Saturday, February 18, 2017

THE BOLAN CHRONICLES; Reading #49. "It's Merrill, Not Sir."

48. Approximate Minutes Reading (AMR): 20

Introduction to Characters
Jab - Bridgeport Police Officer
Merrill Gaudett - Bridgeport Police Officer

THE BOLAN CHRONICLES

—It’s’ Merrill, Not Sir—

Thanksgiving day arrived, and Jake had invited two of his cop buddies to join them. One of them, a guy whom Jake called ‘Jab,’ was divorced. Jab was average height, had straight jet-black hair that he always had greased and flatly combed back.  And he had a belly on him. It wasn’t the typical beer belly. It sort of hung just below his belt, and when he moved quickly, it would jiggle. Try as he might to hide the jello-like blubber, it was tough to miss.  
Jab was 31 years old and had a reputation for being a fighter. Within the first two years of duty he had scrapped with four other officers; three as a result of his nonstop mouth, and one with an officer who’d referred to Jab as “Ripple.” Not a thought came to Jab’s mind that didn’t produce a vocal interpretation, and though he’d learned at least to buffer some of his comments, he still found himself in frequent squabbles with colleagues and acquaintances. He was married for a grand total of nine months, and he had no children.
 And there was Merrill Gaudett, a newbie. A single, early-thirties guy who had, four months prior, been hired by the Bridgeport Police Department, Merrill was fairly quiet--to himself most of the time. He was tall, athletic, and sculpted. But it was his long, wavy red hair that distinguished him from most others. His hair was not a shade of red, not dishwater blonde, not reddish, but true, fire red. Merrill had been hired for a short stint by the East Providence Police Department in Rhode Island, but had decided to change venues as a result of his displeasure with the grooming standards. He hated short hair.  Bridgeport’s standards were much more lax, and though he wasn’t as satisfied with the city of Bridgeport as he was with East Providence, he was much more comfortable at work, not only because of the grooming standards, but also because of the kinds of people with whom he worked.
Donna, though not thrilled with the idea of having Jake’s friends over for Thanksgiving dinner, nonetheless came to the realization that Jake’s attempt at considering her wants and desires was just that; short-lived.
Jab and Merrill had both arrived by one-o’clock, plenty of time to see the Eagles vs. Cowboys game. Jake called Donna into the living room and introduced her to his friends. Jab commented jokingly about how Jake must have lied to her about how much money he had in some international account somewhere, otherwise why would a pretty lady like this marry him? Jake had then closely inspected her attire. She wore a loose-fitting long dress that covered everything but her ankles. He was satisfied with that and realized that Jab was simply being his usual flappy-lipped self.
When Merrill reached out to shake Donna’s hand, she looked at Jake. Then she grabbed his hand and smiled, “It’s nice to meet you.”
“And you, Ma’am. I hope that we aren’t a bother on Thanksgiving Day.”
Donna replied, “Oh, no. We’re happy to have you.”
“Well,” Merrill continued, “I appreciate your hospitality.”
Donna paused for a moment. Then she said, “The game’s about to start, so you guys can get comfortable if you’d like.”
Pat Summerall and John Madden were the announcers for the big game, and Jab couldn’t help but comment on Summerall’s voice, “Okay, with a name like ‘Pat,’ I’m not surprised at this guy’s fag-sounding voice. It’s football, for god’s sakes, can’t we get someone in there who’s got a pair o’ balls?”
Jake replied, “Jab, what the hell are you talkin’ about? Summerall’s been an NFL announcer since god’s birthday—he’s an icon!”
“He’s a third-rate announcer, that’s what he is!” Jab turned to Merrill, “What do you think, Merrill? Does this guy sound to you like a representative of a game where the biggest, meanest guys in the world come out on a field and run straight into each other for three hours?”
Merrill smirked, “I don’t know, Jab.” Then he looked at Jake. “New NFL regulations…three hours? My God!”  
Laughing, Jake said to Jab, “Commercials and all, following your rules, this game won’t end until midnight!”
Jab acted like he hadn’t heard a word. “Shit!  And they probably pay him upwards of a million a year, dumb sons o’ bitches!”
This went on for the entire first quarter of the game while the cops ate chips and peanuts and cheese slices and olives and crackers. Jake had called on Donna for refills every ten minutes, and she was only happy to serve with a smile.  
During a commercial just before the second quarter of the game, Jab asked, “Hey, Donna, did you guys happen to have any beer in the house?” He’d been holding off, though it had taken everything in him.
“Uh.” Donna stuttered, “We’ve got…well…we have some…”
Jake said, “Let me interrupt, here. What she’s trying say is that the only alcohol in this house is anything but that lightweight beer shit. See, we can supply you with some REAL alcohol!” 
By now, Donna had begun to walk back to the kitchen.
“Donna!” Jake called, “Why don’t we give ole’ Jab here a taste of your own medicine, see if the big man can handle it.” 
Jab laughed and replied, “Shit!  Bring it on, tough guy!”
Jake continued, “Bring out some o’ that brandy you’ve got up there above the stove. But be sure to serve it on the rocks. The big man wouldn’t be able to handle it otherwise.”
Merrill only sat and listened with a smile. When Jake had asked if he had wanted something to drink, he had replied, “Pepsi’s fine, Bolan.”
“Suit yourself, newbie.”
Donna brought out a short glass of Cognac and set it on the coffee table in front of Jab. “Here you are.”
Jab looked at Jake and grabbed the glass, raising it high above his head, “Here’s to Philly and our soaring Eagles! May they kick the livin’ horse shit out o’ those Dallas cowgirls!” And he threw the brandy back without a pause.  
Donna watched him from the kitchen. She knew that within a matter of minutes the mouth of this ratchet jaw cop would either get worse or completely shut down. She hoped to God for the latter.
Jake looked at her and said, “And what about your husband? Nothing to drink for him?”
Donna replied, “Would you like some Cognac, too, Jake?”
Jake looked at Merrill and smiled, “Newbie, do I look like a loser? ‘Cause only losers drink hard liquor.” And he laughed out loud.
Merrill noticed the change in Donna’s demeanor. “Oh, what the heck,” he said, “Maybe pour this here loser a shot.”
Jab lifted his glass and said to Donna, “One more, if you please, Miss Bolan.  This here loser might as well prove his status…full on stud!”
“Donna, where’s Dean?” Jake suddenly asked.
“He’s in his room, reading.”
“What the hell! Tell him to come in here right now. I’m not gonna let him miss a good game on Thanksgiving Day.”
She walked the hall and opened Dean’s door. He was sitting on his bed, looking through a book he’d found in his mom’s box marked ‘Donna’s old childhood books.’ The Story of the Blues.
Donna said, “Dean Honey, where did you find that?”
“It was in your books box out in the garage.”
She peeked around the door then walked over to Dean and whispered, “Honey, there’s certainly nothing wrong with that book, but you might not want your dad to see you reading it. He’s not fond of that kind of literature. You remember about the…”
“Yeah, Mom, I do.” Dean closed the book and slid it under his bed. “He won’t find out, don’t worry.”
