Brother-in-law liked to grin and chew on his pipe and allow a considerable silence to pass before changing the subject from one of his little reminders to the next one.

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.

"You know, Kerry, there is a member of the Rockefeller family who travels around the country making Satanist human sacrifices. And he has a whole set-up, like a traveling road show, he takes with him for that purpose. His name is Tracy Barnes. Can you remember that, Kerry? Tracy Barnes."

In the quiet that followed I wondered if such a fantastic story could be true. Certainly the rich could not be murdering the common people in the most outrageous of all possible manners and be getting away with it simply because they were the rich, and not the poor! That seemed highly unlikely, to say the least.

But then, if by some quirk in our system of government or economics it were true, there was nothing I could be expected to do about it, anyhow. So why this urgent insisting to remember?

As an Ayn Rand Objectivist I thought it my rational duty to assume innocence without hard evidence of guilt, particularly when rich capitalists were the objects of accusation. For as Ayn Rand incessantly pointed out, there were swarms of envious parasites under every rock, just looking for safe ways to snipe at the rich and productive industrialist.

Note 17

Brother-in-law was to tell the same story about Tracy Barnes and the Satanist human sacrifices a number of times. That I should not forget it seemed especially urgent to him.

Note 18

"Tracy Barnes is a little man, Kerry," he added with what seemed like genuine anger in his voice. "Don't you agree that little men are subject to Napoleon complexes, that they tend to compensate for their deficiency in height by abusing their power?"

"Yes," I said, going on at some length about all the examples of little men who shouted orders and made unreasonable demands in high school R.O.T.C. and the Marine Corps.

Note 19

Very much as Brother-in-law mentioned Tracy Barnes and the Satanist sacrifices, he remarked also that the notorious bombing of the Sunday school in Birmingham had been the work of Griffin Bell, a name equally unknown to me at that time.

"Griffin Bell is a judge, Kerry. He is judge of the Fifth Circuit Court. That means he travels from one place to another, hearing cases. He's a circuit judge. Can you remember that, Kerry?"

"Yes, I can remember that because Marryin' Sam in Li'l Abner is a circuit judge and I knew a guy in elementary school named Clifford Bell."

"Kerry, remember that slogan, 'There's a Ford in your future'?"

"Yeah, in a crystal ball. It used to be in ads in my grandfather's National Geographics."

"Well, keep it in mind. There may be a Ford in your future."

"I doubt it." I wasn't much into cars.

At that point Slim spoke up: "Listen to this man, Kerry. He's trying to tell you something."

Yeah, sure. I hated it when Slim became paternalistic like that.

Brother-in-law also spoke of the classes in anti-Communism that General Edwin Walker gave in Germany. "He was transferred for it, and a bunch of his fellow officers resigned when the Army reprimanded him."

"Good for them," I said of Walker and his friends. "Sometimes I wonder if this country even wants to win the Cold War."

"And you know about the case of the Air Force general, Billy Mitchell?"

"Yes, I read about that in Reader's Digest."

"I don't think what they did to Billy Mitchell was fair. Do you?"

"Certainly not. He was like Rickover. He wouldn't tolerate red tape. That was his problem."

These were all things he brought up more than once and I became adroit at using them as excuses to change the subject. A Ford in my future? "They used to say you could have any color of Model T Ford you wanted, so long as it was black," I would say.

"Yes, that's called a Hobson's choice. You know, Kerry, the anti-Communist department in the F.B.I. is called Division Five."

"Yeah, you've told me that before."

"Kerry, five is a very important number."

Note 20

"There is Division Five of the F.B.I., Griffin Bell is with the Fifth Circuit Court," Brother-in-law continued, and he may or may not have mentioned, in addition to perhaps two other things related to the number five, that there was an intelligence community organization called the Defense Industrial Security Command with five front groups.

Note 21

"Have you ever noticed, Kerry, how by just pulling one thread you can unravel a whole sweater?"


"Keep in mind that is also true in politics: you might find it very useful someday."

"All right, fine."

"How do you feel about this idea? What if things were to become worse in this country, for a time, and then to improve enormously? Do you think that would be okay?"

"Sure, I guess."

"Kerry, have you ever heard of a game called 'Freeze'?"


"Well first you turn the lights out in a room. Then everyone starts doing whatever they want. Then someone yells, 'Freeze!' -- and everyone has to hold still as the lights are turned on."

I must have looked rather puzzled. I remember feeling very afraid.

Insanely, it seemed to me, Brother-in-law chuckled, and said: "That's a very good way to deal with people who are doing all kinds of bad things "'

"Have you ever heard of 'Splooie'?" I asked in determination to keep up my end of the conversation.

"No. What is 'Splooie'?"

"A game they play with pledges in fraternities during Hell Week. They assemble them in a dark room and tell them all to start jacking off and for the first one who ejeculates to holler, 'Splooie!' And then they turn on the lights, and there is always one guy who was stupid enough to believe them and go along with it -- and there he is, all alone among them with his pecker in his hand and cum on his trousers."

"There was a man who went to Heaven. And he found himself all alone on a cloud. Sailing past him were clouds with guys on them who were surrounded with wine bottles and women. So he sailed his cloud up to Saint Peter and said, 'Hey, what gives with those guys?' And Saint Peter said, 'They're in Hell.' And he said, 'Oh yeah? Then why the wine and women for them, and me sitting here all alone?' Saint Peter said, 'The Hell of it is, the wine bottles have holes in them and the women don't.'"

Then the discussion would drift off in another direction that seemed almost as inane. We spoke of the intelligence of dolphins and also of their extreme sociality -- of how one dolphin would throw itself into a net so the rest of the school could escape.

More than once he mentioned that in Germany during World War II, armament factories owned by the Krupps were spared deliberately by Allied bombers, though whole civilian populations nearby were decimated.

To me that sounded like an awkward, top-heavy conspiracy theory. In those days most people seemed to believe that Roosevelt's New Deal had proved that governments were stronger than big business.

Only Crazy David, the paranoid, thought cartels existed that were above history in their chosen obscurity to the average person. But then he even suspected the politicians of rival nations conferred with each other about how to best destroy one another's people.

Crazy David said that only sixty families controlled most of America's wealth. That sounded like a hazy legend left over from the Gilded Age or one of the stories my dad used to tell about the Great Depression in order to rationalize voting against Eisenhower.

Certainly Brother-in-law was just a deluded psychopath caught up in the grandeur that was the Third Reich, boasting of the power of the Nazis. A dark, Wagnerian opera in a flop house.

But then there was always the inconvenient unpleasantry that such had been the predicament of Hitler in his early years.

Squalor and majestic themes had combined with national chauvinism to produce the dark Jungian shadow-roots of the next haunting fanaticism of our age.

Note 22




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