really think I’ll settle for half and lose my salary by half at the same time?’

     Art stared at him viciously.  The audacity of this goi to balk a Prince of this Earthly Realm.  How long will we have to suffer these indignities he thought bitterly projecting every nuance of his thought into his facial expression.

     ‘I gotta go now.  See you back at the store, Norm.’

     The upper jaw of the vice was not to descend.  As in the macrocosm so in the microcosm the Redemption was balked.

     Norm looked questioningly at his father.  His father was stunned.  It wasn’t so much that they thought so little of their quarry, Trueman, it was just that like all con men they thought that they were so damned clever.

     ‘That guy’s a real prick.’  Art exclaimed defensively.

     ‘I told you so.’  Norm nodded.

     Prick or not they had lost the initiative.  All they could do was attempt to intimidate Trueman on the labor front; he couldn’t use their ‘captital.’

     Once in, of course, they would have used law suits and legal means to harass Trueman.  As Grabstein could control the judges, the town fathers wanted Trueman gone anyway, all decisions would have gone against Trueman.  Within a year he would have been locked out while the business accrued to Norm and Art for essentially nothing.

page 112

     The two were victims of their own fantasies.  They really believed that Norm was indispensable.  They really believed that the success of Trueman’s business was due to Norm.  The fact that the business had been a success before Norm got there was disregarded.  Such inscrutable obtuseness is scarcely to be believed, yet it is a normal state of affairs.

    Art and Norm devised a plan where the entire staff would quit on New Year’s Day.  Faced with the loss of the indispensable Norm and his crack crew Trueman would have to capitulate.  The palace revolution would be a success.  Trueman would have to deal with them on their own terms.  In order to get the Indispensable One back he would have to actually give them ownership.

     Norm’s ease in manipulating the crew reassured them of his abilities.  The Christmas season was begun.  This is the worst time for labor troubles in retail.  Dewey wanted to fire Norm or, at least get rid of him, but it was the wrong time.  He thought that the season might produce a gross of fifty thousand dollars.  He decided to tolerate Norm.  Norm and the crew, who thought the profit margin was much higher than it was, in the record business of the time the margin was only twenty to twenty-five percent, Dewey was at thirty, thought that Dewey would make ninety thousand or God only knows how much.

     Norm encouraged them to think that they were the reason for the store’s success.  He pressed Trueman hard for large bonuses.

page 113.

     Trueman, cursed with the orphan’s need to be loved, wanted to do what was right.  Like most nouveaux riches he felt guilty about his success.  The times were propitious to augment that feeling.

     It would appear from the narrative that Trueman was rolling in money but this wasn’t true.  He was being driven by a load of debt.  He had started with no money at all.  He had received no bank loans.  The growth had been very rapid.  The rate of expansion had him financially against the wall.  He was perpetually behind in his bills.  He really couldn’t spare the money but he allowed himself to be coerced into giving large bonuses.

     Norm took full credit with the crew which, indeed, was his right in this instance.  Now convinced that there were millions to be had he guaranteed the crew that he would double their wages if they followed him.  They readily consented.

     At closing on December 31 Norm delivered his ultimatum; either all wages were to be doubled, his tripled, or they would quite en masse none showing up for work on January second.

     The season was behind him.  January and February were slow months.  Trueman just said goodbye and had the locks changed.  he had a new crew by week’s end.

    Norm was incredulous.  Unbelieving.  Actually stunned as though running full tilt into a goal post.  But he thought that as he was indispensable Trueman would capitulate and call him back.  The fantasies that corrupt one’s mind.

     Norm’s failure destroyed his relationship with his shiksa wife.  She had been won mainly by by Norm’s tall talk of his abilities and future success.  She had been led to believe that she would be moving into Dewey’s mansion on the hill.  Now she lost faith in Norm completely.  When, two months later, it became apparent that Norm was not going to be called back; she packed her bags and took their son and moved back to LA where she had come from.

page114.

     Forced to accept reality, Norm’s sense of grandeur prevented him from accepting just a job.  Electric vehicles were a big topic then so Norm obtained a loan and opened a lot selling electric motor scooters.  Well, an idea whose time had come or not, no one bought them.

     The bank called Norm to discuss his lack of payments on the loan.  Norm always heeded fantastic solutions to any problem.  He had read an article about some guy who had been called in to make good a loan.  This guy, so the story went, stared coolly back into the banker’s eye and said:  Either you give me time to make the loan good which I will do, or you can have the business and you can’t run it.’  In the story the bank capitulated, the guy made good and everyone laughed about it later.  Real chutzpah.  I mean, wouldn’t you?

     Incredibly Norm tried this act.  The banker laughed, foreclosed and threw Norm out into the street.  Norm thought he had obtained the loan himself but naturally unbeknownst to him his father had co-signed for it through the good offices of Harry Grabstein.  The banker thought he was secure but he was never able to collect from either Art Barsky or Harry Grabstein.  So much for high finance in Norm’s life.  And for Art the Revolution as Redeemer sank into the sands like the Rhine before the ocean.  For him the third great messianic attempt became a sour, bitter, excoriating experience.  Goddamn everybody and everything, he thought.

page 115.

     Norm was still the unabashed hero of his own movie.  He had not only read ‘On The Road’ but most of Kerouac’s novels.  In a college town like Eugene they were especially popular.  If he couldn’t succeed in the business world, Norm could succeed as a bum.  There is no success like failure and failure is no success at all.  Norm could be part of the ‘rucksack revolution.’  He embraced the notion behind Kerouac’s novel:  The Dharma Bums.  Don’t you just love Kerouac.  Norm became Dharma Bum.

     Somehow Donn sensed the real story behind Bum’s story of woe in capitalist society.  There was that about Bum that bespoke delusional fantasy.

     Having finished his beans, Bum rolled himself what he called a splif from what he said was Thai-stick tea.  A splif is a Jamaican marijuana joint as big as a cigar; Bum’s spliff was slight larger than a pencil lead.  As with the beans he didn’t offer Donn any.  As he talked and smoked he unbuttoned his fly.  As he had no underwear on his dong flopped right out.

     Finishing one ‘spliff’ he rolled himself another.

     ‘This Thai shit is really potent.’  He said.

     ‘Let’s see.’  Donn said reaching out his hand.

     ‘Uh uh.’  Bum said pulling the joint back.  ‘I’ve got a different number for you to suck on.’  He said, indicating his penis in his best John Wayneish movie tough guy talk.

page 116.