“Okay, Honey. Your father would like for you to join he and his friends, so you better get out there right away.”
Dean nodded.  
By the end of the second half of the game, Jab had passed out on the couch.  Saliva spilled out of his mouth like a leaky faucet. Jake walked over with his camera and took several close-up pictures. “He’s gonna love this!” 
Jab mumbled something incoherently.
Merrill was entertained, but he was more glued to the game than was Jake, and when the Eagles scored their third touchdown just prior to the fourth quarter, he’d let out his first cheer, surprising Jake. 
“Geez, Merrill, at least now I know who you’re rooting for.” And he laughed hard.  But Merrill hadn’t responded at all. He simply sat there staring at the television set. And Dean noticed that his father seemed a bit annoyed at that. He repeated, “Hey, Merrill, you been an Eagles fan a long time?”
Merrill replied without looking at Jake, “I’m not an Eagles fan at all; I just can’t stand the Cowboys.” Then he looked straight at Jake and said, “They remind me of bullies who think their…” And he looked over at Dean, smiled, then continued, “Bullies who think their poop don’t stink.”
Jake sneered and said, “Yeah. I guess so.”
Donna had been furiously working in the kitchen, frantically mashing the potatoes while the turkey cooked in the oven. But when she heard Merrill use the word ‘bullies,’ she paused. She quietly walked to the corner of the kitchen and listened.
“Yeah,” Merrill continued, “My ole’ man loved the Cowboys—seemed to think he was one himself. Wore the boots and the big belt buckle—the whole shootin’ match as they say. The only thing missin’ was a horse, but come to think of it, he treated my momma like she was a horse, so maybe that made him a real cowboy, huh?”  And he looked back at the set and said, “Yep—them Cowboys gettin’ a real ass-whoopin’ today!”
Donna stood frozen. A mix of fear, anxiousness, and excitement ran through her.  When the conversation paused, she stepped back to the sink and began washing her hands. She wondered if Merrill knew what Jake was really like. Had Jake made enough thoughtless comments at work about Donna or Dean to clue Merrill into the truth of his abuse of them?
The third quarter was another good one for Philadelphia, having scored two more touchdowns. But it was a quiet third quarter in the Bolan living room. Jake sat watching the game, but his mind was preoccupied with Merrill’s comments. Bolan wished that Jab hadn't fallen asleep, and he knew that there was little chance he would wake up before it was time to drag him out.  
Following the start of the fourth quarter, Merrill stood and asked Jake if he could use the bathroom. Jake pointed toward the hall and said, "First door on the left. Leave a quarter.”
Merrill looked at Dean and said, "When I'm done, you can get that quarter before your dad gets to it.” And he smiled.
Little Dean smiled and said, "Yes, sir."
Merrill said, "Wow!"  And he looked at Jake, "Quite the respectful young man, huh?"
Jake replied, "I try, newbie, I try."
Merrill's smile disappeared as he turned and walked to the bathroom. Jake looked at Dean and said, “You see, son, people notice when a job is being done correctly. They recognize a quality product when they see one.” He paused, “And that’s you, Dean. You’re a quality product.”
“Thanks, Father.” 
Donna stepped into the living room, “Jake, would you like wine with dinner?”
Jake kept his eyes glued to the television, “Sure. That’s fine.”
“Do you have a preference…red or white?”
“White.”
Donna looked at Dean and smiled. She was pleased to see him sitting on the couch, watching a game with his father. She continued, “We have a Chardonnay and a Chenin Blanc. Which would you prefer?”
A bit annoyed, Jake answered abruptly, “You decide. I don’t care.”
“Well, the Chardonnay goes well with chicken and pork. Then again, it’s a wine that really seems to do well with any kind of poultry dish, and turkey is…”
Jake turned to Donna and barked, “Woman! Let me make this crystal clear. I-don’t-care-what-wine-you-serve.” Then he added, “Now get back to the kitchen.”
Merrill had been standing in front of the mirror in Dean’s bathroom and had heard every word. He took a deep breath then ran his fingers through his fire-red hair. He looked around. The wallpaper had images of all types of balls--basketballs, baseballs, soccer balls, tennis balls--and the shower curtain matched the wallpaper. 
Curious, Merrill opened the small cabinet hanging on the wall. Inside, he found nothing unusual, but he did notice that everything was perfect—its placement and its condition. An immaculate clear glass held a small tube of toothpaste with a roller on the end. The toothbrush lay just behind the glass, facing upward. A roll of dental floss sat next to the glass, against the back of the cabinet. On the second shelf, another glass held a comb and a tube of Brylcreem. He picked it up and read the inscription: “Just a Little Dab’ll Do ya!” 
A small mirror lay next to the glass. And next to the mirror was a tiny pair of scissors. On the top shelf Merrill saw three cans of shoe polish. To the right of the polish, a small polish brush sat next to a larger one. Though the cans were perfectly clean, Merrill could tell by the ware of the brushes that they were frequently used.  
Closing the cabinet door, he noticed a stack of index cards. They had been cut in half and placed neatly in the corner of the top shelf. He reached up and grabbed the stack. The top card had 'NH' written neatly in the center. He began looking through each one. 'A goal is a dream with a deadline.' 'Action is the real measure of intelligence.'  'Don't wait. The time will never be just right.'  'Fears are nothing more than a state of mind.' 'Ideas are the beginning points of all fortunes.'  'No man is ever whipped until he is conquered in his own mind.'
Merrill replaced the ‘NH’ card on the top and returned the stack to its place. He noticed a second stack at the opposite end of the same shelf. He picked it up. This time, the top card had the letters ‘DC’ neatly printed on it. He shuffled through the stack and found more quotes: ‘Fear doesn’t exist anywhere, except in the mind.’  ‘Fear not those who argue but those who dodge.’  ‘If you want to gather honey, don’t kick over the beehive.’  ‘Take a chance. All life is a chance.’  ‘The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.’  
Merrill read the next card and paused. He was suddenly a little boy again, and as he’d look upward into his father’s hard face he heard him growl, “Success is getting what you want, son. Happiness is wanting what you get. Now, repeat what you just heard!” 
It occurred to him the impact that something so long ago still had, recalling it so clearly, and the feelings that accompanied the memory weren’t good.
Merrill returned the stack of cards and closed the cabinet door. He paused, remembering the horribly boring hours of memorization and reading that his father had forced him to do. Even as a young elementary student, he had become very familiar with icons of American history, and though his interests were always in other things, until he had graduated from high school and had taken the first chance he had to ‘escape,’ his father had kept him from those things.
When Merrill finally returned, Jake, said, “Gees, Merrill, hope everything came out alright!” And he smiled.
“Oh yeah,” He replied, “Just fine.”
