my dell is on life support. won’t be back for awhile….
CWJM ACTIONS NEWS
ALL THE NEWS ALL THE TIME
TRANSCRIPT: SUB-CRIMINAL ACTIVITY
TAPE NO.: G9872-6
SUBJECT: Harry O’Toole
DATE: August 25
HARRY: Murder by men. Murder by women. Murder by nature. Murder in the twentieth century. How do you figure the second millennium is going to top us, eh? …No criminal record myself. Too damn slick. Cops aren’t crafty enough to catch old Harry O’Toole. There have been close calls. One time we were smuggling margarine from Quebec into Ontario. You’d be surprised how many people will pay for margarine that looks like butter.
Cops stopped us outside Cornwall. They had their guns drawn. Who knows what they were thinking? Michael got out of the car. Michael was with me on this trip. I told him to go see what the pigs were up to. Watched them in my rear view mirror. One moment they’re talking seriously, the next they’re laughing.
When Michael gets back in the car, I ask him what’s so funny. He tells me to drive on and not to look back. They were looking for smugglers but let us go. Michael told them what we were carrying. No cop wants it on his record that he sent someone up for smuggling margarine. Michael knew the ways of the world. Read all the codes. Reacted to all the nuances. Ear to the rail. Fingers on the wire. Pulse like short wave.
QUESTION: What does Michael deal in?
HARRY: Michael’s like Walmart. He deals in everything: from girls to electronics, from porn to guns, from books that get band to bands that get booked. You want to buy something; he’s got a catalogue. That’s what gets his juices flowing. Putting the right people together. A real match maker. Billy Graham type… Michael and I have had some good times. We’ve known each other since grade school. He was the only kid in grammar school with a tattoo. Did it himself with a compass and some Indian ink. Never flinched. Never saw him feel any pain. Maybe that’s the secret to his success. He doesn’t fear pain because he never feels anything…
Michael has always known what he wants. Always. Nothing two faced about Michael. He looks out for himself and isn’t ashamed to admit it. With Michael, you always know where you stand. With half a chance in the straight world he could have become one of those big execs, driving around in a Chrysler, eating in fancy restaurants, big expense account…
Cops hate him. Hate all of us. Did you know that the average crook’s IQ is ten points higher than the average cop. The ignorant always resent their betters. And they knew that Michael was brilliant.
QUESTION: How long were you in the Clark Institute?
HARRY: They tell you that? Don’t believe everything… I was only in the Clark for a few months. Physical break down. It was my diet. Too much caffeine and sugar. Try to make it sound like I’m crazy, that I hear voices, that I’m delusional. Everybody hears voices. In the fifteenth century I would have been a visionary… I love the street life. The pace of traffic. The hassles and cars. Everyone trying to put one over on you. Everyone trying to survive. Trying to catch your attention. Banging out a tune on a busy corner or banging a few heads in a darkened alley. Makes you feel alive. Not that I’ve been involved in violence though sometimes you have to flex your muscles. Some people just won’t listen to anything else.. . Hate the burbs. Couldn’t live like the dead beats I grew up with. Spending their weekends in the malls, trucking their kids off here and there, worrying about cholesterol and retirement funds, waistlines and inflation. On the street you take what you need. You cross the line. Take. Just take what you can. It’s a beautiful way to live. I love capitalism… You want to know more about Michael? I can see that. Funny thing about women and Michael. They’re attracted to him but they’re afraid of him. Something they see in Michael that they want. Something that isn’t talked about in polite company. Something dangerous. I’ve gotten a little muff because I look like Michael. Michael is too much of the real thing for some chicks. I’m a kind of generic substitute. What’s the difference between me and Michael? I don’t hurt women… Sure, he’s whacked a few around. Sometimes that’s what a woman wants. It’s part of Michael’s charm. But Michael can be a real Christian. I’ve seen him perform acts of kindness, tenderness, things I would never do, acts that surprise you with their thoughtfulness and grace. But nothing Michael does, neither good nor evil, is without a hidden motive. With Michael, there is no good and bad. He doesn’t do anything mean spirited or cowardly. He does things because they’re part of a plan, a larger agenda.
QUESTION: Was Michael ever married?