     Donn just sat there looking at him in wonder.  Who does this guy think he is?  He thought.

     Dharma Bum, in fact, thought he was faster than a speeding bullet, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, hold back freight trains by main force.  But since he couldn’t find a job as a brain surgeon or bank president because of the stupidity of capitalism he had chosen the life of the wandering mystic.  The Holy Bum who though he appeared to be beneath society was actually superior to it.

     ‘Assume the position.’ He commanded with quiet authority, taking a long toke on his ‘splif.’

     Donn looked steadily back and shook his head no.

     ‘Assume the position, damn it! Bum bellowed.

     Donn didn’t move.

     ‘Don’t try to balk me son-of-a-bitch.  Assume the position.’  Bum half commanded, half whined.  At the same time he grabbed a stick and began to belabor the sitting Contrales.

     Donn leaped to his feet beneath the stinging blows to land a stiff right on Bum’s outhrust chin.  Dharma Bum fell to the ground unconscious.  He flew over backwards striking his head on an outcrop.  He was dead as he settled to the ground.

     Donn in his agitation bent over with his hands on his knees to collect his senses.  As he did he noticed that Bum didn’t seem to be breathing.  Yes, Donn ascertained, Bum was dead.  Donn had killed two men in one week.  Serial killer.  Once again it was self defense, but who would believe him.  All of the circumstantial ‘evidence’ would be against him.  There would be no one to believe his story.  He felt a rising sense of panic, of fear and loathing, as he looked down on the dead body of Dharma Bum.

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     The outcropping was a ledge between which and the ground, between the upper and nether jaws of the vice as it were, there was a gap almost big enough to admit a man’s body.  In frustration and anger Donn grabbed Bum’s body, backing up a couple steps he ran forward thrusting the head and torso into the opening.   The body jammed at the chest.  Try as he might he could force Bum’s body in no further.  Totally frustrated he delivered three sharp kicks to Bum’s dead ass.

     ‘Back under the rock you crawled out from you goddamned bum.’

     Then, as the first light of dawn illuminated the mountain tops Donn dusted himself off as best he could to catch another ride to take him a little further down the road.

     In what must have been a reenactment of Cain and Abel, this time when Abel’s blood called out there was no answering voice from heaven.  Bum just lay there and rotted until his skeleton was shrouded in flowery rags.

     Donn became depressed at the thought of the two killings which he now thought of as murders.  He presented a wild disheveled appearance beside the road.  Still he got rides but they were short and the duration between them was long.  Three days later found him in a gas station on the east side of Graig, Colorado lonely, forlorn and despondent.  It wasn’t so much that his head ached or that his body throbbed in pain.  Donn was hurting mentally even more. 

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     Donn walked across the lot of the gas station to use the toilet.  He entered, washed and shaved.  As he was drying off the door opened and a smashing older gent entered.  He was tall, lean, athletic looking.  He had hair half grey amidst the dark blonde strands.  He had one of those long headed chisel faces that represented manly beauty to Donn.

     Rather than despising him he gave him a warm smile.  Then some small gesture conveyed the message the gent was in the mood.   Donn didn’t prefer the catamite role but in his lonely desolation any affirmation of worthiness was enough.  He entered the stall followed by the gent.

     Wordlessly they went about their business.  For some reason, perhaps an unconscious need to be discovered the gent hadn’t latched the door.  Suddenly the latrine door burst open as three men, two with cameras and tape recorders rushed in.  Donn’s heart stopped.

     The latrine doors were forced open as cameras whirred and clicked. 

     ‘Well, Senator, what do we have here?’  The first man sneered.

     Donn who believed he was the target was puzzled by being called Senator, then the truth dawned on him.

     ‘Senator Richard Walker, is this the kind of secret life you lead?’

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     Donn saw that they were paying him scant attention so scooting across the floor while trying to get his pants up he fled the scene.

     He picked up a copy of the Coloradan next afternoon to discover a picture of State Senator Walker pulling up his pants in the toilet of the gas station.  Donn was clearly recognizable.  Apparently Dick Walker, unable to bear the pressures and humiliations of public life had been relieving his stress in this manner over the past several months.  His enemies had finally caught up to him.  Not unrelieved, he quietly disappeared from public life.

     Donn finally found himself in Denver after the most adventurous trip.  He’d had too much adventure.  He wanted to be in St. Louis safe as a TV anchorman.  Considering that he believed himself a wanted man it hadn’t occurred to him that a major city TV screen was not the best of hiding places.

     As bad as Donn was he was no worse than his fellows so that there is no reason not to extend him a little sympathy.   Within the context of his society he was suffering grievously for a minor peccadillo.  His state of mind was severely darkened by the sequence of events since leaving Portland.  He was struggling to keep his mental equilibrium.  At odd moments he had to struggle to keep back the tears.  His physiognomy increasingly showed the strain he was under.  Stress lines appeared where none had been before.

     By the time he reached Denver despair of the present and the hope of the TV job in St. Louis, which had now become a fixation in his mind, drove him from the road.  He couldn’t take it anymore.  The bus or the train would have been cheaper but Donn wanted to get above it all while recapturing for a blissful moment his past glory.  He decided to fly.

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     He spent the night in a motel to rest and cleanup before he went into the airport to buy a ticket.  He expected to just walk on.  He was somewhat stunned when he was told the price was four hundred dollars.  As he stood open mouthed blinking in astonishment the clerk said:  But if you wait two days I can sell you a ticket for sixty-eight dollars or a non-refundable ticket for forty-two..

    Donn’s motel room was only eighteen dollars.  He could stay two days, eat frugally and save a lot.  He decided to do that.  He foolishly gave the clerk his real name.

     He left the airport in a confused state of mind.  ‘For a twenty dollar discount they lay claim to the whole fare.   What kind of Ever Ever Land dealing is that?  How does anybody get away with claiming they get paid for nothing if you don’t show because they gave a discount on nothing?

     Something had happened in American thinking; Donn was right about that, but he didn’t know the half of it.  He was too troubled in mind to wonder why a walkon ticket should cost four hundred dollars whan an advance reservation dropped down to sixty dollars.  How had the airline’s costs been reduced by a two day delay on boarding?  Obviously the authorities wished to limit free and unrestricted travel.  Most people pay by credit card giving advance notice of who will be on what plane.  Although Donn had paid cash he he had given his right name.