At the two-minute mark, the first of a long set of commercials started, and Jake got up from the couch and stretched, “God, I sometimes wonder if these games aren’t set up. How could a professional football team lose this badly? Shit! What a waste.”  Then he announced, “And now it’s time for the king of the castle to bowel unburden.  You’ll excuse me, gentlemen.”
When Jake closed the bedroom door behind him, Merrill asked Dean, “So, what do you like to do, Dean--I mean, do you have any hobbies?”
Dean glanced toward the hallway then back at Merrill, “Yes, sir. I do.” He thought for a moment then said, “I like to read, and I like music.”
A bit taken aback, Merrill replied, “Oh, that’s great. And I’m thinking you’re a sports fanatic too, right?”
“I don’t care about sports, sir. I have no interest in any sport,” And he looked at the television and added, “Including football.”
“So you just like hangin’ out with Dad then, huh?”
Dean offered no reply.
“What kinds of books do you like?”
Dean quickly rattled off a list of books he’d read, both fiction and non.
“Wow!  Do you have a favorite?”
Dean paused once more. He thought hard about his response. Something in him hardened—pushed away the fear, the frustration, and he said, “Yes, Officer. I very much enjoyed reading about a delinquent who received the soul of a dead Indian and was haunted by it all of his life, even after he became a famous rock star.” There was silence. Donna had heard the comment and was stunned. And just when she thought there was nothing more to be said, she heard Dean again. This time, it was short and direct, “But my favorites aren’t favored by the king.” Then he mumbled softly, “And his subjects be damned.”
Merrill was both shocked and fascinated by Dean’s response. Immediately, he connected with the boy. Quietly, he replied, “Dean, I think I know exactly who you’re talking about, and if so, I’m with you there, my friend.” He paused and looked around, “Morrison…Doors?”  
Dean smiled immediately, “Yes. Jim Morrison.” And suddenly the smile disappeared as Dean looked toward the hall. “But I don’t want to talk about it.”
“Okay,” Merrill replied, “Not right now, anyway.”  And he winked at Dean.
Donna had been listening to the dialogue and was pleased, though surprised at the honesty between these two who knew next to nothing about one another yet seemed to have found a connection. She was impressed with the way Merrill had listened so intently to Dean, even if it was for only a minute. Dean’s father had never done that. Dean’s father was always the forceful master, the wise one, insisting that his followers observe and absorb his knowledge and shrewdness. He had no time for wise-cracks or laughing or foolishness, unless of course he was amongst his friends. He rarely watched or listened to sports, so Donna knew that this day, for Jake, was just another opportunity to further sharpen his reputation. It had nothing to do with family or love or caring.
Jake returned and sat in his chair. He looked at Merrill and asked, “Anything exciting happen while I was out?”
“A Philadelphia field goal and ‘dat be it.”
Under his breath, Jake said, “Jesus H. Christ, it’s a set up, I tell ya. A goddamned conspiracy!”  Then he yelled, “Donna! How’s that turkey-grub comin’ along?”
“I’m only about ten minutes from ready, Jake.”
Dean asked his father if he could be excused to the kitchen. He asked his mom if he could help her with anything, then he pulled her in and whispered, “Please!”
She smiled. “You bet, Honey. Why don’t you help me by putting the plates and napkins and silverware out on the table. I’ve already placed the mats, so you’ll know exactly how many you need and where they go.”
Dean finished the task in a matter of minutes. He placed everything in perfect order, including the folding and arrangement of the napkins, the placement and direction of the forks, knives and spoons, and the distance of the plates from the edge of the table. His mother watched him with pride. She smiled as he seemed to have so much concern and put so much effort into completing the task perfectly. He was, indeed, an unusual child, and she prided herself in him. And she was grateful that he loved her—that he depended upon her for his needs and that he seemed to trust her above all others. But still, she thought, I’m so impressed with the conversation with that Merrill guy.
Jab slept for the entire remainder of the afternoon and all the way through mealtime. Jake had tried to wake him but without luck. He lay in the same spot for an entire three hours, and by the time he finally woke and dragged himself off of the couch to leave, he had left a rather disgusting pool of spittle on the edge of one of the pillows.
Dinner conversation was light—the perfectly cooked turkey, the creamy mashed potatoes. Jake said very little, however. Yes, he thought the dinner was just fine—delicious, in fact--but that's what he'd expected. It was Thanksgiving, for God sakes.
When Dean asked to be excused from the table, Jake said, "Dean, look down at your plate."
Dean noticed a bit of stuffing that remained. He grabbed his fork and ate it then asked coldly, "May I be excused?"
Donna smiled, "Yes, Honey, you sure may." And she looked at Jake. He stared at her for a moment and continued to eat. Then she looked at Merrill. He widened his eyes and smiled ever so slightly.
Dean left the table and headed back to his room. He plopped himself next to his bed on the floor and reached under and up into the box spring where he fumbled with a publication then pulled it out from between the springs. Donna had a reason for asking Dean to keep the magazine safely hid. 
Creem certainly wasn't a publication his father would have approved, but Dean had determined to find a way to free himself of his father’s clutches. He was stuck, but there were moments, minutes, and sometimes hours even, when he could find some pleasure in his own passions. 
He opened it to an article written by Lester Bangs called 'Deep Purple: Who do we think we are?' It was a republication of an article that Bangs had written 16 years prior, a review of the newest album by the band. In the author’s view, Deep Purple made music that was somewhat meaningless, but that “…at least it had some purpose—it was fun!”
Dean finished the article and stuffed it back up into the bed. He turned around and leaned against the wall under the window and smiled. He was happy with his escape. He’d had to put up with a worthless and mind-numbing football game, but he spent the last part of his day filling his mind with something that, to him, had meaning.  
When he heard his parents talking with Merrill, he walked out and saw them standing next to the front door. Merrill announced that he thought he'd better be leaving--that he had a long drive ahead of him--that he was on his way to East Providence to spend a couple of days with his mom. Donna thanked him for coming, and she wished him a safe drive. Jake patted Merrill on the back and said, “Thanks for comin’ out, newbie. I guess I’ll see ya’ next week, huh?”
“You will,” He said, “ And I look forward to it, Bolan.”
Jake paused. “Alright.”
Merrill thanked Donna for a delicious meal. He offered his hand. Donna reached out and grabbed it, and she smiled. Then Merrill looked at Dean standing at the end of the hallway. He walked over and softly said, “Dean, I’m glad I met you.” And he put his hand out. “I think I get you, and you get me, right?”
Dean reached out and took his hand, “Yes, sir.”
“From now on, it’s Merrill, not ‘sir,’ okay?”
Dean’s smile broadened. 