HARRY: You wouldn’t ask that question unless you knew the answer… Her name was Lisa. She was a mystery, a puzzle, the best parts of every woman you ever met. She had a great wit, funny as hell. Very sarcastic. And sexy! Skin as smooth as silk. Everyone loved her. And she loved everyone. At least she slept with practically everyone. Absolutely no scruples. Never met a man who could say no to her. And talented. Incredible control over every muscle in her body. She could pick a quarter off the floor with… Anyone she slept with was wild for her. She was like a drug. You could never get enough. But she always went back to Michael… Crazy as a loon. I met Lisa at the Clark. They said she was a sociopath. She liked to lie. And she didn’t run around with a long face from guilt. So what! That doesn’t make you crazy. I was the one who introduced her to Michael. No one could control her. She was like a wild animal. Her and Michael were made for each other… She disappeared. Lot of stories about that. She shot Michael once. Almost killed him. They had a fight. Cops showed up and just watched Michael bleed. It was on the six o’clock news. After that Lisa disappeared. Some say she went to Europe. Some say Michael had her put down.
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METROPOLITAN POLICE, HOMICIDE DIVISION
POLICE CHIEF 456-7654, CHIEF OF DETECTIVES 457-2374
DOCKET NO: A0018-1
OFFICER INVESTIGATING: Det. A. Armstrong BADGE NO. 13A5
SUBJECT OF REPORT: Louis Grant
I’m a little over protective when it comes to Miss Richards. I love Mary like a daughter. We were in a bar, the Blue Lagoon. Me and Mary. Not that we were drinking buddies. You can’t be a drinking buddy with a woman. Too complicated. You fall into the bottle and your genitals take over. On this occasion Mary seemed distracted. Her eyes kept wandering around the bar. Maybe it’s the product of years of being the boss, but I demand someone’s full attention when I’m talking to them.
LOU GRANT: Who are you staring at?
I grumbled as I looked around the room. In a darkened corner of the bar, a stranger sat watching us. I couldn’t make out what he looked like. The room was dark and I didn’t have my glasses on. I hate wearing glasses. Makes me look like Benjamin Franklin. And there was a lot of smoke. Stupid law to ban cigarette smoking. The police should have something better to do than run around nabbing smokers. I was smoking a cigar.
LOU GRANT: You want to leave?
Mary glanced toward the stranger in the corner.
MARY: Don’t you think that gentleman has the loveliest eyes?
LOU GRANT: Eyes! How the hell can you see someone’s eyes in this place? I can hardly see his face.
MARY: He looks sweet.
LOU GRANT: Drugs. Drugs’ll do that to your eyes. Anyone can have lovely eyes, whatever the hell that means.
Mary laugher and playfully slapped my arm.
MARY: You’re awful, Mr. Grant!
LOU GRANT: I wasn’t being funny.
MARY: Do you think someone like that might have killed someone?
I looked back at the dark figure by the bar and then at Mary. That’s an odd question for a young woman to ask, don’t you think? Never would have occurred to my grandmother to ask a question like that. I thought it was damn peculiar and I asked Mary why she asked it.
Mary shrugged her shoulders.
MARY: Just a thought, Mr. Grant. I’ve never met anyone who actually killed someone.
LOU GRANT: You’re still young. Trust me, you’ll be just as well off if you never meet such a person. Meet someone who has killed? Is this some kind of perverted dating service?
MARY: Have you?
I nodded. No use in denying it.
LOU GRANT: In the service.
MARY: That’s different. I meant an honest to gosh killer.
LOU GRANT: Why are you asking this, Mary?
MARY: Curiosity, I guess. Tell me, Mr. Grant. You worked on a newspaper for decades…
LOU GRANT: Years…
MARY: You must have met your share of killers.
LOU GRANT: Yes… my share…
MARY: What were they like?
LOU GRANT: On the whole I would say – unpleasant.
MARY: Is there something different in their looks, in the way they conduct themselves?
LOU GRANT: They look pretty much like anyone else, except that they’ve usually got blood on their hands. You’re not on anything, are you Mary?
Mary shook her head and laughed.
MARY: You mean drugs, right? Mr. Grant?
Mary shook her head.
LOU GRANT: Is it that time of the…?
MARY: Mr. Grant!
LOU GRANT: You’ve been acting strange lately.
MARY: What do you mean, strange?
LOU GRANT: Everyone’s noticed it.
MARY: You’re making this up, Mr. Grant!
LOU GRANT: Gordie thinks you’re taking hormones.
MARY: What does a weather man know about hormones?
LOU GRANT: Sue Ann says that you’ve been reading too much.
MARY: You know that Sue Ann doesn’t read anything unless it’s got recipes in it.
LOU GRANT: The other day Murray asked me if there was an illness in your family. Your parents…?
Mary shook her head.
MARY: My parents are fine, Mr. Grant. I’m fine. Oh sure, I guess I have been acting odd. But doesn’t a person have the right to act odd now and then? Is there a law against it? Look at you, Mr. Grant! Aren’t there days when you’re not quite right?
