Wednesday, November 30, 2016


Coming on one of those wonderful notices that ring like 4th of July bells with the words "taps taps taps" and calling the number, there was a voice, a promoter, that's what I heard the first time I heard Hector on the phone, promoter, just another brash voracious promoter I thought who, once I told him of my Cain+Able pedigree, turned me over to someone he said I knew - and if it wasn't "Hotshot," the speed freak coke head who claimed to have "written" [a writer loves hearing it put that way] a cool million a year back during his hotshot days in steamy Hawaii but who hadn't hacked it for more than fourteen days at fallow Cain+Able after promising to write an easy $ 3,000 a week there. - Indeed, the Cain+Able fields were dry pickings unless you were Bill who got the few juicy roots in this particular Kalahari, the other day "writers" were like Bushmen after decades of drought. - "You know me," said Hotshot, but I hadn't long enough to recognize the voice, which sounded pleasant enough, my last memory of him was some short fuse of his as he was coming down from who knows what - he turned out to have better sides than that. "Hotshot" gave me address and directions to the Shriner's Circus office in Mountlake Terrace, and after mistaking the distance to Mountlake Terrace, on the King County map, as being not much greater than my 20 minute walk to Cain+Able [I liked walking, and having the supplemental of my three lives near my university life] and on a half-way fine and not too drizzly morning I took a bus up the strip of existential Aurora Avenue [a.k.a. State Route 99] to discover that the actual distance to the Shriner's Temple was more like 10 ten miles, walking distance only on a weekend for me, and after one change of buses, the second bus deposited me at the Aurora Village Terminal where I waited yet again, at an outdoor depot, for a third change of buses that would take me to the Lynnwood Terminal, where I would wait for a fourth bus: I had made up my mind not to drive my Chris Craft to work. The prospect of numerous bus changes and too little sleep the previous night put a quick end to my waiting. I took a bus back downtown, it kept criss-crossing the newly independent city of Shoreline the way a bus had 35 years before when a car broke down in Kansas: working its way south for ten blocks the bus would turn East or West for half a mile; well, at least it wouldn't be a hundred but a haul each day to get to the Nile Shriner's Temple, and a haul back, and going in opposite directions of the prevailing daily bus traffic: I was all set on not wanting to drive! A mistake it turned out, especially so since shortly after deciding not to drive to Mountlake Terrace I then found myself doing a fair amount of driving in Seattle, for the first time in my three years here, that was a mistake too, but you have to drive occasionally to find out that there's nothing worth driving to that you can't walk to just as easily or take the bus; to work those phantasies out of your system. Yet the "Shriner's deal" no doubt is the best deal in the telemarketing line of work in Seattle. A very disturbed fellow, an American of African origins, I think of him as being called Candyman, I know that's wrong, but he had the look in his eyes and so did his skin of someone who had been on chemicals too long, and who spent a few weeks at Cain+Able, made kissing sugar sugar sounds when I mentioned the Shriner's to him, what was his name?, another army brat who had a nose for racism - when Sabrina used Lysol he thought it was meant for him. Jamie! That was it! Not a name I like, and for reason. Folks like the Nile Shriners, they have kids hospitals. They are not the cops. Back at Cain+Able I mentioned the deal to “Rocky,” in no time Rocky kept mentioning to me not to mention to anyone that he would be leaving and that I oughtn't to tell anyone about it, the tattletale's anxiety that others might be as gossipy as he himself was. And so it wasn't until I visited Rocky at Hector's second office, the Police Guild Circus, which happened to be within easier walking distance than Cain+Able and where Rocky was doing as fabulously as he had at the Shriners, that I was fairly stunned to enter a day room, or rather a day warren of interconnected smallish rooms abuzz with babbling telephoning "day men," a plastic white chalk board with sizable dollar amounts chalked in different colors on it, the sound and sight of money being made, and after interviewing with a very pleasant, strong and handsome, womanly latte-colored half-German/Panamanian Maria, and after dawdling for a couple of weeks, and being able to afford to do so, I had just sold something, I in my Indian way was in no great rush, I was enjoying the time off from Cain+Able, I was writing up the Adventures in Telemarketing, I thought I had found a good place to live, and so it took a couple of weeks before I roused myself and finally set eyes on the face that came with the voice I had heard months ago, Hector personally, a prize fighter was my first thought, bit of a handsome brute was my first impression, ex-pro of 19 fights, his brows showed it and only a few line scars on them, yet he must have he cut easily jumped at my eyes on first encounter, thick legged and waisted, his body had a good low center of gravity, and "what a gas" too was my initial, invariable, enthusiastic impression of his playfulness and the fun of the worlds crudest butt-fucking abattoir of word-play and other games: "Write some numbs, bitch!... Get on the phone... My heavy hitters... Lick my hairy balls" spewed from the lips of this particular frequently scratched up punk-bopper, never met anyone whom grunge-punk clothes fit so sartorially, a rock-and-roller in the field of telemarketing who was on a roll, who had suffered his way up the food chain of that particular