THE PERFECT CRIME

We sometimes went places together, all three of us,
before or after talking at Brother-in-law's house.
Usually Slim and I would ride along with Gary
as he took care of his mysterious business.


Once we went into Waterbury's drug store at the corner of Camp and Canal, and Slim and I sat at the counter of the soda fountain while Brother-in-law excused himself to "run an errand."

About the amount of time was involved that it would have taken to go next door and borrow, say, a pocket wire recorder from Guy Banister's office, where all F.B.I. and C.I.A. anti-Castro activities were coordinated with exile training operations.

Note 11

After conversing at Brother-in-law's house that day, we returned to Waterbury's in the evening and again Slim and I sat waiting while Gary "ran an errand."

During either the first or second of those intervals, "Where Have All The Flowers Gone?" was playing on the fountain juke box.

"Brother-in-law likes that song," Slim said with a chuckle.

"I know," I answered. "That's what he told me."

"You know, that's how he makes his money -- stirring up wars for suckers like that to die in. He's that kind of guy. He hires himself out to people who make munitions, et cetera and so forth. And he's right, they never do learn."

To myself I remember thinking: Yeah, maybe.

Possibly that day we sat waiting in the drug store was the same day that I was endeavoring to obtain from Brother-in-law some abortion-causing pills for Jessica, illegally. Jessica thought she was pregnant and her staunchly Catholic parents were not even aware we were making love.

I was anxious to obtain the pills Slim said his brother-in-law could supply, and it seemed like we went everywhere in town first. To a restaurant for coffee at one point, to an anonymous house in the suburbs at another. Brother-in-law went inside for a minute as Slim and I waited in the car. Gary seemed to be enjoying my dependence on him and seemed to be drawing it out as long as possible.

At long last, we went way out in the country and near a clump of trees somewhere he gave me the name of a druggist who "even sells paregoric to little children -- he'll sell you anything." As we stood there he also described in rather nauseating detail how the abortion pills worked -- gradually poisoning the woman's body until it rejected the fetus, because it could not support both life systems at once in that toxic condition.

So dangerous did it sound that I never went to the druggist. Instead, I tried an experiment in psychological medicine. From a Katz and Besthoff pharmacy I obtained an envelope meant for mailing a credit card application. Then I obtained some Hershey's "M & M" candies (because they looked like pills and that brand carried no markings on the candies themselves), sorted out the white ones, and slipped them into the envelope.

They worked perfectly: Jessica had her period within an hour of swallowing the first placebo. As I hoped and suspected, she had been suffering only from tension brought on by the fear of pregnancy.

Note 12

One of Brother-in-law's oft-repeated statements was: "You know, Kerry, the Nazis had flying saucers towards the end of World War II."

Note 13

And I would say, "Yes, you mentioned that already. They also had developed the jet airplane by then."

Looking at me with a grin, he would say, "Yes they had. Furthermore, they were very close to having an atomic bomb."

"Yes. I heard, in fact, that they were working with something called 'heavy water,' used in hydrogen bomb development."

"We can say they were on the verge of arming themselves with nuclear power," he concluded with a sense of satisfaction that I took for Nazi boasting.

I do not know why the obvious possibility that Brother-in-law was recording these sessions did not occur to me.

Note 14

Brother-in-law brought up the subject himself at the beginning of one of the conversations -- telling me that the European wire recorder was much superior to the method popular in the U.S., particularly for the clandestine recording of a conversation.

"You know they can also edit and doctor recorded materials to make it sound like you said things you did not say."

I always pointed out that such fakes could be detected technologically.

"That's right, Kerry," he would say in a tone of inexplicable sympathy. "They can."

All these chats contained a sense at the time both of desolation and desperation, in that they seemed to be the brainchild of desperate individuals.

Sometimes, for a glimpse of a moment, I would wonder if Slim and Gary had maybe murdered both their wives, allegedly sisters, and were now "on the lam" in a terrible Leopold-Loeb crunch that required an entire, cumbersome, hopelessly complex conspiracy to explain their actions to the world.

Upon those fleeting occasions, my psychological defense was to forget about it as unlikely -- and then to dismiss lingering remnants of the unpleasant possibility with the probability that no such conspiracy would succeed anyhow.

In other words, a combination of intellectual cowardice and irresponsibility for problems I felt unequipped to solve permitted me to lock the whole experience away somewhere in the unvisited archives of my memory.

Over and over he asked me if I thought there could be any such thing as the perfect crime.

I was extremely skeptical of any such possibility, for in those days I understood almost nothing about the nature of practical politics.

Brother-in-law would say to me, "I think I can commit the perfect crime."

My mental context contained images of Carlos Marcello and his friends. I believe, but am not certain, that Gary said he had grown up in Kansas City in the neighborhood of someone involved in the Ma Barker gang. I envisioned him as having in mind something along the lines of the Brinks robbery.

"Maybe," I said, "but I doubt that you'll get away with it." Not only was my perspective distorted by his cover, but also by years of cops and robbers movies and television programs such as "Dragnet."

Yet it also passed through my mind that a crime wave launched by Brother-in-law would be characterized by the bizarre -- embellished with Nazi mystique, perhaps, and possibly involving "snuff movies" and weird religions.

NEXT

CONFESSION TO CONSPIRACY TO ASSASSINATE JFK

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