BY: JOHN R DIZON
Amidst rumors of a conspiracy by the Axis powers to diminish America’s capacity to engage in hostilities, the FBI is called into action. Special Agent Chess Power is empowered by Deputy Director Melvin Purvis to put together a plan to thwart the efforts of a mysterious team known as the Triad. Power heads out to Alcatraz Island and enlists the aid of criminal genius Alvin Karpis in return for his parole. Karpis agrees on condition that his partners Fred and Doc Barker and Harry Campbell are included in the deal. Power agrees, and the game of cat and mouse soon begins.
TAYLOR JONES SAYS: In The Triad by John Dizon, Alvin Kapris is let out of Alcatraz in 1938 to help the FBI track down three foreign agents in the US, here to assassinate high-ranking political and military personnel in order to keep the US from entering into WWII. Armed with an abundance of weapons, his three partners in crime—Fred and Doc Barker and Harry Campbell, and a fair amount of Irish luck, Karpis sets about finding the Triad assassins. Of course, having a number of organized crime connections doesn’t hurt either. Karpis’s motives, of course, are not completely altruistic, however. After all, in no other country in the world could organized crime flourish so easily, so the American way of life is something he wants to preserve.
The story has a hint of the paranormal in the form of dreams of the future, which both Kapris and Fred have, but for the most part, it’s a solid historical thriller with an intriguing plot and endearing characters who, despite being bank robbers and thugs, step up when their country calls.
REGAN MURPHY SAYS: The Triad by John Reinhard Dizon is a historical thriller, set in pre-WW2 America in 1938. The Axis Powers send a group of assassins, known as the Triad, to assassinate important political and military targets in America, hoping to cripple the US’s ability to interfere with Hitler’s plans for world domination. Going with the concept that it takes a crook to catch one, the FBI offers mob-boss Alvin (Ray) Karpis, currently serving time in Alcatraz, parole for his services in hunting down and eliminating the Triad. Karpis agrees to the deal, provided the FBI also includes his associates Harry Campbell and Doc and Fred Barker, also in prison in Alcatraz—well, all except one, who’s supposed to be dead. With his partners at his side, Karpis starts a nationwide manhunt using his mob connections, while dodging bounty hunters and concerned citizens who are certain that Karpis has escaped from Alcatraz and is on the loose.
I loved the characters, especially Carole and Doc, both of which are clueless and remind me of Betty White’s character Rose Nylund on The Golden Girls. With delightful characters, a strong and complicated plot with plenty of twists and turns to keep you on your toes, The Triad is an exciting and entertaining read.
Chess Power felt as if the Queen Mary had come in when he landed a job with the FBI. Financially, he had gone from comparative rags to considerable riches, having struggled through the Great Depression since 1929. It was seven years of bad luck, and he had been living hand-to-mouth as a lawyer until the Federal Bureau of Investigation began hiring in 1935. He was among those selected, and he voluntarily transferred from Kansas City to Chicago where he reported to the Special Agent in Charge, Melvin Purvis.
Melvin was a Southern dandy whose star was ascending rapidly by favor of the Director, J. Edgar Hoover. Chess was determined to hang onto Melvin’s coattails as tight as he could. He was unaware that Purvis, the most celebrated agent in the history of the Bureau, had become a David to Hoover’s King Saul paranoia. Hoover had grown insanely jealous over Melvin having killed John Dillinger, Baby Face Nelson, and Pretty Boy Floyd in succession. Though Purvis was sidelined as Hoover was set up to personally arrest the last of the Public Enemies, Alvin “Ray” Karpis, J. Edgar still nursed a grudge and had secretly sworn to take down his own golden boy.
Melvin was under the assumption that this assignment was going to secure his star at the top of the tree. He was told by Hoover that a national security directive had empowered the FBI to handle this case, and this could very well make or break the fledgling agency should they fail in their task. He was also told that he would have to rely on unknown agents who had not gotten any publicity during the FBI’s War on Crime. The mission depended on utmost secrecy for its success, and the FBI itself could not be publicly connected to any phase of the operation.
