PARTIAL ENLIGHTENMENT

We met in spirit in a black, moist, gnomic forest,
fertilized already so tragically by means of such
methodically cruel methods as to sometimes frighten
even Hitler himself.


We seemed to stand there at times in misty heartbreak, and commented to one another about the forbidden beauty of the flowers they had fed themselves upon the decayed flesh of those millions of victims.

Serenely superior to the trauma, Brother-in-law had the fierce willingness to admit to the mayhem, to discuss it in as much detail as any normal person. Then he would insist that you look with open eyes at the quaint drama of these bizarre foreigners who combined science with superstition, politics with astrology, police brutality with unorthodox epistemology -- to somehow produce something hideously dynamic.

Sometimes he was like a brilliant chemist, prowling through the exploded ruins of the laboratory of a colleague who had hovered at the instant of his unfortunate tragedy upon catalyzing the Holy Grail. This fellow knew better than to believe in the efficacy of ancient philosopher's stones, but the possibility of synthesizing one had occurred to him.

Our political scientist took a cold, curious attitude towards others. His colleague's experiments upon homo sapiens evidenced in the debris did not disturb him, but only seemed silly in their extravagance. Why cause millions of people to suffer when with a fraction of the number of victims, tormented conspicuously enough, one could probably perform the equivalent sociological alchemy? The only misfortune, it seemed to him, was that the state of the art was that of alchemy, not of nuclear physics.

Whenever Brother-in-law was not boring, he was terrifying -- yet somehow he seemed, perhaps because of the simple protective effects of trauma on my part, to be more boring than anything else.

Another psychological phenomenon took place within me in his company -- a perceptible draining of energy through the bottom of my stomach or spine.

Note 15

I have heard this phenomenon can be produced with drugs, particularly with belladonna. As I recall, Brother-in-law was a host who served a lukewarm cup of weak instant coffee when I first arrived and then dispensed with hospitality altogether. The cup was made of plastic and shaped like a tea cup. It seems I was always sitting there, drowsier than I wanted to admit, though by no means heavily drugged, if drugged at all, wishing to hell the creep would at least offer me some decent coffee.

It is also a distinct possibility that upon other occasions I was placed in a formal hypnotic trance. Once Brother-in-law discussed the Bridey Murphy case with great enthusiasm and asked me if I thought further examples of reincarnational memory uncovered with hypnosis should be researched -- but adequately, he emphasized, by someone with resources.

When I objected that I did not believe in reincarnation, he replied with sympathetic approval, "Neither do I, Kerry, but I think the possibility should be investigated anyhow, by someone with more money than those guys who wrote the Bridey Murphy book, someone who could conduct a very thorough investigation."

He made sure to obtain my agreement. But I do not remember personally volunteering to be the subject of any such probe.

I do possess a distinct memory of sitting with Slim, late one afternoon, close to twilight, in a corner bar in some podunk Louisiana town, waiting for Brother-in-law to return. All I remember is that we were sipping beer in a place that resembled in structure the Napoleon House, with openings to the street instead of walls on two sides, but plainer -- with Seven-Up signs instead of wrought-iron frills. I cannot at this point recall how we got there or where we went afterwards.

Possibly related to an earlier time is a memory of breakfasting with Slim one blazing morning in a tiny restaurant on Lake Pontchartrain, with Brother-in-law inside a houseboat just across the narrow dock from the front window of the cafe. Again I don't recall how we got there or where we went afterwards.

More than once I have wondered, though, if I was hypnotized aboard that houseboat that day, perhaps by means of drugs, and then methodically programmed. For I have a number of memories which are dreamlike in quality and seem unrelated to anything else that ever happened to me, except that they are vaguely associated with Brother-in-law.

Woody Guthrie singing about the "arch and the stones" in one of his albums reminded me vividly of these disassociated fragments of memory, pertaining to images of myself as the "first post-revolutionary man" of uncharacteristically utopian and romantic Marxist rhetoric, and as a lonely anarchist harmonica player wandering through America.

Also I seem to recall having received instructions regarding a future mission of saving the U.S. from a Russian invasion. I have a sense of being told that I would be able to rely on the radio for help, just by listening to the music.

Such things cause me to speculate that Brother-in-law may have been a high-level double agent who sold projects to hypnotically program me to both Russian intelligence and Division Five of the F.B.I. -- without anyone but Slim knowing what an outrageous practical joke he was playing on us all.

Swept up in the beauty of an abstraction, I was not paying any attention whatsoever to what was happening with this man in this room in this particular here and now -- so I freely granted him permission to brainwash me.

Zen Masters call that the danger of partial enlightenment!

A scene I recall vividly took place as the three of us were returning from a trip somewhere, walking across the gravel in front of Gary's house. I had been discussing the building of a mass movement, a great Objectivist army of tax protesters marching into Washington, singing songs and shouting slogans in the manner of a Civil Rights demonstration.

"No," said Brother-in-law as we approached his door, "that isn't what you want. To overthrow the government takes an organization that is neither fish nor fowl -- something that cannot be readily categorized, with some of the aspects of a bureaucracy and others of organized crime. That way, it will be nearly invisible to the average person."

Lacking the necessary color and flamboyance to interest me, and sounding rather sinister besides, that idea turned me off. I tucked it away in the back of my mind as a warning.

Once we talked at length about the time a few years earlier when the U.S. intervened secretly in Guatemala to overthrow a leftist regime. Brother-in-law asked me if I didn't think that was a good policy, and of course in those days I did.

I went on to recite a few facts about the incident I'd read in a national magazine, something which seemed to gratify him, and thereupon he spoke knowledgeably about the operation in the manner of someone who had troubled himself to become quite well informed about it, but I don't recall his mentioning the C.I.A. in that respect.

We also spoke of the capture of the Soviet spy, Rudolph Abel, and of what a brilliant victory for U.S. espionage that had been. I do not remember, however, whether or not we ever discussed the trade of Abel for our U-2 pilot, Francis Gary Powers, made by the Kennedy Administration. However, since the U-2 planes took off and landed at Atsugi when I was overseas in the Marines, in an aura of official mystery until the U-2 incident involving Powers, the subject of the U-2 was of personal interest to me.

Note 16

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CONFESSION TO CONSPIRACY TO ASSASSINATE JFK

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