LOU GRANT: Never!
LOU GRANT: Okay Mary, maybe none of these things add up individually, but look at all of them together! There are all these facts on the one side and what’s on the other side?
MARY: I saw the Maltese Falcon too! Oh, Mr. Grant! It’s this assignment. We’ve met such interesting characters during our interviews and I’ve…I have a lot on my mind.
I leaned back in my chair and began to tell the story of the time I had to cover the assassination of the Bolivian ambassador. I rambled on for several minutes before I noticed that Mary’s attention was elsewhere. Would you like to hear about it? No, I didn’t think so.
LOU GRANT: Why did you ask me here, Mary?
MARY: Excuse me?
I repeated my question.
LOU GRANT: It’s about Ted.
I grimaced. I do not approve of management involving themselves in the affairs of labor but, because the situation between Ted and Mary had the potential to affect the operation of the newsroom, I forced myself to listen. I’m not sure how any of this affects the present investigation but, if you wish, I shall continue.
MARY: I couldn’t talk to you in the office. Ted is so paranoid. He thinks that every time we talk, it’s about him.
I thought that the relationship between Ted and Mary had ended. I should have known better. Women can never let anything die of natural causes. They have to talk it to death.
MARY: Ted is under the impression that things are… that I still desire him.
I almost chocked. The thought of desire and Ted went down the wrong way.
MARY: I’ve seen a side of Ted that I never suspected. He’s so… sensitive.
LOU GRANT: Vulnerable?
I read about vulnerable men in Woman’s Day, a magazine my wife keeps by the can. Did you know that women are attracted by the feminine side of a man, to the dike in every guy. So women are attracted to men who are vulnerable, at least in the short term. After the divorce those same vulnerable men are described by their ex’s as wimps.
MARY: Yes, that’s it. Ted is vulnerable. He has an adolescent crush on me. He’s constantly phoning me. He wants to talk. About anything. So long as he can listen to my voice. At the office I see him and he has that sad puppy dog look as if I have abandoned him. I feel as if I can’t breath without Ted recording and filing it away to regurgitate it at some later date.
LOU GRANT: Isn’t regurgitate a little harsh?
MARY: Mr. Grant! That’s not the point.
LOU GRANT: Don’t you think you’re overreacting, Mary?
MARY: I read that this type of obsession can lead to abuse.
LOU GRANT: Where’d you read that? And why are there so many magazines for women?
MARY: Could we stay on track?
LOU GRANT: We’re talking about Ted, Mary! Ted may be a lot of things, I know that I’ve called him almost everything under the sun, but violent, Ted is not. A wet tissue is more dangerous than Ted.
MARY: Oh, Mr. Grant! If I tell Ted that there is no longer anything between us, I’m afraid of what he might do. To himself. I feel… responsible!
MARY: He might do something… crazy!
LOU GRANT: Please, Mary!
I gasped, holding my stomach.
MARY: It’s not funny, Mr. Grant! I still like Ted. And I value his friendship. I can’t just… abandon him.
LOU GRANT: Marry him!
MARY: You’re not being serious, Mr. Grant.
LOU GRANT: Screw responsibility, Mary! Too many people are flogging themselves with responsibility. Afraid to act, they claim to be inhibited by responsibility. Procrastinators. Liars. I’ve been responsible all my life. I got horny. Helen got pregnant. I felt responsible. I got married. I bought a home. More responsibility. I kept my job. I became ambitious. I pushed myself forward and everyone in my way I pushed aside. I wanted all these fine things for my family. I was being responsible. All the time I convinced myself that this was the way to do things, that this was how the responsible moral man operated. Lies, Mary. All the time I was avoiding the truth. I never wanted to be a journalist, a newspaper man, a television news director. Never wanted to get married. Never wanted kids, the house, the station wagon. Never wanted any of it. I wanted to be… a garbage man.
MARY: Mr. Grant, be serious!
LOU GRANT: I wasn’t trying to be funny! Every summer during college I worked on the back of a garbage truck. Met so many interesting people on the back of that truck. I
was never so happy as I was standing on the back of that truck, the sun in my face, wind in my hair. I had hair then. Felt like Errol the fucking Flynn. The world was at my feet. I was a god, blessed with divine purpose. I was cleaning up the planet. And this was before ecology became a fad. You may not believe this Mary, but I was living every young man’s fantasy. It was a job I was born for. And the girls loved me. Garbage men have their own breed of groupies and Mary, they’re all dolls. But I was a loser. I didn’t have the guts to admit that I had found my niche in life. It wasn’t prestigious enough. My family were all professionals: lawyers, accountants, dentists. Waste disposal was not deemed worthy of my talents. That’s why I chose another form of garbage collection -journalism.
