"Science," the Greek word for knowledge, when appended to the word "political," creates what seems like an oxymoron. For who could claim to know politics? More complicated than any game, most people who play it become addicts and die without understanding what they were addicted to. The rest of us suffer under their malpractice as our "leaders." A truer case of the blind leading the blind could not be found. Plumb the depths of confusion here.


Postby admin » Sat Dec 12, 2015 4:31 am

Chapter 17

Raymond's ship docked in New York on a Wednesday in late August, 1959. He reported for work at The Daily Press early Thursday morning. Marco called him and made a date to meet him at four o'clock in Hungarian Charlie's, the saloon across the street from the paper, saying he would be bringing two of his side-kicks with him if Raymond wouldn't mind. Raymond didn't mind.

The four men sat at a table far in the rear of the saloon, which was a solid, practical saloon set up to sell a maximum amount of booze and, with careful attention to unsanitary-seeming decor -- a little dirt here, a little grease there -- a minimum amount of food, which, after all, has a tendency to spoil after a week or so and can be a loss. The air was nearly gelid from the huge air-conditioning unit that looked big enough to chill an automobile assembly plant. A giant juke box, manufactured by The Giant Juke Box Company of Arcana, Illinois, was belting everything living right over the head with a loudly lovable old standard out of Memphis, Tennessee, in which the rhyme of the proper name Betty Lou and the plural noun shoes were repeated, in a Kallikakian couplet, over and over again. A giant juke box is constructed to make a sound like two full-sized, decibel-pregnant juke boxes going at top volume at the same time, but two separate juke boxes each playing a different tune, each in a different tempo, and, if possible, in a different language. The joint was noisy from opening to closing because Hungarian Charlie liked noise and was, in every vocal manner, very much like a giant juke box himself.

After minimum hand-shaking and ordering a highball for Amjac and Lehner and beers for Raymond and himself, Marco went right to business by asking Raymond to tell his version of the battle action, which Raymond did forthwith and in detail, utilizing only the future tense in verb forms. Lehner carried the tape recorder in a shoulder sling.

"You sound as though you got those nightmares straightened out. In fact, you look it," Raymond said warily, not sure whether it was proper to talk about such things in front of these house-detective types. Marco looked great. He had gained the weight back.

"All over."

"Did you -- was it -- did that thing we were talking about help any?"

"The court-martial?"


"The way it worked out, it wasn't necessary but I still have you and only you to thank for losing those nightmares. We got a different kind of an investigation started, just the way you said it had to be, and the nightmares were gone. Forever. I hope."

"Did you investigate the medal?"

"Sure. What else?"

"Any progress?"

"Slow, but good."

"Is it working out the way we thought?"

"Yeah. Right down the line."

"The medal is a phony?"

"It certainly looks that way."

"I knew it. I knew it." Raymond looked from Amjac to Lehner, shaking his head in awed disbelief. "How about that?" he asked with mystification. "Will you tell me why a lot of Communist brass would want to steal a Medal of Honor for a complete stranger?"

Amjac didn't answer. He seemed embarrassed about something. Raymond became aware of his silence and stared at him coldly. "It was a rhetorical question," he said haughtily.

Amjac coughed. He said, "It scares hell out of us, if you want the truth, Mr. Shaw. We have run out of ideas and we don't know where else to look, if that gives you some idea." Raymond swung his gaze to Lehner, who had a head like a gourd, a small mustache, and eyes like watermelon seeds, and Lehner stared him down.

"Have you talked to Al Melvin?" Raymond said. The voice of a sick child whined out of the giant juke box behind them as though trying to escape the hateful noises behind it. "You know, Ben, Al. In Alaska."

"Yes, sir. We have," Amjac said grimly.

Marco said, "Raymond, there is no known area of this case which we haven't covered in many ways. We've talked to every member of the patrol. We've traveled maybe ninety-two hundred miles around the country. We're sure Chunjin is here as an enemy agent, assigned to you as a body guard and assassin, if necessary. I have a unit in New York and Washington which does nothing but concentrate on this problem. There are seventeen of us, all told. Mr. Amjac is on loan from the FBI and Mr. Lehner is with us as an expert from Central Intelligence. Working on that riddle of why the enemy should go to enormous trouble to secure the Medal of Honor for you is all I do, day and night. It's all Amjac and Lehner do. It's all the seventeen of us do, and the White House wants to know what happened in a report every week and a copy of that report goes to the Joint Chiefs. And you want to hear something off-beat, Raymond? I mean something that will throw this out of context for a moment to let you see what a unique person you have become? A copy of the report goes to the Prime Ministers of Britain and Canada and to the President of Mexico."

"But what the hell for?" Raymond seemed outraged at this invasion, as though he were being shared by four heads of government. "What the hell do the Mexicans and the bloody British, who tried to kill my mother, incidentally, have to do with that lousy medal?"

Lehner tapped Raymond on the forearm. Raymond looked at him, drawing his arm away. "Why don't you listen?" Lehner said. "If you talk you can't learn anything."

"Don't touch me again," Raymond said. "If you want to remain here with us, doing your clerk's tasks and waiting for your pension, do not touch me again." He looked at Marco. "Continue, Ben," he said equably.

"It is our considered opinion," Marco said, "that we are moving into the area of action which will reveal why they wanted you to have the Medal of Honor. The patrol happened in 1951. Chunjin didn't arrive to take up his duties until '59. Eight years' lapse. Whatever is going to happen is going to happen soon. You're a marked man, Raymond. They've marked you and they guard you. We've marked you. Am I frightening you, Raymond?"

"Me?" Nothing frightened Raymond. A man needs to have something to lose to become frightened. Even only one thing that is his and that he values will make it possible for threat to scare a man, but Raymond had nothing.

"That's what I explained to our unit. And that's what our psychiatrists had projected on you, that attitude, that -- that fearlessness, you know? -- but I have to frighten you, Raymond, because we need you to think of yourself as some kind of time bomb with a fuse eight years long. You walk barefooted on the edge of a razor. Only you will know when the change comes, when the mission is divulged, when your move is to be made, and it can only end one way. Your country, my country, this country will have to be in danger from you and you will be expected to do exactly as you have been told or will be told. They got inside your mind. They did. I swear before God."

"Aaaah!" Raymond disliked this kind of talk. It sickened him. What kind of a world of fondlers had this become? Why did Marco have to say that those thick-necked pigs were inside his mind?

"I told you that we talked to every member of the patrol this summer. You know what they said about you, everyone of them? That you were the greatest, warmest, most wonderful single guy they had ever met. They remembered you with love and affection, Raymond. Isn't that funny?"

"Funny? It's ludicrous."

"How do you account for it?"

Raymond shrugged and grimaced. "I saved their lives. I mean, they thought I had saved their lives. I suppose the poor slobs were grateful."

"I don't think so. I've had to work all this out with our psychiatrists because I don't have a very objective view, either, but my actual memory is that there was a broad chasm between you and those men before the patrol. They didn't hate you, they seemed rather to fear your scorn, you know? You had a way of freezing their dislike and keeping them uneasy and off balance. The psychiatrists will tell you that an attitude, a group attitude as well as individual attitudes like that, can't be changed into warm and eager interest, into such admiration and deep respect merely because of gratitude. No, no, no."

"Life isn't a popularity contest," Raymond said. "I didn't ask them to like me."

''I'm going to start to prove right now that they have gotten inside your mind, Raymond, because you once told me, in a joking way, that you had come out of the Army with much more of an active interest in women than when you went in -- and because I have to frighten you, I will have to embarrass you, too. We checked. We are experts. Experts' experts, even. We went back over the seams of your life, looking for lint. You were twenty-two, going on twenty-three years old, when you left the Army, and you had never been laid. More than that. You had never even kissed a girl, had you, Raymond?" Marco leaned across the table, his eyes lambent with affection, and he said softly, "You never even kissed Jocie, did you, Raymond?"

"You had men talk to Jocie? In Argentina?" Raymond wasn't outraged. Long before, he had set all his dials so that Marco could do no wrong with him, but he was extremely impressed and for the first time. He felt elated to be in connection with anyone who had looked at Jocie, had sat beside her and had spoken to her about anything at all, and to have spoken to her about him, about that wondrous summer together and about -- about kissing. He felt as though his eyes had climbed into the upper space above the earth and that he could see himself as he sat in Hungarian Charlie's and at the same time watch sweet, sweet Jocie as she sat in a bower, under pink roses, knitting something soft and warm, in the Argentine.

"I had to know. And I had to make you understand that going ten thousand miles and back for the answer to one question is very little to do in the face of the pressure and the threat that is implied."

"But, Ben -- Jocie -- well, after all, Jocie --"

"That's why I brought these two strangers. The only reason. Do you think I would talk about such things-things which I know are sacred to you when I also know that nothing else in this whole world is sacred to you -- in front of two strangers if I wasn't desperate to get through to you?" Raymond did not answer; he was thinking about Jocie, the Jocie he had lost and would never find again.

"They are inside your mind. Deep. Now. For eight years. One of their guys with a big sense of humor thought it would be a great gag to throw you a bone for all of the trouble they were going to put you to, and fix it up inside your head so that, all of a sudden, you'd get interested in girls, see? It meant nothing to them. It was only a gratuitous gesture, a quarter tip to the men's-room attendant, considering all the other things they were going to do inside your head and have already done from inside your head."

"Stop it! Stop it, goddamit, Ben. I will not listen to this. You nauseate me. Stop saying that people and things and a lot of outside filth are inside my head. lust say it some other way if you have to talk to me. Just say it some other way, and what the hell are you talking about -- what they have already done from inside my head?"

"Don't shout," Lehner said. "Take it easy." However, he did not touch Raymond this time.

The giant juke box had found a giant guitar. It was being strummed insanely, alternating between two of the most simply constructed chords while a farmer's voice bellowed cretinous rhymes above it.

Marco stared at Raymond compassionately and held his gaze for a long moment before he said, "You murdered Mavole and Bobby Lembeck, kid."

"What? Whaaaat?" Raymond pushed at the table but his back was against the wall, literally as well as figuratively, so that he could not move backward to escape the words. His glaucous eyes in the long, bony face held some of the terror seen in the eyes of a horse falling on ice. He was incredulous but Marco and Amjac and Lehner knew that Marco was getting through because they knew Raymond the way a marine knows his own rifle, because they had been drilled on Raymond, his reactions and inhibitions, for hours of day and hours of night.

"You killed them. Not your fault. They just used your body the way they would use any other machine. You strangled Mavole and you shot Bobby."

"In the dream?"


Raymond was unutterably relieved. He had been greatly startled but at last things had been returned to reality. These men with Marco were captives of their belief in that unfortunate man's delusion which had almost cost him his sanity late the year before. Everything fell into place for Raymond as he understood the motivation of all of this fantasy. Ben was his friend and Raymond would not let him down. He would go right along as he was supposed to, becoming agitated now and then if necessary, because Ben looked as though he had regained his health and his ability to sleep and Raymond would have fought off an army to preserve that.

"The dream happened again and again in my sleep because it had happened so indelibly in my life. I have to frighten you, Raymond. If you can live in continuous fear perhaps we can force you to see what we aren't able to discover. Whenever it happens -- this thing that has been set to happen -- we have to find some way to reach you, to give you new reflexes so that you will do whatever we will tell you to do -- even kill yourself if that has to be -- the instant that you know what it is they have built you to do. They made you into a killer. They are inside your mind now, Raymond, and you are helpless. You are a host body and they are feeding on you, but because of the way we live we can't execute you or lock you up to stop you."