Melvin’s secretary politely asked Chess to wait as she announced the visitor on the intercom. She herself had gained a measure of celebrity as having interceded on behalf of Billie Frechette as she was being tortured by FBI agents seeking the whereabouts of John Dillinger. Chess was one of the hunters and gatherers during those glory days, following up leads on obscure gunmen holding up banks in farm towns from Oklahoma to Arkansas. When he considered all those who were wounded or killed under gunfire of the public enemies, however, Chess had no complaints.
“Chester Power.” Melvin came around his desk to shake hands after having him sent in.
Chess was not a particularly big man at five feet, nine inches and one-hundred-fifty pounds, yet he towered over his diminutive boss who was a mere five feet, four inches, and one-hundred-twenty-seven pounds.
“I trust you had a pleasant trip and found your accommodations acceptable.”
“Well, Mr. Purvis, I have always considered travel both a luxury and a privilege.” Chess smiled. “There’s nothing I like better than meeting new people and visiting new places.”
The men seated themselves, Chess sitting in a plush leather armchair across from Melvin’s huge oak desk. Melvin lit a Cuban cigar and offered one to Chess, who politely declined. Melvin had a thick accent and greatly enjoyed the genteel lifestyle in which he was born and raised.
“We can dispense with the formalities, Chess,” Melvin replied. “We’ll be keeping close contact from here on in. You’re going to be the Special Agent in Charge on a top secret assignment we’ve been handed by US Army Intelligence. I’ll be the only one you’ll report to, and, in essence, you’ll be working on the field on your own without any support or backup.”
“Sounds interesting,” Chess replied mildly as Melvin pushed a dossier across the desk to him. “What’ll be going on about me picking up my check?”
“We’ll make an arrangement with your bank so that the check can be mailed directly and deposited without an endorsement,” Melvin replied. “Take a look at the pictures in that file, see if there’s anyone you recognize.”
Chess opened the file and took a glance at the large black-and-white photos. “Well, looks like names in the news. Three in the can and one six feet under.”
“That’s where the story starts,” Melvin revealed. “Fred Barker, killed in an FBI raid with Ma Barker in a shootout at Lake Weir in Florida. Or so the country thinks.”
“What does that mean?” Chess wondered.
“Let’s turn the clock back a few months before then,” Melvin explained. “Alvin Karpis was the Phantom of the Ozarks. Nobody even knew the gang existed before the Hamm kidnapping, and the Barkers didn’t make front pages until Ma and Fred got shot up in Florida. Yet it was Karpis who was the mastermind behind the gang, even though the Bureau claimed it was Ma to justify shooting the old lady to pieces. We all know the Boss nailed Karpis, but even that slipped past the public eye.”
“Come to think of it, I can’t think of much about Karpis that sticks out,” Chess admitted.
“You probably never will,” Melvin replied. “Everything we got on him is classified, and most of it’s witness accounts. They sweated him for three days with no sleep after he got caught, and he wouldn’t even give them his parents’ address. He had his fingertips surgically whittled down a couple of years ago, so we don’t even have his fingerprints.”
“So did he find a way to bring Fred Barker back from the dead?”
“No, we did. They were best friends throughout most of their careers, and Fred always did his best to hold his position as the ramrod of the gang. He was always looking for the big score to match what Karpis was bringing in, and one day he thought he came across it. There was a German nobleman, Count Von Rechtschaffen, who was here as a diplomatic envoy during the summer of ’34.
He figured if they kidnapped him, they could demand a ransom from our government and the Nazis. Only the count disappeared shortly before the massacre at Lake Weir, and that’s where our story begins.”
“Let me guess, Barker snatched the count before he got a chance to tell Karpis.”
“Not quite. The question was what Barker found out before Lake Weir. We found out the count was acting as the point man for a covert team being sent from Germany to the USA. Military Intelligence was given a report from the British and the French that they did not like. After the count disappeared, their only lead was Barker. When our agents stormed the lake house in Florida, they found Barker hanging on by a thread. They saved his life and sent him to a top-secret military base in New Mexico for questioning. He won’t give them a thing because he knows they’ll never let him go. He’s still out there, and it’s part of the reason why we’re sending you to make a deal with Karpis.”
“Me?” Chess was startled. “Why? I’ve been involved with a shootout or two, and I’ve sat in on a few investigations, but I’m not sure I’m up to turning over Public Enemy Number One.”
