Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Obama Can't Investigate Bush

An investigation of the crimes of the Bush Administration would expose the decay that permeates the entire U.S. system. The rot pervades the political, economic, social and cultural institutions.

Currently, the Republican philosophy is the dominant U.S. philosophy. The Democrat Party exists solely to provide the illusion of choice. Essentially, the U.S. has a one-party political system. The two parties vary no more than a coat change in the middle of winter.

If one of the primary parties is destroyed, Americans might demand a second party. That second party could actually challenge the current structure, which is no different than a feudal noble-peasant system. Today, a few Americans enjoy exorbitant wealth and privilege, while the rest live in destitution or on the brink of it and one step away from incarceration. One arbitrary decision by a corporate executive or other member of the ruling class could dump any peasant into poverty.

The current political balance is praised by neo-conservatives as “The End of History.” Margaret Thatcher made “TINA” a frequent element in her speeches. “TINA” is the acronym for “There is no alternative,” a phrase authored by neo-conservative Francis Fukuyama in his book “The End of History.” Thatcher and Ronald Reagan were convinced that the natural instincts and behaviors of people meshed with the capitalist economic system creating a harmony with security and order.

To get the people to accept a wealthy and privileged class, it is necessary to create a diversion. The two party illusion controls the debate so critical to the preservation of their system. The two parties confront each other over trivial and insignificant matters to divert attention from critical issues. The media are a critical part of the conspiracy. For instance, George Bush said Saddam Hussein expelled the weapons inspectors in 1998. In reality, they left after President Clinton warned them that the U.S. and U.K. were planning a massive strike against Iraq. Neither the “opposition party” nor the media corrected this well-documented lie that was one of the justifications for the invasion in March 2003. The public had forgotten the event and trusted those other sources to inform them of any contradictions.

If our political system were like a shack on four stilts, two of those stilts have been removed by Bush and Cheney. Prosecution of Bush and his officials for their numerous hideous crimes, treachery, subversion and treason, would destabilize a third stilt and the whole structure would collapse.

In America, subverting the Constitution and committing genocide is excusable. Fondling an intern is not.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Chapter 1

