Max the cutthroat

Maxence had once been a cutthroat but murdering was long behind him. Now, at 78, he was a bellman at the Marbol Hotel.

He was sitting on this dark night, 2 a.m., at the hotel bar sipping a Guinness Stout and talking to Bo the barman. Maxence’s shift had just ended, and big black LeRoy had taken over the baggage cart till 10 in the morning.

Maxence always ended his nights at the Marbol bar. Nobody was waiting at home. It was ever the same. He would talk to Bo a bit, and he would ponder the past even more. Maxence had been born in France — Sant-Amant, a small town south of Paris — and had been a mercenary man.

First, it was the Legion. Later, he freelanced.

After the second Guinness, perhaps even sooner, his thoughts always turned to Chloë Jomo-Gbomo, his long-gone lover from Sierra Leone who had been killed by a berserk jitney bus driven by a Mende man high on ganja along the main avenue of Freetown.

Maxence later killed that Mende man out of pure fury, but he didn’t feel any better for it because Chloë was still dead and gone. He cried and cried.

Maxence liked Guinness Stout because it was dark and savory like the women of the African men he murdered which was how he met Chloë Jomo-Gbomo.

Chloë’s man at that time had missed Maxence’s Jeep with a bazooka shell during a dustup in the Congo. Maxence’s aim was better with his .45.

Chloë dashed out of a nearby hut and kicked her man’s dead body and spit on it. Maxence knew right away there had been no love there, and Chloë was very beautiful. He immediately made her his own, and she was happy with that.

__________

The two of them fled the Congo together and moved to Freetown where they lived six years in a third-floor walk-up. Chloë found work plaiting hair while Maxence drank blazing café and smoked Gauloises.

a0a97920-1af1-012d-b949-0050569428b1Nights were spent naked and sweaty under the ceiling fan.

Maxence drank Castle Lager in those days because Guinness Stout was not sold in Freetown. It didn’t matter, he thought, because he already had something dark and delicious with Chloë Jomo-Gbomo.

On Chloë’s free day they often picknicked at Siaka Stevens Park where they would spread a blanket under the African sun shaded by a cercropia tree.

They drank Castle and ate cans of cashews. And sandwiches.

He would rub her silky bare legs beneath the skirt of kuba cloth, and she would caress the scar on his cheek.

Our spirits call you ghosts, she said one day, white and unsolid. But the scar is a good thing because it proves you’re a protective man.

He fell deeply in love for the first time in his brutal life.

And then she was dead on the main drag of Freetown as the jitney driver tried to escape, but a jitney jammed with passengers makes a lousy getaway vehicle.

She had only stepped out for a pack of Gauloises.

__________

Maxence wandered some years through Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean picking up piecemeal murders till one day he realized he was too old for that game. He retired to hotels, luggage and tips.

The Marbol was a good gig, and he intended to stay as long as they’d let him.

Later, he would kill himself. He knew the ropes.

Another Guinness, Bo. 

Coming up, Max.

* * * *

(The above is an excerpt from the longest and strangest thing I’ve ever written, The Old Marbol — Skullduggery in Dark City and Beyond, which was published hereabouts perhaps a decade ago. I just reread it for the first time in a very long time, was impressed with myself, so I put this here. The Old Marbol contains a cast of bizarre characters rivaled only by those in the famous barroom scene in the first Star Wars movie. Maybe I’ll do more excerpts here in the future.)

Rocket men, the Caribbean and deviancy

IN THE MID-1970s, I was sharing a home with a sports writer directly on the beach in the San Juan, Puerto Rico, suburb of Santurce. There was a lime tree in the backyard that supplied my rum-and-Cokes with a nice, free squeeze.

For reasons I cannot recall now, I later moved next door where I rented a room in a home owned by a couple of gay guys from New York City.

Both homes were spectacular, not least for being directly on the beach. Well, you had to cross the two-lane street outside, the one that paralleled the ocean’s edge, before you actually set toes into the sand.