Saturday, August 13, 2016

THE BOLAN CHRONICLES; Reading #48

48. Approximate Minutes Reading (AMR): 13
Introduction to Characters


THE BOLAN CHRONICLES

Chapter 4
A Growing Boy

**Books and Music**

Jake Bolan was a happy man when in August he had been promoted to Lieutenant.  And by the opening of the holiday season of that same year, though his enthusiasm and joy had diminished slightly, he was still basking in the platitudes, praise, and significant monetary benefits that came with the promotion. And things at home, though not ideal, were more pleasant. There seemed to be, at least for the time, a kind of calm, as if Jake had taken a very deep breath and had let it out slowly, temporarily disengaging the anxieties that haunted him.
Though he and Donna both feared falling into the trap of believing that it would last, they welcomed it, nonetheless. Dean liked that there were days now when his father would forget to check to see if he had placed his shirts in the right drawer and equally apart, or ask him to recite a line from Napolean Hill or Dale Carnegie, or force him to shine his shoes for the third time. He also enjoyed the freedom of the extra hour or two every evening without his father. 
Since the promotion, Jake had chosen to spend more time in headquarters, always on the hunt for the next big move upward.
Dean had learned to put up with school. His mom had tried hard to encourage him to make friends since he had started school at Columbus Elementary. And she had served as a volunteer on the PTSA throughout Dean’s fourth grade year. Dean, however, hadn’t responded favorably. Since the second grade, he wasn’t interested in other kids. He had no desire to take part in anything other than the required elements that came with the basics of learning, and though his mother and his teachers and many of his peers had tried to change him, he would not change. He spent his recesses alone, and he sat apart from other students during lunch. A few students in his homeroom had tried to befriend him, asking him to join them in games and other activities, but without success.
Dean was a good student, otherwise. Academically, he was considered gifted.  Language and reading was his strongest suit. He thrived on anything related to literature, and when teachers sat in the staff room during lunch and the name ‘Dean Bolan’ came up, every one of them agreed that they’d wished that every student was attracted to literature in the same way. The boy read more than any other student who passed through Columbus. He would read while standing in line. He would read when he’d finished his classwork early, which happened frequently, and he’d read when everyone else around him was playing tetherball or soccer or basketball. He read fiction almost exclusively, with the exception of the occasional biography of a rock-n-roll icon.   
Dean had loved music since he was a toddler. His mother had adored watching him bob up and down when he’d hear the beat of any song. She would play Jungle Boogie and laugh as Dean’s eyes would widen and he’d grin real big and start moving to the tunes. She’d get the camera out and take pictures of him with his hands would move in the air and his little legs in various positions. When the music would stop, Dean would look up at his mom, frozen in place, waiting for the next song.  
She would ask, “More, Dean?” 
He would simply reply, “Uh-huh!” And she would play the next song, and she would clap and pat him gently on the back after he’d finished his show. Dean seemed to never tire, and when his mother would pick him up and take him to his room for a nap or to the table for the next meal, he would simply gaze at her without expression, and she knew this meant that he’d wanted more music, more dance. But his father seemed disinterested.
And by age nine, Dean had come to love popular music.  His mother had encouraged his love of music, in part by giving him the collection of dozens of cassettes that she’d collected since she was a teenager. 
He’d become familiar with so many of her favorites, the artists who made up most of the collection; Jim Croce, Crystal Gayle, Billy Joel, Carole King, Carly Simon, David Cassidy, Jake Taylor, Paul McCartney & Wings. And he’d learned to enjoy these artists, but he’d found a few that he’d somehow related with. He’d found himself playing and returning to the same artists repeatedly; Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, and Machine Head. There were only a handful of these, but Dean had worn them out quickly. At first, his mother had been concerned at his taste in music, but she’d determined that she wouldn’t restrict him from something that he’d loved, considering the strict father-forced discipline that he’d had to succumb.
Three days before Thanksgiving, Dean sat in his favorite spot on the floor of his room, leaning against the side of his bed, facing his window. He was reading the biography of Jim Morrison, No One Here Gets Out Alive. He read about Morrison’s obsession with the arts, including both music and creative writing. He’d stop at certain points in the book and wonder. 
He read about the rocker’s dangerous lifestyle, and though Dean was yet too young to understand the draw of some the more mature elements of living, he knew that they were a part of his future. He felt the stirrings of something in the deepest parts of his being, though he had, at the age of nine, no idea of what those stirrings were.  
His father walked into the room. He stood over Dean and asked, “What’s that?”
“What?” Dean replied.
“The book, Dean. What are you reading?”
Dean held it up, the cover facing his father. “It’s about Jim Morrison.”
Jake grabbed it from his son and read the back of the dustcover.  
“Do you like it?”
“Yes, sir.  I do.”
He tossed the book on Dean’s bed and bent over, now within inches of the nine year-old’s face,, “What is delinquent, Dean?  What does that mean?”
Dean, keeping a locked gaze on his father’s eyes, replied, “I don’t know, father.”
Jake straightened and demanded that Dean stand and his attention.
“Jim Morrison was a confused individual who was born during a time when this country was in the middle of the greatest conflict of its history.”  And he paused then asked, “What conflict was that, Dean?”
Dean replied, “It was World War II.”
“Yep, World War II. And it was a time when this country learned that it had to be ready for anything if it was going to survive. And one of the most important things we learned during that time was that we had to be sober, Dean, if we were to think clearly.  We had to be sober. Do you know what that means?”
“Yes, sir.”
“What does it mean, Dean?”
Dean thought for a moment and remembered a portion of what he had, minutes ago, just read and said, “It means that we didn’t drink?”
Jake rolled his eyes and said, “No, Dean, it doesn’t just mean that we don’t drink.  It also means that we think clearly, not hindered by the distractions of unhealthy influences. And yes, that includes alcohol. But it also includes things like bad people, drugs, laziness, and stupidity.” He waited for Dean to respond. Dean said nothing.
Jake picked up the book once more. Then he read the first line from the back cover, “Here is Jim Morrison in all his complexity,” Jake’s voice as sarcastic and pompous as he could muster, he continued, “Singer, philosopher, poet, DELINQUENT, the brilliant, charismatic, and obsessed seeker who rejected authority in ANY form, the explorer who probed ‘the bounds of reality to see what would happen…’” He closed the book and turned it toward Dean. Jim Morrison’s face and naked upper torso revealed the hardcore rocker at the height of his career. Reaching out and holding the book directly in Dean’s face, he said, “Dean, this is a delinquent. It’s what we who know something about control and self-discipline call trash. It belongs in its appropriate place, and that is not anywhere in this house, so I want you to take it from my hand and walk it over to where it belongs.”