trade, real money it turned out was still new to him and he loved every moment of the fat wad of it, couldn't help showing it off, perhaps he didn't believe his own success? needed to have it confirmed by the impression the wad made on those to whom he manifested it, the envy he knew he so elicited yet another aspect of his domineering sadism: You're "on line," there's Hector's wide-open set of well-repaired teeth and a cocky red tongue mugging out of his pugilist's face into yours, sticking his invariable hard-on on your legs or arms, bopping around, making clowns' faces, a show-off, sticking a hard finger into his salesmen's necks, shadow boxing within a grazing hair's breath all over your face, playfully jabbing your quickly tiring biceps, one way of checking whether your reactions are still intact if you don't have Parkinson's but not something you want to repeat each and every day, the circuses that the so archaic phallic Hector who looked like an erection, its glans bared, sold: were the circuses as amusing as that? - I had never seen so many trapeze artists fall into the safety net as at the Gatti circus. The street kid as king of tele-marketing, at age mid-thirty [at times he looked 29, worn out at week's end you could tell how he would look at 39] he has the build of a brutish, bleached Jackie Robinson "There's you head," I'd shout to Hector pointing to the dumpster, when he'd forgotten "Truffles," Maria his common-law wife's pug, who doubled as parrot as she sat all over you in Hector's Mercedes, and Sergeant Ed Casey, the big K-9 German shepherd, who oversaw the City of Hector's Seattle Police Guild circus deal, showing up for the days' final accounting at telemarketing witching hour of 9 p.m., runs after Hector to tell him that he's left the frantic, silly, over-indulged little beast behind. "At sentencing I'll testify what a good dad you are." "Lick fewer stamps and more pussy" when the Shriner show-off circus promoter was licking too many postage stamps and not enough pussy for his residential sales late and deep into the soporific night just as he and his Panamanian wife had licked stamps from one stop-over deal to another, criss-crossing the country in their funky red, Star Wars-inspired Pontiac personnel carrier: what nomadic stories those decals from police associations and Shriner Temples all over the U.S.A. could tell! Traveling internationally, Hector, a wad like his would get him arrested at the first airport, he claimed his money was in other people's names, did he really trust anyone as much? - more likely it was tucked under a mattress, someone who always tucked things away, his red hot Mustang Convertible had suited him, the Mercedes was incongruous, made him stick out as much as an Arab oil-rich potentate, at least it did to someone who was used to far more boring folk driving these overly calibrated vehicles, his reddish-blonde mutton-chops just beginning to converge with a trimmed Brillo beard, there he is, ex-college wrestler, athletic scholarship to George Mason University, taking Sergeant Ed Casey to Vegas... winning $ 5,000 on five to one odds on Evander winning in six and a half... trumpeting how Ed Casey had gotten laid with a cute blonde [another lying boast it turned out!]... Anxious, surprisingly uncool, cutting corners, still trying to "beat the system,” fantasies of domination, brash yet with surprising touches of shyness... a bit discombobulated by it all.
Hector's dad, old man Emerson, still provides Madison Wisconsin Police Guild garbage bags for their residential $ 15.00 & $ 25.00 donations, and does so entirely by himself. Hector says there are garbage bags strewn all over his dad's house, the garbage bags are sturdy, folks like them so much Old Man Emerson is their garbage bag man, regardless the bag's police union pedigree! Hector didn't even know whether the garbage bags bore the emblem of the Madison Wisconsin Police Union! Hector, having started on the bottom of telemarketing, had learned to prefer to have people work for you, he'd worked for too many folks himself, the sadism of the master-peon relationship is passed on from one generation to the next. His operation, the City of Troy, was make-shift-fly-by-nite, jerrybuilt, pick-up and catch-as-catch can just as there was always another town, big or small, down the road whose cops or firemen might want circuses to rebuild their "relief" funds. What chaos, what piles of garbage there are in neat-nick Hector's office, louvers askew upset him, he too at the mercy of appearances, he too is vain, one look at the well-tended beard is all it takes to note that he indulges in too much mirror time, just one look at his new sun glasses that drive like two little silver Lexuses at your eyes, Little Hector pretend-fighting with his dad: "He's too pretty to fight" Hector says when asked if his sons will enter the fight game. Both kids asleep in the Guild Circus office or hallway, ready to be packed up and split, just as during war time, or before a bust. Little Hector playing catch-me with his dad, what fun it is to have a dad who's a 12 your old at heart! Hector exploited his day men, he believed in "commish," so there was no clock and no professional nite room. Hector tried to get his day men to work the night room too, and he burnt through taps with the cynicism of an Ely whose "taps" he, on the heels of that cop with his gun, had bought for a hundred bucks from Ely's assistant, he burnt through salesmen, kept feeding them trampled "taps;" any tap that bought once will buy a second time somewhere down the line. He used the Shriner taps for the Police Guild, and he would use his Police Guild taps for the Shriners, and he even used the Shriner's proprietary A list with its backers of children's causes from all around the world. And he also had the beaten taps of a hotshot promoter who had been