Copyright 2019 Francis DiMenno
1. NOIR MISFORTUNE COOKIES
751. She couldn’t care any more for you than if you never existed.
752. Even your lawyer knows you are guilty of horrible crimes.
753. You were once a well-tuned crook but you have lost the beat.
754. Even your best friends now think that you’re painfully needy.
755. Police business has now become your business as well.
756. You have always been a big talker, with microscopic ambition.
757. You took the day off. Now they’ll take your skin off, slave.
758. You have 1000 great ideas but only one of them is any good.
759. Why is it so hard for you to believe they all want you dead?
760. You killed twelve. Thirteen will be your unlucky number.
761. You blew your rent money on floozies. Now you live in a dumpster.
762. Why did you have to go and piss off Joe Pesci & Danny DeVito?
763. You will be caught in the flood of days and left with nothing.
764. Stop hoping. You missed that gravy train. There won’t be another.
765. You call yourself a gourmet. Soon you will savor the taste of death.
766. It’s not worth their while to kill you. Easier to make you suffer.
767. The web of death is open. Enter, fly.
768. The Big Man has sinned. But it is you who will pay.
769. Mercy and fairness have been torn out of their rulebook. Run!
770. Remember, weakling: He who hesitates is dead.
771. You have so many skeletons no boneyard can hold them.
772. They will drown you in vinegar–and what a pickle you’ll be in!
773. You’re innocent but the Jury will decide you’re vicious. Goodbye!
774. The memory of blood is sticky. No amount of booze will wash it off.
775. You never were a good thief. You left tracks a mile wide.
776. Your list of transgressions are monotonously predictable.
777. Don’t get too big. Better a live flea than a dead dog.
778. Why go to hell, when all the devils are in you?
779. You are not even a chicken–you are a cracked egg.
780. You will die of indigestion. Too many lead pills.
781. You acted like W.C. Fields. Now you’re buried in a field.
782. Trash man, all the boys call your wife the come dumpster.
783. Death will visit you. Little Deathie will visit your baby son.
784. Good advice falls uselessly on your dead ears.
785. Even the uncivilized consider you a filthy savage beast.
786. You’re a fool because you don’t know why you are a fool.
787. Self-deprecation is the only thing that keeps you going.
788. You are so toxic even Cancer won’t come near you.
789. You’re only a penny-ante chiseler–but they will send you to The Rock.
790. You are a cat being chased by a horde of hungry rats.
791. You want riches. And the suckers in hell want ice water. Too bad.
792. Murder is serious. You thought it was a joke. The joke’s on you.
793. If ignorance is bliss then you’re one Happy Hooligan.
794. The detective on your case never takes vacations.
795. You can leave town but you can’t get away from your foolish mistakes.
796. When money talks, you’re the one wearing earplugs.
797. For you, any change is for the better–even sweet death.
798. Your only friends are fools like you who have lost everything.
799. Form the mines to the war to the hospital to the grave–tough luck.
800. Even when you try to tell the truth they say you lie.
2. MODERN WISDOM
Why must we eat ham to celebrate the alleged resurrection of a hallucinating Jewish Rabbi?
Was Nagasaki merely some manly horseplay that went just a little too far?
Poor Nagasaki! All the radiation and none of the fame.
Poor Nagasaki! Always a bridesmaid, never a bride.
I no longer give money to the church. I can’t believe in a God who wants to be bribed all the time.
Nostalgia is more than it used to be.
Every politician invariably reaches a point where only his ideological enemies still find him worth talking about.
Coaches are priests…with whistles.
Science Fiction is kind of like baseball for people who throw like girls.
Graffiti is just philosophy with the word “fuck” thrown in.
Nobody wins the Pirhana Bowl.
Hi, I’m inviting you total strangers to like my Facebook page because I’m needy and I require continual validation, or I’ll melt.
Do you name your favorite eating utensils? Mine are called Big Sharpie, L’il Sharpie, Big Spoonie…and Eldridge Cleaver.
Why do they call it Chili? It’s actually hot.
3. THE GREAT LOST THREE STOOGES CHRISTMAS SHORT
The Three Stooges in “The Three Wise Morons”
A faded parchment scroll unfolds. On it are written the words, in a text resembling Hebrew characters.
