Just Say Absolutely
During the better days, men of power didn’t betray the sexual indulgences of other men of power. Those were a private matter, not discussed in polite company, nor alluded to in private, out of basic social propriety. It was a rule unspoken and even the press gave such subject matter wide berth – it is a slippery slope condemning men who enjoy the company of women. Allen liked pussy, who could blame him? What is the point of attaining vast power if it comes with no sexual position or gratification? At least Allen was into women, not like Edgar over at the Bureau. Talk about being open to blackmail.
But he knew the rules; married leaders must behave with discretion, where not restraint, when they entertain paramours not their spouses. Never be caught in bed with a live man or a dead woman went the old saw; never be caught. Allen knew. Edgar’s pesky little weasel, Hector Always, didn’t appear to know, but he would learn, he would learn. Hector had joined the ranks of a useful social experiment: MKULTRA.
Hector had lived up to his name and on orders from little big boss J. Edgar Hoover, had kept a close eye on newbie CIA head Allen Dulles. This of course led him to discover Allen’s penchant for pussy not his wife’s. Exactly the kind of information a man like Mr. Hoover would find valuable. Leverage. The problem was, Mr. Dulles also appreciated the value of leverage and was in a prime position to gather his own. This led to a private war between Dulles and Hoover, a war with hard casualties on both sides and huge collateral impact. Hector was the first to go down.
He’d tracked Allen to the apartment of Linda Shriver, a waitress at famed Washington watering hole Taxease, and even snapped a shot or two of him entering her building. But he needed to move in closer – the boss liked compromising positions. On this assignment, he worked alone; no back-up – the call was his. It was quiet, a good street in a bad town; Hector moved in.
Four hours later he found himself in such a state that would leave him forever changed.
“Lose your key, Sugar?” She was impossibly cute, about 25. Her skirt was way too short and her ass far too shapely. Hector was an ass man. Tina smiled as she opened the door and entered the building, holding it open for him. He smiled at her, “I was supposed to meet a friend, but they’re not here. Thank you.” Tina looked him over: fairly nondescript and very conservative, he appeared safe. “Like to come in and wait?”
Had only he resisted the urge that brought his prey to that very place, he would have been alright; his reality would have remained sound, his grip firm.
But Tina was too cute and too friendly and Hector was too much a man to deny himself such company, if even for but a moment. It was rare to find anyone that solicitous; when it was an attractive woman, even men of stout constitution found it difficult to declare their independence.
It wasn’t even alcohol; Hector knew better than to drink on duty, just a glass of soda. He’d even poured it from the bottle after opening it; she couldn’t have put anything in it. The glass, it was in the glass. But what was it? Everything, everything – was different, yet it still seemed alright, no, fine. It seemed fine. Almost funny when you think about it. Here he sat, naked on the floor of a complete stranger’s apartment, an attractive woman stranger, laughing, laughing like a fucking madman, unembarrassed, unashamed and unbelievably content. How could he, a married father of 3, a respected federal agent, a confidant of the boss no less, sit here in this place, in this state and yet have no worries?
LSD-25. Tina had drugged him in what would be the precursor to CIA’s Operation Midnight Climax. She dosed him good and the guys on the other side of her floor length mirror caught it all on film and recording tape. Hector was compromised.
MKULTRA spawned from Project Artichoke, which popped out of Project Bluebird’s egg, all the repellant offspring of Operation Paperclip. Paperclip was the CIA’s (OSS) snatching up the best and brightest of the worst and vilest Nazi science, industry and medicine guys after WWII. Sure they were horrid war criminals who engaged in genocidal projects using unwilling and unwitting human subjects, but that was no good reason not to expunge their atrocities, bundle them up and bring them to the USA where they could head up our military science, space science, medical science and industrial science for the next generation or so. Sure we hated the Germans and the Germans hated us but we shared a deep bond that overcame that abiding rancor – our mutual hatred of the Russians. And after the colossal mess everyone made in Europe, no one with half a brain would choose to move to Russia if the USA was offered as an alternative. Nobody even bombed the USA. It got so bad we had to nuke ourselves. But then we nuked Japan which made everything right.
The unforeseen problem of having Nazi scientists working around deadly materials for their mortal enemies – who had just bombed their country to shit – was that they were Nazi scientists. They did horrible things. I mean really awful. Human experimentation was not accepted, it was encouraged. Required. Torture to the body, torture to the mind, torture to the very living spark, that force which impels us. These are the men the USA brought here to direct our science. Our science, through application of technology, directs our thinking. Ever since WWII the USA has been at war somewhere, often several somewheres at the same time.