shut down a few years back, Spencer or Jensen was his name. There'd always be another promoter to fill the shoes of another short-eyed promoter who'd been put out of business. Hector was still possessed by the nomad's disregard of the patience it takes to build a base; at heart, instinctively as they say, he was still a hit and run operator in his dog pound baby room office chaos of cartons of multiply stepped on "taps" that he acquired the way any old thresher buys chaff, on the cheap from past operators, from peddlers of taps, or that he had simply taken or stolen ["steal X, anything, for me" is a refrain that keeps leaping voraciously off his brutish lips - God, how'd easy it'd be to set him up!] had schlepped along from his last gig, and some of which, what he considered his good stuff, he kept locked up in a black metal stand, taps that he in turn turned into chaff as he fed them selectively to his salesmen. Even when he needed a single under-handed single - inside the show-off wad there still resided an anxious singles corner-cutting counter of singles, I had met them before, they hated losing one buck as much as a million, that is how you become a millionaire - he'd stick out his boxer's fist-sized wad of hundreds. Proprietary, of course, applied solely to what was Hector's, including "his" sales people, you couldn't leave him, soon as he heard of the mere possibility of your leaving, and he had sharp ears, he'd come a’running, confronting you - even when he wasn't flying a deal he'd want you, them to stick around; and anything he’d stolen was his too; unlike the impotent child molester, the Reverend John McNee, he would never allow someone to “liberate” stolen taps at his home office. However, I was sadly to find Hector to be penny-ante skinflint, too, as no doubt others in that business had been to him, puppies nipping each other, and just the way he described his dad as being whose Shriner promoting air he as a kid had been exposed to, had inhaled, was Hector. "That was bad," Hector said one night, we were schmoozing, the range of his expressions from dumb brute, to anxious to dawning awareness from what deep slumber, or to playful as a kid, it was an unusual range, it was an unusual configuration of expressions, and I could tell that his dad's niggardliness, his dad's sadism, had gotten to him, as had the not paying for college; I could sympathize with that. Street-wise ways bred into his bone, as a kid living the same life that his two darling mulatto pre-kindergarten boys were now, Hector had kept the company of a certain kind of thief, he would be was their king, if only briefly, yet another American kind of king from nowhere who then didn't quite know what to do with his brand-new riches, a bit erratic. Wheeling and dealing big and small, hustling on-line television gadgets; outside, in back, checking what Richard the swap-meet trader has in the trunk of his funky poisonish-yellow Nova, his City of Troy promotions, benumbedly awash in a sea of cash; but greedy, a voracious puppy, driven but unknowing as to what purpose. Insecure grandiosity breaking through: "I'm the biggest promoter in Seattle," "I know important people" - yet he had little idea of the city but for the street-wise cynicism about the democracy of geld. There was some kind of novel there, a variation on What Makes Sammy Run combined with Berlin Alexanderplatz. Hector struck me as a sort of half-smart Bieberpelz, and ultimately that meant a very stupid fuck indeed. Most troubling were the gaps in his memory, the painful expression that came over his face as he was trying to fill them in; those punches he had taken when he agreed to take a fall. But there were probably also uglier sides, uglier experiences in his past. It would take more than eight weeks of working 4 hours a day to get to know Hector.
The Seattle Police Guild Offices was and, on brief thought, appropriately so, a warren, and it was stuck into the lower southeast corner of a small two-story wooden, U-shaped dark-brown office building at the southeast corner of the intersection of 35th Avenue and 70th Street N.E. There, to protect you from the many orifices of the Gods of Seattle, beneath the overhang from its cantilevered second floor, among the two or three cars parked there, not an Ave by any means, the crew filled, at the rate of a tin a day, the big five pound coffee tins with cigarette butts! Carl the sad Ancient Mariner from Trontheim seemed to smoke and little else, bags under his eyes circulated down to the top of his shoes, a cough like a semi's, wads of phlegm like crushed slugs, like wet hair-balls. Rocky smoked two packs of Marlboro a day, leaning one elbow on the hood of a car to support the other hand that held the cigarette to the small mouth opening to his lantern head; Wes, revved, smoked twice this hourly ration. Rocky had learned to work his Zippo lighter out of his pants pocket and light himself one of the chain of Marlboro's that enchained his lungs. One elbow leaning on the hood of a car, supporting the tragic cast iron lantern, the other hand smoking, is the ultimate snapshot memory of Rocky. - Cigarettes disgusted Hector and he confined his smokers to this back area and its unpaved alley which had a lot of greenery and some fine Seattle trees; an adjoining yard with vegetable beds and at least four different cats that dozed, weather permitting, on automobile hoods and tops; one house further over some heelerish mutts kept barking out of second floor windows, the vestiges of Old Seattle were all around you, and New Seattle, latté Seattle, lay diagonally across the way at the North West corner of the intersection, the Grateful Bread bakery and espresso shop. The North East Corner had a dry cleaner’s who was celebrating his 50th. At City of Troy, thinking, and at the urging of Hector that that might be the way to some