No Business - Clawing Through the Back Doors of Show Biz

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J Hoover: Grimefighter

Theodore Shackley was CIA station chief in Saigon from 1968 to 1972 after working his magic in Laos, which he ran from ‘66 to ‘68. Prior to that he worked as Miami station chief in charge of covert ops including the Cuban Project (Operation Mongoose) which he spearheaded (with General Edwin Lansdale) after the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion in ‘61. In Southeast Asia, Shackley was behind the Phoenix Program which was responsible for killing between 26,000 and 41,000 suspects during its operation. The Blond Ghost, as he became known, had his hand, his bloody hand, in many of the most insidious intelligence operations in the nation’s history. And he had just handed me a clean passport, ID, military discharge (honorable) and $500 American.

“Watch yourself, Arthur.” As most Americans are linguistically challenged, it was decided that my French variant, Marteau, would keep me relatively anonymous in the wrong circles, while Arthur still left me Art to answer to. Ted had confirmed East’s report of me as MIA, before reassigning him to Koala Impure, the provincial capital of Old Guinea in its regional struggle against the upstart New Guinea. He seemed genuinely pleased that I had outfoxed not only East and, well, you know, but the barbaric Tony Poe as well, without training, weapons or money. But not without help. That mattered little to Ted; field operatives rely on help all the time. Part of being an effective agent is in being able to convince others to step up for you, to give you shelter, sustenance, money, even their lives. A great spy is an exceptional con man.

Ted was deadly efficient at his trade and I knew his generosity to me would come with a price. But to walk away from this madness, alive, intact, even okay, negated any future cost in my mind, because to leave here was real, tangible, the future but an abstract. As it stood, I would return to the US under cover provided by Clandestine Services, courtesy of Ted Shackley, using my name, but not my name. I needed to play it cagey, maintain a low profile.

Within my cover it had been established that I was indeed part of the USO and would finish the tour with them before returning to the states. I actually choreographed a dance routine based upon some of the moves Chan taught me which went over big before the troubles. We had been performing all over US Asian bases – I was amazed at the number of countries that have US military installations – and my routine, the NVA Shuffle, had garnered some attention for me, leading Jill to a fit of jealousy. When she found out I was enjoying a touch of recreational boom-boom with Trinity, an impressively configured back-up dancer and contortionist from Milwaukee, it was decided that I would leave the tour early and Trinity would watch her ass.

I caught a flight out of Dim Sum, Pingo Pongo to Saigon, from where I would catch a flight to Los Angeles by way of Hawaii. I was met at the airport by Ted who insisted I join him on a flight into Bangkok, a short hop, after which he would furnish me first class airfare home. As I had little choice in the matter and had never flown first class, I offered no resistance.

“What am I doing in here?” Ted looked at the title then at me dubiously. “What do you want from me?! The last one ran a long so I–” He cut me off. “Chapter creep.” I looked at him perplexed. “What?!” He inhaled very deliberately. “You heard me, chapter creep. I don’t belong in here. This is a Bureau chapter. Get it together.” I sat back, utterly astounded. My characters were running roughshod over my finely crafted work and I was powerless to stop it. “Listen, if it was so finely crafted we wouldn’t be having this discussion.” I threw my hands into the air in frustration. Only then did I realize the folly of such behavior, as I was then left with no hands with which to catch them when they came down, let alone write this down when it came up.

Chapter creep…Jesus! What next..?

We wandered through the seedy underbelly of Bangkok, itself the seedy underbelly of Thailand, which was the seedy belly button of the Orient, primarily caraway and sesame. Ted was strictly business as we searched for his unnamed target from dive to bordello to skeevepit through the mad bustle of Bangkok’s flesh mart. Then at a place roughly translated as Sing Lip he cried out, “Tony!” and we stormed in. Sing Lip was a disaster; smoke hung in the air, bodies lay strewn about in severe distress, many of them bleeding, furniture busted up, glassware shattered; and at the center of the maelstrom, sitting on the floor half naked, draped in young Thai girls and completely obliterated from the lao lao* he sucked from the mostly consumed bottle he wielded, Tony Poe looked at us imploringly, “The whore or…The whore…”

Back in L.A. I laid low, avoiding my usual haunts, behaving with uncharacteristic restraint and dignity. After about 45 minutes of that I got bored and called up my old dealers, my mind requiring some fine tuning after the clamorous cacophony of the East. I had some problems to solve – some gargantuan problems – and I needed to gird for the work ahead. Most of the old gang had moved to the chain gang, or more realistically the chained gang, as the system ratcheted up the War on Druggies, but I reached Stu, good old Stu, who always had a drug or two. Some were red that made you blue; some caused laughter, quite a few…Chapter creep.

