ILLUMINATI PROJECT: MEMO #4
Here's a letter that appeared in Playboy a few years ago ('The Playboy Advisor," Playboy, April, 1969, pages 62-64):
I recently heard an old man of right-wing views-a friend of my grandparents-assert that the current wave of assassinations in America is the work of a secret society called the Illuminati. He said that the Illuminati have existed throughout history, own the international banking cartels, have all been 32nd-degree Masons and were known to lan Fleming, who portrayed them as Spectre in his James Bond books-for which the Illuminati did away with Mr. Fleming. At first all this seemed like a paranoid delusion to me. Then I read in The New Yorker that Allan Chapman, one of Jim Garrison's investigators in the New Orleans probe of the John Kennedy assassination, believes that the Illuminati really exist…
Playboy, of course, puts down the whole idea as ridiculous and gives the standard Encyclopedia Britannica story that the Illuminati went out of business in 1785.
Pricefixer stuck his head in the cafeteria door. "Minute?" he asked.
"What is it?" Muldoon replied.
"Peter Jackson is out here. He's the associate editor I spoke to on the phone. He just told me something about his last meeting with Joseph Malik, the editor, before Malik disappeared."
"Bring him in," Muldoon said.
Peter Jackson was a black man-truly black, not brown or tan. He was wearing a vest in spite of the spring weather. He was also very obviously wary of policemen. Saul noted this at once, and began thinking about how to overcome it-and at the same time he observed an increased blandness in Muldoon's features, indicating that he, too, had noted it and was prepared to take umbrage.
"Have a seat," Saul said cordially, "and tell us what you just told the other officer." With the nervous ones it
was sound policy to drop the policeman role at first, and try to sound like somebody else-somebody who, quite naturally, asks a lot of questions. Saul began slipping into the personality of his own family physician, which he usually used at such times. He made himself feel a stethoscope hanging about his neck.
"Well," Jackson began in a Harvard accent, "this is probably not important. It may be just a coincidence."
"Most of what we hear is just unimportant coincidence," Saul said gently. "But it's our job to listen."
"Everybody but the lunatic fringe has given up on this by now," Jackson said. "It really surprised me when Joe told me what he was getting the magazine into." He paused and studied the two impassive faces of the detectives; finding little there, he went on reluctantly. "It was last Friday. Joe told me he had a lead that interested him, and he was putting a staff writer on it. He wanted to reopen the investigation of the assassinations of Martin Luther King and the Kennedy brothers."
Saul carefully didn't look at Muldoon, and just as carefully moved his hat to cover the memos on the table. "Excuse me a moment," he said politely and left the cafeteria.
He found a phone booth in the lobby and dialed his home. Rebecca answered after the third ring; she obviously had not gotten back to sleep after he left. "Saul?" she asked, guessing who would be calling at this hour. "It's going to be a long night," Saul said. "Oh, hell."
"I know, baby. But this case is a son-of-a-bitch!" Rebecca sighed. "I'm glad we had a little ball earlier this evening. Otherwise, I'd be furious."
Saul thought, suddenly, of how this conversation would sound to an outsider. A sixty-year-old man and a twenty-five-year-old wife. And if they knew she was a whore and a heroin addict when I first met her…
"Do you know what I'm going to do?" Rebecca lowered her voice. "I'm going to take off my nightgown, and throw the covers to the foot of the bed, and lie here naked, thinking about you and waiting."
Saul grinned. "A man my age shouldn't be able to respond to that, after doing what I did earlier."
"But you did respond, didn't you?" Her voice was confident and sensual.
"I sure did. I won't be able to leave the phone booth for a couple of minutes."
She chuckled softly and said, "I'll be waiting…"
"I love you," he said, surprised (as always) at the simple truth of it in a man his age. I won't be able to leave the phone booth at all if this keeps up, he thought. "Listen," he added hurriedly, "let's change the subject before I start resorting to the vices of a high school boy. What do you know about the Illuminati?" Rebecca had been an anthropology major, with a minor in psychology, before the drug scene had captured her and she fell into the abyss from which he had rescued her; her erudition often astonished him.
"It's a hoax," she said.
"A hoax. A bunch of students at Berkeley started it back around sixty-six or sixty-seven."
"No, that's not what I'm asking. The original Illuminati in Italy and Spain and Germany in the fifteenth to eighteenth centuries? You know?"
"Oh, that's the basis of the hoax. Some right-wing historians think the Illuminati still exist, you see, so these students opened an Illuminati chapter on the campus at Berkeley and started sending out press releases on all sorts of weird subjects, so people who want to believe in conspiracies would have some evidence to point to. That's all there is to it. Sophomore humor."
I hope so, Saul thought. "How about the Ishmaelian sect of Islam?"