     Due to the wonders of computerization his name was flagged in a nationwide memory bank.  Even though he had done nothing wrong- the charges against his name had been shelved- there were those who wished to know his doings.  Thus Maggie, who was watching the flags carefully, picked up Donn’s movement the same afternoon.  Donn’s flight originated in Portland.  Maggie put a man on board in the seat next to Donn’s.  A little spoonful of his excrement was given to the flight attendant to put in Donn’s food along with instructions to be out of whatever his first selection was,  whatever he requested they were to give him something else.  These games get incredibly petty.  Twenty-two years of schooling and you’re still a psychotic moron.

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     Donn did little the two days but lay around his motel room, rolling about trying to fight his way out of the despondency which was saturating his mind like black ink diffusing through clear water.  Everything showed on his face but even looking in the mirror Donn was unable to discern it.

     He was too preoccupied to notice the glow of anticipation in Maggie’s man, Wally Reid’s eyes.  Reid was there to fid out Donn’s plans and torment him.

     Donn didn’t want to talk but Reid amiably persisted.  Beyond the fact that he was bound for St. Louis Reid got nowhere.  As Donn despised airline food he declined his tray foiling Maggie’s plan of special nutrition.  Maggie correctly thought that Donn thought he was a fugitive from justice so he had Reid tell stories of fugitives being betrayed by some inconsequential quirk and caught.  He even explained the flagging system to Donn.

     By the time the plane landed Donn was aquiver with anxiety.  He expected to be arrested when he disembarked.  When he wasn’t he half dismissed Reid’s chatter, while making plans for job hunting.

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     Psychology is difficult to account for.  Donn had the most sanguine hopes of landing the job as news anchorman.  He still hadn’t figured out that anonymity and a TV personality don’t go together.  In order to be successful in his job hunt he believed, quite rightly of course, that he would have to make a good appearance.  Maintaining the appearance for any length of time would deplete his resources, but counting on landing a job quickly Donn went ahead with style.

     He checked into a good hotel, better than he needed, and bought himself a very nice suit, also better than he needed, shirts, shoes and ties.  He made appointments for interviews.  These were all delayed a couple days to give the stations time to check up on him.  The flag came up.

     The manager of the first station, who was only a member of the Old Boy network, figured he had enough troubles of his own without adding Donn’s so he declined politely sending Donn on his way.  The manager of the second station was a member of both the Jewish and Homosexual networks but not the Old Boy.  Maggie got in touch with him.  He arranged to be in the studio when Donn was there.

     This interview went very smoothly.   Wesley Cohn expressed great interest in Donn.  He asked him to come back in two days for a screen test.  Informed that there would be an opening and he was a very good possibility Donn was delighted.  He bounced out of the studio muttering Eureka! under his breath.

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     Maggie who knew how much Donn had withdrawn from the bank intended to string him along till it was gone.  If Maggie hadn’t had contacts at UNB he had his own hacker who could penetrate any system.  Imagine passing laws against such things.  One might as well pass laws against the sun setting in the West.

     Donn showed up for the test.  He was actually very good.  He had the looks, he projected a confident, affable, knowledgeable image.  The studio workers were very impressed.  Donn, watching anxiously, was sure they were sincere.  He was told to call back in a couple days.  Then he was invited to dinner with the manager, the news director and his assistant.  They went to the best restaurant in St. Louis.  After a friendly, jovial dinner full of many yaks it came time for the bill.

     Cohn slapped his pockets a couple times saying:  ‘Donn, you know what?  I left my wallet at home.  Say, Donn, you couldn’t…’

     Everyone watched with suppressed mirth as Donn gulped and his face fell. But they were surprised.  Donn waxed indignant:  ‘You don’t have have an account here?  Why at the Daily Assassin, he said giving himself away somewhat, ‘we had accounts at all the best restaurants.  We just had to sign for it.  That’s the way it’s done in professional circles.  That’s how any company that knows does it.  Mingo wouldn’t have any problem.’

     Mirth fled their faces as they shook their heads and uttered low ‘ummms.’

     ‘Right.  Of course I can sign.  I forgot about that.’  Cohn replied.

page124.

     Out on the street he said:  ‘That was a test too, Donn, you’re doing fine.  Call you in a couple days.’

     Donn’s funds were running low.  He could no longer afford to wait.  He called the next day to be informed that although he was perfect they were bringing in a Black woman from Detroit.  They thought she would give the station the proper social balance.

    Well…now Donn was both down and out.

IV.

Off  The Track

 

How is it that I have come up to here

And I’m still fallin’

-The Byrds

I deplore brutality he said.  It’s not efficient.  On the other hand prolonged mistreatment, short of physical violence, gives rise, when skillfully applied, to anxiety and a feeling of special guilt.

-William S. Burroughs

     Donn now didn’t know which way to turn.  He could call his dad down in Waco but that would be truly a last resort, admitting defeat.  Besides maybe even his dad would stiff him after the manner in which he had left.  Donn was at a loss.  He didn’t know why but he got out on the highway heading North through Iowa.  Keokuk, Waterloo and up the Mississippi.

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     Maggie had a man pick him up to learn his plans if possible.  He dropped Donn off halfway to Keokuk using his CB to inform Maggie who was about five miles behind.  When Maggie sighted Donn he edged to the side of the road forcing Donn to step back.  He averted his face as he passed laughing a vengeful laugh.

     Donn couldn’t be sure, of course, but there had been no mistaking that gold hair.  Donn still hadn’t analyzed the implications of that computer that had sat on his desk.  If he had he would have realized that there is no such thing as paranoia in the modern world.  It’s all true.  Stalking is a way of life.

     Hitching a ride in suit clothes and fine shoes is the toughest kind of hitching of all.  After all why would a guy who could afford good clothes hitchhike unless he was just godawful cheap?  The only reason to hitch is if you’re down and out or in the Service.  Donn had a terrible time getting rides.  When he did the drivers were all disrespectful.  Hence he found himself in Keokuk way out on Johnson St. Road miles from downtown.  Everything is always funny when it happens to someone else.  Donn had always found stories such as this amusing but now that it was happening to him he lamented the fact that others would have the laugh.  Other people elsewhere were having a good chuckle.  So life goes on.

     Donn oriented himself tothe East and began walking toward the Mississippi.  The evening was sultry and warm.  Great billowy clouds, white on the edges passing through symphonies of greys sailed proudly across the bright blue sky.  The trees and grass shown green.  Natural beauties abounded.  Donn’s gloomy frame of mind turned all brown and seer.

