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By Suspect Brown All Rights Reserved ©

Mystery / Humor


Suspect Brown is Public Enemy Number Infinite! The elusive freelance gangster and fashion victim is the primary target of practically every federal law enforcement agency in America. Master of disguise and concealing his identity, this modern Christian Dior Bakunin wannabe cruises the criminal underworld continually in search of his next unlikely opportunity. Crimes he has perpetrated include ripping off the Louvre, crank calling Richard Nixon in the Oval Office no less and generally affronting J Edgar Hoover beyond the threshold of madness. Provocative, lippy, hepcat extraordinaire and inane beyond imagining, Suspect Brown dominates the landscape of the absurd!



(Explanatory note: as suggested in the text, this fictional conference takes place towards the end of J Edgar Hoover’s long tenure as Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. I’ve envisioned it as occurring approximately in 1970.)

Following dialogues in transcript form excerpted from a series of meetings (dates and times classified) held at the Federal Bureau of Investigation training and administrative site at Quantico, West Virginia. All meetings and discussions take place in Secure Conference Room Two (located basement of facility near holding cells block and interview rooms). SCR2 booked for duration, comprising one working day of talks. Additionally with formal post-conference evening session following dinner and hospitality (Bureau courtesy expense) at a local restaurant. During the non-protocol evening session in SCR2 a mobile bar was provided as indicated. Meeting conducted was inter-departmental at Federal level only with invited delegates of appropriate rank. One noted exception also attended, details given below.

Agents (identities and ranks and current postings of all listed agents strictly classified) participating from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Central Intelligence Agency, the American Secret Service, the Drug Enforcement Agency, the National Security Agency, the Chief of Staff of the White House, the Federal Undercover Criminal Knowledge and Espionage Review Service (acronym inadmissible as indicated) and a specially invited representative (identity, organisational rank, duties, current posting and nationality of visiting Interpol Representative strictly classified) attending from overseas, currently headquartered in Paris, France. All organisations referred to after initial designation by their respective acronyms as suitable. Note that sections of this transcript have been redacted due to the discussion of classified matters and operations not suitable for inclusion. A break for lunch from noon to 14:00 was given to permit attending agents to phone their respective agencies and departments and progress-query their current workloads.


(After formal welcomes and introductions to colleagues and necessary preliminaries, a short explanatory précis is given by the meeting’s official host and moderating chair. Précis is given by the current Assistant Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Clyde Tolson, acting for Director J Edgar Hoover. Known aliases and incidents in the criminal career of the individual subsequently referred to in all dialogues as ‘Suspect Brown’ are narrated in bulletin form by the AD. Episodes and incidents mentioned are rather prolonged. Numerous attributed photographs of the subject are projected in slideshow form with detailed commentary on context and dating. Discussion is then opened to general debate. Initially dialogue is accompanied by a distinctive whirring noise which is the continuous shifting and resetting of slides by the automated projector system at intervals of one slide per three seconds.)

CLYDE TOLSON (ASSISTANT DIRECTOR): “Dull name for such a colorful character; gentlemen.”

(Murmurs of agreement throughout conference room.)

FBI AGENT (PROFILING DIVISION) ONE: “Emphatically agreed, sir. The man is a clockwork psychomaton. Completely insane. Hey; we think he named himself after a coffee splash on the wall. It was while thinking fast and loose in a seduction conversation at this beatnik place The Green Aphid in Greenwich Village. With one of our undercover agents no less. Apparently he decided to keep the name as a permanent handle. Guy is one of the worst prime mother(offensive terminology excised from transcript) we’ve studied after thirty years of being an autonomous department.”
(ACRONYM INADMISSIBLE) REPRESENTATIVE (in a bantering tone): “Hey, that’s my agency’s acronym and we’re not allowed to use it!”

(General laughter, AD calls for quiet, rapping gently on the table. Laughter dies down swiftly.)

FBI(PD) (continuing): “Personally I’d put him almost in a category of his own. Invent a whole new designation to go along with it. Anyone ever read The Devils by Dostoyevsky? The one about the anarchists in Russia long before the commie revolution?”

(Negative murmurs apart from one accented syllable of approval and voice of the AD.)

CT(AD): “I read classics and some Russian and other European literature at Harvard. I am familiar with the portrayals of isolation and madness in the works of Gogol and Bulgakov and Dostoyevsky in particular. Amongst other writers as well of course. The Director and myself have jointly made a close study of violent anarchism and its modern antecedents, Agent (FBI agent identity classified). From our own files and those of our European colleagues. We have been doing so for some decades since the Forties. And I am unfamiliar with many of the exotic and rarefied terms bandied about in criminology these days. What was the meaning of that interesting soubriquet?”
FBI(PD): “Sorry about the jargon, sir. We tend to use it habitually in the profiling section so it just kind of tumbles out in conversation. Essentially we believe Suspect Brown to be irrational. His frequent anarchic and self-described anarchist’s behaviour is probably triggered by unpredictable episodes of stress and temper and arbitrary reactive provocation. Those episodes being aggravated by use of alcohol and illegal stimulants. Of course simple criminal opportunism also plays a big part.”
CT(AD): “The Director has described our current subject to me, and I quote verbatim, as a ‘goddam alcoholic junkie urban terrorist Bolshevik degenerate beatnik kleptomaniac freak’. Granted he was in a considerable temper at the time. The Director had just returned from an unsatisfactory morning interview with President Nixon and the Attorney General. It was over the (classified) Tapes scandal, incidentally, to give you some context. The Director’s expressive pique was primarily over the unflattering and inventively fraudulent comments made about him on one of Suspect Brown’s rather notorious record albums. We had privately played this album for the first time that same afternoon. He was emphatically not pleased.”
CIA REPRESENTATIVE: “The CIA certainly regards Suspect Brown as having some characteristics of a terrorist, sir. Dangerously unpredictable with it.”
NSA REPRESENTATIVE: “No known international connections though, to Redland or anywhere else apart from known heroin sources overseas. Doesn’t seem to mix with domestic militants otherwise. Panthers or Klan or anything of that nature.”
AMERICAN SECRET SERVICE REPRESENTATIVE: “Admittedly he’s an anomaly. But he does like to portray himself as an idealist, even a crusader against the so-called Establishment. His recorded dialogues and collages are saturated with that kind of liberal lingo.”
CT(AD): “Yes, I have seen several of those collages of his. With highly detailed analytical breakdowns of their content and references. Many of them have a surprisingly articulate and idiosyncratic take on political ideologies of various kinds.”

(Uncomfortable stirring around the conference table.)

CT(AD) (continuing): “Virtually every federal law enforcement and intelligence agency in this country has received one or several of these elaborate productions, have they not? Closely customised in many cases. Mailed in almost every instance to their primary headquarters. I am told this has in some cases been done via the internal government mail services. Sent directly to accurately named and ranked officials in those organisations. Have I been so informed correctly, gentlemen?”
CIA: “Yes.”
NSA: “Yes.”
DEA: “Yah.”
ASS (glumly): “Yup.”
(Acronym inadmissible): “(censored epithet)…”

(General agreement around entire conference table from all other agents and officials present.)

