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Category Archives: USS Wiseman

Book VI

Our Lady Of The Blues

A Novel

The Shadow Knows

by

R.E. Prindle

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘He killed my son.’

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

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

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

‘Busy tonight.’ He jeered to himself.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Mr. Show.’ He said around Torbric.

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

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

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

Jackpot!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Oh, horrible.’

‘Yes. He was the only son I had.’

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

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

‘You know what?’

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

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

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

Bert Torbric was horrified as he well should have been.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Our Lady Of The Blues

Book I

By

R.E. Prindle

Books V and VII have already been published on reprindle.wordpress.com

If fortune has removed you from the foremost position in the State, you should nevertheless stand your ground and help with your words, and if someone stops your mouth you should nevertheless stand your ground and help in silence.  The service of a good citizen is never useless; by being heard and seen, by his expression, by his gestures, by his stubbornness and by his very walk he helps.

–Seneca:  Tranquility Of Mind

Prologue

The Sins Of Satan

     A lonely young man sits on his seabag at the head of the pier.  He sits contemplating a ship.  The Ship was a Destroyer Escort.  The Ship was the USS Teufelsdreck, DE 666.  The young man had been assigned to serve aboard it.

The young man thus sat because an Old Salt had told him that as he was about to spend an undetermined time aboard it that he should take time to evaluate it so that he could confirm himself as to its character so as to make the best of the time he must serve aboard it.

The young man sought to follow this very good advice although he had none of the skills requisite to use as this was his first tour of duty.  Nevertheless he sat and stared.  As he did elements of his fate were coming together.  Other young men assigned to the Teufelsdreck were picking their way across the Naval Station toward it.

Two other men stood on the port wing of the boat deck idly observing the young man on his seabag.  The drama was about to begin.

The Navy

     The Navy may be the last surviving feudal organization in the world, along with the other branches of the military.  This is that society in equilibrium that certain social historians waxed eloquent as the perfect social structure in which the competitive anxiety of modern times was replaced by the bliss of everyone knowing a place and knowing where his was.  And, one might add, be quite content to stay there.

If those historians really believe that let them explain the hyper-violent reaction called The French Revolution  In the Navy most men just took their discharge papers as soon as they were able and walked away.  Only a certain type of person could endure it.

As a practical society based on voluntary, if temporary, association the Navy was a truly amazing organization.

It would be very easy in the author’s hatred of it to merely revile it.  But that would be to willfully fail to understand an essential and admirable unit of society.  As the Navy must exist it could exist on no other basis.

Unlike a business enterprise the Navy had unlimited access to money whether it succeeded or failed.  The chiefs of staff realized that they would never have access to the best and brightest.  They would have to recruit from the least successful ranks of society.  But, they had access to unlimited manpower.  One must also bear in mind that this was the military; in times of war any unit was subject to sudden depletions of manpower.  In manning ships this had to be taken into account.  Thus at some time in the past all tasks had been reduced to their minutest component elements.

Even though one man might be able to perform several elements by himself a man was assigned to perform each segment.  Thus, where a crew of three might suffice, ten were employed.

The tasks were devised in such a way that a man of minimal intelligence or experience could perform them without stretching his mind.  While this was brilliant organizational strategy it also reduced the quality of men who would tolerate such stultifying tasks.  Career men tended to be the dullest of men.  In fact men who couldn’t make it on the outside.

Bu, now, notice a curious effect.  The Navy was an alchemist which could turn men of lead into men of gold over a period of twenty years.  In the first place after twenty years at the young age of thirty-eight you were discharged and given a life time pension of half your wage.  And then, these men, mostly released as Chief Petty Officers, were eagerly sought after by employers as great catches.  Thus men who were unemployable twenty years before became especially desirable.  Amazing, huh?  Believe me they weren’t any smarter twenty years after than they were twenty years before.

The organization of the Navy was of the simplest.  At the top was the Captain of the ship.  He was a king, there was no disputing his word.  He was the law.  There was a code he had to follow but the rule was do as you were told first, complain later.  Later it was a moot point so the code was ineffectual; the captain was the law.  Theoretically if he told you to jump over the side you could be court-martialed for disobeying the order.

The ship belongs to the captain.  He spoke of the ship as ‘my ship.’  He spoke of the crew as ‘my men.’  He wasn’t wrong either.  His executives were his fellow officers aboard ship.  Each was assigned a single task that left them thirty-eight hours of leisure during a forty hour work week.

Below Captain and Officers were ‘the men.’  They are the backbone of the Navy.  All a ship needs to function is a Captain and men.  The officers were a superfluous caste whose only function was as a training ground to become captains.

The ship was run by the Chiefs.  They alone had the knowledge to make it function.  They alone had the time in rank to understand the tasks.  The officers in training who were ignorant of how things worked were forced to defer to the Chiefs almost as equals, although the Chiefs were still enlisted men.  If a division officer couldn’t get along with his Chief he was in deep trouble.  Thus once again the Navy turned inferiors into superiors.  The Chiefs knew everything but did nothing.  Except for certain formalities and emergencies their time was their own.

The First Class Petty Officers actively supervised the men with the assistance of the Second Class Petty Officers.  The title ‘Petty Officer’ means exactly what it says; they were minor officers but without executive status.  Being minor they had no real dignity.  Neither First nor Second Classes actually did any work but it was their duty to instruct.

Third Class Petty Officers and Seamen did the work.  One entered the Navy as a Seaman Recruit and issued forth from boot camp a Seaman Apprentice.  One took a test to become a Seaman but it was in reality a mere formality.  For payroll purposes these ratings were styled E (for Enlisted) 1-7.

By rotating Sailors every couple of year or whenever it suited the Navy the Regulars became familiar with many different ships, each other and most contingencies.  Although it was possible to spend one’s entire enlistment on Tin Cans, that is say Destroyers and Destroyer Escorts with breaks of Shore Duty, by the time you were on the way out you had been around the Navy.

At this time the difficulty of Navy life was compounded by the division of the fleet into Regular Navy and Reserve Navy.  In 1955 the Naval Reserve Act was amended.  Up to that point a Reserve signed on for eight years with no obligation to go active.  After August of 1955 the term was reduced to six years but you were obligated to spend two years on active duty.

Most men joined the reserves in high school.  It then made sense to take your two years of active duty directly after high school.  So beginning at about this time the Navy had a surfeit of eighteen year old recruits.  The fleet was very very young.

Also at this time the Old Guard which had served way back before the Gods were born during the Big One were leaving the service.  Their psychology, formed in the teens and twenties was quite different from the psychology of the Reserves, both officers and men, formed in the forties and fifties.  Thus not only did the old timers have expectations which the Reservists couldn’t understand but the Reservists were despised as not being Regular Navy thus creating a serious dichotomy in the souls of the boys in blue.

The frictions were intense.  What interest the Reservists might have had was destroyed by the attitude of the old timers and Regulars.  They said things were falling apart; the Reservists thought the Navy was stupid as it had nothing to do with them.  The result was disintegration.

It should also be borne in mind that the men came from the least successful segments of society.  They came pretty much from the lower half of their high school classes.  It might be an unpleasant fact but it is true, they no visible prospects outside.  There were many intelligent men amongst them but on the whole they were not the best and brightest.  Many were fleeing from unpleasantness at home.  Perhaps a pregnant girl friend they didn’t want to marry.

At the time it was the custom for first offenders to be offered the alternative of jail or the service so not a few of the men were criminals on the lam.

The differences between the expectations of the Officers and the Men were so pronounced that the officers, who were supervising only the dregs of society, where not unwarranted in mis-believing they were gods among mortals.  They acted like it, especially those who were Reservists, and they paid for it.  At least aboard the Teufelsdreck.

The Ship

     The Teufelsdreck was in 1957 fourteen years old.  Commissioned during the war it had survived a number of campaigns out among the islands.  It was no longer young but it was still a grand old specimen of the shipbuilders art.

It was not only no longer young but was now obsolete.  The march of progress and rendered it nearly useless.  This time was the cusp of the transition from the armaments of The War to modern rocketry and electronic warfare.  They would try to update the old ship but it was just too small for the upcoming modern Navy.

The Teufelsdreck was an example of the smallest warships afloat.  It was only three hundred six feet long, twenty-five at the beam.  It wasn’t even big enough to assume life, to develop sinews, or circulate the life blood of the small ship it was.  It had no majesty.

Its bigger companion, the Destroyer at four hundred twenty five feet, assumed the real majesty of a man of war.  The DE was just a toy ship.  Its whole purpose was to intercept torpedoes destined for the real ships.  When the flotilla was on the Main it rode the waves in three rings.  The carriers which needed all the protection they could get were in the middle.  The Destroyers flanked the carriers while out on the perimeter the DEs flanked the Destroyers.  Enemy subs flanked the DEs.

The main armament of the Teufelsdreck was it K-guns and Hedgehogs, both powerful anti-submarine weapons.  The K-guns lined both side of the fantail, while two long racks were positioned to drop depth charges off the end of the ship.

The K-guns were K shaped mortar-like devices designed to throw a depth charge a hundred or three hundred feet or so from the ship.  The depth charges could be set for depths up to several hundred feet before they detonated.  Whether they sank a sub or not they destroyed all marine life within a couple hundred yards.  It was really something to see big fish boil up from the depths exploding from the bubble into the air.

The Hedgehogs were on the forward boat deck.  They were so named because they were placed in a bank of three rows of five grenades each.  They were a contact explosive.  The grenades, much like the WWI German hand grenades in form, were like a gallon wine jug set on a stick.  Placed on electric prods they blew out in a pattern a hundred feet across.  If they hit anything on the way down they exploded.  Woe to any passing whales.

Legend had it that a DE fired off its Port bank, then, turning under the barrage nearly had its bow blown off.  But, then, that may have been only apocryphal .  It hardly seems possible; but, then, the Navy had an amazing ability to foul up.

If you’ve seen old WWII movies, and who hasn’t, you’ve seen twenty millimeter guns in action.  As part of modernization the twenty millimeter guns had already been removed from the Teufelsdreck.  The twenties were those big shoulder harness machine guns you see in the movies where the valiant sailor appears to have two barrels poking out of his chest as he tries to bring the Jap planes down.

Thus, as you looked at the beautiful contours of this man made wonder the first gun tube was empty.  Behind it was the gun tub of one of the two three inch guns.  The other was on the fantail.  The three inch was the last caliber fired in the open air.  The next size up, the five inch, required a protective turret.  The five inch also had a separate bullet and propellant.  The  three inch was a single shell over two feet long.

The forward mount was considered the prestige battle station.  Both the Bos’n Mate Chief and the Gunner’s Mate Chief supervised its action.  The First Lieutenant supervised the Chiefs.  There was quite a crowd up there.

All the guns were great fun but the three inch was a sight to see.  It required a rammer and four loaders in addition to the complement of overseers.  The loaders took a shell out of the storage bin, cradled it in the right arm holding the base in the left hand.  They ran around the tub under the barrel to hand the shell to the rammer.  This prestige job was the prerogative of the leading seaman.  As the gun fired, the recoil brought the breech down exposing the barrel tube.  The shell was then rammed into the tube with the heel of the hand to release the breech which snapped into place with incredible force ready to fire.  You had to watch your fingers.

The report of the three inch was incredibly loud and sharp.  Even with ear plugs if you were passing under the barrel when it went off you were jerked off your feet flying a foot into the air, feet splayed.

In the last few months of its existence the Teufelsdreck was outfitted with automatic threes.  The sound was so intolerable they couldn’t be worked.  Plus they tore up the decking with their rapid recoil.

The final little bit of armament, the jewel in the lotus, was the quad forty millimeter gun mount.  Ah, now there was a toy.  In the movies they are the four barrels recoiling at different times in a remarkable rhythm.  God loved the forties.

The sailors, those who had the capacity, always wondered why the structure above decks was called a superstructure.  Super is merely the Latin, meaning above, that structure above the structure.  This was the boat deck and the bridge.  Altogether a very stylish ship.

Book 1, Clip 1b. Posted 6/04/12

The Locale

     There are three magnificent land locked seas on the West Coast; Puget Sound on the Canadian border, San Francisco Bay midway between Puget Sound and the southern terminus on the Mexican border, San Diego.

Puget Sound is home to the naval base at Bremerton.  San Francisco has Mare Island near Vallejo, Hunters Point dry docks in South San Francisco, Treasure Island , an artificial fill adjacent to Yerba Buena Island and the Alameda Naval Air Base and docks next to Oakland.  There is, or was, some trifling Navy at Long Beach and then you have the true home of the Pacific fleet in all the complexes of San Diego.

The Pendleton Marine Base was just north of San Diego.  The West Coast boot camp was in San Diego.  San Diego Bay debouches to the North between a narrow peninsula and the main land.  Entering the bay North Island Naval Air is on the west side while the San Diego airport was on  the east.  Jets took off and landed constantly on both sides all day long.

Further up the bay on the main land were the Broadway Piers, a long row of moorings, since gone I’m sad to say.     At those you would step off the ship and be in downtown San Diego at the terminus of Highway 101.  These berths were given for good behavior and ostentatious purposes.  Much more visually impressive was the long string of buoys in the middle of the bay.

At some were the massive Destroyer and Submarine tenders.  Huge floating machine shops with dozens of lathes and other tooling equipment.  They were six hundred feet long with a fifty or sixty foot beam.  They sat high out of the water with many decks.

Nested next to those were four or five Destroyers or Escorts.  Half a dozen submarines were along side the Sub Tenders.  Strung out along the other buoys were dozens of Destroyers, Escorts and other ships of the line.  Ships were coming and going at all times.  The sense of power and majesty was overwhelming.

Turning East up the bay the north side was lined with Naval establishments for miles.  Row after row of berths.  Huge traveling cranes, gigantic buildings.  The transition from 1900 when the area was virtually undefended to the present huge Navy was a remarkable transformation.

The Navy was everywhere.  It is not unfair to say that at the time if there had been no Navy there would been no San Diego.  San Diego belonged to the Navy.

Paradise was an armed camp.

From the Grapevine to the Border is what is known in California as the Southland.  The land of Disney Girls and Playboy Bunnies; golden haired surfer boys with shaggy, shaggy hair and fantasy land movie hopefuls.

The sun never stops shining.  It never gets so cold you need more than a T-shirt.  So long as you’re near the water the temperature is always between seventy and eighty with a pleasant inspiring breeze that is better than any artificial stimulant.  As soon as you’re away from the water you’re in an unbearably hot desert.  If you’re not sensitive to heat it still isn’t bad.

The coastal areas from San Diego to LA provide the finest climate in the world.  The only tragedy is that so many people realize this truth.  In 1958 the population density was tolerable.  There were enough people so that you were rarely alone but not so many that you felt oppressed.

This area from San Diego to Los Angeles was all Navy ground.

The Times

     There has never been a time when America stood still.  Change has always swept through the country like a tornado through Kansas.  There has never been a time to stop, look and evaluate what was happening.

In order to deal with the cascading torrent of events America has always resorted to convenient lies.  Americans became pious liars.  Unpleasantness was glossed over or denied.  Facts were rearranged to suit desires.  An official version was given that was perilous to deviate from.  But any structure based on false premises will sooner or later become top heavy and come crashing to the ground.  There is no use to lie and so I won’t.

The generation coming of age had been brought up on a fabric of lies since they were born.  Deceit and hypocrisy had been all they had known.  They would begin a generation long revolt against hypocrisy that would be severely suppressed and punished by their elders.

The problem lay between the contrasts of the ideal and reality.  We were all made to believe that our elders were inherently good and decent people.  The rest of the world was corrupt but our clean, decent and honest parents were above all that.

Contrasted to that was the situation in Havana.  There in Cuba a Communist named Fidel Castro was attempting to overthrow the government and expel the American influence.  They wanted to oust the American criminal cartels that had taken over Havana establishing a regime of degeneracy, gambling and prostitution.

It is nearly impossible to describe the vile entertainments devised to amuse the American tourists.  Dirty, foul sex acts, real degeneracy that befouled the imagination.  True, we were encouraged to look down on the Cubans who provided this perverted entertainment but who were the people paying for and enjoying this filth.  Our parents.  Those same people who had created the purest Republic in the world.

And who were these American gangsters.  Shhh.  This is part of the big lie that no one of us is supposed to acknowledge.  They were part of the ‘wretched refuse of Europe’s teeming shore.’  The quote comes from the plaque placed on the base of the Statue of Liberty written by the Jewish poetess, Emma Lazarus.  The quote referred to the Jews arriving from Eastern Europe.

Nothing is more distorted by historians than the history of immigration.  It may be appropriate to point out that this gift of the French people, the Statue of Liberty, was originally built to place at the Caribbean side of the projected French enterprise of the Panama Canal.  It was to have been entitled ‘The Statue of Commerce’ in that capacity.  When the Panama Canal company went bust the statue was redundant.  The French, with no hint of a smirk sent it to America as the ‘Statue of Liberty’.  The Jews affixed the plaque welcoming their nationals and the statue, plaque and all, became an expression of the ego of America.

When these immigrants reached American shores they blamed their defects on the United States and arrogated their virtues to themselves.  The criminals operating in Havana were all Jewish and Italian.  Their claim was that conditions in America made them criminals.  They said there was something in the American air that bred criminality.  If so this air had not influenced the English, Poles, Germans and what have you to the excesses displayed by the Jews and Italians.  Not that every people doesn’t have its share of crooks but we’re talking about systematic, organized criminality in which murder forms an essential element.  A concept of crime that sought legitimation for criminal behavior as just another business activity.  They sought to make it just another economic activity.  Thus, not only was Havana developed as a criminal and degradation center by these two nationalities but they conspired to undermine morality on American soil by spreading the blight of gambling, prostitution and degradation to Las Vegas and from thence back to New York City and its environs.

Thus, as Castro closed down Havana, Sin City in Nevada a couple hundred miles from San Diego was beginning its tremendous corrupting influence.  The degradation of Havana moved north to the Big Apple.

Organized crime, the direct product of immigration, cast a pall over the world view of the generation.  We were all expected to accept responsibility, guilt, for American criminality which was in reality the activity of two immigrant nationalities.  At the same time we were forbidden to declare our innocence because to do so was to cast obloquy on Jews and Italians which was taboo.  One’s mind churned, madness bubbled up.  Do you wonder why crime has spread to be such a problem in America?

This problem was added to the race issue.  No generation can be responsible for the actions of those who came before.  The sins of the fathers do not belong to the children.  But because previous generations had enslaved Negroes and then forced them into a Jim Crow existence, the Negroes, finally emerging from their subordination expected our generation to recompense them for what had happened to earlier generations of Negroes.  It was not enough for them to be equal, they in their turn wanted to subordinate Whites.

This is not an unexpected psychological reaction.  Nothing could be more normal.  But because they desired it is no reason it should be done.  True, it was a difficult psychological problem that they would have to be helped to get over but that was no reason to punish an innocent generation for the actions of their forefathers.  Nevertheless the entire generation was brutalized for the acts of their fathers.

The brutalization was done in some interesting ways.  One was the reverence for the Negro culture.  America has no sense of culture so this reverence was introduced from England that does.  Rock and Roll traveled from America to England where it was combined with Negro Blues music to form British Blues.  This music was adopted by America and expanded into White Blues.  Thus a people raised on freedom adopted the mentality of slaves through the medium of song.  Real conditioning.  It was a remarkable transition to watch.

The race problem was compounded by the Atom Bomb.  As we all know the Atom Bomb was dropped on Japan.  This fact was portrayed, never mind the Japanese attacked us first, as an act of blatant racism.  Somehow the act of using the A-bomb transformed Americans into vicious aggressors.  All the lost American lives were forgotten when we dropped the Big One.  Some of the Japanese survivors were brought to the US for medical treatment as though they had been innocent victims.  It was forbidden to celebrate our victory over Japan.  Our victory was portrayed as a regrettable act of racism.

Combined with the A-bomb had been the removal of the Japanese in the Western Defense Command of the US to detention camps.  Anyone who has studied the issue knows that this was warranted.  But it was portrayed as another example of White bigotry.  Another load of guilt for White boys.

At one and same time we were expected to be perfect Americans who had brought to the world the only light it has ever seen while having perpetrated the only crimes the world has ever known.  The attitude would be epitomized a few years later by the Jewish writer Eugene Burdick in his novel ‘The Ugly American.’  Mr. Burdick assured us that although we were giving away millions of tons of food the natives despised us because we misunderstood the spirit of giving.  Having been softened up for years Americans went for the image hook, line and sinker.

Also savaging our minds was the great social revolution being led by the Communists.  Publishing is controlled by the Reds then as now so criticism of the Revolution has always been discountenanced.  Never mind the savage repression of liberty in Russia, we were told it couldn’t happen here.

Well, there were many of us who did think it could happen here so we fought valiantly to make sure it wouldn’t.  From 1917 to 1954 the war was waged in open terms.  The last wave of resistance went down to defeat in 1954 when Joe McCarthy failed us all.  He did manage to take the old Red apparatus down with him.  So in the period of 1957-59 the New Left was regrouping, forming a coalition that would be known as Political Correctness but it was only the Revolution having adapted to American ways.  They just changed the name from Communism to Political Correctness.

There was the amazing hedonism of Hugh Heffner and Playboy to be dealt with; the silliness but social destructiveness of Walt Disney who was now to so profoundly alter American consciousness.  Everyone was about to become a Disney boy or girl,

All these psychological challenges ripped the minds of the young.  All required decisions to be made.  Is it any wonder that America turned to drugs.  Unsure of who they were or what was right or wrong or what was expected of them the young of America turned to popping pills for relief.

Drugs were not a problem that developed in the late sixties  Drugs were a problem that became obvious in the late sixties; that is to say the problem couldn’t be denied any longer.  The problem developed in the late forties and through the fifties.  The chief problem was not marijuana, cocaine or Heroin.  The chief problem was the endless supply of pills turned out by the American pharmaceutical industry.  Uppers and downers were and always had been America’s drug problem.

By 1957-59 drugs were endemic in the Navy.

These were the major problems we all wrestled with at the time.  Some didn’t wrestle, some gave in and ‘went with the flow.’  But some of us wrestled.  We were called social misfits.

The Man- Dewey Trueman

     A man expresses the truths and myths that he holds of himself in the ephemera of his life.  It is by way of songs, the snatches of poetry, street doggerel, sayings, movies, TV shows, novels and stories, slogans and folk images that a man characterizes himself to himself.  It is through the archetypes of song and legend that he fits himself into the scheme of things.  Having adopted a persona a man usually lives up to it.  America has always been the home of the ‘Ramblin’  gambling’ , man.’

For many men that is the only self-respecting role they can find for themselves.  ‘The Roving Gambler.’

I am a Roving Gambler,

I’ve gambled all around,

I’ve gambled out in Washington,

I’ve gambled over in Spain,

Now I’m on my way to Georgia

To knock down my last game.

     The Roving Gambler archetype formed a substratum in Dewey’s psyche.  The self-destructiveness of the role was such that Dewey had to fight to suppress it or transform the image into something manageable.

The main image by which he perceived himself was found in another old American folk song titled ‘Nobody’s Child.’  The song quite literally encapsulated a phase of his life, a phase that formed his identity.  The child of the song is an orphan.  One verse was identical to a situation of Dewey’s:

Oh yeah, they say they like my

Curls of gold.

Oh yeah, and they like my

Eyes of blue.

But they always take

Some other child,

And I’m left here

With you.

Book I, Clip 1c, posted 6/05/12

Dewey, too, had been in the orphanage.  He had had hair of gold and eyes of blue but those qualities which society says it admires so much were a curse rather than a blessing.  Rather than joy they brought him pain and sorrow.  He was, also ‘A Man Of Constant Sorrow’.  Rather than a reason for acceptance they became a cause of rejection.

This image which was to stay with him for decades was also as negative and self-defeating as that of the Roving Gambler.  Dewey had a lot of psychological detritus to remove.

When he left the orphanage it was to spend eight years in an insane home environment.  Dewey had been what is known as a good boy.  He had always been honest and obedient.  These qualities known by society as virtues brought him only scorn and revilement.

Unappreciated at home and relentlessly persecuted at school because of self-assertion against the ruling clique in kindergarten, Dewey had had his self-confidence slowly crushed out of him.

But as the husk is intact the man lives on; he cannot die or levitate himself to a better existence.  By the time Dewey had been driven from his home town he had nothing to keep himself on his feet but inertia.  Except for the fact that life says:  ‘Keep on, keep on, keep on moving.’  Dewey would have been a shapeless heap of rubble by the roadside.  His identity had been compressed into a dot no bigger than the period at the end of this sentence.

What we see sitting on his seabag at the head of the pier then is a man faced with the daunting task of remaking himself from less than nothing into something which he can admire and respect.  The dot will have to decompress itself in such a subtle way that like one of those tiny sponges contained in a capsule it will expand into a complete entity.

Dewey will not complete the transformation in this volume.  This volume is only the beginning of the rebirth of Dewey Trueman.

Part One

Permission To Come On Board

     Dewey Trueman sat on his seabag eyeing the Teufelsdreck.  His advice had been good.  It was a wise thing to take the measure of your new assignment.  Dewey was inexperienced.  He had no way to evaluate the ship.  This was the first one he had ever seen.

What he did see was not very promising.  The Teufelsdreck had just returned from an Asian tour of duty.  The ship, even to an inexperienced eye, looked like a wreck.  The ship was dirty, paint was peeling, even the numbers were disfigured, the men were loose and unkempt.  The ship appeared to be devoid of discipline.

“How am I supposed to fit into that?’  Dewey thought with a sinking feeling.

As he sat watching he too was being observed.  Lt. Bifrons Morford stood leaning on the railing of the boat deck talking to his Yeoman, Teal Kanary.  Both were new to the 666.  Indeed half the old crew was being transferred.  Dewey was one of seventy new faces coming aboard.

‘What’s wrong with him?’  Morford asked idly, unaware of Dewey’s good advice.  Good advice often seems ignorant to uninformed minds.

‘Must be afraid to come on board.’  Kanary joked.

‘Well, then he’s not totally lacking in good sense.’  Morford jibed back.

As Dewey sat and Morford and Kanary joked a number of seamen were wending their way across the Naval Station in search of the Teufelsdreck.  Just then a bright eager face hove into Dewey’s view.

‘Hi!  Are you going aboard the Teufelsdreck?’  He cheerfully asked Dewey.

‘Uh, yeah, I am.  You?’  Oh yeah?  My name’s Dewey Trueman.’

‘Hi, Dewey.  I’m Dennis La Frenniere.  I’m going to be on the Deck Force.’  He said with evident pride that betrayed his ignorance of what that meant.

‘Yeah, me too.’  Dewey replied as another sailor named Don Tidwell showed up to join the party.  They were joined by others swelling the party to seven.

Soon they were all joking and laughing.  You couldn’t find seven merrier guys.  They were such a jolly group and so pleased with each other that each figured fate had done them a neat turn.  Laughing and shouting they moved down the pier past the peeling numbers of the 666 by Bifrons Morford  and Teal Kanary to the gangway across which was the quarterdeck of the USS Teufelsdreck, DE 666.

It would have been better had Dewey ignored his good advice and gone on board alone.  He would have slipped aboard more inconspicuously.  But now this shouting laughing mass of recruits only aroused the antipathy of the ‘old hands.’   Many of them were only awaiting replacements so they vented the frustrations of their long Asian tour on the new men.  There was nothing serious but it set a tone among the new men that was to last.

Morford, who was Officer Of The Day, came down from the boat deck to examine them more closely.  Jack Cornford who was the Petty Officer Of The Watch collected the papers and directed the recruits, who were all deck hands, to First Division quarters.

‘Welcome aboard.  Capt. Descartes is only to happy to have you.  I’m sure we’ll all get used to you too.’

Cornford pronounced the name Dess Cartes.  Blaise Descartes had been captain for fourteen months but the crew still didn’t know how to pronounce his name.  Unfortunately for Dewey he did.

There was a little sign hanging on the bulkhead that announced that the Teufelsdreck was under the command of Blaise Descartes.

‘Does he pronounce the name Dess Cartes or Day Cartes?’  Dewey asked giving the name the French pronunciation and the same that Descartes himself used.

Cornford tapped the sign.  ‘Read it, Sailor, if you can, that is.  DESCARTES, Dess Cartes.’  Cornford looked at Trueman sharply thinking him completely stupid.

‘Yeah, but in French that’s pronounced Day Cartes.  Like the philosopher Rene Des Cartes.’  Dewey said apologetically.

‘Uh huh.  Well, in case you ain’t noticed this ain’t France.  These here are the United States Of America.  You are aboard the USS Teufelsdreck, DE 666.  It’s pronounced Dess Cartes.’

‘Oh yeah?  What did they do, suspend the law of gravity on the Teufelsdreck as well as the rules of pronunciation?’  Dewey tried to joke while maintaining his position.

Cornford wasn’t having any of it.  ‘You got a…what’s your name?  Trueman, uh huh…you got a college education there Mr. Trueman?  No?  Well then you’re just like us so don’t get smart with me.  Alright now, Sailors, go back to the fantail,  Back there in that direction there’s an open hatch, go down the ladder there and you’re in the First Division.  Take this wiseguy Trueman with you too.  Savvy him up a little.’

The incident was trivial enough.  It could have been righted quite easily by someone with a little social sense.  Dewey didn’t have social sense so he inflated it to mega proportions.  He thought he was ruined.  All his fears and anxieties coalesced around this incident to form a giant core of resentment in his mind.  He developed a bad attitude that he was never to lose.

The next few days of transition into the society of the ship was extremely difficult both for Trueman and the rest of the new men.  The cheerful laughing group of men who had requested permission to board the Teufelsdreck in a spirit of high adventure would all sour in one form or another.  The spirit of the new men was converted to a seething, sullen mood of rebellion.

Once below deck the new men were subjected to the hazing of the old crew.  Simple requestd for information were treated as occasions for abuse.  The simple act of locating a vacant bunk was turned into excruciating torture that lasted for over an hour.

Dewey finally obtained an upper bunk on the inboard side of the starboard hatch.  Even that cost him a certain diminution of respect.  The bottom bunk in the row had been available.  Most sailors prefer the bottom bunk but  Dewey wanted the top bunk.

‘That bottom bunk’s taken, sailor.’  Some voice commanded even though the bunk was made up as empty.

‘I don’t want it anyway, I want the top bunk.’  Dewey replied as civilly as he could to the bestial snarlings.

‘I said you can’t have the bottom bunk.’  Was offered  as a non-sequitur.

‘You’ve got it big fella.  I don’t want it.  Keep it.’  Dewey replied firmly.

Probably Dewey should have replied with a blunt:  Because this is what I want.  Socially the Navy is only a step up from prison.  If this had been prison the sailors would probably have resolved the situation by making him fight or go under but prison rules were modified to a more orderly method in the Navy; fighting was not allowed.  As usual nonetheless Dewey made the mistake of being civil.  Civility in American society, as has been often remarked is interpreted as weakness.  Real men eat raw meat and spit it in your face.

‘If you’re on the bottom you always have to get up to let people use their lockers; if you’re in the middle you’ve got someone above and below, if you’re on top you’re above everyone.’  Then Dewey threw in:  ‘Is that simple enough for you?’  just to show he was tough.

The old hands interpreted the remark as disdain which they resented rather than toughness.  Dewey’s English was also too good for them.  They didn’t want anyone putting on airs making them think they were inferior.  They wanted you down in the hole where they were.

‘Above it all, huh?  Up there is where the fart smells go.  Haw, haw, haw.’

‘Aw, Christ this going to be fun.’  All seven new men thought as they lifted the lids to the lockers to stow their gear.

Dewey stood up from time to time in disgust.  A sailor’s personal space aboard ship was a three by three square two feet deep.  Everything you owned had to be stashed in there.  Of course every time you moved all your possessions had to fit into your seabag.  A seabag over fifty pounds was a real burden so it behooved you to stay light.  As Dewey would find there was more than room enough.

As he stood contemplating his gear he looked around to orient himself.  There were six tiers of bunks stretched across the compartment.  Each tier was three bunks doubled end to end.  All told there were about sixty bunks in First Division with those located in nooks and crannies included.  The lockers were beneath each tier.  There was a hatch on each side leading forward through the Engineering compartment and another aft leading to after steering and the barber shop.

First Division was composed of the Deck Force, Gunner’s Mates and Sonarmen.  In the hierarchy of intelligence Deck was at the bottom.  The Gunner’s Mates next to the bottom preferred to look down on the Deck Apes.

In the old Navy this might have been true but every man coming aboard was a Reservist.  They raised the tone of the whole Navy let alone the Deck Force.  In the rapid fire banter going around Dewey quickly picked up the drift of things.  Not only was his English better but he had a sharp mind with a well honed edge.

After settling in and having a dinner of rudely cooked and evil tasting food Dewey climbed into his bunk.  If he couldn’t organize his new reality in a day perhaps he could shut it out by a trip to dreamland.

Six o’ clock reveille and the routine began.  Dewey once again was revolted.  He grabbed his douche bag to go up and wash.  What a sight.  There were nine wash basins for over a hundred men.  Since about ten men never washed the ration was actually a little better.

The place was jammed with men fighting for basins so Dewey decided to eat first.

The mess hall was forward underneath the bridge superstructure.  Dewey got in the line which extended up the ladder and out on the deck.

‘Better get used to it buddy, this is the way it is.’  A resigned friendly voice said noticing Dewey’s impatience and irritation.

Dewey turned to look at the voice.

‘Hi.  I’m Kerry Maclen, Sonarman.  I just came aboard eight days ago when this bucket got back from Wespac.  I haven’t been here much longer than you but I’ve got some things figured out.  One of ‘ems it doesn’t get any better than this.’

Dewey calmed down and began chatting with Maclen as the line moved slowly forward  through the hatch, then standing on the steps of the ladder.  Finally grabbing a tray, mug and silverware he started moving down the line accumulating a tray full of what passed for food.

The stuff looked bad and tasted worse.  Prison fare was probably better.  Dewey looked at the tray as he realized that he wouldn’t be gaining any weight aboard the Teufelsdreck.  He couldn’t eat that ‘chow.’  At least the Teufelsdreck had the sense not to refer to the crap as food.  He couldn’t even stand to look at the ‘chow.’

In desperation he grabbed four slices of bread, looked for mold and checked to see whether the spread was butter or oleo.  Thankfully the Navy thought enough of the men to provide real butter.  As they were not so thoughtful as to provide jam Dewey carefully spread a thin layer of mustard over the butter.  This was to be his breakfast for the next three months until he had a reaction to the mustard.

Our Lady Of The Blues Book I, clip 1d, posted 6/06/12

‘Quite a breakfast.’  A voice seated next to him commented.

‘You don’t expect me to eat that garbage, do you?’  Dewey replied contemptuously.

‘Plenty good enough for me.’  The other gruffed stuffing his face.

‘I guess I haven’t been deprived of food long enough like you.’  Dewey said popping the last piece of bread, butter and mustard into his mouth as he got up to go wash up.

As he threw his douche bag on the ledge above one of the sinks and thrust his face into the mirror the half-crazed demon possessed reflection that stared back at him made him realize that he had made the mistake of his life.  Not that he hadn’t realized it much earlier.  Not that he hadn’t had misgivings when he stood in line with fifty other suckers to be sworn in.  Also it wasn’t that the Navy didn’t realize that every sucker in line would repent of his oath.

The Navy had experience, and how.  They knew all the objections; they countered all the arguments.  The Navy knew who they were dealing with too; they weren’t delicate.

‘If you show up later and say you didn’t move your lips, forget it.  There is no mental evasion or reservations that will do you any good,  It’s all been tried before.  It won’t work, you’re all sworn in.’

How Dewey resented the fact that he hadn’t stepped out of line and left before the oath was administered.  As he thought back he was sure that he hadn’t raised his right hand but there was no way to prove that now nor would it matter if he could.  He was in.

He knew he had made a mistake when he had obediently bent over and spread his cheeks so the Navy MD could study the fine sight of his asshole.

God, what a spiffy job; spend your whole life walking down lines of buttocks deciding on that basis whether a man could be a sailor or not.  There were a couple of men excused from service on the basis of failing the asshole test.  Even then the Navy doctor was so stupid he passed three out of ten he shouldn’t have.  Thirty per cent of the guys aboard were queers.

Dewey heaved a sigh, oh, lord,  he didn’t heave a sigh, the life’s breath fled out of him but he couldn’t die; he was in the Navy.  In?  In big.  His wild staring eyes studied the reflection that he would see for the duration.  His sink was the middle one on the left bulkhead.  Three sinks aft, five sinks port bulkhead, three sinks forward bulkhead.  The smell of over a hundred men assailed his nostrils.  Over a hundred had been there before him this morning as they would every morning for the duration.  The stench of a hundred urinating, shitting, stinking men.  Four pissoirs, four stools, four showers, eleven sinks.  Dewey dry retched into the sink.  Jesus Christ! What had he done?  The only thing worse could be prison.

Having sworn in had been bad enough but then being a Reserve and having already completed boot camp between eleventh and twelfth grades, the Navy had sent him to the Receiving Station at Philadelphia.  Lor’ what an education that had been.  Already better than half crazed by his home environment he had blown through the bottom; under every seeming basement there is yet another depth.  He had blown through the bottom of the bottom; hell, he had found new depths that had never been explored.

Every new man at the Receiving Station had responded to that new and hostile environment better than he had.  Dewey had entered a limbo that it is surprising that he survived.  A reality he had never suspected became an unavoidable apparition of disgust.

Caught somewhere between a free life and a prison environment Dewey had not known how to respond.  The homosexual threat was rampant.  Unprepared to respond to such open aggression on the part of homosexuals Dewey had responded by only showering rarely and then only at times when the showers were unused.  Even then gayboys showed up to check the action, stand and inspect his dick.  His timidity hadn’t gone unnoticed.  Always preying on the ignorant and timid he had been assailed in the showers and had had to fight his way out rather than submit.

As he looked over at the shower stalls on the starboard side an involuntary shudder went down his spine.  Three more fucking years of this shit!  He thought.

The criminal degradation of the Receiving Station had truly blown his mind.  The thievery was incessant.  The cons and cheating were all the time.  Drug addiction!  Dewey had never seen it before.  Then, at muster they lugged a First Class out on a stretcher.  He was ‘sick.’  He was suffering from a heroin overdose.  As they carried this son-of-a-bitch past Dewey the bastard shot out a projectile of vomit all over him.  The horror  of it was more than Dewey could stand.  He brought both fists down on that sick degenerate bastard’s stomach, knocking one of the bearers aside and spilling that idiot First Class out on the pavement.  Dewey moved in to stomp that ignorant bastard to death but was quickly restrained by a couple sailors who got some of that diseased puke all over themselves.  Several hours passed before Dewey regained a semblance of composure.

‘Jesus,’ he thought, ‘What is this?  What is this?  Is there no refuge?’

In truth there wasn’t, neither on the base or ashore.  Who knows who they were but everywhere he went it seemed he was being followed.  The Navy was on tight security because of the Cold War, but was it necessary to follow a sailor when he wandered down to look at the mothballed Cruisers or was it just some queers on the make.

It seemed like everybody was out to tear every other body apart in one way or another.  Every way he turned faggots were waiting to batten on him.

Standing in the subway one night at one in the morning he looked across the tracks to the top tier of that multi-tiered structure to see some faggot staring at him as the queer masturbated at his sight.  ‘My god,’  he thought, ‘Don’t these guys have any self-respect.’  If the truth were told, no they don’t.

Another night he was walking down Broad to the base, avoiding the subway, when a worker type pulled up offered him a ride back to the base as he was going that way himself.  Naively Dewey believed him.  Seething with anger Dewey had finished his walk back to the base after having repulsed the queer’s advances.  Back at the base the Marine sentry was giving him a bad time mistaking what Dewey thought was politeness for timidity.

The face looking back at Dewey reflected the horror of all these incomprehensibilities.  He had been assigned  West.  Somewhere between Philly and San Francisco or, perhaps, after his visit to the Navy dentist, he had toughened up, put on a hard face, a mean face, a face that said:  ‘Up yours.’

The dentist had been a lunatic, a madman.  He did more damage to Dewey’s mouth in an hour than the A-bomb had done to Hiroshima.  Dewey learned his lesson; he never visited another Navy dentist or doctor during his enlistment.  He’d rather pay for good attention than be mutilated for free.

Dewey looked in the mirror again and found that he was panting.

“Yeah, I don’t like it either.’  Came from a voice from across the area.  ‘Nobody does.  But there’s nothing we can do about it now.’

Dewey focused on the present to see a sailor fourth sink, port bulkhead shaving and watching him mirror to mirror.  Shaving!  Aaaargh.  Dewey let out a long anguished mental scream that still seemed to emit from the face in the mirror.  Shaving!   Shaving was a private act.  It was between you and the mirror.  Only faggots watched other men shave.  Guys invited hopeful conquests  into the head to watch them shave.  Bulls showed off for catamites in that way.  Now, here was some guy speaking to him while he shaved.

‘Yeah, this is pretty hard to get used to.’  Dewey replied rather than get a reputation for being difficult but still hoping not to encourage further conversation.  Fortunately the other guy was finishing up, it was getting close to muster and he left with a hurried:  ‘Keep it together.’

‘Keep it together?’  Dewey was already blown apart.  He would have to bring it together.  He not only had to organize and overcome his childhood traumas he would have to survive this new madness.

Still, there was no way out but deeper in.  He would have to go out the other side.  He threw his douche bag- douche bag- Jesus Christ- into his locker, squared his hat, passed through the Engineering compartment to climb the ladder to the main deck, stepped through the starboard hatch into the light to see the men of First Division lining up for muster.

The line that separated Dewey from insanity was the physical world.  Having stepped from the encasing steel of the ship, the delightful climate of waterfront San Diego embraced him.  The strong sun enveloped him.  The fresh invigorating sea breeze wafted around him wrapping him in sensual delight.

Then his eyes fell on Chief Dieter, First Class Gunner’s Mate Emmanuel Ratman, and First Class Bos’n’s Mate Blaise Pardon.  They were eyeing him with idle curiosity as the last arrival.  In his state of mind he took it as hostility and snarled back.

Muster!  He saw two lines of sailors standing at parade rest.  He walked down to the end of the line and took a place.

‘You there.’

‘Yeah?’

‘You’re Deck, right?  Back down in this group.’

Dewey noticed there had been a break in the line.  He had apparently lined up with the second group- the Gunner’s Mates.  He moved back down the line to the other end to take a position in the back rank.  He extended the line by one person.

‘Step forward to the front rank.  Looks better.’

Dewey stepped forward, but his teeth ground.  He knew he had to obey the order but as he looked at the three Petty Officers he felt innately superior to them.  He was.  Ratman, the Gunner’s Mate, was an illiterate stupido.  He was even incapable of reading the muster.  How he had ever been able to pass the written tests to become a First Class was open to conjecture.  The Navy takes care of its own.  They probably read the questions to him pointing to which box to mark after he gave the his answer.  That he had been in eighteen years and hadn’t made chief told against him.

Ratman had a brownish open pored complexion and eyes that betrayed neither intelligence nor stupidity.  They were just kind of blank and unseeing.  Nothing seemed to register.  He had the habit of holding his mouth open and flicking his tongue up and down, projecting it in and out.  Rats might not have the same characteristics but the habit seemed to fit his name.

Blaise Pardon, the First Class Bos’n’s Mate, was a decent sort.  He was only interested in getting through the day with the least conflict possible.  That was a positive virtue.  He was another eighteen year man but Deck was a closed rating, the fact did not count against him.  It was nearly impossible to advance your rating in Deck.

As the rating was the least demanding in the Navy and as it was much more secure than trying to earn a living on the outside more career men were in Deck than anywhere else.  Even the Gunner’s Mates was relatively open compared to Deck.  You were guaranteed to make Chief in twenty.  Even a mutant like Ratman would be given his Chief’s outfit as a gift on his way out.  Maybe he even deserved it, who knows?

All of the ratings that required intelligence were wide open.  To take Electronics Technicians as an example.  A man could easily make First Class within a four year enlistment.  This was actually too fast on a cultural basis.  There were cases of ETs making Chief within four years.  This was absolutely destructive to Navy morale.  There may have been no question that the man had learned his rating that well; however he had not absorbed Navy culture to any extent.  He was not yet Navy.  He had no investment in the tradition, no esprit de corps, no veneration for the career.  Most of them became ego maniacs destroyed by their rapid advancement.

Angus Dieter, the Chief Bos’n’s Mate was everything a career Navy man should be.  He had been in seventeen years.  He wore his uniform with all the assurance and aplomb of a man born to the station.  He was overweight but by just the right amount.  His bulk was actually magnificent in his dress blues and in his khakis, which he wore during work hours.  He certainly distinguished his uniform.  Even his hat seemed as though it had been molded expressly for his head.

As the guns of the Teufelsdreck didn’t warrant a Chief Gunner’s Mate Dieter was Chief for the entire First Division, which he relished.  It gave him additional  importance which he wore well.  He was especially resplendent in the golden sunshine and the soft caressing uplifting air.  Dewey still didn’t like the way Dieter had commanded him to step forward.  The war was on.

After the names had been called and all found present the day’s tasks were assigned.  The two Sonarmen, Maclen and Hubie Blake, left for the Sonar shack below the Mess Hall.  The old hands were sent off to their tasks.  The seven new men were taken on an orientation tour by Pardon.  This would ordinarily have been done by the Second Class, Norm Castrato, but he had gone to sick bay that morning along with the Second Class Gunner’s Mate Lion Ratfield.

Before the tour Dieter delivered a talk about nomenclature.  Nomenclature is, of course, important but perhaps Dieter in his attempt to establish his authority was a bit overdone.  The seven reservists had all been developing hostile reactions since they had first stepped aboard.  Everything about shipboard life repelled them.  They would all display their repulsion in different ways but a little wave of revulsion greeted Dieter’s speech.

‘Now, I know you boys come from soft family backgrounds where you’re used to having your own way.  Well, you’re in the Navy now.  There’s only one way in the Navy and that’s the Navy way, no ifs ands or buts.  Screw with us and you’ll never see the highway again.  If you don’t want to do it our way there ain’t no way you’re going to enjoy your sojourn among us.  Do I make myself clear?  Alright.

Now, in the Navy all the things have different names than in civilian life- learn them or else.  For instance your are not standing on the floor- you are standing on a deck.  That why you are called Deck Hands.  That behind you is not a wall, that is a bulkhead.  There are no walls aboard ship, only bulkheads.

That thing with steps you see there attached to the bulkhead is not a staircase, it is a ladder.  That thing on the fantail leading below- not downstairs- below- is also a ladder even though you might think it looks more like stairs than a ladder.  The opening in the bulkheads you go through are called hatches.  All such openings are hatches whether as in the officer’s quarters they look like doors or not.  You do not go to the toilet or washroom you go to the head.  On that note, I’ll leave you where you belong, in the head.  Ha ha ha.  Pardon will show you around the ship.  By the way, you may call me Dieter or Chief or Chief Dieter at your discretion.  Do not call me Sir, Angus or Hey You.  I am not an officer and first names do not exist in the Navy.’

Our Lady Of The Blues Book I, clip 1e posted  6/07/12

‘Also call you asshole‘ seemed to arise from the seven but I doubt if a tape recorder would have picked it up.

Pardon then took them in hand and conducted them on a tour of the ship in much the same manner as you were introduced to it in the  prologue with the addition of details that will appear later.  This tour destroyed any illusions the seven may have had.

Dennis LaFrenniere, who was from Tempe, Arizona was taken back.  His illusions about a big adventure had been completely destroyed  There was an unforgiving brutal reality about the day that bore him down.

‘What did you think of it, monsieur?’  He civilly asked Dewey.  Trueman had taken to Dennis immediately and like what appeared to be a carefree devil may care attitude.  He was surprised by the somber depressed manner of the question.

Dewey was unaware of the edge the day had given to his own attitude.  He was resentful and agitated as Dennis was somber and depressed.  He realized only too well that, as Dieter had said, it was the Navy way or no way.  Trueman’s teeth were on edge.  The Navy would have to give to get what he had to offer.

‘I don’t think this is going to be any fun at all, Dennis, but we’ve got to get through it.’

LaFrenniere turned his troubled distraught eyes to the deck.  He couldn’t face it as himself.  A future of days like today was quite beyond his mind to handle as himself.  A film closed over his mind as he began to leave Dennis LaFrenniere aside and assume the identity of- Frenchy.

For the rest of his tour he would answer only to the name of Frenchy.  He would retreat into that identity and not come out until he was discharged and safely back in Tempe.  He became temporarily insane.

Dewey passed Don Tidwell coming back from evening chow but Tidwell’s gloomy withdrawn lips passed by without a word.  Tidwell, too, had taken a dim view of Navy life.  He was from Phoenix, Arizona.  Like Trueman and LaFrenniere he had a high score on the General Intelligence Test.  He took his score more seriously than he should have.  He had come from a literate family too, thus feeling himself above, not only everyone in First but everyone on ship.  He retreated within himself into a blue funk from which he would never emerge until he took his discharge papers in hand.  Even then his life’s outlook had been altered for good.

Dewey sat in mess hall looking at what it pleased the Navy to call food on his tray.  He couldn’t eat it.

‘Whatsa’ matter?  This is pretty good chow.’  The man next to him said, looking at him curiously.

‘Oh god, this stuff is garbage.’  Dewey said in disgust.

‘I’ve eaten a lot worse, I can tell you, when I could get it.’

‘No kidding?’’  Dewey replied incredulously.

‘You can bet on it.  I’ve gone without supper many a time.  When you’ve done that, you’ll eat anything.’

‘Hmm.  Well, I haven’t ever done that and if I had it wouldn’t make any difference to me.’  Dewey said, picking up his tray and shoving it through the opening into the scullery fully loaded on his way back to Deck.

Passing out of the port hatch he had to step around the cook who was blocking his way.  Bocuse was a First Class Cook, that is his rating was First Class.  He was slovenly, unshaven, dirty and fat.  He was an alcoholic who was never sober.  He was dirty minded, mean, lowdown and hateful.  He could cook better than he did but he was venting his ill-will toward humanity on the crew of the Teufelsdreck.  He was inventing a new cuisine; he was turning edible food into garbage.

‘In your way?’  He snarled at Dewey.

‘You the chef?’  Dewey replied, noticing his dirty apron.

‘I’m the cook, Navy doesn’t have chefs.’  Bocuse snarled.

‘I stand corrected.’ Dewey snarled back.

Bocuse didn’t get the insult until breakfast next morning when with he start he flipped an egg off the overhead.

‘Gonna do something about that son-of-a-bitch.’   Dewey thought as he entered the compartment.

The horrors of showering in Philly he hoped were behind him.  Dewey, as well as the other new men, was a modest fellow.  None of them saw any reason for walking around in the nude.  Hence Brant Crowson and Dant Ralston and Dewey went up to the showers together.  Crowson and Ralston were from Memphis.  They all put on their shoes leaving their undershorts on, carrying their soaps and towels.

As usual they were greeted by a long line.  As they took their places at the end they were greeted by sniggers and hoots.

‘What now?’  Ralston asked, resentful of being in the ‘wrong’ again.

‘Oh god, I don’t know.’  Trueman grimaced, waiting for the news.

‘Well, what have we here.  Three prima donnas?’  Came a voice from up ahead somewhere.

Dewey. Brant and Dant looked at each other unwilling to ask the obvious question.

After a repeat of the taunt and a pause Dewey turned to the man in front of him asking quietly  hoping for a quiet answer:  ‘What’s happening, man?’

The man was considerate:  ‘It’s your undershorts.  Look around.  Everyone’s nude.’

‘Yeah…but…so what?  Does this mean we all have to do it?

‘Well, it’s the way things are done. See?  You have to go with the flow.’

Dewey turned to Brant and Dant:  ‘Uh, none of these guys has underwear on.  I guess we aren’t supposed to either?’

‘Why not?’

‘’Cause that’s the way they want it, I guess.  We’re supposed to ‘go with the flow.’

The three of them returned to their compartment and took off their shorts.  Still unwilling to let it all hang out they independently adopted the same expedient; they wrapped their towels around them.

Trooping back to the end of the line they were greeted by the same voice:  ‘What do we have here now; three girls in skirts?’

