Moving Targets

To hit a moving target requires considerably more skill than hitting a stationary object. There are, I suppose, some exceptions to the rule. Hitting a large stuffed toy panda which has been thrown into the air may be easier than splitting a piece of string cheese, but enough of humor and on to the business at hand.

In the past it has been difficult to find a target-propelling device which has more consistency than the human hand, but which could also be regulated for height and speed. 95 A new product will solve this problem: the revolutionary Ping-Pong gun. This is an air rifle which shoots Ping-Pong balls easily and effortlessly into the air where they can be shot down by a well-delivered throw from the student. While the Evel Knievel RemCo model is satisfactory I must, with no undue modesty, recommend the Jay Autograph Model Pong Missile Gun marketed by Ideallic. The Jay model has a hand-controlled trajectory and comes with a set of luminous balls for night work. It is a truly advanced product. This is just a suggestion, and the cost of this professional model may seem prohibitive to some less fortunate readers. I do suggest, however, that you look at the colorful advertisement, currently appearing in several national periodicals, before thinking about settling for a cheap, second-best affair.

The Jay

Autograph Model Pong Missile Gun

The Jay

Autograph Model Pong Missile Gun

Once you have purchased your pong rifle, have your partner stand seven feet away from you in a playground or yard. Do not—I repeat, do not—attempt the practice exercise indoors, as the popping sound of the ball being released from the gun in an enclosed area can cause permanent damage to the ear. It is a good rule always to be careful when using guns. Have your partner about seven feet away from you and about six feet to your left. He should hoist the rifle to his shoulder

Aesthetic combination of human and pasteboard forms

Aesthetic combination of human and pasteboard forms

and fire shots first at about a 30° trajectory (setting #2 on the Jay Model), until he has released a round of balls. He should then increase the angle and, as in the previous exercise, as the student becomes proficient at hitting the target the distance as well may be increased.

The student should stand directly in front of the area where the ball is to be shot. He should have his feet parallel and pointing forward: his hands (deck in the left, individual cards in the right) down by his sides in the quick-draw position. He should then relax and give the command, "Pull," when ready.

As his partner next to him fires the ball he should quickly sight the object and toss the card. It is most important that the student avoid thinking or speaking during this procedure. The sound of the gun firing may at first seem like a distraction, but it is in fact a great aid to concentration. Once the student is able to block this earthshaking din from his conscious mind, he will no longer be troubled by street noises or loud and obnoxious people during actual test conditions.

The student should practice at least forty rounds during the day and another twenty at night. He should eat carrots and avoid tempu-ra vegetables. Once he has mastered moving target work he should get the Jay Mirror-Arm Attachment. This is a device similar to the side-view mirror on a 1958 T-Bird; the Jay Model has special adapters which hook onto the student's left shoulder. When the partner shoots a ball the student, facing the opposite direction of the shot, eyes the celluloid sphere in the mirror and fires a card back over his right side to intercept the ball in midair—a difficult but impressive stunt.

One final word of advice: in practicing these very difficult techniques it is important to remember that the release of the card must be precise and smooth. There should be no jerking or pulling of the hand, but rather an effortless and graceful spinning of the card. To borrow an example from our Eastern friends: one holds the card firmly, yet gently, like a baby might hold the finger of an adult. One releases the card like the baby might release the adult's finger when suddenly distracted by something else. If this convoluted Oriental parable is difficult to follow, may I suggest a practical Western experiment? Have a baby hold your finger and then have your partner sneak up behind the child and fire the air rifle next to his ear. Notice how the baby impulsively, effortlessly, drops your finger and turns his head, his face grimacing in pain. This is precisely the way in which the card must be released.

In which the author recounts with clarity and excessive exaggeration how he has helped the elderly; abetted the police, and assuaged the plight of young damsels with the help of his trusty cards.

It was a damp chilly morning in late September. The click of the digital AM/FM clock radio and the alarming sounds of a big baritone sax had whipped me into sensibility. I hate coffee. Venice Beach in September is like a frightened woman.

I put on my floor-length terry cloth robe. It cost big bucks. I was thankful for the chill in the air which allowed me to use it. Smiling into the mirror, I washed my face and brushed my teeth. I looked silly with that toothpaste in my mouth but it put me in a good mood. I went outside to check the mail. There was none. Two pigeons were squabbling over a single piece of corn just in front of my door. I took a card from the secret marsupial pocket of my robe and maneuvered it into the Jay grip. It felt good. The first card of the morning always does. In a flash I fired the card in the direction of the startled birds. For an instant they fluttered their wings in confusion, but quickly settled down, each dancing possessively over a half of the kernel which the card had neatly severed. I took a big whiff of the ocean air and walked slowly back to the house. I was awake now.

