Conversations with the Crow Part 36

Date: Tuesday, February 11, 1997
Commenced: 9:05 AM CST
Concluded: 9:42 AM CST

RTC: Why, Gregory, so soon after our last conversation? We’ll have to be careful or Emily might get jealous. Do you have something new for me to chew on?

GD: No, I’ve been working on the latest Mueller book and I’m about worked out for the rest of the day. Writing is not hard, Robert, but the research is a killer. Still, if you don’t want the rat-faced gits in your old agency or Wolfe’s decaying Hebrews braying at you like a barn full of donkeys in a fire, you have to dot every I and cross every T. Not that these chinless wonders are capable of finding errors but eventually someone might and then the jackass chorus begins. No, Corson told me my strong suit was my research and my stronger one was taking the results of it and making it readable without being a pompous, opinionated university pedant. When I worked for Army Intelligence years ago, I was well-known for my research. Of course, the whole office hated me.

RTC: And why so?

GD: Actually, because I worked on my material until I had finished, even if I had to spend the night in the office. I was known to have slept on my desk and subsisted on coffee. But the work got done and, most important, it got done right. And I never tried to shove my own views down anyone’s throat. I liked then, as I like now, to present both sides of an issue, clearly and without passion, letting the reader make up their own mind.

RTC: Very, very rare, talent, Gregory. Bill commented on this once and I would have to agree. Well, who do you work for now? This seems to be in your blood.

GD: Myself. I am a wonderful boss, Robert, really inspired and so kind to myself.

RTC: Do you treat yourself well at Christmas?

GD: Oh yes, Christmas. I haven’t had a Christmas card for years and not a present from anyone. It’s just another day for me and quieter than most.

RTC: I would invite you to have Christmas with us but my son would be unhappy.

GD: Well, thank you for the thought.

RTC: And how is the Mueller book coming?

GD: Fine, and the blow-flies from your former agency are starting to buzz around again. Let’s see how much I can clip them for this time.

RTC: Well, I suppose if they can’t be more creative, they have to pay the price.

GD: No, they would never come right out and try to communicate with me. Why, the Gods do not deign to descend to earth to speak with mere mortals. And they pay the price, too. After all, they don’t care how much of the taxpayer’s money ends up in my pocket. What about the fool returning to his own folly? Or the dog to his own vomit? At least they don’t descend to the petty and sadistic harassments that we find in the local police.

RTC: I would hope not.

GD: That puts me in mind of a sordid but highly entertaining incident in my earlier life. Most people remember Thanksgivings’ with the grandparents or their first experience in the cramped backseat of the family car but I recall more entertaining things.

RTC: Are you planning to enlighten me? This has nothing to do with the Company, has it? You’re rather negative today, Gregory.

GD: I’m negative all the time. No, nothing to do with your people. Just an example of how to deal with illegally intrusive agencies. I was living in a rural area once and in a nearby town was a friend of mine. He was a gun collector. He actually collected Swiss Lugers.

RTC: German?

GD: No, Swiss. Beautifully made pieces.

RTC: I can well imagine. Go on.

GD: Anyway, he collected these and people knew about this. I want to stress that they were quite legal. The local sheriff’s people somehow got wind of this and began to harass him. I think they just wanted to frighten him and steal his collection. The police love to do things like that. When I was younger, I knew one cop who liked to take war relics like Japanese swords away from kids because he said they were illegal, which they were not. I fixed his wagon good but this is not the forum for that one. So he had vague and sinister threats like, ‘You could to prison for years…’ and so on. He told me about this harassment. He had no money and it was a rural area where there are no real lawyers to intervene so I gave the matter a lot of thought and finally hit on a plan to rid himself of the swine. Not nice but it worked.

RTC: Yes. What did you do? Shoot someone?

GD: Oh God no. Someone else did.

RTC: This is beginning to sound rather ugly.