They bowed to the inevitable removing their towels to stand immodestly displaying their wares for those who were most interesting in seeing.

‘How do you keep from getting athletes foot standing in those dirty showers?’  Brant asked.

The next guy in line offered the suggestion:  ‘Well, you see, you get a pair of these thongs…’ He said holding up his foot for the three to see.  ‘…and then you don’t take them off.  You shower with them on.’

‘Oh yeah?  Where do you get those?’

‘You can buy a pair at the ship’s store tomorrow.’

‘Yeh.  Where’s the ship’s store?’

‘It’s the compartment right ahead of the showers.  The door opens on the passageway on the other side of the hatch.’

‘Oh yeah?’

‘Yeah.  Good prices.  Cigarettes and candy are cheap.  No taxes.  They only have essentials.’

‘Oh, thanks man, we appreciate it.’

‘No problem.’

The new men inched up the line.  As their turn came up the voice grabbed a shower stall to check out their ‘hardware’ as he called it.  The voice was Paul Duber.  He was more or less openly known as a queer.  He was of a certainty, but in Navy etiquette unless you openly chose to be a queer, in which case you would be discharged, no one would dare to openly challenge you.  Duber was the least discreet of all the queers aboard.  He acted manly but did his best to let you know he was available.  He was actually criminal in his desire.  He drew a very thin line between seduction and rape.  He was the leader of the homosexual contingent that set the tone of the ship.

The first men into the showers in the evening turned the showers on.  They ran continuously until the last man left.  Thus, as you entered you only checked the temperature to make sure your predecessor hadn’t left you a scalding joke.  A good share of the men were vicious and delighted in hurting others.

The four stalls were arranged in pairs opposite each other.  Duber grabbed the rear forward stall so as better to ogle the new men.  There is nothing so exciting to a queer than a dick.  They study each one as a rare work of art.

‘Don’t drop your soap, honey, I might not be able to control myself.’  He snickered from his corner.  He jested but his jest carried an actual threat.  There was no disguising his meaning.

‘If you want my bar, here it is.  Jam this up your ass.’  Brant said insolently.

Duber was delighted.

‘O, he he.  A guy with a sense of humor.  I like that.  How about you two too.’

‘Here’s my bar, too.’  Dant said.

‘Awright.  How about you?’  Duber said leering at Trueman.

‘Go sit on an anchor fluke.’  Dewey replied with overflowing disgust.

‘Say, what’s wrong with your friend here.  Talks like a real tough hard ass.’

Dewey who was wasting no time gave himself a final rinse and stepped out of the shower without another word.

‘Goddamn those queers.’  He muttered beneath his breath slipping into his shoes, grabbing his towel, stalking off drying as he went.

Memories of Philadelphia flooded his mind causing indescribable pain to him.  Maybe others had greater facility in going with the flow but in Dewey’s darkened psyche the queers presented an insurmountable problem.

His mind was in angry agitation as he self-consciously pulled on his shorts  feeling the other men’s eyes on his ass.

‘Say, I’d be a little more careful bending over like that in front of us.  You might get a surprise.  ‘Course you’d probably like it.’  One of the old hands said hopefully.

‘Pretty skinny little ass.’  Came with a laugh.

‘Kiss it.’  Dewey snapped.

‘Ooh, hoo hoo.’  Came back with jeers and guffaws.

Dewey angrily hauled himself into his upper bunk, pulled his blanket over his head and turned his back on the others cursing them under his breath.  He wasn’t good at mental adjustment.  The Navy life was going to take some real mental adjustment.  Dewey could have made it a lot easier on himself with a more pliant attitude.  None this had to be so serious.  But, locked in the cage of his experience Dewey was quite incapable of moving out of himself a little to adapt to these new challenges.  His response were definitely inadequate.

As in all unstable social situation the lowest elements of society were able to grab a disproportionate share in shaping the morality of shipboard life.  Creating the flow, as it were.

To an experienced hand the process was simple.  You had to oppose the lower morality and impose your own higher morality.  This was not as simple as it seemed.  But by your level of opposition you at least prevented an actual criminal environment from developing.

The same thing happened in high society as well as in low society.  The Teufelsdreck was definitely low society.  Let me quote- or, actually reproduce in its entirely- a little book by one Samuel N. Ordway, Harvard Class of ‘21 entitled ‘Little Codfish Cabot At Harvard.’  Ordway at least liked his environment while few except the lowest liked the Teufelsdreck but the process of shaping the mind to the new environment is the same.

Little Codfish Cabot was born into the precincts of the Harvard Yard.  His father was a Cabot and his mother was a Cod.  The fish part is generic.

While still very young he was sent to a New England Church School but not before he had been soaked with atmosphere- which left him a little fuzzy because he was so young.

At boarding school he learned to weather teasing- and to fight- and not to be shocked by naughty stories and swearwords- and to be a man- and to play baseball.  The boys all called him Cod and he had to go to Chapel twice every day.

But he did not learn anything.

So he had to go to the Widow’s where he was crammed through the examinations and practiced living in the way he had learned at school life should be lived- when you get the chance.

Thus Codfish Cabot became a Freshman at Harvard.  His class was welcomed at Phillips Brooks House by Dean Briggs who spoke on ‘College Life.’

He persuaded his father to give him an automobile in which he drove chippies riding on the river bank; and, when he grew tired of that, to Revere Beach.

Once or twice he went to a Friday Evening.

He bought Rabelais and Boccaccio, and two weeks later paid thirty dollars for James Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’.  It was a bargain.

He went with a Sophomore whom he met in English to a Copey’s Monday Evening.  Later, he took the Freshman from Passaic who lived across the hall.

He shot on the Freshman Rifle Team because he like to be considered an outdoorsman- and made the business board of the Red Book by getting ads from his father.

He took Miss Holland Saltontail to the Freshman Jubilee and because he told her that Boston Society must not show itself inferior to New York they both got drunk.  It was Miss Saltontail’s first experience.

Cod was no cad, and in his Sophomore year they elected him to the Dickey.  After stripping him to the waist and running him through the mill they slid  him into a tank of water and asked him if he was moral.

When he said he was, they ducked him for a liar.

Not because he wasn’t a cad, but because he was a Cod they elected him to the Porcellian.

Thereafter he got on probation and lived like a normal Harvard student.

His father gave him some more ads, and by receiving two permanent full pages, he became an editor of the Lampoon.

They made him lean out of the window on the corner of Plimpton Street and the Gold Coast at midnight and yell ‘Help, help, help, – don’t shoot-  I’ll marry the woman!’  (That is what you have to do when you make the Lampoon.  It is perfectly proper.)

Because he also made the Phoenix, and the Stylus, and the Hasty Pudding, and the Liberal Club- the last to show he was democratic and an independent thinker- his father had to double his allowance to pay dues.

He went to all the mass meetings and smokers- and always lent his voice in the defeat of the Eli.

He ceased going to Brattle Hall dances.

He learned to refrain from donning his hat prematurely in English 2.

After three and a half years, he had attended one of Prexy Lowell’s teas, – and had eaten once at Memorial Hall,- when he decided to leave Harvard and go into business.  (After going to chapel three thousand, two hundred and sixty times in six years at school, he had not attended since, nor pursued the Bible further; there was now no time to acquire needed knowledge for divisionals.’

But this did not preclude his taking part in the Class Day exercises with his class, nor becoming engaged to Miss Holland Saltontail on that day.

 

A Novel

Our Lady Of The Blues

Book VII

The Heart Of The Matter

by

R.E. Prindle

Clip 13

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

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

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

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

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

page 1861.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1862.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1863.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1865.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     Logically it must be true.

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

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

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

page 1867

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

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

     Well and good.

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

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

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

page 1868.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1869.

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1870.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1871.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1872.

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

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

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

page 1873.

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

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

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

     ‘OK.  Where’s that?’

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

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

page 1874.

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1875.

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

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

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

     Terry Gaste scoffed.

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

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

page 1876.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1878.

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

 

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

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

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

page 1880.

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

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

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

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

page 1880.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1881.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1882.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1883.

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1884.

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

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

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

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

page 1885.

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1886.

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

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

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

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

page 1887.

     What will come of this?

     Historically no very promising results are in the offing.

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

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

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

page 1888

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1890.

     This is unjust.

     What is Mr. Farrakhan to do?

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

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

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

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

page 1891.

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

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

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

     ‘Humph.’

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

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

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

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

page 1892.

Ain’t No More Cookies In This Cookie Jar

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

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

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

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

page 1893.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1894.

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

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

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

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

page 1895.

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

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

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

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

page 1896.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1897.

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1898.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     She would take him in.

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

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

1899.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1900.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1901.

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

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

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

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

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

The Green Green Grass Of Home

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

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

page 1902.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1904.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1905.

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

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

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

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

page 1906.

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1907

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

     There is a criminal network too.

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

     Dalton ignored him.

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

     ‘You’ve fulfilled the contract?’

     ‘That’s right.  Send the money.’

     ‘How do I know?’

     ‘Because I said so.  Send the money.’

     ‘I have to be sure.’

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

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

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

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

page 1908.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1909

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

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

Days Of Future Passed

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

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

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

page 1910.

    

 

 

 

A Novel

Our Lady Of  The Blues

Book VII

The Heart Of The Matter

by

R.E. Prindle

 

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

When life seems full of clouds and rain

And I am filled with naught but pain,

Who soothes my funkin’ bunkin’ brain?

Bert In Blackface

Nobody.

And when winter comes with snow and sleet

And me with hunger and cold feet,

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

Nobody.

Refrain.

Now I ain’t never done nothin’ to nobody

And I ain’t never got nothin’ from nobody

no time.

Until I get somethin’ from somebody sometime

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

no time.

Then summer comes all cool an clean

And all my friends see me drawin’ near,

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

Nobody.

Last Christmas Eve, ’twas about daybreak,

I was in that railroad wreck.

And who pulled the en-jine off my neck?

Not a livin’ soul.

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

And I ain’t never got nothin’ from nobody

no time.

Until I get somethin’ from somebody sometime

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

no time.

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

page 1810.

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

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

     Politically the result took the form of Affirmative Action:

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

Until I get somethin’ from somebody sometime

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

No time.

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

page 1811

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

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

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

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

page 1812.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1813.

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

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

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

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

page 1814.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    ‘No.’  The woman said laughing.

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

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

     ‘Hell no.’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     ‘Just change your name…’

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

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

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

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

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

page 1818.

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

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

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

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

Hitchhiking Is No Picnic

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

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

page 1819.

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1820.

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1821.

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

     ‘Wow.  You must really be thirsty.’

     ‘Yeah. I was anyway.’

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

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

     ‘How long you been on the road?’

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

     ‘Where you going?’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Four Strong Winds

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

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

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

page 1823.

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

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

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

     ‘We get a lot of snow here.’

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

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

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

page 1824.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     ‘Yes.  We talk.’

page 1825.

     ‘Is she always there?’

    ‘Well, no.  Not always.’

     ‘See.’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1826.

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

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

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

     ‘What do you mean?’

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

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

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

     ‘Sure it is.’

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

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

     1827.

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

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

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

     ‘I’m going to check.’

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

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

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

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

page 1828.

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1829.

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

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

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

     ‘Yes.’  Dewey replied.

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

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

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

page 1830

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

     ‘What kind of books?’

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1832.

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

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

     ‘What books did you try to insert?’

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

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

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

page 1833.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1834.

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1835.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

pare 1837.

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

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

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

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

     ‘Evaline Hicks at Valley Melville?’

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

page 1838.

     ‘Yes.  Now what about ephemeral fruits?’

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

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

     ‘Yes, I do.’

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

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

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

page 1839.

     ‘How’s that.’

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1840

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

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

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

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

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

page 1841.

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

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

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

page 1842.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1844.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1845.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1847.

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

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

     My mother and I learned a great deal from her.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1848.

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

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

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

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

page 1849.

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

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

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

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

page 1850.

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

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

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

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

page 1851.

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1852.

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

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

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

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

page 1853.

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

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

     Does this make sense to you so far?’

 

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

page 1854

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

     Further the entombment of Merlin was recorded by Church figures.

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

 

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

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

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

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

     Some other people or civilization devised it.

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

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

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

page 1856.

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

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

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

page 1857.

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

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

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

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

page 1858

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

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

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

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

page 1859.

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

     Once again I am extrapolating Greek mythology back in time.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1860

 

 

A Novel

Our Lady Of The Blues

Book VII

The Heart Of The Matter

by

R.E. Prindle

Clip 11

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

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

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

     ‘Sure.’  He said reaching for the door.

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

page 1761.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1762

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1763.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     Dewey watched the tail lights disappear in the distance.

Bad Motorcycle With The Devil In The Seat

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

page 1764.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1765.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1766.

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

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

     ‘We got him now.’  Rodeo Frank roared.

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

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

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

page 1767.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     ‘No.  Who is he?’

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

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

page 1768.

     ‘No.’

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

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

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

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

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

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

     Heaving a sigh of relief Dewey climbed aboard.

No Relief

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1769

     ‘Didn’t have a ticket.’

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

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

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

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

     ‘Get over in your half.’

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

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

     ‘You don’t understand.’

     ‘That’s what you think.’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1771.

THE OTHER SIDE OF BIG RIVER

East St. Louis Toodle-pp

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

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

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

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

page 1772.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1773.

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

     Dewey merely thought she was questioning his sense of direction.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1774.

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1775.

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

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

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

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

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

     ‘Yah.  East St. Louis.’

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

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

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

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

page 1776.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1777.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Black Jack David Came Down From The Hills

…rather drink muddy water

and sleep in a hollow log,

Than hang around Mobile

And be treated like a dirty dog.

Trad.

Ain’t I A Dog?

-Ronnie Self

page 1778.

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

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

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

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

page 1779

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

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

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

page 1780

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

     Dewey was with his people.

     ‘Comin’ up from Mobile, huh?’

     ‘Yep.’

     ‘How long have you lived down there?’

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

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

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

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

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

page 1781.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1782.

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

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

     No.  Immigrants slandered them more than any legendary feud.

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

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

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

page 1783.

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 1784.

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

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

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

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

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

page 1785.

     Mencken himself adopted and popularized many Yiddish words and phrases which were in fact neologisms to his goyish readers.  Yiddish was still thought of by the Jews as their native language.  It was only after the Second World War that the use of Yiddish atrophied to the point of uselessness.  In Russia the Jews were plumping for an autonomous Jewish people with Yiddish being one of the official languages of Russia.

     In the wild enthusiasm of the Bolshevik victory the introduction of Yiddish phrases was probably thought of as an opening salvo for the creation of an autonomous Jewish people in the United States with Yiddish as a second official language.  Never forget that the Jewish Cultrual Revolution was to last from 1913 to 1928.

     By the use of Mencken it was thus that the Jewish counter-culture might begin to flow into the dominant culture to subvert thought toward the idea of an autonomous Jewish people.

     Mencken’s attacks on the Hill folk, Anglo-Saxonism and the Boobocracy of America as he termed it had the effect of dividing the Urban Aristocracy from a major constituent and pitting it against it.  Divide and rule.

      This attitude was abetted by the formation of the Anti-Defamation League of the B’nai B’rith in 1913, which was the opening year of the Jewish Revolution.  The ADL began immediately to attack it’s list of ‘known’ anti-Semites which further divided ‘good’ goys from ‘bad goys.’  In an effort to show that they were not prejudiced against Jews the ‘good’ goys turned viciously on their own people and against their own best interests.  Always ask this question:  Is it good for the Jews?

page 1786.

     The crowning blow against the Hill People was delivered in 1932 by a semi-literate Communist by the name of Erskine Caldwell.  Caldwell comes across in his writing as a vicious bigot.  Tobacco Road, his most famous and infuential novel, appeared in ’32 followed by God’s Little Acre in 1933.  Both books sold in unprecedented millions in the heart of the Depression penetrating so deeply into the consciousness of America that for decades there was no one who had not heard of Tobacco Road and believed in its excistence.

     In the Communist manner it was Caldwell’s intent to demean the Hillbilly below the status of the Negro in which he succeeded.  This would not be the last time that the elevation of the Negro would be attempted by lowering the status of the Whites.

     In an introduction to the novels written in the latter years of the twentieth century a Negro writer describes the pride of place he felt when after reading the two tracts he realized or hoped he would never sink as low as Hillbillies.

     The fear of Tobacco Road plagued White youth for at least two generations to be later replaced by the image of Archie Bunker of TV fame who was created by a Jewish writer.  It was no coincidence that one of the early anthems of the Folk Rock era was a song called Tobacco Road.  In it the writer notes that he is not going back to the Tobacco Road he has escaped.

page 1787.

     Thus by the late forties Hillbillies had been thoroughly ‘niggerized’ taking their place on the bottom rung of the ‘minority’ ladder below the Negroes.  It no longer mattered what they might believe individually as a whole ethos had been projected on them by the Urban Aristocracy and the Negroes.

     In the post war years this vision of Hillbillies as a quaint stone age people was furthered by such comic strips as Snuffy Smith and the tremendously influential ‘L’il Abner’ by the Jewish writer, Al Capp.

     Although convicted of child molestation at the end of his career destroying a fine reputation Capp was revered in the forties and fifties by an audience that did not reflect on what he was up to.  Capp was able to infuence fashion and change American social mores.  Girls and women embraced the styles of his heroine, Daisy May, down to the off shoulder blouse and cut off jeans.  He called the name of this hillbilly haven he invented, what else?, Dog Patch.  Following some of these themes through can be an amazing experience.  One of the customs of Dogpatch was the tradition of women asking men out.  The custom was strictly forbidden in real life.  His character who did this was called Sadie Hawkins.  By mid decade in the fifties every school in America was holding Sadie Hawkin’s days where the girls could ask the boys for a date.

     Capp’s influence peaked in the sixties when Dogpatch moved to Hollywood in the TV series ‘Beverly Hillbillies.’  After that the hills were filled with Urban Cowboys while Archie Bunker replaced the Beverly Hillbillies.  Same tune, different words.

page 1788.

     Capp’s efforts in the forties were seconded by several Jewish film writers among whom was the semi-literate Red, Lester Cole.  He keenly felt the ridicule immigrants endured before 1920 so he wrote scripts where he invented an ignorant Hill dialect that assuaged his tortured feelings although it made him a bigot.

     Thus having fled his Dogpatch for Mobile, Black Jack David Drainsfield was treated like a dirty dog by the Southern Aristocracy in that Dixie metropolis.  Unable to endure such treatment he did what all self-respecting Whites and Blacks did.  He headed up North to ‘freedom.’

     He found the same reception up river as did the Negroes.  He was ridiculed and despised as a sub-human.  Like the Blacks he was driven mad by this savage treament.  He was young so he had the strength to resist but at the stage of entering life he was driven from pillar to post.  Caught in an existence from which the only escape was transformation he was at a stage of indecision.  Unable to assimilate easily into the smarmy culture of Chicago he sought refuge from time to time by returning to Mobile.  Once there he realized the impossibility of enduring life as a dirty dog from Dogpatch so he returned to Chicago which he was doing now.

     Like the Black Folk of Richard Wright’s novels he asked repeatedly:  ‘Are we just dogs to be treated so?’

     Well, Al Capp thought so or he wouldn’t have named his Hillbilly Nirvana Dogpatch.  The Urban Aristocracy thought so or they wouldn’t have projected the character of Dogpatch on them.

page 1789.

     Thus from H.L. Mencken through Erskine Caldwell to Al Capp the true source of the Hillbilly character is derived.

     Drainsfield like all people who fled this character to be derided, which he certainly was, both in Mobile and Chicago, was at great pains to establish his integrity.  It was not his intention to travel through East St. Louis up 66 but to take an alternate route up the Indiana line.

     He was extremely fearful that Dewey might distrust him so he went to great lengths to assure Dewey that his route was a better way to Chicago.

    ‘This is just as good a road but it saves a lot of miles.  We bypass East St. Louis which is the last place in the world I’d want to break down.  It is still the road to Chicago so don’t worry that we’re taking you somewhere else.’

     ‘It’s alright Black Jack.  I can read the signs on the highway.  Don’t worry.’

     Now heading up the Indiana line they all settled back for the long haul to Chicago.  Pleased with the nice hop Dewey had again reconciled himself to hitchhiking.  He turned his attention to the Dixie Darlin’ who, as she played her game of solitaire quietly sang the lyrics of an old Hawkshaw Hawkins’ tune:

Don’t want no warmed over kisses

Or yesterday’s sighs;

I want everything fresh

Even brand new lies.

If you don’t have what I want

Another boy may,

If it ain’t on the menu

There’s another cafe.

page 1790

     Hawkshaw Hawkings had already been all but forgotten so Dewey was pleasantly surprised to hear one of his favorites.

     ‘Oh wow.  You know Hawkshaw Hawkins?’

     ‘Of course.  I know everybody in both kinds of music.  I like them all.  Every one.  Do you know Cowboys Copas?  And Floyd Tillman?  And Ernest Tubb? and Ferlin Husky?  And Rex Allen? And Montana Slim?  They’re all Western singers.  Do you know them?’

     ‘Oh yes.  I do.’  Dewey replied.

     ‘How do you?  You don’t talk like us; you talk real Yankee like.’

     ‘Uh, I am from Michigan which is why I talk Yankee but some of my family were hillbillies from Kentucky and I’ve listened to hillbilly music all my life.’

     ‘You mean Country music, don’t you?’  Darlin’ had already been taught to be ashamed of her origins.  The term Hillbilly came across to her like ‘nigger’ would to a Black.  In fact Hillbilly was used by the Aristocracy in exactly the same derogatory sense as nigger but acceptable to them because Hillbillies were White hence they could be defamed at will.  There was no Hillbilly Anti-defamation League.

    ‘No, Dixie Darlin’, I mean hillbilly as in the Carter Family, Bill Monroe and Roy Acuff.  I mean Hillbilly as in American music expressing American ideals and not this smarmy immigrant Tin Pan Alley garbage.  I have my Hillbilly roots and I’m not ashamed of them, nor should you be.’

page 1791.

     ‘Well, we get treated real bad because we’re from the mountains both in Mobile and Chicago.  Why’s that?  We didn’t do nothin’ to nobody no time.”

     ‘That is no reflection on yourselves; merely the ranting of narrow, bigoted persons who are beneath your dignity to recognize although you still have to deal with them.  Just stand up for your rights and turn their own evil back on them.  They are low, not you.

     Just a second Darlin’, you said you like both kinds of music.  Do you mean Tin Pan Alley and Hillbilly or what?’

     ‘No.  I mean both Country and Western.  I will not use the word Hillbilly and I would appreciate it if you didn’t too.’

     ‘No.  That’s all right Darlin;.’  Black Jack David said.  ‘I think he’s one of us.’

     Dewey had never considered Country and Western as separate but he now stood corrected.  The corpus of these singers formed a large part of the ephemeara of Dewey’s intellect.  Ephemera are the most important part of one’s identity.  Songs, movies, radio shows, ads, newspapers and magazine articles that are forgotten by history almost as soon as they are voiced but are carried in the memories of individutals throughout their lives is the stuff of the personality.

     With the exception of Ferlin Husky one of the Bakersfield hillbillies and not a Western singer who was contemporary, the rest of her list of favorites were all of the late forties and early fifties and now all but forgotten.

page 1792.

     As ephemeral as they were to society at large they formed a great deal of Dewey’s outlook on the world.  He knew dozens of songs by them.

     ‘I really liked ‘Signed Sealed And Delivered’ by Hawkshaw Hawkins.’  He said knowingly, meaning to impress Darlin’ with his encyclopedic knowledge.

     ‘That was by Cowboy Copas.’  She corrected.  ‘You can’t fool me.  I know just about everything there is to know about music.’

     Dewey nearly took her correction as a reproof since he was rather vain about his knowledge of music.  Instead he chose to deflect the conversation.

     ‘Well, all those are good but really old.  Do you like anybody new like Elvis Presley?’

     ‘I liked Elvis when he was a hill…Country singer.  After he went mainstream he changed and this Army Elvis is something else again.’

    ‘Yeah, but Elvis is a hero.  Before Elvis there was nothing and now there’s a chance for everyone.  You know how they say that Elvis sings like a Black guy?  Does he sound that way to you?  I don’t get it.’

     ‘Me and Belle saw Elvis at the fairgrounds in 1955 before ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ came out.  I didn’t think there was anything Black about him at all.  Wouldn’t have liked him if there was.  Sounded a lot like Bill Monroe to me.’

     What in musicology are known as the Sun Years was the decisive period in post 1950 music.  Sun was a record label formed by a man named Sam Phillips.  Originally Phillips scouted out Black singers and either sold the masters or issued the songs on Sun Records.  The Black artists were a small and not very lucrative market in the early fifties.  Phillips is reported to have always said that if he could find a White man who could sing Black he would make a million dollars.

     Presley according to Phillips was the genuine article.  He sold his contract to RCA for $37,000.’

     Society with its guilt complex about Negroes has accepted the judgment that Presley sang like a Black man without question or reservation.  I, as the author, was a teenage bronkin’ buck in 1954, ’55 and ’56 and to this day I cannot fathom what Phillips might have meant.

     Black men sang in a variety of styles none of which Presley sounded like.  Black styles ranged from Billy Daniels, the Ink Spots, Louis Jordan, James Brown, Hank Ballard and Little Richard to name only a few.  Presley’s style bore no resemblance to any of those.  In fact any White man copying them would have sounded so ludicrous he would have been laughed off the stage.

     Phillips himself discarded his Black stable as soon as Presley attracted a stable of White hillbilly artists.  None of Phillips White artists sounded remotely Black from Elvis to Johnny Cash to Roy Orbison.  They were all hillbillies and the music they created was immediately known as Rockabilly which to my mind says all.  The same people that hated Hillbilly hated Rockabilly as well.

     Actually Darlin’ was correct.  The early Presley Sun recordings all sound like jumped up Bluegrass a la Bill Monroe.  The flip side of Elvis’ first ’45 was even Monroe’s Blue Moon Of Kentucky which begins in the traditional style that Presley interrupts with the statement:  ‘Hold it man, that don’t move me.’  Then they jump it and do the song Rockabilly fashion.

page 1794.

     Nor did Phillips’ Sun label have much impact in the ’50s.  The affection for the music and style is a latter day romantic movement.  At the time I was the only person I knew who had the records and one of the very few who had heard of them.

     I had no affinity for Black music.  I probably would have rejected Elvis if he had sounded Black.  The record store used to order Sun releases for me.  If a release was by a Black artist I gave it back; if Rockabilly I bought it.

     It was not that I was prejudiced against Blacks but their music didn’t ‘move me’ and that includes that sacred cow ‘gospel music.’  The stuff was far too ethnic  to appeal to White ears.  Only in the late ’50s when the Black edge was taken off Negro singers could Whites tolerate the stuff- except for Little Richard and Fats Domino of course.

     Whatever you may think of Berry Gordy he and his Motown label really put the Black singer into White ears.

     The basis of Phillips’ statement remains a mystery to me.  Like most Americans he probably deluded himself that he respected Black culture while he actually rejected it.

     Black Jack David whose real name was Derek had been intrigued with Dewey’s identification of himself with Hillbillies.  He relaxed a little and began to converse with Dewey person to person instead of across a great divide.

page 1795.

     ‘They sure make it hard on us in Chicago though.  Almost as bad as in Mobile but different.  They laugh at us for our music which is real American but they claim to really like Negro music which just sounds noisy and illiterate to me.  You have to be dumb to sing the blues.  Like the Carter’s say:  Stay on the sunny side of the street.’

     Dewey was still ignorant about the Blues and didn’t know a lot about the sunny side of the street either.  He had heard a fair amount but he couldn’t identiy the structure of the Blues.  The stuff just dounded like a lot of repetitious moaning to him.

     It was a phenomenon that White Folk in general professed a high regard for Black music, although they didn’t buy much of it, while they shunned Southern White Music like the plague.

     White Southern singers were basic folks without a lot superfluous education but there was still a higher level of musicianship than with Blacks while their lyrics were, how shall we say, less earthy than those of the Blacks.  No White person would have been allowed to write much less sing a song in mixed company called ‘Drop Down Mama.’  Yet White people would listen to a Black man sing the sexually explicit lyrics and ooh an aah at the sensual freedom of Black Folk.

     Well, you know, what was a wide awake guy to do but shake his head and wonder.

     Just as Sun was establishing Rockabilly music out of Memphis by the early  and mid-fifties the corpus of songs and the stable of Blues performers that would carry through the century had already been defined and recorded by Marshall Chess of Chess/Checker records in Chicago.  The most influential of the early rock n’ rollers, Chuck Berry, also came from Chess.  Marshall Chess seemed to know a lot more about Black music than Sam Phillips.

page 1796.

     Elvis Presley kind of steamrollered Chuck Berry when he broke with Heartbreak Hotel but Berry established the archetype of Rock n’ Roll music in ’55 with his hit Maybelline.

     Thus by the late fifties both streams of migration from the South were entrenched in Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland and points North.

     Black Jack and Dixie Belle had met and married in Mobile leaving for Chicago for the first time shortly thereafter.  They migrated for the same reason their Black counterparts did.  Not considered ‘niggers’ they were deemed ‘Poor White Trash.’

     Black Jack didn’t want to remain poor, he didn’t object to being called White but he definitely hated the trash part.  He was no fool.  He could see at a glance that he was as good or better than the so-called Urban or Southern Aristocracies but he also realized that he would never be able to escape the stigma of Poor White Trash.  Skin color isn’t the only stigma.

     He couldn’t go back to the hills so the only escape was North.  Blackjack, Dixie Belle and Dixie Darlin’ followed the drinkin’ gourd ending up on the South Side of Chicago across the street from the Black South Side.

     The change was momentous; as much a cultural shock as that of Country Blacks seeing the big city for the first time.  The Hillbillies ‘pure’ English ways clashed with the smarmy hybrid immigrant culture that had developed in Chicago.  They were almost as obvious as the Black Folk.

page 1797.

     A comparable situation would be the invasion of Los Angleles by the Arkies and Okies of the 30s.

     Twenty years after, a term of opprobrium in LA was to call someone an Okie even as his culture was transforming LA.  Fifty years later a Mafioso bigot by the name of Quentin Tarentino would portray the type negatively in his movie ‘Pulp Fiction.’  Actually he made fun of Anglo-Saxons in all his movies.

     Still, the only reason that LA had a Country music scene is because there were so many Okies in the Basin; there and in the Bakersfield/Fresno area.  The Okies still stuck out in LA like Blacks and were treated the same or worse.

     Black Jack David, then still know as Derek, felt himself in a desperate situation.  He knew his own worth.  He was sure of his value as a human being; he wasn’t about to stay and be treated like a dirty dog.  Everywhere he turned he was derided.  He had little formal education.  His manners, while not worse than, were not the manners of immigrant Chicago.

     He was laughed at and derided as though he had been a Negro.  Not naturally offended by Blackness he nevertheless developed a resentment towards them or, rather, passed the resentment he felt at his treatment to them.  The Blacks considered him as though emigrants from Tobacco Road feeling free to despise him.

     Needing to escape the Chicago environment from time to time he made frequent trips to Mobile.  As a mirror decoration instead of a pair of fuzzy dice or a garter he had an upside down cross.

     ‘Uh, I notice your cross is upside down.’  Dewey stated.  ‘Why? did you get it cheaper because they put the hole in wrong end?’

     The Dixie Belle turned in her seat to smile at Dewey:  ‘My husband is a fully ordained minister in the Church of the Second Coming of The Golden Dawn.’

     There was a mouthful of religion.  It shut Dewey up.  He turned to look out the window at the racing landscape.

This Land Is Your Land

     They were moving rapidly into the grip of the Northern cold front.  The softer features of the barren prairie landscape were being turned into cold hard features by the frost.  What should have been land promising of the rebirth of vernal pleasures looked merely like an industrial resource waiting once again to be exploited.

     Americans had no love of their environment; even on a scientific level ecology had no meaning for them.  They had always come to rape the land converting it into a dollar value that could either be taken back to Europe or, if necessary, lavished on a home establishment.

     Initially the ability to rape had been severely inhibited by the limits of ‘human resources.’  The phrase is another attempt to substitute money for people.  But as technology improved in the nineteenth century the ability to rip the land asunder to ‘develop’ the country increased.  Alfred Nobel, the man in whose honor all those grandiose prizes are awarded, provided the penultimate means of maiming the environment when he invented TNT or dynamite as it is otherwise known.

page 1799.

     This enabled man to blast into the solid rock at Cripple Creek in pursuit of a handful of yellow dust or open the rich coal seams across this continent of ‘unlimited’ resources.

     Nobel might justly be characterized as a demon but the devil arrived in the disguise of a man called LeTourneau.

     Like so many monsters LeTourneau was a smallish man given to a certain amount of flab but the man’s imagination was of gigantic diabolical proportions.

     Small  himself his diseased imagination caused him to create earth moving machines of what might be called indescribable dimensions if they hadn’t been hatched on a drawing board.  Still the behemoths stagger the mind.

     Rather than tunnel into the earth, a concept known as ‘strip mining’ was devised and employed a few miles away in the coal fields of Southern Illinois.  Huge shovels bigger than the biggest building of ninety percent of American towns with a shovel capacity of 100-150 tons were built.  Le Tourneau chipped in his two tons worth by building gigantic trucks capable of transporting a shovelful.  Then raised their load capacity to two hundred and three hundred tons.  Three hundred and sixty ton trucks are said to be on the horizon.

page 1800.

     Thus the ‘overburden’ could be scooped off and dumped somewhere else.  The ‘money’ hidden beneath the earth could easily be gotten.  The ‘resource’ could be consumed in a trice.  Having gotten the money out the operators left a huge gaping scar on the landscape on one hand and vast mounds of debris on the other.  The money had been gotten, the land was now worthless.

     There was no thought of even attempting to repair the damage.  There was no concern for the beauty of the landscape or the quality of life for the remaining ‘human resource.’

     As bad as that was let us follow Mr. LeTourneau’s creation to the twenty-first century.  By this time his trucks are bigger than most houses being twenty-seven feet wide and twice and long.  the trucks themselves are three stories tall while appearing as toys beside the monster shovels.

     Now, there was still a lot of coal in the Appalachian seams but the operators said it couldn’t be economically ‘recovered’ by conventional methods.  As always the environment meant nothing, or less than nothing, to Americans.  This means you and not just a class of evil exploiters.  You would have done the same.

     Combining the contributions to human happiness of both Nobel and LeTourneau the operators came up with a simple solution.  They merely planted enough dynamite to blow the mountain tops off several miles at a time.  As they had to have someplace to dump the ‘overburden’ they moved the ‘human resources’, the descendants of the Hatfields and McCoys , out of their ancient homes in the valleys or hollers or bottoms, and using Mr. LeTourneau’s magnificent machines they dumped the mountain tops down into the valleys.  And they did this with their eyes wide open.

page 1801.

     The child is father to the man.  The mines of Illinois were a concept in embryo which Dewey recognized but his mind could not conceive the horrible denouement which insanity would perpetrate.

     The premonition apparent in his mind he heaved a sigh turning back to Dixie Belle and her pride in her husband who was a fully ordained minister in the Church Of The Second Coming Of The Golden Dawn.

Black Jack David In Chicago

     ‘When was the First Coming Of The Golden Dawn?’  Dewey asked.

     ‘You’ve never heard of Aleister Crowley?’  Belle asked.

     ‘No.’  Dewey said flatly.

     ‘Well, my husband knows all about him.’  Belle said.  ‘This is my  man, Black Jack David.’  She added superfluously but with infinite pride.

     Dewey had never heard of Aleister Crowley.  Since neither David nor Dixie Belle was going to mention him again contrary to Dewey’s expectations suffice it to say that he was a psychotic drug addicted sex therapist cum magician of a Theosophic stamp although the Theosophists rejected him.

     In the last quarter of the nineteenth century a guy named MacGregor Mathers started a group called the Golden Dawn in England.  The Irish poet, W.B. Yeats, who wrote a poem called ‘The Second Coming’, was its most famous member.  We may presume that Black Jack combined the poem with the sect to come up with his own variation.  Obviously he fully ordained himself.

page 1802.

     Crowley became a member of the original Golden Dawn and managed to steal their Arcana thereby appropriating the sect to himself.  The original followers went their separate ways.  Crowley turned the sect into a sex and drug cult whose motto, like that of the Abbey of Thelema was:  Do What Thou Wilt.

     Crowley and the sect underwent vicissitudes.  Crowley died in 1947.  The sect ended up, as things of this nature will, in LA.  In fact, their publishing house was located in Barstow.  The house Dewey had been taken to in Pasadena, in the story he related to the Darrels, had actually been a coven of the Golden Dawn.

     Black Jack David was unaffiliated with any other known group.  He and the Dixies were the entire congregation of the Second Coming Of The Golden Dawn.  Black Jack David like Napoleon had ordained himself.  They did have a couple of almost converts in Chicago.  Always a believer in omens Black Jack had immediately recognized Dewey as the lieutenant he needed, miraculously provided by God.

     Black Jack’s program didn’t make much sense.  It was a crude amalgam of Protestant Christianity, the Golden Dawn and general Rosicrucian Theosophy.  Black Jack had picked up most of it on the streets but he had done some desultory unsystematic reading.  The principal incredient of his system was the ‘magick’ Black Jack thought he needed to save his life.  He too was looking for a miracle.

page 1803.

     As all these things are, the Second Coming was merely a projection of the psychological  needs of Derek Drainsfield.  He felt completely rejected and scorned.  He sought salvation.  More than that he had what it took to create it.

     ‘Why is the cross upside down?’  David asked rhetorically finally getting around to Dewey’s question.  He eyed Dewey anxiously as he wanted to make a good impression on the disciple the Lord had provided.  ‘Well, I’ll tell you.’

     ‘Uh huh.’  Dewey said with weary expectancy.

     ‘Justice and decency are overturned in this world.  The Christ has been displaced in this orb of despair by evil, vile and materialististic men.  That cross will remain upside down until those men are defeated and the Rose of Sharon is restored to its rightful place.’

     Dewey was suitably impressed.  The explanation was better than he had expected.  ‘What kind of magic do you have to do that?’  He asked facetiously.

     ‘The right kind.’  Black Jack triumphed.  ‘Did your magick have a K at the end?’

     ‘What magic?’

     ‘That magick.’

     Dewey paused for a moment to seek Black Jack’s direction.

     ‘I spell it M A G I C.’

     ‘Aha.  The wrong kind of magick.  Add a K to that and you’ve got the right kind of magick.’

page 1804.

     Dewey was baffled.  Black Jack was retailing Crowley’s self-help system contained in a book called: ‘Magick: Theory and Practice’ or, in other words, how to become what you would like to be as an act of will.  Magic is important to Christian and Theosophic systems but is discredited by materialist and scientific approaches.  Hence Crowley put a K at the end of magic in the hopes of making the notion credible.

     ‘Oh.  the only kind of magic I know of that will achieve what you want is the A-Bomb and then only because it wipes everyone, evil or not.’

     ‘How did you know about that?’  Black Jack asked startled as though Dewey had divined the secret.

     ‘How do I know about the A-Bomb?’  Dewey asked equally incredulously.

     ‘Yes.  It’s in Chicago you know.’

     ‘I know the atomic pile was in Chicago but how is the A-Bomb in Chicago?’

     ‘The missing one.’  Black Jack pressed on assuming Dewey knew what he was talking about.  ‘It’s somewhere in the nigger district on the South Side.’

     ‘What missing one?’

     ‘The one that disappeared from the stockpile a few years ago.  It’s in Chicago, I know.’

     ‘An A-Bomb disappeared?  How’s that?’

     ‘A patriot named James Burnham published a book in 1954 called ‘The Web Of Subversion’ in which he says that an A-Bomb has been stolen from the stockpile.  He thinks that it’s in private hands somewhere in America.  I’ve got it figured out where.’

     ‘There’s a missing A-Bomb?  Why do you think it’s on the Black South Side?’

     ‘Where else would it be?  Chicago’s the center of the country.’

     Dewey was stopped.

     ‘Well, OK, but why in Darktown?’

     ‘Well, come on.  Where’s the last place in Chicago you would look for it?’

     ‘Uh. I’m not too familiar with Chicago.’

     ‘Well, that’s it.  It’s in the basement of some building right in the heart of Niggerville.’

     ‘In that case you can be sure I’m not going to look for it.’  Dewey said laughing.

     ‘Black Jack’s not afraid.  He goes in there lots.’  Belle reproved.

     ‘Why not?  We’ll need it.’  Black Jack said excitedly thinking that he’d already recruited Dewey.

     ‘Need it for what?’

     ‘I thought you understood.  It’s the magick we need to turn the cross around.  You said it.  First we get the bomb and then we send a note to the President and the Mayor and the Chief of Police telling them that we are holding Chicago as hostage.  Unless all our ransom is met we’ll destroy Chicago.’

     ‘What’s the ransom?’  Dewey asked curiously.

page 1806.

     ‘We want all the malefactors of great wealth and men of evil disposition delivered unto us.  Then we’ll execute them and save the world.  Then the cross will be upright again.’

     Dewey saw that he was in the presence of the ultimate do-gooder.  Was it the boldness of the plan or the absurdity of the premiss that took his breath away?

      ‘Personally I hope the bomb goes off and kills everyone of those of those niggers.’  Suddenly burst from Darlin’ who had been playing quietly with her deck of  ‘funny looking’  Tarot cards.

     ‘I swear I’m going to carry a gun and the next nigger that lays a hand on me is going to get his head blowed off.’

     ‘Amen.’  Dixie Belle intoned.

     ‘Something’s got to be done about that too.’  Added Black Jack David.  ‘Don’t you think so.’  He aggressively asked Dewey.

     Dewey didn’t know what to reply.  The great sweep of Black rebellion was moving across America.  Freedom Riders were active in the South.  Pent up hatreds were erupting in the North and West.  In less than ten years cities from California to New Jersey would go up in flames as Blacks revolted against their situation.  Americans minimized the destruction because it happened here but the hundreds of square miles that were burnt over was topped only by the destruction in bombed over German of World War II.

     True the Blacks fired their own neighborhoods but Dewey would be able to understand that.  After all, if you can’t get away from what is hateful to you it has to be destroyed.  As Dewey knew in his case; to heal oneself psychologically the old self has to be destroyed in order to replace it with the new.  Black frustration, the revolt of the dogs in their kennel, the desire to bit their leash in two, was comprehensible to Dewey.

page 1807.

     The period was one of great transition for Black people as well as America.  If the history of the Blacks can be divided into three periods:  The Slavery Period, the Jim Crow Period and the Self-Awareness Period, then the Blacks were transiting from the Jim Crow Period to that of Self-Awareness.  the transition was fraught with great danger.

     The musical transition was from Rhythm and Blues to Soul music.  (Do you like soul music? No?  Well, then do the Trouser Press, baby.)  In progressing from R&B to Soul music the Blacks acted out the central problem of their existence.  They had a hole in their soul.  Not a criticism, not their fault, just a fact; they had and have a damaged psyche.  It’s bad too.  We always complain about what hurts us the most.  Furthermore the hole can be accurately identified and described.

     The man who put his finger on it was the old vaudevillian by the name of Bert Williams.  Bert performed in the years around the beginning of the twentieth century.  Thus he was the legatee of the Reconstruction Era.  History may be abstract but those who suffer through it have to deal with painful psychological realities.  Life may be a cosmic joke but it is not funny to be the butt of it.

     Bert Williams was a very perceptive guy and an excellent poet in the popular style.  He embodied the Black dilemma in a Coon Tune that is still sung today titled ‘Nobody.’  I will reproduce the lyrics in full in a moment but first let’s discuss the evolution of the Black pysche as evidenced in its musical stages.

page 1808.

     One of the most wonderful descriptions of the development in American of William’s period is the Irishman Mark Sullivan’s truly magnificent six volume social history titled ‘Our Times.’

     Sullivan was an especially acute observer of musical trends.  He says more about Black culture and history in a few pages than most authors get into multi-volumes.  As well as being concise he is perceptive and accurate.

     He was quick to understand that a change in a people’s music represents a change in their psychical attitude; something that Goldwater reactionaries should have picked up on in relation to their White offspring.  Thus one can accturately trace the psychological history of America, also know as the Land of the Thousand Dances, by understanding its popular music.  If you follow the bouncing ball  and don’t get hung up on your preconceptions you won’t have any trouble.

     thus as Black music developed after emancipation a first phase was the era of Darky Songs when Blacks were fresh from the Plantation.  That’s what the White Stephen Foster built his reputation on.  This was followed by the era of Coon Tunes.  There is a different psychology in each.  The permutations of Ragtime and Jazz came through the twenties and thirties followed back out into the Urban Blues, Doo-Wop and the Rhythm and Blues of the forties and fifties.  R&B merged into Sould and Soul disappeared into Rap.  Each musical expression represents a distinct psychological reaction.  Blacks substituted the term Soul for Psyche.

page 1809.

 

 

    

    

    

 

A Novel

Our Lady Of The Blues

Book VII: The Heart Of The Matter

Clip 9

by

R.E. Prindle

     Yisraeli had made contact with one of them with whom he was having breakfast while hoping for Trueman and Zion to show up.  His pretext for the meeting was market research. 

     The homo, Lips Carmody, was spilling out all his repressed needs to Our Lady who he thought would immediately go back to Escondido and fill them when Yehouda spotted Trueman on the other side of the highway as Showbaby drove into the lot.

     ‘Oh my god!’ He ejaculated.

     ‘What?’ Lips asked.

     ‘Do you see that sailor over there?’

     ‘Yes.”

     ‘He…he is one of the most savage homosexual baiters in San Diego.’

     ‘You don’t say?’

     ‘I do say.  You would do the brotherhood a big service by keeping his weeny moving right out of Barstow.’

     ‘I will.’  Lips said getting up to match his action to his words.

     He passed Showbaby on the way out.  Show had delayed entering on a signal from Yisraeli.

     As Carmody went out to hustle Trueman through town Yisreali and Showbaby went out to alert Dagger who was standing by his car.

     ‘That’s him in the sailor suit, Dagger.  Here’s your other five hundred.  I’ll send the rest to you in Bay City.’

page 1681.

     ‘Five hundred?  Supposed to be a thousand.’

     ‘I was in a big hurry since you weren’t organzied.  I must have grabbed five hundred by mistake.’  Yehouda stuffed five one hundred dollar bills into Dalton’s shirt pocket contemptuously.  One might understand Our Lady’s wish to appear the Big Man but it was a mistake.

     Dalton considered himself a man among men and he didn’t consider Yehouda a man.  Dalton wouldn’t be belittled by a mere twit.  Hadn’t he decked his sergeant, who was a real man, and done time in the brig like a man the Marines couldn’t handle?

     Dalton spilled the bills back out of his pocket as contemptously as Yisraeli had put them there.  At the same time he seized Our Lady by the throat lifting him off the ground.  It might have been an interesting experience for Yehouda if Zion hadn’t been there.

     Quickly scooping up the bills before the desert wind wafted them into the hills Show did everything he could to soothe Dalton.  He didn’t want a scene in a parking lot that might bring the police.  He added fifty dollars he had on him to the five hundred talking smoothly and rapidly.  Always keep the other guy’s mind occupied by a ceaseless drone of bull patter.  They listen rather than acting.

     While Showbaby was pattering on Lips was harassing Trueman.

     ‘You better get out of town right now, buddy.  We don’t want your kind around here.’

     ‘What kind is that?  Sailors?’  Dewey asked dumbfounded by this guy’s hostility.

page 1682.

     ‘Don’t get cute with me.  You know what I mean.  I’ve heard about you.’

     ‘Dewey turned and walked a hundred yards away in an attempt to get away from Carmody.  Lips pursued, still berating him.  This happened several times until Dewey had traversed the little town and was near its Eastern limit.  He had all but gotten out of town.

     Somewhat satisfied Lips said:  ‘You better be outta here, buddy.  If i come back in an hour and you’re not gone I’ll have you arrested as a vagrant.’

     ‘A vagrant?  You gotta be nuts.  You can see I’m in uniform; therefore I have visible means of support.’

     Men of Carmody’s stamp are not influenced by facts or logic.

     ‘An hour, wise mouth.  You hear!  One hour.’

     Trueman didn’t believe him but he couldn’t account for his unbounded hostility either.  And he was vulnerable.  These were the times when sheriffs had little fiefdoms which they culd run without regard to law or outside interference.  Many ran speed traps where hapless motorists were fleeced of large sums of money and sent packing.  Not infrequently they never made it out of town under their own power.  The Interstates would change all that in a few years, people shot through bypassing these petty tyrants.

     Dewey did have the two hundred dollars on him.  If picked up the bunko artists called cops would get it all.  He would probably spend a couple days in jail then be sent back to San Diego and billed exorbitantly for the expense.  No recourse either.  Dewey became very alert to the fact that he was living on his wits.  Not to mention his thumb.

     Back at the motel, mutual threats having been exchanged Dalton took the five hundred fifty.  Shaking his fist menacingly at Yehouda he shouted:  ‘You better get the rest to me pronto or I’ll come back here and kill your shifty ass.’

     A few minutes later he stopped in the middle of the highway throwing the door open:  ‘Get in.’  He leered in menacing tones.

    Hyperion To A Satyr

     Dagger had a scary aspect.  Dewey didn’t like his looks.  He thought he recognized him from the motel parking lot where he had heard the ruckus and seen Dagger grab Our Lady by the throat.  He decided to decline the ride even though certain arrest was awaiting him.  But, out there on the highway etiquette requires a good reason for refusing a ride.

     ‘How far are you going?’  Dewey asked hoping for a short distance so he could decline.

     ‘Bay City.’  Dagger said with a confidential smile.

     ‘Bay City?’  Dewey thought, utterly taken back.  Bay City, Michigan?  He couldn’t imagine another Bay City out there in the desert so he got in.

     ‘Bay City, Michigan?’  Dewey asked incredulously.

     ‘That’s right.’

     ‘I’m going to the Valley.’  Dewey replied awestricken at this good luck.  At least, he thought, it would be a forty-eight hour trip from here.

     ‘I know.’  Dalton replied mysteriously.

page 1684.

     Dewey, taken aback, looked sharply at Dalton:  ‘What do you mean, you know?’

     For answer Dalton rudely reached over and pushed down the lock.  Accelerating sharply he said:  ‘Don’t try to get out of the car if you don’t want to get hurt.’

     Dewey pondered this remark thoughtfully.  First the guy in Barstow says he’s heard of him and now this guy says he knows he’s going to the Valley.  Strange, but following his own maxim that there’s nothing to worry about until it’s time to worry about it or, as the Irish proverb has it:  There’s time enough to bid the devil good morning when you meet him.  Dewey didn’t panic but as it was clear that push might come to shove he began to take stock of Dalton and his situation.

     As he now studied the driver he saw a relatively good looking but crude, fellow.  Not handsome in a gorgeous Cary Grant way but handsome enough to pass muster.  However his features were brutish betraying not only a lack of education but a lack of sympathy for refinement or benevolence of any sort.  Dalton did look like a murderous criminal which is why Dewey hesitated in the first place.

     A pair of black motorcycle boots rested on the pedals topped by a pair of black denim trousers.  Hoodlum tough guy dress.

     A peculiar short sleeved canned pea green shirt with a pierced embroidery design on the sleeve ends covered a good but not overly developed torso.  What, Dewey wondered, did that really very feminine shirt mean?  Indecision he decided.  When Dalton had grabbed Yisraeli by the throat standing at his full six foot three inches his presence had been enough to throw the fear of God into Our Lady.  Dewey didn’t think he could win a face to face confrontation with such ferocity but that pea green shirt with the frilly cuffs showed Dagger could be manipulated.

page 1685.

      Neverthless Dalton looked like the self-centered single minded ruffian he was.

     Fortunately for Trueman Dalton was a brute, a mere belly with arms and legs.  It’s not so much that he didn’t have mental capacity but he had been brought up to despise intelligence, education, study and diligence.  He was what Daddy Dagger called a natural man.  One would be tempted to say that he couldn’t read or write but he had passed the Navy intellegence tests to get into the Marines.  Probably his recruiter gave the box A key.

     It is certain Daddy Dagger couldn’t read or write; he was a real natural too.

     That wasn’t because the Daggers were incapable but because they didn’t want to.  They despised all the accoutrements of civilization except, of course, cars, guns and beer.  They were the equivalent of the primitive man.  The men of the Golden Cronian Age.  They were what the Revolution aspired to turn all men into in an orgy of ‘equality.’

     Equality.  The central thesis of the Revolution is worth looking into.

     As I said before the Cronian or Revolutionary consciousness is one of the four principal approaches to life.  The other three being the Matriarchal, Patriarchal and Scientific.  They have all existed coterminously from the beginning.  The trails are quite clear if you’re attuned to following them.  The central and uniting symbol of the Cronian consciousness is the Phrygian Cap.

page 1686

     The origin, history and meaning of the Cap has never, to my knowledge, been investigated.  Its meaning is so obscure that there seems to be no handle with which to begin discussion.  Nevertheless I will at least offer some tentative suggestions.

     The cap is invariably red which is the color of stern justice as well as blood.  There is no sterner justice than the shedding of blood.

     In form the cap is a visorless cone bent in the middle so that the top or bell inclines toward the forehead.  The cap was a characteristic of the ancient Phrygian people.  Phrygia was the area of Anatolia between the coastal settlements of Troy and the North of the inland Hittite Empire.

     The Phrygians were either expelled from or left the southern Danubian region to cross the Dardanelles settling in Anatolia.  Although the knowledge of the Phrygians themselves if the sketchiest it is probable that they settled in Anatolia just before or during the hegemony of the Hittites.  Most certainly displaced by the great migrations of the Aryans taking place at that time.

     The evidence indicates that they were a people antecedent to the introduction of agriculture which they rejected preferring a reactionary existence as hunter gatherers.  It may be conjectured that the agriculturists drove them from the Danubian Basin much as the sodbusters outsted the cattlemen in the US.

page 1687.

     Once in Anatolia they continued their Cronian ways rejecting all the appurtenances of civilization.  That may have included a rejection of Anatolian religious practices.  A rejection of religion remaining a Cronian tenet to the present.

     As to the origin of the Phrygian cap.  The cap of divintity amongst the Hittites was a tall conical rimless cap.  There is evidence that the Phrygians had a hand in the destruction of the Hittite Empire.  As a gesture of contempt it is possible that the Phrygians wore the cap broken and bent forward as a sneer or rejection of divinity.

     The earliest mention of the Phrygian cap that I know of occurs in the story of the Phrygian King Midas with his asses ears which occurs in Greek mythology.

     One must remember that the Greek myths of the Bronze Age only began to be written down with Homer and Hesiod in perhaps the eighth century which was a full 300-800 years after the events they record.  the rest were recorded mostly from 100 BC to 300 AD or even later so it may be assumed that not only did their recorders not have direct knowledge but that they had lost the key to their meaning.  That means that they changed or edited the myths so that they had meaning for themselves.

     Midas himself was the son of a Satyr and a goddess; thus his origins are definitely Cronian; couldn’t be clearer.  In the myth, Marsyas, a Satyr challenges the God Apollo to a musical contest in an access of pride.  Naturally Apollo won although he had to cheat to win.  In the first face off Marsyas was judged the equal of Apollo.  Apollo then challenged Marsyas to turn their intruments upside down and play a round that way.  Well, as Apollo was playing the harp and Marsyas was playing the pipes it is not difficult to see who won that one.

page 1688.

     As the penalty for his presumption Marsyas was flayed alive by Apollo.

     During the contest Midas had taken the side of Marsyas for which Apollo punished him by giving him the ears of an ass.  Thoroughly embarrassed by his condition it is said that Midas invented the Phrygian cap to conceal his ears.

     Concealed beneath his cap the only person who knew Midas had asses ears was his barber.  Midas swore him to absolute secrecy.  The barber was bursting with his secret and had to tell somebody.  He dug a hole by the river bank and sticking his head deep in the hole he whispered that Midas had asses ears.

     He covered the hole up and walked away much relieved.  However with the spring floods reeds grew over the hole and thus learned the secret.  When the wind vibrated the reeds just right they could be heard to sing:  King Midas has asses ears.  Well, the secret was out, there was nothing left for Midas to do but kill himself which he did.

     It seems clear from the myth that the Greeks considered the Phrygians spiritual competitors.  The Trojans had been material competitors and they had been eliminated by the Trojan War.  Spiritual competitors cannot be eliminated by physical means so the Greeks concocted a myth in which higher civilization as represented by Apollo destroyed the Cronian society in a spiritual contest.

page 1689.

     To perpetuate the Greek victory the Cronians were characterized as asses and their key symbol the Phrygian Cap was belittled as a mere means of concealing the asses ears which they all had.

     The rejection of civilization for some impossible golden age was silly in the eyes of the Greeks and has remained so to rational people down to the present time.  There are many deprecating references to these impractical people in the literature of the ages.  There are Roman references in which the Cronians are ridiculed for pursuing an impossible dream.

     Nevertheless the attitude persisted clandestinely until the Revolution erupted in France in 1789.  The Cronian day appeared to have come, they stepped out of the shadows.  The French figure of Liberty wears a Phrygian Cap perched jauntily on her head.  The Cronians have been very active since then around the world, not only in Europe.  In America, in the form of the Masonic Illuminati, they were perceived as a serious threat in the years around 1800.  The Civil War caps of the enlisted men are merely Phrygian Caps with the bell truncated and replaced by a flat surface to disguise their true nature.  Thus one may assume that the Revolution was active in the War Between The States.

     The Phrygian Cap played a role in the Revolution of 1917 in Russia.  the ideals continue in various Red groups in existence today.

     Their concept of absolute equality is as ridiculous today as it was in the early Stone Age.  It is inherent in the genetic makeup of the male of the species to wish to dominate his fellow man.  A man always feels he is entitled to a jot more than his fellows.  Thus the competition starts to make sure one is not surpassed.  Thus it has been, thus it is, thus it will always be.  The problem is always who will be the first among equals.

page 1690

     People will not be absolutely equal.  if we consider the two men in this car speeding across the desert floor, while they are of the same economic and political background one is superior to the other as Hyperion to a Satyr but the Satyr would never accept that decision.

     In ancient Greek art the Cronians are portrayed as roving wild men wandering the glens and glades of the mountains depicted as Satyrs and Centaurs.  They at that time and Duelin’ Dalton Dagger here were half man and half animal.  Not that they were physical hybrids but their minds hadn’t developed enough to separate them from their bestial habits.  They were animals with untrestrained bestial appetites and no mental self control.  In the sense of Apollo’s doctrine of Everything in Measure, Nothing In Excess, and Know Thyself they were outside the pale.  Like Midas they chose the inferiority of Marsyas’ efforts over the superior music of Apollo.  They were goat men with or without the ass ears of Midas.

     The Satyrs were not men in the original state like Dalton Dagger.  They had more or less advanced with civilization, something like the American Indians versus the Whites.  Their modern equivalents were good with guns, decent with cars, but only decent, and could swill an ocean of beer.  From the outside to a not very discriminating eye they looked like ordinary men and women.  But they had to be handled with discretion.  Yisraeli hadn’t known the difference.  Had it not been for the self-effacing discretion of Showbaby he would certainly have been severely beaten if not stomped to death.  Dalton would have escaped too; the lines of guilt were too clearly drawn for anyone to turn him in.

page 1691.

     It would also have taken a discriminating eye to have noticed the profound differences between Dalton and Trueman.  Dewey was everything that Dalton should have been.  But having been pushed down from childhood by people no better than Dalton but better dressed he was rising from the depths that concealed his true nature.  Dewey was deeply imprinted in his face and posture with the brutalization of his youth.

     Apart from the pimples which plagued him and repelled everybody there was a wild staring violence coupled with a doe like timidity to his countenance.

     If physiognomy is destiny Dewey should have spent a few hours before a mirror adjusting his outer appearance to his inner reality.

      It was that rising bubble syndrome.  Dewey was in a state of slow becoming.  If Dalton was the finished equivalent of a satyr Dewey was the developing equivalent of Themistocles, Pericles or ever Hyperion.  Dewey’s mind aspired to the stars.  Dalton’s was mired in his physical reality.  Dewey revered all the attainments the Dagger family despised.

     Disenfranchised, a lamb driven from the fold, a saint wandering in purgatory, an exile on Main Street, he nevertheless believed that by dint of application, hard work and honesty he could succeed not only in the material sense but attain an honored place in society.  In other words, he was drunk on hope.  His big disappointment would be to discover that society is not honorable.  The pillars of society were made of India rubber.  The really big men were merely Dalton Daggers in Brooks Brothers suits.

page 1692.

     The utopian philosophers of the nineteenth century who filled many long and weighty tomes of sentimental ruminations about the causes of crime being poverty and degradation would have been startled if they had seen the objects of their pity come into their own in the twentieth century.

     The causes they had ascribed to crime had all but disappeared but crime had grown exponentially.  In those far off days they imagined that the ‘working man’, they saw as a distinct economic species, unoppressed by the need to slave long hours for low wages would emerge from that cocoon like a butterfly to flit about the libraries and museums in ardent longing to be equal with the refined speculators of thought.

     In the prsent, fully able to indulge their ardent longing for refinement ‘working men’ long only for beer, popcorn, pornographic television and snow mobiles.  Football, basketball and sports in general is the ‘culture’ the ‘working man’ aspires to.

     Now that the ‘working man’ has time and money for museums and libraries they remain empty.  Their only visitors are the same small minority that always inhabited them.

page 1693

     Zola, Hugo and Sue wouldn’t have known what to make of our Duelin’ Dalton Daggers.  These redhots would have thrown their model into disarray.  All their maunderings would turn to ashes in their mouths.  All their compassion and pity for those innocents turned into criminals by a heartless society would be wasted.  All those innocents weren’t turned into criminals they were criminals posing as innocents.  Javert is the true hero of the nineteenth century not Jean Valjean.

     If Dalton had wanted to read ‘Les Miserables’ or ‘Germinal’ or been capable of it, he would have recognized his fellow savages and broken down laughing at the maudlin descriptions of them.  Hugo and Zola may have been well meaning fellows but their evaluation of mankind was hopelessly askew.

     They should have known that a criminal ethic existed.  They should have known that there were doctrinaire criminals just as there were doctrinaire liberals.  Dalton Dagger was not a criminal for any other reason than that he saw the role as the accurate view of life.  No other view made sense to him.  Only fools could hold another view in his opinion.

     The Good Father was wrong; there is such a thing as a bad boy.  There are badmen and badwomen, bad families, even bad societies.  They will never reconstruct themselves; it is a waste of time trying to reconstruct them.  Henry Ford ruined his empire by benevolently giving ex-prisoners jobs; allowing them into his work force.  They corrupted his workers turning Ford Motors nearly into a criminal organization.  Tolerating them corrupts society.

page 1694.

     There can only be political equality of the one man, one vote sort; there can be no absolute equality.  The Revolution chases a chimera.  The very nature of the masculine physical animal precludes such a possibility.  The Animus demands precedence; it demands that all others be subordinate to it.  The only thing that prevents its expression is the jealousy of other men.  No one has the power to enforce dominance over his fellows so each man is compelled to seek the cooperation of others to achieve his goals.  If not he will be defeated hand to hand or by the sabotage of the united group.

     The Revolution only despises rewards for personal initiative which makes them feel inferior.  As a defensive measure against inadequacy they seek to control the benefits of society and distribute the good things of this world on the basis of favoritism rather than initiative.  That is the only way they can succeed.  Equality for the Revolution is merely a Red Herring to delude the masses.  Remember the very term ‘masses’ is a Red invention.

     Dewey eyed this monster, this Dalton Dagger, for monster he was, trying to think of the best opening to penetrate his mind.

     Dalton helped him along:  ‘I’m Duelin’ Dalton Daggerze.’  He said out of the left side of his mouth facing full forward over the steering wheel while eyeing Dewey askance to the right.  He had a way of pronouncing, or rather mispronouncing his name so that he andded an extra ZE as in Daggers-za.

Page 1695.

     ‘How do you spell that?’  Dewey asked trying to organize the sounds in his mind.

      ‘Anyway I choose.’  Dagger said, evidently trying to establish physical intimidation.

     ‘Oh, to be sure.’  Dewey replied contemptuously matching the pea green shirt to the personality.  Dalton though a non-entity in Dewey’s mind became manageable.  ‘But, I mean, how did you spell it on your driver’s license?’

     ‘How do you know I got one?’  Dagger said stupidly, trying to evade a direct answer to a direct question which was common to his class.

    ‘Oh gee, I don’t know, will they sell a car to you without a driver’s license?’  Dewey replied nonchalantly, feigning picking something off the tip of his tongue then appearing to flick it into Dagger’s face.

     Trueman was a little too cool for Dagger.

     ‘I told the Marines to spell it DAGGER.’  Dalton said still evading a direct answer in order to preserve his imagined superiority.

     Dewey looked at his driver closely, eyed his haircut, there was that of the Marines about Dagger.  Within a few weeks it would have disappeared completely but it was still there.

     ‘You don’t pronounce that Dagger?’  Dewey asked not trying to conceal his contempt.

     ‘I pronounce it Daggerze or any goddamn way I want.  I’ll pronounce it Smith if it pleases me.’

     ‘Oh yeah, probably have to.’  Dewey sneered.  ‘So tell me Daggerzzze.’  Dewey said insultingly, loathing the ignorance of the man.  ‘You’re going home on leave to Bay City?  That’s it?’

     Dewey was jousting for intellectual preeminence to counter Dagger’s physical superiority which he keenly felt.

     ‘No!  That’s not it!’ Dagger said in exaggerated tones.

     ‘What is it?  You’re not patrolling the highway to help errant sailors.  Are you?’

     Dalton had expected to instill trembling fear into Dewey who was after all slight and unprepossessing.    He didn’t like the parody and disrespect with which Trueman spoke to him.

     ‘I got me a dishonorable discharge from the Marines.’  Dalton said with as much pride as though he had engineered Grand Coulee Dam.

     This was a completely unexpected reply.  Dewey was flabbergasted.  A DD was cause for shame and regret in his mind.  He thought Dalton was using bravado to cover his himiliation.

     ‘A Dishonorable Discharge?  They don’t just give those things out for no reason.  What did you do?’

     Getting a DD was not the easiest thing to do as Ponzi’s case showed.  For the Navy to give up on a guy was a very serious matter.  There were all kinds of discharges before you got to the bottom rung of Dishonorable.

     ‘I stomped the hell out of my Sergeant.  Damn near killed him.  When they asked if I had remorse I said hell no I wasn’t sorry.  If I had the chance I’d do it again and finish the job.’

page 1697.

     ‘You stomped him?  Why?’  Dewey now took Dalton seriously.  He realized that he was in a car with a certified psycho.  ‘Put me on, Dagger.  You have to be crazy as hell to punch a Petty Officer.’

     ‘I didn’t punch him.  I beat the hell out of him.  Stomped the son-of-a-bitch after I knocked him down.  Broke his nose and jaw for him and he probably sported black eyes for a month.’  Dagger grinned with fierce pride.  ‘I would have killed him but they pulled me off.’

     Dewey involuntarily shrunk within himself.  He wasn’t sure that Dalton was telling the exact truth but if he was Dewey realized that he was in a car with a dangerous maniac who was, in effect, holding him prisoner.

     ‘Wow!  They must have sent you directly to the brig.  No passing GO there.’

     ‘Damn right they did.’  Dalton replied once again with a savage pride.  ‘Just got out.  That’s why I’m on my way back.  My old man thinks I finally made the grade.’

     ‘You sound like it’s a good thing to go to the brig.  I always thought the brig was a pretty rough place.’

     ‘Damn right it is.  You gotta be tough.  You gotta be a real man.  You wouldn’t last a minute.  Real men go to the brig rather than put up with the chicken shit crap they shovel at you.’

     ‘Guess I’m not a real man by your standards.’  Dewey laughed.

     ‘No, you’re not.’  Dalton said complacently.  ‘Not many guys are.  Hell, the Marines advertise they’re looking for a few good men but when they get ’em…’ He said jamming his thumb into his shirt to indicate himself.  ‘…they don’t know what to do with ’em.  So I showed ’em.  I’ll take brig time and a DD any day than follow rules from some stupid Sergeant that I can stomp to shit.’

page 1698

     ‘Yes, indeed!  Hallelujah!’  Dewey thought.  ‘There is something authentic in this guy’s manner.  This guy is a total whacked out psycho.’

     ‘I guess you’re lucky he didn’t die.’  Dewey said lethargically so as not to arouse Duelin’ Dalton.

     ‘How’s that?’  Dalton asked maliciously.

     ‘Well, I mean you would have murdered him.  They would have put you away for life.’

     ‘There ain’t a prison in the world that can hold Duelin’ Dalton Daggerze if he wants out.  You ain’t never killed a man?’  Dalton asked suddenly remembering that Yisraeli had said that Dewey had killed his son.

     ‘Who me?  Hell no, Dagger, why would I want to kill anybody?’

     There was something authentic in Dewey’s tone that gave Dalton pause.  He intuitively believed the sailor casting a pall of irresolution over his determination.

     ‘I have.’

     ‘You have?  You killed some one Dagger?  When was that?’

     ‘Couple weeks ago.’

     ‘Oh yeah?  Who and what for?’

page 1699

     ‘The brig guard.  He was a real asshole.  Always used to go around shocking me with this electric cattle prod.  Taught him though, didn’t I?’

     Dewey stared out the side window thoughtfully.  He remembered the story of the guy found in the surf in Tijuana.  He dimly remembered that something had been stuck up the guy’s rectum.  Dalton’s story could be true.  He reflected on how Kanary had talked him into hitchhiking.  He thought of a couple strange rides he’d gotten on his way to San Bernadino.  He thought of the guy who had picked him up in the desert as though he had been looking for him.  He remembered the very peculiar attitude of the stranger who had threatened him across Barstow; how Dalton had said ‘I know’ when Dewey said he was going to the Valley.  Dewey had seen the contretemps in the parking lot between Yisraeli and Dagger and now he thought he recognized Dagger as the aggressive one.  An aggressor who was now trying to keep Dewey prisoner in his car; kidnapping him in effect.

     Dewey couldn’t know about Yisraeli or about what was happening in the Field to threaten his well being.  He didn’t know that Dalton held a contract on his life.  All he could do was Respond to the Challenge he saw before him.  He thought he had better belittle Dalton a bit.

     ‘Yeah?  What did you do blindside him when he wasn’t looking?  Same as the Sergeant?’

     Dalton came unglued.  He seized the wheel convulsively looking menacingly at Dewey:  ‘Blind sided him?  Blind sided him?’  He shouted vehemently.  ‘Duelin’ Dalton Daggerze don’t never blind side nobody.  I stepped right out of ranks and popped that Sergeant.  I invited I.P. Rivers down to Tiajuana for a carouse after I got out to show him I had no hard feelings, drove him out in the flats and challenged that faggot to a fight and beat him fair and square.  I gave him a shock with the cattle prod where he wanted it most.  Blind sided him?’

page 1700.

     Dagger took his right hand off the wheel and shook his fist in Dewey’s face.  ‘You better take that back.’

     At the mention of the cattle prod Dewey clearly remembered the story of the sailor they found bumping up against the rocks in the surf with the cattle prod up his ass.  He couldn’t believe that the killer had picked him up but he felt the danger.

     ‘OK, OK, OK.  So if I’m wrong, I’m wrong but I’m not taking anything back.  So you’re a mean motor scooter.  Don’t pop a vein on me and run off the road.’

     ‘I’m a man not a coward,’  Duelin’ Dalton screamed.

     ‘No.  No.  Hell, no.  You’ve got to be a tough guy to kill somebody, Dagger.  No doubt about it.’  Dewey stared at Dalton in disbelief but showing no fear.  There was no longer any doubt in his mind that Dagger was telling the truth.  Now his mind dwelt on how Dagger had slammed down the lock.  His thoughts took a turn toward self-preservation.  In defiance of Dalton he flipped the post up.

     ‘You better not be thinking of getting out.’  Dalton shouted.

     ‘I seldom jump out or cars doing eighty miles an hour Dagger but if I want out you sure as hell aren’t going to stop me.  Give me land, lots of land:  Know what I mean?’  Dewey sneered.

page 1701

     They had been racing across the Mojave’s bleak sere landscape.  It was now late afternoon nearly forty-eight hours had passed and Dewey reflected that he hadn’t even yet cleared California.

      They now approached the Highway Patrol checkpoint at Needles.  At that time you had to be checked in and out of the Promised Land.  If you had fruits or vegetables coming in you had to surrender them to the HWP.  The notion was that California was light on bugs.  They didn’t want to let any new ones in.

     Going out they were checking for nuts, I pesume, and wanted to send them on their way.

     ‘Awright now, when we come to the this Highway Patrol station you better not try to get out and you better not try to signal to the cops.  I’m warning you.’  Dalton menaced.

     Dalton was projecting his designs on Dewey but Dewey was mystified by Dalton’s singular behavior.

     ‘Oh yeah.  I’m going to get out and start hitchhiking right in front of the cops.  I’ve got a ride but I’m going to get out and get arrested?  I’ll tell you what Dalton, just keep heading East at eighty per and I’m with you all the way.’

     Dewey was way behind time.  He wasn’t worried about Dalton because he knew beyond question that Dalton wouldn’t attack him awares.  Even though Dalton could have swept the desert with him he knew the man would not make a frontal assault.  Even though Dalton’s words gave the impression that he had designs on Dewey he had no idea Dalton was commissioned to kill him.

page 1702.

     Dalton gave the correct answers to the Highway Patrolman and they were excused form California.  They sped across the line into Arizona.  Dalton began to prepare Dewey for a demand for gas money.

     ‘Listen to the way this baby purrs.’

     ‘Yeah.  Sounds good, Dagger.  Real quiet.’

     ‘You don’t think this ’53 Olds came that way when I bought it do you?’

     ‘Don’t know.  Are you a mechanic?’

     ‘Damn right I am.  The best.  There ain’t nothing I can’t fix in a car.  Nothin’.’

     ‘Guess you take care of all the loose ends; nothin’ you don’t know?  You’re a magno expert no doubt.’

     ‘I am.  Oh sh…, look at that guage.’

     ‘Oh, you can read guages too?’

     ‘You bet, buddy.  This one tells me I’m going to have to stop for gas pretty quick.’

     ‘OK.  Go ahead, you’ve got my permission.’

     ‘I don’t gotta have your permission but I gotta have five for gas.  Give me five for your share.’

     ‘Give you five for my share of what?’

page 1703.

     ‘Five dollars for your share of gas, wise ass.’  Dalton said indignantly.

     ‘There’s something you probably failed to notice when you picked me up, Mastermind, I’m a hitchhiker.  I don’t have five dollars and I don’t share expenses.  If I wanted to pay I would be on a bus and I wouldn’t have to put up with you.  You had a chance to get rid of me back in Needles but you like my company so much you threatened me if I got out of the car.  If you’re tired of me I’ll get out at the gas station.  OK?’

     ‘You got to have money.  Two hundred dollars.  In know it; where is it?’

     Dewey was struck with Dalton’s reference to the two hundred dollars but he didn’t betray it.  The mystery of the last several hours just got deeper.

    ‘Two hundred dollars?  You think I would hitchhike with that much money with guys like you on the road?  Hell, I could fly if I had that much.  Sorry Dagger, no money, I’m broke.’

     ‘How are you going to eat?’

     ‘I’m not.  I thought I could get back in forty-eight hours so there wouldn’t have been any need to eat but it doesn’t look like I’m going to make it.  I’ll probably be half dead before I get back.’

     Dalton smiled, looked out the driver’s side and muttered half under his breath:  ‘You’re going to be all dead.’

     Dalton had been told that Dewey would have two hundred dollars and that it would be his.  He considered it already his.  In his mind Dewey had an obligation to him for the money.

page 1704.

     ‘Where you got it?  In your shoe?’  He said as he eased the Olds back on the highway.

     ‘Don’t got it anywhere.’

     Dalton looked at Dewey warily.  Maybe the guy wasn’t such a chump after all, he thought.  Dalton had all the arrogance of the criminal mind.  No matter how many times they lose they think they’re smarter than all other brains combined.

     Yisreali had told him Dewey would have the money.  Dalton never questioned how Yisraeli would know, which of course, Yisraeli actually didn’t.  He was only guessing.  Convinced that the money was there which, as it turns out it was, Dalton wanted to know where he had it.

     It is a peculiarity of thieves that they must see the object of their desires before they can actually go after it.  Thus if Dalton actually saw the money and where Dewey kept it his mind would have been at ease.  There would be no possibility he couldn’t find it when he wanted it.

      Dewey who was no man of the world and not in the least bit devious kept his money where any self-respecting man kept it, in his billfold on his hip.  But Dalton, who, while not a man of the world but very devious, imagined the money was sewn into the lining of Dewey’s coat, pinned in some inaccessible place or concealed in a money belt or a shoe.  For Dewey there was only one place his money could be; for Dalton dozens including a false bottom to Dewey’s duffel bag.  Dalton just didn’t know where to start looking.  Well, nobody said that just because thieving was dishonest it would be easy.

page 1705.

     As Dalton was devising phrasing less obvious than:  ‘Where’s the money?’ they arrived at a fork in the road.  As the inimitable Mr. Berra said:  ‘When you come to a fork in the road, take it.’  The boys fully intended to do that but there was the question of which tine to follow.  The signs on the highway indicated that if they went left they would reach the town of Flagstaff; Phoenix lay at the end of the right tine.

     As Dalton was planning Dewey’s murder which ever way they went he thought generously to offer him the choice of roads.

     ‘Which way do you want to go?  Phoenix or Flagstaff?’

     As much as a turn to the left distressed Dewey he had seen enough desert in the Mojave so that the prospect of hundreds of miles more was not very appetizing.  The very name of Flagstaff had so much romantic appeal for him that there was really no contest.

     In his youth he had written a story centered around his imagined concept of the town.  Later he had read a great story in one of the Western pulps of a guy stuck in a cabin in Flagstaff during a snowstorm of such magnitude that it made Noah’s flood look like an April shower.

     This guy had the misfortune to have to go potty during this twenty or thirty footer.  No indoor plumbing obviously but the guy had been brought up well.  Rather than let fly out the back door into the snowbank where his impropriety would have melted with the Spring thaw he felt obligated to trek out to the outhouse which miraculously had somehow not been buried beneath the drifts.

page 1706.

     Here’s the tough part of the story.  Although he could see through the driving snow well enough to find his way to the outhouse he somehow couldn’t find his way back to the cabin.  Perhaps his mission had been more urgent on the out trip than on the return.

     Overcome by God only knows what exhaustion, altitude sickness, whatever, he falls to the ground where he turns into a solid block of ice instantaneously.  When the snow did melt that Spring they found the poor sod with his head only inches from the threshhold.  There had been a heavy moral to the story but Dewey lost it in the welter of details.

     You know how it is, some inconsequential stories live on vividly in the memory.  Dewey wanted to see a legendary snowstorm.  This was the middle of December so he imagined or hoped that one was raging at this very moment.  Without hesitation he said:  ‘Flagstaff.’  and thereby for reasons irrelevant to his situation made the decision as will become clear that saved his life.

     ‘Do you believe in fate?’  Dalton asked portentously.

     Just at that moment the voice of Tex Ritter burst from the radio.  Tex had a voice that commanded attention so conversation was suspended for a moment.

Tex sang:

If the ocean was whisky

And I was a duck,

I’d dive to the bottom

And never come up.

But the ocean ain’t whiskey

And I ain’t a duck.

So I’ll play Jack O’ Diamonds

And trust to my luck.

page 1707

     ‘That’s what I believe.’  Dewey said pointing at the radio.

     ‘You’re a drinker?’  Dalton asked thickly for whom the conditional was an incomprehensible mystery.

     ‘Aw, Dalton.  I think you’re missing the philosophy of the thing.’

     ‘What’s that?’  The Mastermind asked stupidly.

     Dewey could see the man was hopeless; he decided to shine him on a little.  ‘Old Philosopher.  Good Bourbon label, don’t you think?’

     ‘Uh, no, I drink Jack Daniels, Black.’  Dalton replied proudly.  ‘There ain’t nobody doesn’t think JD ain’t the best bourbon.’

     ‘Oh yeah?  Well, Jack Daniels isn’t bourbon; it’s Tennessee Sour Mash sippin’ Whiskey.’

     ‘It’s bourbon.’

     ‘Doesn’t make that claim on the bottle.  Read it.’

     As they began the climb to Flagstaff night was coming on.  As they climbed and night fell it grew colder and colder.  Dalton turned on the heater.

     He continued to question Dewey about his money.  As the time came closer to the moment he had decided to act he became more proprietary toward his intended sacrifice.  Like many a murderer he thought his intended victim belonged to him.  He was foolish enough to let it show.

page 1708.

     Dewey had no notion that Dagger actually intended to murder him but it seemed clear that Dalton intended to rob him and leave him standing by the side of the road.  Dewey thought a show of force might be beneficial so he reached in his pocket to withdraw his pearl handled Japanese knife with the long thin blade.

     Dalton watched eagerly thinking Dewey was going to show him the money.  The pin on the blade was so worn that in one motion Dewey withdrew the knife and flipped it open like a switchblade.

     Dalton thought it was one.  He developed a pensive brow.  He didn’t like it but he saw it merely as an obstacle requiring greater caution.

     A sign on the highway pointed to Flagstaff.

     ‘Oh darn.’  Dewey said.  ‘I hoped we would go through Flagstaff.  I wanted to see it.  I guess it’s off the highway.’  Then he said something incomprehensible to Dalton.  ‘Shucks, there isn’t even any snow on the ground.’

     Dagger decided it was time to act.

     Now, if you believed Dalton back there in the Mojave when he said he fought the Sergeant and Rivers fair and square you were just as gullible as the rest.  Dalton was as fond of the bushwhack as any American male.  He had blindsided the Sergeant and bopped Rivers over the head from behind.  He didn’t intend to give Dewey a chance either.

     ‘Oh, I’m so tired.’  Dalton said stifling a false yawn.

page 1709.

     ‘What say we pull off on a side road and get some sleep.’

     So long as they were heading East at eighty per Dewey was content fo humor Dalton complacently so that Dalton thought Dewey was a very placid harmless sort of guy.  At his suggestion of stopping it was Dewey’s turn to fly into a rage.

     ‘Oh no you don’t.  Are you crazy, Dagger?  What the hell are you talking about, pull over?  I’m already fifty-eight hours on the road.’  He said bitterly thinking of Teal Kanary.  ‘I’m not going to stop.  You leave the road and you let me out here or, by god, you’ll learn the reason why.’

     Dalton was startled by the outburst, even intimidated.

     ‘I’m getting too tired to drive.’  He whined.

     ‘Then pull over and let me behind the wheel.  I’ll drive and you can get in the back to sleep.’

     ‘You don’t have a license.’

    ‘Since when does a guy like you worry about laws, eh, killer?  You don’t need a license to drive, old desperado, you only need a license to show a cop.  I haven’t seen a cop since the Needles.

     ‘I’m not going to let you drive my car.’

     ‘Then shut up, keep driving and turn on the heater, it’s cold in here.’  Dewey said flipping out his knife for emphasis.

     ‘The heater is on.’  Dalton whined who, they both realized, had been shivering in his short sleeve canned pea green shirt for some time.

     ‘Then why is it so cold?’  Dewey asked drawing his coat about him.

page 1710

     ‘I don’t know.’  The master mechanic wondered.

     ‘Oh, hey, wow, look at that.’  Dewey said noticing an elevation sign.  ‘We’re at seven thousand feet.  I didn’t know Flagstaff was up that high.’

     ‘Oh my god.’  Dalton gasped as he realized why there was no heat.

     ‘Oh my god, what?’  Dewey replied nonchalantly.

     ‘Oh Jesus.’ 

     ‘Oh my god, oh Jesus what?  Come on, if you’re cold get a jacket out of your trunk and let’s keep going.’

    ‘My car’s froze up.’

     ‘What do you mean your car’s froze up?  What does that mean?  How could that be?’

     ‘Damn you.  You wanted to come this way.  it’s all your fault.  If we’d gone by way of Phoenix this wouldn’t have happened.  At seven thousand feet it’s probably zero outside.’

     ‘So what?’

     ‘My radiator froze.  That’s why there’s no heat.’

     ‘How could that be Dagger?’   It’s not so cold that anti-freeze freezes.’

     ‘I don’t have any anti-freeze.’  Dalton said sheepishly.

     ‘Dewey was flabbergasted.  ‘No anti-freeze?  Why not?’

     ‘It wasn’t cold in LA.  I didn’t need it.’

     Dewey sat back.  He knew it was too good to be true.  What a miracle it had seemed to get a ride straight through.  He now saw himself back out on the highway.

page 1711.

     ‘Hey Dalton.’  He said with false warmth in his voice.  ‘Let me get this straight.  Number one, you’re a master mechanic who knows everything there is to know about a car.  Number two, you’re from Bay City, you grew up there, you know it’s colder than an ice cube at the North Pole and you tell me that because it’s warm in LA, even though you’re going to Bay City in December that you don’t put anti-freeze in your car?’

     ‘Oh man, I was trying to save money.’

     ‘Boy, you’re a lot more stupid than I thought.  So what’s going to happen?  Is the car going to stop running?’

     ‘No.  It’ll be OK until it warms up and melts, then the radiator and probably my block will burst and it will overheat.  Then we’ll stall.’

     ‘My advice  then is to turn North.  Keep it frozen and we’ll be alright.’  Dewey said facetiously and maliciously.

     ‘Don’t be facetious.’  Dalton said.

     ‘Oho, don’t be facetious.  The desperado, Duelin’ Dalton Dagger knows a polysyllabic big word.’

     Dalton, now that he realized there was no possibility of heat realized he was very cold.  He also didn’t want to murder Dewey in this circumstance.  He might be stuck out there alone.  Dewey’s desire to see Flagstaff had saved his life.  Thanks to a story in a pulp magazine read seven years before he was still alive.

     ‘God, I’m cold.  Let me have your coat to wear.’

     ‘Why would I do that?  Then I’d be cold-er.’

     ‘You’ve got that wool shirt.’  Dalton said referring to Dewey’s middie.

page 1712.

     ‘Well, Dagger, just stop and get a jacket out of the trunk.’

     ‘I don’t have a jacket in the trunk.  I don’t have anything in the trunk.  This shirt is all I’ve got.’

     ‘What?  You’re going to Michigan in the dead of winter and all you’ve got to wear is that short sleaved pea green shirt with the frill on the sleeve?  It’s even a terrible color.  I wouldn’t have mentioned it otherwise.’  Dewey said in disbelief.

     ‘Yes.  I thought the heater would keep me warm.’

     ‘Without anti-freeze?  OK.  Given your intelligence or lack thereof, I guess I can accept that.’

     ‘You going to let me wear your coat?’

     ‘Hell no, Dagger, you’ll have to freeze.’

     Dalton stared glumly ahead as he drove shiveringly through the night.  Fortunately the radiator freezing didn’t affect the radio so as they rolled down the mountain in the black starlit night the voice of Hank Snow warmed the atmosphere if not the temperature as he sang with seeming sardonic intent:

The Last Ride.

In the Dodge City yards of the Santa Fe

Stood a freight made up for the East.

And the Engineer with his oil and waste

Was grooming his great iron beast.

While ten cars back in the murky dusk

A boxcar door swung wide.

And a hobo lifted his pal aboard

To start on his last ride.

A lantern swung and the freight pulled out

The Engineer gathered speed.

The Engineer pulled his throttle out

And clucked to his fiery steed.

Tens cars back in the empty box

The hobo rolled a pill.

The flare of the match

Showed his partner’s face

Stark white and deathly still.

As the train wheels clicked 

Over the coupling joints,

A song for a Rambler’s ear,

The hobo talked to the still white form

His pal for many a year.

(Spoken)

For a mighty long time we rambled Jack

With the luck of men that roam,

With the back door stoop for a dining room

And a boxcar for a home.

We dodged the bulls on the Eastern route

And the cops on the Chesapeake.

We traveled the Leadville narrow gauge

In the days of Cripple Creek.

We drifted down through Sunny Cal

On the rails of the old SP,

Of all that you had through good and bad

a half always belonged to me.

You made me promise Jack,

That if I lived and you cashed in,

To take you back to the old churchyard

And bury you there with your kin.

You seemed to know I would keep my word,

For you said that I was white.

Well, I’m keepin’ my promise to you Jack,

‘Cause I’m takin’ you there tonight.

I didn’t have the money to send you there

So I’m takin’ you back on the fly.

It’s a decent way for a ‘bo to go

Home to the bye and bye.

I knew that fever had you Jack,

But that doctor just wouldn’t come.

He was too busy treatin’ the wealthy folks

To doctor a worn out bum.

(Sung)

As the train rode over the ribbons of steel

Straight to the East it sped.

The Engineer in his high capped seat

Kept his eyes on the rails ahead.

While ten cars back in the empty box

The lonely hobo sighed.

For the days of old

And his pal so cold

Who was taking his long Last Ride.

page 1715.

     Dewey had been listening with concentration so he didn’t hear Dalton when at the line ‘Takin’ you back to the old churchyard’ Dagger turned to the window to mutter ‘except you ain’t goin’ to see no churchyard.’

     ‘Boy, don’t you think that’s great.’  Dewey said in wonder.

     ‘What’s so great about it?’  Said the dull witted uncomprehending sluggard.

     ‘Well, I mean, there’s the romance of it.  All those fantastic references to the Leadville narrow gauge in the days of Cripple Creek…’

     ‘What’s a Leadville narrow gage doin’ in a Cripple Creek?’  Dalton asked suspiciously fearful Dewey might know something he didn’t.

     Dalton was on pretty safe ground because although Dewey knew what a narrow gauge railway was and he knew Leadville was in Colorado the rest was pretty well encompassed by romance.  It sounded sensational to him.  He ignored Dalton’s question.

     ‘…well, you know, what I mean is it’s the romance of the rails.  Besides Hank Snow can get more words into a three minute song than anyone I know.  The guy who wrote that song is easily as good as Robert Service or Thayer.  I mean, that’s just a nice verse story.’

     ‘Shut up.’  Dalton said unceremoniously.

     Little did Dewey know he was rolling down the great divide between the old America and the new.  The railroad song was already a thing of the past; next up were truckin’ songs about the great Interstates.

     And so the driver with the man in the passenger’s seat pierced the night with their bright head lights while they bid the coast goodbye without a sigh to head for the old Northwest.  They sped on down the mountainside to a destiny on the other side.

     The faint flimmer of pre-dawn light rose to reveal a desert covered with sage brush.  As the light increased the ribbon of highway called 66 was visible as a narrow line far below.  As rosy fingered dawn revealed the earth in all its glory far in the distance perhaps a hundred miles away, or maybe more, the city of Albuquerque was revealed against the opposing mountain range.

     ‘Must be in New Mexico.’  Dewey said in awe just to pronounce the sacred name of a State.

     ‘Must be.’  Dalton said between clenched shivering teeth although the temperature had risen significantly with the desert and the dawn.

     They rolled on down to rejoin Highway 66.

     Dalton had developed a cold throbbing hatred for Dewey over the last six frigid hours.  While Dalton was still throwing off the chills in his canned pea green short sleeved shirt with the frilly cuff Dewey had been comfortable  for hours in his rain coat.

     As Dalton warmed so did his engine.  The needle of his heat gauge rising inexorably toward the red.  Dalton lamented the impending loss of his car but worse still he deeply lamented his failure to put anti-freeze in the radiator which allowed Dewey to justly call him stupid.  He felt stupid.  He hated Dewey even more because he knew he was stupid.  But as with all people who are foiled in their hopes by an able opponent he felt grudging admiration for Trueman.  Dalton felt that it was a shame he had to die.

page 1717.

     Dalton glimmered that his best opportunity had passed up on the mountain.  He hoped his car might not be so damaged that it couldn’t be repaired for not too many dollars.  If that came about then, he thought, it would be a matter of who could stay awake the longest.

     As the sun levitated up the sky the bitter cold of night left Dalton’s limbs.  Dalton bitterly resented that Dewey hadn’t lent him his coat.  Dewey couldn’t believe that anyone going to Michigan in the winter wouldn’t have the foresight to provide himself with the proper gear.  Dewey substituted the word ‘foresight’ for ‘stupid’ and used it with enough emphasis to irritate Dalton.

     Dalton redoubled his efforts to discover where Dewey had concealed his cash.

     Entering Albuquerque he devised a ploy.  He needed gas but he knew Dewey wouldn’t give him money for that.  A little grocery store sat across the street from the gas station he selected.

     ‘I’m hungry.  While they’re gassing me up let’s go over to that grocery store to get something to eat.’

     ‘Go ahead.  Get something for me.’

     ‘OK.  Give me the money.’

page 1718.

     ‘I don’t have any money.  I just thought it would be a nice gesture if you bought something for me.  Kind of show your appreciation for my pleasant company, you know what I mean,  after all we’ve been through together and all that.  I’d think you were an OK guy.  That’s worth something isn’t it?’

     ‘Not that much and I’m not that OK.  Go hungry.’

     Dalton crossed to the grocery store.  As he did Dewey stepped to the side of the highway to put his thumb out.  Futile gesture as there was no morning traffic.

     Dalton emeged from the store to become enraged.  He saw his two hundred dollars trying to escape.

     ‘Hey Trueman, get your ass back in the car.’  Dalton shouted sternly to the astonishment of various loungers and attendants.

     ‘Listen Dagger, your car’s finished.  I’m catching another ride.

     ‘Oh no you’re not.’  Dalton said shifting his food to his left hand and doubling up his right threateningly.  ‘Get back in the car.’

     ‘Even you aren’t stupid enough to get in a fight in a strange town.  Or are you Dagger?  Cops’ll put you right back in the jug you stupid jarhead; only a psycho would answer an ad for a few good men.  That you got sent to the brig doesn’t mean that you’re a better man it means that you’re even more stupid and psycho than the rest.  Dig it!’

     Dalton was hurt.  Strangely instead of getting angry he broke out in a little pout thrusting his lower lip out and bringing his eyebrows down over his eyes.

page 1719.

     Seeing Dewey’s contempt it began to dawn on him that the hothouse atmosphere begun in Barstow the previous day had evaporated.  He didn’t want to admit that he had lost the opportunity but he realized that conditions had changed.

     ‘My car still runs good.  We’ll get there.  Come on.  Hop in.  It’s OK.’

     ‘Well, there’s water dripping out under there.  You’ll probably overheat and die on the highway.’

     ‘No, I won’t.  It’s OK.  Honest.  Come on.’

     Acting on the premise that a sure ride is better than a potential ride Dewey got back in the car.

     Surprisingly the damage to the car wasn’t that bad, which is to say, it was a slow leak rather than a rapid drain.  Dalton kept it at eighty per through Tucumcari and into the Panhandle of Texas.  As the day warmed up out on the Texas plains the car slowly pegged in the red.

     By the time they reached Amarillo Dalton had slowed to fifty for the last seventy miles or so.  Even then the engine wasn’t that hot; there was no blast of heat coming through the fire wall.  The car could be repaired very cheaply.

     As they passed through Amarillo Dalton became increasingly concerned.  Tired of and Dalton and his incessant clamoring to know where his money was Trueman informed the ex-Marine that if he couldn’t do eighty he was getting out.

     Thinking of Trueman only as an additional twenty-five hundred Dalton didn’t know which to lament more the loss of his car or Trueman’s price.

1720. 

     Just on the East side of Amarillo a combination auto repair and junkyard appeared on the North side of the road.

    ‘Better pull in there Dagger.  Once we’re out of Amarillo there won’t be any better places.’

     Incoherent with despair Dalton pulled in.

     The Olds was a very good looking car for a ’53.  The body was sound.  The engine was great.  Dalton had an excellent choice is a used car.  Actually the only think wrong with it was a couple seals had burst.  The mechanic’s eyes lit up as Dalton bounced steaming unto their lot.  They gave him two choices; overpay or leave the car.

     Like all men who work cars for a living they pretended that they didn’t know what was wrong with the car.  Could be next to nothing could be the engine.

     ‘It’s the radiator.’  Dalton said with assurance.  ‘I know all about cars; more than you guys do.  How much for a used one?’

     ‘Hmm.  ’53 Olds.  We don’t have a junker on the lot just now.  We’d have to check around for a rebuilt one.  Hmm.  Might take a couple days to find one.’

     ‘Couple days!;  Dewey cried, slapping Dalton on the shoulder of his pea green shirt.  ‘I’m in a hurry.  Thanks for the lift Dalton.  So long.’

     Dewey crossed the highway with a sense of relief to put his thumb out.

    ‘Hey…hey…you…can’t…come back.  You can’t do that.’

     Dewey was worth twenty-five hundred to Dalton while the war was only worth a couple hundred so he quickly opted for Trueman.

page 1721.

     ‘What are you doing, trying to get away?  You listen to me.’

     While Dewey had always suspected his danger he now realized the extent of that danger.

     ‘Trying to get away?  What the hell are you talking about Dagger?  Your car’s dead and I’m not waiting two days to fix it.  Screw you.’

     ‘Yeah?  Well, listen Trueman, we’re together.  From here on we’re hitchin’ together.’

     ‘What? Are you crazy Dagger?  Nobody’s going to give two guys a ride.  I’m not going to spend weeks out here just because your car broke down.  Didn’t even break down.  You’re so stupid you didn’t put anti-freeze in it because it was warm in L.A.’

     Dalton knew Dewey had a good argument; no one would pick both of them up.  He tried a last expedient.

     ‘Well, OK. Now listen, I’m going to tell you what you’re going to do.  You’ve got your uniform on so it’s going to be a lot easier for you to get a ride than me.  So, I’m going up ahead of you by a couple hundred feet and when anybody stops to pick you up if you don’t tell them to pick me up too when I get to the Valley I’m going to look you up and kill you.’

     Dewey did believe Duelin’ Dalton Dagger.  He was convinced that Dalton would try to kill him but he mistakenly believed Dalton would never be able to find him.  His mother had divorced and remarried so that even if Dalton knew his name he didn’t know his mother’s.  By that time Dewey thought Dagger was really psycho and might a way anyway.

page 1722.

     ‘Oh yeah, sure Dagger, no problem.’  Dewey promised as Duelin’ Dalton Dagger took up a position up road.  He stood there glaring menacingly at Trueman poised to run after him should the sailor try to run the other way.

     No sooner had they taken up position than a ’48 Hudson pulled over to pick Dewey up.

     Dewey wasn’t worried that Dalton would find him in the Valley but there was many a mile yet between him and his destination.  It was entirely possible Dewey surmised that Dalton might overtake him further up the road.

     This presented a danger for while Dewey had the foresight to realize the consequences of his actions Dalton didn’t.  Therefore, Dewey reasoned, if Dalton overtook him and Dewey wouldn’t cooperate the idiot was liable to start a fight and maybe get them both arrested.  He thought it expedient to attempt to appease Dalton.

     As he got in the back seat of the Hudson he was relieved to find most of the seat was already taken up by boxes of various description.  The two guys in front were so big there was no room for the ex-Marine.

     ‘Say, could you do me a favor and let the guy up there know there isn’t room for him?’

     ‘We’re not going to stop.’

     ‘I know.  Just shrug your shoulders and hold up your hands helplessly or something so he’ll know I tried.

page 1723.

     Killers On The Highway

     Dewey settled back in his seat and began to take note of himself.  He began to examine what now appeared to be a pile of junk beside him while the passenger reached his left hand over the seat clutched like he was picking up an old rag:  ‘I’m sorry we couldn’t pick up your friend but we’re moving and there’s only room for one.’

     ‘Thanks for stopping.  That guy wasn’t any friend of mine.  His car burnt out.  If you can believe it he’s going to Michingan and didn’t put anti-freeze in his car because it was warm in L.A.  Car froze up in Flagstaff last night.  Threatened to kill me if I didn’t ask you to stop.’

     ‘Kill you?  My, that’s violent.  Do you think he would have?’

     ‘I think he’d try.  Wouldn’t get very far with me though.  How far are you going?

page 1724.

     ‘We may take you as far as Tulsa.’

     ‘Oh great.’  Dewey said having no inkling of how many miles that was.

     ‘Yes.’  Said the man in the passenger seat whose name was Daryl.  ‘But.’  Daryl added significantly.  ‘We’re going to leave the highway here soon and take an alternate route.  We will drop you off here if you like or you can ride with us on the side road.’

     Dewey heaved a sigh at this sinister note.  His intuition told him to get out.  They had put him in the back seat which might have meant only that they thought three in the front seat of the huge Hudson might be crowded or it could be meant as a sign of disrespect.

     Daryl had shaken hands with his left which in common parlance meant ‘left hand to a nigger or inferior.’  Now they were to take a less traveled road giving him the option to extricate himself or by staying giving permission to do with him as they liked.  Dewey had hitched enough to read signs either on or off the highway.  There was danger with the homos before and danger behind him in the person of Dalton Dagger.

     If he got out of the car on 66 there was the real risk that Dalton might overtake him in a matter of minutes.

     ‘Christ.’  Dewey thought.  ‘Dagger would give up his ride just to get me.’

     Dalton had threatened to kill him while these guys hadn’t although as a pair of queens, big strong ones at that, anything was possible.

page 1725.

     ‘Well, you’re still going to Tulsa?  I mean, you know, the road…’

     ‘Oh yes, the road we’ll drive crosses 66 in Tulsa.’

     ‘Well, OK.  I’ll ride along with you.

     It will be noticed that Daryl didn’t ask Dewey how far he was going.  That was because he thought he knew how far Dewey was going and that was one hundred miles short of Tulsa.

     Highway 66 was a not very wide two laner before the Interstate and the new road was narrower and rougher than that.  As Darrel, the driver, eased the car North of the highway into this cowpath Dewey had misgivings.  He didn’t know it but by not getting out he had given the Darrels permission to kill him.  In their mind they had given Dewey his chance to live or die.  They were fair men.  Since he hadn’t gotten out he had consented to acquiesce in the homos’ plan.

     As it was Dewey was completely disoriented.  He had been up so long that, while the nervous tension of the journey prevented his being drowsy, his reactions were somewhat impaired.  In addition the novelty of his surroundings completely threw him.  He had lost a sense of time and place.  He knew it was daytime because the sun was shining but that was all.

     He was unaware that he had been given a princely lift but it was about four hundred miles from Amarillo to Tulsa which is not a ride to sniff at.  Dewey had a good map of the United States in his head.  He knew where Tulsa was in relation to Chicago and back to L.A. but he had no real notion of mileages.

page 1726.

     He hadn’t even looked at a map before he left San Diego so he had little idea of the physical realities of distances between cities.  He had known where California was and he knew where Michigan was so he just put his thumb out.  In a lot of ways Dewey was a boy wonder.

     Looking again at the pile of junk beside him he noticed that there were some things piled on top a large box that was covered with a black cloth.  He rapped the box with his knuckles; it seemed to be made of wood and empty.

    ‘Hmmm, the box is empty.’  He mused apprehensively to himself.  Why would anyone who was moving transport an empty box?’

     Recalling him from his reverie Daryl said:  ‘You’re real lucky to get a ride in Oklahoma.  You will have a real difficult time East of Tulsa.’

     ‘Oh yeah?  How’s that?’

     ‘Just a few days ago a family- mother, father, brother and sister- picked up a hitchhiker.  I guess they liked him because they took him home, fed him and everything.  What do you think he did?’

     ‘I don’t know.  Passed gas?’  Dewey snickered in a feeble attempt at humor.

     ‘No, silly.’  Daryl laughed slapping the air at him.  ‘He murdered the whole family and threw them down a well.’

page 1727.

     ‘Oh wow!’  Dewey said disbelievingly.  ‘Did they catch him?’ 

     ‘I don’t think they have yet.  He’s still a killer on the loose.’  Daryl said rolling the phrase on his tongue as though to make its flavor last.

     ‘Likely story.’  Thought Dewey.  ‘Just my luck to be passing through at this time.’

     ‘Well, I’m not going to kill anyone kind enough to give me a ride.’  Dewey said thinking to reassure them in case they were worried.

     ‘No.  I should think not.’  Daryl continued.  ‘But it isn’t only people that pick up hitchhikers that get killed.  Lots of hitchhikers get killed too.’  Daryl turned a flabby cheek toward Dewey over the back of the seat and looked at him signficantly.

     There was that hint of violence again.  All the details were pointing to something sinister.

     ‘Gosh, what is this?’  thought Dewey.  ‘Why is my life constantly hopping out of the frying pan into the fire?’

     He began to study the two Ds more attentively.

     He was in a precarious situation at the same time more or less dangerous than his situation with Dalton Dagger.  In point of fact the Darrels cruised this stretch of highway from Amarillo to Tulsa picking up hitchhikers who were subsequently never heard from again.

     They had explained the pile of junk beside Dewey as belongings they were transferring to a new address.  Thinking they were pitiful small belongings for two such large men Dewey had said noting but he was still wondering why they were transporting an empty box.

page 1728.

     Dewey had been right in his surmise that they were two old queens.  The men were deeply psychically injured.  As Homosexuals it was almost a miracle they had found each other because both had been injured in exactly the same way at exactly the same age and both had reacted in exactly the same way even to physical type.  They were like Tweedledee and Tweedledum except their names were spelled Daryl and Darrel.

     Both were large men; six foot three, husky running to fat and very strong.  They had huge arms; they could bend an iron bar.  Their prissy manner contrasted with their apprearances.  Their affectation of the feminine was grotesque in their persons.  They might have passed as twins but they had only gone to the same school in different places.

     Both had been sexually abused by their fathers while still in their cribs.  They had been only sixteen months old.  There was no possibility that they had a conscious memory of it but they had subconsciously processed the information and as they grew their subconsciouses had directed them in the same way.

     They keenly felt their violations as a breach of trust.  Thus they had cruised the highway of a weekend for the last two years looking for hitchhikers who would be grateful and trusting.

     When they found the right person they would activate the central childhood fixation of their violation.  Both men possessed two distinct minds.  A very powerful subconscious and a feeble conscious mind.  When they murdered the subconscious mind was in control.  Unlike Richard Speck who was aware but unconcerned at what he was doing the Darrels had no conscious memory of their crimes.  You could have questioned them to doomsday on a conscious level and they would truthfully have denied any knowledge of the murders.

page 1729.

     But, if you had known the symbols n which their subconscious minds dealt with their activities there is no chance that they wouldn’t have told you all in symbolical language.  After all, subconsciously they did not know they were doing wrong.  They were only doing symbolically to others what had been done to them.  For if they had had their trust betrayed in an identical manner and no one had been punished for wrongdoing why should they?  And there is a symbolic death and even an actual psychological death or murder in the violation of one male by another.  After one’s symbolic murder the whole of one’s life becomes an extended effort to ressurect oneself at the expense of others.  Not only others but preferably innocent others just as one’s self had been innocent.

      The most brilliant literary evocation of the homosexual dilemma is in the final scene  of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick.

     In that scene which takes place on the great wide bosom of the ocean, or feminine symbol of the unconscious Capt. Ahab has confronted the great white whale of homosexuality and lost.  Now, Moby Dick is a story of a man’s or, several different men’s, struggle with their homosexuality which takes place on many levels.  Ahab himself has lost a leg, a substitute for his penis, to the great white penis, Moby Dick, which is a symbol of the cause of his homosexuality.

page 1730.

Next

 

A Novel

Our Lady Of The Blues

Vol. VII, Part 8

The Heart Of The Matter

by

R.E. Prindle

   

     The formerly complacent mien of the First Class Bos’n’s Mate took on a troubled air.  He walked around the ship with knitted brow.

     And then he caved in to his desires.  If he would never bunk in the Chief’s quarters he could at least create a Petty Officer’s section in First.  The other Petty Officers were enthusiastic for the idea so they decided to requisition the port tiers of bunks for themselves.

     Pardon called Trueman out of muster: ‘You come along too, Frenchey.’

     Both men stepped out of ranks to follow Pardon.  Trueman was somewhat surprised because he was usually told where to go over the side and dismissed.

     Pardon had dissimulated his longings for far too long.  In his own mind he had always considered Trueman as his man just as Dieter had his favorites.  He now meant to set up his own little establishment with Trueman as his man.  He was going to train Trueman in the fine art of overseeing.

     In all his previous work parties Trueman had insisted on equality.  No one had ever overseen him nor had he overseen anybody.  The work load was shared.  He had accepted criticism only from the Petty Officers and that of Castrato only resentfully.

     Dieter had trained several of his favorites in the art of overseeing.  The overseer has the job of supervising the work making sure paint lines are staight and paint is scaled and applied accurately.  He does not participate but stands around observing.  An observer is necessary but the act was not part of Trueman’s psychology.

page 1631.

     ‘OK, you two follow me below into the Deck compartment.’

     Dewey stepped in behind Pardon.  Frenchey made no effort to move.  Always of a sullen mood the attempt on his and Trueman’s lives on the smokestack had made him even more reluctant to participate in shipboard life.

     Dewey went back and took Frenchey by the arm to lead him below.

     ‘Zees ees no going to be, oh, how you say eet in Eenglish, hard, ees eet, Dewey?’

     By that Frenchey meant was this going to be another attempt on his life.  Trueman didn’t comprehend the meaning.

     ‘This is the deck force, Frenchey, no rocket scientists allowed.  Nothing can be too hard.  For Chrissakes this is the Navy; they break everything down so everything can be done by the lowest intelligence.  Everything in the Navy is, Frenchey.  Then they print manuals that explain everything so that even if you didn’t have anyone to tell you what to do you wouldn’t have to make decisions, difficult or easy.  Come on La Frenniere loosen up, we just have to get along in this asshole environment for a few more months.  We’re both under a year.

 

     ‘Mon nom est Frenchey, Meeshur.’

     Trueman was growing weary of that game too.

     ‘So it is, Frenchey, so it is.  My apologies.’

page 1632.

      ‘OK, Trueman, this job is important, take as long as you need to get it right.  Can you do it?’

     ‘Oh, come on, Pardon, of course I can do it right.  But…’  He stepped closer and whispered in Pardon’s ear.  ‘…why don’t you take Frenchey and give him something else:  Come on, don’t make this harder for me than it has to be.’

     Pardon igorned Trueman.  “OK, Trueman, you’re in charge of the work detail.  Frenchey you take orders from Trueman, OK?’

     ‘Oui, Meeshur.’

     ‘Uh, Pardon, I usually work with someone as a team.  No one’s in charge.’

     ‘Things have changed.  You’re in charge on this job.  I want you to oversee.’

     Trueman groaned inwardly but for once was wise enough not to argue.

     They were standing in the new Petty Officer’s quarters on the port side.  The Seamen had been relocated to make room for the Petty Officers.

     ‘This is a pretty simple task and I’m counting on you to do it right Trueman.  I got the best man for the job.’  Pardon’s humor was unintentional but Trueman smiled anyway.

     ‘Oh yeah.  Thanks, Pardon.’

     ‘You see these footlockers?  I want you to paint numbers on them one throught twenty-six.’

     ‘What for?  You guys can’t find your footlockers without numbers?  Nobody else has numbers.  You see, there’s three of these under each tier of bunks.  Top bunk get this one on the left, middle-middle, lower, right.  No disrespect intended to a man of your seniority Pardon but that’s how it’s been done.’

page 1633

     ‘I see you’ve grasped the general principle brilliantly as usual Trueman but I want them numbered, OK?  You’ve got the principle down now work on following orders.’

     ‘A good sailor can geet keeled following zee orders, Meeshur.’  Frenchey put in sullenly.

     Pardon ignored Frenchey while Trueman rolled his eyes.

     ‘Well OK, you want numbers you get numbers.  Who’s got the supplies?’

     ‘Everything is ready for your use, Trueman.  Number stencils.’  Pardon said placing his finger on them.  ‘Paint.’  He held up two little cans of cream colored paint.  ‘And brushes.  Now, Trueman explain how you’re going to do this so I know you understand.,’

     This detail may sound ridiculous but in the Navy one assumes nothing and even then you’ll be wrong.  If there is a way to mess it up, and there always is, it will be messed up.

     ‘Well.’  Said Trueman.  ‘First tell me where number one goes and where I’m supposed to end up.’

     ‘Nice eye for detail.  Alright.  This is number one.’  Pardon said placing his hand on a locker.  ‘And you end up opposite.  Down this side and up the other.’

     ‘OK.  Up this row to the hatch we cross over and come back here.’

     ‘Right.’

     ‘OK.  So these locker lids are each twenty-six inches wide.  So I put the single digit numbers exactly in the middle so the numbers are centered right?  Double digits one number on each side of center.  You don’t want them on the left or right corners?’

page 1634.

     ‘Excellent, Trueman, excellent.’

     ‘Uh huh.  So far I’m doing all your work for you, Pardon.  You’re supposed to be giving me the instructions.  And how far back from the edge do you want this?’

     ‘One inch.’

     ‘OK.  If I have any questions I’ll call you Pardon.’

     ‘I know i’ve put the job in the right hands.  Fall to, Trueman.’

     ‘Right, Pardon.’

     As Pardon walked away Frenchey said sullenly.  ‘I do not like thees, Meeshur Dewey.’

     ‘What do you mean?’

     ‘I do not see why these Monsewer Petty Officers have to have a separate location.’

     ‘I know what you mean, Frenchey.  I don’t like it either.  It seems like they’re really trying to create a class structure.  The idea of Third Classes lording it over Seamen really makes me angry.  Everyone has always been equal while this arrangement makes them think they’re superior to us but we’ve put in our objections now there’s nothing we can do about it.’

     ‘Oui, Meeshur.’  Frenchey said with profound seriousness.  ‘But I am Sailor.  I am not servant.  Cleaning ze toilays ees for others.  Eef they wan’ to have numbers on their lockers then that ees their personal preference.  No one else having ze numbers.  They can do eet themselves.  I do not clean zee toilays and I do not paint zee numbers.  We do not have to do thees personal service.’

page 1636.

     ‘I understand your point, but I don’t know how we’re going to get out of it, Frenchey.’

     ‘I weel appeal to zee Capitaine.’

     ‘I’m not sure he would listen to you on this one, Frenchey.  I agree it’s a personal service but I’m not sure that would matter to anyone else.’

     ‘Eet ees clearly so.’

     ‘To us, Frenchey, but I don’t think it’s so clear cut that the rules wouldn’t be interpreted against us.  You know they want to hang us and you know they won’t stop at murder.  Right or wrong I think they would nail us hard if we refused.’

     ‘Well, we don’ hav’ to do eet well.’

     ‘C’mon man, I always do my work right.’  Trueman said eyeing Frenchey with apprehension.  Deep resentment flowed from Frenchey’s eyes.  His justified sense of injury and wrong was dangerously near the surface.  Trueman decided to be cautious.

     ‘Here, you mix up this can of paint, Frenchey, I’ll be right back.’

     Trueman went off to find a pencil.  When he returned Frenchey was still standing with the paint can in his hand.

     ‘You go ahead and mix that up.’  Trueman said as he walked over to locker number one.  Frenchey sullenly popped the lid, stirring the paint slowly.  Trueman carefully numbered each locker in pencil.  Then he checked each one counting off the numbers.  He wanted no mistakes.

page 1636

     Frenchey had stirred the paint and set the can down.  He was going to insist on being told each move.  Trueman heaved a sigh as he realized that Frenchey was going to sabotage the job even if his best friend was sabotaged along with it.

     ‘OK, Frenchey, now measure the locker and put his number one exactly in the middle.  See.  I put each number in pencil so you can’t make a mistake.’

     ‘Thees is too deeficult for a mere Deck Ape, Meeshur Dewey.’

     ‘Uh, why don’t you go find Pardon and tell him the job is too complicated for you.  Maybe he’ll relieve you.’

     Frenchey went in search of Pardon.  An hour or so later he was back fuming and muttering to himself.

     ‘Well?’

    ‘He say I am to shut up and do as I am told.’

      Trueman looked at Frenchey closely.   The man was walking the edge.  His sense of the injustice of his treatment aboard ship was reaching the breaking point.  Trueman had no idea what to do.  He just said:  ‘Here Frenchey, I’ll show you how.’

     Frenchey knew very well how.  He could have done the job standing on his head but he wasn’t going to do it.

     Dewey demonstrated the method to Frenchey who stood with clenched lips quivering with rage.  The job was too much like a personal insult for his sensibilities.  He thought that if Petty Officers wanted numbers they could paint them themselves.  He was a sailor not a servant.  He had his point.  He remembered only too well having had to clean the head.  Perhaps Castrato and Ratman had prevailed on Pardon to have Trueman and Frenchey do personal service.

page 1637.

     Trueman sympathized fully with Frenchey but he could also sense a trap.  Just as on the smokestack he knew how to deal with it.

     Having explained the task to Frenchey Trueman stepped back to oversee in the prescribed manner.  While Trueman worked fast impatient of obstruction or delay just wanting to get the job done Frenchey was a master obstructionist.  He was quite prepared to take so much time as to make this job the last he would ever do in the Navy.

     He looked up at Trueman watching him:  ‘You are a Seaman just like me, Meeshur, Dewey.’

     For Trueman this was an irrefutable argument.  He certainly would not have stood still for Frenchey’s overseeing himself.  Perhaps this was the trap.  Neither he nor Frenchey knew how desperately Blaise Pardon yearned for the dignity of the Chief’s quarters.  Trueman had no notion that Pardon considered him his fair haired boy nor did Frenchey realize that he and Trueman were considered a pair.  Pardon from his point of view had every reason to believe Frenchey would cooperate with Trueman.

     Trueman got Frenchey’s point.  If he oversaw the job would never get done.  If he chipped in and checked Frenchey’s work the job might get done but he couldn’t work and supervise Frenchey’s work at the same time.  His anxiety to get the job done won out.

     ‘OK, Frenchey, I’ll take one through six and the opposite side.  You take from the break and that opposite side but you can’t dally.  I want to get this job done.’

page 1638.

     ‘What you say ees fine, Meeshur.’

     Dewey and Frenchey went to work.  Dewey wanted to please Blaise so he gave his best effort carefully centering the numbers one inch from the edge.  He gave a quick check on Frenchey from time to time who seemed to have the job right although intentionally a little sloppier.

     The morning had been wasted while only half the afternoon was used effectively.  The job was less than half done at knocking off time.

     That the job was one that would allow the Petty Officers to lord it over the two Seamen became apparent after dinner.  Frenchey bunked closer to the Petty Officers so he was first insulted.

     Bent Cygnette, who was only a Third Class called Frenchey over.

     ‘Hey, Frenchey, goddamn it, look at this.  This is pretty sloppy work.’

     Frenchey who was ready for them refused to budge.

     ‘I am not ze one to talk to, Meeshur.  I am only humble servant.  Messhur Dewey he ees zee overseer.  Talk to heem.’

     Cygnette called out to Trueman.  Trueman feared Cygnette but was alerted by the appeal to Frenchey.  He was not going to let a miserable Third Class anything attempt to boss him especially on off hours.

     ‘What do you want, Cygnette.’  He called over from the starboard side.

page 1639

     ‘Get your ass over here and look at this Trueman.’

     ‘Get your ass over here and explain yourself, Cygnette.’

     Cries of ‘ooh, hoo hoo’ rose from several throats.

     ‘Trueman’s asking for it now.’  The seamen got up ready for a confrontation.  But as tough as he acted Cygnette was never ready for a direct confrontation.  He always found a way out while seeming to be tough.

     “If you’re looking for trouble Trueman I’m your man but this isn’t the time or place.  Get over here and look at this workmanship.’

     ‘I don’t take orders from Gunner’s Mates during hours, Cygnette, and I sure as hell don’t take orders from one after hours.  If you’ve got a complaint take it up with Pardon who’s standing right next to you there.  He’s your man, I’m not.’

     ‘You’re a damn mouthy sailor, Trueman.’

     Trueman really didn’t want to push it given Cygnette’s reputation as a brawler but he had to speak back.

     ‘If you’ve got a problem with anybody in deck, Cygnette, take it up with Pardon.  I’m sure he’ll be able to help you.’

     ‘Fuck!’  Cygnette expleted noncommitally.

     ‘I told you thees ees to humiliate us Meeshur Dewey.’  Frenchey said the next morning as they were back on the job.

     ‘It’s not like I disagree with you Frenchey but there isn’t anything we can do about it.  Let’s just finish the job and get it over with.’

     Frenchey made no more demurs and they did finish the job.  The numbering looked good.  Dewey had returned the tools to the paint locker when Frenchey came up behind him.

page 1640

     ‘There ees a problem, Meeshur Dewey.’  The master saboteur said defiantly.

     ‘What kind of problem, Frenchey?’

     ‘I have make zee mistake.  I have paint zee same number two of zee times.’

     ‘Frenchey, how could you do that?  I numbered the lockers in pencil to prevent that.’

     ‘I do not know how eet happens, Meeshur, but I know eet ees so.’

     After the first day Trueman had approached Pardon to be relieved of Frenchey.  He had explained that he could do it better and faster without him.  Pardon had been adamant that Frenchey stay on the job.

     Trueman assumed that Frenchey had used the same number on either side of the passageway.  Now the prospect of stripping half the numbers to repaint them was too much for Dewey.  He had no idea of the vindictiveness of the Arizona sailor.  Trueman made one of the stupidest mistakes of his life.

     ‘Aw, just forget it Frenchey, those guys are so dumb they’ll never catch on.’

     The anger seething in Frenchey’s soul drove him on.  He managed to be in the area when Castrato spotted the error.  Technically Frenchey was not responsible as Trueman had been appointed overseer but as Frenchey had rejected an overseer he was actually responsible but so what.

page 1641.

     ‘Here, look at this, two of the same number.  What gives?’

     ‘I am only ze ‘umble deck hand, Meeshur, I am following zee orders.’

     ‘You were ordered to use the same number twice?’

     ‘Messhur Dewey, my overseer, say Petty Officers too dumb to notice.’

    Heads snapped around.  Pardon stalked over to Frenchey.

     ‘Trueman said we’re too dumb to notice that?’

     ‘Oui, oui Meeshur.’

     Pardon walked stiff legged across the compartment in high dudgeon.

      ‘Trueman.’  He began with as much emotion as he had ever been know to exhibit.  ‘You’ve got two of the same numbers over here.  Come over here and look.’

     Trueman, believing the identical numbers were on opposite sides of the aisle was prepared with a humorous patter but he was surprised the Petty Officers, who he sincerely believed were too dumb to notice, had noticed so quickly, walked over to take a look intending to be amazed.  When he was shown the lockers nine and ten side by side both with nine stenciled on them but clearly marked nine and ten in pencil he was dumbfounded.

    ‘And you thought we would be too dumb to notice that?’

    Dewey looked at the double dyed perfidious Frenchey standing smugly with his arms folded across his chest.  He ceased at that moment to exist for Trueman.

     ‘Hey, Pardon, I didn’t realize they were next to each other, I thought they were on opposite sides of the passageway.

page 1642.

     ‘Oh, so you didn’t think we were too dumb to notice them side by side but we’re still dumb enough not to notice them across the aisle?’

     That was what Trueman believed but he couldn’t say it.  Why, he thought, hadn’t he checked Frenchey’s work out first.

     Trueman was hurt.  Deep down hurt.  Not only had be been betrayed by Frenchey but he had earned the disrespect of the only man aboard that he had respect for and that because he had assumed that he knew what Frenchey had done.  The loss of Pardon’s respect was more than he wanted to lose; given his own personality there was no chance now that he had been criticized by Pardon that any raprochement could take place so he threw the relationship to the winds.

     ‘What the hell did you expect, Pardon?  I told you to give La Frenniere another job.  I told you he wouldn’t work.  He couldn’t accept an overseer and I don’t blame him.  I couldn’t accept him or any other asshole deckhand.  He simply would not move a finger unless I worked too.

     Look at that penciled number, Pardon.  There is no possible way that he made a mistake.  He hates you; he did it on purpose.  Furthermore he hates you with a good reason.  Numbering these lockers isn’t Deck work.  If you guys wanted numbers it was your responsibility to number them yourselves.  We aren’t your personal servants.

     Plus you tried to kill him by sending him up on the stack.  Why wouldn’t he hate you?  You could have stopped that Pardon, you could have intervened but you didn’t.  You’re just as guilty of attempted murder as Dieter and that asshole Castrato.’  Trueman perorated pointing a finger at the Second Class.

     Having finished he slunk out of the area chagrined at this ruptured relationship with Pardon but subconsciously seething in anger at the First Class because he had permitted the attempt on both La Frenneire’s and his own life.

     ‘Zat was very well said, Meeshur.’  La Frenniere said following Dewey.

    ‘Oh shut up La Frenniere, shut up.  You asshole.  I don’t care how much you hate someone else, I don’t care how justified it is but you never fuck yourself.  Get that stupid, you never fuck yourself.  And also you never fuck your friends.  You’re so stupid, La Frenniere, that you did both.  Now get away from me and don’t ever speak to me again.’

     ‘But, Meeshur…’

     ‘And cut that phony French crap, La Frenniere.  You’re not French; you’re from Arizona.’

     La Frenniere had hurt Dewey.  He had breached Dewey’s defenses against the indignities of having to associate with men he considered beneath him to whom he would now be open to justified ridicule.  Doing his job right had always justified Dewey in his mind against his slovenly deck mates.

     Now he took his vengeance out on La Frenniere.  The little spell La Frenniere had thrown over the ship to make them call him Frenchey had been dispelled.  He had been identified once again as Dennis La Frenniere.   He now stood naked before his shipmates just as he had denuded Trueman.  No one ever called him Frenchey again.  He had to deal with the indignities he felt in his own identity.

     His pain at having to face Navy life without his screen as Frenchey was more than he could bear.  His personality began to unravel before everyone’s eyes.  He took to standing and weeping quietly.  It was not his intention to go on a hunger strike but he stopped eating just the same.

     He was transferred while Dewey was on leave.  Discharged it would take several years before he would be able to function again.  You know it ain’t easy; some have to fall by the wayside.

     Trueman recovered as best he could but as he had managed to insult everyone in First in his defensive tirade he noticed a definite pressure drop.

Tory Torbrick Redux

     Finding a circle is never easy.  Cast aside by Trueman Torbrick who was no hail fellow well met was either unwanted by the other sailors or rejected them.  The Navy was a tough life.  Just as at sea there was water everywhere but none of it was fit to drink so in close proximity to a couple hundred men there were very few with whom one wished to associate.

     Guilt bound Torbrick to Trueman so even though Trueman wouldn’t speak to him he ingratiated himself with Roque Da Costa, McLean and Whatley.  Soon he was making the trip North with them.  Trueman was forced once again to associate with him.

     Still convinced that Trueman was insane he continued to behave in a deprecating manner toward him as though he were a technician handling dangerous materials which Trueman found distasteful.  Having succeeded in forcing himself on Trueman Torbrick then wanted Trueman to ride in his car rather than theirs.

page 1645.

     Dewey had had problems with McLean.  Joe in his hatred of Trueman, which is to say himself, always gave preference to Da Costa  and Whatley and even Torbrick.  After the accident the convertible top had been sprung letting in copious amounts of air which at high speed at night even in Southern California was brisk enough to be uncomfortable.

     The cold air overwhelmed the capacity of the heater.  The only way to stay warm was to crouch down on the floor in front of the heater.  McLean always gave the front seat to Da Costa or Whatley having Trueman ride in the back.  Now that was chill.  In an effort to keep warm Trueman to McLean’s delight had to lean over the front seat to catch warm air from the heater.

     In the blindness of his friendship Trueman was incapable of seeing McLean laughing in delight at his discomfort.

     As much as he hated to favor Torbrick the prospect of another November drive in the very nearly open car of McLean of which the top was shredding was too much for Trueman.  He took the ride.

     As a special reward for some reason the Navy gave the men a Friday off.  Thus Trueman and Torbrick set off at five AM for the trip North to take full advantage of the long weekend.

     In order to get someone in trouble, to get them to show their ‘true character’ it is necessary to place them in harm’s way.  If Trueman having been lured to Tijuana and its whorehouses, had been led into a fight, he would undoubtedly have been taken by the gendarmes to the legendary Tijuana jail.  Thus his ‘true character’ would have been revealed.

page 1646.

     For the rest of his life he would have had to lie when asked if he had ever been arrested or in jail or defame himself by admitting it no matter in how comical or deprecatory a manner.  The key to defaming a person is to create a criminal record for him.

     Thus, even though Trueman didn’t have a driver’s license Torbrick insisted that he drive.  This even though Trueman freely admitted that the only time he had ever driven a car was the few miles in San Juan Capistrano when he had been hitchhiking.

     Driving without a license is a relatively serious violation of the Motor Vehicle Code.  Especially so if your driving could be interpreted as dangerous or reckless.  If Trueman had considered he would have refused to drive but he was eager to drive so he took the opportunity.

     Torbrick had a ’56 Ford.  Hard to tell where his old man got the money for that.  It was a good driving car.  Without being expert Trueman quickly got the knack.  By the time they passed the towers of Disneyland he was negotiating the five lanes if not with the relaxed aplomb of the Marine, Bill Baird, at least adequately.

     Torbric during the whole journey sat with his back to the door staring at Trueman as though he were some artefact on display at a museum.  He had the habit of talking to Trueman as though he were a psychiatrist examining a real psychological oddity which transcended normal experience by too far and a half.  Trueman found this exasperating and offensive.

page 1647.

     By the time they got through the Stack the smog in LA was biting.  LA was perhaps the first city in America to have a real smog problem.  They were to have smog alerts in which they were warned to not breathe deeply.

     As an interesting aside the hippy cartoonist of the LA Free Press, Ron Cobb, always used to ridicule the LA airport by having all his characters standing around in gas masks.  Gasmasks certainly would have been useful at certain times.  The restaurant outside the terminal took revenge on him by inventing the Cobb salad.  Actually a very tasty salad the ingredients were chopped up into small particles and blended together as they wished they could do to Ron Cobb.  It’s really quite funny if you dwell on it a while.

     The smog was intense and biting on that day although not hazy but clear.  The sun sliced brightly through the air but the acid really smarted causing the eyes to tear.  In an effort to avoid blinking Trueman narrowed his eyes into little slits that reduced the area of exposed eyeball.  To Torbrick leaning against the door looking at him it looked as though Trueman was driving with his eyes shut.

     ‘Open your eyes, Dewey.  You can’t see the road with your eyes closed.’

     ‘My eyes are open, Torbrick and I can see the road.  If I open them wide it hurts so much I can’t see the road.’

page 1648.

     ‘N-n-no.  You’ve got your eyes closed.  I can see it.  Open them please.’  Torbrick thought there was no insanity that was beyond Trueman.  As unreasonable as it was to suppose that Trueman was driving the Hollywood Freeway with his eyes closed Torbrick persisted in his belief.

     ‘Look Torbrick, if you’d rather drive I’ll stop the car right here and you can take over.’

     ‘Oh god, Dewey, you can’t just stop, there’s no place to pull over.’

     ‘I can stop and I will if you don’t shut up and leave me alone.’  Dewey said in exaperation but not conviction.  The threat was enough to silence Torbric who thought Trueman was crazy enough to do it.

     Although Trueman enjoyed driving, the trip was the most exasperating and boring that he would ever take.  Torbrick was the most commonplace of minds.

     They got into Oakland early Friday afternoon.  School was not yet out so Trueman dumped Torbrick to go up to Castlemont High to suprise Louise and walk her home.

     Castlemont only two years before had had only a few Black students but the Blacks continually arriving from the South had pushed deep into the forty and fifty blocks and were rapidly appropriating the sixties so that in a scant two years Castlemont had become half Black.  You want to talk about stresses.

     A lot of attention has been paid to White resistance to Black inroads in their neighborhoods but it should be remembered that those Whites were displaced from familiar and loved areas to have to go seek new roots elsewhere.  It is wrong to think that Blacks wanted them in the neighborhood.  The Blacks felt much more comfortable among their own.

page 1649.

     A great many White lives were disrupted as high school students had to try to integrate themselves into new school environments which is an impossible thing to do.  The social costs were perhaps higher for the Whites who were displaced than for the Blacks who displaced them.

     Dewey had gone to an all White school so he was startled to see so many Black faces.  Although he had thought he would walk Louise home, once inside the school he realized that he had no means to find her.  Fortunately he ran into Donna Popp who lived up the block from Louise.

     Donna was a very nice girl but afflicted with extreme hairiness.  Not the light downy kind but the long black hairs that made her resemble a female Wolfman.  She overcame this liability by being quite a wonderful person.

     ‘Oh, Dewey.  I’m so glad you’re here.  No, Louise skipped school today.  She’s not here but don’t leave me, Dewey.’

     ‘Uh, OK, but why not, Donna?’

    ‘Gosh, I was late getting out of class.  If I don’t get out right away with the rest of the girls the Black guys will rape you.’

     ‘You’re kidding me.’  Dewey replied, astonished as he looked down the hall at the dozens of Black boys standing around with hungry eyes like tigers lurking in the jungle.

page 1650.

     ‘They can’t get away with that, Donna.’

     ‘Oh yes they can.  It’s happened to two friends of mine already and Louise had a close call.’

     ‘But why weren’t they arrested?’

     ‘Because they’re Black and if they get arrested they’ll cry discrimination and start a riot;.’

     The Black guys stared hungrily in Dewey’s and Donna’s direction not sure whether to attempt it or not.  Dewey put on his toughest Navy look and stance which established the relationship as he and Donna hurried out.

     ‘Are you and Louise going to the dance tonight?’

     ‘I don’t know.  Is there a dance tonight?’

     ‘Uh huh.  The homecoming dance.’

     ‘I’ll ask Louise when I get there.  Want me to carry your books?’   

     ‘Sure, thanks.’

     Dewey dropped Donna off at her door continuing up the block to the house of Louise.  Louise was busy but said that yes they were going to the dance.  Dewey wandered off to return later.

     Louise and Dewey with a gaggle of her friends entered the gymnasium where the dance was sparsely attended.  The transition from a White school to a Black school was apparent in racial tensions that Dewey had never experienced.  The Blacks sat on one side of the gym while the Whites sat on the other.  The Blacks glared intense hatred and resentment across the basketball court while the Whites rendered impotent by their parents of the Greatest Generation sat and cringed in guilt.

page 1651

     The music was provided by a phonograph.  Each side seemed to have a preference for specific records; the Blacks preferring a down home primitive sound while the Whites preferred a more sophisticated Rock and Roll.  There may be voices of dissent that Black music was coarse, primitive and really unmusical but then if you haven’t listened to ‘White Port And Lemon Juice’ what can you really have to say?  Records were alternated as neither side would take the floor with the others on it.

     Dewey watched fascinated unable to envision the tensions that existed in the classrooms.  The Blacks, many of them fresh up from ‘Bama had been placed in classes by age not by ability so the quality of education must have suffered severely.  Some may say that I am unfairly characterizing the preparation of the Negroes but if you’re going to argue that the quality of education depends on the amount of money spent and that the amount spent on Black schools in the South was much less than that spent on White schools then it logically follows that the Black students fresh from points South had inferior educations and weren’t qualified for their grade years.  I mean, really, you are bound to honor your own arguments.  Logical consistency has been thrown overboard for racial interests since those times but it never hurts to have a reality check from time to time.

      Several of the girls behind Dewey on the bleachers stared anxiously across the gym at some of the Black boys as they discussed them with a mixture of fear and awe and anticipation that they might soon be raped by them with no recourse. 

     ‘See that one; that’s Bobby Thomas.  You got to watch him.  He’s really after me.  I have to get out real quick or he’ll grab me.  He’s always got four or five guys around him.  You know how it is when they surround you so nobody can see while one of them does it to you.  God, right there against the lockers, standing up.’

page 1652.

     ‘I know, it hasn’t happened to me yet but my friend Marsha got it a week ago.  She’s really feeling bad, poor kid, not much you can do about it though.  You’ve just got to learn to live with it.’

     ‘Yeah, but it’s bad enough to get pregnant and have a white baby, who wants a Black one?  How do you explain that to anyone?’

     ‘I know.  No one will believe you got raped.  They’ll say you asked for it.  I can’t even begin to convince my mother how bad it is.  She and my dad go on about he fought the Nazis so people could be free.  Some freedom.  Which people is it that he was trying to make free and which was he trying to enslave?  They just tell me not to be prejudiced.  They’re just like us they say.’

     ‘Yeah, except if a White guy raped you you could put his ass in a sling.’

     Dewey listened to this with, if not unbelieving ears, astounded ears.  He had no idea as yet that life had become a war zone with the advantage on the other side.  To make any complaint was to brand oneself as a racist.

     In a few years he would learn that a hell on earth had been created by the Founding Fathers and enforced by the Greatest Generation.  Trouble was coming everyday, indeed.

page 1653.

     Dewey dropped Louise off with a sense of amazement, compassion and pity.  Dewey wondered how he would have been able to put up with it.

      Louise and her parents were gone on Sunday so after putting around all day with Torbrick they got on the highway at six for the trip back.

     About midnight Torbrick began to worry Trueman about staying awake.

     ‘Look Torbirck I’ve been doing this for months and I’ve never had any trouble staying awake, see?  You don’t go to sleep when you’re in someone else’s car.’

     ‘I know, but tonight might be different.  I’d just feel better if you took a couple of these bennies.’ Torbrick said producing a box.

     ‘I don’t take drugs.’  Dewey snarled.

     ‘I know, I know.  I’m not asking you to take drugs but if you don’t take a couple of these to stay awake you might crash the car and never wake up.’

     Dewey gave Torbrick a sharp look, offended that he would try to get Dewey hooked on drugs while posing as his friend.

     ‘I don’t want to get hooked on drugs, Torbrick, if you’re worried you drive.’

     ‘You can’t get hooked one time, Dewey.  I’d feel better with you driving.  C’mon, it’s important to stay awake.’

page 1654.

     Dewey reluctantly swallowed one of the pills to shut Torbrick up.  The bennie didn’t so much keep him awake as dull his mind and slow his reflexes.  The pill didn’t dull his mind so much that he didn’t see the red light of the Highway Patrol flashing behind him.  He knew he wasn’t speeding so he didn’t know what it could be.  His task now was to make it look like Torbrick was driving.

     Tory suppresed a little glee sure that Trueman was in trouble.  He made the mistake of getting out of the car when Trueman did.  As usual the cop took a long time getting out of his car.

     Trueman had walked back towards the police car, Torbrick meeting him behind the Ford.  Trueman put the keys in Torbrick’s hand stepping over to the passenger side of him.

     The cop got out doing a casual cop power stroll up to the car.

     ‘Know why I stopped you?’  The cop demanded.

     ‘Speeding?’  Torbrick said hopefully not realizing that he now appeared to be the driver with keys in his hand.

    ‘No.  You’ve got a taillight out here.’  The cop said tapping the light on the driver’s side which was indeed broken  out.

     ‘Oh,  It’s his car.’  Dewey said swiftly getting into the passenger’s seat.

     Well, I’m not going to give you a ticket this time but you better get that fixed right away.’

     ‘Yes, I will officer.  Thank you.’

     ‘By the way, let me look at your driver’s license while I’m here.’

     After a quick review Torbrick slid into the driver’s seat.

     ‘That was pretty slick, Dewey.  He didn’t even know you were driving.’

     ‘I didn’t think it was too bad myself.  Home, Torbrick.’

     They both laughed.  Dewey had avoided danger while Torbrick glanced at him admiringly but this was the last time Dewey elected to ride with Torbrick.  It wasn’t that he didn’t have a driver’s license which was a risk he could accept but he deeply resented Torbrick’s having forced the bennie on him.  If he hadn’t known before he now knew that Torbrick was not a true friend.

     He wondered who had broken the taillight which had been intact in San Diego.  It didn’t occur to him to suspect Joe McLean who would be the author of that little trouble and many another woe.

     The two men walked aboard the Teufelsdreck while it was still pitch black.

page 1656.

THIS SIDE OF BIG RIVER.

A Journey Of Twenty-five Hundred MIles Begins With A Single Step.

     Our Lady had hired his assassin but in his excitement he had forgotten to arrange for Dewey to be out on the highway; a small detail but an essential one.

     By now Yisraeli had a pretty good psychological profile on Trueman.  As he hadn’t gauged the conflicts raging in Dewey’s mind but dealt only with external manifestations Our Lady found him unpredictable.  He had discerned Trueman’s predilection for novelty and he had found his enemy easily suggestible.

     He had Kanary and a few of his confederates plant the notion of hitchhiking across country in Dewey’s mind.  Hitching across country is no light matter; hitching is always dangerous; nobody knew that better than Trueman so he turned a deaf ear to the notion.

     Time was of the essence as the lawyers say.  Dewey had to be gotten off the bus quickly.  If Trueman had little cash on him he still had two years of allotments sent to the bank in the Valley.  He could have afforded to fly without any difficulty.  Cursed by his mother of the Steel Womb he had been persuaded by her to allocate half his wages against the future.  As J.P. Morgan once said:  People always have two reasons for going anything; a good reason…and the real one.

page 1657

     Had Dewey sat down and reasoned the matter out he would have realized that even the good reason for foregoing his present wasn’t good enough.  He wasted three years punishing himself by extreme poverty for no good reason.  Three of the best years of his life which he should have been enjoying were thrown into a steel womb.  But then that wasn’t his mother’s real reason.  The real reason was that she would never stop punishing him for not having been a girl.

     If questioned she would have said she wasn’t aware of it but that would have been nonsense too.  There is no unconscious.  In the way of the psychotic she just didn’t consciously acknowledge her motives to herself.  And so Dewey scrubbed his best interests to buy a ticket for a bus ride he knew he wouldn’t be able to tolerate.

     That’s where Our Lady got his leverage.

     He kept the pressure on.  Thus while his confederates were extolling the virtues of hitching Dewey was ruminating on the horrible prospect of that bus ride.

     His fellows kept up a patter about fabulous hitchhiking feats.  One lucky guy had caught a non-stop ride to New York City a few seconds after he put his thumb out.  By alternating as driver he made it back in forty-eight hours.  Forty-eight hours!  Now there was incentive.

     It was even proved, as it were, that by using some mathematical formula by dividing the speed of light by the retrograde motion of Mars that you could actually be in New York before you had debunked in San Diego.  Dewey’s interest had been piqued but he had already bought the bus ticket.

page 1658.

     Kanary reported the situation disconsolately to Yisraeli.  Our Lady instructed Kanary to deal directly with Trueman himself taking him by the hand if necessary to get a refund on the ticket and then to lead him to the highway.  Kanary protested that Trueman would never trust him.  Kanary made the mistake of projecting his perception of their relationship on Trueman believing Trueman hated him as much as hated Trueman.

     It was true that Trueman distrusted Kanary but Yisraeli had divined that Trueman’s desire to be liked would easily overcome a feeling of distrust by a display of apparent friendship.  Kanary did as he was instructed.  His guilt and hatred was such that he was not able to project much friendliness.  Trueman remained suspicious but as he really did want to be liked he lowered his guard.  Kanary took him to the bus station he get his refund.

     Kanary then told him that he knew an excellent location to begin.  Here there is no accounting for Trueman’s stupidity.  He knew there was only one highway East out of San Diego.  He knew that Kanary flew to San Francisco and never hitchhiked anywhere so there was no reason for him to know a good place to stand heading East.

     Another remarkable thing in Trueman’s conduct is that he never consulted a map or carried one.  he had an excellent general notion of the layout of the country; he knew where all the cities were in relation to the othr cities so he always knew the general direction he wanted to go.  That was good enough for him.

page 1659.

     A journey of a thousand miles may begin with a single step but the problem remains where the first step will be taken.  Yisraeli himself had a crazy scheme that shouldn’t have worked but it almost did.  This was really a case of dumb and dumber.

     Yisraeli’s plan was to send Trueman North out of San Diego through San Bernardino and Barstow.  Somewhere in that distance his agent, Dalton Dagger, was supposed to murder Trueman leaving the body out in the desert for the rodents to gnaw.

     Dewey knew 99 thoroughly  and was familiar with 101 but he had never been East or gone North up 395.

     Highway 101 runs border to border on the West side of the Coast Range while 99, now Interstate 5, runs from border to border between the Coast Range and the ranges of the Sierra Nevada and the Cascades.  Highway 395 which ran from border to border on the East of the Sierras and Cascades was uncharted territory.

     Dewey knew the lay of 395 in San Diego because it ran down the length of Balboa Park.  From that knowledge he knew there was no good hitchhiking access.  Kanary said he would show him where.  That was such a nice little service on Kanary’s part for a a man he didn’t like that it should have made Dewey go back to the bus station for his ticket.  But it didn’t.

     On the morning of December 13th Dewey and Kanary could be seen picking their path through the traveling derricks toward the gate of the Naval Station.  In a peculiar homosexual ritual Kanary carried his wallet and personal effects held chest high in his two hands like the talisman of a princess conducting the victim to the place of execution.

page 1660.

     Trueman was amazed that Kanary could leave the ship on a weekday morning but then that’s why Yeoman is such a sensitive post.  Not only does all correspondence pass through their hands but they have great discretionary latitude with their time.  Describing Kanary’s Naval career would be another large branch of this story containing much revealing detail.  But as the sage said:  That’s another story.

     As they walked through Balboa Park Kanary was no longer able to conceal his disgust and hatred.  He kept three paces behind Trueman as though he were herding a sheep to the slaughter.

     They came to an overpass above a deep thirty foot cut with steep ivy covered embankments and no shoulder.  Dewey was incredulous.

     ‘You got to be kidding Kanary.  I thought you said you knew a good access place.  That’s dangerous.  It’s high speed and there’s no place for a car to pull over.  Jesus, I’m liable to be picked up by the cops before I get a ride.’

     ‘Well.’  Said Kanary with ill concealed scorn.  ‘You can always take the bus.’

     ‘Yeah, but I’d waste a whole day now.’

     ‘That’s the way it is.’  Kanary sniggered.  He now considered his self made enemy as good as dead.  ‘So long.’  He said holding his purse up breast high with a little bow.  ‘If I never see you again it will be too soon.’  He turned casting a hateful glance over his shoulder at Trueman and walked away.  Teal Kanary had been quite successful in darkening his own world.  He thought the impending doom of Trueman would be a lightning flash to illuminatie it.

page 1661.

     Dewey was perplexed.  He wasn’t clear yet that he was heading North but the highway was not propitious for hitchhiking.  He looked up the highway but he couldn’t see a better place to start.  Grumbling to himself he crossed the overpass scrambling down through the ivy of a very steep embankment.  The curb was abutted to the roadbed so there was no place for cars to pull over.  Standing with one foot in the ivy while the other was propped up nearly chest level on the embankment he surveyed the old concrete cracked two lane road, one each way, as he put his thumb out.  The cars whizzed by; there seemed no propect for a ride.

     ‘Oh god, I’ve been set up.’  He realized belatedly.  ‘If the cops get here first so much for my leave.’

     The psychological necessity for the perpetrator is to see the victim entangled in his mesh.  They will always come to see.  The fellow you know who stands to watch you in your toils is the man who set you up.  If they are really devious they will send a decoy as a scapegoat to draw your attention if they think you’re hep.  Then they come along second or stand further in the background but they always come to watch.  There are some devious people out there.

     As Dewey stood there the car bearing Yisraeli, Beverly and Anne was speeding toward him.

page 1662.

     Both Beverly and Anne had entered the plot with glee.  Beverly who was still reeling under the blows of fate was only too glad to pass her torment on to another.  Move that monkey along.  Like so many deluded folk she though she could liberate herself by putting that monkey on someone else’s back.

     Anne, who had been told that Dewey was her brother’s murderer, was only too glad to see the victim before ‘justice’ was done.

     Dewey like any good hitchhiker made eye to eye contact with every passing driver.  Thus for a hundred feet he watched the occupants of the oncoming car seeming to laugh and point at him.  Our Lady drew his finger across his throat as they passed as an indication that Dewey was to be terminated.

     Drivers sometimes did strange things as they passed.  This was one of the strangest.  Dewey noted it because of its strangeness.  The only interpretation he could make of it was that a cop was close behind.

     Yisraeli’s plan was not overly complicated but it had a number of uncontrolled variables.  Dalton Dagger was supposed to be right behind Yisraeli to pick Trueman up.  Yisraeli, who was not without a sense of humor, wanted to joke with Trueman.  Aboard ship when Yisraeli’s confederates had told the story of how the hitcher’s first ride had been coast to coast they were setting Dewey up.  Thus when Dewey would ask how far Dalton Dagger was going his very first ride would a non-stop to the Valley.  Then when Dalton murdered Dewey on the highway to Barstow, Our Lady would have a great laugh.

page 1663.

     However Dalton was not that reliable.  Punctuality and Dalton spoke only from a distance over a great chasm so he wasn’t even close to beginning.  Yisraeli’s plan was already getting sketchy.

     By some miracle the car behind Yisraeli did stop to pick up the sailor.  Trueman blessed his luck while a line of cars piled up behind his ride who obviously had to stop in the middle of the single Northbound lane.  Even though the car had stopped almost in front of Trueman by the time he slammed the door there were ten irate drivers behind.

     ‘I’m only going as far as Escondido.’

     ‘That’s alright.  Thanks for getting me out of that spot.  I’m amazed you stopped, especially since all those driver’s got so angry.’

     ‘Ahh, nothin’.  I do what I want.  I’m king of this or any other road.  If they don’t like it let ’em suck my exhaust pipe.  I stop where I damn well please.’

     Dewey was always too concerned about the rights of others.  He both admired and condemned the driver’s self-centered attitude but he could have used a little of it.

     Yisraeli had noticed Trueman being picked up in his rear view mirror so he kept his eye on the car until he could swing off the highway and come back on the on ramp and get behind it.  Thus when Trueman took up his position in Escondido he was amazed to see the same people laughing and pointing at him again.

     There were not nearly so many traveling to Riverside and San Bernardino as there re were to LA so three hours later he was still in the same place as the local traffic passed him by.  He began to reflect that this was the 13th.  Not superstitious but wary of superstitions he began to wonder why he would have picked a day like the 13th to begin.  Of course he hadn’t.  He’d been managed into it by Yisraeli through his surrogate Kanary but Dewey had forgotten or never noticed.  Our Lady always was a joker.

page 1664. 

     The sun was going down when a car pulling an airstream stopped to pick him up.  Dewey thought they were merely an exuberant couple as they headed up the highway.  But then as the car and airstream swerved across the lane into oncoming traffic Dewey realized that they were not only exuberant but exceedingly drunk.  He tried to keep his cool as the distance between the drunks and the oncoming car closed.

     ‘Don’t you think you should change lanes?’  He politely inquired as the grille of the oncoming car loomed in exquisite detail in his vision.

     ‘Arrr, you’re not one of them goddamned nervous nellies are you?’  The driver jocularly asked as the car and airstream drifted back across the line as the whites of the oncoming driver’s eyes loomed large in Dewey’s sight.

      ‘Say, why don’t you come up to the cabin and loosen up and have a good time with us?’

     ‘Oh now, I’d like to, you know, but I’ve only got a two week leave and I’m going back home.’

     ‘Awww, screw home.  Forget it.  Come on and spend a couple weeks with us.’

page 1665.

     ‘That’s a terrific offer but I think I’ll go home.  It’s been a long time.’

     All this time the car and airstream were weaving across the line.  Dewey began to curse Kanary wishing he’d taken the bus instead.  There was no doubt in his mind that he was going to die on that highway.  But then the road to Lake Elsinore appeared on the left.

     ‘Come with us.’  The driver iterated.

     ‘No.  I’ve got to get out.’

     The driver feinted a turn then let Dewey out into a twilight in which the sun had already disappeared.

     ‘Good luck in the dark on this road, honey.’  The driver’s wife gloated maliciously as Dewey shut the door.

     Dewey became apprehensive as night did indeed follow.  But then, miraculously, a car stopped in front of him.

     ‘I’m not going very far.’  The driver who was a young guy of twenty-five said.

     He was a malicious fellow.  He drove Dewey down the highway another twenty miles then dropped him out in the blackness in the middle of nowhere.  Then he continued on down the highway to San Bernardino with a sour laugh.

     Dewey began to lament the error of his ways.  The night was pitch black.  There were no streetlights or light of any kind.  He was dressed in his blues with his dark blue raincoat.  The hat on his head was his only light colored garment.  ‘Aw, Jesus.’  He lamented.  ‘Nobody is going to be able to see me.  I’ll probably still be here in the morning.’

page 1666.

     The road was no 101 much less a 99; there were very few cars passing by.  In the dark of the night and his own mental gloom Dewey lost all track of time imagining that it was much later than it was.  Only a couple cars passed by over the space of two hours as Dewey stood back by the side of the road.  Gradually he realized he couldn’t even be seen.  He had no chance.  His only hope was to stand out in the highway like a specter, jumping back out of the way as the cars passed.  He did this a couple times over the space of an hour until he felt the danger of the maneuver when a car swerving to the side of the road to avoid him nearly took him out.  Cursing his decision to hitch for the stupidity it was he had resolved to wait it out till morning not realizing how early it was when, standing off to the side as he was without even his thumb out, a car passed screeching to a stop a quarter mile down the road.

     Dewey was sure they’d drive off when he got to them so rather than run he began a leisurely stroll.

     ‘Come on. Hurry up.  Run.  We stopped for you didn’t we?’

     Dewey did run and he was not disappointed.

     ‘How far are you going?’  Dewey asked.

     ‘Berdoo.’

     ‘Oh way, all the way to San Bernardino?’  Dewey said with relief.  ‘Thanks a lot.’

     ‘Why didn’t you run sooner?’  The driver’s girl friend asked.  ‘We wouldn’t have waited forever.’

     ‘I didn’t even think you’d see me as dark as it is and all.’  Dewey replied apologetically.

     ‘You’re darn lucky we did in those dark clothers.  You should have worn your white suit.’

     ‘Good idea but I can’t.  Dress blues are the traveling uniform.’

    They dropped him off at the main intersection of San Bernardino.

     San Bernardino was the birth place of the Hell’s Angels Motorcycle Club.  As such Dewey had always avoided the place.  Berdoo was a tough working class city situated on the East edge of the LA megalopolis with Mt. Whitney, the highest place in the then United States to the northwest and Death Valley the lowest place in the US to the East.

     Now Dewey was thoroughly disoriented.  Because of the long duration of the short trip of only a hundred miles from San Diego he imagined that it was three or four in the morning while it was not yet midnight.

     He was astonished to see the drag full of dragsters on a Thursday night.  ‘God, they must never let up in San Bernardino.’  He thought.  And in truth they didn’t.

     As the raucus dragsters rolled thorugh the intersecition Dewey became completely turned around.  In his turmoil he imagined it must be Friday night.  That put the dragsters in the proper perspective but Dewey had lost a day.

      As he stood at the intersection his confusion increased.  He began to wonder why he was going North when he sould be going East.  Thus he made the mistake of turning East into San Bernardion.  He soon found that it wasn’t easy to walk along the drag in uniform.  Not only were the dragsters less civilized and more abusive than on Lankershim but the worst of his fears was realized when a cop car braked to a stop across his path.

page 1668.

     Dewey began to curse Teal Kanary because this cop could terminate his leave by sending him back to the base.  If that happened the Navy would still consider him on leave so he would be unwanted while he had wasted precious time making it impossible to go on.  As he had no money or at least not enough to pay for two weeks ashore he began to suspect that Kanary had done him an intentional disservice.

     The LAPD might have been mean but at least they were slick with a fine sense of style.  San Bernardino could compete with Oakland for klutzes.  The cop was young, not more than twenty-three or twenty-four.  He was the worst.  He hoped to make the LAPD from Berdoo but it was a hopeless wish.  The distance between a criminal and a cop is as narrow as an attitude.  Like the criminal the cop had been on the short end of the stick through high school.  Unlike the  CWOB the CWB is not willing to sacrifice his well being to get back at society.  CWBs are sadistic; CWOBs are masochistic.  So the CWB joins the force where he can get away with bullying citizens.  Young cops especially like bullying young men.  This one had just gotten out of the Navy so he carried a grudge against sailors.

     Dewey held his breath.

    ‘You hitchhiking son?’  How they love to demean a man by calling him son.

page 1569.

     ‘Well, yeah.’  Dewey said apologetically, not having the chutzpah to deny an obvious fact.  ‘I’m going home on leave for Christmas and I’m just passing through.’  It was a chance Dewey thought he had to take.  If the cop sympathized he would wave him on , if he were hard nosed Dewey would be in the squad car.

     ‘You’re out of bounds, bub.’  Every CWB ignored the out of bounds rule.  This guy sounded like he was going to enforce it.

     ‘I don’t need an out of bounds pass, I’ve got my leave papers.  I’m going back to Michigan for Christmas.  Dewey said, humbling himself to death.

     ‘Let’s see ’em.’

     Dewey flipped open his raincoat and indicated the papers in his inside pocket.  He didn’t want to hand them over to the cop because once he gave them up the CWB might not give them back.  These guys, always nasty, could be quite vicious; they could get mean enough to hurt without any reason.  Psychocops on the loose.

     ‘Hand them to me and your ID too.’  There was a rude peremptoriness in his tone that dared Dewey to either give it back or eat dirt.  Well, you couldn’t expect a decent person to take the job, could you?

     Dewey forked over his leave papers and Navy ID.

     ‘I want your driver’s license too, boy.’

     ‘Don’t have one.’

     ‘What do you mean you don’t have one?  Everybody’s got one; don’t lie to me boy.  I can make you wish you never did.’

page 1670

     ‘I don’t have one.  My step-father wouldn’t let me drive and since I don’t have a car I don’t need one.  If I had a car I wouldn’t be standing here now, would I?’  Dewey said showing more irritation than he should have.  Any show of spirit drives this type of cop mad.  The CWB looked at him sharply but as he thought Dewey had previously been suitably humble if not obsequious the cop threw Dewey’s ID and leave papers at his feet.

     ‘Here’s what I can’t figure; if you say you’re going to Michigan what are you doing on this road?’

     ‘Well, this is going East isn’t it?’

     ‘This is East alright boy, but you’ve got to go North if you want to go East.  All this road will do is lead you up to Arrowhead.  Go back to the intersection and take a right.  If you do that I won’t take you in.  But remember, if I come back in a couple hours and you’re still hitchhiking I’m going to take you in.  Now, get going.’  He commanded.

     Dewey stooped to pick up his ID while cursing the cop under his breath.  On the bright side the CWB had probably saved him several hours from going the wrong way.  On the other hand he would have missed his rendezvous with Dalton Dagger and might have had a relaxing time at the lake.  Not Dewey, he wasn’t that flexible.

     Back on the highway Dewey stood for an hour until a car pulled over.  The driver had no sooner opened his mouth than Dewey groaned inwardly.  Another one.

     In point of fact the homo was justified in thinking Dewey was out for some action.  The highway over the pass was virtually unused from sundown to sun up.  Dewey was standing in the middle of a strip of bars; logically what other reason could he have for hitching there.  If time was of the essence Dewey was wasting his.  One can only assume that Our Lady was having the laugh of his life.  How was this for a joke?

page 1672.

     ‘What’s a good looking sailor like you doing out by the side of the road at one in the morning?’  The dark visaged homo asked.

     ‘i’m on leave; trying to get to the East.’

     ‘Oh yes, to be sure.’  The driver lisped.  ‘Short a little money?  Well, it’s awfully hot in here.  My heater is extremely efficient, if you get my drift.  Open up your coat.’  He commanded obviously eyeing Dewey’s crotch.  Dewey realized this was going to be a short ride.

     ‘That’s alright.  I’m comfortable.’  Dewey replied.

     ‘You mean you’re not going to open your coat?’

     ‘No, I’m not.’

     ‘Well, listen Mister, let me explain the facts of life to you.  Nobody rides for free.’

     ‘Well, then, let me out.  I don’t want to pay the fare.’

     ‘I certainly will let you out you prick teasing bastard.’

     Dewey was dropped a hundred yards or so outside the Berdoo city limits.  He was beginning to feel desperate.  He was not crossing the country at a forty-eight hour pace.  Heck, he wasn’t even crossing the country.  He was still going North.

     The cop who had harassed him passed slowly by.  On the other side of the city limits the cop knew Dewey was beyond his jurisdiction, but, oddly enough, there are no greater lawbreakers than the police; they have immunity.  Maybe, the cop reasoned, Dewey would resist arrest whereby he could be charged with that.

page 1672.

     In hesitating the cop had driven by.  Dewey was in a state of panic as he watched him turn around.  But as the cop was pulling up opposite Dewey a huge tractor and double bottom drew between to offer Dewey a ride.  Dewey thankfully heaved his bag up in preparation to scrambling in the cab while Abe Griswold, the driver, grinned down insolently at the SBPD.

 A Rolling Stone On The Lost Highway

I was totin’ my bag

Along that dusty Berdoo Road

When along came a semi

With a high and canvas covered load.

‘If you’re goin’ ‘cross the mountain pass

With me you can ride.’

So I climbed up in the cabin

And settled down inside.

He asked me if I’d ever seen a road

With so much dust and sand.

And I said:  ‘Listen Bud,

I’ve traveled every road in this here land.

I’ve been everywhere, man

I’ve been everywhere,

Across the deserts bare, man

I’ve breathed the mountain air, man

Of travel I’ve had my share, man

I’ve been everywhere.

-Hank Snow ‘I’ve Been Everywhere.’

page 1673

     Abe Griswold wasn’t really that generous a character; he just really enjoyed thumbing his nose at authority.  Like many truck drivers he had no place in the structure of society.  His place was no place so he was continually in motion and always at home.

     He was quick.  From his perch high above the road he had seen the little drama unfolding as the CWB circled back to harass Trueman.  Having foiled the cop he laughed down at him with a sneer as the CWB shook his fist at him.

     An added incentive for Abe was the novelty of seeing a sailor hitching on this highway so he not only had the privilege of thwarting authority but he was going to have a laugh at Trueman’s expense too.

     His cab was one of those huge old monsters.  Maybe a White or a Freightliner, no cab over, the snout extended out in front of the windshield to the horizon.  You could have played football in the cabin it was so big.

     The truck roared unmercifully;  the noise was deafening, the vibrations set your teeth rattling.

     Abe wanted to talk.  Through practice he had adjusted his hearing and vocal projection so that he could both hear and speak over, or rather, through the terrific din.  Dewey’s voice was light and high.  While he tried to comply with Abe’s wishes his voice wasn’t strong enough to stand the strain.

page 1674.

     He managed to explain to Abe that his destination was Michigan which raised Abe’s eyebrows and brought a suppressed smile to his lips at what he considered rightly an eccentric route.  He decided Trueman must be a real original.

     Abe explained that he would drop him off at the foot of the pass on the desert floor.  Abe picked up gravel on the other side of the moutains hauling it back to Riverside.  His bottoms were empty at the time.

     He advised that he wouldn’t hit the desert floor until surise offering to let Dewey use his fair sized sleeping quarters behind the seat.  Abe seemed to be somewhat reminiscent of the satyr so rather than be at his mercy alseep Dewey chose to stay awake.

     The big rig having passed through the gears, which are something like ten or fifteen, it labored up the pass.  Abe did have designs on Dewey but he was more the rapist than the seducer so Dewey was alright so long as he stayed awake.  The main road led straight over the pass but there was a long loop to the North that Abe took hoping to outlast Dewey, taking him while he was asleep.  Then he could dump the sailor out of the cab a million miles from nowhere.  It might be a couple days before Dewey reached civilization if he ever did.

     Dazed by the noise and the incredible bumpiness of the ride which shook his internal organs in fifteen different directions there was no chance Dewey would go to sleep.

page 1676.

     Having completed the loop the big rig crested the summit.  Abe just let that big double bottom screech on down the mountain side.  What little Dewey could see of the mountain in the headlights was bleak and sere.  Bare rock climbed sheer outside the windows giving the impression they were in a chute or very narrow canyon.

     As Dewey watched with eyes wide Abe didn’t even touch the brakes he just guided that monster missile down the grade.  The scream of the engine seemed to increase to match the roar of the wind howling by.  The canvas covers of the bottoms flapped and whistled while the sides of the empty bottoms began alternate concave and convex fluctuations with a deep bellow.

     Dewey’s eyes opened wide as terror began to show on his face.  As he stared out the windshield he could see that Abe was overdriving his headlights by a considerable distance.  The light from the headlights was still on the canyon walls as they flashed by.  Dewey thought Abe had lost control.  Laughing like a madman Abe enjoyed Dewey’s terror.

     They rolled through the pitch darkness for what seemed like hours until disgorging unto the desert floor they arrived at the crack of dawn.

     The transition from mountain pass to desert floor was complete in a moment.  It seemed as though the mountain range was set on the level desert floor without any intervening hills or grades.  Abe finally touched the brakes bringing that huge twenty wheeler to a stop.

page 1676.

     ‘I take a right here.  Get another load of mountain from the East side and drive it over to the West side.  Moving mountains is what I do for a living.  Just keep going on this highway and it’ll take you East.  Watch out for the coppers now.  So long pal.’

     Dewey thanked Abe, jumped down and watched him drive off laughing madly.

     Dewey wondered what the joke was.  Then he began to look aorund as rosy fingered dawn lighted up the desert landscape.  On taking stock of his situation he realized what a diabolical old jokester Abe was.  All life was just a quip in the cosmic comedy to him.

     Dewey took a full half hour to orient himself on the deserted highway.  He wasn’t very successful.  He had been up a full twenty-four hours now.  His nerves were tingling from the terror of the ride with Abe Griswold.  He had covered a couple hundred hundred miles due North away from his goal.  Not a propitious start; he could give up his forty-eight hour hopes.

     As he was dwelling on his misfortune rosy fingered dawn disappeared and the sun blazed up in the East like a big red rubber ball.  Dewey had become so disoriented he thought the sun was rising in the West and thought nothing of it.

     Every where he looked he saw nothing but bare ground.  No grass, no bushes, no trees.  He was in the desert; nothing but rocks and dirt.  He looked back to where he had come.  The mountains rose abruptly from the Mojave floor.  The highway disappeared into the slot of the defile from which the truck had emerged so that it appeared that the road ended abruptly at the mountain side.  The mountains rose up sere; nothing green was visible.

page 1678.

     Dewey turned slowly around.  Everywhere he looked there was nothing but yellowish-redish-brownish dirt.  Way off across the valley foor in the distance another even more sere mountain range rose.  If more sere was possible, and it was.

     ‘Jesus Christ.’  Dewey thought.  ‘This is the desert.’

     Dewey had been standing for an hour without a single car passing as the reality rather than the nature of desert pressed itself on his mind.

     ‘Not exactly a well traveled road.’  He observed to himself trying to make light of his situation.

     Then he began to feel warm enough to take off his coat.  As he did he remembered that deserts were hot, dry unforgiving places as in the song Cool Water:  Keep a movin’ Dan, he’s a devil not a man, and he spreads the burnin’ sands with water.’  It occurred to him that he could dehydrate and die by the side of the road with a glass of ephemeral water in his hand.  After all he’d had nothing to drink since breakfast the previous day.

     Anxiety seized him as he thought he understood what Abe was laughing about.  Dewey was the cosmic joke.  Two hours after he arrived he was still waiting for the first car to pass.

     As of three o’ clock the previous day Yisraeli hadn’t realized that Dalton Dagger had not yet left.  When Showbaby told him that Dagger was still fiddling with his car Our Lady panicked.  His heart was set on Dewey’s death at this time in this way.  He threw caution to the winds and made further contact with Dalton.  That was of course Dalton’s wish.  Dagger was not a passive instrument in Yehouda’s hands; he had his game too.

     He’d already spent the thousand he’d been able to collect.  Even though he’d accepted it in lieu of half payment he felt he’d been cheated which he had and would be.  Now confronted with his employer he obstinately held out for his other thousand.

     Yisraeli replied that as he hadn’t even left yet he would only give it to him in Barstow because he had jeopardized if not destroyed the Porn King’s plans.

     Yisraeli was desperate.  He knew that it would be extremely difficult to get rides on the Berdoo road so he surmised or hoped that Dewey wouldn’t have passed through Barstow before he could get there.

     He placated Dagger by promising, Our Lady Of The Blues, was a great promiser, the additional thousand if and when he got Dewey in his car.  Dagger laughed out loud when Yisraeli said he wanted his thousand back if they missed Trueman.

     Yisraeli took first things first and bundled Dalton into the latter’s car and drove straight through to Barstow where Our Lady passed the night in a motel while Dalton nursed his grudge against Yisraeli in his car as he had no money for a room.

     Yisraeli called Showbaby instructing him to cruise the highway in the hopes of locating Trueman.  Showbaby had gotten as far as San Bernardino the previous night when he actually spotted Trueman getting into Griswold’s truck.  An inquiry told him the probable destination of the gravel carrier.  He took a room in a motel rising with the sun as he began a slow cruise over the pass hoping to spot the victim.

page 1679.

     By eleven o’ clock two cars had passed Dewey both going the other way.  At eleven-fifteen Abe returned from the gravel pit to honk at him as he turned for the pass.  Shortly thereafter a car emerged from the defile to the Mohave floor.  This was Showbaby.  He couldn’t miss Dewey as he was the only spot of color moving in the desert within miles.  The temperature was rising and Dewey was getting desperate.  Still, he couldn’t help noticing the leisurely pace of Showbaby’s car and the manner in which he stopped before him as though he were looking for him.  Dewey slid in.

     Showbaby treated Trueman to the cool detestation which is the lot of the victim.  Zion drove at a very leisurely pace as they passed through Victorville toward Bartsow.  He neither spoke nor acknowledged Trueman’s presence.  He never said how far he was going.

     Annoyed by what seemed to be a sinister attitude and the slow pace Trueman was about to ask to be let out when Barstow hove on the horizon.

     ‘This is as far as I’m going.’  Showbaby said indicating with a thrusting forefinger that Trueman was to get out.

     Then he turned into the lot of the motel and to Yisraeli and Dagger who were waiting.

     Yisraeli who mailed his porn everywhere had a few customers in Barstow.  Generally speaking his customers revered him as a porno saint.  They little knew that he was merely a businessman who really had scant respect ofr them.

page 1680.

 

    

    

 

 

 

 

A Novel

Our Lady Of The Blues

Book VII

by

R.E. Prindle

Clip 6

 

     The pimp stood against the wall at the head of the narrow staircase.

     ‘Get out of here.’ He cried slapping Dewey weakly on the shoulder.

     Dewey wasn’t about to start anything in that crowd so he brushed past him half running half falling down the stairs.

     Once at the bottom his rage overflowed.

     ‘Get your ass down here you goddamned pimp.  Come on and act tough down here limp dick.’

     The pimp preferred acting tough in a secure situation, he wasn’t about to come down the stairs.  At the sounds of Dewey’s angry voice a couple denizens of the alley moved toward Dewey with seeming hostile intent.

     Dewey was steaming:  ‘Get back into your holes unless you’re really looking for trouble.’  Dewey sternly ordered.

     Parsons stepped up to back him up while McLean as usual hung back.  The Mexicans retreated.

     ‘How was it?’  McLean asked with a knowing smile.

     ‘Considering she used her hand, terrific.’

     ‘Used her hand?’  McLean said continuing to smile.  ‘No wonder you’re mad.’

     ‘No, it wasn’t that.  She probably saved me from a dose; it was that obnoxious pimp trying to push me around while I was inconvenienced.  Reminded me of you, Joe.’  Dewey said with a laugh slapping an uncomfortable McLean on the back.  ‘Where the hell is Kreskin anyway?”

page 1531.

     ‘He’s in that bar right there.’  McLean said pointing to a building which curiously enough to Dewey was only a few paces away.

     ‘You go ahead.  Me and Parsons are going to look for some nooky.’

     ‘Don’t bother with whore upstairs.’  Dewey called over his shoulder as he opened the door to the bar.

     The bar was empty save for Kreskin and the bartender.  The bar had the frontier look common to Tijuana.  The place was an entrepot for pillheads.  Kreskin was now a full fledged heroin addict supplementing his addiction with a variety of downers.  The pills also helped him over anxious moments when it was inappropriate to shoot his heroin aboard ship.

     Kreskin was no longer seen in the shower line where his tracks openly betrayed his habit.  Affluent from his share of the drug money he went over most nights to stay at a hotel.

     Trueman took a seat to wait out the time for the return.

     ‘What’ll you have?’  The bartender called across the room.

     ‘Nothing.’  Dewey replied sitting patiently with hands crossed in his lap.

     ‘What’s wrong with your friend?’  The bartender crossly asked Kreskin.  ‘This isn’t a library; he can’t just sit there.’

     Kreskin, who for a guy on downers was very restless, came over to Trueman.  ‘Bartender thinks you should order something.’

     ‘I told you I wasn’t going to spend any money, Kreskin.’

     ‘You could spring for a drink.  You’re going to be saving money this weekend.’

page 1532.

     ‘How am I going to be saving money this weekend?’

     ‘I’m going to give you a ride up to Oakland so you’ll save whatever you would spend on the road.’

     ‘You’re giving me a ride up to Oakland?  Oh, I did not know that.’

     Trueman unknown to himself had created quite a stir aboard ship by taking the long hike to Oakland.  Twelve hundred miles on a weekend is in fact a long way to go but Trueman in his anxiety to get away had only considered the feasibility not the distance.  Screw and Easy had actually given odds on his ability to cover the dinstance on time the first trip.  Most people wanted to bet he wouldn’t.  So, as the house, the Golddust Twins had to bet he would.  Although everyone thought they were fools they had given two to one and in some cases three to one odds.  Needless to say they had cleaned up in a modest way.  Even Bifrons Morford, the inveterate gamble, dropped a five.

     Trueman’s success had excited a lot of speculation on how far you could hitchhike over a weekend.  Trueman’s repeated trips got Kayo and Soter involved in the notion of weekly dope runs.  The money was very good.  Thus Kayo was in Tijuana setting up a marijuana purchase.  Fearing the border after the first close call Soter had arranged with a lawyer friend of his dad’s with a pirate mentality in Coronado to take delivery by boat in Coronado transferring the load to Kayo’s Edsel.

     As Kayo considered Trueman as his personal good luck charm he intended to have him ride along.  Not that Trueman was a good luck charm but one was certainly needed on the run from the border to LA.  There were numbers of desperadoes running marijuana from T town to LA.  A lot of it traveled up 101.  In a bid to intercept the traffic the police set up roadblocks heading north where cars were stopped and searched indiscriminately.  During the first sweeps the cops literally stopped every car on the road.  This held up traffic to the point where the complaints overrode the utility.  Subsequently cars were stopped apparently at random.  Thus Kayo had need of a good luck charm.

page 1533.

     ‘Yeah.  I havn’t told you yet but I watched you hitch to Oakland for the last few weeks; you seem to think it’s worth it so I figure why don’t I go home on weekends.  How long does it take?’

     ‘Without delays for catching a ride?  Oh, I don’t know.  Twelve hours non-stop.  You going to give me a ride back too?’

     ‘Sure. Of course.  What time is best for leaving the Bay Area?

     ‘Well, I leave at four on Sunday which just barely gives me enough time to get back so depending on how long it takes you to get from Mill Valley I would say you wanted to be out of Oakland no later six or six-thirty.’

     ‘That’s not bad.  So are you going to buy a drink?’

     ‘No.  You see Kreskin I don’t spend any money on the road so I won’t be saving any.’

     ‘You make the whole trip without spending a dime?’

     ‘Sure.  Unless something comes up I never spend more than maybe three dollars all weekend.’

page 1534.

     Kreskin’s eyes bugged out.  ‘You can’t even eat on that much.’

     ‘Not much anyway.  I have a hamburg and fries on Saturday afternoon and that’s it.’

     ‘Jesus.’  Kreskin said in astonishment shaking his head.  ‘Here.  Let me buy you a drink.’

     ‘OK.  Coke.’

     ‘How about a whiskey?’  Kreskin called.

     ‘Don’t drink, not going to start.  Smoking’s bad enough.’

     Kreskin brought the Coke over.

     ‘Oh yeah.  Smoking.  That’s something some of the guys wanted me to talk to you about.  They say you never have your own.  You’re always bumming and they’re tired of it.’

     ‘Oh, gee.  That’s too bad.’

     ‘That’s too bad?  Is that it?’

     ‘Look, Kreskin, let me tell you how it is.  That ship is nothing but a bunch of thieves, cheats, crooks and leeches.  You can tell them I said so if they don’t already know.

     The only reason I smoke is because Dieter won’t give you the work breaks you’re entitled to because he thinks they’re called smoke breaks so you have to smoke.  OK?  I was forced into doing what I didn’t want to do.  I smoke.

     Now, I’m the kind of guy that likes his own so every payday I bought a carton of Pall Malls.  the same guys who are calling me a leech used to bum packs, not cigarettes, full packs from me on payday on the way to my locker.  Then, they said a good guy would let them have a pack.  I used to get to my locker with only four or five packs left out of a carton.

     Then when I asked them to let me have a pack they just laughed up their sleeves at me, or rather, down their collar.  This went on for several paydays until I got tired of it.  Now I don’t buy ’em, I bum ’em.  I figure I’ve given out maybe thirty packs.  At seven for five I’m due forty two packs plus a penalty.  Until I get those back you can forget me buying my own.  The way I see it the ship’s debt won’t be paid until four months after my enlistment ends so forget me buying my own.  Tell them that.’

     ‘Sounds like bullshit to me, Trueman.’

     ‘Doesn’t matter to me what it sounds like to you.  It’s god’s own truth.  If they learn to be honest those guys will be treated honest.’

     The door opened admitting McLean and Parsons.  They all left.  To Trueman’s immense relief there was no trouble at the border.

Riding In Style

     Having a ride up to Oakland didn’t mean as much to Trueman as having a secure ride back.  It mattered little at what exact time he arrived in the North but it mattered a great deal at what precise moment he returned.  He had been getting back in time by just one uncomfortable hair.

page 1536.

     Trueman was not an adept at recognizing drug users but the fuzzy hazy manner of Kreskin as they entered the parking lot to get in the Edsel made him wonder what was wrong with Kreskin.

     Kreskin pulled into a gas station on the city limits to gas up.  Gas was plentiful and cheap in the late fifties.  The joy of freedom a car gave people who might not have been able to afford a car a few years earlier made everyone careless of gas.  Gas station lots were covered with it.  Attendants activiated the pump before they got the nozzle in the tank splashing some down the side of the car and out on the ground as they finished.  Nearly every car had a gas streak from the cover down the fender.  These were high old times, for those who had eyes to see, with or without drugs.  It is hard to describe how high expectations were.  A car made one totally independent of control; being able to waste the means of that independence gave one an exhilarating feeling.

     Kreskin, who had told Trueman he was better that he in Yokosuka, still believed it and wanted Trueman to acknowledge his superiority.  Trueman in his turn had looked down on Kreskin since Hong Kong; he had no intention of assuming an inferior role now.  Kreskin tried to get an edge in his mind on Trueman before the trip began.

     In an attempt to display some scientific knowledge, as the car was fueled, he knelt down and extended his little finger and thumb between the pavement and bumper saying:  ‘Look how heavy this gas is.  It lowers the car this far.’

page 1537.

     As Kreskin spoke, Trueman, who was as ‘scientific’ as anyone let his eye rove over the other cars in the lot of which there were several.  This was a big station with twelve double pump islands.  Comparing Kreskin’s car with the others it was obvious that Kayo’s car was several inches lower than any other.

     ‘Yeah, but why is it so low, Kreskin?’

     Looking up and over from his kneeling position contemptuous of Trueman’s intelligence in his superiority Kreskin replied:  ‘Gas is just that heavy, Trueman.’

     Trueman caught the superior tone:  ‘Sure gas is heavy Kreskin.  But why is your gas heavier than anyone else’s?’  Look at that Chevy that just filled up; the rear end doesn’t sag like yours and this is a new car too.’

      Then Trueman displaying some ‘science’ caught on.  ‘What else do you have in the car Kreskin?’  You must already have something as heavy as the gas or your rearend wouldn’t sag so much.  What is it?’

     His mind dulled by drugs and arrogance Kreskin was caught off guard as his finger and thumb seemed to weld to their contacts.  He slowly got up.

     ‘Nothin’.  C’mon, let’s go.  Get in.’

     Thankful for the ride, Trueman didn’t persist nor did he wonder long.  He leaned back to enjoy his rocket ride through the night.  As with his life Kreskin pushed the Edsel to the limit maintaining a steady ninety to a hundred per.

     The towers of the recently built addition to Disneyland flashed by on the left.  They flew over the Stack amidst a dazzling display of lights racing up the Hollywood Freeway to Lankerhshim Boulevard.  It was a pleasure for Dewey to cruise along with elbow out the window like he was dragging the strip rather than mooching rides.

page 1538.

     Once on the Grapevine Kreskin eased out and let that Edsel roll.  This was the era when the horsepower race shifted into high gear.  In the late forties and early fifties the engines had been small and not machined to the point where they could sustain high speed or great distances.  The modern car really began in ’55 when prosperity was so assured that people would buy the big V8s rather than in line sixes.  They could afford all the extras and the gas that went with them.  The cars themselves became gargantuan while the engines that propelled them became immense moving out of the two hundred horsepower range through the three hundreds all the way to four-oh-nine.  The common man was given unlimited power but not the freedom to enjoy it.  The speed limits denied the use of the power but still, it was said, i’ts there if you need it for passing.  More aggressive types longed for a US autobahn on which there were no limits.

     The Edsel was a marvel as it raced up a nearly vacant 99.

     ‘If you’re going this fast why don’t you use the fast lane?’  Trueman asked.

     Kreskin gave him a superior look as he condescendingly explained:  ‘The cops think that if you’re in the fast lane you must be going fast whether you are or not.  If you’re in the slow lane no matter how fast you’re going they think you’re going slow.  So, when there’s no traffic drive fast in the slow lane.’

page 1539.

     ‘Aw, c’mon, the cops aren’t that dumb.’

     ‘Maybe not but that’s the way the system works.’

     Trueman nodded condescendingly but sneered inwardly at the simplicity of Kreskin’s belief.  In later years Trueman would learn to his cost that Kreskin did know what he was talking about.  The cops were that dumb.

     Kreskin had been following the car ahead of him for the last fifty miles or so to take advantage of his headlights.  In the night time at high speeds you overdrove your headlights all the way.  Being behind someone gave you relief from the stress of anxious alertness.  For those accustomed to the rules of the road the cars alternated every fifty miles or so.  The former lead car could then relax a little.

     Kreskin pulled out to pass the lead at which the driver fell back to let Kreskin take the lead.  The two cars sped through the night in tandem alternating until the other driver turned off at Merced giving Kreskin the high sign through his open window.

     ‘Wow.  This is really some car for being so ugly.’  Dewey said impressed by the speed and ride.

     ‘This piece of crap?’  Kreskin replied.  The better things got for people the more they complained.  That was the paradox of 1958-74, the greatest era the world ever knew.  ‘I wouldn’t drive it if I didn’t have to.  I’d get me a nifty little red MG and show some class.’

page 1540.

     ‘MGs can’t cost more than this Edsel.’  Dewey stated thinking price was holding Kreskin up.

     ‘It’s not the money, it’s…’  Kreskin began thumbing toward the back then catching himself lapsed into a silence that lasted until he dropped Dewey off on East 14th.

     ‘Now, you’re going to be right here around six to six-thirty.  I can count on it.’  Dewey admonished.  ‘Otherwise I can’t get back on time.’

     ‘You can count on me.’  Kreskin said as he drove away to enter the Nimitz Freeway leading to the Bay Bridge, through San Francisco, across the Golden Gate Bridge, through the Waldo Grade tunnel and into Mill Valley.

      Mill Valley is really in a valley surrounded by high hills.  It was actually a mill town until they cut the Redwoods down.  It was the prestige place to live in Marin County and the equal of any other prestige place in the Bay Area.  If you lived in Mill Valley you weren’t on the way you were already there.  The road in forms a cul-de-sac at the end of the valley.  Soter lived three quarters of the way up the hill in a house that cost him seventy-five thousand dollars in 1954. Today the house would be worth three to five million.

     The advent of dope money had increased Soter’s standard of living incredibly.  He could now have all the appurtenances of money he craved.  Import cars did not yet dominate the market.  Anyone who had a Mercedes would have been an eccentric who preferred German automobiles.

      If available at all the cars of the Japanese invasion which took Detroit by such surprise was just beginning.

page 1541.

     Thus Soter and Guinevere had brand new matching Cadillac El Dorados which was the most expensive car money could buy in America.  They were kind of gawdy.  They were the car of choice for African Americans.  Americas are so bigoted that they always place Blacks in a separate racial category rather than including them in a social category.  This attitude complicates simple matters making them difficult to discuss.

     As the Blacks were lower on the economic scale of success like a numerically larger segment of Whites they tended to covet the appurtenances of wealth that they could ill afford just like lesser affluent Whites.  They went for big diamonds, jewels, clothes and cars of the most conspicuous and flashy sort.

     Blacks had always cherished Cadillacs but beginning in 1954, I believe, when Caddies had the upturned fins at the end of the back fender the Caddies seemed to be tailored to appeal to the most nouveau of the nouveau riches which is why the body styles of the ’50s reflected those needs.

     The ’55s and 56s really blossomed but they were still small cars relative to the 58s and 59s.

     I can tell you that these were mind blowing models at the time.  When you first saw one your moth gaped open like the Grand Canyon.

     By ’58 they were monsters a block long loaded with chrome, sporting gigantic fins.  the ’59 had the biggest fin of all with the double globe taillights perched up on the fins like pairs of gonads.  The nouveaux had never been treated so well.

page 1542.

     The gawdier they became the more the Blacks loved them.  By the ’59 model it seemed that three out four Cadillacs were driven by Blacks.

     Thus they came to epitomize Black taste almost as if they were designed especially for them.  Thus a lot of people thought Caddies were ‘nigger’ cars which no self-respecting White person would drive.  They couldn’t say it just that way though.

     There is nothing racially or socially comparable today.  You really had to have been there to appreciate it.  The rise of the German Mercedes was the result of affluent Whites shifting their allegiance from Cadillac to something not linked with Negroes, although they like to deny it now.

     Soter wanted the top of the line and if Cadillac was it he didn’t care who else drove it.  He was a nouveau riche himself.

     Soter was on a buying binge.  Some signficant artists had replaced the former pictures on his walls.  Soter wanted to be modern so he had many pitures he neither understood nor liked by people like Pollock, Johns and Warhol.  He got the originals cheap but, boy, did he make out like a bandit as time went by.

     His library too had expanded into a great, not magnificent, but great collection of leather bound books.  They were more to satisfy a psychological need because Soter’s law practice obviated any time he had for reading.

     Of course he had all the gadgets but compared to the enormous range of gadgets today that amonted to very little although he did have the top of the line component phonograph.  No microwaves, no computers, hand held devices, no electronics.  All that started arriving in the late seventies.

page 1543.

     Soter had the biggest TV money could buy but that didn’t go by the size of the screen, 21″ was maximum, but the size of the cabinet.  Soter and Kayo were seated before it on Saturday night in earnest conversation concerning the roadblocks on 101.

     As they talked a documentary on the Nazi death camps flickered across the screen.

     ‘You mean they just stop cars at random or all the cars?’  Soter asked as the screen showed a huge mound of emaciated naked dead bodies.

      ‘I haven’t actually seen one but I’ve been told that they seem to have tips and wave certain cars over.’  Kayo explained as a bulldozer pulled up behind the mountain of bodies plowing into them twisting and crushing limbs into pulp.

     ‘A.  I don’t think that’s constitutional and B. If you get stopped I couldn’t protect you with the evidence on you.  I couldn’t stand seeing you sent to prison on the one hand while the trail of evidence would lead back to me on the other.’

     A big black plume of smoke belched from the stack of the bulldozer as it met the resistance of the massed bodies.

     ‘They probably won’t stop me; the Edsel’s a new car.  Most of the runners drive clunkers.’

     ‘Yes, but you might look too young to own a new car, so they might stop you anyway.  What about this fellow who rode up here with you?’

page 1544.

     The huge mass of bodies began to slide forward as some were heaped up from below while others gyrated off the top tumbling down the human slope or rolling off to the side as the bulldozer bored in.

     ‘Trueman?  No.  First he’s a simp who would blow everything at the first stress and second he’s absolutely anti drugs.  I conceal that I use from him.’

     Soter sat thinking for  a moment as the bulldozer toppled the bodies into a huge pit already filled with the mangled emaciated remains of people.  The driver rode out over the bodies tamping them down and leveling out before backing over those he missed to back them up against the blade as he shoved them toward the pit.

     ‘How about this other fellow that assisted you on the tuck and roll job?’

     ‘McLean?  Crooked as a snake but trustworthy for that reason.  Why?’

     Another mass of bodies bearing twisted limbs the size of sticks loomed up before the bulldozer.

     ‘There’s no reason for us to take risks when we can get suckers to take them for us.  We could use him for a mule, he’s expendable.’

     ‘Yeah, but he’s broke.  Doesn’t have a car.’

     ‘For two hundred he can get himself a ’50- ’51.  We’ll front him the money against payment for muling, shift the danger to him while I check to see if the ACLU is already working on this.  I’ll join and give them a few hundred to look into it if they aren’t already.’

page 1545.

     The scene on TV  cut from the buldozer and mounds of dead people to a long line of drooping emaciated figures with a bar of soap in their hands waiting in the snow for their turn to take a shower.

     ‘I’d always thought the ACLU was a pain in the ass until I see something outrageous like this.  The idea of stopping cars with no probable cause.  I’ll make sure that’s stopped before too long you can bet on that.  When I do you can resume deliveries but until then let this McLean fellow take the risks.’

      The announcer came on.  ‘Those are Jews.’  He said heavily accenting the word Jews.  ‘Those are Jews.  This was the greatest crime ever committed and simply because they were Jews.’

     ‘Poor bastards.’  Soter said popping a few peanuts in his mouth.

     ‘Yeah.  I feel sorry for ’em.’  Kayo said belching and blowing a fart as he got up to get another beer.

     ‘I don’t know that it makes great TV though.’  Soter said flopping back on the recliner to doze.

     Across the Bay Trueman threaded his way through the dark to Alton Clark’s house.  With the addition of Dennis Whatley to the group Trueman had begun to distance himself from Da Costa.  He had been introduced to the Clarks finding both of them suitable for friendship.  Having no place to sleep he cadged the use of Alton’s garage.  As it wasn’t used for the car Trueman had constructed a little pallet.  He let himself into the side door stretching out for a little rest before the sun came up.

page 1446.

     Dewey’s relationship with Louise Tricki was not yet so developed that he could spend his time with her but she was almost at the stage where in his high school days he would be ‘going steady.’  The term was now out of date.

     Dewey was the type of guy who needed a woman.  Not in the sexual sense alone but in the psychological sense of a living representative of his Anima.  Completeness involved the companionship of the feminine to complement his masculine.  The absence of the feminine in his life had been debilitating.

     His attentions to Louise were not honorable.  He did not see her as a life partner but he did want to have sexual relations.  Louise was by no means a virgin.  She was a troubled young girl who already had a past.

     She was not beautiful but not unattractive.  She had a taut well rounded body topped by a round Slavic face that was pleasant but couldn’t be called beautiful.

     Now a Senior she had as a Junior run away with a twenty-seven year old pervert.  She had been retrieved from Sacramento by her parents but not before the pervert had introduced her to a variety of sado-masochistic practices.  The results were devastating for Louise’s character.  Whether her elopement caused or only contributed to her malaise she was now burdened by a sad perversity.

     If Dewey had not had a reverence for the sanctity of womanhood he might easily had led her anywhere a man would want to go.  Without being wanton, she even encouraged him to do so.  She perhaps even wanted to be abused.

page 1547.

     As usual the causes could attributed to her parents, not her boy friends.  She was in rebellion against them.

     When Dewey arrived at the Tricki hom, Dick and Marti Tricki were seated at the kitchen table drinks before them watching TV.  The house was modest, merely a thousand square feet out toward 98th on the East side of East 14th on Merlin Street.  The street was five blocks long of these depressing little houses without trees or flowers in front.  The barren yards perfectly reflected the barren minds of the people who lived in them.

     The Tricki’s were equally depressed and depressing.  Between them, Louise and Dewey it was a pretty depressing group.

     Dick Tricki owned a little bar downtown.  The bar provided a decent living but more importantly Dick got his liquor cheap.  He and Marti were full blown alcoholics.  Every waking moment was spent with a drink before them.  The two of them spent their time as they did this evening:  sitting motionless in their kitchen chairs looking silently at each other while the TV set flickered in front of them to the quiet drone of the announcer.

     Dewey had not yet met Louise’s parents so after chatting for an hour or so on the tiny concrete porch Dewey was taken in and introduced.  Dewey always tried to be cheerful  and actually believed he was.  His degree of cheerfulness may be compared to the third step from the bottom leading out of the basement.  Even as depressed as the East Bay was Dewey made it look good.

     He was  offered a drink.

page 1548.

     ‘I’m only twenty; besides I don’t drink.’

     ‘Twenty is old enough for us and you will drink when you find out what life is really like.’

     ‘Plenty of time for that.’  Dewey said diplomatically.

    ‘When you do, let me give you a tip.  Always drink Scotch.  A man can drink Scotch all his life and it will only make him stronger.  Gin, Vodka, Bourbon none of them have any value.  Believe me, I own a bar and I’ve watched the effect of various liquors on a lot of people.  Scotch is the ticket; the others will lay you in your grave.  Believe me.

      So you’re in love with Louise.  I hope you can do better than we have.  She’s always been a problem.  A sweet problem, a good problem, but a problem.  Our real name is Trickieski.  We’re Polish but teachers and her playmates had a hard time pronouncing it which distressed her so we shortened it to Tricki for her.’

     ‘Trickieski is not so hard to pronounce.  I’m Polish too and I ‘ve seen some really tough ones.  My grandmother’s name was Spunyak,  that’s spelled SEPANIAK.  That’s one of the easy ones.  I wouldn’t change my name for anything.’  Dewey responded righteously.

     ‘You’re Polish?’  Dick Tricki asked as the huge mounds of string thin bodies in Poland appeared on the screen.

     Marti stirred to the depth of her alcoholic haze rose quickly to flick the channel from ABC.  The same images appeared on NBC.  Oakland only had two of the three major networks at the time so she found that she was covered.  The Jews were determined that America, man, woman and child, were going to watch their degradation in the death camps.  All three networks were controlled by Jews; they had conspired to make sure that Americans could not escape the vision of their dismal plight.

page 1549.

     In those early days of TV there were usually only the three channels of the major networks, if that, unlike today where it is possible to have hundreds, so Mrs. Tricki’s alternative was to turn off the TV or watch mountains of dead emaciated bodies.  She chose to leave the TV on as it was the only content of her mind.  When she turned off the TV she turned off her mind.

      The depression of the Jews blanketing the United States of America added to the depression of the East Bay and intensified that of the Trickies and Dewey Trueman.  In this household at this time the depression was among the top ten depressing moments of all time.  The place was more depressing even than Auschwitz.

     It is not clear what the point was for the Jews to advertise the past to an American that didn’t care to see it.  The Jews themselves ran these movies to their youth every sabbath in the shules of their synagogues.  A whole generation of Jewish youth was brought up seeing these despicable movies that should have been for specialists only, every week of the year.

     The vision of mountains of dead bodies had a disturbing effect not only on Dewey but on all America.  His life was changed at that moment.  The effect was not what the Jews imagined it would be.  Dewey did not see Jews.  He saw people, that they may have been Jews was only incidental.  This was only another testimonial of man’s inhumanity to man.  Further he blamed the Jews, quite rightly, for making him watch what was better not seen.

page 1550.

    The effect was numbing.  The movies completely blunted his sensibilties but inured him to brutality.  While some others expressed their horror at mass murders and serial killers Dewey observed them complacently even enjoying some the better ones like Richard Speck, Charlie Whitman or Ted Bundy.  Manson he considered crude and vulgar.  He was offended at the clumsiness of Charlie Starkweather and the insane brutality of Pol Pot, but he was astonished.  He’d aleady seen it.  He was, in a manner of speaking, a connoisseur.

     The Jews were training a whole nation to be blase about atrocities of any kind.  In subsequent years their own reaction to viewing these movies constantly was reflected in the movies coming out of Hollywood.  Movies that were devoted to senseless killing and mass destruction.  The violence escalated as people were blown away, cars went up in fireballs, cities were blown up, the White House was a mass of splinters blowing in the wind.  Movies became nothing but murder and mayhem to reflect the Jewish soul nurtured on a past that had never happened in America or to or by Americans.

     In defense the movie makers claimed that all this destruction was ‘entertainment.’  They claimed that the movie going public would watch nothing else.

     Nor was the American public as horrified as the announcer who agonizingly said:  ‘These are Jews.  These are Jews.’  Dewey saw only bodies, the bodies of people.  He saw only man’s inhumanity to man which is an age old story, and he didn’t appreciate the Jews for showing it to him.

page 1551.

     Anyone with a foundation in Jewish history as all Christians have, being instructed in the Jewish writings from infancy, knows that the Jews are an erring people who have to be chastised by their God from time to time to keep them in line.  It’s just their nature.  Several historical figures who had done damage to the Jews had been described right in the sacred writings as Scourges of God.  In that long four thousand year history who was not to say that God had once again sent Hitler as a Scourge for his erring people.  Perhaps the man Hitler wasn’t guilty at all.  Perhaps Hitler was merely God in human form doing what He felt must be done.

     Why, Dewey asked should he suffer because of the willful conduct of others.

     ‘How does he know those are all Jews?’  Dick Tricki asked.  ‘Hitler killed as many Poles.  One whole branch of my family was wiped out, right on Polish soil too.  The bastard built all those detestable crematoriums on good Polish soil because he thought his Germans were better than Slavs.  Well, Stalin showed that bastard a thing or two, not that he was alive to enjoy to it.  Sheez, both channels too.’

     The caperings of the Jews and Nazis brought the depression to an insufferable low.  Dewey was compelled to go back to his pallet in the garage earlier than he liked.

     He had several hours on Sunday with Louise in which they cemented their relationship.  Dewey could consider Louise his girl.

page 1552.

     Kayo pulled up to the curb on East 14th St. at six-ten.  The way Kayo drove they had plenty of time to get back.

     Kayo nosed the car out on the highway as the sun went down in the West.  The Altamont was history before Dewey had settled in his seat.

     Kayo was complete of his species.  He knew who he was and sought the margins of existence on every head.  Dewey was much less focused and more eclectic.  He was more of a dilettant than an aficionado.  He never concentrated on any one thing long enough to become thoroughly knowledgeable about it.  Kayo immersed himself totally in his life style.  There was little about the drug culture that he wasn’t aware of.  The drug culture was affiliated to the criminal world, marginal politics and sub-cultures like the Beats.  Kayo was conversant with them all.  He was an underground kind of guy.

     The night time is the right time where the underground flourishes.  The authorities were content to keep the radicals off daytime radio.  They couldn’t stop rock and roll which they considered silly pimple music but they were ardent in containing the subversive Folkies.

      Perry Sparkman had no chance of getting a job even at night in the major markets of the Bay Area and LA but down in the Valley somewhere around Turlock, but not Turlock, God knows that place was as conservative as anywhere, I forget the station letters, he had a clear signal of 20,000 watts directionally North and South in the San Joaquin.  As soon as they made the Manteca cutoff Kayo, who had heard Perry, twirled the dial until the signal came in as clear as a bell.

page 1553.

     He leaned back and studied the road as the most astonishing songs Dewey had ever heard flooded the car.  The Folkies were all college boys sharp as tacks and tuned into the politics their parents loathed but which carried their teaching to one of its logical limits.  ‘Let Freedom Ring.’ was the main theme of the Folkies and it was the main fantasy of the Greatest Generation.  The facts are clear, you see, it’s the interpretations of the facts that cause dissension.

     Now the Folkies and Perry Sparkman existed only at the sufferance of the Greatest Generation and only if they were content to stay in the shadows.  Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper were killed because they wanted to be center stage.

     Sparkman would be driven off the air and out of employment shortly while folk singers like Tom Paxton, Chad Mitchell and many others were squashed and driven deeper into the bowels of the earth; kind of an under underground.  Like Bob Dylan would sing:  If it hadn’t been for freedom of speech I would have wound up in the swamp.

     Kayo had hoped to offend Dewey with the music; he was surprised to see him not only enjoying but ecstatic.

     ‘Do you know what that is?’

     ‘Yeah, Folk Music.  But I’ve never heard this stuff before.  I never even heard of any of these guys.’

page 1554.

     ‘There’s a lot you don’t know.  I’m surprised you’re so politically aware that you can understand it.’

     ‘What do you mean politically aware?  I read TIME don’t I?’  Dewey asked who saw the lyrics as literature or poetry that handled a topic in a pertinent manner not requiring political allegiance.  Besides, freedom’s just another word for nothing left to do.  There’s all kinds of ways of looking at these things.

     ‘Well, I mean the songs have a particular political point of view that I didn’t think you understood or shared.’  Kayo continued in his demeaning manner as the excited voice of Perry Sparkman broke through the music to excitedly announce some news of the Black rebellion in Birmingham.

      The South was a bubbling cauldron of Black discontent.  If there was anyone aboard the Teufelsdreck who disagreed with the Black rebellion they certainly kept their mouth shut.  Current histories portray activist Blacks and a small cadre of White sympthizers as being the few attuned to the revolt but in fact, outside the South, there was seeming universal acceptance of Black goals.

      Indeed, who could dissent with the stated goals.  Dewey firmly believed that no one should be denied equal oportunity, including himself, not that he’d had much as yet and would be soon denied his rights in favor of Blacks.  He also saw that opportunity wasn’t going to be equal; the roles would just be reversed.  He also knew who was going to have to pay the bill and it not the kids from the right side of town.

     ‘Goddamn.  Good for those Black people, I’m sick of this injustice, aren’t you?’  Kayo demanded of Dewey.

     Dewey looked at Kayo in amazement.  He saw a guy who definitely thought he was better than himself, better than any of his shipmates and by extension better than any Black person alive.  This superiority was based on nothing.  Although Dewey was unaware of it he was sitting in a car with one of the most significant criminals in California.  The forty pounds of heroin Kayo brought ashore in San Diego and his father had distributed had gone a long way to corrupt the morals of the Bay Area.  The couple hundred pounds of marijuana he had just transported to his home in Mill Valley would do the same.  Some of it was even distributed by Neal Cassady of Beat Fame.  A couple of joints of one these shipments put him in jail.

      He and Soter’s palatial life style was built on the destroyed lives of multitudes.  The Edsel, the Cadillacs, the little red MG were all being purchased out of the miseries of others.  Injustice!  The most that could be said about Soter and Kayo was that their poisons were sold to Black and White without discrimination.  The results all came back one color- green.  Kayo and Soter should have been in San Quentin.

     ‘What do you mean by injustice?’  Dewey asked directly but clumsily.

     ‘What do I mean by injustice?  Don’t you know what’s going on down South?’  Kayo asked apparently oblivious to conditions in Oakland.  ‘Haven’t you heard of Emmet Till?’  Kayo continued indignantly.

     Dewey thought for a moment:  ‘He’s some Black guy that got killed somewhere down South, wasn’t he?’

     ‘Do you know why that young man was murdered?’  Kayo went on.  He had his terminology down.  Even though Emmet Till had been a teenaged boy, Blacks were sensitive about being called boys  that while Whites in their twenties and early thirties were referred to as ‘boys’ by the Greatest Generation both pre and post pubescent Black boys were accorded the dignity of  ‘young man.’

page 1556.

     ‘If I remember right he gave a wolf whistle to a White woman in a grocery store.’

     ‘Is tthat all?  Do you think it right to kill a Black man because he looks at a White woman?’

     ‘Kayo, of course I think violence of any kind is bad, unlike yourself, I think killing should always be avoided.’  Dewey began trying to collect his thoughts to express what he really wanted to say.  ‘I have a Christian background, although I’m not Christian, so I do not believe in hating anyone.  Love is the answer.  I don’t believe in hating those who hate because you always end up becoming what you hate.  Thus even the Nazis who were certainly hateful cannot be hated because if you devote your life to hating them you will inevitably end up being one.  One becomes what one fixes one’s thoughts on.  Besides hating those who hate only means that you hate those who disagree with you because only people who disagree with you hate, you have your reasons.  That entitles those who disagree with you to hate you because they too have their reasons.  So by hating for any reason you make yourself hatefull.

     Now, the injustice.  Yes, I think it is unjust to kill a person because he whistles at a woman.  But, I put it into a social context and not a racial one.  Emmett Till was killed not because he was Black but because he was considered socially inferior.  If he had been a White boy from the other side of the tracks whistling at an upper crust woman in a grocery store, which is considered ill mannered by White people, he might have been killed too.’

     ‘That’s nonsense:  that couldn’t happen.’

     page 1457.

     ‘It isn’t nonsense and it does happen except when  White boys are killed nothing is said about it but that they probably had it coming.

     Let me give a couple of examples.  I was in the orphanage in the the fourth grade.  We were considered sub-Negro in class.  Blacks were given better treatment than we were.  We were not even allowed to speak to girls from parented homes.  So you say Emmett Till was discriminated against because he was Black?  I say, so what?  Black?  Orphan? Why is it a greater crime to discriminate against a Black person than a White orphan?

     So, in defiance I developed a crush on Elaine Webster.  She was the creme de la creme of the parented girls.  They threw rocks at me.  They waited on the sidewalk to thrash me to within an inch of my life, it’s possible they would have taken the last inch.  I had to take the back way home for weeks until they forgot about it.  They didn’t forget about it; I always had to take the back way.  If we had been in the twelfth grade at the time they probably would have killed me.  If they had they wouldn’t have made a fuss about it like Emmett Till.  They would have forgotten it on the spot.’

     ‘Why didn’t you stay in your place?’   This man most interested in justice asked.

     ‘Why didn’t Emmett Till?’

page 1558.

     ‘That’s not the point.  Emmett Till was Black.’

     ‘So, what you’re saying is Blacks have more rights than certain Whites.  It’s OK to kill Whites who don’t know their place but not Blacks?’

     ‘You weren’t killed.’

     ‘Well, wait a minute.  Now, in the Valley when upper class boys wanted to get laid they went into lower class neighborhoods and seduced those girls without thought to moral considerations and no moralists arose among the old folks to condemn the practice.  Their fathers had done the same thing.  Same thing as in the slave South where Whites went to Black woman for easy nooky, right?

     On the other hand if the kids from the poor side tried to cruise the nice areas they were driven away.  So, there was this one nineteen year old kid who didn’t know his place chasing after this rich girl, she wasn’t rich but that’s how everyone talked, who was warned away two or three times but insisted he was as good as anyone else, certainly as good as Emmett Till.

     One day he wan’t seen around town anymore.  People said he’d gone West.  But he hadn’t gone West he went North.  He’s now at the bottom of Higgin’s Lake.  I watched him loaded into the boat where he was taken to the middle of the lake and dropped in.

     So, he went West.  Nobody looked for him; nobody cared.  He should have known better than to chase someone out of his class.  Do I consider the killing of Emmett Till injustice?  Sure.  Do I consider his killing more outrageous than the killing of the White Boy?  No.

     Emmett Till was given justice after death; the guy at the bottom of Higgin’s Lake hasn’t and never would have, if, even in the presence of a dead body, people hadn’t denied he was even dead.  So what does race mean to the dead guys?’

     ‘It’s wrong to discriminate against Black people and I’m surprised you can’t see the difference, Trueman.’

     Dewey was going to say more on the meaning of discrimination but realizing the futility of it he decided to clam up.

     ‘I’m going to stop here for something to eat?’

     Kayo left 99 making a couple turns Dewey couldn’t follow to pull up in front of a place called the Kopper Kettel.  How Kayo knew about it was a mystery to Dewey as Kayo had never been there before.  Dewey had to admire Kayo because he always seemed to home in on the hippest things.

     The Kopper Kettel was a Mexican restaurant.  Ordinary on the outside the inside was like a magic shore.  The waitress and cook was the most beautiful Mexican girl Dewey had ever seen.  She was tall, shapely and fair of face.