"It has twenty-three divisions, but the Aga Khan is the leader of all of them. It was founded around-oh-1090 A.D., I think, and was originally persecuted, but now it's part of the orthodox Moslem religion. It has some pretty weird doctrines. The founder, Hassan i Sabbah, taught that nothing is true and everything is permissible. He lived up to that idea-the word 'assassin' is a corruption of his name."
"Yes, now that I think of it. Sabbah introduced marijuana to the Western world, from India. The word 'hashish' also comes from his name."
"This is a heavy case," Saul said, "and now that I can walk out of the phone booth without shocking the patrol-
man in the hall, I'll get back to work on it. Don't say anything that'll get me aroused again. Please."
"I won't. I'll just lie here naked and…"
"Good-bye," she said, laughing.
Saul hung up frowning. Goodman's intuition, the other detectives call it. It's not intuition; it's a way of thinking beyond and between the facts, a way of sensing wholes, of seeing that there must be a relationship between fact number one and fact number two even if no such relationship is visible yet. And I know. There is an Illuminati, whether or not those kids at Berkeley are kidding.
He came out of his concentration and realized where he was. For the first time, he noticed a sticker on the door:
THIS PHONE BOOTH RESERVED FOR CLARK KENT
He grinned: an intellectual's kind of joke. Probably somebody on the magazine.
He walked back to the cafeteria, reflecting. "Nothing is true. Everything is permissible." With a doctrine like that, people were capable of… He shuddered. Images of Buchenwald and Belsen, of Jews who might have been him…
Peter Jackson looked up as he reentered the cafeteria. An intelligent, curious black face. Muldoon was as impassive as the faces on Mount Rushmore. "Mad Dog, Texas, was the town where Malik thought these… assassins… had their headquarters," Muldoon said. "That's where the staff writer was sent"
"What was the staff writer's name?" Saul asked.
"George Dorn," Muldoon said. "He's a young kid who used to be in SDS. And he was once rather close to the Weatherman faction."
Hagbard Celine's gigantic computer, FUCKUP-First Universal Cybernetic-Kinetic-Ultramicro-Programmer- was basically a rather sophisticated form of the standard self-programming algorithmic logic machine of the time; the name was one of his whimsies. FUCKUP's real claim to uniqueness was a programmed stochastic process whereby it could "throw" an I Ching hexagram, reading' a random open circuit as a broken (yin) line and a random closed circuit as a full (yang) line until six such "lines" were round. Consulting its memory banks, where the whole tradition of 1 Ching interpretation was stored, and then cross-checking its current scannings of that day's political, economic, meteorological, astrological, astronomical, and technological eccentricities, it would provide a reading of the hexagram which, to Hagbard's mind, combined the best of the scientific and occult methods for spotting oncoming trends. On March 13, the stochastic pattern spontaneously generated Hexagram 23, "Breaking Apart." FUCKUP then interpreted:
This traditionally unlucky sign was cast by Atlantean scientist-priests shortly before the destruction of their continent and is generally connected with death by water. Other vibrations link it to earthquakes, tornadoes and similar disasters, and to sickness, decay, and morbidity as well.
The first correlation is with the unbalance between technological acceleration and political retrogression, which has proceeded earth-wide at ever widening danger levels since 1914 and especially since 1964. The breaking apart is fundamentally the schizoid and schismatic mental fugue of lawyer-politicians attempting to administrate a worldwide technology whose mechanisms they lack the education to comprehend and whose gestalt trend they frustrate by breaking apart into obsolete Renaissance nation-states.
World War III is probably imminent and, considering the advances in chemical biological warfare in conjunction with the sickness vibrations of Hexagram 23, the unleashing of plague or nerve gas or both is as probable as thermonuclear overkill.
General prognosis: many megadeaths.
There is some hope for avoidance of the emerging pattern with prompt action of correct nature. Probability of such avoidance is 0.17 ± 0.05.
"My ass, no blame," Hagbard raged; and rapidly reprogrammed FUCKUP to read off to him its condensed psychobiographies of the key figures in world politics and the key scientists in chemobiological warfare.
The first dream came to Dr. Charles Oceangoing on February 2-more than a month before FUCKUP picked up the vibrations. He was, as usual with him, aware that he was dreaming, and the vision of a gigantic pyramid which seemed to walk or lumber' about meant nothing and quickly vanished. Now he seemed to be looking at an enlargement of the DNA double helix; it was so detailed that he began searching it for the bonding irregularities at every 23rd Angstrom. To his surprise, they were missing; instead, there were other irregularities at each 17th Angstrom. "What the devil …?" he asked-and the pyramid returned seeming to speak and saying, "Yes, the devil." He jolted awake, with a new concept, Anthrax-Leprosy-Mu, coming into consciousness, and began jotting in his bedside pad.
