Wednesday, November 27, 2013 responds to Kanye West's "White Trash" comment on Power105...

"I wanted to take white trash T-shirts and make it into a video"

- Kanye West, 2013

 I feel a bit of pressure to pretend that we're so irreparably injured by Kanye's use of 'the WT' that we just can't ride this fence for another minute, but it kind of came and went and I think we're over it...

Sure he used a racist term but I definitely don't think he's a racist-racist. I know everyone hates it when people are like "I'm not a racist, my favorite comedian is so-and-so" or "I'm not a racist, my girlfriend is half Canadian", but heck I think he's hung out with Bruce Jenner so he can't be too party-line Panther. We'll give him a pass.
I was just telling Bart the other day that I got a lot in common with Kanye. business is going pretty well for both of us right now, we're chasing some great women that we're pretty enamored with, and on the artistic side we're both just totally nailing it...

Hey, we all know what it's like to be riding the big wave, get a little manic, and say some crazy shit.

It's like this - 

Picture some townie wants you to come by and take a few tree's down and is totally willing to spend a couple bucks for the favor.  As a 'tree surgeon,' I'm totally unregistered, uninsured, and let's face it, almost wholly unqualified to be jerking around on such a high-stakes project but 'bam!', that's the risk entrepreneurs like us take and it feels good.

It ain't easy. Sometimes you pull the cord on the saw like 15,000 times before before that hawg starts to strain and even touching the throttle just a tad too much almost chokes her before the chain just barely moves and then you know it's game-on.  We want people to know 'we did it'. I don't care if my arm feels like it's gonna fall off, but I just made this kitty purr and I'm ready to cut down every tree in Eden if I get chance.

If things can't get any better, I don't even have to haul away the wood chips (cha'ching) cause the lady of the house is convinced she want's to make some bullshit / woodchip 'trail' in the yard like something she saw on Martha Stewart or that stupid Pinterest (if you don't boil or bleach 'em it's just going to look like shit but if you want me as a designer that's extra, I am in Lumberjack mode).

Even though it's November and like 11 degrees out, the neighbor lady is walking over and I think it's time to ditch the Carhartt and start the gun show.  She's A-Z impressed and noted the dangerous 'widow-maker' branch (her choice of words, I think she's trying to hint around!) in her back yard. Could I take it down for 2 hunjo? Pfrt! Why do all these development folks feel the need to ask questions they know the answer to...

I asked to use the facilities in both homes and noted that they they both have 'fireplaces' that don't even burn wood so there's no point in asking if they want the down'd trees cut and stacked to cure for next winter. It may take four trips but bet your ass those 2 cords are going right in the truck before the sun goes down. Como se dice "Side Business!"

No matter what I am jacked. If nothing else I can get 6 hunjo for this firewood in less than 10 months.

Now I'm off to Grossman's with a pocket full of new cash to buy a proper door for a lady (I 'measured once, cut twice' on the current door that I put on the bedroom last year and the four-inch gap at the bottom now means anyone walking up the stairs can see right into the lady's boudouir for a few steps, long story). Anyway, I am not there for 2 minutes before the dooshbag from Schaghticoke has to chime in about what year my truck is... You all know the type. Never hustled a day in his life and ends up inheriting a farm and bank full of cash and now he's driving a King Ranch like he's the freaking mayor and invented the pyramids. I know exactly how Kanye feels. You start shopping in a place like Grossman's and you're bound to bump into people with a lot more than you and I'm sure that's the case for Kanye in Hollywood or wherever he shops.  Before you know it, just like Kanye, I have gone on an insane rant about how I'm not a dude jacking trees off the state's radar but I am a one-man department of forestry and Husqvarna wants to talk about a tree-cutting reality show called "Jim's Limbs".  You always regret exaggeration after the fact but it just happens when you're around these peckerheads...


I almost forgot I was talking about Kanye. We're both rebels and the craziest damn thing is that on the creative side we're like Siamese cats in the sense that we both seem to have an affinity for iconography and the Battle Flag specifically.

I shit you not, these are some of his current designs:

Man I wish we could get him to help tighten up and wear one of our designs, we'd be super rich.

Who knows.

I consider my Kanye-hatchet buried and I would love to extend an official invitation to our "White Trash Training Academy" if he's looking for inspiration on any future designs. Winter is coming so I imagine class will be held on a frozen lake with some less-than-sober snowmobile antics and as sure as the full moon is bright, I know someone's bound to pour a pond-full of gas on top of the ice, toss in a propane tank, and take turns shooting at it from the relative safety of 40 feet away.

Happy Thanksgiving from the WT crew.

Mister Peabody

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Clarence Thomas and Hunter S Thompson

  It was just after midnight when I first saw the sheep. I was running 
about eighty-eight or ninety miles an hour in a drenching, blinding 
rain on U.S. 40 between Winnemucca and Elko with one light out. I was 
soaking wet from the water that was pouring in through a hole in the 
front roof of the car, and my fingers were like rotten icicles on the 
steering wheel. 

  It was a moonless night and I knew I was hydroplaning, which is 
dangerous.... My front tires were no longer in touch with the asphalt 
or anything else. My center of gravity was too high. There was no 
visibility on the road, none at all. I could have tossed a flat rock a 
lot farther than I could see in front of me that night though the rain 
and the ground fog. 

  So what? I though. I know this road -- a straight lonely run across 
nowhere, with not many dots on the map except ghost towns and truck 
stops with names like Beowawe and Lovelock and Deeth and 

  Jesus! Who made this map? Only a lunatic could have come up with a 
list of places like this: Imlay, Valmy, Golconda, Nixon, Midas, 
Metropolis, Jiggs, Judasville -- all of them empty, with no gas 
stations, withering away in the desert like a string of old Pony 
Express stations. The Federal Government owns ninety percent of this 
land, and most of it is useless for anything except weapons testing 
and poison-gas experiments.     

  My plan was to keep moving. Never slow down. Keep the car aimed 
straight ahead through the rain like a cruise missile....I felt 
comfortable. There is a sense  of calm and security that comes with 
driving a very fast car on an empty road at night....Fuck this 
thunderstorm, I thought. There is safety in speed. Nothing can touch 
me as long as I keep moving fast, and never mind the cops: They're all 
hunkered down in a truck stop or jacking off by themselves in a 
culvert behind some dynamite shack in the wilderness beyond the 
highway....Either way, they wanted no part of me, and I wanted no part 
of them. Only trouble could come of it. They were probably nice 
people, and so was I -- but we were not meant for each other. History 
had long since determined that. There is a huge body of evidence to 
support the notion that me and the police were put on this earth to do 
extremely different things and never to mingle professionally with 
each other, except at official functions, when we all wear ties and 
drink heavily and whoop it up like the natural, good-humored wild boys 
that we know in our hearts that we are..These occasions are rare, but 
they happen -- despite the forked tongue of fate that has put us 
forever on different paths....But what the hell? I can handle a wild 
birthday party with cops, now and then. Or some unexpected orgy at a 
gun show in Texas. Why not? Hell, I ran for Sheriff one time, and 
almost got elected. They understand this, and I get along fine with 
the smart ones. 

