Archive for March, 2015

Lured Into A Secretive Squad (continued 4)

March 31, 2015 Leave a comment

I didn’t want to do anything to taint the face-to-face meeting with Aileen Schachter. It would look stupid if I was to have flowers and candles on a linen tablecloth. In spite of my actual reason for joining N3, which was to get close the Aileen, I staged the supper as the strategy meeting that she was expecting. My head ached from the effort of coming up with some kind of strategic idea with which to strike back at the Aryan bullies that had beaten Mr. Hahn and raped his daughter.

In the end, I laid out the food on the coffee table between the sofa and the easy chair. We could sit opposite each other, eye-to-eye and try to bounce ideas off of each other. The food was self-serve: cut your own bagel, spread your own cheese. Only the borscht would be heated and served by me. I didn’t put out any beer, wine, or whiskey because I wanted to avoid any suspicions that I had ulterior motives – because I did.

Ms Schachter knocked firmly on my door at exactly the agreed time. I welcomed her, took her coat, and showed her to the living room setting where I gestured her into the easy chair.

“This looks very nice,” she said, looking at the food. She lifted her head and looked around the room. “You have a nice place here.”

“Thank you,” I said and hung her coat in the hall closet. She had a well-worn document case that she carried with her to the chair. She laid the case on the floor against the side of her chair while I sat on the sofa opposite her.

“Do you have any thoughts on how we might avenge the Hahn atrocity,” she said while she sliced a bagel.

“Would you like to have a bowl of borscht first,” I said. “I have boiled potatoes and sour cream to put in it.” She smiled at me with a tolerant expression, like a patient teacher with a misguided student.

“Perhaps later,” Aileen said. “About the Hahns …”

“All I can think of is that we know the identity of one of them, Clark McCracken,” I said, “so we should find the other two through him, somehow.”

“I was thinking the same thing. You knew him didn’t you?” she said.

“Yes, we grew up in the same neighbourhood. We stayed apart though, all through the years. He and his friends and me with my friends just always stayed away from each other. They were tough kids from the working class neighbourhood on the west side of the school. We were from the east side of the school where the families were more entrepreneurial and we had a more luxurious way of life. Not mansions or anything like that, just nice centre hall homes on tree-lined streets with two cars in each driveway.”

“I guess your past knowledge of him can’t help us much, if you’ve always been consciously apart from each other,” said Aileen

“Except that there were things said about him. I can’t be certain they’re true, but you know how things are in high school. Rumours spread through the student body like a flash fire. Maybe we can use blackmail to get some cooperation from him.”

“What do they say he did?” she said.


Lured Into A Secretive Squad (continued 3)

March 26, 2015 Leave a comment

The whole N3 squad as I knew it was at the next meeting. The debriefing was held in front of the whole crew to enable every member to get the full story of the other members’ experiences. I didn’t know it at the time, but we were to get assignments at the end of the debriefing meeting. I thought things were moving a bit recklessly fast, and intended to protest the speed with which things were advancing. Actually, I had never intended to be a guerrilla fighter, and decided to quit.

Before I had a chance to approach Aileen Schachter and tell her I was opting out, she announced that we were to work in teams of two, and she assigned the pairings. In the end, she looked at me like a sergeant looking at a rookie and announced she’d be teaming up with me. Needless to say, I immediately abandoned my plan to quit and dedicated myself to any supportive role Aileen might have for me.

Aileen asked if we could get together the next night at my apartment to plan our own N3 strategy. I stifled my surprise and assured her it would be a good idea. I suggested we have supper together at my place while we develop a strategy to deal with the anti-Semitic activities of the Aryan bullies. She agreed in an off-handed way as if my suggestion was barely worthy of attention. I vowed to myself that she would have a more attentive attitude in the future.

I realized that setting up for a romantic style dinner would not be the right thing to do. I had to present myself as ready to serve N3. I had to develop a genuine passion for the vigilante work of N3 for two reasons: first, I was getting hooked on this unique woman of strength and intelligence, and second, as a Jew, I could fall victim to these anti-Semitic white supremacists. They set themselves up as superior, while in fact they are inferior. If they were actually superior, they could run things the way they want to by actually earning positions of power and influence. Instead, they try to use brute force to gain superiority. That’s the way a primitive, ignorant society might get things done, but when dealing with a guerrilla group of dedicated vigilantes, their technique would have only temporary results.

I was the only one that had known Clark McCracken when we were growing up in the neighbourhood. Aileen asked me if I thought I could do what might be necessary in dealing with the skinhead he’d become.

“I’ll need some help in learning what we can do,” I said. “I’m a writer in an ad agency. I don’t know anything about vigilante warfare.”

“The main thing is to remember that we are not a ‘secret’ organization,” Aileen said. “We are a ‘secretive’ organization.”