Elton John’s Rocket Man was popular at that time, and whenever I hear the song, it takes me back to San Juan. So does I can see clearly now by Johnny Nash.

But I associate Nash more with the second of my two stays in San Juan, the one where I lived with a blonde from Brooklyn named Mary. We did not live right on the beach but three or four blocks inland and right across the street from a small restaurant where I often ate chicken and rice.

Nash’s song was on the restaurant’s jukebox. I had Elton John’s LP with Rocket Man, but I only heard Nash on that jukebox, but I heard it a lot because I liked chicken and rice a lot. Still do.

Speaking of Rocket Men:

* * * *

The Waco Spaceman

Billy Bob deployed one iron anchor and then the other. The wooden space ship was bouncing loonily.

Moments earlier, before skidding onto the moon’s surface, he opened a big silk parachute he had purchased at the military surplus in Waco.

The parachute and two anchors combined to slow the ship down pretty darn good, and he was skipping along the moonscape now at diminishing velocity.

Billy Bob was a deacon at the Second Baptist Church in Waco, so he was praying to God Almighty.

He had built this spaceship out of wood planks, and he’d shellacked it 37 times for re-entry protection. Billy Bob sat in a wicker chair inside the wooden rocket in a steel septic tank he had uncovered in a Waco junkyard.

The tank was kept intact by a compressor he’d purchased at Home Depot. The blastoff from his backyard was done with dynamite. The trip had taken two days during which Billy Bob dined on Cheetos, Moon Pies and RC Cola.

Suddenly, the spaceship stopped.

Billy Bob opened the septic tank, then the wooden door, and stepped out. He had a goldfish bowl over his head, duct-taped at the neck. A scuba tank — full of mesquite-flavored Texas Hill Country air — sagged on his back.

How you doing, honey?

The voice startled Billy Bob, and he swung around. There was a hole in the ground, and the most dazzling woman he had ever seen was standing there, half out of the hole and half in. Her smile was stunning.

Billy Bob later learned that millions of Moon People lived below the surface, and that 95 percent were lovely women whose average life span was 32. Men, being in critically short supply, were highly prized.

Billy Bob never went back to Waco. And he quit being a Baptist too.

(I wrote Waco Spaceman many years ago. Billy Bob was a Rocket Man.)

* * * *

But let’s return to the sands of Santurce.

The second home in which I rented a room was owned, as I already stated, by two gay guys from New York City. I never met but one of them, a little fellow who was likely about 45 years old at the time. He liked adolescent boys, and some adolescent boys liked him too, especially the money he paid them.

They would ride their bicycles up and down the street in front of our house in the warm, breezy afternoons — almost all afternoons were warm and breezy — and my landlord would walk out and bring one in. They would disappear into his bedroom for a spell, and then the boy would leave, mount his bike and depart.

This happened very often. I asked the landlord how much he paid the boys. It wasn’t much, just a dollar or two. Of course, that was four decades ago when a dollar meant something.

As I write this, I see a black-vented oriole on the fan palm in my yard.

* * * *

(Postscript: Here’s another version of life on the beach of Santurce that I wrote over a decade ago. It addresses not only the New Yorker and his boys, but a beautiful girl from Chile and an Army Ranger who slept with a Bowie knife beneath his pillow.)

Reconnecting with old compadres

RECENTLY I OPENED a Facebook page in my real name. I’ve been in and out of Facebook for years, mostly out. It can be a useful and fun tool, but its primary value for me is to see what folks I once knew are doing these days.

(Few, if any, are having anywhere near the fun I’m having.)

Many of these reconnections have been with people I worked with in the newspaper world. I have been saddened by this.

While it is common knowledge that those in the media are flaming leftists, for some reason I have been surprised — shouldn’t have been — to see that my old compadres are firmly in that category.