  But not tonight, I thought, I sped along in the darkness. Not at 100 
miles an hour at midnight on a rain-slicked road in Nevada. Nobody 
needs to get involved in a high-speed chase on a filthy night like 
this. It would be dumb and extremely dangerous. Nobody driving a red 
454 V-8 Chevrolet convertible was likely to pull over and surrender 
peacefully at the first sight of a cop car behind him. All kinds of 
weird shit might happen, from a gunfight with dope fiends to permanent 
injury or death....It was a good night to stay indoors and be warm, 
make a fresh pot of coffee and catch up on important paperwork. Lay 
low and ignore these loonies. Anybody behind the wheel of a ca tonight 
was far too crazy to fuck with, anyway. 

  Which was probably true. There was nobody on the road except me and 
a few big-rig Peterbilts running west to Reno and Sacramento by dawn. 
I could hear them on my nine-band Super-Scan shortwave/CB/Police 
radio, which erupted now and then with outbursts of brainless speed 
gibberish about Big Money and Hot Crank and teenage cunts with huge 

  They were dangerous Speed Freaks, driving twenty-ton trucks that 
might cut loose and jackknife at any moment, utterly out of control. 
There is nothing more terrifying than suddenly meeting a jackknifed 
Peterbilt with no brakes coming at you sideways at sixty or seventy 
miles per hour on a steep mountain road at three o'clock in the 
morning. There is a total understanding, all at once, of how the 
captain of the Titanic must have felt when he first saw the Iceberg.     

  And not much different from the hideous feeling that gripped me when 
the beam of my Long-Reach Super-Halogen headlights picked up what 
appeared to be a massive rock slide across the highway -- right in 
front of me, blocking the road completely. Big white rocks and round 
boulders, looming up with no warning in a fog of rising steam or swamp 

  The brakes were useless, the car wandering. The rear end was coming 
around. I jammed it down into Low, but it made no difference, so I 
straightened it out and braced for a serious impact, a crash that 
would probably kill me. This is It, I thought. This is how it happens 
-- slamming into a pile of rocks at 100 miles an hour, a sudden brutal 
death in a fast red car on a moonless night in a rainstorm somewhere 
on the sleazy outskirts of Elko. I felt vaguely embarrassed, in that 
long pure instant before I went into the rocks. I remembered Los Lobos 
and that I wanted to call Maria when I got to Elko.... 

  My heart was full of joy as I took the first hit, which was oddly 
soft and painless. No real shock at all. Just a sickening thud, like 
running over a body, a corpse -- or, ye fucking gods, a crippled 200-
pound sheep thrashing around in the road. 

  Yes. These huge white lumps were not boulders. They were sheep. Dead 
and dying sheep. More and more of them, impossible to miss at this 
speed, piled up on each other like bodies at the battle of Shiloh. It 
was like running over wet logs. Horrible, horrible.... 

  And then I saw the man -- a leaping Human Figure in the glare of my 
bouncing headlight, waving his arms and yelling, trying to flag me 
down. I swerved to avoid hitting him, but he seemed not to see me, 
rushing straight into my headlights like a blind man....or a monster 
from Mars with no pulse, covered with blood and hysterical. 

  It looked like a small black gentleman in a London Fog raincoat, 
frantic to get my attention. It was so ugly that my brain refused to 
accept it....Don't worry, I thought. This is only an Acid flashback. 
Be calm. This is not really happening. 

  I was down to about thirty-five or thirty when I zoomed past the man 
in the raincoat and bashed the brains out of a struggling sheep, which 
helped to reduce my speed, as the car went airborne again, then 
bounced to a shuddering stop just before I hit the smoking, overturned 
hulk of what looked like a white Cadillac limousine, with people still 
inside. It was a nightmare. Some fool had crashed into a herd of sheep 
at high speed and rolled into the desert like an eggbeater.     

  We were able to laugh about it later, but it took a while to calm 
down. What the hell? It was only an accident. The Judge had murdered 
some strange animals. 

  So what? Only a racist maniac would run sheep on the highway in a 
thunderstorm at this hour of the night. "Fuck those people!" he 
snapped, as I took off toward Elko with him and his two female 
companions tucked safely into my car, which had suffered major 
cosmetic damage but nothing serious. "They'll never get away with this 
Negligence!" he said. "We'll eat them alive in court. Take my word for 
it. We are about to become joint owners of a huge Nevada sheep ranch."     

  Wonderful, I thought. But meanwhile we were leaving the scene of a 
very conspicuous wreck that was sure to be noticed by morning, and the 
whole front of my car was gummed up with wool and sheep's blood. There 
was no way I could leave it parked on the street in Elko, where I'd 
planned to stop for the night (maybe two or three nights, for that 
matter) to visit with some old friends who were attending a kind of 
Appalachian Conference for sex-film distributors at the legendary 
Commercial Hotel.... 

  Never mind that, I thought. Things have changed. I was suddenly a 
Victim of Tragedy -- injured and on the run, far out in the middle of 
sheep country -- 1000 miles from home with car full of obviously 
criminal hitchhikers who were spattered with blood and cursing angrily 
at each other as we zoomed through the blinding monsoon. 

  Jesus, I though Who are these people? 

  Who indeed? They seemed not to notice me. The two women fighting in 
the back seat were hookers. No doubt about that. I had seen them in my 
headlights as they struggled in the wreckage of the Cadillac, which 
had killed about sixty sheep. They were desperate with Fear and 
Confusion, crawling wildly across the sheep....One was a tall black 
girl in a white minidress...and now she was screaming at the other 
one, a young blond white woman. They were both drunk. Sounds of 
struggle came from the back seat. "Get your hands off me, Bitch!" Then 
a voice cried out, "Help me, Judge! Help! She's killing me!" 

  What? I thought. Judge? Then she said it again, and a horrible chill 
went through me....Judge? No. That would be over the line. 

  He lunged over the back seat and whacked their heads together. "Shut 
up!" he screamed. "Where are your fucking manners?" 

  He went over the seat again. He grabbed one of them by the hair. 
"God damn you," he screamed. "Don't embarrass this man. He saved our 
lives. We owe him respect -- not this god damned squalling around like 

  A shudder ran through me, but I gripped the wheel and stared 
straight ahead, ignoring this sudden horrible freak show in my car. I 
lit a cigarette, but I was not calm. Sounds of sobbing and the ripping 
of cloth came from the back seat. The man they called Judge had 
straightened himself out and was now resting easily in the front seat, 
letting out long breaths of air....The silence was terrifying: I 
quickly turned up the music. It was Los Lobos again -- something about 
"One time One Night in America," a profoundly morbid tune about Death 
and Disappointment: 

                A lady dressed in white 
                With the man she loved
                Standing along the side of their pickup truck
                A shot rang out in the night
                Just when everything seemed right    

  Right. A shot. A shot rang out in the night. Just another headline 
written down in America....Yes. There was a loaded .454 Magnum 
revolver in a clearly marked oak box on the front seat, about halfway 
between me and the Judge. He could grab it in a split second and blow 
my head off.     

  "Good work, Boss," he said suddenly. " I owe you a big one, for 
this. I was done for, if you hadn't come along." He chuckled. "Sure as 
hell, Boss, sure as hell. I was Dead Meat -- killed a lot worse than 
those goddamn stupid sheep!" 