County Fair/Susan/Wayne

“Which prize do you want?” the middle-aged lady wearing an oversized, soiled, muslin apron asked.
          The question baffled Scot.  “What do you mean?” he asked.
          “You sank four baskets in a row,” she responded nonchalantly.  “You won a prize.”
          “What are my choices?” Scot asked, still bewildered but looking for the wall displaying the cheapest prizes.
          “Anything in the house,” the lady responded as if completely bored with her job.
          Scot looked around the booth.  There were giant Teddy Bears in the brightest, most grotesque colors imaginable.  There were numerous smaller, plastic prizes of every color and shape, mostly of indeterminable use.  There were appliances such as mixers and toasters that a husband could win for his wife.  Scot wasn’t about to carry a giant Teddy Bear around for the rest of the day even though it would be public testament to his outstanding athletic abilities.  Those were for girls to carry around as proof that their man was a macho survivor that could provide for her in the most primitive or desperate conditions.
           Then Scot spied a hunting knife among the smaller items on display. The knife was in a decorated leather case with what appeared to be an ivory handle.  There was no doubt in his mind that this was the only prize for him among hundreds that had both beauty and utility.
          “I’ll take the hunting knife,” he told the lady, half expecting to be told that it was not available as a prize.  She took it down from the wall and handed it to him.  It was heavy.  It was not some cheap toy made of tin and plastic.  The fancy handle appeared to be made of ivory rather than plastic.  Scot’s neighbor Fred Enfield called plastic the capitalist’s gold.  It could be polished and painted any color to be shiny and very appealing.  Then it would break within a couple months and need to be replaced.  It’s the perfect planned obsolescence material, Fred claimed.
          Scot admired his prize for several minutes before he remembered where he was and what he was doing.  Wayne, who stood by silently during the entire exchange, now spoke admiringly of the knife in barely disguised envy.
Wayne, a star basketball player for the Warren Rabbits, a rival high school, had suggested they try the basketball booth feeling certain that he would outperform anyone there that night.  Most of all, he wanted to impress Susan, a blond reserve cheerleader at Scot’s high school who had joined them in their stroll around the fairgrounds.
The basketball competition didn’t go as planned.  The basket rims at the carnival booths are much smaller than regulation baskets.  The balls also are smaller, cheaply constructed and not well balanced.  Scot couldn’t prove it, but he suspected the height of the basket did not conform to National Basketball Association regulations.  Wayne didn’t compensate for the difference until it was too late.  He missed the first two of four basket attempts.  Still, he felt confident that he would score more than anyone else.
“This must be the luckiest day in your life,” Wayne said to Scot.  “I can’t believe you scored four out of four in those small hoops.  How did you manage to do it?  Have you ever played before?”  He knew Scot was not on his high school basketball team.
“A little bit around home,” Scot said modestly, but proudly.  “I have an outdoor basketball court in my back yard.”
“Why aren’t you on the High School team?” Wayne asked. “You seem to be good enough.”
Scot wanted to tell some elaborate tale, including the divine intervention of the gods, to test the gullibility of his friend.  He couldn’t come up with one on the spur of the moment. so he decided to tell the truth.  “I had some geographical barriers that I couldn’t overcome.  I wasn’t even able to try out.  I lived a couple miles outside the city in a rural community and had no way to get home other than the school bus.  It was nearly impossible for me to stay late to practice with the team.  I have no idea how I compared to other players.  We played basketball sometimes in gym class.  I did well there.  The varsity basketball coach saw me play one day and asked why I hadn’t tried out.  I explained my difficulty getting home.  I could ride my bicycle but that would be nearly impossible in the Winter, the basketball season.  He promised to find me a ride.  I never heard from him again.  I must not have been that impressive.”
One of the advantages of life in a rural community is abundant room for a personal basketball court.  Scot’s dad built a court for Scot and his brother.  It was a solid basket on a pole the electric company had discarded.  The pole was sunk several feed into the ground.  Scot and his brother and kids from the neighborhood spent numerous hours playing against each other, or just shooting baskets when no one else was around.
One day when Scot was shooting baskets by himself as he frequently did, he realized that the instant the ball rolled off his finger tips, he knew if it would score or not.  How could that be? How was it possible that anyone could score a basket other than through random chance?  Shouldn’t mathematical geniuses be better at basketball than ill-educated kids from the other side of the track?  It fact, it was just the opposite at his high school.  For a ball to go through a hoop about twice its size from several feet away more often than randomly was a logical mystery to Scot.  Some players rarely missed no matter how far away they were from the basket or if they shot a jump shot, hook shot or foul shot.  Even while moving, they could jump, shoot and have it go in more often than most people could while standing still.  Most had no math abilities, but they could score nearly every time.  One player in a neighboring community rarely missed.  He also was raised in a rural community.  He had access to a farmer’s barn that had a basketball backboard on a vertical beam in the center.  He was able to practice in the Winter as well as in the Summer.
For a basketball to pass through a hoop that is practically parallel to the shooter—regulation calls for the hoop to be ten feet above the ground--the shooter must calculate his distance from the basket, calculate the arc to the basket, calculate the amount of force needed to attain and sustain that arc and distance with no more that an inch or two variance along the entire arc.  Given all those variables and obstacles, it should be a miracle anytime a regulation basketball passes through a regulation hoop.  Logically, most high school and college competitions should end with scores in the single digits, like hockey.  If a basketball shooter stood motionless carefully calculating all the variables necessary to score, each shot would take several minutes.  It doesn’t.  How do all of those calculations take place so quickly and so accurately?  How could a mind that can barely add two and two and have no idea what an arc is, do all those complicated calculations so quickly and accurately?
Early in life, Scot recognized that there is a mysterious self with awesome powers inside all of us.  It is too amazing for mere mortals at our stage of evolution to understand, he decided, but it had something to do with repetition. The answer lies in the construction of the brain according to some of the reading he had done on the subject.  To do those sophisticated calculations so quickly, the brain must bypass the cognitive and analytical sectors that do that kind of calculation for a mathematics, science or engineering student.  The mind must have something like a miniature computer that coordinates and executes all the variables.
Wayne and Scot discussed their personal techniques for playing the game. While there definitely is a best way, variations can be adopted to fit personal weaknesses and emphasize individual strengths. Both, through thousands of repetitions, had internalized the process of launching a ball through the air and landing it in a precise spot limited only by the strength of the person throwing the ball.  Then, performance was superior by enabling the subconscious amygdala to do the calculations.  The amygdala is our ancient animal brain that is responsible for us surviving 600 million years of evolution.  It’s the size of an almond, and follows a simple natural law according to Charles Darwin: preservation and perpetuation of the species.  Being the first part of the brain to receive signals from the five senses, the amygdala is most capable of rapid responses such as jerking a hand away from a hot stove.  It’s natural task no doubt is for survival and reproduction.  It had to move quickly to catch its meal or escape quickly from being a meal.  It also serves as a gateway allowing or restricting information flows to other parts of the brain.
Wayne and Scot never learned this information in any class.  Most, if not all, teachers were unaware of it.  Scot’s repetitions varied slightly from Wayne’s, they discovered in their discussions.  Wayne shot in the general direction of the center of the basket.  Scot picked a precise point in the back of the basket, three inches below the rim.  Consequently, the smaller basket in the carnival booth deflected most of Wayne’s shots until he compensated for the difference.
Wayne‘s goal that day was to impress Susan.  Scot’s goal was to beat Wayne at a game at which Wayne excelled.  Scot got a nice hunting knife he never dreamed of getting.  And he got the girl.
Although she was a cheerleader for basketball and football games, Susan seemed to avoid athletes in her social life.   She preferred the more cerebral type.  She obviously enjoyed Scot’s company and sought it out, but he was uncertain whether or not she wanted a relationship beyond friendship. Consequently, he didn’t pursue a more intimate relationship initially.  Their associations were mostly chance, he believed.
“Will you be around here for a few minutes?”  Susan asked.  I need to run to the restroom.”
“Sure,” Scot responded in his usual polite manner.  Susan had attached herself to them.  That might cramp his style if they encountered a particularly attractive girl, but he would never deliberately do anything to hurt someone’s feelings.
“She is so gorgeous,” Wayne said watching her trim, budding body walking away, in a slightly unnatural gait deliberately acquired after years of rehearsal.  Her long blond hair waved right then left with each footstep in a bodily rhythm that was calculated to draw attention.  “You’re lucky at more than basketball.”
Not sure whether to take the comment as a compliment or insult, Scot stopped himself from admitting he had no intimate relationship with her.  “She’s highly intelligent, too,” he added.  “Probably one of the most perfect, talented girls in our school.   She can do anything she sets her mind to do. I suspect she will be a doctor someday.”
Scot wondered if he had exaggerated too much.  The American Medical Association accepted few women in medical schools.  Their place was nursing.  In fact, minorities of all types were rejected by the AMA.  It was widely accepted that only white males were capable of complex medical procedures.
Susan was walking back toward them.  She raised her long skirt a couple times to prevent it from dragging in the puddles that dotted the unpaved fairground roads.  She seemed to raise the hem far higher than needed in a playful effort to attract attention.  Parts of her pale, white legs flashed ever so slightly as the skirt swung left and right like a metronome in reaction to her sprightly stride.
Scot suddenly saw Susan through Wayne’s eyes.  Everything about her was common.  Her forehead, eyes, nose, lips, chin, ears, all were the common size and shape for someone her size.  Her one flaw was her pale skin.  
Italian girls had the perfect skin color, Scot believed.  There was a large Italian population in the town.  Italians had migrated there for jobs in the steel mills.  They were the second largest ethnic group in the community.  The Italian girls had that smooth, olive skin and long, thick, black hair.  In Scots mind, those were highly desired qualities in his ideal girl friend.
After Wayne’s remarks, Scot felt he should reconsider his judgements about Susan.  She was very attractive, he now noticed.  Everything about her was feminine.  She had a trim waist.  Her breasts appeared to be adequate under her bulky sweater.  He had caught glimpses of her legs several times when she shifted her sitting position, or raised her skirt to avoid dust and mud on the ground.  He had seen her numerous times in her cheerleading uniform, which consisted of a very short skirt revealing her entire legs up to the crotch.  For some reason, flashes of her legs under a long skirt were more alluring.
Scot had one reservation about the Italian girls.  He couldn’t recall seeing a middle-aged or older Italian woman who was not pudgy, wrinkly and short.  So he constantly reassessed his preferences in the opposite sex factoring in short term or long-term relationships and, ultimately of course, marriage.  For now, they would be his center of attention.  


Fred Enfield

Fred loved driving over the rolling hills of Eastern Ohio.  A studious person who spent most of his time buried in books, it was an opportunity to emerge from the world crafted by the imaginations of authors and view and marvel at the real world of nature.  It seemed to reinforce his deeply-held religious views which were challenged so often by writers he just finished reading.  No matter what scientific evidence they presented, there always was the question of who created that evidence.  Fred triumphantly exclaimed that it was just another proof of the existence of God.
Fred drove past many farms that were a major source of income for his little neighborhood.  If he saw anyone, it was almost certain that he knew that person.  He would wave.  They would wave back then resume the never ending chores that occupied their time six days per week.  With luck, he would encounter one or more people idly engaged in chatter or solo ruminations.  That was considered an invitation to stop and "be neighborly."  Sooner or later, everyone needed help in some endeavor of construction or repair.  It was unthinkable to hire some business to do it.
Fred arrived at a crossroads.  On two corners there was farmland.  On the third there was undeveloped land.  Weeds of numerous sizes grew freely.  Trees ranged from tiny sumac to medium-sized wild cherry and hickory to large oak.  On the fourth corner sat a small, one-story, shingled house.  Fred concluded that this corner was a microcosm of the township.
Fred had spent many hours at the house.  Most of those were discussions with his classmate Scot McCormack.  Scott was naive, typical of residents of the area.  He was a good sounding board for Fred's new ideas derived from his latest readings.
As luck would have it, Fred spotted someone shooting baskets in the back yard.  It had to be Scot or his brother.  Fred drove slowly toward the driveway.  When he ascertained that it was Scot, he turned into the driveway that gave access to a detached two-car garage.  The driveway also served as a floor for a basketball court.  It was made of bricks and covered an area large enough to accommodate six or seven cars.

