My Life, My Tapes
As heard by Scott Frost
Based upon characters created by
David Lynch and Mark Frost
for the Television series, ‘Twin Peaks’
__ Part __
__ Chapter __
|“I think it was Christmas 1967 when Dale got his first tape recorder. We were both thirteen. My dad had given me one of those model gas engine planes that fly around on control lines. I was standing out in the middle of the street, turning around in circles, attempting my first loop, when Dale came marching out of his house wearing his Cub Scout backpack with this big tape recorder stuffed inside and holding a microphone. It was one of those reel-to-reel jobs, and he was dragging along this bright yellow extension cord plugged into the house. He walked right over to me and asked, given my experience in aviation, if I thought we were going to put men on the moon within the next year. Right then the plane’s engine failed and it smacked into a snow emergency sign. Dale got it all on tape.”|
This is me, Dale Cooper, age thirteen, currently residing at 1127 Hillcrest Avenue, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is a green house with yellow aluminum awnings that Dad bought from Sears to keep the fabric on the couch from fading. I am at present five feet three inches tall, have dark hair, can high jump four feet six inches. Expect at any moment I will begin a growth spurt that will take me to my ideal height of six feet. I have no sisters and one older brother named Emmet who is in college. My room is ten by twelve feet with two windows. I have a desk, bed, clothes chest, and a hook rug my mom made with a picture of a deer. Only people who know the password can come in my room. The word changes every week. This week it is Dark Passage. Above my bed on the wall is my most important personal item, a poster of Jimmy Stewart in the movie The FBI Story which only I can touch. I am talking into a Norelco B2000 reel-to-reel tape-playing recorder that I received as a Christmas present. I gave Dad a bottle of Old Spice and a pair of Totes, and Mom a nonstick spatula set.
I am in the eighth grade at Germantown Friends School which is run by the Quakers. Dad says that we are not Quakers, but that if we were to be a religion, he would consider them right up there with the Unitarians because of what they do with their minds. Dad is what he calls a free thinker. Last night he had us walk around the spruce tree in the front yard while holding candles because he thinks the churches have stolen Christmas. Mom calls him lazy with God because he had a bad experience in church when he was a boy. He is the owner of Cooper’s Offset Printing on Germantown Road. There is a picture of Benjamin Franklin, who is one of Dad’s heroes, above the door of the printing shop. When they gave me the tape recorder last night, Dad put the microphone in my hand and looked at me very seriously and said that this was the future and that he and everything he represents was a dinosaur. I asked Mom what he meant and she said it was the eggnog. Dad then read a page from The Grapes of Wrath and Christmas was over.
The machine is getting hot now. I think I will stop.
Dad has just plugged me into the wall socket next to the aquarium with the extension cord from the basement and I am now making my first trip out of the house with the recorder strapped into my scout pack. Mom is now opening the door, I’m stepping through, and am now on the porch. . . . You may now close the door! . . . The door is closed, I am on my own. just me, the recorder, and the extension cord, which I will call the tether of life. One step too far and I will lose all power.
Looking around from this position, I can see almost the entire street. The Nordines’ house, the Schlurmans’. I’m moving off the porch now. In the street Lewis Nordine is flying a model airplane on a set of control lines. Unknown to him, his big brother Jim appears to be shooting at the plane with a BB gun from their attic window. I’m going to try and reach Lewis and warn him of his brother, though I must try not to attract too much attention. I’ve tangled with Lewis’s brother before and . . . uh-oh, I believe he’s seen the tether of life. I’m going to try to make it back to the porch. I believe the sound I just heard was Lewis’s plane hitting the street sign. A BB just hit our mailbox, I’m almost to the porch . . . Dad!
Believe the extension cord has some severe limitations. One, I cannot travel more than seventy-five feet from the house, which will limit my investigations. Two, it draws attention to itself in a way that can be dangerous. I think a battery pack of some kind is the solution, and tomorrow will visit Simms’ Hardware to find the answer. Dad said that words are tools, and that tools should be taken care of or else you won’t drive a straight nail. Dad says a lot of things I don’t understand.
This is the end of Christmas Day. My presents this year were the following: underwear, socks, corduroy pants, insect field guide, five dollars from my grandmother, and a Norelco B2000 tape recorder, which is not a toy. Signing off, this is Dale Cooper.
Have just returned from Simms’ Hardware with set of batteries. According to Mr. Simms, who is a ham radio operator and talks to Germany at night because he was there during the war and lost a foot, each battery will last three hours. I bought three with the money my grandmother sent, which she thinks I am putting aside for college.
On my return from Simms’, I made the following discoveries: Lewis’s father discovered BB holes in the wings of the wrecked plane and grounded Lewis’s brother. Bradley Schlurman received a new bike, a gold Stingray with a ribbed banana seat and a knobby rear tire. And his sister got new shoes that were supposed to make her a better dancer.
Have been thinking very hard all night that I must have a plan for my life now that I have the tape recorder. I can’t think of one though.
Mom just left my room because I had an asthma attack. When I can’t breathe I sometimes just he there and think that I’m dead and float away as she is rubbing my chest with VapoRub. I might not be able to go outside tomorrow if it’s cold because of my lungs.
Mom told me another one of her dreams that she has been having. She said that she was alone on a field when thousands of birds filled the sky, blocking out all of the light. That’s when she always wakes up. Mom says we can see things in our dreams that we can’t see when we’re awake. I asked her what she thought the dream meant but she just smiled and said it was nothing . . . I’m glad I have the recorder and someone I can always talk to.
I have never seen a dead person. I think I would like to, but not right now because I want to close my eyes and not think about being dead.
Bradley Schlurman’s Stingray was stolen by members of the 24th Street gang yesterday. Two clues point to them. One, Bradley saw them as they knocked him off his bike. Two they said this bike now belongs to the 24th Street gang. The police have been called but so far they have come up empty. I have decided to take the case myself with the aid of my tape recorder. If I can follow them and get one of them on tape talking about the bike, I believe I will crack the case. I have not told Bradley this because he has locked himself in his room and will not come out.
Have started my stakeout. Two suspects are in view at this moment. Both are white, and very big. One is riding a ten-speed, which no doubt is also stolen. The other is on foot. I am going to try to follow them at a close enough distance to capture their confessions on tape. If necessary, I will attempt to trick them into talking about the bike by telling them I would like to join the gang. I have disguised the tape recorder by sticking it in my pack and covering it with potatoes. The microphone will be hidden inside a glove sticking out of my pocket. I’m moving in.
Three minutes of tape is unintelligible.
The 24th Street gang stole my tape recorder. My plan was working just as I had hoped. I followed the suspect for a block but was unable to get a confession on tape. I then attempted to fool the gangsters into believing that I would like to join the gang. It was at that point that they noticed the potatoes in my pack and began taking them. When they saw my tape recorder, they grabbed that and threw the potatoes at me as I ran for cover. For two days it was in the hands of the gang. And today was recovered by police when they arrested them for stealing a car outside the Band Box Theater. I have decided that if I am going to ever fight crime again, I must be better prepared. The recorder is undamaged. Dad has checked it and says that it is A-okay. He also said that he was very proud of me fighting against the gang, but that I should use better disguises than potatoes. I also discovered that you cannot record through a glove. There is still no sign of Bradley’s bike.
Have decided today to write a letter to Efrem Zimbalist about my future. Hope he will have some good suggestions. This is what I have written:
Dear Mr. Zimbalist,Like your show very much, also like “Hawaii Five-O” and “The Wild, Wild West.” Because I sunburn very easily, I don’t think being a policeman in Hawaii would be a very good idea for me. I would like to be a secret service agent if I could have my own train, but don’t believe that is standard operating procedure anymore. I think the FBI is the place to be. What suggestions do you have for someone considering this as a career? Thank you for your time.
I am also thinking about writing Mr. Hoover, but think he must be very busy so I don’t want to bother him unless I have to.
Noticed this morning that my pee smells like the asparagus we had for dinner. Wonder why this does not happen when I eat a hamburger. Also this morning Mom was very quiet around the breakfast table. I think she had another dream about the birds in the sky. This dream seems to frighten her and I do not know why.
At school in the library. The headmaster told everyone this morning that a man has come to the school and is in the meeting house seeking sanctuary from the draft. I came to the library and looked up the word and this is what it says: sanctuary, “a place of refuge and protection, immunity from the law.” I saw the man. He is white, about twenty years old, and thin. He seems scared and held his arms close to his sides. During our daily meeting the older kids sat around him as if they were protecting him. No one said a word, but one of the older girls held his hand for almost the entire time. The headmaster then stood up and said thank-you and everyone walked out except the young man, who cannot go outside. I think things will go very badly for him. He is breaking the law, which is always supposed to be right. I do not understand.
Was preparing to continue my surveillance of the 24th Street gang when I noticed strange activity next door in the Schlurman house. Bradley’s older sister, Marie, who is fourteen, was standing in front of the window in her bedroom wearing her mother’s red wig and dancing in a very strange way. Her arms and wrists didn’t seem connected, and her legs moved very slowly, like an ice skater on “Wide World of Sports.” This all makes me feel very strange and I do not know why. I have never liked ice skating. I also have the feeling that she knew I was watching. Every once in a while she looked out the window in my direction, grabbed her knees, and smiled. A very frightening experience.
Have followed the 24th Street gang to an alley next to Fairmount Park, where they have set a trash can on fire and are dancing around it, banging baseball bats and sticks together. Wonder if this dance is at all connected to the one Marie was doing earlier. The dance seems the same but something must be different because my hands aren’t sweaty. Maybe Marie is a secret member of gang. That could explain the bicycle.
Have completed my after-school study of asparagus and its effect on pee. The results are as follows:
|Broccoli – no smell.
Potatoes – no smell, except for the ones made at Duva’s Café that they put the chili on.
Meat – no smell.
Fish – some smell, if they were in the shape of sticks.
Chicken – no smell.
Conclusion: There is a something in asparagus when cooked by my mother that is like no other food.
The FBI came today and arrested the man in the meeting hall who was hiding from the draft. There were two agents, one in a gray suit and one in a blue suit. They talked to the headmaster for several minutes, then did their duty as special agents. The draft dodger did get kissed by almost every girl in the senior class as they took him away, so it was not all bad for him.
Have decided that Marie is not a member of the gang. Today during meeting I noticed she looked at me several times. Her knees are not the knees of a gangster.
School library. Testosterone, “a male hormone that is produced by the testes or male secondary sex characters, and is a crystalline hydroxysteroid ketone.” This seems to be a very inadequate explanation for what happened to me last night in my room. I was watching Marie dancing in her room next door. When she took off her shirt, exposing her bra, I began to experience things in my groin area. This was interesting. I believe I will have to spend a great deal of time investigating this in the future.
Tomorrow I am taking the pledge to become a full Tenderfoot Scout. I wonder if any of this disqualifies me.
At exactly 7:05 P.M. today I became a member of the Boy Scouts of America and immediately began my studies for my first merit badge. I expect with hard work I can attain the level of Eagle Scout in two years, far ahead of the average time required for most Scouts.
Marie’s mother brought home her new brother from the hospital today. Her father had all the kids on the block line up outside the house to get a look at the new neighbor. As I moved up in line, Marie whispered to me to follow her up to her room past the picture of Old Faithful in the hallway. I had not been in a girl’s room before, and did not stay long when Marie asked if I knew about breastfeeding. I do not understand why Marie seems interested in me except that she is bigger and stronger and can probably beat me in a wrestling match so is not afraid of me.
Tom Johnson’s big brother, Will, got killed in Vietnam yesterday. When the men from the army came to their house to tell them, you could hear Tom’s mother screaming all the way down the block. A doctor had to come and give her a shot so she would calm down. Tom ran out of the house down to Fairmount Park. I found him sitting by the oak tree where we used to play capture the flag. One of his hands was all bloody where he hit it with a rock a couple of times because he said he was mad at his brother. Then he started crying and ran off, swinging a stick at bushes and trees like we used to do when we were killing Japs. I could still hear the stick hitting things long after Tom was out of sight. Maybe I’ll talk about it in meeting at school tomorrow, maybe I won’t.
Efrem Zimbalist sent an autographed picture from Hollywood. It says “To Dale, Good luck.” It is now on my wall next to the poster of The FBI Story. Kids lined up all the way out to the street to see it. I was charging a dime a person and was doing pretty good until Dad said that Mr. Zimbalist would be very disappointed to know that I was making money off his picture.
Tom’s brother was buried this morning. Two soldiers in white gloves carefully folded the flag into a tight triangle and gave it to his mother. There was also an honor guard there with rifles who fired shots into the air after they gave her the flag. A girl who I think was Tom’s brother’s girlfriend started screaming and smacked one of the soldiers in the face, knocking his hat off. The soldier didn’t move. He just reached down and picked up his hat and put it back on. Tom said he asked his dad if he could see his brother, but the army had sealed the coffin so no one could open it because of what happened to him. Two days ago Tom got a letter from him that his brother mailed before he was killed. Inside the envelope was a leaf of some jungle plant he had found that had hundreds of veins laid out so it looked like a map. It was still green.
Received my first merit badge today for knot tying. Would not have completed it so quickly without the help of Marie, who let me practice tying her up in her bedroom. After I finished with the double half hitch, Marie said it was her turn and tried to secure me to the bedpost with a square knot, which was actually a granny knot that slipped and I was able to get away. This is an important lesson in the value of a correct knot.
Grandmother Cooper had a stroke today and died. She had been visiting us this week. Mom said she had dreamed that something bad was going to happen, and this morning when Grandma was making a pie in our kitchen she had a stroke and fell to the floor with the pie.
I had never seen a dead person before. When I found her, she was lying straight as a board next to the kitchen counter. The pie had tipped over and some of the cherries landed on her cheek, staining it bright red so it looked like she had put too much makeup on. Her eyes were open and her left hand gripped her apron, which had yellow flowers on it.
Then Mom called Dad and the doctor. Then she took my hand and we looked at Grandma for several moments. She had me place my hand on Grandma’s forehead so that I would know that death was nothing to be afraid of. I was not afraid. I thought she felt like an old leather handbag.
The doctor came and covered her with a brand-new sheet, and took her away. He said she had died quickly and that she never felt any pain.
I read in a science book that electricity is what keeps us alive. I do not understand where it comes from and where it goes when we are dead. Dad said that was the big question, and that he did not know the answer. Neither do I.
Mr. Botnick across the street just came running out of his house naked and ran down the block yelling that they were climbing all over him. I do not know who they are. And have not seen Mr. Botnick since he turned the corner ten minutes ago.
Have just finished reading about Sherlock Holmes in The Hound of the Baskervilles. I believe Mr. Holmes is the smartest detective who has ever lived, and would very much like to live a life like he did. It is the Friends School belief that the best thing one can do in life is to do good rather than do well. I believe that in Mr. Holmes I see a way to accomplish this.
It is the job of every detective to solve mysteries. Have therefore decided on my first case. At eight-thirty in Room Eleven every girl in the eighth grade goes to health class. What goes on behind those doors is a deep secret that all girls have been sworn to protect. I intend, to crack the case by crawling into the air vent above the classroom and taping the class with my tape recorder. I have told no one of my plan except Bradley, who said it was the greatest thing anyone could ever do. if I am caught, my prospects for a full and normal eighth grade are slim at best. But there is no turning back now.
Have entered the air vent in the janitor’s closet and am proceeding along over Mr. Barstow’s history class. Do not believe the vents have been dusted since the school was built or were designed to let a reel-to-reel in a knapsack pass through easily. Will have to come up with an explanation for my appearance when I have completed the mission.
(Whispering) Below me is a sight that few living eighth graders have ever seen. Mrs. Winslow is standing at the front of the class next to the blackboard. On the board is a life-size picture of a naked woman with all her insides showing. On the table is a model of what I believe to be a breast made of clear plastic. It seems to be larger than any breast I have ever imagined with what appears to be a network of channels running through it. I guess that is where all the milk goes. Mm. Winslow has picked up her pointer. This is a great moment.
The following twenty minutes of tape were erased in 1968.
Suspicion, I believe, began when I failed to explain my presence in the air vent to Mr. Brumley, the janitor, as I climbed back into his closet. I attempted to tell him that I was studying the flow of air in confined spaces, but it is very hard to lie to a Quaker, so I just ran. This morning I was called into the headmaster’s office when I arrived at school. With him were Mrs. Winslow, and Mr. Brumley, who had followed my trail of dust in the air vent. The tape is gone. I surrendered it to the headmaster. And I now have to write a five-hundred-word essay on respect of privacy. My tape recorder has also been banned from school for the rest of the school year unless I get written permission from a teacher.
Martin Luther King was assassinated today in Memphis, Tennessee. He was shot in the neck while standing on the balcony of a motel. I was in the car with Dad when the news came over the radio. He said shit. The first time I have ever heard him say that word. We then drove home and watched the news on the TV with Mom. There are riots in many places. I believe that the FBI must be on the trail of the man who killed him, and that they will catch him. I wish I was older. And that I knew more than I do.
Turned fourteen today. Mom and Dad gave me a Timex watch. submerged it in bathtub for fifteen minutes and it still ticks.
My brother has moved to Canada to become a lumberjack. At least that’s what my mom said. She said we won’t see him again until all the trees have been cut down. I think he’s really gone cause his draft number is three.
Identified all local poisonous plants and became a second-class scout today. Then performed Heimlich maneuver on Mr. Tooley, the scoutmaster, when he choked on a dandelion during an “eating in the wilds” demonstration.
Marie told me today that she could no longer talk to me until I was older. I told her that I just had a birthday, but she didn’t believe me, so I followed her after school and saw her kissing Daren Seedler outside Duva’s Café. Believe there to be a connection between these events.
Invited Marie to party this afternoon but she did not want to come. The shades in her bedroom are always dosed now. Feel stupid talking into this machine.
Dad woke me up, telling me Bobby Kennedy had been shot in Los Angeles. Dad is still downstairs sitting in front of the television, waiting to hear if Bobby is alive. On the radio they played a tape of the shooting recorded by a reporter. You can hear the pop of the gunshots, then people yelling, “Get the gun, get the gun.”
The three of us listened, then Mom made Dad a chicken sandwich and went to bed. Next door I can see that the light is on in Marie’s room. She had been wearing a Kennedy button every day in school.
Bobby Kennedy died of a gunshot to the head. Dad has gone down to the printing shop. Mom is asleep. Marie’s light went out a few minutes ago. The shade then opened and I could faintly see Marie standing in the dark, naked, looking toward my window. Her hands were straight down at her sides, and she stayed that way for almost a minute before stepping away into the dark. Why did she do that? Did she know I was here? I am very confused about very many things.
The train carrying Bobby Kennedy came through Philadelphia. The cars were led by two black engines that traveled very slowly. The tracks were lined with people standing and watching as it passed. Many men saluted as it went by. When it was gone I saw Marie standing alone, holding her Kennedy button in her hand. I walked over to her and said hi. She took my hand and walked with me over to the corner. She then kissed me on the lips, moving her tongue around inside my mouth in what I think was a clockwise motion. Then her eyes filled with tears and she turned and ran down the block out of sight.
School is over. Bradley has been shipped off to camp somewhere in Maine, where he is supposed to learn how to talk French. Do not understand why he has to go to Maine to do that.
Maxie left this morning on a trip with her parents to the national parks. Dad took a picture of them standing in front of the station wagon all loaded up, holding a big map of the United States. Marie did not look happy. Have not talked to Marie since the day that the train came through. Called her house once, but her mother answered, so I hung up. Have thought about her a great deal and wondered what would have happened this summer if her father didn’t want to see the Grand Canyon.
Have decided today that I am going to become an FBI agent, and that I must begin to work very hard at my dream if it is ever to become true. Wrote Mr. Hoover a long letter explaining my plans and asked for any advice that he could offer. Letter goes as follows:
|Dear Mr. Hoover,
Have made a decision today to become an FBI agent at earliest possible date. I am presently fourteen years old, and on road to becoming Eagle Scout by fifteen. Have never broken any laws, though if you look into my records you will discover that I was recently caught audiotaping a girls’ sex education class while hidden in a heating vent. Do not feel this should be held against me, for my intent was purely scientific, and not for personal gain. Would like very much to come and meet you and discuss any experiences you may have had with audio tapes yourself.
__ Chapter __
|“I remember exactly when it was that Dale got the letter from Hoover. July 3, 1968. Dale was a second-class scout and I was a first. He brought it to the troop meeting wrapped in a silk shirt he borrowed from his mother. The scoutmaster, Mr. Tooley, had everybody line up so they could get a look at it, then shake Dale’s hand. You could tell right then that Dale knew exactly what he was going to do for the rest of his life. I remember because it was the same day that me and two other first-class scouts made a rocket out of match heads that we shot off after the troop meeting. Went sideways through Mr. Nordstrom’s screen porch and put a hole in a painting of the Last Supper that his wife painted on a trip to the Poconos.”|
Boy Scout troop member
Have received letter from Mr. Hoover congratulating me on my esprit de corps in the taping of the sex education class, and encouraging me not to let getting caught interfere with future projects, and that they certainly don’t at the FBI. He also said that I was the kind of material that he wished he had more of at the Bureau, and invited me to come down for a special tour in Washington and meet a real special agent.
Bound for Washington on the ten-twenty express on my way to the FBI with Dad, and a pound cake that Mom made for Mr. Hoover. Am wearing my suit and tie, well-shined shoes, and have taped my first-class scout badge to my jacket pocket. We are to meet a special agent who will be showing us around, then will meet Mr. Hoover if he can fit us in.
On our way back to Philadelphia. Mr. Hoover liked the pound cake a great deal. Dad took a picture of me standing next to him, holding a Thompson sub-machine gun which he said he used to gun down gangsters back in the good old days. Then we went on a tour of the building with a special agent and got to shoot a service revolver on their gun range. The special agent scored well, hitting five out of his six shots within the mark. I outpointed him on the last shot with a round just inside the bull’s-eye. Suggested he lean a little more into the pistol to compensate for the kick. He thanked me and asked that I not mention this to any of the other agents.
We finished our tour after we saw the eyeglasses John Dillinger was wearing when he was shot in Chicago. All in all an A-1 day.
Am back home. On the train ride Dad was very quiet, then told me a story about the war. He and some other soldiers were in a village in France. The townspeople all told them that a farmer was a collaborator and would tell the Germans that they were in the village. So the soldiers went to the farmhouse and found the man, his wife, and two daughters. The farmer gave them some wine and cheese, then took them to see his barn, and one of the soldiers shot and killed him. Dad then told me that he was very proud of me, but that I must be sure to make up my own mind about things in the world. I am not sure what he means, but he said someday I would understand. I asked him to tell me more about what he saw in the war, but he just looked out the window of the tram at the lights passing by and didn’t say a word all the way home.
Marie returned from vacation today and I have noticed several changes. One, she seems to be smiling almost constantly. I attributed this to her being glad that she was home, but when I asked her she just laughed and started painting a big yellow flower on her forehead. I then told her that I had met Mr. Hoover and she said that I was an establishment pig and that my heart was rotten and that I would never achieve nirvana. I told her that was not true, but that I would have to check my scout manual to see if an Eagle Scout was required to have nirvana or not. She just laughed again and started painting another flower on her face. I have since looked up nirvana and this is what it says: “A place or state of oblivion to care, pain, or external reality: a goal hoped for but apparently unattainable.” I am not sure what Marie saw in the Grand Tetons, but I believe she must have had a very powerful experience.
The following incident happened at about 3 P.M. today. While inside of Simms’ Hardware, a large colored bird flew in through the door and landed near the bins of nails and screws. Mr. Simms then tried to get the bird back out the door with a broom and it panicked, flying right into my head. I then ran into the plumbing section with the bird hanging on to my hair, where Mr. Simms smacked me in the face with the broom, knocking me to the floor and sending the bird into an air duct, where it was chopped up by a fan. I do not like birds. Mr. Simms gave me a free claw hammer for being a good sport.