"What the hell is this Desert Door project?" the President had asked once, scrutinizing the budget. "Germ warfare," an aide explained helpfully. "They started with something called Anthrax Delta and now they've worked their way up to something called Anthrax Mu and… " His voice was drowned out by the rumble of paper shredders in the next room. The President recognized the characteristic sound of the "cesspool cleaners" hard at work. "Never mind," he said. "Those things make me nervous." He scribbled a quick "OK" next to the item and went on to "Deprived Children," which made him feel better. "Here," he said, "this is something we can cut"
He forgot everything about Desert Door, until the Fernando Poo crises. "Suppose, just suppose," he asked the Joint Chiefs on March 29, I go on the tube and threaten all-out thermonuclear heck, and the other side doesn't blink. Have we got something that'll scare them even more?"
The J.C.'s exchanged glances. One of them spoke tentatively. "Out near Las Vegas," he said, "we have this Desert Door project that seems to be way ahead of the Comrades in b-b and b-c-"
"That's biological-bacteriological and biological-chemical," the President explained to the Vice-President, who was frowning. "It has nothing to do with B-B guns." Turning his attention back to the military men, he asked, "What have we got specifically that will curdle Ivan's blood?"
"Well, there's Anthrax-Leprosy-Mu… It's worse than any form of anthrax. More deadly than bubonic and anthrax and leprosy all in one lump. As a matter of fact," the General who was speaking smiled grimly at the thought, "our evaluation suggests that "with death being so quick, the psychological demoralization of the survivors-if there are any survivors-will be even worse than in thermonuclear exchange with maximum 'dirty' fallout."
"By golly," the President said. "By golly. We won't use that out in the open. My speech'll just talk Bomb, but we'll leak it to the boys in the Kremlin that we've got this anthrax gimmick in cold storage, too. By gosh, you just wait and see them back down." He stood up, decisive, firm, the image he always projected on television. "I'm going to see my speech writers right now. Meanwhile, arrange that the brain responsible for this Anthrax-Pi gets a raise. What's his name?" he asked over his shoulder going out the door.
"Mocenigo. Dr. Charles Mocenigo."
"A raise for Dr. Charles Mocenigo," the President called from the hallway.
"Mocenigo?" the Vice-President asked thoughtfully. "Is he a wop?"
"Don't say wop," the President shouted back. "How many times do I have to tell you? Don't say wop or kike or any of those words anymore." He spoke with some asperity, since he lived daily with the dread that someday the secret tapes he kept of all" Oval Room transactions would be released to the public. He had long ago vowed that if that day ever came, the tapes would not be full of "(expletive deleted)" or "(characterization deleted)." He was harassed, but still he spoke with authority. He was, in fact, characteristic of the best type of dominant male in the world at this time. He was fifty-five years old, tough, shrewd, unburdened by the complicated ethical ambiguities which puzzle intellectuals, and had long ago decided that the world was a mean son-of-a-bitch in which only the most cunning and ruthless can survive. He was also as kind as was possible for one holding that ultra-Darwinian philosophy; and he genuinely loved children and dogs, unless they were on the site of something that had to be bombed in the National Interest. He still retained some sense of humor, despite the burdens of his almost godly office, and, although he had been impotent with his wife for nearly ten years now, he generally achieved orgasm in the mouth of a skilled prostitute within 1.5 minutes. He took amphetamine pep pills to keep going on his grueling twenty-hour day, with the result that his vision of the world was somewhat skewed in a paranoid direction, and he took tranquilizers to keep from worrying too much, with the result that his detachment sometimes bordered on the schizophrenic; but most of the time his innate shrewdness gave him a fingernail grip on reality. In short, he was much like the rulers of Russia and China.
In Central Park, the squirrel woke again as a car honked loudly in passing. Muttering angrily, he leaped to another tree and immediately went back to sleep. At the all-night Bickford's restaurant on Seventy-second Street, a young man named August Personage left a phone booth after making an obscene call to a woman in Brooklyn; he left behind one of his THIS PHONE BOOTH RESERVED FOR CLARK KENT stickers. In Chicago, one hour earlier on the clock but the same instant, the phone booth closed, a rock group called Clark Kent and His Supermen began a revival of "Rock Around the Clock": their leader, a tall black man with a master's degree in anthropology, had been known as El Hajj Starkerlee Mohammed during a militant phase a few years earlier, and his birth certificate said Robert Pearson on it. He was observing his audience and noted that bearded young white cat, Simon, was with a black woman as usual-a fetish Pearson-Mohammed-Kent could understand by reverse psychology, since he preferred white chicks himself. Simon, for once, was not entranced by the music; instead, he was deep in conversation with the girl and drawing a diagram of a pyramid on the table to explain what he meant. " Crown Point," Pearson heard him say over the music. And listening to "Rock Around the Clock" ten years earlier, George Dorn had decided to let his hair grow long, smoke dope and become a musician. He had succeeded in two of those ambitions. The statue of Tlaloc in the Museum of Anthropology, Mexico, D.F., stared inscrutably upward, toward the stars… and the same stars glittered above the 'Carribean where the porpoise named Howard sported in the waves.
