Copyright © 1985, 1992, 2000 by David Reitzes
You will find yourself in the lobby of an unfamiliar West Village apartment building, utterly captivated by a skinny, well-dressed Armenian woman with eyes of liquid obsidian, while distractedly discussing the Old Testament with her doorman, the former Chief of Police of Guyana. You will depart thinking, "Ah, well, it would never work out anyway," but later in life, under harsh, fluorescent delicatessen lights, you will experience unaccountable feelings of emptiness and loss while absent-mindedly gazing at a carton of Ben & Jerry's.
It's going to be a new experience giving Jean Dixon the benefit of the doubt.
It's a very exciting life I lead these days, Gypsy. That's why I don't miss you.
Just the other day I was walking past the coffee shop when I spied a supremely attractive young college gal in the window, all by herself. Reading. Guess what she was reading. Guess.
Catcher in the Rye. Is that too perfect or what? Okay, I'm getting a little old to be thinking about hooking up with some college gal. But seeing as how I never bothered to hook up with any before, least of all when I was in college, can't I have a little fun?
I had lots of fun. I kept right on walking. It was fun.
That would never happen with Jim, would it? But that's why you're with him and not with me, I guess.
I hate you, Gypsy. I really do.
I tried to write a poem about it, but all I get is this drippy garbage. Here, wait'll you hear this -- you'll howl.
How about that? Isn't that great? "Rue forevermore the day"? Don't you wish you'd said that to me when you left: "You'll rue forevermore the day you let me walk out of your life!"
Honestly, I wish you were here so I could see your face when you hear that. I wish you were here so you could laugh at me, then I could punch your fat face. I'll bet that would make me really happy. I've never hit a woman. I'll bet it's pure bliss.
Maybe you'd like me more if I did. I know he hit you that one time, so you must like it, 'cause you're with him and not me, aren't you?
Where do I get this shit? And no, I'm not drunk. No self-respecting drunk would be caught dead writing this kind of nonsense.
I miss Jim. But he and I were growing apart before this last turn of events, so I can't blame you for that. Actually, if it weren't for you, he and I would never have become friends at all. Weird the way two supposed rivals could bond over one impossible female. I guess you don't know that story, though. Or maybe you do. Whatever. No stories today, though. You and your stories. If I could tell a story I'd be a rich and famous writer, and I wouldn't need people like you.
Listen to this; you're going to love this. That song you hate was on the jukebox down the street, and I couldn't believe this babe next to me actually knew the words. She said it was a beautiful and romantic song, which of course it is, as everyone knows but you. She said she likes it because it seems to sum up how men and women really feel about one another -- how we need each other, yet resent the power we have over one another.
I was demolished -- completely ruined. She asked me for my number, but I gave her a phony one. There's no way I can face someone after she says something brilliant like that. You never said anything like that.
I'm learning a new language. Check this out.
Faire peau neuve -- "to make new skin" -- to turn over a new leaf.
C'est chou vert et vert chou -- "it's cabbage green and green cabbage" -- it's six of one, half dozen the other.
I can't seem to get myself moving today. Why can't I just stay in the bathtub? Why do I have to go out into the chill? Why can't I just stay in the tub, inhaling the steam until I evaporate? Eddie Lockjaw Davis is blowing tenor on "Whirly-Bird" with Basie again, people are dancing and having fun -- what would be the harm if I were to just dissolve somewhere between the soap and the steam and the sound?
I really broke down last night. I went to the store and bought the generic brand of strawberry preserves for my toast. Gypsy, I opened the jar and it was like going home again. There were strawberry chunks practically the size of strawberries in there. And it tasted magnificent, as if each succulent morsel had been dipped in heavenly nectar and kissed by angels. I started to cry, Gypsy. This was the generic brand; they didn't have to make it so good -- they knew it would be cheaper than the name brand and that no one would be expecting anything special. But these were the best strawberry preserves I've ever had in my life, Gypsy. I wrote the store a letter and thanked them, because it was the nicest thing anyone's done for me in as long as I can remember. What did you ever do for me that was as selfless and giving as that? Nothing.
Here, let me show you something. It's something I've been working on, but I'm kind of stuck with it. Tell me what you think.
They say it's better to give than to receive. That's all well and good if your name is Jesus Christ, but what about us mere mortals? If you ask me, that's what civilization's been struggling with all these years. Now, I'm no psychologist, but it seems to me that we all need to give and receive. The problem is one of ratio.
It should come as no surprise, then, to learn of secret bands of freedom fighters throughout history that have sought the secret to giving and receiving, and to develop the necessary technology. Backlash was inevitable, but not limited to external forces. For example, while many quite rightly equate the murder of Jesus with these forces of repression, there were others who did more damage, obscuring Jesus' teachings and founding a religion upon the worship of a martyred and resurrected savior figure. Thus is demonstrated the complexity of this timeless struggle.