Scot watched the dark hood of a vehicle creep into view from behind the gray cement block garage walls.  The car was familiar.  It was the car of a Jehovah’s Witnesses family that lived about a mile away.  It was a dark blue Chevrolet, the modest type that members of the religion preferred.  Usually the appearance of a Jehovah’s Witness sparks an urge to scatter and hide.  For Scot, the impulse was the exact opposite.  It was an opportunity to enjoy an exotic discussion with one of his best friends.
          “Afternoon Scot,” said the driver as he exited the old, boxy vehicle. He was dressed in jeans and a short-sleeved sports shirt.  He didn’t wear a cap unlike most other teenagers at that time.  He was stocky and muscular and about 5’ 7” tall.
          “Hey Fred,” Scot responded in the local vernacular.  “How’s the family?”
          “Fine.  Yours.”
          “Couldn’t be better.”
          “Come. Sit down. Take a load off,” Scot invited, gesturing toward a cushioned chair on the porch.  The porch stretched the length of the south side of the house providing an abundance of room that could accommodate numerous people.  Porch gatherings were a common pastime in the community.  Gregarious people made sure they had a long porch that was enticing and could hold a lot of people.  The local people seldom arranged a visit.  They drove by, and if they saw someone sitting on or standing near the porch, that was considered to be an invitation to visit.
          The spontaneous stop by was quaint now, but later it would annoy Scot to no end, especially when he was in college.  He hated when friends from home made surprise visits to his college dormitory and expected him to drop everything and entertain them.  The habit was particularly aggravating when Scot had a new date arranged or was cramming for tests.  Fred in particular had an uncanny way of appearing at the most inopportune times. Maybe it was his Jehovah’s Witnesses training that intuitively told him when someone was most likely at home.  The unannounced visit had the advantage for the religious proselytizers that the target was caught off guard and didn’t have time to collect his or her thoughts and mount some type of defense or escape.  
The sun left few shadows on the open porch indicating the time of day to be late afternoon.  Fred sat down then shifted until the sun was not shining directly into his eyes.  He was uncommonly dark skinned, and had thick, coal-black hair.  He stood out in an otherwise light-skinned, rural community.  Scot’s family members were light-skinned, and most had blond or red hair.  Fred had a serious look on his face, which seemed to be permanent.  Scot couldn’t remember ever hearing him laugh or seeing him smile for that matter.  Fred seemed to believe he was carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders.  He had an uncommon interest in politics for someone who was too young to vote and a member of a religion that particularly distrusted governments and didn’t vote as far as he knew.  That in itself was unusual because politics were a taboo topic.  Never discuss politics, sex or religion, the adults often said.  Fred seemed to think he could talk to Scot about these forbidden topics, or politics, at least.  Nonetheless, he always made small talk and discussed several other topics first.  Politics always appeared to come up almost as a segue, but invariably, they came up.
          Neither Fred nor his family members ever tried to proselytize their religion, as far as Scot knew.  At least the subject never came up when the youngsters were around.  Fred’s political discourses never mentioned religion but usually included serious moralizing.
          Fred scanned the backyard.  He spotted the horseshoe pits.  “Interested in a game of horseshoes?” Fred asked.  Rural life had the advantages of abundant room for sports, but the disadvantage of a lack of players sufficient to form teams.  Consequently, rural residents had to settle for games such as horseshoes that require fewer players.  Basketball was an anomaly.  One person could shoot baskets and become proficient at the sport.  To play competitively, he had to have access to a larger community.
The nation’s top scorer in college basketball grew up in this community.  He held the record of over 100 points in a single college game.  He had played outside in the summer with a couple friends.  In the winter, a local farmer allowed him and his friends to use his barn for practice.  Able to practice 12 months out of the year, he was able to hone his basketball talents to perfection.  The farm boys had this advantage over the city boys.  Consequently, they were disproportionately represented on the high school’s basketball teams.
As with authors in Ireland, opera singers in Italy, artists in France and ballet dancers in Russia, the national pride in the arts or athletics attracted more people to attempt to master that art.  In this community, basketball was the sole pursuit in which someone had a chance of excelling nationally or globally.  
          No one from the community ever excelled at horse shoes, to Scot’s knowledge, but it had the appeal that it required only two or more people to play and required only a small area and simple equipment to set up.
Scot’s horseshoe course was constructed to meet professional standards, but lacked the clay pits required in formal competition.  The pegs and shoes were competition grade.  His father had built square wooden forms around the pits.   The wooden frame contained most of the dirt kicked up each time a shoe struck the dirt surface with the cleats in the down position.  If the dirt were dampened correctly, most of it stayed inside the wooden forms.
          “I’m gonna beat you this time,” Fred asserted.  He knew he had no chance of winning.  Scot had constant access to the game and practiced regularly.  He was far more proficient than his visitor.  Often he went out and threw horseshoes alone for hours at a time.  He found it to be therapeutic, and facilitated hashing over ideas his young mind was attempting to sort out.
          “You go first,” Scot offered graciously as they rose and walked toward the pit.
          “Give me a few practice rounds,” Fred requested.  He took all of the shoes which were painted gold or silver to distinguish the teams.
          Scot watched as Fred grasped the center of the back of the u-shaped shoe.  There was a nub there that offered an extra, firmer grasp. Fred threw the shoe putting a backward flip and spin on it.  The shoe went far too high to form a proper arc and landed several feet short of the wooden frame.  Fred threw eight shoes before getting one inside the frame.  None approached the peg in the center of the pit.  None came close to scoring a point.  The beauty of horseshoes is that close can count.  The old adage “close only counts in horse shoes” is true.  If a shoe is within the width of the shoe on the gap side, it is one point.  If it leans against the peg, it is two points.  If it completely surrounds the peg, it’s a ringer and the thrower gets three points.  The first person to get 21 points wins.  Scot wondered why 21 was a winning score in so many games, but never got around to looking it up or asking.  The odd number obviously was necessary to avoid ties.
          “I’m ready for you now,” Fred challenged after he got a second shoe in the box.  Neither fell in the “close” zone.  His next four shoes failed to score.  Scot threw his shoes with minimum concentration, not wanting to humiliate his friend.
“Your throwing method is highly flawed, I hate to tell you,”  Fred told Scot, a hint of mockery in his tone.  “You hold the shoe by the right side near the open end, then throw it with a horizontal spin.  That means the shoe is open to circle the peg no more than 25% of the time.  You’re eliminating 75% of your possible ringers.”
