And then Satan said “Make them write a synopsis.”
In 1961, shortly after his election as president, John F. Kennedy announced that he was determined to win the “space race” with the Soviets. Since 1957, when the Soviet Union sent a small satellite–Sputnik–into orbit around the earth, Russian and American scientists had been competing to see who could make the next breakthrough in space travel. Outer space became another frontier in the Cold War. Kennedy upped the ante in 1961 when he announced that the United States would put a man on the moon before the end of the decade. Much had changed by 1963, however. Relations with the Soviet Union had improved measurably. The Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962 had been settled peacefully. A “hot line” had been established between Washington and Moscow to help avert conflict and misunderstandings. A treaty banning the open air testing of nuclear weapons had been signed in 1963. On the other hand, U.S. fascination with the space program was waning. Opponents of the program cited the high cost of the proposed trip to the moon, estimated at more than $20 billion. In the midst of all of this, Kennedy, in a speech at the United Nations, proposed that the Soviet Union and United States cooperate in mounting a mission to the moon. “Why,” he asked the audience, “therefore, should man’s first flight to the moon be a matter of national competition?” Kennedy noted, “the clouds have lifted a little” in terms of U.S.-Soviet relations, and declared “The Soviet Union and the United States, together with their allies, can achieve further agreements–agreements which spring from our mutual interest in avoiding mutual destruction.”
Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko applauded Kennedy’s speech and called it a “good sign,” but refused to comment on the proposal for a joint trip to the moon. In Washington, there was a good bit of surprise–and some skepticism–about Kennedy’s proposal. The “space race” had been one of the focal points of the Kennedy administration when it came to office, and the idea that America would cooperate with the Soviets in sending a man to the moon seemed unbelievable. Other commentators saw economics, not politics, behind the proposal. With the soaring price tag for the lunar mission, perhaps a joint effort with the Soviets was the only way to save the costly program. What might have come of Kennedy’s idea is unknown–just two months later, he was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. His successor, Lyndon B. Johnson, abandoned the idea of cooperating with the Soviets but pushed ahead with the lunar program. In 1969, the United States landed a man on the moon, thus winning a significant victory the “space race.”
Before I died, I dreamt of a girl. For five straight nights she held me captive. The dream often changed but the girl was always the same. She never told me her name and I’m not certain why it matters to me now other than to know the name of the girl that I fell in love with.
Because it’s a dream, does that make our love any less real? I felt her touch upon my skin. Her hair: thick and black as night. Her ice blue eyes pierced my heart, and her soft red lips became pillows for my own. We were like most couples – in the mornings we would have breakfast on a marble terrace. Afternoons were filled with strolling along the river, or to the local bookseller for a cup of coffee; where I would read aloud to her from Dumas: wooing her romantic soul.
Back at home we made love to the sound of church bells; as if it was the end of mankind. It was at that moment that I would be forced to leave her and walk through my waking world. I was envious of those beside me; those whose love was not bound by sleeping hours. Still; was our love any different from theirs?
I spent my conscious hours working as an investment banker. It wasn’t fulfilling work but it paid the bills. I made the wise decision a year ago to sell the car and use public transportation. After merely a week I chose to walk instead. Four blocks of nothing but banks, investment firms, and coffee shops. There was also the obligatory greeting card shop; announcing to all that Valentine’s Day was right around the corner.
Of course I had had relationships in the past, some of them had even had potential, but I always blew it on Valentine’s Day. The card wasn’t thoughtful enough, or I got the wrong flowers, or it was dark chocolate when it should have been white. These obvious mistakes resulted in the inevitable: “you don’t love me.” And they were right; so I gave up on love. The very notion of love became an apparition to me; always just out of sight.
Walking – this activity is allegedly good for you. All it did was piss me off. On this particular day, the warm temperature did nothing to brighten my mood. As I entered my building, the doorman greeted me while holding the door open. I retrieved my mail and grumped my way to the elevator without a word. I tossed the mail on the sideboard and fell into my overstuffed leather chair. There was whiskey on the end table from the night before. I was relaxed, content, and totally unaware that within five days I’d be dead.
I flipped through the mail and noticed a bright red envelope with my name on it. No address, just my name. After finding nothing to slake my curiosity, I opened it. To my amazement: it was a card. On the front was an image of a cottage, on the banks of an empty beach. Again, there were no words, but it was obvious what this was. Some fool sent me a Valentine’s Day card. The inside was slightly more telling. On the left was a simple red heart on a pink background. The right: blank but for the words written in ink:
“Be Mine.” Underneath was the cryptic signature: “Lily.” I knew no Lily. I put the mail down, finished my drink and went straight to bed.
That was the night I met my dream girl; standing in a garden of pink and white flowers, and wearing a dress of the same. I picked one and nervously handed it to her. She smiled and placed it behind her ear. I fell in love with her right then and there. For five nights she appeared to me in my dreams. Every morning I struggled with being awake; having become addicted to her love.