“Everything you’ll need is in that file,” Melvin assured him. “All you need to know about Karpis, the history and objectives of this mission, all the questions, rebuttals and overcomes are right there. I think you’ll be able to make him an offer he can’t refuse. This is your time, Chess. You make this happen and there’ll be something big at the end of the line for you. The director’s got an elephant’s memory. Take it from someone who knows. He doesn’t forgive and he never forgets. Make it work for you.”
Chess was driven to Chicago’s O’Hare Airport that afternoon. He caught a flight to Los Angeles International Airport. From there he took a shuttle flight to San Francisco and was driven to the ferry station for the boat ride to Alcatraz Island. It was the most feared prison in American history and was considered escape-proof. It was protected by an elite detachment of armed guards, and maximum security was enforced 24/7. Chess went through numerous checkpoints and his weapon was confiscated. After nearly an hour of processing, Alvin Karpis was brought to a private office in the administration facility.
“Sorry it’s taking so long, Mr. Power.” The captain of the guard stared at his watch as he impatiently waited for his men to produce Karpis. “Son of a bitch has been in solitary confinement half the time he’s been here. He don’t take orders from no one, and what’s worse, the other cons look up to him. He’s like their role model. They figure if Karpis can take whatever we throw at him, then so can they.”
“Solitary in a place like this?” Chess marveled. “How does he do it?”
“Funny somebody with your name would ask.” The captain chuckled wryly. “He plays chess. My guys sneak down there after hours and play him. He does that memorization crud, playing without a board. Nobody can beat his skinny ass. Rest of the time he sits down there and studies physics, all the latest Einstein stuff. I’m starting to think that he goes into solitary on purpose to load up that superbrain of his.”
“Open up the office room!” they could hear the command be given from outside.
At once the door was opened, and a tall, slender man shackled by both wrists and ankles was ushered in. He gave Chess a withering look that would haunt him in his sleep, introducing him to the man known throughout the American underworld as Old Creepy. Karpis was as tall as Chess but weighed about as much as Little Mel, as he was called. He had a twenty-seven-inch waist, about as slender as most of the women Chess knew. He had light blond hair and was a handsome man with blue eyes, a shapely nose and bow lips.
It was only the frightening stare that made him appear as a cold-blooded psychopath.
“All right, Karpis, you know the drill,” the captain barked at him as he sat at the small metal table fastened to the concrete floor. “No physical contact, and you are forbidden to leave your seat. We can and will end this interview at any time, and any violation of the rules will result in further disciplinary action against you. We will also be monitoring this conversation at all times.”
“Fellow, you do that and you’re likely to have the Federal Government coming down on this prison,” Chess admonished him.
“He ain’t supposed to know that,” the captain huffed. “Open the door!”
Karpis dropped his manacled hands on the table. “So what the hell you want?”
“Well, that’s not exactly the greeting I expected from Superbrain,” Chess chided him.
“You think I’m gonna go around advertising it, like some sombitch carrying an FBI badge? What you see is what you get, and I decide exactly what you see.”
“Looks like we’re getting off on the right foot here.” Chess managed a chuckle. “So how do you like this place?”
“I’ve seen worse.”
“Ever plan on getting out?”
“I’m definitely getting out, one way or the other, and it won’t be toes up.”
“Suppose I told you I could get you and a couple of your friends out of here?”
“Yeah, you and what army?” Karpis scoffed.
“The United States Army,” Chess revealed. “There’s a top secret mission they’ve asked the Bureau to undertake. I’ve been placed in charge of the field operation, and the director has asked that I make a proposal on his behalf. He wants you and a couple of your ex-associates to undertake this assignment in exchange for your early release from prison.”
“Nothing doing,” Karpis snapped. “That coward made his rep off me. He told the world he personally pinched me. What he didn’t tell them that four guys already nailed me, with one holding a tommy gun in my face before he came out of his hiding spot. You think I’m gonna go on a secret mission and let him take the credit?”
