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


“For hands that help themselves and basket cases that like to give!”
At some point the Bog Beast had mentioned a Reverend who was doing a holiday food fund drive, Helping Hands allegedly legit; and just as my disgust with the Vet's deal was reaching a pitch and I was thinking of contacting this very Reverend if Paul the Transylvanian Succubus didn't stop his whizzy red "Picker's" Nissan by Grateful Bread Coffee Shop's sidewalk where I was having my coffee & NY Times. Leaning into the passenger side window and addressing his bulky head: "Who you picking for these days?" "Washington State Correctional Officers Association" [Intelligent Marketing Solutions, Bob Davis' Old Outfit handled the half of the K.C.P.U. that had split-off into its own union of jail wardens so they could do deals on their own.] and Reverend John's Helping Hands, he's just starting up."                                                                               Paul showed me their invoices: $ 35.00 & 60.00 & 120.00s. It looked good enough to give the Reverend a call and I told Paul to tell the Reverend that I would do so. Paul was on his way back from a "pick," picking up telemarketers as he went on his merry five per cent of 65 picks a day to support a Romanian orphanage. After checking in once more with the Bog Beast, who gave him far too clean bill of health as he would later admit, I called The Reverend John McNee. "The Bogbeast has nothing but good things to say about you." Well, not quite, but what a quite it turned out to be. The Reverend, instantly advertising his operation, said that "Robin" was on his way to join him - I vaguely remembered a "Robin" from Hector's, a nice gentle fellow it seemed. "Dave" too was going to stop by. The Rev made it sound like a veritable homecoming week of the City of Troy in the offing. And would it ever be! Happy go lucky or unlucky as I also continue to be, that prospect did not unduly faze me, at least as long as homecoming would be devoid of “Rocky” or Wes and a few other folk... I might even start missing “Rocky” if only for comic relief, or his mean intelligence if not his obnoxiousness. “Rocky” kept you on your toes, I was hideously fond of the monster, the monster who always pretended to be friends right after having been monstrous... predictable as only a wound-up dwarf can be, predictable as we all are in our over-determined ways.                         I, of course, had certain imaginings, fantasies of what this Reverend [1] might look like, wishful fantasies not unalloyed by real experiences. These fantasies then mingled with recollections of someone likely to be a Reverend who had perhaps shown up once or twice at Hector's where he was reputed to have "sold" some Indian casino the back cover for $ 4 K - and I well knew that fantasies invariably tell you as much about the bogs of your own being than the bog outside it than to lend non-refundable and possibly dangerous credence to them. But there it is: once inside your heart and guts these fantasies exert their gravitational, otolythic pull, things grow around them, and it isn't necessarily a pearl. - My first association was with the idea of a Reverend whom I might have glimpsed at Hector's was The Ghoul, that withered, overly tall, wrinkled-papyrus-paper-thin willow of a Boris Karloff figure who had blown into the office once or twice, and such a, therefore, noticeably fleshy wife, and a son whom he was apprenticing to the trade, The Ghoul whom I had found so frighteningly gentle, a kind of counter reverend for Transylvanian monsters as it were, his mask would have served well for Halloween, he had something to do with the Shriners, where he had met Hector, and worked some deal out of Port Angeles - whence didn't these folks do deals?! Better than being a purse-snatcher anyhow? You wouldn't think so if you knew the story of how Ely the Scam managed to hit an old lady for $ 4,000 in the period of one week in denominations of $ 100 to 500 each, and then turned the 14 taps over to the Bogbeast to hit her once again - at which the Bogbeast, an ex-seminary student with still a bit of heart, found the line inside himself where he said no.                                                                                   Yet the fellow whom I then beheld on first meeting was a shortish, early fortyish yet younger-looking, rotunding, sandy-haired intelligent-faced, twinkle-eyed sharpie, a tonsure would have done nicely, somewhere he fit into some Order in these newest middle ages. I was trying to place him in the Canterbury Tales. Friar who? He was a Governor Wilson type, that kind of innocuousness, his car some cream-colored little Nissan or Toyota was innocuous too, as innocuous on the surface as young police recruits, the German Border Patrol was far more apple-cheeked, or as the naked mole rats who populated Seattle Center during the 4th of July weekend. Baby faces aging into what? Handke thought of them as the truly deracinated. I thought of them as what you got if you fed folks Wonder Bread. You couldn't tell what wondrous results it might have.            