Hanging Sam

By A.H. Watson

Forward

It occurs to me that many here might not be familiar with the people involved in the story that follows?

These people live in a small southern town named Hennyville.

The town? It could be the town you are from...where you presently live...or wish to return as your life winds to a close. We have all such types - in Hennyville.

Sadly, it may be that you have no experience with such a town or people; that you have only dreamed of such a land...of such experiences. If this is so, close your eyes and you stop at points in the story. See yourself there; believe that you are with us in those golden times.

Henry is the son of one of the oldest families in the area, His ancestors came to the area in the 1760's working their way from Charleston, having been a product of a coastal pirate and landed poorer than a church mouse in a Jewish Temple.

John, the state Judge's family had worked their way south from Virginia about the same time as Henry's had come up from the coast.

Sam's family had been bought - as he would often say...in Charleston, for less than the price of a wagon, in 1809 - the papers said. And as he often told the Judge (John) and Henny (Henry) he, was the only one among them holding good, traceable, legal papers.

Sam was a light, pleasing chocolate, hue, much a kin to a well-creamed coffee - and sheriff of the county. It had been Henny and the Judge that had originally pushed Sam for the position as Sheriff, but from the day he was elected it had been Sam's own presence, fairness and evident quality that kept even the few white trash from mounting a run against him. Like Henny, the Judge, Don, and a few others, - Sam was the heart and soul of the town.

There are many additional peculiarities about the town and its people. But if you go back to the archives with this little bit knowledge - you should do fine...

Chapter One

"Started to call you last night; see if you be watching the movie."

Henny looked over his shoulder from the oven. "You mean "King Solomon's Mine? Yeah, started to call you."

Henny smiled at his old friend, as he pushed him a coffee mug across the island behind the grill top. Then Henny spoke again.

"All them light skinned Negroes, tall, smart as whips, living happy? Sure did...just knew you would be eating it up."

"Well...in fact, you standing there now - on one foot - with the other balanced on your other knee sort of makes me want to prostrate myself over here by the kitchen table and back out of the room on my knees."

"Go ahead, we got time." Sam grabbed the broom and made a Watussi-king-like pose.

"Wasn't that an Egyptian and Greek thing?" Henny offered.

"Nope...they stole it from us Nigs - Jessie and Big Al told me so."

" Tell me you aren't going to Rosie' this morning and cause a scene trying to stand on one leg and drink your coffee and handle the eggs at the same time...are you?"

"Please, tell me you're not - I have a busy day." Henny poured himself and his bronze skinned friend another cup.

"Thought I might...been two years at least. Nice for all of you to see just how much better looking we are - than you mixed race mongrels."

Sam smiled at his old friend with, what up until the political correctness era would have been called, a "black assed - shit eating grin." The same grin that now passed the face of every sorry white trash when asked if he has completed any particular task.

"Well, you do it again...Billy, Bob, and Ray Henry...gonn'a lynch your fanny? AGAIN...as well!!

Two years ago Sam went to the coffee shop and gave the crowd there - that great "Watussi" look. Two of Sam's more spirited fishing friends broke from the ranks, strapped him to the light pole outside Rosie's place with great wads of duct tape, and left for work.

Bridget, the sweet little intern over at the Henryville Times, took a picture in fun. It seems the tape got so warm it melded together and became one with Sam's new uniform. The picture showed our Sheriff Sam, a large blob of gray and light tan, hanging from the light pole on Main Street.

In Athens later for lunch, Bridget had erred big time by showing the picture to a friend that works at the Athens Herald. The Herald was buried in self-hate similar to that showed by the entire University - home of the mighty Bulldogs - its professors, and administrators.

The news of the "proof of a lynching" in a small Southern town festered most of the afternoon in the damp, fetid, intelligence deprived folds of the newsrooms collective gray matter, then erupting in a expanding pus filled quest for redemption; egged on by a young editor looking for a one way trip to the larger, more perfectly liberal world...say Atlanta or New York.

The news of a long sought, contemporary lynching was spread to the other national media.

Finally! "A Hanging Of Their Own," not one watered by time, grainy poor quality black and white prints. It was theirs for the taking! Reputations...future advancement...peer adulation...all there for those that best fit the story to the internal id of the media and their misbegotten leftist readers.

By nightfall, "the Negro had hit the fan!"

Evening found our quiet country hamlet full of journalist riffraff that, in spite of all words to the contrary...looked high and low for the body of the poor "lynched black man" - pictures at eleven.

Having already expressed and written of their firm belief in the truth of the dastardly crime, the only things remaining were pictures of the body and a weepy finger-pointing interview with the mother and wife. This, the media realized, must be achieved before Jessie and Al arrived to mine the situation for all it was worth...sucking up media air like a pair of giant Hoovers.

Sam was hiding out, in what would later be termed by that same media..."a sense of shame and profound hurt."

It had all started early, an Atlanta truck driver had made his normal stop for coffee at "Rosie's...good Eats" and upon leaving, the driver happened mention to Rosie - her own self, that either a Negro, or a very gray In'jun - was hanging out side her otherwise un-noteworthy establishment.

Looking out and seeing her good customer Sam dangling from the city light pole, Rosie panicked, grabbed her Chefs knife and rapidly whittled Sam from his awkward position.

"Sam, what on earth are you doing here?" Rosie blustered at her friend as she blindly slashed away at the duct tape.

"Just directing morning traffic, Miss Rosie." "Just directing traffic as God gave me ability to see that traffic, Miss Rosie."

"Sam, I declare. Sometimes I just don't understand a thing you are saying."

Regretfully, Sam's spiffy uniform came off with the tape. This left Sam standing in the middle of Henryville in a pair of white briefs with...so help me God!...little damn hearts and arrows cross-stitched on them. This must have been the reason Sam had, not only kept quiet as a church mouse during his ordeal, but further, had protested loudly when Rosie began to whittle him loose from his bonds.

Later, when ask how she had cut Sam down Rosie said, "She done it with her little Chef's knife"

Some local wag - presently non-gratis at Rosie's - asked her just how she could have done that entire cutting - with a can opener.

Those present at the time said that after a few yelps, screams, and useless attempts to cover his shorts, Sam had then drawn himself up tall?

They described it as though he had come directly out of some 1950's great white hunter movie they had seen...but could not remember the name.

Then with some strange, quiet dignity...Sam, as though leading unseen cattle, walked slowly home, using Rosie's "outside mop" as a sort of staff.

But even the next morning when I ask why he hid out all day? The highlights in the back of those dark eyes, gleaming; he would only say, "Damn it Hen, no man should be hung before he has drunk his morning coffee."

But would he tell the media that? Never - he would only shake his head in some TV studied pain, and say..

"Well, they had planned on shooting me, but I convinced them that it was no longer politically correct."

Those, with any intelligence, would have though the media, at that moment would have caught on. I expect that Sam thought the same.

But no!

The press became frantic in their desire to find even more dastardly acts on the part of Hennyville and its inhabitants. This, of course, was after Sam surfaced having given the Athens, Atlanta and by evening even the New York press - a full twenty-four hours with no corpus delecti - or otherwise! It is only a shame that Sam re-surfaced in the manner he did!