Their FB posts are unrelenting Trump Hate. Luckily, I decided before reentering the FB world that I would not touch politics. I failed in that resolve only once so far, and that was a link to a story about Trump’s hand in getting the first black woman promoted to Marine Corps general.

Nary a one of my former coworkers responded to that one. Of course, it flies in the face of what they all “know,” that Trump is a vile racist.

There is no evidence of his being a racist, of course. Quite the contrary. But all of those suffering from what has been dubbed Trump Derangement Syndrome know without a doubt he’s a racist, a misogynist, a xenophobe, just a crude man in general. Like the racist charge, there is no evidence of any of this.

On the crudity issue, they base their opinions on that famous recording of Trump in a locker room in which he referred to grabbing, well, you know. The fact that Bill Clinton got a BJ in the Oval Office from an intern slattern is ignored.

None of the sex business bothers me at all. Men in high places have always used that power to attract very willing women. It’s human nature.

As the French politician Marine Le Pen has noted, There is no more Right or Left. There are only Globalists and Nationalists. I think that is correct, and much of the anti-Trump hysteria comes from his belief in national borders and the need to protect them.

Living in another nation with a drastically different culture opens one’s eyes to the fact that cultures can be stunningly incompatible. There are two points to be made. One is that differences are good and interesting, so trying to blur the lines is bad. Do we really want a one-world culture? Secondly, some cultures are inferior. Do those in positive cultures want to poison themselves?

The classic, modern example, of course, is Western Europe’s opening its borders to Mohammedans, something Europe is coming to regret in a grand way due to the Mohammedan culture’s being all the things that leftists loathe.

Logic is not their strong suit.

And assimilation is not Mohammedans’ strong suit, to state it mildly.

I read FB posts of my former compadres, reeking of Trump loathing, but I see no reasons stated. They simply believe it because everyone they know believes it. Group-Think. They have tasted the Kool-Aid, and it is savory.

Unlike so many on both Right and Left, I do not “hate” people who disagree with me on political matters. With some exceptions, I believe them to be simply naive and misinformed, primarily of human nature and history.

I wish everyone reacted in the same way to differences of opinion. So I wish all my former coworkers the best, that one day they will see the beauty of Trump’s brashness, and that he’s a breath of fresh air in the Oval Office.

Among his many positives is that he supports Israel — unlike his lamentable predecessor — the sole nation in the Mideast where women walk free, unmasked, unmutilated and unstoned.

He ain’t perfect, but he isn’t Hillary. Thank the Goddess for favors bestowed.

Nikki_Haley_official_photoOne day, the United States will get a woman president. May she be like Margaret Thatcher or Nikki Haley (left) whose maiden name was Nimrata Randhawa. How on earth did that xenophobe Trump install Nimrata in the United Nations?

Did it slip his mind that he’s a sexist xenophobe?

* * * *

(The Moon has a new look. I hope you find it appealing. Aside from the header photo, it’s really not all that different.)

The left’s poisoning of everything

(A quarter of a century ago when I still voted for the notably different Democrat Party, still lived in Houston with my second wife, I enjoyed watching Dennis Prager’s television show. Prager is a conservative Jew, a radio talk-show host, author and columnist. Even back in those days, I always agreed with him, which means I was a conservative at heart. I just had not quite seen the light.

(Prager is the source of one of my favorite quotes, one of those I have in the right sidebar here: “The usurpation of the word ‘liberal’ by the left has been a catastrophe.” The left’s superior skill with words often leaves conservatives coughing in the dust. But without further ado, here’s Dennis Prager.)

* * * *

Guest Post

new-image2The only way to save Western civilization is to convince more people that leftism — not liberalism — is a nihilistic force. Quite literally, whatever the left touches it ruins. So, here is a partial listing of the damage done by the left and the Democratic Party:

The most obvious is the near destruction of most American universities as places of learning. In the words of Harvard professor Steven Pinker — an atheist and a liberal — outside of the natural sciences and a few other disciplines (such as mathematics and business) “universities are becoming laughingstocks of intolerance.”