FBI(PD) (bitterly): “Seems to be his (excised offensive term)ing (doubly offensive excised term)-(ditto) specialty, the (censored themed phrase)er.”
CT(AD) (sharply): “Some more decorum, please.”
FBI(PD): “Sorry, sir. This creep burns me like a napalm bath.”
CT(AD): “Bear in mind we are recording officially. Amongst others, the Director and possibly the President himself will be listening to or reading the transcripts of these discussions subsequently.”
WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: “Technically I’m not meant to speak here Clyde, but I can confirm that. I’m chief of staff and I feel a special responsibility and embarrassment about this. Both Dick and Our Henry are extremely interested in catching up with this guy. Especially since those dirty postcards from the suspect. Somehow they got through our strict mail receiving and processing protocols. Both postcards went direct to the Oval Office and the Special Advisor’s desk.”
CT(AD): “Kissinger got one too?”
WHCoS: “It was even worse than Dick’s. You know, the joke about him and Tuesday Weld. Frigid Gidget and the electric chair.”

(Suppressed laughter around conference table.)

CT(AD): “(indistinguishable).”
WHCoS: “Kissinger’s joke was this really nasty personal slur in German, some Bavarian dialect. But it was subtle, not obvious even to an experienced interpreter. Nobody could translate what it said until he read it himself. The H-Bomb went white and red and purple at the same time when he did. I was there. Never seen the guy scream in rage before or since. He wants this twerp dropped on Cambodia strapped naked to a nuke like in Doctor Strangelove.”
CIA (quietly chuckling): “We got a few at Langley. Just senior people, ones you could identify from having appeared in the papers and magazine articles and the like. But it made some waves because the timing of some indicated surveillance too. The assistant director’s one was especially cruel. Rather wittily played on his low golf averages and bad choice of sweaters on the links.”
NSA: “Us as well. Mostly off-colour jokes about penguins.”
CT(AD) (long pause): “Just so. The man is nefarious. And far more so beyond even what I have myself concluded. Let us proceed. (Senior FBI official rank and identity classified), you held up your hand a moment ago when we were discussing the collages issue. Your comments?”
SENIOR FBI OFFICIAL (REGIONAL DIRECTOR EAST COAST AND NEW YORK CITY): “We got one of those collages with faked candid photos of almost all my top undercover agents in drag, sir. Cleverly doctored, I hasten to add. When we did follow up checks we found their names, including mine, on the membership lists for half the fruit bars in Greenwich Village.”
CT(AD): “Pray elucidate.”
SFBIO: “Apologies, sir. Homosexually themed taverns and saunas are commonplace in Greenwich Village. We use the generic term fruit to describe both their effeminate and more rough-hewn patrons. Drag means…well, a man dressed up as a woman…”
CT(AD): “I am familiar with much of this so-called counter cultural slang terminology, (senior FBI official’s identity classified). It has a certain wearisome prolixity. That particular word is also frequently used, I believe, in the context of a given individual being officious or boring.”
SFBIO: “Uh, yeah. Exactly right, sir. Sorry to be a drag, putting it the Beatnik way. A number of my agents and staff began receiving regular promotional leaflets and newsletters from such establishments. At their home addresses no less. Coinciding with our receiving our version of Suspect Brown’s collage and prompting our discovery of the fraudulent memberships.”
CT(AD): “Do you know if this was done by himself alone or with connivance?”
SFBIO: “He definitely had cooperation from some of them, sir. We couldn’t prove anything. Membership records and mailing lists for the establishments we subsequently raided had no obvious discrepancies or additions. All of them looked legitimate. Since most of those men have families you can imagine it caused quite a stir. Those kinds of leaflets and newsletters are not to be seen by children in any circumstances. It was very awkward for some of my agents as dedicated family men to explain.”
CT(AD) (dryly): “Not least to their wives.”

(Muted general laughter.)

DEA REPRESENTATIVE: “We got something like that too, a variation on the theme if you will. The suspect seems to have put down my agent’s names as registered addicts at various hospitals in New York and Miami and Los Angeles. That’s where we concentrate most of our intelligence gathering. We were getting nosy doctor’s receptionists calling up all the time about missed treatment appointments. It badly compromised our security and ruined several sensitive undercover narcotics operations.”
FBI(PD): “We believe he also blew Operation Hockey Puck monitoring Quebecois gangsters in Montreal and Operation Limey watching attempts by some of the New York mafia families to establish connections with prominent local gangsters in London.”
CT(AD): “That was some way back, was it not?”
FBI(PD): “Unfortunately sir, there’s a lot more. We believe Suspect Brown also had some involvement in these cases…”

(Following dialogue touching on sensitive operational information and classified case detail for a variety of federal agencies redacted.)

CT(AD): “Clearly I hadn’t been fully briefed on the (redacted classified information) Case or the (redacted classified information) Connection or the (redacted classified information) Job or (redacted classified information) View issues. Or that surprisingly vicious butchery and arson in Nashville. Our man really doesn’t like leaving witnesses, does he?”
SFBIO: “More recently we believe he deliberately exposed our wiretapping of various militant feminist organisations and their legal representatives. Operation Little Dutch Boy was mentioned extensively in the press. Even the doctored pinup taunts sent to leaders. We had to immediately and rather expensively abandon the entire job just when we were starting to get results.”
FBI(PD): “That scheming liberal hack Woodward wrote ’em.”
ASS: “Oh yeah, I remember that series in the Washington Post from earlier this year. Hanoi Jane made a bleeding heart banquet out of it. She was all over the papers and TV with the other Sapphic suffragettes. They all had hairier legs than my old frat football team at Columbia.”
FBI(PD): “Apparently the suspect made contact directly with Woodward by phone at his offices and dictated everything in one call. I put my best tracers on it and they couldn’t come up with anything more specific than somewhere in the Borough of Queens.”
CT(AD) (sardonically): “Sounds about right.”

(Quiet general wry laughter)