The Reverend had taken a five year lease, so he said, on his base of operations, a former dentists' set of suites in an unattached ground floor building proximate the corner of 125th Avenue North East and Lake City Way in North Seattle, a one story suite that was set back from the sidewalk by a 10 by 6 foot swatch of lawn. Generally speaking, this was a somewhat strippish area, lots of car dealerships down Lake City Way south of 125th, a Dick's hamburger drive-in, motley shops but then some not that motley of all kinds, but it had been a pleasant enough walk and bus ride up NE 35th Avenue. If I wanted to I could also commute up or down by way of Sandpoint Way and gaze across Lake Washington towards Bellevue and Kirkland.                                                                    The suite had its shingle missing from the gallows by the sidewalk. Instead, on the inside ledge of the large glass display window facing 125th was a put-up, sun-warped cardboard sign: black on a white background within a 3 by 2 feet day-glow green sheet it said "Help Wanted." - It was a walk-in job, as long as you aren't grossly underage or have too severe a speech impediment you can walk into just about any tele-marketing operation of this badge or scam charitable kind and get a job, that was the weak spot of these operations. After all, it's strictly commission. Except for the occasional hay-hey-numb's day as with the City of Troy's circus deal there are invariably more telephones than mouths to work them. Any voice on a telephone is better than none; any sale makes 75 per cent for the promoter. There is something very democratic there about becoming a fellow thief in that line of work! They didn't care what's my name?, or what's your social security number, you could make all that up out of thin air as you breathed foully along... - Writing about it now, about six months after starting to sort out the experience, I realize how seasoned I myself had become.                                                                                                       The front room that went with that window remained unoccupied during my one month stay with Helping Hands/ Holiday Food Baskets, a couple of cartons with those hideous undersea or underground, ground-up, shrill beetle-color imported high-profit margin Toys R Us freebies that Valery, the Reverend's older wife, kept getting for free and meant to stuff into the Holiday baskets on a long caterers table was all that would ever occupy that suspiciously vacant space.                                                                           On entering a foyer you came to the front desk with the receptionist interceptionist, the Reverend or his wife Valery; that is where the "picks" lay for Paul, and the mail pieces; once you curved your way left past the receptionist's space a corridor led to the rear. However, making a sharp left turn at the side entrance to the front desk led you past the back of the interceptionist to the small office that held the heart of the operation, the computer which held various chiming, gonging and ringing computer games, it was an office protected by a sensor alarm.                                                                         Both The Reverend and Valery, his second wife - his first he said exotic-gongingly had been a Filipino - spent hours upon hours playing computer games: the drive was just starting off, yet such a grandiose waste of time indicated the stratosphere he wanted to reach. "We don't want to get rich, we just want to make a little money for ourselves," was their line, moderately as compared to admitted whole hog scammers like Hector.                                                                                                                                 Later the Bogbeast would tell me that the Reverend was known to hate to work. Our observations checked out. Like Hector, the Reverend thought he had it figured out how to live off other folks' work, unlike Hector he was both too impotent and lazy to provide them with the wherewithal. Two rooms off to the left of the gangway housed the bathroom and kitchen, the back contained three windowless rooms, ten telephone lines all told. So this was the Vatican. It felt very dead.                                                                       There were two windowed rooms to the right with three desks each, we interviewed each other in one of the windowed rooms and first talked about “Rocky”. Many times the Rev said he, too, had felt like strangling “Rocky” when they worked together at Bob Davis', as a matter of fact “Rocky” had stopped by already and asked to be allowed to bring his dogs, and for a 35 point cut of the proceeds! The figures weren't' there for “Rocky” to get 35 per cent or Valery, the Reverend's wife, no doubt would have had to put up with “Rocky’s” smell, her chief objection to “Rocky.” If that was all that bothered her she could obviously put up with The Reverend who made a well-washed and deodorized impression. Halitosis - what is the olfactory equivalent of obviously? - wasn't his problem...                                                                                                                                   