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Rebellion in a Curious Way | Poem


REBELLION IN A CURIOUS WAY by Jodey Bateman
 

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CHAPTER FIFTEEN
    The first ride we got was with four G.I.’s who, as was common with soldiers in that time, were passing around a joint. They offered us a toke and then the G.I. who was driving looked around and said, "Hey, you all look like hippies. Do you know how we can get to Brazil?" 
    "Huh?" That was all I could say at first. "What for?" 
    "We’ve all got our orders for Nam. This is kind of a farewell party. But we heard Brazil doesn’t have an extradition treaty with the US, so if we could get there we’d be safer than in Canada. Like they couldn’t send us back from Brazil." 
    "Well," I said, "all I can do is give you his name," I said and tore half a sheet out of my notebook. I wrote down Jim Ed’s name. "Just go by this bar back in Pronghorn called the Barrage and ask for him. He works there most nights and he can tell you more than I could right now." 
    Jim Ed was good at sizing up people. If they went to him and he got to know them a little, he could see if they should be sent on to other Interstate contacts. 
    "Gee thanks!" the soldier who was driving said when he took the folded paper from me. They let me and Hope off and turned on the road to Pronghorn Lake, which had a run-down old resort town where a lot of G.I.’s and their girlfriends rented cabins. 
    This was the last turn-off where most of the G.I. traffic from Fort Clay went on week days. Hope and I waited for hours and the sun started getting low. Then an old farmer stopped his pickup and gave us a ride. He didn’t say more than a few words, but I could feel his mind scurrying around trying to figure out what Hope and I were doing. He let us off twenty miles from home. We waited and waited and it was getting dark when a Highway Patrol car passed us, then pulled over in front of us and the patrolman got out and motioned to us. 
    "Whatever happens, you’re eighteen years old," I whispered to Hope. "And your name is Lisa Killibrew." I still wonder where I got that name! 
    "Come this way slow! The patrolman yelled out. He had one hand on his pistol in the holster, the other shining a floodlight in our faces. "You, Dale, get your hands up!" he shouted at me. I dropped my notebook and raised my hands. 
    "What’s your name?" he barked at Hope when we got up close. 
    "Lisa Killibrew," Hope said as calmly as ordering breakfast. 
    "How old are you?" he asked. 
    "Eighteen," she said just as calm. 
    "Let me see some ID." 
    "I lost it on the way," the same complete calm. 
    "Well, Liz," the highway patrolman said, "you shouldn’t be traveling with people like this guy. All right, Dale, what are you out on the road for at this time of night?" 
    "We went down for the Will Orry’s court-martial," I said. 
    "That Will Orry!" The patrolman said angrily. "He came here on purpose to get a lot of TV publicity and give this state a bad reputation." The highway patrolman forgot all about Hope and went on for ten minutes about Will Orry and the Communists plotting to make our state look bad. Then he turned to Hope and said, "Liz, you better stay away from this guy." He got back in his car and drove off. 
 I put my hands down. Hope fell against me and put her hands on my shoulders. She was shivering all over. I was letting out one of the longest, deepest breaths I have ever exhaled. I picked up my notebook. The world was back for a time. 
    About an hour after that a student stopped and gave us a ride into town. He let us off right next to the university and Hope and I ran off into the tangle of two block-long tree shadowed streets, just north of the university area. We couldn’t go to Clu’s. There would probably be cops watching her house for some time. So I said, "Come on, let’s go to Harry’s" and we headed toward Harry Holtzenheimer’s place. 
    Harry’s apartment occupied most of the second floor of an old house that was covered with pale green siding. Not surprisingly, all the counter-culture youth in town called it the Green House. Hope and I waited in the shadows of the trees and checked things out. Harry’s pot dealing was one of the worst kept secrets in town, so cop cars passed by fairly often. But we didn’t see any cops. The lights were on upstairs, so Harry was back from work. We could hear him talking loud and some laughter from a guest. We ran past the glare of a light mounted on a telephone pole and hurried up the stairs and knocked on Harry’s door. 
    Harry opened the door. He had his monkey - also named Harry - perched on his shoulder. Human Harry was glad to see us - so was monkey Harry. The monkey grabbed ahold of the top of my head with his long fingers and hopped onto my shoulder. Then he shot forth a lot of small pellets out of his rear end onto the front of my shirt. 
    "Don’t worry about that," human Harry said. "I always say a little monkey shit never hurt anybody. Now, move back, monkey and let Dale go clean up or we’ll have a little discipline here." 
    The monkey climbed onto Harry’s arm and I went to the bathroom. Fortunately the pellets were dry enough to wipe off my shirt without making a mess. I went into the living room and found Harry’s guest, Bert Adair, who had been Evie Fenwick’s boy friend before she got together with blind Bob Hawkins. Bert was about six foot three and weighed about 240 pounds with a big swag belly and a ragged fringe of beard around his face. 
    "What happened at the court-martial?" Bert asked. "I heard that Evie and Bob were going." 
    "Yeah," Harry but in, "how did it turn out?" 
    "Clu got busted and her car got impounded," I said. "So she borrowed Evie’s car to take the Vanguard people to the airport and Evie and Bob are hitching back - just like Hope and I did. We just got here." 
    "What?" Bert said, leaning forward in his chair with his mouth wide open. 
    "Yeah," I went on, "and Hope left a note with her parents that she had gone off with her brother Zack for the week and he’s in California. So we were wondering - can we have a blanket or something and stay up on your roof until Zack gets back?" 
    Harry’s eyes went wide behind his glasses. He sat there a moment trying to take the whole think in and make a few calculations, muttering to himself and counting the fingers of one hand with the other. 