AND IT CAME TO PASS IN THOSE DAYS THAT THREE WISE MEN CAME OUT OF THE EAST. AND THEIR NAMES WERE KING MOECHIOR OF PERSIA, PRINCE LARRYTHAR OF ARABIA, AND LORD CURLYPAR OF INDIA.
Christmas time. Unspecified location in the desert. We see Moe, Larry, and Curly, stumbling around under the unforgiving glare of the desert sun.
Curly: Hmm…don’t look now, but I think we’re about to die of thirst!
Off in the distance, they begin to hear a roaring sound.
Curly: Sounds like a bear!
Moe: What’s a bear doing in the desert?
Curly: Well, it’s bear-y possible!
Moe smiles, does a double take, and then slaps Curly.
Larry: Wait! Look! [He points to a sign which reads, in Hebrew Script, “Cairo: Fifty Parasangs.”
Curly: I’ve got an uncle in Cairo.
Moe: Oh yeah?
Curly: He’s a chiropractor. Nyuk, Nyuk, Nyuk.
Moe: What else does the sign say, Porcupine?
Larry: “Giva Dam: Ten Parasangs. Jerusalem: One Parasang”.
Moe: Oh, you’re an intelligent imbecile! If you’re so smart, tell me this: How many fingers am I holding up?
Larry: Two. [Moe pokes him in the eyes.]
Larry: I can’t see! I can’t see!
Moe: What’s the matter?
Larry: [Smug] I’ve got my eyes closed. [Moe slaps him.]
They arrive at Bethlehem, where, at a souk, the boys are hired by a crooked contractor, a shady-looking Arab portrayed by Emil Sitka, to build a cattle barn and a manger. Various anachronistic mishaps ensue.
Moe mistakenly drills Larry’s head with a power drill, hammers a nail into Curly’s head, and then has a board fall from the roof onto his head and sees cheeping birdies.
Larry tosses a burning rivet and Curly catches it and eats it, thinking it’s a felafel.
A flower pot then falls on Curly’s head. He doesn’t notice.
Larry puts Moe’s hand between two slices of bread. Curly bites it, thinking it’s a sandwich. Moe slaps them both and says “Spread out!” Larry says, “I’m sorry, Moe, it was an accident!” Moe says, “Get outta here!” Larry says “I’ll leave when I’m ready!” Moe gives him a hard look and says, “Are ya ready?” Larry meekly replies, “Yeah, I’m ready.”
The Stooges then try to install plumbing and, in spite of the fact they are in the middle of the desert, water flows out of everything except the faucets: Out of a camel, a candle, and even a roaring fire in the fireplace.
The Contractor’s wife, played by Symona Boniface, wanders into the half-completed building and is hit in the face with a plate of hummus.
Much to the dismay of the boys, once the cattle manger is finished, a father, a mother, and their baby move in.
Moe: Aww, lookit the little baby.
Curly: My, ain’t he cute!
Moe: Boy, you can say that again!
Curly: My, ain’t he cute!
Moe: Shut up! (Slaps him.)
Larry: Why, this poor thing is pining away for a girlfriend!
Curly: Or maybe a boyfriend.
Moe: Quiet, numbskull. [Hits Curly on the head with an standing hookah. The hookah bends in half.]
Curly: Nyuk nyuk nyuk.
Moe: [poking him in the eyes] Knock it off, chowderhead.
Curly: Hey! I ain’t dumb! That was a number 16! The script called for a number 23!
Moe: Is that so?
Moe violently tweaks Curly’s nose.
Curly slaps his face, and barks at Moe.
Larry laughs. Moe slaps Larry, and Larry slaps Curly.
Curly turns to slap somebody and sees a camel. He’s about to slap the camel when the camel spits on him. Curly spins in a circle on the sand, saying “Woob woob woob!” The camel run away, and makes a ki-yi-yi noise like a frightened dog.
Larry: Hey Moe! Why does the poor baby have to sleep outside? On Christmas Day?
Curty: Nyuk nyuk nyuk.
Moe: [Bonks Curly on the head.] What are you laughing at, muttonhead?
Curly: Because we have to sleep outside too! It’s Christmas! There’s no room at the inn. So they threw us out.
Moe: You’re pretty smart for an imbecile!
Curly: Hey! I resemble that remark!
Larry: Aww, I think we should build the baby a real crib.