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     But a bit of good fortune fell on him.  As he trudged up the road he approached the house of Phineas Elonginus Pillbender.  Phineas had suffered a terrible childhood.  He had been in foster homes and an orphanage.  Although life had kicked him about much more severely than he or anyone else deserves he had never given way to self-destructive impulses.

      Against all odds he had constructed the type of life he most admired.  His spirit was epitomized in the almost surrealistic beauty of his house and grounds.  He had an acre and a half, his house standing on a little rise in the middle of the lot.  It was painted the strangest color blue, the numerous shutters white.  The house sparkled, as he washed it frequently.  A white picket fence enclosed his yard.  The edges of the pickets were also painted blue.  The fence too shone splendidly.  The impossibly well kept lawn with the medium sized apple tree caused many a passerby to stop and stare.

     A red brick walkway curved up to the house from the mailbox which was painted blue with a little border of flowers across the bottom and Phineas Elonginus Pillbender inscribed in quaint lettering, having a Land of Oz effect.

     The driveway leading to the garage was carefully constructed to look natural.  The concrete slab was sunk three inches below the surface being carefully graveled and cindered to look rural.  Pillbender raked it three times weekly.

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     He was too perfect for his neighbors.  A big gash invariably disfigured his driveway while one or two pickets were always hanging loose.  Pillbender left them after having learned he must make at least this concession to his neighbor’s envy.  They had no intention of maintaining their property so carefully nor were they about to be made to look sloppy by their own fastidious neighbor.

     Farmer Pillbender stood, corncob pipe in the mouth of a face surrounded by an Abe Lincoln beard, in the red brick walkway leading to his front door.  His thumbs were stuck in the straps of his overalls.  He wasn’t really a farmer, it was a pose he affected.  He actually worked as a tool and die maker in town.

     He saw Donn Contrales in his fine pants carrying his jacket under his arm coming down the road.  Rather than having been embittered by his life experiences Farmer Pillbender was a kindly if brittle man.  His workmates called him ‘prickly.’  Like many who had borne a heavier cross than his back could support he passed his burden on to Jesus.  He was a serious and good Christian.  He often hummed:  What a friend we have in Jesus, all our griefs and sins to bear, as he went about his chores.

      He mistakenly sized Donn up as a good man who’d gotten a tough break.  Pillbender hailed Donn at his gate.  After a few minutes palaver he invited Donn in for supper and a bed for the night.

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     As the outside of Pillbender’s house shone so was the inside glorious.  The hardwood floors were radiant.  The colonial style early American furniture was immaculately kept.  The fire place floor was freshly scrubbed.   The grate had been sanded and painted.

   As one’s eyes moved up the fireplace front to the mantle a large sign, six feet long, eighteen inches high proclaimed in red, white and blue bunted letters:

F U C K  C O M M U N I S M

     Above it was a large plain white cross.  One knew where Farmer Pillbender stood.

     Donn arose the next morning which as hot as an oven, humid as hell, grateful for at least a chance to rinse off and shave.  He thanked Farmer Pillbender and took his leave.  As the neighbors had seen him enter the house the night before they now stood at their windows or in their yards to look him over.  A number of childred stood in the street.

    Among them was Billy Treska.  Billy was eight.  He had been violated by a big neighbor kid a week before.  The seduction had been rude, verging on rape, while the subsequent rejection had made him feel contemptible.  He was in the throes of emotional distress unable to adjust to his emasculation.  The sight of Donn, forlorn and forsaken, awoke feelings of kinship in his tortured mind.  As Donn walked by Billy slipped his hand in Donn’s in a love gesture.

     Billy didn’t know what he was doing or why.  His act was unconscious while his motives were unknown to him.  In the way of homosexuality he was seeking affirmation of his worth by seeking a surrogate of the lover who had seduced and rejected him.  Donn looked down in shock as he recognized the meaning of the gesture.  While Donn had never had an inclination for little boys, now, conscious of his own identity and the eyes of the neighbors about him, he jerked his hand rudely away whereas at another thime he might have been more sympathetic.

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     Billy, unable to understand his own motives or Donn’s rejections took the move as a further indication of his worthlessness.   He was completely shattered and crushed.  He ran from Donn howling and crying, causing dismay in the spectators.  In later life Billy would end up a curbstone cutie in San Francisco with silicon breasts.

     As the boy turned sobbing and ran away the whole scene was misinterpreted by Mrs. Elizabeth Anderson.  She believed and would swear that Donn had made an attempt to abduct the boy, possibly for ransom.  That Donn was a bum, albeit a well dressed bum with really nice shoes, was proof sufficient.

     As Donn walked downtown slowly in the heat Mrs. Anderson tracked him at a distance.  As he stood at the corner of Seventh and Main aimlessly plotting his next move, perhaps even getting a job somewhere in town to gather his senses and accumulate a few dollars, Mrs. Anderson with a policeman by the arm pointed him out to the cop saying:  ‘That’s him.’

     Fearful of being picked up on the charges he thought were pending in Oregon Donn blanched a whiter shade of pale acting extremely guilty.  The officer who had nothing on Donn except Mrs. Anderson’s confused story hesitated.  As he did so an officious self-righteous townsman announced in a stentorian voice:  You better move on.

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     The police officer and the crowd automatically acquiesced in the sentiment of the speaker.   They stepped back to make room for Donn to move on.

     Donn’s motor responses were affected by the repetitious humiliations that are impossible to bear with equanimity no matter how cool the victim may appear.  Donn moved off not smartly but with a shambling gait.  The pavement seemed so uneven that Donn couldn’t raise his feet high enough to keep from scraping over the pavement.  As he reached the other side of the street he tripped over the curb and turned to look back at the faces sternly set against him.  Unconciously he hunched over, back curved, and with one hand clumsily hitched up his pants, confessing to his feeling of emasculation.  He had fallen far but he was still far from the bottom.

     As he hitched up the road to Waterloo he realized for the first time that he was penniless.  He hadn’t the means to buy a meal; he had no place to sleep but in the jungles with other bums, under overpasses, wherever those off the track congregated.  That was pain that Donn couldn’t face.  Even though with the proper attitude and his boxing skills he could easily have dominated any such crowd.  He could have been King of the Jungles.

     Thus Donn avoided those places although he soon learned where they would be.