Which brings us to World War II. Conventional wisdom says the Nazis lost the war, but this could not be further from the truth. Perhaps from some ivory tower of smug academic delusion it appears to be fact, but the view from the street is more enlightening. Fascism conceded the cities and moved to the suburbs; Napoleon took a 9-to-5 job; the KKK sells ice cream from little white trucks. The totality of the Nazis' victory is as shocking as its invisibility.
It has been well documented how Nazi rocket scientists were brought to the United States after the war to become the leaders of the US space program. Similarly, while US judges at the Nurembourg War Crimes Trials sentenced seven Nazi scientists to death for their part in human experimentation, their research material was forwarded to the US Office of Strategic Services, forerunner to the CIA, where their work was continued. The CIA's behavior-modification project, first called BLUEBIRD, later ARTICHOKE, is one example of such projects.
The Nazis were after a great many things. Hitler attempted to fight his war on several fronts not acknowledged by modern science. It is said he sought the Spear of Destiny, the weapon alleged in the Gospel of John to have pierced Christ's side. It is said he was also after the Holy Grail. But these are objects, one either possesses them or does not. The elusive Secret is no such tangible item. This is what I believe Hitler was ultimately after with his unholy experiments. I also believe he sought it for the same basic reason I do.
It doesn't take a genius to put two and two together, and see that whatever discoveries the Nazis made ended up with the CIA. Now, I did some contract work for the Agency for awhile. I'm not at liberty to discuss any of the projects with which I was involved, but I was close to some of the inquiries to which I've made reference here. I don't think I'm in any danger divulging there were never any significant discoveries made in these areas. Whatever the Agency's strength, let's just say that giving and receiving isn't their strong point.
It was critical for Hitler to be branded a racist. There are two theories regarding the true nature of Hitler's pathology. One would cast him as Ahab, bitter and spiteful of the God he believed responsible for his miserable, anguished life, striking at the Creator through the extermination of his chosen people.
On the contrary, Hitler's studies had revealed to him that the Old and New Testaments were hoaxes, parts of an elaborate atheist plot. The extermination of God's most beloved peoples was to be a proof of this plot. The slaughter of the Jews was intended to put the lie to the Old Testament; while the concomitant liquidation of gypsies, trade unionists, communist sympathizers, homosexuals, prostitutes -- anyone the biblical Jesus would conceivably have placed before himself -- was to nullify the New Testament. Hitler's own propaganda specialists turned against him; his designs were distorted and co-opted.
The decoding of Der Fuerher's name illuminates his true significance:
HITLER = THE LIR
It is a cruel joke: lir, not a real word at all, but a bastard form of lira, a denomination of currency in Italy, Turkey and Israel. This is hardly a coincidence, Italy (Rome) and Turkey having the religious significance they do. But it is the ultimate cosmic joke that Hitler's name is itself a rubric signifying a measure of currency for the official state of the Jewish people -- the very people, the name tells us, Hitler was unknowingly serving. That this truth was concealed from him is a measure of his ignorance, for he did not read English, and -- the final celestial punchline as well as the ultimate proof of this thesis -- the state of Israel did not exist in Hitler's lifetime, but was brought into being as an indirect result of Hitler's actions.
Thus did the Jews bring about the state of Israel through the actions of a Christian who believed all religion was an atheistic plot.
ISRAEL = LIR SEA
A sea of money -- Jewish money. And behold, the word is the exact same bastardization of the word lira.
But are the Jews to blame? If Hitler was correct, and the Old Testament, or Hebrew Bible, was a hoax, then the Hebrews are victims themselves -- unless they themselves or their ancestors originated the farce, a thesis which cannot be utterly dismissed.
TESTAMENT = TEN AT STEM
Ten men -- a minyan -- must be present before any sacred Jewish act may commence, a ritual that indeed may have originated with the shadowy political meetings of the originators of the Jewish faith.
Purists point out that the Jews do not refer to the book as the Old Testament, for they do not recognize a New Testament. Theirs is simply the Hebrew Bible, lacking the Gospels, Acts, and other works grafted on at a later date. Further obscuring the origins of deceit is the fact that linguistic scholars have obscured -- that testament is an improper translation from the Greek, and that covenant is closer in meaning.
COVENANT = N V ONE ACT
N = 14th letter of the alphabet
V = 5
ONE = 1
14 - 5 + 1 = 10
COVENANT = 10 ACT
Unsurprisingly, the result is the same. But who are the ten?
We must examine the origins of the Hebrew scriptures. Today no scholar denies that the Hebrew Torah, also known as the Pentateuch or the Five Books of Moses, was stitched together from disparate sources, many of them -- such as the Creation stories, the tales of Noah, and the legend of Moses -- from the oral tradition. The Torah as we know it seems to have appeared in the hands of the scribe Ezra who brought it to Judah from Babylon, now both Persian provinces, around 380 BC, along with a letter from the Persian emperor Artaxerxes decreeing Ezra's scroll to be the new law of the Hebrews, disobedience to which would be punishable by fines, imprisonment or death. Ezra's priestly authority complemented the political authority of Nehemiah, the governor of Judah appointed by Artaxerxes.