Moe: Oh, you do, do you, Porcupine? (Grabs Larry’s nose with a pair of pliers and twists.)
Moe: You mental midget! I’ll kill you later. Personally!
Curly: Hey, Moe! Maybe they were kicked out of the inn.
Larry: Or kicked in at the out.
Moe: Oh, a wise guy, eh? (Moe takes off his sandal and hits Larry on the head.)
Curly: Nyuk nyuk nyuk.
Moe [glaring at him]: Why I oughtta….[He holds out a fist to Curly.Curly puts on a pair of spectacles.]
Curly: You wouldn’t hit a guy with glasses?
Moe: No, I’d hit him with a two-by-four. [He hits Curly with a board from the construction site.]
Curly: I’m a victim of coicumstance!
Larry: Hey! Cut the clownin’
Moe: You see that? [He puts puts his fist out for Larry to slap it down. Moe winds it in a circle and hits him on the head.]
[In the distance a baby cries.]
Curly: Hey Moe! Hey Larry! The baby’s cryin’! Let’s go see what he looks like!
Moe: All right. Now then, gentlemen, remember your etiquette. [He slaps both Curly and Larry.]
Larry: What’s that for?
Curly: We didn’t do nothin’!
Moe: That’s in case you do!
They go to door of the cattle barn.
Virgin Mary: What’s the Password?
Moe: Open–Says me!
Virgin Mary: Close enough. You can come in, but please be quiet. The baby is sleeping!
She lets them in. All three gather round the manger at a respectful distance to look at the Christ Child. All three of them recoil in horror when his face is revealed to be the face of Shemp. He is asleep, and makes a snoring sound, followed by “heebebebebebebeee!”
Moe, Larry and Curly [in unison]: Nyaaaaaaaah!
The three of them flee. The last thing we hear is Curly saying “Woo-woo-woo-woo!”
Fade to Black.
The End Card, with Greek Comedy/Tragedy masks.
Music Out: “Three Blind Mice,” which segues into “The First Noel”.
In Memory of Tim Moynihan, aka Gus Murphy.
4. THE HIDDEN HISTORY OF THE 1960s
Baby Boy Maddox said to me, “There are certain things that ordinary people are better off not knowing. Having control over somebody’s name is a curse. I know it for a fact. Having access to forbidden knowledge is part of the reason why the country is in the state it’s in.”
Maddox was talking, of course, from the vantage point of January of
1986–right in the middle of the Iran/Contra affair, but several
months before the scandal became common knowledge.
“You know who was big pals with George Bush? Nixon. And do you know
the reason for Nixon’s early success? It was because Tricky Dick had
sold his soul to sinister forces. Here’s the story as I heard it. When
he was Vice President, he was standing in the White House, in the Oval
Office, with Ike. They were standing in front of Ike’s portrait. Only
the name under the painting said “Eki”. It was “Ike” spelled
backwards. Ike said to Dick Nixon, “There’s something wrong with this
painting.” Nixon said nothing. Two days later, Ike went to Denver—a
mile high city–famous locus of sinister forces. Kerouac said it—“Down
in Denver, down in Denver, all I did was die.” While he was there, the
day after that, Ike had a heart attack. Two days later, the stock
market dropped nearly ten percent. Nixon acted all sorry, but
inwardly, he was greatly pleased. He thought he was all set. But Ike
recovered. It took him a month, and a lot of White Magic from Ike’s
doctor, but he recovered. Nixon’s devil mojo wasn’t strong enough to
carry Ike to his grave. Ike got depressed, and was scared, of course,
and he avoided Nixon after that. Tried to drop him from the ticket,
only he couldn’t. Nixon’s own name backwards was Noxin, you see, so he
was mostly safe from earthly interference.”
“Nixon, you see, was all mobbed up. It’s not speculation, but historic
fact. Everybody was mobbed up in those days–Hoover, Kennedy,
Kefauver, you name it. You know how the Mob will burn a holy card when
they swear you in? If that’s not proof of demonic entanglements, I
don’t know what is. That’s why Mobsters feel a need to get inside of
show biz. A performer is like a Shaman, and a Shaman can control
demonic spirits, and the Mob wants in on that, though actually they
play both sides of the fence and they also give money to the Church.