You can imagine the turmoil the evening of Sam's "hanging." The town stretched to bursting with media types. Media, whose single purpose was to find Sam's body - arrest the white trash ? then hang everybody else within the city limits.

Think Massachusetts in the late 1600's.

The so-called journalists from Athens knew Hennyville well. Many there had seen our jail on a return trip from Atlanta or a Georgia Football game.

Those media types headed directly Rose's Restaurant or "The Hennyville Times" certain in the belief that - If it happened in Hennyville - it must have Penny's or the Judge's fingerprints all over it.

The Atlanta crud, if you allow me that embracive nomenclature, was all over town. A pairs of poofters from the Atlanta Constitution, examining images of themselves in all the storefront windows they passed; tossing their hair and brushing the dandruff from their precious friends shoulder, they then tripped off together, hand in hand, looking for that "poor dead Negro"

The Atlanta TV stations sent similar?a "voice over" little goose with her hand in back pocket of her partner holding the camera, an aging bull dyke that looked much like Shrek - right down to the pale green skin.

This group was naturally at the police station screaming that the Nazi racists must be found and arrested - before dark.

The whole tribe glowed with a visceral hate for anything Southern. They would, at the slightest pause, stammer: "What did one expect from such people." Each, in turn had mentioned to their fellow travelers, "For years I have been warning all of you about the South...and these people."

Then? They made the mistake of searching for Sam's bones and body, or what ever was left - in all the wrong places.

Behind the beer joint - on the edge of town...behind the various churches - along with nasty questions to the various pastors - even the Episcopal priest. They were brought up short when that pansy priest agreed with the craziest of the group's suggestions, that being black maybe he was the new Christ and had ascended directly to heaven...leaving no earthy remains.

Another suggestion had been - it was a "ritual" death...as there seemed to be no other Negroes in town.

There ARE other Negroes in town, but media looked across the tracks where they found only our small allocation of white trash. Most of which had northern accents - a fact never noted then - or before.

In fact, the missing black - Sam - lived between the Judges regal home and my own simpler abode. Or as Sam so often pointed out, right where a good-looking, intelligent, kindly Negro should live!

A group's stop by the local gas station gave the New York Journalist their next day lead. The media having asked bristly what they had done with the body.

From the crowd of good old boys came the response?

"Eat me!"

Leading to the above the fold headline in the next day papers?

"Hennyville Crowd admits having eaten missing Sheriff." "Locals claim turn about fair play." [Several years ago two local Baptist Ministers on summer mission to Brazil, had unfortunately made friends with the wrong natives and become a succulent addition to their diet of yams and small rain forrest snails.]

Of the Atlanta Crowd, there were perhaps two that figured their 'middle leg' was being pulled. That small portion of the pack journalists sort of backed off the suggestion that ol' Sam was served at the morning coffee break. They wound up at the judge's den drinking scotch, waiting for the skies to clear and mostly for their editors to stop demanding more bodies!

Remember - journalists are the lowest paid members of the media and graduated from journalism departments made up of members that flunked the test to get into the education department...education being the second easiest degree available in any so called "accredited" college.

Much as human waste acts in a public sewer system - students that settle to the bottom of the university pool become eminently qualified to join the media.

The true university cynics believe - even unto themselves - that the journalism schools were added simply to insure that the college or university retained the student funding that would otherwise be lost should the lower IQ - and other gendered - be forced to meet normal standards applicable to students in the general student body.

It should be noted that even those students were no prizes themselves -most of whom if you believe the polls would graduate unable to point to New Orleans, Mississippi or Israel on a world map. All that Education for the bargain price of some $80,000 dollars at the cheaper schools.

It tears one up...does it not?

Most of the media types rampaging through Hennyville were Yankees with a historically acknowledged bent for burning young girls while the village watched.

So this hate filled crowd easily jumped on the theory that since any low class social misfits, stupid beyond discussion, could easily revert to hanging - why not throw in a small case of cannibalism?

To quote the New York Times lead:

"In this land of pellagra and scurvy, where the men gather in small groups and staring at your journalist, I found a semi-religious cult that was not only capable of cannibalism, but also willing to evidently sacrifice themselves to their cultist beliefs.

When your journalist asked one small group gathered at the local repair shop if they had taken part in the ritual repasts of the Sheriff, one of them shouted - much as they do in their Sunday religious services...for your journalist to..."Eat ME!"

This threat I reported to the local police station, but no arrests were made, It shows the depth of the depravity one finds when one has crossed the Hudson into lesser regions of this land."

"You know Judge", Henny smiled at his old friend. "There was a time the acts of a totally ignorant media would send me into a blue funk, but they are so stupid and self preening that it no longer seems worth the effort to correct them. Hell, they're too dumb to even care what the truth may be lest it destroy one of their closely held myths."

"Well, you may see it that way buddy boy, but for myself, I'm worried about Sam's actions. Do you think he even considered America's riff raff would take his hanging to heart; then spread the lie over the entire Nation?"

"Wish he would show up and put an end to this thing. Do you know where he is Hen? - swear to me that you don't know."

"Me?...Know? Judge how could you stand there and blame ME for the acts of some goofy friend of YOURS?"

"Well, you got any idea where he might be?"

"Hell, sure I got ideas, but they are no different than yours?. You were the last one to talk to him, weren't you?"

Henny had seen the judge, with his arm on Sam's shoulder that morning it happened, talking 'low like'...just before Sam had gone to town for coffee.

"Reckon he is at the lake place?" The Judge offered.

"Beats me, big fellow. Good as any place - better than most. Least the news junkies can't get to him unless some dumb-ass friend is conned into taking one of them out there."

"Want to go look?"

"Nope, think I will just go home and read until it all blows over", the Judge allowed, as he slowly rose and headed for Henny's porch door.

Later that evening, while outside checking his tomato vines, Henny saw two media types leaving the Judges house ? both looked well under the influence of mead or some other libation served by the Judge - perhaps too generously.

Hanging Sam - Chapter Two

The chilly spring evening air crept in; Henny lit what he reflected to be the last small fire of the season. Watching the flames take hold Henny's mind traveled to the reasons for the present mess as stirred up by the media.

Many long discussions with Sam, the Judge, and others as well as living cheek by jowl for fifty years left Henny with the simple belief that society refused to accept truth, as it existed - a truth that could not be wished away, or overlooked, without reaping the winds. Winds such as those now buffering a town and people that had, for the most part lived in harmony and peace.

That simple truth being, men were not - had never been nor could ever be by any stretch - equal.

No race, internally or externally considered all men equal. The very nature of man, and the societies he established, was founded upon the basic need to separate one's self from those of low moral desires, or the inability to see the value of work and self sacrifice as the prerequisites for an ordered, functional society. An organization of otherwise free men provided the best opportunity for man to achieve most of his needs - rather than his wishes.

But such groups demanded both rules and the understanding that all men must be free to choose. Limiting choices, except those required for basic functionality was no more that a limit upon freedom - once started - one that led to either anarchy or fascist rule.

The ability to work and save for the advancement of the family unit - or the larger group - is a demand, a necessity if you will...of any well-ordered, peaceful society.

One must realize that any such democracy is a living organism. Once created, it suffers the same insidious plight of the universe - chaos.

Democracies decay.