Anyway…Well stocked Stu came through, so fuck walking, instead I flew. I made the requisite acquisitions to even begin such a challenge: two ounces of cannabis, 10 hits of acid, an 8-ball of coke and 20 Quaaludes to cut the edge should one exist after applying all that other stuff. I had rented a room in Hollywood to maintain a central location around L.A. and especially to remain centralized to all the women drawn to Tinsel Town like mental shavings to a refrigerator magnet. While neither drugs nor women would solve my problems, in fact would likely exacerbate them, I understood that denying myself the things I loved would only create in me a greater problem. For it is the things I love that provide me the will to live, and that will to live is the only thing I have to make a problem, or many, solvable. I needed solutions. So I walked to the liquor store.

*Laotian whiskey

Curiously, while returning from the store I passed Annette Funicello on Sunset Blvd. and our eyes met for an instant. I was in high spirits, quite a different man than the one she reviled a decade earlier, and she, to my pleasant surprise, returned my smile. In that look I realized that she had despised me for what I represented to her, in her mind: the threat of betrayal, ignominy; and that owing to the fact I didn’t live up to her negative expectation, she could no longer hate me for unrealized potential embarrassment. That it is unjust to condemn one, not for what they do, but for what they are capable of. In that instant I saw that she forgave me and would not become litigious should I decide to publish later. In that instant I believe we signed the first visual non-aggression pact. It was quite the thing to see.

Cyndee. Her name was Cyndee. I ran right into her when I was looking over our optical treaty in my thoroughly ridiculous mind. Even though my eyes had returned forward, my brain was still working out details with Annette’s legal team when I plowed into her, all but knocking her to the sidewalk. She was at first annoyed, but as I was sufficiently contrite and impossibly cute – my bag of booze improving my appearance significantly – she quickly came around to my way of thinking and then after, to my room, where we went around the drug collection and then around the world a couple of times, much to our mutual delight. It was rounding Portugal, I believe, on the second trans-global junket, that I understood my primary problem and thus its solution.

I remembered my reading: Sun Tzu, Kautilya, Machiavelli, Clausewitz all succinctly expressed in Hitler’s “Strength lies in attack, not defense.” Of course it was true simply because in defense your focus is on what you’ll lose whereas in attack it is on what you’ll gain. Things are more easily taken than maintained. I needed to go on the offensive. I needed to see the chairman. The Grandfather would have to know I had returned alive.

“Don Frankini–” Frank sat at the table and shook his head, patronizingly. “Frank, just Frank, okay? We get it, I like that name for some reason – it’s very clever. And with the spoons – some really funny stuff. Hysterical. Listen, kid, ya gotta get this Hoover thing in check; you’re breakin’ my Goddamned heart here.” It was true; he was weeping like a little bitch. I hated seeing him like that but he was an emotional guy, what can I say? I can tell you honestly, I preferred that to when his emotions inspired him to make other people weep. That could be downright tragic.

Ever since Hoover and I had our little chat, the Feds had been riding Frank and some of the other Finger Falls crime vassals (including Roberto) very hard. Frank, a lifelong Democrat, had switched to the Republicans, even offered to inform for Hoover, but Hoover turned him down cold. He liked watching Frank squirm too much to let him into the fold. After bonding with Ted in ‘Nam, I knew my pressing issue wasn’t the Agency – they had plans for me, to be certain – but the Bureau, who also had plans for me, likely equally nefarious but decidedly less in my best interest. But I held a single card that gave me an advantage: I was officially Missing In Action in Vietnam. The FBI wasn’t even looking for me.