There’s a whole invisible world out there which most people know
nothing about, and they ought to be glad of it, because secret
knowledge brings nothing but trouble to the people who meddle in the
Grammerie. Because once you are in tune with the hidden forces, then
you can see every coincidence and every random incident as woven
together as part of a great chain of being. I am right and I will be
“Listen: Every sign, every symbol, every name, and every place is
connected. Every action is part of a larger ritual. And every ritual
makes something happen. Do you think that Nixon was unaware of how
Kennedy was assassinated? Here was one of the smartest men in the
country, and he just happened to be in Dallas on that day. And Kennedy
was sitting in a limo that was crawling smack dab into a hostile
two-sided monolith of deadly windows and hidden hedgerows. He was a
sitting duck, just like those soldiers who invaded Normandy and found
a Nazi hiding behind every bush!”
“No surprise there. That day in Dallas was an elaborate ritual that
was planned months ahead by a group of sinister alchemists whose
greatest desire was that someday their demon-brother Nixon/Noxin would
rule the country and plunge it, and the whole world, into
unpredictable chaos, which demons love. The King is Dead–long live
the King! The demons knew that LBJ was a cracked vessel–a deeply
flawed man whose reign would lead inexorably to bringing back the
Nixon/Noxin. Kennedy should have stood in bed that day. Or ducked down
low when he got to the killing ground. Johnson sure as hell did!”
“Listen,” said Baby Boy Maddox to me. “You’re a ‘Rad’. You’re probably
well aware that there were a great many people who just didn’t like
Nixon. Mostly, these were intuitive people who just had a funny
feeling about him. The so-called ‘rational’ man could see nothing
whatsoever that was wrong with Nixon/Noxin, because that sort of
person tend to discount demonic influence. Because they don’t see it,
and they don’t understand it. The radical elements, and the
cynics–they despised him. They could see right through him. They knew
he was a paper tiger. And the Catholics–all of them–they knew he was
rotten. And the bleeding hearts. But the corrupt forces welcomed him
as one of their own. A man they could talk to, a man who they could do
business with, a man who was bound by no scruples. A real stiffo,
sure–but he was no sob sister. He didn’t ask stupid questions, and he
kept his mouth shut. The CIA–Ho! The Agency absolutely loved the guy.
He was privy to some heavy-duty secrets about the Nazis, and he never
once opened his yap. He knew all about all the funny stuff they pulled
in the Middle East and in Central America, and he didn’t give a damn.
He was all for dropping a great big bomb on Vietnam, back in the 50s.
But Ike/Eki stayed his hand, and his reward was that he nearly ended
up in a casket.”
Suddenly, Baby Boy Maddox looked very serious. “Don’t you realize that
the demonic forces–I won’t even say their names, I can’t, certain
things are not allowed–don’t you realize that they actually FORCED
Nixon on Ike? In just the same way that they FORCED Bush on Reagan?
You may call me a crazy man, but I know what I know. When you hear
people talking about a winnable nuclear war–I don’t care how nice
they are to their dogs–you are talking about somebody who has been
infected with the virus of rationalism to such an extent that they
might not even realize that they have made a bargain with Satan!
Anyway, we’re not too sure of Bush’s whereabouts on that day in
Dallas, either. And who were those three tramps? Gedney, Doyle and
Abrams? Sounds like a law firm to me! It was the lawyers who did
Kennedy in. Policemen and Lawyers. Freaks and Truck Drivers. People
who grooved on Nixon/Noxin. I will name no names, but I know what I
know. Listen–let me tell you about politicians–there’s two types.
The ones who use their power, and the ones who hoard it. Kennedy used
his. Mostly to get laid, and to piss people off. Nixon hoarded his.
And when he used it, it was always without fail to get back at his
enemies. To give them the shaft. Nixon had something of the pervert
about him. Don’t ask me how I know this, but I do. It’s hardly common
knowledge, but there are signs. Strong mother, weak father. He was a
strange bird, at the very least. A freak. And you know what happens to
freaks. They are despised. So. All the people who at jeered him all
his life, said he was weak, said he was crooked, said he wasn’t a
man’s man? When he had the power, he went after every bummer who had
ever done him dirt. These numbered in the thousands. So he was a busy
man. Busier than a cat trying to bury a fresh turd on a frozen river.