MARY: What are you telling me, Mr. Grant? Dump Ted!
LOU GRANT: Dump him or marry the poor bastard! Those are your options.
MARY: That’s so cruel!
LOU GRANT: Ted’s a big boy. He’ll survive.
Mary did not take my advice. I was forced to take action on my own. I talked to Ted. Ted did not become suicidal. He was much too vain. It was a revelation to me to see Ted respond so maturely to disappointment. He curled up on my couch and wept like a baby. Mary and Rhoda continued to do spade work for the series we were doing on the city’s criminal night life. Small time thieves, pimps, hookers, drug dealers, gamblers. All the pillars of society. One of the women they interviewed I found intriguing. She was a whore named Sheila. Beautiful looking girl on the tape. She didn’t look too pretty after the beating she took… but I’m getting ahead of myself. Sheila smoked like a factory. When she wasn’t smoking, she was chewing gum. Ironic how women like that always have to have something stuck in their mouth. Couldn’t sit still in her chair. Difficult for the camera. She was born in Truro, Ontario. Two sisters. The runt of the family. Father a minister. Presbyterian. Went to John F. Kennedy High School. They were naming everything after the dead President. Canadians loved Kennedy. Sheila dropped out. Worked in a music store for a while. Aspirations as a band singer. Teenage drunk. Thrown out of her parents’ home when she was fifteen. Some indication that she might have been molested by her grandfather but she was reluctant to talk about it. Hitchhiked to Toronto. Got involved with a motorcycle gang in Cabbagetown. Next door to the old CBC studios on Parliament Street. Claims that she was rescued from the bikers by this fellow Michael. We didn’t believe that. These girls are always finding white knights to save them. If they don’t find them, they make them up.
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A Conversation In An Elevator
MURRAY: Lou, I’m finding all of this very disturbing
LOU GRANT: No kidding, Murray.
MURRAY: Lou, I just left Mary no more than five minutes ago.
LOU GRANT: Ya.
MURRAY: She’s fine.
LOU GRANT: Of course she is.
MURRAY: You just described the most horrendous story to me. About Mary. Our Mary. She shouldn’t be fine.
LOU GRANT: She’s a strong girl, Murray. Stronger than either of us imagined.
MURRAY: What are you talking about, Lou?
LOU GRANT: What do you mean, Murray, what am I talking about?
MURRAY: You’ve lost me, Lou.
LOU GRANT: How can I lose you. You were there.
LOU GRANT: At the apartment.
MURRAY: What apartment?
LOU GRANT: Mary’s. After the killings.
MURRAY: What killings.
Lou takes a series of papers out of a folder he is carrying.
LOU GRANT: These.
He hands them to Murray.
LOU GRANT: Don’t read them at night. They might give you nightmares.
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Mary crawled into the corner of the bed, wrapping herself in the sheets like a cocoon. She began to rub herself with the back of her hands. Her thighs. Her stomach. Her breasts. Dug her fingers into her cunt. Blood drained from her face.
Mary struck Michael on the chest, arms and face. He let her. For a while. He grabbed her wrists.
MICHAEL: That’s enough!
Mary began to weep uncontrollably, sinking into his arms.
MARY: Why did you do that?
MICHAEL: I love you.
MARY: That wasn’t love.
MICHAEL: I had to.
MARY: You hurt me!
Michael raised Mary’s chin so that the two of them were looking into each other’s eyes.
Mary turned away. For a moment she was silent. Then she moved off the bed and pulled on her housecoat.
MARY: If you think that was love, you don’t know anything about love, Michael. Love is tenderness. Love is sharing. Love is healing. Love is not brutality. I’m not some sleaze bag, some toilet you jerk off into. I’m a human being.
Michael stood up and pulled on his trousers.
MICHAEL: Tenderness! You talk as if that was the natural state of things. Have you had a look outside your window? You live in a world of polite cruelty. BMWs, microwaves, low cholesterol diets, sitcoms and soap operas, while the rest of the world is dieing from starvation, diseases, war, and ignorance. My world may be brutal but at least it’s honest. Can’t you smell the rot, the putrid hypocrisy of your life? The world is a violent place. I didn’t ask for it. I don’t want it. But, there it is.
MARY: But why with me? Why here with me?
MICHAEL: That world you despise is part of me. Shall sweetness reign here, while outside… Did you see the rage inside me? That’s who I am! That anger is me. It hides in the darkness, my soul calls home. Rage is all I have. The only thing I’m sure is me.