quick money, I wasted several weeks beating through the ads from the old Cain+Able "badge books" - and came to realize several things: that many of them were mainly, though not entirely, burnt beyond recognition of any kind of munificence; and the degree to which some advertisers had not only been convinced by Bill Able, Mike Mailor, Rocky Screw and Ron Badger, but had convinced themselves [what with all the money they were donating] that they were supporting a worthy cause in placing [or, the newest wrinkle, Don Cain's,] "in being allowed" the courtesy and privilege! of placing expensive ads in the K.C.P.U. "public safety journal" as an act of appreciation of their "donation," and so had become loyal Ukranian Kommunist Party supporters; and, thirdly, that I entirely lacked “Rocky’s” pit-bull nature wherewithal to beat the Mom & Pop stores into submission – that’s what Rocky asked for and got from me, the Mom’s & Pops, he himself had failed to take along the badge books. Most of the few ads or big sales I got were stolen by Wes, or Rocky, or a "circus drifter" who worked under the name of Bob Anderson who was round and round and round, his face gritty with small pockmarks, perhaps he had lived in Pittsburgh before the city on the twin river had cleaned its air, he drifted in advance of circuses, where there would be a circus there he would be in advance of it, with or without his side-kick Pork Pie Hat, his Magpie, in some motel, at whatever "Aurora Avenue" with its aura of a strip that, one day soon, would run from coast to coast; stolen, no matter that Hector tried to protect me from what he knew were not my way of doing these things, not that that would stop him from suggesting that I sell the moon, so the moon – in the form of an awfully nice man who wanted to cater the Police Guild Circus water franchise, which Gatti Circus did on its own – would be chagrined, might sue, we’d have his money at that point. - I reverted to what I knew I was good at, rapport with residents, and circus tickets are a lot easier to sell than expressions of support and dubious tax-exempt receipts; it's a good thing if you get something, or something you can give away yourself for your good will.
This, then, was the company that I, the Wolf who was called The Nordic Totem Animal of the Seattle Police Guild Circus, found myself amongst at The City of Troy: if Maria could indeed double as Helen who might launch a thousand ships, who sought, as Hector's mother must have unsuccessfully, to keep the wily bopper in some sort of line, threatening to take the kids, a much more persuasive threat than the old adage of cutting off his always hard-on, or that the only divorce she would be going through was the one she was currently completing, there was Hector as a rather insecure and anxious brash and dickishly mean mentally aberrational ex-prize-fighter, the City was sheer fantasy, he and his family were flying solo, and Helen/Maria didn't mind darning socks or licking postage stamps, but what was surprising was that within moments of her acquaintance she would treat you as family - in the sense that she argued with you about the whys and wherefores of another family member's being and doing as though you had been apprised of them since the day you were born. I suppose this was in some sense the equivalent of Hector's "slave-owner" nature: why does X do this and that, as though you knew all or for that matter anything at all about X's soap opera. The variable troops consisted of the pridefully hard-hearted homophobic "pro" and gnat-brained beggar with the focused vision of a very small tight American asshole, my familiar, Rocky of Yakima - as what? Of Bob, sly thief Anderson, the Circus Drifter as... Ulysses? The shifty magpie-eyed Pork Pie, the lean and hungry, nervous Melatonin-addict, very professional, initially vile and snapping-turtle-tongued but ultimately sweet swap-meet trader Richard; 28 year old speed-crack-coke-coffee fiend ex-crack-house operator Wes, Hector's craziest side-kick, "a dick," said Maria who held moderate sway over him as long as he stayed within her proximate reach; turbo-charging himself in the toilet in the mornings, hands and arms and legs going off in different directions out of the garbage pile of taps he nested in, stealing people's deals from the fax machine, screeching, nodding out by late afternoon, croaking on crack or whatever, on the telephone, you would have loved this! claiming, in a completely croaked, twanging, would-be-old voice, to be the "Seattle Police Guild's Community Relations Officer!" [The customers of badge deals ought at some point get an eyeful of the folks of those mellifluous pitches who pry the money out of their pocket books!]; the Irish Bog Beast a.k.a. Wilson, a.k.a. whatever else and the sweetest kid's pitch this side of heaven ["And you should see their eyes light up when the elephant comes into the circus,"], occasional visits from his waddling 250 pound proselytizing Baptist wife; of Bruce, the double-herniad Sasquatch, who could not have been a sweeter and sadder and more sedentary melancholic; a fellow by the name of Dave Torrance, who seemed fine and professional and who did soft-ware sales during the day and who was the only regular American guy I encountered at any of these offices; of Mike Shay, who did badly, an A.A. member who had been all over the country on no end of deals and who didn't tell me as many mythic telemarketing stories as I had wanted to by any means; the trudging Nordic chimney, Cal of Trontheim, and then those many folks attracted to this line of work, they drift in one day and out the next... skinny Jerry who seemed bright on first impress and reminded me of lots of folks I had known... the epileptic driver whose sight you caught for just a few minutes in the morning before he hit the road... a girl driver who only wanted 500 dollars worth of quick picks so that she could pick up a quick 5 percent $ 25.00 to support her small kennel of dogs and cats; Paul, a younger, snappy driver, from whom I had looked forward to hearing more stories about Transylvania... The Ghoul, an etherealized Boris Karloff, who seemed amazingly, perhaps frighteningly, gentle, a tall gaunt, possibly cancerous, nearly transparent willow tree of a specter who in some ways was involved in the Shriner's deal appeared once or twice, his skin was as criss-crossed by lines as W.H. Auden’s face and seemed as fragile as that of a mummy or a Chinese paper lantern... Vickie... Swenson... a few night drifters... everyone going off in every direction…