The morning of my death found me in bed longer than usual. I wanted to stay but she said goodbye with a kiss and I woke with a start. There was a smile on my face that my face didn’t recall as I dressed and walked across the street to Mina’s: The only authentic Russian Jewish deli in town. I ordered lunch and sat at one of the booths.
From the window I could see up to my apartment and I saw someone standing on my terrace. I ran outside for a closer look. It was her. She was looking down at me, her hair covering part of her face. I could see the smile.
Somewhere behind me tires squealed, but I paid no attention. All I could see was her and her smile.
Ironically, the bus that ran me over was the bus that I chose not to ride any longer. When I arrived at the hospital, I heard words such as thready, and shock, and then internal bleeding, and something about permanent damage. There were doctors and nurses all around me; attempting to save my life. Despite all their efforts, they were unsuccessful. I watched as they removed their gloves and exited the room.
I swear that I heard Procol Harem’s Whiter Shade of Pale playing over the intercom as she appeared in the doorway; smiling like a child. She came to me and took my hand. My pain dissipated and I sat up to look in her eyes. There were so many things I wanted to ask her; things I needed to know. But at that moment there was only one thing I needed to know.
“What is your name?” She didn’t answer, but took my face in her hands and kissed me.
Then I remembered the card. “Lily?” She smiled and led me into our favorite café for Espresso and biscotti. We laughed and reveled in the prospect of our new lives together. Every day was Valentine’s Day.
I apologize for the rant but this is something I’m very passionate about. And I’m pissed off.
About 8pm one night this week, I sank myself into my green and white overstuffed chair, put my feet up; and with a fresh line of Mountain Dew pumping intravenously through both veins, I sought some interesting entertainment. It was then that I committed the sin. A sin no self respecting historian should commit: I tuned to the History channel. I was surprised however, to find actual historical programming.
There, amidst the bourgeoisie reality show and the semi-factual docudrama, was – yet another modern retelling of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The narrator promised almost instantly that “this time, the experts were going to look closely at the evidence.” Thank god for that. Concerned only with the facts, a number of experts debated on a number of aspects regarding the case. This was where I found it difficult to keep the program on.
The first of these experts was the “serial plagiarist” and confirmed lying sack: Gerald Posner. Who certainly received a substantial amount of tax free cash (from you know who) to appear on the program. Just like he did when he wrote “Case Closed” which should be placed on the fiction shelves.
The next expert to chime in was Robert Groden. A forensic photographic expert, who not only holds a vast library of photographic evidence but also gave expert testimony to the HSCA (The House Select Committee on Assassinations) when it was found that there was a conspiracy present during the assassination of JFK. Any debate on the assassination should definitely include Robert Groden.
The next “so called” expert was former Los Angles prosecutor, Vincent Bugliosi. His ridiculously large and ridiculously inaccurate book “Reclaiming History” should have been entitled “Re-framing
Oswald.” He continues to ignore the simplest facts regarding the case. The most outrageous claim he makes in this unfortunate program, is that there is “no evidence connecting Oswald to any other popular ‘conspiracy’ suspects such as David Ferry. I almost choked on my microwaved lasagna. There most certainly is evidence that Oswald and Ferry knew each other. See the photo included with this post.
I am no expert on the subject, but having studied it most of my adult life I can tell you with proud certainty that despite their enormous pedigree and bank accounts, both Bugliosi and Posner haven’t a clue. Why do they and the mainstream media continue to spread the lie? Because the truth is difficult for closed minded people to understand, and because there are still members of our government and wealthy captains of industry that want the lie to continue. And they’re willing to pay well to those who keep it going.
And by the way, speaking the truth and wanting the truth to be known is not a conspiracy. We are not conspiracy theorists. We simply want the lies to stop.
“Many things happened in Dallas that day, and your Lee Harvey Oswald had nothing to do with them.”
I should’ve been a ventriloquist, or a cop maybe. My Mother had always hoped that I’d be something honorable like a doctor. My teachers had hoped that I would just graduate. I loved school. My teachers hated me because I was smarter than all of them. I figured that it would be a horrible idea to waste all this intelligence on more education, so I became a writer, and in turn pissed everyone off; including myself. Days and nights were spent with pen and paper in an attempt to create the cliché American novel – something about freedom no longer being free or that heroes are always sacrificed and love never lasts forever. I’m still working on that one – it’s a work in progress. In the mean time I’d like to tell you about Victor.