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     Maggie had fixed his location.  There was a transmitter in the heel of Donn’s spiffy shoes.  Thus even as Donn entered a town he was surprised to find that it seemed as though he was expected.  It seemed as though everyone knew him already.  The police seemed to be waiting for him, members of the various networks were on the forces.  Donn was arrested.  He was, of course, anxious that the Portland charges would be brought against him.  Of course they never were which Donn attributed to good luck.  Donn was held overnight and released the next afternoon with the advice that he’d better move on; he’d better keep going.

     Thus Donn’s psyche was further impaired as he became familiar with jail cells and the rough jail crowd.  He began to wonder what he had done to deserve such cruel treatment.  By so doing he made a wrong turn.  He should rather have asked who is doing this and why.  It should have been obvious to him that he actually was recognized and that someone was stalking him.  Instead he took the blame on himself.  The notion began to flicker through his mind that perhaps he actually had wronged Maggie by not admitting him on that night.

     While his mind toyed with the notion his former life became distant and unrecognizable to him but the memory of which he cherished.  As he wandered hungry and friendless he remembered the lesson that Sandy Tyler had taught him.  He began scrounging the dumpsters for discarded food.  As this was a necessity he didn’t consciously take it seriously but subliminally his whole being revolted at the practice.

    Thus one night in Waterloo he was scrounging a Kroger dumpster when an extraordinary thing happened.  As he leant over into the dumpster to seize some half rotten bananas it seemed as though his cherished old existence, the real Disco Donn Contrales, slid over his back, down his arms off into the garbage.  Donn was astonished, realized he was losing his former self and lunged after it as it disappeared into the bottom of the dumptser.

page 132.

     He upended himself, his torso in the dumpster half immersed in the garbage while his feet threshed the air.  The door beside the dumpster opened to reveal the grocery manager.

     ‘Hey, what you doing there?’  The manager yelled, laughingly attempting to stuff Donn further into the dumpster.

     Donn was horrified to be caught scrounging in the dumpster.  Claxons went off in his mind at the humiliation.  He kicked free scrambling from the dumpster, lettuce and produce spilling off him, his hands clutching the squashed bananas oozing through his fingers.

     As he ran it seemed as though his body crusted and cracked apart leaving a smaller replica of Donn running through the night.  Then it happened again and yet once more.  Thus when Donn stopped running two or three miles down the road while his stature was the same as before, psychologically Donn was a much smaller man.  He felt only two feet tall while remaining five-eight.  The effect was invisible to all but the discerning eye.

     There Donn stood amidst the faint smell of decaying vegetable matter, bits of garbage clinging to his hair and clothes, his hand oozing banana slime.  Humiliation and shame engulfed his being.  His shame would not allow him to use a service station toilet to clean up; he might have to ask for the key.  He cleaned his hands as best he could on some leaves.  Then he set out to find some stream in which to clean up.

page 133.

     He was so ashamed, so in shock, that he would no longer walk the highways for fear that someone might offer to pick him up.  Instead he sought the railway tracks.  Following them he came to a trestle over a small creek.  He scrambled down the embankment in hopes of washing the corruption from him.

     As chance would have it this was the spot chosen by the Mankato Kid for his resting place for the evening.  Just as Donn was about to begin his ablutions a snarling voice cursed at him.

     ‘Hey, son-of-a-bitch, what do you think you’re doing using my creek.  Get the hell out of my face.  This my place, my place.  Get out!’

     Donn turned toward the voice to see a spectral form lurking on the far side of a small fire.  The image matched the voice.  The form was turned sideways, stooped, its head tossed and bowed like a beaten cur who still had the spirit of resistance in him but had been cruelly taught the futility of expressing it.

     Donn was still in the thrall of his experience at the dumpster.  His mind was paralyzed.  He had not yet begun his rebound from the experience of having lost his former self and feeling so small, perhaps two feet high.  He knew that this was no man to intimidate him yet his confidence was gone.  Nevertheless he answered bravely, if shakily:  ‘This is a free country, buddy, I’ve got just as much right to be here as you.’

page 134.

     ‘Free country?  Free country is it?’ the Kid roared, or attempted to roar in his snarling defensive manner.  ‘Well, you’re full of shit, Jack.  Free country is it?  I’ll tellyou how free it is.  No freer than Nazi Germany.  No freer than Communist Russia.  We’re just niggers working on the Man’s plantation here.  If you’re not born to it they won’t let you have it.  Take your ‘free’ country and shove it up your ass.

     The only difference between the Nazis and the Commies and us is the style.  We just do it different.  Here they make you think you’re free but it’s all on credit from the company store.  You’re free to work for the company so you can make money for them.  Then you have to give all your earnings back to the company store to pay off your credit.  Then without money you go into debt with more credit from the company store.  That song sure was right:  You load sixteen tons and what do you get?  Another day older and deeper in debt.

     If you’re man enough to protest they kill you.  They shot down the hardrock boys of the WFM (Western Federation of Miners) in Colorado just because they didn’t want to be in debt to the company store.  Shot ’em down.  Open warfare.  Never was nothing like in Germany or Russia.  Then just because the Wobblies tried to organize the Stiffs they got really mean.  Drove us out of our houses at Holly Grove then turned machine guns on us while we slept in our tents.  Burned our wives and children live at Ludlow.  And laughed about it, the dirty bastards.  Dumped hundreds of miners out in the desert without water at Bigby (Bisbee, Arizona) and told ’em to keep movin’ on, the heartless bastards.  All because we wanted a living wage.  Free country!  Look at what happened to me…

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     As though reminding himself of what they had done to him the Mankato Kid appeared to see a vision.  Anger flooded his heart obscuring his vision.  He began punching the air in a violent shadow boxing match.  His snarling roar boomed and bleated out:  Leave me alone you bastards.  Get out of here, go on, get out of here.’

     Even if Donn had been himself there would have been no reason to stay but diminished as he felt, reacting to the horrors of the past several weeks more than through fear of the Kid Donn turned and fled.  He skipped over the shallow creek on the stepping stones placed there by the bums, or homeless as they are now known.

     The Mankato Kid punched away at the air for a few moments before his crazed mind resettled allowing him to sit.  There he continued to grumble his compaints into the fire.  Unlike so many bums who had never had the stature to make a serious attempt at life the Kid had been seriously wronged.