First day of school. Am signed up for science, mythology, math and English. Also had the choice between acting in the school play or joining stage. I chose stage crew. Marie is among the drama group, and I do not believe it would be a good idea to be close to her as long as the flowers are still on her face.
At four-thirty today I found the following while walking home through Fairmount Park: a pair of sandals, the kind made out of old car tires; three used wooden matches; a small pile of burnt ashes and cigarette paper; a toothpick; several buttons from a shirt; an earring; several deep trenches dug into the ground; and the remains of a cheese steak sandwich. After close examination of the scene I do not believe foul play is involved, and that the following events explain what happened. A man and a woman, while sharing a steak sandwich, lost an earring. In looking for the earring several buttons were lost from a shirt. The sandals were then misplaced as darkness fell and the couple left the scene to find a flashlight, but were unable to retrace their steps. I still have not been able to explain the trenches in the ground.
Uncle Al, the magician, paid a visit over the weekend. The last time we saw him was when we took a trip to the Poconos, where he was performing as Ricardo the Great in the dinner show with a dog act. Don’t think Dad likes to see his brother too often. I think he thinks of him as irresponsible and untrustworthy. The magic business has been slow, so Uncle Al is on his way to Florida to sell Bibles. On Saturday he taught me how you can count all the different cards you use when playing twenty-one so you know that other people aren’t cheating. We then went down to a men’s social dub, where a number of men were playing cards and, I believe, gambling. Uncle Al was right, you can keep track of every card in the deck, and I did not find any evidence that any of the other players were cheating. We were doing quite well when a large man with an ear missing suggested that it was my bedtime and that we leave. I was not at all sleepy, but Uncle Al said I was. He picked me up and we ran all the way home. When I awoke the next morning he had gone, but left a note saying that a big order for hymn books had come in and he had to leave in the middle of the night.
I am now looking out my window toward Marie’s. Firmly believe that there are two people in the room and that one of them is a boy named Howard. Do not believe that they are doing homework, as her parents have gone out to eat at Mr. Steak and I saw Howard sneak in the back door without any books. I believe that whatever hope I had of Marie liking me is now gone.
Marie was found unconscious in the meeting hall today and taken to the hospital. When she was taken away in the ambulance I saw her face. Her eyes were rolling around, and I believe she had thrown up. The headmaster called the school together and said that he believed she had taken some drugs and had overdosed. He asked anyone who had any information about the incident to please come and talk to him. Her parents say that she is in stable condition but she must stay m the hospital for several days for observation.
Visited Marie in the hospital today by telling the nurse that I was her brother. When I got into her room Marie seemed very alert, happy, and had her wrists strapped to the bed. She asked me about the school play, how I like math, what my favorite TV show was, and if I still wanted to be an FBI agent. She then told me that she had tried to kill herself by taking too many pills and that if I would help her escape she would let me touch her anywhere I wanted, and that she would suck my dick.
The scout law is very clear on matters of this kind. “A scout is helpful. A scout is concerned about other people. He willingly volunteers to help others without expecting payment or reward.” I would have clearly violated this law if I were to accept any of Marie’s offer. I said I was sorry but that I could not accept. She started banging her head against the bed’s railing and screaming, “I want my drugs!” I tried to stop her and she bit my arm. A nurse then came in and asked me to leave. This is not the same Marie that I tied up earlier in the year.
Received a letter from Marie today from the clinic she is locked in. It goes as follows:
Sorry about the way I behaved when you came to visit me in the hospital. I had had a bad day. Am doing much better now and only want drugs once or twice a day instead of all the time. Made friends with a man who is a poet, and teaches at a university. He says the world is a sweet-smelling pile of dung and we’re all stuck in it. I think that is very beautiful. He jumped off a bridge last year and broke his legs in eleven places. Hope you are well. I’m feeling better since I shaved my head. Say hi to everyone at school.
Believe Marie has a way to go yet.
Nixon has been elected president. Not sure what that means.
Thanksgiving. Dad invited an American Indian he met on a bus to dinner. Man’s name was Michael Bishop Tree. Never said a word through dinner, although chuckled a number of times at something. Left with his coat pockets full of pie as soon as we finished.
Had asthma very bad last night. Mom was up most of the night with me, and now I feel very weak. Will not go to school today. Had a dream in the middle of the night that frightened me a great deal. A man who I have never seen was trying to break into my room. He kept calling my name and said that he wanted me. He then screamed, and after a moment it turned into a kind of roar as if he were some kind of animal. I told Mom about it and she said that she knew about “him,” and that she has the same dream, and that I must never let the man into my room. I don’t understand what it means. My chest hurts a great deal. I think I will go to sleep now. I am very tired.
No tapes exist for the next month.
Have been sick for some time and did not feel like talking much. An infection spread through my lungs and I felt very weak for a long time. Had the dream of the Man several more times, but did not let him in the door.
Marie came and visited me yesterday, wearing a cheerleader uniform. I believe she is feeling better. She says she is recovering and will be for the rest of her life. She looked very good and win look even better when all her hair grows back. She then kissed me on the cheek and told me that the poet had hung himself and that Jesus was now her personal savior and that she would help me see the fight if I would let her. She then did a cheer which she said would make me feel better.
Believe there are certain elements of the “old” Marie that I like better than the “new” one. Though she does look very good in her cheerleader uniform. I have been thinking almost constantly about it since the moment she left. I would like very much to remove her knee socks. Am not sure whether this is a result of my illness or not. But I am sure that her legs are the most beautiful things I have ever seen in my life.
Am standing on the corner of Chelton and Greene. It is raining lightly. On the street several feet from the gutter is the body of a man. A police tape circles the body in a wide arc. He is white, dark hair, about six feet tall, wearing a green jacket, tan pants, and brown shoes. He is lying facedown. Blood is gathered around his neck and in a small pool by his feet. I have never seen anything like this in my entire life, and I feel like I may get sick.
A witness said the man was stabbed a block away and ran this way screaming “no.” Someone else said he was stabbed in the neck. I have watched the detectives very closely. They knelt next to the body and carefully inspected the man’s pockets without moving him. They removed a wallet, a small address book, some money in a paper clip, and keys on a rabbit’s foot. I am trying to think the way Holmes would think but I mostly want to throw up. They are now about to roll the body over. . . .
Have just finished cleaning my microphone. When they rolled the body over I recognized the man as one of the card players at the club I went to with Uncle Al. I then got sick. After several minutes I informed the police about the card game and the man with no ear. They thanked me and told me to go home, change my shirt, and lock every door and window, which I have done. Believe I will let the police wrap up the rest of the case, and I will finish my math assignment.
Received a valentine today. A large drawing of Marie in her cheerleading uniform holding baby Jesus. Wasn’t sure what to think.
Have noticed that with great frequency I am waking up with an erection. Understand this to be part of the dream process in all mammals. Find it interesting that there is a part of the body that I seem to have no control over, which can be embarrassing when it happens at school. I have discovered, though, that by thinking very intently about Disneyland, I can suppress an erection with some success. Am not sure why this works. I seem to remember the submarine ride to be very stimulating in a number of ways.
A new girl arrived at school today. She has long blond hair, and has just moved from somewhere in the Midwest, where there are lots of cows and corn. I was seated next to her in the meeting at school today. When it was over she stood, looked at me, and said, “Hello, my name is Anne.” She shook my hand, and I introduced myself as Ale when I stumbled on my tongue. She has blue eyes and long, perfect fingers except for a small scar on her little finger. I have not been able to think of anything else all day long but her, and have never met anyone like her, even Marie before she shaved her head.
__ Chapter __
|“The first time Dale really fell in love, not counting tying my sister up, which really had more to do with merit badges than true love, was toward the end of ninth grade. We called her the Goddess of the Plains because she had just moved from Minnesota. Anne Sweeny looked like she breathed milk. Dale took one look at her and knew immediately that he had seen the girl he was going to spend the rest of his life with.
“The problem was that so had everyone else in school, including Nancy Nordstrom, a tenth grader who wore a lot of peace buttons and was a goaltender on the field hockey team. She used to let people score because she felt stopping them was an act of aggression. Dale took it very hard. Started wearing a Nixon button.”
Have turned fifteen . . . Why?. . . Does it matter? . . . Peace with honor . . . I hate field hockey. . . The signs of a heart attack are . . . uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain in the chest behind the breastbone. The feeling may spread to the shoulders, arms, neck, jaw, and back . . .
Mother’s Day. Dad cooked dinner, bought Mom a blender and perfume. I gave her coasters for the coffee table. She told me that I have been acting strangely and that she was worried about me. Decided that she is right and that I must take action to feel better. Have come up with several plans:
|Plan A. Eat semipoisonous mushroom and write letter to Anne from deathbed. She then comes to my side. Her presence saves my life and she falls in love with me.
Plan B. Blow up her house while she is at school and we take them in as an act of kindness.
Plan C. Blow up Nancy Nordstrom’s house while she is in it.
Plan D. Forget Anne and devote myself to becoming a better scout and member of the community.
Each plan has merit, and risk. Though all, I believe, will be very satisfying in the end.
Blew up Nancy’s mailbox and feel much better. Believe I am now ready for the long climb to Eagle Scout and a responsible role in the community.
School has ended for the year. Anne is moving back to the Great Plains, where her father has bought a large feed store. Saw her in the bookstore where she was buying a Willa Cather book for Nancy. Do not believe I will ever see her again but will always remember the first time I saw her and the sound of the mailbox blowing up.
George, one of the pressmen down at Dad’s shop, got his hand caught in one of the presses today. Took it off just below the wrist. The hand fell to the floor flattened out like a piece of paper with the printing of a real estate agency written on the palm. George started swearing and kicked the severed hand across the floor in anger.
I immediately applied pressure to stop the arterial bleeding that was shooting out of his wrist like a drinking fountain. We then laid him down and covered him, as he began to go into shock. It took several minutes to locate the hand, which had slid under a counter. An argument then started as to who was going to pick it up. I settled it by picking it up myself and wrapping it in a towel. An ambulance arrived and took George and his hand to the hospital.
All in all a very exciting day. Still find that my whole body feels as if I had been injected with electricity. Imagine this is the kind of feeling an FBI agent must have at the end of almost every day.
The flight of Apollo 11 has begun toward the moon. In another hour’s time they will fire the third rocket, increasing their velocity to 24,245 mph, and will break away from the earth and start for the moon. All systems seem go at this time. I cannot imagine the feeling the men in that rocket must feel right now.
They are on their way. Marie came over and said that she expects they will meet God on the moon and he will tell them to go back where they belong. She looks very good, all her hair has grown back to where it used to be, and says she has not touched amphetamines for almost six months. It is interesting that Marie is the only girl I have ever seen naked and I can remember almost nothing of it. Our families are going to get together and watch the landing and moon walk. Bradley is going to bring over his bean bag chairs so we can simulate the lunar surface. I wonder if Marie still has any feelings for me other than religious ones.
Bradley has arrived with the bean bag chairs. The Eagle has wings, and is on its way toward the Sea of Tranquility. Marie is not coming over until the moon walk.
The Eagle has landed.
The voice of Neil Armstrong.
“That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”
It is not clear who the following voices belong to.
We’re on the moon! We’re on the moon! . . . Shut up, quiet, look, look . . . right there, right there . . . I don’t see it . . . that’s his foot. Are you sure? . . . He’s the only one there. Of course it’s his foot . . . Oh, there he is . . . look at that . . . look at that . . . shhh . . . shhh . . . God will not forgive us. . . .
Armstrong and Aldrin are back in the LM (lunar module). Dad still sits in front of the TV, eating peanuts. Mom has gone to bed. Bradley and his folks went home an hour ago. Am not sure how to describe what happened with Marie. Looked in the scout manual under outdoor adventures but could find nothing that resembled what took place. The following is as close as I can come to the events in the backyard.
Shortly after Aldrin joined Armstrong on the surface, Marie picked up one of the bean bag chairs and motioned me to go out into the backyard with her. When I arrived, she was out behind the lilacs lying down on the bean bag chair, staring up at the moon. She said I should lie down next to her, which I did. For several moments we looked at the moon and said nothing. Then Marie said it.
“Dale, do you ever think about me . . . you know?”
I swallowed, and carefully tried to examine the way the question was phrased. It was the “you know” part of the question that I was most unsure about. I answered, “I think so.”
Marie thought a moment, then replied, “I think about you.”
I nodded, and said, “Good.”
Marie smiled. “I didn’t understand it until I saw men walking on the moon, but I believe God has a plan for everyone, and we are part of it. Do you understand, Dale?”
I said that I thought I did.
“Are you sure, Dale?”
I said I was.
“So am I,” said Marie. She then picked up my hand in hers and hit the nail on the head.
“Pray with me, Dale.”
There are moments in a person’s life that you dream about and hope for. This turned out not to be one of those moments. For two hours we lay there together holding hands. Marie’s eyes closed in prayer. Mine opened in bewilderment. The astronauts got back into their spaceship. The moon passed behind some clouds. Marie thanked me for sharing this time with God and took the bean bag chair home. Tomorrow I leave for the scout jamboree, where I will try to forget.
Believe the moon landing had a profound effect on my father. As I left for the jamboree this morning, he handed me a new compass and then told me to bring the ship home safely.
Have arrived at the jamboree. Camp is made, the beans are on the fire. Believe there is a troop from Pittsburgh that is made up of Nazis. They are all very tall and very clean.
Have thought about the events of last night several times. Should have tried to kiss Marie when she had her eyes closed and was praying. Wonder if I’m condemned to forever be a virgin. This situation must take full priority right behind achieving Eagle status.
The Nazis attacked our camp shortly after sunset. Our flag is gone. We are bruised and battered. One member of our troop is in the hospital, two have called their parents. I suffered a chipped tooth and numerous bruises. Find my thoughts turn to Marie stretched out in the bean bag chair, the moon reflecting off her white tennis shoes. The astronauts collecting rocks overhead. The Nazis will pay.
Killed an animal today. A crow. One clean shot as it circled overhead, searching for a road kill. Have never killed a living thing before, not counting insects. When it was hit it began to tumble as if it had been tripped. Then the tumbling stopped and it fell straight down like a wet shirt. The feeling at first was much the same as when I stopped the bleeding on the severed hand at the print shop. I ran to where it fell into the tall grass and picked it up. And then the feeling was gone. I do not know why I shot the bird. At the moment I squeezed the trigger it seemed that the only two things in the world were the crow and myself. And now there is just me.
Have decided to forgo the bus ride home and will be traveling overland by myself. Am calling this my first Great Adventure. Expect that by the time I arrive home I will have experienced events that I see as vital to a complete education.
Last note on the jamboree. The Nazis suffered a mysterious case of food poisoning. Much vomiting and retching could be heard all last night. Never slept better.
Have traveled six miles on foot so far, 170 to go. Have had no experiences to speak of yet. Believe it is about to rain.
I was right about the rain. Still waiting for first experience.
Am at the Post and Beam restaurant on Route 487. Cannot describe the taste of warm cherry pie to a wet and weary traveler. Have also had my very first cup of coffee, and my second. My feet seem to tingle and are very agitated. I feel like running very fast while screaming like an Indian. I believe I will consider this my first experience.
Have met a couple named Star and April, both in their early twenties, traveling in a VW bus. I am sitting in the back under a small crystal pyramid glued to the ceiling, which according to April increases the electric field as they are making love. Do not remember this being covered in health class.
Star and April are on their way to Washington to chain themselves to the doors of the Pentagon. Think I will ride along for as long as I am welcome, which they seem agreeable to since neither has ever met a real Boy Scout before. I told them about why I am traveling by myself and April promised they will do their best to provide as many new experiences as they can. Then they both began to laugh and took some small white pills.
I am driving. I do not have a license, I have never driven before, and am in a vehicle that I believe could put a drugstore out of business. April said I would do just fine and kissed me very long and hard. If caught will probably spend most of my life in jail. Strangely, I do not seem to care. It has stopped raining. April and Star are under the pyramid in a sleeping bag making love. In a few hours we will stop and put up the tepee for the night
We are camped in a large field on the edge of a forest. I am in a tepee. Star is outside asleep on a rock. Was going to tell April that I am a virgin and that any help in this matter would be greatly appreciated, but before I could she took off all her clothes and went outside to chase fireflies. I attempted to follow but stepped on a stick and cut my foot several steps from the tepee. Could do nothing but watch as her naked body ran off into the field, chasing bugs. Lost sight of her as she caught her first fly. Have dressed and cleaned the foot wound. Expect full recovery. Do not know when or if April will return. Have found a bottle of raspberry brandy in the van and have filled my camp cup. Believe Star just fell off the rock.
Have said good-bye to Star and April as they turned south toward the Pentagon and I do not think chaining myself to the front door would help my chances of becoming a special agent.
My head feels very bad. Last night I drank three cups full of brandy and threw up when April came back into the tepee with a firefly. I lay there unable to move, watching the little light fly around above my head. Wanted to tell April that I was a virgin but could not seem to make my mouth move. Then the ground began to spin around in circles and I think I began to cry. Am not sure, but I think April held my head in her lap. I seem to remember opening my eyes and seeing breasts spinning around the tepee. When I woke this morning Star and April were in the van eating Rice Krispies and chaining themselves to the van’s door handle. I told them that I thought it was time for me to head home and April said she wanted to give me something before I left and took me by the hand into the tepee. She then gave me a tiny pyramid and told me to keep it near me anytime I make love. Then we kissed and she pressed my face into her breasts, where I would have stayed all day if she hadn’t let go. It is just a suspicion, but I think April knew that I had never had sex.
The following is a conversation with an Allen K. Boyle, who picked Dale up outside of Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania.
DALE: Speak right into there.
ALLEN: The sun is dying. I travel all over this state and not one person realizes that the sun is dying and that time as we know it is coming to an end, everything we do is of no importance, and not one person seems to want to do a goddamn thing about it. Art, books, television, religion – none of it matters. What we need to start doing is planning to live without our bodies once the sun craps out on us. But no one wants to talk about it. I’ve got a plan, but no one wants to listen. They would rather just walk around and pretend the sun is going to come up tomorrow just like it did today. And where do you think all those people are going to be when Mr. Sun doesn’t come up? In trouble, that’s where they are going to be, but not me. Not Allen K. Boyle. I got a plan. . . .
DALE: What do you do?
ALLEN: I sell men’s hairpieces. Notice I don’t use the word wig.
Camped outside of Reading, Pennsylvania, Dale met a man named Sparks.
DALE: Talk into this.
SPARKS: You’re making some kind of a record, aren’t ya? Goddamn, goddamn. Ya know, I was a Boy Scout. Goddamn right I was. That was a long time ago. . . . I’m forty-nine, be fifty next, goddamn right, if I don’t git killed by a goddamn train or thief. . . . What do ya want me to say? Got sunk on two goddamn boats in the war. One right after the other. Ain’t had a good job since. No goddamn way.
Had one wife till she got sick of me and threw me out. Don’t blame her. I’ve been a shit most of my life. She had a kid. Don’t even know its name, though I saw it once when I needed some money. It was riding around in circles on a red bicycle. Don’t remember if it was a boy or a girl. Never did get any money. Think it was a girl. Just move on all the time, all the time. Don’t blame no one. No sir. I ain’t got noth’n’ else to say.
Arrived home this afternoon. Am glad to be back in my room. Mom made smothered chicken and mashed potatoes, and said if I ever did anything foolish like this again, she would beat me within an inch of my life. Dad just seemed to sit and watch me at dinner, then afterward asked me if I saw anything interesting. I said I thought I had. He said good, then grounded me for a week. The moon landing seems to have had quite an effect on him, has an idea that he thinks will make a lot of money, printing maps of the moon. Good to be home. Nothing on the news about the Pentagon. The sun is expected to rise at 6:55. Have glued the pyramid above the bed on the ceiling. Good-bye, April.
__ Chapter __
|“I remember that Dale had this rock glued on the ceiling above his bed. Something to do with sex or magnetic fields or something. I don’t think it helped in either way. Came unglued once and he had this big bump on his forehead. Went around for a week wearing a hat.
“It was in the fall of ’69 that his mother started having these terrible dreams. I remember because we were camping out back one time and we woke up, hearing his mother screaming. Dale knew something was wrong before anyone else did. I don’t know how, but I remember him telling me one night that something was going to happen. And it did.”
Have felt for a while that something was wrong. Do not know what. Mom had another dream last night. She said that he almost got in the door. Dad has been very busy printing maps of the moon. I asked him about the dreams and he said it was something I probably understood better than he did. I don’t, and am worried. Mom says that everything is fine, but I know that she is not telling the truth.
St. Joseph’s Hospital. Mom went to bed early last night after dinner. She seemed fine, told me to finish my civics homework and then went upstairs. At midnight Dad woke me and told me we were going to the hospital, that Mom was unconscious. The doctors said it was a brain aneurysm. They operated to relieve the pressure and now we are just waiting to find out what happens.
Dad said that she had gotten up about eleven-thirty to get a glass of water and take an aspirin. He asked her if she was feeling all right and she said, “Oh, you know.” She didn’t say anything else, just that. “Oh, you know.” I don’t understand, and I hate hospitals.
,An aneurysm is a permanent abnormal blood-filled dilatation of a blood vessel resulting from disease of the vessel wall. It isn’t that bad.
Around seven this morning Mom began to bleed in her brain. The doctors operated again but she stopped breathing at around 7:30. . . . They took her back to her room and we saw her. Her head was wrapped in a bandage. . . . Dad held her hand and whispered something in her ear, then put my hand between his and hers. . . . I need her still, and I don’t know what to do. She was just here.
Uncle Al has come to help out. The Schlurmans are helping. The refrigerator is full of ham and chicken that people have brought over. Dad is going to have her cremated. I never finished my civics paper. Marie came over. Started to tell me something about Mom being with God and I told her if she said one more word I’d knock her goddamn teeth out. I want to get out of here.
There was a service today. Everyone said good-bye. A Unitarian minister said something about the spirit living on. I don’t think he had any idea what he was talking about. Many people came over to the house afterward, drank punch and ate Jell-O salad and ham. Tomorrow Dad and I will take her ashes north of Philadelphia to a small river where they went to before I was born.
I wish my brother Emmet could come, but if he crosses the border he will be arrested. Dad talked to Emmet on the phone and told him he understood why he couldn’t come back. I wish I understood. Bradley said Emmet was a coward and that was why he was in Canada. I smacked Bradley . . . I wonder if he’s right, though.
Mom is on her way to the ocean. Small grayish pebbles. We each took a handful and tossed them into the water. They sank and then the current started to take them along, bouncing across the bottom. Saw a small perch eat one and then spit it out. A crayfish picked up another one in its claw and walked away with it into the deep water.
For a long time we just stood and watched and listened to the water. Then Dad said that in a few weeks ice will start to form on the banks, and in a month or so after that, the stream will freeze all the way across, and if we stood in the same place then, we wouldn’t hear a whisper.
No tapes exist for the remainder of 1969.
Have not talked for a very long time. Didn’t seem to be much point. Mom has been gone for over three months now. Don’t know what Dad would have done without the moon map business. He talks of little else but the moon now. Spends each night before going to bed on the roof with a telescope looking into the sky, drawing pictures of craters.
I feel different now. Nothing seems to be the same as it was before she died. Not my friends, not the neighborhood, school, anything. I would very much like to go away where no one knows who I am or anything about me.
Turned sixteen. Dad gave me some aftershave. Marie came by and gave me a card with a dog on it. Something must happen soon or I will go crazy.
Dad has found and named a new crater on the moon. He seems very happy.