“You know, they’re planning to keep you in this place for the rest of your natural life. I know you’re trying to prove to every con in this prison that even the Rock isn’t big enough to crush you. Let’s try this on for size: what about your friends? Are you gonna let them rot in here just because of your pride? What kind of rep will you have if this ever got out? Or even worse, are you gonna be able to live with the knowledge that prison life did them in, and you didn’t do a thing to help?”
“Knock it off, smart guy,” Karpis scowled. “Which friends are you talking about anyway?”
“Doc Barker and Harry Campbell. If you make this deal, we let them out right along with you. Of course, if they compromise the mission, you’ll be held responsible. In other words, if one of them decides to hightail it back to Kansas while you’re on assignment, all three of you are coming back here to serve the remainder of your sentences. And don’t be surprised if they decide to nail a few more years on your tails for good measure.”
“Yeah, so who do we have to snatch? Or do you want us to knock off a bank?”Karpis smirked.
“We might need you to knock off a couple of guys for us. Axis saboteurs.”
“Axis saboteurs? You mean like Nazi spies?”
“The Germans may not be the only ones involved in this. Everybody knows the Nazis have been serenading the Russians since Stalin rose to power. He’s a real big Hitler fan. The theory is if the Nazis ever decide to invade Poland, the Russians’ll come right in through the back door and divide the spoil with them. Plus we know the Italians are in bed right alongside them. Now, the three of them know that if they manage to overcome the French and the English, the only thing that’ll keep them from taking over the whole world is the USA. If they can find a way to break our spirit and our resolve, they may be able to keep us on the sidelines long enough to take over Europe.”
“So it could be a hit squad sent by one of the three, or all three,” Karpis mused.
“We’re not thinking hit squad, we’re thinking saboteurs,” Chess corrected him.
“That’s because you’re dumb, the whole bunch of you,” Karpis sneered. “If I blow up your house, if you got any balls you come after me. If I kill your dad, your brother or your best friend, I may have ripped enough of your heart out so you don’t have anything left to come back with.”
“Well, they say it takes a thief to catch a thief.” Chess shrugged. “I guess the same holds true for killers.”
“I never knocked off anyone in my life,” Karpis growled. “I just know plenty of guys who did.”
“Well, no offense, fellow. Let’s just say the director thinks that a criminal mind may be best understood by the criminal mind.”
“So is that how that pug-faced sombitch caught me, because he’s a crook at heart?”
“Suppose I told you I was reporting directly to Deputy Director Purvis. Would that lessen any of that animosity toward us? I’m not sure we’d be able to work at full efficiency if that kind of attitude was polarizing us.”
“Who, Purvis, that runt?” Karpis shook his head. “He sent an army in front of him to take Dillinger, same thing with Nelson and Floyd. He’s not much better than his boss, but yeah, I could stand him better than old Dogface. Plus, if you’re gonna be the guy fronting the show, I suppose I could tolerate you as far as I can see so far.”
“Here’s what I’m gonna do,” Chess disclosed. “I’m gonna let you talk this over with Barker and Campbell. If you can get them to go along with us, I’m pretty sure we can have you out of here by the end of the week. We’ll be taking the three you to Fort Sam Houston for briefing, then if things pan out, the operation will begin.”
“Fort Sam? That’s a military base.”
“Technically this is a military operation. Army Intelligence has compiled the information that’s been provided to us. They gave the Bureau the assignment but it’s their baby. They’ll be monitoring our progress every step of the way. Frankly, this country’s never been involved with anything like this. Secret agents, saboteurs, espionage–it’s not the American way of doing things but sometimes you’ve gotta fight fire with fire.”
“Yeah, well, I think I can speak for all of us when I say we’re in,” Karpis nodded. “And we’ll be bringing hell along with us.”
Chess knew deep down that someone would have the Devil to pay.
Alvin Karpis had no reason to trust the government and never would. He remembered being released from the night and fog of FBI Headquarters after three days of sleep deprivation, enough water to keep him alive, and enough bread to keep him awake.
He gave them nothing, and it was only after the third day and stern medical admonitions that they decided they would end up killing him before he gave them anything. He was sent to the Ramsey County Jail in St. Paul, Minnesota, where he would stand trial for the kidnapping of millionaire beer baron William Hamm and banker Edward Bremer. He would also face charges for the murder of Sheriff C.R. Kelley of West Plains, Missouri, as well as multiple bank robberies and a great multitude of other crimes.