The motorcade passes the Texas School Book Depository and moves slowly toward the Triple Underpass. At the sixth-floor window, Lee Harvey Oswald sights carefully through the Carcano-Mannlicher: his mouth is dry, desert dry. But his heartbeat is normal; and no sweat stands out on his forehead. This is the moment, he is thinking, the one moment transcending time and hazard, heredity and environment, the final test and proof of free will and of my right to call myself a man. In this moment, now, as I tighten the trigger, the Tyrant dies, and with him all the lies of a cruel, mendacious epoch. It is a supreme exaltation, this moment and this knowledge: and yet his mouth is dry, dust-dry, dry as death, as if his salivary glands alone rebelled against the murder which his intellect pronounced necessary and just. Now: He recalls the military formula BASS: Breathe, Aim, Slack, Squeeze. He breathes, he aims, he slacks, he starts to squeeze, as a dog barks suddenly-
And his mouth falls open in astonishment as three shots ring out, obviously from the direction of the Grassy Knoll and Triple Underpass.
"Son-of-a-bitch," he said, softly as a prayer. And he began to grin, a rictus not of omnipotence such as he had expected but of something different and unexpected and therefore better-omniscience. That smirk appeared in all the photos during the next day and a half, before his own death, a sneering smile that said so clearly that none dared to read it: I know something you don't know. That grimace only faded Sunday morning when Jack Ruby pumped two bullets into Lee's frail fanatic body, and its secret went with him to the grave. But another part of the secret had already left Dallas on Friday afternoon's TWA Whisperjet to Los Angeles, traveling behind the business suit, gray hair, and only moderately sardonic eyes of a little old man who was listed on the flight manifest as "Frank Sullivan."
This is serious, Peter Jackson was thinking; Joe Malik wasn't on a paranoid trip at all. The noncommittal expressions of Muldoon and Goodman did not deceive him at all-he had long ago learned the black art of surviving in a white world, which is the art of reading not what is on a face but what is behind the face. The cops were worried and excited, like any hunters on the track of something both large and dangerous. Joe was right about the assassination plot, and his disappearance and the bombing were part of it. And that meant George Dorn was in danger, too, and Peter liked George even if he was a snotty kid in some ways and an annoying ass-kisser about the race thing like most young white radicals. Mad Dog, Texas, Peter thought: that sure sounds like a bad place to be in trouble.
(Almost fifty years before, a habitual bank robber named Harry Pierpont approached a young convict in Michigan City Prison and asked him, "Do you think there might be a true religion?")
But why is George Dorn screaming while Saul Goodman is reading the memos? Hold on for another jump, and this one is a shocker. Saul is no longer human; he's a pig. All cops are pigs. Everything you've ever believed is probably a lie. The world is a dark, sinister, mysterious and totally frightening place. Can you digest all that quickly? Then, walk into the mind of George Dorn for the second time, five hours before the explosion at Confrontation (four hours before, on the clock) and suck on the joint, suck hard and hold it down. ("One o'clock… two o'clock… three o'clock… ROCK!"). You are sprawled on a crummy bed in a rundown hotel, and a neon light outside is flashing pink and blue patterns into your room. Exhale slowly, feel the hit of the weed and see if the wallpaper looks any brighter yet, any less Unintentional Low Camp. It's hot, Texas-dry hot, and you push your long hair back from your forehead and haul out your diary, George Dorn, because reading over what you wrote last sometimes helps you to learn what you're really getting into. As the neon splotches the page with pink and blue, read this:
How do we know whether the universe is getting bigger or the objects in it are getting smaller? You can't say that the universe is getting bigger in relation to anything outside it, because there isn't any outside for it to relate to. There isn't any outside. But if the universe doesn't have an out-side, then it goes on forever. Yeah, but, its inside doesn't go on forever. How do you know it doesn't, shithead? You're just playing with words, man.
–No I'm not. The universe is the inside without an outside, the sound made by one
There was a knock at the door.
The Fear came over George. Whenever he was high, the least little detail wrong in his world would bring the Fear, irresistible, uncontrollable. He held his breath, not to contain the smoke in his lungs, but because terror had paralyzed the muscles in his chest. He dropped the little notebook in which he wrote his thoughts daily and clutched at his penis, a habitual gesture in moments of panic. The hand holding the roach drifted, automatically, over the hollowed-out copy of Sinclair Lewis's It Can't Happen Here, which lay beside him on the bed, and he dropped the half-inch twist of paper and marijuana on top of the plastic Baggie full of green grains. Instantly a brown smoldering dime-sized hole opened up on the bag, and the pot near the coal started to smoke.