NSA: “Woodward even named and identified actual agents. You had to pull everyone out of the field and reassign them to desk jobs, didn’t you? Christ. Hoover had to give an involuntary press conference over that one. They grilled him alive and put it on national television. It nearly went to the Supreme Court and he barely missed having to testify to a special Congressional committee.”
CT(AD): “We do not need a superfluous revisiting of the Director’s unfortunate travails, (name and rank of attending official classified). I will thank you to refer to him by his title in respect of his seniority and service to this country. Our work is fraught with peril as it is. Wilful manipulation of the news media and public opinion is an unprecedented and rather insidious development of the last decade or so.”
NSA: “Sorry, sir.”
SFBIO: “This suspect does not go in for mild revenge plots.”
CT(AD): “Indeed. Articles we are discussing also specifically detailed Bureau procedurals. Our accustomed equipment, regulations of use and manufacturing suppliers. Actual pricing and operational budgeting criteria. Baldly and starkly this was nothing less than a complete disaster. Operationally and for public relations. Critical in both instances. How could such sensitive and confidential information get into the hands of a criminal like the man we are discussing, (senior FBI official’s identity classified)?”
FBI(PD): “Unfortunately sir, we believe simple bribery. Suspect Brown apparently suborned a number of freelance operatives that our agents habitually employed up to that time. Guys experienced in surveillance work that were themselves familiar with these targets.”
CT(AD): “And precisely how did he manage this?”
FBI(PD) (uncomfortably): “Suspect Brown is a professional criminal sir, and has a lot of grapevine sources. Highly ‘connected’, as we say. We think he has either employed or consulted some of those operatives himself in the past. Knowing them personally he was also aware of their -ahem- various proclivities as to personal vices. Drugs and alcohol and women and the like. Likely he supplied several of those operatives with substances or…romantic opportunities they found hard to resist.”
CT(AD): “Your department was itself employing criminals with acknowledged exposure and vulnerability to fellow criminals, in other words.”
FBI(PD): “Frankly that can be unavoidable in certain circumstances, sir. Some of the specialist skills we occasionally require aren’t supportable on current allocated budgets.”
CT(AD): “Myself and the Director are all too aware of these financial constraints. Assuredly they are being raise in appropriate offices. However, such situations and the continuing adventures of the subject we are discussing are nothing short of disgraceful.”
SFBIO: “I wish you’d tell the Appropriations Committee that, Clyde.”

(Conference adjourned from this point at noon for lunch and reconvened 14:00.)

CT(AD) (resuming discussion): “…Is the tape recording system running? Good. Keep the slide projector going, by the way. It’s a good reminder of the chameleonic nature of our mutual target. To resume where we left off, gentlemen. (senior FBI official’s identity classified), my current appointments calendar for the next three months includes no fewer than eleven meetings between the Director and the Attorney General over appropriations, legal claims against the Bureau and other serious matters. Several of which have been occasioned by the subject and suspect we have under discussion. I’m in reasonable hope more resources for the next few fiscal years will become available despite Suspect Brown’s machinations. Our…”
INTERPOL REPRESENTATIVE (gently interjecting): “This Suspect Braun is a most devious and divisive opponent is he not, my friends?”
CT(AD) (pausing): “Gentlemen, our visiting colleague (identity, organisational rank, duties, current posting and nationality of visiting Interpol Representative strictly classified). You have an observation, sir?”
IR: “Perhaps more in the nature of a study in abstraction. The individual as context, as Jean Paul Sartre or even Simone Beauvoir might say.”
CT(AD) (longer pause): “How so?”
IR: “Consider that even in a discussion amongst professional colleagues such as this, the mention of Suspect Braun invites dissension. Without even being present he provokes tangential discord. Even unproductive bickering, if I may say so. We appear to be losing focus…”
DEA (undertone, aside): “What’s that accent, German or something?”
CIA (undertone, aside): “I was with the old OSS in Berlin after the War. That isn’t any kind of Kraut lingo I ever came across. I was all over the country East and West before the borders were finally hammered out and I know. Could be Swiss.”
NSA (undertone, aside): “I’ve been stationed in our embassy offices covering Sweden and Norway and Denmark and Iceland in the past. Sounds kind of guttural like the Scandinavian way to me.”
ASS (undertone, aside): “I’d say more like Holland. Maybe northern Belgium…”
FBI(PD): “…So Interpol’s officially going Dutch with us?...”

(Suppressed round of snickering around conference table.)

CT(AD) (sharply): “Gentlemen, please. Our esteemed colleague is still speaking.”

(Apologetic murmurs.)

FBI(PD) (nearly inaudible): “…Didn’t know there was a (excised derogatory) squarehead Clousseau...”

IR (continuing): “...and I believe this to be part of his perverse and despicable aims. He reminds me of a certain Hans Uhlangrubeldischer-Eschendek. He was a rather notorious opium trafficker, white slaver, organised pimp and gun-runner operating in his native port of Hamburg until some years ago. A very personally strong and fearsome man unafraid to do his own violent dirty work. This man was feared and powerful in that port and all the major ports of the Baltic. His organisation was known amongst smugglers and other criminals as ‘The Hanseatic League’ after the medieval trading guild once prominent in Germany. Capture and prosecution was irrelevant to his operations since he had methodically bribed all the significant political and law enforcement officials of the port authorities where he conducted his felonious business. Of course he covered himself by holding interests in numerous perfectly legitimate businesses which incidentally helped serve to launder some of his illegal proceeds through clever cash and credit substitutions. At the same time he orchestrated a highly effective campaign of public relations in his home city. Charitable donations and events, public works projects, sponsored galas and holiday celebrations and other largesse of that kind. Journalists and editors on the staffs of respected local newspapers were paid to give him what is here called ‘good copy’, carefully managed so as not to seem too obviously bought. In this way he created a remarkably effective degree of distortion and obfuscation and public scepticism over his actual character and real source of profits, which were of course those of human misery. And thus matters remained until an unpredictable factor entered the delicately balanced equation governing his small but vicious empire and put an end to him.”
CT(AD): “What factor?”
IR: “Suspect Braun.”
CT(AD): “Brown. Ah. Your point being?”
IR: “As an arriveste in Hamburg and clearly operating on a tight schedule during his brief stay in Europe, Suspect Braun simply took no notice of the rules established and enforced by Hans Uhlangrubeldischer-Eschendek’s organisation. He betrayed Uhlangrubeldischer-Eschendek at the first possible opportunity without apparent cause or need. My colleagues found the former Tall Terror Of The Baltic, as he was then known, dismembered along with several of his most feared criminal lieutenants in a dockside shipping container. Braun left a mocking note within gleefully confessing to his role. Apparently it was all rather lurid and grisly and there was a detailed narrative of a night of hacksaw work on the bodies to make them fit into the container. Chainsaws were not then widely available in Europe. My point is that Suspect Braun is neither conventionally predictable nor limited to the motives of most career criminals. We are, in my view, deleteriously limiting our own prospects of success. I believe we cannot succeed in capturing and neutralising him by employing only our accustomed methods of intelligence and criminology.”
CT(AD): “What might work?”
IR: “Betrayal.”
CT(AD): “No reward offered to the criminal community has worked.”
IR: “More specifically self-betrayal. Where a subject is too alert and well prepared and adapted to what criminals call The Life and its dangers of treachery, there nevertheless will be some motive, some aspiration they hold secretly dear. An ambition lying beyond the criminal underworld. Something to which they can ultimately withdraw in relative safety.”
FBI(PD): “Like most of them in The Life he wants to make his pile, find a safe refuge and get out of The Life. Alive with a whole skin and out of it forever. He even did it almost successfully once, apparently with some harlot Vegas showgirl (extreme sexual derogatory term censored) but went crazy. Freaked out and massacred her. It was during some monumentally stupid argument over some monumentally stupid behaviour of his on a holiday in disguise in New York. Dragged himself back into The Life, dropped the attempt to retire and voluntarily resumed. I can play you the tapes because he sent them to us himself.”
IR: “Ah, yes. His famous on-the-secret-record candour. Confessions that cannot be officially acknowledged. Unique in my experience.”
FBI(PD): “Ours too. And incidentally I agree with you, that isn’t behaviour that can be conventionally interpreted. Far too methodical to be simply insane. So that’s why we’re sitting in this conference room talking about the guy for the next few days to try and decide on a plan. Weirdo just can’t control himself, apparently. Braun, I mean Brown, triggers off chaos in the wrong place at the wrong time in some sort of over-excessive reactionary habit.”
IR: “But it seems he is simultaneously aware of this and succumbs to it periodically nevertheless. Theatricality suggests itself, at least to a limited extent.”
FBI(PD): “Manipulative this guy is. As far as we can tell his entire life is an act. Highly improvisational and considered. But at the same time there’s this intensified craziness that comes out every so often. It’s like he builds up to an eruption, like an emotional volcano. Some neurotic combination of overconfidence, restlessness, fatalism and cracked-up apocalyptic sense of humour.”
IR: “Interestingly, many prominent and talented actors find that a core identity eludes them despite their chameleonic abilities. What begins as self-protective behaviour becomes both habitual and the basis ultimately of their success. A trap difficult to find one’s way out of.”
FBI(PD): “Basically he’s irrational and obsessive despite high native intelligence. More than a little of the actor there too. It’s a very uneasy but not unprecedented combination of psychological traits. Oddly characteristic of a lot of secret police internal prosecution findings, both historical and modern. Especially those who have to do a lot of torture and killing. You know, psychotic excesses that even licenced goons can’t ignore forever. I could name ten or fifteen countries who’ve done confidential internal studies like that. Sooner or later you have to execute the executioner. That’s why we profile Suspect Brown as a clockwork psychomaton. Labels like that aren’t assigned flippantly, you know.”
IR: “Exotic and somewhat over-elaborated, I would say.”
FBI(PD) (sarcastically): “Really.”
IR: “I would say misguided idealist describes Suspect Braun better.”
FBI(PD) (snorting): “Yeah, right. Add about a ton of creep-lard to that so you can made a nice pan of creep-cakes out of his Betty Crocker mix. That lippy maniac is about as idealistic as Sylvester versus Tweetie-Pie. And he’s targeting us like a guided missile.”