Nixon only after went after the crumbs who he thought were weaker
than him. Kennedy was reckless. He went after people he didn’t like
and he didn’t pay too much attention about whether they might not find
a way to get back at him. That was his undoing. Nixon’s too, but that
“Would you like to hear a pretty story about a man nicknamed Oswald
the Rabbit, who most people agreed was a harmless nut, who all of a
sudden grew the world’s biggest set of balls and managed to take out
Kennedy in broad daylight with the whole world watching? Well, you
won’t hear that fairy tale from me. Kennedy was a sacrificial lamb. So
was Oswald. So was Ruby. America is a violent place. And so was the
world of the Old Testament, on which it was founded. And so was
imperial Rome, ditto. Rome was full of murderers and rapists.
Perverted overlords, irrational deities, morbid conspiracies. Blood,
shit, and death. Sound familiar? It should. But you know the old
saying–“Money does not stink.” The English were known as a nation of
shopkeepers. When America took over that role, they were ruled then as
now by King Dollar. You don’t often get to hear the gossip–what all
the other kids in the world schoolyard say about the new kid on the
Imperial block. Say he’s a greedy, arrogant bully. Always telling
other people what to do. Liable to become dangerous if he doesn’t get
his way. Looking to turn the whole world into a prison planet, and him
the Boss Con. Dig–Gunsmoke. The Rifleman. Bonanza. These were three
of the most popular shows in November 1963. Now I know my ABCs–tell
me what you think of me?
“But I’m getting sidetracked here. Anyway, why do you suppose JFK went
to Dallas in the first place? He had just fired the Mayor’s brother,
you know. No love lost there. He needed Dallas like he needed a hole
in the head, if you get my drift. So why go there? To mend fences?
That’s the official line. Or maybe, in some mysterious way, he had a
death wish? Here’s what I’m saying. Uglyhead Kennedy was not a healthy
man. He was in constant pain. They had him on all sorts of steroids
and other drugs. The Kennedys, you know, were basically a bunch of
thugs led by Old Joe the Umbrella Man, the Nazi’s Pal. They liked to get drunk and play stupid games, and they were very very full of themselves. And they weren’t very good at keeping big secrets bottled up. They weren’t poker players, like Nixon/Noxin. You could tell from the look on their faces when they just didn’t like you. Same thing goes for the Bush family, too.”
“Anyway, why would Kennedy go to the camp of his sworn enemies? Was it
guts? Was it hubris? Or maybe he just got to a point where he just
didn’t give a damn. He wasn’t like Nixon, who always had to have a
good reason for getting even. Kennedy would go after you simply
because he didn’t like the cut of your jib. Simply because he thought
you were a crumb, and needed to be put down. He was always looking to
take on the bully of the town. Reckless, reckless, reckless man.
Looking to buck the CIA, the military, the Oil Men. Ready to kick
Hoover and Johnson to the curb. Pissing off Nixon’s pals–Marcello,
Trafficante, Roselli — and Bay of Pigs veterans–like Bernard Barker!
Hell, it’s hard to say who DIDN’T have it in for Kennedy. And if
Johnson had bothered to clue him in at all about Dallas, Kennedy would
have known that the place was crawling with bad sorcery. The Trinity
River. Love Field. Bloody Elem Street. “If you go down to Deep Elem
put your money in your shoe?” You ever hear of that one? Elem Street
was the old ghetto district–lots of unsolved murders there, and other
“Many a sad ghost lingers there still,” said Baby Boy Maddox. “And the
ghosts aren’t talking. Even a ghost knows how to keep its mouth shut.
Pagan rituals are scary things. But…you know what they say about the
mills of the gods–they grind exceeding small. Anyway, my theory is
that Nixon pissed off some of the very same people as Kennedy–but he
knew how to keep his mouth shut–he was exiled, like Napoleon–not
literally–no need for that–just left Washington in disgrace–and he
got off lightly, at that. Demons don’t usually mess around, but, like
I said, Nixon/Noxin had a name of mystical significance, which helped
protect him. Plus he had some very heavy friends. Behind every success
is a crime. A crime that never gets found out, if you know how to keep
your mouth shut.
“And sometimes friends can make all the difference,” said Baby Boy
Maddox, looking straight at me. “As you will see when I tell you the
rest of the story that I was told.”