I met Victor in Florida while researching the state’s rich Spanish history for a story that I’ve yet to finish. He was seated next to me at a Marlin’s game. They were great seats but I found it increasingly difficult to focus on the game. The guy next to me kept talking to me about the most ridiculous things. At first it was rather uncomfortable. He’d go on and on about his girlfriend’s bowel problems. It was the most unsettling thing I’ve had to endure. He got up once and I was praying that he had left – that my company wasn’t adequate enough for him. Twenty minutes later, the man returned; with two beers and two large nachos. I warmed up a little. While attempting to eat and still focus on the game he spoke to me about his political aspirations. I tried to stay interested and remain aloof at the same time, but the guy was growing on me.
After the game believe it or not, we stopped at a local pub for a drink. Sure, he had his quirks but he was hilarious. And he bought all the drinks so how could I say no.
“I could write a book about you.” I told him.
I felt an immense pressure on my head. I needed to get her attention. I refused to wait any longer. She stood alone outside the club; waiting for a friend. This was my one and only chance. I got up from the table, mustered the needed bravado and moved to where she was standing. I was ready. I had been following her all day. She was the one, there was no doubt about it. There were numerous opportunities earlier but I reluctantly chose to be patient. It had been a long day; the longest day.
She was standing in the alley with her back to me when I approached her. Slowly, I moved closer to her. I could smell her skin. Before she had a chance to react, the knife was out and her throat was cut. I left her there in the alley; still waiting for her friend. On to the next…
Those of you that know me are aware that I can become obsessed with the simplest idea. Once that idea gets into my craw, it’s impossible to get rid of it until it leaves of its own accord. Like having a bird trapped in your living room. You could either kill it or open a window. It will be the birds’ decision when to leave.
In this case however, the part of the bird will be played by a very controversial subject: The Manson Family Murders. Now, I try with much gusto not to give too much credit to the made-for-television docudrama that claims to shed new light on the subject. But I’m always happy to watch a good old Charlie Manson rave, so I chose to give this one a shot. And usually the Nat Geo channel is fairly reputable. But as the show trudged on like an out of tune squeeze box, I found that it was the same interviews, the same boring commentary, and the same crazy Charlie.
Still, there was something about this poorly edited 60-minute regurgitation that made me think. The story that we all know and love is still there, but in actuality, there’s two stories. There’s the truth and then there’s the convoluted dogma perpetrated by then L.A. County District Attorney, Vincent Bugliosi. I have written about him in the past and it is not like me to speak ill of the dead but it is also not like me to sit back and shut my mouth even though my name has been called.
The crux of the story is as such; Manson – driven by hatred of the establishment for one reason or another, sets a handful of his followers on a two-day murdering rampage throughout laurel canyon, in the hills of Los Angeles. Let’s cut this down shall we. Manson murders, then blames it on the Beatles. I will have to admit that the timing is a little coincidental. The Beatles release their White Album some time before the events. Let’s recap: The Beatles – through their songs – told him to do it, they told him to start a race war where the blacks will rise up against the whites and Charlie will be the only one left to rule “from the bottomless pit.” The only problem with this theory is that it’s a load of shit. I read Helter Skelter too. It’s marginal fiction at best. Bugliosi feeds this line of crap to the public and we buy it like it’s going out of fashion. In my opinion, he’s giving Manson way too much credit. That’s quite an elaborate story for someone with less than an 8th grade education. Bugliosi had quite an imagination.
The truth is that Charlie didn’t hate the establishment, he lived within it. Most of his life was spent behind bars. He embraced the establishment. It was all he knew.
Charlie was a two-bit criminal and an unsuccessful songwriter when he was finally released on the world in the mid 60’s. With nothing but the torn clothes on his body and a guitar case in his hand, he hitchhiked through rural California. He couldn’t believe his luck when he caught a ride from none other than Dennis Wilson. He invited Charlie of to stay with him and Charlie enthusiastically played Dennis some of his songs, hoping to make it onto a Beach Boys record. At first Dennis enjoyed the entertaining and loveable hobo. He thought his music wasn’t bad so he introduced him to the famous record producer: Terry Melcher.
Manson recorded a 2-song demo with Melcher at his studio in Hollywood. Manson had hoped that this demo would propel him to instant stardom. Melcher however, had thought differently. He didn’t believe that Manson had any talent at all and canceled the rest of Manson’s recording sessions. Charlie went crazy. He showed up at Melcher’s house, day after day; hoping for the chance to change Terry’s mind. After some time, the door stopped being answered, the phone number was disconnected and Charlie was beside himself with rage. He told Tex Watson that he would make him (Melcher) pay.
Remember people; Charlie knew nothing of how to cope with people on a civilized level. All he knew was what he learned on the streets and what he was taught in jail.
“Leave Something Witchy.”
So, Charlie plotted his revenge on Terry Melcher. He gathered his disciples and instructed them intimately on what to do. “Leave something witchy.” He told them. In other words, make the police and the public believe that it was so much more than just a revenge murder. He told them this, then sent them on their way. Charlie even remembered Melcher’s address. It was 10050 Cielo Drive. When Terry Melcher met Charlie, he was living at this address with his girlfriend Candice Bergen and their friend Mark Lindsay (The singer for Paul Revere & the Raiders). However, during the time of the grisly murders, the residents of 10050 Cielo Drive were film director Roman Polanski and his pregnant wife Sharon Tate.