It was a round-trip airline ticket to Tokyo, acquired for Hector in an illegal trade-off, street-hustler-like he tried to peddle it at a late night rendezvous, that made for the kind of series of incidents, knots in a thread, "Asiana" made for the several necessary revelatory encounters, those moments that popular usage describes as being "real," moments at which the animal willy-nilly shows its then current true face, invaluable moments in other words. Each of those moments revolves around the infamous Asiana ticket. "Someone stole it from me!" The thief is always being stolen from, he's always losing it; the anxiety of the street, of the feral nest; and other anxieties. Fear rules the world. It's all instinctive no doubt, or has become that, but is none the better for it. The first of the series of Asiana ticket moments is of the evening after I had exchanged it for the full page ad and the 100 circus tickets and brought it to the office: Hector couldn't wait to get his hands on it. The next came the next day when it appeared it was claimed to have been stolen at his late night rendezvous at Denny's where he was, it turned out, trying to peddle it to an Asian American - the original story had been "Oh I can use it, I know people over there," and the jokes had involved the usual Geisha girl fantasies. - The visceral hunger to clutch the ticket impressed itself on my memory at the first encounter. At the second it was the foolishness of trying to hustle something that had Police Guild written all over and on it, the sheer ignorance of the danger he was running and the greed, and of course the momentous memory loss: "Did I tuck it away somewhere? I always hide things." "The thieving magpie who fails to remember where it puts the crown jewels will lose its head in winter," is another old proverb. All of which led to the yet another "moment" where Hector insisted that since he had paid me 250 dollars, that is 25 % of a full page ad, not one quarter of the ticket's 1200 dollars worth, or half since he was not planning to split the ticket [which Ely the Scam who was generous in splitting the scam pie would have done] with the Police Guild, I ought to get him a replacement. In other words, Hector was someone who refused to pay the price for his own mistakes, of his memory losses, etc. And he became stupidly unrelenting so in this respect. At about the time that I arranged for a copy of the original voucher - to be faxed! - to Hector's office, he had found the original, it was in the office all along, how had it gotten back there? - Hector hadn't the faintest, t'was under his desk, at least so he said, or was he just playing dumb, as he, the cat who always tried to beat the system, also knew how to do. In other words, there were, despite the fact that Hector is clean as someone who hadn't been at one time, some huge gaps in the memory, you couldn't fail to notice how painfully he tried to reconstruct these gaps reasons for which remain mute, and it wasn't because of over-work, the short-term memory was simply gone, he must have been hit too often, it was a boxer's syndrome, perhaps in combination with too many past drugs. This was not to be my or the other salesmen's one and only experience of this kind with Hector. A shame as they say, yet another man not to go steal horses with, he'd forget the bridle, he'd never get over the jet lag. Perhaps he'd be best off put out to stud back at the farm, I'd lose him at the airport! He'd lose the ticket. The unending Asiana Ticket crisis evolved into whether or not, and how, to place the full-page ad in the Police Guild Circus Souvenir Program. There was the possibility of simply slipping it in; of my sneaking it in while assisting K-9 Sergeant Ed Casey with its layout. At one point Hector had prepared a fake invoice and attached it to the ad, but then he lost his nerve, he was worried about K-9, K-9 snooped around, might ask for an accounting for every ad placed in the program. I told Hector to face it, to take the loss. His comeback was: "You've faced too much." Oh boy! He had obviously tried to face very little, was still, as he said, "always trying to beat the system." Not that I didn’t like that surprising line of his. But it was his anxiety that impressed itself on me during those moments, no cool at all. How had he done during his 19 pro bouts? Yet he was someone who might go to bat for you if you yourself were caught playing games. The "Asiana Ticket" story ends with needing to inform Asiana that their ad would not run & my idea of translating it into a Shriner's ad. At one point Hector got so frightened that this might not be done and that Asiana might complain to the Police Guild that he threatened me: "Who's Casey going to believe, you or me?" This was along the line of: "If he [Ed Casey] finds out, you will have to take the fall." Drug trade talk, thieves’ talk all the way, frightened little boys' talk. Perhaps I reacted badly to threats? Perhaps I might preempt them? Arranging this switch turned out to be far easier than anyone could have imagined. Christine at Asiana, as compared to other tacks she could have taken, was instantly understanding of the