Its seeds...the very notion of ultimate freedom and mans inability to ever choose between freedoms that are necessary - and those that tear a nation apart.

The citizens of Hennyville know these constraints; the freedoms that must be sacrificed. As such they are...these sacrificed freedoms are both our damning fault in the eyes of the scheming, hateful left - as well as most in Hennyville believe - our saving grace.

Discrimination - the right to choose ones friends, one?s group members, yes even one's work mates, is necessary. It is the only way societal norms can be enforced. Without enforced rules one only has to look at America now, compare it to the past, to see the results of abandoning such norms. The base elements take over. As base people have no, or adhere to no, rules of a orderly society...there can be none.

Like water, society and its inhabitants, will eventually seek and find its lowest order. The chaos theory demands such. Once rules are abandoned or made weak by the liberal judges in cahoots with the ACLU and others, society suffers. It cannot be otherwise.

America will become Mexico or Africa dependent upon which of those groups are the lowest of the low. Neither group should for one moment take their eyes from the pathologies of the Muslim world. It seems even better suited to wining the clash for controlling the environment of the new "petri dish" culture that our leaders have allowed America to become.

Hennyville worked simply because it was a truth teller. Not a culture of the privileged under-class of whom nothing was demanded - or even expected.

Pride begets pride, slovenliness works the same, only faster.

No person is equal, nor do they expect to be unless they have continually been misled for some ulterior reason. Reasons such as those of greed or fear, that have no place in a world society, or even a people that wish for true equality - not an "equality" ordered by a society gone mad with power or fear of the underclass.

As the world has proven time and time again, THE ONLY SOCIETY THAT CAN ORDER OUTCOME IS ONE OF FACISM OR COMMUNISM.

Those societies, by their nature, dictate that some are "more equal" than others. In those groups the decisions of equality are made by failed individuals rather than by individual effort and market demands.

The success of Hennyville - if it be that - and the very hate of those that don?t see or adhere to such reasoning, is simply that that our people know that results are not the same for everyone.

Life is lumpy.

Hennyville's people know this.

They also know that they are not invited to fish in a lake or join various clubs because of "who" they are?but rather upon decisions of - "what" they are.

Most revel in the distinction.

Henny looked up slowly, becoming aware of his place in time. The fire made a low puff as it collapsed upon its self. In a single moment it had moved from a vigorous structured self, to a small pile of ash - throwing off thin warmth. A warmth insufficient to the needs brought on by Henny?s deepening mood.

A fitful sleep brought continued thoughts to a restless mind?

Was that fire a model of the "New Hennyville" - the blatant hope of the new Americans symbolized by the seething mass of media now fouling the local landscape?

The morning crashed down on Henny early. He was awakened at 5 am by a recurring dream. A nightmare, if you will, one in which Henny found himself continually chased by Dan Rather waving a mike asking, "Who loves ya, baby?"

Roused by a judge more chipper than Henny had reminded him of the night before; fumbling at the phone Henny yelled at his old friend.

"I'm not going fishing at this un-godly hour - you old goat!" Henny listened a moment, then mumbled into the receiver, "You called to take me to breakfast at Rosie's! Has your mind completely left you, old man?" Then moments later...

"Well Hell, I'm up now. What does sorry buy me? I'll see you at six, then...bring your purse."

Six am on a spring morning usually meant a ground fog. Caused by the cool mountain air rolled over the warmer valley lands around Hennyville, the fog made driving risky. This six am was no different.

A fog, heaver in some patches than others, roiled in the main street of Hennyville; The view from Rosie's Place to the Court House Square across the street became a problematic affair.

It was most unusual that Rosie?s was full to the gills - standing room only - but Henny didn't think on this at the time...only later. Much later.

The Judge had met his friend at the restaurant door and led him through the crowd to the front table hard by the window looking out on both the Court House and Village Square. The crowd, though mixed, contained most of the out of town media here to find Sam and punish the town for its manifest misdeeds of a terminal violation of political correctness. A violation that in many quarters of the press was a far, far, more sickening deed than mere murder.

This had been well noted when the Judge had asked one of the better known media moguls wandering his property with a camera.

"I say there, old sport," the Judge often lapsed into "pseudo-English baron-speak" when addressing those he suspected the fool.

"Would you care for a spot of Lipton's best?"

"You expect me to drink tea with those responsible for the disrespect of the Negro race?"

With that, the reporter swishing - in a gather her skirts move - stalked off the Judge's property. Her pants suit had detracted noticeably from her attempted dismissive act.

WHAT IS THAT? The judge pointed excitedly through Rosie's window at the Courthouse Square. All eyes followed John?s long bony finger.

What was actually there?

It remains - to this day - a scene colored by both experience of the viewer and any innate honesty brought to the moment.

For most reporters it was ghost of their constant memories. Memories only wished - in minds gone long stale; minds that had ceased to function within months of reaching the newsroom.

Across the street, partially blocked by the ancient live oaks, fading then returning, in the swirling ground fog, was a human - an apparition - a specter in time.

Robed in white, a long gray/black beard and sheppard's staff, a hooded figure passed across the square - then turning, raised both arms in some unknown blessing...or curse - then faded into the fog and into the minds, and the oral history. to be later told of Hennyville.

The momentary silence soon lapsed into pods of stand-up reporters speaking earnestly into the portable television cameras. The restaurant filled with the clicks of print reporters fitfully typing.

A few of the lesser equipped valiantly attempted to file long copy by cell-phone. Pudgy fingers bled from useless copy punched on to the numeric pads.

Rosie's overly plump cook took one glance across the Square, then with a loud "Sweet Jesus," passed out cold behind the counter.

In the midst of the entire hubbub, the panicky voice of the remote television anchors and the clatter of keyboards, there was a light pressure upon Henny's elbow and he was soon, out the back door, and in the Judge's dusty Mercedes.

"Well, Bubba that should hold the scribes for a while. It's not every day they get to see their own "Marley."

The judge having referred to his favorite author, turned and winked leaving a wandering roadside chicken - feathers fluffed by a near miss - clucking whatever chicken nastiness came to mind at the judge's rapidly receding car.

The Judge looking straight ahead wondered out loud."You reckon Sam will ever turn up, Hen?"

Hanging Sam - Chapter Three

Rolling east rapidly over the dirt back roads - - not unlike a naval Destroyer Screen laying covering smoke - red dust boiling from the rear of the Judge's Mercedes. Henny measured his response to John's question.

"Judge, I have thought you were up to something since I saw you huddled with Sam yesterday morning. Then when you took time to waste liquor on those Journalists last night, I knew you were up to no good. But for the life of me I cannot see just how all this effort is worth the candle"?

Smiling, the Judge spoke in return."Well bubba, in fact, it did get well past what Sam and I intended."

"You had sort of egged Sam into his re-doing his Watussi routine."

"How, you say?" Henny responded

"By deftly insisting that he not." The Judge smiled again and continued?

"Hell, that was great psychology and I just knew Sam would take the bait. All I did was embellish the ending by having your gal take the picture and flash it at your sorry ass'ed competitor at the Athens Herald."

"I knew Dunbar would jump on the situation if for no other reason than a chance to embarrass you - and the town."