  Jesus! I thought. Get ready to hit the brake. This man is a Judge on 
the lam with two hookers. He has no choice but to kill me, and those 
two floozies in the back seat too. We were the only witnesses.... This 
eerie perspective made me uneasy....Fuck this, I thought. These people 
are going to get me locked up. I'd be better off just pulling over 
right here and killing all three of them. Bang, Bang, Bang! Terminate 
the scum. 

  "How far is town? the Judge asked. 

  I jumped, and the car veered again. "Town?" I said. 

  "What town?" My arms were rigid and my voice was strange and reedy. 

  He whacked me on the knee and laughed. "Calm down, Boss," he said. 
"I have everything under control. We're almost home." He pointed into 
the rain, where I was beginning to see the dim lights of what I knew 
to be Elko. 

  "Okay," he snapped. "Take a left, straight ahead." He pointed again 
and I slipped the car into low. There was a red and blue neon sign 
glowing about a half-mile ahead of us, barely visible in the storm. 
The only words I could make out were NO and VACANCY. 

  "Slow down!" the Judge screamed. "This is it! Turn! Goddamnit, 
turn!" His voice had the sound of a whip cracking. I recognized the 
tone and did as he said, curling into the mouth of the curve with all 
four wheels locked and the big engine snarling wildly in Compound Low 
and the blue flames coming out of the tailpipe....It was one of those 
long perfect moments in the human driving experience that makes 
everybody quiet. Where is P.J.? I thought. This would bring him to his 

  We were sliding sideways very fast and utterly out of control and 
coming up on a white steel guardrail at seventy miles an hour in a 
thunderstorm on a deserted highway in the middle of the night.     

  Why not? On some nights Fate will pick you up like a chicken and 
slam you around on the walls until your body feels like a 
beanbag....BOOM! BLOOD! DEATH! So long, Bubba -- You knew it would End 
like this.... 

  We stabilized and shot down the loop. The Judge seemed oddly calm as 
he pointed again. "This is it," he said. "This is my place. I keep a 
few suites here." He nodded eagerly. "We're finally safe, Boss. We can 
do anything we want in this place." 

  The sign at the gate said:         

                ENDICOTT'S MOTEL
                ADULTS ONLY/NO ANIMALS

  Thank god, I thought. It was almost too good to be true. A place to 
dump these bastards. They were quiet now, but not for long. And I knew 
I couldn't handle it when these women woke up. 

  The Endicott was a string of cheap-looking bungalows, laid out in a 
horseshoe pattern around a rutted gravel driveway. There were cars 
parked in front of most of the units, but the slots in front of the 
brightly lit places at the darker end of the horseshoe were empty. 

  "Okay," said the Judge. "We'll drop the ladies down there at our 
suite, then I'll get you checked in." He nodded. "We both need some 
sleep, Boss -- or at least rest, if you know what I mean. Shit, it's 
been a long night." 

  I laughed, but it sounded like the bleating of a dead man. The 
adrenalin rush of the sheep crash was gone, and now I was sliding into 
pure Fatigue Hysteria. The Endicott "Office" was a darkened hut in the 
middle of the horseshoe. We parked in front of it and then the Judge 
began hammering on the wooden front door, but there was no immediate 
response...."Wake up, goddamnit! It's me -- the Judge! Open up! This 
is Life and Death! I need help!" 

  He stepped back and delivered a powerful kick at the door, which 
rattled the glass panels and shook the whole building. " I know you're 
in there," he screamed. "You can't hide! I'll kick your ass till your 
nose bleeds!" 

  There was still no sign of life, and I quickly abandoned all hope. 
Get out of here, I thought. This is wrong.  I was still in the car, 
half in and half out...The Judge put another fine snap-kick at a point 
just over the doorknob and uttered a sharp scream in some language I 
didn't recognize. Then I heard the sound of breaking glass.   

  I leapt back into the car and started the engine. Get away! I 
thought. Never mind sleep. It's flee or die, now. People get killed 
for doing this kind of shit in Nevada. It was far over the line. 
Unacceptable behavior. This is why God made shotguns...      

  I saw lights come on in the Office. Then the door swung open and I 
saw the Judge leap quickly through the entrance and grapple briefly 
with a small bearded man in a bathrobe, who collapsed to the floor 
after the Judge gave him a few blows to the head...Then he called back 
to me. "Come on in, Boss," he yelled. "Meet Mister Henry."  

  I shut off the engine and staggered up the gravel path. I felt sick 
and woozy, and my legs were like rubber bands.  

  The Judge reached out to help me. I shook hands with Mr. Henry, who 
gave me a key and a form to fill out. "Bullshit," said the Judge. 
"This man is my guest. He can have anything he wants. Just put it on 
my bill."  

  "Of course," said Mr. Henry. "Your bill. Yes. I have it right here." 
He reached under his desk and came up with a nasty-looking bundle of 
adding-machine tapes and scrawled Cash/Payment memos...."You got here 
just in time," he said. "We were about to notify the Police." 

  "What?" said the Judge. "Are you nuts? I have a goddamn platinum 
American Express card! My credit is impeccable." 

  "Yes," said Mr. Henry. "We know that. We have total respect for you. 
Your signature is better than gold bullion." The Judge smiled and 
whacked the flat of his hand on the counter. "You bet it is!" he 
snapped. "So get out of my goddamn face! You must be crazy to fuck 
with Me like this! You fool! Are you ready to go to court?" 

  "Please, Judge," he said. Don't do this to me. All I need is your 
card. Just let me run an imprint. That's all." He moaned and stared 
more or less at the Judge, but I could see that his eyes were not 
focused...."They're going to fire me," he whispered. "They want to put 
me in jail." 

  "Nonsense!" the Judge snapped. "I would never let that happen. You 
can always plead." He reached out and gently gripped Mr. Henry's 
wrist. "Believe me, Bro," he hissed. "You have nothing to worry about. 
You are cool. They will never lock you up! They will Never take you 
away! Not out of my courtroom!" 

  "Thank you," Mr. Henry replied. "But all I need is your card and 
your signature. That's the problem: I forgot to run it when you 
checked in." 

  "So what?" the Judge barked. "I'm good for it. How much do you 

  "About $22,000," said Mr. Henry. "Probably $23,000 by now. You've 
had those suites for nineteen days with total room service."      

  "What?" the Judge yelled. "You thieving bastards! I'll have you 
crucified by American Express. You are finished in this business. You 
will never work again! Not anywhere in the world! Then he whipped Mr. 
Henry across the front of his face so fast that I barely saw it. 

  "Stop crying!" he said. "Get a grip on yourself! This is 

  Then he slapped the man again. "Is that all you want?" he said. 
"Only a card? A stupid little card? A piece of plastic shit?"     

  Mr. Henry nodded. "Yes, Judge," he whispered. "That's all. Just a 
stupid little card."     

  The Judge laughed and reached into his raincoat, as if to jerk out a 
gun or at least a huge wallet. "You want a card, whoreface? Is that 
it? Is that all you want? You filthy little scumbag! Here it is!"     

  Mr. Henry cringed and whimpered. Then he reached out to accept the 
Card, the thing that would set him free...The Judge was still grasping 
around in the lining of his raincoat. "What the fuck?" he muttered. 
"This thing has too many pockets! I can feel it, but I can't find the 

  Mr. Henry seemed to believe him, and so did I, for a minute....Why 
not? He was a judge with a platinum credit card -- a very high roller. 
You don't find many Judges, these days, who can handle a full caseload 
in the morning and run wild like a goat in the afternoon. That is a 
very hard dollar, and very few can handle it....but the Judge was a 
Special Case. 