Sat down in English class today and Mrs. Peale introduced our new student teacher, Miss Larken. It was April. Her hair was back in a ponytail. Her breasts were in the same place as I last left them. We saw each other after class and I asked her how Star was and she said that they had had a fight at the Pentagon and have not seen each other since. She also suggested that it would be a good idea if the Quakers didn’t find out about us meeting each other before, and asked me if I had had any success with the pyramid. Not wanting to give the wrong impression, I said, “Some.”
Then she said it was good to see me and that I better be ready to learn because she was a very strict teacher. Our first assignment is to write a sonnet. I told her that I have never liked or understood poetry. She said that she would do her best to change that, then she walked away. I believe I have rounded a corner.
In English today April told the class that poetry was much more than what we have ever thought it to be. She then read a D. H. Lawrence poem, “Gloire de Dijon,” to the class, and kept her eyes on me the whole time. Unfortunately, I only remember the last few lines:
|She stoops to the sponge, and her swung breasts
Sway like full-blown yellow
Gloire de Dijon roses.
Had an erection throughout Mr. Hord’s early American history class.
Have finished my first poem. Am seeking a balance between the erotic and the sublime.
|Alone in a tepee full of breasts
hovering above him like angels
He dreams of fireflies and pyramids
and stars sleeping on rocks.
Think this does the trick.
April suggested that poetry may not be my field of expertise.
The end of the year is fast approaching. Believe my chances of ever being alone with April again are slipping away. She gave me a D on my middterm exam. Am beginning to believe that she is only interested in sleeping with dead poets.
Just awoke from a dream where I was visited by Mom. She was not the same as I remember her. She seemed to be younger, barely a woman. Her face was smooth and pale, her hair was long and fell onto her shoulders. She was trying to tell me something, but I was not able to hear her. She reached out, touched my hand, and then was gone.
I woke to find myself clutching a small gold ring in my hand. I do not know where it came from, and am sure it was not there when I went to sleep. I believe she was here, and at the same time I cannot believe it. These things do not happen, there is an explanation for this as there must be for everything. The ring is now locked in the drawer of my desk. Mom is dead, and it was only a dream. I will not believe this.
The ring fits on my small finger as if it was made for it. However, it will remain in the desk until I remember where it came from.
Found an old photograph in an album of Mom when she was a teenager. On her finger was the ring I found in my hand the other night. I asked Dad about it and he said that when they were first dating he remembers Mom wearing it. That it had been her father’s and that her mother had given it to her when he died.
I asked Dad what happened to the ring and he said that he had not seen it for years, that she had stopped wearing it when they got married. I do not know what to think.
Told April today that I must talk to her about something that was troubling me. She told me to come to her apartment. Am due there in one hour. Have drunk seven cups of coffee. Feel somewhat sick to my stomach. Am trying very hard not to think about raspberry brandy.
Started to yawn one time after another. Drank three more cups of coffee to perk me up. Feel like my feet want to crawl out of my ears.
Arrived at April’s apartment several minutes early, so I began counting cracks in the sidewalk. Was up to 207 when April leaned out of the window and asked me what I was doing. I said that I was counting cracks in the sidewalk. She asked why. I said that I was not sure, that I was not sure of anything anymore. Then before I could stop myself I said that if she preferred that I remain outside, and talk through the window, that was all right with me. She then came downstairs and opened the door and invited me in. I told her that I thought there were more than 207 cracks in her sidewalk, but that was as far as I’d gotten, but if she wanted a complete count, I would be glad to finish. She said thanks, but that it was not necessary. I said fine, and she said fine. And then we went inside and she closed the door.
The apartment was small: a living room, bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen with a small eating area. We sat down in the living room around a small table and she looked me in the eye and asked me what I wanted. I told her about the dream, and the ring. And that I thought she was the only person who could help me find the answer. She looked at me for a long moment, then got up, went to the kitchen, and came back with a bottle of wine and Mr. Hord, the American history teacher, who had been cutting up cheese. “You have an interesting problem,” said Mr. Hord.
I told April how Mrs. Laudner had tripped on a crack in the sidewalk in front of her house, smashing her nose flat against her cheek, and now always looks like she’s walking sideways. A few minutes later I left after Mr. Hord talked about how George Washington’s wooden teeth disappeared after his death and then mysteriously were found thirty years later under his bed by a maid looking for loose change.
I still have no answers, and apparently little chance with April, who suggested that maybe someone closer to my own age could be of more help.
The school year is over. The summer is ahead. Dad very busy all the time with moon maps. Saw April one last time before she and Mr. Hord left for a commune in Colorado. She wished me luck, then gave me a C in English. Believe I will accelerate my studies so I can graduate early and get the hell out of here.
Just learned that Dad has agreed to go on a trip with the Schlurmans up to the Poconos. Have examined various ways to get out of it but all seems bleak at the moment. He’s packed the Scrabble game. Marie has packed her Bible. I am doomed.
Have arrived at Promised Land Lake. The Schlurmans are slowly turning around in circles in a rowboat. Dad is asleep on the couch on the porch. Believe Marie is out trying to convert the creatures of the forest to Christianity. A cookout, sack races, and fireworks are planned for later. This is more than I ever dreamed of.
Marie lies on the swimming float in her bathing suit, reading a waterproof Bible. Observed her for some time when she was swimming from underwater with my mask and snorkel. Very much wanted to grab her legs from below and pull her into the mud.
Finished the cookout and are now waiting for the fireworks. Noticed that as Marie was skewering her hotdog she kept glancing at me as she slowly slid the stick through the wiener. This must be my imagination. I have been in the wilderness too long.
The following record is as close to fact as I am able to remember at this time:
At approximately 9 P.M. the Schlurmans and Dad boarded a rowboat and headed to sea to watch the fireworks. I was preparing to cast off another when I heard Marie say, “Us kids will stay ashore.” I looked around and quickly realized that there was no “us,” just Marie and me. The folks waved and drifted out. I looked at Marie. She looked at me and then ran into the woods.
There are those within the scouting world who say that the skill of tracking has outlived its time. I disagree. The ability to follow a trail is fundamental to understanding the world.
Marie’s trail was clear in both direction and intent. Fifty yards into the woods I picked up the first trace. Her shirt, hanging on a tree. The first bottle rocket exploded somewhere to the south. Twenty-five yards farther on another sign-her bermuda shorts. I quickened my pace. A shoe was next, then another. From the lake I could hear the first oohs and aahs as a cluster rocket exploded. On a branch ahead hung a small white sock with daisies on it. I gathered it up, and moved cautiously on around a large tree, under a deadfall, into a small clearing. Marie rose up out of the grass, unhooked her bra, and slid it down off her arms. Although I do not actually remember doing it, at that time I apparently removed my clothes. We then stood inches apart, her breasts touching my chest.
“Do you believe in God?” asked Marie.
I said I most certainly did. She smiled, kissed my chest, then slid her tongue all the way down to my penis and took it into her mouth.
The explosion that followed was unlike any I have ever experienced before. The rocket landed within thirty yards and exploded with a concussion that knocked me over. Then smaller clusters began exploding and streaming into the air. I believe at that point Marie stopped sucking and began screaming. I pulled her down and shielded her as best I could from the missiles landing around us. It was with only the greatest of luck that we did not suffer a direct hit. They landed to the left of us, the right of us, above us in the trees. And then it was quiet. I told Marie that it was all right, that we were safe. She sat up, looked at me, wiped away a tear, then emitted a scream of such a high pitch as to render it almost inaudible, and ran off into the night.
Few forces in nature are as frightening as fire. Particularly when one is naked. The battle that followed lasted for almost an hour. What is left of my pants could hardly make a handkerchief. The hope that Marie had run off to get help was a false one. With only my clothes as weapons, the fire and I fought a running battle up and down the clearing from one hot spot to another. I lost my shirt to a small spruce, Marie’s to a blueberry bush, and most of my pants to a large clump of grass. Believe Marie’s socks and bra were also victims because I was not able to locate them after the flames were out.
I left Marie’s blackened tennis shoes outside of the Schlurmans’ cabin. Dad took one look at me when I returned and asked me what happened to my pants.
“Wildfire,” I replied. He nodded, thought for a moment, then we both agreed that fire was a very dangerous thing and not to be taken lightly.
Saw Marie this morning. She thanked me for saving her tennis shoes, and said that she was sorry that I was going back to the city. She then swam out to the float and began reading her Bible.
I lied last night. I do not believe in God, at least one who isn’t actively working against me.
Finished last requirement for Eagle Scout status by giving a five-minute speech on fire safety and prevention. The scoutmaster said I brought an excitement and realism to the subject that he had rarely heard.
Received news today that Marie drowned this morning at Promised Land Lake. She apparently hit her head while diving off the swimming platform. She was alone at the time, so there was no one there to know she was in trouble. When they found her it was too late.
I do not believe in goodness in the world anymore. What is good either dies or is killed. I know that if I had been there, I could have saved her. I also know that does not matter and that wanting something to be different will not make it so. Marie is dead, and I feel empty and sad.
“Thanks for saving my sneakers” was the last thing I will ever hear her say.
“Sure thing” I said back to her.
I want to remember it having been better than that. I want to remember saying all the things I had never said and wanted to say to every person I had ever known. “Don’t forget your civics homework.”
“Thanks for saving my sneakers.”
Moments of silence.
They buried Marie today in a bright silver coffin. There were large white clouds in the sky. She would have liked that.
Do not see the meaning of it.
Cannot sleep, cannot sleep, cannot sleep.
Talked with Dad for much of the night. Both agreed that change is needed, or I will lose my marbles. Dad always seems to find the right words. Told him that I feel very guilty because I was not in love with Marie and that she might be alive if I had been. He said that the only way love ever affected death was in making it more painful. He then told me the French farmer that they had killed during the war was not a collaborator, and that the villagers who told them that just owed him money. We both sat for a very long time without saying a word. Then he told me that we all fail, and that we would again and again, and that was just the way it was.
Have completed all necessary requirements for graduation from school. Dad has given me a thousand dollars, saying that it would give me a good start. Do not know where it is that I’m going or for how long. All I know is that I do not believe in anything anymore and that I must find something to believe in or I will cease to be. I know that there are people, there must be people in the world who do have answers.
Dad said that no matter where I go there are two things that I must watch out for. Bad water, and snakes. I promised that I would be very careful in both of these areas. We then hugged each other for a very long time, and he left for work to print more moon maps. I hope he will be well when I’m away.
Have decided not to take along the tape recorder, it would not be practical, and I do not feel the need of its companionship, if that is what it has provided for the last several years. Will stop on the way out of town at Marie’s grave to leave a note and the small glass pyramid April gave me. Have also made some calculations. Expect that by the time I cross my first ocean, the lightest of Mom’s ashes will be drifting out to sea.
A strange thing happened last night. I woke to find her ring back on my finger. That is where it will stay.
Several seconds of silence.
This is me, Dale Cooper.
__ Part __
__ Chapter __
On September 10, 1970, Dale tested out of the remaining requirements for graduation from school. On the eleventh he made one more recording, then stepped into a bus on Germantown Road, and was not seen for three years. The following letters are the only clues as to his whereabouts for those years.
Water bad, have seen no snakes. Health sound. Moon very bright. Would like very much to eat some good chocolate. Hope you are well.
Snakes very bad. Water good. Saw some nice rocks. Need a good ship.
__ Part __
__ Chapter __
|“It was the spring of ’73 when I saw Dale again. I had just bought a Dodge Charger, midnight blue with a silver racing stripe, was stopped at a red light, and there he was. Standing on a corner of Germantown Road, in a black suit. I could tell right away that this was not the same Dale I had seen three years earlier. He seemed older, stronger, and his eyes had an intensity I had never seen before. I remember asking him how the trip had been, and all he said was “Damn good.” I don’t know what it was that he saw or did out there, but it was obviously a very powerful experience. I can only imagine that it was somewhat like the car accident that started me on the road to the ministry.”|
The moon map business seems to have taken a downward plunge. Dad otherwise seems well. Will make no attempt to record the events of the last three years, other than to say the whole universe is one bright pearl, and there is no need to understand it.
Have noted the following changes have taken place while I’ve been away. Heels on shoes are larger. Tempers shorter. Awnings seem to be declining in popularity. Trust and elm trees are disappearing. And J. Edgar Hoover is dead. Do not know whether any or all of these events are related.
Am not sure of the direction my life will take at this juncture. I am sure of nothing except that to believe you know where you are headed is not to understand where one is at the moment. Saying that, there are several things I am interested in. The circus, puzzles, and sex.
Have taken the SAT test in preparation for college should I find myself there instead of the circus. Believe both offer great opportunities to explore my stated interests. Noted several inaccuracies in the verbal portion of test and have passed these along to testing officials.
I know that it had been my intention for many years to enter into the service of the FBI. I must admit that my experience of the past several years does not lend itself to the belief that good can or will defeat evil. This is not a pessimistic view, but simply an observation of facts as I have experienced them.
Have received test scores back. Believe the concentration techniques that I learned on my travels did do some good. Scored 800 in both English and math. I find the need for testing in this manner to be of little use in truly evaluating an individual. A truer test, I believe, is the challenge of emptying a mind. A good leap from a bamboo tower with a vine tied around your ankles would go a long way in filling our colleges with a better caliber of students.
Have decided to seek employment for the summer. Have compiled a list of skills that I believe will be useful in acquiring needed funds.
- Fire building
- Map reading
- Knife throwing
- Breath control
- Bread baking
- Rice planting
- Sitting in small dark rooms
This should prove more than adequate in finding challenging employment.
Have gotten a job digging holes for trees to be planted in. Could not be happier. Dug eighteen very good holes today. My digging partner is a man of about fifty who I believe was once incarcerated in prison from the look of a tattoo he has on a forearm. He is black, from the South, and walks with a slight Iimp, but that is all I know of him at this time. We dug together for eight hours and didn’t exchange one word. I believe there is much to learn from this man.
Note that my knife-throwing skills have eroded to a less than satisfactory level. Lost several dollars in a test of skill to my digging partner, who I now know as Jim. He hit the mark ten out of ten times, whereas I missed on my tenth throw, splitting the toe of my boot. Jim said that I wasn’t seeing the target. I asked him if he practiced Zen, and he said that all he practiced was staying alive.
Accompanied Jim to his room in a run-down section of downtown tonight. In the many places I have seen, never have I walked into one single room and seen such a sight. The room was. small, maybe ten by twelve. It had a bed, a chair, but no other furniture. A single bare light bulb hung from the wall. It was full – floor to ceiling – of boxes of paper that Jim said he had been writing on for twenty years. He called it his remembrances. No one had ever seen this before. He said that I was the first. “Just so someone would know, someone who would remember.” Then he told me that I dug a good hole and that I should get out of here before someone started thinking something was going on.
On the bus ride back to home the meaning of the visit to his room became apparent to me. By the time I was able to catch another bus back downtown, already too much time had passed. The firemen were just mopping up. Jim’s room and several of the surrounding ones were gone. The firemen said the place went up like a torch. There was little they could do but stop it from spreading to the entire building. Jim’s body was not found in the room, and no one saw him leave the building. The firemen suspect that the heat was so intense from all the paper that only a forensic examination of the room will turn up any remains.
I do not believe they will find any. As I stood watching the firemen wrap up their hoses, the shadow of a man became faintly visible for an instant in an alley across the street. I then detected what I thought to be the muffled sound of crying. I moved through the crowd toward the alley and soon realized as I drew closer and closer that it was not crying at all, but laughter. When I reached the alley it was empty. I called out, searched up and down to no avail. All that was there was a freshly sharpened pencil where the laughter had come from. A message, I suspect.
Have been rejected by a small traveling circus that I sent a letter of introduction to. The owner of the circus pointed out that anyone who would write a letter seeking employment from a circus was probably not the kind of person they were looking for. He also said that he was plumb full of knife throwers already and was only looking for a bearded lady at the moment. I have therefore accepted an offer to attend Haverford College just outside of Philadelphia.
I should note that I have been greatly disappointed in the amount of sex I have been encountering since my return. Do not seem to meet many women while digging holes. And my tendencies toward quiet meditation do not foster contact with the opposite sex. Wonder if attending an all-male college is a mistake.
Dad woke up this morning and decided we were going to take a trip together before I went off to school. I pointed out that the school was only several miles away. We leave this morning for Mt. Rushmore. This brings to a close my career as a hole digger. Good honest work. However, it has not been the same since Jim disappeared into the night.
Dad went on at some length that Lincoln would not have wanted to be remembered as a large piece of granite hanging on the side of a mountain with rain dripping off his nose.
Am camped in Custer State Park. Dad has turned in and is sound asleep in the tent. Discovered the real reason that Dad wanted to make this trip. Found him standing in front of the map of the presidents’ faces booth holding a sign reading GIVE IT BACK TO THE SIOUX, arguing with a retired couple from Indiana who were threatening to hit him with their cameras. After several minutes of sometimes heated discussion, I persuaded him to attempt another form of protest that would result in less chance of bodily injury. Have always known Dad was a bit of a free thinker, but this is a new form of expression that I have not witnessed before.
As a compromise we found a secluded stop sign and sawed it in half. He seemed much more relaxed after that and had a very good time roasting marshmallows over the fire and talking ethics. Tomorrow we head back home and I will make a point not to pass by any large monuments. Have never broken the law with Dad before. In a strange way it was terribly satisfying. I do, however, worry that without Mom at his side, his interests may lead him into trouble.
Have arrived back home without incident. Dad seems happy to be back at the shop. In fact, upon return found an order to print calendars for the National Park Service had been received. The world is a very strange place.
Traveled to Haverford today. Passed on the orientation tour and instead delivered a copy of curriculum improvements to the president that I felt would help the school. He seemed cooperative and someone that I could work with. Expect it to be a fruitful relationship.
Witnessed something called a pep rally. A large group of students chanting “Kill, Quakers, kill, kill, Quakers, kill” as the football team was introduced. While another group of students was chanting “Kill Nixon, kill Nixon.” Do not remember anything like this in my religion classes. Have accepted a suite in one of the dorms on campus. Both the college officials and I felt that my experience would lend itself to leadership. I will soon be in charge of an entire floor of eighteen-year-olds.
Packed and headed off for the new apartment. Dad gave me a new tape recorder that is the size of a notebook and uses cassettes of tape rather than reels. He told me to work hard and not believe a damn thing anyone tells me.
Do not believe that the majority of students on my floor are interested in a higher level of consciousness unless it is aided by chemicals of one form or another. Appears from the silence that none dominates the floor, and that the last can of beer has finally been consumed. While I have experienced a number of mind-altering fungi and natural fauna used by what we refer to as primitive cultures, never have I witnessed a tribal display of debauchery that could hold a candle to a large group of of eighteen-year-old Americans away from home for the first time.
My attempts at reason and quiet diplomacy fell on deaf ears as they began to wrap themselves in toilet paper from head to foot and chant “We want women.” I retreated to the relative quiet of my room and read the writing of a monk who lived alone on a mountaintop for thirty-seven years in search of a deeper understanding of the world. His main conclusion, when he came down, was that you can see very far on top of a mountain unless it is cloudy. Imprisoned for his radical ideas, he died several years later in jail. The only writing from this time period that survived is the line: “There are no clouds in a prison.”
Believe I will make a trip down the street to the women’s college, Bryn Mawr, in the hope of making contact with thinking human beings.
Am suffering from the worst case of post-alcohol abuse I have ever experienced. Made contact with a group of Bryn Mawr students at the student union. We entered into a wide-ranging conversation that drifted through several bottles of tequila, rum and Coke, beer, bourbon, and a mixture one of the women made herself from common household chemicals. While the company was, without a doubt, on a much higher intellectual level than that of the students sharing my building, I was not prepared for the fact that women as a general rule are wild savages. At least those that are studying philosophy. Believe I may also have taken quite a liking to a junior who was studying either comparative literature or law. Do not remember her name, or even if I would recognize her if I saw her again. Believe she was either blond or red-haired. Will try to return to Bryn Mawr when my legs begin to work.
Have tested out of the classes I had signed up for and have arranged to study independently on related projects. In general I find the professors to be of high quality though many seem to suffer from a malaise of an undetermined nature. Have as yet failed to find the woman I may have met on my night at Bryn Mawr. Firmly believe that she does exist and is not a product of sexual frustration on my part.
Called Dad this morning and all seems well. Is doing a brisk business in “imprison Nixon” posters. Will have lunch with him this weekend.
Woke from a dream. I was sitting in a darkened room. There was a door with light coming through a crack. On the outside I could hear voices. One, I thought, was my mother’s. The other was indistinct. I believe it was death. She was attempting to open the door and walk back into the room. The door handle began to turn. I heard her call my name and I realized that it was not my mother but Marie. I heard her say “Please, I’m not ready,” then her voice grew fainter and fainter until it was gone. I wish Marie was at peace, but I do not think she is at this time, and I wonder what it is that she knows that those in the physical world can never understand.
Returned to Bryn Mawr today in search of the woman I’m sure I have met. Sat for more than an hour in the union to no avail, was on my way back to Haverford when I was passing an athletic field and was struck on the back of the head by a field hockey ball. I then seemed either to have lost consciousness for a brief moment or was a sign painter in a small Mexican village. Upon waking I found myself staring at a vision of beauty in a plaid skirt, holding a very large wooden club. I believe I told her that I was in love with her or else I had slipped back into the Mexican village and was yelling at a dog who had spilled my paint. Her name is Andy, her eyes are blue, her hair red, and I apparently did not tell her that I was in love with her because she apologized for spilling my paint. We talked for a short time after locating some ice for my head, and decided that we would meet at the homecoming bonfire tomorrow night. She then returned to the field hockey game, where she moved with the grace of a dancer and delivered a cracker-jack body check to an opposing forward.
The stacks of wood for the bonfire stand some fifteen feet tall. All around stand students, many who appear to be lovers holding hands and staring into the torches that are poised to light the blaze. All proper safety precautions seem to have been taken. Am somewhat nervous about meeting a woman anywhere near or in the proximity of fire, given my past history. The torches have been put to the wood. The smoke and flames are beginning to rise. Detect a distinct sense of urgency in the air . . . no, make that frenzy. I hope she . . .
The sun is rising like a soft, warm orange in the eastern sky. While it may at first appear to be no different from the countless sunrises that have welcomed each day for a millennium, I am sure there has never been one of this intensity before. Andy walked into the circle of light thrown out by the fire just as the first flames were reaching the crown of the bonfire. The words we exchanged were few. I told her how I had walked barefoot across a bed of burning embers in a very faraway and distant culture. She told me her father was a fireman. We kissed by the fire for many minutes. Then as if our minds were the same, we got up and walked out of the circle of light into the darkness.
I do not know where it was that we made love. We ran into the darkness away from the flames. I believe the sound of running water could be heard. We reached a spot shaded from the moon by several large trees. We kissed. Our clothes seemed to fall away without the slightest touch. We lay in tall grass that seemed to wrap around us, covering our bodies like snakes. Her body moved and swayed next to mine as though we had been together for more years than either of us had lived. A stick jabbed my right buttock, causing a momentary halt so Andy could apply some firm pressure to stop the bleeding.
We then continued, exploring every part of each other until the moment that I slid inside her. My mind turned to dolphins slipping in and out of the surface of the ocean as we swayed and rolled together. At that point I realized we had moved down a small embankment and into a small body of water. Andy then began to scream “Yes! Yes! Yes!” with a conviction of purpose and vocal power that I have never witnessed. I don’t remember much of anything after that except that I was sure I understood what it was like to break the sound barrier.
We lay for many minutes clutching each other in the shallow water before I realized that the lights I saw reflecting on the water’s surface were not the stars, but tiki lamps illuminating the Haverford and Bryn Mawr faculty barbecue celebrating the joining of our two schools on this special evening.
