I suppose it’s possible that someone reading this might not know that one of our Presidents was assassinated in Dallas. John F. Kennedy. Dealey Plaza. Lee Harvey Oswald. Jack Ruby.
Ring any bells?
Well, all of those bells would toll for me that day.
Saturday, March 4, 1978.
* * * *
I asked the cops to wait, closed the door and left them outside the apartment, then knocked on the bedroom door where Michael and Hillary were resting.
“Yeah!” Michael’s voice responded.
“Michael, there’s a couple of guys here…” I didn’t know quite what to say. I opened the door. Michael and Hillary were laying on the bed.
“Are they cops?” he asked. I nodded. “Shit!” Michael and Hillary exchanged a glance that probably contained a thousand conversations. “Tell ’em I’ll be right out.” He got up and went to the bathroom.
“Michael, y’all need to come on out here!” Detective Riggs said from the doorway when I let them know what was going on. They had stepped inside once they knew they had their man.
“I have to take a piss!” Michael’s voice replied from the bathroom.
“Yeah, just don’t take too long now.” Detective Murtaugh replied. “If you shake it more than twice, yall’re playin’ with that thang.” His partner laughed. I might have even smiled. They seemed like nice guys, for cops.
Did I hide all my pot? I wondered. I hoped I had, or Michael might not be the only person in the apartment going to jail.
Hillary came out of the bedroom and started interrogating the cops, and they had to focus their attention on her. I know to God that I exhaled a huge sigh of relief. They answered her questions patiently and politely.
“I want to come along.” she said.
“Yes, ma’am. You can follow us if you want.”
“You motherfuckers wait for me!” Hillary shouted at the cops.
“Yes, ma’am.” they both replied.
Michael came out, and surrendered. Detective Riggs slapped a pair of cuff on Michael’s wrists, explaining his Miranda Rights as clicked the cuffs. Hillary grabbed her purse and we ran down the stairs.
Yeah, you read that correctly. We ran!
Hillary’s car tore out of the parking lot in hot pursuit of the police.
“I knew those fuckers wouldn’t wait!” she screamed, and gunned the engine. She flew through the intersections, regardless of red lights.
Little Known Fact About the Kennedy Assassination: When Kennedy’s body was being transported from Parkland Hospital to Love Field, the Secret Service didn’t stop at any red lights. They called them pink lights.
Hillary, it seemed, had become a Secret Service agent. She wasn’t wearing sunglasses, but she sure as hell wasn’t smiling.
I couldn’t tell you how many pink lights we encountered. A lots. The cops drove surface streets on their way to Dallas Police Headquarters. But thanks to Hillary’s complete and total disregard of traffic laws, we were right on the bumper of the unmarked police car carrying Michael.
Is that Dealey Plaza? I wondered. I think that’s the Texas School Book Depository! Holy shit! I thought. I could not believe it. I was traveling through Ground Zero, the place where President Kennedy had been assassinated. We continued tailing the cops until they turned into an underground parking garage at Dallas Police Headquarters.
Hillary stopped in the middle of the street, unsure about what to do.
“Can I park down there?”
“No sense in trying to play it safe now.” I said. “You didn’t let any red lights get in your way.”
“Good point.” she said, and roared into the garage. The cops were walking Michael into the building by the time we parked. Hillary shouted his name. He turned to look back toward us, but the cops kept him moving. We ran, trying to catch up.
Jesus! This is place Lee Harvey Oswald was jailed! And this is where Jack Ruby shot him! I couldn’t believe it. I felt like I had just stepped back in time.
For those of you that weren’t alive when Kennedy was killed, there’s no way to explain the significance of his assassination. It was the sentinel event of my generation, transcending all else, including 9-11.
And here I was. I had been given a backstage pass to an area I shouldn’t have had access to, all because Michael had decided to go where he had been forbidden to enter, and because George was big enough of a dick to make him pay for it.
“What are we doing here?” I decided to ask Hillary as we rode the elevator to the main floor. Oswald probably rode in this elevator! Yeah, I know, but I couldn’t help myself.
“We’re going to get Michael out.”
“Is that possible?”
“I don’t know. I’ll call Jerry.”
* * * *
And she did, but there was nothing he could do. And even if he could’ve done something, he wouldn’t have done it.
“Michael broke the fucking law! He violated his restraining order!”
That’s how Jerry explained it to me when Hillary put me on the phone to reason with Jerry. After all, he adored me!
“So, what happens next?”
“Michael stays in jail until his arraignment on Monday. End of story. Don’t worry about it. I’ll take care of everything. Go home. There’s nothing you can do. Go. Home!”
“Jerry said we should go home.” I informed Hillary. “He said there’s nothing he can do.”
“That’s bullshit.” Hillary replied.
“We should leave.”
“No. I want to see Michael before we go.”
Michael had to be booked and processed before Hillary could see him. We could wait over there, one of the cops informed us, and waved in the general direction of some benches. Hillary lit up a cigarette. I wandered around. We were at police headquarters for at least an hour before Hillary was allowed to speak to Michael.