"But Hen, it never ever occurred to me that the fool would for even a moment believe it or spread it to the national press. I figured he would be way too smart for that. Then there is the natural greed that editors feel toward a story, why would he be willing to be seen as the fool?"

"John Jr. (Henny when piqued at the Judge, often lapsed into the name the Judges mother had used when not happy with either the Judge or Henny and some thoughtless act for which they were holding the bag)?. How many times have you heard me refer to Bill Dunbar as a fool? Hundreds? -Thousands? And?and?and you think him smart enough to catch a fake hanging?"

"Jesus, John! Maybe I've been belling the wrong cat? as a fool!"

They arrived at the Lake lodge before the Judge could defend his attempt to embarrass the rabidly leftist editor of the Athens Paper.The only transportation out front of the building was a small Mo-ped that normally resided in Henny's garage in town.

There was no one in the main room of the lodge, but there, on the front porch, sat Sam, beer in hand, white robe flowing; a large pile of gray/white Spanish moss and aviator glasses mounded besides the rocking chair.

"Girls?Girls?Girls - Glad to see you. I'm plum tuckered from riding all the way out here on that damn toy of yours, Henny."

Sam stopped to scratch his jaw and neck before continuing to speak.

"Judge, that was genius; you should have seen the look on all the faces at Rosie's window. I started to make another round of the Court House, but you were right, I expect. A glimpse of God should be sufficient for the believer? as well as the godless unwashed media."

Idly continuing to scratch his face, Sam explained that he had mounted the mo-ped, covered he and the bike with the white robes"borrowed" from the"Ladies of Mercy Aux. Grieving committee" of the"Jesus Is Risen Baptist Church" - and then ridden slowly to the front of the building looking for a weak spot in the fog. The beard had come from the oak tree outside Henny's garage; the rubber cement from the Judges desk.

Once he found a faint opening in the fog Sam did as the Judge had proposed. He turned the bike facing the Restaurant, stood, raised his arms and the staff in Benediction - then hightailed it for the alley behind the jail, then through the railroad track bottoms, and on out to the lake.

"Sam, where in the world did you get that Shepard's Crook? It set the whole affair off perfectly!" The Judge allowed, shaking his head.

"Easy as rain, Judge, I borrowed it from Hank over at the Dairy. Hank told me he used it to get his older cows back in their proper place in line. Seems that cows are much like people - as they age, they sometimes forget."

Hank uses the crook to grab their collar and lead them back to their spot in the milking order. By using the long stick, Hank can stay on the grass and not have to walk in the muddy trail cut from the pasture to the barn, by cows in their habitual methodical ways. Saves him a lot of clean-up time going in and out of the barn, as he often does during milking.

"Judge, Hank says his cows are smarter and better behaved than most people with whom he deals. Seems when Hank takes a cow back to his proper spot in line, the cows see her coming and automatically make room for her in the line."

"You ever tried to get a place next to your wife at the church picnic, Judge? I expect Hank is right as rain about cows being at least better natured ?if not smarter that some of us, at least."

"Sam, What did you think of all this?"

The Judge had asked his old friend this in a off hand manner. But Henny, having looked the Judge's eyes at the time, felt a deeper meaning was intended - a deeper meaning wished.

Sam paused for several counts, then slowly building upon his thoughts, responded to the Judge's question.

"Judge, I had always thought deep down that many in Hennyville were way too sensitive about Journalist, the far left, Yankees in general.

Hell, a hold over from the damn One war in your lives ?I don't know ?something anyway ?something that made all of you as quirky and prone to flash at those that carried different beliefs.

As far as you and Henny, and a few others ?a damn few, at? that, I know you care about me and mine. I know you treat me as you treat other whites. Of course, that - is pretty damn shitty? at that."

Sam Winked, and went on.

"Now, I have seen with my own eyes the utter hate in the eyes of the left and the distain they feel for any thing southern or shit ?even moral!

It is not that they don't think. They don't seem capable of thinking. Thinking, that is, about any idea that contravenes their individual prejudices or misapplied liberal ideology."

"Sadly, many blacks refuse to question it as well. It is though they can't accept any idea that makes either them, or liberals, responsible for the past or what many have become - wards of the State."

With this, Sam made a sweeping bow and asked.

"Can I go back to work ?Boss man?"

'You mean hoeing cotton, or making pickaninny's?

'WELL, both, now that you mention it"

We all paid for that day in Hennyville?the day Sam was hung.

I was forced to fire the girl that worked at the Hennyville Times. She became a part of the story and fed (in a moment of self importance) the flames started by the loony left in the media.

The Judge in open court was forced to deal with cases of abuse and theft blamed on the Hennyville haunts" that had invaded the soul of the miscreants before the bar.

Sam, in spite of the Judge's wishes, or those of any in Hennyville, suffered the most. There was the new knowledge Sam had discovered about himself - and more importantly - the vagrancies of human nature.

But in the end, by far, the worst punishment for playing God had been the near terminal case of Chiggers (from the Spanish Moss) that had moved from Sam's face and neck, to the far more important lower portions of Sam's body.

To merely stand and attempt to talk to Sam on the streets of Hennyville, left both parties scratching their"family pride' - Sam scratching away in unremitting pain - the other party scratching in an unrealized sympathetic reaction.

Small, knowing smiles from those passing?being the only notice.

©1999-2006 Andy Watson, all rights reserved.

Life among the Skinheads - The Dickhead Diaries

By A. H. Watson

My first precognition of my unusual ability had come at a rather early age. At the age of two I distinctly remember being in a sand box at my neighbor's home. I remember staring at his set of alphabet blocks - then at mine.

My first premonition had been aroused by the fact that his blocks were piled between his chubby legs, in a jumbled, random fashion. Mine, in contrast, spelled out the first line of Francis Thickener's great poem "Little Giffin".

It seeped into my mind, as it would countless times in my fixated future, that; he, who sat across from me in the sand box - was a dickhead.

By high school I had moved on to assembling blocks to form, then solve, long quadratic equations. Glancing at my friends blocks, I saw that he had moved to forming brief lines from, "Where's my cat" and the more complex "Red Riding Hood" mystery.

This fact helped cement my early belief that while "dickheadedness" may change, it stayed equal distance in degree, between any two parties.

This fact was couched in the phrase, coined by me, in one of my very first monographs..

Once a Dickhead - Always a Dickhead

The first use of this phrase had come much earlier, in my fourth year at Druid Hills Grammar School. As I remember,I had been sent to the principal's office for some minor indiscretion. It had been my intention to treat the man as a near equal. My suggestion was one that, perhaps if I could arrange to get his car keys returned, and the front bumper repaired - we could call the affair even.

It had been the principals foolish suggestion that we just might arrange some accommodation, even at that. My choices, being limited to either apologizing to the entire student body at daily assembly, OR I could remove myself to the gym where I would receive three large whacks with the principal's three-foot paddle.

This was to be administered by the gym teacher; a man once drafted stand-in for Charles Atlas in a locally produced play. It was not until much later in life that, his membership in the local thespians group, gave dire warning to me of other characteristics the man might exhibit...other than that of his brawny body.

It was then I realized my principal was - "A Dickhead". Who but a DH would suggest that a 'principled' young man, such as me, stand before my peers and apologize?

For anything!