We then with some difficulty managed to evade several curious members of the physical education department who had come to the water’s edge, thinking that someone was drowning. We quickly dressed, then Andy informed me that this very morning she was leaving for an exchange trip to Holland and said she would look me up when she finished studying dike construction . . . in six months. She told me not to follow her because she was meeting her husband at the airport. I do not claim or pretend to understand the world. The sun comes up. The sun goes down. That is all that appears certain from where I sit at the moment.
A chemistry student today walked into the president’s office and said he had made a bomb and that he was going to blow the “whole fucking building to pieces and take the president with him.” As luck would have it, he is one of my students at the dorm whom I had developed a working relationship with when he had tried to restructure the dorm into Communist cells that would strike out at imperialism across the campus. The plan petered out when he was unable to find any.
Hoping to contain the situation without resorting to the use of local law enforcement officers, the president summoned several members of the psychology department, myself, and a prominent member of the Quaker community.
The student’s demands were simple. The prosecution of Nixon, and an incomplete instead of the failing grade he received on a midterm exam in semantics. The psychology department sent its people in first. The bomb went off a few moments later. The exact relationship between the two events is somewhat clouded by the confusion that followed the blast. They appeared to have gone like this:
Upon entering the president’s office, the two professors jumped the student and wrestled him to the floor. This action set off the explosive. The student is now hospitalized, as are the two members of the faculty.
This is a clear example that the use of force in conflict resolution must be tried only when all other options have been exhausted. It is also an example of how too much education can be a dangerous thing.
Received a postcard from Holland of a breach in a dike. Never would have suspected that a picture of muddy water flowing through a large earthworm could elicit such strong emotions. Miss Andy a great deal. Realize that her marriage would make further contact complicated, yet I still find myself thinking about her almost constantly. Find that I am slipping into a feeling of loneliness that I have not experienced since Marie’s death. Alcohol seems to relieve this solitary feeling yet I know that is no answer to the way that I feel. A solution must be found. Although I find myself at a loss as to where I should begin. It is a terrible thing to want something that you know you cannot have.
Traveled home to visit Dad in hopes of picking up my spirits. Found him having lunch with a much younger woman who is a potter and had mud under all her fingernails. Notice that Dad has also begun wearing sandals. It is only a suspicion, but I believe they may be sleeping together.
Far from improving my spirits, this sent me into a dark depression that I still find myself in. I know that I should be happy for my father, and indeed am. But the events only pointed out even more clearly to me that I have for most of my life been a loner, and unless drastic changes occur will remain one.
Am going with Howard, a geology student down the hall, in search of mature and fully formed formations to a local bar. He says I need to get laid in the worst way. Can’t imagine what he thinks the worst way to get laid is, but anything is better than sitting in my room.
From the look of the woman I last saw Howard with, I have every reason to believe that getting laid in the worst way is exactly what he is in for. I am now on my way back to campus alone, but at least disease free, which is something I suspect Howard will soon envy.
For the last several blocks I have been shadowing a man whose actions I believe are criminal in intent. His movements have been those of a predator. At this point I do not believe he is aware of my presence and will continue my surveillance until such a time that it appears unnecessary.
Several seconds of silence.
Dammit, dammit, I’ve lost him.
The exact time of the next entry is unclear.
Oh, God . . . oh, dear God . . . no . . . no . . . no.
__ Chapter __
|“I wasn’t with Dale when he found the body. We had gone to a bar, and I had ended up going home with a woman. From what I remember, Dale had been walking home and started following a man that he thought suspicious. Dale always seemed to have a second sense about that kind of thing. Never have I met anyone in my life who could read people the way he did.
“What he found must have been shocking. The newspapers described it as a stabbing. A young woman. But from the way Dale looked the next morning, I believe it must have been much worse than that. They never solved it. No arrests were ever made. A fact that I do not think was lost on Dale.”
Have not slept all night. The face of the young woman lying in a pool of blood will not let me. The possibility that I may remember something of use to the authorities forces me to reexamine the scene as closely as I can remember it, though I do this with great reluctance. At approximately eleven-thirty I lost sight of the man who . . . check that, there is no evidence that it was a man, that is an assumption on my part.
For the next fifteen minutes I continued in what I could best determine to be the direction the figure had taken. I searched several alleys, and traversed a number of streets to no avail. At what I can only estimate to be eleven forty-five I gave up and proceeded home. It was within two minutes of that time that I came across the body of the victim. She was lying facedown, her clothes partially removed. Multiple stab wounds visible over much of her torso. Her face had been badly beaten.
What I felt at that time I now realize was more than terror or shock. I firmly believe that the killer was within striking distance of myself, and could easily have claimed me as his second victim. This is not intuition. The presence of the killer was as real as the shaking in my hand at this moment. I do not understand the dark forces that result in so much brutality. But I now know that it is a real thing. And is out there at this very moment. I must find someone who can help me to understand and fight this. But who?
I began the evening last night looking for the companionship and warmth that so often seem to elude me. I have now slipped even farther into that lonely place I was trying to escape from.
Woke from a terrible dream and found myself staring at Marie sitting on the corner of my bed. It was not a dream, and yet I cannot compel myself to believe that it was real, though I know in my heart it was.
She spoke not a word though her lips seemed to mouth the word stop. I asked her to help me, and moved closer to her.
She shook her head no and disappeared.
The room seems so very hot. I fear I am losing my mind.
Times of the next entries are again not clear.
I am . . . no. Falling, falling, no, no, don’t touch her don’t touch her . . . Marie? No! Look out! Falling, falling, no! No! The ground! The ground! Coming, coming coming coming.
Woke screaming from a terrible dream and found the gentle hands of a nurse caressing my forehead. I am in the school infirmary, and am told I have been delirious with fever for almost two days. Was found by Howard, screaming in my bed at demons I can now only imagine. I am very tired and want to sleep . . . just sleep.
The gentle face of a nurse is as sure a remedy to infection as the strongest antibiotics. I do not know her name, but if angels do exist, she must be one.
I am back in my rooms. If it is true that dreams are the window into the subconscious, then I fear mine is a troubled place. While judgment is certainly questionable when suffering from a 103-degree fever, I nonetheless find myself believing that it was not merely infection that attacked my body, but somehow the evil that took the life of the young woman and was in striking distance of taking mine.
Does this evil exist in as tangible a form as, say, a germ? Does it float as a feather would on the currents of air that bring life to this world; moving in and out of all our lives, and occasionally taking root on unfortunate souls? If that is true, then the battle that took place within my body was not viral in origin, but a struggle for my very soul. This time I trust I won.
A note on healing. During the moments that I was cognizant enough to take in my surroundings, I found that the color of white worn by nurses seemed to stimulate a constant erection in all the male patients on my floor. My penis was no exception, as it seemed to react without any assistance from parts of my body above the waist. The nurses seemed to take this in stride and treated it very much like they would a radio antenna sending out signals of healing.
Have found a person who, for the first time since my arrival at this institution, I can call my teacher. Her mind is as open and free as that of anyone I’ve ever met. She is poet, scholar, and an archer. She has urged me to find a physical equivalent to the exercises I challenge my mind with so that my entire body will work in unison. She also suggested that I spend less time thinking about death and more time concentrating on living.
Returned home for Christmas. Dad’s potter friend, Charlotte, cooked a goose and gave me a coffee mug she made in the shape of an eggplant.
Have decided that as long as I am home with some free time, I will use the time wisely and undertake to test certain limitations within the human body that I find bothersome.
The first is sleep. Roughly half of our life is spent in the quiet solitude of slumber. Outside of the obvious benefits of dreams and physical rest, I find it to be unacceptable that the same benefits cannot be achieved without such a commitment of time.
I am therefore going to attempt to establish two things. First, the duration for which my body can function effectively without sleep. And second, the minimum amount of sleep required to sustain a high level of operation. Log entries will be made on the hour beginning now.
Feel fine. Mental capacity functioning at a high level. Motor abilities suffering no impairment.
The most challenging problem I anticipate facing is cutting the flow of coffee into my system. The intake of stimulants of any kind would render the exercise useless, so I have decided to forgo coffee for the sake of scientific accuracy. No greater sacrifice has ever been made before in the name of science. Should note that I feel fine and can shuffle one deck of cards in each hand with no loss of proficiency.
Strong and alert.
Whatever happened to Ronald Colman? And what was the name of the fifth Marx brother? Feel strong. Mind functioning at high level.
God spelled backward is dog. Believe the test pattern used in television is similar in its ability to clear the mind to a spinning Tibetan prayer wheel. Last hour completed fifty pushups in sixty seconds. Aside from slight heaviness in the eyelids, feel tip-top.
The first blue hints of the sun are beginning to break on the western, make that eastern horizon. A barbershop quartet just sang the national anthem on the television. Had no difficulty singing along without forgetting any of the words.
Sunrise. All is well.
Feel stronger now that the sun is up. Am convinced that we do not need to spend as much time sleeping as we do. Also believe that peanut butter and bacon have been neglected as food groups, particularly when eaten together.
Am sitting behind the wheel of the family car. Have detected no loss of my driving skills while it does seem that many of the people driving around me have suffered a loss of their driving skills.
The perfection of design that the modern doughnut represents has been overlooked by the academic world. One perfect circle of air-cushioned dough encircling another one of empty space. Few achievements in this century have equaled this level of form marrying function. It should also be noted that they taste damn good.
Feel alert, strong, and fit. Am beginning to think that sleep is much overrated.
Suspected for a short time that there was a man hiding in my closet. Investigations turned up nothing. Believe he slipped out through the window when I was attempting several headstands.
Still no problems. Appears the voice I was hearing in the closet was not a voice at all but echoes from my own chanting as I was doing headstands.
What did ever happen to Ronald Colman?
Noticed first detectable sign that my motor skills are deteriorating. Attempted to tie a bowline around a watermelon and hang it from the ceiling light. The knot slipped and the melon impaled itself on the bedpost. Am pleased to note, however, that there is no reduction in my mental capacity.
Note that sex drive does not appear to be affected by sleep. Penis firm and erect after only seventeen seconds of viewing Miss December.
Think I have made a terrible mistake going to college. Have decided to become a shepherd and spend my days tending to flocks of goats.
Am not sure, but have the strangest feeling that the last hour of my life was burrowed by someone in the animal husbandry business.
Darkness is falling. My mind and body feel strong and alert. Have checked all closets in the house to make sure that none of the little people are hiding in them.
Discovered a watermelon impaled on my bedpost. Dad says that he is worried about me. I told him that all is fine, that Dale is just conducting a small experiment, and that he would be done soon.
I never liked the name Dale. Always wish I had been born an Apache and named Ten Sticks. Why, I do not know.
Counted eighty-three stars in the sky before they began jumping around and hiding behind the moon. Three more hours and I will have proven that sleep is not necessary to a complete and balanced way of life as long as all the closets are locked.
Have drawn a self-portrait of myself. I find my use of line is assured and bold. My drawing touches the inner self that I am only now beginning to understand.
Ninety-nine bottles of beer on the wall, ninety-nine bottles of beer. All is wheel. . . well. I do not like large bugs with wings.
Have now completed forty-eight hours without sleep. My mind is clear. Am now convinced that Lee Harvey Oswald did not act alone in Dallas. It is my belief that a man standing on the sidewalk of the grassy knoll holding an umbrella had a gun concealed in the device. It is also clear to me at this late hour that the death of Marilyn and that of the president were not unconnected. I find as I bring this experiment to a dose that I am very much in command of my faculties. And that the need for sleep is a much overrated assumption.
This is me, Ten Sticks.
Have just gone over my tapes of the previous days. The evidence would seem to speak for itself. I became a public health threat at about the forty-four-hour mark of sleep deprivation.
It should also be noted that as I finally let go of the conscious world and drifted into sleep, the most extraordinary and vivid dreams I believe I have ever experienced flooded my subconscious. I do not seem to remember most of them, but when I woke, the watermelon had been eaten and all the seeds placed inside my pillowcase.
School has started once again. In the continuing effort to better understand the different functions of the mind and body, I have signed up for the school’s winter sports weekend trip to the Poconos. What I seek is a test. A test to probe the working of the mind and its effect on physical activity. Believe I have found the perfect foil for this test.
Fernwood ski area. The ten-meter ski jump. To, if only for one brief moment, soar like the hawk. Have completed all necessary prejump drills. One hour of practice jumping off a soapbox completed without any incidents. Lars, the instructor, assures me that the possibility of a serious, lasting injury is entirely up to me. “Controlling your thinking,” he said, “is the most important element of any successful jump.” I now begin the long climb to the top of the jump. Am struggling to keep the rational side of my brain from panicking and taking control.
As I look down from the top of the chute toward my fate below, a sense of peace has come over me like none I have ever experienced. I have visualized the entire jump in my mind. The long, graceful slide down the chute. The spring in my legs as my skis touch the edge of the jump. The long, graceful descent as the ground falls out from under me. And then the soft flower-petal like landing.
I am ready. Mind and body as one.
Man was not meant to fly. Little in the structure of our bodies should suggest to anyone that flying is even a remote possibility. Believe my mind and body ceased functioning as one soon after my skis crossed at the end of the chute. Technically it can be said that I flew, and, in fact, experienced a moment of freedom unlike any I have ever lived. But it should not be anyone’s intention to fly off a ski jump in the same manner that they would dive into a pool. I did not land as a petal of a flower. Though the manner in which I did land is still not clear to me at this time, I do distinctly remember the sound of myself bouncing at least three times. My tape recorder, which was inside my knapsack, survived the fall as well. I do, however, owe Lars sixty dollars for a new pair of skis.
Will limit my investigations into ground-based activities in the future and leave the air to the birds and Norwegians.
Andy returned from Holland with a renewed interest in the control of fluids. It is not yet clear whether mine are of any interest to her at the moment or not.
Just finished talking with Andy. Her husband fell in love with Holland and decided to stay and help build more dikes. Andy does not expect to see him until he has reclaimed at least one hundred square miles of land from the sea. She then gave me as a present a small book on the Kama Sutra. Believe this may have some bearing on the direction my fluids will be flowing.
Have decided to undertake another study on the limitations of the mind and body. Andy has agreed to assist. Believe her knowledge and experience will be a great asset. We have taken a small motel room just outside of town to conduct the study in.
First phase of study complete. As of this time I find no evidence to support the theory that too much of a good thing can be dangerous. The box score as it now stands is Andy nine, me five. We have ordered out for Chinese in an effort to refortify ourselves. Fully expect to make gains in my deficit as the evening moves along.
Score: Andy twelve, Dale nine. The mind and body began working very well together after the lemon chicken.
Final tally: Andy fourteen, Dale thirteen.
Score was tied at approximately 5:01 A.M. Eastern Standard Time. Would have had little chance of overcoming the deficit without the knowledge of concentration techniques learned on my travels. Suspect also that the rose-scented oil Andy pulled out of her bag had something to do with it.
Am not sure at this moment if I will be able to move by checkout time.
Am aware that the scout law does not approve of sex before marriage. However, I feel that the drafter of that law never took into account the need to explore and expand the boundaries of human sexuality as one would explore a trout-filled stream.
Believe last night I caught a record trout.
Andy just received word that her estranged husband, Tim, was injured when a dike broke, and she has decided to return to Holland and nurse him back to recovery. She then told me that love was not a variable in our relationship. And that she wished me all the best in any future entanglements.
The news that love was not a variable in our relationship came as somewhat of a surprise, both emotionally and semantically. I believe this is what is called being dumped.
Weather man says heavy rain in Holland. Hope it will be very difficult for Andy’s husband to swim with a cast on his leg.
Find the attraction of academics pales in comparison to sex, particularly when one is not getting any.
Have decided to get a degree in anthropology, prelaw, and psychology. May also take a number of art classes taught at Bryn Mawr because the Quakers won’t allow naked models at Haverford.
Am taking the train to New York to undertake a study of the effects of tall buildings on tribal structure. It is my belief that one of the root causes of society breaking down is that people no longer live on a horizontal plane, but a vertical one.
New York. The greatest city in the world. Will begin at Central Park, the green sanctuary, a place of the past, then work my way out to the glass and concrete fortresses that the citizens take shelter in during the night.
Darkness is beginning to fall. The park is peaceful, quiet. A gentle island in the middle of a storm.
Was chased out of the park by a group of marauding lunatics brandishing pipes and clubs. Took shelter in the entryway of a gleaming glass tower. This was an unexpected development. Have a new appreciation for tall glass buildings.
Am moving south of the park through the heart of the city. Have not felt threatened in any way since leaving the park. Could it be that the park represents the primitive beast that is inside all of us? My experience in the Boy Scouts certainly echoes the fact that modern man loses control when set free in a primitive environment. Am beginning to think that the controlled chaos that I see around me now in the streets is much more orderly than nature unchained.
My wallet is gone. I do not know where I am. Believe I am being hunted by an undetermined number of outlaws seeking to do my body great harm. Was attacked several moments after buying a hot dog from a street vendor. Managed to save the tape recorder but am certain that they are still on my trail. Suffered a minor head wound resulting in a small loss of blood and a great deal of homesickness. Why is it you can never find a policeman when you need one? I must keep moving.
Have taken shelter in the loft of a woman who seems to be some kind of an artist. Everything is black. The walls, her paintings, her clothes, her refrigerator.
Was going to remain here until daylight but Lazer’s (the artist) lover showed up and got quite angry that she had taken up with another painter. I attempted to explain that I was not a painter and he accused me of being a performance artist and attacked me with a canvas stretcher. I managed to elude him without any serious damage, but it became dear that it was time to move on. Am now searching for a policeman. Believe I am also lost and that civilization as we know it is quite doomed. Think I may reconsider my major in anthropology.
Seem to have found myself in the middle of a large street celebration. Several hundred people are milling about singing and waving banners in the air. I see a policeman. The ordeal is over.
It should be noted that the difference between a street celebration and a protest may appear small on the surface. However, when one is approaching a mounted policeman to ask for assistance, I would advise the questioner to be sure of the intentions of the group surrounding him.
As the words “I’ve been robbed” left my mouth, a column of mounted policemen charged toward me without any intention of offering assistance at all.
I now find myself sitting in a large cell surrounded by dozens of bearded and sandaled protesters who did not take kindly at all to the charge of the mounted policemen. Am getting the distinct impression from the way the group looks at my black suit that they do not consider me one of their own. I am, however, safe and expect when it is my turn to be booked that I will be able to explain myself to the judge.
The judge suggested that I go back to Philadelphia and stay the hell out of New York. Seems like solid advice. Have concluded that any attempt to understand the human condition through the streets of this city is a hopeless endeavor.
A few thoughts on the hours spent behind bars. Never have I experienced such camaraderie as I did with my fellow prisoners during those hours we spent incarcerated. While it did take some time to convince my cellmates that I was not an informer, once the suspicions melted away, many fruitful hours were spent together singing traditional songs of protest, practicing yoga, and plotting the overthrow of our constitutionally led government, a move that I argued was extreme in design given that they had just failed in their attempt to take over a small coffee house in Chelsea.
__ Chapter __
|“Dale first came to me as a student in a class I teach called Visual Information Processing. It deals with the acquiring, storing, and processing of visual information in memory. Never have I had a student who possessed the raw visualization skills that Dale had.
“From there he took Thinking 3005, My Mind, Your Mind 4001, and Why We Forget 4002. It is my firm belief that he could have gone on to become a brilliant psychologist if he hadn’t taken that internship at the county hospital studying lunatic behavior in average people.
“From there, the hospital, that is, it would have been a small step into a long and brilliant academic career. But something caught his attention there that forever changed his life.”
Have taken an internship at the county hospital to assist in a study of average people who have gone mad. Think this is a great opportunity to look deep into the minds of individuals living their own worst nightmares. Day one is tomorrow.
Find myself hesitant as I stand before this infirmary. Memories of my mother’s death flood my mind. What will I find in there? What is it that I am looking for? Is it true that as a species we are drawn to that one thing that most terrifies and confounds us? I am most excited. But if what I have just said is true, then I am not looking at a hospital. I am standing on the edge of the abyss.
Have met Dr. Perkins, the professor leading the study. He appears to be a serious man of great intensity with a liking for gumdrops. The first patient we will be observing is a former mailman who, while delivering his mail, began to believe that his letter bag was full of disembodied voices asking for his help. He was found hiding under a bridge, where he had attempted to silence the voices by stuffing mud and rocks in his ears. I will call him Allen, though all names have been changed to protect the innocent.
Have just spent an hour with Allen. On the surface he seems as sane as anyone. He became very agitated when one of the other assistants asked him about zip codes and began banging the side of his head against the table to keep the voices quiet. He is forty-three, married, and has two children. Little in the rest of his life points to what snapped in his mind.
Met the second subject of the study. She is nineteen, a student, and in every way a very beautiful young woman. She believes she is possessed by the devil. If it is true the evil I believe exists is a real and palatable force in the world, then this poor creature I am looking at is a living, breathing victim of it.
Am going to try to gain the trust of the study subject who I will call Betty.
Have spent the last two hours with Betty. She showed me her scars and talked of how the world was going to burn. She seems to accept me, though she believes I am an avenging angel who has been sent to destroy her.
Had a quiet lunch of Jell-O with Betty. She seemed to enjoy the sugar a great deal.
Finished my day with Betty, all seemed quiet.
Received a call from Dr. Perkins to meet her at the hospital. Upon arrival I was informed that Betty had somehow gotten a knife and was holding it to the throat of an orderly. She then asked to see me, and the doctor seemed to think that I would be the best one to attempt to talk her out of it. I am now preparing to enter the room. My palms are sweating. I am not at all sure that I am prepared for this. Armed policemen are at the ready to act if necessary.
Shots have been fired, shots have been fired. I counted two . . . maybe three . . . two, I think.
It is not clear what happened yet. Betty suffered wounds. The orderly is unhurt. As she was being wheeled out I could hear Betty saying “I’m free.” What does that mean? I wonder.
The mind is the most unknown frontier. It seems strange that we have explored so many physical wonders in and out of this world and yet we cannot penetrate our own minds.
As I understand it, Betty has died from her wounds. What was it that she was feeling when she said “I’m free”? Was it the same presence that I sensed when I found the murdered woman? Is there a beast? I do not know, and how does one fight it?
Have been attempting to concentrate on studies. Test scores are good. Personal morale high. Still trying to sort out the nature of the illness that affected Betty. Have found no satisfactory answers to this question. This may be the greatest puzzle I have and will ever face.
Howard has suggested that I get out and go to a rock concert with him. Having never been to one, I decided to take him up on the opportunity. Have the distinct impression that Howard has plans to chemically alter his mind. Should also note that I believe President Nixon is conspiring in a cover-up and that the path he has taken can lead only to impeachment.
I am looking into a mirror as I talk to make sure my mouth is moving because I apparently have lost the ability to hear. Believe Howard had an out-of-body experience, at least his driving on the way home gave that impression.
There are two things I believe my life is beginning to point toward and focus on. The existence of good. And that of evil. These appear to be the two most important fundamental questions affecting daily life. The question, then, is how does one engage these two opposing forces? Evil is something that I seem to have had no trouble at all engaging. Good, and the form it takes, is a more elusive quest.
Spring . . . Nothing can buoy the spirit as the fresh buds of trees. A skirt blowing in a gentle breeze. The pursuit of love. I find that I am enormously horny. The pursuit of good, when combined with raging hormones, is a powerful force indeed. I would very much like to walk hand in hand with a beautiful woman who I am deeply in love with. Lie in the grass and talk of everyday things as if they were happening only to us. Look across a candlelit table at eyes reflecting every emotion in the dictionary. I think of the moments spent with Andy and can’t help but feel they were not at all what they could have been if we had been deeply in love. On the other hand, they were passionate in the extreme and provided a wonderful learning opportunity for someone with limited tactical experience. The test now is to find that one person. An age-old question that no one ever seems to have the answer to.