“I understand the difference,” I said, somewhat impatient with her addressing me like I was a confused child.

“I’ll be at your place at seven. We can eat – nothing fancy, please – and hammer out a strategy,” said Aileen. She turned and left the room, left me standing there.

I drove to the supermarket while mentally figuring out a menu. I didn’t think to ask if she ate only kosher. No, she must not, I concluded, or she would have made a point of telling me. She also would be unwilling to eat with my dishes and cutlery because they’re not kosher.

I went to the kosher section of the market, just to be sure. Besides, it might be comfortable for Aileen if the meal is ethnically familiar. I bought beet borscht, gefilte fish, sour dill pickles, bagels and dry cottage cheese. For good measure I bought challah bread and headed home, eager to meet with the fascinating Ms Aileen Schachter in private. I wanted to know all about her.

Lured Into A Secretive Squad (continued 2)

March 25, 2015 1 comment

I struggled to stifle my emotions as I sat facing Mr. Hahn. We sat at the kitchen table in the small walk-up apartment over his barber shop. His aged face was bruised and swollen, his eyes blacked and a bandage covered a cut on his forehead. I knew him to be a kindly, timid man and I wondered how much he was suffering internally at the thought of the brutes raping his daughter.

Mr. Hahn was able to give me a rather good description of one of the three suspects because he remembered him from the neighbourhood. He was raised just one block over from Hahn’s barber shop and moved away with his family when he was seventeen.
His name was Clark McCracken and he’d developed into an Aryan warrior between the ages of seventeen and 22. Mr. Hahn did not know the other two offenders, but he did notice that those two committed the rape on Molly, but Clark did not. In fact, he seemed to be trying to discourage his cohorts, claiming that Molly was only fifteen and a shy, well behaved girl. One of the brutes turned to Clark before he pushed his way into Molly’s room.

“Always fuck a Jewess,” he laughed. “Let them see how an uncircumcised dick feels. Once they feel foreskin, they never go back.”

Poor Molly’s father could do nothing to help his daughter. He was sprawled in his barber chair, stunned from the blow to his forehead that was delivered by the barrel of Clark McCracken’s revolver.

“What happened to you, Clark,” Mr. Hahn had said. McCracken looked at the old man.

“I learned what the world is really like,” he said. “It’s a cesspool of greed and power in the hands of you Jews. You’re planning to manipulate all the markets and all the governments to take complete control over society.” Mr. Hahn shook his head slowly.

“As you can see, Clark, I am wealthy and powerful in the same place doing the same thing as I’ve been doing for more than thirty years. Where is my wealth and power?”

“You’re probably sending everything you steal to Israel, for their military leaders.”

I took notes on everything Mr. Hahn told me. He said it would be a few days before I could speak with Molly and Mrs. Hahn. I was not looking forward to it, I can assure you.
I learned that the two rapists had Nazi style tattoos. One had a swastika soaring in the claws of a hawk. The other had an Iron Cross over a broadsword. I thanked Mr. Hahn and he thanked me. I promised to see him again in two days, when I hoped to speak with his wife and daughter.

At home in my hi-rise apartment, I organized my material neatly in preparation for presenting it at a meeting later that night with the N3 group. I was actually eager to see Aileen Schachter again. I was attracted to her by her magnetic, feisty character in such a slight, slender young woman.

I wondered about her background and what had led her to be so fierce in her drive to protect the Jewish community. I decided to look for an opportunity to speak with her one-on-one. I was attracted to her and curious about her – and her connection to the young guy she seemed to go to at the meeting.

Lured Into A Secretive Squad (continued)

March 25, 2015 Leave a comment

I stayed in my office downtown after everyone else had left. I skipped supper and cleaned up some work that had been cluttering up my desk. I left at 6:30 and arrived at the YM-YWHA at 6:55 and went straight to the upstairs meeting room. The ‘Y’ smelled like it always smelled, from humidity and chlorine from the Olympic size pool on the lower level.

I cracked the door to the meeting room open and peered in. There were several people there – two women and four men. Two of the men wore skull caps and all four of them were in their twenties, like I was also. I entered the room. The six people looked up briefly, smiled unenthusiastically and resumed their conversation. I looked around for Aileen but she was not there. I sat at the far end of the room to avoid inhibiting the conversation among the others.

Promptly at seven o’clock the room filled up with people who seemed to be together, arriving from a previous meeting. Aileen was with them. I was unjustly irritated to observe that she appeared to be close with one of the guys that had been there when I arrived.