Raymond did not need to simulate alarm. Every time Marco told him of the invasion of his person by those people it made him wince, and to think of himself as a host body on which they were feeding almost made him cry out or stand up and run out of the saloon. His voice became different. It was not the flat, undeigning drawl. It was a voice he might have borrowed from an Errol Flynn movie in which the actor faced immolation with hopeless resigned gallantry. It was a new voice for him, one he created specifically to help his friend through the maze of his fantasy, and it was most convincing. "What do you want?" the hoarsened new voice said.

Marco's voice attacked. It moved like a starving rodent which gnaws at flaws behind the doors, mad to get through to an unknown trove of crazing scent on the other side.

"Will you submit voluntarily to a brainwashing?" that voice asked.

"Yes," Raymond answered.

The giant juke box spat the sounds out as though trying to break the rows upon rows of shining bottles behind the bar.


Friday morning, just before noon, a psychiatric and biochemical task force began to work Raymond over on the fourth floor of the large house in the Turtle Bay district. The total effort exhausted and frustrated both the scientists and the policemen. The effect of the narcotics, techniques, and suggestions, which resulted in deep hypnosis for Raymond, achieved a result that approximated the impact an entire twenty-five-cent jar of F. W. Woolworth vanishing cream might have on vanishing an aircraft carrier of the Forrestal class when rubbed into the armor plate. They were unable to dredge up one mote of information. Under the deep hypnosis, loaded to the eyes with a cocktail of truth serums, Raymond demonstrated that he could not remember his name, his color, his sex, his age, or his existence. Before he had been put under he had been willing to divulge anything within his power. In catalepsy, his mind seemed to have been sealed off as an atomic reactor is separated from the rest of a submarine. It all served to confirm what they already knew. Raymond had been brainwashed by a master of exalted skill. The valiant, long-cherished hope that they would be able to counterplant suggestion within Raymond's already dominated unconscious mind never had a chance of being put into work.

When it was over, the medical staff wanted to tell Raymond that the explorations had been entirely successful, on the grounds that he was able to accept suggestion with his conscious mind, but Marco overruled that. He said he would tell Raymond that he was beyond their reach, that he was going to be directed entirely by the enemy, that they could not help him but that they had to stop him and that they would stop him. Marco wanted Raymond to stay scared, as much as he disbelieved that Raymond could sustain any feeling.

After that first afternoon when Marco had poured it on him in Hungarian Charlie's, Raymond had dug in to what he was determined to maintain as a fixed position. He was a lucid man. He knew he was in excellent health, mental and physical. He knew Marco's health was a long way from what it had once been. He knew it was Marco who had been having the nightmares and breakdowns and that for unknown reasons, probably relative to the phrase "the Army takes care of its own," his commanders had decided to humor Marco. Well, Raymond decided, I will outhumor and outbless them. Marco is closer to me than anyone or all of those uniformed clots. Raymond accordingly formed his policy. It deployed his imagination like the feelers of an insect, advancing it ahead of him wherever his mind, which moved on thousands of tiny feelers of prejudice, took him in its circuitous detour that would allow him to avoid exposing himself to himself as a murderer, a sexual neutral, and a man despised and scorned by his comrades. He put his back into the performance. He used all the tricks of the counterfeiter's art he could summon to project all of the surface emotions which their little playlets seemed to require of him. He bent, or seemed to bend, into their intentions to halt what he saw as a comic-book plot in which a sinister foreign power, out to destroy America, would achieve its ends by using him as an instrument. They wanted him to be scared. He would seem, when under observation, to be scared, and he worked hard for an effect of seeming as distressed and as aware as game running ahead of guns.

Fortunately, he remembered that the vegetable substitute for benzedrine, which he had taken at one time to lose weight, always gave him hand tremors, so that helped. He knew that a double dose or more of it could produce an authentic crying jag in him, with uncontrollable tears and generally distraught conduct, so that helped.

Marco's surveillance teams duly reported his purchases of this drug and the unit's psychological specialists confirmed the side-effects they would produce, so Marco was not deceived by Raymond's somewhat piteous conduct from time to time. He was very proud of Raymond, however, because he could see that Raymond was going to intolerable trouble, for Raymond, to meet Marco's urgent requirements, but the discouraging and depressing fact remained that all of them were armless in their attempt to stave off shapeless disaster.

However, there was one relentless, inexorable strength on Marco's side: in combination or singly, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Army Intelligence, and the Central Intelligence Agency represented maximum police efficiency. Such efficiency suspends the law of averages and flattens defeat with patience.
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Postby admin » Sat Dec 12, 2015 4:32 am

Chapter 18

Eugenie Rose was in Boston with Justin's new musical show, which, secretly, had been based upon a map of the heavens issued by the National Geographic Society two years before. Marco planned to join her the next day. She and Marco talked on the telephone at odd hours. They were still dedicated to an early marriage and seemed more than ever convinced that, in a world apparently so populated, no one else existed.

It was Christmas Eve. Raymond had invited Marco for dinner, telephoning him from the office to say that he had given Chunjin the night off and that Chunjin had resisted. Marco said that was because Chunjin was undoubtedly a Buddhist and not a celebrant at Christmas. Raymond said he was sure Chunjin was not a Buddhist because he left books by Mary Baker Eddy around the pantry and kitchen and was forever smiling. Marco said he felt a sense of disappointment at that news because he had figured that if he sent Chunjin a Christmas card, Chunjin would then be obligated to send him a card on Buddha's birthday, or lose face.

Marco arrived at Raymond's apartment at seven o'clock and brought two bottles of cold champagne with him. Unfortunately for the hang-overs the following day, Raymond had also put two quarts of champagne in the refrigerator. They decided they would sidle toward food a little later and settled down in Raymond's office behind the big window, and with commendable seasonal cooperation it began to snow large goose feathers, a present from the Birthday Boy himself, in lieu of peace on earth.

After two goblets of the golden bubbles, Raymond reached under his chair and, stiffly, handed Marco a large, gift-wrapped package.

"Merry Christmas," he said. "It has been good to know you." Raymond, saying those words, sounded more touching than anyone else who could have said them because, while Raymond had been marooned in time and on earth and in all the pit-black darkness of interstellar space, Marco was the only other being, except Jocie, who had acknowledged he was there.

Marco ripped away the elegant gold and blue paper, revealing the three volumes of Fuller's A Military History of the Western World re-bound in limp morocco leather. Marco held onto the books with one hand and pounded the embarrassed, grinning Raymond with the other. Then he put the books upon the desk and reached into his pocket. "And a merry, merry Christmas to you, too, young man," he sang out, handing Raymond a long flat envelope. Raymond started to open the envelope, slowly and with wonderment.

"Wait, wait!" Marco said. He hurried to the record-player, shuffled through some albums, and slid out a twelve-inch record of Christmas carols. The machine conferred silvered voices upon them singing "We Three Kings of Orient Are."

"O.K., proceed," Marco said.

Raymond opened the envelope and found a gift certificate in the amount of fifty dollars to be drawn on Les Pyramides of middle Broadway, the Gitlitz Delicatessen. The frosty carol swelled around them as Raymond smiled his always touching smile at the gift in his hands.

"We three kings of Orient are,
Bearing gifts we traverse afar,
Field and fountain, moor and mountain,
Following yonder star.
O, Star of wonder, star of night,
Star with royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to the perfect light."

Marco thought of their own three kings of Orient: Gomel, Berezovo and that old, old Chinese who had handed Raymond the gun to kill Bobby Lembeck. Raymond said, "What a wonderful present. I mean, who else in the world but you could even think of such a wonderful present? This -- well -- well, it's simply great, that's what it is." They sat down again, fulfilled by giving. They watched the snow, listened to the Mannergesangsverein, finished the first bottle of wine, and overflowed with Christmas spirit. Raymond was opening the second bottle when he said, steadily, "Jocie's husband died."

"Yeah?" Marco sat straight up. "When?"

"Last week."

"How'd you find out?"

"Mother told me. She had told the embassy to keep an eye on Jocie. They told her."

"What are you going to do?"

"I saw Senator Jordan. We're pretty good friends. At first it was hard because Mother had told him I was a pervert and that they would have to save Jocie from me, but, in a way, he had to see me because he's in politics and I'm a newspaperman. After a while, when we reached an understanding about what a monster my mother is, we were able to get to be pretty good friends. I asked him if I could help in any way. The paper has an office there. He said no. He said the best thing I could do would be to wait and give Jocie a chance to recover; then, if she doesn't start for home in six months, say, he thinks maybe I should go down there and get her. At least go down there and ask her. You know."

"I take it your mother isn't against Jocie any more."


"Some switch."

"Try not to laugh and so will I, but that is exactly the case. Some switch. Jocie's father has become very big in his party, particularly in the Senate. Mother saw it coming before anyone else and she's done everything she can to be fast friends with him, but he isn't having any, so I guess she decided if she couldn't get him on their side positively she could cancel him out by marrying me off to his daughter, little knowing that I incite Senator Jordan against her and Johnny more than any other one agency excepting their own lovable personalities."

"What a doll. If she were my wife, I'd probably be Generalissimo Trujillo by now. At least."

"At least."

"So she thinks it might be a good idea for you and Jocie to get married?"

"That is the general feeling I am allowed to get."

"How did Jocie's husband die?"

"That is a good morbid question. It just so happens he was struck down by an unknown hand in a flash riot in a town called Tucuman. He was an agronomist."

"What has that got to do with it?"

"Well, I guess that's how he happened not to be in Buenos Aires with Jocie."

"Have you written to her?"

Raymond looked out of the window, at the snow and the night, and shook his head.

"If you think I can, I'd like to help you with the letter."

"You'll have to help me," Raymond said, simply. "I can't do it. I can't even get started. I want to write her and tell her things but I have those eight years choking me."

"It's all a matter of tone, not so much words," Marco explained, not having the faintest idea of what he was talking about but knowing he was light-years ahead of Raymond in knowledge of human communication. "Sure, wait. If that feels right. But no six months. I think we should get a letter off fairly soon. You know, a letter of condolence. That would be a natural ice-breaker, then after that we'll slide into the big letter. But don't wait too long. You'll have to get it over with so you'll both know for once and for all."

"Know what?"

"Whether -- well, she should know that you want her and -- you have to know whether she wants you."

"She has to. What would I do if she didn't?"

"You've been managing to get along."

"No. No, it won't do, Ben. That is not enough. I may not have much coming to me but I have more coming to me than I'm getting."

"Listen, kid. If that's the way it's going to be, then that's the way. Now take it easy and, please, figure on one step at a time."

"Sure. I'm willing."

"You've got to give the thing time."

"Sure. That's what Senator Jordan said."


Major General Francis "Fightin' Frank" Bollinger, a longtime admirer of John "Big John" Iselin, consented, with a great deal of pleasure, to Raymond's mother's suggestion that he head a committee of patriots called Ten Million Americans Mobilizing for Tomorrow. This was at a small dinner, so small that it fed only Johnny, the general, and Mrs. Iselin, at the Iselin residence in Washington in January, 1960. Bollinger pledged, with all of his big heart, that on the morning of the opening of his party's Presidential nominating convention, to be held at Madison Square Garden in July, he would deliver one million signatures of one million patriots petitioning that John Yerkes Iselin be named the party's candidate for the Presidency.