Back inside, I plopped down in an overstuffed green chair. I put my legs up on the tea table; I hate coffee. I reached over to grab a book. It was a slim volume, W.E. Robinson's Spirit Slate Writing and Kindred Phenomena. I didn't understand much of it, but I loved the title.

I was reading about a dame who received supposedly psychic messages 'cause she had a telegraph key concealed in her hair. They had a picture of her. She was a doll. She had this telegraph key in her hair and a thread ran from the key to an overhead chandelier and r

The fay trophy room after a recent safari featuring the prize waterbok he felled with a single perfectly placed shot.

102 then down to an assistant who was hidden behind a curtain. By pulling on the thread the assistant could tap out messages to her. Suddenly the door bell rang. It scared the shit out of me.

I opened the door.

"You Mr. Jay?" a crater-faced kid in a Western Union bowler asked.

"No, I'm Mr. L," I said; I can really lay it on when someone scares me.

"Well," he said, "I got this telegram for a Mr. Jay."

"Give me the goods melon-head, I'm Jay."

I reached into my pocket to toke the bozo but I didn't have any change. I was still in my bathrobe.

"Wait a minute," I said. I stepped inside and found a four-bit piece. I tossed it to him and closed the door.

Damn kids.

I tore open the envelope and began to read: MR. JAY


Later that day I selected my boutonniere from Treppel's Florists and at 8:45 I hopped into my '57 Ford Sunliner and cruised down Pacific to Pico. The car was one of those wonderful old-timers, a slash-proof convertible with a retractable hard-top which lifted up like a yawning flamingo and then settled down into a cavernous trunk when you merely pushed a button on the dashboard. They only made them from '57 to '59. They were great. You could drive down the highway and


wait for a couple of rubes to pull up behind you. Hit the button and the trunk flies open and the top peels off and you scare the hell out of them. Just great. A guy named Louis takes care of the machine. Does a fine job. He used to work on Bentleys before the war. The old Sunliner was in pretty rough shape when I got it to him, but now it was great. Cherry.

Just before Lincoln I hung a Ralph into a narrow parking lot and strolled into Chez Puce. It was nine on the button. The place was packed. I worked my way through the crowd and waved to Puce. She ignored me. I had no time to be insulted.

"Nice looking flower," said a dink in a pea green suit. "Care to join me?"

I had to think twice. It isn't often you see a dude suited up in this part of town in duds only Chuck Berry could get away with, but it was the crew-cut that really threw me, bad for the image; mine. He looked like a two-toned tortoise, but I could take a joke.

"Colonel Marki, I presume," I said as I took his hand.

It was his turn to gawk.

"How did you know?" he said in a thick voice accented with what a mooch would call German but which my professionally tuned ear recognized as High Dutch.

"The telegram," I said, "Karmi Noell Co., an anagram for you, Colonel Marki."

"I am impressed, Mr. Jay," the foreigner beady-eyed me. "I had no idea your expertise extended to these matters."

I could have told Marki that I grew up in the stuff. My grandfather was the cipher editor of G-Man Magazine for 14 years and I had accumulated an extensive library of cryptographic materials. I could have told him, but I

104 didn't. I preferred inscrutability. My silence made him uncomfortable.

Still he paused, expecting me to say something. I watched the twitching of his lower lip. Eventually he interpreted my silence as meaning your move, Marki.

He took the bait.

"Listen Jay, this is a matter of international urgency and complete discretion is required. Officially, I am in Africa at this very moment."

I nodded, instantly catching his drift. He continued, "As you have no doubt heard my country is having certain problems with some of its neighbors who fall loosely into the category of 'emerging nations'."

"Hold on, Marki," I interrupted, "first crêpes, then conversation."

Puce made great ratatouille crêpes and fine French garlic pizza. I had toyed with the phrase, "First pizza, then palaver," but I had discarded it as inappropriate for the time and place. I filed it away for later use with a broad named Peggy who went in for that sort of stuff.

I hailed a pretty redhead wielding the tray that was the badge of her profession and ordered the ratatouille. Marki ordered one of those outlandish dessert crêpes with icecream, chocolate and almond syrup.