"Stupid," said George, as his thumb stabbed the smoking coal to crush it, and he drew back his lips in a grim-ace of pain.
A short fat man walked into the room, Law Officer written in every mean line of his crafty little face. George shrank back and started to close ItCan't Happen Here; like lightning, three stiff, concrete-hard fingers drove into his forearm. He screamed and the book jumped out of his hand, spilling pot all over the bedspread.
"Don't touch that," said the fat man. "An officer will be in to gather it up for evidence. I went easy with that karate punch. Otherwise you'd be nursing a compound fracture of the left arm in Mad Dog County Jail tonight, and no right-thinking doctor likely to have a mind to come out and treat you."
"You got a warrant?" George tried to sound defiant.
"Oh, you think you have cojones." The fat man's breath stank of bourbon and cheap cigars. "Rabbit cojones. I have terrified you unto death, boy, and you know it and I know it, yet you find it in your heart to speak of warrants. Next you'll want to see the American Civil Liberties Union." He pulled aside the jacket of an iridescent gray summer suit that might have been new when Heartbreak Hotel was the top of the hit parade. A silver five-pointed star decorated his pink shirt pocket and a.45 automatic stuck in his pants-top dented the fat of his belly. "That is all the law I need when dealing with your type in Mad Dog. Walk careful with me, son, or you won't have nothing to grab onto next time one of us pigs as you choose to call us in your little articles, busts in on you. Which is not likely to happen in the next forty years, while you rot and grow old in our state prison." He seemed immensely pleased with his own oratorical style, like one of Faulkner's characters. George thought:
It is forbidden to dream again; We maim our joys or hide them; Horses are made of chromium steel And little fat men shall ride them.
He said, "You can't hit me with forty years for possession. And grass is legal in most other states. This law is archaic and absurd."
"Shit and onions, boy, you got too much of the killer weed there to call it mere possession. I call it possession with intent to sell. And the laws of this state are stern, and they are just and they are our laws. We know what that weed can do. We remember the Alamo and Santa Anna's troops losing all fear because they were high on Rosa Maria, as they called it in those days. Get on your feet. And don't ask to talk to a lawyer, neither."
"Can I ask who you are?"
"I am Sheriff Jim Cartwright, nemesis of all evil in Mad Dog and Mad Dog County."
"And I'm Tiny Tim," said George, immediately saying to himself, Shut the fuck up, you're too goddamn high. And he went right on and said, "Maybe your side would have won if Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie got stoned, too. And, by the way, Sheriff, how did you know you could catch me with pot? Usually an underground journalist would make it a point to be clean when he comes into this godforsaken part of the country. It wasn't telepathy that told you I had pot on me."
Sheriff Cartwright slapped his thigh. "Oh, but it was. It was telepathy. Now just what made you think it wasn't telepathy brung me here?" He laughed, seized George's arm in a grip of iron, and pushed him toward the hotel-room door. George felt a bottomless terror as if the pit of hell were opening beneath his feet and Sheriff Jim Cartwright were about to pitchfork him into the bubbling sulfur. And I must admit that was more or less the case; there are periods of history when the visions of madmen and dope fiends are a better guide to reality than the common-sense interpretation of data available to the so-called normal mind. This is one such period, if you haven't noticed already.
("Keep on hanging out with those wild boys from Passaic and you'll end up in jail," George's mother said. "You mark my words, George." And, another time, at Columbia, after a very late meeting, Mark Rudd said soberly, "A lot of us are going to spend some time in the Man's jails before this shit-storm is over"; and George, together with the others, nodded glumly but bravely. The marijuana he had been smoking was raised in Cuernavaca by a farmer named Arturo Jesus Maria Ybarra y Mendez, who had sold it in bulk to a young Yanqui named Jim Riley, the son of a Dayton, Ohio, police officer, who in turn smuggled it through Mad Dog after paying a suitable bribe to Sheriff Jim Cartwright. After that it was resold to a Times Square dealer called Rosetta the Stoned and a Miss Walsh from Confrontation's research department bought ten ounces from her, later reselling five ounces to George, who then carried it back to Mad Dog without any suspicion that he was virtually completing a cycle. The original seed was part of that strain recommended by General George Washington in the famous letter to Sir John Sinclair in which he writes, "I find that, for all purposes, the Indian hemp is in every way superior to the New Zealand variety previously cultivated here." In New York, Rebecca Goodman, deciding that Saul will not be home tonight, slips out of bed, dons a robe and begins to browse through her library. Finally she selects a book on Babylonian mythology and begins to read: "Before all of the gods, was Mummu, the spirit of Pure Chaos…," In Chicago, Simon and Mary Lou Servix sit naked on her bed, legs intertwined in the yabyum lotus position. "No," Simon is saying, "You don't move, baby; you wait for u to move you." Clark Kent and His Supermen swing into a reprise: "We're gonna rock around the clock tonight… We're gonna ROCK ROCK ROCK till broad day light.")