General Bollinger had retired from active duty to take up the helm of the largest dog-food company the world had ever known. He had often said, in one of the infrequent jokes he made (it does not matter what the other joke was), which, by reason of the favoritism he felt for it, he repeated not infrequently: "I'd sure as hell like to see the Commies try to match Musclepal, but if they ever did try it they'd probably call it Moscowpal. Get it?" (Laughter.) He had been a patriot, himself, for many years.


Marco's unit waited out the winter and the spring without any action or any leads. In March the FBI learned that Raymond's name appeared on the final list of possible suspects in connection with the murder of the anti-Communist deputy, Francsois Orcel, the previous June. Later that month they also learned that Raymond's name appeared on a similar listing prepared by Scotland Yard in conjunction with the murder of Lord Croftnal. The French listing included eight names of Americans or foreigners then in the United States who could be placed anywhere near the scene of the crime. The Scotland Yard list contained three such names. Both agencies asked for routine FBI check and comment. Raymond's name was the only name to appear on both listings.

In late May Senator and Mrs. Iselin took a house on Long Island, anticipating the social demands of the political convention and so that, Mrs. Iselin explained, she could lend a woman's touch in preparing for the imminent homecoming of Senator Jordan's widowed daughter, Jocie, she and her father being old, old friends. She confided all of this to the society editor of The Daily Press, after asking Raymond to ask the society editor to call her. It remained for Raymond to read the news about Jocie's homecoming as any other reader of the newspaper might and he became savage in the fury of his resentment when he reached her on the telephone. Raymond's mother allowed him to curse and cry out at her until she was sure he had finished. He spoke for nearly four minutes without stopping, the sound of the words like a stream of bullets, his phrasing erratic and his breathing heavy. When she was sure of his pause, she invited him to a costume ball she was staging on the very day of Jocie's return from Buenos Aires. She said she was sure that he would accept because J ocie had already accepted and that it had been a dog's age since he and Jocie had met. She maintained her control all during Raymond's shouted obscenities and screamed vituperation; then she hung up the instrument with such vigor that she knocked it off her desk. She was drawn forward into an even blacker rage. She picked the telephone up and ripped it out of the wall and crashed it through a glass-topped table four feet away. She picked up the shattered table and flung it through the short corridor that led to the open bathroom door, disclosing warm pink tile behind the glass shower curtain. The table splintered the glass, crashed through to the tile wall, and fell noisily in the tub.

After a sleepless, tortured night, Raymond, who had decided he must get to the office at seven o'clock the following morning to do what he had to do, finally fell asleep near dawn and slept through until eleven. He nearly knocked Chunjin down, when the man said good morning, because he had not troubled to call him when he knew that Raymond never, never, never slept later than eight o'clock in the morning.

When Raymond got to the office he locked the door behind him. Utilizing the nastiest voice tone in his ample store, he told the telephone switchboard that they were not to ring his telephone no matter who called.

"Including Mr. Downey, sir?"


"And Mr. O'Neil, sir?"

"Everyone! Anyone! Can you get that through your heads?"

"Heads, sir? I have one head, sir."

''I'm sure," Raymond snapped. "Then are you able to get it through your head? No calls. Do you understand?"

"Bet on it, sir. Everything. Bet your house, your clothes." "Bet? Oh. One moment, there. I will revise my orders. I will take any calls from Buenos Aires. You probably pronounce that Bewnose Airs. I will accept calls from there."

"Which, sir?"

"Which what?"

"Which city?"

"I don't understand."

"Buenos Aires or Bewnose Airs, sir?"

"It's the same place!"

"Very good, sir. You will accept calls from either or both. Now, would you like to revise those orders, sir?" Raymond hung up his phone as she was speaking.

"Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy," the operator said to the girls working on either side of her. "Am I gonna get that one someday. I wouldn't care if I was offered four times the money on some other job which had half the hours. I would never leave this here job as long as he works here. Someday, I may be a liddul old lady sittin' at this switchboard, but someday -- the day will come -- an' oh, boy, oh boy, oh boy!" She was grinding her teeth as she talked.

"Who? Shaw?" the girl on her left asked.

"What's the use?" the girl on her right said. "If you get that offer for four times the money you take it. Nobody is ever gonna be able to do anything about Shaw."


Dear Jocie:

This is a difficult letter to get written. It is nearly an impossible letter for a weak and frightened man to write, and I have surprised myself with that sentence because I have never thought that of myself and I have never said anything less than a sufficiency about myself. I will set down at the outset that I am going to open myself up to you and that it will probably be a long, long letter so that, should it hurt you to read any such things any further, you may stop now and it will all be over. To have to love you as much as I do (as I did was what I had started to write, so that I could plot its progression and its growth over the nine empty and useless years without you) and to feel my love for you grow and grow and grow and to have no place to store this enormous harvest within the emptiness, I have found that I must carry it ahead of me wherever I go, bundled in my arms like old clothes which no one else can use and no one wants but which have warmth in them still if someone, as bleakly cold as I have been, can be found to wear them. You will return to New York next month. I have started this letter almost thirty times but I cannot postpone writing it and mailing it for another day because if I do it may not reach you. I cannot write this letter but I must write this letter because I know that I have not got the character nor the courage, the habit of hope nor the assurance that comes from having a place in a crowded world, and I could never be able to speak to you about this long pain and bitterness which --


He stopped writing. He had smudged the paper with several genuine tears.
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Postby admin » Sat Dec 12, 2015 4:32 am

Chapter 19

The first break in the long, long wait through dread, even though it was a totally incomprehensible break, came in May, 1960. It happened when Marco was late for a two o'clock date with Raymond at Hungarian Charlie's booze outlet, across the street from the flash shop.

It was a fairly well-known fact to practically anyone who did not lack batteries for his hearing aid that Hungarian Charlie was one of the more stridently loquacious publicans in that not unsilent business. Only one other boniface, who operated farther north on Fifty-first Street, had a bigger mouth. Charlie talked as though Sigmund Freud himself had given permission, nay, had urged him, to tell everyone everything that came into his head, and in bad grammar, yet. Ten minutes before Marco got to the saloon, with Raymond seated at bar center staring at a glass of beer on a slow afternoon, Charlie had pinned a bookmaker at the entrance end of the bar, a man who would much rather have talked to his new friend, a young, dumpy blonde with a face like a bat's and the thirst of a burning oil field. Charlie was telling them, loud and strong, hearty and healthy, about his wife's repulsive older brother who lived with them and about how he had followed Charlie all over the apartment all day Sunday telling him what to do with his life, which was a new development brought on by the fact that he had just inherited twenty-three hundred dollars from a deceased friend whom he had been engaged to marry for fourteen years, which was a generous thing for her to have done when it was seen from the perspective, Charlie said, that this bum had never given the broad so much as a box of talcum powder for Christmas, it having been his policy always to pick a fight with her immediately preceding gift-exchanging occasions.

"Lissen," Charlie yelled, "you inherit that kinda money and you naturally feel like you know alla answers and also it puts me in a position where 1 can't exactly kick him inna ankle, you know what 1 mean? So, wit' the new pernna view, 1 say tuh him, very patient, 'Why don't you pass the time by playing a liddul solitaire?'"

Raymond was on a bar stool twelve feet away from Charlie and had in no way been eavesdropping on the conversation, as that could have been judged suicidal. He rapped on the bar peremptorily with a half dollar. Charlie looked up, irritated. One lousy customer in the whole lousy joint and he had to be a point killer.

"What arreddy?" Charlie inquired.

"Give me a deck of cards," Raymond said. Charlie looked at the bookmaker, then rolled his eyes heavenward. He shrugged his shoulders like the tenor in Tosca, opened a drawer behind him, took out a blue bicycle deck, and slid it along the polished surface to Raymond.

Raymond took the deck from its box and began to shuffle smoothly and absent-mindedly, and Charlie went back to barbering the bookmaker and the young, dumpy blonde. Raymond was laying down the second solitaire spread when Marco came in, ten minutes later. He greeted Charlie as he passed him, ordering a beer, then stood at the bar at Raymond's elbow. "I got held up in traffic," he said ritualistically. "And so forth." Raymond didn't answer.

"Are you clear for dinner, Raymond?" Marco wasn't aware that Raymond was ignoring him. "My girl insists that the time has come to meet you, and no matter how I try to get out of it, that's the way it's got to be. Besides, I am about to marry the little thing, ringside one hundred and thirty-nine pounds, and we would like you to be the best man."

The queen of diamonds showed at the twenty-third card turn. Raymond scooped the cards together, ignoring Marco. Become aware of the silence, Marco was studying Raymond. Raymond squared the deck, put it face down on top of the bar, placed the queen of diamonds face up on top of the stack, and stared at it in a detached and preoccupied manner, unaware that Marco was there. Charlie put the glass of beer in front of Marco at the rate of one hundred and thirty-seven words a minute, decibel count well above the middle register, then turned, walking back to the bookmaker and the broad to punctuate his narrative by recalling the height of the repartee with his brother-in-law: "Why don't you take a cab quick to Central Park and jump inna lake, I says," and his voice belted it loud and strong as though a sound engineer were riding gain on it. Raymond brushed past Marco, walked rapidly past the bookmaker and the girl, and out of the saloon.

"Hey! Hey, Raymond!" Marco yelled. "Where you going?" Raymond was gone. By the time Marco got to the street he saw Raymond slamming the door of a cab. The taxi took off fast, disappearing around the corner, going uptown.

Marco returned to the saloon. He sipped at his beer with growing anxiety. The action of the game of solitaire nagged at him until he placed it in the dreams. It was one of the factors in the dreams that he had placed no meaning upon because he had come to regard the game as aberration that had wriggled into the fantasy. He had discussed it because it had been there, but after one particularly bright young doctor said that Raymond had undoubtedly been doing something with his hands which had looked as though he were playing solitaire, Marco had gradually allowed the presence of the game in the dream to dim and fade. He now felt the conviction that something momentous had just happened before his eyes but he did not know what it was.

"Hey, Charlie."

Business of rolling eyes heavenward, business of slow turn, exaggerating the forbearance of an extremely patient man.

"Yeah, arreddy."

"Does Mr. Shaw play solitaire in here much?"

"Whatta you mean -- much?"

"Did he ever play solitaire in here before?"


"Give me another beer." Marco went to the telephone booth, digging for change. He called Lou Amjac.

Amjac sounded sourer than ever. "What the hell happened to you?"

"Come on, save time. What happened?"

"Raymond is at the Twenty-second Precinct in the middle of the park on the Eighty-sixth Street transverse."

"What did he do? What the hell is the matter with you?"

"He rented a rowboat and he jumped in the lake."

"If you're kidding me, Lou --"

"I'm not kidding you!"

"I'll meet you there in ten minutes."

"Colonel Marco!"


"Did it finally break?"

"I think so. I -- yeah, I think so."


At first, Raymond flatly denied he had done such a thing but when the shock and embarrassment had worn off and he was forced to agree that his clothes were sopping wet, he was more nearly ready to admit that something which tended toward the unusual had happened. He, Amjac, and Marco sat in a squad room, at Marco's request. When Raymond seemed to have done with sputtering and expostulating, Marco spoke to him in a low, earnest voice, like a dog trainer, in a manner too direct to be evaded.

"We've been kidding each other for a long time, Raymond, and I put up with it because I had no other choice. You didn't believe me. You decided I was sick and that you had to go along with the gag to help me. Didn't you, Raymond?" Raymond stared at his sodden shoes. "Raymond! Am I right?"