GD: It does get that way. First off, I told him to hide the guns, the Lugers, away from his home and I gave him some suggestions. He did but he hated to lose physical control of them. Now you know, in the rural area in his county was a junk yard that was run by an old nut. He was convinced that the Communists were taking over the local schools and kept getting up at local governmental meetings and bitching about this. And, of course, sent long misspelled letters to the local paper. I didn’t know him personally but I knew, or found out, a lot about him. He shot the neighborhood dogs and cats and was, in my estimation at least, a perfect foil. My friend now had no weapons, legal or otherwise, in his physical possession. So I got the name of the chief of detectives that was hoping to add some nice pieces to his personal gun collection and I called him at home. They wouldn’t have a trace on his line then. I told him a good deal of really accurate information to establish my bonifides and then said that he also had two German machine pistols, which I went into some detail on and that he had hidden them with the owner of the junkyard who, I knew, was also a gun collector. This one was not very smart and he bought the whole cake. I waited a few days and then called the junk dealer. I told him I was on the local sheriff’s staff and we knew a gang of armed Communists were going to come out to his place and kill him.

RTC: Oh sweet Jesus, you didn’t? No, you did. Go on but I know the ending.

GD: Naturally. One dark night, two cars full of deputies, all heavily armed with guns and shovels, drove down his lane, lights out. The junkyard dogs started barking and the old man was ready. The one I talked to, kicked down his door and the old man let fly with a 12 gauge shotgun, full choke, pointblank range, both barrels, right in the face. Down went the greedy one with no head left. Reload and the one behind got both barrels in the tum-tum. Another one got it in the leg and they later had to cut if off above the knee. Screaming, shouting, guns going off all over the place, screams from the junkyard as the vicious dogs munched on deputies. My God, Robert, the neighbors said it sounded like the battle of Cold Harbor. Some deputy had a Truflight 37 millimeter flare gun and he got winged and let fly up in the air. That’s the sort of tear gas gun that is really designed to set fire to buildings. A little tear gas for effect and a lot of incendiary material. The Feds used that in LA to nail the SLA. ‘Oh, gosh,’ they say after they burned down a house with fifteen people in it,’ someone must have knocked over a candle in there.’ So one of these shells went up and came down on a neighbor’s house. Set it on fire and by the time the rural fire boys managed to get out there, it had burnt to the ground with a wheel-chair bound granny inside. Of course they finally killed the old man and all of his dogs and his place burnt down with two of the law roasted along with the old man. You could see the flames for miles. The next day, the remaining law-breakers were out there, picking through the smoking rubble and digging in the junkyard in a frantic search for the guns. Of course there weren’t any guns. And as a precaution, I had told my friend to absent himself from the area and visit friends. Of course they came after him but he was 500 miles away and had been there before, during and after the carnage. And now the really nice part. The old man’s son was a prominent lawyer in another state and I called him up, telling him I was a horrified local policeman. He had no idea what had happened so I said they had killed his father and burned his house down because he was making trouble for them. That lawyer went ballistic, as they say, and believed every word I said. And when he descended on the town, along with the FBI, I would like to have been in the civic offices. Of course I wasn’t because I am not stupid but there were copious newspaper accounts and local gossip. I know there were several closed coffins at various funerals in the weeks to come. And huge lawsuits, Federal charges and so on followed. The local law could give no reason why they raided the place other than to claim some informant had phoned in a tip. Who was this informant? No idea. The lawyer got big money in the end, people were arrested and many new faces were seen in the much subdued sheriff’s office. And I had my friend contact the son and tell him a story and tell him he was terrified for his life. The lawyer used his testimony and, good for him, paid for my friend’s exit from the area and his comfortable establishment under a new name elsewhere.

RTC: Probably got him under Witness Protection. That’s quite a story, Gregory, but I believe it. Your friend kept his guns?

GD: That was the drill, Robert, he kept his guns. There never were any machine guns of course. I moved away out of prudence about this time so I can’t tell you any more.

RTC: Take care of your friends, Gregory, don’t you?

GD: Always, Robert. And I take care of the bad people as well. Does this turn you off?

RTC: Not really. I see a typical abuse of power there, Gregory and I’m really so happy we seem to get on with each other.

GD: Now he could just have moved away but why should he have to do that? They were wrong and that’s the end of the matter.

RTC: I told Bill once that you should have worked for us.

GD: No, I would not have. I am happy when I work by myself and I would not do well in a bureaucracy. They aren’t overly bright and they love to tell you why you can’t do this or that. The point is, Robert, that you win the real battle, not the paper one.

(Concluded at 9:42 AM CST)
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