“FBI! We know you’re in there Hammer!” Well, that was a surprise. Right out of left field. Just once could I get cocky and not have the door slammed on it? Once?! Their frenzied pounding alerted me to the whole might of pen and sword thing. They were beating on the wrong door. I’d wisely moved into a building with a Hammer in residence. Not so lucky for Abra, though.

As they burst into his apartment, guns blazing, I gathered my requisites and calmly walked out the back door, an agent holding it open for me as I exited. The other agents, seeing the first one let me pass, assumed that I had been cleared and let me pass as well, each new passing further confirming my legitimacy. I hopped on a bus at Sunset and Gower and headed east. In my pack, I had all I needed: my drugs, passport and papers, and the Nikon F series 35mm SLR camera Sean had me carry for him in the limo before his fateful ride: “Don’t think I’ll need both for the trip. Hang on to it for me.”

I debarked the bus at Sunset and Echo Park, then crossed Sunset and walked back westward. I made it less than a block before a black limo pulled alongside of me, the back door opening ominously. I looked around, then in, then climbed in and the limo sped up Sunset, back toward Hollywood. At the 101 onramp it headed south. Seated beside me was Don Frankini, an associate of Frank’s. During a heavy bout one night some time back, apparently his name came up and I conflated it with…well, suffice it to say, we are all glad that’s cleared up.

“I don’ know whatchur up ta, but Frank says to give ya whatcha need.” Don was a bit of a goomba, not someone I could warm to, but someone I could rely on. He had helped Frank out of a few tight spots and even into a few as well, and was thus a good man to know. He knew all he needed to in my regard. “Is the room arranged?” Don nodded and looked at me seriously. “Suite 102.” I set my pack at my feet and relaxed. “Fine. When we get there, you can handle the registration.” I laid back and drifted off to sleep. Thankfully, I didn’t dream.

After deciding my course of action, I needed to research it to determine its feasibility. I spent the better part of two weeks at the library before I knew I could pull it off. I also realized I’d have to work fast. Owing to Frank’s Frankishness, getting a specific room on a specific day in a specific place is rarely much of a problem. On the other hand owing to the outlandish nature of my protocol, that didn’t prove to be the case and some favors had to be called in, some palms greased. As I didn’t apprise Frank of the particulars of my plan, and as he had little hope of me succeeding, our relationship became strained as a result.

When we finally arrived at our destination – the very exclusive Del Mar Cunty Club Estates, which served the needs of the monied interests who enjoyed the fabled race track and environs contiguous – Don handled the registration while I went ahead to the room. I was family, Lou, Frank’s nephew from Jersey, in town for the races, Frank would be joining me later, I was to be treated as Frank himself, extended every courtesy.

The cover worked because we came off as entitled as celebrities, eccentric and unpredictable. And, our ace in the hole: Frank’s credit card.

I spent the first couple of days in the room or walking around the grounds, making myself familiar to the various security contingents. I now sported a goatee, my usually wild hair slicked back and dark; I was lean, strong and quite tan – a new man. A very different looking one.

In my pool loungery, I wore wrap-around Alpine shades, an Acapulco shirt and Panama hat. After the first day’s swimwear fiasco, they also insisted that I sport some form of pants, so I put on some Bermuda shorts, rounding out my international sartoria nicely. I cut quite the impressive swath and was well known to the staff and security by the third day. Frank’s nephew Lou: a good tipper, friendly, an alright guy. By the third day it had become abundantly clear that I wasn’t there for the races as my flirtations had become legion. That night I received a call which sent Don on a mission, after which I spent the rest of the week by the pool, drinking at the cabana bar.

By the fourth day another presence was apparent – the FBI. They were fairly ubiquitous and easy to spot as they were the only ones wearing dark suits in the casual tropic ambiance of the Del Mar. I had gotten friendly with a couple of their advance men on Wednesday night, even got Agent Les Stench to join me for a drink when he declared himself officially off duty after securing the perimeter. I was well enough acquainted with Frank’s clan to be able to offer authentic anecdotes to those who would listen, which further cemented my position as family.