One supposes the price of letting the losers guide your policy....
Al was on a roll. I had set it on the arm of my chair and reached for my drink and when I turned back, he had squashed it. Sat on it and smashed it all over his robe, by way of thanks I suppose. Hope you’re warm enough, Tubby! He’d been talking for the better part of an hour, some real amazing stuff, but I sensed, as did the Doc, that there was a lot more to this story, and if we didn’t get it now, in this moment of perfect lucidity, it might not be got.
I was surprisingly coherent considering our debauchings to that point – the Black Beauty was working nicely. We’d been up for over two days and even with the lion’s share of the drugs worn off, everything still maintained a dreamy, ethereal quality. The Doc twisted up yet another joint, eyeing the reel-to-reel; it was nearing the end of its immediate virtue. He glanced at me. I had gotten up to find something else to eat, or at least something to eat that wasn’t stuck to Al’s fat ass. Recovery food is integral for drug adventuring, usually something that doesn’t require much effort in prep. Al, to my satisfaction, knew this well and had a well-stocked larder. I grabbed a slice of cherry pie. “I appreciate that you seek to share the spiritual and therapeutic value of LSD. It has forever changed my life. I get it. But I still don’t see what disseminating it across the nation was intended to accomplish.”
The cherry pie had been a poor choice, at least without a plate, and the majority of it collapsed into a fine mess all over me, a single bite making it to my waiting gob. Al looked at me. I didn’t operate from a place of fear, didn’t proffer blame or apparently have any sense of shame or fundamental judgment. He could see that. But what he was to say was so insidious, so terrible, that he still couldn’t bring himself to believe what all the evidence pointed to. “Police State. I didn’t see what I was doing. They knew exactly what they were doing. Not at first, no. They didn’t know what they had; I knew exactly what we had. I shared it to help free people; they had me do it so they could imprison them.” He shook his head, the diminished serotonin which accompanies MDMA comedown making him self-pitying, morose.
The Doc jumped at this. “You’re saying that the CIA had you turn on the nation so that they could turn around and arrest us for doing acid?” Al was self-loathing; he had discovered the agony which can accompany ecstasy. He felt stupid and used. “All of it. Every drug that suddenly appeared in the mainstream in the ‘50s and ‘60s. Ever wonder where that came from? Did everybody think the government was just getting them high because they liked you? The whole drug, hippy movement was engineered.” I was still too out of it, I couldn’t see far enough ahead. “Why?!”
“Listen. They just made LSD a controlled substance; in the next year or so we’re going to see a global shift. It’ll be driven by the USA and led by those that run the USA and Europe. They had me, and then those I showed, sow the seeds with LSD. They’re using the media to promote drugs; subtle. But watch, it’ll grow and expand and in less than a generation they’ll be freely talking about drugs in mainstream milieus and promoting it in popular media. Music, the first.”
It made terrible sense. Everyone listened to music, every house had a radio. Songs of obvious double entendre and music decidedly appealing to druggy users was finding its way onto the radio with increasing frequency. The counter culture was in full swing: rebels, radicals, hippies, yippies and blacks openly smoked pot, defied authority, had wild unbridled sex of a nature corrupting to Western Values – this we were reminded by the media daily and then nightly. It was bait, they were baiting us. We who took the bait would be available to them for time in their traps: prison or war.
Al was fading. “You remember Eisenhower’s Military Industrial Complex? Our future, the Prison Industrial Complex – gulag USA.”
“All this political assassination – King, the Kennedys, the rest – is it as they say?!” I had always had my doubts; the stories didn’t add up, changed, even flew in the face of reason, but with doubt lies hope. Maybe, just maybe they told the truth. Once. Somewhere. Perhaps only the result of a clerical error or something but still…It had to be possible.
Al looked at me as the naïve boy I was, and shook his head. “Nothing is as they say. Ever. When you can understand this, you can be free. Until then, you are enslaved to an illusion.”
The Doc had busied himself near the recorder, prepared for the imminent rollout. Realizing the sheer gold on the tape had cleared my head some and I marveled at it as I wiped cherry pie from my desserted body. Al was a sharp operator and, even watching me as I stumbled about trying to draw his focus, he knew the Doc was up to something. “They took your medicine and turned it to poison, yet you still work for them. Do their bidding.”