We chatted about the fabled and revered Bob Davis. The Reverend said he had been his right and left hand man, had learned the trade from him, that he himself had started off as a picker, so he knew how to drive, and then it turned out he knew how to give good phone. The Reverend, it sounded, had a lot of experience in this line of work. Had even driven Bob Davis and his furniture van $ 500,000 worth full of stuff down to California... Later, too late, the Bogbeast, when we compared notes, would tell me that Bob Davis had never trusted the Reverend, and that no one at I.M.S. could stand him, for reasons that will become quickly evident, his only friend was the tolerant Bogbeast who couldn’t dislike a piece of scum if he wanted. Among several other matters that the Bog Beast, however, had not failed to mention was that the fabled Bob Davis, an ex-football player who had struck it rich in this line of work already in Canada, had had to "leave the State."                                                                                                                                                 That's what the Reverend wanted to be like, treat his solicitors fairly, it all sounded sensible enough, he didn't want to be a dick like Hector Emerson, getting your sales checked off against a computer readout was allegedly more fool proof than Hector's or other folks ways of accounting to and screwing them! - There were a lot of "pros" who were resigned to this way of being in this business, like hookers who have to pay to work at "Sugars." It comes with the turf. The turf of American survivalitis, any old survivalitis for that matter...                                                                                                                 The Reverend's shop was meant to be “son of Bob Davis,” he and Valery were even going to visit Bob Davis down in Concord, California, over x-mas, where he was pitching cops. "We don't want to get rich, we just want to make a little money for ourselves," was their line, moderately as compared to whole hog scammers like Hector. "And I will see you then on Monday?" His timing was too perfect, I had wanted to think about it during a walk back home, he put-took my words in/out of my mouth just a little too eagerly. He needed bodies to go with his telephones. "Yes, sure." - When trying to recruit the Bogbeast he had been that second too fast, too. Bogbeast and I would make good private investigators. I did not like the windowless back rooms, my bat's ears picked one with my back to the reception desk-office, I would be subjected to a lot of computerized Vegas jingles, the "Reverend" could hear me, but I could also hear him; and I kept the window a crack open.                                                                        "Smoking office" had been the ad I had seen some weeks ago which referred not only to the fact that you might write "smoking" hot numb's and but also that you could smoke inside the office. This was the office it turned out that went with that ad. The Reverend and Valery both smoked, as did most of these sales folks, but smoking inside the office also keeps the solicitors on the phone ["Get on the phone, make some calls."] and away from congregating and exchanging stories and info in the great outdoors. Two birds with one stone Reverend. A control freak, an operator, sort of cool. - I hated the idea of smoking inside, hadn't done it for years, and kept my consumption, my now fairly mild nicotine habit down to an easily controllable minimum. At the Reverend's it would flourish. Nonetheless, I still took my hourly break outside, to walk off the stupidity of it, to catch a breath and sight of fresh air, the autumn foliage that started to blow about 125th street. Except that The Reverend's name was John, John McNee, where was the Tony as in "Smoking Office" 501 [c] 3 deal. Call Tony." Was there a "Tony" at the Aurora address, or was "Tony" a fiction, or was he perhaps Frankie Bonellie? or his brother? At any event: I realized that I missed part of the background.                              The first evening was a Sunday evening and I was not overly impressed by the Reverend's own taps, at least not by those sheets he gave me to work [They derived, it turned out, from a closed-down operation run by another scammer, Bob Jensen, and listed no end of other mysteriously acronymed deals: OCC, PCH and not just a variety of HHs for Helping Hands dating back to the early 90s.] I then tried some Cain+Able taps that I had been calling from home once the weekend work at Able Support Services had ceased. That was encouraging, especially the following Monday, evening when I wrote $ 500 chiefly in the denomination of $ 35.00 half basket sales in three hours. A whole basket went for $60.00, but the Rev had also devised medium sized baskets for $ 70.00 and "big" baskets for $ 80.00. "Can we put you down for that?" "How many baskets would you like today, one two three four ten, twenty, one hundred?" Put me down for a hundred hee-haws any day.                                                                                                               