"Bring this immediately," he said abruptly and in a tone that stopped the girl in her tracks.

"Puce is not an octo-puce," I said, quoting by heart the aphorism printed in the menu. "Take your time, my friend."

The girl smiled her thanks and I patted her rear end as she trotted off. I thought of trying the "pizza, then palaver" line on her but quickly decided against it.

"As I was saying, Mr. Jay." Marki seemed 105 irritated and frankly I enjoyed his discomfiture. He had a reputation for ruthlessness which I found appalling, but he was a very influential man, and I was tap city. The divorce had cost me a fortune.

"As I was saying, Mr. Jay, a picket fence does not always exclude a neighbor."

I complimented him on his use of the American idiom and let him continue.

"Three days from now there will be a clandestine meeting which shall be attended by very high-ranking representatives of the principal nations and another country which is peripherally involved. The tightest security measures will be taken and weapons are expressly forbidden. Nevertheless, it is my nature to expect the unexpected, and you, Mr. Jay, are likely to be the only person who could gain admittance to meeting rooms after a thorough frisking and still be fully armed and ready to deal with whatever problems may arise. Your services—" He stopped abruptly as the auburn-haired honey returned with our meals.

As she stooped down to serve the crêpe she exposed her proud young breasts which strained against her scoop-necked jersey like kittens trying to crawl out of a paper bag. As she straightened up, my hand, which I had cleverly allowed to hang limply just below the surface of the table, was treated to a ride along her smooth, pear shaped posterior.

"Will there be anything else?" she said, trying to hide the smile that her pouting lips could not conceal.

"Later, baby, later."

Karmi resumed in a half whisper, "Your services and your complete discretion are required. The terms are generous. Here is your plane ticket and a healthful advance." He dropped his napkin and as his hand reached under the table he proffered me a small package.

I had an incredible urge to pinch his knee and tell him I loved him but the divorce had really wiped me out. I put the gelt in my pocket and congratulated myself for having such control.

"Thanks for the meal, Karmi, I'll see ya in a couple of days." I got up quickly and started to leave. The redhead and I bumped into each other a few strides in front of the door. I whispered my address and she nodded quickly.

"My name's Valerie," she said.

She stopped me abruptly. "Oh, everyone knows you, Mr. Jay."

"I'm Ricky," I said, "just Ricky."

Valerie and I had a swell time.

Thursday night at 11:00 I eased my Sunliner out of the sand and headed for LAX. My mind wandered; I was thinking about the beach one second, and the lilting tones of Prez on the car radio the next.

At Lincoln and Centinella I stopped for the red and looked out into the darkness. It always gave me the creeps that no one ever hung out on the streets in L.A. A night like this in the Big Apple would be buzzing with electricity. Here . . . nothing. The light seemed to last forever and the window of the school across the street stared at me like the eyes of a dying wino. I stepped on the gas.

L.A. International is a sprawling complex of sheetmetal and aluminum. The eleventh most unsafe airport in the world.

I pulled up to the Japan Air Lines counter. I was booked on JAL's midnight flight to London and from there on a 17-hour British run to the end of the dark continent.

I had two bags. I checked one and carried the other confidently past the security guards to the X-ray machine. No trouble. I boarded the plane and took my seat.

I opened the suitcase and was greeted by the strange smiles of a gross of Tally-Ho number 9's from the U.S. Playing Card Company in Cincinnati. Private stock. A little thicker than usual. Precision cut edges. The real work.

I checked the lining of the suitcase I had specially designed to withstand the changing pressure on airplanes which so frequently causes cards to warp or bristle with a horrible cracking sound that drives me crazy. No problem now. I snapped the suitcase shut and placed it carefully under my seat.

I ordered a martini, very dry, from the kimono-clad cutie working first class. If she'd had tits, I'd have married her.

I looked around the lounge of the 747 and my eyes met those of a striking, stern-faced Oriental. We nodded to each other in silent recognition. Haruo Shimada, head of a notorious Yakuza clan, had been my employer for one of the most amazing exploits of my life some seven years earlier. For a moment my mind reeled with a pastiche of ceremonial swords, whirring cards, severed fingers, horned helmets, and pidgin English, but as my lips touched the chilled martini glass I eased into somnolence and before long

nodded into a well-needed and thought-free sleep.