I had been nosing around the sofa trying to find my pants, having wiped the majority of the cherry pietastrophe from me with a handful of paper towels and a dish sponge. I spotted them on the floor under the coffee table and also the remainder of the MDMA in its little packet, on top of the table, right in front of me. This demanded sharp decisive thinking. Unsurprisingly that commodity was in scant supply at that moment. “Ahh…” and I picked up my pants.
Al finally realized that he had smashed my roll all over his new robe and stood up looking at it. “Ahh.” At that precise moment I slipped the MDMA into my pants pocket as I slid them on. The problem being that I didn’t slide them into my pocket but down the front of my pants. At first this wasn’t a concern, but as I moved about, they started to shift around, working their way under my balls and toward the gravitational freedom of my pant legs. Al scraped my roll from his ass and finally got around to responding to my challenge.
“My medicine is sound, it’s their minds that are poisoned. Cameron, Gottlieb, who knows what they would have done without my guidance. Restraint.”
I couldn’t let that pass, I was feeling cocky. ”When I think of restraint, I think of 6,000 trips on acid while dosing a nation for an appointed security agency.” Al gave me a displeased glower. Then the tape stopped.
It took Al a beat to realize what he had heard. In that instant the Doc pulled off the tape reel and stashed it in his pants – now we were both carrying things he felt very close to in our pants. It was getting weird. I remained nonchalant, slipping on my shirt, looking for my shoes. Al responded to my obnoxiousness while turning around in time to see the Doc fucking with the recorder, “You’re an asshole.” He cocked his big head, he didn’t have the Black Beauty advantage and his processing was slow.
“Were you recording that?” The Doc kept fiddling with the numerous tapes accumulated throughout the experiment, very focused, then looked up distractedly, his cigarette holder in his mouth, smoke peals around his jangled face and queried, “Whu what?” Then wrapping up the recorder he mumbled, “Well, there’s nothing here, gotta get to Chicago, convention in a week. Work to do…What?”
Al had risen to immense proportions and approached the Doc. “Did you record that?” Doc, taller than Al, still seemed in his shadow; Al suddenly very sober, and not his jovial welcoming sober, but a very deliberate uncompromising sober. Doc looked at him very self-assured. “What are you talking about? We recorded the whole experiment, you said it was a good idea.” I wandered closer, rubbing some cherry pie goo from my elbow. “I think it went well, myself.”
Doc, taking my lead, continued, “Absolutely. That MDMA is a fine concoction, your friend Sasha does some quality work.” Al wasn’t easily dissuaded. “I’ll need those tapes for my research.” He eyed the loose end dangling out of the Doc’s pants and continued, very seriously, “All of them.” The Doc was firm. “These tapes are mine, same with the recorder. I offered to record the experiment, you were fine with that. But I never said I’d give you the tapes. Happy to make you copies.” At this juncture we flanked him: we were all pretty sketchy; this required tact.
Al relaxed and smiled. In a way this was even more menacing than his menacing, which was pretty menacing as menace goes. “You don’t really think you’re getting outa here with those?” He sauntered over to the bar and found a tumbler. “I did mention who I worked for?” The Doc and I considered this. Without saying it directly, Al had still made it abundantly clear that the Agency was directly involved in some of the biggest assassinations of some of the biggest world leaders over the last couple of decades. Doc was a writer, not even a big one, though his Hell’s Angels book was putting him on the map; I was a nobody. If presidents and premiers weren’t beyond their reach, what chance did we stand?
I slipped into my shoes, the MDMA shifting up my ass, pointy corner first. I stood with a yelp.
“Yikes!” Al looked at me as he poured a shot. His eyes glanced over at the coffee table. I had gotten my shoes on but the accursed packet had continued its shifty ways, and after gouging my ass, it jammed my balls and then, as I adjusted furiously, began its descent down my pant leg. Al watched this as he ambled over to the coffee table, sipping his drink. I realized my predicament – the Doc had actually gotten permission to tape in advance, Al was enthusiastic about it on an intellectual level. It was only upon more sober reflection, or at least more hung-over reflection, that he realized that he had been compromised by his own big mouth.