     He actually came from Mankato which is in Minnesota.  He was now in his fifties.  He had been driven out of Mankato just as he was turning thirty.  He had spent all those years circling Mankato, the city of his dreams.  He never went further and he never came closer.  he never got saner and he never got crazier.  He was just shadow boxing his life away.

page 136.

     His parents had been Polish immigrants who had drifted out to Mankato.  His father had been a square little man of five-five.  His mother had been a big buxom, very good looking woman with peasant manners.  They had given birth to the Kid and an older child, a daughter, Mary.  As Poles they differed in religion, speech and manners from the Swedish population.  In those days Northern immigrants considered the Eastern and Southern European immigrants as Untermenschen.  No, that’s not too strong.  the attitude was quite similar to the Nazi attitude toward non-Germans.  Immigrants were reviled, beaten and chased from pillar to post.  They were subject to massive displays of contempt.

     When the Kid was twelve his father was bullied into a fight in a bar and killed.  Murdered might not be too strong a word although  technically he was given the opportunity to defend himself in a fight.  Still, he was impeded by the jeering circle of spectators while his Anglo adversary was assisted.  His death was termed accidental.  No one ever stood trial.  Nor was the knife wound in his kidney ever explained or even acknowledged.  He was just Polack dirt.

     Ballard Quincy, one of the big men in town, sought to solace the Kid’s mother in her distress.  She advanced on Quincy with a frying pan, able only to deliver a glancing blow off his retreating shoulder.

    Ballard Quincy did not take rejection kindly.  Like many of his kind rather than attack her he sought revenge on her children.  They became the targets of  ‘polite’ society.  Mary who was more attractive even than her mother was easily seduced by the boys from the right side of the tracks.  She became the school whore.

     Efforts were made to train the Kid to think ill of himself.  He was offered a dollar a customer to steer them into a house of which Quincy had a rake off in the red light district of Mankato.  There he was allowed shots of whiskey.  He, as a boy of character,  quickly perceived that he had been misled.  he abondoned the ‘job’ with a fit of indignation.

     The damage had been done.  He had been associated with that ‘element.’  He had defamed himself.  He fought gallantly to remove the taint, but the best families led by Quincy had irrevocable set their faces against him.  He was denied and interfered with all through high school, which he completed.  His sister’s reputation was constantly thrown in his face.

     But he believed in the myth of America, of Horation Alger, of luck and pluck.  He had been taught that life was what you made it and if you didn’t make it you had no one to blame but yourself, if things didn’t go your way it was your own fault.  So he kept his chin up, braved the ridicule heaped on him and kept hoping for the main chance such as it was in Mankato.  And then it happened.  In the post-war years TV came onto the scene.  As with any new item business peopled looked at it, decided it wouldn’t last and left the field open to outsiders.

     As Henry Kaiser’s cement trucks rolling down the East Bay proudly proclaimed: Find a need and fill it.  The Kid saw the need and rushed to fill it.  He opened a TV sales and repair shop.  He did well.  He could see his rise in society.  He proceeded to develop an open and generous character.  But at the first glimmer of prosperity the better people sprang into action against him.  He was slandered, sabotaged and not allowed to prosper.  He fought on.  Driven out of TV he tried a couple other lines but he was boycotted.  No one in that small town would buy from him.  Driven half mad by the abuse and injustice he had experienced he took to the road which is where Donn encountered him.

page 138.

     Donn had scrambled up the bank fleeing across country.  In his terror he crashed through the brush and across fields.  Then tearing wildly through a wood his foot slipped.  He tumbled over falling down a slope into a sort of pit or sinkhole.  He slid and tumbled down about twenty feet coming to an abrupt stop.

     ‘Well, good evening.’ Said a mellow voice.  ‘Nice of you to drop in.’

     In his agitated state of mind the sudden fall into the hole, or rather, head of a ravine, he was completely disoriented.  He stumbled about dizzily for some several moments attempting to determine up from down.  Finally getting his behind on the ground his eyes peered out in the sky above the narrow rim of the ravine.  As he accommodated his senses to his situation all across the universe the stars roared and popped.  Had one been able to hear and see the incredible noise and heat of the incandescent firestorms sweeping their surfaces one would have been astounded.  As the huge balls of fire hurled incandescent streamers far out into space to be retracted by their gravity with a report sharper than the sharpest report of a whip magnified thousands of times.  The released light went spreading through the black oblivion on an endless chase through space.  Losing its heat through the eons of space travel, the light from far distant stars now seemed to twinkle merrily as the laughing stars played with Magic Sam’s laughing dice.

page 139

     The light sped past the bright marigold of the full moon reflecting the light of this system’s solar furnace past the man made debris circling the earth, down past the great mainliners escorting smiling people across the skies eight miles high.  The light passed the light planes and birds to penetrate dimly into the hole that Donn and the Roving Gambler were in.

     ‘Allow me to introduce myself,’ the voice said with exquisite manners and a BBC English accent, ‘I am the Roving Gambler, at your service.’

     Donn, still dazed, grunted something that could be taken for a greeting.

     ‘And you are Donn Contrales.’  The Gambler continued laughingly.

     Donn gave a start at the novelty of being recognized by a man he had never seen in a hole he’d never been in before.  Involuntarily he began to rise to flee.

     ‘Oh, no no.  No!  My goodness.  Sit down Donn and let me explain.  You are talking to, or rather, listening to a very extraordinary man.  You are surprised that I recognize you, yet your picture appeared daily in the Oregon Assassin.  I spend much time in libraries pursuing my various studies.  While there I leaf through the papers of the whole country plus foreign nations.  I have a very good memory for names and faces plus I have fabulous, I might say, total recall.  I recognized you immediately even before you ceased that infernal tumbling.’

page 140.

     Donn, mouth open, tongue out stared at the Gambler stupidly.  His mind was only beginning to stop swirling.  What he saw was the slender (imperially slim, as the Gambler would say) tall figure of a man lounging against a rock before a small fire reading, or at least holding, a newspaper in front of him.  He was dressed in cream colored pants, cream colored buccaneer cut shirt with a red and blue paisley ascot.  His long rectangular face was surmounted by a wavy shock of blond hair which fell to his shoulders.  His high expanse of forehead would have excited envy in those who take such things as indication of nobility.  A blond mustache was placed between his fine aquiline nose and lips neither too thin, too thick, too wide or too narrow.  In short the Roving Gambler was a strikingly handsome man.  As he put it he was one of nature’s noblemen, too good for this world.