  Suddenly he screamed and fell sideways, ripping and clawing at the 
lining of his raincoat. "Oh, Jesus!" he wailed. "I've lost my wallet! 
It's gone. I left it out there in the Limo, when we hit the fucking 

  "So what?" I said. "We don't need it for this. I have many plastic 

  He smiled and seemed to relax. "How many?" he said. "We might need 
more than one." 

  I woke up in the bathtub -- who knows how much later -- to the sound 
of the hookers shrieking next door. The New York Times had fallen in 
and blackened the water. For many hours I tossed and turned like a 
crack baby in a cold hallway. I heard thumping Rhythm & Blues -- 
serious rock & roll, and I knew that something wild was going on in 
the Judge's suites. The smell of amyl nitrate came from under the 
door. It was no use. It was impossible to sleep through this orgy of 
ugliness. I was getting worried. I was already a marginally legal 
person, and now I was stuck with some crazy Judge who had my credit 
card and owed me $23,000. 

  I had some whiskey in the car, so I went out into the rain to get 
some ice. I had to get out. As I walked past the other rooms, I looked 
in people's windows and feverishly tried to figure out how to get my 
credit card back. Then from behind me I heard the sound of a tow-truck 
winch. The Judge's white Cadillac was being dragged to the ground. The 
Judge was whooping it up with the tow-truck driver, slapping him on 
the back.   

  "What the hell? It was only property damage," he laughed. 

  "Hey, Judge," I called out. "I never got my card back." 

  "Don't worry," he said. "It's in my room -- come on." 

  I was right behind him when he opened the door to his room, and I 
caught a glimpse of a naked woman dancing. As soon as the door opened, 
the woman lunged for the Judge's throat. She pushed him back outside 
and slammed the door in his face.  
  "Forget that credit card -- we'll get some cash," the Judge said. 
"Let's go down to the Commercial Hotel. My friends are there and they 
have plenty of money.     

  We stopped for a six-pack on the way. The Judge went into a sleazy 
liquor store that turned out to be a front for kinky marital aids. I 
offered him money for the beer, but he grabbed my whole wallet. 

  Ten minutes later, the Judge came out with $400 worth of booze and a 
bagful of Triple-X-Rated movies. "My buddies will like this stuff," he 
said. "And don't worry about the money, I told you I'm good for it. 
These guys carry serious cash." 

  The marquee above the front door of the Commercial Hotel said: 

                STUDEBAKER SOCIETY

  "Park right her in front, said the Judge. "Don't worry. I'm well 
known in this place." 

  Me too, but I said nothing. I have been well known at the Commercial 
for many years, from the time when I was doing a lot of driving back 
and forth between Denver and San Francisco -- usually for Business 
reasons, or for Art, and on this particular weekend I was there to 
meet quietly with a few old friends and business associates from the 
Board of Directors of the Adult Film Association of America. I had 
been, after all, the Night Manager of the famous O'Farrell Theatre, in 
San Francisco -- "the Carnegie Hall of Sex in America."               

  I was the Guest of Honor, in fact -- but I saw no point in confiding 
these things to the Judge, a total stranger with no Personal 
Identification, no money and a very aggressive lifestyle. We were on 
our way to the Commercial Hotel to borrow money from some of his 
friends in the Adult Film business. 

  What the hell? I though. It's only Rock & Roll. And he was, after 
all, a judge of some kind....Or maybe not. For all I knew he was a 
criminal pimp with no fingerprints, or a wealthy black shepherd from 
Spain. But it hardly mattered. He was good company (if you had a taste 
for the edge work -- and I did, in those days. And so, I felt, did the 
Judge). He had a bent sense of fun, a quick mind and no Fear of 

  The front door of the Commercial looked strangely busy at this hour 
of night in a bad rainstorm, so I veered off and drove slowly around 
the block in low gear.     

  "There's a side entrance on Queer Street," I said to the Judge, as 
we hammered into a flood of black water. He seemed agitated, which 
worried me a bit. 

  "Calm down," I said. "We don't want to make a scene in this place. 
All we want is money." 

  "Don't worry," he said. "I know these people. They are friends. 
Money is nothing. They will be happy to see me." 

  We entered the hotel through the Casino entrance. The Judge seemed 
calm and focused until we rounded the corner and came face to face 
with an eleven-foot polar bear standing on its hind legs, ready to 
pounce. The Judge turned to jelly at the sight of it. "I've had enough 
of this goddamn beast," he shouted." It doesn't belong here. We should 
blow its head off." 

  I took him by the arm "Calm down, Judge," I told him. "That's White 
King. He's been dead for about thirty-three years." 

  The Judge had no use for animals. He composed himself and we swung 
into the lobby, approaching the desk from behind. I hung back--it was 
getting late and the lobby was full of suspicious-looking stragglers 
from the Adult Film crowd. Private cowboy cops wearing six-shooters in 
open holsters were standing around. Our entrance did not go unnoticed. 

  The Judge looked competent, but there was something menacing in the 
way he swaggered up to the desk clerk and whacked the marble 
countertop with both hands. The lobby was suddenly filled with 
tension, and I quickly moved away as the Judge began yelling and 
pointing at the ceiling. 

  "Don't give me that crap," he barked. "These people are my friends. 
They're expecting me. Just ring the goddamn room again." The desk 
clerk muttered something about his explicit instructions not to.... 

  Suddenly the Judge reached across the desk for the house phone. 
"What's the number? I'll ring it myself" The clerk moved quickly. He 
shoved the phone out of the Judge's grasp and simultaneously drew his 
index finger across his throat. The Judge took one look at the muscle 
converging on him and changed his stance. 

  "I want to cash a check," he said calmly. 

  "A check?" the clerk said. "Sure thing, buster. I'll cash your 
goddamned check." He seized the Judge by his collar and laughed. 
"Let's get this Bozo out of her. And put him in jail." 

  I was moving toward the door, and suddenly the Judge was right 
behind me. "Let's go," he said. We sprinted for the car, but then the 
Judge stopped in his tracks. He turned and raised his fist in the 
direction of the hotel. "Fuck you!" he shouted. "I'm the Judge. I'll 
be back, and I'll bust every one of you bastards. The next time you 
see me coming, you'd better run."     

  We jumped into the car and zoomed away into the darkness. The Judge 
was acting manic. "Never mind those pimps," he said. "I'll have them 
all on a chain gang in forty-eight hours." He laughed and slapped me 
on the back. "Don't worry, Boss," he said. "I know where we're going." 
He squinted into the rain and opened a bottle of Royal Salute. 
"Straight ahead," he snapped. "Take a right at the next corner. We'll 
go see Leach. He owes me $24,000."     

  I slowed down and reached for the whiskey. What the hell, I thought. 
Some days are weirder than others. 

  "Leach is my secret weapon," the Judge said, "but I have to watch 
him. He could be violent. The cops are always after him. He lives in a 
balance of terror. But he has a genius for gambling. We win eight out 
of ten every week." He nodded solemnly. "That is four of five, Doc. 
That is Big. Very big. That is eighty percent of everything." He shook 
his head sadly and reached for the whiskey. "It's a horrible habit. 
But I can't give it up. It's like having a money machine." 