He marveled in contempt of political editorials deriding the Nazi system of justice, how they were condemned for arresting people without warrants, failing to bring them before a magistrate, and keeping them in jail indefinitely while subjecting them to torture in coercing false confessions. He saw no difference in what this government was doing and what the Nazis were up to. He remembered the torture of Dillinger’s girlfriend, Billie Frechette, and the imprisonment of Baby Face Nelson and Machine Gun Kelly’s wives for no reason other than to satisfy J. Edgar Hoover’s thirst for revenge. He remembered meeting with his court-appointed lawyer who had sold him down the river before they had even met.
“These are great and terrible crimes you’ve committed, Mr. Karpis.” The lawyer, a balding, slender man with curly hair, wire-rimmed glasses, a huge nose and lips, leafed through the thick dossier sitting on the wooden table between him and Karpis in the dark, mildewed cell. “The director–and, in fact, the entire nation–would rather that you come clean and confess your sins before the court and the whole world. If I could go before the judge and jury and plead guilty, guilty, guilty, I believe I could have your sentence reduced from death in the electric chair to life imprisonment without parole.”
“Why the hell would I want to do that?” Karpis snapped. “They would have to prove me guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt in a jury trial. I never killed anyone, so that wouldn’t stick. Hamm and Bremer could never say they saw me, and none of the kidnap gang would either. As far as any bank robberies, I’m pretty sure that anyone who’s ever witnessed one did it with their nose stuck to the ground.”
“Mr. Karpis, I’m afraid I would have to strenuously disagree with you.” The lawyer’s face darkened as he slapped his hands lightly on the desk. “You have left a row of dead bodies in your wake, and there is innocent blood on your hands. Millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money have passed through your hands into the pockets of politicians, killers, thieves, and whores across the country. You are Public Enemy Number One, and the director–along with the rest of the country–will not rest until your crimes are paid for in full.”
“Hold on.” Karpis squinted at him. “You think I’ve never hired a lawyer before, or appeared in court? You’re getting ready to sell me down the river. What are you, one of Hoover’s stooges? What happened to my right to fair and qualified representation?”
“Let me assure you, Mr. Karpis–” The man grew defensive. “–I am highly skilled and an expert in my field. I just want there to be no misunderstanding. If I were to make you feel that this would be handled as cavalierly as a traffic ticket, then I would be grossly negligent in my duty. You are on trial for your life, sir, and I would prefer that it be spent in a prison where you could at least indulge in intellectual and spiritual pursuits for the remainder of your natural life. Why on earth would anyone want to see you electrocuted? Certainly it would not be the humanitarian way of doing things, and most definitely not the American way. Why, we don’t live in a country surrounded by barbed wire. I believe everyone involved would be much better off if you chose to repent of your crimes and be given a far more civilized punishment.”
“So if you don’t think it’s civilized, then why don’t you defend my constitutional right of protection from cruel and unusual punishment?” Karpis taunted him. “Where’d you get your license from anyway, a Sears catalog?”
“I beg your pardon, sir!” The lawyer was indignant. “I’ll have you know I have a degree from Harvard, one of the finest universities in the land!”
“Yeah, and in this economy, you think they’d throw you out no matter how dumb you were, as long as your folks could foot the bill?”
“This is an outrage!”
“You got that right. You people got your nerve, riding the Nazis for violating people’s civil rights when you’re doing the same damned thing here. You guys are nothing but a bunch of fascists yourselves.”
“I take that as a personal insult, sir. I am a Jew!”
“Then you should be as concerned about protecting other people’s rights as protecting your own. Once they find out how easy it is to grease the skids for criminals, next they go after political opponents and religious objectors. You can’t be so stupid not to know that.”
“I’ll do what I can for you, Mr. Karpis.” The man gathered his papers before taking his leave. “It is best to repent and throw yourself at the mercy of the court. However, if you insist on gambling for your life, I will defend you as best I can.”
And so Alvin Karpis was eventually sentenced to life imprisonment on Alcatraz Island.