     The Gambler’s vanity was the source of his discomfort with the world.  He came from Virginia where his ancestry could be traced back to the Cavaliers of 1660 in an unbroken line on both father’s and mother’s sides.  He had been an outstanding student at the University of Virginia.  Thus one might say he had had everything propitious for a great start in life- looks, family, training.  Unfortunately for the Gambler he thought because of these assets that he was entitled to a place at the top.  Refused the job of bank or corporate presidency fresh out of school he was indignant that if would be required of him to work his way up, albeit from a reasonably good starting point.  Consequently, rather than be a ‘peon’ he took to the road immediately after graduation where he had been ever since.  He was now fifty-three.

page 141.

     The Gambler was extremely vainglorious and boastful.  He delighted in the incongruous.  The creation of the juxtaposition of extremes was his joy.

     ‘Here my boy, would you like a taste of my champagne?’  He said, handing Donn the bottle.  ‘Some pate, perhaps? and some caviar?’ He flipped Donn a can of tinned pate, then handed him a ‘biscuit’ covered in caviar.  Donn who was quite hungry wolfed everything down.

    ‘Oh, ha ha, you thought perhaps I was an ordinary bum.  No, no, no.  Au contraire, mon petit.  I am quite an extraordinary bum.  You will never see my like again.  Once in a million years, my boy, once in a million years.  I greet you by name, hmm?

     Yes, I solved the riddle of life long ago.  You may think you’re talking to a penniless bum.  Well, you’re not.  I happen to be a very pennied bum.  I have thousands- modestly forbids I meantion how many thousands- of dollars in dozens of banks throughout the country.  I have a portfolio of stocks and bonds that would excite the envy of many a speculator.

     Ah, you stare in disbelief.  Well, I’m used to it.   All of these bindlestiffs think the same.  They have no imagination, no skills, no art.  I am gifted.  When out of Virginia they refused my due I knew I would be as rich as they and much more free, unbeholden to anyone, as it were, as it is.

page 142.

     My solution was just to demand they give me the money, and so they did.  I merely approach and say:  Give me money.  And they do.  I’m extraordinarily successful.  You may be sure it’s true when I tell you that in one three day stretch in Chicago I once took in over two thousand dollars.  Two thousand, ninety-eight dollars to be exact, forget the small change.  I put it all in the bank, of course.  One hundred to three hundred dollars a day is normal to me.

     I studied the career of Death Valley Scotty and discovered his secret.  Hmm?  Oh, Scotty was a legend in LA between the wars.  He was absent for long stretches then would show up to buy everyone drinks and distribute his largesse.  He said he had a secret gold mine in Death Valley that he worked for a stretch then brought his diggings to town.  He didn’t worry about money because he said he could always dig up some more.

     They tried to follow him to his mine but he always gave them the slip.  I reasoned therefore that there was no mine but that Scotty was either a thief or a master panhandler.  Rather than being absent in Death Valley, I reasoned, he was off panhandling in some distant city.  Probably shaved his beard so no one would recognize him.

     Well, between Scotty and The Man With The Twisted Lip I put my act together.  I, however, have no interest in distributing largesse.  I am not only handsome, as you can see, but I have a genius IQ.  When the weather gets cold I haunt all the finest libraries in America.  The Houghton, Universities of Michigan and Illinois, Stanford, U.C., Berkeley, occasionally down to Santa Cruz because I like the weather, I don’t want to bore you with a list, suffice it to say that I have pursued my studies in the finest institutions, North, East, South and West.

page 143.

     As you can see I am quite distinguished looking.  I have suits of clothes in several cities.  With my appearance I can get in…’  While everything the Gambler said was true he perceived a look of bored disbelief on Donn’s face.  Actually Donn was still half stunned.  the Gambler’s words were just washing over him but the drone of his voice was comforting to him.  ‘…anywhere without any difficulty.

     I have written  the tentative results of my studies down.  I have hidden them in unfrequented nooks and crannies.  Thus it may be said that my work is in all the best libraries.’

     The Gambler was quite serious.  He had an inexhaustible line of chatter.  He could go on for hours at a stretch whenever he had a chance.  But he liked full attention.  He now chose a different topic.  As Donn was a music reviewer he chose a topic that wowed the homeless in the jungles but was ill suited for the more discriminating intelligence of Donn.

     Donn had finished his tin of pate which he flipped into the fire.  The Gambler tossed him another.

     ‘Elvis is not dead, you know.’

     Donn burped.

    ‘I had a long conversation with him myself.  I can’t tell you where he lives because he obviously wishes to remain incognito.  But we had a long chat.  He said the pressure was just too great for him.  He had to excape.  He told me some interesting details you won’t hear anywhere else, Donn.  Of course in the beginning he was only interested in getting girls.  But then when he began to get famous he enjoyed that.  When the money began to really flow in he was ecstatic.  But his success was too far beyond his ability to cope, perhaps anyone’s.  He became the first great postwar folk hero.  Something like the movie stars of the first decade of the talkies.  Genuine stars, not hyped into prominence.  But, you see, he hadn’t been vetted.  He didn’t perform in a manner acceptable to the arbiters of culture.  He was raw.  He dressed atrociously by their standards.  He was, in fact, no better than a White nigger.

page 144.

     As such he wasn’t supposed to have money.  But he got quite a lot, actually.  More than most of them.  As a cultural icon he stood far above the actual power brokers of the world both straight and criminal.  They couldn’t stand that.  They tried to to kill his career by putting him in the Army.  Regardless of their denials it was a political move.  The resulting publicity campaign by RCA in order to preserve its investment against their machinations made him Elvis Presley, the singer, into the pop icon, Elvis.  We’ll probably never know exactly how Colonel Parker fit in there, Elvis doesn’t.  He became not only bigger than life but bigger than fantasy.

     He said he was in constant fear of his life.  He couldn’t go anywhere, certainly not without bodyguards.  He became it was as though, he told me, that he was under house arrest.  The fruits of his talent and success turned to ashes in his mouth.’

page 145.

     The Gambler, who had been speaking from behind his paper now lowered it for a dramatic effect as he came to his most thrilling revelation of what ‘Elvis said.’  Donn, at about this time began to regain his mental composure so that he actually heard what the Gambler was saying.

    ‘But this wasn’t enough for them, Elvis told me.  They wanted more.  They wanted to humiliate him completely, to emasculate him, to render him sterile, neutered.  What did they do?  They offered him, or at least Colonel Parker, large sums to perform in Las Vegas.  On their home turf they could get away with anything.