“Before Kennedy got his, it was a different world. A strange world
full of old people with weird stuff in their heads. Crazy notions that
wouldn’t wash no more, only they just didn’t realize it. Because they
just didn’t get it. Because they didn’t have room for it in their tiny heads.
Because they were too damn old, born in the 1800s, some of them,
before there were cars and telephones and even electricity. And their
heads were still there. They pined for that world. The steaming horse apple,
gossip-over-the-back-fence, wood-burning-stove, family-circle kind of world.
A peasant world. And the peasant world was gone. Because JFK was Las
Vegas and LSD. Mr. Space Age, Mr. Univac, Mr. Modern World. JFK was
a threat to what used to be. That’s one reason why they had to wipe him out.
One last set of monsters from the ugly past rose up and laid him low. It was
the same old story, and the same sad old song–he rambled, he rambled,
he rambled–and the butchers cut him down.”
“But once JFK was elected, there was no looking back. There was no looking
back anyway, but he was a young man, and he sped the process along,
and old people didn’t like that. To them, he was a slickster; a
slack-jawed whippersnapper, an imposter, not a real President at
all–not like Ike, who looked like somebody’s Granpaw, or even Truman,
who could pass for your cranky uncle, and certainly not like
Roosevelt, who was everybody’s favorite rich cousin–Gander Gladstone,
maybe. It was a strange old world, before Kennedy–kids would kick up
their heels but mostly they liked the same things that adults did,
even if they didn’t realize it–listened to the same radio shows, read
the same comic books, even looked at the same movies. Back then,
there wasn’t any of this catering to kids. It was an adult world. Even as late as
1959, most of ’em dressed the same as adults. Hell, look at some of
the old yearbook photos from that era–teenagers even LOOKED like adults back then. Sure, there were the Outlaw Bikers, but they were psychos, and
everybody knew it. And there were also the so-called Beatniks, but that was
mostly confined to cities and they were always a pitiful minority.
They would have been ignored altogether if TV didn’t latch onto them
the way they did.
“But when Kennedy got in, you had all them damn folk singers–Commies,
the lot of ’em. And then Kennedy got killed and then you’d see the
youth of America have themselves a collective nervous breakdown, and
they mutated into hippies. Then Nixon got in, and you had all them plastic
hippies. Drug addicts, the lot of ‘em. Sheep for the shearing. Then you had
Watergate, and Ford, and along came cynics, and small-town hippies.
Then Carter, and Disco, and coke. Now we got Reagan,
and kids don’t know WHAT to do, so they mutilate themselves.”
“It’s a bad new world out there, and it all started in to turning sour
at the end of 1963. Old people sit outside for an hour a day to catch
some sunshine but they’re scared to death of all the drug dealers, so
mostly they stay indoors. And they watch the television and everything
they see on the devil box tells ’em that the world has passed ’em by.
Young and healthy animals are all you ever see on the tube.
When you do see oldsters, it’s when they’ve fallen and they can’t
get up. Or else they’re making impossible demands for beef.”
“Listen up, Sonny Jim–it ain’t only the town miser who’s begging for
Government cheese these days. It’s the young and healthy, too–people in the
prime of their lives who ain’t got no job, and no near prospect of one
neither. The neighborhood post office? Where people used to go
to hear the latest news? Deserted, now. Plastered with wanted
posters of speed freaks, and it smells like electricity–and sour beer. The
train station–a ghost town. Rich people fly and poor people take the bus.
The general store? Replaced by a so-called convenience store
which don’t stock nothing but lottery tickets and smokes.”
“Where’s the jobs? That’s the big question. Highway construction?
There ain’t none. We’re too busy trying to bury our enemies.
Tramps? We ain’t got ’em no more. Now they’re called the homeless,
and most of them are just as crazy as shithouse rats. This wouldn’t have
happened under Kennedy. Most of ’em are the jobless and displaced.
What happened to all the good jobs that people used to have?
Milk man, egg man, delivery man, grocer? Out of fashion. Steel mill,
machine shop, factory? Gone, gone, gone. Elevator operator? You’ve
got to be kidding me. No room for slow people. It’s a brand new day.
And who works at the Big Store? Hell, the Big Store closed last year.”