When he was first thrown into solitary confinement, Karpis merely laughed. J. Edgar Hoover had obviously been authorized to perform top secret experiments on prisoners after capturing Karpis. It took him a while to figure out, but there had been no other logical explanation for what had happened after his arrest. Hoover ordered the murders of John Dillinger and Baby Face Nelson, and decided to keep Karpis alive for experimentation. Karpis was familiar with Einstein’s theory of the time-space continuum. It resonated with concepts Karpis had dwelled on during his incarceration as a juvenile delinquent in Kansas. Time and space coexisted in an ellipsis that coincided with the life span of every individual that ever lived, from Adam and Eve to the last man standing after the Battle of Armageddon. Every life was like a tiny bubble that popped loose from a giant bubble, and when the life was over, it was restored to the giant bubble once more. Crackpots who studied transcendental meditation learned how to move around in the bubble.
They could journey back into the past, and some could even slip into the future. That kind of knowledge was priceless, and Karpis figured that they were using him as a guinea pig to attain that knowledge. The experiment started when he was taken to the downtown Federal Building in St. Paul, Minnesota and chained to a radiator. He would remain there for four and a half days, interrogated around the clock by a never-ending procession of hard-nosed FBI inquisitors.
He found out later that, after twenty-four hours, his brain switched gears from its temporal lobe to the parietal lobe in dealing with the symptoms of blackout. Strangely enough, it enhanced his short-term memory though seriously impairing his long-term capacity. This resulted in the knuckle-draggers thinking that his snappy remarks and repartee indicated he was still lucid, and the experiment went on far longer than it should have as a result. Doctors would later point out that the experiment could have easily resulted in permanent brain damage.
After thirty-six hours, Karpis realized that they must have been spiking his water to make him talk. He was not a drinker, and the few times he had indulged remained vivid in his memory. His speech became slurred, and his reflexes slowed as if he had been placed underwater. He was still giving them smart answers, but it got exceedingly difficult as their voices became garbled. There appeared to be lapses in the dialogue, and he hoped to steer them off-course by discussing Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. That seemed to irritate them to no end, and they began threatening him with violence. One agent told him how he had broken two phone books over Doc Barker’s head. Karpis figured that the blows would probably get him sent to hospital, and began discussing Einstein more than ever.
At one point he nodded out and was subjected to the usual prods and slaps, but he felt himself slipping into a vortex over which he had no control. He began experiencing vertigo, and felt his testicles shriveling up as his feet no longer touched the ground. He was whirling and spinning, and felt himself being in Kansas for one minute.
All of a sudden the tornado ceased, and he realized he wasn’t in Kansas anymore.
He looked around and realized it was nighttime, but somehow they had unchained him from the radiator in the small room and moved him outside to a wooden armchair. It was like an electric chair, and his whole body was strapped in an erect position so he was unable to move. He tried to turn his head but it was secured so well that he could barely shift his vision to either side. When he looked ahead, he could see the barren field where they had left him. It appeared to be somewhere on a military base they had used for bombing drills.
The entire landscape was covered with craters, as if they had been hammered since the beginning of time. It appeared to be an unused target area as there were no recent sins of activity. There were no signs of fresh dirt, or of erosion. There were only these enormous pits as far as the eye could see.
At length he was able to maneuver his head to the right, and the sight nearly caused his blood to freeze. Over the horizon he could see the stars as if they were close enough to touch. They were speckled like iridescent paint around the sun, glaring as an incandescent sphere dominating the blackness of space. To its left, bigger than anything else besides the sun, was what he knew was the planet Earth. He recognized it from the globes he had seen in school back before he realized he was smarter than his teachers and stopped going. Suddenly it occurred to him that the Government had somehow transported him to the moon.
Just as this occurred to him, he could feel himself prodded and slapped by invisible hands. He realized that the agents had been sent along with him, but the government had seemingly developed some kind of cloaking device so he could not see them. He tried to curse them out but it was as if he was underwater. He was somehow able to breathe, but it was as if he was locked in a closet that was running out of air. His voice traveled to his ears as if trapped in a conch shell, and at long last he drifted back into the vortex.