When I awoke to the cow-like bleating of the loudspeaker, Shimada was gone, and the tail feather of a snow white dove was in his chair. I shuddered with pleasure and remorse at the secret Yakuza sign.

The plane was on descent and in a few minutes we landed in London's Heathrow Airport.

As I walked past a caravan of luggage filled pushcarts on my way to the British Airways counter, I heard footfalls which seemed to parody my own. Automatically I moved my right hand to my inside jacket pocket and eased a card into the Jay grip without breaking my stride. Boldly, quickly, impulsively, I wheeled around on one knee and fired the card at a blurred figure ten feet away. Midway between us the card hit another card coming from the opposite direction and both fluttered to the floor.

I looked up into the smiling face of Cy Endfield who ran forward and embraced me warmly.

"Just checking, Ricky," he grinned with the slightly warped glee of a mad scientist, and I found myself laughing heartily. "I still can't tell which of us fired first."

Endfield was the only other man in the world capable of such a stunt. Though American, he had lived in London for years. It had been almost a decade since our last meeting but he appeared unchanged. He could pass for a man of forty-five though he must have been sixty years old.

After a recent success with the invention of an interlocking chess set, Endfield had devoted himself to some secret electronics and computer stuff but his life was crammed full of 109 unusual professions and incredible ideas that spanned a half century.

1 had asked him to meet me for two reasons. Some years ago he had directed a wonderful film on the Zulus and was an expert in African military movements and weaponry. Secondly, as a pioneer card hurler he developed a theory that cards could be thrown with such velocity that at the correct number of revolutions per second they would emit a high-pitched humming noise that could kill a bird merely by passing in front of it.

For years Endfield and I had corresponded on this and other topics and I was anxious to share his most recent discoveries. We spent the two hour layover period in animated conversation interrupted only by peals of laughter. Finally, as I strode down the walkway to the African bound jet, the wind snaked across the tarmac and tugged at my trousers like an insistent dwarf hooker. 1 turned to say goodbye and thought I detected a tear on Endfield's cheek. I wondered if I'd ever see him again.

I ordered a martini, very dry, from the short-skirted cutie working first class. If her legs were longer I'd have married her.

I looked around the lounge of the 747; I recognized no one. For a brief moment my mind reeled with a phantasmagoria of paranoiac fears of the unknown but as my lips touched the chilled martini glass I eased into somnolence and before long nodded into a well-needed and thought-free sleep.

I was awakened by the cow-like bleating of the loudspeaker and dismayed to find we had gone only as far as the Canary Islands. We were herded from the plane like a bovine conclave in search of nourishment. I might

110 have swooned with delight watching bikini-dad maidens on sparkling sandy beaches in the hot sun, but at 4:00 AM the airport employees, embittered by years of insignificant public service, did little to lift me from my somnambulistic stupor.

I was relieved to return to the plane. Sinking into my seat, 1 stared out the port and seemed to see in the plexiglass-shielded darkness the atavistic images of Mzilikazi and ShakaZulu conjured up by Endfield only a few hours before.

Little did those mighty warriors dream as they traversed the Transvaal, following the spoor of kudu and springbok, that soon their bones would lie beneath the windswept tarmac of Jan Smuts Airport, serving Johannesburg, the largest city in the southern hemisphere.

The airport was a twisted maze of queues and officials. I filled out my white and green sheets and got my passport and yellow health book ready and felt like a spiny lobster marching to the sea as I inched my way forward to the immigration and customs officers.

I thought of the unsettling television image of animated stick figures calling me "Alien" in squeaky voices, urging me to register at the post office every January or suffer a fate worse than death.

I had done my best to look like a tourist by wearing bermuda shorts and knee socks, and a thirty-five millimeter camera hung from my neck with the great moral weight of a sorority girl's lavaliere.

It worked. I was stopped only for an instant.

"Are you carrying any books or periodicals?" I was asked by a rosy-cheeked boy of twenty-five, all too proud of his sparkling clean white uniform.

"Not my style, chief." I saluted and walked on with not so much as a cursory glance to halt my progress.

I took a taxi to downtown Jo-Burg. The climate was pleasant, similar to L.A. but without the smog; the buildings looked down on me sorrowfully like lugubrious bushveld farmers trying to explain their presence. If the neon signs had read Hartford or Prudential instead of African Life I could have been in Newark, or Columbus, or any of a hundred big, boring American cities.

I checked into the totally pretentious Charlton Hotel where I was nearly attacked by a swarm of brown-uniformed, brown-skinned bellboys who seemed like a box of chocolate babies come to life.

"This way, master," said a middle-aged Bantu with a slight paunch.

"None of this master stuff with me," I said. And he nodded with no show of emotion.

I gave him a couple of rand, worth a bit more than a buck apiece, and I got to feeling like I was J.P. Morgan from the look in his eye.

"Put up the 'Do not disturb' sign when you leave, will ya?"

He nodded again and left without a word.

I took off all my clothes, slid a fresh pack of cards under the pillow, turned on the color television and began to read my complimentary copy of the Rand Daily Mail. On the TV, they were talking in Afrikaans and though I couldn't understand a word I found their jabbering relaxing in an odd sort of way. I thumbed past the front pages full of military movements and war casualties without pausing for a moment. The newspaper ritual was

similar to that of the television, the eyes scanning the pages but making no attempt to analyze or even register what they saw. I had long ago given up reading the sordid trash most people call "news." 1 stopped briefly on the entertainment pages and noted that Stephan Grappelli—the great jazz violinist— was in town, along with the Chinese Circus Revue of Taiwan and a Magic Spectacular at the Coliseum.

A knock on the door startled me. It's the same all over the world. You put a "Do not disturb" sign on the door and a minute later they're pounding on it.

"Special messenger, sir, sorry sir, very important, very sorry."

I opened the door a little way and exchanged a rand note for the proffered envelope.

The jerk was still saying sorry as I closed the door.

The envelopes contained my instructions from Colonel Marki, once again signed with the name Karmi Noell Co. No fiddle, acrobats or rabbits for me; I had exactly ninety minutes to get back to the airport and on a flight to Victoria Falls.

I hopped in the shower and let the water bounce off my back like hailstones off a window pane. I toweled off and got dressed in a three-piece leisure suit, open collared silk print shirt, and some high step demi-boots from Gucci. I had the vest especially tailored with card holsters in the side vents (an idea I adapted from the exploits of John Wesley Hardin). I carefully opened two new packs of cards, honed the edges to razor sharpness, and inserted them in the special vest holders.

I placed a few cards into each of my remaining 113 jacket and pants pockets and then one card each into the two special clips inside the jacket at the armpits. With only a precise flick of the shoulder the cards would drop into the coat sleeves and down the arm into the hand.

I thought of taking the card crossbow which I could assemble from the sideflaps of my shoebox, but quickly decided against it. I also nixed the idea of steel-plated cards for fear of their clicking in the X-ray machines. It was just me and the pasteboards, but, I thought, it had been just me and the pasteboards many times before.

I took one last lingering look in the mirror; the three-piece leisure suit was a stroke of genius.

Two palookas were waiting for me in the lobby. Marki's boys, I thought, but I wasn't taking any chances. I drew a pack from my holster and tapped them on the table as if they were cigarettes. The two hoods approached.

"I'm Krull," said the shorter of the two, a little guy with pinched delicate features and a small pointed head. "He's Gerrada."

Gerrada looked like a cross between Ramon Novarro and Chester Morris. He was tall and reasonably built but not imposing in stature. He had a large nose and patent leather hair slicked back with some greasy pomade.

"We're from the Karmi Noell Co. and we'll be taking you to the airport."

"Thanks, boys," I said, giving the once-over to the Pinhead and Foodini team before returning the deck to my pocket. I wondered idly if I could see the future in the polished surface of Krull's skull.

The drive to the airport was uneventful. I peered out the window like some sap looking for lions or something but I had better odds of finding wildlife at the Polo Grounds.

We got on the Air-Rhodesia flight and the palookas told me Marki would be joining us at Bulawayo, about halfway between Jo-Burg and the Falls.

Marki boarded on schedule. He might have been entered in a Buster Crabbe lookalike contest—in his safari suit he seemed like an overgrown tyke in shorty pajamas.

Marki sat down across the aisle from me; the two palookas were a row behind us. A couple of mugs and a middle-aged woman got on, and we were off.

After a brief ascent the seat belt signs switched off and Krull kicked the back of my chair on his way to the john. As he returned, my neck twitched with that same uncomfortable feeling which accompanies the early stages of an hallucinogenic high or ergot poisoning. I turned. It was a second too late.

Gerrada had jumped to the front of the plane wielding a menacing Luger and I felt the cold hard steel of Krull's shiv kissing my neck.