“Nowadays the only place for old folks to hang out is the barber
shop. And all they know how to do there is bitch about their bursitis
and talk about how so and so had a heart attack and has lost a lot of weight
and maybe it’s The Big C. All they know how to do is complain about their
aches and pains and cry over the old world that they used to have a place
in. But it’s dead and gone, and with it, all the good times. Modern food tastes funny. And Doc says no more sugar and salt. What’s the use of even trying anymore? All them sad old duffers. It never used to be like that. Back in the olden days, the world may have been a scary place, but people knew their place and they respected white hair. Not no more. Same scary threats, but no respect. Hell, they get you coming and going, they do. Hell, they always did, but it was never that obvious before.
“And why are we in this rotten fix? It’s all because crazy Jack was a member of
the Mucker’s Club. And him and Bobby pissed off all the wrong people. Hell,
we should have elected Nixon from the outset. Why did we prolong the agony?”
I asked Baby Boy Maddox what he meant, and his reply chilled me right to the bone.
“I mean that there’s nothing as shitty as living in the reign of the Shining Knight, and thinking things might somehow get better–only to have him snatched away–
by the Dark Lords of the Realm.”
“Our so-called leaders. They don’t make things better because they don’t know how.”
“And they don’t want things to get better.”
“Because all they know how to do is squeeze.”
As he spoke to me, from the vantage point of late January of 1986, Baby Boy
Maddox also had something more to get off his chest regarding LBJ. Steam was
whistling from the radiators, which were shuddering and clanking, while giddy snow whipped with ruthless vivacity outside the rattling panes of my dirty windows. Facing the frosted street, dripping shapes formed ghastly apparitions on the window-glass, which was streaked with water and grime.
As Maddox spoke, one heresy after another unspooling from
his ruthless lips, I found myself balling my fists. My head was pounding with
the thought that what he was telling me just might be true, but I said nothing—only nervously squirmed in my wooden chair on wheels that squeaked, with my roll-top desk to my back, as Maddox sat up on the mattress, bundled up in the bedding I had provided him, and continued telling me the hidden history of the 1960s.
“So Kennedy got his. And we all know why. He had to. He didn’t understand the
program of what the Pentagon wanted. Those were desperate times, and
Jack was a rascal–he wasn’t in tune with the agenda of the shave-tails and
the spooks and the secret police. And so–in comes LBJ. A savage man
for a savage Empire.”
“And Bullshit Johnson wasn’t kidding around. He had no sense of humor.
None. He was an animal. Just like Bobby said. A real thug, a mean,
mean man, and a crook–with a big belt buckle–and balls of steel.”
“Johnson taking over from JFK? That was the new power elite, standing
in the crapper, pulling the chain, and watching all the East Coast Newport la-di-da swirling down the toilet bowl like so much shit down a sewer.
Goodbye Blue Skies—make way for the savage, All New, New
Frontier. Now with fifty per cent more hubris.”
“The Great Society? It was more like the Rape Society— Johnson was
a caveman—knuckles scraped the ground–all he knew was where all the bodies
were buried. WHO wears short shorts? WE wear short shorts!”
“What’s more important is, Lyndon also knew when and how to pay lip
service and make music to tame the savage. The savage beast at the
heart of the Empire.”
“You read enough history and you travel the country round, and sooner
or later you come to find out that there’s something about the Old America
that has never been tamed. Listen, Yob–there are desperate deeds and
awful murders, I think, deep in the heart of this land, that will never be
solved—or ever even come into the light.”
“You could like him or hate him, but you had to admit that Johnson
was a real smart peckerwood in a lot of ways–but he had no
sense of proportion. How could he? He was a tornado–a force of
nature. Ike? You can bet that Ike never slopped over. But Johnson?
HE slopped over. He was all over the place. That’s what Johnson was
“I guess that at first all the oldsters who grooved on Ike–the sour pickle
bunch, all them Coolidge Daddies, the old gummers who hated the
young and hated people who were happy and hated
the poor and hated the rich and didn’t give a good goddamn about
anybody but themselves–the ones who hated JFK because he
wasn’t a dried up old prune-face–I’ll bet those codgers thought that,
with Johnson running the show, they were gonna have it made.”
“I’ll bet they thought they had a good old fashioned cowboy on their
hands. A known quality. A guy with common sense. The kind of
guy who knew how to butter hot toast with cold butter without
having to crack open a book to study both sides of the procedure.