     Up to that time Elvis had been disciplined and under self-control.  He was relatively blithe, youthful and slim.  After that his personality disintegrated.

    He told me that he was invited to the master suite.  As he was Elvis, commanding a large sum to make them even larger sums, he assumed that they only wanted to meet him.  That was fine with him.  As a boy from humble origins he was proud to meet them as equals, nay, even as a superior.

     He said that when he entered he was greeted by the cold derogatory stares of five angry men.  Three were big time criminals, one was a famous show biz personality, singer, and one was a very well known conservative politician.  I can’t tell you his name because if word got out my life wouldn’t be worth a blind man’s view of Mt. Rushmore.

page 146.

     Elvis was taken aback immediately when the toughest customer behind his dark sunglasses greeted him with a venomous:  Hello. Big Shot.

     Well, as Elvis said, he was quite taken back by the hostile reception.  As he looked from face to face the expressions were hard, harder and hardest.  Now, Elvis came from the humblest circumstances.  Having been denied power as a youth he sought to conquer by love rather than force.  He thought since he, as he expressed it, was going to make these men lots and lots of money they would value him accordingly.  He was shocked to find that they viewed themselves as masters and himself as a plantation slave; someone to toil for them and be abused.

     “So you think you’re really something, hey?”  The criminal continued.  “Well, I got news for you, sonny boy.  You ain’t nothin’ to us.  There’s dozens more where you came from.  We can manufacture a dozen a day.  There’s dozens more where you came from.  There’ll be dozens more after you’re gone.  You’re the dogshit I scrape from my shoes.  What have you ever done but shake your pelvis?  Nothin’.  You ain’t never built a magnificent club like this.  You never had to meet a payroll in your life.  You never had to knife or be knifed.  You’re nothin’ but a puke assed kid in diapers.  We give you money you couldn’t earn any other way.  We earn it.  We did the work.  Without this club you wouldn’t have anyplace to shake your ass.  We, all of us, are men who fought and clawed to get where we are.  You’re a pansy.  All you’ve ever done is get up on stage show ’em your blue suede shoes and shake your skinny ass.  Elvis the Pelvis!  Is that any name for a man to be known by?  Hell, no.  You ain’t nothin’ but a hound dog.  Well boy, we’re goin’ to separate the boys from the girls right here and now.”

page 147.

    At this point in his story Elvis began to choke and sob as the horrible memory overwhelmed him but he felt compelled to tell me the story.  He needed to relieve himself to someone.  I felt honored to be the one.

     He said that they all unzipped and flipped their dick out.  He was told to get down on his knees and suck each one off in series.

     He was indignant.  He told them to kiss off.  But they all produced weapons, waving them under his nose.  The criminal said:  “Don’t think you’re so big that we can’t off you and get away with it.  Bigger fish than you have been thrown into Ma Bates’ pond.  All that’ll happen is we’ll claim some deranged fan waited in your room and shot you.  We got guys who are dying to be famous.   The man who shot Elvis Presley!  They’ll take credit.  Then what?  We dose some crazy broad with drugs give her a gun and make it easy for her to kill your killer.  We clap her in solitary confinement for the remaining months of her life.  She dies.  The secret goes to the grave with her.  Now you know how it’s done pussy boy.’

     At this point Elvis said the guy actually shoved the barrel of his gun in his mouth.

     “On your knees pussy boy, and let’s see some action.”

     Well…Elvis said the criminal actually worked the barrel back and forth in his mouth a couple times cocking the hammer as he did so.

     Elvis was shaking uncontrollably as he told me this.  He couldn’t articulate the next bit by by signs and simulations he indicated that he sank to his knees and did them all.  He had to go on just a few hours later.  You can imagine his mental condition.  The set was actually taped by the vicious bastards.  They show it on TV every now and again.  About halfway through Elvis can’t deal with it.  He leans forward half kneeling in that stance of his and simulates fellation on the microphone saying:  Suckee, suckee.  Then he shrugs his shoulders as if to say:  No big thing.  Later in the show he rushes from the stage into the audience seeking affirmation.  Then at the cameras filming as he leaves backstage he flips a thumbs up sign as if to say:  Fuck You.

page 148.

     But the thing took its toll.  Up to then Elvis had been thin and under self-control.  Now he started to gain weight.  He started doing bizarre things like shooting out TV screens in his room when he played Vegas.  His costume became more outre as he sought to recover his manhood.  He started wearing that stupid little Captain Marvel cape.  His whole outfit became patterned after that of Captain Marvel.

     To spite them and reaffirm himself he tried to be bigger than even the fantasy giant he was.  He did the spectacular satellite Live from Hawaii beamed simultaneously all over the world.  Now that was bigger even than Las Vegas.  It showed them how big he was and how small time they were.

     But, it wasn’t enough.  His ego, always fragile because of his cracker origins, was crushed.  He just couldn’t go on.  He staged his death on the shitter because they had turned his life to shit.  Then he just disappeared to where I met him.  No, don’t ask.  I’m honor bound not to tell.

page 149.

     I will say this though.  Elvis never had any idea of what he got himself into when he got into show biz.  Of course, how could he know that he would come to represent the transition from the prewar immigrant culture to the post -war more or less synthetic culture, the union not only of the European nationalities but also the Negro culture.

      As a symbol of the synthesis the Anglo rear guard would hold him responsible for the change.  A race traitor if you will.  Then again he represented the the democratic upwelling of the under classes as a result of the post-war prosperity.  He didn’t adopt the cultural norms of the overclass.  Not because he rejected them as they thought but just because he didn’t know any better.

     And the, and this is most important, the phenomenal reverence and awe paid him was so far in excess of their own masculinity and manhood that they felt Elvis had emasculated them.  Chirst, their wives were throwing their panties at him.  They felt diminished so that in order to reassert their manhood they had to diminish Elvis below themselves.

     Now, Man is homosexual by nature.  He must either be a man and dominate or be a girl and be dominated.  Hence the innate viciousness of the male.  Obviously he who dominates every other male is King.  Elvis was styled the King hence it was incumbent on him to dominate every other male.  But, until his own emasculation at the hands of those jerks he was just a big friendly goof.  He learned too late, but he did learn.  Watch how he treats the musicians in the Live from Hawaii special.  You’ll see it.’

page 150.

End of clip II-3.  Go to continuation at clip II-4.