(General chuckling)

IR (pausing): “Apt metaphors both. If missing the essence almost entirely, however. Vivid and imaginative descriptions of the subject worthy of his own admittedly warped sense of self-deprecating humour. And yet it would not appear that conceptualising Suspect Braun merely as a gifted criminal with a tendency to episodes of inexplicable lunacy has worked. At least not yet, according to my knowledge. No efforts in this direction have led any of us closer to capturing him. Nor even reliably identifying him for the purposes of studies in origins. Do we know his origins, by the way?”
CT(AD): “(senior FBI official identity and rank classified), you’re the expert on this man. I know what the files say. Do we have anything extra?”
SFBIO: “Admittedly, not a lot. Maybe half a dozen possible birth places ranging from rural New Jersey to Nevada. Mother probably murdered by pathologically abusive alcoholic father. Inevitable brutalising, alienation and subsequent juvenile delinquency leading to a life in crime. Likes New York City especially, at least partly for its size and anonymity. Definitely he has at least one permanent home there and probably operates from it along with one or two other safe addresses which he changes regularly. Uses mail forwarding services and rents private mailboxes so his address can’t be tracked or inferred.”
IR: “Methods of a modern businessman. Requiring a strong employment of the methodical. Again, this does not sound evidential of irrationality.”
SFBIO: “According to the suspect himself even that isn’t fool-proof identity secrecy, however. At least one organisation has caught up with him by some kind of penetration of those services. That’s covered in quite remarkable detail on one of the secretly taped dialogues we have of him through Operation Polyhymnia. Said organisation, something of a mystery in fact, was apparently trying to recruit him directly. According to his last known recorded comments sent to us he may have intended to seek them out. And for the last few years apart from the record albums he’s largely dropped out of sight.”
IR: “Could he then be operating in his accustomed manner with the resources of a much larger organisation supporting him now? In what capacity?”
CT(AD) (interjecting softly): “This is a matter that has come to the attention of the Director also.”
SFBIO: “Unknown at present, sirs. Suspect Brown has dropped in and out of visibility. Certainly he laid low for a considerable period, presumably in New York. We did comb the recording world from top to bottom since he mentions a secret apartment attached to a studio, but could discover nothing. We tried looking at building plans, approaching insider professionals, studying industry magazines for anecdotes and clues and the like but drew blanks on all attempts. Admittedly the guy is good and all of his remarks could have been an elaborate ploy. My instincts tell me he was just too confident we’d never find him, though.”
FBI(PD): “This organisation or company has a few files down in Profiling, gents. The Bureau’s come across a few of these anomalous references in other connections. Always peripherally though, in the course of monitoring something quite unrelated. But it does crop up with a strange kind of persistence. Seems to be some kind of private consortium for rich guys to temporarily take on new personas or something. The service is backed up by documents and superficial background and professional biographies. All that guff on the tape dialogue about transformation and metamorphosis is an ad-man’s spiel for manufacturing false identities. Presumably for the clients to go around behaving badly in various fleshpots abroad and far away from their native towns here in the States too before resuming otherwise respectable lives. For some reason California gets mentioned a lot.”
IR: “Is there not an amusing saying here about God shaking the Tree Of The Forbidden Fruit and all the nuts from it falling in Malibu?”

(Burst of uproarious laughter around the table)

CT(AD) (chuckling): “Yes, I’ve heard that one and it matches my own experiences of West Coast eccentricities. A whole different world-view indeed. Pray continue, (name and rank and current posting of serving FBI officer redacted from transcript).”
IR: “If Suspect Brown joined this organisation, whatever it is, then he’s probably doing much what he did before but in a different and unknown context. He’s still an opportunistic criminal but the focus of the opportunities has changed. Hence we’re getting much more unpredictable possible sightings and appearances that don’t fit into his former profile. Of course he might also be occasionally moonlighting. Definitely he sometimes still patronises his old haunts in Greenwich Village.”
IR (musing): “Somehow he has entered a new life but still persists with elements of the old. Perhaps testing himself too, in order to taunt us with his elusiveness. He is not content to merely remain presumably safe and obscure in his current occupation. Still he must set tests of hazard and jeopardy to keep his ‘edge’, as you say here. Perhaps it is a seeming self-betrayal with elements of conscious intent. Indicative yet again of a gambling outlook of chance. Trusting to the whims of Fate; yes?”
SFBIO: “I agree on the summation of him as a gambler. It’s a significant pattern for Suspect Brown. Card sharping, fixing games, unexpectedly winning legitimately through sheer skill and insight. He has some extra factor in his instincts or mental operations and attitudes. Some kind of opportunistic insight or unusual capacity for judging risk-taking. Self-discipline which allows him to capitalise on them.
CT(AD): “The Director and I have both concluded, independently as it happened, that our suspect employs strategy. Military strategy such as that found in Sun Tzu’s standard text. Psychological strategy too. I think he’s read both Trotsky and Goebbels.”
IR: “Schoolyard bully tactics too, it would seem. Constant reminders of his proximity and the illusion of his close odious presence to instil apprehension.”
SFBIO: “Taunting is something Suspect Brown is expert at, and he does it in a lot of rip-off situations. He confuses his opponents first with off the wall remarks and obscure jokes, then pounces. So with some apparently rather unlikely lucky breaks he’s been notoriously successful. Both at pulling off remarkable crimes and avoiding vengeful mobsters himself.”
IR: “In Europe The Hanseatic League and Unione Marseilles have both put considerable prices on the head of Suspect Braun. We suspect the Unione Siciliano and other such supposedly organised criminal gangs also have lookouts and rewards posted for his possible return. I imagine this must be even more true, given his habitual behaviour, in his native land?”