George's cell mate in Mad Dog County Jail had a skull-like face with large, protruding front teeth. He was about six and a half feet tall and lay curled up on his cell bunk like a coiled python.
"Have you asked for treatment?" George asked him.
"Treatment for what?"
"Well, if you think you're an assassin-"
"I don't think, baby brother. I've killed four white men and two niggers. One in California, the rest down here. Got paid for every one of them."
"Is that what you're in for?" My God, they don't stick murderers in the same cell with potheads, do they?
"I'm in for vagrancy," said the man scornfully. "Actually, I'm just here for safekeeping, till they give me my orders. Then it's good-bye to whoever-President, civil rights leader, enemy of the people. Someday I'll be famous. I'm gonna write a book about myself someday, Ace. Course, I'm no good at writing. Look, maybe we can do a deal. I'll have Sheriff Jim bring you some writing paper if you'll write about my life. They gonna keep you here forever, you know. I'll come and visit you between assassinations, and you'll write the book, and Sheriff Jim'11 keep it safe till I retire. Then you have the book published and you'll make a lot of money and be real comfortable in jail. Or maybe you can even hire a lawyer to get you out."
"Where will you be?" said George. He was still scared, but he was feeling sleepy, too, and he was deciding that this was all bullshit, which had a calming effect on his nerves. But he'd better not go to sleep in the cell while this guy was awake. He didn't really believe this assassin talk, but it was safe to assume that anybody you met in prison was homosexual.
As if reading his mind, his cell mate said, "How'd you like to let a famous assassin shove it up to you? How would that be, huh, Ace?"
"Please," said George. "That's not my bag, you know? I really couldn't do it."
"Shit, piss, and corruption," said the assassin. He suddenly uncoiled and slid off the bunk. "I been wasting my time with you. Now bend the hell over and drop your pants. You are getting it, and there ain't no further way about it." He stepped toward George, fists clenched.
"Guard! Guard!" George yelled. He grabbed the cell door in both hands and began rattling it frantically.
The man caught George a cuff across the face. Another blow to the jaw knocked George against the wall.
"Guard!" he screamed, his head spinning with pot and panic.
A man in a blue uniform came through the door at the end of the corridor. He seemed miles away and vastly disinterested, like a god who had grown bored with his creations.
"Now, what the hell is all this yelling about in here?" he asked, his hand en the butt of his revolver, his voice still miles away.
George opened his mouth, but his cell mate spoke first 'This little long-haired communist freak won't drop his pants when I tell him. Ain't you supposed to make sure I'm happy in here?" The voice shifted to a whine. "Make him do what I say."
"You've got to protect me," said George. "You've got to get me out of this cell."
The god-guard laughed. "Well, now, you might say this is a very enlightened prison we have here. You come down from New York and you probably think we're pretty backward. But we ain't. We got no police brutality. Now, if I interfered between you and Harry Coin here, I might have to use force to keep him away from your young ass. I know you people believe all cops ought to be abolished. Well, in this here situation I hereby abolish myself. Furthermore, I know you people believe in sexual freedom, and I do, too. So Harry Coin gonna have his sexual freedom without any interference or brutality from me." His voice was still distant and disinterested, almost dreamy.
"No," said George.
The guard drew his pistol. "Now, sonny. You take down your pants and bend over. You are gonna get it up the ass from Harry Coin here, and no two ways about it And I am gonna watch and see that you let him do it right. Otherwise, you get no forty years. You get killed, right now. I put a bullet in you and I say you are resisting arrest. Now make up your mind what it's gonna be. I really will kill you if you don't do like he tells you to. I really will. You are totally expendable and he ain't. He's a very important man, and it's my job to keep him happy."
"And I'll fuck you either way, dead or alive," the demented Coin laughed, like an evil spirit. "So there's no way you can escape it, Ace."
The door at the end of the corridor clanged, and Sheriff Jim Cartwright and two blue-uniformed policemen strode down to the cell. "What's going on here?" said the Sheriff.
"I caught this queer punk George Dorn here trying to commit homosexual rape on Harry," said the guard. "Had to draw my pistol to stop him."
George shook his head. "You guys are unbelievable. If you're acting out this little game for my benefit, you can quit now, because you're certainly not fooling each other, and you're not fooling me."
"Dorn," said the Sheriff, "you've been attempting unnatural acts in my jail, acts forbidden by the Holy Bible and the laws of this state. I don't like that. I don't like it one little bit. Come on out here. I wanna have a little talk with you. We goin' to the main interrogation room for some speakin' together."
He unlocked the cell door and motioned George to precede him. He turned to the two policemen who had accompanied him. "Stay behind and take care of that other little matter." The last words were strangely emphasized.