     Dewey ordered a couple of tacos.  Made fresh they were cooked in a way Dewey would never see them cooked again.  The woman formed a pocket or belly in the bottom of the tortilla which she filled with hamburger then deep fried them together added the vegetables and cheese on removal from the grease.  Dewey would never have such a taco again.

     Back on the highway Kayo resisted all attempts to get him to explain how he knew about the place preferring a mysterious silence.

page 1560.

     The silence lasted until they pulled into a truck stop pavilion just on the North outskirts of Bakersfield.  These things were already huge constructions at the time although some are now like little cities.  Rows of double bottoms and tractor trailers lined up in the dark.  Numbers of cars were parked around as these places were great scenes of night action.

     Kreskin pulled into a pump.  While they waited for service Dewey checked out the huge restaurant to see what they looked like.  A large percentage of the tables were taken by truck drivers while many more were filled by thrill seekers hoping for some action.

     As Dewey entered he was bowled over at the sight of a figure clothed in a purple suit with purple suede wing tips.  A pink string tie dangled over a ruffled white shirt.  Over the suit was a purple Capt. Marvel cape, pink lined, with a pink draw string in front.  As if this were not enough to catch the attention of anyone the guy had a six inch platinum blonde bouffant topping one of the palest faces ever seen.  The back of his hair disappeared beneath the collar of his cape.  Easily the longest hair this side of Hollywood.

     Truckers sat staring at him with forks suspended in air, mouths gaping.  Some had faces contorted into grimaces of anger and disgust.  Several looked as if they wanted to get up and pound the guy on general principles.  He made it easy for them.

     ‘What the hell kind of a place is this dump?’  He shouted out with a leering grin.  ‘Ain’t any of you pansies looking for action?’

page 1561.

     Several of them pansies were; they rose to their feet advancing toward the phenom who with wobbling hips and mincing steps strolled for the door pointing out to the back.

     Dewey gave them a wide berth allowing them to disappear around the corner before he followed them out.  The guy in purple and pink was no blowhard.  He’d apparently done this before.  He was holding his own when Dewey with wide open eyes headed back for the pumps.

     On the way past the restrooms, gas stations always have restrooms rather than toilets, an over dressed matron carrying a lap dog exited indignantly followed by a seventeen year old girl with her right fingers to her lips giggling madly.

     When Dewey got back to the pump an eighteen year old kid was talking to Kayo.  The young girl walked up and joined him.

     ‘Hey, Dewey, we’re giving these two a ride into LA.’

     Dewey groaned.  He hated to give hitchhikers rides.

     The young girl still giggling pointed to the matron with the dog who was about to get into her car.

     ‘See that woman.’  She said giggling.   ‘She was in the can and was having her lap dog lap her box.  Getting licked by a pooch in the john.’

     Dewey, who took everything much more seriously than need be was indignant.  Kayo gave a laugh and they all piled into the Edsel to take on the Grapevine.

     ‘Boy, we sure are broke.’  The boy said.

     ‘Tell me.’

page 1562.

     ‘Who isn’t?

     ‘We could sure use a couple bucks.’

     ‘Who couldn’t?’

     ‘Allie sure is cute, ain’t she?’

     The idea was clear.  Dewey once again indignant while Kreskin was blase.  Neither was interested in bought stuff this side of the border.

     Kayo dropped the traveling pimp and his prostitute off on Lankershim Boulevard.  The Edsel sped through the night arriving at four A.M., two hours ahead of time.  Perfect.

The Battle Of The Coral Sea

     Some enterprising Jewish film maker in Hollywood hoping to make a few bucks from the trials and tribulations of Amerika decided to make a movie entitled:  The Battle Of The Coral Sea.  It would have been much too expensive to film on location so the battle was refought off the San Diego coast.

     This author has a very low opinion of movies and film makers.  The only way the producer could economically make the movie was if he could cadge the Navy into contributing its ships and crews gratis, that is, free of charge.

     The Navy was only too happy to cooperate.  Although there was no advertising value and few people know the what the tag line at the end of movies- the producers would like to thank the Navy for its cooperation- really means.  The Brass somehow felt that a return in ‘goodwill’ was involved.  What nonsense.

page 1563.

     The upshot was that the US taxpayers financed the movie while all the profits, if any, went to the film makers.  One can’t expect the Admirals to be good businessmen as well as warriors but they should always try to get their share of the profits.  Of course, given Hollywood accounting methods, even though the companies never go broke their films never show a profit on paper.

     The Teufelsdreck was now assigned to assist the movie company in the manufacture of ‘The Battle Of The Coral Sea.’  The little subkiller was given the indignity of posing as Japanese; fly the Rising Sun and everything.  Dewey was incensed but was learning to curb his tongue so he said little, almost nothing.

     Chief Dieter was eager to comply.  Had Dewey been more aware of the Chief’s designation as the Hero of Saipan he would have laughed himself to death pleasing Dieter mightily.  As it was the joke was not entirely lost among the old hands in Deck.

     The thought of men like Dieter who had carried war from the Coral Sea to Japan now posing as Japs was just too funny for words.  The only old warrior who got it was Ratman, the dullest of the lot.  He had actually been present at the Coral Sea so perhaps that piqued his resentment.

     As the old Bucket T was to be Japanese the number 666 on the prow had to be effaced because it was argued the Japanese didn’t number their vessels that way.  How anyone in the movie audience was expected to know that wasn’t explained.

     So it was that Dieter grabbed Trueman and told him to paint over the numbers in gray.  Trueman had spent several days alongside the Lewis repainting the numbers in white.  He was especially pleased with this particular effort; they hadn’t always gone off as well.  He wasn’t about to paint over his fine work.

page 1564.

     ‘You aren’t disobeying an order are you, Trueman?’

      ‘No, I’m not disobeying an order Dieter but discussing the best method for a job isn’t disobeying.  There isn’t anything in the code that says you can’t discuss methods.’

     Once again Trueman had never read the code but his argument seemed reasonable to himself.

     ‘Always the sea lawyer, hey Trueman?’  Dieter replied, who had never bothered to study the code either.  ‘Alright, let’s hear it.  What’s your suggestion?’

     Trueman hadn’t really thought of a suggestion but placed on the spot he came up with one.

     ‘Well, Chief, we could tape over the numbers, paint the tape gray and then just strip the tape off when these bozos are finished.’

     Pardon who had come up during the discussion gave a little grunt of approval.

     ‘That won’t work.’  Dieter protested.  ‘The tape will work off at sea exposing the numbers.’

     ‘Ah it won’t either, Chief, ‘sides these movie jerks can just cut those frames out of the movie.’

     ‘Naw, paint over the numbers, Trueman.’

     ‘C’mon Chief.  I just painted the numbers; that’s a lot of work.’

page 1565.

     Pardon interposed.  ‘I think he’s got a point Chief.  The tape’ll hold.  There’s no reason for us to knock ourselves out for these movie people.’

     Dieter gave Pardon a long cold look then walked of muttering:  ‘Go ahead, do what you want.’  He felt betrayed by Pardon.  The First Class was always siding with the men he thought.

     The nest broke up as the squadron put to sea.  You may be sure that the Desade and the Commodore played Americans and not Japanese.

     Just opposite North Island the ship slowed to allow a boat alongside carrying the actors playing the Japanese officers and crew, thirty men in all.  Thirteen years after the war the Japanese commandeered an American ship of war in San Diego harbor.  A Japanese ‘Captain’ stood on the bridge of the little subkiller, the USS Teufelsdreck.  DE 666.

     For three days the film maker commanded a fleet of nine US warships including two aircraft carriers of which one carried an Atomic bomb in its hold.

     The sailors of the Teufelsdreck were ordered to take their hats off so as to look Japanese.  Apparently the Emperor’s lads didn’t wear hats.  Ordered to their battle stations First spent three days lounging around the gun mounts.  They had to stand so as to be visible.

     At lunch time on the first day the Japanese ‘enlisted’ men filed into the mess hall.  The Japanese ‘officers’ taking their roles a little too literally filed into the wardroom to lunch with Captain Gabriel Ratches and his brother officers.

page 1566.

     Ratches exploded in rage.  He might be imposed upon to have a Japanese ‘Captain’ on his bridge but he was not going to have Japanese  ‘officers’ at his table.

      The War was still too fresh in the minds of these men who fought it for them to feel that comfortable having Japanese ‘officers’ and ‘crew’ aboard their ship.  The country might have been asked to forget the ‘Day of Infamy’ sixteen years after but it wasn’t that easy for the men who swept the islands.

     The Japanese-Americans posing as Japanese nationals fled the wardroom in haste spilling down the ladder in the mess hall to the laughter and merriment of the crew most of which felt that some sacred trust was being violated.

     Having wheeled around for three days at enormous cost to the taxpayers the fleet of movie moguls broke up to return to port.

     As Dewey had known when he went over the side to strip the tape off the numbers the tape had weathered the seas just fine.  The tape was off in jig time saving Dewey several days work.

I Wonder Where You Are Tonight

     Isaac Sheyer had returned home in a pensive mood.  He believed himself under obligation to inform Solomon Hirsh, Yisraeli’s father, of his son’s whereabouts.  Sol Hirsh was very well thought of in the synagogue being considered somewhat of a scholar, which is to say by Judaic standards, that he studied the Talmud.  But as Sheyer quite rightly thought that Yisraeli had no desire to be found he was reluctant to advise the old man.  Yet, as he had found Yehouda, or David as he was formerly known, with so little trouble he reasoned that someone else would too.

page 1567.

     Old Sol thanked him for his information but as his son had seen no reason to contact him he preferred to ignore the information.  He did give the information to Beverly Webster Hirsh who had been living in distraction since her son’s death and her abandonment by her husband.

     Taking nothing with her but her daughter, Anne, she got in her car and headed West.  For some reason she chose to go through Memphis across the Mississippi Bridge Chuck Berry sang about then West across the sprawiing continent.

     As she crossed the Bridge the radio blared out the words of a Webb Pierce song:

I wonder where you are tonight,

I wonder if you are alright,

I wonder if you think of me

In my lonely misery.

     The words increased her emotional pitch such that she neither needed sleep nor took it.  She drove non-stop straight through with the words of Webb’s song echoing in her mind.  Monday afternoon found her parked in front of the house across from the faux Playboy Club which was the address Isaac Sheyer had been given.

     Once there her nerve failed her.  She suddenly realized that Yehouda probably hadn’t been thinking of her at all or he would have sent for her.  He knew where she was.  The horrible realization that she might be turned away was paralyzing.  She was sitting behind the wheel panting and staring fixedly ahead when Yisreaeli emerged from the faux Playboy Club.

page 1568.

     His eyes swept the street in practiced manner as befit one of his profession.  The dusty Buick caught his attention.  He looked twice.  Startled by what he thought he saw he crossed the street coming up behind the car to check the plates.   Confirmed in his suspicion he placed his hands on the open window sill leaning in to say softly:  ‘Beverly, is that you?’

     Beverly looked up with stark terror in her eyes as she sobbed:  ‘Yes.  How have you been, David?’

     ‘Oh fine, Bev, just fine.  How did you find me?’

     ‘Ikey Sheyer saw you in LA.  He told dad and dad told me.’

     ‘Good old Ike.  Who’d of thought it?’

     ‘Is this where you live David?’  Beverly said hinting at being turned away.

     ‘No. No, this is a business address.  Slide over, I’ll drive.’  Yehouda said opening the door.

     ‘Y-you’re not going to send me away?’  Beverly sobbed in high anxiety.

     ‘No, no.  Of course not, honey.’  Yisraeli replied resignedly to the mother of his dead son, accepting the fact that she had found him.

     As he turned the motor over Anne, who had been sitting uietly in the back seat threw her arms around Yehouda’s neck, saying:  ‘Hi, Daddy.  Have you missed me?’

page 1569.

     ‘I sure have Sweetheart, I sure have.’  Yisraeli lied.  With Michael gone his daughter meant nothing to him.

     Our Lady pulled grimly away from the curb as Beverly slumped exhhausted against the door.

Give ‘Em Enough Rope

     The incident in Guam had been more fateful for the Tuefelsdreck than anyone imagined or realized.  The removal of those fifty sailors plus the Blacks on return plus the discharge of the low I.Q. sailors meant there were two distinct crews aboard.  Those who had returned from overseas and the hundred or so replacements.  The enlistments of the old crew all expired between the present and the next year.

     Dewey, who was beginning to hold on by the skin of his teeth had applied for an early release to attend college.  The Navy was fairly lenient in such matters so his request had been granted.  His release date was moved up from November 22, 1959 to September 23.  So he was now looking at one year more.

     As the old crew were all pretty much short timers they had no interest in making friends with the new men.  The new men couldn’t understand why the old crew were indifferent to them which in turn produced bizarre psychological stresses.  The new men adopted bizarre personae such as the old crew had never exhibited.

     Many of the new men just took to their bunks as Dewey had in mess cooking lying there in desperate loneliness.

page 1570.    

     A new man called Trig Pelisse adopted the persona of Jerry Lewis in a desperate attempt to ingratiate himself.  He could be seen stalking around the deck in various spastic postures in imitation of the Meningitis Poster Kid or interjecting himself in conversations with twisted face and nasal twang.

     Their malaise affected some of the older men.  Gonzo Lewis became especially obnoxious possibly to compensate for his weekend panhandling trips to LA.  If anyone other than Dewey knew of them neither had they nor he ever mentioned it.

     It became necessary for Gonzo to prove that he was better than everyone else.  His expedient was to believe that he was capable of conversing with anyone in any station of life high or low.  He could be seen striking up conversations with the various officers, the Chiefs, the First Classes, Operations men, Snipes and occasionally to better prove his point of being able to converse with high and low he made it back to First.  There he approached Trueman.

     ‘Hi, Trueman.  Say, I hear you applied for an early discharge to go to college.’

     ‘Not only applied, I got it.  I am now over two months closer to getting out.’

     ‘Nice ruse.’

     ‘Whadya mean nice ruse?’

     ‘C’mon, Trueman.  You know and I know you’re not going to college.’

     ‘What you know and what I know are two different things.  Don’t give yourself too much credit for knowing what I know, if you know what I mean.’

page 1571.

     ‘C’mon, you’re in First.  Guys in First don’t go to college.  Man, you just don’t have what it takes.’

     ‘Yeh?  You going to college when you get out?’

     ‘Who me?  No.  I got a good job waiting for me; besides I got the gift of gab, I can talk to anybody; that’s all you really need, contacts.  The rest is all bushwa.  You learn by doing.  I can talk to anybody unlike you.  Nobody will talk to you.  There isn’t anybody high or low I can’t converse with.  I’m like that…’ Crossed fingers, ‘…with Lt. Sieggren.  I talk to him all the time and he is one intelligent guy.  I understand every word he says and that guy’s studied the dictionary.  See what I mean?  High or low.  Here I am talking to you.  See what I mean?’

     Dewey took offence at being included with the low.

     ‘You aren’t talking to me you’re talking at me.  I’m not listening so I guess that disproves your notion you can converse with anyone.’

     ‘Who’d want to talk to you, anyway.’  Gonzo Lewis said getting to his feet.

     ‘Hey.’  Dewey said with a sardonic smile.  ‘Got any spare change?’

     ‘Not for you.’  Lewis said not realizing the import of Dewey’s question.  Gonzo went off to converse with Blaise Pardon, a man of intermediate intellectual stature.  Dewey went up to take the watch.

     The POW was Carlovic.  The Damage Controlman was up for discharge in two months.

page 1472.

     ‘Hey Carlovics.’

     ‘Carlovic, Trueman.  How many times do I have to tell you?’

     ‘Uh, one more, Carlovic.’

     ‘You got the watch?’

     ‘I’m not up here just because I like your company, although, quite honestly, there is no one I would rather stand watch with.’

     ‘Thank God I won’t have to put up with you much longer.’

     ‘Oh yeah?  You got someone to stand in for you?’

     ‘No.  I’m getting discharged in two months.’

     ‘Hey, great.  Why don’t you put in a good word for me and get me discharged in two months too.  What strings did you pull?’

     ‘I didn’t pull any strings, idiot, my time’s up.  I’m going back to Philadelphia.’

     ‘You’re from Philly, huh?’

     ‘Yes.  Not that they appreciate a man of my talents back there.  They don’t know a good man from a hole in the gound in Philadelphia.’

     ‘What do you mean?’

     ‘Do you realize that I am a Second Class Damage Controlman in this man’s Navy?’

     ‘If you go by the chevron on your sleeve.’

     ‘You know how valuable and important my skills are to the Navy?  I am able to control damage to this shiip even in the event of an Atom Bomb attack.  Do you know what this chevron is worth in Philadelphia?’    

     ‘Probably, nothing.’

     ‘That’s right, nothing.  Not a thing.  How did you know?  Man, they appreciate me in the Navy.  I’m something here.’

     ‘Oh yeah?  What?’

     ‘What?’  Carlovic retorted beligerently.  ‘I’m a Second Class Damage Controlman, that’s what.’

     ‘What’s so special about that?’

     ‘What’s so special?’  Carlovic fairly shouted.  ‘Why, do you know that if a bomb hits this ship I know how to control the damage?  I can use a suicide nozzle to break up the center of the flames and I know when to use a flood nozzle to drown it.  That’s what’s so special.’

     ‘Yeah.’  Trueman said unimpressed.  ‘Well, if Kanary keeps throwing those nozzles over the side like he is you’re going to have to know how to piss on a fire to put it out.’

     ‘Is that what’s happening to those nozzles?’

     ‘That’s it.  I’m going to take a round of the ship.  If you need a letter of recommendation for Philly, let me know.’

     ‘This is a serious matter, Trueman.’

      ‘I am serious.  Let me know.’  Dewey said heading for the foc’sle with a laugh.

     Dewey was laughing less these days and worrying more.  The attempt to entomb him in Atascadero weighed heavily on his mind.  Since the smokestack incident he thought that maybe Dieter and Kanary were involved.  The incidents on the Matthew Lewis troubled him as they seemed planned and  connected.  He knew he would have to walk wary to make his discharge.

     Up to this point his psychology had remained intact even improving from his high school days.  While his childhood psychology kept on slowly improving his temporary shipboard psychology began to twist and deviate.  Prevented from venting his despleasure in an overt way he began to subconsciously search for a clandestine way.  As sabotage or sneakiness was out of the question for him something symbolic was needed.

page 1574

     An opportunity presented itself the next day.  Mad Chief Dieter was sinking into a quiet despair.  His glorious past had become meaningless in Cold War America.  If Trueman and his fellows had ignored the Chief and his stories the new men laughed at him.  The Second World War was ancient history to them.  Old war stories meant nothing, besides by this time stories of the Hiroshima Maidens were more important than the Day Of Infamy, Tarawa, Guadalcanal and Saipan combined.  None of the new men had even heard of Saipan much less seen it.  they had been taught that the dropping of the Bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasake had not only negated Japanese war guilt but transferred the guilt for the most infamous act in American history to themselves.  They didn’t even know why the Pacific War had been fought, possibly so the Marines could have fun storming those beaches.

     A lonely and disconsolate Dieter was a stranger in a strange ship.  Even his arch pal Cornell Roberts was gone.  He hardly knew the men who remained.

     In a pique of desperation he called what was left of his old pals up to the rope  locker along with Trueman.  He didn’t understand why he called Trueman up too.

     ‘So this is the infamous rope locker.’  Trueman said looking around.

page 1575.

     In his despair Dieter had no idea why they were there.  He just wanted a little reflection of his old glory but he didn’t know how to ask for it.

     Dewey was looking around marveling at being in the very bow of the ship when he noticed the small hatch in the middle of the deck.

     ‘What’s down there?’  He asked.

     ‘The cord and small lines.’  Princeton Warwick replied.

     Dewey lifted up the hatch gazing down at the bales of cord and lines heaped across the lower compartment.  There was a strange resemblance to somewhere he had been before.

     Something either snapped or coalesced in his mind.  He knew how to express himself.  The waters of oblivion rose up from his subconscious to engulf his conscious mind.  His subsequent action in no way resembled insanity and yet he was incapable of resisting the impulse so he was in fact ‘out of his mind.’  Indeed, the impulse was a just symbol of retaliation against his oppressors.

     The same thing would hapen to Richard Speck in Chicago eight years later.  Richard Speck was not of evil intent but an opportunity for a symbolic act of retaliation presented itself.  Richard Speck took it without an instant’s reflection.

     Speck was subsequently portrayed as a monster but his monstrosity was only a reflection of the society that created him for the purpose of committing an egregious act of violence.  You will scoff but it is true that from childhood he had been programmed to murder those nurses or someone just like them.  It was hoped, expected, even demanded of him.

page 1576.

     Dewey, when it happened, felt a deep kinship with Richard Speck for he too had undergone the same indoctrination.  He felt sorry for Speck because he had succumbed to the temptation.  At the base of Speck’s act was the specter of his mother.  It was at bottom the hatred or resentment of her that caused his crime.  The details of the mutilation of the women was not released but I would imagine that their wombs were ripped out.  If so this was Richard Speck’s ritual vengeance against his bitch and whore of a mother from whose womb he had sprung.  That she was a whore is made explicit by Speck’s adoption of the role of his mother in prison.

     He somehow contrived to develop his torso into a grotesque version of women’s breasts.  he then made himself the whore of the Black inmates.  This indicator points to the notion that his mother was expecially fond of Black men.

     As he was inordinately shy and ‘soft’ the indications are that he was denied his place in society from infancy on; probably the result of his mother’s conduct.

     Some people assert that he became a whore to atone for the murdering of the nurses.  That is nonsense.  Speck undoubtedly felt no guilt for his killings.  In his mind they had it coming.  As he told his Black inmates when asked why he killed them:  It just wasn’t their night.  Quite right.  Speck would have felt no guilt whether they had been a hundred or even a thousand.  All the previous nights had been his nights so on that night Richard Speck got back his own.

      As he walked down that street on that night, laden like the Scapegoat with all the sins and evilty of those who wished him ill he looked in the open window, which should have been shaded, why didn’t the nurses draw the shade, the waters of oblivion rose up from his subconscious to engulf his conscious mind.  ‘Go ahead.  Do it.  We want you to.’ echoed from a thousand tormentors down through the years.  ‘We want you to.  Go ahead. Do it.’  Fully conscious of what he was doing as though he had done it a thousand times before, yet no longer in conscious control of his will nor able to resist the impulse Richard Speck knocked on the door.  Yes, he knocked on the door.  The door was opened and he entered, then systematically began the slaughter of innocence.  He had been shown how to slaughter innocence many, many times.  His innocence had been slaughtered in just the same way.  Six student nurses lay dead.  he left the seventh one behind to tell the story.

     Did he forget her or leave her?  No one knows, of course, no one bothered to ask, but in the control of his subconscious the numbers six and seven and their sum thirteen were probably signficant to his mind.

     Then he left as quietly as he came.

      He had done as he had been done by society.  He became all that society detested in itself.  He had taken their monkeys on his back.  Now they could point and say ‘How detestable, not us, but him, he’s the one.’  That’s why they call them scapegoats.

     An interesting fact is that only the most self-righteous took the crime viscerally.  Mrs. Tuistad, Dewey’s mother who had done her best to make her son into a Richard Speck was horrified.  Perhaps she saw her image in those mutilated women; hers like the evil womb that poisoned Richard Speck’s life just as she had her son’s.  Yehouda Yisraeli, he who made his perverted living from male porn would rage and storm against the Chicagoan.  Teal Kanary took obvious pleasure in the mutilated female bodies but for different reasons.

page 1578.

     Thus as Dewey slipped down into the steel hold through that narrow aperture of the subconscious which, like his mother’s vulva had been at birth, was just large enough to admit him a strange alchemy took place in his brain.

     ‘Hey, Dieter, when I knock let me out, OK?’

     Dieter’s eyes bulged like a madman.  The daring of this man Trueman made his hair stand on end.  All Dieter had to do to entomb his man as had been his desire for so long was flip a bolt into place to hold the hatch down, order everyone out, turn out the lights nd leave and he would have his heart’s ease.  Caught off guard all he could do was shiver and shake with starting eyes.

     To say that Trueman did or thought or had any idea of the symbolism would be to mistake the facts.  He didn’t.  He was in the grip of his subconscious.  He was not responsible for his action.  He knew what he did and he always remembered it but the symbolism and reason was beyond him.

     Whereas Speck, if he did, had ripped out his mother’s symbolic womb six successive times, Dewey was entombed in his mother’s steely womb.  Once he was enclosed in the steel of her womb he opened his fly, took out his tool and masturbated on the lines of the lower rope locker.  Did they represent the umbilical cord to him?  If Dieter and the others wanted to fuck him, well, they and his mother could take this fucking from him, would have been his thoughts if he had been thinking.  One shudders at the thought of a man masturbating in his mother’s womb.  Dewey’s mother had it coming too but the sanctity of motherhood prevented Dewey’s injuring her except symbolically just as Speck’s anger at his mother was visited on six surrogate women.

page 1579.

     The mothers of the world will claim that they can’t be held responsible but the cold hard facts are that mothers are indeed responsible for it all.  Frued was right.  It is in the mother that existence takes place; it is the mother that gives birth and the mother who is responsible for nurturing her child.  It is to the mother that the child looks.  Fate may have placed an unfair burden on the women of the world, not all women are capable of being mothers although all women are capable of bearing children, but the cold hard fact is that mothers create their children in their own image.

     Having completed his futile symbolic act of resistance Dewey poinded on the hatch wondering whether Dieter would seize the moment or let him out.  At that moment Dewey was ready to die just as Speck had been ready to follow the nurses to hell.

     Dieter’s already bulging eyes bulged further.  His breath came in short gasps, then his knees began to buckle.  Perhaps as much to cover his buckling knees as anything else Dieter knelt and flipped the hatch up.  Dewey looked at Dieter with eyes of quiet triumph then hoisting himself up through the hatch, shall we say, he was born again.

page 1580.

A Novel

Our Lady Of The Blues

Book VII

by

R.E. Prindle

 Clip 4

     ‘Nothing, unless you’re buying.  No money.’

     ‘I’m not buying.’

     ‘I’m not eating.’

     ‘You’re going to have a cup of coffee at least.’

     ‘Don’t have a dime.’

     Stan looked at Dewey.  He admired his strength of will but he was sure Dewey was lying which of course Dewey was.  He had that twenty but he wasn’t about to show it.

     They got back into the yellow VW to continue on in the brilliant yellow sunshine bursting almost into song over the Great Valley of California.  Zippity do dah.

     Stan probed insistently as they drove past the outskirts of Bakersfield.  He was going to get that twenty.  Had it been a pre-beating Stan he might very well have but with his stuffing missing Stan lacked real nerve.  He could be hit in a couple places where it still hurt.  It would have to be a sucker punch on Dewey.  He tried another ploy.

     There is no natural water in the San Joaquin but clever Californians had built and were building massive dams that provided irrigation water.  Large amounts of that water were used to irrigate cotton fields in the Kern County desert.  Bakersfield is actual desert.  As they were driving past the budding cotton a plane was flying ground level dusting the cotton for boll weevils or whatever.

     Stan brought the VW to a halt by the side of ninety-nine.

     ‘Look they’re crop dusting.  Let’s watch for a while.’

     ‘Uh, I’m in a hurry man.  Why don’t I get out?

page 1431.

     ‘Relax.  Just watch.’

     Dewey doubled his fist keeping his eyes on Leland, ready to defend himself because he realized his danger.  He would have to be knocked out or killed for Stan to get his twenty.

     Stan’s right arm draped over the seat to feel for a wrench on the floor but he needed surprise also.  He needed Dewey to look the other way but Dewey’s tenseness indicated he wasn’t about to.

     With a sigh Stan put the VW in gear but now he was sore.

     ‘You aren’t a nice guy.’  He said with a pout.  ‘You don’t deserve to ride in this People’s Car.  You’re not real people.  Get out.’

     ‘Thanks for the ride anyway, man.’  Dewey said opening the door before the car came to a complete stop.  ‘Sorry about the twenty.’

     Dewey had to turn away to keep from laughing in Stan Leland’s face.  Leland had maybe carried him sixty miles which represented twenty cents in gas.  Did Leland really think Dewey was going to fork over twenty dollars for a quarters worth of fuel when Leland had to use the same amount of gas anyway?

     Leland drove off in a huff cursing Trueman’s back.

     Dewey focused his eyes before him.  He was standing in front of a strip mall.  One of those glitzy but commonplace California restaurants was in front of him.  Inside he could see the owner or manager hopping around anguished at the sight of him.

     Dewey turned around to survey the Great Central Valley of California.  It was bright and it was hot.  The highway structure was an immense pre-asphalt love affair.  A divided highway of concrete led in two lanes each way, the center strip itself was two lanes wide.  A two hundred mile long row of oleander bushes obstructed the glare of oncoming headlights at night.  The oleander, which is a very beautiful flowering bush, is drought resistant which is an essential quality for the Valley.  They are poisonous to cattle but that seemed to be of little consequence in the middle of the highway, although everyone always mentioned it.  They grow maybe ten feet high.

page 1432.

     Highway 99 had a paved shoulder which increased its width as well as an unpaved shoulder.  Another ten feet was kept bare before a chain link fence seprarated 99 from what was called a frontage road which allowed locals to get from place to place without entering the highway.  So all in all there were six lanes and spare.  The whole complex was two hundred fifty feet wide.  The road was the old fashioned kind that was just laid on top of the ground rather than dug in.

     When they built the concrete rollerball chute called Interstate 5 a couple decades later they set it over by the concrete canals carrying water from Shasta.  They built 5 on the same principle as the canals except the channel carried cars and trucks instead of water.  The highway games played on 5 were real live rollerball.

     But 99 was a more humane road.  It bypassed all the towns from the Grapevine to Modesto.  For whatever reasons 99 was the main street of Modesto.  The wide apron made it a very good hitchhiking road; cars could stop easily and safely.

page 1433

    The temperature was building up as Dewey looked back in the restaurant to find the manager with his nose pressed to the glass violently gesticulating at him.  Finally he ran to the door opening it a crack to shout at Dewey:  ‘Move along.  Move along.  Hitchhiking’s against the law.  We don’t want you around here.’

     Dewey looked at him in some wonder then thought that maybe buying a cup of coffee might placate him.  Dewey had no sooner opened the door than the little man shouted at him:  ‘Get out. Get out.  No service for you.’

     Dewey was mystified giving an uncomprehending shrug.  What the heck, he was in uniform, Uncle Sam’s own Blues.  Even a couple customers intervened for him.  ‘Take it easy, Mel.  What’s the problem?  He’s only a sailor, for Chrissakes, he’s serving the country.  Because of him you can sleep more securely at nights.’

     ‘If he’s an example of what is serving the country I won’t be able to sleep at all.’

     Dewey gave him the look anyone would give a looney as he stood half in and half out.

     ‘I want you out of here or I’ll call the police.’  The man named Mel raved hysterically.

     Dewey left stepping back to the highway.  Mel called the police anyway.

     Ten minutes later a Bakersfield Police car, not the California Highway Patrol, pulled up in front of him.  He was accompanied by a young civilian of nineteen years who stared at Dewey silently.  The CWB got out of the car approaching Dewey:  ‘Are you hitchhiking?’  He half said, half challenged in the CWB manner.

page 1434.

     Dewey had stepped back on the grass so as to give credence to the notion that he was not hitchhiking but just taking the air but then thought better of it.

     ‘Yeah.  I am.’

     ‘You know it’s against the law.’

     ‘No, I didn’t know that.  You see so many guys hitchhiking.’

     ‘Yeah.  Well, it is.’

     Mel stuck his head out of the door:  ‘That’s him officer, that’s him.  Arrest him.’

     In point of law, which is irrelevant to the CWBs, Dewey was outside the Bakersfield city limits and hence beyond the jurisdiction of the CWB.   The cop looked at the civilian  who hadn’t taken his eyes off Dewey:  ‘Is that him?’

     The boy solemnly shook his head no.

     ‘I’m not going to take you in this time, Sailor, but you better be gone if I come back.’

     ‘I certainly hope to be.’  Dewey smiled.

     ‘Arrest him.  Arrest him.’  Mel screamed.  ‘That’s him.’

     The CWB waved Mel off.  Mel in his hysterical fear locked his door causing problems with people who wanted out and preventing people from entering.

     Dewey was looking at him shaking his head whan a car stopped in front of him.

     ‘Get in man.’  Came a voice with an unmistakable Mexican accent.

page 1345.

     Dewey turned to find a ’56 Chevy with five Mexicans in it looking aggressive.  Dewey may have had to get away from that spot in a hurry but not that big a hurry.  He’d rather take his chances with the CWBs.

     ‘I’m going all the way to Oakland.  You’re just going up ahead a ways, right?’

     ‘Yeah.  That’s right man.  Get in, man, we give you a ride anyway.’

     ‘That’s alright.  I’ll wait for a longer hop.’

     ‘Get in the middle.’  The guy on the right back said holding the door open for him.

     A very dangerous situation it was.  Shotgun in front was cleaning his nails with a stileto.  The other guy in back had his hand on the door ready to leap out.  The restaurant was locked.  It would take five guys with knives about thirty seconds to finish him.  Dewey decided to trust to his charm as limited as that was, he got in the middle in the back.

     Martin Luther King the apostle of non-violent resistance was heading for his mountain top from whence he proclaimed that White Americans were bred in the bone racists.  Black Folk claim that King was the greatest man America ever produced but he was nothing but a back country screeching pastor of a patriarchal consciousness thing.  True, the cause was just; true, there were egregious wrongs that had to be corrected but King himself was a weak reed who left his wife at home while he panted after White women in the pursuit of his notion of justice.  That he was any kind of spokesman for the cause at all was an accident of fate.  Even his own people were beginning to repudiate him before he died.

1436.

     The overblown rhetoric of his speeches would have been laughed at in the mouth of the most respectable White preacher.  ‘I have been to the mountaintop’ spoken seriously is such pompous nonsense that Whites should be ashamed of themselves for even pretending to revere such bull roar.

     However King was the harbinger of the emerging Black Revolution.  A Revolution which would do the inevitable of dividing Americans into a group of more or less autonomous peoples held loosely together by economics.  Just as the Black gangs which coalesced from the riots of ’67 into an incipient form of Black government by the end of the century so these Mexicans flooding across the border could have a complete disregard for the United States that meant nothing more to them than hot Chevy cars, money and a more affluent style of living than was possible for them to create for themselves South of the Border down Mexico way.  Heck, it was even bad form to call  them Mexicans in the United States, their nationality being a form of insult to them on this side of the border; one had to call them ‘Hispanics.’  They might ridicule Americans and Gringos but they were nothing but a joke closely resembling the caricatures of themselves that appeared in US magazines and newspapers.

     Now Dewey sat between two giggling Mexicans while the Shotgun sneered at him over the seat:  ‘Hey may, we give you a ride you never forget.’

page 1437.

     ‘Oh yeah?  I remember every kindness never done to me.’  Dewey replied sarcastically to show he was in control with a forced smile that he hoped looked fearless.

     The car went down 99 about ten miles then the driver turned left towards the coast range onto a dirt road.  The car began to lurch through the dusty fields.

     ‘Better let me out here.  I’m going North.’

     ‘Hey, Gringo, you going where we want you to go.  We let you out when we want to let you out, man.  Only then and not before.  Sabe?  We goin’ to have some fun withchu.  Whatchu think of this stinking America, man.  I think it smells very bad, whatchu think?’

     ‘Seems to be good to you.’  Dewey returned feebly slowly putting both his hands in his pockets to disguise that he was reaching for his long thin Japanese pocket knife.

     ‘Good for us, man, you fool.  What we doin’, we workin’ for the man plantin’ and harvestin’ his potatoes while he  driving around in his El Dorado Cadillac.  You call that good.’

     ‘I see what you mean.  America does suck.’  Dewey agreed adding sotto voce:  ‘…to allow dicks like you in this country.’

     ‘That uniform you wearing, man, it only makes you look stupid.  Your Navy sucks, too, man.’

     ‘I agree with you wholeheartedly there ,man.’  Dewey said with true sincerity.  ‘But I want out now.’

      So saying he pulled his knife out flipping the loosely hinged blade out and clapping it to the throat of the driver.

page 1438.

     ‘Stop the car.’

      The Mexicans had been taken by surprise as Dewey’s apparent resignation had implied no resistance.  The driver didn’t think about it, he just brought the car to a smooth stop trying to avoid the potholes.

     ‘Open the door and let me out.’  Dewey told the Mex on his left.

     Dewey reversed the blade drawing the blunt edge across the driver’s neck as a warning as he brought the point to bear on the Mex standing in the door.  He backing up as Dewey pushed the knife forward as he got out.

     ‘Fuck Pancho Villa.’  Dewey snarled as he moved back toward the highway.

     ‘Puto.’  The Mex spat out.

     ‘Dildo.’  Dewey called over his shoulder.

     Dewey didn’t know what puto meant and the Mexican didn’t know what dildo meant so they were even on that score.

     Dewey thought they might try to run him down but they drove off through a cloud of dust.

     The highway was a good mile and a half distant which was a long walk through what was now blazing heat in his heavy woolen blues.  Dewey slowed his brisk walk into a leisurely stroll so as not to soak his uniform through giving him a heck of a stench.

     White guilt prejudice prevented Dewey from correctly analyzing his encounter with the Mexicans.  It was considered bad for Whites to see racial matters in their true light.  Thus even though these Mexicans did not consider themselves Americans or have any respect for the country they sucked off, White prejudice required Dewey to dismiss the true situation from his mind replacing it with the fiction that these were oppressed people who had fled despotic conditions for a better life in an America Whites had created.

     What bullroar.

     They were just grubbers who realized that Mexico would never amount to anything in the hands of Mexicans while the good life worth sponging off lay across the border with the despised Gringos.

     Twenty minutes later Dewey was back by the side of the road warm but not sweating;  He’d managed to walk in some style.  The thermometer was edging over a hundred.  The sun rays crashed down on him in unrelenting bombardment.  Dewey’s mind began to drift.

     There were many stories of aliens abducting people in their flying saucers at the time.  While Dewey refused to believe them his disbelief was not so strong that he ruled out the possibility.  He did watch the night sky for unidentified flying objects.

     As he looked up into the dazzling blue glare he thought this might be a good time to be abducted.  He was ready to volunteer.  He could imagine a saucer hovering above him shooting down a ray of light separating his molecules into a vapor to beam him aboard.

     ‘They might even serve me some cosmic cookies and a glass of intergalactic mile.’  He was musing as a car slowed to a stop just ahead of him.

page 1440.

      ‘Ah, air conditioning.’  He smiled as he slid into the shotgun of a ’58 Buick Roadmaster.  ‘Better than a flying saucer.’

     ‘Have you had an experience?’  Wally Reid, the driver, asked as he slipped back into traffic. 

     ‘I’m heading for Oakland.’  Dewey said.

     ‘Uh huh.  I’m going to Sacramento.  Drop you off at the Manteca cutoff.  How’s that?’

     ‘Couldn’t be better.’

     ‘What’s this about a flying saucer?’

     ‘Oh nothing.  I was just fantasizing about being beamed up and given cookies and milk.’

     ‘Strange you should say that.  That’s happened.’  Reid began taking the comment at face value.  ‘My sister-in-law had a terrible experience with a flying saucer.’

     ‘Your sister-in-law was abducted?’  Dewey said in astonishment.

     ‘Word of honor.  She wouldn’t lie to me or Chuck, my brother.’

     ‘No.  What happened?’

     ‘This happened just a couple weeks ago.  They kept her for two whole days.  She was driving home from work, worked late, when a saucer zoomed over her and beamed her up like inside a giant flashlight beam, car and all.’

     ‘No!’

     ‘Oh yea.  There were about fifteen of them.  Zoomed back out into space.  You should hear her description of what Earth looks like from out there.  A big blue marble.  They wanted to know how Earthlings have sex.  So she says that for two days they worked her over.  They poked and fondled and did her up.  Felt her tits all over.  She says they were really mystified by the nipples.  She had to explain everything to them.  They had this device they put in her mouth that translated everything she said into their language.

page 1441.

     Once they understood how to put it in after she explained it to them she says each guy took a turn or two on her.  They weren’t gentle either, probably because they didn’t have any experience with screwing Earth style.’

     ‘Jeez.  What did they look like?’

      ‘Just like you’d expect.  Green with these giant heads and bulging eyes.  You know, like they don’t do any physical work, just cerebral stuff, so they’re all brain and no brawn, muscles just withered away, opposite of us.’   Wally said with unintended humor which was nevertheless caught by Trueman who suppressed a smile.  ‘Skinny thin bodies and arms with long thin peckers, twice as long as ours but she says they felt like worms, you know,  they could bend and twist like corkscrews.  Kept at her for two whole days.’

     ‘Wow.  Did they give her any cosmic cookies or intergalactic milk?’

     ‘No.  They fed her with tubes.  She’s still got some needle marks on the inside of her arms.  Then after they finished with her they beamed her back down but they weren’t too careful about it either.  They bashed the car up pretty bad.  Bonnie didn’t look too good either.’

page 1442.

     ‘How’s that?’

     ‘Well, they were aliens so I guess they did weird things.  They chopped her hair up something terrible.  They could have at least cut it off even but they cut it short in uneven lengths and cut clumps out here and there.  Not only was her hair a mess but she was black and blue all over from the rough treatment plus those puncture marks on her arms.

     Wasn’t all bad though.’

     ‘No?  What was good?’

     ‘Heck, can you imagine what it will look like?  This kid’s going to be a real freak, half human, half alien.  Chuck and me figure our fortune is made.  We’ll be able to exhibit it for millions.  Everybody will want to see it, don’t you think?  Wouldn’t you?’

     ‘I sure do.  I’d like to see it I’m sure of that.’

     Trueman and Reid chatted away merrily in this vein through Modesto to the Manteca cutoff.

     ‘So long, Dewey.’

     ‘So long, Wally.  Thanks for the ride.  Good luck with the alien baby.’

     Dewey crossed the highway to take up a position on the cutoff.  He got his thumb out and then broke down in laughter.    It was good rich deep throated laughter, straight from the belly.

 page 1443.

     ‘Those guys actually believe Bonnie’s going to have an alien baby.  Ha ha.  Cracked the car up when they carelessly beamed the car down.  Ha ha ha.  Boy, that Bonnie must have the gift of gab.  Wonder what they’ll do when the alien baby looks just like some guy Bonnie knows.’

     Dewey struggled to control his laughter as he got funny looks from a couple of drivers.  He still had a big smile on his face when a ’56 Ford Fairlane with two men and two women motioned for him to hop in.

     The back door opened so Dewey got in the back; safer when there was someone in the back seat anyway.  If the Mexicans had made him get in the front Dewey might not have been able to control the situation.

     ‘You look as happy as though you’ve embraced the spirit of Jesus.’  John Ahrens, the driver, said in the sepulchral tones of the lay preacher.

      That took the smile off Dewey’s face.  The next largest group after the homos in the habit of picking up hitchhikers were the religious nuts.  In a lot of ways they were worse and actually more dangerous than the homos.

     Dewey forced a laugh out of his throat:  ‘That too; but my last ride was telling me about how his sister-in-law was abducted by flying saucer aliens…’

     ‘That happened to her too.’  Susan Strable exclaimed from the front seat.

     A smile flickered out on Dewey’s face.  ‘Happened to you too, hey?’

page 1444

     ‘No.  But it happened to Jack.’  She said indicating Ahrens.  ‘They flew away at tremendous speeds and took him to seventh heaven and he had a long talk with Jesus and Jesus sent him back to establish the true church of God.’

     Four very serious, very critical sets of eyes fixed themselves on Dewey watching his reaction.  Dewey sobered up immediately.  This was no laughing matter; he was in with religious nuts.

     ‘I heard somebody else did that too.  Let me think.  Oh yeah, a while back a guy name Mohammed flew up to Seventh Heaven on a horse.  I forget the horse’s name.’

     ‘In Greek it was Arion.’  Ahrens extolled who didn’t know the name of Mohammed’s horse either but rather than admit it resorted to a circumlocution that nobody could check or deny.

     That had Dewey stumped since he couldn’t remember the Arab name he was in no position to question Ahren’s assertion.  Ahrens was quick and plausible.  He hadn’t flunked out of the seminary for nothing.  He hadn’t so much as flunked out as been thrown out.  His answers may have sounded plausible but they were invariably wrong.  Nevertheless Ahrens would defend them with violence if necessary.

     Rather than tolerate his madness he had been thrown out.  He hadn’t taken that well either.  He had been on his way back to the President’s office with a 12 gauge under his arm when he had been intercepted by the police.  With the certitude of the righteous Ahrens had been marching down the middle of the street like Gary Cooper at high noon.

page 1445.

     The Christian gentlemen of Mt. Larynx Theological Seminary declined to press charges on condition that Ahrens to far away and stay there.  Oakland was some distance from St. Larynx.

     ‘But the Moslems are full of baloney.’  Susan Strable continued.  ‘No horse can fly as fast as a flying saucer.’  Dewey nodded in agreement.  ‘Besides Jesus told Jack that Mohammed was just a big fibber and wasn’t even there.  At least he didn’t talk to Jesus.’

      ‘Oh well, Mohammed went to talk to a different god, Allah.  Maybe Jesus was out to lunch at the time.’

      ‘There is only one god, the Moslems got that right, but his name isn’t Allah.  The real name of God is too sacred to repeat to the profane so you’re not going to hear it from me.  Suffice it to say, the truth resides in me.’  John Ahrens intoned majestically.

     ‘Boy, that’s for sure.’  Susan affirmed.  ‘But Jack found out for sure that those athiests are all nasty liars.  God isn’t dead.  And the reason people can’t see heaven anymore now that we’ve had our own space things, sputniks or whatever, heaven is retreating from earth at one second less than the speed of light each year.  So while it’s sure going to be hard to get there you can make it if you try.’

     ‘Amen, Susan.’  Ahrens said approvingly.

     ‘So now Jack’s the head and founder of the Intergalactic Church of Christ Immersed In The Extraterrestrial Blood.  We’re going to be bigger than the Catholics and Billy Graham put together.  What do you think of that?’

page 1446.

     ‘Where are you based?’

     ‘Oakland, California.’

     The car had exited the Manteca cutoff entering Highway 80 for the run across the Altamont.  Dewey was beginning to get uncomfortable.  the thought of any church being Immersed In Extraterrestrial Blood, whatever that was, threw the fear of God into him.  Space traveler or not Dewey knew that the Intergalactic Church was rooted in the viciousness of Genesis as they all were.  Judaism was the religion of blood.

     ‘Well, I certainly wish you luck in overtaking the Pope and Billy.  I think you’ve got a long haul in front of you though.’

     ‘We were hoping you’d join us.’  Ahrens sort of commanded.

     ‘No-o-o.  I’m in the Navy.  Can’t do that.’

     ‘Why not?  You must be based in the Bay Area.  You’re returning now.’

     It was getting to close to 5:00 PM on Saturday night so Ahrens wasn’t completely out of line in his surmise.

    ‘No. I’m from San Diego.  Have to be back tomorrow.’

     ‘Humph.’  Ahrens ejaculated, thinking to himself that Dewey was a liar.  ‘That’s not very probable.  You may not even be in the Navy.  I’ll bet you’re just using that uniform to make it easy to get rides.

     ‘You better come along.’  Susan said.  ‘You don’t want to get Jack mad.’

     ‘I suppose not.’  Dewey sighed.  ‘But, I’m not going along anyway.  Let me out at the MacArthur overpass.’

page 1447.

     ‘I think he’s OK.’  The other man spoke confidentially to the back of Ahren’s head.

     ‘We’re not letting you out.’  Ahrens said with a nod.  ‘You’re coming with us.’

     ‘Ooh.’  Susan cooed, seizing Dewey’s hand.  ‘What an honor.  They’re going to sacrifice you.’

     ‘Oh yeah?  Right on.  Just let me out.’

     Susan’s head bobbed up and down affirmatively as she tucked her lower lip into her mouth.  ‘Jesus needs blood to keep the world on its axis, he told Jack.  So far we’ve only used the blood of the neighbor’s cats and dogs.  But now we’re going to move up to people because dog and cat blood isn’t keeping the axis too steady.’

     ‘You let me out.  Now! Or you’ve got big trouble Jack.  Screw you and your Intergalactic Church.’

     Ahrens cast an angry glance back at Dewey but the determined look on Dewey’s face made him think twice.  He slammed on his brakes skidding up over the curb with a jolt:  ‘You’ve got five seconds.’  He commanded.

     Dewey didn’t waste any of them.  If he hadn’t had to bend down to pick up his bag he would have made it.  Ahrens squealed back on the highway throwing Dewey into the ivy.  Dewey got up.  He was half a mile from the MacArthur off ramp.  He decided to walk it.  Hitchhiking in what he now considered his hometown was repugnant to him so he walked down to 86th which was a considerable hike.  By the time he reached Da Costa’s, Roque and McLean had already gone out for the night taking Terry with them.

page 1448.

     Pete Da Costa refused admittance to the house.  Not knowing what else to do Dewey sat down on the porch step to wait.  Luck was with him.  Roque came back to pick up an item Terry had forgotten.

     ‘What took you so long?’

     ‘I’ll tell you when we have the time.’

     ‘OK. Come on along.’

      Da costa was none too happy with Trueman.  He felt, quite reasonably that Trueman had attempted to use him throwing himself over for Torbrick.  Trueman’s story was different and right also but it would have taken a demon judge to find for him.

     Terry’s friends were throwing a party.  Thus Trueman was introduced into a circle of high school seniors.  It was there he met Louise Tricka.  Louise was another who was drawn to the misfits.  She liked Trueman a lot, possibly because she too was a square peg in a round hole.

     But for tonight Dewey returned with Da Costa, McLean and Terry.  McLean whose hatred for Trueman since Guam had grown not abated had moved into his place quietly defaming him to Da Costa.  Terry had now cast her net for McLean but he wasn’t anymore interested than Trueman.

     ‘I don’t know how to tell you this Dewey, but my father doesn’t want you in the house.’

     ‘Yeah, he already told me, Roque, but I don’t have any place to stay.  I could sleep in the car, couldn’t I?’

page 1449.

     ‘Yeah, I suppose you could do that.’

     McLean snickered shrugging his shoulders with a broad smile.

      Dewey who saw more sunrises than he cared to remember pulled himself erect with the rising sun.  Unshaven and feeling grungy he sat glowering into the rear view mirror until McLean and Da Costa showed on the porch at 9:30.

     Da Costa suggested they go down and look at the grocery store he worked at.  Trueman didn’t care to meet anyone in his condition so he was all for it.

     Under the law your employer had to guarantee a reservist his job when he was discharged so Roque was technically still employed by Lucky Stores as a check out clerk.

     He worked for a nice store down in the Lake Grove district.  Trueman and McLean were properly appreciative.

     Considering that it had taken Trueman a full twenty-four hours to get to Oakland it might seem that he was overly optimistic in leaving for San Diego at 4:00 Sunday afternoon.  In fact, if things didn’t go completely wrong there was just enough time to make it back, if not for reveille, at least for muster.  Trueman cut it close but he always cut it as a hitchhiker.

      Da Costa and Mclean had flown up so Trueman got Roque to drive him up to the Altamont from which he always commenced his return journey.

     Yes, it’s the same Altamont Pass where the Rolling Stones had their disastrous concert which brought the psychedelic era to an end in 1969.  The Pass is a low hill a few hundred feet high leading into the San Joaquin past Tracy into Stockton.

page 1450.

     There was a certain amount of apprehension in Trueman’s mind.  He was taking the word of someone he couldn’t remember that this was possible.  At this point he wasn’t sure that he wasn’t crazy.

     Life is full of delights…and subsequent disappointments.  Dewey hadn’t been standing on the Altamont long before a green ’58 Plymouth pulled to a stop.  The Plymouth hadn’t yet been nudged out of the low price race with Chevy and Ford but it was fading fast.
     ‘Goin’ to Anaheim.’  The driver Jake Rawlins said.  ‘How far you goin’?’

     Dewey’s heart leapt to this throat as his face broke out into a big smile; maybe there was a god in heaven after all.