By Friday, I had become such a fixture at the cabana bar that I might as well have been a plant or piece of pool furniture. So much so that when the FBI secured the pool area Friday night, it was as if I wasn’t even there, or better, I was there officially. Agent Stench even greeted me, “Hi Lou.” Why did the FBI have so much interest in the Del Mar Cunty Club? Because it was where their boss stayed when he was in town for the races. Bosses. For Hoover never went on vacation without his best buddy for life and second in command, Clyde Tolson. These fellows were fairly inseparable. Insuperable. Insufferable.

So far the plan was going swimmingly. It began with a two-pronged offensive: a fuck-up and a save. I left a message with the local Feds that Art Hammer was back in town, gave them the address but not the room number. Abra Hammer was just a stroke of good fortune that I gladly exploited. His real name was Abraham Mer and he was a serial predator – he liked little girls. He had altered his name when he moved to L.A. from New York, but once I realized who he was, I also realized he would adequately provide for my needs, which he did splendidly. As the Feds went in shooting, Abe went down without a fight. By the time they realized he wasn’t their intended target, I was already in the limo southbound. When they discovered whom they had killed, they changed their story and Art returned to MIA status. I was off the map.

On Saturday the pool was fairly quiet and I spent the time reading Il Principe by Machiavelli, for a touch of irony. One of the other agents I was friendly with, Bert, saw what I was reading. “That’s a great book. Don’t see many people reading that these days.” I peered at him over my shades. “Seems like a lot of people one would imagine as reading it probably should.” Bert mulled that over then, “Not sure I got that.” I smiled; how nice that someone, especially in officialdom, would admit it. “Cherry picking. They grab what they like but ignore what they don’t. It’s one of those books best considered entirely.” Bert got that and appreciated it.

About 4:20 there was a little buzz of activity, a few swimmers, a bikini or two. Then came the call. Bobby, the bartender at the cabana, handed the phone to me and I listened silently, then hung up. The game was afoot. I maintained my steely focus, returning the phone to Bobby. “I’ll have another greyhound.”

At 5:30 things got hopping: the Feds took their respective positions as the director and his go to guy returned from a good day at the races for a drink and a swim. Hoover and Clyde sat on a couple of lounges under an umbrella away from the main pool activity. Though no words were spoken, as Hoover and Clyde made their designs on the pool clear, everyone just got out. Not all at once, but within about 2 minutes the pool was empty and the personification of evil and his life-mate were allowed to swim unmolested.

After they got out of the pool – there was a dark oily film on the surface that destroyed the filter – they blotted each other dry with chamois made of the rendered flesh of virginal altar boys and ordered up a couple of Mai Tais, which Ronny the cabana waiter solicited Bobby the barkeep for. Bobby whipped up a couple of his amazing fruity libations and set them on Ronny’s tray – then my guest arrived. Don had gathered me Trinity, fresh off her first and only USO tour.

Trinity was a rare gem of a woman and her sparkle made my work precise and effective. She was 5’ 10” naked, her preferred state and one which suited her and those who viewed her splendidly. She was a committed dancer, and when released an even better one, owing to less restrictive choreography and fewer chemical restraints. Her body was firm and muscular, but not body builder muscular – insanely hot dancer muscular, her breasts round bouncy C+s, her ass tight and firm, round but compact, legs strong with thick calves, jaw dropping in stilettos.

Which, with the tiniest of bikinis, she wore to the pool that day. She entered quietly, heels clicking on pool deck; but some people are magnetic, and within seconds, every eye at that pool was on her, drinking her in, marveling at how her body glistened with a thin sheen of sweat, at how much of her body could be seen: the shoes, the legs, that ass, those breasts and the face, that regal and proud face all but concealed behind dark glasses and dark tresses falling down across her shoulders, down her strong enticing back. Ronny almost stumbled as he passed her, taking Hoover and Clyde’s drinks to them.

And then in a perfect moment, she walked right up to me, leaned in and gave me a tongue thrashing kiss and very obvious groinish grope. Wordlessly, I gathered my drink and my book and we returned to the room.

We had a good view of the pool from the window in the bedroom and I stood watching the activity below while Trinity kneeled before me and resolved the rigidity she had inspired in me with her swimwear and general magnificence. I had serious issue with her methods, or at least serious amounts of issue, but she came to see it as but icing on the cock of which she was enthusiastically blowing off the candle. And it wasn’t even my birthday, though she was present.