(Brief pause around the table.)

SFBIO: “You could say that, sir. By his own boasting admissions and anecdotes we’ve confirmed he’s apparently ripped off half the prominent gangs in the country. The bounty on him alive is reportedly astronomical. Meyer Lansky wants him, we’ve heard. Las Vegas and New York and Detroit gangs have put out the call for his head at the highest level but with no luck so far. Very adept at disguise and changing his appearance regularly and convincingly. Suspect Brown is an expert at faking and maintaining a wide variety of assumed secret identities.”
CT(AD): “The Director has commented on this. We had a discussion several years ago when this malefactor first came prominently to our attention. The Director expressed a plaintive wish that more of our own agents paid such close attention to sensible rules of impersonation. Voice and accent and general demeanour are often much more important than mere physical characteristics. Suspect Brown leaves little if any trail on his travels. Unlike many criminals he is distinctly improvisational.”
SFBIO: “Agreed. Again though, Suspect Brown is additionally elusive since he hasn’t done any known federal prison time. Some suspect identities of his have done State time, however. Unfortunately we can’t pin any of them down reliably. Nor does he work regularly or habitually with any known criminal associates. Gang membership seems to be anathema to him. Suspect Brown doesn’t trust anyone and does almost everything freelance. Like many career criminals he starts and stops his activities unpredictably. Probably through periodic need of money to support his lifestyle, or when an irresistible opportunity to profit materialises. Inherently unpredictable, of course.”
IR: “Then dispensing with his ephemeral professional life, so to speak, what of his proclivities for leisure? And, if I may say it, for vice?”
SFBIO (aside, to colleague): “Your specialty, (name and rank and current posting of serving FBI officer redacted from transcript).”
FBI(PD) (in a reciting tone): “Menswear. Unusual cathouses. Snake-eyes. Eighteen aces up the sleeve. Andy Warhol and his pervy oeuvre. Junkie slumming. Shoplifting menswear. Movies. Political jokes with bite. More movies. Beatnik stuff. Radical politics, past and present. Impersonations for fun. Stewardesses and showgirls you can’t find in unusual cathouses. Monopoly. Firebugging. Alternative comedy. Weirdo expensive foreign restaurants. Penguin jokes.”
IR (long pause): “…Please?...”
CT(AD): “Less overt colloquialism in the discussion please, (FBI agent identity and rank classified).”
FBI(PD): “(inaudible).”
CT(AD): “And less of that too.”
SFBIO (quickly interjecting, addressing Interpol Representative apologetically): “Primary apparent fixations on the part of Suspect Brown, sir. As evidenced mainly by his own admission on assorted recordings. Forgive my colleague agent’s casuistry. We tend to use a lot of demotic language to stay close to our target’s ways of thinking. Firebugging for example refers to a tendency towards arson and the habitual of destruction or attempted incineration of evidence of his crimes by the subject. It’s a tactic which may derive from an early fascination with setting blazes. Snake-Eyes and Eighteen Aces refer to an apparent addiction to gambling. He’s known for some quite skilful card-sharping exploits. Suspect Brown is also irregularly self-educated. Refers to himself as an autodidact and shows contempt for arrogant graduates. An interest in certain phases of what we call the counter-culture over here. In particular he has a love and frequent use of surrealistic humour. Jokes about and references to penguin birds frequently crop up in his dialogues and anecdotes about him. Apparently he is familiar with the artist celebrity Andy Warhol and his ‘scene’, as it is put in that world. According to Suspect Brown himself he once supplied illegal stimulants to Warhol’s collective studio known as ‘The Factory’. Definitely our subject enjoys libertarian comedians with a socially and politically subversive style. Lenny Bruce and Richard Pryor and interestingly Bob Newhart come to mind, for example. Some of whose performances our quarry may have been spotted at. We believe he frequently attends live shows hosted by such comedians at venues across the country. Naturally we try to monitor those establishments and clubs and hotel lounges and auditoriums and the like where he might conceivably ‘catch a gig’, as the jargon goes. Unfortunately so far without confirmed sightings.”
IR: “I see. What of other interests, inclinations he does not mention but can be inferred from his record and known actions?”
CIA: “Well, there’s crank calls.”
NSA: “Oh; yeah.”
DEA: “Real sicko stuff. I mean like deranged. Devil voices and Satan Will Drag You Down To Hell Laughing All The Way stuff. He called us with one of his freaked-out thematic performances. Midnight on Halloween Night, as I recall.”
ASS: “Labor Day was our turn. A little later on the graveyard shift. Don’t get me started.”
(Acronym inadmissible): “We had an attempted suicide. We were targeted after Thanksgiving and our round of calls. Even now after listening to it a hundred times over or more I’ll never look at a gobbler drumstick the same way again.”
CT(AD) (swiftly intervening): “Gentlemen, the politer way of putting this is you are nonplussing our poor guest, yet again, here.”

(General chorus of “Sorry, sir”s.)