"Now hear this. You stood beside me at Hungarian Charlie's and you didn't know I was there. You played a game of solitaire. Do you remember that?"

Raymond shook his head. Marco and Amjac exchanged glances.

"You took a cab to Central Park. You rented a rowboat. You rowed to the middle of the lake, then you jumped overboard. You have always been as stubborn as a dachshund, Raymond, but we can produce maybe thirty eye-witnesses who saw you go over the side, then walk to shore, so don't tell me again that you never did such a thing -- and stop kidding yourself that they are not inside your head. We can't help you if you won't help us."

"But I don't remember," Raymond said. Something had happened to permit him to feel fear. Jocie was coming home. He might have something to lose. The creeping paralysis of fright was so new to him that his joints seemed to have rusted.


The capacious house in the Turtle Bay district jumped with activity that evening and it went on all through the night. A board review agreed to accept the game of solitaire as Raymond's trigger; and once they had made the connection they were filled with admiration for the technician who had conceived of it. Three separate teams worked with Hungarian Charlie, the talker's talker, the bookmaker, and the young, dumpy blonde.

At first, the blonde refused to talk, as she had every reason to believe that she had been picked up on an utterly nonpolitical charge. She said, "I refuse to answer on the grounds. It might intend to incriminate." They had to bring Marco in to bail her attitude out of that stubborn durance. She knew Marco from around Charlie's place and she liked the way he smelled so much that she was dizzy with the hope of cooperating with him. He held her hand for a short time and explained in a feeling voice that she had not been arrested and that she was cooperating mainly as a big favor to him, and who knew? the whole thing could turn out to be pretty exciting. "I dig," she said, and everything was straightened out although she seemed purposely to misunderstand his solicitude by trying to climb into his lap as they discussed the various areas, but everybody was too busy to notice, and he was gone about two seconds after she had said, listen, she'd love to cooperate but why did they have to cooperate in different rooms?

The bookmaker was even more wary. He was a veritable model of shiftiness, which was heightened by the fact that he was carrying over twenty-nine thousand dollars worth of action on the sixth race at Jamaica, so he couldn't possibly keep his mind on what these young men were talking to him about. They persuaded him to take a mild sedative, then a particularly sympathetic young fellow walked with him along the main corridor and, in a highly confidential manner, asked him to feel free to discuss what had him so disturbed.

The bookmaker knew (1) that these were not the type police which booked gamblers, and (2) he had always responded to highly confidential, whispering treatment. He explained about his business worries, stating, for insurance, that a friend of his -- not he himself -- was carrying all that action. Amjac made a call and got the race result. It was Pepper Dog, Wendy's Own, and Italian Mae, in that order. Not one client had run in the money. The bookmaker was opened up like a hydrant.

Hungarian Charlie, natch, was with it from the word go.


Marco played through one hundred and twenty-five solitaire layouts until the technicians were sure, time after time and averaging off, where Raymond had stopped his play in Hungarian Charlie's saloon. They tested number systems as possible triggers, then they settled down to a symbol system and began to work with face cards because of the colors and their identification with human beings. They threw out the male face cards, kings and knaves, based on Raymond's psychiatric pattern. They started Marco working with the four queens. He discarded the queens of spades and clubs, right off. They stacked decks with different red queens at the twenty-third position, which fell as the fifth card on the fifth stack, and Marco dealt out solitaire strips. He made it the queen of diamonds, for sure. They kept him at it, but he connected the queen of diamonds with the face-up card on the squared deck on the bar, then all at once, as it is said to happen to saints and alcoholics, a voice he had heard in nightmares perhaps seven hundred times came to him. It was Yen Lo's voice saying: "The queen of diamonds, in so many ways reminiscent of Raymond's dearly loved and hated mother, is the second key that will clear his mechanism for any assignments." They had it made. Marco knew they had it made. Hungarian Charlie, the bookmaker and the young, dumpy blonde filled in the background of minor confirmations.

The FBI called Cincinnati and arranged to have one dozen factory-sealed force-packs flown to New York by Army plane. The cards reached the Turtle Bay house at 9:40 A.M. A force pack is an item usually made up for magic shops and novelty stores for party types who fan out cards before their helpless quarries saying, "Take a card, any card." Force packs contain fifty-two copies of the same card to make it easier for the forcer to guess which card has been picked; the dozen packs from Cincinnati were made up exclusively of queens of diamonds. Marco figured the time would come to try Raymond out as player of the ancient game of solitaire that very morning, and he didn't want to have to waste any time waiting for the queen of diamonds to show up in the play.


An hour after Chunjin had made his report to the Soviet security drop from the red telephone booth at the Fifty-ninth Street exit from Central Park, a meeting was called between Raymond's American operator and a District of Columbia taxi driver who also served as chief of Soviet security for the region. As they drove around downtown Washington, with Raymond's operator as passenger, the conversation seemed disputatious.

Raymond's operator told the hackman emphatically that they would be foolish to panic because of what was obviously a ten thousand to one happenstance by which some idiot had unknowingly stumbled upon the right combination of words in Raymond's presence.

"If you please."


"This is a professional thing on which I cannot be fooled. Cannot. They have been working over him. He has broken. They have chosen this contemptuous and insulting way of telling us that he has cracked and is useless to us."

"You people are really insecure. God knows I have always felt that the British overdo that paternal talk about this being a young country but, my God, you really are a young country. You just haven't been at it long enough. Please understand that if our security people knew what Raymond had been designed to do they would not let you know they knew. Once they find out what Raymond is up to, which is virtually impossible, they'll want to nail whoever is moving him. Me. Then, through me, you. Certainly you people do enough of this kind of thing in your own country, so why can't you understand it here?"

"But why should such a conservative man jump in a lake?"

"Because the phrase 'go jump in the lake' is an ancient slang wheeze in this country and some boob happened on the trigger accidentally, that's how."

"I am actually sick with anxiety."

"So are they," Raymond's operator said blandly, enjoying the bustle of traffic all around them and thinking what a hick town this so-called world capital was.

"But how can you be so calm?"

"I took a tranquilizer."

"A what?"

"A pill."

"Oh. But how can you be so sure that is what happened?"

"Because I'm smart. I'm not a stupid Russian. Because Raymond is at large. They allow him to move about. Marco is tense and frightened. Read the Korean's reports, for Christ's sake, and get a hold of yourself."

"We have so little time and this is wholly my responsibility as far as my people are concerned."

"Heller," Raymond's operator said, reading the name from the identification card which said that the driver's name was Frank Heller, "suppose I prove to you that Raymond is ours, not theirs."

"How?" The Soviet policeman had to swerve the cab to avoid a small foreign car that hurtled across from a side street at his left; he screamed out the window in richly accented, Ukrainian-kissed English. "Why dawn't you loo quare you are gung, gew tsilly tson-of-a bitch?"

"We certainly have a severe case of nerves today, don't we?" Raymond's operator murmured.

"Never mind my nerves. To be on the right of an approaching vehicle is to have the right of way! He broke the law! How can you prove Raymond is not theirs?"

"I'll have him kill Marco."

"Aaaaah." It was a long, soft, satisfaction-stuffed expletive having a zibeline texture. It suggested the end of a perfect day, a cause well served, a race well run.

"Marco is in charge of this particular element of counterespionage," Raymond's operator said. "Marco is Raymond's only friend. So? Proof?"




"Tonight, I think. Let me off here."

The cab stopped at the corner of Nineteenth and Y. Raymond's operator got out and slammed the door -- too quickly. It closed on flesh. The operator screamed like a lunch whistle. Zilkov stopped the cab. He leaped out, ran around behind it, and stood, wincing with sympathetic pains, while the operator held the mashed hand in the other hand and bent over double. "It's terrible," Zilkov said. "Terrible. Oh, my God! Get into the cab and I'll get you to a hospital. Will you lose the nails? Oh, my God, what pain you must feel."
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Postby admin » Sat Dec 12, 2015 4:33 am

Chapter 20

When Raymond returned home from the Twenty-second Precinct House, wearing damp clothes and soggy shoes, it was late afternoon. He had to order Chunjin to the kitchen because the man persisted in asking ridiculous questions. They had a brisk exchange of shouts and sulks, then Raymond showered and took a two-hour dreamless nap.

He awoke thinking about Jocie. He decided that she should be clearing customs just about then. He could not think about his letter, whether she had read it or torn it up in distaste; he could not imagine what she felt or would feel. He dressed slowly and began to pack for the weekend. He removed the gaucho costume from its cardboard box and packed it carefully. He felt a flood of panic as he folded it in. Maybe this silly monkey suit would remind Jocie of her husband. Why in the name of sweet Jesus had he ordered such a costume? It couldn't possibly resemble anything in real life, he decided. Cattle people didn't wear silk bloomers. They were for Yul Brynner or somebody who was kidding. It was probably the kind of a suit they wore to dances or fiestas a couple of times a year. Surely neither Jocie nor her husband would have attended such dances. But what the hell was he being so literal for? You didn't have to see a lot of people walking around in suits like these to know that they were symbolic of the Argentine. What would she think? Would she think he was being cruel or unkind or rude or insensitive? He fussed and pottered and grumbled to himself, conjecturing about the reactions of a woman he hadn't seen since she had been a girl, but did not give a thought to having jumped out of a rowboat into a shallow lake in broad daylight in the center of a city because it embarrassed him to have to think of himself as having so lacked grace in front of all those strangers and those goddam policemen who had treated him as if he was Bellevue Hospital's problem and not theirs. He also would not think of it because he could not afford to get angry with Joe Downey, his boss, who could have at least had the consideration to keep the story out of all the newspapers, and if not all the newspapers, surely out of his own front page.

He snapped the suitcase shut. He carried it to the bedroom door, worrying about what the hell Jocie would think of him when she saw those idiot newspapers at the airport. He flung open the door then began a tug of war over the suitcase with Chunjin as he dragged both of them toward the square, tiled foyer.

"For crissake, Chunjin!" It made him even angrier for having spoken to this pushy little type at all and a loud discussion started.

Chunjin did not want him to take the Long Island Railroad to his mother's house. Opposing it bitterly, he maintained that it was not sound for a rich man to wrestle with a large bag in a crowded railroad car. Raymond said he certainly was not going to put up with this kind of insubordination and if it continued for just about two more sentences Chunjin could go in and pack his own cardboard suitcase and get the hell out for good. He felt foolish as soon as he had said it because he remembered suddenly that Chunjin did not sleep in and, of course, had no suitcase on the premises.

Chunjin said loudly that he had taken the liberty of renting an automobile and the correct, dark uniform of a proper chauffeur, the jacket of which Mr. Shaw could look upon as he was even now wearing it. Chunjin said he would drive Mr. Shaw to his mother's house In comfort and at a level with Mr. Shaw's dignity and position in the world.

To Raymond, all of this was an utterly new conception, perhaps as television would have been to the inventor of the wheel. Raymond had loved automobiles all his life, although he could not drive one, but he had never thought of renting one. He was transformed, enchanted.

"You rented a car?"

"Yes, sir, Mr. Shaw."

"What kind?"


"Well! Marvelous! What color?"

"West Point gray. French blue seats. Leather. Genuine. Rear seat radio."


"Tax deductible also."

"Is that so? How?"

"You will read the booklet in the car, Mr. Shaw." Chunjin put on his dark chauffeur's cap. He took the suitcase away from Raymond without a struggle. "We go now, Mr. Shaw? Seven o'clock. Two hours to drive."