alleged sloppiness of the Police Guild in "forgetting" to put the ad into the souvenir program, and accepted a further 50 tickets in addition to having the ad appear in the next Shriner's circus program. After making these arrangements I said to Hector, referring to the share I still had coming from my residential sales: "Don't screw me." And saying so because after I quit, Hector had said at once: "I won't pay you the rest of your commish." "Don't worry, no I won't." Based on my experience with Hector, I was a once again fool in thinking he might not screw me. For of course he did. Meeting him to get paid, after 17 days of a not too heartbreaking surcease from the baby-shit warren and our acquaintance, Hector then accounted to me for only the first of the three weeks, in as much as that accounting was to be trusted, leaving out the rest, during which the sales had been "rousted," and I wouldn't get paid on those sales because I hadn't been there. - Hector's original statement, I won't pay you the rest of your commission had come true. What was even more amazing, at first, was that he screwed me once again and did so right after asking for a once again favor - again he was hideously anxious - not to testify to his physical behavior towards his salesmen: the Irish Bog Beast was suing him for allegedly having whip-lashed his neck, very much the sort of accident that Hector might cause as he became gratuitously physical with his day men at any given gratuitous time of day. The Bog Beast had called 911, the ambulance had come. Hector claimed that the Bog Beast's wife had put her husband up to this action, the Bogbeast and his wife were litigious, he had made a mint of his bad back - Hector's behavior certainly could be described as actionable. Unlike Rocky we didn't all have the advantage of being a paraplegic whom no one but his wife would hit, and like Rocky ask Hector, dumbfounding him, to step outside! - Once more I broached the issue of my not being paid for the time I had put in trying to rationalize his office, setting up a night room. To my infinitely gullible amazement Hector said that the trouble with that was that there was no results. He had forgotten, the memory loss, convenient?, solely convenient at that time? and there I'd thought I had been dealing with a "let's get it done" kind of guy. What kind of wrestler had he been, Middle Atlantic champ? No doubt a lot of nasty little holds, a lot of raspberries. Hector had no idea. He had not the faintest what kind of Trojan horse I might be, hated being penny-ante dicked around. It occurred to me that the fellow was just plain dumb, a somewhat discombobulated, dumbed-out semi-sharpie, any one who knew him and whose while it was worth could take him out from one moment to the next. Hit the road jack, back to working hick towns. Then came the clincher: "I only took the Asiana ticket because you needed the money, I was doing you a favor." Suddenly he looked pitiful to me, and I was a bit speechless - any old rock is more reliable. - Leaving, I kidded to say that maybe I'd get together with the Bog Beast and we'd both go see Ed Casey. Hector once again muttered that patented all American boringly defensive line that insured that the country would remain the same old same old for the some long future, "I don't give a fuck." "I don't give a fuck," right after he'd been scared to death. This was sort of sad, coming from someone who could be such a good dad! Such dumb-fuck defensiveness wasn't going anywhere. It might wear cool glasses, but that would be it. And not for terribly long. The knife of the guillotine, it's breath - would he even feel it? Someone to whom it mattered, who was not only as voracious but whose cutlery was still sharp, would take him out one day.
As the Police Guild circus deal began to fade out, instead of ten busy day men writing bitching numbs the day room was down to Rocky, Richard, the occasional me, and sad trudging Carl of Trontheim. Now and then the not very lucky A.A. member Mike Shay showed up for a few hours. The Irish Bog Beast showed around 4 PM but exclusively "wrote" residential sales, close to a $ 1,000 for every 5-hour shift. Rocky dawdled for a couple of hours on the clock, from five to seven, he'd made his usual safety blanket arrangement to work eight hours a week on the clock, Rocky was a dwarf of very set routines, just in case the day biz went bust or that the IRS might ask him a few deadly questions, but since he did so well during the day he could have done even better if he'd gone commish in the evening too, the way he had it arranged he lacked incentive to write anything in the evening. If he skipped an hour on the clock on that arrangement Hector, who stupidly couldn't get a night room together and who therefore wanted his day men to work the evenings too, would dock Rocky fifty cents an hour, and penny-wise and ante Rocky who drove 70 miles to save a few bucks on a carton of cigarettes would fume like dry ice for weeks. - Hector's charm was wearing thin as was the company of the homophobic dwarf, a few months in the same room with Rocky and you began to see why Donna might pick up a jug and conk his lantern with it, would do you for several life-times, there were times, when your own furies remained unassuaged and lost sight of Rocky’s amusing sides and you came to regret the good heart of the Screws who took Rocky in off their door step instead of flushing him down the toilet; nor did money seem to salve his agues while yet exacerbating his confidence to abandon what inhibitions had kept his orneriness in check. Hector overheard me musing to Rocky about joining Rich's veterans' "deal" and joked around that I couldn't leave him, I said I'd stay if he would allow me to set up and run a nite room, and to my surprise he did. I wrote a funny ad for circus clown actors, posted it on the Drama