  "That's wonderful," I said. "What are you bitching about?" 

  "I'm afraid, Doc. Leach is a monster, a criminal hermit who 
understands nothing in life except point spreads. He should be locked 
up and castrated." 

  "So what?" I said. "Where does he live? We are desperate. We have no 
cash and no plastic. This freak is our only hope." 

  The Judge slumped into himself, and neither one of us spoke for a 
minute.... "Well," he said finally. "Why not? I can handle almost 
anything for twenty-four big ones in a brown bag. What the fuck? Let's 
do it. If the bastard gets ugly, we'll kill him." 

  "Come on, Judge," I said. "Get a grip on yourself. This is only a 
gambling debt." 

  "Sure," he replied. "That's what they all say." 

[Part III] Dead Meat in the Fast Lane: The Judge Runs Amok...Death of  
a Poet, Blood Clots in the Revenue Stream...The Man Who Loved Sex 

  We pulled into a seedy trailer court behind the stockyards. Leach 
met us at the door with red eyes and trembling hands, wearing a soiled 
bathrobe and carrying a half-gallon of Wild Turkey.     

  "Thank God you're home," The Judge said. "I can't tell you what kind 
of horrible shit has happened to me tonight....But now the worm has 
turned. Now that we have cash, we will crush them all."     

  Leach just stared. Then he took a swig of Wild Turkey. "We are 
doomed," he muttered. "I was about to slit my wrists." 

  "Nonsense," the Judge said. "We won Big. I bet the same way you did. 
You gave me the numbers. You even predicted the Raiders would stomp 
Denver. Hell, it was obvious. The Raiders are unbeatable on Monday 

  Leach tensed, then he threw his head back and uttered a high-pitched 
quavering shriek. The Judge seized him. "Get a grip on yourself," he 
snapped. "What's wrong?"     
  "I went sideways on the bet," Leach sobbed. "I went to that goddamn 
sports bar up in Jackpot with some of the guys from the shop. We were 
all drinking Mescal and screaming, and I lost my head."     

  Leach was clearly a bad drinker and a junkie for mass hysteria. "I 
got drunk and bet on the Broncos," he moaned, "then I doubled up. We 
lost everything." 

  A terrible silence fell on the room. Leach was weeping helplessly. 
The Judge seized him by the sash of his greasy leather robe and 
started jerking him around by the stomach. 

  They ignored me and I tried to pretend it wasn't happening....It was 
too ugly. There was and ashtray on the table in front of the couch. As 
I reached for it, I noticed a legal pad of what appeared to be Leach's 
poems, scrawled with a red Magic Marker in some kind of primitive 
verse form. There was one that caught my eye. There was something 
particularly ugly about it. There was something repugnant in the harsh 
slant of the handwriting. It was about pigs. 

                I TOLD HIM 
                IT WAS WRONG 
                By F.X. Leach 
                Omaha 1968 

                A filthy young pig 
                got tired of his gig 
                and begged for a transfer 
                to Texas. 
                Police ran him down 
                on the Outskirts of town 
                and ripped off his Nuts 
                with a coathanger. 
                Everything after that was like 
                coming home in a cage on the 
                back of at train from 
                New Orleans on a Saturday 
                with no money and cancer and 
                a dead girlfriend. 
                In the end it was no use 
                He died on his knees in a barn 
                with all the others watching. 
                Res Ipsa Loquitur 
  "They're going to kill me," Leach said. "They'll be here by 
midnight. I'm doomed." He uttered another low cry and reached for the 
Wild Turkey bottle, which had fallen over and spilled.     

  "Hang on," I said. "I'll get more."     

  On my way to the kitchen I was jolted by the sight of a naked woman 
slumped awkwardly in the corner with a desperate look on her face, as 
if she'd been shot. Her eyes bulged and her mouth was wide open and 
she appeared to be reaching out for me.     

  I leapt back and heard laughter behind me. My first thought was that 
Leach, unhinged by his gambling disaster, had finally gone over the 
line with his wife-beating habit and shot her in the mouth just before 
we knocked. She appeared to be crying out for help, but there was no 

  I ran into the kitchen to look for a knife thinking, that if Leach 
had gone crazy enough to kill his wife, now he would have to kill me, 
too, since I was the only witness. Except the Judge, who locked 
himself in the bathroom. 

  Leach appeared in the doorway holding the naked woman by the neck 
and hurled her across the room at me.... 

  Time stood still for an instant. The woman seemed to hover in the 
air, coming at me in the darkness like a body in slow motion. I went 
into a stance with the bread knife and braced for a fight to the 

  The thing hit me and bounced softly down to the floor. It was a 
rubber blow-up doll: one of those things with five orifices that young 
stockbrokers buy in adult bookstores after the singles bars close. 

  "Meet Jennifer," he said. "She's my punching bag." He picked it up 
by the hair and slammed it across the room. 

  "Ho, ho," he chuckled, "no more wife beating. I'm cured, thanks to 
Jennifer." He smiled sheepishly . "It's almost like a miracle. These 
dolls saved my marriage. They're a lot smarter than you think." He 
nodded gravely. "Sometimes I have to beat two at once. But it always 
calms me down, you know what I mean?" 

  Whoops, I thought. Welcome to the night train. "Oh, hell yes, I said 
quickly. "How do the neighbors handle it?" 

  "No problem," he said. "They love me." 

  Sure, I thought. I tried to imagine the horror of living in a muddy 
industrial slum full of tin-walled trailers and trying to protect your 
family against brain damage from knowing that every night when you 
look out your kitchen window there will be a man in a leather bathrobe 
flogging two naked women around the room with a quart bottle of Wild 
Turkey. Sometimes for two or three hours...It was horrible. 

  "Where is your wife?" I asked. "Is she still here?" 

  "Oh, yes." he said quickly. "She just went out for some cigarettes 
She'll be back any minute." He nodded eagerly. "Oh, yes, she's very 
proud of me. We're almost reconciled. She really loves these dolls."     

  I smiled, but something about this story mad me nervous. "How many 
do you have?" I asked him.     

  "Don't worry," he said. "I have all we need." He reached into a 
nearby broom closet and pulled out another one -- a half-inflated 
Chinese-looking woman with rings in her nipples and two electric cords 
attached to her head." This is Ling-Ling," he said. "She screams when 
I hit her." He whacked the doll's head and it squawked stupidly. 

  Just then I heard car doors slamming outside the trailer, then loud 
knocking on the front door and a gruff voice shouting, "Open up! 

  Leach grabbed a .44 Magnum out of a shoulder holster inside his 
bathrobe and fired two shots through the front door. "You bitch," he 
screamed. "I should have killed you a long time ago." 

  He fired two more shots, laughing calmly. Then he turned to face me 
and put the barrel of the gun in his mouth. He hesitated for a moment, 
staring directly into my eyes. Then he pulled the trigger and blew off 
the back of his head. 

  The dead man seemed to lunge at me, slumping headfirst against my 
legs as he fell to the floor -- just as a volley of shotgun blasts 
came through the front door, followed by harsh shouts on a police 
bullhorn from outside. Then another volley of buckshot blasts that 
exploded the TV set and set the living room on fire, filling the 
trailer with dense brown smoke that I recognized instantly as the 
smell of Cyanide gas being released by the burning plastic couch. 