It didn’t take long. At first they thought the drinks were a bit strong, felt a bit light headed. But then it was the Southern California heat, the heat and drink – that had to be it. Maybe some food, that’s all they needed, some food. But Clyde felt a little queasy, drinking on an empty stomach, don’t want to puke in the pool, so they went back to their room, Suite 101, and things got a little weird. And well they should have. And good for me they did.

Hoover and Clyde went on a little trip. And I paid for the airfare. While the pool guests and staff found themselves justifiably enamored of Trinity’s magnificence, I slipped a little LSD into Hoover and Clyde’s beverages. A couple of hits each, pretty potent – perhaps not so little. They got so fucking high that they couldn’t bring themselves to be hospitalized owing to the stigma of J. Goddamned Edgar Hoover on acid in the public eye. Would it make him crazy? With all the stuff they’ve said about it, could the public ever be sure? Could he be trusted? And how did somebody slip Hoover acid? It could just as easily have been poison. A major security breach – even the director is vulnerable. They couldn’t tell anyone about it – no one could ever know.

At first they were terrified, they had no idea what was happening to them. As the drug took hold they came to see things they couldn’t explain or discount, their defenses were stripped away. When they understood that they couldn’t take action and that they’d have to take their chances, a peace came over them, an acceptance and they rode it out with surprising aplomb. They were up for 14 hours. I got some amazing shots. Dressed, Hoover was ungainly at best, a pile of a man so self-impressed; while bare he defined a pear, a wretched fruit in disrepair. A perish pug, official thug, flouncing naked on the drug, which roiled inside, the pug bug-eyed, erect there spied in front of Clyde. The shots I sought, the ones I got, the camera caught an awful lot.

Now before you go condemning me for hypocrisy, especially in regard to the way I’ve represented others who dosed people in here, let us keep in mind that these men had tried to kill me repeatedly for no good reason and that their behaviors led to my being dosed and tortured by agents of the very government they work for. The government that, through its intelligence agencies, have effectively dosed the entire nation. In some instances there is a higher justice than can be found in criminal legal systems. Occasionally we must poison the ill that poison the well.

Owing to the ground plan at Del Mar, Hoover’s balcony was private and could not be seen from any normal vantage points: windows, balconies, patios, walkways. This allowed him a reasonable expectation of privacy which, when the drug really got them going, they took full advantage of. While we could see the pool from our suite, Hoover’s room was just out of our visual line of sight. So I got a drill and a hole saw and cut a hole in the wall behind a painting which allowed me an unobstructed view of his balcony and master bedroom. The shot I printed and sent him was an 8 X 10 glossy of Hoover standing naked by the sliding glass door, Clyde seated naked before him, Hoover’s little boner about 8 inches from Clyde’s face. I noted that I had other more graphic shots.

I was impressed with how fast Helen Gandy connected me with Hoover. “What do you want from me Hammer?” My voice positively lilted – I had something on the guy who had something on everybody. “A sit down. A tete a tete.” The tension in his voice rose. “And for that you’ll give me the negatives?” He was being stupid. I had him and he hated it. “You’re never going to see that. But as long as I and the people I care about remain unmolested by anybody at your behest, no one else ever will either.” He spoke fast, clipped, “Why should I take your word? What assurances do I have?” He wanted out of it but he didn’t have any real bargaining power.

I reminded him of this. “As you are not good to your word, I can well appreciate your distrust of others, especially considering how you use information for leverage. You want assurance? If you fuck with me on this, if you don’t give me my due, the photos–plural–and story will hit the media worldwide in a day.” He swung his empty dick. “You’re messing with the wrong person, Hammer. You can’t imagine what I can do to you.” I made a pointless plea for sanity, “I don’t have to imagine. I’m just trying to get you to stop. Just leave me alone.” Somehow that did not register with him. How could anyone think he would leave them alone? “So what do you want?” Disturbing to realize this imbecile ran the nation’s law enforcement arm for 5 decades. “You can’t read? Jesus, the whole page spells it out, do I need to send you a Goddamned memo?!” The fear of the fail forces us to the familiar. “Actually that would be useful.” I shook my head. “I’ll be in touch.”