School bulletin board and had immediate responses and had a good time kidding an obstreperous Rocky about how'd I take him off the clock if he didn't write some numbs at night - like Pavlov's dog the robot dwarf went into his threatening dwarf act, who would hit a paraplegic, no one but Donna. The magician wrote a funny ad overnight, and Hector liked that too, in no time I had a nearby computer person, a congenial Pole who was prepared to put in a computer to organize the tap mayhem; the Electric Light Company was ready to cut the telephone costs in half, competing offers from various postage meter companies to allow Hector to lick more pussy and fewer stamps, when he wouldn't pay for the ad for the nite room clowns, he'd promised, but then he didn't seem to know whether he even wanted to keep the office, he was wasting my time, and I made up my mind to walk out, there his mind was going through its slow slow waking up procedure again, and then, to my surprise, Hector actually called the Lion's in Kent to find out about the office they had set up there, trying himself to decide what he actually wanted to do, it was like dealing with someone who had been phased down to slow motion, but then, instinctively cheap, he wouldn't pay me for the time I was spending setting up the night room and rationalizing the great mayhem, just rationalizing it a little, too much becomes counterproductive, involves you in the sadism of bureaucracy and its constraints, if the penny-ante didn't show through again, some kind of ordinance about not paying an hourly rate, some sacred rule, rules only exist to be abandoned, the anxiety about the single buck, the clutching, the avarice, the greed, the fear of being screwed by anyone "writing wood" on an hourly salary. I'd already told him that being penny-ante was his Achilles heel, not that he'd ever read the Iliad, and I walked for good, but as is Hector' habit when people quit on him, he shouted after me, "you're fired." Loyalty was about the last thing that Hector acquired or inspired, had he forgotten the elementaries of the quid pro quo? All it takes is one person who's been screwed once too often reaching his flashpoint, Hector keeps running the danger, dumbly sort of, another adventurer, and so his charm, that peculiar fun it could be to be around him because he knew how to make a silly business playful, even seeing that there was some money to be made once you got the hang of the circus deal, had worn finger-print thin within my few months in that particular City. And since I am aware of my fallibilities and therefore check my impressions and judgment with other folks, I was sorry to be proved right in my assessment; nay, it had been much too favorable, there were darker sides, more callow sides, rougher sides I found out subsequently. And they had been extrapolatible from the details I noticed. Hector was going to be just another flash in the pan in Seattle. The Shriners were on to him, so were the cops. One more good year maybe, and that would be it. Hector tried desperately holding his room together, faking deals that were in the offing, trying to get his "day men" to commute by ferry to Bremerton for his Kitsap Country Deputy Sheriff's deal, Hector was too cheap to get himself a Watts line, and ended up with a vacant office in Seattle and a lot of deals working the outlying areas. At the Kent Lion’s he even tried selling circus tickets a week after the circus was long gone as I was by then. However, I did go see the Gatti Circus pull into Seattle Center. I had seen it in Spring and it was not the kind of circus you want to see twice a year. There was the admirable K-9, Sergeant Ed Casey making sure that all the vans were being parked properly, that every animal was in its place, the chairman of the deal, overseeing what Hector’s money-raising efforts were paying for.Coda
I concluded that all Hector would do with his first billion would be to buy another Mercedes, so I concluded at the end; and if a few weeks later he didn't roar past me, sticking his pugilist's mug, screaming his favorite line "Lick my hairy balls!" out of the driver's side window of his newest Mercedes as I ate some bread and cheese I had just bought at P.C.C. He and Maria and Little Hector drove round the block and got out, a leashless Truffles furiated pettishly in the new second-hand silver-blue Mercedes, and we all schmoozed most pleasantly on the lawn of the kid's playground until well after Sat nite office closing time: what a nice dad, what an amazing child little 2 year old Hector is! and his 12-year-old dad. Yes, they'd all be best off back at the farm. And so would I. And so we stayed in touch, by phone, and he gave me the lowdown on "The Reverend" when I did a stint at what I thought might be a legitimate 501 [c] 3 charity deal of the Helping Hands/Holiday Basket - it turned out to be exclusively for hands that help themselves and basket cases that like to give! And at the Reverend's if Richard the skinny Trader didn't work there too, and Ray who had even spent a few weeks living for free with Hector and Maria, and Ray made dreadful report of bloody fights between Hector and Maria, the kids already inured to it, and hadn't Maria, who sometimes was wise to how badly he treated "his men," forgiven him all and everything and sounded the way I remember sounding when I had "fallen in love" all over again, the stomach or whatever winning out, wanting to win out over the brain. Perhaps this falling in love was merely her childishness; after all, in her late twenties though Maria might be, and "strong," as they say, when running what she called "her deal," didn't she too have that now all American pedophile's dream of a voice of a pubescent girl? And there, five years ago, before bearing and delivering her first born, hadn't she been just a slip of a lithe half-Panamanian dancing