The meeting was called to order promptly, by Aileen Schachter. She began by introducing me to the group and there was a murmured wave of greetings. Aileen then stood at the head of the room and outlined a plan to identify the Aryan gang that had perpetrated the humiliating, brutal attack on the Hahn family. Mrs. Hahn was healing in a hospital, Molly was getting post-traumatic counselling to deal with the rape, and Mr. Hahn was limping around the shop, scraping the swastika off the front window.

There was an interesting phenomenon as I watched and listened to Aileen as the evening progressed. I knew her to be barely five-foot-two, thin and slight, yet she seemed tall and powerful briefing the group of eighteen people, including me. Aileen gave assignments to each of the eleven men and seven women. I judged the ages of all of us between twenty-five and forty years old.

“Gordon Goldstein,” she said, looking at me. “You know the Hahns well, do you not?”

“I used to. I grew up on the street. Molly was a little girl I knew in the neighbourhood and the Hahns were like extended family to me. I didn’t see them much over the last few years ‘cause I got my career started and moved away.”

“Okay, Gord,” she said, “you’ll interview the Hahns and gather as much information as you can from them. Did they recognize any of the goons? Did the goons say anything interesting? Was there a noticeable scent on them? What kind of tattoos did they have? Things like that. Clear enough?”

“I’m not as dumb as I look,” I said. She pissed me off, talking to me like I was a simpleton.”

“Oh, sorry Gordy. I know how sensitive you creative types can be,” she said.

“I got it clearly,” I said, and immediately left the room.

Lured Into A Secretive Squad

March 24, 2015 Leave a comment

I had moved with my parents out of the old downtown area some years before. In my twenties I was established as a copywriter for a big, American advertising agency. I had my own place and a new car. Although my apartment was only about a mile from the old, working-class neighbourhood of my youth, it was a different world. I had grown into a world of taste and excess.

I scanned the news online as I always do in the morning. I surfed from story to story until I came upon a name I remembered well from my past, about twenty years back. Mister Hahn was a barber in the old neighbourhood. He had given me my first haircut and many more after that. He lived with his wife and daughter in an apartment over his barber shop.

I read that Mister Hahn’s shop had been invaded by a trio of skinhead neo-Nazis. They had raped his daughter, Molly, beat Mister Hahn and his wife mercilessly and painted a swastika on the storefront window of the shop. There was a photograph of the shop with the swastika spray painted on the glass and a yearbook photo of Molly – a very beautiful young woman.

I left the office at eleven that morning and drove down to the old Dennison Avenue neighbourhood to see how Mister Hahn and his family were doing. Molly didn’t want to come out of her bedroom. I don’t blame her. She’d been through Hell at the brutal hands of white supremacists. Two police detectives were interviewing Mr. Hahn. I stood back and watched until they were done. Mrs. Hahn had been taken to a hospital.

A voice at my back surprised me. I turned around to face a lovely young woman, short and slight. A cascade of smooth, black hair framed her tawny face and a pair of almond shaped eyes of electric blue looked into mine with serious intent.

“Do you know Mr. Hahn?” she said.

“Yes,” I said. “He gave me my first haircut when I was a kid. I grew up here. Why?”

“How do you feel about what happened here, and to the daughter?” she said.

“I’m angry and frustrated. Molly is a lovely young woman. She must have suffered terribly.” I said.

“Are you Jewish,” she said.

“I was born Jewish,” I said.

“What’s your name?”
“Gordon Goldstein. What’s your name?” I said.

“Aileen Schachter. Do you wish you could do something about this situation?”

“If I could…,” I said.

“You can,” she said, “if you really want to.”

“How?” I said.

“Have you ever heard of N3,” she said.

“No. What’s N3?”

“Do you know Newton’s third law?”

“Isn’t it something like every action causes an equal opposite reaction, or something like that?” I said.

“Yes,” she said. “To be more exact, for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Our group is dedicated to the protection of and retribution for Jewish victims.”

“And you’re called N3 for that reason,” I said.

“Correct,” she said. “We’re going after the skinheads who did this to the Hahns. Do you want to be part of it?”

“I don’t know. I feel like I’m being recruited,” I said.

“It’s up to you and your own conscience,” she said. “We’ll be meeting tonight at seven in the upstairs meeting room at the downtown YM-YWHA building. I’d like to see you there.”

I knew she was just trying to lure me into her band of vigilantes with her good looks and a hint that it might be worth my while. On the other hand, I had nothing to lose, I would like to get revenge for the victims and maybe I should attend the meeting.

“We’re not a secret group,” she said. “We’re a secretive group.” She went over to where the cop was interviewing Mr. Hahn, got permission to go to Molly and went up to the apartment over the shop with its swastika sprayed onto the storefront window. I returned to my office and contemplated joining N3.

Rants: Execution; Firing Squad; Hijab.