Mary slapped Michael’s face. Michael smirked.
MARY: You raped me, Michael!
Michael picked up his shoes and stepped toward the door. He looked back at Mary.
MICHAEL: You loved it.
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Later That Evening
Later that evening Mary climbed out of bed and grabbed her robe. She reached the intercom on the third ring.
A voice called on the other end of the line.
TED: I’m downstairs, Mar. Let me in.
MARY: Oh, Ted, could I take a rain check? I’m so tired from today and I’ve got this terrible migraine.
TED: But I came all the way…
MARY: Honest Ted, I crashed as soon as I came home. I tried to get in touch with you but you’d already left. I just got out of bed to answer the phone.
There was silence at the other end of the line.
MARY: Another time?
There was another pause on the other end of the line.
Mary took a deep breath and put down the receiver. She returned to the bedroom.
MICHAEL: Who was that?
Mary smiled, removed her robe and slid into the bed.
MARY: Now, where were we?
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Mary stepped out of the shower and unraveled the towel she’d wrapped around her head. She shook her hair out, grabbed a brush, and began dragging it through her locks. She checked the watch that lay on the bureau then examined herself in the mirror. She smiled at the dozen roses on the bureau. She checked the card again. No name. A smile flickered across her face as she dried herself then pulled on her bathrobe. Her stomach began to rumble. She headed for the kitchen. Walking across the living room Mary was overcome by the brightness of the setting sun. She stopped and looked at the open curtains. There was a smell of cigarette smoke in the air. She did not scream when she saw him.
MICHAEL: You shouldn’t leave your balcony doors unlocked. Anyone could walk in.
Michael sat in a chair in the corner of the room, smoking.
MICHAEL: Don’t worry. I won’t hurt you.
Michael stepped over to the bar.
MARY: You can’t stay here. You shouldn’t be here at all.
MICHAEL: Can I pour you a drink?
MICHAEL: A glass of white wine?
MARY: Why are you here?
Michael reached into the small refrigerator under her bar and took out a half full bottle of wine.
MICHAEL: I chilled some wine I brought. While you were showering.
MARY: I’d appreciate it, Michael, if you’d leave right now! I don’t want to get you into trouble…
Michael returned to the couch, put the two drinks he’d poured on the coffee table and patted the couch beside him.
MICHAEL: I don’t like to drink alone, Mary. They say it’s the first sign of alcoholism. You don’t want me to become an alcoholic, do you?
MARY: I can’t drink.
Mary tightened the straps of her bathrobe.
MARY: I’m expecting someone at any moment. You’d better leave before he shows up.
MICHAEL: Did you like the roses?
MARY: You sent the roses?
MARY: I’m going to call security.
Mary stepped across the room.
MICHAEL: We aren’t going to go through this again, are we?
MARY: Through what?
MICHAEL: Through the offended damsel routine.
MARY: You come sneaking into my apartment and you have the gall to think that this is a date. You must be out of your mind.
MICHAEL: You’re afraid of me.
Mary laughed haughtily.
MARY: Afraid of you?
Mary took a seat in a chair opposite me. She picked up her glass of wine and took a sip.
MARY: You see. I am not afraid.
MICHAEL: God, you are incredibly beautiful. I apologize if I keep repeating myself but when one is in love…
MARY: You are not in love!
MICHAEL: But I am.
Mary began to laugh and threw her hair, still wet, back.
MARY: You are incredible!
MICHAEL: You’re not falling for it then.
Mary shook her head. There was a faint smile on her lips.
MICHAEL: And I rehearsed the speech for hours last night.
MARY: You’re outrageous!
Mary laughed, taking another sip of her wine.
MICHAEL: I know your kind.
MARY: My kind!
MICHAEL: Only child. Born to upper middle class parents in a small university town. Your father is a professor of history. Your mother… runs the bridge club and several charity organizations. You were an A student in college. Anthropology perhaps. Your boyfriend was the quarterback of the football team. The backup to the quarterback. After college your father got you a good job in a small accounting firm but you got bored and decided that journalism might be more exciting. How am I doing?
Mary shook her head.
MARY: My father was the college chaplain and I hate football.
MICHAEL: But you’ve come to despise the safe life and now you want to find out what’s it’s like to make it in the hard cruel world. But, you’re afraid.
MARY: I’m certainly not afraid of you.
MICHAEL: You should be. Perhaps I should go.
Michael put down his drink and rose to leave. As he passed her chair Mary reached out and touched his hand.
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