    "Oh, I guess so," he said finally. "Every freak in town has been in this house and about half of them have spent the night up on the roof. I didn’t know what I was getting into when I started renting this place. Just think of all the hippies who rented it before I did! I feel like I’m the keeper of a shrine. But it means people walk in this place like they owned it. And then they sit on my roof and go like this," he cupped his hands around his mouth, "GEE HARRY, THIS IS SURE GREAT DOPE YOU HAVE!! I just know everyone can hear it for blocks around. But, OK." He gave a deep sigh. "Gotta do my bit for the revolution." 
    Harry and his monkey went to his closet. The human Harry opened the closet and reached on the floor and picked up a large, well-worn old sleeping bag. He brought it over and handed it to me. Just then someone banged on the door. Harry went and opened the door. A woman in her fifties came in. It was Bob Hawkins mother. 
    "Bert, I’ve been looking for you!" she called out in a loud, distressed voice. "Bob and Evie phoned me from Pronghorn this afternoon that they were hitching back here from the court-martial and they’re not back yet. Could you please help me find out where they are? I know you’ve got friends in Rebel City. They might have stopped with them. Can you get ahold of them?" 
    "Uh-sure Mrs. Hawkins," Bert said. "I’ll try to get ahold of them right away and let you know as soon as I can." 
    "Thanks!" Mrs. Hawkins said and hurried out. She was very protective of her blind son. She rolled joints for him and read to him from the Marrquis deSade. This meant she would put up with a lot of strangeness from us if her son was all right. 
    After she left Bert asked, "Say, Dale, do you still have Val’s number in Rebel City?" 
    "Yeah, I think it’s here," I said looking through my notebook. Rebel City was a town with a small college about halfway between us and Pronghorn. Val was one of a handful of Organization sympathizers at that college. They had come up for anti-war demonstrations in the spring and became friends of Bert and Evie’s when those two were still together. 
    "I found the number," I looked up from my notebook and announced. 
    "Well, all the money I’ve got is fifty cents," Bert said. 
    "Don’t worry," I said. "I made $1.25 in Pronghorn today selling GUARDIANS." 
    "OK," Bert said, turning to Harry. "We’re going to a pay phone down town. We’ll be back in a little bit." 
    I handed Hope the sleeping bag. 
    "You know hot to get to the roof, don’t you Hope?" Harry said. 
    "Sure," Hope answered. She went out to a screened roofed porch. Part of the porch roof had been removed and a ladder stuck through it to the roof of the main part of the house, which was gabled, but not at all steep. I had sat up there many nights with Harry. We would smoke joints and Harry would wave at the cop cars driving by unseeing in the streets below. Hope climbed up the ladder with the sleeping bag and I hurried down stairs with Bert to the street. 
    "I can’t believe it," Bert said as we walked downtown. "I broke up with Evie a month ago and not only am I still having to take care of her all the time, but I’m also Bob’s keeper." 
    We went to a phone booth next to a restaurant on main street. I gave Bert some money and the number and he called Val. I heard him go, "Uh-huh," and then he turned to me and said, "there’s a roomful of people at Val’s, but none of them have seen Bob or Evie." 
    "Well, lets wait a while and try again," I said. 
    We waited over half an hour talking about all the various adventures around the court-martials. Then I gave Bert some more money and he rang up Val’s house again. "Still no sign of Bob or Evie," he said, turning to me. 
    Bert hung up and we started back. We were only half a block from Harry’s when a city police car drove up to us and the cop driving ordered us to stop. The two cops got out and stood there with big sneers on their faces. They were the two Roffer brothers. All that summer the local cops had been stopping Organization members and friends of Organization members. There had been over twenty arrests for trivial charges and many more incidents of harassment by cops. The Roffer brothers were the worst cops at harassing. 
    "All right, Dale," one of the Roffers said. "Lets see some I.D." 
 I handed him my draft card. He grabbed it and acted like he was about to tear it in two. 
    "Let’s see yours," the other Roffer said to Bert. 
    Bert handed the cop his draft card. 
    "You’re both under arrest for violating curfew," the first Roffer said. 
    Our town had an ordinance then that no one was supposed to be on foot after midnight without good reason. 
    "But we were looking for a missing person for his mother," Bert said. "And it’s not even twelve o’clock." 
    "Oh, just tell that to the judge tomorrow morning," one of the cops said. "Get in the car!" 
    We got in the back seat of the cop car. The Roffers took us to the courthouse and put us in the elevator with the elderly jailer. He took us to the top floor - the jail. He locked Bert and me in a cell all by ourselves. 
    "My notebook!" That was my first thought. "Did the cops get my notebook?" 
    "Calm down," Bert said. "You brought Val’s phone number on a scrap of paper. I think you left your notebook back at Harry’s." 
    "Oh yeah," I said with a breath of relief. "I put down my notebook when I picked up the sleeping bag and gave it to Hope - and the notebook’s on Harry’s floor." 
    "And the worst that can happen is that the monkey will shit on it," Bert added. 
    The jailer came back to our cell with a couple of thin blankets which he threw to us. There were no mattresses - just concrete shelves. An air conditioner was on so it was chilly in the cell. We wrapped up in our blankets and closed our eyes and tried to get what sleep we could. 
    Next morning we were arraigned before the judge. Bert called a professor at the university who was friendly with Organization people and he came down and talked with the judge and got us out. It was around  nine a.m. As always it was great to fill my lungs with fresh air after being in a cell.
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to Jodey  ~  to Moongate




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