March 12, 2015 Leave a comment

I sometimes wonder if there might be a better way to deal with capital murder convictions than to feed, clothe and house perpetrators for life. I can’t understand what the imprisonment is for. Is it to keep society safe from a known murderer? Is it society’s revenge on law breakers? Is it to rehabilitate the offenders? Whatever it is, it’s a Hell of a burden on law-abiding citizens. Of course we have to do this to avoid the possibility of executing an innocent person.

Suddenly, I realize that the same DNA miracle that has helped release many death row convicts can be used to guarantee that the guilty person is guilty. Therefore, with considerable safety, executions could be reinstated. If a man’s semen is found inside the body of a woman who’s been raped and murdered, you know for sure he did it. Execute him instead of giving him the necessities of life, including health care, library and entertainment for as long as he lives.

Now that we can be comfortable with the idea of executions for capital crimes we can choose the best, sure-fire way to do it. Firing Squad is swift, sure and inexpensive. A special indoor shooting range should be developed, with a comfortable seat for the target and a special garment to deal with the blood.

A squad of six sharpshooters is assembled. Each is issued a rifle that has been prepared for the execution. Three are armed with live rounds; three are armed with live blanks. All six rifles are fired simultaneously on a signal and each marksman can feel that his gun was one of the blanks. The person that gives the rifles to the marksmen is not the person that loads the rifles. Therefore, it’s totally by chance which marksmen have live rounds.

Now I have a change of pace. Muslim women wearing face covering is their religious right. I think the mask-like garment is called a hijab. It seems to me something like the dietary laws of Jews and Muslims and others to avoid eating the meat of pigs. In the case of the hijab, the Canadian Government wants to see the faces of females being sworn into Canada as citizens. My burning question is: would a woman be struck by lightning if she showed her face for the few minutes out of her life to enter into this life altering commitment? Why argue? Drop the veil for a few minutes, and then put it back for the rest of your life. What’s the big deal?

Some time ago the Seinfeld Show did an episode wherein a girl who has eaten only kosher food all her life is accidentally fed an omelette with forbidden lobster meat in it. Totally not kosher. Now, is that young woman cursed for life because of one tainted breakfast? Can’t she just be kosher again for the rest of her life? Can’t the Muslim woman just pin the mask back in place and be ‘kosher’ (as it were) for the rest of her life?
It’s all really silly to me, because I’m an atheist and feel certain there is no god. I respect that these rituals are important to these religious people. I just wonder if it’s really worth the burden for one little infraction that is not at all permanent. Truth is, an hour later it’s like it never happened and was never done.

Categories: culture, life, writing Tags: , ,

Rich Boy Poor, Poor Boy Rich

March 8, 2015 Leave a comment

You might come from a family of down-to-earth working folks. You probably grew up in a comfortable home, a good car in the driveway, fresh clothes and lots of good food. You would probably be satisfied with this level of comfort while growing through your teens. Later, you could plan to rise higher than your parents have managed to get and actually become very wealthy.

You might come from a well-off family. A large, comfortable home on a spacious suburban lot with a new car for each licensed member of the family. There might have been a summer home on a clean, clear lake with a motorboat for each member of the family. You might have enjoyed a broad, shaded lawn and a small sailboat if ever you felt like sailing. The family might have had a membership in a large, luxurious, private country club. You might have indulged in trips to luxury seaside hotels in Miami Beach every winter, with separate rooms for each member of the family. That might be what your life is like.

It’s easy to imagine the poor boy aspiring to a life of wealth, influence and luxury. Not so logical would be the ambition of the rich boy aspiring to a life of rural simplicity and hands-on labour. I know two boys who were trusted friends to each other over many decades. They shared a love of many everyday things, a few special things, and mainly truth and trust that they relied upon in each other.

Through several business enterprises together, no documentation was ever required. They agreed on equal shares verbally, and that’s all that was ever required. Their mutual interest in auto racing kept them in almost constant contact, even as the poor boy grew increasingly wealthy and powerful. At the same time, the rich boy gradually disentangled himself from family obligations and commitments to make headway in his aspiration for a simpler, perhaps more sincere way of life.

In the end, the poor boy became tremendously wealthy, engaged in world travel and motor racing. The rich boy moved to a rustic cabin in a vast hardwood forest on the side of a mountain. There was no contact for four years while the formerly rich boy waited for some sort of telephone or internet connection. When the lines finally came through into the forest, the poor boy, now rich and the rich boy, now poor, returned to their daily conversations. Nothing had changed.

The formerly poor boy is aware that he is now experiencing all the things that the formerly rich boy had already experienced, including the auto racing. The strong links and shared memories over the span of decades is what hold them together. Each is comfortable and understanding of the others’ chosen way of life.

Each has found success. The now rich man heads several powerful corporations and the now poor man is enjoying life as a writer and illustrator. On it goes.