You can see, can you not, my life was slowly filling its nooks and creases with dickheads. They were all around me! Taking time I could ill afford. Draining efforts best spent on my own advancement.

It was during this high school period that I had begun to realize that most adults, at least those with which I came in contact, had a predisposition to become DH's. My own parents seemingly carried the "Richard-ness" gene deep in their soul - at least when dealing with me.

It only took one quick decision on their part to establish that fact.

You see - I had become much too popular in school. Students constantly vied for my attention by playing jokes and carrying tall tales to the school about things that happened - things which had only marginal identity with me; items such as the finger-smudge on the bottle of gas used to burn dirty words into the stadium grass - the night of the championship game.

The military school I attended the next year was full of dickheads. You would think they advertised for them.

Have a child at home smarter than yourself?
Want a Year to relax? A year with no weekend
Migraine headaches?
Think of Bolles School for Boys, ot just distant in miles - but a minimum of three days by train
Or Bus!

Looking back, it is as if, everywhere I found myself, I was soon all but surrounded by assorted DH's of every description.

College was no better in my search for a sane society. I sought a place where those that surrounded me in my daily life would take my offered council and follow to the letter my simple request and suggestions. Suggestions, I might add, meant only to improve their lives...as well as mine. You would be amazed at the resistance I so often met.

I do not mean to imply that all my college friends suffered this most prevalent malady. Many listened wisely to my council and were saved the recrimination of having crossed my wishes with those of their own. Some seemed to be waiting for me, or someone, to bring order to their lives. They appreciated that new order and meaning.

Life was good.

But it was not perfect. That was yet to come; a later date, when I found, both my calling, and sufficient disciples to provide for my every need.

But, in this earlier time, I would fight the good fight against those that upset my very being - Those that exhibited, most certainly, near terminal cases of dickheadedness.Would you believe? Some, that I have encountered, actually took issue with my opinion and suggestions.

I know, I know...but, it's true. There are those, though the numbers are rapidly dwindling, thank God! There are some that actually question my perceptions. Some even that proposes questions, and answers - of their own making!

As my life-mate told me, "Don't let it upset you so. You win in the end don't you? You always have."

It is true. I win because I never gave in. I never allowed the miscreant a moments rest from hearing the truth. I enlisted his friends; powerful faculty acquaintances, and those involved with the person's daily life.

Few men can stand-alone for long. Men seek affirmation. Much like their ancestral family, there seems a genetic need for family members - to comb their fur - to pick, then eat, their fleas.

To this end, then, all methods were unfurled, in the war for obeisance of truth.

Such war is tiring - the continual fight with dickheads over that which should be obvious - and leaves little time for levity, for human love, or warmth.

In my cloudy soul, I sometimes envied their lightness, their ability to spring a ready laugh. Strange that such happiness should tumbles from the lips and mind of those suffering such mental infirmities.

Though you perhaps think me an embellisher of fact, I have actually been - briefly - associated with those of such ilk, those that actually questioned the obvious verity of my beliefs, and those of my associates.

This a position that could only be held by those suffering the gene that is rampant among non-believers...dickheadedness.

From those years, the years before my father left one day for cigarettes and never returned - not even for his clothes and well loved bird dog.

I remember my mothers warning every time she cut my cantaloupe, spending hours then cleaning the seeds from its core.

"Son, Remember, no matter how many times you scrape these devils, when you sit down, there is always one more of these sickeningly slick seeds still clinging to life."

Upon such instruction I ate rapidly, stuffing my mouth with fruit - but without ceremony - and she would sweep the redolent mass from under my nose and bury it in the outside garbage.

Many of my school days were spent with the sweet remembrances of cantaloupe teasing my lips and senses, but none in a growling stomach.

I was well into my second year of psychology before I understood the evident female psychosis that engulfed most of her life. It had sent my father wandering the land in search of a sunnier clime and acquaintances with which one could smile, or even laugh.

As I gaze upon the River Charles from my fourth floor office, I wonder if my father ever found that peace, one that - even in my perfection - eluded me.

Today the Charles is hosting Regatta Day.

The flat roiling river is being penetrated by shells...shells too numerous to count.

I see them forging forward.

Up-stream they come, thrusting then falling briefly behind until another mighty surge breaks new up-river water - the quest to be the first...to touch home...to complete the race before all other craft - is a powerful urge - more powerful than the smooth urgent stream.

The victors lie exhausted on their oars - taking fitful breathes.

Like my mother's kitchen past, he segued to the Charles, imagining it a huge and snaking fallopian tube, pondering if the tired young men share a cigarette, then seek the universal answer?

"Was it good for you?"

How many times had he watched the sun sink across the Charles - slip behind the warehouses, the darkening slums of West Boston - and with timeless hope imagine it illuminating the distant future?

That distance? A lifetime, from the room in which he sat.

If he had but examined that office and himself with the dispassion brought to all other endeavors, he could not have ignored a certain poverty of particulars.

A room devoid of the human detritus of life, clear desk, ordered bookcases, a gleaming floor bare of rugs, walls containing nothing more than the wooden awards and framed diplomas, swapped much like baseball cards, by a cadre of self-serving high priests of learning.

It was a personal womb, one which could have easily been designed by his mother, or some latter-day guru of postmodern design.

In fact, it was among his own heroic icons; the now bowdlerized beliefs of those cant filled imposters, Michel Foucault and Roland Barthes, he had made his stand - indeed, had sacrificed his life and that of his life partner.

The evening had brought him a disquieting unease. All evenings were thus. But, the event upon the Charles, its point to his own memory hole...his own worm in the universe, had surfaced...thoughts long suppressed in the deeper crevasses - places reserved for past foolish acts, and thoughts.

In the self-contained realm of education, he was a "self-made man." Even his silliest thoughts were never questions.

Though he seldom saw or treated with underclass students, over the years as a group they had learned that to question came at their own peril. How easy it was to have them stand before the larger group, a group wishing only to pass.

Standing, they could be easily berated by him, but other students taking his lead would always provide the coupe-de-gras.

He never ceased to be surprised by the vicious acts of students when they were knowingly free from reprisal.

Goulding had been quite perceptive, and so early too.

He made a mental note to revisit "The Lord of the Flies." Maybe, with the proper introduction and comments, it would be a good class addition. Perhaps it would even start a small dust-up with the few remaining dickheads in his courses.

He crossed the campus to his large apartment in the North Shores' most prominent high-rise. A refuge cold and pristine as the office just left.

His route had taken him through the school commons, and quadrangle, faced with timeless buildings raised to the glory of knowledge. Building and tradition that reached back to near the founding of the nation.

Europeans, he thought idly during that walk, had placed far too much faith in the knowledge of the past. They had made too much of history, given too little a riff to things he had proven to be paramount in the education of young minds. It had been necessary to destroy the past, at least in the minds of the young, in order to make room for the structure of the present. Only the present counted. He taught that, and believed it to be true in his own life. On life's surface, he lived and marched to such beliefs.

Then why the restless eye and thoughts as he traveled the campus? He dodged makeshift cardboard lean-to's, bold signs filled with dirty language preaching the nations guilt for various happenings far from our shores.

He could not escape his own metaphor. Had this once beautiful campus reached its present state of disarray - due to the disarray of the student's minds - minds taught to give short thought to past traditions?