Howard seems to have found love. I let him use my rooms for most of the afternoon for a liaison with an accounting major from Bryn Mawr. Meanwhile I drink enormous amounts of coffee and read up on average people going insane.
The pagan rituals and rites of spring have a logic that no religion seems to have understood. A May Day celebration took place at Bryn Mawr today. Young women in robes crowned with garlands of flowers celebrating the coming of new growth merrily danced around tall poles decorated with brightly colored streamers.
Couples seemed to pair up as naturally as forest creatures. The dancing seemed to build in intensity. Someone started to bang a drum and sing. Groups of people began to shed their clothes and proclaim that they were free. The campus police moved in and changed their minds. Though I found their arguments lacking any compelling reason other than misdemeanor law, I soon complied with the rest of the dancers.
Have never before danced naked with a large group of strangers. I, in general, would endorse it as an icebreaker to the shy and reserved of the world. I met several very nice women who wrote their phone numbers on my thigh with a Magic Marker. Though it is strange that I don’t seem to remember what any of them looked like naked. Where was it, I wonder, that I was looking? I seem to remember a breast here, a knee there, a foot, a shoulder, a neck. But none of them seem to add up to one entire body.
Have an opportunity to attend an autopsy at a local medical school. Jumped at the chance. Leaving in minutes.
Am seated in a gallery above an operating theater. Around me are a number of medical students. We look down on a male cadaver of approximately thirty years of age, no visible signs that would point to the cause of death.
The doctor is now opening the victim with a long incision beginning at the top of the sternum and proceeding down to the groin area. He has taken out what appear to be garden clippers and is cutting the sternum; the sound of bone snapping is not unlike that of a lobster claw being opened up. A student just passed . . . put pressure on the cut . . . no, I am not a doctor . . . it is just my opinion, but there seems little hope that you will ever be one either if you tie that around the neck.
The autopsy is continuing. The doctor has opened and folded back the torso, exposing a magical, if slightly repulsive, sight. The jumble of multicolored soft tissue is the machine we call the human body.
The doctor is moving to the subject’s head. A small electrical saw is beginning to cut into the skull, moving around in a halo pattern just above the ear. The saw rounds the back of the head; the faint odor of bone can be detected. There it is. The doctor has Lifted the top of the skull off like the lid of a jar. The brain sits like an egg in the shell. The many folds of tissue swirl around the two hemispheres. What secrets they must hold. And what is it that gives one brain genius, another insanity, and one life and the other death? I have never witnessed anything like this before.
A strange man stands outside of my building, looking up at my window. He appears to be painted blue. Am not sure what it is that he wants.
A thorough search outside produced no blue man and no evidence that he was ever there. I wonder what he wanted. The end of the year is approaching, summer is ahead. Dad has decided to marry the potter in Las Vegas and has asked me to come to be his best man. Would not miss it.
It was job day on campus. Picked up brochures from the Peace Corps, and FBI.
Las Vegas. The wedding will be tomorrow morning in the little red chapel. Dad and Charlotte are presently taking in a show called “Nudes on Ice.” Am not sure what it is the nudes do on ice, but Dad has very fond memories of taking me to the Ice Capades when I was small, so he could not pass it up.
Think I will take in one of the many opportunities to gamble. The training I received from Uncle Al when I was small should come in very handy.
For some reason, the management of the casinos has asked me not to come back to their tables ever again. They seem to be under the impression that the technique of card counting is a form of cheating and were in no mood to accept my argument that it was a simple form of mathematics.
I will give the two thousand dollars I won to Dad and Charlotte as a wedding present.
The little red chapel. A small red building surrounded by stones and fake grass. Our party followed one of a young pregnant woman and a sailor with both hands in casts.
The ceremony was presided over by the honorable L. B. Johnson. An aged man and his enormous wife who charged fifty cents for every Polaroid she took of the happy couple. Dad got three. I then paid for the ceremony and tipped L. B. a little extra for the record of the organ music. The happy couple took off for Reno, where they expect to spend several days digging for red clay and gambling.
Believe I will spend the rest of the day at Hoover Dam.
J. Edgar would be proud to be associated with such a large, immovable structure as this dam, holding back the progress of this mighty river.
Back at Haverford. Am undertaking a number of independent projects the rest of the summer which would allow me to graduate early. Interesting note. Saw the blue man outside my window again last night.
Woke in the middle of the night with a terrible sense of loss. Am not sure, but I wonder if it could be connected to the fact that my old bedroom at my father’s house has been turned into a pottery studio by Charlotte.
My sense of isolation became overwhelming earlier in the evening. I cannot help but remember that it was on this day that Marie and I watched fireworks. The boom of the rockets overhead only increases my sense that a soul alone will forever be restless. Not even a large piece of pie and a cup of coffee down at the Lunch Pal restaurant could lift this fog. Studies seem of little use. Need a change.
I am in a small cave overlooking a small river in the northern portion of the state. I have sat alone for some twelve hours now without moving, lost in mind-clearing techniques. At the back of the cave a small set of deep-red eyes has been watching me for many hours. I do not know what kind of creature it is. My mind is fresh from the many hours of deep meditation. Have a strong sense that I was once in this cave before, huddled over an open fire, wearing animal skins, and cooking a small goat. Believe the red eyes belong to a very large bat.
I was correct, it was a large bat – make that an enormous bat. Am heading back to town.
Have mailed all my Nixon buttons back to the White House.
Given the general lack in government to perform in an admirable and honest manner, I am leaning toward a career in the private sector. Should note, however, that I am not sure who it is that one should talk to and how you find the private sector.
Dad called today and told me that I was going to have a little brother or sister. Am speechless.
Dad called me today and told me that I was not going to have a little brother or sister. Said he found out that he has become sterile. Says that I can have my old room back, but that I would have to clean the clay off the floor by myself.
Charlotte has run off with a photographer. She said they were going to call the baby after my father. Am going over tomorrow to see how Dad is coping with the loss. He said he was fine and that I should throw the coffee mug Charlotte made for me out the goddamn window. I think he may need some time.
Am with Dad. As best as I can remember, we started drinking sometime around noon. He seems much happier since he passed out. Am quite sure that I am about to throw up.
The tapes for the next nine months were destroyed in a fire that started when an electric blanket ignited.
Had a small problem with electricity. Lost all tapes for the previous nine months, two pairs of shoes, one suit, four ties, and a length of rope. Otherwise all is well. Will try to summarize the lost period in as short a way as possible.
Dad is much better. Charlotte gave birth to a boy on the day the divorce came through. I was fit and well for most of that period except for one bout of melancholia lasting five days in March due in large part to my inability to find that one person with whom I would like to share a life.
Will miss very much the tape Howard and his girlfriend made of themselves making love as Nixon gave his resignation speech. It is a moment in history that I would have liked to have in my collection.
Am attempting to discover how long an individual can function normally without urinating while consuming a normal amount of liquid. Will now drink six ounces of hot coffee.
All systems normal. Drinking six more ounces of coffee.
No impairment. Consumed six more ounces.
Detected a slight sense of fullness during my Medieval Epics class. Reluctantly drank six more ounces.
Had a great deal of trouble concentrating in my psych class on stress and bodily disease. Am passing on liquid for the next hour.
Seem to have reached a plateau.
Believe I have seen the mountaintop and am careening down its slopes.
Debate grows as to whether I am functioning normally. I unfortunately am also thirsty. Consuming six more ounces.
Everywhere I go I seem to be seeing drinking fountains.
Will attempt one more hour.
I strangely feel much better. Consumed a large glass of milk.
I think I have a problem.
Urination lasted a full two minutes. Can safely say that they were the two most satisfying minutes I have ever spent in my short life. If it were not for the pain inflicted on oneself to reach the ten-hour mark, I would highly recommend it as a substitute for sex.
Believe I may have been premature in my suggestion that urination may be a good substitute for sex. Met a Bryn Mawr student today who knows more about coffee than any individual I have ever met. I drank two cups of Colombian roast and she had one cup of a Guatemalan blend. Never realized the oils were such an important component of a truly superior brew. We plan on coffee again tomorrow after her class on Shame and Mother. Have high hopes that Lena may be what I’ve been looking for.
Met Lena after class for coffee. Tried several new blends, then went for a long walk that ended when she told me that she was very much interested in seeing me again, but that I would have to understand that she had taken a vow of celibacy, and that she would and could not break that vow until she came to terms with her mother.
I told her that I understood, but that I also thought very few people ever come to terms with their mothers, and that there was no telling what one could miss in the meantime. We then finished off the afternoon with a cup of strong Cuban coffee, a discussion of her Fear and Anxiety class, and a very passionate kiss that seemed to make her feel guilty.
Don’t know what to do.
Can’t sleep. Want very much to make love to Lena. Convinced I am a ticking bomb that could detonate at any moment. Am not sure what atrocities her mother is guilty of but feel very strongly that a war crimes trial would be too good for her.
Had high hopes when Lena told me she had had a breakthrough. Unfortunately it was about her father and not her mother.
Felt for certain that Lena and I were on our way to something after she made a model of her mother hanging up laundry and ran over it with her Volkswagen. Things got very passionate immediately following the hit-and-run but Lena soon broke down in despair and renewed her pledge of celibacy.
Have finished summer session, and against my better judgment have agreed to accompany Lena on a visit to her parents in Hershey. We leave at dawn.
The trail of tears begins.
Have been assigned to the hideaway couch in Lena’s brother Todd’s room. Had a very good ham for dinner and talked a great deal about trout fishing with her father, Bill. Never in my life have I met as charming a woman as Lena’s mother, Joan. Smart, beautiful, intelligent.
It was just as I was coming in to bed when Lena told me that her mother had slept with the only boyfriend she had ever had the courage to introduce to her parents, and that I should be very careful not to get up and go to the bathroom during the night because that was when it happened last time.
Looks like my urination experiment is going to come in handy. Wonder what Joan meant when she said she would see me later.
Hear footsteps in the hall . . . moving this way . . . oh, no.
The events of the past few hours are only now beginning to sink into my consciousness. Where the line between reality and fantasy is drawn is today not as clear as it was yesterday at this time. At approximately 2 A.M. I detected the sound of footsteps in the hall outside my room. For several minutes they walked up and down the hallway outside my door, giving me the impression that the walker was deep in thought and was attempting to come to some kind of a decision.
At 2:02 A.M. a decision was made, and someone slipped a key into my door and opened it. What follows is the audio fragment of what happened next. Mine is the first voice heard.
“Dale, it’s me, Joan.”
“I thought we should talk.”
“Mind if I sit down?”
The precise cause and nature of the fire that erupted in the garage at that exact moment is still under investigation by the fire marshal. I do seem to remember hearing a small pop, though that may have been one of the springs on the bed as Joan sat down and smiled.
One can only imagine the extent of the disaster that was avoided at that moment. It is a shame that more houses are not equipped with the kind of fire prevention equipment and emergency plan that the Frasers have in theirs. In three quick minutes the flames were extinguished, the fire department called, and my bed evacuated without incident by both myself and Joan.
I have decided it would be safer in a number of respects to spend the remaining hours of darkness locked in the car away from any possible inflammatory sources.
We arrived safely, if not without incident, back at Haverford. After a breakfast of very crisp bacon and toast we said our good-byes to Lena’s parents. Lena told her mother how sorry she was that so many of her best clothes had been lost in the flames.
It is difficult to describe the feeling that comes over an individual when he discovers that his girlfriend is an arsonist. While I admit to having had some suspicions at the time of the blaze, one is never quite prepared for meeting this kind of truth head-on. I believe it was Holmes who said that truth is often arrived at by two roads pointing in very different directions.
It was shortly after we left the city limits of Hershey that the strong odor of gasoline began to fill the car. Fearing an explosion, I pulled to the side of the road to investigate. It was at that precise moment the roads to arson and celibacy reached their destination.
“I’m ready,” said Lena.
I inquired as to what she was ready for, and she responded by saying that she was ready to return to the sexual world. I then inquired as to whether she was making a general statement about a world view or if she was speaking specifically about this moment in time.
“Now,” she responded. “Right now.”
It was then that I realized her clothes were the source of the gasoline. Only with a great deal of luck did the frantic events of the next several minutes not set them and us ablaze. What I remember is fragmentary at best. I seem to recollect getting my foot stuck on the car horn. The seat back on the driver’s side broke. The parking brake slipped and Lena experienced her first orgasm in many years as the car plunged down a small embankment toward a herd of what I now can identify as Angus beef cattle.
Neither Lena nor the car came to a halt until a very large, nearsighted bull put one of his horns through our radiator. The discussion that followed with the owner of the bull about our presence in his field touched on such diverse topics as fat percentage in hamburger, gravity, fence-post digging, and workmanship in American cars which we all agreed had declined in quality over the last several years. The remainder of the drive home after repairing the radiator was uneventful, though Lena did mention a desire to find a nice warm fireplace that we could make love in front of. A thought I find both exciting and more than a little dangerous.
Got a call from Lena’s mother telling me that Lena has voluntarily checked into a hospital to undergo psychiatric evaluation.
Visited Lena today. She seemed cheerful, happy, and for the most part normal. We talked for about thirty minutes about a wide variety of topics. Would have felt much better about the visit if she could have remembered who I was.
Lena was released from the hospital today. Saw her for a brief moment as she got into her parents’ car. She now seems to think that I am her brother Todd. I do not understand what it is about the choices I have made with women but they all seem to have been disasters. All I can do now is pray that Lena returns to the vital person that I once knew and that I experience a greater degree of luck in my relationships than I have had up to present.
Have come to the conclusion that I am suffering from a form of curse that I remember seeing in certain suffering individuals on my travels after high school. Am quite aware that the Western mind will not allow itself to believe in anything outside the world of fact. But I am now convinced that the many disastrous relationships I have experienced have not been a result of chance. I must seek out a healer.
Do not think the Catholics quite have a handle on what my problem may be. Spent several hours with a priest, who suggested that I was suffering from an extreme form of guilt brought on by impure thoughts. His solution was that I convert to Catholicism and subscribe to the parish newspaper for $16.50 a month. I asked him if there might be a less expensive solution to my problem, and he said salvation was much like real estate, that if I wanted a cheap piece of property that would not hold its value over the long term, I should talk to the Protestants.
Sought out the Protestants. Their newspaper cost $17.00 a month and they accused the Catholics of using cheap paper. Found no answers.
I Found an Islamic holy man who said that I should have come to him first because there was nothing he could do for me after I’ve been exposed to the Catholics and Protestants.
Spent most of the night with a Sioux Indian holy man. When I told him of my problem, he burst into laughter. Said that was the best joke he had heard in weeks, and that I reminded him of a horse his brother had had as a child that was so afraid of breaking a leg in a gopher hole that it would walk only on roads and that it got hit by a truck. Believe I feel much better, though I’m not entirely sure why.
Three severed fingers were found in the biology building this morning. They appear to belong to a man, probably engaged in manual labor given the hair, calluses, and dirt under the fingernails. Was able to examine them for a number of minutes before the police arrived to handle the investigation.
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|“Dale and I went down to this job fair at the civic center. I think it was on a Saturday because I remember waking up in a church the next morning. As I remember, I went to most of the electronics firms that had booths because I had dropped a hit of acid and they had these really great-looking displays with all these wires and lights.
“I think it was one of those times when Dale was searching for something he could really lock into. School had ceased to be a challenge. Women never quite worked out. I think seeing the FBI booth sparked something in him that had been kindling for a long time.
“What I’ve never been able to figure out about that evening was how I ended up enlisting in the army.
Capt., U.S. Army
Have a feeling Howard has made a big mistake. Don’t think he understood what those radar screens he was looking at were really about.
As I’m sitting here in my room, I find that a fire has been rekindled in me that was lost over the past several years. Spent over an hour with a special agent at the FBI booth. His name is Windom Earle, a man of uncommon intelligence. After talking with him I now believe I may have been looking to understand evil intellectually as a substitute for confronting it head-on.
Howard very depressed. Told his parents that he has enlisted in the army and they cut off paying his expenses for school. Tomorrow I head home for a quiet Christmas with Dad.
Received a letter from Lena. She has married her high school sweetheart in Hershey. Apologized for her lack of balance over the months we were together but said she was much better now that the doctors have her dosages correct.
Am going to attempt to look up several of the members of the 24th Street gang that stole my tape recorder when I was thirteen as a way of tracking their development. Have located the first individual working at a garage not far from their old hangout. Will visit him tomorrow.
Am standing outside Don and Jim’s Body Shop, where I am to meet Ted, the former tape-recorder thief. Little has changed from the way I remember this area as a child. Time seems to have had no effect. The stores are the same, the shopkeepers. I find it interesting that so much has happened to me in the intervening years. Is it possible that some people live an entire life without ever experiencing change?
Believe I see Ted walking in my direction.
In my arrogance I assumed that geography was necessary for lives to travel many paths. How wrong I was. Ted has spent many of the last seven years confined to a prison cell the size of a small bedroom. Yet in all my so-called experience, never have I been forced to face the brutality of truth the way he has.
In prison at sixteen on a manslaughter conviction, he was raped, brutalized, stabbed. He is now married, holds two jobs, and is studying to become an accountant. I asked if there was one defining moment that helped to turn his life around. He recalled watching a snowstorm during his first year in prison.
“They were those big snowflakes,” he said. “The kind kids catch on their tongues.”
He had been raped three times earlier on that same day. Will look up another member of the gang tomorrow.
It is cold and gray. Am to meet the other member on the corner where I now stand. There’s a big . . . wait . . . I think I’ve made a big mistake . . . Damn.
The second member of the gang is apparently still quite active in it. I am speaking from a hospital bed, where I am now resting comfortably from a blow to the head. The doctors say I will be fine but want to keep me overnight for observation. The events of the day as best I can remember them went like this. At approximately 8 A.M. the subject of my inquiry showed up in a late-model sedan accompanied by two of his fellow travelers. Sensing that I might have made a severe lapse in judgment, I attempted to leave the scene via an alley but was cut off and invited to join them in their car for a tour of the city. It was at that moment that I received the first blow to my head.
Many of the events after that are sketches at best. I remember a woman of Latin origin singing and swinging a small bell. I distinctly remember being struck several more times. The smell of lemons. A bottle being broken. And the word fuck being used regularly.
How I managed to escape is still not entirely clear either. I think a struggle erupted between two members of the gang that involved knives. I seem to remember someone yelling “cut him” and another yelling “clean.” At that point the Latin woman took me into another room, where she started dancing in a circle and kicking me with a gold high-heel shoe.
While I firmly believe that striking a woman is not ethical conduct, exceptions have to be made. I think I laid her out with one to the jaw. At that point, another gang member stepped into the room, holding a rag to a knife wound on his cheek, and I hit him on the ear with a very large round object which I cannot identify. It is strange the way life works, but at the exact moment my second abductor was collapsing to the floor, I realized how rewarding a career in law enforcement might be. Not wanting to spoil a good thing, however, I jumped out of a window and ran like hell.
How exactly I got to the hospital I do not know, though the image of a very bright light and the sound of the wind seem to be strong in my mind. My ears ring and I am very tired.
Dad brought me home and surprised me by making a fruitcake for me. Tried to call Special Agent Earle to ask him to send application papers, but he has gone back into the field and I was unable to reach him. Am quite certain I am now headed in the right direction. Head feeling much better.
Dad is bankrupt. Toyed with the idea of printing his own money but I managed to talk him out of it. The creditors gave him the choice of giving up the print shop or giving up the house. He told me after the second bottle of champagne that he has decided the house was the one to go.
I find my emotions very confused at the moment. The sense of loss is as real as what I experienced when Mom died. Dad apparently will move into a small apartment above the print shop. Has asked me to go through my things and decide what I would like to keep and what will have to be let go.
Have made the following decisions on the disposition of my worldly goods. Will keep the following: hammer, screwdriver set, picture and letter from J. Edgar Hoover, picture of Efrem Zimbalist, a pack, folding knife, boots, several small round rocks, picture of Mom and Dad, scout manual, waterproof matches, baseball card of Duke Snyder, compass, milk bottle, duct tape, my suits, various articles of clothing for changing weather conditions, world map, copy of Moby-Dick, small photo of Marie, and a warm hat.
Don’t think I’ve left anything out. These items should pretty well cover any contingencies I may encounter in the future, both emotional and physical.
Have moved Dad into the apartment above the print shop. He took one of the aluminum awnings off the front of the house and hung it above his bed. The bank has taken everything else. Feel as if I’ve headed out to sea without a port to return to. . . . In an odd way this may be very liberating.
Am completing final tests for early graduation. The application papers for the Bureau are ready to go as soon as I get the sheepskin. Feel myself totally focused. Find that sex is entering my thoughts only three or four times a day instead of the normal hourly preoccupation.
One year short of the eligibility age for acceptance into the Bureau, Dale made only two recordings over the next year. His exact whereabouts during this time are unknown.
I am not sure of the day. Wish I had brought along a pair of rubber shoes.
Evil does have a face.
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Philadelphia. Tomorrow I will take the written test for acceptance into the Bureau.
Completed written test in record time according to the people at the Bureau. The next step is an interview by two special agents and a background check.
Interview completed. Discussion centered on both the factual and philosophical. Both agents seemed very impressed with my autographed picture of Mr. Hoover.
All systems go. Report to the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia, the first of September. Will use the intervening time to go into the Poconos to prepare myself in body and spirit.
Spent the evening listening to a very bad Jewish comedian to toughen myself mentally for the tests ahead. Tomorrow will head into the wilderness with two matches, a knife, a length of string, and a paper clip.
The stars are as bright as I can ever remember seeing them. Had a fine dinner of wild mushrooms, greens, and a trout caught on the paper clip. A blanket of pine needles will keep me warm through the night.
I now am beginning to understand that my life and all its seemingly random events have been pointing me in the direction I am now heading. I must not, and will not, accept anything less than complete success on the mission I am about to embark on. For the next twenty-four hours I will fast, and after that the journey will begin.
Would very much like a large piece of pie.
Spending a few days with Dad before heading off to Virginia. The business seems to be on the rebound since he sold the remaining stock of moon maps to the National Geographic.
Received a letter from my brother, Emmet. He called me a tool of the establishment and said that I would rot in hell. . . . It was good to hear from him.
Quantico, Virginia. Was sworn in with the rest of the class upon arrival. Will begin instruction in legal procedures, physical fitness, and firearms use in the morning.
A word on the campus. A more serene, orderly setting could not be imagined for the purpose of battling evil than the Virginia countryside. My roommate for the next fourteen weeks is John Lewis, a Kentuckian, and, I suspect, a fine shot. Imagine he will be among the top contenders for class honors.
Was right about John’s marksmanship abilities. He and the instructor almost outpointed me with the pistol in the standing combat position until I realized the weapon I was using had a defect in the way the bullet rotated in the barrel. Adjustments were made and I completed the round with six straight bull’s-eyes.
Crime can be broken down into three simple categories: crimes of passion, crimes for gain, and crimes of insanity. The first step of solving a crime is determining which of these categories the offense falls within. Crimes of passion and gain are the simplest to identify. The motives are clear. The crime that is a result of insanity is another matter entirely. It can, and often does, manifest itself as either of the other two. There is no more focused mind than the one that has created its own reality. And for that reason, it is the insane criminal who is to be feared more than any other. There is no gray area in madness. It is an absolute form of twisted truth.
Investigated our first simulated crime scene, which I will try to reconstruct here.
