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Charles Manson: The Incredible Story of the Most Dangerous Man Alive

Page 13 of 13

But Clem has his own bizarre vision, and he's not joking.

"There are a lot of black men who want to put their pricks in white women," he continues. "For hundreds of years the white man has been saying, 'Don't touch my woman!' That's like saying, 'You want her, don't you?' And so the black man finally believed it and now he's going to get it."

"So you have to preserve the species, you can't mix everything up. It's like robins mate with robins. How would you like everything in the world to be gray? That's what would happen if every species mated with every other species. Just a gray glob.

"If God had planned it that way, he would have made us gray to begin with."

The strangest thing about Clem's vision is that everyone else in the trailer agrees with it, nodding affirmatively throughout. That realization brings with it a vaguely unhealthy feeling, the sense that a final barrier has fallen. One can now believe almost anything about this family. Not exactly a comforting supper-time thought.

After the evening meal, the family usually gathers under Charlie's picture on the living room wall, singing his music and feeling the good love energy that flows between them. At least that's what they tell us.

But there's something different on tonight's agenda. A young man in a starched white shirt arrives, calling himself a TV producer. Apparently he has met Gypsy and Marc before, and they introduce him to the group.

"We're doing this hour-long TV special for ABC," Gypsy announces after demanding everyone's attention. "It's just going to blow everybody's mind. It'll be just us – singing, eating, being together."

The family mulls this over for a moment, then Sandy asks:

"How much are we getting for it?"

"$50,000 – minimum!" brags Marc.

"Only $50,000?" she asks.

"That's just the minimum, you understand. That's the least we'll get."

Sandy's newborn business sense makes her suspicious. "Is it signed? Do we know we are getting that money?"

"Well, no," interrupts the producer, choosing his words slowly. "We haven't actually signed the contracts . . . but it's pretty much of a sure thing."

"It works this way," Gypsy explains. "He gets 50% and we get 50%. Now that's fair. After all, we are using all his equipment."

Clem begins to calculate. "So you mean . . . we would get $25,000 of that?"

"Minimum!" says Marc.

More calculating by Clem. "Wow!" he says. "That means we could each get a dune buggy! We could get like ten of them!"

"Yeah! And we'll get them built to Bruce's design," adds Gypsy, "when he gets out of jail."

Right! Everyone lies back and savors the tasty picture. This is going to be an Apocalypse to end all Apocalypses, if you can dig that! Los Angeles in flames – cops and judges and mums and dads all turning into bacon – and each of us in our own, shiny, brand fucking new dune buggy, tooling out to Death Valley to save the white race. Far out!

What is it about these kids? For the first time in hours, maybe months, they've suddenly come alive, become enthused as a group. The talk of money and material goods has somehow struck a nerve. A passion or two has been stirred. Is this their true love energy? Whatever it is, it keeps building.

After the producer leaves, Gypsy asks to hear the tape of an interview we did with her earlier in the day. Actually, we have no choice, since she took the cassette and has refused to give it back until she censored it. That in itself seemed a little incongruous at the time.

She says she wants to hear it back to "make sure the world is ready" for what was being laid down. And, well, there were a few lines that could be misinterpreted, you know, like that phrase "all the people we've tortured, all the people we've killed." That refers to the whole of Western civilization, not just a personal trip. Except that it is that, too, if you understand, because we're all one and you are me and I am you. But it could be misinterpreted.

Earlier, when Sandy first heard about the tape, there had been some hesitation in her head. A whole hour of Gypsy rapping? Who wants to listen to that? Why don't we all just write something instead, and you can pay for it?

As a matter of fact, the interview wasn't that valuable; Charlie had already said most of it. The whole matter is so petty – petty theft versus petty jealousy.

Anyway, the tape starts and Sandy strides coldly into the main bedroom at the other end of the trailer. But she keeps the door open.

Gypsy listens to her own words, digging herself completely. She is her best audience, laughing at some remarks, agreeing vehemently with others, never losing a look of awe at the mystery of the woman she is hearing.

Finally Sandy can stand it no longer. She storms in, points to the machine and declares, "That tape is not going out of here!"

The family stares up at Sandy, not knowing what to say. Gypsy shuts off the machine. "Why not?" she asks.

"I don't have to tell you why. That tape is staying here and that's that! It's not leaving here because we don't want it to."

Dig that? We don't want it to, and she's not even on the tape.

"Sandy, where's your head at tonight?" Gypsy snaps. "You know, you've still got a lot of your mother in you."

"Look, it's quite simple," says Sandy. "If we give away all our stories in interviews, we are going to have nothing to put in our book. I thought we were going to put it all down and get a publisher to give us a big chance. This is just like pouring all our good material down the drain.

"Anyway, what do we need Rolling Stone for when we're going to do this TV special for ABC and we'll reach maybe 20 million people?"

Now the whole family joins in, throwing all her inconsistencies and shortsightedness back at her. The tape doesn't belong to her, they say. You couldn't possibly make a book from the scant material it contains. Charlie himself agreed to a two-hour interview – the longest one yet – and asked nothing. What about this idea of giving? Of keeping nothing?

To which Sandy's answer is as simple as it is final: "Look, I don't have to argue about tihs. I know. And when you know, you know." And she stomps back into the bedroom.

Wow, man, a supreme bummer. The party's over. Everyone gets up to go outside. There's a fantastic full moon out there, in case anyone wants to go bareback riding. Clem leads the way with dancing feet.

As the family files out, Sandy with great care places a manuscript on the center of her bed and lies down beside it. Slowly she reads each page silently to herself, almost secretly. It is a letter from Charlie.

He gave it to her that morning when she visited him in jail. He told her to take it to the Los Angeles Free Press where they would print it for all his followers to read. Next week he would have another one, he told her. And another one a week later.

She is pleased that so many readers will now be able to see Charlie's words, his teachings. What was it Charlie said about words? Something that rhymes, she recalls, something about nail or betrayal or something. Oh, but that was about Jesus, anyway.

When people read Charlie's words, things will start to change, she thinks to herself. The world will start going through some heavy changes, you can count on that. And even if the Free Press won't pay any money, the letters should help sell a few records. It's all to the good.

Tomorrow the letter will become public; Sandy will take it over first thing in the morning. But tonight, she realizes, Charlie's own words and his own handwriting belong exclusively to her.

She finishes the last page, closes the manuscript, and starts reading the first page again. Only this time she grabs a pencil and starts boldly marking up the page here and there with words of her own.

"I've got to put it in better English," she tells Brenda in the kitchen. "Charlie's spelling is terrible and he doesn't know how to write properly at all. But we'll fix it up."

This story is from the June 25th, 1970 issue of Rolling Stone.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

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