Part I: Memo From the National Affairs Desk: Sexual Harassment Then and Now… The Ghost of Long Dong Thomas… The Road Full of Forks
Dear Jann, God damn, I wish you were here to enjoy this beautiful weather with me. It is autumn, as you know, and things are beginning to die. It is so wonderful to be out in the crisp fall air, with the leaves turning gold and the grass turning brown, and the warmth going out of the sunlight and big hot fires in the fireplace while Buddy rakes the lawn. We see a lot of bombs on TV because we watch it a lot more, now that the days get shorter and shorter, and darkness comes so soon, and all the flowers die from freezing.
Oh, God! You should have been with me yesterday when I finished my ham and eggs and knocked back some whiskey and picked up my Weatherby Mark V .300 Magnum and a ball of black Opium for dessert and went outside with a fierce kind of joy in my heart because I was Proud to be an American on a day like this. It felt like a goddamn Football Game, Jann — it was like Paradise…. You remember that bliss you felt when we powered down to the Farm and whipped Stanford? Well, it felt like that.
I digress. My fits of Joy are soiled by relentless flashbacks and ghosts too foul to name…. Oh, no, don’t ask Why. You could have been president, Jann, but your road was full of forks, and I think of this when I see the forked horns of these wild animals who dash back and forth on the hillsides while rifles crack in the distance and fine swarthy young men with blood on their hands drive back and forth in the dusk and mournfully call our names….
O Ghost, O Lost, Lost and Gone, O Ghost, come back again.
Right. And so much for autumn. The trees are diseased and the animals get in your way and the President is usually guilty and most days are too long, anyway…. So never mind my poem. It was wrong from the start. I plagiarized it from an early work of Coleridge and then tried to put my own crude stamp on it, but I failed. So what? I didn’t want to talk about fucking autumn, anyway. I was just sitting here at dawn on a crisp Sunday morning, waiting for the football games to start and taking a goddamn very brief break from this blizzard of Character Actors and Personal Biographers and sickly Paparazzi that hovers around me these days (they are sleeping now, thank Christ — some even in my own bed). I was sitting here all alone, thinking, for good or ill, about the Good Old Days.
We were Poor, Jann. But we were Happy. Because we knew Tricks. We were Smart. Not Crazy, like they said. (No. They never called us late for dinner, eh?)
Ho, ho. Laughs don’t come cheap these days, do they? The only guy who seems to have any fun in public is Prince Cromwell, my shrewd and humorless neighbor — the one who steals sheep and beats up women, like Mike Tyson.
Who knows why, Jann. Some people are too weird to figure.
You have come a long way from the Bloodthirsty, Beady-eyed news Hawk that you were in days of yore. Maybe you should try reading something besides those goddamn motorcycle magazines — or one of these days you’ll find hair growing in your palms.
Take my word for it. You can only spend so much time “on the throttle,” as it were…. Then the Forces of Evil will take over. Beware….
Ah, but that is a different question, for now. Who gives a fuck? We are, after all, Professionals…. But our Problem is not. No. It is the Problem of Everyman. It is Everywhere. The Question is our Wa; the Answer is our Fate… and the story I am about to tell you is horrible, Jann.