“He wants to talk to you.” Hillary told me when she returned.
Yeah, I wasn’t expecting that either.
“How’s it going? Are you okay?” I asked when I saw Michael. We probably had to talk to each other via telephone, but I can’t remember for sure. I know we were separated by a thick plexiglass window, and the space was poorly lit.
“I’m good. I popped a couple ‘ludes while I was in the bathroom. I’ll probably sleep until tomorrow.” he laughed. “Listen, take care of Hillary while I’m in here. She’s a little…upset.”
“You got that right.” I agreed.
“I’ll get out of here Monday. I’ve already talked to Jerry. He’s gonna take care of everything. Don’t let her do anything… stupid. Okay?”
“I’ll take care of her. I promise.”
* * * *
I can’t remember if Hillary stopped for red lights on the way home or not. Probably not. I mean, why start now? The roads were mostly deserted anyway… We drove past Dealey Plaza again. I imagined we were part of the motorcade on November 22, 1963. We drove under the triple underpass, and we were on the freeway. Parkland Hospital was… right there!
We didn’t say much on the way home. I did tell Hillary that Michael had talked to Jerry, and seemed sure that he’d be released on Monday. Hillary said nothing.
We returned to the apartment. I stopped off briefly at the party room, and added some ice to the keg. Other than that, the keg seemed to be doing fine, and the beer was still cold and carbonated.
I was more than a little surprised to find that Shorty still hadn’t returned when I reached the apartment. Where the fuck is he? I wondered, then totally forgot about Shorty when Hillary came out of the bedroom.
She had an handgun in her hands. In street slang, it was a Saturday Night Special. A snub nose .38 revolver.
“Where did you get that?” I asked, nonchalantly. I’m not sure how I sounded as calm as I did. “Can I see that?”
“No. I got it from Jerry. I borrowed it. He gave it to me. For protection. There’s a lot of crime around here.”
“I’m going to have a beer. Do you want anything?”
“Yes, a glass of white wine, please.”
I opened the refrigerator, pulled out a can of beer and a bottle of wine, then washed one of the wine glasses on the counter. I thought about spiking Hillary’s drink with a handful of Quaaludes, but I didn’t have any, and given the fact that Hillary popped them like peanuts, it’d probably take an entire bottle to knock her out. I handed her a wine glass that I had filled almost to the top. She popped a ‘lude in her mouth and chased it with wine. I prayed it would knock her out.
I walked over to the couch to sit down, but the coffee table was gone, and I had no place to set my beer. I sat down on the floor. Hillary joined me. She positioned herself between me and the door. I lit up a joint. There were actually a few left over from the party. Yeah, that was a nice surprise!
“What are you planning to do with that gun?” I decided to ask.
“I’m going to kill George.” Hillary replied, and smiled, taking a hit.
“Oh. Well, you’re going about this the right way. A little wine, a little weed, a Quaalude. You’ll be nice and relaxed when you go over to George’s place to shoot him.
“Good! I want to do this right.”
It was at that precise moment that all of Jerry’s warnings came flooding into my head. I finally understood what he had been trying to tell us. And this, this, was most definitely a minefield.
I have no idea what I said after that. I know Hillary explained her rationale for what she had decided to do, and I didn’t do anything to stop her from talking. I could only hope the holy trinity of wine, weed and methaqualone would kick in and knock her ass out before she could knock off George.
Hillary played with her gun while she talked. I hoped the safety was on, but I couldn’t tell–she flipped it around too quickly for me to tell for sure. I suppose I could’ve asked if she knew how to use it, but I didn’t really want to go there.
Please, be on! I prayed. And I knew one thing for sure. If it was on, I wasn’t going to tell her how to turn it off.
We sat on the floor, our drinks on the carpet nearby. I had the nicest conversation I would ever have with a homicidal maniac holding a loaded gun. We sipped our drinks, smoked more pot, and then it was time.
“Okay. I’m ready now. I’m going to go kill George.”
I tried to stall her. I said the first thing that popped into my mind.
“Hillary, I love you! I want to make love to you! I want to fuck your brains out!”
That actually stopped her in her tracks. She slowly turned around to look at me, and smiled.
“Of course you do. But, you had your chance.” She turned for the door.
“What? No, wait!” I was trying to figure out when my chance to fuck her brains out had actually happened because I was pretty sure I wouldn’t have missed that opportunity. But Hillary had made up her mind, and she would no longer be delayed. She was walking for the door, and she did not stop.
And that’s when I did perhaps the stupidest thing I have ever done in my entire life, and that covers a whole lots of stupid.
I ran past her, getting to the door before she did by a step. I may have lost my race to that door to Shorty, but I beat homicidal Hillary.
“If you’re really serious about killing George, you’re going to have to kill me first.” I said, blocking the door.
Hillary tilted her head fractionally. I could tell by the look in her her eyes that she was actually thinking about how she was going to get past me. And then she found a solution.
She raised the gun, in a very relaxed manner, and calmly pointed it at my head.