The scene, a motel room where a kidnap suspect was thought to be held. Upon entering, no individuals were found inside. The bed appeared to have been slept in by one person, a man with short brown hair. Fibers found on the carpet suggested to me that the victim had been tied to a chair, where she had been fed french fries . . . the presence of which I detected by the lingering odor of animal fat, and several spots of grease on the carpet where the fries must have rested. It was, I believe, the last meal she ever ate. An opinion not shared by any of the other students. The evidence for murder, I believe, can be found on the pillow and the bed. Aside from the short brown hairs of the kidnapper, several small holes were found on the pillow that could have been made only by the teeth of someone who was being smothered. Lab tests, I believe, will also show traces of saliva on the pillowcase, and traces of urine on the bedcover, where the victim lost control of her bladder as she was being attacked.
The results of our analysis, and their accuracy, will be revealed in the morning.
Right on the button.
The firing of a machine gun is a sobering experience.
Studied the case history of Eugene L. Motts, an extortionist who would have made off with three million dollars except for one mistake. He bought his wife flowers. An event she found so out of character that she became suspicious that he was having an affair and hired a private detective to follow him. The detective found no woman, just a bus station locker full of money. The moral of the story is that no change in behavior, no matter how small, can ever be overlooked when investigating a crime.
Spent the afternoon in Defensive Tactics and Physical Training class. Am getting quite good at being thrown against the wall by the drill instructor.
There is one woman in the class. A person of great drive, beauty, and excellent marksmanship. She is to be my partner in a simulated raid during a hostage situation tomorrow.
The events of the past hour force me to examine whether I have made the correct decision in entering the academy. Nothing can be as grave a matter as the loss of your partner’s life in law enforcement. If this had not been simulation, Agent Robin would now be dead, and I responsible.
Have gone over the events of this morning time and time again and have come up with the same results every time. My attraction for Robin clouded my judgment and events spun out of control, resulting in what would have been a fatal shooting of my partner. Never again can I allow my guard to be lowered because of personal weakness on my part.
Spent several hours sitting alone in the hall of honor, where agents who have been killed in action are memorialized. As I was preparing to leave, I found that I was not alone. Robin was also there. The attraction I feel for her is a mutual one. But given the present situation, we both realize that no action can be taken on either of our parts. It just isn’t the right time, or place.
Dale made only one more tape during his training at the academy.
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Had a turkey dinner of what I think was gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and a green thing the best minds of the FBI could not identify. The pumpkin pie was a particular disappointment.
This is Special Agent Dale Cooper of the FBI speaking. Feel as proud and fulfilled as any moment I’ve experienced in my life. Am speaking into a new pocket-size recorder that Dad brought down and gave to me as a graduation present.
Lost valedictorian honors to Robin, who is the first woman agent ever to achieve that distinction. She nudged me out with her masterful use of the machine gun. Will find out tomorrow where I am going to be assigned.
Have received my assignment. In one week I report to the field office in Pittsburgh, assigned to the violent crimes task force. Have said good-bye to the many new friends I’ve made. Robin is headed out to San Francisco to work in drug interdiction. We went for a long walk on the gun range, firing several rounds each; a draw was called. Another time, another moment, things might have been different. For now, one very memorable kiss and six short rounds from our service revolvers is all that we will have to remember. I hope she will be safe, and that our paths will cross again another time.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Have rented a small apartment over a bakery. Nothing like the smell of freshly baked doughnuts as you wake up. Report to the field office tomorrow. Gun clean, badge polished, suit pressed.
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|“I remember meeting Cooper for the first time because he had the cleanest gun I’ve ever seen.”|
FBI Special Agent
Never realized crime generated so much paperwork. Spent my first day on the job behind a desk, sifting through mountains of waste left over by the last agent in my position. Disappointed that I was not able to bring anyone to justice on my first day. I have been assigned a secretary. Her name is Diane. Believe her experience will be of great help. She seems an interesting cross between a saint and a cabaret singer.
Selected tapes throughout Agent Cooper’s FBI career have been subject to censoring for reasons of security.
Have just received word of a kidnapping in the town of Perrysville. I think this one’s for real, my first case.
Diane, I’m looking down at a small yellow blanket with elephants on it. It lies on the ground outside the window from which little Chris Roe, eight years old, was taken from her home. No messages for ransom have as yet been received. And no one in the house remembers hearing anything out of the ordinary last night.
Two sets of footprints were found in the snow outside the window. One a pair of workboots with a rippled sole, the other a pair of inexpensive loafers. The trail led a quarter of a mile down the road to where they met the tracks of a car with well-worn tires. There are no fingerprints; the only physical evidence of the abductors is the butt of a cigarette that was smoked when they reached the car.
Those are the facts. What they don’t say is that no amount of training can prepare one for the reality of this kind of crime.
Diane, in the snow next to where the cigarette butt was located, a small black mustache hair was found. It is not much, but a start.
Diane, I hope that you will not mind that I address these tapes to you even when it is clear that I am talking to myself. The knowledge that someone of your insight is standing behind me is comforting. The Roe house is quiet now. We wait for the phone call that we know must be coming.
Diane, passed the long night without any word.
Diane, have discovered that the tobacco contained in the cigarette found near the getaway car is of an unusual origin. Have located two tobacco shops in the surrounding communities and am on my way there now. Still no word from the kidnappers.
Diane, am outside the Petrini Smoke and Book Shop. Please look into the bank records of the owner of the shop, a Steven Petrini, to see if there are any financial difficulties at present. My instinct, and his black mustache, tells me there is. Am also sending some tobacco to the lab to see if it’s a match.
No doubt our bookseller is one of the kidnappers, Diane. That was a match on the tobacco. Have a tap on his phone now and are waiting for them to make their move. His accomplice appears to be a beekeeper named Tess with a reading habit. He’s visited the shop four times in the last hour.
They’ve made their move, Diane, and are asking for $100,000. Apparently the trade in poetry books is not what it once was. The only question that remains now is whether the little girl is alive and where. The father is to drop the money at a site that he will receive over a CB radio, and will then be given directions to his daughter’s location.
All units are moving, shots have been fired at the tobacco shop. I’m going for the little girl.
Diane, I have seen things today that no man should ever see. The little girl is safe and alive, but no child should ever go through the ordeal she has. What memories will haunt her for the rest of her life can only be imagined.
I found her chained to a tree, a cold and frightened animal. Other than suffering from exposure, she had not been harmed in any way physically. Time will tell how the rest of her wounds heal. The monsters who carried out this act are in custody. Both will have plenty of time to read where they will be spending the next twenty years.
I had hoped, Diane, that the successful conclusion of my first case would give me a sense of satisfaction like none I’ve ever experienced save for a moment I spent with a Bryn Mawr student near a faculty barbecue. Sadly, I feel for the most part empty. The sight of a scared and frightened child chained like an animal is too fresh in my mind. Perhaps tomorrow I will allow myself a moment of satisfaction. . . . Perhaps not. Good night, Diane.
Diane, please make a note to the procurement division about the coffee they now supply the Bureau with. Until coming to this office I had never met a bean I didn’t like. I can only wonder what hellhole of a government surplus warehouse they unearthed this blend from, and what war it was captured in.
Diane, I am standing in the basement of an abandoned tenement building. The floor is dirt. What appear to be several fresh graves are lined up in a row. Extending out of one of these is a hand. It appears to be female, there is a thin silver band on the ring finger. Forensics is on the way and will begin the excavation.
I am quickly realizing that reality is quickly outdistancing the worst my imagination can conjure.
Diane, what do you know about a special agent named Albert Rosenfelt, and why is he so angry?
There are three bodies, Diane. All appear to be female between the ages of sixteen and thirty. The cause of death is as yet undetermined. Whatever could have done this, Diane, I can’t imagine it was entirely human.
I fear the force at work here is the same one I encountered while at Haverford. I have not expressed this to anyone. The recognition that evil exists as an entity outside our understanding of life is not official policy of the Bureau.
The file on this case remains active; all tapes pertaining to it have been withheld.
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A new special agent arrives tomorrow to head the Pittsburgh office. His name is Windom Earle. I believe we have met before.
To my surprise, Agent Earle remembered our meeting at the job fair. Said he has been following my progress since the day I arrived at the academy, and has not been disappointed. I suspect there is much I can learn from this man.
Mr. Baldini, the owner of the bakery downstairs, has taken to leaving a bear claw at my door every morning. Must remember to buy his wife a nice big sausage.
Diane, am positioned outside of the Eastern Savings and Loan. Two suspects are inside, holding an undetermined number of hostages. A policeman lies dead on the pavement outside the front door. We are prepared to move if – That was a shot! Dammit!
Diane, I would like very much right now not to be a law enforcement officer. I would like to be in a high meadow in the Himalayas, living only for and within the moment. I took a life today. The events were as follows. Two suspects holding six hostages were holed up in an office inside the bank. We were positioned at the back, front, and roof doors of the building. One policeman lay dead. For reasons still unclear, one of the suspects put his gun to the head of the bank president and fired one round, killing him instantly. We then reacted. I was part of the entry team on the back door. The front-door team had to retreat because of heavy gunfire from the suspects. The roof team was blocked by a fire door inside the building and did not complete a successful entry.
Windom and I were the only two agents to get inside without resistance. I engaged one suspect as he walked out of the office firing a pistol in the direction of the front door. My written report states that he was ordered to freeze and drop his weapon. He did not. I fired two rounds from a service shotgun, striking him in the chest with both. The suspect fired one round into the floor and collapsed. The other suspect then surrendered without further resistance.
It was never my intention or goal when entering the Bureau to take life, but rather to protect and save it. I have crossed a bridge that no training can prepare one for, and I do not know where this bridge leads. As is customary whenever deadly force is used, I have been given several days off to come to grips with the events. Windom has invited me to his house tomorrow for dinner and a game of chess.
Called Dad and told him about the events of the day. I could detect sadness in his voice. He knows that I am now a member of a club that no thinking, feeling person would ever wish to join. He had no words for me, because he knows none exist that can speak of the feelings I’m now experiencing.
Received flowers from Diane and an assortment of half a dozen doughnuts from Mr. Baldini. Slept very badly, could feel the kick of the shotgun on my shoulder all night long.
I have much to learn about the game of chess. Windom beat me in seven moves. His wife, Caroline, is a remarkable woman. During a private moment together she told me about the first time Windom was forced to use his weapon, and that she hoped I would not let it affect my life the way it did Windom’s. I wonder what she meant.
As part of the post-shooting guidelines, I spent an hour today with a Bureau psychiatrist to discuss the incident. I strongly suspect that the shrink was an emotionally isolated child who may have grown up with animals in a cave.
I find myself assigned to desk duty with no hope of escape in the immediate future. It may have been a mistake to suggest to the psychiatrist that he reconcile with his father and stop blaming his mother for his attraction to other men.
I believe I have encountered my first real mystery without a solution. How do they get the little snowflakes inside paperweights?
Diane, I have just woken from a dream that I fear is far more than random synapses discharging electrodes into my subconscious. In it a man with no legs is sitting across from me in a green chair. For a moment he says nothing, then begins to laugh and tells me that I cannot run, that It is right behind me and is sure to kill. I then woke to the sound of screaming.
The question then is, what is It, and how do I stop It?
I have been released from the bondage of desk duty. The Bureau’s psychiatrist is apparently resting comfortably in intensive care after he stuck his head in the oven and turned it on. Found out that it was Windom’s doing getting me back on the street. We are to be partners. The image of the legless man and his words refuse to let go of their grip on me.
Diane, I am standing over the body of a male, approximately thirty years of age. His wrists are tied behind his back, and it appears he has been shot once in the back of the head. His hands have been cut off, his teeth smashed, and his face destroyed. Who and what he was may never be known. This appears to be the work of organized crime.
Diane, have just received a call from Windom. I am on my way to meet him in area known to be frequented by crime figures. There was a tone in his voice that I have never detected before. This does not in any way adhere to standard Bureau procedure, but I feel compelled to bend to Windom’s years of experience.
Diane, found Windom’s car. He is nowhere to be seen. Am moving into an abandoned building. . . . I have a very bad feeling about this I’m moving in through a hole in the side of the building turning down what is left of a hallway toward a stairway There’s something up there. . . . Diane, at the top of the stairs I’ve found Windom’s wallet and ID . . . I’m moving on. . . .
Diane, at approximately 11:10 P.M. I came upon a door with a large X drawn on it in chalk. Entering, I found the room was empty except for two items. In the center of the room on the floor illuminated by a streak of moonlight coming through a hole in the wall were two severed hands.
They belong, I assume . . . check that. An assumption by any other name is a guess. Lab test will determine whether they belong to the body discovered on the 28th. If it is so, they would certainly have been refrigerated, for they appear little affected by the degenerative effects of decomposition.
There is no sign of Windom.
Diane, have just left Windom’s house after a long talk with Caroline. According to her, Windom received a phone call last night around seven o’clock. Soon after, he left the house, telling Caroline not to wait up for him. Who had called and why, he did not confide to her.
I find my ability to give aid and comfort greatly lacking. I could offer no words to help Caroline shoulder the uncertainty of he husband’s disappearance. But she is strong, and I believe a very remarkable woman.
Diane, another body has been found. The circumstances the same. Wrists tied behind the back, hands cut off, face, teeth destroyed, and one bullet to the head. Reports from the lab on the other body report a very disturbing fact. The wounds to the face, and the severing of the hands, were inflicted while the victim was still alive. He was tortured. Fingerprints on the severed hands ID them as belonging to Louis Dante, a minor figure in organized crime in the Pittsburgh area with convictions for extortion and attempted murder. Will know within hours if the hands and the body are former partners. My bet is yes.
Windom must have been on to something. I would very much like to know who made that call to his house last night. I greatly fear for his safety.
Windom has been missing for twenty-four hours. Diane, with each passing hour, Windom’s fate is more and more in doubt. Talked to Caroline. She is holding up as well (a phone is heard ringing) – excuse me . . . I’ve been told to go to an abandoned barge on the Ohio River. I am to come alone. What awaits me there I do not know.
I am standing in the shadows of a crane. Below, half submerged in the river, is the barge. In the faint moonlight two white items are visible in the center. . . . They are hands severed at the wrists like the others. There is a difference, however. One holds a small black square of cardboard, the other a white square, the significance of which I do not know at this time. What kind of game is being played out here, Diane?
The deputy director of the Criminal Investigation Division has arrived to oversee the investigation. His name is Gordon Cole. Seems to have a hearing problem, and one of the strongest sets of vocal cords I have ever encountered in my life. Went over the case with him, the directions we’re going, and he gave it the thumbs-up, then blew back to Washington just as fast and loud as he came in.
Caroline has received a communication from Windom. I’m on my way there now.
Diane, at two minutes before four this afternoon Caroline received a phone call. The voice was barely audible, but she is confident it was Windom. He spoke only two words, repeating them once: “I’m sinking, I’m sinking.” The call was cut off at that point. The origin of the call is uncertain. I had, without Caroline knowing, put a tap on their line, but the call was so brief, all that could be determined was that it came from within this area code. Caroline is quite understandably upset. She is very strong, however, and I find my admiration for her growing by the hour. I fear that if we do not find Windom soon, he may not survive.
The second victim has been identified. He was Jimmy Lester, a minor thief with a long list of arrests. The connection between the two victims is unknown. There is no evidence that they ever had any personal dealings with each other, or any connection in the crime world. One was a petty thief, the other a strong-arm man for organized crime.
Central Medical. At 9:30 A.M. this morning Windom walked into the office and collapsed. The answers to his whereabouts for the past three days will have to wait until he regains his strength. He is currently resting, and under close observation. What if any permanent damage he has suffered will have to wait to be discovered in the morning. Caroline is at his side waiting, as is the Bureau.
I know there is an answer to this puzzle. Two murdered criminals, severed hands, a black square, a white square, Windom’s words to Caroline, “I’m sinking, I’m sinking.” The connections elude me. I need his help.
I recorded the following conversation with Windom one hour ago:
WINDOM: Is that the sun?
COOPER: Can you tell me about the events of the past four days?
WINDOM: You’re a good student, Coop.
COOPER: The last four days. Do you remember where you were?
WINDOM: (Laughs) Cracks in the door.
COOPER: What did you see?
COOPER: Yes, what did you see?
WINDOM: Dale Cooper.
COOPER: What did you see?
WINDOM: The abyss, Coop. The abyss.
COOPER: What did you find there?
WINDOM: Wonderful things.
At that point Windom lost consciousness. I will try again when he wakes. Whether these were lucid thoughts or those of a man still in shock I do not know.
What happened to Windom over the last several days we may never know. He remembers nothing, at least nothing that appears to be of any use for solving the riddle of the murders and his disappearance.
I am sure that the meaning of looking into the abyss and seeing wonderful things is the key to what happened to him, but this also will remain a mystery. He does not remember our earlier conversation.
Is my dream connected somehow to this? A legless man telling me I cannot run from It. Corpses without hands. The abyss, and wonderful things. I sense a darkness behind all of this. But I cannot put the pieces together. What happened to him is as much a secret to him as it is to the rest of us. I welcome his return; possibly the two of us can fit the puzzle together. For now he says he looks forward to a quiet game of chess.
Follow-up investigations over the next four months all led to dead ends. No arrests were ever made.
__ Chapter __
Diane, the people in bookkeeping say that I have accumulated enough hours for a vacation. Ten days of forced exile. Windom has given me the name of a small island south of the border that will give me a good rate. Believe I will take him up on the offer. I can use the time to study hostage-rescue techniques.
La Casa el Corazon. The house of the heart. Windom and Caroline spent their honeymoon here. A step into the past. From my balcony I look down onto the warm waters of the Caribbean. An old man sits playing chess in the courtyard. Windom told me of an old man who taught him all he knew of the game. If this is the same man, he must be one hundred years old if a day.
A strange incident happened tonight. After dinner I went into the courtyard and sat down across from the old man, and I told him that I had heard he was a very good teacher. The old man said that was true, and then looked into my face for a moment and said the words la muerte. Then he stood up and started to leave. I followed him, seeking an explanation, and got one as he turned into a dark alley.
“There is death in your face, I can teach you nothing.”
I asked him how he knew this, and he shook his head and said, “That is the wrong question.”
The old man then disappeared into the night.
Diane, woke this morning and found the bloody carcass of a chicken nailed to the door of my room. I am going to try to find the old man.
Diane, I stand at the door to a small dirt-floor shack. The inside is illuminated by a single candle. The old man hangs from a rope tied to a rafter. He appears to have been dead for ten or twelve hours. On a crude plank of wood he used as a table is a piece of paper with the words “Forgive. I was just a stupid old man. May God stop him.”
Who was the old man talking about? Me? The locals say he was just a crazy old man. That may be true, but it is also true that the line dividing genius from insanity is often a very thin one. Whatever it was the old man saw in my face scared him enough to take his own life. And what was it he was asking forgiveness for?
The time of the next entry is not clear.
Diane . . . darkness . . . darkness . . . I have to get off the island . . . No . . . No It’s a monkey’s hand. . . . Get off the island . . . Oh . . .
Diane, I believe I have spent the last twenty hours under the influence of a powerful narcotic. How and why it was given to me I do not know. The effect it produced was one of profound dislocation and confusion. The windows it opened into my subconscious were ones of terror.
There was evil behind this, and I am certain that in some way this is connected to the old man’s death, and unknown events happening back home. Call it a premonition, but I am certain something terrible has taken place in Pittsburgh, and there is nothing I can do about it. There are no phones here, and the next boat does not arrive until morning. If only I could communicate with Windom.
The mainland is in sight now. The feeling of dread that gripped me yesterday is still very strong. I also believe I am beginning to get seasick. With luck and a steady tail wind I should make my connection and be back in Pittsburgh by nightfall.
Diane, how I chose to isolate myself on an island at this moment in time I do not know. Caroline Earle has been kidnapped. According to my estimation, the abduction took place at the same time I found myself falling under the influence of the narcotic. How there could be a connection between events 1,500 miles apart I do not know. But I am certain there is. Perhaps it is the Tibetan notion that there is no such thing as unrelated events, that everything is connected.
What I know of the facts is sketchy. While Windom and Caroline were sitting down to a meal, three men burst into the house. They were well armed and clearly experienced at what they did. Before resistance could be attempted, Windom was knocked unconscious. When he awoke, Caroline was gone.
No messages of any kind have been received from her abductors. All law enforcement departments have been alerted. However, there is precious little to go on at this point. What we need now is luck.
Still no word. Told Windom about the events that took place on the island. He seemed particularly interested in what the old man had told me before he took his life.
It is curious, but Windom exhibited no sadness or even surprise at the news of the old man’s death. I suppose that after the events of the past several days, nothing could surprise or sadden him.
No change, Diane. Stayed up with Windom most of the night, playing chess and waiting. His sense of strategy has certainly not been diminished by this ordeal. He took three straight games. It is the Bureau’s opinion that an attempt on Windom’s life is very possible. I will not leave his side until the threat is over.
A vagrant was picked up this morning, wearing the sweater Caroline had on when she was taken from the house. We are on our way to interrogate him now.
Diane, the following is the conversation I had with the vagrant.
COOPER: Where did you get the sweater?
VAGRANT: God gave it to me. God giveth and God taketh away.
COOPER: Did God say anything to you?
VAGRANT: He laughed.
COOPER: What did God look like?
VAGRANT: ff you look at God, you turn to stone.
COOPER: Did God have anyone with him?
VAGRANT: An angel with a red face, like Christ’s.
COOPER: What do you mean?
COOPER: Was this angel a man or a woman?
VAGRANT: It was an angel without a sweater. Screamed like a woman when God hurt her.
COOPER: How do you know it was God?
VAGRANT: Because he told me to carry his message.
COOPER: What was the message?
VAGRANT: God is everywhere.
The rest of the conversation is of no consequence. The vagrant getting the sweater was no accident. Her abductors knew we would find him, and that he would tell us exactly what they wanted us to hear.
The message is a frightening one. Caroline has been injured. And they are not afraid to do her a great deal more harm if necessary. There is a code working here, but it eludes me. “God is everywhere.” I think that is the key.
We are conducting a sweep in the area where the vagrant was picked up, but I expect no results. Windom watches in silence, helpless like the rest of us.
Diane, another day passes without any news of Caroline. With each passing hour I fear the chances of finding her alive grow slimmer and slimmer. No demands have been made, the logic of her abduction escapes me, unless they were trying to keep something a secret that she already knew. But what could Caroline possibly know that is a threat? Or are they trying to keep Windom quiet? He has given no hint of that, and I must trust him.
I continue to go back to the words “God is everywhere.” The next logical step, if you take it, is that if God is everywhere, then he also sees and hears everything. This is a serious implication that I have not expressed to anyone, even Windom. Is there a mole in the Bureau, watching and listening to every step we take? And if there is, why would they let us know? I am at a loss.
A message has been received at the Bureau headquarters in Washington. It read as follows:
|She loves him, she loves him not. She is not dead, but her love is. Caroline, Carol, Ca, C, gone.|
The message was received on a secure telephone fine. How it was accessed, no one knows. We are clearly dealing with a mind of immense complexity and cunning. My fears that it may originate within the Bureau are growing. Have not spoken of this with Windom, but I must.
Told Windom my fears that the person we seek may be within the Bureau. He urged me to be cautious, and to speak of this to no one. Still no word, and no clues to Caroline’s whereabouts.
Diane, Windom agreed to allow me to put him under hypnosis. It was both his feeling and mine that whatever happened to him during his disappearance is connected to Caroline’s. The following is an excerpt of the hypnotic event that took place over the course of two hours.
COOPER: Where are you now?
WINDOM: There is much light, and it is very dark.
COOPER: What do you see?
WINDOM: Truth . . . ha ha ha.
COOPER: Why were you taken there?
WINDOM: I was not taken, I was chosen.