Unlike Fred’s throws, Scot’s spin was horizontal and clockwise.  It was a counter intuitive form.  That throwing style made a “ringer” unlikely.  The rest of the time, even if the throw distance and height were accurate, the shoe would hit the peg with one of the three metal sides and bounce off the peg.  That created a huge disadvantage for anyone who used that method.  It gulled Fred to no end, since he had never beaten Scot at the game.  A slight advantage, Scot claimed, was that the swing took the horseshoe past his leg when the shoe was vertical to the ground.  The 90 degree twist of the hand just before the release to change the shoe to the horizontal position merely compensated for that advantage.  Scot told Fred and most of his competitors that he used the seemingly awkward form to handicap himself and make the game more equal and interesting.  In reality, having the shoe parallel to the body during the swing, allowed the body to stay more erect. That meant less need for compensation and allowed the momentum of the swing to stay aligned directly with the peg.
          Fred didn’t buy that argument.  He chalked up the losses to more practice and more luck by his opponent.
          After three straight losses, Fred called it quits.  “I need a glass of water,” he said as an excuse to end the humiliation and frustration.
          They returned to the porch to rest, not that the game is that demanding.  Fred returned to the chair he previously occupied.  Scot went into the house and retuned a couple minutes later with two glasses of water, both half full of ice cubes.
“What’s your secret for playing horse shoes?”  Fred asked.  He was more than a little annoyed at his humiliating loss.
“I call it the weight instinct,” Scot said in a hushed tone implying it was a closely guarded secret.  “You know how you prepare to pick up an object, and when you actually attempt to do it, you find, to your surprise, that it’s much heavier or lighter than you had expected?  Your mind calculated the amount of energy needed for the task, but the actual weight was far different.  You must reassess the task and reallocate the amount of energy, and usually the angle of the body to get the best leverage.  That’s true for sports.  Your mind can do the calculation of energy to expend and leverage of the body muscles needed to carry out the task.  The secret is to use that mental calculator and let it do the job.  The more precise the demand, the more accurate the mental calculator will be.  In horseshoes, you concentrate not just on the pole, but on a precise pin point on the pole.  Then let the mental calculator do the computations.  It takes hundreds if not thousands of practice attempts to fine tune the calculator for that task.  Once it is honed precisely, you rarely will miss.  Pick a sport and try it.”  
          “What’s the next big flash point in world affairs?” Scot asked, certain that was the topic uppermost in Fred’s mind and the main reason for his visit.
          “I think it will be Indochina,” Fred responded without hesitation, as if he had rehearsed the discussion he wanted to have.  “The West can’t allow a victory over one of its members to stand.  What if every nation decided it could oppose the European colonial nations?  They would demand fair compensation for their resources, and evacuation of the remaining colonies.  The West wouldn’t have cheap goods any longer, and poverty would move from the colonies to the colonizers.   The newly poor people of the colonizing nations would topple their governments and rulers and replace them with entirely new forms of government, possibly socialist or even communist as happened in Tsarist Russia.”
          “I though the Munich Treaty resolved that matter,” Scot said.
          “Treaty of Paris,” corrected Fred.  “Eisenhower already has violated that agreement.  If an election had been allowed, Ho Chi Minh would have won by a landslide.  The U.S. can’t allow communists to win elections.  That would undermine capitalism if people began to believe there was a better or preferred alternative.  So it installs dictatorships but calls them democracies.
”The U.S. is following the same erroneous path it took in Korea.  It’s as if Americans are unable to learn from experience.  Our leaders keep retuning to the same poisoned well and drinking anew.  In Korea, the U.S. went beyond the agreements and placed its own puppets in power in the South.  Then it had its puppets refuse to hold elections, exactly as it  did later in Vietnam.  The result was a brutal war in Korea with over a million dying including over 25,000 Americans.  They died for nothing.  Our leaders have no concern for the lives of ordinary people, in other nations or their own.  One advantage, however, is that the world witnesses that you have mindless citizens who will go and die for no valid reason, for reasons contrary to their own well-being.  That alone instils fear in potential competitors or resistors.”
          “Are you saying the U.S. Government opposed a democratic election?” Scot asked incredulously with audible irritation and no small amount of scorn.  Accusing his nation of anything less than noble intentions annoyed Scot even if it came from a friend, albeit somewhat disturbed and likely misguided friend.  He was entertained by Fred’s observations.  He never had been able to disprove any of his facts, but he was sure many of the conclusions were wrong.  He felt it in his gut.
          “The U.S. Government opposes democratic elections here in this country also,” Fred added matter-of-factly.  “If the government wants to control another nation, it’s much easier to bribe one dictator than the majority of members of a legislature or parliament.  Internationally, we support as many dictatorships as democracies.  The Government hates democracy.  Always has.  The word democracy appears nowhere in the Constitution.  Even the Founding Fathers distrusted anyone who was not a white, male landowner to make responsible political decisions such as voting.  They believed anarchy would result if all adults could vote. The government we have today could be called an aristocracy, plutocracy, oligarchy, polyarchy, kleptocracy, blachocracy or several other political titles, but it does not meet the definition of democracy.
”Our government’s plan could be called ‘Return to the Plantation.’  It only grudgingly gave up the plantations in the first place.  That was out of fear of being the victim of a revolution like those sweeping Europe.  After WW II, our secret rulers decided the time was right to reestablish the plantation.  People were in shock after two world wars.  They were open to change.  Propaganda had been refined and perfected.  Now they could gift wrap the plantation in new terms and sell it back to the majority of the American people.”
          Scot felt anger welling up inside him and momentarily considered asking Fred to leave after that treasonous remark.  However, he enjoyed Fred’s ramblings, and wanted to see where his argument was going.  Scot concluded that Fred saw things from the perspective of his religion, which detested wars and distrusted governments.  He was trying to find faults with both.  Scot wasn’t sure exactly what the Jehovah’s Witnesses really stood for.  In fact, he wasn’t even sure what they did to survive.  Fred’s dad worked at the steel mill, Scot knew, but he had no idea where any of the other Jehovah’s Witnesses’ parents worked.  He always thought they roamed from door to door discussing the Bible, or tried to corner someone into a religious discussion, then disappeared for several weeks.  He wondered why they didn’t just make cold calls and say something like:

Hello friend. My name is John Baptist.  I am calling you because I am concerned that our community is retreating into isolation.  I believe we need more social interaction, more events to form a feeling of togetherness.  Studies have shown that an interactive community is a healthier community.  Just let me know when you have some spare time, and we can get together to discuss our interests, the future, sports, fishing, the Bible, schools, community leaders and whatever else interests you.

          It seemed wasteful and inefficient to roam the neighborhood for hours in the hopes of finding someone at home.  The tell tale Bible in their hands was a dead giveaway revealing who was at the door.  People who were at home might not even be in the mood for a Bible discussion.  His parents told him they were unrealistic idealists, and that was good enough for him.
Their fathers had grown up together.  Fred’s father served in the army during WW II, so he must have converted sometime after that war.  Scot assumed Fred’s mother did all the proselytizing.  Perhaps she converted her husband to the religion.
Steel Mill workers were the elite in that area.  They looked down on workers of the other industries.  Other workers were envious of steel workers although few would admit it.  Pottery was the second largest employer.  The local politicians claimed the area was the pottery capital of the world.  Steel mill support industries such as refractories that made the bricks that could sustain the heat needed to melt steel also were lower-class.  The bricks and the pottery came from the same clay but that was too diverse for the brick workers to be accepted as equals by the steel workers.  The refractory workers looked down on the pottery workers.  The nation may have claimed to be egalitarian, but people were determined to create classes or social substrata.
Scot’s father worked at a refractory most of his life.  Locally, it was referred to as “The Brick Yard.”  That was the source of the large brick apron/basketball court outside the garage.  He had hauled a couple dozen bricks home in the trunk of his car many nights after work for several years until he had enough to build the apron.  He paid due deference to his steel worker superiors, most of whom had the same rearing and schooling and were his childhood friends.  Many were his relatives.  In private, he often mused about a steelworker’s career.  He had worked in coal mines, the bottom of the social ladder.  Scot remembered seeing his father come home from work late at night with a completely black face.  In the morning it would be completely white like the rest of the family.  His advancement to the Brick Yard career included higher pay plus a shower at the end of the day.  He seemed to value the shower as much as the increased pay.
Scot was four years old the day he saw a real black person for the first time.  He, his mother and younger brother were taking a train to grandma’s house when, about half way, the train stopped and several black faced people got on the train.  Two of them sat down in the seat behind Scot’s.  Scot and his younger brother turned around to ask the new boarders if they were coal miners and reveal to the other passengers how worldly and wise they were that they could identify someone’s occupation.  For some unfathomable reason, his mother interrupted that exchange.  She assumed her threatening voice which was low and out of the corner of her mouth.
"Turn around!" she commanded.  It took four more threats before the boys decided they shouldn't press their luck.  They returned to their boring, upright positions on the seat and looked straight ahead.
The black-faced people were smiling from ear to ear and enjoying the banter and confusion of the youngsters.  The mother’s attempts at intervention seemed out of line to the boys but was highly entertaining to the new passengers.  
          “A nobility runs this nation,” Fred continued matter-of-factly.  “The government serves the nobility.  The government’s primary job is to keep average people frightened, superstitious, ignorant and believing class divisions exist only among the classes below them.   Once a person accepts a lower class existence, that opens the door to a class existing above that person.   When it comes to great wealth, they’re told there are no class conflicts or clashes.  The wealth difference indicates that those who worked the hardest and were the most innovative deserve and get rewarded more.  Anyone can attain great wealth and prestige in the United States of America.
“In reality, there’s a need to provoke friction among the lower classes.  We have a Constitution, but there’s an unwritten law that trumps all other laws: Corporations are entitled to large profits."
"Look at how far we've progressed from the plantations that dominated the economy in the first century of this nation," Scott pointed out, coming to the defense of his nation.  He was making an effort to present himself as aware of the history of the US, even though he hated that subject is school.
Fred looked at Scot.  Like almost all of his classmates, he had found his host to be greatly misinformed and, even more, uninformed about his own nation.  He decided this is a good opportunity to test his own debating skills.
"Actually plantations enslaved the persons body.  The corporations enslaved the person's mind," Fred asserted.  "Once you have enslaved a persons mind, you also have enslaved his body.  Corporation slavery is far superior in the minds of the ruling class.  You don't need to worry about runaway workers.  You don't need guards constantly to protect you against worker uprisings.  You don't need to attend an auction to buy your workers.  They come to you.  When a worker becomes unproductive, you don't have any obligation to provide him with care.  You just dumped him out into the street.  Then you can threaten remaining workers with replacement by one of those living in the streets to get more production out of current workers."
          Fred could have made more arguments for the benefit of corporate wage slavery over plantation slave ownership, but he noticed Scot seemed to be puzzled over what he already had heard.  Smug in the confidence of his arguments, Fred looked at Scott waiting for his response
That diatribe was counter to everything Scot had been told in school, church and at home.  He launched his counteroffensive:  “In America, anyone can rise to the top, become rich and accomplish great things including becoming a member of your nobility.”
          “Rarely does a poor person succeed,” Fred countered.  The wealthy people support each other.  Money marries money.  A stratified society is as normal as breathing.  It’s a natural instinct that is common among animals and insects.  That way, the strongest and most adaptable survive.  Humans differ in that they are capable of manipulating that instinct.  It serves the nobility’s interests for a few lower class people to rise to the top.  They can claim there is class mobility when it barely exists in reality.”
          Scot thought about Fred’s statements.  He wondered where he got all of his information.  When he was in elementary school, his parents visited Fred’s parents frequently.  Fred’s dad had been a barber at one time and frequently cut the hair of Scot and his brother.  They hated getting their hair cut by him because he was very rough.  He also was rough when he played with his own kids.  He liked to bite their ears until they screamed.  Scot wondered if highly religious kids were so humble and obedient to avoid getting their ears bitten by their parents.    
Before television ownership became common, visiting other people in their homes was the primary form of entertainment in that community.  Scot couldn’t recall a single time that Fred’s parents visited Scot’s parents.  Probably they were afraid they would automatically begin proselytizing.  Fred’s parents showed no sign of exceptional intelligence.  He never saw any books laying around.  He could have asked Fred what his source of information was, but he seldom did.  Jehovah’s Witnesses found an answer for everything in their Bibles.  They considered that the ultimate proof that ended the discussion.
Fred had seemingly unlimited opinions about politics.  “Money marries money,” was one of several statements Fred quoted frequently.  That statement frequently concluded Fred’s political arguments.
“‘Might makes right’ is the only rule our leaders follow,” Fred said repeating his second most common observation.
Another favorite statement was that “There’s not a dimes worth of difference between the Democrat and Republican Parties.  The sole purpose of the Democratic Party is to give the illusion of choice.”
“Both parties believe the majority of Americans are at the mental, moral and maturity level of an infant. Both parties try to keep the people in a state of tension.  They’re much easier to control under those circumstances,” Fred claimed.  “When threats abound, real or imagined, people desire to band together to form a larger defensive unit.  Their mental attitude is no longer self interest.  It becomes survival of the herd and sacrifice for the herd.  Some psychologists believe we have a herd annihilation fear instinct.
“You can change the puppets, but the puppeteer remains the same,” Fred said about what he believed was the illusion of choice encompassed in the elections where voters had the choice of one of two candidates whose positions were essentially indistinguishable.
          “How does your nobility communicate among themselves and give orders to the government?” Scot wondered out loud.
          Fred had an immediate, obviously rehearsed response.  “They belong to exclusive clubs and they take high level jobs in the government such as secretary of a branch or head of an agency.  They vacation together at exclusive resorts like Bohemian Grove outside San Francisco.  They marry each other.  They own the media and communications networks.  They can get any message out immediately among themselves or to the masses.  By controlling the media, they also can suppress any information they don’t want disseminated.  They sincerely believe that they are helping people by protecting them from unfavorable or unpleasant information.”