That Sunday evening the Reverend sat down on the desk next to me and pitched his dynamite pitch. I had to admire how good he was, scarcely anyone turned him down calling last year's Helping Hands red on yellow invoices, he was pretty silky all right. He could have succeeded at something legitimate like Hoovers. Steak knives. You name it. "This is Reverend John calling," very calm, clean, nothing unctuous except perhaps that willingness, by providing the various telephone codes, to help keep other telemarketers from bothering someone who had mentioned being overly bothered by them.                Why were there so few of last year's Helping Hands invoices? Somehow Hector had ended up with them, not that I had ever seen them there amongst his humungous collection of boxes upon boxes of taps; supposedly they had ended up there after my time. They had once been at Bob Davis' office and when Hector, with Sergeant Crowder of the Snohomish Deputy sheriff leading the posse in hot pursuit of Frankie Bonellie, had heisted the Helping Hands taps that originally derived from this fellow Jensen whom the A.G. had told to cease and desist - it was too much: follow the money, follow the “tap”! - Lucky Hector! Having had $ 2,000 stolen by Frankie Bonellie, he ended up, at the end of a one-night chase, with probably a hundred thousand dollars worth of “taps” from two dying operations. Hector had used those taps to sell the end of the Police Circus deal and his subsequent Auburn Lions Club deal, gold taps for sure. It appeared that neither "Tony," the sponsor, nor the Reverend, nor the folks who now ran I.M.S. had it in them to get these taps back from Hector.
That first Sunday evening the Reverend drove me within a mile of home, which is as close as I who like to walk would let him. I asked him about his ordination, he insinuated that he could get me ordained too, if I preferred the moniker Brother Olaf. I see, I thought to myself, I see you growing a tonsure, Reverend John McNee. I mentioned that except for the work involved in being certified by the State of Washington I was a fully trained analyst. There was no reaction, but he couldn't say that he hadn't been warned that the radar ears had been turned on to constant hovering attention.                                                        Two hugely overweight "sisters," Sisters Owen and Beck, worked out of the room next to mine. One of them had worked for Ely the Scam and still believed that some of Ely's deals were authentic! Occasionally, for special occasions, Reverend John said he would don a collar. Ordained by mail from California. I got into the spirit of the thing and became Brother Olaf! Oh what fun! No one questioned it. One day you should start making calls calling yourself Beelzebub! Within a week of no Robin ["Oh, he's probably drinking somewhere."] and no Dave ["No idea what's keeping him."] suddenly one afternoon it was home-coming week for telemarketers at the so dead-tooth-dead Helping Hands/ Holiday Basket fund for holiday basket cases... First Ray showed up, "Oh right, yes I met you, the last day I went to see Hector to get paid... Just that one time." Ray had actually lived with Hector. I had caught just a glimpse of him as Hector dragged him in, claiming to have liberated him from somewhere - from selling circus toys it turned out. And if Ray didn't have horror stories to tell about what it was like to live at the City of Troy... domestic violence, the kids already inured to bloody fights 'tween funky Maria and Hector... I called Hector: "He lived with me for free," etc. and the usual profanity. Ray: "I told Hector to his face what I thought of him. And he hated every moment of it." I had enjoyed peppering Hector with the Truth about him, it was the quid pro quo to his dabbling with me as a punching bag. Ray, strong and tall and pockmarked and youngish, claimed not to feel that great about some of the things he'd done, but as compared to Hector... sounded as though he were a self-reforming criminal of some kind.              I should mention here, that there was exceedingly bad blood between The Reverend and Hector Emerson. Among the matters that the Bogbeast had told me about the Rev was that the Reverend had worked briefly for Hector, but from home, and that he had made a fabled $ 4,000 sale of some Indian Tribe's casino for a/the back cover - Hector sold the back cover as many times as he could. Bill Able would too, as a matter of fact. "Why publish the frigging badge book! What a waste of money." I had heard about that back cover sale. But when the Reverend had set out on a deal of his own, for – 0f all the people in the world! – for the "crime stoppers," Hector had kept him from getting the deal. I won't say how or why, not quite yet. I'm being usefully coy; otherwise, as you may see, you might not have read on at all. As a matter of fact, it was Hector thinking that the Bogbeast might go work for the Reverend at this "deal" that had made Hector, the slave-owner, attack the Bogbeast, the very Bogbeast who had been his Indian scout during the Frankie Bonellie chase. Hector's archaic ways, fun in some way, ultimately would do him in. But the intricacy of those involvements in that world, it was just one step up from the drug trade I concluded somewhere along the way.                                                             