George and the Sheriff walked through a series of corridors and locked doors until at last they came to a room whose walls were made of embossed sheet tin painted bottle-green. The Sheriff told George to sit on one chair, while he straddled the back of the chair facing him.
"You're a bad influence on my prisoners," he said. "I got a good mind to see that some kind of accident happens to you. I don't want to see you corrupting prisoners in my jail-mine or anyone's-for forty years."
"Sheriff," said George. "What do you want from me? You got me on a pot charge. What more do you want? Why did you stick me in that cell with that guy? What's all this scare stuff and threats and questioning for?"
"I wanna know some things," said the Sheriff. "I want to find out everything you can tell me about certain matters. So, from this moment be prepared to tell me only the truth. If you do, maybe things will go easier on you, after."
"Yes, Sheriff," said George. Cartwright squinted at him. He really does look like a pig, thought George. Most do. Why do so many of them get so fat and have such little eyes?
"Well, then," said the Sheriff. "What was your purpose in coming down here from New York?"
"I'm simply on an assignment from Confrontation, the magazine-"
"I know it. It is a smutty magazine, and a communist magazine. I have read it"
"You're using loaded words. It's a left-wing libertarian magazine, to be exact"
"My pistol is loaded, too, boy. So talk straight All right Tell me what you came down here to write about"
"Sure. You ought to be as interested in this as I am, if you're really interested in law and order. There have been rumors circulating throughout the country for more than a decade now that all the major political assassinations in America-Malcolm X, the Kennedy brothers, Medgar Evers, King, Nixon, maybe even George Lincoln Rockwell-are the work of a single, conspiratorial, violence-oriented right-wing organization, and that this organization has its base right here in Mad Dog. I came down to see what I could find out about this group."
"That's what I figured," said the Sheriff. "You poor, sad little turd. You come down here with your long hair and you expect to get, as you put it, a line on a right-wing organization. Why, it's lucky for you you didn't meet any of our real right-wingers, like God's Lightning for instance. The ones around here would have tortured you to death by this tune, boy. You really are dumb. OK, I'm not gonna waste any more of my time with you. Come on, I'll take you back to your cell. You might as well get used to looking at the moon through bars."
They walked back the same way they had come. At the entrance to the corridor where George's cell was, the Sheriff opened the door and yelled, "Come and get him, Charley."
George's guard, his face pale and his mouth set in a lipless line, took George by the arm. The corridor door clanged shut behind the Sheriff. Charley took George to his cell and pushed him in wordlessly. But at least he was three-dimensional now and less like a marijuana phantom.
Harry Coin wasn't there. The cell was empty. George became aware of a shadow in the corner of his vision. Something in the cell next to him. He turned: His heart stopped. There was a man hanging from a pipe on the ceiling. George went over and stared through the bars. The body was swaying slightly. It was attached to the pipe by a leather belt which was buckled around the neck. The face, with the staring eyes, was that of Harry Coin. George's glance went lower. Something was coming out of
Harry Coin's midsection and was dangling down to the floor. It wasn't suicide. They had disemboweled Harry Coin, and someone had thoughtfully moved a shit-can under him for his bloody intestines to dangle into.
George screamed. There was no one around to answer him. The guard had vanished like Hermes.
(But in Cherry Knolls mental hospital in Sunderland, England, where it was already eleven the following morning, a schizophrenic patient who hadn't spoken in ten years abruptly began exhorting a ward attendant: "They're all coming back-Hitler, Goering, Streicher, the whole lot of them. And, behind them, the powers and persons from the other spheres who control them…" But Simon Moon in Chicago still calmly and placidly retains the lotus position and instructs Mary Lou sitting in his lap: "Just hold it, hold it with your vaginal wall like you'd hold it with your hand, gently, and feel its warmth, but don't think about orgasm, don't think about the future, not even a minute ahead, think about the now, the only now, the only now, the only now that we'll ever have, just my penis in your vagina now and the simple pleasure of it, not a greater pleasure to work toward…" "My back hurts," Mary Lou said.)
WE'RE GONNA ROCK ROCK ROCK AROUND THE CLOCK TO NIGHT
There are Swedish and Norwegian kids, Danes, Italian and French kids, Greeks, even Americans. George and Hagbard move through the crowd trying to estimate its number-200,000? 300,000? 500,000? Peace symbols dangling about every neck, nudes with body paint, nudes without body paint, long and dangling hair on boys and girls alike, and over all of it the hypnotic and unending beat. "Woodstock Europa," Hagbard says dryly. "The last and final Walpurgisnacht and Adam Weishaupt's Erotion finally realized."
WE'RE GONNA ROCK ROCK ROCK TILL BROAD DAYLIGHT
"It's a League of Nations," George says, "a young people's League of Nations." Hagbard isn't listening. "Up there," he points, "to the Northwest is the Rhine, where die Lorelei was supposed to sit and sing her deadly songs. There will be deadlier music on the Danube tonight."