"Nobody moves," shouted Gerrada who was facing the passengers in front of the cabin door. "We're making a little trip you didn't count on."

Men grumbled and women shrieked like a chorus of the Johnny Mann singers at the Hollywood Bowl. The cabin door opened and Gerrada smacked the emerging co-pilot without even turning to look at him. These two clowns were pros all right!

My mind was working overtime but the blade in my neck cramped my style; I decided to bide my time.

"Shut up, all of you," growled Gerrada.

"You," he shouted at the stewardess near-

est the cockpit, "tell the captain of this rig to 115 head for Uganda and don't try nothin' tricky."

The passengers had calmed down considerably and the plane started to wing on to its new course.

Krull had risen from behind me and worked his way into the aisle. Marki glared at him in a way that sent a shiver down my pant leg; for a moment I thought Marki was trying to put the whammy on Krull with those cold Arctic blue eyes.

"You don't scare me, Colonel," Krull said in a sibilant squeak.

"Why, you perverted little fool, you can't get away with this," Marki cried as he lunged for the palooka's throat with his massive mitts.

Marki had Krull by the scrag as the little guy tried to penetrate his thick Dutch hide with the point of the shiv.

"Gerrada, help," the pinhead gasped even as his blade cut through Marki's flesh.

Gerrada aimed the Luger at Marki and started to squeeze the trigger. In a split second I made my move. I twitched my shoulder and my eagerly awaiting hands received the prized projectiles of my profession. I fired the cards simultaneously. The right-hand card met the plump flesh of Gerrada's neck with a muted thwack and a thin almost imperceptible line of blood appeared. The left-hand card hit the wrist but a fraction of a second too late. The gun blared out its awful din before falling to the floor only a moment before Gerrada himself.

The deflected bullet flew past its intended victim and cracked the window beside the still-entwined and struggling bodies of Krull and Marki.

As the glass cracked it was as if the entire world swept into the giant tornado that took Dorothy from Kansas to Oz. The oxygen masks dropped out of their overhead holders like victims at a mass execution. The windows covered with mist and the hot African sun faded from view. Coffee cups, serving carts, pillows, knives, spoons and magazines bounced around like popcorn on a stove. Then, in a maze of arms and legs and screams, Marki and Krull were drawn to the open window. They struggled together with a unity so characteristic of the human species in times of stress. I watched them grope and twist and grasp for footing like cats on a pane of glass, but to no avail; with a giant woosh and a horrible harmonious groan they were sucked through the window into the giant vacuum cleaner of the sky.

The pilot crash-dove to eight thousand feet to get breathable air as the frightened passengers heaved and coughed and cried and fainted in their seats. The stewardesses were clinging to the steel handles in the serving sections for dear life and Gerrada was saved from the horrible flying fate of his partner only because his bleeding hulk was jammed into the passageway between the cockpit and cabin.

The hurricane was dying down now and the pilot was announcing a landing in a clearing a few minutes away. I cupped my ears with my hands to drown out the frightening cacophony of the human voice in fear; as I looked from the plane I saw a huge body of zebras and wildebeest scatter in a kaleidoscopic whirl as the plane, like an injured red hornbill, approached the savannah that was to be its final resting place. As the jet hit the

Stanley, Livingstone, and the Victoria Falls

ground and thumped along like a giant juggler's mistake, I lost consciousness.

Victoria Falls. MOSl OA TUNYA. The smoke that thunders. 38,430 cubic feet of water per second. Dr. Livingstone 1 presume. What's the question? Gertrude Stein. Spencer Tracy. Richard Burton. Alan Moorehead.

I dreamt a storm of magnificent proportions and when I awoke I still heard thunder though the sky was cloudless and bright. As I wiped my eyes and turned towards the noise I saw a strange smokey mist swirl beneath a magnificent crowning rainbow. 1 kicked out the exit door on the wing and crawled towards what I realized was Victoria Falls, driven by some impulse kindled in recesses far beneath my conscious mind. In the distance I heard the sirens of the rescue vehicles but I didn't even stop to turn around. I plodded along on my strange mission like a lemming on his way to the cliffs. Sure, I got to the Falls.

But that is another story.

A sad footnote. The death by suicide of a San Quentin inmate who blew himself to a netherworld with a bomb fashioned from a pack of cards. For those who doubt the seriousness of the subject or the tone of the tome.

Continue reading here: Afterword

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