Richard the scrawny Trader showed up the same afternoon as Ray did, Hector allegedly hadn't paid him on close to 10,000 dollars worth of sales, still he would go back to work for him, made no bones about it, yes, Hector knew where he had gone to work, the fact that he, Richard, had seen the "help wanted" sign as he was driving by was just a joke. No he didn't enter every store that posted a help wanted sign. Richard went off to one of the back rooms. - Bogbeast later told me that Richard sold drugs to kids, that he did what is called "the credit card shuffle," and engaged in the sale of stolen goods with Hector. Since Ray, independently of Richard, said pretty much of the same thing, about Richard and Hector, there was a considerable likelihood of all this being stupidly true.                   It certainly was old homecoming week, but at least I had a room to myself. Credit card scams, the credit card shuffle, stolen cards for $ 50.00, use them for a week then toss them is how the Bogbeast explained Richard’s modus to me, tires traded right under the nose of K-9 Beethoven, gun sales... but nothing as good as getting a Lusty Lady from Lusty Ladies for a trade-in as Bob Davis had on his 65th birthday! Those were the days of yesteryear,     as the LL, dressed in a police uniform, had popped out of the cake one of her tits had allegedly popped out of the uniform. It was life on a village level, simple and crude.                                                                                                                                    Dave... same straightforward professional Dave who had to support a wife and kids... Hector owed him a few bills too. Also Mike Shay, another victim. Later on I heard why Bruce wouldn't work for the reverend. For the time being it was homecoming week alright... with a few new faces thrown in, but basically the same crowd except for a kid named Chris who worked the night room for a couple of weeks, a total coxie - a word I learned from the Reverend... The sisters, too, were "old hands" at Helping Hands type deals, single working mothers. The very blonde ponytail of a cherub struck me as familiar as he took a desk in the room next to mine. Jamie: the once sight of whose cherubic being had imprinted itself on me when he had shown up at Able Support Services I was positive I had seen him before when he showed up at the Reverend's. Jamie had certainly come to work for the right man! - Let me explain: Bogbeast had told me a few things about the Reverend, but as it turned out far too few at the time. Regarding the connection with Jamie, on initially meeting the Reverend I [of course?] did not mention that the Bog Beast had mentioned - here it comes - that everyone knew that "the Reverend" was a convicted child molester. This bit of news had certainly put me on the initial alert but it didn't necessarily make me convict him at once a second time on my own. Who knows what had happened, what had transpired in this country of the permanent sexual witch hunt, if it was the case, if the Reverend had that "in him" [however it had gotten there], if there was anything to the tale, if it wasn't scuttlebutt, the Reverend's character would tell in some fashion, it would drool out of him, slip out, manifest itself in any number of other ways. Whatever it was in the Reverend, if there was anything in him to seduce seductive children, it would manifest itself in his character somewhere down the line. But since I was neither a 12 year old boy or girl, I wasn't too worried about protecting this or that orifice or appendage, I wasn't terribly worried about my own ass, but - as I said - my radar, for once, had been put on "alert" from the get-go, the early warning system was hoveringly attentively awake. And it had detected the first indication of the tempter-seducer-candy-man during our one and only car ride. "I can get you ordained?" Bet you can, Rev. And I can send you to Sing-Sing. - Later the Bogbeast told me that the Reverend had molested his own children! Just as he stole from his own sales people. We are family! The reverend asked for other folks whom I knew who might work for him, Key Kelly... “Rocky”... Bogbeast... Key Kelley, whom they were cursing at Able Support Services pleaded loyalty to the folks who were cursing him for being a drunk and ill.                        One afternoon the Rev was interviewing someone in back of me, oh so you're a pro I heard him say and then a certain Gary Faye was placed on the desk to my right. It was another case of completely shot teeth. Faye derived from Bob Able's South County Office, Faye was an old hand at this work, we agreed on Bob and Bill Able, he said Bill had made his life impossible, oh so South King County was shut down [I had done a little calling from some insulting taps for Auburn Police Officer's Association], South King County is burnt to a cinder, guess who burnt it down...                                                                     