WE'RE GONNA ROCK AROUND THE CLOCK TONIGHT
(But that was still seven days in the future, and now
George lies unconscious in Mad Dog County Jail. And it began-that phase of the operation, as Hagbard called it-over thirty years before when a Swiss chemist named Hoffman climbed on his bicycle and pedaled down a country road into new dimensions.)
"And will they all come back?" George asked.
"All of them," Hagbard answered tightly. "When the beat reaches the proper intensity… unless we can stop it."
("Now I'm getting it," Mary Lou cried. "It's not what I expected. It's different from sex, and better." Simon smiled benignly. "It is sex, baby," he said. "What you've had before wasn't sex. Now we can start moving… but slowly… the Gentle Way… the Way of Tao…" They're all coming back; they never died-the lunatic raved at the startled attendant-You wait, guvnor. You just wait. You'll see it.)
The amplifiers squealed suddenly. There was too much feedback, and the sound went off into a pitch beyond endurance. George winced, and saw others hold their ears. ROCK, ROCK, ROCK, AROUND THE CLOCK. The key missed the lock, turned and cut Muldoon's hand. "Nerves," he said to Saul. "I always feel like a burglar when I do this."
Saul grunted. "Forget burglary," he said. "We might be hanged for treason before this is over. If we don't become national heroes."
"A fanfuckingtastic case," Muldoon grinned. He tried another way.
They were in an old brownstone on Riverside Drive, trying to break into the apartment of Joseph Malik. And they were not merely looking for evidence, both tacitly admitted-they were hiding from the FBI.
The call had come from headquarters just as they were finishing the questioning of associate editor Peter Jackson. Muldoon had gone out to his car to take it, while Saul finished getting a full physical description of both Malik and George Dorn. Jackson had just left and Saul was picking up the fifth memo, when Muldoon returned, looking as if his doctor had just told him his Wasserman was positive.
"Two special agents from the FBI are coming over to help us," he said woodenly.
"Still ready to play a hunch?" Saul asked calmly, pushing all the memos back in the metal box.
Muldoon merely called Pricefixer back into the cafeteria and told him, "Two feds will be here in a few minutes. Tell them we went back to headquarters. Answer any question they ask, but don't tell them about this box."
Pricefixer looked at the two older officers carefully and then said to Muldoon, "You're the boss."
He's either awfully dumb and trusting, Saul had thought, or he's so damned smart he's going to be dangerous someday.
"Now," he asked Muldoon nervously, "is that the last key?"
"No, I've got five more beauties here and one of them will-here it is!" The door opened smoothly.
Saul's hand drifted toward his revolver as he stepped into the apartment and felt for a light switch. Nobody was revealed when the light came on, and Saul relaxed. "You look around for the dogs." he said. "I want to sit down and go over the rest of these memos."
The room was used for work as well as living and was untidy enough to leave no room for doubt that Malik had been a bachelor. Saul pushed the typewriter back on the writing desk, set down the memo box and then noticed something odd. The whole wall, on this side of the room, was covered with pictures of George Washington. Standing to examine them more closely, he saw that each had a label-half of them saying "G.W." and the others, "A.W."
Odd-but the whole case had overtones that smelled as fishy as those dead Egyptian mouth-breeders.
Saul sat down and took a memo from the box.
Muldoon came back into the living room and said, "No dogs. Not a goddam dog anywhere in the whole apartment."
"That's interesting," Saul remarked thoughtfully. "You say the landlord had complaints from several other tenants about the dogs?";
"He said everybody in the building was complaining. The rule is no pets and he enforced it. People wanted to know why they had to get rid of their kittens when Malik could have a whole pack of dogs up here. They said there must have been ten or twelve from the noise they made."
"He sure must love those animals, if he took them all with him when he went into hiding," Saul mused. The pole vaulter in his unconscious was jumping again. "Let's look in the kitchen," he suggested mildly.
Barney followed as Saul methodically ransacked the refrigerator and cupboards, finishing up with a careful examination of the garbage.
"No dog food," Saul said finally.
"And no dog dishes either. And no empty dog-food tins in the garbage."
"What wild notion are you following now?"
"I don't know," Saul said thoughtfully. "He doesn't mind the neighbors hearing the dogs-probably he's the land of left-wing individualist who likes nothing better than quarreling with his landlord and the other tenants about some issue like the no-pets rule. So he wasn't hiding anything until he ducked out And then he not only took the dogs but hid all evidence that they'd ever been here. Even though he must have known that the neighbors would all talk about them."
"Maybe he was feeding them human flesh," Muldoon suggested ghoulishly.
"Lord, I don't know. You look around for anything of interest. I'm going to read those Illuminati memos." Saul returned to the living room and began: