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Portland Confidential
Wednesday, November 11, 2023, Part 1 of 2
I live on South East 105th street.
Writing of it is barred according to the recent Yeti/Land-O-Lakes Butter Babe Treaty.
The house is small with a TV on in every room, a typical American situation. Writing history in a noisy environment, as well as journalism like this, is easy. Disturbing news and a need to wander among the functionaries and casualties of one of Uncle Satan’s social engineering pilot cities, enervated the lame creep to take a tour.
The leg blew up doing yard work and attempting to walk without a cane. I should have been working on Costin’s book review. So out came the crutches in the soft murky rain. The Land Lady dropped me off on Holgate at 103rd at a covered stop.
Bus service is amazingly good here. Additionally, at the native elders dinner, to which I was invited, free mass transit day passes are handed out. The sides of busses advertise a Trimet bus operator salary that will reach 75k after three years.
8:30
The #17 from Holgate to Downtown pulls up. In Baltimore, there are three huge bus terminals and the busses themselves mostly cross Downtown. In Portland, as with Denver, the busses all roll out from a central hub and back.
The driver is a tall, strapping man, wide shouldered and 50, who directs me how to use the ticket and then informs me that he goes to within 2 blocks of Union Station, which is next to the local bus terminal, just like in Denver.
He does not roll until I am seated. In Baltimore, on a bus, I would have gimped for myself as the bus rolled. The driver waits at stops for passengers to walk up—never would that happen in Harm City. A tall light skinned man of infinite status, dressed in very fine western attire from snakeskin boots to cowboy hat, who I recall from earlier in the year, steps onto the bus, says good morning to the driver, and then to me. Again, I am too rude by half, too much of a loner.
The bus drives slowly down over the bench of stone, over Interstate-5, cut through that very rock. It then glides across Foster, my old home base, and then heads downhill to Chavez Boulevard. The wet misty morning sees under 20 passengers board, including a young, disabled scooter person. Housing in the southeast ranges from nice middle class houses, to small prefabricated ones like this and even trailers. I would say, at a glance, that 60% of Southeast Portland, is renting, not buying. The rentals are the same hideous boxes going up across the west. The older rentals have the charm of a sleazy motel. The new stuff has no soul.
8:50
The bottom of the hill achieved, more vacancies and signs of blight appear, homeless critters everywhere, dispersing from great to small camps under civic pressure. The river that bisects Portland, which I cannot spell or pronounce, is crossed on a bridge, taking us from the Southeast, on the Mount Hood side of the river, into the southwest, where the rich and the hip live.
A stack of five interstate ramps amaze this pedestrian. Graffiti graces the ugliest structures raised by Satan’s Command. In these five hobo years I have come to appreciate graffiti as a revolt against the modern world. It appears always close to the rich. I counted 5, and there might be more, identical, Soviet Style high rise apartment towers, made of white concrete. Graffiti artists need to cross train with cliff climbers and do something about the totally vapid character of these morally vacant towers of debt housing. Something evil should be grand and gaudy, not bland and ghostly.
9:00
The low land in the Southwest is criss-crossed with rails and I begin to feel at home, knowing the train station is near. The light rail is very quiet and stylish in a subdued European sense, these trains of 5 cars speaking in a female voice having more art than all of the high rise buildings. This ugliness begins to grow less oppressive as the murky gloom cast by the terrible towers darken the streets. Homeless camp mostly in fives every second block along the sidewalks. A few old buildings of brick, some with stone bay windows, once made a pretense that success could bring beauty.
9:13
The glass towers and Soviet structures return as the bus, now empty, passes the last stop and the driver lets me off right at Union Station. The homeless wretchedness is deepest here, on what I think was Flanders Street. I am so happy to get to the train station to schedule a break for freedom.
To the left is the Medical Examiner’s office, attached to the city health department. This place is guarded by 4 private cops. Two other private cops speak to the ones across the street from Union Station, a pleasing brick structure with a measure of soul. I am crutching along and note that the two private cops are a pair out of legend. The leader, in body armor, wearing black tactical pants, is six feet, 160 pounds of brunette beauty. In her vest is her command device which she was speaking into as her meat shield followed her like a loyal beast. The meat shield was an African woman of 5 feet 8 inches and about 400 pounds, easily 3 feet wide at hips and shoulders.
They were on Amtrak property and off it, giving instructions. What were they? Who was she? I stopped and stared, hanging on the crutches admiring her form, clearly seeing that the vest was bumped out by at least a set of double Ds.
She stopped and looked at me, kind of wonder struck.
I checked her from booted feet to long brown hair and her eyes grew wider and her mouth made an “Oh” of disbelief, that a wizened gimp would regard her with so much unconcealed gusto. She smiled, remembered she had forgotten something, recalled it, and marched away towards the bus station, her ebony hulk loyally following.
To be continued.
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posted: June 12, 2024   reads: 10   © 2023 James LaFond
Cozy Mount Scott
The Metaphysical Igloo Office of a Kept Hoodrat, Portland, Oregon: 11/5/23
I have been enjoined not to write of life with my Land Lady and her family, kind of like Metacomet not trusting an English illustrator to capture his image for fear of some juju…
The room, the actual space, that I share with HER is 12 by 12 feet, with an 8 foot ceiling.
I sit with my back to a window, back propped by two pillows, another under my knees, a fourth on the lap and under this computer.
The curtain across the window is a heavy, linen, beige drapery. Before it is hung a dream catcher, above my head, which I trust as good luck and she seems to regard as a ward against my WHITE sorcery. This dream character is made of twine, has within its thick outer chord, oyster, clam and scallop shells, is bisected by driftwood.
Oh, the sweet little dame has brought me a thermos coffee cup of Jim Beam coffee, which her son and I enjoy. I am kept, but in grand fashion, by a woman who believes in serving her man, something I am not used to at all. I place it to my right on a heavy, dark stained, four drawer dresser. I have been given two drawers, the middle ones next to the wall and the pillow on my side of the double bed.
There is 18 inches between the bed and those two drawers. My spare belt is hung from the bottom two handles. My dirty clothes are dropped between the bed frame and the bottom drawer, which has her spare purses in it.
A 6 part wooden frame, which admits 6 canvas storage squares sits atop the dresser against the corner to my right. Next to the window is her Big Foot hat I use for writing and two Seattle Seahawks hard hats. My flash light and coffee mug are before the framed Elvis illustration. Atop the frame of foot-deep shelf are Alaskan wicker baskets heaped with stuffed Eskimo children and painted oyster shells.
Before that, above her tiny, halfling dame work desk, is a wire mesh frame stationary stand, with pens, pencils, scissors, an orchid, fronted by a jewelry box carved in the likeness of two polar bears getting drunk…
The coffee is excellent made in a perculator…
Down to the right is that tiny foldout desk, her padded folding metal chair, her work and personal laptop, a trash can underneath, and a three level black plastic tube shelf with knitting stuff, bills and papers, topped with a wicker basket and a painting of a horse. The wall is decorated with an orca painting, her son’s tribal school diploma and a Seattle Seahawks calendar.
The bedspread is an old quilt decorated with images of feathers, as are the matching pillow cases. The bed is firm.
At the foot of the bed is a dry-walled in beam that splits the room in two. To the right, behind her tiny work station, is a six foot clothes hanger rod, packed with women’s shirts and jackets and coats. Above that are two shelves for books, hats, bed spreads and quilts, the latter neatly vacuum sealed. Beneath the hung clothes are storage totes and a two-drawer cabinet, atop which cartons of tribal cigarettes are stores.
She does not smoke in the room, has a fan to keep it fresh, and usually closes the door..
There are snow globes, tiny wicker baskets and tribal water thermos’ about.
I can hear the wind behind me beyond the curtain and window, the patter of rain too.
It is the morning that clocks went backward as our masters maintain their illusory stranglehold on Time.
To the left of the pillar, hung with an eagle feather dream catcher, which admits 18 inches between bed for passage, is a light steel tube unit, 2 feet high, that has a tilt out laundry basket, above which is a storage shelf of 6 by 14 by 12. That shelf has a black linen box decorated with colorful arrows. The top has a hat stand, atop of which rests a tribal work hat with badge—it just occurred to me that I’m sharing a bed with a Fed.
Above this practical unit are the light switch and a pin board for earrings and necklaces, mostly pretty Alaskan patterns, including an oyster shell arrowhead necklas.
A second jewelry board adorns the foot-deep wall facing left, which is the side of the pillar box, which seems to have been a 4 by 4.
Above the pin board with earrings is a leather hat box worked with a distinctive tribal eagle pattern I am not free to name. That space, between pillar and door, is 20 inches.
The light, wood grain panel door is hung with an aluminum coat rack on this the inside, for six jackets, one being this Yetis’ only jacket. The outside is hung for coats and hats.
To the left of the door, along that 12 foot wall, heading back towards me—is a cute little thing bent over pulling clothes out of her dresser…
Yes, my crutches, hopefully forever, lean behind that door against the off white wall.
Two more earring boards hang against that wall above a light, aluminum pipe and canvas shoe and slipper rack, which holds 25 pair.
Her dark stained wood dresser has four foot-wide drawers at the top and four 2-foot drawers underneath.
Above this is a TV screen, necklace, bracelet and earring stands, a 4 drawer red wood jewelry box, a smaller three drawer affair atop, with makeup mirror. Above all this is a painting of the Lone Ranger in a Studabaker conferring with Tonto on an Indian motorcycle.
Behind to the right are family pictures next to her side of the bed. This is an extended family house, a small one. I am conscious that my Land Lady has very little personal space for her and her lady things, and am very grateful that she is sharing it.
She is dressed. It is Sunday morning and we must meet her friends and husbands for breakfast.
Last night her son and I played cards until 1:20 AM, sober: cribbage and two-handed Spades.
Every personal belonging this woman owns is crowded tastefully into this room she lets me use for sleep and writing.
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posted: June 10, 2024   reads: 311   © 2023 James LaFond
Bride of Traps 3
Act 14.3: Doris Synchronus, Runaway Slave of the Censor
Internment, Breadday, Fifth Day of Sepulcher
The candles had burned low as the men capered, diced and roared, served by the miniature tavern keepers. Good Ma Ann had devoted the handful of hours to educating Doris on what she knew to be a decent girl’s concerns about the coming bed turns.
‘Will he want me?’
“Oh, like lighting seeks the tree—you are a fair and rare beauty!”
‘Will he take me?’
“If he gets much more drunk, I’d say that will wait until morning, at his age.”
‘I don’t want to be a virgin.’
“You have too much soul in you to be fitted for a nun… and we know, girl, that so long as you are unsullied, the price perverts will pay the vile new Censor for your innocence to take, will evaporate. This man who took you, if he does take your virginity, makes an enemy forever of the master of this city.”
‘So he won’t take me?’
“There is a chance, that his oafish decency and high regard for you—like as if you are a Jap doll of glass—might move him to save you for his brother—a better bed mate by ten, I’d say; Rex Born is the very perfection of manhood, this, his lesser, battered brother well knows. He desires you for a certain, I see, and I see desire often in men’s eyes from behind that bar. To make enemies drives him like friends new made for lesser men. Censor be dammed—you will leave your girlhood down this cozy hall and I’ll gift you the bed sheets for your nursing shawl.”
‘That is risky, to be saved for the better brother—I want a baby,’ she made of her invisible belly a swell of hands.
Ann thought a bit, “I’d say there is a fair chance, that if you arrive with your new and illegal owner, before your just owner, that you might be taken or given; your brute and your brother will both be fighting in the arena for their lives—over matched. The Lictors might simply take you away.”
Ann thought deeper.
“Why a baby? It is a lovely thing to have a child, and I have had three, but the two boys were nabbed off…”
‘I know. I am sorry. I saw my mother die when I was pulled from her. I want a baby, a girl with a voice, a boy with a choice.’
Ann turned on the bench, her skirt dropping on either side of her seat. “You see those men back there, those two champions, drunk so as like children. Billy is heating their medals in the fireplace and they will brand the pillar in the middle of the bar, where navy captains and army centurians have branded it too, putting this house under their protection—meaning a man, even the Censor, gives me guff, I need only send for such a man of that band. Look,” said she as she turned, lifted her dress and showed her rather ample bottom with the brands of two centurians, a lictor and a captain.
She snarled lusciously, “I rode those men like a hussy—and you may bet your beauty that I will ride that boxer until he promises to knock any head that affronts Ann!”
‘Oh my, ride a man? Like a horse, you mean?’
Ann laughed harshly, picked up a mug of beer and drained, and snarled playfully, “Girl, in case that giant oaf falls off drunk, let me tell you why women rule this world of men!”
Doris was at first horrified about the particulars of sexual intercourse, then mesmerized by the varieties of postures, then grew sure that Orpheus, with his serpent like agility and Nymphic beauty, would take the hearts and legs of many women, then thought, with a growing glow, that she might be perfectly designed by God to tether the heart of some such giant as Max Born…
Ann, through all of her increasingly drunk explanation of the bedtime acts of women and men, keenly saw the nymph imagining her self in such acts and looking worriedly at her own long legs and elongated form under her shift.
“Girl, confidence should be yours. If I were as tall, and beautiful and golden-voiced as you—and young as May—I’d have my self carried on a litter to the door of the House Equis for Rex Born to adore. You, looking like Venus—with that brute Scot boar! Crack that veneer of decency he is holding up ‘cause he knows he’s no good enough for you, man whore that he is, keepin’ the beds of patrician dames for drinking change!”
‘They do—those I sing for bed the likes of him?’
“Girl, do you know who he is?”
‘No—a great bull of men, is all.’
Taking more beer, Ann scooted near and whispered, “The highest tower in New York, the one on Rock Park with the clock upon it, its brick banded in iron.”
‘Yes, I have seen it—have once sung beneath and up to it.’
“Of course you have, Girl. ‘Cause the grand slutty Dame of Pannonian Fame, Victoria McClellen, mother of our very Caesar, asked her son to have you sing to her. I see you have been spared—due to the decency of Increase Publico, only man of power with a decent hand—the gossip that such as I traffic in.”
The men were branding the pillar with growls of drunken adore. Orpheus could barely stand.
“Girlfriend, I tell you true, that, angry at Old Caesar McClellen for leaving her alone while he crusaded in Africa, that old dame entered the prison were the crew of a long ship of Norwegian reavers were held for the arena and gave her charms to the greatest man of arms, a giant. Their son is your new master, your bed-sharer.
“The lady was locked in the tower over the birth of that mighty bastard, a year old when his “father” returned. Then, the randy bitch, bless her slutty soul, had that same great chief, now a champion of gladiators, of the House Equis, smuggled into her chambers so he might seed her again—that brilliant bastard, Rex Born, better in all measures to this one, is set to cross blades with him on Carnival, in a mere two days.”
‘I want to be sick.’
“Your hero is slated for the bier. Send him off with a smile.”
Ann then slapped Doris’s thigh, rose, danced a bit in her hard clogging shoes, drank another cup of beer in one swallow and then leaped into the arms of the boxer, who carried her up the stairs.
Little Annie then gathered Minicus in her hand and led him up behind her mother and across the balcony into the toy house.
Orpheus was passed out on the bar.
Billy Gear picked up an iron pike and sat with his back to the barred door, on the floor and nodded off.
Sandy Max, as she would have to know him, for that was the name to be put into prayer, blew out the candles, leaving only the fire place lit, and walked over to her and looked tenderly down.
She rose and stood under him, like a shrinking willow under a soaring oak, and heard two giggles up and above. Turning, she saw the children peeking out of their shadowed window with smiles.
‘Oh my!’ she felt a rush as she was hoisted in one hand and thrown like a sack over the unarmored shoulder—'thank God'—and carried off as the children clapped their little hands.
Doris had never the inclination—like rude Ma Ann—to discuss the particulars of conquering a man. She would often though, describe the morning of her conception to her daughter, curled lovingly in those old, scarred, man-breaking arms, as Little Annie and Minicus Thrax jumped up and down on the bed around them, having torn open the drapes of the one snow frosted window, “Snow, snow—the Lady Nymph called down the snow.”
Naked as they were under the covers, the man grumbling still asleep as if killing something in a dream, Little Annie knelt down next to her and pulled aside the blond hair from Doris’s ear, “Lady Nymph, I think Mother Mary sent the snow for your wedding dress.”
Wrapped in his arms, Annie hugging her neck and Minicus hugging the giant, dented head of her lover, she fell, smiling, back into sleep.
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posted: June 9, 2024   reads: 257   © 2024 James LaFond
Bride of Traps 2
Act 14.2: Doris Synchronus, Runaway Slave of the Censor
Night, Breadday, Fifth Day of Sepulcher
The night outside deepened to a shade that was unpierced by the distant gaslights. Orpheus came to her with a cup of beer, “Small, beer, dear sister, not too strong.”
She took the beer, sipped its nasty suds and set the cup down on the small table where the children, the miniature bar maid and tiny gladiator, sat together, jabbering about their lives, filled already with action and the tales of meeting with interesting adults.
Ma Ann had been pouring drinks, serving cheese and meats, and flirting with the boxer, a man perhaps her own age and of much esteem in these parts.
‘I feel lost. Perhaps there is a view outside?’
Doris advanced to the single front window, there being no visible back window, and no windows on the side of this curious box of a house slotted between others of its kind. The curtain was of black sack cloth and she so yearned to peek out at the nighted street.
That great hand restrained her, and she realized that she had progressed in a trance—an affliction of hers—to the window and had not heard the giant lumber up behind her, had been unconscious of his lumbersome limp. The hand felt so good, laid on easy as it was.
“Lady, this is an unsanctioned inn. The curtain must not admit a view of your face or the light of our revel for any of the Eyes of Censor who might skulk afoot.”
Doris looked at the black curtain and drew her hand back.
‘You speak well, formally—yet I am no lady, but your slave,’ she hummed wordlessly, like an opening rose.
His hands each cupped her shoulders, tiny in his palms, “That there brand is a ruse doll. My brother will inherit my goods—you among them. Old Rex can church you up to nunny ways. He is a noble sort and of a house that stands above the Censor where mine is merely besides the Censor. Clyde and his mates are below the Censor’s thumb, making that pug the hero of the hour for inducting your brother.”
‘You do not desire me? I am too thin?,’ she shrank, like a wilting rose.
Doris knew that he understood her thoughts, her hums and keens, knew that this creature of instinct understood her in some way that others had not. Yet he failed to continue the show of desire and admiration he had affected on the platform before the mob.
‘Am I so lacking appeal—even for this battered old arena heel?’ she turned, smoothing her dress about her, as if asking for a judgment.
The man noticed, she knew, saw his eyes survey her form, ignored her question, made with a mere pursing of lips and the alternating slumping of her shoulders, “This certain street has faulty gaslights on purpose, so as to hide the commerce here. Billy Gear did us a boon like in King Arthur’s time.”
She looked up at him, an unusual act for her being so tall and mimed with book hands and a pointed finger, ‘You read?’
He snorted like a bull and it moistly mussed up her hair, “Not the head for it. The Deacon Lyndt reads to us Scots, and, some, a few, have the letters and take their turns at stories.”
The man framed her in his hands, her shoulders tiny again in his palms, squinted with the unruined right eye at her brand, blew on it kindly.
“Yah big oaf,” came Ma Ann’s voice as she brought a small jar of branding salve, “She is not a race horse, but a woman, a virgin woman, a maiden.”
His hand was pulled away because it did not resist. “I will attend your mean brand, a sword and shield on this beautiful neck—you turd.”
“Ah, ah,” he began and the inn keeper cut him off, “Come here, darling. He might be more tender when he’s sodden. I have enough on tap to get them all good and drunk—these are the good sorts of drunks, here… I can tell, know my business.”
She was now sitting like a giantess at that table, feeling so awkward above the boy and girl, the woman standing behind her not much taller than she was seated. The girl looked up at her, “You are a Sybil?”
The pale hand of Orpheus lightly tapped the table, “My twin sister sings without words—cannot speak. She does mime well.”
Doris smiled slightly and made the symbol of a pool of water as she made the sound of small waves lapping and of a stone dropping as her hands mimed the pebble drop and the outward spread of ripples. She then made a female form with her left hand and had her lean against the praying hand to God.
“Your are a nymph, then?” observed the girl.
Doris brought her hands to her heart and nodded ‘Yes.’
“Pollux, over here, my Fresh mate,” came the voice of the boxer. “Let’s see you move—no time to train you up. Show us what you got!”
Orpheus smiled to them, “I must attend my Aptus [1].”
The boy looked up at Doris sideways, with clear, intelligent eyes as Ann stood behind her applying ointment to the brand, a wound that ached not a fraction of the pain in her heart.
“I seen you sing while your brother danced at Bell Church. The mobby [2] priest let us Pipes—were my gang—in for special masses.”
Doris smiled and nodded lightly, ‘Yes,’ and keened the Easter Wind, more softly than for a standard audience, and placed her hands to her heart to indicate that is her favorite song, to keen the Wind of Ascension, of the Holy Spirit eddy about Mother Mary at the foot of the cross.
Little Annie spoke up, reaching across the table and tapping the tiny, bright-eyed man-child on the back of his hand, “She knows things, Minicus. Nymphs know!”
Ann mildly reproved, “Keep that nymph cant to yourself girl, less you want to be whipped by the Black Nuns over at Doctrine!” [3]
Annie, a vivacious and spoiled child, full of energy, rolled her eyes comically, placing her little chin in one hand, elbow braced on the table, while the other hand held Minicus in puppy like thrall, “Yes, Mommy.”
Ann was done salving her neck and was now carefully brushing out her hair. Little Annie continued, face propped in one hand, the other one tapping on the little lad’s hand, “You know something about tonight?”
Doris smiled awkwardly, with tilted head, mimed the shape of a snow flake and then formed a cloud with both hands break into fingers of many snow flakes, falling down upon the table as she keened the cushy, soft patter, a sound that the men ignored in their rough slap boxing, but which amazed the children as Minicus explained, “Heard it last winter, the sound of snow puffing down on the roof tops.”
Annie looked up amazed, “It is still summer, Lady Nymph… I would so like to find snow on the window sill tomorrow.”
Doris mimed softly, in assured giving, with a slight bend, admiring those red pig tails as they bobbed in excitement, ‘You will. I promise.’
Minicus then tugged on her sleeve slightly and she looked down as he looked up, “Milady Nymph, pray for Sandy Max—he thinks you are an angel.”
‘I know, I’m crying,’ and so she was, unable to understand why she had ever resented the lack of this ability, what was now a waterfall of shameful weakness, the wreckage of her ship of hope. She sobbed pathetically, unnoticed even by her wayward brother who was now dancing like a devil before the boxer in their caper of hands, her new and soon to be departed master, beating a cadence with the palm and fist of his big hands.
‘So you have a new singer, now, aye Brother? I am gone already?’
“Easy girl, its the closest thing to a wedding night a branded beauty is like to get—lets wash those tears away with some tea and honey… Go on, Annie, show your lad how tea and honey is made and serve us all up.”
She was being hugged by a stranger who somehow cared. Yet still, despair sang her song down in her soul. That stranger rose her voice and called out, “Billy, you man the taps. I have a maiden to prepare.”
And the rough men laughed like the thunder that washed a girl’s dreams away.
Notes
-1. An Aptus is the most skilled rank of gladiator, who are the primary trainers of their fellows, the higher ranks generally concerned with politics, church, match making, war service, financial and medical concerns.
-2. Mobby is a term for a decent person who has sympathy for or connections with the criminal mobs.
-3. An infamous reform school for impious plebe children and mobby tykes.
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posted: June 8, 2024   reads: 256   © 2024 James LaFond
Clint’s Abduction
In These Parts #1
Kelly leaves the easy chair next to the door for his guest. From here, the TV is to the left, and the couch where Kelley and his wife sit to the right. It’s a small slotwise living room. Opposite the easy chair, a coffee table in between all, is a love seat, where the guest women sit. Behind that is a doorway and interior window into the kitchen. There be liquor, some brought by this hood rat, others by many holiday guests. Cooper, a small pug faced dog, is prince in these parts, declaring ownership of the guest, lapwise.
The game is a slaughter, the Dallas Cowboys clobbering Kelley’s wife’s team, a girl from eastern Pennsylvania, named Lori who favors The Eagles. The women are back in the den away from the men and rough stories best forgotten. The phone rings.
Kelley picks up:
“Hey, Clint. Okay, have James over here watchin’ the game.”
Pause, as a quisical ‘what the heck’ look comes over Kelley’s face, “How the hell should I know. Figure it out, Clint. Look, I have company—talk to you later.”
Kelley sighs, “Good ole Clint. Lives in a camper so packed full of shit can’t turn around in. The man can fix anything given the time—that is if you can put up with his shit, all the crazy stuff he goes on about, like the government being after him…” shakes head looking down to his beer…
A jolly light of memory sparkles like tinsel in Kelley’s eyes, his teeth marking a small even crease in his big, ruddy face over his short white beard, “Here comes another story—sure I told it to you five times before.”
The conversation burglar grins like sin, hefts his beer, and awaits the story. These are usually repeated and with a remarkable consistency. Lately, since our discussion about this book, the hobo historian has been asking the occasional odd question.
“So, I get a phone call.”
Sigh, of looming dysfunction…
“Its Clint. He’s gone up above Aberdeen in Washington, way up on the peninsula on the Pacific side, in the middle of bumfuck nowhere. He’s agreed to fix the back end of this truck for these Indians. You see, Indians don’t fix shit. Hell, I lived next door to them when I was young. Indian money comes in [1], they buy a Cadillac. Something goes up on that car, it stays parked and they get another. I’ve seen one family with ten Cadillacs parked in two rows in the same driveway—twenty Cadillacs in good order ‘cept for the one part that goes up. And, if you’re not changing your oil, well, the same part goes up on each car and there you have a bunch of cars that can’t even be cannibalized to keep one goin’ because they all have the same problem!
“So, anybody knows Clint knows he can fix anything given the time—a mechanical genius. These Indians have him up their on the Chenault Rez workin’ on the back of this truck. He’s doing as-you-go diagnostics and is kind of scatter brained—which is the other thing, Indians might be good people, but patience is not something they’re known for. He changes his mind, or forgot, about what part he needed, not a big part, but you have to drive sixty miles on a dirt and gravel road to get to the supply place… so there you go, Clint’s got these Indians pissed off and they keep ‘im en ain’t driven him back.
“These particular Indians are a branch of the Gypsy Jokers MC. Gypsy Jokers are not as bad as the Angels or the Outlaws, and sure not as bad as the Mongols. But, in these parts, they are about as bad as you get. Now, I had dealings with them, drank at their club house, was good friends with [Big Dog 2]. I call him up, get the okay to go get Clint, and I’m on my way. Had my nine under the driver’s seat. My .45 is in a nice leather clam shell shoulder holster, real comfortable custom made. I had a permit. But even with a nice rig like that it is difficult to make sure it’s always concealed—a real pain in the ass. Someone catches a glimpse and its your ass and they call on you. I just didn’t carry regular. But I was not goin’ up to these fuggin’ Indians unarmed while they are holdin’ Clint.
I drive up right to the edge of the Rez to this bar, not confident at all. I’m a big boy, but its a whole club house full of these fuggers. So I walk in and there are at least ten of these Indians with the Gypsy Joker rockers on. One of them looks at me and says, ‘You got some balls comin’ in here!’”
“I simply said, ‘[Big Dog] sent me. You can call him.’
“Well then I was all good. We drank together and Clint became almost an afterthought. Finally, at two o’clock in the morning, these Indians are drivin’ me up this dirt and gravel road in the rain. Well, with me there, that put wings to Clint’s ingenuity and the truck got done right quick. Meanwhile, these Indians treated me right.
“The reservation is all around this big ole lake. They have a fishery for steelheads. They take me to the holding pond and let me pick one out to take home, biggest steelhead you’d ever see, never caught one that big in the wild. Then they asked me if I wanted to go take an elk.
“Oh, it was fall. If it was winter, his ass would have stayed up there.”
[laughter]
“How they hunt elk—they’re Indians so they don’t need a tag on their land—is they get in a canoe and go sit in the river and when the elk cross they hit ‘em with a shotgun. I’m a little bit more of a sportsman than that. The steelhead was one thing, but blastin’ an elk on such terms didn’t sit right. They will blast one, take the elders their portion—old folks never starve among Indian kind. Well, they gave me some frozen cuts of elk to bring back—oh, yeah, I almost forgot Clint. They gave me him too!”
[laughter]
“Clint has had my back a few times. But them’s other stories. Let’s go have us a shot, brother.”
So the two of us creaked and grunted to our unsteady feet, one hobbling, the other limping to the kitchen for some pain relief.
Next story: A Stripper & Wannabe Bikers
Notes
-1. The various and many tribes in the Pacific Northwest have casinos, logging rights, fishery rights, etc. The profits from these enterprises go into a tribal fund, with payments dispersed to tribal members as tribal shareholders of a sort. I know one man who is a member of two tribes, one through the maternal side and the other paternal, and gets paid by both tribes. A lot of this money goes right back to the tribes through their casinos.
-2. Forgot the name, don’t want to know the name, but he was named as if he were the big dog in a runt pack.
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posted: June 7, 2024   reads: 350   © 2023 James LaFond
In These Parts
Recollections of Kelley B., As Told to James LaFond
Copyright 2024 James LaFond
A Crackpot Book
Lynn Lockhart Publisher
From March 2022 thru December 2023, the author, while visiting Portland, was befriended by Kelly. Invited to dinner on Tuesdays and to watch football on Sunday, the author soon discovered that his kind host had quite the past. A life long fisherman, who has worked as a depredation hunter, a wilderness guide, a horse trainer, a truck driver, and as Santa Clause, Kelly impressed. He had an easy, unperplayed manner of conversation, a subdued laugh, and, it turned out a competitive history in boxing and arm wrestling.
Raised as part of a large family in rural Banks, Oregon, by an abandoned mother, Kelley learned responsibility at an early age, but never forget how to play. Boxing as a young man and delivering groceries to retailers for 46 years, placed Kelley and the author, who worked in retail food for 38 years and coached boxing for 29 years, in an overlapping frame of conversation.
On Sunday, December 3, 2023, the author, no longer fit to coach, but well able to sit and write, offered to write Kelley’s remembrances in book form. Kelley chuckled like Old Saint Nick, and said, “Sure, if anybody would wanna read about my messed up life.”
The author responded, “I have a thousand fiction readers and 5,000 nonfiction readers. That story you told me about rescuing Clint from the Chenault Indians, that will get 6,000 reads at least.”
The men laughed, the crippled welterweight and the aged heavyweight, as their women commiserated in the den about things of womanly ken, and younger, better men clashed on the Green Bay [1] gridiron on the TV screen.
Kelley toasted his friend and said, “Brother, good food, good drink, the company of a good friend who is a brother to me, that’s all I need. The curtain is falling, the heart slowin’ down, en’ I’m hopin’ there’s a little bit more of this life to enjoy.”
Author’s Note
Kelley extended the hand of kindness to this down and out hobo near two years ago. His demeanor is mild in that big man way. His spirit is still that of the young stud who used to express his love for fishing out of season by swimming down the Columbia River, diving and gathering broken fishing tackle, some of which he still has, eager to gift to any young fellow who wants to learn fishing.
As is common with men of action, especially in later years when activity is reduced by the grind of their life and times, Kelley possesses a keen sense of humor and a ready trove of stories. Trading similar stories is one of our past times. Relating recollections brought to mind by current events in the lives of our friends and families, as well as by scenes that tumble across the TV, is another way in which we exchange recollections. My stories, have all been told in the various Harm City and Agonistics books. These simply serve to spark a kindred memory from Kelley’s life.
Kelley is quick to help, damned near jolly, and slow to anger. Last Saturday, taking his wife to the hospital, some insane drug addict motorist, a man half his age, raged at him until he pulled over and then threatened his life. In no temper to fight, and having yielded the wrong of way to the maniac, who was demonstrating a violent psychotic episode, Kelly sat and grinned, possessed of an equalizing artifice, ready and handy, “So then, I guess it must be a good day to die?”
The man raged away. Kelley declared, “I fucked up, should’ve never talked back to some young maniac. But I was raised in an honorable time when you put up or shut up. I gave him plenty of leeway to pull off and be on his way.”
I have not asked Kelley his age, have conducted not an interview in any way. I suppose he is closing in on 70, as he has been retired for a few years. I treasure my time with Kelley, like I do Bob, and Shayne, men who might have been a big brother to me in some more sensible life, lived in the country rather than the city.
What really helped Kelley and I click, was that he lives in Portland, Oregon, retains a country boy view of right and wrong and has spent a life time in a city that has plain lost its mind these past few years.
I have no intention of cluttering Kelley’s easy conversation with a formal book outline. We will simply speak about what comes up when it does and I will write it down. Robert E. Howard, once related that he placed his famous Conan the Barbarian stories in no particular order, that a man who related his adventures tends to do so at random as the fancy strikes. In Kelley there is a clear parallel here with the fictional Barbarian, born and raised in the misty hills of Northwestern Oregon and come to Portland to make his way, now one of the more decadent iterations of Civilization. The resulting interesting life of Kelley includes concourse with grunts, savage Indians, punks, villains, drunks, bullies, cops and yes, slave girls.
In These Parts is inspired by Clint’s Abduction and will be written in the order that my new found friend, Kelley cares to relate the more noteworthy episodes of his life.
James LaFond, Tuesday, December 5, 2023
Notes
-1. This was the occasion of the underdog Green Bay Packers humbling the Denver Broncos.
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posted: June 5, 2024   reads: 316   © 2023 James LaFond
‘The Open Door’
#2 Impressions of Tecumseh: Shooting Star, Crouching Panther by Jim Poling Sr., 2009, 184 pages
Tecumseh’s Senior Brother
According to Stephen Ruddell, at the battle of Point Pleasant, 1774, after the mortal wounding of Pukeshinwau, “at his dying moment he called to him his oldest son a youth of 12 or 13 years… and strongly enjoined on him to preserve unsullied the dignity and honor of his family; and directed him in future to lead forth younger brothers.”
The name of the oldest brother was Cheeseekau, his next younger brother was Tecumseh. The Dutch captive who became Blue Jacket was had been assigned to be Tecumseh’s companion. There was also the adopted brother, Richard Sparks, taken from the same area from which Tecumseh’s father had taken Blue Jacket, Wheeling, West Virginia. Richard was given the name Shawtunte. Stephen Ruddell, whose account is quoted here, became Tecumseh’s blood brother by rite.
These three adopted men, Ruddell, Blue Jacket and Shawtunte became warriors with full marriage rights. This places into question the unknown ancestry of Tecumseh’s parents in light of Tecumseh’s very European appearance. Ruddell was taken by the Shawnee in 1780, along with 350 other prisoners at the Mad River in western Ohio. Additionally, missing in action casualties on the American side throughout the Indian Wars in the Ohio country generally exceeded killed and wounded.
On June 26, 1792, Ziegler’s Station was taken and burned in Tennessee. The women and children were marched into captivity. Trackers noted that at one spot the Indians had stopped and made moccasins for the children.
In September 1792, at Lookout Mountain, above Chattanooga, while plotting the campaign in which he would be killed, Chief Cheeseekau was enraged at a suggestion that the tribes should accept American gifts and stop fighting: “With these hands I have killed 300, and I will kill 300 more, drink my fill of blood, and sit down and be happy.”
While dying, Cheeseekau is said to have told Tecumseh that he preferred dying in battle like a warrior to dying like an old woman in her bark house.
From American sources, there is a story of an ambush at Cumberland Mountain in central Tennessee near Walton Trace. [1] Captain Samuel Handley and his 42 militiamen were ambushed. Handley was taken alive, made to run the gauntlet and was going to be burned alive. Witnesses said that the chief who spared Handley was a Shawnee visiting from the north and had a mother living with the Cherokee who had left the Shawnee to live with the Cherokee after her husband’s death at Point Pleasant. Her name was Methoataaskee. She had been taken as a wife by Tecumseh’s father from among the southern tribes during the Shawnee’s nomadic period in the south. Handley suffered from a fever that turned his hair pure white and was released from captivity.
Tecumseh’s Junior Brother
Tecumseh’s mother had triplets. Of these the surviving child was named Lalawethika, meaning “Noisemaker.” The least able of that long suffering mother’s brood lost an eye to the misuse of a bow and arrow and became a braggart, a drunk, and a self-described wicked man. By all accounts he was the perfect opposite of his brother Tecumseh, possessing the hard fire of the eldest brother, Cheeseekau, but none of the remarkable ability of either of the elder brothers. His demeanor seemed better suited for a 20th century televangelist preacher then for tribal resistance.
He fell into a trance after extensive smoking, was declared dead and prepared for burial. He woke and declared he had been visited by the great spirit, gave up drinking and began preaching a gospel similar to that of the Iroquois prophet from New York state, Handsome Lake. He took the name Tenskwatawa, meaning Open Door. Open Door then began blaming various crises on witches, who were said to be able to fly great distances through the air at night with their medicine bundles. Just as in European witch trials, confessions were extracted by torture and the witches were burned or tomahawked. Just as the running of the gauntlet unique to woodland tribes was borrowed by English and Swedish invaders, so was this very Germanic Christian idea of witchcraft and its handling.
Tenskwatawa predicted that he would stop the sun at noon on June 16, 1806, and told his followers to meet him at his village at that date and time. A solar eclipse was observed. Tenskwatawa and Tecumseh then established Prophetstown, in which they kept a building for visitors named “House of the Stranger.”
Tecumseh and Tenskwatawa both predicted natural phenomena and subscribed to a Christian-inflected pan-Native religion, suggesting access to almanacs and other publications through the contact they had with Quakers, Moravians and other missionaries. It was too good to be true, the Open Door blundered numerous times, Tecumseh was not able to hold back the American tide and his little brother went back to drinking.
Future president Harrison, who met with Tecumseh twice, and who was his conqueror, at first investigating The Prophet as a threat to real estate enterprise, described him in the following way:
“This brother is really the efficient man—the Moses of the family… described by all as a bold, active, sensible man, daring in the extreme, and capable of any undertaking.”
The Open Door would claim that Harrison would die in office as a curse and punishment for the destruction of Prophetstown and the death of Tecumseh, and so he did, making two great predictions.
My favorite warrior act by Tecumseh was during an argument he had with a British Officer concerning the poor quality food issued to his warriors. Tecumseh hefted his tomahawk in one hand and touched the officer’s sword with the other hand and noted that their argument could be finished in another way, but that the officer was who he was, and that “I, am Tecumseh!”
Needless to say, the officer declined the offer to duel over the command decision and relented to Tecumseh’s wishes.
Notes
-1. A trace is the precursor for the term “trail” and was used for the first 250 years of Anglo American exploration and settlement.
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posted: June 3, 2024   reads: 288   © 2023 James LaFond
Bride of Traps 1
Act 14: Doris Synchronus, Runaway Slave of the Censor
Night, Breadday, Fifth Day of Sepulcher
She had expected filth offending her delicate nose, coal dust ruining clothes that brushed tables and shelves, soot staining the ceiling, ancient and clapboard as the mouse hole of a house appeared from the roughly cobbled street above. The small clapboard house, not as wide as her singing couch typically stretched, was a clean, tidy and artfully patched together sketch of cozy habitation. She entered with the woman alone, had held up her hand to Orpheus, that she needed no speaker, that she would make her wishes known.
The man named after a machine part, the boxer who had taken her brother into his face-beating fraternity of human wolves, her surprisingly wicked brother, and the mighty ruin of a man who had salvaged her with decency, stood on the covered porch, a low porch one stepped down into, as this was the low side of the street where people lived more on the cheap, conversed outside and behind in hushed tones.
The lady of the house was cute, short, wore a blue apron and bonnet over her black dress and boots and must have been about forty. Doris knew with a certainty that she had given birth to three children and but one survived, up in the tiny cabinet of the room at the edge of the slight balcony at the top of the stairs. The woman did not know her by sight, thought her a high patrician concubine of some distracted master being bread out to the brute who was her second dice to roll in her own defense, sweet, wicked Orpheus having been the first, delaying dice.
She ached for a man in her lesser heart, yet deeply feared that her body would be taken by force, taken by some creature such as Gentile Publico, her estranged inheritor, but a crooked hint at a man. She knew, for Doris knew many things that others did not, and for this reason God had shut her mouth and prevented her issuing anything but song. And she knew, that having her virginity taken with rape, would take enjoyment of physical love away from her for life. She knew also, that in the world of Men, once she lost her song with her attendant purity, that she would be a mere, mute, pleasure bed commodity. If that waxed intolerable, she feared the eternal sin of suicide.
Rape by some effete man who could only accomplish the deed because she was enjoined not to thrust her hairpin through his throat on pain of stripes and sale into ruder hands, that event, Doris knew, would maim her soul as surely as the man whom she had chosen as her dubious guardian—the one Fate, dark angel as She was, had provided—had his face and body ruined in his own servitude.
The woman looked up to her as if at a goddess, and Doris blushed, then hugged her. The woman chuckled with wet eyes and Doris looked at the bar and stools—a small affair of five elevated oaken disks on iron pegs—under the balcony and she smiled, miming, ‘Thank you,’ with a courtly bend of knee. She motioned to her mouth and throat, made the silent hand, smiled, and motioned to the doll house where that young child must live, the two elder children having been taken by a mishap, she could sense, writ in the paranoid construction of that protected habitation.
The terrible little gladiator tyke was shadowing her, looking up at her as if he expected an order. She looked down at him, smiled indulgently, and mimed for her brother, then signed with open expressive hands for the lady to describe her inn, and she did:
“My, you are the brightest beauty to ever grace these boards. I serve the sporting sort of fellow, not mobster mind you, but working men who favor a likely den and resent paying ale and beer tithes, what with their wages already molested by the Company. You, image of Beatrice that you are, and that big bull, will have the master bed room at back of the house.”
Doris smiled and mimed for a little one to come down out of the tiny doll house, making also the sliver of the moon and signing that it would be right and safe. She also said, in slow, silent lip speak, as she made hand mime of two littles being bundled off from the street outside a quaint house, “I am sorry, from my own broken heart.”
The woman followed her slow moving lips with some amazement and bent her knee slightly, pulling her dress drapery up and out so it did not drag the clean polished boards of the ancient floor. Doris had seen many a slave girl and serving wench, maid and housekeeper motion to their tall patrician dames in just this way. Knowing herself a slave, she blushed and imitated this slavish courtesy, extracting a grin from her gracious host.
The woman smiled hard and winced, “Of course, Lady,” and turned with tilted head to the address the little pale face that peeked through the tiny house window and beckoned, “Come on down, Annie, we have true and fancy guests, we do.”
A cute girl child in red pig tales darted out the side door, ran across the balcony and down the stairs, past that door-less bedroom where mother obviously slept.
As the tiny gladiator looked up in wonder and the men entered, Doris sang the chimes of virginity, undulating her hands at her own private parts and towards the oncoming darling girl and directed a tear to flow down her cheek, though her eyes were incapable of a proper cry.
“Oh, oh my, you dear—with that,” and she turned to see the men entering behind the hulking Scot and edited her remark, “Sometimes, my dear, the most brute beast is in cruel treat the least to our weak kind. The sheets are fresh changed, good linen. I will wash your things if you please...have a robe for you to wear.”
The great Scot, named Max came forward, set his massive hand on her shoulders, a pinkie touching one and a thumb the other, and produced two Gold Johns, [1] worth as much as this woman was like to earn in a year, and handed them to the inn keep between thumb and forefinger, “Mum, you have forever the protection of House Scot. I would like ye ta teach Minicus here how to keep bar, change taps en such, he bein’ the keep of our house ‘til he’s ready for war.”
The woman seemed terrified and the man dropped the coins into her apron, held her with his other hand, kissed the top of her head and assured, “Mum a mine locked in an iron tower fo’ the crime of bearin’ me. This fresh one here could use a good mum.”
The boy darted a vicious glare back up at the gladiator who winced, theatrically, “Ye wit me every step a the way, Freshy. But I die in three days. Ye need a mum to counter the bruteness of dem Scots, ain’t all as fancy and muggy as me. Now look to dat lass, boy, help with her chores and guard the door!”
The woman looked up at the grinning giant, “Ye be one o’ the Born twins, got on Caesar’s own Mum from dem swordy prisons?”
“Ye gots me girl,” said he as he slapped her butt so hard that she lifted, and then reached into his purse for some silver, “For the drinks, Damy.”
“Ale, beer, small beer for the tyke, and stout, as much as ye like ye big mug—ugly as sin you are, so treat this beauty right and nice under Mah Ann’s roof!”
And so the woman became the comic boss of a weird yet small cast of heroes, dedicated it seemed, to drinking themselves blind on something not nearly as fair as wine.
‘What about me,’ she ached, as he left her be to cavort over dice and tales of brutal strife with the three lesser men who seemed his very own nation.
‘What about me, has he grown tired of my mute delicacy already?’
To be continued…
Notes
-1. A Gold John is golden coin minted at the cathedral of The House Thrax in Aberdeen, Scotland. Each such coin is worth 20 Augustan’s the standard gold coin of Rome, which is a 20th the weight. The image of Saint John the Baptist, baptizing Jesus Christ is engraved.
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posted: June 2, 2024   reads: 170   © 2024 James LaFond
Clyde of Taps, Continued
Act 13.5: Orpheus Synchronus, Runaway Slave of the Censor
Night, Fishday, Fourth Day of Sepulcher
Orpheus walked, no, he strode, wolf-like, next to the pantherish stalk of his captor, towards a knot of people which had formed a rude circle about the cresset.
The tiny Japanese children followed Clyde and he, sketching with such an animate fury that one might imagine the very devil was upon their heels. A girl was nearly under his feet, walking backwards and looking up into his face, another to his side, sketching his gait, another behind him, four scampering about Clyde, as if a new addition to this living sketch that had become his life, required an additional hand.
He looked down into her eyes and she lost some distant innermost composure and stumbled backwards. Orpheus, trained to dance and stage and the catching of fallen graces in the form of patrician’s dames China vases, bent on the instant and caught the child before she struck her head. She looked up, as light as a feather, as she hung in his hand that had grabbed the front of her tiny white jacket, and said, her little onyx eyes searching his, “Hero,” and continued to sketch his face. Four other Japanese children where now sketching this tableaux.
“Bring her along, My Boy,” whispered Clyde, “We have a crowd!”
The circle of mob, perhaps a mixed crowd of sixty souls, opened about the cresset where Dear Doris stood beneath a brute gladiator of monstrous proportions who turned her in his mighty hands like a delicate doll, admiring her song shift of white linen under whiter silk, under yet lighter gossomer, the outer layer clinging like the rest to her lithe form and beginning to pick up grime from their fleeing crime.
That man was surrounded by Japanese sketch children, and was the center of attention for their director, who Orpheus recalled from their last performance before Master Publio. A common mechanic held the cresset tongs and Clyde patted Orpheus on the back, “Ho there, Big Burl o’ Bastard Scott, that be my brand o’ tong!”
Orpheus understood already that Clyde spoke for the onlookers and bystanders and whispered to his fellows. The boxer was an actor of rude sort.
Doris looked into his eyes with tears of glassy joy, her mouth aquiver.
The crowd was awed to silence under the hiss of the engines ahead and the voice of the gladiator, who smiled wider, and more crooked then Clyde, ground out like an engine itself, “Clyde, you’d not whip me would ye—me bein’ as easy hit as a harbor tug?”
Clyde then stopped and pushed Orpheus forward, “Not a me—Clyde of Taps cares too much fo’ his good hands ta wreck dem on ye battered mug, Max.”
The gladiator named Max, a man impressed in the ruder portions of Orpheus memory of common sights such as broadsheets and fight posters, was in all manners King of this platform, complete with a court—and the Japanese artists were now being conducted in a flock of some 20 little souls by that weird master of theirs.
“I see Clyde, ye have a fresh pug to brand, like a match to my fresh maiden here—a coincidence ta be sure.”
Clyde grinned, opening both hands to Orpheus, “I should call him Pollux, he moves so fair. Tapped out Netty Sam over this affair, loogin’ for a fight ta pick—mayhap we pack up ‘til yer event, maybe Ole Clyde opens the sands ‘fore yer brotherly affray come Carney Day?”
The maim-faced giant grimaced, “Ye dropped Netty Sam?”
“Oh, right up there, Max. Truth be bold, he seems ta ‘ave lost a step, had a bit of a limp. But, net, dagger and all that gall—I still right it fair, a good build-up I should say to a sandsmen affair.”
“Billy,” motioned Max to the mechanic holding the tongs, “if ye please, Clyde here is more Scott then me, birthwise.”
A medal was taken from the shoulder plates of Clyde’s ornate and polished harness, which contrasted with his modest tunic and trousers and his hard dancing shoes. He grinned from his scarred chin as the medal was taken to be heated and gave a pleasing oration, departing from his common way:
“This fair boy of grace and dance, on the run in despair from the loss of the best master in New York, has agreed as penance, to swear to the House Pugilistic, to, through discipline and trial, to rise as the brightest champion of the Fistic. He further swore to me just now, that he feels so bad from running from his new master—such a fine supporter of our sandsome arts, that he will dedicate all of his prize money to that Worthy Master, which I have justly took from Netty Sam—Sam havin’ been cruel mean to excess, in just cause to save this beautiful boy from harm… fer his Good Master, as it were, who shall have him again in Carney Day, by way of manly afray.”
The man then paused as the brand was heated and pointed at the Japanese man, “They write English, you gettin’ this accurate, Japman?”
The man piped up in his weird accent, “Will run off the presses in six hours, Hero.”
Clyde then grinned and cast his hand towards Orpheus and continued to lie like a gutter born poet, “Ye see, Ole Netty Sam, was set to injure this runaway, through cruel jealousy… So good Clyde of Taps here, he says, ‘Clyde,’ you need to step up and venture the fistic pride. May the good and just Censor of New York, find it in his heart to hold House Fistic close to his—roughest, toughest house of New York, forever in his debt!”
The beast named Max snorted, “Clyde, this is your ass—ye ‘ill be put to the sword, matched with some Provocatuer, to cross steel not fists.”
Clyde beamed, “Ain’t it grand, Big Man? Don’t forget that Saint Castor of the Sword looks over his brother Saint Pollux! Here—look at the mug that will never be pugged in!”
Clyde was pointing maniac-like at Orpheus as he took the brand and snarled, “Not on his knees does he take this brand!” grabbed Orpheus by his right shoulder and brought the steaming brand close, whispering, “Pull that pretty hair back… the girls and dames I’ll swoon over you’re flurry of fist!”
It hurt with holy fury as Orpheus dressed his face in a mask of grace and did not wince, did not even sniff at the smell of his burning flesh.
The surrounding mob was clapping and cheering. Three little Jap girls rushed to Orpheus with white lilies in their hands to pose for a nymph scene sketched by the rest of their likes. As this was being directed with hands and Japanese words by the strange newspaper man, Clyde hissed, “A word for he ye ran from or we hangin’ high.”
Orpheus, then summoned his best narrative voice, used to introduce plays for the Patrician and Plebean audiences alike, “For House Fistic and my Master and Patron, Gentile Publico, Censor of New York, I go into training.”
Clyde put his arm about him in a fatherly way, and lifted the armored thumb of his left hand, affecting a grin that might have spanned a dinner plate and announced, “We are off to secret training, to appear on the Censorial Sands before The Brothers Born settle their score! Clyde of Taps and Orpheus Pollux, taking on any Aptus and Tiro in double fight!”
Max then grabbed the Japanese man, hissed something in his ear, and let him go with a look that few would have disobeyed. The conductor of sketching tykes then scurried aboard the train, save one little girl who had been at Orpheus’ feet, who gathered the lilies from the other two and took them to a miniature Scott, with a kiss, to dart up the coach stairs and disappear within.
Clyde offered, “We in an irregular way, Max.”
The giant snorted from his mangled face, “Dead come Carney Day, hopelike before the devil smells our bier.”
The mechanic with the tongs put them away as the crowd drifted off and hissed among their closing circle, “Mates, ye houses are far and the Netmen and Lictors lurk near. My cousin runs a speak your pleasure house down and away from here.”
Clyde pushed Orpheus lightly to his sister, “See to yer siss—Miss,” your shawl for a kiss?”
“Not, you, you old pug!” snarled the middle-aged women with a few broken teeth and a scarred nose, yet with magnetic eyes still lit with the fire of life, as she stood on tip toe under Orpheus and kissed his cleft chin, wrapping her shawl over his golden locks.
Rocking back on her shoe heels she opined, “Prettiest man in Creation! And here, my kerchief for to cover your sister’s fair hair. Every toiled soul on this platform is with you—we’ll point the lictors cross river.”
Various folks who seemed to regard this woman with some kind of authority, murmured, “Like Mah says,” and scattered to whatever dubious task they so cryptically inferred.
“Thank you, Mother,” Orpheus blurted, picked her up, hugged her, kissed her on the forehead, and set her down, “Thank you.”
The workmen were beginning to sweep the platform and some commotion further up was heard, as the Synchronus Twins, dubiously owned by two suicidal brutes, and led by a tiny tyke of Scots, followed the thin man named Billy Gear down off the platform into the shadows that, Orpheus would note over these next few nights, were always near.
Yet one light held him weird, his sister’s eyes, alight with her muted song, retaining in this lambent benediction—for Orpheus believed she was an angel and he merely her cast off physical half—that ability she had to communicate with him without a word, ‘We are sheltered under brute brows, Brother.’
‘Yes,’ he smiled, ‘and you according to my rude avows.’
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posted: June 1, 2024   reads: 248   © 2024 James LaFond
‘His Eyes’
#1 Impressions of Tecumseh: Shooting Star, Crouching Panther by Jim Poling Sr., 2009, pages 1-96
Of the many books on Tecumseh available at the used book store next to the motel in San Jose, this was the thinnest and had the most readable type. The style is pleasing and the narration excellent. This review is largely a look at incidental evidence of tribal ethnicity within the text.
Jim Poling is a journalist with a piercing style, who has a unique perspective on Tecumseh. Tecumseh is the single most written about figure from American History by 20th and 21st century biographers. George Washington, Robert E. Lee, Lincoln, Patton, in the rear view mirror of the American literary mind, are dim candles when held against the light of Tecumseh. Poling is fascinated with that, in that he is a Canadian. He points out that Canadians don’t have much interest in Tecumseh, that he gets but one mini-park where he fell defending Canada.
Poling makes the correct case that Canada remained in British hands mostly because of the efforts of the doomed Indian who cared not a lick for Canada and was simply fighting a rear guard action after being driven from his Ohio home. Poling also points out that Canadians burned Washington D.C. soon after the “King of the Forest,” as one British officer styled Tecumseh, fell. That is a sentiment that about 30% of Americans would currently second in Tecumseh’s far away grave. This reader posits here that the reason why most Americans, and more so in the Eastern United States, positively identify with vanquished tribal peoples of the past is that those people died fighting the hideous, homosexual, economic, satanic beast that currently enslaves us. If you are born under USG, whereever you go in the world outside of it, you must pay taxes, your membership dues in the world eating machine…
Poling provides an excellent chronology at the end of the book, comparing Shawnee and Canadian history side by side. He begins and ends the book with the Tecumseh Curse, whose nemesis, Harrison, died in office [an election earned on Tecumseh’s bones] and that he and other presidents born on a year ending in a zero died or where stricken with calamity in office. I think the curse has played out. But who knows.
Tecumseh and his brother predicted an eclipse and an earthquake, and there is much speculation on this. There is extensive dialogue concerning Tecumseh’s speeches written by Americans who heard them and spoke Shawnee. Tecumseh’s spoken language is murky. He seems to have understood English but declined to speak it. It may be that he could even read and write. I will consult other more in depth biographies for this.
The following concerns the ethnicity of the Shawnee as gleaned from this concise history.
Tecumseh, who was named either for a passing meteor or a panther shaped constellation, was called by the Shawnee either CouchingPanther or PantherPassingAcross [same thing in a forest], and by the Muscogee “ShootingStar” after the comet that was in the southern sky as he preached against American expansion in 1811, predicted the New Madrid Earthquake of the same year. He was a member of the Panther Clan. [1]
The Frenchman who new him and painted his likeness depicted a tanned man of lean European features.
Tecumseh had an adopted American brother named Shawtunte, who had been Richard Sparks of Wheeling West Virginia.
Methoataaskee, the mother of Tecumseh was a southeastern woman met near Alabama or Georgia by her nomadic husband. Tribes in this area were racially, heavily mixed with Scottish and English. [2]
Stephen Ruddell, captured from Ruddell’s Station Kentucky, was Tecumseh’s blood brother. He later wrote of Tecumseh:
“...he always distinguished himself by his activity, strength and skill.”
American and British military officers disagreed if Tecumseh was 5’ 9”, 5’ 11” or six feet. This may have to due with him wearing moccasins and them wearing heeled boots.
His eyes are described as hazel and had the mutable quality of being able to darken or brighten with passion, as is described of Nathan Bedford Forest, who was also said to have eyes that could glow with intensity and darken with grim intention.
John Richardson, who served in battle alongside Tecumseh at 15 in 1813, would go on to be Canada’s first international novelist, author of Wacousta and also The Canadian Brothers, left descriptions of Tecumseh which agree with the general impression that he was “...bout five feet ten inches, tall, muscular; someone who commanded respect but had a friendly disposition.”
An unnamed eye witness declared, concerning an 1803 meeting, “...he appeared one of the most dignified men I ever beheld.”
U.S. Army Colonel Hatch wrote, “The personal appearance of this man was remarkably fine… his eyes clear, transparent hazel… in conflict like balls of fire… one of the finest looking men I have ever see…” These words written by an American expansionist dedicated to driving the tribes to extinction, a class of man who would be described by modern academics as a “racist” suggest that Tecumseh had a more aquiline and angular set of features than the more robust Asiatic Amerindian features combined with the runaway Irish/Scottish/English physiognomy normally depicted in period art in such portraits as that of Pontiac and his fellows at treaty with English officers.
In early life, Tecumseh is noted a shaving dressed as an American. But once he became a revolutionary figure, always dressed in buckskins, tailored buckskins.
Ruddell insisted along with others that Tecumseh never tolerated mistreatment of prisoners and that he was against torture from a very young age. He was universally regarded as generous. However, he did divorce a wife for imperfectly cooking a turkey dinner for guests.
An interesting passage from Poling’s history follows [3]:
“Dragging Canoe refused to recognize the treaties and took his rebels to Chickamauga Creek… they were not just Cherokees, but Creeks, Shawnees, and other Indians, plus rebel whites and African Americans who were opposed to the settlement of the Tennessee frontier.”
Dragging canoe would not be the last American rebel to fight at Chickamauga.
Notes
-1. Eastern Indians used clan structures more akin to Gaelic Europeans than to the social organization of the Western Tribes.
-2. While in Portland I attend an elders dinner every Tuesday with a blonde Cherokee named Anna.
-3. Editor, please search for information and likenesses concerning Dragging Canoe.
To support Plantation America research and examine annotated and summarized primary source texts go to:
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posted: May 31, 2024   reads: 500   © 2023 James LaFond
Baltimore by Day
Offline from 5/31/24 thru 9/5/24
Soon this computer is packed—and tomorrow I leave, having skipped an entire book of travel writing in order to complete two history projects while in a Baltimore home where books may be kept. It truly feels now, that life is passing this one by.
It may still be taking the train hung between crutches, as high activity has taken a toll. The kindnesses of friends and the misfortune of our families, suffering many illnesses, has been sobering.
Every day has been beautiful blue, crisp and cool in the morning, the moon clear in the sky.
The rain clouds then roll in, pile high, and rain, every day—unreported on the news.
The clouds scatter at nightfall, revealing a cobalt sky, the soft coolness contrasts with the warm May nights of my youth.
We are told SHE is heating up.
The plants and birds are thriving. Their singing reminds me of the Great Hope of USG, that, as Alice B. Sheldon wrote as James Tiptree, that birds might finally be used to spread a plague to reduce mankind by 95%. As Gene Wolf declared so artfully in The Shadow of the Torturer, the population has only one chance, one trump—it’s vast numbers. The steerage cults have only one fear; we are that fear, manifest in flesh.
We must be reduced.
We will be reduced.
We are being culled.
It is sad to see so many herded into oblivion.
It does not lift a finger or raise a single word, cowering in my rabbit hole.
Life passes it by.
It coached until midnight last night. Tomorrow noon is the final knucklehead rite.
The yeti trajectory takes it in single stages to brief stops in: Jersey, Lancaster & Pittsburgh PA, Joliet, Washington State, Portland Oregon, San Jose & Emmeryville California, Salt Lake City Utah, Chicago and back to Pittsburgh.
Those 11 train and bus tickets, with six connecting drives of from 1 to 4 hours, get me from Baltimore June 1 to Baltimore September 5. Only Utah will I have more than a brief visit.
Travel writing will be at a minimum, with one volume reserved as journal covering April thru December.
Having slogged through two histories, with 7 books done on the year, from most recent to first:
-Ball of Fortune, a history at 25,967 words
-By Zeus, a history at 18,300 words,
-Nihil, novel, at 14,497 words
-Battle, a game at 19,278 words
-Fay Away, a journal at 31,772 words
-Shrouds of Aryаs a history, at 135,446 words
-SPQR, Novel, at 58,221 words
It intends to complete the following while moving about:
-1. A Gaslight Knight, novel, in Jersey, PA and on train
-2. From a Heavy Gravity Planet, memoir, in Illinois
-3. The Warriors, novel, in the Pacific Northwest
-4. Good Morning, novel, in California
-5. I Could Not Kiss Ass, memoir, in Utah
-6. King Klan, novel, in Pittsburgh
This will probably encounter the fan of Fate at high speed. It is, though, a tragic habit to hatch a plan.
Thank you all for your help: to Nadia Howell for her poetry book, and Marckus Mickus for Let Them Look West, a novel to consider on the train, and to Black Master Roshi for my medicine bundle and Big Ron for that blackberry moonshine.
I’ll try not to yuck it up.
-James, the Brick Mouse House, Friday Morning
PS:
the site is scheduled out with weekend fiction posts to September and weekday nonfiction into October.
It will be leaving the email machine behind and just taking this, which, in a few locations has access to the back end of my website. If you have a prompt for an article you wish to be written, text it to Flop the Zero Phone at 443-686-0598. If your query is about training It will post the answer on the next open Tuesday or Thursday where It has internet access. History and such will post in November or on substack. If you are a substack or patreon reader, let me know so that It can direct your answer there.
Outside, in the soft sunlight under the bright blue sky, inset with the moon, is a fine rustling breeze. I will be on the bus in 2 hours, with hopefully nothing worth writing about.
06.02.24   muad'dib — enjoy the summe rof love 2.0 james and thx 4 all you have done!
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posted: May 31, 2024   reads: 606   © 2024 muad'dib
Black Hoof & Tecumapease
Visual Profiles of a Civic and Maternal Shawnee Chief
Tecumseh had two great Shawnee nemesis’: Chief Cornstalk and Black Hoof. Depictions of both of these men survive, sketch portraits in fact, as well as a portrait of Tecumseh from the memory and hand of a Frenchman who new him.
All three chiefs, the unsanctioned war chief who gathered an alliance against what he regarded as a Great Satan, America, and the two elder chiefs who were bought and paid for by the English and then Americans, had these similar traits: straight angular, and very gracile European nose, hair cut to the base of the neck and worn loose against Shawnee convention, heads bound in turbans, with Tecumseh’s more elaborate and bearing an ostrich feather, with the civic chiefs wearing a more simple wide headband. These three men do not look like the surviving depictions of warriors with their plucked scalps and general heavy European working class features.
Tecumseh regarded the British King George III as his “Father,” in a social sense. All three of these men are obviously, as depicted in their lifetimes by artists who knew them, 75% European and 25% Amerindian in phenotype and in dress. The genetic heritage of the mother [Methoataaskee] and father [ Pukineshinwau] of Tecumseh is unknown.
However, Tecumseh had at least one adopted “white” brother and numerous fellow tribesmen of Euro-American parentage. Additionally, since 1610, it was practice for French traders to marry the daughter of the leading chief of each tribe they resided with. Tecumseh also did this, having a Cherokee wife when he and his brother lived among them. Indeed, he had at least three wives. The illustration of his one surviving son, made in his life, Paukeesau, is entirely European in complexion with a mix of native jaw and European upper face, whose mother was Mamate, a Shawnee woman, who apparently was lighter skinned than the swarthy Tecumseh.
The portrait of Paukeesau is on page 63 of Shooting Star, Crouching Panther by Jim Poling Sr.
From the 1630s through the 1660s, the Iroquois, with English backing, committed numerous genocides and largely depopulated the Upper Ohio Watershed, in the area of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania west to about Columbus, from Lake Erie south to the Potomac River. The Erie, or Raccoons, for whom Lake Erie was named, as well as a tribe known as the Big Waters and also the Allegheny, or “Beautiful-people,” were entirely rubbed out.
The Shawnee moved south and west and north, and a hundred years later attempted to repopulate the Ohio [Good-river] Country in the lifetimes of Tecumseh and his Father, both of them, and the eldest brother, Cheeseekau, dying in combat holding back the invaders.
Despite Tecumseh’s French appearance, his brother, The Prophet, depicted in two portraits from life, appears to be ethnically European, but more Scottish. Like the other Shawnee leaders, he dresses in European style, including a feathered turban, also affected by Creek Nation leaders, as well as vestigial pieces of obsolete European armor, such as a gorget [favored by many tribal leaders] and even a breast plate.
In Tecumseh life time, numerous American women were abducted as wives and lived faithfully with their husbands, possibly to include his third wife, Wabeleguneua, or White Wing. The European genetic input for Eastern Woodland tribes of the Ohio Valley are from most to least prominent:
Husbands
-French explorers, agents, traders
-Scottish traders
-English officers and agents, like Thomas Gist
-Scottish/English/Dutch/Irish runaways and abductees like Blue Jacket, Stephen Ruddell and Richard Sparks
-German traders
-Negro freemen and runaways, accounting in eastern Maryland for the term “redbone’ for a light skinned person of African ancestry
Wives
-Abducted frontier women
-The daughters of French explorers and indigenous women who were valued highly as translators
Since mixed breeds were likely to be the children of European men of high standing as well as of tribal chiefs, it is natural that a higher proportion of chiefs would be mixed race than among the common warriors. But, by the 1770s, demographic impact had been so severe from battling more numerous invaders, that a concerted effort to abduct replacements made racially mixed tribesmen increasingly European in appearance.
Do note that it was taboo for Shawnee men, as well as most Eastern Woodland tribes, to wear their hair long as did their women and the men of the western tribes.
The following period depictions of allies and relations of Tecumseh comes from the book:
Tecumseh and the Prophet: Two Shawnee Brothers Who Defied a Nation, Peter Cozens, 2020, NY
The above noted likeness of Black Hoof is in this book as it has been in others.
Also, on page 184, is a painting in color, of an Indian delegation to General Grosner Prevost Drummond
On the far right is a very light skinned Indian woman turning away, weeping.
Next is a bold red Indian warrior, with plucked and dressed scalp lock.
Next is a Negro with bunny ear wool. This negro and the next two in the illustration, from a Great Lakes Area meeting, were wearing blue military clothing, had dark brown skin and black kinky wool.
To the left of these men are two light skinned women, the same skin tone as representing so-called “white” people in period art, with straight black to brown hair, parted down the middle. These women, would not, like The Bride of Solomon, have to apologize for having a tan. The second figure from the left is recognized as Tecumapease, the camp matron or female chief in charge of moving and maintaining noncombatants and their goods.
As a civic chief, in times of war, Black Hoof would have had no more power than this woman. But, as the tribe split under American pressure, Black Hoof turned traitor and encouraged warriors to fight on the winning side against their own doomed cause.
Looking at the above mentioned illustrations from the period under question, there can be no racial case made for these Indian Wars. These were culture wars between tribalism and mercantilism, barbarism versus civilization.
Ethan Allen had made the case in his narrative, that the tribes must be defeated by cutting off their source of Modern supplies so that their stone age economy could be targeted directly. The following two sections of this inquiry will focus on the figures of Tecumseh and his brother The Prophet, their successes and failures as reflections of actual working class, frontier conditions in Plantation America.
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posted: May 29, 2024   reads: 674   © 2023 James LaFond
Dandy Man of Notes
Act 11: Beatrice Flynn, Mother of Nuns Under Chapel Station
Advent, Marsday, Third Day of Sepulcher
The song, what a silvery tongued song that poor beautiful child sung!
Beatrice’s heart nearly flew from her breast as Doris sang. The song was of a rain, a soft, steady rain, as if the sky wept. Yet the skies over New York were but soot and sunlight, the noisy belching corruption of man rising to challenge the guiding light set in heaven by God’s infinite hand.
Beatrice had heard the songs—some of them—of Doris Synchronis before, had been thrilled by her twin’s dandy prance.
The thrill was gone, a cold chill remained beyond the stillness of that song. Beatrice knelt in prayer, upon the Chapel velvet step before the three prayer candles they had lit. Orpheus knelt to her left, Doris to her right. There the girl twin, nearly as pretty as her boy twin was spritely handsome, hummed her rain-like song.
Behind them, Sister Ellen stood aghast as the retiarius, One Netty Sam, placed his dagger upon the tin plate reserved for a man’s hat. The clink of steel on tin was ominous, as Netty Sam engaged Rodman Joe, the nunnery’s very own protector, in a polite exchange, “Now Joe, this goes my way, we both know.”
Joe grumbled, big and broad and brave as men come, but too old to be put to such an affray with the youngest star of the arena, the man who always brought back the runaway from high or low, near or far, “I’ll not stand by whilst yer storybook sass hauls off Christ’s most innocent lass!”
“Dear Joe,” soothed Netty Sam, a man with the orator’s gift for worded charm, “honored I am, to be warded against in my sacred duty by the bravest of your house. The dagger is set aside.”
“Take it back out the door! The Lass is set taking her vowels!”
A parchment was unrolled behind her, and Sam’s rich voice crooned, “The very Bishop of New York has here signed that no such nun shall be accepted from the chattel of Gentile Publico. I place this notice upon the hat plate, Madam Nun, for your conscience to consider after you rise from prayer… in your own good time. I have every moment you require, Madam.”
The surprisingly rich voice of Orpheus rose, not in defiance, but as if in judgment, “My sister shall be no whore, Retiarus.”
With those words Doris ceased her song in choking tears and Beatrice rose from her prayer and turned.
Netty Sam regarded the flaxen haired youth, already a dandy of a man, taller than his sister, who was tall for a woman already, nearly as tall as the famed catcher, who eyed him from under his black leather diadem, “Boy, take your sister by the hand and bring her here and save old Joe his desert.”
The net, hung like a many scaled serpent, a coil of woe, in that long fingered hand, the eyes of the owner black like a viper, hair black to match and shoulder length, as he was famous for wearing it so.
‘I am ashamed that so many runaways come here, only to be caught like mice by great cats.
“Sorry, Mother,” said the youth as he languidly stepped before Beatrice, and, so commanded, took his sister’s hand, “Come Sister,” he continued.
“That’s a good boy, Orpheus. I shall plead clemency with Master Publico.”
“Don’t bother, Catcherman,” said Orpheus in a hollow drawl, as he produced a razor from his blond ringlets of hair and pressed it to her throat, a tender, pale expanse of young neck that the girl bared in a weird ecstasy, as if she wished death. With surprising strength, Orpheus lifted his sister in the crook of his other arm, and she, as if mesmerized, held on to her brother in a weird obedience, as if being taken off to a wedding.
Netty Sam was so handsome in such a wicked way that Beatrice thanked God within for guiding her into the nunnery and forever avoiding such a terrible tangle that the slave catcher’s sure smile had surely netted many a woman’s heart.
Orpheus turned and darted, as if his sister weighed nothing, up the wrought iron twist of stairs to the belfry, where the bell was rung by one of the younger sisters every Ascentday by the rope that caught the slave catcher’s eye. That eye was followed by their faithful rodman, who she knew now would be matched against some brute unlikely to lose for that which he now did; for he stepped between Sam and that bell cord.
Rather than waste a moment on fight or words, the hunter of service deserters, shrugged his shoulders, spied above a pattern of sunlight sufficient for him to judge that the nunnery roof might be gained by a spry soul through the belfry, winked at Sister Ellen with enough adore to bring a blush to her cheeks, snatched the dagger from underneath the half curled wanted notice and loped down the hall towards Saint Mary’s Way with a grace—ruined by the toss of Joe’s whalebone baton across the back of his knees.
The sound provided enough warning for the soul catcher to catch his fall on catlike hands. The look that he cast towards Joe over his ball-like shoulder was so sharp and eagle-like that Beatrice shuddered as Rodman Joe muttered, “As you will, Netty, call me to the sands.”
The younger, fitter and wickeder man nodded an agreement of a kind that must be well understood among brute kind, did not bother a second glance, picked up his dagger and net, and jogged patiently down the candlelit hall to the distant door, that, within three breaths, could be heard to yawn and thud.
Beatrice marveled, as Joe turned and looked down at her with a smug mixture of pride, shame and joy, placed hands on hips and grunted at the unseen rooftops above, “Mum, ye might pray that the Eagle Street soot blows dis way.”
She added in a voice that sounded as old and crone as that of Mother Bronte, when she had once here come in her tattered homespun, one step ahead of a crook named Snatch, “And, Dear Joe, that the devil down below looks away.”
She turned and knelt before the Shrine of the Mother Mary while Joe lumbered off on his stiff old hips towards the door that was his discarded chore. She winced to hear him drag up that brusk baton, and in full confidence that Jesus personally watched over Doris and Orpheus, addressed her prayer closer to home, ‘Lord, I pray that our Dear Joe Stick not be granted his wish to fight on those treacherous sands again, and in no way, I pray, permit him a cross of blows with that terrible soul-finding man. I suppose a loose rooftile is to much to ask?’
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posted: May 29, 2024   reads: 427   © 2024 James LaFond
Brick Mouse Speaks
Man Weekend 2024 Review, Baltimore, 5/27/24
Four miles behind Gawdly Lines.
Most of the fighting age men now grew up post-Columbine, institutionalized in a feminized system of zero-tolerance policies towards fighting, but the internet is (for some reason) still filled with videos from these same school-prisons where dorky children are brutalized by mob violence. I went through k-12 and only ever threw a single punch, and me and my attacker were both so shocked he walked away mumbling something humiliating about how his mother hits harder. There’s a legacy of masculine violence we’ve all been cut off from that exists, for so many of us, as a spectator sport. If you follow the rules, you know next to nothing about it. Take a punch, maybe you’ll shatter like glass, you don’t know.
You should find out.
There’s martial arts studios everywhere, but what do they really teach? In a controlled environment, one-two punch, one-two, repeat. The demonstrations are at half speed, and the “bad guy” always throws himself theatrically in the direction they’ve agreed to ahead of time. A lot of the schools are little more than fitness classes, offering false confidence. Others fail to reign in psycho fighters who hurt the other students and scare their developing competition away from the combat sports.
Man Weekend is the best martial arts opportunity in the country: if you’re willing to leave your comfort zone, you can test yourself while learning from experts in boxing, applied weapons sparring, and grappling. People drive hundreds of miles for a day of training and a day of fighting, and that fight day is mandatory.
Mandatory fighting is an incredible filter for quality men. You don’t have to be an amazing fighter (or any kind, really), but you have to be willing to step outside of your comfort zone and into an arena with men you’ve never met before. Every year, about half the men back out at the last minute, including some highly trained athletes. But when you get there, you find some of the most interesting men you’ve ever met, with experiences you’ve never even thought about, and when everyone is exhausted, the conversation really kicks off. This year, the men discussed the psychological damage of horse-riding on women and the fitness benefits of MAZURI PRIMATE BISCUITS FOR GROWTH AND REPRODUCTION, as well as other topics not fit to print. There’s white collar men, writers, working class guys, young and old. Fathers and bachelors. Everyone has been personally vetted, and they all have stories to tell, if you can figure out what questions to ask.
You’re more resilient than you think, but weaker too, and you should find out both. The coaches at Man Weekend may scare the hell out of you, but they’ll pull their punches and let you hit them, so the new guys experience their first adrenaline dumps, and the veterans leave bruised and pleasantly exhausted. The men who come back the next year are more controlled and more sure of themselves. The fights are as real as you want them to be.
This event is a nexus of masculine energy that the Pool Parties, book clubs, drum circles, and fitness getaways can never be. There’s no substitute for the exhaustion of fighting, and it couldn’t be reproduced with lesser men than these. I would never find these friends anywhere else, and the sine qua non of the whole social event is the filter of mandatory fighting. So come out, and test yourself. Life always gets in the way. Maybe next year you’ll be too busy. Now, while you still have time, while your body still works, learn to fight. Your neighborhood isn’t getting any safer. You’ll get out of it what you put into it. There’s nothing like Man Weekend.
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posted: May 27, 2024   reads: 992   © 2024 James LaFond
Musings from the End of Mind
A Muse on The Mutable Post Аrуаn Perspective: December 3rd 2023, Portland, Oregon
Aryan, so close as I have been able to determine, meant “of the war bands,” and has been in stages degenerated, degraded and denigrated. These separations from the spirit of origin for the warrior half of Western Civilization, being the barbarian conquerors, have fallen into such notions of an iniquitous inequity of racial privilege [majority notion], pure unthinking racial superiority [reviled minority notion], and of extra-racial aspiration to transhuman perfection.
As this mind loses its acuity in the mire of medicine that calms the raging nerves of what seems a degenerative condition long enough so that it’s brittle back might straighten before this writing device, it wonders at the genius what rules us. This false polarity, the beating, emotive heart of Western Civilization is a thing of sinister aspect that has slithered down through the ages to coil about what remains of humanity. Over 5,000 years this civilization has moved ever westward, its beating heart always pushing from sunrise to sunset:
The Bronze Age that tamed Gilgamesh collapsed in the Tragic Age that slew Achilles, bringing on the iron age where wandered Odysseus and Aeneas. From 3000 B.C. through this A.D. 2024 the center of what is called Western Civilization moved ever westward:
-Sumer
-Akkad
-Assyria
-Hellas
-Italy
-France
-Spain
-England
-America
There were a few reactionary attempts to bring this process back to center, under Cyrus, the Corsican artillery officer and the Austrian architecture artist. [1] The weight of history, driven alternately by two polar forces, bore it ever westward. The polarity worked across the face of the past by barbarians from the hinterland conquering failing civilizations. These civilizations then corrupted the conquerors, the mechanics of money and power turning all into that which their forefathers had conquered. Homer warned of this when he described the degeneration of heroes down through the generations.
As the hither Asiatic money management system pioneered in ancient Sumer was conquered by morally robust honor cultures, these were colonized from within, the conquered management ethos then using the honor culture of the Aryаns to colonize and corrupt the entire world. The Anglo-American experiment is an excellent example of how the feminine art of capitulation based manipulation wells up and fully captures the heroic impulse and reforms it from conquest to inquest, an inward turning squabble of the descendants of warriors over the lot they once turned away from and left for their women and slaves. In many ways, the modern man’s mind consists of the heroic spark reduced from the engine of conquest to the mere ignition of economic mechanics.
It has been difficult for this reader to discover whether the heroic or the economic is the greater part of what we describe in our discussions as “The Western World,” in its origin. One sees across history a symbiosis that powers a cancerous reduction of the natural world at the center of the heroic ideal, from the world of the hunt, to the world of the garden. The Plantation Era provided the great turning away from the heroic through the tireless reduction of dear morality by the mere mechanics of economy.
This play of these polarities, unfolding for nearly 5,000 years, in the few hundred years since the Plantation Era made of the entire world a garden, ran out of new stages upon which to play. There is no new land, no new nation, no new race of people for the heroic to strike out against. Trapped as it is in the now vertical garden of Western Civilization, the heroic impulse is now bound in mimicry by such distractions as Sunday Football. For even war has been reduced to battle space management.
I have observed, in personal conversations, media proclamations, advertiser misrepresentations, government manipulations over this past year, that every quarter from which Thought was once expected, [2] that only emotion, feeling is projected. I discover no where, thinking, but rather collide with feeling, thought having been reduced to nothing other than a mechanism for steering emotion.
Whatever is left of the Aryаn hero complex, [3] which is a state in which an individual strives not for, but against, the worldly order, is largely confused by the highly mutable nature of that order, with definitions of good and evil reversing in weird time. What this portends is a question of speculation. It does, though, recall the fates of Roland and Beowulf, both perishing on behalf of those who essentially betrayed them: being Charlemagne the Weary and the dastardly thief of the Dragon’s Lair. That latter figure, seems to represent, the management Spirit of the West, the sneak-thief of Ages. Beowulf died protecting his folk from the awakened wrath of the Ages, and then the women sang a dirge, lamenting that their race had lost the last hero that would prevent their enslavement.
That song now whispers strong, in these, the addled days of our lives, in which all of us, are, by the definitions of Pharaoh and Caesar, by those King and Christ: slaves, bound as wives to our monstrous Husband, Government, and He to his scheming Master, Gain.
Notes
-1. A true measure that the muses that informed our ancestors are being strangled in their curtained precincts, is that I may not even discuss certain men of the Near Past without fear of retribution from all quarters.
-2. An unrealistic notion, that anymore than a tiny minority might actually think. The cult of critical thinking merely shackled those thinkers who believed in the process to the delusion that their many fellows are capable of thought.
-3. Heroic notions of most traditions place the hero as simply a champion. This has since been reduced to the hero as system casualty or victim. Modern heroism places the men eaten in the hall of Heorat as the hero, with the figure of the actual hero, Beowulf, conflated in a notion of collective governance and service, that may weave a secure civic web impervious to monsters spawned by Fate, which the author of that poem opined was an instrumentality operated by God.
05.28.24   Barry Bliss — "......in these, the addled days of our lives, in which all of us, are, by the definitions of Pharaoh and Caesar, by those King and Christ: slaves, bound as wives to our monstrous Husband, Government, and He to his scheming Master, Gain."

Worth repeating.
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posted: May 27, 2024   reads: 931   © 2023 Barry Bliss
Clyde of Taps
Act 13: Orpheus Synchronus, Runaway Slave of the Censor
Night, Fishday, Fourth Day of Sepulcher
‘Please, Doris, fly, get away. Do not wait, do not seek me,’ sank the dying muse inside of Orpheus’ heart, now as battered as his ribs.
“I know, I know,” he answered her echo, “your song will die.”
A big, gauntleted hand dragged him to his feet, while the other cruel-gloved hand examined his face and ribs while he dangled like a mouse in a cat’s maw. He looked into the dented face of the boxer, for there was nothing else this fellow could be but a pug. He made to spit in that face and it smiled, showing a full set of teeth, somehow preserved from that perverse art of fists.
A great finger strapped into a cestus waved, “Now, now, pretty boy, I but dinged ye sweet, caught yah so ye pretty head did no crack on the paves, en sure ‘nough saved ye from worse den me!”
Orpheus, indignantly dangling, was raised higher in that left hand as the weird Japanese sketch artist children, who had somehow followed him like hawks a rabbit, found space to sketch among the ring of workmen, waiting to take the train into the city after sweeping the platform. Patricians hustled off with their footmen and coachmen towards the head of the train beyond. The other great-gloved hand pointed down at a wicked looking fellow, armed with net and sheathed dagger, net coiled like a snake in his manicaed hand, holding his side and wincing from an ignominious place which he inhabited with no grace, as it was obvious to the dangling Orpheus, that this man was not used to defeat.
“Look there, dancer fair, I won yer nabbin’ fair en square over Ole Netty Sam here, the both of us in competition over you en yer fair siss.’
“House Fist!” roared a workman, seconded by his fellows, some of whom stalked closer to the net man for a kick, only to be waved off by Orpheus’ comedic catcher, “None of that, now! Clyde of Taps is a sporty fellow.”
The brawny workmen halted and backed off.
The man named Sam, Orpheus now recalled seeing in posters before and on broadsheets declaring him undefeated by crook hitmen in the arena and un-evaded by runaways… and fugitives from the Iron, Steam and Dock Police. This sinister man spoke in a low even snarl that carried enough to be heard over the hissing of the engine, “Clyde, I’ll not give you fair play—will never be the Champion of Nets to stoop so low as to give a boxer his day versus Nets on the sands—I know you’re doing this to hustle up a duel for your wretched house! You have only a broadsheet advertisement, I have a handbill warrant from the Master of Orpheus Synchronus.”
Clyde let Orpheus rest on his feet, keeping hold of his neck now, from behind. The bent faced boxer then grinned, “So it be like that, oh High House Netty Sam, he who spends more time draggin’ workmen back to the whipping post for the Company Man then on the sands?”
The menacing man began to take to one knee, drawing his breath back in it seemed, from some wicked body blow, “Like that, Pug,” menaced the sharp tone.
Clyde then somehow grinned wider and motioned to the mob of workmen with an open hand, which glided into a giving hand pointed palm-up at the grounded net man and exclaimed, in a personable way, “In that case, My Good Stout Lads, how about some of that!”
Five burly workmen in heavy boots closed in on the net man with kicks and blows. The net man was soon rolling like a kicked log wrapped in his own net, as Clyde, satisfied, heaved Orpheus over his shoulder and sighed, “Like that, my pretty boy, like that! You see don’t you, that Ole Clyde of Taps is your friend—aye?”
Orpheus groaned, “I fail to envision our friendship in any civilized way, save that in the relation of baggage to a stevedore.”
“Indeed,” laughed Clyde, “you are not as light as you look, and, as you are unbranded, I might risk censorial censor in the sands for branding you? See, there is a cresset over yon end of the platform. And, my portion—since I have no warrant and am goin’ off broadsheet, could be to brand you myself and sell you back. Granted, that puts me in the bad sight of the man who commands the sands—but this young censor loves a good fight and he might get me the fight over you that could rise my stakes, the image of my house—so popular among the mobsters—against Netty Sam. Mate, I just nabbed you to get a fight with Netty Sam—I can whip him, I can!”
“Thrilling,” groaned Orpheus, “I am the prize of a brute rather than a fiend.”
“It’s more than that, Boy—I have seen you dance, and I wondered, I did. Ole Clyde of Taps, sweetest boxer of them all, dared to imagine if I could train that beauty up to the fist—boy, you would never be hit! You could be a boxer.”
Something like pride, but stronger, struck Orpheus, and he said in a dead tone, “Then stand me down so I can take the boxer brand—I’d like to lay low such a man as you did.”
Clyde stood him before him and they found, almost to each other’s surprise, that they were the same height, but with Orpheus less then half the age and slightly more than half the weight.
Clyde let go and extended his hand for a grasp, “On your honor, a boxer you’ll be?”
“I never knew honor could be open to me,” snarled Orpheus, who took the great hand and tried not to wince too deeply when it closed.
Clyde looked into his eyes and liked what he saw, letting go.
“Then shoulder to shoulder, mate, to the cresset, and your fair sister over there, I’ll leave for you to take. I have no stomach for nabbing girls.”
‘This man trusts me, not to run, already? Is he some spiritual kin to Dear Master Publio?”
It seemed obliviously so, as Clyde behaved by his jaunt and tone of common cause—for any glance would name Orpheus winner in a chase, not even considering his acrobatic skill—already, on the instant, that the captive by his side was his mate, shouting at the circular mob of people on the coach platform by the branding cresset, “Make way for House Fist, to meet its fancy newest!”
‘My new mate is an actor of sorts—this is so strange to fall in with one so functionally the same.’