The kind of guy who knew what it was like to milk a sick cow by
the light of a kerosene lantern. The kind of man who could castrate
a baby pig with a dull jackknife–or his teeth, if need be. A real
nutcutter. How little did they know!
“Sure, the squares all grooved on the thought that Bullshit Johnson
was the man from Planet Cornpone. A rootin’-tootin’ square shootin’
two-gun cowboy. Not all high-toned–like Kennedy pretended to be,
but wasn’t. The complete opposite of Jack–or so they thought.”
“In some ways they had a point. Jack was a sex addict—and a
three-way man at that—and his taste in music was slick–for 1963.
He grooved on the smoothies–Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra,
Tony Bennett. The sharkskin set. Lyndon was a lot more like
the oldsters. Didn’t really much care for real music, or anything
that got in the way of wheeling and dealing. You just know that his
taste in music was dullsville—Duffer City–strictly from hunger. Lawrence
Welk, Mantovani, 1001 Strings. Johnson was flabby–mindless,
whiskey-and-branch-water, central air conditioning, beans and
weenies, Wonder Bread–that’s the way he swung.”
“By the way, like I said before, you can always tell what kind of a country
it is by the kind of music the people listen to. And so–who was the biggest
star of the hangdog Nixon years? Sweet Baby Whatchamacallit. Mr. Bummer.
The “Ain’t It Good to Know that You Got a Friend” guy…
a “friend” with a taste for white horse…a suicidal friend who
induces suicidal thoughts in others…A guy who moans all the time
without so much as stopping to take a breath…a real sad sack of
shit, when it comes right down to it…winter spring summer or fall, all you
gotta do is call, and this moping mook will be there–yes he
will!–telling you that people can be so cold and they’ll hurt you
yes, and desert you–and take your soul if yuh let ’em–but not Sweet
Baby Slim–he won’t take your soul–your wallet maybe, if he’s got a
strong yen for some skag–but no, ‘Them ain’t track marks, them’s
vaccinations–where’s my belt? I need my belt….’
Anyway, back to Johnson. John Q. Square figured “Hell–he ain’t
no pansy–he ain’t no different from you and me!” But
they were all of them completely mistaken. Johnson
was a freak, a wrongo. First of all, he was a stone-faced
pimp for JFK. He had his very own Bobby Baker supply Jack with
teenyboppers—and lady spies.”
“Not that Bobby Kennedy was backward about getting into the
swing of things neither. Rumor has it that RFK would tag along with
the Bureau of Narcotics on drug raids in the South Bronx, and he’d act
just like a bent cop—he’d fondle whores, steal bags of coke—nothing
was too off limits for little Bobby. He was a Wild Man. Dr. Robert and
“And make no mistake–Bobby knew where the bodies were buried too.
He knew that some top members of the CIA were stone cold sex freaks.
Not naming names. But RFK found out some of their deepest darkest
little secrets, and there’s no way they would have ever let him become
President on top of all that.”
“Anyway, what with the long hair and the drugs and such, no wonder Bobby gave old Lyndon the willies. Dig: LBJ’s idea of a wild drug orgy was a couple of
snorts of Cutty Sark chased by a fizzy glass of soothing Alka Seltzer.
Y’know, there was a lot of the Roman Empire in the way
the Kennedys carried on. It was a strange situation. After Jack, it’s
as though Caesar died–and left the throne to Tiberius.”
“Yeah, Bo, a strange situation all around. The TV was swimming with Black
Magic. Black Disney magic. Bad Mojo. Corrupt shamans. Cultic methods.
And the Pentagon was crawling with creepy Nazis. The FBI was in the
pocket of the Mob. The CIA was peddling drugs and hiring gangsters
to carry out their hits. And the Big Oil Men, and the Cubans too,
they were all of ’em involved in some kind of crazy religious cult.
The Abundant Life Temple. Search the Temple, the cops were
told when Tippet was shot. Then the order came down—No.
Hands off the Temple–Search the Library instead. Old Clint
Murchison was connected to all of this. They broke out the caviar,
and the champagne flowed like water in the Murchison home the
night that JFK got his. French champagne and fish eggs from Red
“Can I ask you where you learned about all these things?” I asked.
“Listen Yob–it’s better if you don’t. We’re entering Queasy Country.”
TO BE CONTINUED