  Voices were screaming through the smoke, "Surrender! HANDS UP behind 
your goddamn head! DEAD MEAT!" Then more shooting. Another deafening 
fireball exploded out of the living room, I kicked the corpse off my 
feet and leapt for the back door, which I'd noticed earlier when I 
scanned the trailer for "alternative exits," as they say in the 
business -- in case one might become necessary. I was halfway out the 
door when I remembered the Judge. He was still locked in the bathroom, 
maybe helpless in some kind of accidental drug coma, unable to get to 
his feet as flames roared through the trailer.... 

  Ye Fucking Gods! I thought. I can't let him burn. 

  Kick the door off its hinges. Yes. Whack! The door splintered and I 
saw him sitting calmly on the filthy aluminum toilet stool, pretending 
to read a newspaper and squinting vacantly at me as I crashed in and 
grabbed him by one arm. 

  "Fool!" I screamed. "Get up! Run! They'll murder us!" 

  He followed me through the smoke and burning debris holding his 
pants up with one hand....The Chinese sex doll called Ling-Ling 
hovered crazily in front of the door, her body swollen from heat and 
her hair on fire. I slapped her aside and bashed the door open, 
dragging the Judge outside with me. Another volley of shotgun blasts 
and bullhorn yells erupted somewhere behind us. The Judge lost his 
footing and fell heavily into the mud behind the doomed Airstream.     

  "Oh, God!" he screamed. "who is it?"     

  "The Pigs," I said. "They've gone crazy. Leach is dead! They're 
trying to kill us. We have to get to the car!" 

  He stood up quickly. "Pigs?" he said. "Pigs? Trying to kill me?" 

  He seemed to stiffen, and the dumbness went out of his eyes. He 
raised both fists and screamed in the direction of the shooting. "You 
bastards! You scum! You will die for this. You stupid white-trash 

  "Are they nuts?" he muttered. He jerked out of my grasp and reached 
angrily into his left armpit, then down to his belt and around behind 
his back like a gunfighter trying to slap leather....But there was no 
leather there. Not even a sleeve holster. 

  "Goddamnit!" he snarled. "Where's my goddamn weapon? Oh, Jesus! I 
left it in the car!" He dropped into a running crouch and sprinted 
into the darkness, around the corner of the flaming Airstream. "Let's 
go!" he hissed. "I'll kill these bastards! I'll blow their fucking 
heads off!" 

  Right, I thought, as we took off in a kind of low-speed desperate 
crawl through the mud and the noise and the gunfire, terrified 
neighbors screaming frantically to each other in the darkness. The red 
convertible was parked in the shadows, near the front of the trailer 
right next to the State Police car, with its chase lights blinking 
crazily and voices burping out of its radio. 

  The Pigs were nowhere to be seen. They had apparently rushed the 
place, guns blazing -- hoping to kill Leach before he got away. I 
jumped into the car and started the engine. The Judge came through the 
passenger door and reached for the loaded .454 Magnum....I watched in 
horror as he jerked it out of its holster and ran around to the front 
of the cop car and fired two shots into the grille. 

  "Fuck you!" he screamed. "Take this, you Scum! Eat shit and die!" He 
jumped back as the radiator exploded in a blast of steam and scalding 
water. Then he  fired three more times through the windshield and into 
the squawking radio, which also exploded. 

  "Hot damn!" he said as he slid back into the front seat. "Now we 
have them trapped!" I jammed the car into reverse and lost control in 
the mud, hitting a structure of some kind and careening sideways at 
top speed until I got a grip on the thing and aimed it up the ramp to 
the highway....The Judge was trying desperately to reload the .454, 
yelling at me to slow down, so he could finish the bastards off! His 
eyes were wild and his voice was unnaturally savage.     

  I swerved hard left to Elko and hurled him sideways, but he quickly 
recovered his balance and somehow got off five more thundering shots 
in the general direction of the burning trailer behind us.     

  "Good work, Judge," I said. "They'll never catch us now." He smiled 
and drank deeply from our Whiskey Jug, which he had somehow picked up 
as we fled.... Then he passed it over to me, and I too drank deeply as 
I whipped the big V-8 into passing gear, and we went from forty-five 
to ninety in four seconds and left the ugliness far behind us in the 

  I glanced over at the Judge as he loaded five huge bullets into the 
Magnum. He was very calm and focused, showing no signs of the drug 
coma that had crippled him just moments before....I was impressed. The 
man was clearly a Warrior. I slapped him on the back and grinned. 
"Calm down, Judge," I said. "We're almost home." 

  I knew better, of course. I was 1000 miles from home, and we were 
almost certainly doomed. There was no hope of escaping the dragnet 
that would be out for us, once those poor fools discovered Leach in a 
puddle of burning blood with the top of his head blown off. The squad 
car was destroyed -- thanks to the shrewd instincts of the Judge -- 
but I knew it would not take them long to send out an all-points 
alarm. Soon there would be angry police road-blocks at every exit 
between Reno and Salt Lake City.... 

  So what? I thought. There were many side roads, and we had a very 
fast car. All I had to do was get the Judge out of his killing frenzy 
and find a truck stop where we could buy a few cans of Flat Black 
spray paint. Then we could slither out of the state before dawn and 
find a place to hide. 

  But it would not be an easy run. In the quick space of four hours we 
had destroyed two automobiles and somehow participated in at least one 
killing -- in addition to all the other random, standard-brand crimes 
like speeding and arson and fraud and attempted murder of State Police 
officers while fleeing the scene of a homicide.... 

  No. We had a Serious problem on our hands. We were trapped in the 
middle of Nevada like crazy rats, and the cops would shoot to Kill 
when they saw us. No doubt about that. We were Criminally Insane....I 
laughed and shifted up into Drive. The car stabilized at 115 or so.... 

  The Judge was eager to get back to his women. He was still fiddling 
with the Magnum, spinning the cylinder nervously and looking at his 
watch. "Can't you go any faster?" he muttered. "How far is Elko?" 

  Too far, I thought, which was true. Elko was fifty miles away and 
there would be roadblocks. Impossible. They would trap us and probably 
butcher us. 

  Elko was out, but I was loath to break this news to the Judge. He 
had no stomach for bad news. He had a tendency to flip out and flog 
anything in sight when things weren't going his way. 

  It was wiser, I thought, to humor him. Soon he would go to sleep. 

  I slowed down and considered. Our options were limited. There would 
be roadblocks on every paved road out of Wells. It was a main 
crossroads, a gigantic full-on truck stop where you could get anything 
you wanted twenty-four hours a day, within reason of course. And what 
we needed was not in that category. We needed to disappear. That was 
one option.     