When he heard that they had not gotten to Melcher he informed them that they were to go back out again. He had given them the wrong address. But history will show that Charlie fucked up again, as he had most of his life.
To young Assistant DA Bugliosi, the truth was not very interesting. He didn’t believe that the death of a world-famous record producer would sell very many books, but with the help of a few deranged Manson followers; he concocted the most ridiculous lie he could come up with. This became the basis for his book Helter Skelter.
So, there you have it. My obsession for the day. Enjoy.
On the radio yesterday I heard that the CIA is refusing to release Osama Bin Laden’s adult film collection. This, I believe is a mistake. I think we could learn a lot about the criminal mind by poking through their personal items. Especially if it’s all contained on VHS. Having said that, (I hate that phrase) I like cheese. Actual cheese, not the pre-packaged, processed milk product that tries to disguise itself as cheese. That will not do. For example: Cheddar cheese is actual cheese. American (cheese) is not. Swiss cheese is real cheese. Mozzarella is not. Now, I understand that there’s a slight bit of controversy surrounding the last because of its affiliation with pizza. Just because it tastes good doesn’t make it cheese. Speaking of cheese…
Yesterday evening, my wife was in the upstairs bathroom coloring her hair. My daughter and I were downstairs on the couch binge watching My 600lb life, when from the corner of my eye, I saw someone enter the kitchen. Now, at first I thought it was my wife so I called out to her, but she immediately answered from the upstairs bathroom. A chill ran through me and I felt the hair on my arms bristle. What had I just seen? I feel obligated to note that I have been on an acid reducer for two weeks due to chronic IBS with diarrhea and occasional constipation.
Which brings me to my next dripping. My dog Roxy has odd eating habits. She eats her own food but is more interested in other things. Like shoes, phone chargers, glasses, and my memory foam pillow. However, her latest craving has been cat poop. Unlike like Ron Burgundy, she takes it from the litter box without a fuss. She tries to hide it like a crack smoker during a drug raid. She jumps up onto the couch and savors it like a tender piece of meat. Sick puppy. That will be all for today. “I have to go rub cocoa butter on my man-boobs.” Peace.
An exclusive excerpt from my new book: “Pike’s Peak”
The boy stepped back and tripped over the severed head of his father; the man’s dead eyes staring up grotesquely at his young son. He opened his mouth to scream but was greeted with silence. Instead of falling onto the barn floor, the boy continued to fall into the darkness; his little arms reaching out to grasp at anything. He could sense that his eyes were open but saw nothing in them. He kept falling – further down into nothing. Until quite suddenly, he stopped: abruptly but as if landing on a feather bed. Then the darkness took him.
I was informed by my doctor that Chantix can give you vivid dreams. I’m not afraid of dreams – and even so, I was up for a challenge. The idea, originally, was to quit smoking so isn’t a few extra trips through the subconscious worth it? Yes. So I took the stupid pills; day and night, waiting for the constant urge to alleviate, and waiting for the vivid dream I was promised.
The first week of pills offered no respite from smoking. Nor did it offer any type of dream at all: vivid or not. The second week of pills began and I was still smoking and dreamless. Thursday however, I was feeling rather unwell. I was gripped by a spell of fatigue and an upset stomach. We had just bought a kitten and I believe it had place some kind of cat spell on me. That evening I chose to go to bed early to perhaps get rid of the enduring malaise that was hanging around.
Once my head hit the pillow I immediately sat back up. It was suddenly difficult to sleep with a giraffe grazing in my room. Sitting atop the giraffe unfortunately was another giraffe only smaller.
“Get out of here!” To my astonishment, it listened. Down the stairs and out the front door it went. And I was back in bed in no time. Not too long after that, I must’ve been sleepwalking because I woke up in a treehouse with a number of ruffians gathered around me. I was their leader in a capper of unknown outcome. I was handed a weapon. It was a knife but not the type one would think. It was the shape of a bow tie, made out of a silver metal. Possibly silver. Without warning, I was whisked away by a flying camel with no hump whose name ironically was Sally. This section had been a bit hazy. I remember peeing. Before too much longer I was back in the treehouse chasing a man who had committed some act of cruelty. Once I had caught him, I inserted the bow tie into his throat. It was over.
“Dispose of the body, boys.” I said to my entourage. “I need to get some sleep.”
I climbed back into bed after what seemed like hours walking down a foggy side street. But I couldn’t sleep, so I got back up again and went into the garage for a smoke.
I believe I’m going to discontinue my Chantix use. I’m still smoking and the promise of a vivid dream has been unfulfilled.