COOPER: For what were you chosen?
WINDOM: To be a good scout. (Laughs)
COOPER: Why were you released?
WINDOM: To do my work.
COOPER: What is that work?
WINDOM: You can’t see it, can you?
WINDOM: Caroline saw it.
COOPER: What was it she saw?
WINDOM: Love . . . and evil.
COOPER: Can you take me to where they took you?
COOPER: Why not?
WINDOM: You can’t get there from here. (Laughs)
I concluded the session shortly after that exchange, then listened to it with Windom. I’m afraid it offered little help to either of us.
For the next two months Caroline’s whereabouts remained a mystery.
__ Chapter __
Diane, I’m at the airport. A report has just come in that during a sweep of prostitutes in Lower Manhattan, a woman was arrested fitting the general description of Caroline. Windom and I are on our way to ID her.
We’ve just missed her, Diane. The mug shot taken at the time of arrest identifies her as Caroline; however, she made bail an hour ago and is gone.
The sight of his wife in the condition she is in was a great shock to Windom. I must admit that at first glance I would not have recognized her as the woman I know. What kind of unspeakable evil could do this to a person? NYPD has put out an all-points, as have our people. I am going into the streets myself to search.
Diane, calling it a night. No sightings.
Caroline was found one hour ago. She now sits in an interrogation room, handcuffed to keep her from harming herself or anyone else. She did not recognize Windom, and appears to be suffering from drug addiction, possibly heroin, though the potency must have been incredible to transform the woman I knew into the creature I’m looking at now.
She will be moved to Bellevue Hospital to stabilize her condition before we move her back to Pittsburgh. Windom is strong, though silent. What horrible secrets are locked inside Caroline’s tortured mind I cannot imagine. One of us will remain with her twenty-four hours a day. The possibility is strong that whoever did this unspeakable act to her will try again if they believe she is still a threat.
Bellevue. Windom has stepped out. The first signs of withdrawal are beginning to become evident. It’s going to be a very long night.
Caroline’s screams are echoing through the hallways. Diane, what kind of a monster could perpetrate this evil on an innocent person?
Caroline’s screams ceased about an hour ago. Windom sat in the hall, listening until they stopped. She now appears to be resting, though obviously in great pain. Her blood tests show a high level of heroin, and smaller amounts of another drug that they have not been able to identify. We will know more about her condition when she regains consciousness.
No change in her condition. The doctors are still unable to identify the other drug found in Caroline’s system. This they do know. It is very exotic, dangerous, and unlike any compound they have ever seen before.
It’s nearing twenty-four hours without a change. The doctors fear that if she doesn’t regain consciousness soon, she never will.
Diane, a short time ago Caroline opened her eyes. I took her hand in mine and attempted to communicate that she was safe. Windom then entered the room and leaned over his wife, gently stroking her forehead. Tears formed in her eyes. I believe she’s taken the first step back.
Caroline has still not spoken, though I believe she knows who I am. The doctors have given us the okay to transport her back to Pittsburgh tomorrow. At Windom’s request I have been assigned to protect her, for it is reasonable to assume this ordeal is not over.
The mind, Diane, is the most powerful healing agent known. There are techniques beyond Western understanding of medicine that may be of some use. I have told Windom of these and he has given me his consent to try anything that may bring Caroline back. Never have I been so moved by the plight of another human being.
Caroline called me Cooper. Tomorrow we move her to a safe house, as the risk is too great in the hospital. Her reaction to Windom is confused. She knows who he is, yet at the same time something seems to be holding her back.
Diane, an attempt has been made on Caroline’s life. The same mysterious drug that had been found in her system has been placed in her IV. The dosage was enough to kill twenty people. I detected the slight change in the color of the fluid as the nurse was starting a new drip, and stopped the flow before it reached Caroline’s arm. Windom is questioning all the staff who could possibly have had access to the IV. We are moving her tonight to the safe house instead of tomorrow.
We are in the safe house and Caroline is resting comfortably. She does not know that another attempt was made on her life. Windom came up empty on the questioning of the staff. No one saw anything that was remotely out of the ordinary. It was only with a great deal of luck that the assassin was not successful. I cannot even be sure that the safe house will be immune from attack.
All is quiet. The perimeter is sealed. Caroline smiled tonight, and held my hand. Windom seemed very pleased.
Caroline woke with a terrible scream. I ran into the room and found Windom standing over her, speaking in soft, gentle tones. She said she saw the face of the man, that he was still coming after her, and that she knew she was going to die. However, she could not identify the man. Windom then talked her back to sleep. There appears to be something in her subconscious that is holding her back. Perhaps tomorrow Windom will let me try to break through.
Diane, log the following tape as first hypnotic event, subject Caroline Earle. It is not easy to listen to.
COOPER: Can you understand me?
COOPER: Do you know who I am?
COOPER: I want you to go back to the night you were kidnapped. . . . You are eating dinner, what happened?
CAROLINE: Pork chops . . . the lights go out . . . Windom yells, “No!”
COOPER: Do you see any faces?
COOPER: What happened next?
CAROLINE: A hand comes over my face. I scream.
COOPER: Then what?
CAROLINE: They hit . . . hit, and hit, and hit. No . . . please.
COOPER: It’s all right, you’re safe here, they can’t hurt you again. Do you remember what happened next?
CAROLINE: Dark . . . hands touch me . . . again and again. Stop, stop . . . It hurts in the arm, sharp.
COOPER: A needle?
COOPER: They injected you with a drug.
CAROLINE: It burns. I want to let my brain out of my head. Hit it hard.
COOPER: Do you remember any faces?
COOPER: Who is it? Is it the man who did this to you?
CAROLINE: Helper. He’s dead.
COOPER: How do you know he’s dead? CAROLINE: No . . .
COOPER: It’s okay, you’re safe with me. Tell me what happened to the helper.
CAROLINE: His head was in my lap, looking at me. His body on the floor.
COOPER: I don’t understand.
CAROLINE: I heard him scream. . . . They cut off his head. They put it in my lap. No! No! No! No!
COOPER: Do you remember the other faces?
CAROLINE: They wouldn’t let me.
At that point, Diane, I brought her out of the hypnotic state. Check with local PD and find out if any corpses have turned up missing a head over the last two months.
My God, what Caroline has seen. I held her after the session until thankfully sleep gave her a chance to rest. I want to help her more than anything I’ve ever wanted in my entire life.
Diane, the identity of Caroline’s chief tormentor remains elusive. This is just a hunch, but I cannot escape the feeling that Caroline is repressing something. It is almost as if identifying the madman is as painful as the experience itself. She does, however, continue to make progress, though I can’t help but notice that Windom and her seem to be having trouble picking up the pieces where they left off. This puts me in a difficult position, as I find my attraction to her is growing by the hour. I cannot let my personal feelings interfere in this matter. I’m an outsider here and I must remain one. I am here to do a job, and that is all.
Windom has decided not to remain at the safe house. He feels that his continued presence serves only to impede Caroline’s progress. I suspect that he blames himself for her abduction and believes his presence serves only to remind her of what she has just gone through. We talked for several hours on the nature of the crime that had been committed against his wife. He believes that it is without a doubt connected to his own abduction, and is at a loss to find the link.
Before heading back to town, Windom told me that he believes evil exists as an independent life force, and that it will eventually conquer good because of guile. “At the end of all battles only the victor is honored,” said Windom, “and no one remembers whether he was good or evil.” This comes from the best mind in law enforcement I have ever known.
Upon arriving back in town last night, Windom was attacked as he entered his house. He suffered a superficial stab wound to the hand and arm, and his attackers fled. The house had apparently been searched. I have not told Caroline of the attack. She would want to go to him and the risk would be too great.
Who is it that Caroline can identify? And why can’t she remember who it is? Windom is now under protection himself and cannot attempt to return to the safe house until we can be sure that he is not under surveillance.
I do not know what to do. I find myself in the difficult position of choosing between breaking the trust of a friend and mentor, or denying love.
The feelings I have been experiencing for Caroline are apparently mutual. While on a walk today Caroline told me that she loved me, and has since the first day we met. At first I tried to resist and convince her that I could not say that I felt the same way about her, but she saw through my charade and we ended up in a long and passionate embrace.
I have never been able to say this about anyone, but I love her more than life itself. Every thought, every impulse, every waking second I want to devote to her. I want to help her heal, and I want to protect her for the rest of my life. We made love under a bright spring sun; it was the first time I’ve seen her happy since the end of her ordeal.
I do not know what I will tell Windom when he arrives here in the morning. Aside from the fact that it would be useless to try, I can and will not lie to him.
For the moment we have the night. The morning will be another day.
The following entry was made by Caroline sometime that evening.
I love you, Dale Cooper.
Caroline woke from a dream with a scream a short time ago. She had seen the face of the man who had taken her, and is sure that she knows him. I believe the barriers holding her back are beginning to fall. She has agreed to try another hypnotic session in the morning. I think maybe Windom is wrong on one point. Love is stronger than evil.
Something is not quite right . . . Caroline!
The time of the next recording is not known.
I have been stabbed . . . unconscious . . . Caroline is dead . . . Caroline is dead . . . Forgive me.
__ Chapter __
|“It was a bad scene, as bad as I’ve ever seen, and that after one war and ten years in the Bureau. The events broke down like this:
“The district emergency operator received a frantic call sometime around nine in the morning from the safe house asking for help. Local police were notified and they in turn notified us. It is believed that Agent Earle was the person who made that call. Local police units arrived on the scene about a minute before our units did. We secured the perimeter and then entered the house. On the floor of the living room slumped against a chair was Agent Cooper. He had been stabbed once in the chest. He had lost a great deal of blood and was unconscious. In his arms was Caroline Earle. She had also suffered a stab wound and was deceased. A blood trail indicated that she had been killed in the bedroom and then dragged into the position where we found her. Agent Earle was found in the corner of the kitchen clutching the phone. He was obviously distraught, and beyond our ability to reach him. I guess you could say he seemed quite insane. No arrests were ever made.”
F.B.I. Special Agent
I do not have my watch near. I am in a hospital. The walls are light blue. There is another man in the room but I have not seen him, only heard his coughing, for I cannot move from the position I’m in. Caroline is dead. I understand that it was Windom who found us. I do not know if I can face him at this moment.
I remember little of the events on the evening of the attack. I do remember regaining consciousness and finding Caroline’s lifeless body in my arms. . . . Her eyes were closed. The doctor says I am very lucky to be alive. . . . I told him that if he believed that, then he understood nothing of what life really was beyond the simple act of pumping blood. I understand that Caroline was buried ten days ago. . . . I should have been there. . . . It should have been me.
Diane, I will try as best I can to reconstruct the events on the night of the attack. At approximately 1 A.M. I detected movement outside of the safe house. Caroline was asleep. I drew my weapon and searched the inside of the house, which showed no signs of a forced entry. The perimeter also appeared to be secure. As I returned to the bedroom to check on Caroline, I realized that there was another presence in the room. Before I could act, a knife penetrated my ribs, slicing into my left lung. I believe at that point I called to Caroline and then lost consciousness.
The next thing I remember was briefly waking and finding Caroline dead in my arms. The long white shirt she was wearing was soaked in blood.
Dad is here at the hospital now, as is Gordon Cole. They seem to have hit it off. Diane, I believe for the first time in my life I know what love is, because I have lost it.
Gordon told me that it was Windom who found the two of us. And that what he found was too much for him to handle. His mind apparently has been unreachable from that moment on. A wound more severe than any knife can inflict. He is now in the psychiatric ward of this very hospital.
My God, what have I done. I betrayed my best friend, and have lost him to madness. And the life that I loved more than any other, I failed to protect.
As soon as I am able, I must go to Windom, and Caroline.
Apparently I had a slow hemorrhage that was undetected. Yesterday it ruptured, causing a massive loss of blood. I remember the sensation that I was drifting down a stream as people began rushing about me. I wanted to tell them that it was all right, they could let me go into the current.
Dad told me this afternoon that my heart stopped beating for two minutes. That I was dead. I do not remember seeing a light as people have spoken of. Just the feeling of floating in a current, and peace . . . I wish they had let me go.
Diane, I am sitting up in a wheelchair for the first time. I had a dream last night that I was lying on the floor of the safe house bleeding, and I could hear the sound of Windom laughing. Something about it disturbed me a great deal. The doctors say that tomorrow I can see him, though they warn me that he will not know who I am.
Windom sits in the corner of a room, an unmoving, solitary figure. The doctors wheeled me in to see him. For a long time, minutes maybe, he stared unblinking at me. Then a change came over him and he stood up, and began to laugh. I attempted to communicate, but it seemed futile. He spoke only two words: “Chess, anyone?” As I was being wheeled out, I stopped and looked back at Windom. He had stopped laughing, and his eyes were locked on mine. He then spoke again.
He started laughing again and I left. Windom would have been the last person in the world that I would expect to snap like this. I cannot escape the fact that I am in part or wholly responsible for his condition.
Though it will be many weeks before I will be physically prepared to resume my duties, I am being discharged from the hospital today. When I will be mentally and emotionally prepared to begin my duties, I cannot say.
I am at Caroline’s gravesite. There is a small stone of red granite. It says “In memory . . .” Who could have done this?
My wounds are much healed. My spirit, however, is far from well. I have decided to ask Gordon for a leave of absence when my medical leave expires.
I take full responsibility. I have failed.
Cooper made only two recordings over the next six months. His whereabouts during this time are not clear.
I don’t know who I am. We search and search, and always end up looking into the same mirror, at the same reflection, hoping that we will find something different.
Heal . . . heal . . . heal . . . heal . . . heal . . . heal . . . heal . . . heal . . . heal . . . heal . . . heal . . . heal . . . heal . . . heal . . . heal . . . please.
__ Part __
__ Chapter __
I believe I am ready, and have asked Gordon to return me to active status. My body is strong, my mind clear and without guilt. What I am about to mention, I am not ready to believe.
Windom Earle was insane long before the events of that terrible night, and is guilty of the attack on me, and the murder of his wife. I cannot prove this, for he is far too brilliant an opponent, but I am sure of it in my heart.
How and why Windom crossed this line I do not know. His own abduction I now believe was one of the spirit as opposed to a physical kidnapping. Windom was taken over by evil. The Windom I knew before that moment no longer existed. He was playing with us after that. Every event that took place beyond that moment was of his doing. He kidnapped Caroline. He gave her the drug that took her to the edge of insanity. He allowed Caroline and me to fall in love so that he would have the pleasure of destroying it. I must do all that I can to make sure that Windom never again sets foot outside of that hospital.
It took a call from Gordon to the doctors, but I have the okay to see Windom. I have told no one of my suspicion. Perhaps after my visit I will have some evidence to back it up.
I recorded the following a short time ago. Windom was in a straitjacket as we talked.
WINDOM: You are a very good dresser. My gloves . . . do not have fingers.
COOPER: Do you know who I am?
WINDOM: Yes . . . you are selling something.
COOPER: Where is Windom?
WINDOM: He left.
COOPER: Where did he go?
WINDOM: Around, here and there, over hill over dale . . . dale, I will hit the dusty trail.
COOPER: Why did you kill Caroline?
COOPER: Was it because she loved me?
WINDOM: You know, I don’t think I want to buy what you’re selling.
COOPER: Did you stab me?
WINDOM: Define stab . . . spear, gore, impale, pierce, ram, stick, lance . . . That’s it! That’s the one.
WINDOM: To heal all the sick little children of the world.
COOPER: Where were you taken when you were missing?
WINDOM: A rest stop, with the biggest goddamn bathrooms you’ve ever seen.
COOPER: What does evil look like, Windom?
WINDOM: You always ask the wrong questions. I don’t think you’ve learned anything.
COOPER: What is the right question to ask? WINDOM: What doesn’t evil look like? (Laughs)
COOPER: What did the old man teach you?
WINDOM: Old man?
COOPER: The old man on the island who hung himself.
WINDOM: Hung? . . . He taught me everything.
At that point Windom refused to say another word. I have played this tape for Gordon Cole and told him, off the record, of my suspicions. While we both agree that in and of itself it proves nothing, it is dear to the both of us that Windom Earle should not leave that hospital for the rest of his life.
Have finished all the back paperwork that had accumulated over the course of my recovery. Expect to receive my new assignment tomorrow. Gordon and I both agreed that remaining in Pittsburgh would not be to my benefit or the Bureau’s. Gordon has really gone to bat for me. I will soon find out if the Bureau has the same confidence.
Diane, pack your bags, we’re going to San Francisco.
The car is gassed up, the trailer filled. I have a cooler full of sandwiches, pickles, marshmallows, trail mix, and milk. Pick Dad up in two hours at the airport, then it’s due west, the future. I can only hope it is more promising than the recent past.
Terre Haute, Indiana. Dad’s bladder is definitely not as strong as it once was. Expect the added rest stops may add an extra day to the trip.
I wish I could articulate my feelings as we drove out of Pittsburgh, but I can find no words. Tomorrow, St. Louis. Kansas City and the Great Plains. I would surely like to see a buffalo.
Fourth stop today. Have told Dad that I think an annual visit to his doctor when he returns home may be a good idea. Have crossed the mighty Mississippi and am taking a quick swing up to Hannibal to see the home of Samuel Clemens.
Diane, I think I can say with great certainty that I should have been born one hundred years ago. It’s too late for all the Toms and Hucks.
If I’m not mistaken, the large mounds of earth on the horizon should be the Rocky Mountains.
Diane, a hint for future outdoor adventures: never camp next to a family from New Jersey in a large silver trailer.
The Great Salt Lake. A large number of Mormons seems to be floating in formation just offshore.
Reno, Nevada. Diane, last saw Dad with a tall blonde in a red dress the size of a postage stamp, leaning over a roulette table. I believe he was telling her that a crater on the moon was named after him.
Will be making the rest of the trip to San Francisco on my own. Was unable to locate Dad until almost dawn, at which point he had been married for three hours. My new stepmother is named Shamrock. Interestingly enough, she is an old Bryn Mawr grad with a degree in Germanic languages. They plan to spend their honeymoon in a little hut with a sauna on top of the Continental Divide.
Diane, do you ever wonder if you were left on your parents’ doorstep by Gypsies?
San Francisco. What a town. Have checked in at the Bureau and am now heading out to locate adequate housing.
Diane, have found a fine apartment with a view of the Golden Gate, and in walking distance from a Chinese bakery that makes the smallest doughnuts I’ve ever seen. Have two days before I’m due to report, so I think I will take in the sights.
Diane, you won’t believe this, but I’ve just driven through a hole cut in a redwood tree. Never saw a tree like this in the eastern forests. These are the trees that legends are born from. Can’t imagine what a druid would have done if he was faced with this monster.
Alcatraz Island. Diane, if these are the kinds of monuments that man is going to be leaving behind, then I am afraid our future is not a terribly bright one.
Four Chinese doughnuts, a cup of coffee, and I’m on my way, a new beginning, and an ending. I am ready.
Diane, the first days of any journey are often rough. It appears the story of the incident in Pittsburgh has preceded me. I believe I am going to have to prove myself to these people. What I need now is a case.
It would appear that I do have one supporter here in San Francisco. Agent Robin Masters, who I went through the academy with, is here. When we last saw each other on the shooting range of the academy, life was so very simple. I wish we had realized it at the time. So very much has happened since that day. She is still a damn fine shot, however. For old time’s sake we went down to the range and each emptied a full load. It was a clear tie. She is now assigned to the white collar crime division, so our paths will probably not cross a great deal. It is just as well. The past should remain firmly behind one. The present holds enough obstacles.
Diane I have a case.
I am standing over the body of a young man approximately twenty years of age, dumped next to a highway. He has been bound and gagged, and shot multiple times. He is naked, and shows signs of sexual abuse. Local authorities assumed kidnapping is involved with the case, which is why we have been called in.
Diane, ran a check of all murders involving young males of approximately the same age that have occurred over the past year that remain unsolved. Also check all deaths of male prostitutes, whether listed as accidental or other. Start within the San Francisco district and widen the search as far as necessary to determine if this is a repeat offense. It feels to me that we have all the makings of a serial killer here.
Our victim was indeed a prostitute. He was nineteen years old, addicted to speed, and had run away at the age of sixteen. His parents live in Minnesota. My guess is that he was abused. There also are two known murders involving male prostitutes that are outstanding, both occurring over the last eight months. Death, whether violent or by drug overdose, is not uncommon among this group, so local authorities never made the connection.
Have interviewed a young man named Spider who claims to have seen the victim the night of his disappearance. He last saw his friend getting into a late model blue sedan. He does not remember what the driver looked like. There are also at least two male prostitutes in the Mission District who are known to be missing.
Diane, run a check through Washington on all outstanding murders or disappearances of male prostitutes across the country. Then chart the dates and geographic location according to the time of death.
Diane, if my hunch is correct, we have a killer who has killed eight times over the last two years in a straight line from Illinois to San Francisco. And if he is true to his pattern will probably kill again sometime in the next several weeks.
Nothing has turned up on the blue sedan. I notified all authorities that a serial killer is working in this area and most likely will kill again in a very short time. Getting cooperation from the male prostitutes, however, is another matter. Few of their experiences with law enforcement officials in the past have given them a sense of trust.
We do know this much. Of the eight murders, six of the victims were last seen in gay bars. It would appear that the only available action to take at this point is to go undercover. Have made contact with a gay desk sergeant of the local PD . . . let me rephrase that. Am being assisted by another officer who wishes to remain unidentified. He has lent me some leather goods, and directed me to the most likely nightspot where the killer would show up. The last victim was known to frequent this establishment, though I cannot place him there for certain on the night of his death.
The feel of leather against skin is a surprisingly sensual experience.
Am standing outside of Club Y. Do not believe I’ve seen such a large group of men gathered together since my time in the Boy Scouts. I may be mistaken, but I am quite sure nothing in the scout handbook has prepared me for what is behind those red doors.
Surprisingly, I met three people on the dance floor who were also Eagle Scouts. One of them still seemed particularly interested in the tying and use of knots. Met no one who fit the profile of the killer we’re looking for. I was, however, invited to spend six days on a yacht sailing to Hawaii. Will try again tomorrow.
Received a cable from Gordon telling me to watch my backside. Have gotten the cooperation of local PD and the Bureau to add six people in the field for the next week. What we need now is a break.
Club Y. Diane, have been propositioned five times in the last hour. Not one fit the profile, though several were exceptional dancers. I must be doing something I didn’t do when I was in college, because I never had that kind of luck before.
A light blue sedan has been seen circling the club. I’m moving outside to attempt to make contact.
The vehicle is a blue Ford LTD, license plate California 203-CYH. I suspect we are looking for an out-of-state plate, but this is still the biggest fish on the line at the moment. He’s headed my way.
Diane, that was not the fish we were looking for. A salesman from Mill Valley. I suggested he go back to his wife and talk about this or it is going to cause severe problems for his marriage in the long run. I’m back on the street . . . I believe that was a scream.
Diane, I am in pursuit of a late model blue Dodge Dart. The occupant is believed armed and dangerous. He attempted to run over a male prostitute when an argument erupted over the amount of money required for the services rendered. As a point of reference, it should be noted as I am about to round this corner that more law enforcement officers are injured in high-speed pursuit than any other kind of job-related incidents . . . think I may have a problem. . . . Please find out the last time this vehicle underwent routine maintenance.
Diane, a hint for future driving safety: always be sure your brakes are in good working order before attempting the descent of any large hills. I am unhurt, but half a block of shrubbery will have to be replaced at the Bureau’s expense. The suspect is in custody, though I suspect he is guilty only of simple assault and has no connection to the string of murders.