  We could go south on 93 to Ely, but that was about it. That would be 
like driving into a steel net. A flock of pigs would be waiting for 
us, and after that it would be Nevada State Prison. To the north on 93 
was Jackpot, but we would never make that either. Running east into 
Utah was hopeless. We were trapped. They would run us down like dogs. 
There were other options, but not all of them were mutual. The Judge 
had his priorities, but they were not mine. I understood that me and 
the Judge were coming up on a parting of the ways. This made me 
nervous. There were other options, of course, but they were all High 
Risk. I pulled over and studied the map again. the Judge appeared to 
be sleeping, but I couldn't be sure. He still had the Magnum in his 

  The Judge was getting to be a problem. There was no way to get him 
out of the car without violence. He would not go willingly into the 
dark and stormy night. The only other way was to kill him, but that 
was out of the question as long as he had the gun. He was very quick 
in emergencies. I couldn't get the gun away from him, and I was not 
about to get into an argument with him about who should have the 
weapon. If I lost, he would shoot me in the spine and leave me in the 

  I was getting too nervous to continue without chemical assistance. I 
reached under the seat for my kit bag, which contained five or six 
Spansules of Black Acid. Wonderful, I thought. This is just what I 
need. I ate one and went back to pondering the map. There was a place 
called Deeth, just ahead, where a faintly marked side road appeared to 
wander uphill through the mountains and down along a jagged ridge into 
Jackpot from behind. Good, I thought, this is it. We could sneak into 
Jackpot by dawn. 

  Just then I felt a blow on the side of my head as the Judge came 
awake with a screech, flailing his arms around him like he was coming 
out of nightmare. "What's happening, goddamnit?" he said. "Where are 
we? They're after us." He was jabbering in a foreign language that 
quickly lapsed into English as he tried to aim the gun. "Oh, God," he 
screamed, "They're right on top of us. Get moving, goddamnit. I'll 
kill every bastard I see." 

  He was coming out of a nightmare. I grabbed him by the neck and put 
him in a headlock until he went limp. I pulled him back up in the seat 
and handed him a Spansule of acid. "Here, Judge, take this," I said. 
"It'll calm you down."     

  He swallowed the pill and said nothing as I turned onto the highway 
and stood heavily on the accelerator. We were up to 115 when a green 
exit sign that said DEETH NO SERVICES loomed suddenly out of the rain 
just in front of us. I swerved hard to the right and tried to hang on. 
But it was no use. I remember the sound of the Judge screaming as we 
lost control and went into a full 360-degree curl and then backwards 
at seventy-five or eighty through a fence and into a pasture.     

  For some reason the near-fatal accident had a calming effect on the 
Judge. Or maybe it was the acid. I didn't care one way or the other 
after I took the gun from his hand. He gave it up without a fight. He 
seemed to be more interested in reading the road signs and listening 
to the radio. I knew that if we could slip into  jackpot the back way, 
I could get the car painted any color I wanted in thirty-three minutes 
and put the Judge on a plane. I knew a small private airstrip there, 
where nobody asks too many questions and they'll take a personal 

  At dawn we drove across the tarmac and pulled up to a seedy-looking 
office marked AIR JACKPOT EXPRESS CHARTER COMPANY. "This is it Judge," 
I said and slapped him on the back. "This is where you get off." He 
seemed resigned to his fate until the woman behind the front desk told 
him there wouldn't be a flight to Elko until lunch time. 

  "Where is the pilot?" he demanded. 

  "I am the pilot," the woman said, "but I can't leave until Debby 
gets her to relieve me." 

  "Fuck this!" the Judge shouted. "Fuck lunch time. I have to leave 
now, you bitch." 

  The woman seemed truly frightened by his mood swing, and when the 
Judge leaned in and gave her a taste of the long knuckle, she 
collapsed and began weeping uncontrollably. "There's more where that 
came from," he told her. "Get up! I have to get out of here now." 

  He jerked her out from behind the desk and was dragging her toward 
the plane when I slipped out the back door. It was daylight now. The 
car was nearly out of gas, but that wasn't my primary concern. The 
police would be here in minutes, I thought. I'm doomed. But then, as I 
pulled onto the highway, I saw a sign that said, WE PAINT ALL NIGHT. 

  As I pulled into the parking lot, the Jackpot Express plane passed 
overhead. So long, Judge, I thought to myself. You're a brutal hustler 
and a Warrior and a great copilot, but you know how to get your way. 
You will go far in the world. 

[Part IV]  Epilogue: Christmas Dreams and Cruel Memories...Nation of 
Jailers...Stand Back! The Judge Will See You Now 

  That's about it for now, Jann. This story is too depressing to have 
to confront professionally in these morbid weeks before Christmas....I 
have only vague memories of what it's like there in New York, but 
sometimes I have flashbacks about how it was to glide in perfect 
speedy silence around the ice rink in front of NBC while junkies and 
federal informants in white beards and sleazy red jumpsuits worked the 
crowd mercilessly for nickels and dollars and dimes covered with Crack 

  I remember one Christmas morning in Manhattan when we got into the 
Empire State Building and went up to the Executive Suite of some 
famous underwear company and shoved a 600-pound red, tufted-leather 
Imperial English couch out of a corner window on something like the 
eighty-fifth floor....The wind caught it, as I recall, and it sort of 
drifted around the corner onto Thirty-fourth Street, picking up speed 
on its way down, and hit the striped awning of a Korean market, you 
know, the kind that sells everything from kimchi to Christmas trees. 
The impact blasted watermelons and oranges and tomatoes all over the 
sidewalk. We could barely see the impact from where we were, but I 
remember a lot of activity on the street when we came out of the 
elevator.... It looked like a war zone. A few gawkers were standing 
around in a blizzard, muttering to each other and looking dazed. They 
thought it was an underground explosion -- maybe a subway or a gas 

  Just as we arrived on the scene, a speeding cab skidded on some 
watermelons and slammed into a Fifth Avenue bus and burst into flames. 
There was a lot of screaming and wailing of police sirens Two cops 
began fighting with  a gang of looters who had emerged like ghosts out 
of the snow and were running off with hams and turkeys and big jars of 
caviar....Nobody seemed to think it was strange. What the hell? Shit 
happens. Welcome to the Big Apple. Keep alert. Never ride in open cars 
or walk to too close to a tall building when it snows ....There were 
Christmas trees scattered all over the street and cars were stopping 
to grab them and speeding away. We stole one and took it to Missy's 
place on the Bowery, because we knew she didn't have one. But she 
wasn't home, so we put the tree out on the fire escape and set it on 
fire with kerosene. 

  That's how I remember New York, Jann. It was always a time of angst 
and failure and turmoil. Nobody ever seemed to have any money on 
Christmas. Even rich people were broke and jabbering frantically on 
their telephones about Santa Claus and suicide or joining a church 
with no rules....The snow was clean and pretty for the first twenty or 
thirty minutes around dawn, but after that it was churned into filthy 
mush by drunken cabbies and garbage compactors and shitting dogs. 

  Anybody who acted happy on Christmas was lying -- even the ones were 
getting paid $500 an hour....The Jews were especially sulky, and who 
could blame them? The birthday of Baby Jesus is always a nervous time 
for people who know that ninety days later they will be accused of 
murdering him. 