But I was a different story entirely. I had enjoyed my host’s bounty, gained experience and a remarkable awareness of socio-political reality in the second half of the 20th in the USA– dominated world. Where Doc was being a journalist, I was being a cock. Al dug through the tabletop detritus as my shifting dislodged the packet and it dropped to the floor with an audible slap, right between my feet. Al stopped his search and looked over at me. I stepped toward the Doc, my right toe launching the packet under the ottoman. “Need a hand?”
I could tell that Doc had seen my suave drug stash by the odd way he looked at me, but did I get it past Al? “Really, Art?” No, no I hadn’t. “Invite you into my home, offer you my hospitality…” He was milking it for all he was worth and the post-MDMA low really worked on my self-esteem. Because he was right. I bent down and retrieved the packet from under the ottoman. “Al, I apologize. That was seriously wrong of me and I have no excuse.” I stepped over and handed him the packet. I felt pretty fucking awful. “Shit, man. Ah shit.” Al took the packet from me with his left hand, then punched me right in the face with his right, knocking me back, stumbling over the ottoman and crashing to the floor. His fist felt like a log, solid, unyielding: I went down hard.
The Doc stunned me even more by producing a 44 magnum Smith from his ever-present bag and pointing it at Al. “That’ll be enough of that.” My head spinning, I clambered around trying to gather my bearings. This new development concerned us all. “Sorry, Doc…Fucked up…don’t know what I was doing…” I was a cranial throbfest, the man could throw a punch. I finally achieved an upright seated posture and rubbed my head in pain. “Thought you said this didn’t come with agony associated with it.”
Al considered me with a clear awareness of the Doc’s aim. “I’m revising my initial assessment based upon the results of this field test.” He looked at the Doc as I crawled painfully to my wobbly feet. “You realize that even if you somehow get that out of here, it’ll never be published.” Doc looked at me, “Get the girls, get the car.” I was barely conscious, rolling in and out of focus as I stumbled toward Al’s room, truly punch drunk. Doc sardonically called Al on his latest pronouncement, “So, you guys run the media too?” As I trundled the groggy and perplexed girls out, I heard Al respond with a single word, “Mockingbird.”
I sat at the wheel, spinning, the girls weaving in the back seat, the engine so quietly idling with grave danger looming beyond. In the house there was a gunshot, followed by a crash which preceded the Doc running frantically to the car at high speed, pistol in one hand, wildly clutching the tapes and recorder and his bag with the other, shouting, “Go! Go!!!” He jumped in and I floored it. Looking down he realized something and shouted, “Stop!!!” and I slammed on the brakes with a jolting skid.
He held the golden tape in his trembling hand, one end laced through his pant leg and out the top, the other leading out the door and onto the street beyond. He flung open the door and started reeling the tape furiously when Al appeared with his Colt 45 Auto in the street behind us, aiming it at the car about 30 feet away. The Doc did a quick cost/benefit analysis and shared his results, “Gooooo!!!!” I agreed with his assessment and floored it again.
There was a single shot from behind. Doc turned toward me and I looked back in the perfect instant to see Al’s bullet punch a hole through the back window, snap the Doc’s cigarette holder an inch from his mouth, then punch another hole through the windshield. Where it went from there I cannot say. Well, I suppose I could. It hit a housecat perched on a cinderblock wall a quarter mile away, knocking it into a Koi Pond which caused both the cat’s owner and the pond maintenance guy terrible sadness.
The Doc did an accounting; he had managed to salvage about 50 feet of tape. “I’m holding the goddamned gun on him and he’s making the ‘you’re makin’ a terrible mistake’ speech when the cocksucker whips the MDMA packet at me. Hit me right in the fucking mouth.” I glanced over as I sped down the street; his lips were bloody. “I spit them right into my pocket, what’s the chance of that?” He produced the packet from his shirt pocket, shaking his head. “Amazing. The son of a bitch went for his gun so I pulled the trigger.” He displayed the gun then opened the cylinder. “Empty. The son of a bitch saw light down the fucking barrel.” Shaking his head he noticed my revolver on the seat. I glanced over at him. “It’s loaded.”
Digging in his bag, he produced a box of shells and loaded his gun, both of us looking back, nervously waiting for headlights to come speeding up our collective ass. Replacing the shells and his bag he again considered the desecrated tape. “When I realized that his gun was probably loaded I ran the fuck outa there as fast as I could. He had a clean shot at me but then he slipped on some of your cherry pie and fired high and fell back on the coffee table.” He looked at me with a weird gratitude. “You saved my life.”