In no time Faye was calling a lot of women, begging them for money and cursing them violently when they turned him down, I realized at once that I wasn't sitting next to some ordinary American male for whom every woman was a bitch or cunt when women were discussed in male company, but that I was adjacent to a psychotic. Gary Faye complained of headaches, I fed him Iboprufin, he went for walks to walk off his anger, he was on anger-management, he had a wife and five kids whom he couldn't see because of a domestic violence charge. I mentioned all this to the Rev, who pooh-poohed my concern, who knows who hit whom first, they always charge the man. Gary Faye was, as they say, "a pro", he rattled off his pitch in the most guttural lingo, he whimpered a bit like “Rocky” when those whom he was calling were starting to turn him down [and if he hadn't been with “Rocky” at Bob Davis' office!], but, like any real pro in this line of work [that was the secret], he didn't allow the sucker's voice an edge into his spiel, yet he was the crudest "pro" I had encountered, no finesse whatsoever, yet he was selling. Selling was all that counted for the Rev who wouldn't let me move into the front room with the display window that looked out onto 125th Street to alleviate my discomfort.                                   Calling the Bogbeast I inquired whether an experienced hand such as his had ever met Gary Faye." Gary Faye! He's the worst. He's a convicted murderer, Walla Walla. Told me so himself. "At least Gary Faye was trying to manage his anger. I fed him aspirins, whatever painkillers, Advil, that Doctor Wolf carries with him. After every hour of calling, Gary Faye went for a two hour walk to walk off his anger." Gary Faye's pulled some of the wildest stunts," BB continued. "One Thanksgiving, I was calling with him in the South County, he stole all the turkeys and sold them for $ 5 each." - Just what was needed at the Holiday Basket fund and its one ham or turkey each in each basket is what you say on the phone to raise the money for them. "He's taken trade-ins of motel rooms and shacked up with girlfriends for weeks at a time in them until they kicked him out."                I suggested to Bogbeast that he call the Reverend to alert him to whom we had amongst us. Didn't bother the Reverend one bit, so he had a confessed murderer with anger management & headaches, was violent to women and, troubled man that he was, tried walking his anger off every hour or so, and might steal the turkeys if they ever materialized. Didn't bother the Reverend one bit, keep a pro on the phone as long as you can, anything for those 75 per cent or more Reverend. I was getting the drift on the Reverend all right, and the drift had a sulphuric smell.                                                    Helping Hands turned out to be an on again off again deal. There was a lot of competition from other scammers along the same line of work. There were the Seafare Pirates' telemarketers using the good name of that affiliation, up at Northgate, "call Gary, holiday basket food drive." So D.C. Marketing was doing the Seafare Pirates Holiday Basket drive, and if it didn't happen to be headed by the same Bill Able, of my portrait, whose hoard of taps Don Cain had tossed a little less than a year ago but who was the same Bill Able who had run the Seafare Pirate Deal for Cain+Able some years back - the Seafare Pirates, hadn't I seen the clowns parade down The Ave this past summer during the Vets deal? The incestuous nature of these fundraisers, it knew no end. No daisy chain had ever been like this. How much would these Pirates, if there was anything left over from D.C. Marketing, spend on turkeys?                                                                          Then there were the King County Correctional Officers' telemarketers, old Intelligent Marketing Solutions. but now called Solutions Plus! [indeed, and so much at mind's tether], there was Diamond Visions [!] and its Northwest Mounties or whatever, but especially there was the Sunshine Foundation's crippled children basket drive, not just baskets but for cripples! it was the old one two, an excellent proposition for Georgette to whimper for. - It was Christmas time and the turkeys in the scam business were doing their kind of jingle bells.                                                                                                 The Reverend of too few leads and taps got some taps from the Bogbeast, but, it turned out, didn't pay him for them, pleading poverty... tiding him over with a mere $ 70.00 bucks... while we did handsomely with them, and the Reverend, who had first dibs, no doubt did splendidly.                                                                                                                