"The present justifies itself."

How many times had he written such on student papers or buttressed, otherwise, weak arguments, with this tired and meaningless phrase?

He arrived his building, it, tall, sleek, wrapped in glass and stainless steel.

His heels clicked sharply against the gleaming, antiseptic, floor.His lonely self, accompanied by a thousand footsteps, ascended.

A rich snick of a well oiled lock, and he was housed ? "home," a word too rich in connotation to describe his sterile shelter, his private abode.

"You're late, dinner will be along in a minute. Should I open a bottle of wine?"

"No. Not for me thanks."

Having given up American wine, to support unions - French wine, for a reason now long forgotten - South African, Italian, German, for their own needs to be punished - their choices now limited to Turkey, Mexico...and thankfully Chile - where a nice murderous despot reigned, but one that had the gumption to hate Americans, in general, and conservatives with a passion seldom seen outside the DNC.

Leigh Ann had been, both a graduate student, and a dickhead, when first they met, in his introductory class to Modern English Writing.

In that, she had little real interest in knowledge for the sake of knowing, she had been rather easy to mold - to bring around to his view of most things. Her very acquiescence had sullied the challenge.

It was what? Saturday?

Dinner would be some one-dish affair devoid of charm or taste. Not even parsley to break what was sure it to be - a brownish lump monopolizing his plate.

Leigh Ann owned a hundred cookbooks, adding to them with each out of town trip. Yet, the vast majority of her meals were derived from the back of cans - as she opened them.

Food was not a focus of their lives. But, then neither was religion - family - sports - gardening - charity...or any other worthwhile endeavor.

While Leigh Ann attended daily meetings concerning the latest demonstration or protest to be mounted; his activities were limited to talk or admonition about what should be done ?by others.

Leigh Ann's normal dress would fit a Quaker funeral. This evening, she appeared in a floor length skirt, seemingly woven from native grasses of the Aleutian tundra. It was black/brown and left a light trail of droppings on the polished floor. A floor so reflective, he could have seen her panties had she not given them up for some recent cause - one he could no longer remember.

"Did you enjoy the Regatta, dear?"

"I found it somewhat...errr...pointed. In fact, I thou?"

"Excuse me, dear. But, you know that making light is not your best form; It takes away from your more serious pronouncements. You must know - by now - that a person with no chin must gather all the serious demeanor at his disposal, if he is to be taken seriously."

Dinner continued in this execrable vein. Finally, with some anger, he pushed away what he had been told was a "new" addition to his wife's many wonders in the kitchen, a new item ? beef-a-lot.

This brown concoction was piled high on his plate, similar in looks to a miniature Mt. Suribachi. It caused him to think, briefly, about mounting a small American flag upon its crest.

But he didn't, such small victories are always followed by massive retaliation.

Leigh's sine qua non - was retaliation.

Leigh Ann then, with a thin smile, asked, "Are you going to my demonstration tomorrow? Bono has promised to come. Said he would sing with the Dixie Chicks, who will be there if the fat one can stay in key. I would like you there, those that don't know you say you look so dignified standing there with your serious face on."

"Leigh, I'm sorry, but tomorrow is my time for grading and counseling the honors students. You know that."

"Of course I do - I assume you are still feeling up the blond ones like you so often did me?"

"Damn it Leigh! You know better than that."

"We were in love. Don't you remember?" Leigh smiled wickedly.

"As I remember it, and thought at the time - you came on to me, trying to improve your final grades."

His voice breaking, "I have never touched one of these students!"

"Sure superman...and dogs have stopped turning around three times before they lie down."

With that pronouncement she swept, Regally, out of the room, leaving him to stack the dishes in the washer.

Instead of returning to the living room, with out a word, he retired to his small hide-away off their massive bedroom.

.He slept fitfully at night. Each new promotion, or book tour, increased his restlessness.

Lately, his dreams returned him to a childhood Ripley's Believe It or Not cartoon in the newspaper.

This was the one showing Chinese 12-abreast marching into the sea. A blurb stated, irrefutably, that such was the population and birth rate in China that such an act would see their population still out pace with that of the modern world.

This nightly revisited, loud crunch of footfalls - the underclass perhaps in a restless march to bury his works - left him washed in sweat. Inexplicable fears trampled his soul in unison to the beat of thousands of unwashed feet.

This night was little different. He lay there in a sheen of body fluids, damp testimonial to his foreboding.What differentiated this night, from most others was Leigh Ann.

Far across the room she sat, back to the bed, a tall thin column of gray smoke set against shaft of silver moonlight. It rose much as a beanstalk might rise to the distant heavens...far beyond their limited selves and ceiling.

Twenty years, and he had never known Leigh Ann smoked. What contempt now occupied that shriveled soul? What new belief had given her the strength of such a uncaring act?

He neither cared nor wished to know.

He now inferred a glint of meaning to the recurring dream. Her demeanor only added to the fitness he found in his contemplated action.

Moving quietly to his small study, he searched for any signs of a life lived with passion...or of a marked - deep caring, for either life, or the living thereof, and found none.

Poverty stared back.

Pictures without friends...faceless bodies handing awards and plaques to other bodies - faces unrecognizable.

No borrowed books, or other accoutrements, needing to be returned to friends or family.

No "things to do," or say lists, at least not outside his daily orbit.

Caught between thought and the act, a moment of clarity.

His murder of history consigned him to this life, a postmodern trip to nowhere; punctuated by petty hates and false premises. A life only possible in the bosom provided for by the hard work and effort of others.

Universities, government agencies, the Church Universal - all wards of the state - non-productive, self-protecting entities responsible to none but themselves. Stripped from humanity or blame, they were free to diminish the doers of the world - the dickheads - as he had so named them long ago.

The Chinese horde...his reshaped young minds...and he, a rare but hothouse flower.

Save tenure and crowds of worshiping but un-inquisitive youth, what was he?

No youthful claim of "slippance" could regain this marble.

Moving quickly...yet...with a firmness and sense of right not experienced in years, he acted.

One last look, back through his apartment, toward Leigh Ann. He realized the finality of his poverty, his earlier rush to find his father - to complete life's circuit, with one firmly grounded act.

An unequivocal act shutting out his wife's ubiquitous remonstration.

A wan smile filtered briefly across his face, he realized that Wolfe had been wrong, for reasons far different than those he had pushed on unsuspecting students.

A man could go home again but that life could not journey forth - being fixed in time and custom.

From the drawer of his desk, he retrieved his father's one gift - unintended - lifted from the pile of his father's thing his mother had burned in a trash barrel out back.

Unlike the cigarette smoke, the reflection from the handle of the small weapon matched perfectly the glow flooding from the den window.

Though he saw them marching, the arrayed Chinese made no sound. Perhaps all along they had come only to lead him home. Slowly at first, then, with increasing speed their visage morphed, from Chinese...to Caucasian faces...familiar - each a map of failed promise.

Some say that air disturbed by a butterfly's wings beating in the slums of Hong Kong may can rustle leaves on the White Mountain trails of Vermont - or perhaps the high spaces of downtown Boston.

The column of disturbed air eddied away from the muffled report - a slow tsunami. across the expansive room. Tall straight line of smoke - fractured - seismic traces, contrails...