Momentarily, Dean didn’t know what to do beyond taking it from his father, but his mind had been trained to listen carefully, and even metaphors rarely confused him. So he grabbed the book and walked out of his room and into the kitchen. His mother stood at the sink. She hadn’t heard him walk in, and she was startled when he tapped on her shoulder.
“Oh, Dean. Hi Honey.”
“Hi.”
“Whatcha need, Sweetie?”
Dean pointed to the cabinet and said, “Garbage.”
Donna looked at her husband who had followed Dean and was standing next to the stove. She moved away from the sink. Dean opened the cabinet and dropped the book into the large plastic container filled with trash. Donna dared not say a word, though she wondered what might have happened. Instead, she said simply, “There you go, Honey.”
Dean replied, “Thanks.”  And he headed back to his room. 
But his father stopped him before he’d reached the hallway. “Dean!” He called.
Dean turned and faced his father, “Yes.”
“Tell me something. Is that book still in this house?” He looked at Donna then back at Dean. “Doesn’t the cabinet under the sink take up space within this house? Is the garbage can under the sink the only place that we throw our trash, or is there some other place outside of this house where we throw our worthless crap, like Jim the drugmonk Morrison?”
Dean reopened the cabinet, reached into the trashcan and grabbed the book, then he took it out to the large metal can outside and gently placed it on top of a closed cardboard pizza box.
Jake asked Donna, “What do you know about that book?”
She replied, “What book was it, Jake?”
“Jim Morrison, the singer. What do you know about it?”
Donna giggled a bit then said, “Oh, Jake, I haven’t read a thing about Jim Morrison. All I know is that he was a singer and…”  
She hadn’t finished her sentence before Jake interrupted her, “I’m wanting to know what you know about Dean having a book like that, Donna. Where did he get it?”
Nervous, she grabbed the dishtowel next to the toaster oven and began drying her hands. “I gave it to him a few months ago, him liking music so much and all. I found it in one of those boxes with all of my childhood stuff.”  She paused,  “I’ve never read it, so I’m sorry if it was a bad book.”
Dean returned to the kitchen and headed toward his room.  
Jake stopped him in the hallway. With an arrogant smirk on his face he said, “Son, the only good thing about that reprobate was the first letter of his first name.”  
“Yes, sir.” Dean chirped, and he smiled nervously. “He had your first letter.” Then he corrected himself, “I mean, his name started with a ‘J.’  
Jake replied, “So excellent, Dean. Now, go ahead, and let’s see if you can find some literature worth reading.”
Dean nodded, turned, and made his way back into his bedroom, closing the door behind him.
Jake said, “Donna, why would you let him read something like that? He’s nine, for god’s sakes. Jim Morrison was one of the most prolific losers of his generation, stuck in the mire of drugs and alcohol--a narcissistic, self-destructive loser.”
Donna replied, “My God, that’s sad.” Then she replied with a purposeful edge, “And I had no idea about him, Jake.”
Jake snickered, “Of course you didn’t.” He reached over and straightened the salt and pepper shakers sitting next to the stovetop. “I don’t want shit-lit in my house, Donna, and I certainly don’t want my son reading shit-lit, you got it?” He turned and walked out of the kitchen, mumbling, “Bitch has no idea about anything.”
Jake sat on the couch and turned on the television. 60 Minutes had Mike Wallace interviewing Ronald Regan. Jake turned it up.
Dean opened the door and quietly walked down the hall, stopping at the corner.  His father sat with his back to Dean, eyes glued on the television set. Dean returned to the kitchen and stood next to his mother. He placed his hand on her shoulder. She looked at him and said, “What is it, Honey?”
Dean whispered, “I like that book a lot. I hope I can finish it sometime.” 
Donna leaned over and said quietly, “Honey, your father wants it out of the house, so I have to make sure it’s not here. You understand, right?”
Dean replied, “Uh-huh.” And he thought for a moment then said, “The garage isn’t the house, is it?”
Donna’s eyes widened. She was taken aback at Dean’s courage and impressed with his quick thinking. Smiling at him, she said, “Well, some might say the garage is part of the house,” Then she looked back toward the living room and called out to Jake, “Is that the President talking, Jake?”
Jake shouted back, “It’s a president, Donna, but in case you haven’t heard, we have a new President, and his name is George Bush; remember?”
Donna laughed nervously, “Oh, that’s right.”
She looked at Dean and continued quietly, “Some say the garage is part of the house, but not me.” And she smiled, leaned over, and whispered in his ear, “It’ll be like hide-n-seek. I’ll hide it, and you seek it.”
Dean smiled, “Thanks, Mom.”
“But don’t bring it in the house.”
Dean replied, “Morrison is a delinquent, Mom. He deserves to stay in the garage, and the garage isn’t the house, right?”  
Donna marveled at Dean’s wit. His quick mind will get him somewhere, despite his father, she thought. She smiled at Dean and summoned him to follow her into his room.
“Honey, I just remembered something that I would like to get for you that you might be interested in reading, but I have to have your word that you’ll be really careful to keep it out of sight.”
“Okay,” Dean replied, “What is it?”
“It’s a magazine. It’s about rock and roll singers and things like that.”
Dean thought for a moment then replied, “Is it old, like from when you were a little kid?”
Donna smiled and said, “Hey! Are you callin’ your mom old?”
Dean shrugged.
Donna said, “No Honey. This is a magazine that I browsed through the other day when I was in the grocery store. I think it was called Creem. And I think that it’s something you’d be interested in reading.”
Dean had seen the magazine in the store several times while shopping with his mom, and he too had browsed through it a time or two. “Oh, yeah. I’ve seen that.”
“Well?”
“Well what?” said Dean.
“Well, do you want me to pick it up for you?”
Dean replied, “Of course, Mom. That would be great.”
“I’ll be in the store tomorrow to buy some things for our Thanksgiving dinner, and I’ll be sure to grab it.”
Dean smiled and thanked her.
Donna put her finger to her mouth and said, “And remember…”
Dean simply nodded.
Dean and his mother had never before taken a stand against the offenses of Jake Bolan, and though this was nothing near a hard line rebellion, it was a start. Dean was just sure that it wouldn’t be the last. He sat down in his spot on the floor of his bedroom and began to think. He wondered about the possibility of creating a world of books and music that he could have all to his own; a place where he could visit and not be bothered. 
His young mind created possibilities. He imagined a small, trap door in his closet that led to a tiny room where he’d dug holes into the dirt walls and had placed boards for bookshelves. He imagined himself sitting on a thick blanket, earphones on his head with the other end of the chord plugged into a small cassette player, and he imagined listening to Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. And he smiled and imagined himself turning up the volume to Light My Fire by the great Jim Morrison of the Doors.  
Then Dean came back to his logical senses and began to wonder if there might actually be a way that he could create some kind of escape. And when he could think of nothing that was sure and safe, he decided that he could at least begin to collect music and books. He’d force himself to create or find a place that he would have to safely store his goods—his sanity.  