CT(AD): “My apologies, (identity, organisational rank, duties, current posting and nationality of visiting Interpol Representative strictly classified). More domestic semi-professional jargon in place of accurate English. I was thinking of issuing an inter-departmental memorandum on the subject throughout the Bureau. That carelessly used term of crank call refers to a threatening or provocative telephone communication. One made using either the general public or a private internal system. Making one for the purposes of intimidation, terrorising or specifying a criminally-motivated intention have been part of the federal American criminal code for some years.”
IR: “Does this include the illegal possession of private or otherwise restricted telephone numbers?”
CT(AD): “Sadly, for the moment that’s a legal grey area, as we put it. Meaning one of doubt and uncertainty over both jurisdiction and the public right to a generally open and integrated communications industry. I’m informed that constitutionally speaking it touches on free speech legislation itself.”
IR: “Suspect Braun can attack you at a distance in this way with impunity?”
CT(AD): “Technically the possession of confidential senior official’s numbers for organisations such as ours or the Department of Defense for example can be seen as illegal. To my knowledge this has never been tested in a court of law. Certainly not at the federal level so far. Therefore these so-called crank calls tend to come more under the legal definitions of harassment and threatening behaviour.”
CIA: “Unquestionably attempts at intimidation and terrorising, sir. Suspect Brown went to town; if I can sound an off-key note. It’s appropriate. Technically he literally mounted productions to throw at us. Most of the calls we received were clearly pre-recorded. A lot of them included what sounded like professional audio effects and music and other accompaniment. Audio analysts of the few recordings we were able to make concluded that multiple channel recordings were made at a high level of expertise.”
DEA: “He was impersonating Satan in his calls to our director and senior staff. All the calls were made to specific named officials and were personalised in a really nasty way. It was like the soundtrack to a bad horror movie or something. Choruses of demons and organ music and babels of screams straight out of hell. Insane stuff like that and also clearly recorded for the purpose. We’d just had a calls recording system installed so fortunately we have good quality tapes of all of them. I distributed a few at senior level as portable reels so everybody could know what this evil stuff sounds like.”
ASS: “On our calls we were the penguins and he was the walrus. Creep is a mental case.”
(Acronym inadmissible): “Suspect Brown did this pervert’s version of Thanksgiving in his calls to us. Natives mixing it with the newly arrived pilgrim Puritan’s wholesome daughters. Plymouth Rock and the early colonies were mocked in a treasonous way to our collective heritage. Also a lot of, well, frankly unrepeatable stuff about Turkey dinners and basting techniques.”
IR: “Clearly they have had their effect however, according to your colleagues. To me this also implies a profound degree of energetic information gathering. Very probably access to or knowledge of remarkable technologically related expertise.”
FBI(PD): “Absolutely I would back our overseas colleague there, sir. Suspect Brown is either an expert on manipulating phone systems or he knows very good people who are. And there’s no shortage of them around, either. Naturally it’s a huge industry across the country. Any reasonably qualified telephone engineer anywhere can teach you how to tap lines, manipulate exchanges and intercept just about any kind of call, either using analogue or the newer digital systems. Hell, you can even teach yourself from a good textbook and a few engineer’s installation guidelines manuals.”
IR: “Then his emphasis is on penetrating your collective security through intelligence gathering activities. Doing much of, in fact, what you yourselves as agents engage in on a daily basis in the course of your professional work and duties.”
FBI(PD): “…But he’s a crook…”
IR: “One using your own methods successfully against you. Perhaps fancying himself as one of you in a sense. Is this not indicative? Suspect Braun undoubtedly also watches your attempts and methods to trace his calls of crankiness as you refer to them, to locate and identify him as part of his aggravation operations. And that may be one of his primary motives.”
CT(AD) (thoughtfully): “The Director has expressed similar sentiments to me regarding Suspect Braun. I mean, again, Brown.”
SFBIO: “We’re wise to being led, sir. Nevertheless we’re forced to act if provoked that blatantly. We’ve closed down and switched some numbers around to stymie and hopefully catch him out. I can even report we’re creating a fictional organisation for him to try to penetrate and harass. A joint operation between ourselves and the CIA and a few of the other agencies represented here. A small but very targeted budget. It’ll have modest premises in Washington and a couple of regional offices. Discreet and looking like carefully managed cover to disguise genuine importance and sensitivity. All set up in properties we already hold and maintain but aren’t currently utilising. We’re going to make it seem like a purposely innocuous semi-autonomous outfit gathering specialised intelligence on subversive groups like the ones he hobnobs with. Everything’s pretty much ready to go, we’re only deciding on a suitable name for the fake agency.”
CIA: “Howabout Snoopy And Woodstock Against Gangster Hippies, or SAWAGH?”
DEA: “I’d vote for Government Reaction Over Bad Anarchist Greaseballs. GRO-BAG.”
ASS: “Wait; I’ve got it. Centralised Undercover National Twerp Snare. With its acronym forever inadmissible in polite federal circles.”
(Acronym inadmissible) (laughing): “We’ve got the copyright on inadmissible acronyms…”
CT(AD) (chuckling): “Enough.”
SFBIO: “Ha ha, we’ll think of something. Actually I love the third one if it was possible to actually use it. Hopefully breaking into this place and its communications should be well-nigh irresistible to him. Once we get it seemingly operational and faux-communicating with other agencies it will look like any other government branch of law enforcement. Reinforcing that impression we’ll issue letterhead correspondence, make interdepartmental phone calls and use messengering as part of the cover. Everything in the premises of the fake agency however will be a trap. One deliberately geared to instantly reacting to either a physical infiltration attempt or a phone contact by him. We might just succeed in bagging the creep. Or getting a lot closer to phone tracing him all the way home. The place will be loaded with advanced line tracking gear and a small staff of experts. If we get a make we’ll be ready any time of the day or night to instantaneously alert field units anywhere in whatever vicinity. We think he’s permanently based in New York and makes all crank calls from there. All we need is for him to make a few determined tries.”
IR (long pause): “Excellent. This is indeed news. This sounds like a clever tactic that could work. My own organisation would be most grateful to receive reports of its operations and hopefully success. It could serve as a model for future criminal entrapment operations of our own, I am sure. American ingenuity continually startles me with its unconventional approaches.”
CT(AD): “I did get your memorandum and approved it, but from the sound of this it’s going to be an important case study. I’ll want detailed reports regularly.”
SFBIO: “Of course, Clyde. On both my department’s and the fake agency’s letterhead?”
CT(AD): “Very funny.”
SFBIO: “Confidentially you understand, it isn’t a new tactic. I came across a very interesting book years ago about just this kind of thing being used in police actions and intelligence work during post-revolutionary eras. The early Stalin regime went in for it and so did the Nazis, mainly for internal purposes, weird as it sounds. If they thought they had a lot of opposition among long serving cops and already established secret or entrenched and powerful bureaucracies they didn’t trust, target individuals got transferred to these fake agencies. It was a gradual process designed to look legitimate and allay suspicion, or at least too much. Eventually the fake agencies were rolled up completely. All the people working there would be mass-arrested. All of this purely for the purposes of concentrating them in a convenient and accessible way. Balking at using the methods of Nazis and Bolsheviks, nevertheless in the case of Suspect Brown it seemed appropriate. However, what we propose it this and we think it could work…”

(Following dialogue touching on operational specifics of false bureau plans redacted.)

IR (musing): “Simulacrum of a government agency. You would not perhaps be a reader in the genre known as science fiction would you, (name and rank of senior FBI official classified)?”
SFBIO: “Uh, no sir. We tend to regard a lot of that stuff as inherently subversive too.”
IR: “Disreputable and underground literature often throws up the most remarkable avant-garde parallels. For example in the superb and disturbingly prescient novel Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep, your fellow countryman Philip Kindred Dick envisions an entirely artificial police station. One conceived and successfully established by rogue interplanetary humanoid robots as cover for their colonising activities in a futuristic Los Angeles setting.”
FBI(PD): “This is that beatnik druggie guy, right? I read some of his stuff as part of an internal course on identifying degenerate stuff. Androids heading up the government, freaky stuff like that. We’ve intimidated and gotten the IRS after him in the past.”
IR: “Dick’s remarkable work is replete with such bold ideas and seemingly deranged concepts. Elastic realities such as the one you propose employing for the purpose of attracting the attentions of the contemptible and craftily elusive Suspect Braun.”
FBI(PD): “Think I’ve still got some of that crackpot stuff at home. I’ll catch up on it.”
IR: “Invoking another of your literary countrymen the incomparable Edgar Allan Poe, perhaps Suspect Brown, as the detective Dupin observes in The Purloined Letter, merely hides himself in plain sight.”
CT(AD): “We would definitely like to put him in a premature grave; sir.”
IR: “Ah; I think that is a good note to end our talks on for now.”