Leigh Ann did not hear the report from the distant den. She maintained that posture to friends and police alike.

She did, however, see the column of air disturb the rising smoke.

Looking in the antique mirror, she adjusted her blouse and hair.

Then?. more as an afterthought, she added a small touch of Channel to her left wrist and ear.

Humming an old show tune as she walked, she further mused...perhaps there is time for a small glass of that outstanding riesling from San Paulo...then to notify the emergency personnel, and start the list of those to call.

"Out of the focal and foremost fire,
Out of the hospital walls as dire,
Smitten of grape-shot and gangrene--
Eighteenth battle and he sixteen--
Spectre such as you seldom sees,
Little Giffin of Tennessee

"Take him and welcome," the surgeon said,
"But much your doctor can help the dead!"
And so we took him and brought him where
The balm was sweet on the summer air;
And we laid him down on a lonesome bed,
Utter Lazarus, heels to head.

Weary war with baited breath!
Skeleton Boy against skeleton Death!
Months of torture, how many such!
Weary weeks of the stick and crutch!
And still the glint of the steel-blue eye
Told of a spirit that wouldn't die,

And didn't--nay more, in Death's despite
The crippled skeleton learned to write.
"Dear Mother," at first, of course, and
then "Dear Captain," asking about the men.
Captain's answer, "Of eighty and five,
Giffin and I are still alive."

"Johnston's pressed at the front," they say
Little Giffin was up and away.
A tear, the first, as he bade good-bye,
Dimmed the glint of his steel-blue eye.
"I'll write, if spared."--There was news of the fight
But none of Giffin--he didn't write.

I sometimes fancy that when I'm king,
And my gallant courtiers form a ring,
Each so careless of power and pelf,
Each so thoughtful for all but self,
I'd give the best on his bended knee--
Yes, barter them all, for the loyalty Of Little Giffin of Tennessee."

1999-2006 A.H. Watson, all rights reserved.

Forever Young

By A.H. Watson

I don?t know where I am going with this - or if I have the ability to state my feelings in such a way that it will pass a smidgen of understanding to any of you.

I do know that that there is little that will have the slightest meaning to any of you under fifty ? there is simply no way your years on earth have conditioned your thoughts to these matters. It is one of shared experience ?not a question of brains or ability.

Wake Island

Earlier this week occasioned the anniversary of two films made in 1942. They played the same day. I doubt that either - alone ? would have tripped the emotional wire long covered by my cynicism and careless attitude.

Over the last thirty years America has lost its way; it has, at an ever increasing rate moved from highest point of civilized man?s reach to the path descending into the primal mud of the distant past - those days of blurred separation between man at his lowest, and the higher order animal kingdom from whence we arose.

The rank acts of terror, of senseless murder and rape, the foul acts against good order, and the never-ending excuse and acceptance of such acts, have moved the finest society the world has ever experienced, back to the days of tribal disorder and vengeful acts of inhuman behavior. This would never have been accepted or deemed to be ?normal" in the America that existed much before 1965.

In 1942 the War had just started. Much doubt existed as to our ability to defeat fascists that were then extinguishing the lights of freedom all over Europe and the Western rim.

America, at the time, was suffering ten years of recession. This left the country in many quarters of the Eastern establishment, not only in doubt about American capitalism, but with a lemming-like faith in the pathologies of Communist world order. Many of the wealthy left were outright supporters of the growing German menace. The Kennedy?s as well as much of the New York literary/University class were prime examples of this national illness.

The desire to fight to save American values was not a monolithic, universal desire of the American public. Much like today, the willingness to fight fascism was to a great extent a White European desire. Then as now, it was a wish to protect our way of life, as well as one to help Europe regain their freedom.

First, of many, examples of leftist trepidation at the time would be the labor unions, which continued to foment and strike during the war. On some occasions the country was forced to bring in the Army to run companies being struck ? struck, in spite of the knowledge that doing so hastened possible death to our men at the front. The second would be the overwhelming number of American spies working for Russia ? betraying American interests.

Even stranger still was the number of those spies that owed their very life, and that of their families, to America?s willingness to take them in and give them jobs and shelter.

Many of these were known communists whose history included everything from sedition in the State Dept. to giving Russia our plans concerning peace. The Manhattan Project included some twenty spies that were responsible for giving our secrets concerning atomic weapons directly to Russia.

What is never mentioned in the history of this period - much of it written by media that actually, given its wishes, would have supported Communist take over of our country - are all the additional plans for everything from our newest planes, to our Submarines that found their way to communist Russia.

Many times this information was received by Russia even before our own military brass was aware of the information?s existence.

This continues unabated today?and by the same people - or their ideological offspring.

So?In 1942 when the movies ?Wake Island" and ?Casablanca" were filmed, this nation?s future was in serious doubt ? the war had started for America only a few months earlier and American troops had won no battles.

Defeat and loss shadowed our soldiers and only through the infusion of a ?moral victory" could America?s hope be reclaimed from the mounding ashes of defeat and death.

The sheer arrogance of the morally superior Northern left, coupled with the isolationists of many mid-country Republicans, had forced our military to train for war with wooden guns and tanks. For the first two years of war the only real weapon available to our troops was courage in the face of an overwhelming enemy properly equipped, and a knowledge and acceptance of their own certain death.

I was a child of the depression and came of age at a time when the daily return from school was often met with a star hanging in the front window and a mother or Aunt that would never - in this life ? continue to function as the same person you knew only hours before - No matter how bravely they tried.

So, with such mental baggage, most of my friends as well as me fought each skirmish - each attack - from our foxholes on the distant Wake Island - passing ammunition, making death-defying trips to battalion headquarters for more ammo or additional orders. We were there to wave a brave good by to the last Marine pilot in the last functional plane ? rising alone to meet the vast armada of Japs.

Thought distant in miles, to young minds we were there with our fathers, our uncles and older brothers. As real to me today as the Sunday paper?s news will be to the younger crowd.

For you see, those things portrayed in the movie were real ? they did happen.

The pilot did go up to engage an overwhelming enemy, while ships reached to the horizon.

And he did die?not in fiction, not in a screenplay but in flesh and blood ? a fiery crash and grieving parents with no body to claim and no direct knowledge of his heroic act.

Today I constantly hear, ?What hokey little movies. Surely people didn?t actually get that involved or care enough to fight on uselessly against such odds?knowing they would die for nothing."

There were tens of thousands of Americans that died in small distant places. They died being told help was on the way. This, when no help was being sent or was even available due to a gutless Senate and White House inaction.

The lack of resolve and action by America in the face of growing knowledge that we would be forced at some point to fight, is the untold story of history. It is the metastasizing cancer behind by the left in America.

Politicians from the President to leaders of the congress lied and continued to lie to the people. From 1935 until the foreknown attack on Pearl Harbor in Dec. of ?41.America was fed nothing but the constant drum by politicians of all stripes that, ?this is not America?s war. A vote for me will keep America free from foreign entanglements."

We were to pay dearly in coin for these lies, but even more tragically in needless death for the battling bastards of Bataan, Wake and all the other unknowable islands spread across the South Pacific.

Needless?