I sat in the bleachers at the Del Mar racetrack, the summer races now over, the air autumnal. I read an article in the Mortem Post about a group on the east coast that broke into an FBI field office and released numerous documents which related to COINTELPRO, the FBI’s counter insurgency program of informants, agents provocateurs, false flags, assassinations and terrorism. It was coming apart on him and Hoover walked with less spring in his step as he approached my seat, flanked by two agents. As he didn’t perceive me as an armed threat, he had his agents wait below as he climbed the bleachers to address me. He seemed a little tired.

I acknowledged his agents in waiting, “Your trust means the world to me.”

He grimaced at my sarcasm. “If you were trying to kill me, we wouldn’t be having this meeting. I’m here. What do you want?” He still talked to me as though there were some action he could take and make it all go away. “I want it to end, without my life ending in the process. I want your bureau to leave me alone.” He leaned against a seat-back; he was very old. He didn’t want to leave me alone; I had embarrassed him and now I used his very techniques against him. I had the ability to ruin him, to destroy all he stood for, all he accomplished. I had made him vulnerable.

“I don’t like you Hammer. You’re everything I got into law enforcement to crush. Your kind would destroy this great nation if not for people like me, people who will stand up to you and your dirty Commie thinking. I fought your type for over 50 years, brought down some of the biggest criminals in our nation’s history. Me, Hammer, I did that. You sicken me.”

He scowled puggishly at me as he barked out his disdain. Then, realizing his impotence and the pointlessness of castigating me, especially with his litany of crimes against me, he sat down. He would play the sentiment card. “In the old days, subversives were easy to spot, rout – we went in hard and the public supported us. We were the good guys. Then all this openness and disclosure bullshit undermined everything. Somebody got the notion the people had a right to know what their government was up to. Now it’s committee after committee holding investigation after investigation. Our Goddamned hands are tied.”

He talked as a machinegun fires, hard, fast, relentless, blasting the words at me as an assault, no space for return fire, no place to hide. I grabbed a breath and offered, “Interesting, wouldn’t you say, how criminals and law enforcement both prefer to do their work without public scrutiny?” He scrunched his face disapprovingly. “You don’t know what you’re talking about. You can’t fight crime on the front page–” I cut him off, he didn’t like that –“Yet you’ve been doing it for 50 years. But more importantly defining crime for the public, on your terms. Maybe crime isn’t merely one man’s definition of it.”

“The law, Hammer. The law defines crime. I just enforce it.” I looked at him with contempt; he was a wretched little shitcake. “Bullshit, Hoover! You are the law, you define it. You break it. You declare thinking a felony and ruin people’s lives prosecuting it. What criminal code defines thinking communistically as a crime? What law states that we have to agree with you to enjoy lives unmolested?!” He didn’t want this; he didn’t need to debate me, of all people, on the distinctions between his crimes and the unsanctioned crimes he fought. He decided to hurt me.

“See yourself as a smart guy, don’t you Hammer? Arty – you have artistic pretensions. Think you’re pretty clever. You’re not so clever.” He was baiting me. “Maybe not. Especially getting a man like you mad at me. Suppose that’s my problem with all this. I haven’t done anything; I’m not being persecuted for my behaviors, but for what I know. I’m being persecuted for my thinking.” He knew the greatest threat he, and all people in power, faced was an informed public. Gangsters, mobsters, thugs – hell, these were all good capitalists, doing whatever it took to realize profits, letting nothing or no one stand in their ways. Theirs was the American way.

But subversives were the worst. They didn’t have to break any laws to pose a threat, to offer menace. With their outlandish thinking – civil rights, equal rights, living wages, ending prohibition, ending war – they snuck right into people’s thinking and poisoned their minds against the status quo, against the system. Against the Bureau. Against Hoover.

He punted, “You attacked me, federal agents, stole their weapons.” I caught it and ran it back for a touchdown. “You kidnapped me at gunpoint, threatened my life and ruined my potential relationship with Jane Fonda. Your crimes against me led to the crimes you claim I’m guilty of against you.” Then, for emphasis, “Jane Fonda. Ya asshole.”