(General laughter around conference table, concluding Day Session transcript. Meeting is officially adjourned with an informal evening follow-up session to resume in the same location SCR2 after a courtesy hospitality dinner locally at Bureau expense.)


(Sounds of numerous agents and officials conversing genially entering SCR2. Repeated clinks of bottles and glasses, ice being deposited and drinks poured, bottles of beer audibly being opened with a can opener and passed around. Laughter and miscellaneous chitchat related to criminal investigations and anecdotes in passing. All those officials and agents identified previously at earlier day session are already present or subsequently arrive unless otherwise indicated.)

IR: “Ah, that was indeed a satisfying meal and I thank you for treating me to it, Mr Tolson. American cuisine is frequently and to my mind unjustly disparaged in Europe. The steaks in that restaurant were remarkable both in their size and careful preparation. Not overcooked at all The Ponderosa of Quantico Town is a name I shall recommend to my colleagues on my return. Is it well-known?”
CT(AD): “In fact it’s a quite popular chain restaurant, (identity, organisational rank, duties, current posting and nationality of visiting Interpol Representative strictly classified).”
IR (short pause): “…Please?...”
CT(AD): “So sorry. A chain restaurant is one with many different branches and locations, but serving the same menu.”
IR: “And are they generally identically decorated?”
CT(AD): “Yes, most are themed in some way particular to America. That one we were at of course is modelled on a sort of satirised and exaggerated frontier aesthetic. An inaccurate and whimsical one, generally speaking. Not entirely historically dependable, shall we say.”
IR: “Hence the numerous buffalo horn trophies, mounted firearms and the Conestoga covered wagon motifs enclosing many of the booths, presumably.”
CT(AD): “Indeed so. Personally I prefer more conservative dining settings. But I felt we needed something a little more light-hearted to take the edge off the day. Where we went is a popular kind of place for gatherings of friends and family.”
IR: “I was most struck by the décor. It reminded me of a film called Johnny Guitar with the incomparable Joan Crawford and Sterling Hayden. A cleverly satirical motion picture in the American Western tradition, quite subversive of many of its accustomed conventions. Joan Crawford’s character’s ranch house in the film looks almost precisely like the restaurant where we just enjoyed ourselves.”
CT(AD): “Oddly enough I saw it again on television just the other night. Yes, it’s an intelligent mockery of an overly familiar genre. Nicholas Ray, 1957. He also made Giant, very popular with my own teenaged children who have recently rediscovered the few films of James Dean.”
IR: “There have been some interesting films dealing with law enforcement issues of late emanating from this country. I am thinking in particular of Dirty Harry and my preferred The French Connection.”
CT(AD): “We used to have a much closer and more fruitful relationship with Hollywood. White Heat and G-Men were both outstanding examples of motion picture entertainment starring Bureau agents and showing the terrible risks they face.”
IR: “Perhaps then it is unfortunate that the suave and versatile Edmond O’Brien was so decisively trumped, as you say, by his opponent James Cagney as the psychopathic Cody Jarrett in White Heat?”
CT(AD): “You’ve hit on it right there sir, and that’s why the Director has become disenchanted over our previous close cooperation with Hollywood. To sustain audience interest, the villain facing the heroic agent or team of them necessarily has to be sinister and charismatic. A dull villain only there to be knocked down like a clay pigeon doesn’t make for a good story. The public want the most fearsome and indeed likeable bad guys and that means first class actors playing them.”
IR: “Leading all too often to the primary malefactor stealing the show.”
CT(AD): “A good thriller or crime picture demands that villain be punished after their initial success. But to be honest a lot of film-makers are far too liberal and anti-authoritarian. Often they and their screenwriters put a lot of polemic and subversive political text into their dialogue. Glamorise them to such an extent they’re painted in almost heroic terms fighting against the forces of oppression. Which of course means the Bureau and other dedicated police units. It’s more than a little disingenuous.”
IR: “I myself thought Franco Nero a most compelling and well-matched villain to Gene Hackman’s driven character ‘Popeye’ Doyle. The ambiguity of effective street policing methods versus official rules and protocol when faced by a determined professional criminal. Quite impressive. And I have heard the excellent Mr Al Pacino is to star in a thriller exposing corruption in the New York Police Department, yes?”
CT(AD) (ruefully): “I was afraid you might have heard about that one. Apparently to be called Serpico after the main character, Frank, who was indeed an NYPD undercover detective. The Director himself tried energetically to negotiate changes to the script on the part of New York’s police commissioners and, strictly between ourselves, to apply some judicious pressure for those changes but to no avail. All we can hope is that it will not be outright libellous in tone.”
IR: “Truth is important for the arts to expose but we policemen should be heroes and not corrupt and untrustworthy irresponsible villains to our respective peoples.”
CT(AD): “Amen, sir. I think we’re missing the drinks over there, though. Please allow me to mix you an authentic Harvard Pig Strangler.”
IR: “…Please?...”
CT(AD) (chuckling): “Pure white refined rum and powdered brown sugar and a little vanilla. Not common cooking but imported stuff. Quite simple combination of ingredients actually. But all of them have to be of exceptionally fine quality to get just the right delicacy of taste. Something of a connoisseur’s mix, best done in a cocktail shaker. And I’m a little guilty having to admit that the only rum genuinely worth using is contraband Bacardi. The best Cuban stuff. I keep a flask of it on me for emergencies.”
IR (mock conspiratorial tone): “Emergencies such as needing a good Harvard Pig Sticker in relief from beer of the moose?...”
CT(AD) (prolonged laughing): “You have a wicked sophistication and wit about you, (identity, organisational rank, duties, current posting and nationality of visiting Interpol Representative strictly classified). Please don’t tell the Director about my little weakness. We have our faux pas’ of course but America is not quite so philistine as it often appears to our European forebears.”
IR: “I have never thought American philistine, Clyde. May I call you so since we are, how you say it, less official and stuffy-shirted in the evening. America is a still-new empire. One that has almost accidentally inherited the world after a blinding crusade of struggle. Much as Octavian did before he was forced to adopt the mantle of Augustus and emperor in the aftermath of the fall of the Roman republic. You are a strong republic also forced to act and defend its interests urgently as an empire. And since you face another empire of almost equal magnitude and power that impetus must be maintained across all areas of endeavour. Particularly in the wide arena of crime. And so you have your own era in which the Caesars and their barons have come into their own. Your own Director and that of the CIA being two. Your president of course the emperor of the greatest and mightiest empire of this strange and wondrous time.”
CT(AD) (laughing again after a long pause): “Well; that’s me told. Whew. Wish I could get me that kind of eloquence after a couple of Harvard’s and Harvey Wallbangers. Come over to the bar and let me mix you that little old college nectar. Boys, the old pig strangler is a-comin’!”

(Cheers from other officials. Sound of footsteps and items at an extensive mobile bar being manipulated, a drink mixed and audibly shaken, ice being deposited into glasses and subsequent prepared drink being carefully decanted into glasses, loud sounds of carbonated bubbling.)