Life seemed exhilarating in the vortex, and he had lost his fear of falling. It was if he had been returned to his mother’s womb and she had total control of her body. She would decide whether he would drop out and get born or not, and she had no intentions of releasing him to the FBI. He snuggled up in his fetal position and began drifting off to hyperspace, the fourth dimension where, Einstein explained, we existed all at once, from beginning to end, life to death, with no definition of time distinguishing one moment from the next. His life was one ultimate event where he experienced every moment, smelled every smell, tasted every taste all at the same time. It was absolutely restful, not having to distinguish one thing from another, nothing to make him feel a dissonance between anything.
Only, Hoover had sent his little FBI astronauts after him, into his mother’s belly, and they began slapping and pinching him again. He got pissed off about that and began to curse them out, but he found that the atmosphere in his mother’s womb was the same as that on the moon. He was talking across the continuum, across space and time, and his voice blurred out like that of a record as the phonograph lost power and slowed to a halt. He decided to get up out his place of rest and kick the damned Feds out of his mother’s womb. Damned Hoovers didn’t respect shit, not even someone’s mother’s hole.
Whatever he did must have caused his mother to miscarry, and at once he began falling down her passage back into the vortex. Here he regained the sense of vertigo and the fear of falling, and he tumbled helplessly into a bottomless pit where no doctor or midwife awaited to catch him or slap his ass. He tried to scream but they still had his 78 RPM voice set at 33 RPM, and his voice quavered like a sonic bubble as it floated into space like a word balloon in a comic strip that somehow escaped the page and drifted away.
Suddenly he was in a chamber of light back on the moon, and a man in shining white robes appeared before him. He had carefully coiffured hair and bedroom eyes, and there appeared to be blood leaking from the back of his head onto his shoulders. Karpis managed to understand what he was saying as they stood in this underwater atmosphere. He said he was Mr. Kennedy and he had been President of the United States until someone shot him in the head. “We can put you anywhere we want,” he explained in an accent which reminded Karpis of his early childhood in Canada. “I was trying to take out this terrorist in Cuba who had taken control of the entire island. I didn’t get the job done, so I tried to take out another group that had done the same thing in Vietnam. The Government didn’t like the idea and had me shot. I don’t like not seeing projects through. Would you be willing to take out this terrorist for me?”
“Cuba?” Karpis squinted at him. “I was just in Cuba a few months ago, everything’s fine down there.”
“In about twenty years from now it won’t be. Terrorists will overthrow the Cuban government and kick your Mafia friends out. I can send you there to take out the terrorist leader. I think you’re starting to understand how we can do this.”
“I’m not in the killing business. Too bad your flunkies in the FBI are, because you probably could’ve got the Barkers to do the job for you.”
“Yeah, that Hoover’s a nasty bastard. He and my brother Bobby have gone round and round a few times. Well, how about taking out the fellow who shot me? Right in front of my wife, in broad daylight during a parade, can you imagine?”
“Sounds like Hoover was asleep at the switch, huh?” Karpis smirked. “Well, like I said, I don’t do assassinations. No dice.”
“How about Hitler? Would you take out Hitler?”
“Read my lips, buddy. Do you not hear what I just said?”
“How about the Triad? I know you’ll go after the Triad.”
“Triad? What Triad? What’d I just say?”
“I know you’ll take this one. Just wait and see.”
“Don’t hold your breath,” Karpis scoffed, and at once Mr. Kennedy disappeared in a flash of light. He was blinded by the pulsar, and suddenly he was catapulted back into the vortex.
The vertigo hit him again, and he tried clawing his way to something solid. At length the invisible astronauts grabbed his arms again, and he found himself sitting on a cot in St. Paul, surrounded by FBI agents and smelling of sweat and urine.
“Okay, Karpis,” Agent Stein, the clown who was running this circus, growled. “You’re going before a commissioner in the morning. Mr. Hoover wants us to clean you up.”
“Why doesn’t he do it himself?” Karpis sneered. “Unless he’s gonna show up after it’s all over, like last time.”
With that, they gave him some coffee, let him take a shower, and allowed him to sleep after four and a half days in hyperspace. Less than a month later, he was sent to Alcatraz Island where he was told he would be spending the rest of his life. He doubted that very much. He was pretty sure they were going to dress him up like some space monkey and launch him back into hyperspace sometime in what human beings would consider the near future.
© 2016 by John Reinhard Dizon