Within one day of working at Helping Hands, if Bob Able & Tom Stumpteeth, didn't show up to pick up the taps of theirs that I had called from home on weekends and one night at the Reverends, and did so as soon as I had called Rich to tell him that I would bring the taps back to him. That put a crimp into the Rev's and my relationship if only because he had lied to them about the other Cain+Able taps, Xeroxes of invoices he had sitting on a desk in a room one over from mine, whence were they? He wouldn't tell me. Someone who had, judging by the dates, been at Cain+Able in fall, 1996. Dan the Hotshot from Hawaii was my guess, perhaps he took them out of the supply room, his desk had been next to its entrance. I had seen them also at Hector's for whom Dan worked. It would have been as good a time to walk as any: the Reverend blamed others for his own thefts, or possession of stolen goods, though what was fair in the night of all those dark cats was difficult to ascertain.                                                                                  It came down to the pure power of the claw, Hector had realized that, but, as compared to the boxer, the Rev let people walk into his office and liberate taps from him. Hector Emerson this was not, the thief maybe, certainly not the one whose every stolen tap was his! Hector wouldn't let go of a tap that he'd stolen, not over his dead body!: "I'm a winner." Sitting where I was I was easily alerted to the manner in which the reverend dealt out taps. First he worked them himself, what was left over is what the sales folk got. As he said, he only made money if he made calls on his own, he only took in 55 per cent on the dollar, which left the $ 60.00 baskets to be paid for from the 45 percent that went to "the sponsor" - whoever that might be; no wonder the Reverend was so eager for you to get "donations" in kind, which would either be assessed at retail value to inflate the figures for what had to be one of the most eminently foolable outfits in the land of the dolts, the Secretary of State, or raffled off to raise funds... to pay for the baskets?                                  Helping Hands certainly had some nice thank you letters from various organizations, Seattle Emergency Housing, The Tullalip Indian Tribe, all sorts of folk who should not have been dependent on such charity in the first place, and not even in a half-way better world than Seattle. These letters made effective sales tools to the only half-benighted when sent by fax. It looked like a lot of legitimacy, these letters were by no means as pathetic as what the American Veteran's Relief fund had to show with its one food basket. But the letters didn't indicate how many baskets, say Emergency Housing had received, they too send a letter, even if they had received just a single one. - Each moment was discrete from the other. The scam, like a chameleon, changed colors each step of the way. Yes, I, too, will help you to get ordained.                                       I began to notice that someone was calling the people I had faxed. It was going to be Wes all over. Later Bogbeast would tell me that already at Bob Davis' the Reverend was known for stealing deals, that no one had liked him there. He loved those 55 per cent all right. Why didn't you tell me? I asked the Bogbeast. “Well, I thought I was his friend.” The Bogbeast, I would take his recommendations cum several granum sale from now on. The Reverend was playing his computer chimes...                                                                 Still incensed at Hector and hearing that he had cost the Rev of all possible deals his "Crime Stoppers" [!] deal, I had given the Rev my piece on that man's City of Troy; it was always interesting to see how folks reacted. Bill Able seemed to have been exclusively interested in being compared to a handsome ferret and having the kinds of clothes he and his brother wore described as suave - the delineation of implicitly gross, cynical, heinous moral behavior had completely passed the Able rats by. But the what I thought "devastating" description of Hector had registered in some fashion. "It doesn't bother you, Hector?" "I can take it. I'm a man," gutturalled at you on the phone. - Like Maria, whom it bothered that Hector could be so stupidly brutal to "his" men, you couldn't help loving Hector a bit all over again!                                                                                The warning implicit in the description of Hector did not seem to register on the Rev, or he kept his reverential cool, I'd already heard that he'd sent an anonymous report about Hector to the A.G., but my piece had given him "an idea" - and a Reverend like that with an idea...                                                                                                                                          