girl, whose hips meanwhile had broadened, on the way to becoming a brood mare, a broad, who wanted to have a dozen kids - phoning Hector occasionally, no, he didn't seem to want to have more children. From some of the other sales folk I heard that Hector was calling her a bitch, and not affectionately either. And eventually, sadly, my fears that my assessment of Hector had yet been on the optimistic side of black turned into pitch. But we stayed in touch, I wanted to make a documentary of the City of Troy in operation - on immediate mention of the proposition he was wily enough to realize that that would tell everyone how you played that game; so I proposed we'd do it during his last deal: after all, he kept claiming how much he hated the biz, for the time being he of course loved the finally real money of it, and since money was all he knew it would be some time before he'd go on to something else if he'd ever know something else to go on to. Or Hector would call, to fish for information, I'd caught on that a dunce's cap was part of his criminal's repertoire. Towards Thanksgiving of that year, talking to Hotshot at the inception of the second Shriner's circus, I came under the impression that Maria had left Hector, "Hotshot" mumbled abut how hard it was to fill in for Hector. Richard the Trader, another gossip telemarketer showed up at Don Cain's Marketing at Northgate and told Paul the Driver that there had been another incident of violence between Maria and Hector, that she had called the police, and that two days afterwards Maria's father had arrived from Illinois and that they and the children had driven the famous travel-all back to Illinois. This turn of events came as a no surprise, no wonder Hector had wanted to know if I knew where Ray was - Ray might prove a confirmatory and devastating witness. And so it was not going to come to pass, my testifying at Hector's sentencing, what a good dad he was. The A.G. and Secretary of State were starting to nip at Hector's heels, I told him that I myself had gone to see the A.G. when he had threatened the Bogbeast after their court appearance, it scared him, knowing him I knew precisely how anxious he would be, he was so scared that he wouldn't give me the Shriner's new postal address until I told him that all I needed to do was call them or look it up in the phone book to obtain it. Richard the Trader was tattle-taling Hector stories, Hector was still boasting a bit about having the best salesmen in town working for him, but the claim meanwhile, with so many defections, was absurd; a man of threats and boasts, who was stupid enough to have a lawyer write a threatening letter, ultimately and sadly, just another dumb fuck, who had no salesmen left at all.
The day, the following spring, that the Bogbeast and I tried looking up Hector at his pad in Mountlake Terrace, it turned out that, like the fabled “Bob Davis,” a big furniture van had pulled up a day or so before and Hector, Maria, the kids and Truffles has split for a different part of the country. The landlord showed us around the emptied-out apartment in the army-base type development. Clean as a whistle. Then we paid a visit to the Shriner's Temple in Montlake and got an eyeful of the monstrosity. But Hector had never got a second chance at the Shriners, they handled it themselves and did a botched up job, and justifiably badmouthed Hector and what he’d done to their “taps.” Calling my K-9 friend Beethoven, it turned out Hector’s second go-around at the Police Guild Circus had been shut down because he’d not had the proper licenses the first time around. It sounded to me a bit like getting Al Capone on tax evasion charges! After all, they knew he was the fundraiser for the Gatti circus, who had the required license, it was a dubious charge if you wanted to make it stick, but Hector had wisely split. I checked with Mary Beth at the A.G.’s office who confirmed Beethoven’s version of the Hector indictment and wanted to know where Hector was as I did from her, and if they could call me as a witness if there was a trial. We both had his 800 # and I availed myself of it, it was still good, and Hector confirmed of why he had been shut down and sputtered on about Washington State being the most corrupt state in the Union! The kettle calling the pot black had never been like that! He claimed to be where he belonged: Vegas! I knew he wouldn’t show back up in Seattle, I regretted that there would be no trial. Although at one time I had really looked forward to testifying what a good dad Hector was, I could evidently, based on hearsay from Ray and Richard the Trader. no longer do so on good faith. Anyone who beats up the mother of his children loses all such standing for me, unless the woman beats him up first, in which case. Nonetheless, I as a witness had hoped to bring out that there would be no Hectors unless there were police guilds, unions, benevolent and malevolent associations which needed their likes to raise funds; or who helped them during their hold-ups; and I, of course, was going to call on a couple of well-known Senators from Arizona and Wisconsin to support my position!

However, the Bogbeast’s story of some tires that Richard the Trader had organized for Hector’s Mercedes is far superior to my Asiana ticket revelation. Best as I remember the Bogbeast’s account, a set of four tires, taken as a trade in, were hanging around the office, and K-9 noticed them and wondered where they had come from

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MICHAEL ROLOFF exMember Seattle Psychoanalytic Institute and Society this LYNX will LEAP you to all my HANDKE project sites and BLOGS: "MAY THE FOGGY DEW BEDIAMONDIZE YOUR HOOSPRINGS!" {J. Joyce} "Sryde Lyde Myde Vorworde Vorhorde Vorborde" [von Alvensleben] contact via my website


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