He looked at me, smug. “You don’t seem to get it Hammer. I’m a crime fighter and crime fighters don’t commit crimes. Whatever we do is necessary to combat evil. I can’t commit a crime against you – it’s legally impossible. Regardless of your criminality. As a crime fighter I am allowed discretion to do whatever it takes to fight crime. Whatever it takes.” I realized then a disturbing truth: for the serial predator there is no better profession than law enforcement – their atrocities are not crimes, there predations are promoted.

I shook my head, recalling General Westmoreland’s brilliant defense, “You have to destroy the country to save it, I got it. You have to break the law to enforce it. Doublethink.” Hoover perked up. “Yeah? Well your buddy Blair was anti-Communist and even informed for his government. So don’t get too cocky.” I responded, “He was also anti-fascist and took a bullet fighting them in Spain. You do more damage to the thing you claim to support than a thousand of me could over a hundred years.” I waved the COINTELPRO article at him. “You murder people guilty of feeding poor kids.” Throwing it to the ground I continued defiant and seething contempt. “Well, you’re not gonna murder me. Any-fucking-thing happens to me – anything – the world gets visual confirmation of your status as a grade A cocksucker. Guaran-fucking-teed.”

Hoover scowled at me. “Do you really think you’ll get published, that anybody will even look at your photos, your exposé? Who do you think controls the media in this country?” I looked at him; I hadn’t really considered it. “I suppose anyone who can afford to.” Hoover nodded, he was enjoying this. “That’s right. Rich people. The Constitution guarantees them freedom to publish what they like. Rich people like America. It lets them be rich. They like the FBI. We let them stay rich. They don’t like little pukes like you, try to bring down our great nation. Just try to get published. Just try.”

Well, that’s just great. At 214 pages in, this is a hell of a time to tell me. I felt disgust, he began to reek the stench of death. “So, the Bureau is into publishing?”

He leaned in, enjoying his abuse of Art. “You don’t get it, do ya Hammer? Not so clever after all. The Bureau is into everything. Our friends succeed, our enemies fail. No mainstream media outlet in this country would publish this garbage – they know what would happen. Government has people in every form of media, in every major concern.” This reigned in my cockiness, he had a trump card; of course he did. I bluffed, “Pretty certain such graphic and brilliant photography would find its way into print somewhere. Europe is big on that faggy shit.”

Hoover snapped at me, like a rabid Chihuahua, “Don’t fuck with me Hammer! I’ll ruin you.” I shook my head. “You already have. You already have. And now you offer that regardless of virtue, regardless of skill or execution or raw talent, my work will be made to fail, simply because it’s mine.”

Hoover sat back pleased, his pudgy girth making him ungainly in his suit. “Why would you think we’d give you a forum, a platform? You are off message.” That was new to me. “Off message?” Hoover loved knowing stuff I didn’t, compensation perhaps for that which I knew and probably shouldn’t. “That’s right. You don’t praise the benefits of the system. You’re too focused on its failings, weaknesses.” I was confounded. “How do you know any of this?! I haven’t written or published or sang any of the stuff you’re talking about. Until all this happened, I didn’t know about any of this shit! How was I gonna write about it?!”

Hoover stood up and stared hard at me. “We got your number, Hammer. We see what you’re up to. Any of this material ever sees the light of day, you can be sure you won’t. We will ruin every person you know; they will know it was you that ruined them. And when you are universally hated, then we will come for you with everyone’s support.” I truly despised this man. “I’ve seen your cock, Hoover – you’re swinging an empty dick. Leave me the fuck alone and no one else ever will. Consider it a public service.”

He nodded to one of his agents who wandered up into the bleachers and handed him a file folder. “You’re a clever guy, I see that; and I know that having this knowledge with the Cassandra Complex of perpetual disbelief will make you torture yourself more than I ever could. That gives me satisfaction. This interview is over, punk.” He dropped my file on the seat before me. “You no longer exist in my Bureau. Watch your ass.” I opened the file; stamped across the opening page in bold red: Inactive.

I had done it – I beat the rotten little fucker at his own game and lived to tell. I was spent but felt fantastic. I took the last of my acid and headed to the beach.

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