His books and music, he decided, would come by means of the combined efforts of he and a friend. Dean had no friends, but he would make a friend. He would carefully find someone with whom he related—someone who was like him—and together they would create worlds of escape.

Friday, August 12, 2016

THE BOLAN CHRONICLES: Reading # 47

47. Approximate Minutes Reading (AMR): 18
Introduction to Characters


THE BOLAN CHRONICLES

Chapter 3
A Real Live Policeman

**Sittin’ Bull**

Jake had been promoted to Sergeant status much to the dismay of many of his fellow officers who had also taken and passed the Police Sergeant’s examination. They had not scored high enough to enjoy promotion quickly and had all assumed that Jake had scored high on the exam, and they were correct in their assumption. However, this was not the primary reason for his rather speedy promotion. In fact, Jake had been sweet-talking his superiors for years, knowing full well that simply passing the exam wasn’t solely sufficient. Job performance was crucial, and he made it a point to render exemplary work all the time, and to make things difficult for other exemplary officers, thereby tainting their records and placing himself that much further ahead in the law enforcement rat race.  
Jake’s exemplary score on the examination had placed him high on the promotion list for lieutenant. And though he had only served for an additional year and a half as sergeant, he was determined to beat the system once again—to become the first sergeant to serve fewer than two years before being promoted. He wanted those bars on his uniform collars more than he wanted anything else, and he would do whatever it took to get them.  
This time the headline read as if it were the title of an ongoing saga: Bold Bolan Saves Another Life!  And although all of the details of the events weren’t included in the article, Jake revealed it to his buddies like he was opening up a book.
It was August, 1989, and the department had received a call regarding a distraught, gun-wielding man threatening suicide. The caller was suspicious that the man may have also have threatened to take the lives of at least one family member.  Jake thought this was an opportunity for more creative heroism and decided that he was the man for the job.  
When he and two of his subordinates had arrived on the scene, the neighbor, a short, chubby, balding middle-aged man who almost seemed giddy over the ordeal, confronted them.  
“Finally gone over the edge, that crazy Injun bastard!” He’d announced. “I call the crazy bastard Sittin’ Bull. He mostly sits. Never comes out except to get his mail. Lazy injun bastard can’t do nothin’ but sit around and drink beer all day, worthless sunuvubitch!”
Dean had looked at the fellow officer standing beside him and had raised his eyebrow then returned his gaze at the neighbor and said, “Tell me what events transpired that caused you to decide to call the police.”
The neighbor nervously rubbed the top of his head as if he were trying to brush away the confusion. “Hell, he just started yellin’ at the top of his lungs! I was sittin’ in my garage, watchin’ the Twins gettin’ an ass whoopin’ by them damned Yankees, and out o’ nowhere comes this crashin’ sound. I look out and see this little television tumblin’ down the neighbor’s driveway! Sunuvubitch scared the bejeezuz outa me!”
Baldy was wound up and had been let loose. He just kept talking. “Soon as I seen that I knew I had to do somethin.’ So that’s when I called ya.”
Dean had grabbed the man gently on the shoulder and said, “Well, you did the right thing. What happened next?”
“Hell, that’s when it got scary! I seen him come outa the garage with a pistol that look like somethin’ you seen on one o’ them Dirty Harry movies! That sunuvubitch musta been over a foot long! Then he starts screamin’ and cryin’ like a baby. Looked real strange, a big man like ‘at.”
“What was he saying?” Jake asked calmly.
The neighbor grabbed the top of his bald head, rolled his eyes up toward the sky and called out, “I told you what would happen! I told you what would happen!”
Jake had then asked, “What are you talking about, sir? You told us what would happen?”
The neighbor looked at Jake as if he were the crazy one and replied, “That’s what he was screamin,’ don’t you get it? He was screamin,’ ‘I told you what would happen!’”
“Okay,” Jake replied, “I gotcha. Then what?”
“Well, right after that, wunna his daughters runs out the garage and tries ta take the gun from him, and that’s when he screams somethin’ about endin’ it all, and then he grabs her by the hair and drags her back.”
  Jake, satisfied that he had all he needed, said, “Okay, great. Now, if you don’t mind, we need to ask you to return to your home for safety’s sake. And thanks for the call.”
“Oh, you can bet I’m gonna be callin’ again, too, if that crazy bastard doesn’t kill hisself.”
“Yes, sir. Okay, let’s take you back to your house, and thanks again.”
Jake had called for backup, and in the meantime had placed his officers in strategic positions outside the house. He then confirmed through the suspect’s wife that he had indeed, holed-up in the basement, and that he had indeed, taken one of his adult daughters with him. 
After Bolan had sent the wife out of the house to safety, he had attempted to negotiate with the man. At first, the man wanted nothing to do with Jake and had even threatened to shoot his own daughter if Jake hadn’t left. But according to the Post article, ‘Sergeant Bolan used psychology to convince the man to allow him to enter the basement.’   
Once Bolan had had the suspect in view and had seen that he indeed did have a firearm, he had convinced the man to set the pistol on the ground next to him so that he could comfortably discuss the matter. Jake had then taken a dangerous risk. He had slowly walked down the stairs to the basement, hands raised. He had then taken a seat at the base of the stairs and had set his firearm on the dilapidated bookshelf sitting against the wall.
The man had tied his daughter’s hands behind her back and had gagged her with a greasy shop towel. She was sitting in the corner of the basement, below the workbench. She sat sobbing through the rag, snot and tears running down her face, her bloodshot eyes wide and fear-filled.
The minute Jake had set down, the man had then started to cry. Jake had asked him what might be going on his life that was so disturbing. 
He’d stopped his crying for a moment. A look of anger preceded his response, “Little sex fiend got to my daughter,” He looked over at her. “And now she’s got a fuckin’ freak growin’ in er! I warned her, I did. I told her this was gonna happen!” The daughter became suddenly silent, and the suicidal man continued, “And she thinks I’m gunna put up with this? Shit, no. Shit no!”
Jake said, “Okay. Okay, can you help me understand who this guy is? I’d like to talk this out with you, if you’d like to talk it out with me.”
“He’s her cousin, that’s who. And her fuckin’ cousin is just that, a piece ‘o shit who likes to fuck, no matter who or what!” Then his voice lowered to almost a whisper, “And she wants to have this freak. She actually wants to give birth to a freak and raise it.”
Jake had then begun to ask the man questions about himself. He’d thought it wise to evade the focus from the man’s daughter back to himself. “Tell me about you.  Tell me where you grew up.”
“What the hell does that have to do with now…with this?”
Jake replied, “Maybe nothing, but it occurred to me that you might just want to have someone to talk to about somethin’ other than the mistake your daughter made.  Let’s just talk, whadaya say?”
The man had then looked over at his daughter, “She don’t need to hear my story again; she don’t fuckin’ care!” He returned his gaze at Jake, “So I won’t be doin’ no more talkin’.”
Jake took advantage of what he’d hoped would happen. He’d asked the man if he’d thought he might consider letting his daughter go. After all, she had lots of time to think about the decision as to whether or not she should keep the baby, and what good would it do if he were dead, anyway. Chances are, Jake had said, she would come to her senses, finally realizing the difficulties that would no doubt accompany the raising of a child under these circumstances.
The man had finally succumbed to Jake’s reasoning. He’d agreed to let his daughter go, so long as she stayed home and wasn’t allowed to go to the police.
Of course, Jake had known that this was something that wasn’t going to happen, but he’d given the man his promise nonetheless. So the man allowed Jake to untie her and the greasy towel he’d used for a gag, and after having done some screaming at her father, the girl had finally walked up the stairs, out of the dingy basement and into the house. She’d then walked out where she’d fallen to the ground just beyond the front porch. Jake’s subordinates had then gathered her up and had placed her gently into the back of the squad car, where she had, within minutes, fallen fast asleep.
The suicidal man had then begun to tell Jake his story. It was as if he’d been waiting for someone to listen to him all of his life. He’d been born and raised on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. “It’s the eighth largest reservation in the country,” He’d said, “And a goddamned Wounded Knee shit hole. The end of the fuckin’ farce we call the Western Frontier happened in the mud hole I grew up in.” 
And then he’d gone into a long dissertation about the history of his birthplace and the tragedies that had occurred long before he was born.
“Tell me about your family.  I mean, your parents and your siblings, if you have any.” Dean had asked.
“Well, first of all,” And he’d then looked over at the corner where his daughter had been sitting, “My brothers and sisters all come from the same set of parents; my father and mother, who weren’t related before they met, GODDAMNIT!” And he had looked over at the place where his daughter had earlier been sitting.
Jake said, “Okay, well, how many brothers and sisters do you have?” He was doing everything he could to keep the man from losing control.
“I have three sisters and two brothers, one of ‘em dead from the drink.”
“What was your childhood like? I mean, do you think it was good, bad, what?”
And the man began to tell Bolan all about his childhood, how his mother had been a drunk and had abused him by never paying attention to his schooling or physical wellbeing. He’d had what he’d considered to be a wonderful father who’d taught him self-discipline and respect. And in the end, any good that might be in him he believed to have come straight from his father.
The suicidal man went on about his life, and he’d gone into great detail about the intricacies of growing up on a poor reservation with no hope and a drunken mother who had treated him like the dog shit she’d forced him to pick up off of the dirt floor of the house every day.  
And he told Jake of the deaths that he had witnessed on the reservation and of the life expectancy, which was shorter than 50 years, and about how seven out of ten kids dropped out of school before completing their 9th year, and about the drunks and the long treks they took by foot just to buy beer, since it wasn’t sold on the reservation, and lastly, about how he was just sure that almost all of his psychological problems today were a result of his own exposure to alcohol as he grew in his momma’s belly.
According to the Post article, Jake had listened with great patience. He had, indeed, been a saving force for the man—a virtuous listener with the heart of the Pope. It had reported that the man had then done more talking to Jake, and that Jake had been patient, willing to hear him out, and that all of a sudden, the man had announced to Jake that he’d wanted to start over now; that he’d never had anyone who had listened to him like that, and that he just wanted to pretend that this day had never happened.
Jake had told him that he was willing to allow him to go back up to the ground floor and that there wouldn’t be any harm that would come to him, and that he’d make sure that the man wasn’t bothered by the police or his neighbor or anyone else. And the man had agreed that he would do just that if Jake would allow him to walk behind him.  He hadn’t felt comfortable taking the lead. He’d wanted Jake to take the lead so that he might feel safe and not threatened.  
The Post recorded the heroic decision as, “Though highly unusual, one of the most courageous acts that an officer might be expected to perform.” This is one line that Jake wished hadn’t been printed, since it’s from where the ‘Courageous Jake’ title came.
Jake had begun the ascent to the house followed closely behind by the man. He had, unbeknownst to Jake, grabbed his pistol. And just as they were about to exit the basement, the man had mumbled something under his breath. Jake had looked back at him and asked, “What was that, partner?” And he had seen then that the man had raised his firearm and had aimed it at Jake’s chest. Jake had raised his hands and said, “Whoa, now, my friend. What’s the problem here?”
The look on the man’s face had revealed anyone but a dejected and sorrowful soul. He’d said, “Maybe I am a dumbass Indian. I can’t believe I fell for that. I can’t believe I let you make me believe that you’d just let me go.”
“You’re gonna have to choose to believe me, my friend.” Jake replied.
“I believe you as much as I believe that pregnant little whore out there!” And then he’d grabbed Jake by the shirt and had tossed him down the stairs as if he were a rag doll. According to the Post, Jake had landed next to the bookshelf. He had landed hard on his side and had fractured his clavicle. But, according to the paper, his collarbone was the least of his worries, as the crazed man had then reached Jake and had stood over him and placed the barrel of the gun on his temple. 
The Post had reported that, “Bolan’s quick thinking saved his life.” 
Jake had turned his head toward the man, had looked over his shoulder and had called out to his partner, though absolutely nobody was there, “Smith! Take cover!” 
And the man had turned and looked up the stairwell. Jake then booted the man hard between the legs, and he’d crumbled like a windblown house of cards. Jake had reached over and had grabbed his gun. While the man lie on the ground, mouth hanging open with drool from one side, Jake had radio’d his subordinates, and they had entered the basement, guns drawn, and had then handcuffed the man and dragged him up the stairs and into the house.
But that’s not exactly how the events had played out.