Because every outpost, every tent in the Pacific, should have been emptied long before the Japs arrived. We knew they were coming and we knew that these small, understaffed, poorly equipped outposts could never keep the enemy forces from landing and occupying the islands. They were forced to remain because the politicians did not wish to face the nation with the facts of failure of the political class. Furthermore - much like allowing Pearl Harbor to take place - Roosevelt used the death of these honorable souls to help push America into a much needed frenzy of hate that no number of ?fireside chats" could have ever mustered.

Much like today, those lies were an attempt to get elected by withholding the hard truths to an electorate that, even on its best days, is divided by selfish?not selfless?ness.

There was no help coming to the soldiers of Wake Island. They died, as they knew they would, by gunfire and bombs. But they could have never believed that they were to be bayoneted in their foxholes, or beheaded if captured or surrendered.

No white European, and make no mistake, the blunt end of the stick was white America, could ever believed other humans would kill captives. That another human could or would behead another human was beyond the scope of white America to ever believe - until it happened over and over again.

There are some things in this world that cannot be forgiven over a new Toyota or computerized toy. Nature does not change. Into that breech again, I have little doubt heads could roll and the Japs would grin?again.

It takes but one ghostly image upon the screen and I quickly return to those days. I can smell the damp dankness of the concrete porch buttresses of my home, behind which I made my machine gun nest. Even the smell of captured fireflies, that pungent rank odor fills my nostrils at the most unwanted time. There is no shunting the images aside for another, better suited, time. They must be attended much like a Catholic Mass?in full.

There is no short cut, but rather a pattern of thoughts that must be relived - if I am to return to other pursuits.

Of all my constantly returning memories, those of the lonely pilot, last of his group of laughing young men gone to service in a distant land, are the most vivid.

Perhaps the last of a breed, standing on the wing of his plane knowing that this is his last look at life, when only days before it seemed to stretch out before him? seemingly a safe long highway.

But had he known, would he have flown off so readily to meet his certain death?

Standing on the rail of his ship arms around his buddies - waving at the women in his life there below and outfitted in their Sunday best, then returning the salute of the brass turned out on shore?had he known - as they must have - he was never to return?

Had he realized he was little more than cannon fodder to be wasted against an unstoppable foe? That is, until such time that the country could equip itself for winning the war; until it could recover from the crime of gutless politicians and those whose fight only awakened the sleeping giant?would he fight were it known?

I suspect so; we were a different people then.

Duty and honor was an individual thing, but they were taught in the family, school and church. They were ideals to be cherished not ideas of embarrassment or derision as they seem today in many circles.

A while back I mentioned to my uncle Leo, the bookie, that I had just read on the Internet ?beauty speaks to truth, and truth beauty," and that as Robby Burns said, ?one sees the world in a grain of sand".

Leo didn?t exactly say I was wrong. But he did suggest that I not take that bet at less that 40 to 1

Today Leo is probably correct, but if one passes thru the portal to the past, I as so often do of late, Leo would be wrong and soon tapped out.

It was a better time - A better people that populated it.

I sense a lesson is all of this?but it eludes me.

Casablanca

Beyond the Movie ?Wake Island?, my other ?grain of sand" was ?Casablanca".

If Wake Island brought despair and deep angst to a young mind, a feeling that still surfaces uncalled upon all these many years later. Then ?Casablanca" was my refuge, my single bright hope for the future; A future that lay in ruins around me with each new defeat on distant Islands of the vast Pacific.

This sense of lost was soon compounded by American forces utter defeat and rout at the Kasserine Pass in Far off Tunisia. American troops did not stand and fight or even ?fall back" to regroup ? they fled from in front of the enemy like so much ice in the desert heat ? they evaporated into no Army?only individuals? fleeing pell-mell back toward shores of Tripoli and a Marine Anthem that would need to be modified if a quick fix could not be found/ A fix to a unruly mass that had marched into battle with Rommel - only to flee in hysteria.

This was not know by me at the time, of course, but as an aside, allow me to point out that Eisenhower appointed General George Patton to lead that mass of humanity that had broken before the enemy. Throughout his career Patton had been shoved aside by the likes of Eisenhower, Marshall, Bradley and others that spent their years around Washington kissing and smelling each other?s armpits. They felt Patton ?too peculiar ? too rough and unpolished ? ?too unworthy"- to join the cadre of officers that spent their days preening before the Washington powers.

This was only the first of several occasions where Patton saved Eisenhower?s and the Army?s bacon when the fat was smoking.

Once Patton had saved the day he was then again sorely treated by Army staff and Eisenhower as well. This soft Army staff knew Patton well, they knew he would stand any affront - just for the opportunity to lead and fight.

In the end America and its safety depended upon the Patton?s of the world ?not the Marshall?s or Eisenhower?s. In weeks, by turning this disorganized mob into to a fighting Army and leading these very same troops to victory, Patton may have well saved our country?s war effort. For certain, it enabled the landing on the shores of France at least one year earlier than would have been possible should the Africa Corps have been allowed to continue its operation on the fields of Tunisia and Egypt.

Eisenhower rewarded him by removing him from command - under political pressure for his having slapped a malingering soldier - giving him no say in the landing in Europe.

This alone cost thousands of American lives by giving a loud mouthed, little do nothing, blow hard - Montgomery - command of the landing troops. Montgomery was to land twenty miles from Calais and take it on the third morning. Instead Monty landed, fixed tea and didn?t move for 45 days, never taking the ports so vital to the success of the whole affair.

Patton then, once given command of the third Army, broke from the landing zone and pressed rapidly toward the back door of the Germans - some 200 miles in less than thirty days. Only to have Montgomery demand that he stop advancing and become attached to Monty?s do-nothing Army.

That winter, Eisenhower again called on Patton to save Eisenhower?s ass by coming to the relief of the troops at Bastogne. He was rewarded by appointment as ?military head of a small town in Germany"- no ticker tape parade for the man most responsible for winning the war - .that was saved for the incompetent asses who were still groping and kissing each other.

The movie, ?Casablanca" affected most of my crowd on several different levels.

First it gave us hope. With all the bad news daily, Casablanca brought us to belief that in some way the good people were fighting back and even winning some few small battles. Sure they might be little more that battles of will in the face of the arch enemy, but they gave us hope, much as a fighter near down for the count, pulls himself erect by holding the leg of his rival.

Somewhere, some place, good people were fighting back and that if we held on - one day we would be able to join the fight.

We were far too young to know the nasties of love. But not knowing what those stirrings in our groins might be, did nothing to quell the overwhelming desire to love Ilsa - To surround her with unfettered emotion - to be with her?to protect her.

No man can see those simple moments, her smile; her look at Rick; the radiance emitted - and not be in love. All of this in simple black and white - A love for a lifetime, ever humble, ever true. Time, much like Shelly?s Grecian urn, never dim her beauty or still the fires that still burn in the breast of a child, now grown old.

Then there was the song. ??a kiss is just a kiss. A sigh is just a sigh?till time goes by."

Five million mothers, daughters, wives - knew that feeling, had lived that moment?not to know their future or that of their loved ones future?"till time goes by."

The story - the acting - the script ? the direction ?the perfection of the characters chosen for the parts?all a convergence of circumstance?

Or was it?

1999-2006 Andy Watson, all rights reserved.

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