One day the Bogbeast was coming by, we were going to go to his put-over court hearing for his permanent restraining order against Hector, the one arising from the event where Hector's fury at the possibility of the Bogbeast's going to work for the Reverend's deal had let Hector lose his cool to the extent that the Bogbeast had just cause to call 911, and after first telling Hector to let up, Sergeant Ed Casey and Beethoven had "taken a powder." - That was also the same event that had made our anxious boxer ask me not to testify in the Bogbeast's favor - something I could scarcely do since I had not been a witness to an event which, however, subsequently, interested me to such sufficient extent that I could reconstruct it to myself from how most of its witnesses had described, at least to the satisfaction of my own conclusion that it was the kind of chaotic occurrence that involved so many points of subjective view that the only blame to be attached to the chaos was to Hector Emerson's archaic nature which believed that his salesmen were his very own physical property. - Whew! - The involutions of the soap opera of the lives of the scam promoters and salesmen of scams was beginning to fit the complicated possibilities of my syntax.                                                                                                                    Bogbeast, sufficiently courageous to put a restraining order on Hector and to go see the A.G. and check with internal affairs about the powdery Ed Casey and his blue-nosed Beethoven, however had become fearful as soon as Richard-the-Trader had communicated a threat of Hector's to him; also Hector's lawyer was threatening the Bogbeast, a very stupid lawyer who, stupidly, put Bogbeast into an excellent legal position. I tried desperately to pump some courage into the Bogbeast, if the Reverend didn't slyly suggest that he could give me the name and number at the A.G.'s office of the person who was investigating Hector Emerson.                                                                                I called at once and explained what I was about, she said “and where are you now?” "Helping Hands", and we made a date. The Rev, who had listened in on the conversation, like Hector he was an eavesdropper on his sales folks' telephone lines, was incensed. "Why did you say Helping Hands? "What's wrong with H.H.?" "It's a scam." "Now you tell me!" "Here, take the Holiday Basket pitch..." - He had just had printed it out - "and slip it to them if they ask about Helping Hands."                                                                 The Bogbeast's car developed difficulties on the way to the King County courthouse at the same rate that his courage waned. Putting the case over for another date and thinking it through more clearly would do no harm.                                                                       The next morning I was at the A.G.'s office! And what a mutually interesting morning it turned out to be. I gave them the Holiday Basket pitch – but they already knew all about Brother Olaf, Father John and Sisters Beck and Owen and I don't think appreciated the fun of it, or understood that when you were in Rome you had to do as the Romans. They were not particularly interested in Hector or The City of Troy, their main objective seemed to be to focus on these impersonations, to nip at those weak but funny telemarketer heels, for want of a tougher approach; the A.G. did not want John Q. Public to be deceived about who the telemarketer-promoter for the corrupt deal-maker was. Perhaps John Q. Public's deeper fears that, in “Rocky” Screw's words, "life was a scam," could thus be allayed a little longer. That was not much of a weapon, Able Company Support Services, in cahoots with the deal owner, had just perfected the way of beating the A.G. at their own game. The Reverend was shut down within another three weeks, and he blamed me for it and invented the lie that the A.G. had threatened me into supplying them with information and that I'd gone back to them the following week; actually, it turned out, he was running a deal that had been shut down already the year before, “Tony” had been shut down, The Reverend was doing Tony’s shut down deal. He had only himself to blame. The clever, sharp, sometimes funny, thieving, good-talking Reverend's own slyness and vengefulness had fashioned the silken noose by which he had hung himself over and over throughout his entire life.                                                             It was during that last week and a half that Gary Faye appeared for a few days and the Reverend wouldn't let me move from my spot. Occasionally City of Troy noises emanated from the back rooms which housed Ray and Richard and Mike Shay and Dave, graduates of that particular finishing school, farting and lip smacking and raspberry sucking sounds, and I remembered, how by compare with this morgue of a deathly and deadly Vatican, "Write Some Numb's Bitch" had at least been rambunctiously alive. One more week and I would have had unraveled the entire connection between the Reverend and his and Tony's operation down to a T... American Advertising Corporation it was listed as in the Secretary of State's Report. It advertised all right
1] Unaffiliated to any church though I may be, and despite no end of Liberace-like hoaxters on TV., the possibility of meeting a genuine reverend, priest or father still elicits certain optimistic, slightly awed expectations and - obviously - not only from this still somewhat pathologically optimistic and preternaturally believing dummy!

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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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