      ‘Alright.’  Dewey chirped.  ‘Luck is a lady tonight.  I gotta get back to San Diego.  Thanks for the ride.’

     Dewey bounced against the back of the seat a couple times in delight.  As Jake Accelerated to seventy per Dewey figured he’d be in Anaheim in at least six hours.

     Jake was a real nice guy.  Like most normal people he was only almost normal, not quite there.  Unless you’re in an environment like the Navy which requires apparent rigid conformity everyone has their ways.  Jake’s eccentricity was that he was an advocate of steam powered cars.  In fact, he was an expert, a foremost world-wide authority on steam, so he said.  He communicated with other experts on steam power in autos all over the world, especially in Australia.

page 1451.

     The rest of society wasn’t too interested in steam as compared to the internal combustion gasoline engine so Jake was used to a lot of ridicule.  But like all compulsives he had to talk about his fetish.

     Dewey would have laughed but as he was getting a plum of a ride for free, you could tell Jake wasn’t going to ask for anything but an audience, he displayed reasonably good manners.

     ‘Well.’  Dewey said amiably.  ‘Alright.  So why does your Plymouth have an internal combustion engine?’

     Jake was coughing around an answer about corresponding with his contact in Australia about a particularly difficult problem when he spotted another hitchhiker.  It was a Second Class Gunner’s Mate with three hashmarks on his sleeve.

     ‘Career man.’  Dewey thought.  ‘All those guys are pricks.’

     ‘You’ll be sorry if you pick him up.’  Dewey objected.  ‘All those career guys are arrogant.’

     But nice guys always trip over their own nicety; it goes with the territory.  Jake pulled over.  Dewey tried to get out to let Lee Nelson, the Gunner’s Mate, into the middle but Nelson really wanted the end, he kept pushing Dewey back in.  Unable to win that way Dewey said:  ‘I’ll get in the back.’

     ‘No.’  Jake said.  ‘Stay in front.’

     Dewey groaned to himself at Nelson’s triumphant smile.  He knew there was trouble ahead but he just didn’t know what.

     Nelson turned out to be just as arrogant as Dewey expected.  As Jake continued to rattle on about steam power Nelson guffawed at the very notion of steam power ever becoming popular.  There was no question that he was right but he was betraying Rawlins’ generosity.  As Rawlins continued on in his dotty way Nelson began to become abusive.  You never knew when one of these guys might explode.

     ‘Hey, man, be a little more polite.  You’re riding for free.’  Trueman exhorted.

     ‘You don’t believe this dipshit and his steam power crap do you, you simp?’

     Dewey was thrown on his most tactful approach:  ‘Steam powered cars are an accomplished fact.  The Stanley Steamer is a very famous car.  Everything he says about steam is a fact.  Who knows but they may be able to replace the internal combustion engine with steam if it’s improved.’

      ‘You don’t really believe steam is going to replace gas?’

     ‘Perhaps not in my lifetime but I say that it’s an open question that Jake knows a lot more about than you or me.’

     ‘Shee, you’re as dotty as he is.’

     Nelson at least shut up saying nothing further.  Jake and Dewey carried on the conversation or, rather, Jake rattled away.

     Jake was no slouch behind an internal combustion engine.  He sped through the turns of the cutoff slowing down to pass through Modesto.  Modesto was the story of the law in America, the triumph of pragmatism.  The posted speed limit was twenty-five.  But in order to facilitate passage through town signs proclaimed that the stop lights were timed for thirty-two miles an hour so you were encouraged to speed through town to catch all the lights.  Good laughs were had over that one.

page 1453.

     Outside Modesto Jake really barreled.  He kept the plunger in for ninety per.  The old Plymouth was barely making contact with the road.

     Ninety-nine was not a freeway but a limited access highway.  That meant that there were periodic crossings.  The wide meridian made it difficult for drivers to dart across; you needed a little space to make it.

     Just North of Fresno there was a dangerous crossing.  There were no lights and as the East side of the highway was about ten feet higher a car’s headlights shone down rather than across the highway.  The crossing was one of the most dangerous spots on the highway.

     About a mile away Dewey, whose night and distance vision was exceptional spotted an old double front ended Studebaker sitting on the meridian sloping down from the Northbound lane.  Call it deja vu, call it paranoia, call it prescience but the driver’s obvious indecision made it clear that trouble lay ahead.

     ‘Watch that guy up there, Jake.  Watch that guy, change lanes, slow down, this guy’s dangerous.’

     Nelson was one of those loud mouthed First Division jerks:  ‘Aw, for Christ’s sake, relax.’  He said outshouting Dewey.  It was one of those times when all the world seemed to conspire against one’s better judgement.

     The Studebaker just sat there like a spider waiting for the fly.  Then about a third of a mile away it seemed that the driver just took his foot off the brake and slowly coasted out into the fast lane.  If Dewey had gotten Jake to change lanes they would have missed him.  A quarter mile away Jake jammed his foot on the brake.  The Plymouth which now would never know steam turned into a rocket sled but it slid straight down the highway.

page 1454.

     ‘Goddamn you, Nelson.’  Dewey shouted as the distance closed.  By that Dewey meant that if it hadn’t been for picking up Nelson they would have been beyond the crossing by then and Dewey wouldn’t be stuck in the middle with nothing to hold on to, nor would he have been crazy enough to needle a very excitable driver.  Dewey laid off the whole blame on Nelson although Nelson was too stupid and self-centered to understand his complicity.

     Dewey saw certain death before him.  He went limp as a ragdoll and hoped for the best but he saw his broken crushed body on the highway.  The Plymouth slid into the Studebaker at seventy per midway between the bumper and the cab.

     The collision drove the Studebaker fifty feet down the highway where it sat in the middle of the fast lane pointing South.  The Plymouth was totaled.  Dewey bounced around the seat, first against Jake, then his head caromed off the windshield which miraculously didn’t break, then he slammed against Nelson finally sprawled over both.

      Incredibly no one was hurt.  Dewey sat quietly panting.  He reached up to touch his head where it banged into the windshield.  He didn’t even have a bruise.

     The driver of the Studebaker, an old man of ninety years paced the highway between the two cars dazed, a trickle of blood oozing down from his left temple.

page 1456.

     ‘Look at that old fart.’  Jake cried.  ‘He probably isn’t anymore dazed now than he was before.  You guys are going to stick around to give a police statement for me, aren’t you?’

     Nelson already had his thumb out.

     ‘Give the police your own statement you dumb son-of-a-bitch.  All you had to do was change lanes to avoid the accident.  That’s what I’ll tell the police.’

     Incredibly enough a car screeched to a halt between the wreckage and the roadside to give Nelson a ride.  Nelson was either generous enough or guilty enough to motion Dewey to get in but Dewey wasn’t about to ride the middle with Nelson again.  He was shaken up enough to feel bad.  He passed.

     The two thirty year old men who had been in the Studebaker with the ninety year old driver rushed up to Jake demanding his insurance agent.  The accident was nothing less than an insurance scam.  It had been planned that way.

     The police were slow in arriving.

     ‘Hey Jake, I really gotta go or I’m going to miss muster.’   If Dewey had been thinking flexibly, as Van Wye would have done, he would have had himself taken to the hospital, phoned in and had himself a couple days off.

     ‘No, wait.  You’ve got to give me a statement.’

     As he was pleading the CHP drove up.

     Dewey wrote a statement which the CWB didn’t seem to care about snickering like something was going on and he knew what it was.  Dewey flipped his statement to him then stuck out his thumb.

      Luck, as it were, was still with him, a Ford truck pulled over.  Dewey leaped in.  After the obligatory explanation of what had had happened the driver introduced himself.

     ‘Hi, podna, I’m Clint Hartung, known as the Hondo Hurricane.  I’m originally from Hondo, Texas.  How far you goin’?’

      Dewey eyed Clint over.  Clint was a big man, maybe six-four or six-five, built like the proverbial brick outhouse.  Gentle looking though.  He was dressed in some sort of quasi-western fashion.  A big hat, buckskin jacket with fringes, even before the mid to late sixties.  Kind of a checkered cowboy shirt with pearl buttons and black Can’t Bust ‘Ems over engineer boots.  Dewey figured he was going to be stranger than Jake which he was but in a good kind of way.

     Just by way of making conversation Clint started talking movies.  He was a big Western fan which came as no surprise.  Matt Dillon ran through Dewey’s mind as he looked at Clint and listened to him speak.  He had that slow deliberate way of talking that is supposed to indicate no-nonsense manhood.  Pretty good job too.

     As might be expected John Wayne was Clint’s hero. 

     ‘Really, John Wayne, hmm?’  Dewey mused.

     ‘Sure, he’s the greatest living American. You don’t think so?’

      ‘Wayne?  Hmm.  Well I thought you resembled say James Arness,Matt Dillon, more or maybe the wagon master, Ward Bond, more along those lines rather than Wayne.’

     Clint was flattered at the comparison, especially the Arness bit as that was a major part of the persona he had adopted.

     ‘Yeah, those guys are good but John Wayne he just captures the essence of what an American is don’t you think?’

      Dewey didn’t like John Wayne at all even though he was the number one male hero for nearly every man in America.  But, he was used to giving his opinion when asked for it.

     ‘Well, I’m not a big fan of Wayne.  Seen him in lots of movies of course but he always comes across to me like a card board cut out.  It not so much that he portrays the idea of a man but imitates it.  He doesn’t seem natural.  They try to make him too big putting him on small horses so that his feet drag and give him that small rifle that looks like a toy gun in his hand.   Like in Hondo, speaking of the Hondo Hurricane, he seems to be too much bigger than life to be real.’  Dewey almost said that Wayne appeared to him as a fag but then thought better of accusing the guy considered the most manly man in America of being gay.  Still the guy could have played himself in the Village People with that mincing hip twisting walk.  Especially the one he used in Hondo.

     ‘Yeah, I liked Hondo a lot better than Shane although Shane was another good book ruined by the movie.’

     ‘I thought Audie Murphy made a good Shane.’ 

     ‘I thought maybe that was Alan Ladd rather than Audie Murphy.’

     ‘Um, yeah, I guess you’re right.  For me he was too jumpy, nervous and in drawn.  I though Shane was a lot more confident than that.  Besides that bit at the end when he rode off wounded into the sunset and the kid calls out ‘Mom wants you, Shane, Dad wants you and I want you too.’ was too much.  I nearly laughed myself to death.  Hondo was the real thing.  Louis L’Amour could turn out to be a heck of a writer.  I read a couple other of his things but they weren’t anywhere near Hondo.’

      ‘Well, I really like your tastes in literature but I’m not too sure of your interpretation.’  Clint replied ponderously.  The guy was like an elephant walking off a heavy dinner.

     ‘By the way, I’m Dewey Trueman.  Uh, The Michigan Kid.’  Dewey said in a lame attempt to match the Hondo Hurricane.  ‘How far are you going?’

     ‘I’m on my way to Superstition Mountain.  Ever heard of that?’

     ‘Oh yeah.  Sure. Of course.  Dutchman’s gold.  there’s supposed to be a lost gold mine.  Flying Dutchman or something like that.  Guy had it, went down the mountain and couldn’t find it again, right?’

     ‘That’s close, Kid.  I’m a goldminer.  Got my sluice and pans in back.’

     ‘Right.  Where are your claims and mines.’

     ‘I don’t mine properly speaking.  I pan for it or set up my sluice and wash the gravel.  I been up on 49 around Placerville working the streams around there.’

     ‘I thought that was all played out.’

     ‘Sure ain’t like it was in forty-nine but you never know when you might find a crack or crevice that’s loaded.  No luck of that kind yet but I’m always hopin’.’

      Why do you do it if you don’t find gold?’

     ‘Oh, I find plenty of gold, just not a big cache yet.’  Clint groaned out like a Henry Kissinger in slow motion.  He produced a prescription plastic container half filled with gold.

      ‘That’s gold.’  He said with satisfaction flipping it to Dewey.  Dewey looked at the sand and small nuggets with fascination.  He was disappointed.  Somehow he expected ‘gold’ to be more.  This may have been gold alright but without the capital G.  It was just sort of gold and not a lot of it.

     ‘How long did it take you to pan this out?’

     ‘That’s about three-four weekends worth.’

     ‘Where did it come from?’

     ‘That’s from up on the Tuolmne but I’ve been everywhere for gold.  Alaska, the Yukon, haven’t been to the Australian fields yet but I’m on my to Superstition Mountain now.’

page 1458

     Dewey was so impressed with the Hondo Hurricane that he dropped his usual sarcastic manner.

     ‘Wow, this old pickup really flies along I wouldn’t think it could go so fast for so long.’

     ‘My old Ford here?  I put a ’58 Chevy V8 in it.  Now it’s an all American car.  Best both Ford and Chevy have to offer.  Never know when you’ll need the power when you’re a gold prospector.  Lot of claim jumpers out there and of course you never know when you’re trespassin’ on someone else’s claim until it’s too late.’

     Dewey laughed merrily as the eclectic Ford-Chevy truck raced the moon across the Grapevine through the starry starry night.

     Dewey had assumed that Clint would be passing through San Diego on his way to Superstition Mountain so he was both surprised and disappointed when Clint Hartung pulled over to the side to let him out.

     ‘I take the Lancaster turn off here and take the desert route from here, Kid.  You’re welcome to come along if you like but I hate big cities, always avoid ’em when I can.’

     ‘Well, I think I’m better off where there’s lots of traffic so I have to stay on this road.  Thanks for the ride Hondo, and good luck on Superstition Mountain.’

     Clint was flattered to be called Hondo.  He gave the Kid, er…Dewey, a desert hat salute and roared off honking his horn a couple times in acknowledgment of Dewey’s compliment.  Needless to say he didn’t have any luck on Superstition Mountain or anywhere else gold might be found but he lived the kind of life so many men only dream about.  Maybe he’s updated his old Ford truck with a newer engine by now and is still out there gunning the engine for the vanishing point.  I sure hope so.

page 1459.

     One uneventful ride dropped Dewey off at the head of Lankersheim Blvd.  Cruising was still in progress on Sunday night.  Dewey had made good time notwithstanding the wreck on the highway.  At midnight the cruisers had thinned out but were still plentiful.  Three fruits and two fundamentalists brought Dewey to the on ramp of the Hollywood Freeway which was the way he ought to have come if the Marine, Bill Baird, hadn’t driven him astray.

     A red and white ’56 Chevy pulled over for him.

     ‘Going back to the base, I suppose.’  the driver, Al Pscholka mused.

     ‘Yep.’

     ‘Where might that be, if I might be so rude to ask?’

     ‘I’m based in San Diego.  How far are you going?’

     ‘I could be going not too far; or, on the other hand, I could drop you off at the gate in San Diego.  The choice is yours.’

     ‘O-o-oh.  No kidding.’  Dewey replied grasping the situation.

     Acquiring the rudiments of the road doesn’t require long and patient study, especially as your attention is so concentrated.  Dewey was also grasping the concept of keeping them talking as long as possible without getting to the point.

page 1460.

     ‘You must be a traveling salesman or something.’ He volunteered.

     ‘No.  I’m an accountant.  I add up figures.  I know the score.’  Pscholka said with knowing double entendre.

     He was a good looking fellow of about six-two, slender but muscular.  There was a vicious mean spirited look to him.  His shame at his homosexuality made him fairly brutal toward his conquests.  Otherwise he had a mean derogatory attitude.

     ‘Accounting huh?  That must be interesting.’

     ‘Cut the crap.  You know what I want.’

     ‘Who me?  No, I’m not sure I do.’

     ‘You going to give it up or not?’

     ‘I’m not queer if that’s what you mean.’

     ‘I don’t care if you’re queer or not.  I am.  What I’m saying is we can go somewhere and have a good time and I’ll get you back to the base for muster or you can take your chances on the highway.’

     ‘Pull over and let me out then.’

     ‘Did you hear what I said?’

     ‘Only too well.  Did you hear what I said?’

     At this time they were going through the Stack.  There is a hill in LA where five freeways are stacked one above the other.  This is a very impressive sight.  Dewey was trying to take it in with awestruck eyes while still trying to deal with Al Pscholka.

     Pscholka started to edge over when a light went on behind his eyes.  ‘It wouldn’t be right to let you out here just because you won’t suck my dick.  I’m a nicer guy than that.  I’ll take you to a better place.’

page 1461.

     ‘If it’s a question of right or wrong, in my opinion it would be right to let me out here.  I don’t want to inconvenience you any further.’

     ‘No inconvenience, buddy.  Sit tight.’

     At seventy per Dewey had no choice but to sit tight.  At this point he thought that Pscholka was going to drive him off somewhere that he would have no idea where he was or how to get back.  Pscholka didn’t seem to be carrying a weapon so Dewey had full confidence in his Japanese pocket knife.

     But Pscholka was both much more devious and malicious, devious, malicious and knowledgeable at that.  He haunted these roads every Sunday night.  Since he actually would drop sailors off at the gate his shtick had enough appeal to be successful quite often.

     Still, Dewey was astonished when he made the turn down to Anaheim and kept on going toward the Disney towers.  Somewhere along the way Dewey began to notice a very long line of sailors.  Miles of them spaced one to a hundred feet.  Dark blue blobs with white hats topmost merging with the night under the streetlights.

     ‘God, how are they all going to get rides?’  Dewey mused out loud.

     ‘Yes.  How are they?’  Pscholka laughed quietly pulling over to let Dewey out.  ‘Last chance.  This or the gate?’  He leered. 

     Dewey got out.

     He looked to the right horizon to see hundreds of sailors strung out as far as the eye could see.   He looked to the left to see the same sight.  He looked at the sailor in front of him with a quizzical look on his face.

page 1462.

     ‘I know, man.  Just walk down the highway between me and the next guy and put your thumb out.’

     Dewey walked down and stepped in line.  As he did so the sailor on either side stepped away until they were about one hundred feet apart.  Those adjacent to them did the same until a giant wave effect rippled through the line of sailors for miles and miles.  This happened repeatedly for the two hours Dewey was there.  As a sailor dropped off the ripple kept eddying back and forth.  Dewey moved to and fro as though tossed by an invisible current.

     Trueman lost all anxiety as he pondered the situation.  It seemed hopeless.  There didn’t seem to be enough cars on the road to accommodate this portion of the fleet let alone drivers to pick them up.  There wasn’t even any reason to put your thumb out.

     ‘Probably if you do get picked up.’  He thought.  ‘It will be another queer trying to cut a deal or else.’

     He watched the cars pass with drooping spirits.  Suddenly a car traveling the fast lane at a terrific clip caught everyone’s attention from a mile away.  It was a red and white ’55 Chevy.  While everyone had their attention riveted on the car the driver whipped almost at a right turn across all three lanes of traffic to screech to a stop in front of Dewey Trueman.

     Dewey was astonished beyond belief as adjacent sailors looked in envy.  ‘Why me?’  Dewey thought.  ‘What signals am I transmitting, what criteria were those guys using to select me?’

page 1463.

     The door flew open.  ‘Hop in.’  Said the guy in the passenger’s seat getting out.  ‘Ride the middle.’

     It was a messy car.  The back seat was jammed with clothes and household goods.  A Louisville Slugger lay conspicuously in the space between the front and back seats atop some junk with the brand name up.  Dewey looked across at the driver.  Both guys were lean and wiry, probably not queer, but either high or jacked up on some emotion.  They were obviously out joy riding.  Dewey tried to opt out.

     ‘Hey, thanks for stopping guys but I think I’ll pass.  Wait for something else.  Thanks anyway.’

     ‘Aw, hey now, man, you definitely do not want to hurt our feelings.’

     Dewey followed his gaze down to the Louisville Slugger.  He looked behind him out across the plowed fields that would be houses the next time he passed by.  He wasn’t a fast runner anyway.  The guy could bring him down from behind with the baseball bat as he ran.

     ‘Well.’  Thought Dewey.  ‘Maybe I can talk faster than they can.’

      ‘Hurt your feelings?  Aw, no man,  I didn’t realize it was like that.  But, hey, since I’ll be getting out first why don’t I sit on the outside?  Save you some trouble down the road.’

     ‘No, I’m athletic.  Get in the middle.’

page 1464.

     Dewey slid in.  The door slammed shut; the driver accelerated to the fast lane.  The driver, Dave, who did not introduce himself, got right to the point.

     ‘We need your opinion, man.  I got a real difficult situation here.’

     Dewey didn’t like the depth of that quagmire.  ‘Oh yeah?  My opinion wouldn’t be worth much.  Gee, I just turned twenty.  I don’t have much experience at all.’

     ‘You got enough for me, man.  Here’s the problem.’

     All the time Dave spoke the car was going eighty miles an hour.  The seemingly endless line of sailors to the right ebbed and flowed and danced to the right and left like some giant conga line.  The phenomenon was surely one of the most spectacular sights the world had to offer.  By daylight all those sailors would be gone.  Nearly all of them would make it back in time for muster.  This phenomenon happened every single Sunday night for those who had eyes to see and the intellect to understand.

      ‘Ya see, it’s like this.  I used to be married to this woman, beautiful woman, high school sweetheart.  We were very happy but I wasn’t making much money.  Then this guy comes along.  A coal miner.’

     ‘Coal miner?  In LA?’

     ‘Yeah.  So this guy is making a lot of money; coal miners get paid real good.’

     ‘They do?’

     ‘Sure.  They gotta work underground where the coal is which is real dangerous work.  You wouldn’t do it for the minimum wage would you?’

page 1465

     ‘I wouldn’t do it for a lot of money but there aren’t any coal mines in LA.’

     ‘Shut up and listen.  So my high school sweetheart and wife falls for this guy’s bucks.  That’s all she could see was his money, divorces me and goes to him.   This was a couple years ago.  So I become very distraught.  I don’t know what to do, so I join the Army.  While I am in the Army now I meet this very wonderful girl who loves me only for myself, she doesn’t care whether I have money or not.  I married her last month.’

     ‘Where is there an Army base in LA?’

     ‘There is one.  I’m stationed there, OK?  I know.  Now shut up and listen.  So right after I marry my present wife there is a terrible cave in at the mine and my wife’s new husband is killed.’

     ‘Boy, I never heard about that.  Where are those coal mines in LA?’

     ‘Listen, they have steel mills in LA, don’t they?’

     ‘Maybe.  OK.’  Dewey didn’t know but they did.

     ‘Well, you need coal to make steel don’t you?’

     ‘Coke.’  Dewey corrected.

     ‘Coke?’

     ‘Yah.  Coke.  You coke the coal and use the coke.  It burns hotter.’

     ‘What, are you a wise guy?  So you coke the coal, the point is you need coal to make steel, don’t you.  So where there’s steel mills there must be coal mines.  Get it?’

page 1466.

     ‘Boy.’  Thought Dewey.  ‘There’s a stretch in logic.’  But it wasn’t his car and he was in the middle.

     ‘So the mine roof drops on this guy’s melon and he’s got accidental double indemnity life insurance for twenty-five thousand dollars.  So now my ex is got twenty-five thousand dollars and no husband to spend it with.  So now after I’m married to my current wife my ex wants me to come back to her and the twenty-five grand.  What would you do?’

     So this was the trick.  Dewey thought that if he answered one way they would beat him to death with the baseball bat; if he answered the other way they might let him go.  He wasn’t sure what kind of guys they were.  Dave sounded like he was more interested in the twenty-five Gs than in a good woman but it could be a trick.

     ‘Gosh.’  Dewey tried to equivocate.  ‘That’s a tough one; I don’t know how to call it.’

     ‘Call it anyway.  I gotta know because whatever you say determines what I will do.’ 

     That was what worried Dewey.

     He looked right at Dave’s partner, Jack, who was looking at him expectantly, then back at Dave who was urgently demanding an answer.

     Dewey desperately wanted to give the right answer but he was having a hard time reading Dave.

     ‘Funny I didn’t hear about this coal mine cave in.’  He countered.  ‘You think it would have been on the news.’

     ‘Forget the cave in; you were out at sea.  It happened.  Give me your decision.’

page 1467.

     Dewey grasped that how he answered would determine how he was to be disposed of.  Unable to read Dave he decided to go with his own morality and trust to his luck.

     ‘Umm.  I’d stay with your current wife who loves you for what you are, whatever that may be, and is true to you even in the Army which is really saying something.’

     ‘Really?  Yeah, but my ex is a better looker.  Lots better than my current wife.’

     ‘Well, looks are transient and only skin deep.  Fidelity is worth lots more.’

     ‘Sure.  But what about the twenty-five thousand dollars?  That’s a lot of money.’

     Dewey could nearly count the number of twenty dollar bills he’d seen in his life.  If you laid them all out in a row they wouldn’t reach across the dash board.  He had no concept of money but even in the late fifties it was becoming common to speak in terms of millions of dollars so 25,000 didn’t sound like much,  except maybe to a banker calling a loan.  Dewey could see himself spending it in no time.

     ‘Well, she’s left you once for money and twenty-five thousand won’t last long.  Once it’s gone she’ll probably leave you again.  This is Hollywood.  There’s lots of guys with lots of money, lot more than twenty-five thousand.  If she’s that good looking she’s liable to get some taste and get one of those.’

     The unconscious insult slipped past Dave.

page 1468.

     ‘Say, you know, I think you’re right.  You’ve helped out a lot.  I think I’ll stay with my current wife.’  So saying Dave whipped over to the side of the road, shoved Dewey out and sped off.

      ‘Wow.  That was a close one.’  Thought Dewey.  ‘I thought I was going to die for sure.  Coal mines in LA!’

     Dave had dropped him off way at the end of the line of sailors just where 101 jogged off the freeway through San Juan Capistrano.  A couple of disconsolate sailors were standing in front of the rich black loam of the plowed fields.  They were soon picked up leaving Dewey alone.  His anxiety increased as it was getting late.

     A car pulled over.

     ‘Listen, I’ve been driving all day and I’m bushed.  If you can drive and let me sleep, OK.  Otherwise no ride.’

     ‘Of course I can drive.’  Dewey said who had only been behind the wheel once in his life.

     ‘Do you have a license.’

     ‘Are you kidding?  I’ve been around cars all my life.’  Dewey said, artfully avoiding lieing.

     ‘OK.  But I’m really tired and need to sleep.  Get in on the driver’s side.’

     Dewey ran over to the driver’s side and hopped in.  As he got behind the wheel he realized that he was somewhat hazy about shifting.  Fortunately the car was an automatic.

     ‘Do you usually drive your car in D1 or D2.’  He asked what he hoped would be taken as a polite question and not a betrayal of his ignorance.

page 1469.

     ‘I put it in Drive, of course.  Say, do you really have a license?’

      ‘Does Carter have little liver pills?’  Dewey slipped it into D1 and lurched off.

     ‘You can go to sleep now.’  He announced.

     ‘I’m going to watch you a little, make sure you know how to drive first.’  But he drifted off to sleep immediately.

     The night was very dark.  Dewey was driving very tentatively.  He didn’t always see the Stop signs in San Juan in time to stop, driving through them.  There were no other cars on  the road so that didn’t matter.  Past San Juan he was driving very tentatively, barely fifty miles an hours.  He was not only timid himself but emotionally exhausted by a most adventurous trip thus he wandered over onto the shoulder for a moment.  The driver awakened immediately.

     ‘Jesus Christ!  What’s happening?’

     ‘Nothing. I just ran over a narrow part of the road.’

      ‘Narrow part of the road!  Say, you don’t have a license do you?’

     ‘I know how to drive.  They just didn’t make this part of the road very wide, that’s all.’

     ‘Answer my question directly.  Do you have a driver’s license?’

     ‘Not today.  I’m going to get one tomorrow.’

     ‘Just what I thought.  Stop the car.  Get out.’

     ‘Wait a minute.  I can at least talk to you to keep you awake.  C’mon, give me a ride into San Diego.’  Dewey said stopping the car.

page 1471

     ‘Nobody rides for free.  Can’t drive, can’t ride.  Get out.’

     The driver drove off in a frenzy leaving Dewey in the dark by the side of the road at four in the morning but it was really tight now.

     Rosy fingered dawn shone faintly on the horizon before he caught another ride.  He lamented his situation to the driver who was decent and sympathetic.

     ‘I’ll get you back in time.  It’s going to be close but I was in the service myself.  I know how it is.’

     The man did drop Dewey off at the gate.  Dewey gave him a heartfelt thanks.  Past the gate he broke into a run then raced back to the ship.  They were just about to call roll with Dewey stepped into line in full dress blues.

    ‘Trueman.’

     ‘Yo.’

     ‘You’re late, Trueman.’  Dieter glowered.

     ‘Whadya mean I’m late, Chief?  You called Trueman and I said yo.  Sounds like I’m here to me, I can hear myself talking to you, doesn’t it sound like I’m here to you?  I’m talking to ya.’

     ‘Wise ass.  Don’t push your luck with me.  You’re not in dungarees.  You work in that uniform and you go over the side to paint the fo’c’sle.  Get moving.’

     Dewey wasn’t happy about that trying to find a way around it.  On the fo’c’sle he took off his middie folding it up on deck in what he hoped was a secure place.  There was nothing he could do with his pants but he hoped to dink around all morning so he wouldn’t get paint on them.

page 1471.

     Dieter showed up on the fo’c’sle to torment him followed by Blaise Pardon.

     ‘You’re out of uniform, Trueman.  Put that middie back on.’

     ‘Go down and change, Trueman.’  Pardon countermanded.

     Dieter gave him a dirty look but let the matter slide walking aft.  That was one the reason the old salts had no use for Pardon;  he was too reasonable.

Dazed And Confused

     Life moved along at a pace that was beyond bewildering.  There was no time to ingest the stream of happenings let alone digest their significance.  Dewey experienced life like a leaf blown by a storm, every touch down was too brief and fleeting to leave a sense of meaning.  Whatever understanding he had took place on the subliminal level.  He was way too busy just staying alive; catching his breath was out of the question.

     His nervous excitement was such that he was unaware that he wasn’t even getting enough sleep.  On the weekends he got no more than six hours.  During the week he got not much more.

     His agony was such that he preferred to be away from the Navy as much as possible at whatever cost.  Two weekends a month was not enough; he wanted all four.  The only chance he had to do this was to find a stand-in.  In this he was in luck.  The ET who replaced Dart Craddock was called Corey Wells.  His situation was that he wanted liberty on all weekdays while the weekends meant nothing to him.  He was willing to swap the one for the other.

page 1472.

     The two sailors were brought together and an agreement was struck.  The question remained whether both men would honor the terms.  Even on such a small ship as the Teufelsdreck where one would think it rash to incur enmity the men betrayed each other without a second thought.  No one seemed to worry about their reputation.

     It was always possible that either man would refuse to honor his obligation.  If that happened the other was AWOL and not available for his watch.  Thus, initially at least, it was necessary for Trueman to have a backup.  Trueman took Wells’ duty first so Wells had a friend in reserve which proved unnecessary as Trueman always kept his word.  Trueman, whose friends were all leaving for the same weekend, agreed to pay Laddybuck two dollars a day to stand his watches in addition to Laddybuck’s own, who had duty, if Wells defaulted.  Trueman and Wells were grateful to find someone who was honest and whose needs were complementary.  Thus Trueman had every weekend free for the next several months.

     Kanary tried to interfere by shifting watch times but he found he was messing with more than Trueman being compelled thereby to keep his hands off.

     Trueman’s other problem was eating.  Navy food as prepared by Bocuse was intolerable to him.  He could eat only one out of three breakfasts so he filled up on toast.  Lunches were tolerable but the soggy green beans that accompanied every other dinner meant that he ate sparingly.  On the weekends he ate little if at all.  Needless to say a toothpick cast a bigger shadow than he did.

page 1473.

     Nervous excitement masked any sleep or nutritional defects Trueman might have had.  He had a strong consititution.  However the general trend of events was very unsettling to his mind.  The question of who had tried to commit him to the mental institution was worrisome.  That Tory Torbrick was the agent of someone was obvious but it seemed impossible that the Navy should have assigned him to the Teufelsdreck with that object in mind and he had known who Dewey was when he came aboard.

     Without knowledge of Yisraeli Trueman was mystified.  He indirectly associated the attempt with Kanary from whom he felt the pressure of discrimination but he could assign no cause.  He ruled out Captain Ratches and he refused to give Dieter the credit of enough intelligence to conceive or execute such a plan.

     However his suspicions seemed confirmed during the year’s K-gun exercizes.  On the day the U.S. Marines went ashore in Lebanon the squadron took to sea to further the Navy’s apparent attempt to rid the sea of tuna fish or any other living matter.

     First Division gathered around the Depth Charge racks and K-guns to perpetuate their skill at sowing the seas with high explosives.  Trueman took his former position at the second starboard mortar.  Dieter stood looking at him as the bile rose to his face to give him that liverish complexion.

     His mind roved longingly back to his attempted entombment of Trueman in the Depth Charge locker.  Snarling inwardly he ordered Trueman to go below during the exercizes.  Trueman was in no position to debate or disobey so he stepped down the after hatch to First.

page 1474.

     Dieter walked over and dropped the hatch on him.  As Trueman sat alone in the compartment his ubiquitous nemesis the queer Kanary dogged down the port hatch then crossing over to starboard, glowering menacingly as though he were actually executing Trueman, he dogged the starboard hatch.

     The fantastic Dieter having failed to destroy Trueman in the Depth Charge locker now dreamed that he was blowing Trueman up in First.  The aft charges were exploded with little more than a distant rumble.  But then the K-gun charges fired to the side began to report.  The first charges were deep but you could still hear the displaced water rushing up to the side of the ship followed by a dull thud as the pressure hit the side.

     The mad Bos’n’s Mate was nearly insane with rage at Trueman’s lack of reverence or interest in his exploits as the Hero of Saipan.  As the exercise progressed the charges were set for shallower and shallower depths.  The thuds became clangs as the displaced water crashed against the hull followed by the plate rattling concussion.

     Becoming more enraged as the charges become shallower Dieter ordered the next at sixty feet down two hundred feet out.  The force increased considerably.  The plates not only clanged but rattled as the sound reverberted up and down the hull.  The force rocked the ship a little but it didn’t heave out of the water as it had the previous year.

page 1475.

     Dieter slipped into another world.  He was about to order the next charge at the shallowest and closest in.  The charge at that speed,depth and distance might have burst the plates.  Dieter was so far gone in his chagrin as to sink his ship in an attempt to trap Trueman below.  From Saipan to sinking his own ship.

     However the last charge had brought the Captain to his feet.  Standing in the starboard lookout with his glasses trained on Dieter he had the bridge talker call Dieter to the phone.

     ‘That’s enough for today, Chief.  Pack it in and clean it up.’

     ‘Yes, Sir.’  Dieter replied as his mind slowly returned from its nether regions.

     The sailors who had it figured out blew out a sigh of relief.  The Mad Chief was derailed from committing a crime of the first magnitude.

     The after hatch was propped up as the Gunner’s came down to replenish their Depth Charges.  Dieter followed them down to gaze first lovingly into the hold he had wanted to place his nemesis and then over at Trueman as though he wished him there.

     Trueman did not consciously process the information entering his brain.  It went directly into his subconscious where it worked like yeast in bread.  He had a little over a year to go; he knew he must be very wary.

     His mental malaise was exacerbated by the subsequent discharge of the men of low I.Q.  As in Guam over fifty men left the ship at one time.  They received their orders on the same day streaming off the Teufelsdreck at a happy gallop.  As Trueman looked at Dieter he thought ruefully that the fat mad Chief should join them.  Trueman was wrong though, Dieter wasn’t that dumb he was the proud possessor of a score of thirty-three.

page 1476.

     As the ship had never been fully replenished after Guam in addition to the departure of the Black sailors the crew was very depleted.  First was nearly half empty as a couple dozen bunks were left unused.  Trueman who had been spitefully moved from his favorite bunk to a middle bunk in the starboard center tier now took the opportunity to move back to his former bunk announcing that anyone who didn’t like it could kiss his ass.  As no dissenting voices were raised it may be assumed that all were unpleased with the opportunity to kiss Trueman’s ass.

     The pleasure of the unwonted roominess was destroyed as the replacements began to come aboard.  The amazing thing was that the low I.Q. sailors had been the most objectionable men on board.  However the replacements, if of a higher I.Q., were even worse but in different ways.

     These were all men of the high school class of ’57.  Now it is a fact that the class of ’56 had the highest ever scores on the scholastic aptitude tests.  Beginning in ’57 the scores began a long decline that to my knowledge hasn’t ended yet.

     The causes of the decline in the way of society are debated with no results but it must be true that years subsequent to ’56 did not digest the material if they received it.

     This fact was evident to the perplexed members of the crew.  The new men’s reactions to Navy discipline were even more deplorable than those arriving with Dewey.  The new men even made Frenchey seem like a stellar performer.  Frenchey had always gone through the paces but the new men refused even to do that.  Worse, they even seemed incapable.

page 1477.

     The class of ’56 seemed to be different than earlier years but intermediate between those and subsequent years.  Somehow they were neither of the Depression mentality or the Affluent mentality.  They were neither as solemn and dutiful as the earlier years nor as flighty and irresponsible as the subsequent years.

     The education and expectations of the younger men seemed entirely different from what had gone before.

     The difference of a single year had changed their expectation toward affluence.  Born in ’39  they had come to an age of awareness in the post-war years.  Too young to have a memory of the Depression or War years they knew only the boom years of the late forties and fifties.

     Having begun high school in ’55 and ’56 they were all of the Rock and Roll generation.  The class of ’55  had missed the Rock and Roll influence completely.  In that respect their tastes were those of the preceding generation.  The class of ’56 had been mixed in its influence.  Half had rejected Rock and Roll completely while a quarter accepted it as part of what was happening; another quarter, to which Dewey belonged, had embraced the music wholeheartedly.  Still, Dewey had little in common with the new men on that score.

      In addition the new men, while not of the TV generation, had grown up with it during their teen years thus identifying completely with the tube while Dewey had only known TV for about three years before leaving high school.  It is to be assumed that the classes before ’56 had less TV time than that or none.  So that while the new men had been absorbed into the TV phenomenon, earlier men saw TV as a phenomenon not part of their psychic organization.

page 1478.

     Howdy Doody, Kukla Fran and Ollie and the Mickey Mouse Club were alien to the older men.  The importance of the Mickey Mouse Club especially should not be under estimated.  The World War II vets like Dieter had no inkling of the emerging consciousness.

     In addition and most importantly the new men had attended high school while the civil rights movement was gearing into full swing.  The resultant uproar was very disquieting as the schools began to move from educational institution into Thought Management systems.  Learning became subsidiary to attitude formation.

     Black-White relations were managed by a small percentage of Whites concentrated in the universities, the press, publishing, entertainment and like influential areas.  They were and are a self-righteous group of people who will use any excuse to belittle others and magnify themselves.  They consider their opinion paramount to the law or perhaps more accurately they equate their opinion with the law.  They have been in control from the times of Reconstruction to the present.  They assume that they are pure and all others are foul and evil.

     They assumed that all other Whites were and are incurable bigots.  They assumed that all others had to be tightly controlled and beaten into submission.  They moved from individualism into collectivism.  They were censorious; they would tolerate no discussion of the problems and difficulties except on their own terms.  Hence, while claiming to be pure democrats they imposed an authoritarian system not less severe than Hitler or Stalin punishing by expulsion from the community of anyone who dissented from their explicit viewpoint for any reason.

page 1479.

     Small violations were met with draconian punishments.  A sportscaster using the word ‘nigger’ in private conversation would be stripped of not only his livelihood but his self-respect.  These criminal demons would actually equate such a person with Hitler.  In a word they had been driven insane by their self-righteousness.

     In their efforts to punish other Whites by making them consort with Negroes they wantonly insulted Black Folk by denying that they were capable of educating themselves.  They completely destroyed the Black educational infrastructure turning an entire cadre of educators out on their ears from satisfying and rewarding careers to menial tasks.  These Whites didn’t look forward and they didn’t look back.  They weighed and evaluated nothing they merely acted out of their self-righteousness.

     No consideration was taken of either the Negro intellect or the White intellect.  No attempt at psychology was made.  Thus with no preparation of either Blacks or Whites, Blacks were thrown into what Blacks considered a hostile environment.

      Now, the image of this little Black girl in her cute little pink dress being escorted down the walk by the Army in Little Rock is a very effective piece of propaganda but cute little Black girls would never be the problem.  Big Black boys with knives and razors bent on vengeance would be.

page 1480.

 

 

    

    

A Novel

Our Lady Of The Blues

Book VII

by

R.E. Prindle

Clip 3

     And so Cracker Jack tried to work himself back in.  It proved to be impossible as his finger prevented his working while complications kept him going back and forth to hospital.  In the end the Navy had to discharge him.  The tragedy was that because of his frail self-esteem caused by his brutalization back in Georgia he was prevented from ever realizing his potential.  He eventually became an odd job and handyman.

     Torbric sat down by Dewey amid the hubbub of Cracker Jack’s return.  Tory was all chutzpah; he had no shame.

     ‘Hey, Dewey.’

     ‘Torbrick, what in the world could you possibly want with me?’

     ‘Hey, I don’t know what you’re so touchy about, Dewey.  I just wanted to see if you’d like to come up to Long Beach this weekend.’

     ‘What?  Are we going to Atascadero again?  Dewey sneered, amazed at Trobrick’s lack of conscience.

     ‘No.  My pop and me thought you would like to meet Beverly Warnack.’

     ‘Who’s Beverly Warnack?’  Dewey asked, forgetting Torbrick’s mention of the psychiatrist at the hospital for the mentally disturbed.

      Dewey’s lack of violence precluded Atascadero, Bert thought maybe a regular asylum would do.

     ‘Is that all you know, psyciatrists?’  Dewey asked.  Having narrowly escaped confinement on the grounds he wasn’t violent Dewey was in no mood to give Bert and Tory another shot at him where violence wouldn’t be the issue.

page 1382.

     ‘Yeah.’  Torbrick laughed self-consciously in answering the question.  ‘I guess so.’

     ‘Listen Torbrick.  I don’t ever want you to speak to me again.  Understand?’

     Torbrick walked away but he didn’t understand.  Guilt now bound him closely to Trueman.  As good as his word Trueman ignored Torbrick completely.  Unable to break down Trueman’s defenses Torbrick did an end run ingratiating himself into Trueman’s clique; in that manner he succeeded in forcing himself on Dewey again.

     For now Dewey finished his shoes.  Unable to bear the expense of transportation he had made a momentous decision.  He decided to begin hitchhiking to Oakland.

On The Road Again

     The best and bravest are dead.  All that are left are the scum- the liars and cheats, the dancers wallowing in the fat of the land.

-Homer

     To undertake hitchhiking was a difficult decision for Trueman.  The desperateness of his situation is indicated by his decision to do so.  Dewey had always considered hitchhikers as semi-desperadoes.  Men who lived on the edge of the abyss of despair.  When his high school friend had become a hitchhiker around town Dewey was able to quell his dissatisfaction only with the utmost effort.  He had believed Larry had become declassed.  He was now willing to join the ranks of the declassed in order to escape the oppressiveness of the Navy.  His life was changed the moment he put his thumb out.

page 1182.

     In total he hitchhiked to Oakland no more than a dozen times but those dozen times made such an impression on him that he always believed that he had hitched all three years for tens of thousands of miles.  Each and every trip was packed with adventure and rare experience.  His life and well being were frequently on the line.

     The distance itself was staggering.  San Diego to Oakland was over six hundred miles in distance, thirteen hundred miles round trip.  While faster than the bus he was on the road for a minimum twelve hours each way.  The trip wasn’t worth it but he made it anyway.  The most that can be said was that he learned a lot about life and people.  Too much of nothing, as one poet put it:  ‘I wish I didn’t know now what I didn’t know then.’

     From the beginning he abandoned the policy of obtaining an out of bounds pass.  He found it humiliating to petition Sieggren on one hand while on the other it was a very minor offence that the California police couldn’t do anything about  anyway.  In a State full of desperadoes of the most desperate description what is a sailor without an out of bounds pass?

     Part of Dewey’s position was that his steps were being dogged in San Diego.  Our Lady was not about to let up on him.  Dewey had no idea why he was dogged but he knew it was so.  His weekly flights to Oakland took Our Lady by surprise.  While a man on the road is an open target by the time Yisraeli got organized his opportunity was almost over.

page 1383.

     Dewey took the bus, perhaps No. 30, out to the end of the line on Highway 101.  The San Diego CWBs would pick up sailors for hitchhiking in San Deigo so when you took up your position on the sand beside 101 your prayer was to get a ride from someone before the cops nailed you.

     Saying goodbye to his past Dewey stepped to the side of the road to put out his thumb.  Sailors always hitched in uniform as Uncle Sam’s blues were a sure guarantee that you would get easy rides.  There were many people who had sympathy for servicemen.

     Putting out your thumb is no lightweight matter.  Your style determines whether you will get a ride and who will give it to you.  Some guys hold their thumb up over their shoulder pointing down the road; some stick their arms straight out from the shoulder with the thumb held horizontal.  Some stick their thumb straight up in the air but that is guaranteeing you’ll be picked up by a fag.

     Dewey emulated his high school friend, Larry, by holding his arm down at waist level palm up, fingers closed, thumb pointing down the road.  It helps to jab it toward the centerline when a car passes to remind the driver what you’re after.  Other then that wear your most respectable face and stand up straight.

     A lot of guys find it necessary to insult a driver who seems to be passing them by bringing the thumb up in an arc ending with the middle finger erect.  Dewey was not of this frame of mind besides which many drivers do not make their decision until abreast of you or past you having looked you over carefully.  Both hitcher and driver are taking real chances.  Lotta crazy people in this world.

page 1384.

     Dewey had just put out his thumb when a local pulled over to pick him up.

     ‘I’m just going down the road a couple miles but it’ll at least get you out of the normal range of the police.’

     Dewey thanked him getting out a couple exits down the road.  The first ride in San Diego was frequently of this nature.  Locals who would not ordinarily pick up hitchhikers would at least move a sailor far enough our of range of the police to prevent his being picked up and returned to base.

      Rides were easy to pick up on 101 from San Diego to LA.  You seldom stood around long nor did you have to deal with homosexuals until you passed Anaheim.  After that every ride through LA would likely be a fruit.

     A couple short hops got Dewey above the Marine Base at Camp Pendleton.  Cpl.  Bill Baird picked him up.

    ‘Hi.  Bill Baird, Lubbock, Texas.’

     ‘Hi.  Dewey Trueman, uh, The Valley, Michigan.’  Must be the way the Marines do it, Dewey thought.

     ‘Havin’ a good time in your enlistment?’  Bill asked in the most relaxed laid back manner Dewey had ever seen.

     ‘Not so much I’m going to reenlist.’  Dewey replied in the usual sarcastic manner he considered wit.

page 1385.

     ‘I can follow you down that rabbit hole.  I’m taking the medical.’  Bill volunteered.  ‘How about you?’

     ‘You mean the under 30 and out?’

     ‘Yeh.’

     ‘I don’t qualify, otherwise I would.’

     ‘Well, I qualify and I’m taking it.  Bunch a guys are.  I can’t take this chicken shit outfit anymore.  We got some pretty crazy hombres, I can tell you.’

     ‘Yeah.  Know a few myself.’

     ‘We had this guy, Dalton Dagger?  This was somethin’ else.  He’s over in the brig now.  He was always touchy as hell, crazy as a loon.  He’s over in the brig now.  A couple of months ago he stepped out of ranks and just whaled into the Sergeant.  Stomped his ass bloody and royal, I can tell you.  Not that the bastard didn’t have it coming.  Lucky he didn’t kill the bastard.  Whatsa’ matter?  Why you so tense?’

     ‘No particular reason.’  Dewey replied.  ‘You’re one of the most confident drivers I’ve ever seen.’

     This was a particularly busy day on 101.  As the car moved into traffic above Anaheim the cars were bumper to bumper four lanes across.  Traffic was moving at fifty-five while Bill was moving at sixty-five.  Laid back and casual Bill slid his car into spaces no bigger than his automobile steering across all four lanes at a time always pursuing a zig-zag course but never slackening speed.

     Dewey was almost rigid and he gasped at some of spaces Bill slid his car into and out of.  Out of was almost more impressive than in.

page 1386.

     Aw man, relax, relax.  I know what I’m doing.  Here take one of these you won’t have no worries at all.’

     ‘What is it?’

     ‘Just a mo-o-o-d controller.  Tranquilizer.  Take it, make you feel real good.’  Bill handed Dewey a triangular black pill.

     ‘Drugs?  Uh, no thanks.’

     ‘Suit yourself.  Everybody at Pendleton’s doin’ somethin’.  Some really far out stuff too.  Man, there’s stuff nobody’s ever heard of.  We got this one guy, Jim Alexander?  Got some peyote buttons.  You know peyote?  Never heard of it?  Well, there’s this cactus grows down in Mexico, close to the ground, has these little buttons on ’em, you eat those and you get high.  Bitter as hell, get you sick.  After you eat ’em, if you can get ’em down, you throw up, after you throw up you get high.  Don’t like ’em myself.

     So anyway, Alexander ate a bunch of ’em, got real high, way up there; havin’ quiet conversations with the Architect of the Universe, know what I mean, really wiped his windows clean in that celestial gas station, opened the doors of perception for him.  Ever know that book Doors Of Perception by Elvis Harley, you will.

     So, ol’ Jim liked that so much about two weeks ago he ate twice as many, got way up there, high as you can go, he’s up there yet.  Still hasn’t come down.  I bet he’ll have stories to tell if he ever makes it back.’

     We…well, don’t you think he may have damaged his mind permanently?’

page 1387.

     Naw. why would he do that?  He just probably likes it up there, talkin’ to God and everything, wouldn’t you?  Wish I could.’

     ‘Well, I mean, how’s he do his work?’

     ‘Work?  He don’t have to work no more.  They got him under observation.  He’ll have some stories, I bet.  I’m tellin’ you everybody’s high on somethin’, or lots of different somethins. too.  Boy, the things I’ve taken.  Mushrooms, go-o-o-d.  Ever heard of LSD?  You have?  No kiddin’.  Man, get some of that right away, G0-o-o-der.  Rearrange your priorities right away.’

     Dewey was doing his best to relax.  He looked around hoping a cop would stop Bill so he could get out but the CWBs are never there when you need them.

     ‘You know I like you.’  Bill said.  ‘Don’t know why, there’s just something about you.  Dig this.  Know where I’m going?  Gotta get married.  Knocked this chick up.  Pissed me off, she shoulda been more careful. I’d walk but her mother got this phone in her hand, police on the other end.  Chick’s only fifteen, you see my problem?  No, you don’t.  No money, nada, not a sou.  Gotta go through with it though or it’s off to the hoosegow with me.  You could probably help me out.  You see, back in Lubbock I got this girl that’s hot for my dick, she can’t get enough, almost afraid for my health to go back, wouldn’t, but her old man’s got millions in the bank and wells pumping in the fields, you followin’ me?

     So, I get my medical and I go back to Lubbock and sit around humpin’ the bird with a bottle in one hand and joint in the other the rest of my days.  Betterin’ than those talkin’ to God blues, don’t you think?  That’s where you can help me out, dig?’

page 1388.

     ‘How’s that?  You want me to take the swing shift, give you a break?’

     ‘Ha, ha.  No. No.  You know what you could do for me?  You could marry my little chiquita here, satisfy her mother, know what I mean?  Get me off the hook, she doesn’t like me anyway.  Chiquita’s a hot little number soon as she drops her loaf.  Can’t get enough.  What do you say?’

     ‘Um, Bill, you know I’m not really in the marryin’ mood today.’

     ‘Hey, Dewey, this is buddy talkin’.  You won’t help a buddy out?’

     ‘Bill, helpin’ buddys is what I do best but I’m not going to get married.  I’m on my way to Oakland.’

     ‘You ungrateful son-of-a-bitch.  I give you a ride and you won’t even do me a favor?  Get out.  Get out.’

     The car was at the end of the freeway at Sepulveda Blvd.  They might easily have flown off the end if Dewey hadn’t refused to get married because relaxed Bill Baird was paying more attention to Dewey than the road.  As it was he slammed on the brakes pulling to the side of the off ramp by coincidence.  Cars nearly piled up behind him.

     ‘Get out, goddamn you, you ungrateful son-of-a-bitch.’