--------------------

Up until the man’s daughter had exited the basement, everything had happened exactly as the paper had reported and as Bolan had relayed to his colleagues and friends. But after that, almost nothing was the same.
The man had indeed talked more at Jake, but Jake wasn’t pleased with the conversation. The man had begun to tell Jake his life’s story, and he had indeed been born and raised on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, and he had indeed lived amongst squalor and drunkenness, but the story of his parents was quite the opposite of what Jake had reported to friends.  
“My father was a poor excuse for a pile o’ shit,” He had said to Jake. “And I can’t remember once him tellin’ me anything good about me, and I can’t remember him tellin’ me that he loved me.” The man continued, “I don’t even think the man liked me.”
Jake replied, “I’m sorry to hear that.”
The man continued, “I can’t get the beatings he gave my mom out of my head. I have nightmares about it, and I wake up sweating and panting like a fuckin’ puppy dog who’s lost its mother.”  Here he’d become animated, raising his hands and slamming his fists against his chest. “That rotten son of a bitch made me do things a little boy shouldn’t be forced to do!”
Here, Jake had begun to feel a bit uncomfortable. So he’d asked about the man’s mother, “How about your mom, partner? I’m guessin’ she was an alcoholic and less than favorable as a caregiver, huh?”
“My mother was the only reason I didn’t kill myself a long time ago. She was a drinker, yeah, but she took care of me, and she saved me from my father. I hated his guts!”
Without thinking, Jake had then said, “We all make mistakes, right?”
The man had then looked deeply into Bolan’s eyes. “That man made mistakes all his life. He was a lying, cheating son of a bitch, and he made me do almost everything he was supposed to do himself. He was my fuckin’ slavedriver, and I dreaded every waking moment he was around.”
Jake had tried to redirect the conversation, but the man would have nothing to do with it.  
“The only good thing that I can say about my father is that he’s lying in his grave as cold as a turkey in November. That dumbass played his last card with a big ole’ Indian named Eyanoso.  Eyanoso means ‘big both ways,’ and he was, too.” 
The man began to cry uncontrollably, and said, “That big ole’ man came crawling to me on his hands and knees, cryin’ harder ‘n anything and sayin’ he was sorry over and over. But he’ll never know he’s been my hero from the day he made my father pay with his life.”
“Where is he now?” Jake asked.
The man began to sob uncontrollably, and Jake at first thought this a perfect opportunity to attempt the apprehension, but just before he’d acted, the man had looked up, tears running down his cheeks, and he’d said, “He shot himself in the head…he…”  The man broke down again, then he grabbed his pistol and quickly lifted it, holding the barrel under his chin. “He killed himself cause he thought he’d fucked me all up!  He thought he’d fucked me all up, and he’d not fucked me all up, he’d fixed things…he’d…”  
Jake put his hands up in front of him and said, “Whoa, whoa, now, hold on. Let’s talk this out, now. I’m willing to sit here and listen. That’s what you need, now, for someone to listen.”
The man slowly lowered the pistol and set it back on the floor. 
Jake waited a moment then asked, “Why did he kill him?”
The man coughed, inhaled the snot and saliva that filled his throat, and replied, “He found my father with his wife. They were havin’ sex in a filthy abandoned port-a-potty next to the ole’ jewelry shop. Eyanoso told me that son of a bitch didn’t even have the decency to close the door. He was poundin’ away on that woman when the big ole’ Indian came around the corner. He told me he lost control, didn’t even know what happened by the time he’d killed the bastard.”
The man suddenly smiled, “And I gotta tell ya how he killed him. He’d come around the corner and had seen him humpin’ his wife, and he’d grabbed him by the ankles and just pulled back as hard as he could. My father didn’t even have a chance to look back, he just landed face first on that woman’s belly, and his face dragged through all her privates and then landed on the filthy, splintered floor of that shit-hole. And when that wife o’ his had seen that it was her husband who caught her, she ran, naked down the dirt path and into the jewelry store.”
“My god,” Jake replied. “That’s somethin’.”
“Yeah, and then Eyanoso dragged him back to the toilet seat, and he lifted the seat and put my father’s head on the rim and then he dropped the seat on his head and started crushing his head. Eyanoso was a strong man. He was a strong man, and he was out of control, and my father began to bleed from his ear, and the big Indian just kept crushing until my father was silent.”
Neither said anything for a minute, then the man continued, “And then he’d looked around and he’d seen that no one was watchin,’ so he stuffed my father, head first, into that hole, and then he backed out and shut the door.”
By now, Jake had become bothered and annoyed at the story, and he’d begun to think hard about what he might say in order to speed up the process and the plan.  Finally, he said, “That’s too bad, but why focus on the bad stuff, huh? What do you say we just call this thing done. We’ll just walk up and out of here, free and clear. You can start all over, consider all of this behind you, huh?”  
When the man hadn’t responded, Jake continued, “And not a word from me. I’ll simply tell them that you came to your senses and that you deserve to be left alone. I’ll even waive the report, how’s that sound? It won’t even be on your record…like nothin’ happened at all.”
The man had looked down at the floor and began to cry again. He’d then told Jake that he would agree to call it done. And he’d placed his hand on his pistol and slid it toward Jake, then he’d smiled slightly and said, “Thanks for listenin.’”
Jake picked up the pistol and slid it between his pants and his belt. His own pistol sat on the old bookshelf. He retrieved it, placed it back in his holster, and invited the man to walk up the stairs.  
The man slowly came to his feet and started the slow ascent, Jake following directly behind. When they had reached the top of the stairwell and the man had begun reaching for the door handle, Jake had spoken up, 
“Hey!”
The man had looked down at Jake and said, “Huh?”
“You ready to roll?”
The man assumed that Jake was referring to a new start, a new look at life, and he said, “Yeah, I’m gonna do the best I can.”
Jake had responded, “Good thing, Dumb-ass Injun, cause it’s gonna be a real rough roll.”  And he’d then grabbed the man by the belt and had pulled him hard. The man had tumbled down the stairs and had stopped half way. Jake had taken the few steps down and then had shoved him hard with his foot, and the man had completed the whole of the stairwell, landing with a thud on the concrete floor. 
He lay there in pain, with one hand holding the top of his head like it might come off, and with the other hand pulling his knees up to his chest.
When Jake had reached him, he’d straddled him and staring down with a look of disgust. 
“Quite the cry-baby story, you big, dumb injun!”
The man had slowly looked back up at Jake and had begun to sob like a child. 
Annoyed, Jake said, “You know something, big dumb injun, I can’t stand little pussies like you. You think the whole fuckin’ world owes you for your poor, pitiful childhood, but the world doesn’t owe you squat.”
The man continued his sobbing.
“And to make sure you don’t try anything funny, I’m gonna put these handcuffs on you.” And Jake had done just that.
“And now I’m gonna have a little fun,” Jake had begun to raise his voice, then quickly lowered it, but kept his sarcastic edge, “And you’re gonna like it, ‘cause you know you’ve deserved this since you were a dumb little injun, whoopin’ and hollerin’ like the crazy fuck you turned out to be.”
Jake had then grabbed a long board that was leaning against the wall. He’d raised it high over his head and had brought it down hard on the man’s ribcage. The man screamed. Jake had then leaned over and had said, “Quiet down, big man, I don’t think I’m finished yet.” And then Jake had raised the board again and had come down as hard, this time on the man’s thigh. Jake said, “Well, well, well, injun man, a roll down the steps make wompum big bruises!”  
The man lay there in pain, moaning and crying, begging Jake to stop.
 “Relax, Tonto, I’m done with you, but I’m not done with the job.” And Jake had then walked to the back of the basement and had begun running toward the opposite side of the room. He’d run straight into the concrete wall, shoulder first, and then he’d fallen to the floor.  
He lay there, holding his shoulder and moaning in pain, “Holy shit! Holy shit, that was worse than I expected!” He lay there in pain for a minute, then forced himself to stand, holding his shoulder, breathing deeply, and had then walked past the handcuffed man and up the stairs, into the house and finally out the door to the front porch. He’d then called his partners over, and they had then dragged the man up the stairs and into a second squad car. 
Jake’s clavicle had broken in only one place, and though it immobilized him for a few days, he was back to work within two weeks, mostly desk work. After three months, he was fully capable of all of his former required duties. He gladly endured the inconvenience, knowing full well that his heroism would more than pay for it.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