Orpheus frowned boxer-like, as he had once mimed upon the occasion of Odysseus at the Suitor’s Door, as the crowd parted, another occasion he was used to; though this crowd was of a rougher sort than he normally mimed to…
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posted: May 26, 2024   reads: 538   © 2024 James LaFond
Flaxen-Haired Lady of Strops
Act 12: Minicus Thrax, Fresh Sword of Scots
Night, Fishday, Fourth Day of Sepulcher
How could he not hate him for the death of his mates: the bold bigs, the spry twigs and wee gigs?
‘Is there something deep wrong in my heart?’
Minicus Thrax, once Orphan the Bun, then Tyke of Pipes, reached within for the voices of his slain, wounded, deserted and maimed mates, seeking some echo of their judgment. But what he found were the cheers of the Bawdy Sprites, those twelve whores, adoptive mothers to him, that declared him well delivered from the grim plight of pipes.
And these cheery calls, motherly all, not a bawdy jest, were seconded by the deep-chested roars of the drunken Scots of the Sword, men who, in place of the brotherhood of pipes, constituted a fatherhood of swords.
He had fought, foiled, cussed and stood up to the man towering above him, half-limping, half-swaggering across the lurid-lit Lenape Station, last of the line, across which boatmen ferried Patricians on their upward way to their estate, back again for senatorial grace, and where the Scots came at dusk, to pray for a glorious death to Saint Peter of Biers, receiver of the slain, on or near the eve of contest.
Something lovable brutish about the wrecker of his tiny punk nation, who then gave away a Saracen King’s ransom in glory to twelve whores, impressed itself upon Minicus, who, despite this, could not abandon his New York mobster penchant for the alley given name, “Sandman, you come here to pray against Rex Born, to seek favor in fight?”
The man grinned as they stepped down off the iron stairs onto the train platform, to the bawl of conductors shouting, “End of the Line, Lenape Station!” the great hissing of the engine to their left impressed Minicus as much as the rising of the moon behind them shining upon the river before them, his hellsong home far and away to the nighted right.
“Yes, it is an island I have inhabited all my life, with little such idea,” he muttered before his House leader had time to reply.
The man grinned down at him over that massive shoulder, and said from his dented face, “Just as I was to answer—so did you. I’m short of words. You more like My Bastard Brother. I known it all my life that I can’t snatch victory from him. I come to pray for a crossing, to not be sent to Hell. I dear fear burnin’ devils. Me knows Saint Peter can’t let this mug through the pearly gates. Yet mayhap he send his Boatman down Bier Pier to take me to purgatory. There I can fight into the eternal night ‘gainst shades reachin’ up fro ‘ell…”
The man stammered in his own half hope as Minicus realized that he was already more smart, by far, than the man who had done him such a singular honor.
He raised his little voice tall, and grabbed the crooked broke pinkie finger of that great big paw in his little hand, thrilled to feel they were both equally calloused, one by scrambling caper the other by sandy swordsmanship.
“Sandman,” and the man looked down again, a little wet in his bloodshot eyes under those battered brows, his eyes saying, ‘Yes, I listen from up here.’
“Sandman, I never had a daddy. Now you, set on your own death. Fight for me, so I don’t loose this show-and-tell hand come down to our hellsong alley to bring a mobby tyke into the light of the sands.”
The man knelt, trying and failing to make himself shorter than the lad as the crowd surged around them off to ferry docks and river walk taverns, some lingering at the celebrated sight of Max. He placed that small hand between the two great hands he owned and pleaded, “Ye too smart by half, talk like an altar boy what dices with crook tykes… be ye an angel, sent down to save my bungled soul?”
A spirit deep within him thought, ‘No,’ as the more shallow mind of the lad hoped, ‘Yes,’ so he answered sideways to befuddle the muddy minded ape of a man, “You came a monster turned hero, me a mobster turned tiro. [1] We not got angel in us, Sandy [2]. But I wager our future, that an angel has been set over us.”
They looked deep into each other’s blue eyes. Then, that strong voice of reason within him, that he understood was not within the man who was inhabited by a strong growl of battle, and Minicus spoke the risen words, “Sandy, I forgive ye the hurt to my kin, and thank ye for the aid you gave. You are my Hero—don’t die light… fight!”
‘This big bastard is about to cry!’ he realized.
Then he saw the battered mug contort, gather itself in some kind of inner fort, stood over him, twice his height, and saluted, fist to heart. West to east, hand to the risen moon, “Ye ‘ill be Chaplain some day over Scots, Bishop I would bet, hob a knob wit’ Our Pope in London! I will not go lightly to my bier—I swear.”
Minicus grinned upward, as if he were the father of some mighty lumbering child, as that monstrous mug split in boyish joy and smiled at the moon.
A crowd had gathered around them as a scuffle sounded down left, nearer the locomotive. Minicus was attired as a full Miniature Thrax, all but the helmet which would be completed on the Chaplain’s word. His belt, vest, dirk, boots and tartan all matched that of his Legate. 280 pounds and six and a half feet, towering over his almost four feet and 70 pounds, in like attire, did call for a second look, even from the few who would not know Max at a glance.
A workman waved a copy of Sands Gazette, “Max, I got coin on ye, Max!”
And there they were, like scribbling doves, the little Jap tykes. He recognized the Nurse one, who had attended to his broken mates, the cheek cut one as well. They were above on the coach rail, skulking around, poking their little pale, black-shocked heads between adult legs.
The man walked up to Max and bowed, and extended his copy of the Gazette, “Please, Max—yer my hero, my wife en kids too—we all look fer ye in the Gazettes.”
Max did not seem as he knew what to do. So a tall Japanese man, who was giving hand signals to the sketch tykes, stepped up next to Max and handed him an ink quill, then turned and bent his back like a desk, for Max to write on. The big man grinned, placed the Gazette on that thin Jap back and asked, “Ye name, mate?””
“Billy, Max, Billy Gear—ma boy Eddy thinks ye the best of all and ‘ill do fer ye Brother of Sarmatians.”
Max grinned, as he painstakingly misspelled “Fy Bilee,” and signed with a florid X, hooked on the top left with something akin to an “m”.
“Thanks, Jap—all da bes’ Billy,” said Max, humble like as he shook the wiry workman’s hand with his right and returned the Gazette with his left.
Then something beautiful beyond common perception pushed its way through the gawking crowd. The tallest pretty girl, with the longest, most amber blond hair they had—all of them—ever seen came to Max. Like some sacrificial heathen before a terrible god, she knelt, grabbed the great knee with her left hand and pointed to her tilted neck with the right, cross wise, towards the pace were domestic slaves were branded.
There was no brand.
She seemed mute under her flaxen hair. But then she made a voice of song that sounded like a furnace, like fire, looking longingly at the cresset behind the small crowd.
The meaning was clear and Max was now riding high on a wave of pride—more Japs moving about dressed in white under the cresset lit night—and he grinned, “Minicus, My Lad—a Chaplain ye will be, summonz-ing an angel fo me? What a class o’ lass! Here, Billy Gear, heat this medal in the cresset, please!”
Wenches were clapping, workmen smiling, a Patrician dame hissing, “Marcus, we must be gone from here.”
“Awe, Patty,” the rich man answered, “its such a queer sight—and look at these locust Japs! They record everything, hey, you, Jap, a sketch of my pretty dame please, the coin is good and gold.”
Minicus was shocked to wonder that the hand of the Jap man had flashed and two boy sketchers converged on the Patrician couple as three Jap girls, including the Nurse, who he quite liked, hovered about the flaxen-haired beauty of the brazen voice.
Max was standing proud, hands on hips, “Now, now, Girl, ye will be easy livin’ a slave to Max Born—like an angel ye be.”
The woman maintained her weird keening of fire sound as Billy Gear heated her brand, Japs scribbled, people gawked and gossiped, and some affair of blows occurred down the platform.
The conduct of the Japs was suspicious to the former mobster pipe, who laughed when Max observed, “Imagine runnin’ into scribblin’ Japs twice in a week—must be angelin’ afoot?”
The laugh of his little companion brought him about with a question written on his mangled mug.
“Sandy, your litigation with Rex is already in the Gazettes, and these spies were all about when we met—this is a racket, I tell you, a racket of sketches and words—they sellin’ us out to the world!”
The Jap man answered, “Blessing Upon House Thrax. Well Stated, Minicus. I am David Echigo, Kyoto Weekly, Editor at Large, New York Desk, In this very next edition Your Two Eminent swords shall be invited to Kyoto. This singing creature is a singular beauty, is she not, like a white lily to be saved from harm?”
Max growled, “Pleased ta meet ya, Jap—thought she an angel is all.”
David then backed away with expressive eye brows and began directing more Japs kids come up from the head of the train where the Patricians unloaded in a type of sign language that seemed to Minicus much like a cant of crooks.
And the Nurse one stood before him sketching the cynical expression on his face, almost eye to eye. He snatched out with a hand too quick for most eyes to follow and pulled back her sketchpad, which held a rough likeness of his face as he had seen it in Jude’s mirror a times. She then bowed and put out receiving hands, looked into his eyes, and said, in strange, honest tones, “Hero, please?”
He returned the pad as Max’s mighty hand patted him on the back, “Like sword like dirk—they will hang from ye arms, Lad o’ Scots!”
The brand was returned in Billy Gear’s hand, and Max instructed, “With a wench, on the muscle, under the ear, not to touch skull, more to back then to front, pressed even like this—”
The hiss of the brand did not change the girl’s throaty song, nor did she wince, Max commenting, “See, womenkind set such store in dey beauty dat they squirm less then men for fear to smudge they brand. Thank ye, Billy. Now come Lass, up wit ye pretty length o’ leg.”
The train behind went cold and the rumble to the west grew hot as Max turned the risen beauty around in his hands as she cooed like a dove in weird low song, for certain a retard of some kind.
Notes
-1. Initial gladiatorial rank, a trainee, or third ranker.
-2. Minicus Thrax would recall until late in life that this new nick of a name came to him on a soft instinct within, knowing that the gladiator was harrowed by guilt for many acts, including the wrecking of the Mob Pipes. He could never call the giant anything but Sandy henceforth.
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posted: May 25, 2024   reads: 571   © 2024 James LaFond
‘Dark Mansion of Fiends’
Part 4 of 4: Impressions of A Narrative of Ethan Allen’s Captivity, 1779, pages 94-124
Concerning his parole and release from captivity.
Allen was offered a commission as a colonel, a promotion, and to be paid in “...instead of in paper rages, [A] in hard guineas,” under Burgoyne, which would have set him against his former commander, Arnold. He refused to turn from blue coat to red and would be condemned in stages to a prison normally used for criminals.
Allen continued his political preaching and compared himself to Jesus Christ and Howe to Satan, “To give him all the kingdoms of the world, if he would fall down and worship him.”
In January 1777, Allen was quartered on “the westerly part of Long Island,” under no particular hardships. Officers under parole were expected to restrain themselves from escape by giving their word of honor and were all, it seems, good for it. [0] Giving into the urge to run would negate one’s membership in the multi-national, multi-ethnic honor cult that remained tenaciously part of post-Aryаn Western Society.
The defeat of the expedition that Allen had been offered command in, occasioned Howe’s order to punish the prisoners in his power. Allen was taken from a tavern where he stayed with fellow officers and conducted to “the provost-gaol in a lonely apartment next above the dungeon.” This was the military jail, the dungeon underneath reserved for military criminals who had done worse than desert, having committed some more violent offense. Having money and making friends with a gentleman below in the dungeon, “forming an oblique relationship,” whispering through a crack, Allen pledged relief:
“… weeks afterwards, with the additional petitions of the [American] officers in the provost, procured his dismission from the dark mansion of fiends to the apartments of his petitioners.”
The officers were still lodged away from the disease ridden privates. Captive officers were named in profile, and it was noted that two militia officers tried to escape their parole and were jailed with them. [0] Various captains were taken to the dungeon and beaten.
Allen discusses military operations he learned from second hand and how the success of the Continentals bettered the lot of the prisoners as many Brits were taken captive. A proclamation by Burgoyne indicated that that field general disagreed with Howe’s treatment of prisoners as well as Patriot and Tory atrocities, pleading an end to, “Arbitrary imprisonment, confiscation of property, persecution and torture…”
With any Civil War, such activity is encouraged by an expectation of victory by both or either factions and an expectation that the victorious government would grant possession of enemy property to those in actual possession. [1]
A piece of Allen’s better patriotic hyperbole suggests the nightfall of all empires:
“Vaunt no more old England! Consider you are but an island! And that your power has been continued longer than the exercise of your humanity.”
Allen’s account descends largely into patriotic statements, written as the war was still in full swing. He continues on to encourage the use of French, Hebrew and other languages instead of English, in what appears to be a globalist and post racial philosophy:
“...to improve mankind, and erase the superstition of the mind by acquainting them that human nature, policy and interest, are the same in all nations, and at the same time they are bartering commodities for the conveniences and happiness of each nation, they may reciprocally exchange such part of their customs and manners as may be beneficial, and learn to extend charity and good will to the whole of mankind.”
Thus Allen predicts the worldview of a hundred and more NGOs in 2020s America.
In May 1778, Allen was taken to a sloop of war to dine with General Campbell as a prequel to his exchange, at Elizabethtown for Colonel Archibald Campbell.
At his release Allen did his best to extend cruelty to the private soldiers of each side:
“Mean while I entertained them with a rehearsal of the cruelties exercised towards our prisoners; and assured them that I should use my influence, that their prisoners [who might include the very Pennsylvania men he advised to enlist in British service rather than starve to death in filth] should be treated in future in the same manner...that their examples should be applied to their own prisoners…”
On the next to last page of his narrative, Allen declares that Washington holds the status “his excellency” a royal attribution and to himself reserved the rights due the hereditary nobility, at Fish Kill, where General Gates, “...was pleased to treat me with the familiarity of a companion, and generosity of a lord…”
Allen was in no doubt a man among men, more rugged than most of his elite class, a self described warrior/philosopher able to encourage the lower orders of men he disdained to bold action, which was rare in that age of faint-hearted [2] private soldiers. His liberal, progressive, global beliefs in which he and others played the part of ideological Christs provides a dark foreshadowing of the Terror of the French Revolution and the many wars of political annihilation of the 20th Century.
Notes
-A. Printed rag paper fiat currency.
-0. The formation of the first of three distinct iterations of the infamous KKK was occasioned by defeated rebels of Tennessee banding together to prevent a proposed political genocide by the Governor and the victorious Unionists of Tennessee.
-1. Militia officers seemed to be an exception, perhaps explaining the butchery of General Woodhul.
-2. See the combat results table for the game Empires in Arms, in which nearly all massed battles are decided by the moral failing on one side, precipitating a general rout. This extended to the American Civil War in which the bayonet was a moral weapon, rarely if ever being crossed between blue and gray, but one side breaking before contact, or in many cases crouching yards away and firing instead.