          “What about capitalism?” Scot asked.  “You can’t dispute that it is the best economic system the world has ever known.  It is self-policing.  It helps keep the government honest by keeping the government out of most of our economic affairs.  The consumer, the people, decide which businesses will survive.  There can be nothing more democratic than that.”
          Fred had been staring off toward the wooded hills in the southeast.  Actually, hills surrounded the entire area.  The southern areas mostly were natural tree and vegetation growth, while the rest was cleared farmland with little oases of trees and  natural vegetation.  He glanced toward Scot with a barely concealed expression of exasperation on his face as if Scot had claimed the earth was flat.  “Capitalism is a primitive predator-prey structure,” he asserted.  “A few carnivores feed on many herbivores.  Like the dinosaurs, the predators get larger and larger.  They will grow until they consume and devour their food source.  Then they will slowly die off leaving a carcass-covered landscape.  The most ironic and impressive quality of capitalism is that the prey have been tricked into believing they need the predators, that their survival depends on the survival of those predators.
“Capitalism is a faith-based economic system.  Its practitioners believe in a spirit called the 'invisible hand of the marketplace.'  The invisible hand, your self-regulating theory, regulates the market, punishes excesses and eliminates the inefficient--in theory.  In reality, it doesn’t regulate the market.  It doesn’t punish greed or gluttony.  It doesn’t reward the competent and efficient.  It doesn’t exist.  What exists is a primitive system that apes feudalism.  It rewards the few and preys on the masses.  It abides by the law of the jungle, not the invisible hand of the marketplace.
          “I believe our predatory rulers are in for some rough times.  The vilification of the Nazis and their allies has been so incessant, our leaders will be forced to account for some of their past barbaric Nazi actions discrediting themselves in the process,” Fred speculated.
          “What are you talking about?” Scot challenged.  “We have always done the right thing, or at least, attempted to do the right thing.  Sometimes the best intentions get derailed by unforeseen circumstances.  We are the most noble nation that ever existed.  How can you compare us to the Nazis in any way?”
           “The United States has a long history of racism, injustice and cruelty,” Fred pointed out.   “It murdered 10  to 17 million Native Americans and took their land.  It lynched over 5,000 Negroes, many of whom had been horribly tortured. Not a single person was punished for any of those lynchings.  The U.S. had an eugenics program from 1890 to 1920 with the goal of purifying the white race.  The hypocrisy undermines the claim of ‘American exceptionalism.’  Sooner or later, people will begin challenging the system and doubt the statements and veracity of their leaders.
“It’s difficult for people to see or acknowledge their own faults, and easy to see those of others,” Fred continued. “Why were the German people unable to see the glaring evil in Hitler and his cohorts?  People naturally go into denial about faults of their own friends, families, tribes and nations.  The Chinese proverb says: ‘We judge others by their acts.  We judge ourselves by our intentions.’”
Then, for the first time in their discussions, Fred quoted the Bible. “Jesus said ‘the hypocrite can see the splinter in his neighbors eye, but can’t see the beam in his own eye.’  Our rulers take advantage of that natural inclination to get us to commit horrible crimes and atrocities.  We murdered over 1 1/2 million people during the Spanish-American War with extreme brutality.  The basis for that war was fraudulent.  Yet most of us don’t know we did anything evil or unlawful.  Most of us don’t even know that we did anything wrong.  Most Americans don’t know there was a Spanish-American War.  Yet we self-righteously accuse the Nazis of being inherently evil even though they committed no crime that our nation hasn’t perpetrated.  The only difference, it can be argued, was in scale.  In fact, the U.S. is one up on the Nazis.  It’s the only nation ever to incinerate hundreds of thousands of people with nuclear weapons.”
“Is there ANYTHING positive about this nation in your opinion?” Scot asked with  strong emphasis on anything.  The challenge should reveal Fred’s resolute, unfounded  prejudice against his own nation.
“Sure.”  Fred responded without deliberation.  “There are a few actually.  The one thing that stands out most is that the U.S. was the first nation to make a Constitution the supreme ruler.  There have been limited monarchies going back three thousand years to Hammurabi’s Code.  England had the Magna Carta.  But they shared power with a human ruler.  The unfortunate situation in the United States is that the people still are monarchists.  Only a very small percentage, probably no more than 10%,  are sufficiently enlightened to function in a constitutional democracy.  Even the Founding Fathers believed this.”
Fred always said the primary objective of the Republican party is to keep capitalism alive no matter how much the life support costs, because capitalism facilitates Feudalism.  Unenlightened people instinctively are comfortable with a Feudal social, political and economic structure.  Scot had no idea what Fred was talking about, so he nodded in agreement.
“Ever notice how close votes are on domestic policies, no natter who controls the government, or how great their majority is?”  Fred asked.  “That’s because our politicians represent the nobility which preys on the peasantry.  The politicians count the votes to see what it will take to get an outcome that favors their goals.  If the party votes are leaning against the interests of the nobility, then they use their wealth and influence to get a few votes, whatever number needed, to switch their positions to insure the vote goes for the nobility.  The losing peasants see the procedure and believe it is working for them but closely failed this time.   “The nobility determines which constituencies can be duped most easily.  It’s their representatives they urge to vote for the interests of the rulers.  Their constituencies lack the political or economic sophistication to figure out that their interests have been compromised.  Unfortunately, most districts fell into that category.  The voters must become far more politically educated before true democracy has a chance of flowering in the U.S.  The Founding Fathers calculated that the average American lacked the political awareness to run a nation responsibly.  That’s why they added the Electoral College, for example.  They were and are correct.”
“But we have two parties,” Scot interjected.  “They watch each other and keep each other honest.”
Fred responded: “The Democrats appear to be an indecisive, dysfunctional party.  Whether or not they are remains to be seen.  I suspect they are playing the role of Poncho in the Cisco Kid Western series, or Jerry Lewis in the Martin and Lewis comedy entertainment team.
“Probably the best analogy for Democrats and Republicans would be Sancho Panza and Don Quixote in the classic novel by Cervantes.  One is delusional.  The other follows orders without question.  Both can be manipulated and bribed easily.  Both have too many frailties to be functioning independently and freely.  The Republicans certainly share the bluster, hubris and reactionary instincts of Don Quixote.  Democrats have the memorized metaphors of Sancho Panza without the wisdom to understand them.
Over Fred’s right shoulder, Scot saw an old man materialize from behind the east side of the house.   He was heavy.  He had a makeshift wooden cane that provided balance on the uneven terrain.
Fred noticed Scot stop talking and stare. Then the old man walked slowly into his plane of view.  The old man wore bib overalls and a matching denim jacket.  There was something in every pocket of the bib overalls including a pipe, cigarettes and a pencil.  A cloth loop on the left hip of the overalls, intended to hold a hammer, seemed to be the only part of the functional attire that was unused.
The old man stared at Fred and Scot.  He moved closer and squinted to detect features that might identify the people staring back at him.  Failing to do that, he yelled “Hey Mel” in a loud voice.  The volume of the call and the raspy sound that emitted from the old man surprised and startled Fred and Scot.  The old man waited a respectable time, about 10 seconds, then repeated the call with a little more volume.  Another 10 seconds passed, and he repeated the call again.  After a couple more attempts, Scot addressed him.
“Are you looking for my dad?” he asked formulating the obvious question.
The old man looked puzzled, but at least he stopped the irritating yelling.  “Are you Mel’s boys?” he asked looking first at one of them, then the other.  Considering that Fred and Scot were exact opposites in every feature, it was not a well thought out question.
“I am,” Scot responded raising his hand in case the old man’s hearing was not adequate to identify the speaker.
“Where’s your dad?” he said abruptly, almost demandingly, as if he were a person of authority.
“I’ll go get him,” Scot said rising and walking toward the door.  He could have done that immediately upon seeing the old man.  Scot knew who he was and what he wanted, but some demon inside him urged him to torment the unfortunate soul for a few minutes.
The old man, who was known as “the professor,” sat down on the third step.  It was the easiest for his brittle body to reach, and he could balance himself there with his wooden cane while resting his right foot on the first step.  He remained silent and ignored a greeting from Fred.
About ten minutes later, Scot and his father emerged from the house.  Scot’s father sat down on the other side of the steps, fully aware that the Professor couldn’t or wouldn’t climb up to the porch.
“Going to Hammondsville today?” the Professor asked, getting straight to the point.