  So what? We have our own problems, eh? Jesus! I don't know how you 
can ride all those motorcycles around in the snow, Jann. Shit, we can 
all handle the back wheel coming loose in a skid. But the front wheel 
is something else -- and that's what happens when it snows. WHACKO. 
One minute you feel as light and safe as a snowflake, and the next 
minute you're sliding sideways under the wheels of a Bekins 
van....Nasty traffic jams, horns honking, white limos full of naked 
Jesus freaks going up on the sidewalk in low gear to get around you 
and the mess you made on the street...Goddamn this scum. They are more 
and more in the way. And why aren't they home with their families on 
Xmas? Why do they need to come out here and die on the street like 
iron hamburgers? 
  I hate these bastards, Jann. And I suspect you feel the same....They 
might call us bigots, but at least we are Universal bigots. Right? 
Shit on those people. Everybody you see these days might have the 
power to get you locked up....Who knows why? They will have reasons 
straight out of some horrible Kafka story, but in the end it won't 
matter any more than a full moon behind clouds. Fuck them.     

  Christmas hasn't changed much in twenty-two years, Jann -- not even 
2000 miles west and 8000 feet up in the Rockies. It is still a day 
that only amateurs can love. It is all well and good for children and 
acid freaks to still believe in Santa Claus -- but it is still a 
profoundly morbid day for us working professionals. It is unsettling  
to know that one out of every twenty people you meet on Xmas will be 
dead this time next year....Some people can accept this, and some 
can't. That is why God made whiskey, and also why Wild Turkey comes in 
$300 shaped canisters during most of the Christmas season, and also 
why criminal shitheads all over New York City will hit you up for $100 
tips or they'll twist your windshield wipers into spaghetti and 
urinate on your door handles. 

  People all around me are going to pieces, Jann. My whole support 
system has crumbled like wet sugar cubes. That is why I try never to 
employ anyone over the age of twenty. Every Xmas after that is like 
another notch down on the ratchet, or maybe a few more teeth off the 
flywheel....I remember on Xmas in New York when I was trying to sell a 
Mark VII Jaguar with so many teeth off the flywheel that the whole 
drivetrain would lock up and whine every time I tried to start the 
engine for a buyer....I had to hire gangs of street children to muscle 
the car back and forth until the throw-out gear on the starter was 
lined up very precisely to engage the few remaining teeth on the 
flywheel. On some days I would leave the car idling in a fireplug zone 
for three or four hours at a time and pay the greedy little bastards a 
dollar an hour to keep it running and wet-shined with fireplug water 
until a buyer came along. 

  We got to know each other pretty well after nine or ten weeks, and 
they were finally able to unload it on a rich artist who drove as far 
as the toll plaza at the far end of the George Washington Bridge, 
where the engine seized up and exploded like a steam bomb. "They had 
to tow it away with a firetruck," he said. "Even the leather seats 
were on fire. They laughed at me." 

  There is more and more Predatory bullshit in the air these days. 
Yesterday I got a call from somebody who said I owed money to Harris 
Wofford, my old friend from the Peace Corps. We were in Sierra Leone 

  He came out of nowhere like a heat-seeking missile and destroyed the 
U.S. Attorney General in Pennsylvania. It was Wonderful. Harris is a 
Senator now, and the White House creature is not. Thornburgh blew a 
forty-four point lead in three weeks, like Humpty Dumpty....WHOOPS! 
Off the wall like a big Lizard egg. The White House had seen no need 
for a safety net.     

  It was a major disaster for the Bush brain trust and every GOP 
political pro in America, from the White House all the way down to 
City Hall in places like Denver and Tupelo. The whole Republican party 
was left stunned and shuddering like a hound dog passing a peach 
pit....At least that's what they said in Tupelo, where one of the 
local GOP chairmen flipped out and ran off to Biloxi with a fat young 
boy from one of the rich local families....then he tried to blame it 
on Harris Wofford when they arrested him in Mobile for aggravated 
Sodomy and kidnapping. He was ruined, and his Bail was only $5000, but 
none of his friends would sign for it. They were mainly professional 
Republicans and bankers who had once been in the Savings and Loan 
business, along with Neil Bush the manqu‚ son of the President. 

  Neil had just walked on a serious Fraud bust in Colorado. But only 
by the skin of his teeth, after his father said he would have to 
abandon him to a terrible fate in the Federal Prison System if his son 
was really a crook. The evidence was overwhelming, but Neil had a 
giddy kind of talent negotiating -- like Colonel North and the 
Admiral, who also walked....It was shameless and many people bitched. 
But what the fuck do they expect from a Party of high-riding Darwinian 
rich boys who've been running around in the White House for twelve 
straight years? They can do whatever they want, and why not. "These 
are Good Boys," John Sununu once said of this staff. "They only shit 
in the pressroom." 

  Well...Sununu is gone now, and so is Dick Thornburgh, who is 
currently seeking night work in the bank business somewhere on the 
outskirts of Pittsburgh. It is an ugly story. He decided to go out on 
his own  -- like Lucifer, who plunged into Hell -- and he got beaten 
like a redheaded stepchild by my old Peace Corps buddy Harris Wofford, 
who caught him from behind like a bull wolverine so fast that 
Thornburgh couldn't even get out of the way....He was mangled and 
humiliated. It was the worst public disaster since Watergate.     

  The GOP was plunged into national fear. How could it happen? Dick 
Thornburgh had sat on the right hand of God. As AG, he had stepped out 
like some arrogant Knight form the Round Table and declared that his 
boys -- 4000 or so Justice Department prosecutors -- were no longer 
subject to the rules of the Federal Court System. 

  But he was wrong, And now Wofford is using Thornburghs's corpse as a 
landing pad for a run on the White House and hiring experts to collect 
bogus debts from old buddies like me. Hell, I like the idea of Harris 
being President. He always seemed honest and I knew he was smart, but 
I am leery of giving him money.     

  That is politics in the 1990s. Democratic presidential  candidates 
have not been a satisfying investment recently. Camelot was thirty 
years ago, and we still don't know who killed Jack Kennedy. That lone 
bullet on the stretcher in Dallas sure as hell didn't pass through two 
human bodies, but it was the one that pierced the heart of the 
American Dream in our century, maybe forever. 

  Camelot is on Court TV now, limping into Rehab clinics and forced to 
deny low-rent Rape accusations in the same sweaty West Palm Beach 
courthouse where Roxanne Pulitzer went on trial for fucking a trumpet 
and lost. 

  It has been a long way down -- not just for the Kennedys and the 
Democrats, but for all the rest of us. Even the rich and the powerful, 
who are coming to understand that change can be quick in the Nineties 
and one of these days it will be them in the dock on TV, fighting 
desperately to stay out of prison.  

  Take my word for it. I have been there, and it gave me an eerie 
feeling.... Indeed. There are many cells in the mansion, and more are 
being added every day. We are becoming a nation of jailers. 

  And that's about it for now, Jann. Christmas is on us and it's all 
downhill from here on....At least until Groundhog Day, which is 
soon....So, until then, at least, take my advice as your family 
doctor, and don't do anything that might cause either one of us to 
have to appear before the Supreme Court of the United States. If you 
know what I'm saying.... 

  Yes. He is Up There, Jann. The Judge. And he will be there for a 
long time, waiting to gnaw on our skulls....Right. put that in your 
leather pocket the next time you feel like jumping on your new 
motorcycle and screwing it all the way over thru traffic and passing 
cop cars at 140. 

  Remember F.X. Leach. He crossed the Judge, and he paid a terrible 
price....And so will you, if you don't slow down and quit harassing 
those girls in your office. The Judge is in charge now, and He won't 
tolerate it. Beware. 

                          -To Be Continued-