To support Plantation America research and examine annotated and summarized primary source texts go to:
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posted: May 24, 2024   reads: 966   © 2023 James LaFond
‘The Gaol Distemper’
Part 3 of 4: Impressions of A Narrative of Ethan Allen’s Captivity, 1779, pages 64-94
Concerning the latter portion of his captivity.
One would think an island under military occupation would be hard to escape. Here the same dynamic of slaves being forced to guard slaves, being worked harder and fed little or no better, contrived to issue a steady stream of escapes:
“The sick were taken to the hospital, and the Canadians who were effective, were employed in the king’s works; and when their countrymen were recovered from the scurvy, and joined them, they all deserted the king’s employ…”
Runaways and deserters tended to make off in military units under a sergeant and according to their ethnic identity.
“Several of our English American prisoners, who were cured of the scurvy at the hospital, made their escape from thence, and after a long time reached their habitations.”
What follows is another example that the American Revolution was a revolt of the elite and their picked men, not a mass uprising of the underclass as in France a decade later, and had more similarity to the acts of enclosure in England.
“...in Halifax, who in addition to those that were imprisoned before, made our number about thirty-four, who were all locked up in one common large room, without regard to rank, education, or any other accomplishment, where we continued from the setting to the rising of the sun; and as sundry of them were infected with the gaol and other distempers: the furniture of this spacious room consisted most principally of excrement tubs. We petitioned for removal of the sick to the hospital, but were denied.”
Here, Allen insistence that an officer should not be lodged with the private solider is shown to have had a survival logic, doing more for the officer [the public soldier] than preserve his status via segregation.
The black plague in 1666 had been described by DeFoe as a distemper. Such a disease seems to have required respiratory affliction and fever to be so classed. [Editor, please correct.]
To be “infected with the gaol” might have been related to crowding, malnutrition or sanitation, perhaps tuberculosis. The gaol distemper infected Allen and caused him to lose his appetite, even for good food. [Allen would die at age 52 in early retirement] The arrival of other Continental officers brought better treatment for that class of men as it became obvious to the British that they would need save them for exchange to regain their own captive officers. Continued revolt in America was thus fueled by fidelity to co conspirators who had been captured. For if the revolt had fizzled out right off, captive officers would have simply been hanged and the soldiers impressed into the king’s service. Officers were served with good hot meals by local women daily.
A sergeant Moore was a stud who had been able to restrain the boatswain of the Solebay from striking him, and “laughed him out of the conceit of using him as a slave.”
So Allen describes the status of a slave, a person who must take a beating from his master, like a child from a parent, to include apprentices, sailors and soldiers who were regularly beaten. In October, the prisoners were sent on board a man of war. Note that the man of war, due to its sleek form and cleanliness, lack of human storage space and plenty of armed men, was much healthier for a captive than a gaol, prison sloop or merchant vessel.
Captain Smith of this war ship was kind and polite to Allen, permitted him to dine at his table, and it was good he was. For among the 30 prisoners was a rough soul named Burk, a captain, who had involved the prisoners and a fair portion of the crew, many of whom may have been impressed Americans, to mutiny. A point of dishonor for Allen was that this ship bore silver for army pay and the men wanted it. This reeked too much of piracy for Allen and he declined to lead the mutiny. It may have been best for him as well. For a captain of the Continental army who took part in a mutiny aboard a warship in the Bahamas, in which the Captain was killed, would be repatriated to England for execution by order of George Washington himself. Again, class solidarity plays deep in these Revolutionary American politics.
Captain Smith had said to Allen, “This is a mutable world, and one gentleman never knows but that it may be in his power to help another.”
Both Smith and Allen declined to punish the un-realized conspiracy from their uneasy perch of mutual gentility.
Some officers were exchanged, one for a governor. A certain British Captain befriended Allen and even wagered over a siege outcome, naming Honor as their common human thread and that since they might fight each other in battle one day, this was the time to practice friendship.
Once the prisoners were landed in New York they would be guarded by rival English Americans, Tory thugs who would make sure that some 2,000 rebels died in captivity, a huge ratio considering the small size of the contending armies. Sergeant Moore, like many a Hessian sergeant in British service, made a break with 26 of the 31 English American soldiers with Allen, 2 dying and 3 being exchanged. The method of killing the privates, as the officers were paroled or given lodgings together in taverns, was to lodge these men in filthy churches. Here, under the imagery of heaven in God’s house, these men had to pee and poo and vomit on the floors. It was such a horror show that Allen, at last concerned about the health of private soldiers, was only able to bare entry into these houses of horror once. He was not permitted to feed or relieve his men.
This was a systematic killing of prisoners such as practiced by by Grant at Point Lookout, Maryland in 1863-4, and under Eisenhower, against General Patton’s objections, in Germany in 1945-6. Killing common men via starvation and neglected confinement was the centerpiece of English social control and there is no reason to expect it not to be extended into the military sphere.
Allen, being one of the few American officers concerned with the survival of the privates of their faction would come into cruel confinement himself, though not so horrid as the church prisons. Since the Magna Carta, when God was set aside as a witness rather than above as judge, [1] as Captain Smith has sagely communicated, the world had become “mutable,” with the morality ruling mankind subject to the will of those holding the reigns of power.
The disgusting and blasphemous practice of the English American Tories, under Lord Howe, who approved and directed this, is indicative of a general evil infecting the collective soul of the Anglo elite. Under this bitter spirit, the will to Government as God so grandly exhibited in the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial in ancient pagan style, by American patriots, shows itself in a deeper loyalist darkness as places of worship were transformed into intentionally murderous and filthy prisons.
This transition of worship from God to Government, was also demonstrated by Allen’s epigram commanding the surrender of Ticonderoga, “In the name of the great Jehovah and the Continental Congress.”
No act by British forces demonstrates better, that as morally challenged as the men who signed the mostly false declarations of The Declaration of Independence [2] were, they offered a more humane course than permanent continuation of Plantation Society.
Allen sketches a telling self profile:
“I soon projected means to live in some measure agreeable to my rank… The enemy gave out that I was crazy, and wholly unmanned, but my vitals held sound, (nor was I delirious any more than I have been from my youth up, but my extreme circumstances at certain times, rendered it political to act in some measure the madman…”
Allen recovered his health after six months and relates how Rebel officers were murdered under Howe, to include General Woodhul cut to pieces with light cavalry sabers and Captain Fellows bayoneted. At this point in the narrative it becomes obvious that one reason for Washington to continue fighting more aggressively was to gain captives that could be exchanged for Americans held on Manhattan Island, which served as Howe’s POW camp. Only 1/3 of American sided with the Patriots, 1/3 against and 1/3 neutral. Political genocide was logical.
The dead hauled from the filthy church floors were cursed by the Tories. The bread of these men had been condemned as unfit even for British soldiers, and was actually poisonous. Allen began advising privates to accept the offer by Howe to serve in the British service and to desert at the first chance. The Tories were upbeat about killing captives as they had been promised the property of rebels after the war. The regular British soldier was obviously interchangeable with the American POWs and did not demonstrate the lust for cruelty that the Tories [would be Plantation nobility] and light horsemen [actual lower nobility] showed towards members of their own class in New York.
Poor women of the city tried to bring food to the soldiers but were turned back by guards to facilitate Howe’s little political genocide. Washington’s victory at Trenton saved hundreds of POWs who were exchanged for those captured by Washington.
The 2,000 murdered by Howe’s orders, “...fell a sacrifice to the relentless and scientific barbarity of Britain.”
The treatment of these rebel soldiers was no different then of Irish, Scottish and Tribal POWs in earlier revolts and indeed varied little from the use of common English servants from Barbados to Boston over 200 years. [3]
Notes
-1. See The Lies That Bind Us by this author.
-2. See The Greatest Lie Ever Sold by this author.
-3. See Cracker boy, the appendices, for an estimate of the forced laborers who died in their toil and neglect in English North America from1607 through 1804.
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posted: May 22, 2024   reads: 1097   © 2023 James LaFond
‘God Damn Ye’
Part 2 of 4: Impressions of A Narrative of Ethan Allen’s Captivity, 1779, pages 24-64
Concerning the naval portion of his captivity.
The Plantation Age reserved only a very narrow portion of society freedom:
No women were free, none, unless criminals.
No children were free, none, unless criminals.
No youths were free, none, unless criminals.
That was two thirds of humanity.
Of that dominant third, men, the following classes were not free, had no right to self defense, to bear arms, to move from their habitation without a pass.
-Soldiers
-Sailors
-Servants [to include some 20 designations of bound persons from apprentice to slave]
These stations in life all began with the servile S.
Those men who were free included:
-Frontiersmen
-Tribesmen
-Freemen, a small class of free men who did not own property, to include other men
-Men of rank and property, from esquire on up.
Criminals were not free, but rather condemned men, the enemies of all mankind and of society.
There were no great prison houses or concentration camps such as contrived in our later ages. The majority of humanity, that half of men and all the rest, were rather bounded in social stations with severe restrictions on mobility. Allen’s account is thus very important in providing descriptions of methods by which men were temporarily detained without use before being put to use or killed.
As seen in DeFoe’s A General History of the Pyrates, every ship of the age had sufficient numbers of shackles and irons on board to bind an entire crew and more. Not coincidentally much of Allen’s captivity was aboard ship. Indeed, the term brig for a military prison, was based on the use of decommissioned brigantine ships or “brigs” used as prisons by British and American navies.
It being in the power of officers to have rebels shot or bayoneted, some close calls were had by Allen and others. He describes his restraints:
“...were put on board different vessels in the river and shackled together by pairs, viz. Two men fastened together by one cuff, being closely fixed to one wrist of each of them, and treated with the greatest severity, nay as criminals.” [0]
“...of the irons, which were put to me; the hand cuff was of a common size and form [1], but my leg irons (I should imagine) would weigh thirty pounds; the bar was eight feet long and very substantial; the shackles which encompassed my ancles, [2] were very tight I was told by the officer who put them on, that it was the king’s plate, and I heard other officers say, that it would weigh forty weight. The irons were so close upon my ancles, that I could not lie down in any other manner than on my back, I was put into the lowest most wretched part of the vessel, where I got the favor of a chest to sit on, the same answered for my bed at night, and having procured some little blocks of the guard (who day and night with fixed bayonets, watched over me) to lay under each end of the long bar of my leg irons, to preserve my ancles from galling, while I sat on the chest, or lay back on the same.”
Arnold would be permitted numerous conveniences such as this, due to sometimes the humanity of guards and their commanders, and also to his having money! As brutal as the age was, society had not yet come to the point of denying a person their personal belongings upon incarceration. Evidence of the portable wealth that Arnold took into battle on his person will continue to emerge.
After generally good treatment by enemy officers, Allen and his fellow POWs were transferred to a merchant ship and put under the power of a cruel merchant named Brook Watson. Here we get an idea of how servants and criminals were transported against their will. 30 men were handcuffed together in a 20 by 20 plank chamber with two excrement tubs. Being spat upon by a junior officer, Allen struck him and fought while cuffed. The merchant ordered the soldiers to put him in “the den” of prisoners “dead or alive,” he made peace with the soldiers, “...they were good honest fellows, that I could not blame them, that I was only in dispute with a calico merchant.”
Here Allen shares the hatred for the merchant class that sent many a pirate to sea and turned many an Irishman hillbilly.
Forty days of diarrhoea, [3] fever and body lice afflicted the men in the filthy den until they made anchor at Falmouth. Escorted under guard to Pendennis Castle among a throng of curiosity seekers as Watson sought his reward from Parliament, which was denied, Allen wore two shirts, a vest and a jacket, breeches, stockings, shoes, and a cap, and considered himself under dressed.
While the debate as to what should be done with these rebels raged, military confinement in the castle was sanitary and nutritious, with Allen’s sole complaint that he was treated the same as the privates, with no distinction other than a bottle of wine and forced to share the company of his social inferiors.
While confined, Allen was visited by gentlemen from as far away as 50 miles who asked him many questions. The following incident demonstrates that Allen and the Founding Fathers of the Revolution were not throwing off a yoke but simply wishing to fasten the yoke of service upon lesser men like his privates:
“At one of these times I asked a gentlemen for a bowl of punch, and he ordered his servant to bring it to me, but I refused to take it from the hand of his servant, he then gave it to me with his own hand, refusing to drink with me in consequence of me being a state criminal [yet rated above the servant in status].”
Being accused of Irish ancestry, Allen bantered that he was “a full blooded Yankee.”
In January of 1776, The Frigate Solebay, Captain Symonds commanding, took delivery of Allen and his men, who had legal petitions for his freedom among gentry in London, had their irons taken off and were ordered below decks under a code of honor and a command to stay below. Allen had taken sick and was ushered below. Allen negotiated with the Captain, that since he was a gentleman, if a rebel, that he too should be allowed to walk the deck. The captain permitted this with some stiff acrimony. No argument for the health of his men was made, simply his own social status. The death rate among those forced to stay below with the rats on a ship of sail was higher than that of men who did dangerous work on the open deck, by roughly three. For British sailors died by mishap at 8% and shipped chattel at 25%.
Allen told this captain, “to command his slaves” meaning sailors. An Irish Master at Arms would offer Allen some of his sleeping berth until Cape Fear, North Carolina was reached. So many gifts of food, clothes and drink were given to prisoners by local gentry and merchants that the captain was scandalized and had the tea and sugar taken for use by his crew. The privates were then forced to work as sailors while Allen enjoyed his genteel status. Allen’s men were split, two squads sent to other ships and only a dozen or so remaining with him.
Allen had been given money at Cork, where he was a hero. He was able to make secret purchases for his own relief even when the captain forbade it. A detachment of marines were sent up the Brunswick river and were repelled by rebel “marksmen” they were accompanied by a free negro, who gave Allen intelligence concerning the death of 31 soldiers he helped bury.
A patriot named Peter Noble dove from the prison sloop Mercury and swam from Nova Scotia to New England to report on the fate of the prisoners. This prison sloop, to which they had been transferred, was commanded by a worse man than Symonds, a certain Montague. This ships crew and all the prisoners suffered scurvy. Not permitted to buy supplies from the purser, Allen was relived by the kindness of some midshipmen. Allen still seethed at being shut down with the privates. In June, off of Halifax, crew killed by scurvy were buried in shallow graves on shore. Despite not being permitted medicine, the prisoners were less sick than the sailors! Indians brought some strawberries for sale by canoe and saved some of the prisoners and crew from death. The doctor did try to heal the crew and prisoners with smart drops. [4]
The surgeon made an accurate account of the Captain’s cruel treatment of his prisoners to the Governor, who had the prisoners transferred to Halifax gaol.
Notes
-0. Beaten and whipped
-1. It was assumed all readers had seen men in irons.
-2. Arnold’s spelling of ankle.
-3. period spelling
-4. A proprietary medication and forerunner of frontier snake oil, cocktail bitters and current preparations.
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posted: May 20, 2024   reads: 1248   © 2023 James LaFond
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