CT(AD): “Carefully, carefully; don’t spill any of it. The secret ingredient is strictly limited in supply. Now gentlemen, a toast to our guest and his safe journey home. You have to fly out from Dulles tonight, (identity, organisational rank, duties, current posting and nationality of visiting Interpol Representative strictly classified), don’t you?”
IR: “Regrettably yes. So I shall make the most of my remaining time.”
CT(AD): “Good man.”

(A friendly chorus of ‘Hear, Hear’, laughter and the repeated gentle collision of glasses repeating the toast. Cries of ‘Speech! Speech!’)

IR: “My friends, American hospitality is justly famed. I am replete and pleasantly inebriated, but I am still sober enough to remember that this toast should be to you and your unbending dedication. In this nefarious man Suspect Brown and all our other joint endeavours may we bring the world into being one great safe and better place! With men such as you on the job I have no doubts of America’s future.”

(Applause and cheers and good-natured whistles until Clyde Tolson calls for quiet. Quixotically all officials and agents at CT’s instigation render in perfect pitch and harmonic parts unaccompanied ‘The Marseilles’, official patriotic national anthem of the French Republic. Followed by ‘Ode To Joy’ from the fourth movement of Beethoven’s ninth symphony, adopted as the anthem of the Treaty of Europe nations. Interpol Representative is briefly silent on songs finishing.)

IR: “Superb renderings of both anthems. I am almost inexpressibly touched!”
CT(AD): “We hoped it would pleasantly surprise you. I coached the boys myself. Your nationality is classified of course so we chose the national anthem of the country hosting INTERPOL headquarters and the unofficial song of the Treaty of Europe countries. I hope that’s all right.”
SFBIO: “Better be, Clyde. I only know dirty frat-house songs otherwise.”
IR: “I am sorry to have underestimated your sensitivity, gentlemen.”
SFBIO: “You could always sing us My Darling Clementine.”
IR: “Instead I shall reciprocate with a little alcoholic magic of my own. Do you know the delights of the Old Kentucky Hangman Double Special?”
SFBIO: “Don’t know the drink offhand, but I love that brand of bourbon. God; it’s smooth.”
CT(AD): “Yes, it’s by far the best brand in the medium price range you can get. Actually on reflection, I would say very probably the genuine best. There are more expensive and refined bourbons, but apart from the French experts I can’t think of another tipple that sits so well on the palate and stomach by itself.”
IR: “I need only that, some fine pepper and lime and I too have a secret ingredient.”
CT(AD): “Aha; which is?”
IR: “Classified.”

(Clyde Tolson laughs appreciatively, stumbles audibly.)

CT(AD): “Whoops! (Pungent old style epithet erased from original recording and transcript.)”
SFBIO: “Sounds good to me. Careful there Clyde; take my arm, I’m still solid. Well, more or less. Hey boys, how’s a round of Old Kentucky Hangman Double Specials sound? Make way at the rolling booze-mobile over there, you goddam moonshine hounds!”

(Inebriated cheers and laughter as visiting Interpol Representative is steered over to the mobile bar and proceeds to mix a round of drinks with quick efficiency and swiftly hand them out in turn to each agent and official present.)

IR: “I hope you like them. An American serviceman taught me this particular delight. Old Kentucky Hangman is difficult to find in much of Europe but most rewarding in this quixotic mixture. The pepper brings out a quite unique flavour in combination with the lime. Salutations to you all!”

(Repetition of ‘Salutations!’ and the sound of drinks being enthusiastically drained. Conversation and drinking otherwise resumes. An internal telephone rings and an agent answers, calls over.)

UNIDENTIFIED AGENT: “Sir, security at the night front desk says the car for our guest to Dulles International is here. His luggage already in the back.”
CT(AD): “Very good. Wow, those Double Specials sure have a kick to them. I’m genuinely sorry we don’t have longer, sir. A safe journey back.”
IR: “It has been memorable, Clyde. You must return us a visit to INTERPOL headquarters and compare notes with your counterpart. I would be honoured to show you Paris. Perhaps Berlin also if we have the time. I know a fine restaurant in Potsdam.”
CT(AD): “I regret my long haul travelling days are over, my friend. I’m a wreck. So is Edgar, although no one talks about it around us. It’ll be time for both of us to go to pasture soon. Ed intends to die in harness, though. He’s quite bull-headed about it and I can’t persuade him against. I don’t see the sense in dying for the job myself. Much of an adult lifetime is enough.”
IR: “Your story is unique. It will be remembered. Our history will be told, Clyde.”
CT(AD): “Thank you, my friend. Again, safe trip and flight. Au revoir.”
IR (to the room): “Adieu. Gentlemen; your good health.”

(Applause and the sound of a door softly closing as visiting Interpol representative exits. Conversation and party continues as a radio playing jazz tunes is switched on. Gradually conversation subsides and then stops altogether although the radio continues to play. There is an interval of continuous music on tape record for approximately three hours and then the urgent ringing of SCR2’s internal telephone. This is not answered for some minutes until a groggy unidentified agent finally answers, sounding drugged. Several minutes later security personnel enter SCR2 and revive Clyde Tolson and other agents and officials present. A doctor accompanying security personnel soon verifies that the entire room’s occupants have been drugged with a dose of laudanum; an equal ratio of liquid opium and alcohol, both of extreme potency. No one has been harmed by the drug ingestion but everyone is affected for hours more following their induced unconsciousness. Moreover, a further shocking revelation is in store for all those present.)

CT(AD): “Repeat all that back slowly and distinctly to me so I can be sure I’ve got it straight. Who’s been calling your again?”
BUREAU DOCTOR: “INTERPOL, sir. For the last hour, direct from their headquarters. They’ve just heard from their representative. He’s in a hotel over on the Defense Highway on the way to Baltimore. Just recovered from an unusual sleep. Somewhat disoriented and he’s waiting rather anxiously for us to collect him for his scheduled Quantico meeting, apparently.”
CT(AD): “But he was here…is this some kind of hoax? Has this caller’s identity been verified?”
BD: “Yes, sir. His real name and rank is (identity, organisational rank, duties, current posting and nationality of visiting Interpol Representative strictly classified) and it’s all been confirmed in a conference call and by teleprinter just now. He says he was met at the airport when he flew in two nights ago by a man who showed an FBI badge, introduced himself as ‘Agent Brown’ and drove him directly to that country hotel. Very charming and professional, the man said. They shared a meal and a couple of drinks in the hotel restaurant and bar, this ‘Agent Brown’ showed the INTERPOL man to his room and then he says he unaccountably passed out. Must have slept for about twenty four hours. At first he didn’t know and just assumed jet-lag exhaustion. When he realised he’d lost a full day he called his own headquarters and they called us. Clearly the man who was here is an impostor. He could be anywhere by now.”
SFBIO (sarcastically): “…Guess who?...”
CT(AD) (groaning): “Gentlemen, I believe we’ve been trumped.”
SFBIO: “Eighteen aces and snake eyes.”
CT(AD): “(indistinguishable) it…”

(Various expletives and phrases of varying intensity and obscenity from all those present thoroughly excised from transcript.)

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