     Dewey wasted no time getting out of the car.  Shaking his fist at him Bill Baird rammed the pedal to the metal spinning down the ramp without even checking the traffic.  Jim Alexander must have been interceding with God for him.

     This left Dewey on foot in LA with little idea where he was or how to get North.

Pressure Gonna Drop On You

     Dewey was from the midwest.  Californians by which midwesterners generally meant Southlanders, were considered actual lunatics by midwest standards.  They were considered humanity stood on end.  The dichotomy was current in California in the LA-San Francisco rivalry.  The Southland was preeminently the home of nuts.  It was considered quite appropriate that LA was the home of Looney Tunes.

     As a midwesterner this attitude was part of Dewey’s intellect.  He was not alone.  Literature is replete with contempt for the Wasted Angels.  Why the Angels should be humanity turned upside down is not really all that complex a problem.  Anyone with an ounce of understanding however would have placed his money on the Wasted Angels for the future of mankind.

     It is strange that in this earthly paradise people at one and the same time should be both so happy and so unhappy.

      There is really no physical environment on earth like LA.  By LA I mean from the Grapevine in the North to the Southern border of Orange County and from the Beaches in the West to San Bernardino, Lake Arrowhead and Palm Springs to the East.  That is an immense and diverse piece of land with nearly every inch of it inhabited.  It includes the sweltering basin floor and the areas of Big Bear in the mountains.  Mt. Whitney, the highest point in the lower forty-eight, rises in those same mountains.

page 1390

     The weather is the finest that you can find in the world.  There is never a time when more than a T-shirt is needed for warmth day or night, unlike the French Riviera.  The ubiquity of asphalt and concrete means that there can be some very hot days when the heat is reflected back up but the humidity is low.  It is never as uncomfortable as Miami, Hawaii, Washington D.C. or New York City.

     In addition to the fabulous weather there is no form of natural or manmade entertainment that isn’t available.  There are other pleasant spots in the world like the Riviera and there are other spots for entertainment like Las Vegas but for my money there isn’t anything you can do in either place that can’t be done better in LA.

     The weather gives people a buoyant, ebullient, upbeat bounce but is countervailed by the squalor of the city.  Not that the city isn’t affluent and attractive because it is, or was at the time, but the exuberant expectations of an overly hopeful populace can never be met by reality.  There is an air of anxious desperation that lays over LA like its persistent smog.  In the bright sunshine there seems to be a low pressure system hovering like the Alaska Low to the North.  It wobbles from side to side but it never goes away.   The eye of the system lies over Watts.

     Strangely in this land of religious sects ranging from bizarre witchcraft cults like Aleister Crowley’s Golden Dawn through Rosicrucians, Theosophists, Manly Hall’s Philosophical Research Society, Garner Ted Armstrong’s Ambassador College, the Vedantists and what not to all the Protestant sects and the Catholic Church, there is so little spirituality.  There is only the crassest materialism.  Everyone believes salvation comes from the barrel of a pen and a check book.  Drugs are as commonly consumed as water.  Nor is drug consumption a recent phenomenon but goes back to the teens and twenties and even earlier.

page 191.

     Nor is there any social homogeneity.  LA is a layered construction of immigrants from all over the United States as well as the world.  Like Dr. Petiot they were all the kind of people who like to bring their baggage with them.  This is what gives the place its flavor.  At the beginning of the twentieth century the Anglos controlled the psychological atmosphere but that changed as the century wore on as other ethnic groups began to dominate.  They all have their neighborhoods where they congregate.  Little Thises and Thats.

     The Blacks, the leading subculture in America, invaded the area during and after the War.  As the influx continued during the fifties and sixties they spread over South LA from Watts.

     The increase in the Black population of California of over eight hundred percent during this period was not spread evenly over the State.  The major portion was in the Bay Area and LA which means that those areas increased by a thousand percent or better so that pressure on formerly White areas was rapid and instense.  This huge unassimilable immigration bearing the various Black intellects of Dixie was extremely disappointed on its arrival.  Nowhere else so much as in LA was the promise of the golden life in the Golden State so little realized.  If Whites were disappointed in their pursuit of material salvation the Blacks were enraged.

page 1392.

     As in Chicago and Oakland Blacks were not expected to venture forth from the Stockade without a pass.  They had to have a good reason to be anywhere else.  The Black writer, Iceberg Slim, says that he didn’t leave the Stockade willingly to drive across town for fear of police harassment.  It is to be imagined that he knew what he was talking about.

     It is true that you could travel all over the highways and byways of California without seeing a Black unless you went into one of their areas.  That was an unadvisable thing for a White to do.  In the time Dewey hitchhiked he saw only one Black family not only on the highway but driving any city street.

     In this brooding state of anxious depression amidst the state of hoped for material gratification there is no wonder that the Blacks of LA have erupted into destructive rages on occasion.

     The same anxious tension was endemic to the area but when Whites riot it is not called a justified rebellion to intolerable conditions and retribution is swifter, surer and harsher than any Black will ever experience regardless of what they think.

page 1393.

     I hope I will be excused for having no more than passing sympathy for the Black plight.  Whites are murdered and plundered by the police and nothing is or ever will be said or done about it.  Racism or whatever you want to call it is not just Whites oppressing Black folk.  It is rich against poor, the acceptable vs. the those they have made unacceptable; discrimination is the very fabric of our or any other society here or in Africa.  So Whites know better than to riot.  They resort to crime, vandalism and sabotage and take their punishment piecemeal.  It’s almost a blessing that Blacks don’t know how to do it right.

     In the beginning LA sold itself as a retirement center.  I haven’t seen the statistics but it is said that midwestern farmers sold out the farmstead to luxuriate in the warm California sun.  Iowans are always specifically mentioned with some contempt as though they were inferior to whatever passed for acceptable Wasted Angels.

     On top of them came the Jews.  Everyone knows better than to say anything derogatory about the Jews so they have never been criticized although they form the corrupt core of the LA intellect.  The Southland today is the second largest Jewish area in the US and probably larger than any location in Israel.

     They are so numerous and influential that they have been able to name the giant intersection of San Vicente and Wilshire after the founding Prime Minister of Israel, David Ben Gurion.  As covert objection is apparently taken to this coup you have to look twenty-five feet up the lamp post to see the sign where it has been placed out of reach of dissenters.

page 1394.

     During the Dust Bowl of the thirties Okies and Arkies and Texans who gave up their farms flooded into LA in numbers equaled only by the Negroes of the forties, fifties and sixties.  Unprotected by a condemnation of bigotry their invasion was less welcome than the Blacks and lacking a Hillbilly Anti-Defamation League they were criticized in terms that would have generated successful lawsuits from Jews.  Even in 1958 they were synonymous with total ignorance and treated in a discriminatory manner, usually having to accept jobs in service stations.  They gave LA a pronounced Hillbilly flavor.

     The Italians and Jews of organized crime came in with a rush as the decade of the thirties closed.  They quickly established their presence in their particular manner giving their own peculiar flavor to the business and social situation.  If you want a neat before and after comparison check out the first four novels of Raymond Chandler as compared with the last three.

     There was a substantial Chinese and Japanese population dating back to the nineteenth century and early decades of the twentieth.  After the Asia Exclusion clause of the Immigration Act was eliminated in 1965 at the insistence of the Jews huge numbers of Far Eastern and Islamic peoples arrived.

     Why were the Jews anxious to revoke Asian restrictions?  Well, it was good for the Jews.  If you look at the map you’ll see that Asia stretches from the Pacific to the Mediterranean.  that means Israel is in Asia so no Jews could have legally emigrated to the United States from there.  It is a Jewish principle that no restrictions be placed on them as God’s chosen people.  Thus the Asian exclusion was eliminated to benefit them.

page 1395.

     The huge herogeneous population- LA is the second largest city in the US- had to have employment.  There was little hope that prosperity could be induced and maintained by selling lots to Iowa farmers.  Layers of industry like the layers of ethnic groups began to arrive.  As industry in LA is distributed throughout various communities over a vast area it is quite possible to miss the significance of LA as an industrial center.  Indeed, Dewey did.

     After 1914 the burgeoning new movie industry moved West from New York and environs to locate in LA.  The basic la la land reputation of LA arises from the movies.  Actors themselves are considered unstable people subject to subconscious whims.  Their excesses and style gave the city a much different flavor than say, Pittsburgh, where industrial executives indulged in the same excesses but with a more sedate style.

     The movies themselves brought in droves of hopefuls whose dreams could not be realized.  But the hopefuls were generally good looking and energetic.  They were looking for opportunities and they probably created a good many not only for themselves but for others.  Being an unstable lot the human wreckage was enormous creating an atmosphere of human exploitation.

     The movie industry from the start was the preserve of Jews.  There was no way you could work in the movies unless you kowtowed to Jewish desires.  That meant that all the scripts served Jewish ends.  After the forties the Mafia influence on the film industry increased dramatically.  Soon every fat ugly Italian mobster had a gorgeous Anglo sexpot dragging along behind him.

page 1396.

     The movies followed the discovery of oil.  First in Huntington Beach, Long Beach and Santa Fe Springs then in a number of places.  Thus the basis of industrial prosperity was laid.  As an anti-union city LA was able to attract one of the largest and most diverse concentrations of industry in the country.  With the addition of the crown jewel of aero-space there was no stopping the prosperity.

     Climate, easy money, and sunshine; what more could anyone ask.

     However as people transformed LA, LA transformed people.  Back in their hometowns in settled conditions it was very important to maintain a respectable facade founded on an Augustinian style Christianity.  Activities that might tend to rend that facade were consigned to the basement rather than the light of day.  Then people suppressed their ‘Freudian instincts’ in favor of ‘normality’ and ‘morality.’

     In the feeding frenzy of LA where everyone became anonymous, being the indentity they chose to create for themselves on any given day, Augustinian mores were thrust aside in favor of subliminal Freudian desires.  Chutzpah became more important than morality or polite manners.  Crudeness was applauded.

     In a remarkable switch deplorable Freudian subconscious desires were more or less released into the light of day.  The casting couch morality became the norm while chaste sexual behavior was condemned.  The activities of the basement were elevated to the first floor while Augustinian morality was relocated to attic storage as useless baggage.

page 1397.

     Morality became a catch as catch can affair monitored by the eccentrics rummaging around in the moral attics.  You were only punished if you didn’t have the chutzpah to pull your crimes off.  Everyone was on the make.  If you weren’t strong or quick enough to make you became one of the made.  It was the triumph of American pragmatism.  The only thing that counted was if your scheme succeeded.  Success was morality and if you didn’t succeed you whined on over to your lawyer and filed a lawsuit.  Whether the Wasted Angels needed Freud or anyone else to teach them this is debatable but it was Freudianism in action.

     The tenor of morality was controlled by the Italian Mafia in conjuction with the Hollywood Jews but the style was more of a Protestant or Arthurian sort.  Open and brazen.

     The most important element of the LA mix was the movies.  Now, it is a fact that the movies were and are a Jewish enterprise.  Anything that doesn’t please the Jews isn’t going to make it to the screen.  In the early days the Jews felt constrained to cater to Anglo-Saxon tastes thus Jewish desires and needs were sublimated.  the axis of taste and style shifted however.  An Anglo-Saxon intellect like D.W. Griffith was subtly edged out of the stream or as they say, ‘marginalized.’

     Marginalization is the PC way of saying censored and discriminated against, blacklisted.  As in the old days Jews and Negroes were not welcome now the ‘marginalized’ are discriminated against.  This is called ‘Democracy.’

page 1398.

     Only gois like Cecil B. DeMille who honored Jewish dictates were allowed to survive but they were kept on a short tether.  Chastised for his early portrayal of Jesus as King of Kings De Mille was forced to  turn to the Old Testament epics that glorified Hebrews in expiation.  Thus in the history of the movies you will find many more Old Testament epics than you will find Christian ones.

     The chaste Arthurian heroines of Griffith like Lillian Gish were replaced by big hipped, big busted loose acting women like Jean Harlow and Mae West.  Nice girls couldn’t make it in the movies.

     The Second World War put an end to all that had gone before.  The old Hollywood died.  Television has been given credit for destroying the movies but that is absolute nonsense.  At the end of the century amidst much fiercer competition for the entertainment dollar than in the immediate post war years the movie industry is more successful than in its heyday.  The truth of the matter is that the prewar world of Anglo-immigrant conflict on which the content of the movies had been based had disappeared.  the industry languished in the search for a new ethic which also coincided witht the introduction of TV.

     The Jews of Hollywood formed the new ethic and they formed it in their own image.  They no longer felt the need to cater to Anglo-Saxon tastes.  The movie ‘Gentlemen’s Agreement’ which was about a goy posing as a Jew seeking to create anti-Semitic reactions when they didn’t exist was the opening salvo of the Jewish campaign.

     Interestingly enough this tradition of sensitivity was continued forty years later in a movie by the Jewish producer Steven Spielberg by the title of ‘Men In Black.’

     In this movie an organization based on the ADL has a world wide organization not unlike the International Jewish Conspiracy called the Men In Black.  They seek anti-Semite ‘creeps’ who are all so disguised that a person of reasonable sensitivity could never recognize them.  It takes the highly developed sensitivity, otherwise known as paranoia, of these covert ‘saints’ to recognize them.  In other words the so-called ‘witchhunt’ of the McCarthy era has been sanitized into a holy way of life but with potentially anti-Semitic targets rather than Judaeo-Communists.

     Needless to say the Men In Black were clones of the Man In Black needed to purify the country as sung by the Kingston Trio and the attempt to live it by Johnny Cash.

     Thus by controlling the content of movies the Jews had progressed from ‘entertaining’ the goys to showing them up in ‘Gentlemen’s Agreement’ to controlling them in ‘Men In Black.’  This was a very remarkable achievement in more or less fifty years.

     The Jews did have to make concessions to the brutal methods of the Italian Mafia.  Originally cast as brutal oafs with Anglo-Saxon names in the gangster movies of the thirties the Mafiosi emerged as brutal oafs with Italian names in the post-war years.  The difference was that they made brutal oafishness acceptable.  Movies like ‘The Godfather’ legitimized their methods in turn brutalizing the rest of the population.

page 1400.

     Two other groups shaped the form of the post-war movies.  The ubiquitous Revolution and the Homosexual community.  All four groups functioned quite harmoniously together.  All four wished to sap the Anglo-Saxon government they despised.

     The Revolution was quite subtle.  In movies like The Ugly American they made the charity, kindness and good intentions of the American native seem like the grasping, mercenary moves of a sexual predator.  As in all Revolution movies the Soviets or Chinese Communists come off as the good guys.  In movies like Dr. Strangelove the Soviets and the Red/Liberal government of America seemed to be opposed by an industrial military complex controlled by lunatic Anglo-Saxon Hillbillies.

     The Reds also seized on the novel by Daniel Defoe Robinson Crusoe to defame and revile the Anglo-Saxon.  Discrimination against those of English ancestry was quite common as the century drew to a close.  Defamation was frowned on unless the English were being defamed.

     In the most recent movie version of Robinson Crusoe the colonial peoples get their revenge as Friday make a fool of Robinson Crusoe.  The question is asked what if Friday grabbed the sword first?  Why then savagery would have reigned triumphant, what else?  It would be as in Africa when the English left, one tribe massacring the other.

     So also was the trend to glorify homosexuality.  Homos and Lesbians were always portrayed sympathetically while homosexual sadistic brutality became the normal mode of expression.  More and more movies began to appear in which brutal murders or shootouts took place in public toilets, a sure sign of homosexual influence.  The most favorite scene was when the shooter thought he had his man trapped in the ‘shitter.’

page 1401

     The target always places his shoes and pants to look like he’s on the throne while he has climbed above the stall.  There is only a moment for the obligatory puzzled look on the shooter’s face as he gazes into the empty stall before the shitter descends on him from above like a load of shit.

     A criminal attitude toward life became the standard outlook.  Hollywood called it ‘entertainment.’

     All things conspired in LA to create an unruly atmosphere.  Naturally control of such an unruly lot required a strong police force; nearly an occupying army.  Enter the LAPD.  Los Angeles had the most feared law enforcement agency on either side of the Gestapo or KGB.  The only real difference between the LAPD, the Gestapo and the KGB was a matter of style and that was narrow.

     The Black Folk might like to think they were singled out for rough treatment but in their insularity they just don’t know.  A late century criminal like Rodney King might be able to start a riot by resisting arrest and getting beaten for it but for every Rodney King there are dozens of nameless Whites who are beaten, crippled or killed with no recourse to ‘discrimination.’  A dead White man is only a dead White man who had it coming.  It is only the concept of racism that makes a Black man killed by the CWBs a crime.

page 1402.

     Members of the Gestapo or KGB are fearsomely portrayed in the movies but you don’t know what fear is until you’ve had a jack booted, jodhpured, helmeted, dark visored, CWB with a Dick Tracy array of gadgets and guns belted to his midriff walk up to you with the full intent of knocking you to the ground with his leaded billy if you show impertinent curiosity as to his intent, let alone, spirit.  You better be Black if you want to file a complaint because they throw White boys out on their ear.

     The LAPD walked mean and talked mean with the uncompromising full support of not only the legal system but the financial and political power behind them.  No action would be taken against a CWB no matter what he did or why.  There were corrupt, vicious, criminal and big with a license to kill before .007 made the scene.  They were often used as hit men by the powers that be.

     No one but the terminally insane like Rodney King ever messed with them.  Being Black is a very poor excuse.  There was no question that if you fought the LAPD the LAPD won.  It was a suicide mission.  One tried not to be seen with them even standing next to them.  How could anyone Black or White sympathize with a fool like Rodney King?

     All those bad ass Blacks, wild Hillbilly Boys and assorted desperadoes didn’t pay the LAPD no mind. The Mafia and ADL were greased of course so the LAPD didn’t pay them no mind.  In its relaxed way LA was the toughest city in the world.

     Now, as an innocent at large Dewey Trueman was dropped off in the dark at the end of the freeway on Sepulveda Blvd. with no idea where he was or how to reach the Grapevine.  Dewey scuffed the pavement with frustrated kicks wondering what to do next.  He spotted a gas station a block away where he hoped to receive good information.

page 1403.

     The worst of it might be that some joker would send him down to Watts where he would have one hell of a time of it.  The first major eruption in Watts didn’t occur until 1965 but that doesn’t mean there weren’t a lot of little tremors first.  White was not a popular color in Black Watts.  Even high yellows had to take care down there.

     Luck was with Dewey.  He had developed a good tough scowling Navy walk.  You have to act so tough to get by in America.  A term of approbation during the fifties was ‘that’s tough, man.’ meaning that’s a cool shirt, for instance.   They even wrote a lilting tune called ‘So tough’ to celebrate the condition.  Toughness will get you further than politeness any day.

     The attendant eyed him up.  Respect for the uniform and attitude got Dewey correct directions.  The attendant advised him to go over a couple blocks to La Cienega then North toward the Hollywood hills to Lankersheim Blvd. in the San Fernando Valley, or just the Valley, thence to the foot of the Grapevine.  A formidable forty miles or so through uncharted territory.  Being young and dumb was a big asset to Dewey, otherwise he would have had to think twice.

     Hitchhiking through LA meant running a seventy mile gauntlet of queers.  Dewey was psychologically unprepared for this although common sense should have told him that anyone standing by the side of the road soliciting rides could be construed as being ‘lonely’ and desiring company.  He was concentrating on his own needs which were to get from point A to point B.  Nevertheless the highway is the proper place for sexual adventures.

page 1404.

     As usual the homos were out in numbers so there was no dearth of rides.  Homosexuality was still against the law but the make or made attitude of LA drove large numbers of defeated men into homosexuality in an attempt to regain some masculinity.  If you lost yours you could hope to suck or siphon it out of someone else.

     It always seemed strange to Dewey that these homos were out patrolling the highways.  As many as there were, he thought, you’d think they could find some way to get together or identify each other.  Eventually they did when they created Disco.  However at that time there were few obvious homosexuals.  The closet was the right place to be.  Mostly they relied on hand signals to identify each other like moistening the eyebrow with the little finger.

     In reality they rejected their own as sexual objects preferring virgins instead.  That was where the real manhood was.  Either that or they preferred the danger of strangers in the dark.  There was no difficulty in rolling a gay.  They actually invited beatings being sado-masochistic.

     If you were game for a homosexual adventure or led them on they drove you to secluded spots of which they knew plenty even in the middle of the city.  Most of them wanted to blow you so a crack on the head with a blackjack while they were down there presented no difficulty.  It’s a wonder more of them weren’t killed.

page 1405.

     Most of them got straight to  the point resulting in a two block hop.  Some were more discriminating taking a mile or so to make up their minds.  Dewey’s luck was a succession of two block hops all the way up La Cienega to Wilshire.

     Dropped off on the South side of Wilshire Dewey crossed the street to find himself in a wonderland by night.  Change comes swiftly in LA.  La Cienaga from Wilshire to Santa Monica at the time was a glitzy restaurant row for tourists.  The street was at its apex.  Seemingly imperishable in the bright lights at the time all but Lawry’s would be gone within ten years or so.

     Like Lawry’s these were all mammoth restaurants seating hundreds.  Any one of them would have seated the patrons of all the restaurants in the Valley of Michigan on any given night.  The bustle was gorgeous and immense.

     Much to the amusement of the car parkers and doormen of which each restaurant seemed to have dozens Dewey gawked like any red dirt Georgia farm boy on his first trip to the city.  He yearned to be part of the scene.  Twelve years later when he came back having no other choice but Lawry’s he ate there.  It was a good restaurant but like a bottle of wine promised more than it could deliver.

     For now, heedless of time, Dewey walked slowly up to Santa Monica Blvd. taking it all in.  He stopped before the windows of Zeitlin and Ver Brugge an excellent book store to ogle their fine display.  He would one day shop there but it too followed the restaurants into oblivion.

page 1406.

     He was lucky enough to catch a ride from Santa Monica to Sunset with a foursome enjoying LA to the fullest.

     Like La Cienega Sunset was if not actually in decline on the verge of decline.  This was the time of the TV series 77 Sunset Strip. Raymond Chandler complains of the Mafia and its hold on restaurants.  So organized crime had run the restaurant scene for some time although it was nowhere so obvious as in Dean Martin’s restaurant,  Dino’s, which naturally commanded the central spot on the strip.  Unlike the tourist traps of La Cienega Sunset was where the LA glitterati went to shine.

     The Eve of Destruction lurked on the North side of the street tucked behind the glitter against the hills.  Strangely Dewey found his way there.  Just as the jive talking parking lot attendant of 77 Sunset Strip,   Ed ‘Kookie’ Byrnes, represented the obverse side of hip culture the Beat character Maynard Ferguson would have frequented the coffee shop called the ‘Eve Of Destruction.’  He didn’t stay long.

     As with everything in Hollywood the Wasted Angels sought out the essence of a thing and turned it into a movie set.  If you wanted an authentic coffee house you had to go to San Francisco.  If you wanted artificial people playing at being Beats in movie set coffee houses you went to LA.  In San Diego the scene was like someone who had heard of Beats and setting up a coffee house on that hearsay.  They completely missed the point by called a coffee house:  ‘Socrate’s Prison.’  Really strange.

 page 1407.

     At the time Dewey was rigorously authentic.  As an outsider of society he was quite familiar with hip jargon and Beat attitudes if unfamiliar with them in context.  He was not only offended at the phony coffee house, but the tough Mafioso who regulated admittance of the clientele took offense at his appearance.

     Unlike the later Studio 54 of New York the coffee house couldn’t select its clientele from a long line of hopefuls but it could deny entrance to those it considered unsuitable.  The tough young criminal found Dewey objectionable about the same time Dewey was revolted by what he saw.

      Dewey was already leaving when the bravos moved toward him to drive him out.  Therein lay the corruption of LA.  The Anglo-Saxons were an inclusive people.  Having inhabited America they invited all the peoples of the world to come on over too.  But many of the peoples of the world like the Italians and the Jews were exclusive peoples.  They were narrow and discriminatory.  They only wanted to admit people who met their circumscribed standards of acceptability.

      Clubs may be exclusive but restaurants cannot be.  As the Mobsters drove out people they found objectionable the clientele diminished in proportion to the number of tough acting, though talking Mobsters who thereby dominated the clientele.  As the regular clientele disappeared there were only a bunch of criminals sitting around insulting anyone who walked in.  The Mob restaurants all went out of business one after the other.  They should have formed clubs.  But without any outsiders to impress with their tough tough ways there was no joy in that.

page 1408.

     Their attitude may have worked well in economic backwaters like Sicily and the Pale but in a booming expansive economy the attitude is counter productive.  Of the pool of potential customers the number of rejected is always much greater than those who are acceptable.

     As the Jews and Italians always want to be in the high profile areas the acceptable are too few to meet expenses hence the restaurants always go out of business.  Dino’s was the opening wedge in the destruction of Sunset Strip.  The hammer that drove the wedge in was across the street.  The Beats, who were not a respectable intelligencia were soon to evolve into the Hippies who were neither respectable nor intelligencia.  There was something happening here but no one understood.  By the mid-sixties all the glamor was gone from Sunset Strip.  the Mafia and the Hippies had driven everyone away.

     Rather than put his thumb out amidst the glitz Dewey walked on down to the corner of Laurel Canyon to begin there.  It was one of the longest walks of his life.  Once again his uniform availed him nothing; if anything it marked him as an inconsequential person to be ignored.  Ignored he was; the self-important people intent on entering a Mafia dive like Dino’s blinded by their desire to appear ‘in’ walked right over Dewey as if he weren’t there.  Women as well as men.  They didn’t brush by him they walked right through him.  Dewey was not aware of slipping out of their way but he must have as no physical contact was made nor was he knocked aside.  He saw men and women standing near the entrances looking in his direction and laughing but he never knew why.

page 1409.

     Continuing up Sunset through lights so bright the headlights of cars seemed dim Dewey found his way to the corner, crossing over Laurel Canyon to put out his thumb.  He was picked up immediately.  His ride wasted no time.

     ‘Unzip your fly.’  The homo commanded before the car had reentered the stream of traffic.

     ‘Zip your lip.’  Dewey commanded reflexively in turn.

      That was a fairly witty exchange but the fruit was not in the mood for witty repartee; he wanged to the curb at the first opening.

      ‘Put out or get out of my car.’  He demanded.  ‘Nobody rides for free.’

     ‘That’s right, Jack, and you ain’t got enough to pay the fare.’  Dewey sneered as he slid out of the car.

     He was pulling his middie down and arranging his scarf when a car pulled up before he’d even put his thumb out.  He got in.

     ‘He there, Sailor.  You’re a likely looking guy.’

     ‘For what?’  Dewey asked.

     ‘You can drive?’  His ride asked.

     ‘Are you kidding?’  Dewey sneered.  He’d been behind the wheel once a couple years previously.  He hadn’t done too well but he figured that was his first time.  The next time he’d be a regular Barney Oldfield.

page 1410

     ‘OK.  I’m going to pull up in front of a liquor store up here.  When I get out slide over into the driver’s seat.  I’m going to be coming out of the liquor store in a hurry.  When I do don’t even wait for me to slam the door; have it is gear and just get the hell out of there.

     OK.  Here we are.  See this corner here?  Go up to the next one and turn right.  Don’t let anyone slow you down.  Run ’em over if you have to.’

     The driver took a huge .45 automatic out from under the seat dramatically snapping a clip into place.

     Dewey quickly came up with the sum of four.  they both opened their doors at the same time as Dewey stepped out.

     ‘No, no, man.  Just slide over.’

     ‘This is where I wanted to get out.’  Dewey said politely walking away.

     ‘Aw, chicken shit pansy.  Nobody rides for free.’

     Where have I heard that before?  Dewey asked himself.

     Undeterred by Dewey’s defection his ride entered the liquor store exited in a hurry, got back in his car and shook his fist at Dewey as skidded around the corner.

     A block later the CWBs pulled up.  A pair of jackboots and dark visors grabbed him by the arms.

     ‘Just a second, Sailor, we want to have a few words with you.’  the voice of an anonymous Gestapo figure admonished from under his crash helmet behind the dark visor and dark glasses.  ‘We don’t like swabbies comint to our town and committing robberies.’

page 1411.

     ‘I wouldn’t either.’  Dewey said without thinking.

     ‘You getting smart with me, son?’  The officer said pushing Dewey backward across the other CWB’s extended foot.  Dewey crashed to the ground.

     Now if Dewey had been as stupid as Rodney King he would have come up cursing and swinging.  The CWBs would have made no bones about breaking his.  Sitting downtown in the can Dewey would have no recourse but the suffer the indignity and its accompanying jail term.  He would have been just another no account loud mouthed White Boy who deserved no considerations.  No riots for Dewey.

     ‘Now, you were seen getting out of the car of the man who just robbed that liquor store back there.  What’s your story?’

     At least they were nice enough to ask back in those days.

     ‘Uh, no story.  I was…’ Dewey was about to say hitchhiking then thought better of it.  ‘…in a bar back on the Strip and met the guy and we were going to somewhere else when he turned out to be queer.  He pulled over and I got out.  That’s all I know.’

     ‘What bar was that?  Your ID says you aren’t twenty-one yet?’

     ‘Coffee bar.  It was a coffee bar.  The big one back there across from Dino’s’  Dewey corrected himself.

     The CWB leaned close but could smell no liquor.

     ‘That’s it?’

     ‘Yeah.  Of course that’s it.  I’m no crook.’

     The cop had no real reason to hold Dewey, not that he needed one, so he gave indications of letting him go.

page 1412.

     ‘Teufelsdreck, hey?  Where’s your base?  San Diego?  You got an out of bounds pass?’

     ‘This is only LA.  Don’t need one.’

     ‘Maximum’s a hundred miles from San Diego, isn’t it.  Used to be when I was in.’

     ‘Just barely.  They told us LA is OK without a pass.  Exec doesn’t want to be bothered.’

     ‘Oh, ‘they’ did, did ‘they’?  Well, watch your step, bud.  Stay out of trouble.’  The CWB said throwing Dewey’s ID at his feet which seemed to be SOP for CWBs everywhere.

     Dewey let them drive off then put out his thumb.  A car wheeled across traffic from the other side of the street where the driver had been watching.

     ‘What was that all about?’  He demanded, his curiosity shooting out in blue flames.

     Nobody rides for free.  Dewey thought and nobody gets my story for nothing.

     ‘It’s a long story.’  Dewey replied laconically.

     ‘I got time.’  The driver said eagerly.

     ‘Yeah.  Well.  I’m trying to get to Lankersheim Boulevard in the Valley.  You heading in that direction?’

      ‘As a matter of fact, I am.’

     He made all the right turns weaving through the Hollywood Hills as Dewey spun his story out as long as he could beginning with ride from the Marine, Bill Baird.  He had just finished his story when the car descended the hills unto Lankersheim beside Universal Studios in North Hollywood.

     ‘Cops are a bitch.’  The driver said as Dewey got out.

     ‘Sure are.  Thanks for the ride.’

page 1413.

Love Letters In The Sand

     Lankersheim was the heart of the run through LA to the Grapevine.  It was one twenty mile gut through the Valley.  On Friday nights the street was vital as a drag strip.  It may have been the finest drag strip in the nation, wide enough for micro contests of bravado and long enough to exhaust your strength.

     The entire gut was thronged with high schoolers from all over LA.  Thousands of cars inched North while thousand more crawled South.  Boys hung out of cars hooting at girls.  Girls gave them that look promising everything if only they could get together across the throng.

     Cries of ‘Turn the car around, dammit, she wants me.’  abounded on all sides.  The girls knew they were safe but the vanity of the boys made them believe the impossible.  No car could turn around although some daredevil might try from time to time but this only resulted in traffic jams and cursing from the other boys.

     Boys hurled deadly insults to other boys knowing they were safe within the glacial flow of traffic.  In the anonymity of this melange of high schoolers drawn from hundreds of square miles of LA there was a slim chance anyone would ever see anyone else again.

page 1414.

     At strategic points self-appointed marshalls sat on their cars identifying and cataloguing cars they’d seen before.  With little else to do but interfere in other people’s business they plotted and schemed to control this incredible galactic happening that occurred every Friday night.  In whatever manner they worked they were able to determine who could and who could not take part in the parade.

      When they found someone they didn’t like the wheels went into motion and the Lankersheim version of the ADL or Mafia sprang into action.  the car was isolated by the organization; the driver either proved himself or found his safety very uncertain.

     This tremendous show was kids from the classes of ’59, ’60 and ’61.  Their conception of morality had changed drastically from the crowd of ’54,’55 and ’56.  There hadnot been too many saints around in the latter years but by ’58 concepts of the permissable had deteriorated drastically.

     There was scant respect for people or property.  Moral considerations had been swept aside.  Decency was a thing of the past.  More than ever if you couldn’t out tough the toughs there were no social or moral supports to restrain anyone.  Aleister Crowley’s moral: The whole of the Law shall be: Do as thou wilt was but a fact.  The only restraint was outraged public opinion and that worked but slowly.

     Even the, if convicted, and the scope of restriction on evidence was constantly made more difficult, the sentences were minimal.  As heinous as Caryl Chessman’s actions were it was ridiculous he got the death penalty when actual murderers were serving three years or even less.  For many men aboard the Teufelsdreck it was worth three years to murder someone they didn’t like.

page 1415.

     All over LA the youth were committing egregious crimes.  They burgled houses in broad daylight.  If caught they beat up the homeowners laughing them to scorn.  They had the strength to perpetrated while the homeowners didn’t have the strength to resist.  Crowley was taken literally.

     The Old Fuds couldn’t figure out what was going wrong.  Here these kids had everything and they were satisfied with nothing.  This wasn’t the Depression when things had been tough, the Old Ones lamented, these were prosperous times.  But still the kids ran wild in the streets.  Still, as they laughed at their elders and pushed them from sidewalks as they passed.

     The results of immigration and racial strife had come home to roost but nothing could be done about it so the Old Folks made plans to retire behind fences and walls in ‘planned’ communities.  They really thought they could distance themselves from problems in that way.  Crazy world.

     As Dewey looked down Lankersheim he gritted his teeth.  On the one hand all these dragsters meant that it would be difficult to get rides, while on the other it meant that it would have to tough it out to avoid fights.  If he had to fight his uniform would almost certainly be torn necessitation a return to the Base.

     Grimly he put out his thumb.  Here at the beginning of the gut things were at their mildest.  Mingled in all these kids were a myriad number of fruits.  Perhaps they found the gut a happy hunting ground for the young stuff.  At any rate a couple of them moved Dewey a couple miles into the center of things.

page 1416.

     He attracted a fair amount of attention from the dragsters who didn’t see many sailors on their strip.  Dewey fielded threatening comments from the marshalls sitting on their cars and laughed at the goofs hanging out the windows.  He only wished the girls blowing him kissers were half sincere.  In any event he wasn’t about to make a fool of himself by responding to them.

     then his gaze strayed across the street.  To he surprise he spotted Gonzo Lewis in front of a drug store.  Lewis was too preoccupied to direct his attention across the street so he didn’t notice Dewey.  Lewis was in uniform and he was panhandling.  Whether he was doing it to make for his lost income because of the advances or whether it was just a Man With The Twisted Lip routine couldn’t be determined but he appeared to be doing well.

     He stood with a forlorn expression which elicited more of a response than one would think.  People would ask what the matter was.  Lewis explained that he had had his pocket picked so that he no longer had the money to get back to the hsip.  People pressed money into his hands, not only change but folding cash.

     Gonzo was doing OK.  LA was the perfect paradise for him.  He pulled his stunt regularly, a different location each time so he wouldn’t become obvious.  Pasadena one time, Riverside another, Anaheim the next.  Disneyland was a terrific location especially as the clientele of tourists was never the same.  Gonzo was good too, he had his look and act perfected.  he more than made up for however much he had to repay the Navy.  Heck, he collected more each month than the Navy thought he was worth.

page 1417.

     ‘Oakland.’  Dewey said in response to the question of how far he was going as he opened the door.

     ‘Why Oakland?’

     ‘Know some people.’

     ‘On leave?’

     ‘Naw.  Just a forty-eight.  Weekend.  Gotta be back Sunday night.’  Meaning Monday morning but it was understood.

     ‘Already near midnight.  You’ll have to turn around and come back as soon as you get there.’

     ‘Think so?’

     ‘Sure do.  Seems like a waste of your time.  You should stay in the Valley and relax.’

    ‘Sure, but I don’t know anyone.  I can’t afford it.’

 

    ‘You know me.’

     ‘Not very well.  Just met.’

     ‘Time will remedy that.  What say you stay at my place.  We’ll party a bit then maybe I’ll drive you back to the base Sunday night?’

     ‘Aw, gotta get to Oakland.’

     ‘You’re short of money?  I could let you have some.’

     ‘Thanks a lot, but it’s Oakland or bust.’

     ‘You might as well get out there then, you’re wasting my time.’

     ‘OK.  Don’t say it:  Nobody rides for free, right?’

page 1418

      Several fruits later Dewey was standing at the foot of the Grapevine left by a not very considerate driver.  It was now one-thirty in the morning.

     The wise thing would probably have been to turn around and go back but that would probably have taken him all night anyway so he decided to go on.

     The heavy traffic of Lankersheim had disappeared.  It didn’t seem as though anyone was using the Grapevine this late at night.  The worst that could happen had happened, Dewey was on the Grapevine at night.

     The Grapevine was a fifty mile stretch of highway that led over the range of hills joining the Coast Range and the Sierra Nevada.  The Grapevine itself, the highway, twisted and turned through this barren moonscape.  Things could and did happen up there.  If anyone cared to look they would find burial grounds.

     The wisest thing to do was to refuse all rides that didn’t get you completely over the Grapevine down into Bakersfield.  Dewey was too new to understand that so he took a ride that dropped him off where 126 to Ventura to the West split off.

     There Dewey stood in the dark night with the star spangled sky above him.  Navy blues are not a good outfit for hitchhiking in the dark.  Only that white hat stands out.  It didn’t matter too much because traffic had shut down for the night.  He arrived after two.  Only a couple cars passed between then and four thirty when he caught a ride.

page 1419.

     To amuse himself he stood out in the middle of the road daring a car to come along and hit him.  Even more daringly he sat in the middle of the road daring a car to come along and run him over.  He wandered from side to side standing for long minutes with his head tilted back on his shoulders gazing up at distant galaxies too far for the naked eye to see.  It was then his mind slipped into a different mode.  It wasn’t a dream and it wasn’t a day dream it was as though an automatic door opened allowing Dewey to step down a corridor into a house on the beach.  The house was exceptionally clean, neat and orderly, tastefully and sparingly decorated.  A fresh innervating breeze wafted through the open doors and windows.

     Dewey’s first real vision was entering the kitchen.  There was a woman he couldn’t see clearly standing to the left as he entered and another very beautiful woman seated against the far wall in a sort of high chair.  She was immobile, her face impassive, her eyes glazed and fixed; perhaps she was staring into the same invisible galaxy of the same distant super cluster into which Dewey was staring.  Perhaps their eyes met in that distant space.

     Dewey was delighted to find himself in what appeared to be his home as every nerve tingled with delight.  He spotted the sink, picked up a glass to draw some water and burst into song.  Strangest thing of all it was a Pat Boone song.  In the strong mellow unconstrained baritone he only wished he could command he sang:  ‘It was on a day like today, when…’  As he began ‘when’ the woman on the high chair came to life.  The glass and water disappeared.  In a happy joyful demeanor she appeared in his arms joining her voice to his in a soaring soprano.  ‘…we passed the time away, writing love letters in the sand.’

page 1420.

     ‘I thought you’d never come back.’  She exclaimed ecstatically.  ‘I’ve kept myself for you all this time.’

     Dewey was overjoyed to find his lost beauty again although he wasn’t aware she had been lost.

     He was about to say:  ‘Yes, Darling, I’ve yearned for you for so long.’  While leading her outside into the glorious blue of the sky, the buff of the beach and the innervating breeze.  He would have sat with her with the surf rolling in writing actual love letters in the sand.  But the other woman broke in to say what a miracle it was as Dewey’s Anima hadn’t spoken a word since she was thirteen.

     And then the Sheriff walked into the room demanding in a loud stern voice.  ‘What’s going on in here?’

     The stars appeared once again before Dewey’s eyes.  He had lost that beautiful buxom darling once again.  Nor could he find a trace of her as his eyes searched all across the universe from end to end.  The epiphany was over.

     The active memory faded from his mind immediately as his conscious mind descended into the Life in Death Hades of his daily existence.  Only the faint light of her glow remained out where his sight couldn’t see.  She was a hostess on a big mainliner out behind a cosmic cloud his vision couldn’t penetrate.  Where oh where could she be?

     Actually she was where she would ever be, only in his heart and in his mind.  Dewey didn’t have the psychology to understand his epiphany nor if Freud had been there did he have enough to explain it either.  While Freud put the understanding of dreamwork on a scientific basis he himself lacked the science to really develop his notions.  He understood the principle but he was never able to penetrate the veil.  All of his dream explanations in his dream book are less than superficial; at no time does he have an inkling of the true meaning of the symbolism.

page 1421.

     He was too preoccupied with Jewish political problems to actually probe the science of this subject matter.  If dreams can be considered the poetry of the psyche then daydreams are its prose.  Both dreams and daydreams deal with the same psychic traumata.  Both are seeking the same solutions.

     Daydreams since they originate in the subconscious and are manipulated by the conscious are in many way more important than dreams.  As a sort of novel they can be written down exactly as they occur if you are aware enough to capture them.

     With a catalog of a dozen or so the nature of your problem can easily be ascertained.  With that level of interference out of the way your conscious mind is free to probe further while your subconsicous is forced to send up fresh matter.  After a while you’ll bore yourself to death if you’re not careful, ending all your problems.

     Dewey’s experience was neither a dream nor a daydream but an actual ephiphany and a very pleasant one.  His subconscious mind had processed a mass of information so he actually believed rather than corrected for his tastes as one might in a daydream.  Daydreams have to be let flow without hindrance to show their full content.  Unfortunately the tendency is to correct them to bring them into consonance with conscious needs or fears.

page 1422.

     The meaning was quite simple to an analyst with the necessary information.  All of the information didn’t come from within the mind.  In those days there was a real controversy over Pat Boone vs. Elvis Presley.  Boone was the clean cut hero of the upper half of society while Presley was the common, vulgar hero of the other half.  At least that’s how the upper half perceived it and how the other half accepted it.

     As a member of the other half Dewey consciously passionately embraced the cause of Elvis but as he was never one or the other of anything, he shared characteristics of both.  Now, as his psyche, that is to say, his whole mind, processed the data concerning Boone and Presley in light of his own experience it dealt with all the details and not just the ones Dewey consciously dwelt on.  Thus his psyche came to different conclusions than Dewey’s intelligence.

     Dewey’s psyche did know how repressed he actually was.  Since his intelligence and psyche both admired the same thing his psyche fought to show his intelligence the way to freedom.

     Elvis as a member of the suppressed other half sang of their hopes and despairs as in such pre-Army songs as That’s All Right Mama, Mystery Train    and Heartbreak Hotel.  Dewey consciously related to both the despairing content of the songs and the hurt repressed style of delivery.

page 1423.

     On the other hand he sneered at the confident, expansive assertive style of Pat Boone’s  Love Letters In The Sand although he recognized the wholeness of the sound.  The open handed unimpeded baritone delivery from the deep chest was where he really wanted to be.

     The repressed high pitched wailing of the early Presley was where he actually was.

     It should be noted that something happened to Presley in the Army because when he came out he changed his hysterical frantic delivery for a more controlled baritone although not with the contented unrepressed openness of Boone.  It should also be noted that the Army never felt the need for the upper class Boone’s services.  Somehow he slipped through the draft even as an officer candidate.

     So the symbolism of Dewey’s epiphany was quite clear.  The house represents the self so Dewey had exchanged the prison of earlier dreams for a bright, airy, pleasant edifice.  the kitchen is the room of transformations, rebirth as in the loaf in the oven.  It too was impeccably clean.  The glass and water are symbols of the Anima or female.  The ocean and beach outside the windows is clear.  It should be noted that the windows were open to let in the fresh air.

     The woman on the stool who was about the same age as Dewey was quite obviously his Anima which had been repressed at the same time as Dewey’s Animus had been.  Thus as he bursts into song realizing the relaxed full chested baritone style of Pat Boone his Animus and Anima have been made whole again.  The glass and water coalesce into his Anima as she immediately comes back to life embracing his Animus in reunited bliss.

page 1425.

     They would have gone outside to write love letters in the sand had not the Sheriff of Dewey’s censorship  invaded the ephiphany to destroy it.  the Sheriff rlated to an incident in Dewey’s infancy when a real sheriff had just walked into the back door of the house saying the exact same words in his response to hier mother’s telephone call.

     One may presume that the woman who rejoiced at the Anima’s revival was somehow related to Dewey or it may have been the Terrible Mother aspect of his Anima.  Another form of censor.

     In any event the range of information of which Dewey was aware or unaware used by his psyche was both enormous and extremely subtle.  It is truly amazing that Freud with his pinch chested mentality never went beyond the level obtained in his dreambook which was indeed minimal.

     The epiphany vanished from Dewey’s conscious mind.  He had no idea what it meant he only knew he desired it.

     Still basking in his glow he moved back out of the middle of the road as he saw headlights approaching.  The laboring of the vehicle and the clanking of its bicycle chain identified it as a Volkswagen.  Caught between the despair and hope that not getting a ride leaves you with, Dewey just kind of flipped his thumb out in a hopeless gesture.  The little yellow Bug slowed to a stop.  Dewey didn’t have to take more than a half dozen steps to sardine himself into the little Beetle.

     Stan Leland was behind the wheel.  Stan was a desperate character.  He was prepared to kill the hitchhiker for the twenty dollars or less that he assumed Dewey had.  He was convinced the hitchhiker had twenty dollars on him.  That was why he stopped.

page 1425.

     Leland was twenty-five years old.  He had once been a strapping young man but his straps had been snapped for him.  Stan had attended Hollywood High.  He hadn’t come from the rich families but he had been allowed to hang around with them.  Not having the grace of legitimacy he had made up for it with the bravado of the interloper.  Having to be deferential to his group he made up for it by tormenting others.  He didn’t really torment them but he didn’t make any friends either.

      Graduation left Stan stranded.  His group melted away into the universities while he had to find a job.  Stripped of his social status he took up the pose of an aspiring actor.  He was only middling good looking although a lithe six foot two.  His brash self-confidence turned his middling looks into a species of handsomeness.  He thought he was good looking and therefore he was.

     Stanford tried to make up for his loss of social status with an aggressive brashness that tended to alienate rather than endear.  People tended to endure him rather than challenge him.  And then Stan turned twenty-0ne.

     He had secured a couple walk-ons in the movies, you know, carrying a rifle in buckskins along the wagon train and in one he spoke a line but it was cut out.  These successes convinced him of his future, increasing his aggressive demand for status.

page 1426.

     At twenty-one he went up to the Strip to celebrate.  Three or four drinks later his attention was caught by a cute little blond thing serving as a pendant to Fat Tony Carmino’s ego.  Stan compared himself very favorably to Fat Tony in an attempt to lure this worthless slut, but good lay, his way.

     Fat Tony, and he was not without friends, took exception to brash young Stan’s advances to his frail.  Stan didn’t fully appreciate the difference between the people he usually balked and the men of the Mob.  Fat Tony and a couple of guys who didn’t appreciate Stan’s mouth took him outside, drove him to a quiet place and practiced drop kicking him against a wall to see how far he’d rebound.  Stan wasn’t resilient enough to be much fun so they left him in a heap driving back to the strip and Fat Tony’s frail.

     Stan Leland’s body healed but his mind never recovered.  He had had the bravado kicked out of him.  He had lost his brash self-confidence having nothing left but his middling good looks and a slight stoop.  Where he had previously stood tall, almost with a back lean, he now walked, slightly bent and without any real elasticity to his step.  He was cowed.  His movie career was over.  He made money by cons and grifts that occured to him on the spot.

     ‘How far are you going?’  He asked.

     ‘Oakland.’

     ‘I can take you part way.  I’m going to Turlock.’

     ‘Great.  Thanks.’

     The VW clanked into action.  Dewey had never been in one.  While not new to the scene, in 1958 they hadn’t been around all that long.  The air cooled rear engine with its bicycle chain drive sounded strange coming from behind him.  The VWs had low horse power.  They went from 0 to 60 in 60, minutes that is.  Any rise in the ground slowed them to a crawl.  A Chevy would be in the next county before a VW crested the hill.

page 1427.

     ‘Really noisy.’  Dewey said.

     ‘My little Bug?  People’s car.  That’s what Volkswagen means.  People’s car.  Did you know that?’  Stan would never have driven a VW before Fat Tony and the Mob cut him down to size.

     ‘Volkswagen?  Folk’s wagon.  People’s car?  No, I never translated it; never thought about it.’

     ‘Ya.  It was designed by Hitler.  Did you know that?’

     ‘No.  I didn’t know Hitler doubled as a car designer.’

     ‘Designed might be incorrect but it was made by his orders.  People may talk bad about Hitler but he gave the Germans work.  Built the Autobahns for them to drive their Beetles on.’

      ‘Oh, wow.  Quite a guy.’

     ‘Yeah.  I’ve read everything there is on him.  History’s giving him a bum rap.’

     ‘Oh well, if you’re going to start wars you better be prepared to be criticized.’

     Stan thought back to Fat Tony and winced a little.  He’d always considered his treatment unfair, even criminal.  It was, of course, but society had given the Mafia a license to act that way while Anglos were supposed to be above all that and walk around Italians.  Stan’s interest in Hitler had begun on his hospital bed as his mind groped to deal with his pain.

     ‘Hitler gave Henry Ford a medal, did you know that?’

     ‘No.  A medal for what?’

     ‘A lot of people think he gave it because Henry Ford was an anti-Semite but that didn’t have anything to do with it.  It was because of this, the Bug.’

     ‘Uh, Ford financed the Bug?’

     ‘No.  But he made the first People’s Car, the Model T.  That’s really why Hitler admired old Heinrich Ford, because of his production methods and the Tin Lizzie.  That’s why he kept a life sized portrait of Ford not because of some silly Jews.  Those people always exaggerate their importance.  If nobody’s thinking of them they stand up and shout:  ‘Pay attention to us.’

     Ford was criticized for accepting the medal but I think he did the right thing.  Ford might have been run out of Germany if he’d declined the honor.  They made Model Ts for fifteen years and they’re still making the identical Bug over twenty years later.  That’s an achievement worth a medal.  His own country didn’t appreciate him enough to give him one.  What do you think of that?’

     ‘Never thought of it.’

     ‘How much money do you have on you?’

     Dewey turned his head sharply to watch Leland:  ‘None.’

     ‘Nothing?  No money?  Come on, how are you going to eat?’

     ‘I’m not until I get to Oakland.’

     Whether Stan believed it or not Dewey was telling the literal truth about eating.  He never ate or drank on the road.

page 1429.

     ‘Oh come on.  You’ve got to have a twenty on you.  You guys always do.  Nobody rides for free.  You can chip in a little for gas.’

     ‘What?  So far you haven’t even used up a gallon of gas.  These things must get about thirty miles or more to the gallon.  What do want a dime?’  Gas was twenty or twenty-five cents a gallon in those days.

     ‘Where do you keep it, in your shoes?’

     ‘No money.  I don’t have any.’

     Leland decided on a ploy.

     ‘I’m getting hungry.  Why don’t we stop for breakfast in Grapevine here.  Here’s the Grapevine Cafe.  Good food.  I’ve been here before.’

     ‘I’m in a hurry, man.  Go ahead.  I’ll just get back on the road.’

     ‘Hey, you ingrate.  I pick you up in the middle of the night on a deserted road and you’re in too big a hurry to eat with me?’

     ‘It’s not that, man.  But look it’s daylight already.  I’m way behind time;  I should be in Oakland by now.’

     ‘We are having breakfast.’

     Stan had touched Dewey’s guilt.  Dewey was a nice guy, he tried to appreciate what others did for him.  Also he reasoned that he might still be standing outside the Grapevine Cafe when Stan left.  He went along.

     ‘What’re you going to have?’  Stan asked amicably but craftily.

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