If you send your children to a university, you are endangering both their minds and their characters. There is a real chance they will be more intolerant and more foolish after college than they were when they entered college.

When you attend an American university, you are taught to have contempt for America and its founders, to prefer socialism to capitalism, to divide human beings by race and ethnicity. You are taught to shut down those who differ with you, not to debate them. And you are taught to place feelings over reason — which is a guaranteed route to eventual evil.

The left has ruined most of the arts. The following three examples are chosen because they are scatological, a favorite form of left-wing artistic expression. Before the left poisoned the arts, art was intended to elevate the viewer (or listener). But to the left, “elevate” is a meaningless term; it is far more at home depicting urine, fecal matter and menstrual blood.

In 2011, a lifelike German sculpture depicting a policewoman squatting and urinating — even the puddle is sculpted — received an award from a prestigious German foundation, the Leinemann Foundation for Fine Art.

In 2013, the Orange County Museum of Art in California placed a huge 28-foot sculpture of a dog outside the museum, where it periodically urinates a yellow fluid onto a museum wall.

In 2016, one of the most prestigious art museums in the world, the Guggenheim in New York, featured a pure-gold working toilet bowl, which visitors were invited to use. The name of the exhibit was “America” — so one could literally relieve oneself on America.

Thanks to the left, The Philadelphia Orchestra, one of the greatest orchestras in the world, allowed itself to become a voice of leftist hate last week. It featured the premiere of Philadelphia Voices, “a political rant put to musical garbage,” as some musically knowledgeable Philadelphians described it to me. In the fifth movement, titled “My House Is Full of Black People,” the black teen narrator chants the following lines: “The county is full of black people/ All wanting to be heard/ While old white men draw lines on maps/ To shut all of them up.” Later in the movement, he yells, “If you would all just f—-ing listen!”

Uplifting, no?

On the left, that’s considered art.

And, of course, such politicization of the arts is accepted as the norm.

Indeed, that’s part of the left’s poisoning of everything — its politicization of everything.

The left is increasingly poisoning sports. In most football stadiums this past season, one could not attend an NFL game without being subjected to left-wing contempt for America and its flag.

So, too, one cannot watch late-night television if one desires to simply be entertained before drifting off to sleep. Jimmy Kimmel, Stephen Colbert and other hosts have changed late-night TV into left-night TV. Why merely be funny when you can use your monologues to advance your left-wing views?

The left has poisoned mainstream religion. Mainstream Protestantism, non-Orthodox Judaism and much of the Catholic Church — including and especially Pope Francis — are essentially left-wing advocacy groups with religious symbols.

The left is destroying the unique American commitment to free speech. Almost half of incoming college freshmen do not believe in free speech for what they deem “hate speech” (merely taking issue with a left-wing position is, in the left’s view, “hate speech”). They do not understand that the whole point of free speech is allowing the expression of opposing ideas, including what we consider “hate speech.”

The left has poisoned race relations. America is the least racist multiracial society in the world. On a daily basis, Americans of every race and ethnicity get along superbly. But the black left and the white left constantly poison young minds with hate-filled diatribes against whites, “white privilege,” “systemic racism,” black dorms, black graduations, lies about the events in Ferguson, Missouri, and the like.

The left has made innumerable women unhappy, even depressed, with its decades of lying about how female sexual nature and male sexual nature are identical — leading to a “hookup” culture that leaves vast numbers of young women depressed — and its indoctrinating of generations of young women into believing they will be happier through career success than marital success.

And, in some ways scariest of all, the left is poisoning our children with its commitment to ending male and female as distinct categories. One of the great joys of life, celebrating one’s sex, is now deemed nothing more than a hateful idea in many of your children’s schools.

For these and other reasons, if you treasure American and Western civilization, fighting the left — something all liberals and conservatives need to do — is the greatest good you can engage in at this time.