"I don't know this house, you know. It's a rented house. I don't know about a place for you to stay."

"My job find place. You not think. Ride and read reports from newspaper. Think about condition of world."


Dressed as a costumer's conception of a gaucho, Raymond came down his mother's rented, winding stairs, railed in English copper, stainless steel, and lucite, and into an entrance hall that might have been hewn by a cast of Grimm Brothers' gnomes out of a marble mountain. It was studded with bronze zodiacal designs and purred with concealed neon light in an arrangement that pulled Raymond toward the great drawing room on the threshold of which Senator and Mrs. Iselin were receiving their guests. The older guests who shook hands with the Iselins that night had been followers of Father Coughlin; the group just younger than them had rallied around Gerald L. K. Smith; and the rest, still younger, were fringe lice who saw Johnny's significance in a clear, white light. The clan had turned out from ten thousand yesterdays in the Middle West and neolithic Texas, and patriotism was far from being their last refuge. It was a group for anthropologists, and it seemed like very bad manners or very bad judgment on Raymond's mother's part to have invited Senator Jordan to walk among the likes of these.

Johnny and Ellie (as Raymond's mother was called by most of the guests) were costumed as honest dairy-farm folk would look if honest dairy farmers had had their work clothes built by Balenciaga. Raymond's mother had figured that the press photographs of these costumes would be viewed with great favor in the Iselin home state, where building foundations were made of butter; voters would be told that Big John never forgot where he came from. As she embraced Raymond in their mutually distasteful greeting, she whispered that Jocie's plane had run late out of San Juan but that she was now in the house next door and she had telephoned to say that she would be over no later than midnight and had asked anxiously if Raymond would be there. He felt, for an instant, that he might faint.

"Anxiously? Why anxiously? Did she sound as though she were fearful that I might be here?"

"Oh, don't be such a jerk, Raymond! If you weren't here do you think for a moment that the Jordans would come here?"

"Don't call me a jerk, Mother."

"Go have a drink or a tranquilizer or something." She turned to her husband. "Raymond can certainly be a pain in the ass," she said with asperity.

"She's kiddin' yuh," Johnny said. "You sure look great, kid. What are you supposed to be, one of those Dutch skaters?"

"What else?" Raymond answered. He walked through the crowds acknowledging greetings forbiddingly and feeling his heart beating as though it were trying to splinter a way out through his ribs. He walked among, but shunned contact with, the crowds on the broad lawns behind the house, all of which, excepting one section, were brilliantly illuminated with non-Communist Japanese lanterns and filled with striped tents. The dark section pulled Raymond to it. It faced the Jordan house. It was a walled-off piece of ground, as isolated as a private deck on an ocean liner. He stood there beside the wall staring across at the Jordan house without the reward of being able to observe any movement there. Frustrated, and more than usually resentful, he wandered back to the Iselin house through crowds of stout, blond Carmens and Kansas Borgias, unhorsed Godivas, unfrocked Richelieus, and many businessmen dressed as pirates. Many of the costumes were quaint American Legion uniforms so like those of the squadristi of former days in Italy, encasing various sizes of fleshy prejudice which exchanged opinions they rented that week from Mr. Sokolsky, Mr. Lawrence, Mr. Pegler, and that fascinating younger fellow who had written about men and God at Yale. The three orchestras tried to avoid playing at the same time. The Iselins had provided very nearly everything but balalaikas in the way of music. There was a "society" orchestra, a three cha combo, and an inundation of gallant White Russian fiddlers who migrated across the grounds and in and out of the house en masse, sawing like locusts, and not only did they accept tips but they very nearly frisked the guests to get them. Raymond stopped at one of the four bars and drank a half glass of champagne. He refused offers to dance with three young women of different sizes. His mother found him later, far in a corner of the large salon, behind a pastel sofa, under two threats of Salvador Dali, a Catalan.

"My God, you look as though your head will come to a point any minute," she told him. "Raymond, will you please take a tranquilizer?"



"I have a revulsion for drugs."

"You look absolutely miserable. Never mind. A half-hour more and she'll be here. My feet hurt. Why don't we just sneak away for a few minutes until Jocie and her father arrive. We can sit in the library and sip cold wine."

Raymond looked right at her and, for the first time in many, many years, actually smiled at her, and she thought he looked positively beautiful. Why -- why he looks like Poppal Raymond, her own Raymond, looked exactly like her darling, darling Poppal She clutched his hand as she led him out of the salon and along the two corridors to the library, causing one woman guest to tell another woman guest that they looked as though they were rushing off to get a little of you-know-what, Mrs. Iselin trailing a delicious scent of Jolie Madame because she had read that Lollobrigida wore it and she had always wished she could be short like that, and stopping only to get a bottle of wine and to tell the butler where they would be.

The library was a small, pleasant room and the books were real. The fourth wall was transparent glass and faced that walled deck of land and Jocie's house. Raymond stood rubbing his hands together, so very tall and so preposterously handsome in the short, shining boots, the ballooning trousers, and the wide expanse of white silk shirt. "Do you know they got in from the airport?" he asked as he poured the lemon-yellow wine into two sherbet glasses.

"I told you," his mother said. "She telephoned me. From that house."

"How did she sound?"

"Like a girl."


She leaned forward tensely in the raspberry-colored chair, splendid in pink chiffon. "Raymond?"

"What?" He handed her one of the filled glasses. She took it with her bandaged left hand. "What did you do to your hand?" he asked, seeing the bandage for the first time.

"I got careless in Washington this afternoon and got it caught in the door of a taxi." He grunted involuntarily. "Raymond," she said, transferring the wine to her right hand and lifting it shakily. "Why don't you pass the time by playing a little solitaire?"
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Postby admin » Sat Dec 12, 2015 4:33 am

Chapter 21

Marco squeezed the inside of Eugenie Rose's splendid thigh, not at all sexually -- well, perhaps just a little bit sexually -- but mostly out of the greatest of good spirits because, after all, this time of sick fear, the work seemed to be leading to the conclusion which they had dreaded they would never be able to find.

"Hey!" Eugenie Rose said.


"Don't stop."

It was after midnight and it was Marco's dinner break from the unending games of solitaire, from the examinations of Hungarian Charlie, the bookmaker, and the young, dumpy blonde, from the number systems and symbol systems, and Marco knew the end was in sight.

"This time tomorrow night, oh boy! I'll have lunch with Raymond tomorrow, then a little solitaire, then a nice long chat about the good old days in Korea and a few Russian and Chinese friends of ours, then a few suggestions made to crumble up their systems and mechanisms forever -- sort of removing the controls, ripping out the wiring -- and, lady, it's all over. All over. All done with. Done."




"Mission accomplished."


They were in an all-night restaurant on Fifty-eighth Street, and when he wasn't clutching her hands, Rosie nibbled on cinnamon toast as daintily as a cartoon mouse. Marco was shoveling in large wedges of gooey creamed chipped beef and humming chorus after chorus of "Here Comes the Bride."

"That's a pretty tune you're humming. What is it?" she asked.

"Our song."

"Oh, Benny boy. Oh, my dear colonel!"
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Postby admin » Sat Dec 12, 2015 4:34 am

Chapter 22

Raymond found the cards in the desk. They a were elegant rented cards that had come with the house. They had gold edges and were imprinted with the name and the grotesque crest of a hotel maintained for the expense-account set on the North Side of Chicago. He dealt out the play. The queen of diamonds did not show in the first game. As he placed the cards precisely his mother sat on the edge of her chair with her face buried in her hands. When she heard him squaring up the pack she sat up straight and her face was twisted bitterly. Raymond placed the red queen face up on top of the deck and studied it noncommittally.

"Raymond, I must talk to you about a problem with Colonel Marco, and I must talk to you, as well, about many other things but there will be no time tonight. It seems that there is never time." There was a brisk knocking at the door, which she had locked. "Damn!" she said and walked to the door. "Who is it?"

"It's me, hon. Johnny. Tom Jordan is here. I need you."

"All right, lover. I'll be right out."

"Who the hell are you in there with anyway?"


"Oh. Well, hurry it up whatever it is, hon. We have work out here."

She walked back and stood behind Raymond with her hands on his shoulders. As he watched the red queen she repaired her face as best she could. Then she leaned over him and took the card. "I'll take this with me, dear," she said. "It might bring mischief if I leave it here."

"Yes, Mother."

"I'll be back as soon as I can."

"Yes, Mother."

She left the library, locking the door behind her. As soon as she was gone something rattled at the terrace door. Raymond looked up just as the smiling, beautiful young woman closed the door behind her. She was dressed for the masquerade party, costumed as a playing card. The rich gold and scarlet cowl fell from her crown to her shoulders. Gold incrusted jewels banded the lush black and white ruff at her throat. The kaleidoscopic complex of inlays of metallic oranges, yellows, purples, scarlets, blacks, and whites fell to her bodice and below. From the top of her head, stiffly parallel to her shoulders, then falling at right angles full down the sides of her body, was a white papier-mache board on which was printed a regal Q, a red diamond standard directly below it at the left corner, while at the right there stared a large red diamond against the shining white background. It was the queen of diamonds, his patron and his destiny. She spoke to him.

"I saw you through my window just before we left the house," she said huskily. "My heart almost shot out of my body. I had to see you alone. Daddy went around the front way and I slipped through that old iron door in the stone wall."

"Jocie." She was Jocie and she was his queen of diamonds. She was the queen of diamonds, his special lady from the stars, and she was Jocie.

"Your letter -- oh, my darling."

He moved across the room and held her by the shoulders, swaying. He looked down at her with such a force of pure love that she shivered and they were together in love forever. He kissed her. It was the first time he had ever kissed her after having possessed her completely in imaginations through nine risings of April and the deaths of eight Decembers. He pulled her down on the couch and his hands fumbled with her royal clothes and royal person while his mouth and his body sought his salvation with the only woman he would ever love, with the only woman who had ever allowed him to love her; the cardboard queen he served, and the lovely girl he had adored from the moment he had come to life beside her near a lake, near a snake, within an expanding dream.

Senator Jordan's costume was the toga and sandals of a Roman legislator, combined with a blanked expression. He stood next to Senator Iselin, equidistant from the marble walls at the center of the foyer. The three cha combo scattered sounds over them from the bottomless fountain of its noises. When the two men spoke they spoke guardedly, like convicts in a chow line.

"I am here," Senator Jordan said to Johnny, "because my daughter asked me to come, saying that it was extremely important to her, that is to say, important to her happiness, that I come. There is no other reason and my presence here is not to be misunderstood nor is it to be exploited by that industry of gossip which you control. I feel loathing toward you and for what you have done to weaken our country and very nearly destroy our party. Is that clear?"

"That's all right, Tom. Glad to have you," Johnny said. "I was tickled when Ellie told me that we were going to be next-door neighbors."

"And I am wearing this ridiculous costume because my daughter cabled ahead for it from Puerto Rico and because she asked me to wear it, assuring me that I would be less conspicuous at this Fascist party rally if I did."

"It looks great on you, Tom. Great. What are you supposed to be, some kind of an athlete or something?"

"An interne. Furthermore, I hope none of this lunatic fringe who are your guests tonight, and who are ringing us like hyenas to watch us chat so amiably, are getting the wrong idea about me. If they link you with me I'll take ads to repudiate you and them."

"Don't give it a thought, Tom. If anything, old buddy, they're probably getting the wrong idea about me. They are very possessive about their politics. They're a great bunch, actually. You'd like them."

