Near Christmas, I secured a job as a doorman in a newly constructed
high-rise between Alexandria and Arlington in Virginia. Along with the
job came a spacious apartment, where I spent my spare hours working on
a completely new draft of The Idle Warriors.

Heretofore, everyone who read the manuscript had complained that the plot lacked unity. So I relied on the device of expanding the final chapter, dealing with my hero's defection to Russia, to embrace the whole story, incorporating earlier events by means of flashbacks.

Although the manuscript lacked both the lyricism of the first draft, written in my first months in New Orleans, and the literary richness of the version I was working on that autumn when the assassination occurred, this effort at least conformed to the "Romantic Realist" ideas of Ayn Rand -- so I was happy with it.

And sure enough, just as Slim predicted, the Warren Commission contacted me. I went to their headquarters in the V.F.W. Building in Washington, D.C., and testified at great length.

In all the time that elapsed since the assassination, I spared very little thought on Slim or the enigmatic Brother-in-law. Then one night one of the residents in the building where I worked told me of serving as a test pilot of flying saucers for the Navy.

By this time, I had graduated from my position as doorman to night PBX desk clerk. This middle-aged man, whose name I don't remember, used to come down into the lobby and talk to me when things were slow.

Whether he was truthful or not was another question. I could not, however, avoid thinking of how closely this man's stories resembled Brother-in-law's theories about UFO origins.

"Yeah, I know the damned things are an advanced type of aircraft, because right after the war I was flying them. We all had to sign papers promising to make a career of the Navy before they'd let us in on the project. It was hush-hush all the way."

"Then why are you a civilian now?" I wanted to know.

"Because a bunch of us resigned our commissions all at the same time. We got pissed off at our C.O."

I didn't have to ask many questions. He just liked to talk, so I listened.

"My buddy in that outfit got picked up by the Shore Patrol one day after we got out and that's the last anyone ever saw of him. He was moving at the time -- with half of his furniture in one apartment and the other half in another -- and they just came and took him away. Why they never came after me is anybody's guess."

"Where do you think he is?" I asked.

"I know where he is. He's in a stockade somewhere."

According to him, the United States developed toward the end of World War II a flying saucer that combined the principles of jet propulsion with those of the Sikorsky helicopter. "I test flew it a number of times," he assured me. "At that time they were still trying to work out the bugs in it. At certain speeds it tended to wobble."

Then he told me U.S. flying saucers had been used since then, in a top secret mission to repel a Russian air attack on this country.

After the storyteller departed I turned to the security guard who had been sitting nearby saying nothing all through the conversation. "What do you make of that guy?"

"Aw, I think that man just likes to hear himself talk. He's just bullshitting. If he thought you'd believe it, he'd tell you there were Eskimos in the Sahara Desert."

That was much the way I had felt about Brother-in-law. Unlike Gary, though, this man seemed harmless at all times. I kind of liked him. Somehow, that made his story sound more plausible to my ears.




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