The people in the lab have just identified the last remaining piece of evidence found on the last victim. A fiber found under one of the toenails. It came from a carpet of a car. The color was blue, possibly from a Ford, though several makes use the same manufacturer. I’m on my way to Mill Valley now to visit the salesman who picked me up last night. His name is Bush, he is not married, and his last known residence was Chicago one year ago. I think this qualifies as a break. Am getting a warrant.
There are three units placed outside. I am inside Bush’s small one-bedroom house. It has a white picket fence, roses, window boxes, new carpeting, a severed penis in a jar, and four Polaroid pictures of naked men lying on their stomachs with their hands tied behind their backs. One appears to be the latest victim. Without going into a description, it is clear that the picture was taken after he was killed. The lab will want to go over all of this very carefully. Now we wait for Mr. Bush to come home.
Diane, Bush is pulling into the driveway. We will take him as soon as he puts the key into the door.
Bush is in custody. He has waived all rights. The following is a portion of his confession. He was calm, at times appeared happy that the killing was over as he gave this account.
COOPER: On the night of June 14 you picked up a male prostitute by the name of Randy?
BUSH: Yes, I think it was his name.
COOPER: Where did you take him?
BUSH: Here . . . my house.
COOPER: What did you do once you got here?
BUSH: We had drinks, and I touched him, then I tied him up and shot him.
COOPER: Have you killed others?
BUSH: Yes. I shot them too, strangled one. COOPER: Why?
BUSH: They asked me.
The rest is more of the same. Diane, I think I want to get out of violent crimes for a while. A nice bit of embezzlement or espionage, I think, is just what the doctor ordered. It has been a very long day.
Diane, it took some doing but I’ve been assigned to the counterintelligence task force.
For the next six years Cooper remained in the counterintelligence division. If any tapes exist for that period of time, the FBI does not acknowledge it. The following “letters” to his father are the only pieces of audio released for these years.
Sorry to hear about Shamrock’s accident. The lab people here at the Bureau all agree that most people can function quite normally with only three toes, so she should not have any difficulty at all. If any of her shoes need special work, I know a Chinese cobbler who, years ago, worked on shoes for women who had had their feet bound.
I’m well. Work, though I can’t acknowledge that I actually do any, is going well. Met a very nice Russian dancer. Interestingly, she also has problems with her feet. Rest assured that all borders are secure, and life as we know it should continue for a good number of years. Glad to hear about the tool calendars.
To the best of my knowledge and those here at the Bureau, you cannot contract Legionnaires’ disease from unwashed fruit. From the sounds of it, you had a common case of food poisoning. Suggest Shamrock rethink the diet you both are on. I don’t seem to remember a ban on refrigeration being an integral part of a macrobiotic life-style.
Thanks for the black socks for Christmas, they were just what I needed. Thought I would let you know that I have applied for a transfer within the Bureau. Gordon Cole wants me back on the streets instead of hiding in dark alleys. He says hello, by the way, and thanks for the tip on the eardrops.
Hope you’re out of bed soon. Will keep you posted at this end.
__ Chapter __
The summer of 1987 Cooper left the counterintelligence division to work on a joint drug interdiction program with the DEA.
Diane, I have spent three days with the people over at DEA now and I have yet to meet one person in a coat and tie. Also notice that they all seem to wear their body armor even when sitting in the office drinking coffee. They may be just the kind of people who can evaluate a new investigative technique I’m working on based on the writings of a Tibetan monk named Gumm.
According to the results of my first substantial test of Gumm’s work, Lee Harvey Oswald did not act alone on that fateful day in Dallas, and Jack Ruby is still alive and living in Peru. . . . This may need some more work yet.
Diane, Mexican authorities have alerted the DEA to a large shipment of cocaine being moved to a border town. With the cooperation of the federal police in Mexico, the DEA is going to act as a buyer of the shipment in the border town of Tijuana. The buyers are supposed to be a pair of insurance salesmen from the Midwest. For some reason, the DEA people seem to think that this is right up my alley. My counterpart in the DEA is an agent named Dennis Bryson. We leave for San Diego tonight, where we pick up a car and coordinate with our Mexican counterparts.
San Diego. Diane, remind me the next time I am heading south of the border to bring along water purification tablets, a good compass, and a wide-brimmed hat.
Diane, when we cross that border we are in another country. That may seem like an obvious statement; however, the full implication of this action is more complicated. We will be entirely on our own. There will be no one to call for backup. Our badges, which every lawman regards as a slice of his identity, will be left behind in the States. Should something go wrong, no one will know where we are because we are not officially in the country. In essence, once we cross that border, we do not exist.
Bribed the border guard five dollars to expedite our crossing. It may be my imagination, but I am quite sure that we have been followed. Since there are only two officials of the federal police who know of our mission, I do not take this as a good sign.
The mess that results when two cultures meet in one place on a common border is food for the imagination. It is also the stuff of nightmares. Every imaginable sin, vice, perversion, and degradation is laid out in the open in living color. It is also a definite affirmative that we are being followed. A tan pickup truck with two Mexican males inside has been tailing us since the moment we crossed the border. For the moment, they seem content to remain at a distance and observe. Should that change, we may have to adjust our plan accordingly.
Next stop the Casa de Vista motel, a hot lunch, and a phone call from the supplier to set up the meeting.
Diane, one thing that never seems to change regardless of the country a traveler finds himself in is the lack of a view in accommodations advertising one. The only vista I presently gaze out at is a large brown dog dragging a dead snake across a dusty road. I would not be surprised from the look of the dining room if I find that snake as the featured course of the midday meal.
Diane, never underestimate the truly unique eating experience reptile affords the adventurous palate. Tender slices of white meat gently simmered in a sauce of chilis and cactus meat. Americans as a group undervalue a number of valuable members of the food chain just because we find the thought of consuming them disgusting.
We still wait for the phone call from the suppliers, and our friends in the pickup are right across the street.
The call has just been received. We are to meet a man at the cotton candy stand outside the bull ring. We were given no description, he will know us. This does not sit well with either of us. Think it’s time to lose our friends in the truck.
Our two shadows are no longer on our trail. Lost them in the market. Dennis is now in position at the cotton candy stand. I’m holding back in case we encounter a problem. A tall man in a white suit is approaching Dennis. . . . We have a problem.
Diane, Dennis is gone. I don’t know where. The seller would not deal with the both of us. Dennis made the decision to go on with him alone. They left the scene in a gray four-wheel-drive truck, a Mercedes. I was to wait in our room and hear from them within four hours. That deadline passed three minutes ago. I smell trouble. Dennis told me before he left that if a problem develops, I should open the false bottom of his suitcase. . . . Where the DEA comes up with Israeli hand grenades I can only imagine. Suspect the submachine gun will also prove useful. I think it’s time I pay my friends in the truck a visit.
Diane, few things in the world are as persuasive as a hand grenade down the shorts. My two new friends not only told me where Dennis is, they offered me the use of their truck. My old scoutmaster would be glad to know that I can still tie a good bowline with the best of them.
Dennis is being held at a large ranch outside of town. I think it’s safe to say that I should not expect any help from the federal police though I may meet some of them at the ranch.
Diane, there are several things I can count as being in my favor as I look over the ranch. One, it’s a moonless night. Two, I have surprise on my side. Three, there appear to be only a dozen guards around the compound. Actually I think I’ll put number three in the intangible column.
According to owners of the pickup, Dennis is being held in an outbuilding next to the horse corral. There is one guard on the door. The problem as I see it is a simple one, extract Dennis without getting us both killed. I believe what I need is a very large rubber band.
The majority of guards appear to have turned in for the night. Was not able to locate a rubber band, but I have managed to fashion a sling out of a discarded piece of hemp that was in the back of the truck.
The plan as I see it is in two parts. One, using the sling, I propel a grenade to the door of the bunkhouse, followed by a smoke grenade into the middle of the compound. The resulting confusion should allow me time to dispatch the guard at the door and to release Dennis. ff the first part doesn’t quite work as planned, I will fall back on an old maxim that Ulysses S. Grant lived by – overwhelming firepower, with maximum force. A thought just occurred to me, Diane. I’ve never actually used a hand grenade.
Diane, never forget when using a sling to propel hand grenades that the arch of the toss is just as important as the speed with which it travels. It should also be noted that the use of hand grenades within the borders of a sovereign nation may subject one to deportation and heavy return fire.
Dennis is well. Found that a balance between U. S. Grant’s rules of engagement and a solid foundation in luck worked pretty effectively. I do not expect that either of us will be asked back to this charming country in the near future.
The following day this newspaper account of the incident appeared in the San Diego Mirror.
|Mexican police report that a gun battle last night on a ranch ten miles outside of Tijuana resulted in the wounding of seven men. The men were all attending a prayer service in the ranch’s chapel. According to the report, the fighting erupted when an argument over the interpretation of the Book of Job disintegrated into automatic weapons firing and the tossing of several hand grenades.|
No official report or comment was ever made by the FBI or the DEA. Cooper completed one more case with the joint task force before returning to the Bureau full-time.
Diane, information has come across my desk that a large amount of cocaine is moving into the community through a dentist’s office in Oakland. There are times, Diane, when we are all asked to make a sacrifice and go the extra mile in the fine of duty regardless of the personal risk involved. This is one of those times. Dennis saw a dentist two months ago. The burden, I’m afraid, falls squarely on my shoulders.
Fear, Diane, is a conquerable emotion when a mind and body are properly trained. There are, however, two exceptions to this that I have found no preparation can prepare one for. One, a small burrowing beetle crawling inside my ear and heading for my brain. Two, a dentist crawling inside my mouth with a high-speed electric drill.
I have not been to a dentist in seven years.
I have an appointment. I am sure this is just my imagination, but I am certain that every one of my teeth is suffering from severe decay. All night long I had very vivid dreams of my mother pouring me bowl after bowl of breakfast cereal with heaping mounds of sugar on them.
Diane, there is good news and bad news to report. I believe I will be able to arrange a buy with the dentist. The bad news is that the eight-year-old I was seated next to in the waiting room has a better dental future than I do.
I am the proud father of six cavities. Each time he found a new one, the dental assistant would shake her finger at me. Diane, if you have a moment, would you look through the Bureau’s handbook and find out if there are any specific regulations against shooting dental hygienists.
Diane, this is one dentist who has drilled his last tooth. Unfortunately, it was mine, but I think he did fine work.
__ Chapter __
On December 15, 1987, Cooper left the DEA, FBI joint task force.
Diane, I can’t tell you how good it is to be back on terra firma. While I respect and admire the job the DEA does, I do not feel that I quite fit in with the cowboy esprit de corps that is prevalent in their ranks. But I did have some damn good fun, not to mention a complete dental fixup at no extra charge.
On January 7, 1988, Cooper received this tape in the mail.
I know that last line didn’t rhyme, but it so fit the spirit of the poem, don’t you think, Dale? I did do another one. Would you like to hear it?
See you soon, Dale.
|. . . Has kind of a baronial splendor to it, don’t you think?|
Diane, I’ve forwarded a copy of the tape to Gordon in Washington. There is, however, nothing to be done. Windom is totally insane and will never leave the hospital.
Diane, looks like I’m going to be out of town for a while. There’s been a murder in a town in the southwest part of the state of Washington. The state authorities assume from the condition of the body that kidnapping was involved and have asked the Bureau to look into the case.
Gordon has asked me to handle it because he has this feeling it may be a serial event and none of the agents in that district have direct experience with one. I catch the 1 1 A.M. flight to Portland, where I pick up a car and head for the town of Deer Meadow. An hour or so north.
It’s winter up there, so I am packing a pair of longjohns, wool socks, warm hat, and goggles in case I run into any snowstorms.
Airborne, Diane. Remind me the next time I fly to bring along a Thermos of coffee from the office. The mixture they serve seems to be a combination of hickory, pine bark, and a mystery ingredient that eludes identification. I also suggest if you ever are offered salmon crepes for a meal on a commercial carrier that you make sure that salmon ran upstream sometime within the last decade.
Have picked up the car at the district office in Portland and am headed north. Will meet local officials at the county morgue, where they have the body.
Diane, the local and apparently only authority is a large ex-marine going by the name of Cable. Locally known as the Chief. He is none too pleased about having a federal man on his turf, though it is clear that the last serious crime he saw was in a gangster movie.
What I know at this point comes from Cable’s report. A work of fiction worthy of a Pulitzer. Distilled down to the facts, this is what we have. Teresa Banks, no known next of kin, residence unknown, was found lying in a drainage ditch on the outskirts of town. Her naked body was wrapped in clear plastic and secured with duct tape. Appeared to have suffered numerous contusions to and about the head. The local coroner has determined the cause of death to be brain damage caused by a blow to the right temple area that fractured the skull. None of the other blows were severe enough to cause death. She had had sexual relations within the last twelve hours of her life.
I’m going in to see the body now.
Diane, I am looking at a white female, approximately eighteen years of age, weight 117 pounds. There is an obvious collapse of the right cranial vault above and forward of the ear. Bruises on her neck indicate that strangulation was also present. There are scratches on her knees, and dirt has been ground into the cuts. There is no indication that she was bound in any way during or before her death. . . . This is interesting. Would you please hand me the tweezers?
Diane, something appears to have been forced under the nail on the ring finger. It is quite deep. I am going to try to remove it. . . . It appears to have penetrated at least three quarters of the way under the nail. . . . just a little bit deeper. Chief, I think you might feel better if you stepped outside. . . . There, got it.
Diane, what we have is a small square of white paper with the letter T typed on it. Offhand I would say the type face appears to be of American manufacture, pre-electric. The lab should be able to identify it more specifically.
There is nothing under any of the other fingers, or the toes. We’ll need to run a check of all homicides of females in this general age category, specifically looking for letters placed under the nails of victims, body wrapped in plastic, similar cause of death.
Diane, as Gordon thought, everything about this has the feel of a serial killing. The question is, is this the beginning of something, or the end?
Diane, looks like Teresa Banks last worked at a roadhouse about ten miles outside of town at a whistle stop called Cross River. One of the locals recognized her as a waitress he’d seen there. I’m headed there now.
Rumor has it, Diane, that this is pie country. It is the sworn duty of all agents of the Bureau to separate fact from fiction wherever they encounter it. I feel it is the least I can do to lend a hand when the integrity of something as sacred as pie is concerned.
The Cross River Café. The owner is a man named Weller. Teresa Banks worked here for a period of no more than three weeks, and lived in one of the cabins that tourists rent down along the river. She had not shown up for work for the last five days, and all of her belongings were gone from the cabin. She left no forwarding address, no one saw her leave with anyone, and I’ve gone through the cabin and found nothing to indicate that anything out of the ordinary happened there. She was here one day, gone the next. Looks like a dead end, though I can report that the peach-apple pie they serve is the stuff of legend. The pecan and the cherry, however, were a distinct disappointment.
Diane, I’m staying at the Loggers Inn. Unless more comes our way tomorrow, there appears little reason for me to stay any longer. I hate to admit it, Diane, but this trail has come to a dead end. One typed letter is all we have to go on. Who she saw and what she did for the last five days of her life is locked away from me. As a sidebar, I ran all the locals with anything so much as a traffic violation and have come up with a big zero. The owner and all the employees of the café also check out A-okay.
Diane, every trail has an origin. Nothing can move about this world without leaving so much as a mark. But that’s what we have. I don’t know how to articulate this, but something is very wrong here. That would seem an obvious statement. But there’s something at work here that I feel I’ve come in contact with before. Call it an evil, a sensation of something old and very dangerous that I have come in contact with three times before. Once in a small mountain village when I was traveling. Once in college. And once when Caroline was killed. Bureau training does not cover or even acknowledge the existence of forces outside of the physical world. Nothing in Western thinking does. But it is there. Whether it travels in the shadow of the night, or slips by on a gust of wind. Or is carried around in the soul like a serpent, waiting for its moment to strike. I know it is real because I have watched a good friend destroyed by it.
It has been here in this remote town, and it has claimed another victim. The question is when will it strike again, as I know it will, and where?
Enough for one night, Diane.
Diane, a storm blew up in the night. This much more I know about our victim. She was born Teresa Mary Banks in Tacoma, Washington, on July 11, 1970, to Ellen and Tony Banks. At age twelve her parents were killed in a car accident, and she became a ward of the state. At age fifteen she ran away from a state facility and was not seen again until the day her body was found. That’s not much for an entire life.
The remainder of the lab reports should be completed within two days. I expect they will add little to what we already have.
Diane, I have the last of the lab reports on my desk from the Banks murder. Two items are of interest. One, the square of paper found under her nail was an acid-free typing paper, very expensive. The typed letter appears to be the work of an old Smith-Corona Model 99. Both are potentially useful bits of information, but advance the case nowhere at the moment. As no one came forward to claim Teresa Banks’s remains, she was buried at county expense in an unmarked grave. The burial was attended by a pastor, a representative of the county, two gravediggers, and myself. I’m returning to San Francisco. There is nothing more I can do here.
The case will remain in the active file; however, I am moving on to another assignment.
While arresting bank robbers is in and of itself a satisfying pastime, I find I am having difficulty concentrating on the tasks at hand. My thoughts keep returning to that unmarked grave in Washington.
Had a very strange dream last night. I was dancing with a tiny little man, and a very beautiful young woman.
In June 1988, Windom Earle attempted an escape and was caught. Several days later Cooper received another tape in the mail.
|It is time for the game to commence. I will move first, it will come when you least expect it, and at the worst possible time.
Now, time for a riddle.
If a plane crashes on the U.S.-Canadian border, on which side do they bury the survivors? That’s an easy one.
Answer: Neither side. You first have to kill them.
Here’s another one.
Why do you think Bobby Fisher turned to God and gave up chess?
Answer: To get to the other side.
Meet any nice girls lately?
See you soon, Dale.
If evil is a thread that winds like a string around the globe, then I fear those threads all end up in the cell where Windom is held. Authorities report that shortly before his brief escape, two patients whom Windom had befriended had been found hanging by their necks in their cells. They were both reportedly in high spirits, and scheduled for release within the next two weeks.
Diane, I’ve never asked you this before, and as a general rule I try never to mix my private and public life, but I would consider it a great honor if you would consider having dinner with me. If this in any way crosses over a line that we have long ago set for our relationship, I will understand. If not, how does eight o’clock sound?
__ Chapter __
|“Special Agent Cooper . . . Dale and I had dinner once. We ate Chinese. We had wonton soup, egg rolls, and Peking duck. That’s the one where they inflate the bird with air, swelling it to over double its original size. Without a doubt the most delicious skin I’ve ever eaten, firm and at the same time delicate. And the meat itself takes on a flavor when slid into the mouth. . . . Well, I couldn’t get enough of it.”|
It occurred to me last night while in the middle of a very fine duck that I do not know Diane’s last name.
I find myself once again faced with the terrible prospect of vacation time. Some man in a little office staring at a computer screen insists that I need a rest.
Medicine Hat, Alberta. Diane, never judge a town by its name when planning a trip. Bought a pair of damn good snowshoes, hand-made, built to last. Next stop Moose Jaw, looking for a good sturdy ax.
Had hoped to find my brother while north of the border but was too late. He is now in South America. I have not seen Emmet in over twenty years, Diane. I fear we are now strangers. I wish it were otherwise, but we have each chosen a different path.
Diane there is nothing quite as rewarding as returning home from an adventure. I don’t know if this is a cultural difference or whether our Canadian neighbors just like sugar, but I ate some damn good pies. If you ever happen to be in Flin Flon, stop at the Florida Café for a piece of strawberry mousse pie.
Diane, I’m heading to Philadelphia. My father is ill. I will check back in when I am better able to assess his condition.
Diane, I’ve spent the last several hours wandering the streets where I grew up. So much has changed. Duva’s is closed, the Band Box Theater was lost to a fire. I saw Bonnie and Clyde there. I think I was the only person in the audience who was cheering for the G-men.
Old man Simms and the hardware store are both gone. He died a number of years ago and his son sold the business shortly thereafter. Even the 24th Street gang isn’t the same. They now carry guns.
Our old house has been torn down to build a parking lot for a fried chicken restaurant. All that is left are the concrete steps that used to lead to the front door, and a couple pieces of the awnings.
The Schlurmans moved away several years after Marie died. I don’t know what happened to her bean bag chair. The school is still the same. I sat in the meeting hall for several hours this afternoon. An eternal silent place. The headmaster told me that Mr. Brumley, the janitor who caught me taping the sex education class, won fifty thousand dollars in Atlantic City and retired.
All that existed that made this place mine is gone. The people, the buildings, the sounds and smells. What’s left no longer belongs to me. I’m a time traveler, slipping in and out like an archaeologist, hoping I will find clues to forgotten secrets, or guideposts to future destinations. I find neither. You can no more hold the past in your hand than you can see tomorrow.
Only the graveyard remains unchanged. There may be a few more stones. The grass less green. The visitors older. It matters not to the residents. Theirs is the only truth. What we do up here, our problems, the victories, the loves, hates, lies, truths, and promises, are fleeting. It must be quite a show. The little glass pyramid on Marie’s grave is gone. I hope that whoever has it now had better luck with it than the two of us did.
My father has recovered, though he was frighteningly close to death. He has a faulty valve in his heart. He told me this afternoon that when he is discharged from the hospital, he and Shamrock will sell the printing shop and leave Philadelphia. He said something about looking for a boat. I hope he finds one that doesn’t leak.
Tomorrow I’ll visit the place where we placed my mother’s ashes in the stream. After that I don’t think I’ll return to this part of the country. There’s nothing here for me anymore.
I don’t think I’ve ever told you this, Diane, but in 1970 my father discovered a new crater on the moon. It’s called Cooper’s Crater, and you can just see it on the edge of the dark side’s shadow.
Diane, the Civil Corps of Engineers is a menace to the spiritual life of this country. I am now standing on the shore of a large algae-infested slew that was once the quiet little stream my mother drifted out to sea in. The bastards built a dam.
Diane, heard from my father today. He is out of the hospital. The printing shop is on the market. He sent a picture of a retired tugboat that is for sale in Florida. Cannot seem to shake the image of my father being swallowed by a whale.
A slow week, one bank robbery, a case of extortion, and one failed kidnapping. Gave a talk at the Rotary tonight on white collar crime in the workplace. In a nutshell, Diane, I am bored, and have not found a way to combat this malaise. Holmes used cocaine, an alternative I find unacceptable. What I need, what any detective needs, is a good case. Something to test oneself to the absolute limit. To walk to the edge of the fire and risk it all. The razor’s edge. Are there any great cases anymore, Diane? Is there a Lindbergh kidnapping, a Brinks robbery, a John Dillinger, a Professor Moriarty? If I was to say that in my heart I hoped there was, then I should hang up my badge and gun and retire. As the saying goes, be careful what you wish for, you may just get it.
Diane, I received the following letter in the mail today.
Seems I’ve not quite been myself for the last several years. I would like very much to make up for all the lost time between us, and I think I know just the thing. A test of skill, one last game. Me the brilliant teacher revered by all inside these dreary powder-blue walls, and you his promising if not predictable student. Is it a deal? . . . Good.
I will make the first move very soon.
The ramblings of an insane man, or something much more sinister. I fear a wind is about to begin blowing, Diane, and no one knows what will be left in its path.
Unable to sleep, have sat up all night looking out at San Francisco Bay. Diane, if a person, as one theory goes, is chosen to live in a particular time for one specific reason, then why am I here now? What moment in history is my life destined to intersect with? Or has it already happened, and I just didn’t understand that that was my moment?
My mother, Marie, and Caroline. Those are the names on the signposts past which I’ve traveled. But where is the next one, and whose name will be on it? My own? Windom Earle’s? Or another? Diane, as Groucho Marx once said, “Harpo, you talk too much.”
Good night, Diane.
There’s been a body found in Washington state, Diane. A young woman, wrapped in plastic. I’m headed for a little town called Twin Peaks.