The restless guests moved all around them. The scent of masked ambergris mixed with abstractions of carnations and musk glands, lemon rinds, and the essences of gunpowder and tobacco. Raymond's mother came like a flung harpoon through the crowds to greet her honored guest. She shook his hand vigorously, she said again and again and again how honored they were to have him in their house, and she forgot to ask where Jocie was. She asked Johnny to represent them among their other guests because she just had to have a good old-fashioned visit with Senator Tom. Before Johnny slunk away gratefully he mumbled amenities and moved to shake hands, which Senator Jordan tactfully overlooked.

Raymond's mother stopped a waiter and took his tray of four filled champagne glasses. She carried it off in the opposite direction from the library, followed stiffly by the senator, to the small room which was known to the domestic staff as "the Senator's den" because Johnny liked to drink in there, unshaven.

It was a vivid room, vivid enough to make a narcoleptic sit up popeyed, with bright, white carpet, black walls, and shining brass furniture with zebrine upholstery. Raymond's mother set the tray down upon the black desk with the shining brass drawer handles, then asked her neighbor to sit down as she closed the door.

"It was good of you to come over, Tom."

He shrugged.

"I suppose you were surprised to learn that we had taken this house."

"Surprised and appalled."

"You won't have to see much of us."

"I am sure of that."

"I would like to ask a question."

"You may."

"Will you carry this personal feeling you have for me and for Johnny over into other fields of practical politics?"

"What other fields?"

"Well -- the convention, for example."

His eyebrows shot up. "In what area of the convention?"

"Would you try to block Johnny if his name is brought forward?"

"You're joking."

"My dear Tom!"

"You are going to go after the nomination for Johnny?"

"We may be forced into that position. Your answer will help me to form the decision. A lot of Americans, you know, look upon Johnny as one of the few men willing to fight to the death for the preservation of our liberties."


"And I mean a lot of people. Votes. The Loyal American Underground is five million voting Americans. To say nothing of the wonderful work Frank Bollinger is doing, and with no urging from us. He says flatly that he will walk into that convention with a petition of not less than one million votes pledged for Johnny as a down payment on ten million."

"You haven't answered me. Are you going after the nomination for Johnny?"

"No," she answered calmly. "We couldn't make it. But we can make the vice-presidency."

"The vice-presidency?" Jordan was incredulous. "Why would Johnny want the vice-presidency?"

"Why wouldn't he?"

"Because he wants power and a big stage to dance on. There's no power in the vice-presidency and the only place where there is more power than where Johnny is right now is in the White House. Why would he want the vice-presidency?"

"I answered your question, Tom, but you haven't answered mine."

"What question?"

"Will you block us?"

"Block you? I would spend every cent I own or could borrow to block you. I have contempt for you and fear for you, but mostly I fear for this country when I think of you. Johnny is just a low clown but you are the smiler who wraps a dagger in the flag and waits for your chance, which I pray may never come. I tell you this: if at that convention one month from now you begin to deal with the delegations to cause Johnny's name to be put on that ticket, or if in my canvass of all delegations which will begin on my telephone tomorrow I learn that you are so acting, I am going to bring impeachment proceedings against your husband on the floor of the Senate and I will hit him with everything in my carefully documented book."

Raymond's mother came out of her chair, spitting langrel.
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Postby admin » Sat Dec 12, 2015 4:34 am

Chapter 23

Jocie left a long letter for her father after she had changed and packed, before she and Raymond drove her car into New York. The letter told him that they were going to be married immediately and that they had decided to have it done quietly, even invisibly, for the entirely apparent political considerations. The letter also told him of how sublimely, utterly happy she was; it said they would return as soon as possible and beseeched her father to tell no one of the marriage because Raymond's conviction was that his mother would use it at once to political advantage, and that he felt his mother's political advantages were profitless, even detrimental, to anyone concerned.

Jocie and Raymond reached his apartment at three in the morning after driving into the city in Jocie's car. They undressed instantly and reflexively and found each other hungrily. Jocie wept and she laughed with joy and disbelief that her true life, the only life she had ever touched because it had touched her simultaneously, had been given back to her. Such an instant ago he had paddled their wide canoe across that lake of purple wine toward a pin of light high in the sky which would widen and widen and widen while she slept until it had blanched the blackness. Another day would have lighted his face as he stood there before her. She had been dreaming. She had not been waiting so long for him, she had been dreaming. She had gone to sleep beside a mountain lake and she had dreamed that he had gone away from her and that they had waited, across the world from each other, until the dream had finished. He loved her! He loved her!


Raymond mailed a concise letter to Joe Downey of The Daily Press concerning his first vacation in four years, explained that his column had been written ahead for five days, and announced that he would return, without saying where he was going, in time to cover the conventions.

They drove her car to Washington and parked it in the Senate garage. They took the first flight out of Washington to Miami, using the names John Starr and Marilyn Ridgeway for the manifest, then an afternoon plane from Miami to San Juan, Puerto Rico.

They were married in San Juan at 5:37 P.M., using their passports for identification in lieu of birth certificates; a condition which helped the justice to remember them two days later when the FBI office in San Juan responded to the Bureau's general alarm for Raymond. They left San Juan via PAA at 7:05 P.M. and arrived soon after in Antigua, where the presentation of one of the many mysterious cards in Raymond's wallet secured him credit and lodgings for their wedding night at the Mill Reef Club.

The following afternoon they set sail as the only passengers aboard a chartered schooner with a professionally aloof crew, on a honeymoon voyage through the islands of Guadeloupe, Dominica, Martinique, St. Lucia, Barbados, Grenada, Tobago, and Trinidad.


When Raymond's mother returned to the library and found him gone, she panicked for the first time in her memory. She had to force herself to sit very, very still for nearly twenty minutes to regain control of herself. By then she needed a fix so badly that she nearly scrambled up the back stairs to get heroin and an arm banger. She changed from the costume of the dainty milkmaid, coked to the very retinas, and calmly slipped into something she could wear to the airport, thence to Washington. She leaned back and closed her eyes, her body allowing the serenity to wash over it, and she considered quite objectively what must be done to move through this catastrophe. Although she had the servants seek Raymond throughout the house and grounds and she checked his room herself, she understood best the intuition which told her that he must have fled from her, and that his mechanism had broken down. She knew as well as she could tell the time that, having been triggered by the red queen, when the red queen had been removed from his sight he would have remained in the locked room for the rest of his days in complete suspension of faculties if the mechanism had been operating as constructed. She had elaborate cause to panic.

Chunjin missed Raymond approximately two hours later than his mother did, but his alarm was relayed into the Soviet apparatus via a telephone tape recorder in Arlington, Virginia, immediately so that they knew about Raymond's disappearance before his mother could reach Washington to tell them. They had panicked, too. A general order was issued to trace the fugitive through their own organizations, but as they confined their search within the borders of the continental United States they got nowhere as the days went on and on.

The FBI resumed its interrupted surveillance of Raymond at Martinique. They were able, through some fine cooperation, to persuade two crew members to jump ship, whereupon two agents of the Bureau were signed on the schooner as working hands.

The Bureau had found Jocie's car in the Senate garage, and she and Raymond were immediately identified as connections of senators and he as the well-known newspaperman. The Bureau was about to discuss the matter with Senator Jordan when the San Juan office reported the marriage. After that the names of Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Shaw showed up on the PAA manifest for the skim to Antigua, then quickly after that, like gypsy finger-snapping, at the Mill Reef Club, on the right wharf, on the voyage plot filed at the company's office, then at Martinique, where the two agents boarded to protect the blissfully ignorant couple from they knew not what.

If Marco had not been the Little Gentleman about the whole thing, -- if he had not been so hipped on the sanctity of the honeymoon in an entirely subjective manner -- he would have been one of those two agents who boarded as crew and he would have had a force deck of fifty-two queens of diamonds in his duffel, those with keen hindsight said later. However, he could see no harm coming to them while they were that far out at sea so he planned to visit Raymond at the earliest possible moment upon the honeymooners' return.


Jocie and Raymond returned to New York on the Friday evening before the Monday morning when the convention was scheduled to open at Madison Square Garden. They had been away for twenty-nine days. They moved into Raymond's apartment with golden tans and foaming joys. It took two calls to locate Jocie's father because he had closed the summer house on Long Island and had moved back to the house on Sixty-third Street. He insisted that they have a wedding celebration that evening because of the wonderful sounds and the sounds within those sounds far within his daughter's happy voice. They celebrated at an Italian restaurant on East Fifty-fifth Street. The city was rapidly tilting with the arrival of politician-statesmen and statesmen-politicians and just routine hustlers for the convention so it was no trick at all for the newspaper in opposition to The Daily Press to learn of the celebrating party of three, and in no time a photographer had appeared on the scene, taken a picture, and confirmed the story of the marriage. That being the case, Raymond explained earnestly to Jocie, he had no choice but to alert his own paper because it would be a bitter occasion indeed if they were beat to the street with his own picture, so a Press photographer and reporter were rushed to the restaurant, which heretofore had been famous only for the manufacture of the most formidable Martinis on the planet. A journalistic coincidence was duly observed in The Wayward Press department of The New Yorker in a subsequent examination of the national press reports published during the national political conventions. The survey noted that both newspapers reporting the Jordan-Shaw marriage at the same instant employed lead paragraphs that were almost identical. Each newspaper made a comparison with the plot of Romeo and Juliet, a successful play by an English writer which had been taken from the Italian of Massucio di Salerno. Both paragraphs referred to the groom as being of the House of Montague (Iselin) and to the bride as being of the House of Capulet (Jordan), then went on into divergent reviews of the murderous bitterness between the two senators, recalling Senator Iselin's startling press conference of one week previous at which he had charged Senator Jordan with high treason, brandishing papers held high as "absolute proof" that Jordan had sold his country out to the Soviets and stating that, at the instant the Senate reconvened he would move for (1) Senator Jordan's impeachment and (2) for a civil trial at the end of which, the senator demanded passionately, the only possible verdict would be that "this traitor to liberty and to the only perfect way of life must be hanged by the neck until dead," Senator Jordan's only response had been made upon a single mimeographed sheet holding a single sentence. Distributed to all press agencies, it said: "How long will you let this man use you and trick you?"

Senator Jordan did not mention the Iselin attack to the bride and groom while they were in the restaurant. He knew they would hear about it all too shortly.

Before the stories and pictures announcing Raymond's return and their wedding could appear in the morning editions, friends, agents, and sympathizers had passed the word along through channels to the Soviet security command. The command issued its wishes to Mrs. Iselin, in Washington, and she reached Raymond by telephone the next morning, She chided him gently for not having told her of his great happiness and was so gently convincing in her most gentle hurt that Raymond was surprised to realize that he felt he had behaved somewhat badly toward her.

She told him that the Vice-President and the Speaker of the House were coming to the Iselin residence at three o'clock that afternoon for an unusual policy meeting relative to civil rights and that since they had decided it would be advantageous to allow the story to "leak" to the public, she had immediately put in a bid for her syndicated son and everyone had concurred on the choice. Therefore he would need to catch a plane immediately for Washington so that they could lunch together and she could fill him in on the entire background of the meeting and the plans. Raymond readily agreed.

Jocie was a girl who had mastered every expertise on sleeping. He didn't waken her. He left a note explaining why he had to leave and saying he would write the piece itself in Washington that night and would be back at her doorstep before she woke up the next morning.