THE BOLAN CHRONICLES: Reading # 46

46. Approximate Minutes Reading (AMR): 6
Introduction to Characters


THE BOLAN CHRONICLES

Chapter 3
A Real Live Policeman


**Narcissistic Rot**

Six months later, in January of 1988, Jake further substantiated his hero status.  This time, it was the headline in the Saturday edition of the Post. ‘Officer Bolan As Hero…Again!’  Jake had responded to interviews with such a breathtaking and rare combination of humbleness and charisma. He had stated, of course, that it was nothing; that any God-fearing, community-loving police officer would do what he had done. That he was simply doing his job and was just thrilled that no innocent life had been lost and that he was humbled that he again had been in a position within which he could save lives and that this is what he lived for, and…blah, blah, blah.  
But folks fell for it. They had now become so familiar with Bolan that his was a name of common discussion throughout town. Ordinary folks everywhere recognized him, especially while on duty.  His fellow officers began referring to him as ‘Courageous Jake.’  Though Bolan wasn’t particularly thrilled about this, he considered it a small price for the future benefits. He’d a plan, and it was coming together well.
According to the article, Jake had been off duty and alone. He had changed into his civilian clothes after a workout at the gym, and he had been taking care of paper work at a local coffee shop when a burly, middle-aged man had walked in and ordered a coffee. His hair was long and disheveled. He wore a green stocking cap with a large “Don’t Get God Started” button on the back. His off-white trousers—at least two sizes too small—were wrought with yellowish-brown stains and clung tightly to his legs. The holes at the tips of his Converse shoes revealed his dirty toes.  
He’d looked around the shop, scoping it out, but he’d failed to notice Jake in the corner, directly behind him. Jake had been sitting at the very end of the large oak table located in the back. He had noticed, while the man was giving his order, that something was stuffed down the back of his pants. He had watched him carefully, mentally preparing for what he considered inevitable. By the time the man had pulled his gun and had pointed it at the young lady taking his order, Jake had pulled his own gun and had ordered the vagrant to drop his weapon. From his position under the table, Jake had pushed it over and had used it as a shield. The man had turned to face Jake and had shot at him. Then he had made his way to the area behind the register.
All the while, the three employees who had been working behind the counter had rushed to the storage room and had locked the door behind them. Two young female employees between the ages of 20 and 25 and one male, about the same age, were crouched together under a metal prepping table. They’d surrounded themselves with boxes. One of the girls was crying while the other two employees were trying desperately to calm her, hoping that the shooter had not already heard her sobs.
The vagrant had managed to plow through a large stack of boxes and then had begun screaming from his location around the corner of a dividing wall. He’d loudly informed Jake that he wanted Jake to leave the store--to let him do what God had asked him to do. He had been asked by God to do his part in ridding the world of two more selfish sinners, those ‘young sons-of-bitches who were only interested in their own selfish pursuits.’  According to the man, it made no difference who he killed, only that they were not children and that they were younger than forty.  It had been, according to the vagrant, this generation of humans who had infected the country with their “narcissistic rot.”  And he had, according to the story, repeated the phrase, “narcissistic rot” several times, loudly, as if he had wanted to ensure that the individuals in the storeroom would hear him.  
Jake had then begun to negotiate with the man. He had asked him how in the world he could know that these people were the right age, and wouldn’t he have to be sure of the right age, and if he were not sure, wouldn’t he be accountable to God for having not obeyed him completely? And he added, “You are to complete your mission across the street at the St. Vincent’s College bookstore. You’ll see the narcissistic rot as soon as you walk in.” Then he had finished by saying, “I am the servant of god who has been sent to give you his message.”
The man had suddenly become silent. He finally spoke, acknowledging Jake’s logic. And amazingly, he had then agreed to leave the store with the promise from Jake that he would not be harmed. Jake had then promised the man that he would let him go, that he, in fact, had been sent by God to advise him of his mistake. When Jake had said this, the man had come out from behind the wall and had, without pause, begun the slow limp out of the coffee shop, drops of blood left in his path. And just before he had reached the door, he had turned toward Jake and said, “Thank you so much.” And then he had started to sob quietly as he reached for the door.
When Jake had seen that the vagrant had returned his gun to the back of his pants, he had crawled out from behind the table and had then slipped through a side door exit. He had carefully reached the front of the shop and had jumped the suspect just as he was about to cross the street. He had pinned and eventually apprehended him and had waited for backup to arrive.

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The true story was only similar. When Jake had entered the coffee shop, it was not to buy a cup of coffee and then to do paperwork.  In fact, it was the second time in the past 15 minutes that he had gone in.  
The first time Jake had entered, he had ordered a cup of coffee.  \He had noticed, prior to entering the shop, that the patio area heat lamps were turned off, and he’d asked if it might be possible that they be turned on so that he could sit outside he did his work. The twenty-something male employee, Jonathan, knew officer Bolan well, as a regular customer and of course, as an up and coming sort of local super-hero. 
Jonathan had smiled and replied, “Oh, I’m sorry Mr. Bolan. It’s been so slow. Of course, we’ll get them turned on for you right away.”  
Jake had returned to the patio area and had begun to get his materials ready for work when he noticed a vagrant sitting on the ground in the far corner. He hadn’t been writing for more than a minute or two when the vagrant had walked over and asked if he had a few spare minutes to talk. At first, Jake told him no, that he was sorry, but he was very busy. But when the man informed Jake that he had information from God that was going to cause some degree of drama in the next few minutes, Jake had told him that he would listen. He asked the man if he might like a cup of coffee, but the man refused.  Then Jake asked him about the information. The man informed him that God had specifically told him that he was to rid the world of two more people on that day.  \He was to waste no time in finding two individuals between the ages of 18 and 40. Then the vagrant asked Jake his age.  
Jake had smiled at that point and had replied, “Well, I’m not fond of giving my age. How old do you think I am?”
The man had carefully looked Jake up and down and finally responded, “Oh, I think you are one of the narcissistic rot that God wants gone, that’s what I think.”
Jake had then said, “Nope. In fact, my daddy’s genes done been good to me.  I’m 42, and lucky at that, huh?”
Here, Jake formulated a plan. He knew it was a long shot, but he was willing to take the chance.
“How you gonna do it, partner?” He’d asked.
The man smiled, showing what brown teeth remained, “I got myself a piece.”
Jake returned the smile, “Ah, I see. And is it gonna do the trick? I mean, you got it with you, right?”
“Yeah, I got it right here.” And he pulled the 357-caliber pistol from the back of his tight-fitting pants.
“Geez! You are ready, aren’t you?”
“Uh-huh.”
Jake then took the plunge, counting on his natural judgment.
He looked around and leaned over then said softly, “Well, I got some inside information from the big man, myself, that you just might be interested in hearing.”
The vagrant suddenly became excited, “You do? What? Tell me!”
“Now, hold on, my friend. You’ve got to be patient.”
Jake then informed the man that God had told him, just this morning, that he was going to meet a man at the coffee shop and that he was to inform that man that this was indeed the area in which he would find his two narcissistic rots, but that he was only to hold up the place, take a hostage, and wait for a message from the servant of God.
After a moment, the man smiled. He shook his head slowly then said to Jake, “I’ll follow those directions! Then he announced, “Like Isaiah of old, ‘Here am I, send me’!”
The man had immediately left that spot and walked into the coffee shop, intent on doing the work of God. Jake had followed him, and he’d then taken his seat at the large oak table at the back of the shop. Before the vagrant had pulled his gun, he had looked around the shop then at Jake and smiled; the plan was taking shape.  

From this point on, the story had happened just as the paper had reported, and Jake Bolan had proven to be, once again, the mastermind at police trickery.