“In a couple minutes,” Mel responded.  He got up and went back into the house.
Mel always said that whether or not he intended to go to Hammondsville.  The Professor lived along that route, and wanted a ride home.  He had to walk everywhere except where he could beg a ride, and Mel’s house was an exhaustion point in his travels.  If Mel wasn’t there, he asked for a drink of water, rested for about a half hour then trudged on to his destination.
A couple minutes later, Scot’s father reemerged from the house and slowly led the Professor up the long sidewalk to the garage.  They disappeared behind the garage, and after what seemed to be an interminable time, drove away.
“Who was that?” Fred asked.
“You don’t know the world’s foremost expert on Out Houses?” Scot responded as if he had discovered the one thing Fred didn’t know.  “Allegedly he knows everything there is to know about Out Houses.  He knows the ideal locations to prevent contamination of water supplies, the soil content that will best process human waste and the optimal depth to dig the pit.  He takes several hours to study all of the variables.  If you ever find human waste contaminating your drinking water, you will pay a steep price for not having sought out the Professor’s expert advice.
“The most perfect Out House, he claims, is one that is ten feet from the seats to the bottom of the pit.  When he is finished with his evaluation, he calls the whole family together to receive his announcement.  Its the next best thing to Christmas Eve.   The family members wait in anticipation.  ‘Out House 10!‘ he proclaims on the rare occasions that a family receives the gift of the perfect Outhouse rating.  ‘This is man and nature working in perfect harmony’ he claims.  On these occasions, there is a mandatory Bar-B-Q the following weekend.  The Professor is the guest of honor.
“He’s a sad, broken man today.  There still are a few homes with Out Houses, but the little building is more a symbol of primitive living than a solitary retreat for comfort, reading and relief.  Going from all that adulation and admiration to near anonymity took its toll on him.”  
“What’s his degree in?”  Fred asked.  “Chemistry?  Architecture?”
“Very funny,” Scot responded.  “Actually, I heard he never went past the fifth grade.  He seems to have had a natural degree in several fields.”
“Did he make your Out House location evaluation?”  Fred asked.
“We had two during the first few years we lived here,” Scot responded.  "He didn’t do the first one, to our misfortune,” Scot said with an overtone of great tragedy.  “Of course my parents had no idea he existed, or that anyone with that talent existed.  People got all their information from relatives, neighbors, co-workers.  Or they learned from their mistakes.  In our case, the township decided to test all the water wells.  Ours showed a contamination level slightly above the accepted number.  My father thought we could live with it.  My mother didn’t.  We had to wait awhile to get an estimate by the Professor.
“The Out House location event was interesting.  The weather had to be just right.  The Professor arrived with his assistant.  The Professor looked around in every direction.  Finally, he laid down on the ground with his right ear on the dirt.  He claimed a species could survive only if it learned to communicate and live in harmony with the earth.   Each species must marry the earth, he claimed.  There is dirt on top and usually water at one or more levels.  In between, there can be rocks, coal, limestone, sand and many other materials.  He kicked the ground periodically with the point his toe as he rotated clockwise around the point where his ear pivoted.  That sent sounds, like sonar, into the ground and back that an expert person could hear and interpret the mineral and water consistencies and quantities.  He had learned to listen to the earth to find out what was there and how it would best serve the landowner, and the landowner could help the earth in return.  He swiveled around very slowly.  He would say ‘ah hum’ and the assistant would write down something.  Then he would turn a bit farther, stop and again say ‘ah hum’.  The assistant made another note.   Then the Professor got up, surveyed the landscape and slinked down prone on the ground again.  He went through the ritual at three different locations.  Then he went to the highest point on the property and turned 360 degrees, swiveling on his heels this time.  He did the same for the lowest point.  He surveyed all the neighboring properties, hesitating at some points while quickly passing others.  Then he gave a thumbs up signal to his assistant.  Everyone gathered together.”
“Looks promising,” the professor announced, if you were lucky.  “I just need to make a couple measurements to get the precise location.”
“Can I get a job writing down ah hums,” young Scot asked the professor, recognizing a great career opportunity when he saw it.
“I can give you the employment test right now,” the Professor responded.  He winked at Scot’s father.  He handed his assistant’s clipboard to Scot with a clean sheet of paper.  When Scot had the clip board and pencil firmly in hand, the Professor said "ah hum" three times.  
“Now write down what I said,” the Professor instructed.
When Scot had finished writing, the Professor retrieved his clipboard and found what he expected.  “I’m afraid you failed the test,” the Professor said.  “What I said was: ‘moderate, positive incline at 170 degrees.’  You needed to watch which way I am facing, then listen for the stress on the ah or hum and listen for a long or short syllable.”
The Professor watched the young boy’s completely puzzled expression as Scot remained speechless for several minutes.  The Professor enjoyed teaching people that his job was not as simple as it appeared.
“Your Out House is over 50 yards from the house,” Fred noted.  “What did you do on a freezing day?  What if it snowed several feed deep?”
“You learned to hold off bathroom trips,” Scot replied. “If you were lucky enough to be a boy, you just came out on the porch and urinated off the edge.  We did that when it was nighttime also, even if it was the middle of summer.  Sometimes our young female cousins joined us in that ritual.  That seems strange to me now.  It never occurred to me back then that that would be socially unacceptable.”
“I read a book about India that described porches having holes cut in the floor which served as toilets,” Fred interjected.  “Pigs would get very excited about the event and gobble up any excrement.  That’s probably why people in that area don’t eat pork.  Sounds like a perfect cycle of nature doesn’t it.”
          Fred looked at his watch.  He marveled at the degree to which people were ill-informed.  However, he enjoyed enlightening people with the information he culled from numerous hours of reading.  Very few people read books.  Only a small fraction of them read monographs.  His religious requirement for proselytizing somehow got diverted to the library.  Fortunately, the largess of Andrew Carnegie had established a library in their small town.
Hours of discussions helped hone his skills for convincing others of reality.  He rarely broke his rule never to mention the Bible outside Kingdom Hall.  Sometimes, however, the best analogy was found only in the Bible.  He had seen too many people look up in horror, turn and scamper away when they recognized his parents or other Witness members.
“I better go or I’ll be late for supper,” Fred said.  He rose, stretched, waved in a backhand way and walked toward his car.
“Ya-all come back,” Scot said, in the obligatory vernacular farewell phrase of hosts in that region.
          As Fred’s car door slammed shut, the house door opened and Scot’s mother stuck her head out.  “I heard some of what he was saying.  Don’t believe it.  It’s not true.  It’s just some of the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ nonsense.”  Her tone was ominous in that warning inflection that children internalize to form their first set of moral guidelines for what is right and wrong.
Scot’s mother was a proud Republican.   She always served as a Republican election judge.  Scot realized years later that she really didn’t understand what a Republican was.  She always said the Republicans preferred and represented rich people.  She seemed to think that if she told people she was a Republican, everyone would think she was rich.  If they were rich, they had it all hidden somewhere.  The house and car did not attest to the abode and transportation of wealthy people. His father always had laboring jobs that paid low wages.  He raised animals and planted a huge garden to supplement the moderate wages he was paid, or just to keep up perhaps. Finances were never discussed around the children.  His mother never worked outside the home.  Mothers did not work, as a rule.  For his father, it was a law.  Scot was sure his father voted for the Democrats most of the time, but in the interest of household harmony, didn’t discuss elections or politics.  That was forbidden socially in that community.  Only Fred did not abide by those rules, as far as Scot knew.
Scot’s aunt once confided to him that his mother always believed as a youth that since she was beautiful, the prettiest of six attractive girls, she was destined to attract and marry a very successful, wealthy man and mix in the highest circles of society.  Her future husband was dashing, handsome and highly popular.  He also was not wealthy and had little potential to be rich.  His father made his sons drop out of school after the eighth grade and go to work.  When they got their paychecks, they signed them over to their father.  His laboring job provided an adequate income for a single man or a husband and wife, but not for a large family.  Apparently the thrill of the chase for the most eligible bachelor in the community, one that had a car, distracted her from her long-range goals.  Plus, since women didn’t work, it was urgent that they find a husband as soon as possible.
Scot had no idea what “high circles” were, and dismissed the conversation.  Lately, he had recalled the discussion and started to wonder what it all meant.