Raymond learned about Johnny's fantastic attack on his father-in-law from a newspaper during the flight to Washington, and he began to feel the numbness of great rage and the purest kind of joy: the substance of the attack released in him something he had always wanted to do but had always inhibited to the point where he had never recognized it before. He would go to the Iselin house and he would lock Johnny in a room and he would beat him and beat him and beat him. Another great light broke over his head. He would shave his mother bald.

Jocie learned about the attack at breakfast from the same morning newspaper, in the story under the front-page, three-column picture of herself, her husband, and her father. The references to the Iselin charges were bewildering to her; she had lived so long in the Argentine that she had not developed a native callousness to any allegation made by Johnny. She dressed at once, telephoned her father, told him she would be right there, and hurried out of the house taking an overnight bag with her and leaving a note for Raymond explaining briefly and asking him to come to her father's house as soon as he could the following morning. She signed the note "with all my love forever" and propped it up for his attention on the foyer telephone.

Colonel Marco, that constant brooder over the marriage state, deferred too long in his plan to awaken/disturb the newlyweds. When he went to Raymond's apartment with his force cards to sweep the destructions out of Raymond's mind, Raymond and Jocie had both gone. No one answered the door bell to give him information as to where they had gone. Chunjin could see the caller by opening the service door just a crack, fifteen yards along the hall to Marco's right.


Raymond's mother gave Raymond no chance to put his vengeance into effect when he reached her house in Washington. As he charged wildly into her office on the second floor -- the office was decorated like the inside of a coffin -- she suggested that he pass the time by playing a little solitaire, which cut him off in mid-curse. She locked the door.

The queen of diamonds showed as the fourteenth card in the first layout. Raymond listened with absorption to what his mother had to say. She questioned him and he gave her a detailed report on how and why and when he had disappeared from the house on Long Island, and she was so relieved that she laughed hysterically as he told her about Jocie's costume and his total, eternal obedience to the queen of diamonds. When she had dried the tears of nervous joy from her eyes and had fired four more short bursts of hysterical laugher she got down to business and laid out his job of work.

She had been ordered to make a full test of his reflex mechanism and, because Senator Jordan was potentially so dangerous to Johnny and her terminal plans, she had selected him for execution. She set down her orders to Raymond with clarity and economy. It was now 11:22 A.M. Raymond was to go to the Washington bureau of The Daily Press and talk about convention coverage problems with the bureau chief so that his presence in the city would be established. He would then have lunch at the Press Club and talk to as many acquaintances at the bar as possible. Raymond reported stolidly that he did not have acquaintances. His mother said he knew Washington newspapermen, didn't he? He said he did. She said, "Well, you can just stand next to them and talk to them and it will be such a shock that they'll place you in Washington this weekend for many years to come." After lunch he would appear on the Hill and find an excuse to visit with the Speaker. At five o'clock he would stop by at the press room at the White House and annoy Hagerty by pushing for a breakfast date the following morning at seven o'clock. Hagerty would not be able to accept, even if he could stand the idea of breakfasting with Raymond, because of the convention opening in New York Monday morning, but Raymond's insistence would be sure to rile Hagerty and he would remember Raymond as having been in Washington on Saturday and on Sunday. At six-fifteen he would return to the Press Club bar for forty-five minutes of startling conviviality, then he would return to the Iselin house to have dinner with friends. It would be an entirely informal dinner but with quite good people like Mr. Justice Calder and the Treasury Undersecretary and that young what's-his-name criminal lawyer and his darling wife. At eleven forty-five a television repair truck would be at the back entrance to the house with his own man, Chunjin, driving. Raymond would get into the back of the panel truck, where there would be a mattress. He was to sleep all the way to New York. Did he understand that? Yes, Mother. Chunjin would give him a revolver with a silencer when they got into the city and would let him out of the truck in front of the Jordan house on East Sixty-third Street at approximately 3:45 A.M. Chunjin would give him the keys to the front door and the inside door. Raymond went over a diagram of the inside of the house while his mother explained precisely how he was to find the senator's sleeping room on the second floor, after having first checked the library downstairs in the event the senator had been bothered with one of his intermittent spells of insomnia. It would all be quite as easy as the liquidation of Mr. Gaines had been, but he was to take no chances and it was essential that he take every precaution against being identified, and she did not need to specify the precautions, she was sure, beyond that. After the assignment had been completed he was to return to the back of the truck and go to sleep at once. He would awaken at Chunjin's touch when they had reached the back door of this house again. He was to go to his room, undress, put on pajamas, and immediately go to sleep until he was called and, of course, he was to remember nothing, not that he would ever be able to, in any event.
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Postby admin » Sat Dec 12, 2015 4:34 am

Chapter 24

Marco discovered that Raymond was in Washington very quickly. However, by appearing at the Press Club (where he had found himself, to his chagrin and resentment, exactly once before in the years of his political reporting) Raymond unwittingly eluded the men of Marco's unit. The unit was out in force and in desperate earnest. They knew how to unlock the mystery, that is, they held the key in their hands, but now they could not find the lock. As each day had passed since the afternoon Raymond had rented the rowboat in Central Park, and Raymond had been beyond their reach, every element of responsibility in the unit, and in the direction of the nation, had watched and waited tensely, fearing that they might have arrived at the solution too late. By going to the Hill and to the White House on a Saturday afternoon in summer, Raymond kept showing up exactly where they did not expect him to appear, so they missed him again. Fifty minutes after he had left the Washington bureau of The Daily Press, and after the bureau chief had taken off for the weekend in an automobile with his wife and their parrot and the information as to where and how Raymond would spend the day, two men from Marco's unit arrived to take up permanent posts waiting for Raymond to return to the office. At the White House Raymond duly registered the fact that he would be in Washington for the weekend but Hagerty said how the hell could he have time to have breakfast when there was a national convention opening Monday?

Because Raymond was known to detest his mother and stepfather under any normal circumstances and because Marco's unit calculated that he would never speak to the Iselins again after the viciousness of Johnny's smear of Raymond's father-in-law, they missed Raymond again by ignoring the Iselin house. Marco's unit ate, drank, and slept very little. They had to find Raymond so that he could play a little solitaire to pass the time and tell them what they had to know because something was about to cut the thread that held the blazing sword which was suspended directly overhead from the blazing sun.

Just before midnight, Raymond crawled into the back of the panel truck, stretched out, and went to sleep. It had started to rain. As the truck came out of the Lincoln Tunnel into New York, thunder was added and lightning flashed, but Raymond was asleep and could not heed it.

Raymond's mother had been merciful. She had understood completely the operation of the Yen Lo mechanism. She knew Raymond had to do what he was told to do, that he could have no sense of right or wrong about it, nor suspect any possibility of the consciousness of guilt, but she must have sensed that he had to retain a sense of gain/loss, that he would know when the time came, that by having to kill Senator Jordan he would be losing something, and that his wife, too (and so very much more dimensionally), would suffer an infinity of loss. So, out of mercy, she instructed Chunjin to let Raymond sleep until he arrived within a block of the Jordan house.

Chunjin stopped the truck on the far side of the street, opposite the house. It was raining heavily and they alone seemed to be alive in the city. Three other cars were parked in the block, an impossibly low number. Chunjin leaned over the seat and shook Raymond by the shoulder.

"Time to do the work, Mr. Shaw," he said. Raymond came awake instantly. He sat up. He clambered to sit beside Chunjin in the front seat.

Chunjin gave him the gun, to which a silencer had been affixed, making it cumbersome and very nearly impossible to pocket. "You know this kind of gun?" he asked efficiently.

"Yes," Raymond answered dully.

"I suggest you keep it under your coat."

"I will," Raymond said. "I have never felt so sad."

"That is proper," Chunjin said. "However, sir, if you do the work quickly it will be over for you, and for him, although in different ways. When the work is done you will forget."

The rain was like movie rain. It streamed heavily against the windows and made a tympanous racket as it hit the roof of the truck. Chunjin said, "I circle block with car, Mr. Shaw. If not here when you come out you walk slowly toward next street, Third Avenue. Bring gun with you."

Raymond opened the car door.

"Mr. Shaw?"


"Shoot through the head. After first shot, walk close, place second shot."

"I know. She told me." He opened the door quickly, got out quickly, and slammed it shut. He crossed the street as the panel truck pulled away, the pistol held at his waist under his light raincoat, the rain striking his face.

He felt the sadness of Lucifer. He moved in the flat, relentless rhythm of the oboe passages in "Bald Mountain," Colors of anguish moved behind his eyes in vangoghian swirls, having lifted edges to give an elevation to the despair. His nameless grief had handles, which he lifted, carrying himself forward toward the center of the pain.

The doors of the house, outer and inner, opened with the master keys. There were no lights in the rooms on the main floor, only the night light over the foot of the stairs. Raymond moved toward the staircase, the pistol hanging at his side, gripped in his left hand. As his foot touched the first riser he heard a sound in the back of the house. He froze where he was until he could identify it.

Senator Jordan appeared in pajamas, slippers, and robe. His silver hair was ruffled into a halo of duck feathers. He saw Raymond as he stood under the light leaning against the wall, but showed no surprise.

"Ah, Raymond. I didn't hear you come in. Didn't expect to see you until around breakfast time tomorrow morning. I got hungry. If I were only as hungry in a restaurant as I am after I've been asleep in a nice, warm bed for a few hours, I could be rounder and wider than the fat lady in the circus. Are you hungry, Raymond?"

"No, sir."

"Let's go upstairs. I'll force some good whisky on you. Combat the rain. Soothe you after traveling and any number of other good reasons," He swept past Raymond and went up the stairs ahead of him. Raymond followed, the pistol heavy in his hand.

"Jocie said you had to go down to see your mother and the Speaker."

"Yes, sir."

"How was the Speaker?"

"I -- I didn't see him, sir,"

"I hope you didn't get yourself all upset over those charges of Iselin's."

"Sir, when I read that story on the plane going to Washington I decided what I should have decided long ago. I decided that lowed him a beating."

"I hope you didn't --"

"No, sir."

"Matter of fact, an attack from John Iselin can help a good deal. I'll show you some of the mail. Never got so much supporting mail in twenty-two years in the Senate."

''I'm happy to hear it, sir." They passed into the Senator's bedroom.

"Bottle of whisky right on top of that desk," the Senator said as he climbed into bed and pulled up the covers. "Help yourself. What the hell is that in your hand?"

Raymond lifted the pistol and stared at it as though he weren't sure himself. "It's a pistol, sir."

The Senator stared, dumbfounded, at the pistol and at Raymond. "Is that a silencer?" he managed to say.

"Yes, sir."

"Why are you carrying a pistol?"

Raymond seemed to try to answer, but he was unable to. He opened his mouth, closed it again. He opened it again, but he could not make himself talk. He was lifting the pistol slowly.

"Raymond! No!" the Senator shouted in a great voice. "What are you doing?"

The door on the far side of the room burst open. Jocie came into the room saying, "Daddy, what is it? What is it?" just as Raymond shot him. A hole appeared magically in the Senator's forehead.

"Raymond! Raymond, darling! Raymond!" Jocie cried out in full scream. He ignored her. He crossed quickly to the Senator's side and shot again, into the right ear. Jocie could not stop screaming. She came running across the room at him, her arms outstretched imploringly, her face punished with horror. He shot her without moving, from the left hand. The bullet went through her right eye at a range of seven feet. Head going backward in a punched snap, knees going forward, she fell at his feet. His second shot went directly downward, through her left eye.

He put out the bed light and fumbled his way to the stairs. He could not control his grief any longer but he could not understand why he wept. He could not see. Loss, loss, loss, loss, loss, loss, loss.

When he climbed to the mattress in the back of the panel truck the sounds he was making were so piteous that Chunjin, although expressionless, seemed to be deeply moved by them because he took the pistol from Raymond's hand and struck him on the back of the head, bringing forgetfulness to save him.


The bodies were discovered in the morning by the Jordan housekeeper, Nora Lemmon. Radio and TV news shows had the story at eleven-eighteen, having interrupted all regular programs with the flash. In Washington, via consecutive telephone calls to the news agencies, Senator Iselin offered the explanation that the murders bore out his charges of treason against Jordan who had undoubtedly been murdered by Soviet agents to silence him forever. The Monday morning editions of all newspapers were on the streets of principal cities on Sunday afternoon, five hours before the normal bulldog edition hit the street.

Raymond's mother did not awaken him when the FBI called to ask if she could assist them in establishing her son's present whereabouts. Colonel Marco called from New York as Raymond's closest friend, saying he feared that Raymond might have harmed himself in his grief over his wife's tragic death, almost begging Mrs. Iselin to tell him where her son was so that he might comfort him. Raymond's mother hit herself with a heavy fix late Sunday afternoon because she could not rid her mind of the picture of that lovely, lovely, lovely dead girl which looked out at her from every newspaper. She went into a deep sleep. Johnny called all the papers and news agencies and announced that his wife was prostrate over the loss of a dear and wonderful girl whom she had loved as a daughter. He told the papers that he would not attend the opening day of the convention "even if it costs me the White House" because of this terrible, terrible loss and their affliction of grief. Asked where his stepson was, the Senator replied that Raymond was "undoubtedly in retreat, praying to God for understanding to carry on somehow."
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Postby admin » Sat Dec 12, 2015 4:35 am

Chapter 25

Sunday night Marco drank gin with his head resting across Eugenie Rose's ample lap and listened to the Zeitgeist of zither music until the gin had softened the rims of his memory. He looked straight up, right through the ceiling, his face an Aztec mask. Rosie had not spoken because she had too much to ask him and he did not speak for a long time because he had too much to tell her. He pulled some sheets of white paper from the breast pocket of his jacket, which had been hung across the back of the chair beside them.

"I grabbed this from the files this afternoon," he said. "It's a verbatim report. Fella took it down on tape in the Argentine. Read it to me, hah?"

Rosie took the paper and read aloud. "What follows is a transcribed conversation between Mrs. Seward Arnold and Agent Graham Dundee as transcribed by Carmelita Barajas and witnessed by Dolores Freg on February 16, 1959." Rosie looked for a moment as though she would ask a question, then seemed to think better of it. She continued to read from the paper while Marco stared from her lap at far away. She read slowly and softly.

DUNDEE: Mrs. Arnold, if I may say so, this is the most unusual assignment of my career. I have been awake half the night studying how I could try to explain what I have been sent here to ask you.

MRS. ARNOLD: Sent by whom, Mr. Dundee?

DUNDEE: I don't know. If I did know I should probably have been instructed not to reveal that. I am a physician. A psychiatrist. I am attached to the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the Department of Justice of the government of the United States in that capacity. Here are my credentials.

MRS. ARNOLD: I see. Thank you, but --

DUNDEE: I have been flown from New York for this chat with you and when we have finished I shall take the first plane back to New York. It is a terrible journey when one makes it that way. Some thirteen thousand miles of catered food and the wrong people in the seat beside one. Talkers, mostly.

MRS. ARNOLD: It sounds terribly important.

DUNDEE: You may be sure of that.

MRS. ARNOLD: But how can I help you? I'm not important, thank heaven. Does this involve my father?

DUNDEE: No, Mrs. Arnold. It involves a man named Raymond Shaw.


DUNDEE: Do you remember Raymond Shaw?


DUNDEE: Will you tell me what you remember about him, Mrs. Arnold?

MRS. ARNOLD: But -- why?

DUNDEE: I don't know. There is so much we must do on faith alone. I only know that I must ask you these questions and pray that you will decide to answer. As a psychiatrist I have been assigned to work on and collect data concerning the character and personality and habits and reactions and inhibitions and repressions and idiosyncrasies and compulsions of Raymond Shaw for fourteen months, Mrs. Arnold. I have not been told why. I know only that it is desperately important work.

MRS. ARNOLD: It has been seven years since I have seen or spoken to Raymond Shaw, Mr. -- rather, Dr. Dundee.

DUNDEE: Thank you.

MRS. ARNOLD: I was only a girl. I mean to say I did not consciously store up information about him. I mean, to get me started perhaps you would tell me what you know about Raymond Shaw.

DUNDEE: What I know? Mrs. Arnold, I know more about him than he knows about himself but I would not be permitted to tell him, much less you, because Raymond Shaw is classified information; his recreations and habits are top secret and his thoughts and dreams are top, top secret. Will you tell me about him?

MRS. ARNOLD: Raymond was twenty-one or twenty-two years old when I first saw him. I thought, and I still think, he was the handsomest man I have ever seen in life, or in a photograph or in a painting. His eyes had such regret for the world. They seemed to deplore that the world had taken him upon it and had then made him invisible.

DUNDEE: Did you say invisible, Mrs. Arnold?

MRS. ARNOLD: That was his own description of himself, but I never knew anyone who ever saw Raymond. My own father, who is a sensitive, interested man, was not able to see him. My father saw a neurotic slender giant of a child who seemed to pout and who stared rudely at every movement, the way cats do. Surely, Raymond's mother never saw him. I am not even sure that his mother ever looked at him.

DUNDEE: Still, his mother manufactured Raymond.

MRS. ARNOLD: The cold, unfriendliness of him. The resentful retreater. The hurt and defiant retreater who wept stone tears behind a shield of arrogance.

DUNDEE: But he was not invisible to you.

MRS. ARNOLD: No. He allowed me to see him. He was very shy. He had so much tenderness. He was nearly pathetic with his need to please, once he had been allowed to understand that it was wanted for him to be pleasing. He was so sparing with his warm thoughts, except with me. His loving and unresentful thoughts. He doled them out through that eye dropper which was his fear and shyness, then he grew until he could give spoonfuls of it until, at last, when he knew that I loved him he could have learned to give and partake of feeling and warmth and love the way the gods do.

DUNDEE: Mrs. Arnold, I won't pretend to try to be casual about this. What I must ask you is tremendously important and has a direct bearing upon essential psychiatric evidence, you must be sure of that, or I would never, never, never presume to ask you such an extraordinary question, but you see we -- I -- MRS. ARNOLD: Did Raymond ever possess me? Did we ever sleep together? Is that the question, Doctor?

DUNDEE: Yes. Thank you. That is it, Mrs. Arnold. If you please.

MRS. ARNOLD: I wish he had -- that we had. I wish he had and if he had I could not have told you. But he did not, so I can. Raymond never -- we never -- Raymond and I never so much as kissed, Dr. Dundee.

Marco reached up and took the transcript gently out of Rosie's hands. He folded it and slid it back into the pocket of his jacket.

"Who was Mrs. Arnold?" Rosie asked.

"That was Jocie. Raymond's girl."

"His wife."


He got to his feet laboriously. He could not have made it straight up into an erect position. He had to roll off her lap and the sofa to his hands and knees, then get to his feet holding onto a chair. He took the empty gin bottle to the kitchen, lurching slightly, and stored it neatly in a wastebasket. He got another bottle. On the way back to Rosie he picked up the newspaper he had brought in with him at six o'clock and which had lain, rolled up, on a table near the door. He dropped the newspaper into her lap, then sat down beside her. "Raymond shot and killed his wife this morning," he said.

She tried to read the paper and watch Marco at the same time. She drew astonishment from the paper and horror from the sight of Marco because he looked so ravaged. He drank a few fingers of warm gin while she read the story. When she had finished it she said, "The paper doesn't say that Raymond killed his wife." Marco didn't answer. He drank and thought and listened through one more side of zither music, then he fell forward on his face to the horrendous pink cabbage roses in the French blue rug. She held him and kissed him, then she dragged him by his feet into the bedroom, undressed him, and rolled him up across the bed in several stages.
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Postby admin » Sat Dec 12, 2015 4:35 am

Chapter 26

Raymond watched the queen of diamonds on top of the squared deck while his mother spoke to him.

" ... and Chunjin will give you a two-piece Soviet Army sniper's rifle with all of its native ballistic markings. It sets nicely into a special bag which you can carry just as though it were a visiting doctor's bag. You'll take it with you to the hotel at Newark. We have come to the end of this terrible road at last, Raymond darling. After years and years and so much pain it will all be over so soon now. We have won the power, and now that they have given it to us they can just begin to fear. We may reply now, my dearest, for what they have done to you, to me, and to your lovely Jocie."

Raymond's mother had banged a charge into her arm just before this session of briefing Raymond and it most certainly agreed with her. Her magnetic, perfectly spaced blue eyes seemed to sparkle as she talked. Her lithe, solid figure seemed even more superb because of her flawless carriage. She wore a Chinese dressing gown of a shade so light that it complemented the contrasting color of her eyes. Her long and extremely beautiful legs were stretched out before her on the chaise longue, and any man but her son or her husband, seeing what she had and yet knowing that this magnificent forty-nine-year-old body was only a wasted uniform covering blunted neutral energy, might have wept over such a waste. Her voice, usually that of a hard woman on the make for big stakes, had softened perceptibly as she spoke because she was pleading and her voice had new overtones of self-deception. In the years since Raymond had been returned from the Army and shock had been piled upon shock, the sanity-preserving part of her mind, which labored to teach her how to forgive herself, and thus save herself, had been working and scheming against the day when she must explain everything to Raymond and expect to receive his forgiveness.

"I am sure you will never entirely comprehend this, darling, and I know, the way you are right now, this is like trying to have a whispered conversation with someone on a distant star, but for my own peace of mind, such as that is, it must be said. Raymond, you have to believe that I did not know that they would do what they did to you. I served them. I thought for them. I got them the greatest foothold they will ever have in this country and they paid me back by taking your soul away from you. I told them to build me an assassin. I wanted a killer who would obey orders from a stock in a world filled with killers, and they did this to you because they thought it would bind me closer to them. When I walked into that room in that Swardon Sanitarium in New York to meet this perfect assassin and I found that he was my son -- my son with a changed and twisted mind and all the bridges burned behind us ... But we have come to the end now, and it is our turn to twist tomorrow for them, because just as I am a mother before everything else I am an American second to that, and when I take power they will be pulled down and ground into dirt for what they did to you and for what they did in so contemptuously underestimating me." She took his hand and kissed it with burning devotion, then she held his face in her hands and stared into it tenderly. "How much you look like Poppa! You have his beautiful hands and you hold your beautiful head in that same proud, proud way. And when you smile! Smile, my darling."

Raymond smiled, naturally and beautifully, under orders. She caught her breath in a gasp. "When you smile, Raymond dearest, for that instant I am a little girl again and the miracle of love begins all over again. How right that seems to me. Smile for me again, sweetheart. Yes. Yes. Now kiss me. Really, really kiss me," Her long fingers dug into his shoulders and pulled him to her on the chaise, and as her left hand opened the Chinese robe she remembered Poppa and the sound of rain high in the attic when she had been a little girl, and she found again the ecstatic peace she had lost so long, long before.
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