Ezra is known to have publicly read the law to the Jews, and history records that not all of what he read was familiar to the people -- some of the law, in fact, contradicted their previous understanding. The new law, of course, would be enforced by Ezra, Nehemiah and the Persians, so it is little surprise that history does not record any notable dissent.
This period -- following the Babylonian captivity -- seems to correspond with the first widespread belief among the Jews of their "Chosen" status, something which would soon be codified into what we now call the Bible, consisting of the Torah as well as other books concerning legendary Hebrew heroes, prophets, judges and kings.
While we do not know that it was Ezra who collated the Hebrew Bible as we now know it, we know that it very possibly occurred during his lifetime, at a time when he was the ultimate authority on Jewish law. Thus, it could not have been done without his consent and active participation, and presumably that of Nehemiah, who could hardly allow Ezra to autonomously enact new law. Therefore we may assume that Ezra and Nehemiah were instrumental in either creating and/or popularizing this new conception of a Chosen people.
Why would Artaxerxes allow them to do this? Who was Artaxerxes?
ARTAXERXES = X ART X RE SEA
X ART X = ten "art" ten = ten is ten
regarding (RE) the SEA, i.e., "lir sea"
Therefore it is evident that in Artaxerxes, Ezra and Nehemiah we have three of our ten conspirators, with Artaxerxes (X ART X RE SEA) the key man in the plot.
The ten's ultimate goal is difficult to pinpoint. Surely, Artaxerxes knew that someday the Persian empire must fall just as that of Babylonia had fallen to Persia. Perhaps he had a premonition of the power that the Hebrews would exert upon the world with their new scripture.
Rumor has it, of course, that Hitler was also searching for the Ark of the Covenant. Hitler was dumb as an omelette. The Ark was another hoax, and if he wasn't such a greedy bastard he would have realized that. The Bible certainly gives us enough clues for that one.
What's the most important thing sitting in the temple? The Ark, right? Supposedly. Then the temple gets wrecked and what happens to the Ark? The Bible doesn't say. I mean, it doesn't say whether the Ark was carried off somewhere, or whether it got destroyed, or anything. It's as if the thing never existed. Clearly it didn't.
Poor dumb Hitler -- he had the big picture figured out, but he got sidetracked with all these stupid details.
Just like me.
Maybe I can make a play out of it -- a character study; really get to the bottom of what that joker was about. Adolf Hitler in Hell.
A youthful ADOLF HITLER sits at a table overflowing with books, notebooks, pencils, pens, and a magnifying) glass. He is dressed in full SS regalia.
Mehr Licht! [More light!]
The small things -- they used to believe in me!
Oh, little ones, hate me not because I am a monster -- hate me because I am a failure.
It'll be the biggest thing Off-Broadway's ever seen. The Anti-Defamation League will picket it, and you'll see soundbites of me on the news, talking about how they should see the play before deciding it must be offensive. I'll look at the camera in the best deadpan I can muster and say, "Hey, some of my best friends are Jewish: my mother . . . my father . . . me . . ."
Looks like you're going to get your story out of me one way or another.
I'd rather play a game. That's what I do. Not like Whatsisface with his dice, though. I wouldn't have the patience. All those lists. If it didn't take him so long, I don't think any of us'd even believe him. You should hear people ride him about it, but no one else has accomplished anything in ages, so who are we to make fun of him?
Let's play Incinerator. You take everything you ever did, or ever said, or ever thought, or ever wished, or ever wished you said, or wished you thought, or wished you wished, and you throw it all in a pile. Then you torch it all. There's your story.
But that's not good enough for you, is it? It doesn't tell you anything about me, at least nothing you can use.
You and your stories. You wade through all the filth of what you know is you, and you sift out all the things you think you can live with. Then you put on the biggest lie you can, and flash that grin.
Or maybe do it the other way. You pull out all the foulest sludge you can scrape up, and wear that as your freak badge of pride, proud to be braver than those who can't take it. But that's not you anymore than the other.
What kind of game is this? Why would anyone ever want to play?
Let's play Movie Projector. I'll just load my whole life up, and reel it all out for you. I'd have to be crazy to do that. And you'd have to be crazy to watch. As stupid as stories are, at least they're not torture.
Listen, if you want a story I can tell you one, but it'll still be just a game. And if you don't know the difference, we're going to be here a long time. You have to know the rules.
Oh, here it comes. It's not a game -- there are no rules.
BZZZZZZZZZT. Wrong. Even if it weren't a game, there'd be rules.
You're going to ask me what it's about. Well, that's cheating, now isn't it?
Here. Once upon a time there was a poor little boy who roamed the streets with his Magic Mirror, displaying it to all the passers-by, begging them to find him in it.
Well, that's a start, anyway. If I get too far I'll practically be begging all your friends to come pick it apart. Believe me, it's no game to them.
Enough. I'm nearly to the point where it stops and backs up again, and we're not going to play that today.
I don't know anybody named Jim. I don't know anybody named Gypsy.
So this is my game. And that's your story.
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