Scot was one of the more popular guys in his high school.  He preferred to label it “a second tier popularity.”  He believed he had no chance with that handful of girls who were the dance queens or on the varsity cheerleading squad even though several or his cousins had been Homecoming, Prom or Ball queens.  First tier girls, including several of his cousins, preferred the sports stars, the movie star look-a-likes or the sons of rich fathers.  So he spared himself the embarrassment of being rejected by one of them.  The reserve cheerleaders were his level, he concluded.
Scot didn’t consider himself to be particularly handsome.  His brownish blond hair was cut in the common short flat top style.  He had hazel eyes which seemed to have some allure for the opposite sex.  Other than that, he considered himself to be just an average guy.  However, several girls expressed an interest in him in various ways.  Usually a female friend of the interested girl would call him or corner him at school or some school event such as a football or basketball game and ask him what he thought of the friend.
“Do you think she’s cute?” was the common opener.
Others just seemed to appear at the places Scot frequented.
A fertile hunting range for female companions was the girls who felt it was humiliating not to have a steady boyfriend and were not that particular about who the boyfriend was.  They boldly stalked anyone they considered to be a possible candidate for their open boyfriend position, as if it were the local merchant trying to hire a new worker.  Another plus for Scot was that he had transferred to the municipal high school from his rural elementary school.  He was fresh meat.  The girls at his level fiercely competed with each other, and the conquest of a new arrival elevated their status.  He was new and untried.  His weaknesses and flaws had yet to be revealed.  The flaws and weaknesses of the local boys were common knowledge.  Any character improvements didn’t help because there always was someone around to recall past deficiencies and unwise acts or decisions.
          Scot wasn’t sure how many tiers there were.  There was a tier of non-daters.  There were tiers between the secondary tier and the non-dater tier.  The stratification seemed to mirror Hindu social levels.  Scot knew his place, his tier, and was resigned to being there.
Scot did have a dream girl in the first tier.  She was Cathy Lombardozzi.  She had long, thick, black hair, olive skin and a beautiful face, or at least what he could see of it behind the cascades of hair.  She also had a perfect body shape as far a Scot could determine.  The 1950s clothing styles were thick, bulky and concealing.  What a girl looked like was about 75% imagination.
Cathy closely resembled Annette Finicello, one of the Mouseketeers on the Disney show that aired on TV every week night.  Annette was the dream girl of most normal American teenage boys.
Cathy wasn’t dating anyone, as far as Scot knew.  She always had a bunch of other girls around her.  A point in Scot’s favor was that he was an upperclassman, one year ahead of Cathy.  That probably was not enough to compensate for the tier separation.
The forbidden tier was not the only obstacle Scot faced.  His grandmother had warned him against dating Italian girls.  Grandma never gave any specific reason.  The town had a large Italian population.  It was large enough to support a Catholic elementary school.  Catholics were misguided people according to grandma.  There was something wrong with the way they interpreted the Bible, she said.  They worshipped idols for one thing.   They had statues in their churches.  At the high school level, they were forced to mix with non-Italians and non-Catholics at the only high school in town.  All the Italian mothers Scot had seen were short and chubby.  How did they produce such beautiful, well-shaped daughters, he wondered?  Would his goddess Cathy become a short, chubby woman when she reached 35?  
           The unwritten rules of high school relationships and the process of elimination matched Scot with a pretty, perky, blond, reserve cheerleader named Susan.  Scot didn’t have any life guidelines, let alone ambitions, to tell him where else to go, so he submitted to the secondary tier siren calls. He still could not recall where, or when, they met.  He could not recall how they began dating, or even where they went on their first date.  He settled on the premise that a group of students had gone somewhere.  The others left one by one until Scot and Susan became a couple by default, or design.
        “Was it planned?  Was is destiny?” he wondered later.
“Do we have any control over our lives?” he mused to himself.  “Is it futile to make plans?  Are the females a conniving sex, far advanced in the arts of manipulation and control?   Did they form into hunting packs and surround and box in the selected prey until it was rendered helpless and forced to surrender?”
          Susan became the object of Scot’s explorations into the world of the opposite sex.  It was a mysterious world for which he was ill prepared.  Although Scot had four sisters, all other girls were from a different, mysterious species in his mind.  He, like most teenage boys, put them on a pedestal.  He sometimes wondered if one of  his sisters was on some other guy’s pedestal.  That guy was in for a big surprise.  Only after extensive dating or marriage did it finally dawn on Scot and guys like him that those imaginary princesses were just like their sisters after all.
Scot had an additional handicap when it came to relations with the opposite sex.  Besides the usual parental reluctance to discuss sex, Scot’s father had abdicated all parental guidance and discipline duties.  He lost all faith in his abilities in that area soon after the dogs and the Out House incident.  In fact, he developed an almost psychotic fear to raising boys.  He wanted to have nothing but daughters from then on.  Somehow, he succeeded in that goal.  He had four daughters in a row.  It was as if he thought two girls would compensate for each poorly raised boy.  He spoiled the girls horribly.  Scot and his brother were sure normal girls were nothing like the princesses they and their father thought they were.  The brothers were doomed to learn all about sex through the trial and error method.
The sister experience had been traumatic and soured Scot on females for several years.   It was during those years that he read voraciously and learned most of what influenced his life's goals.
The arrival of the first sister upset the smooth running routine that had been established in the household.  Her arrival was akin to Armageddon in the minds of the brothers.  She got 90% of the attention from the parents, it seemed, especially their father.  From there on, it only got worse.
What the brothers imagined was a horrible experience when the sister arrived paled next to the reality.  Not only did she command most of the attention of the parents, but she chiseled into the toy allotment.  But the worst was yet to come.
One day, Bertha began talking.  And she never stopped, it seemed to her brothers.  She had an opinion about everything.  Worst of all, she considered herself to be the family moral police.  At first she observed the antics of her brothers and periodically asserted "Dad's not going to approve of that."
"How do you know?  Besides, he'll never find out," the brothers declared.
"Oh yes he will," she always responded.
"Why don't we drop her off at another home?" Mark suggested one day.  "We'll pick one where the new parents won't know where she came from and wouldn't know where to return her when they found out what a nuisance she is."
"We'll leave her with a really large family that won't realize there's an extra mouth at the table," Scot added relishing his brother's idea.  Then he thought of a flaw in the plan.  "There would need to be a much quieter mouth for her to go unnoticed."
With the absence of parental control or guidance, the two brothers had to plan their own day's activities.  "Why don't we hide in Wallace's cornfield and throw tomatoes at cars driving by?"  Mark proposed during one planning session.
"Tomatoes ain't ripe enough yet," declared Scot.  "What about eggs?  We can gather them late in the afternoon, hide them by the big oak tree, then when it gets dark, we can go over there and start throwing em."I
"Dad's not going to like that plan for two reasons," said a voice from behind them, startling both boys.  They twisted around in unison to confirm that their baby sister had been lurking behind them.
"Dad warned you many times about throwing things at other people," she scolded them.  "Also, he doesn't want his eggs to be wasted.  He likes eggs for breakfast."
"Well, we don't like eggs!" said Scot defensively, as if this was an issue to be settled democratically.
"Go play with your dolls and leave us alone," Mark commanded in a high voice that lost any intended threatening tone.
From that time on, the brothers carefully sought secret hideaways to plot their plans.
Meanwhile, Bertha promoted herself from their father's moral spokesman to righteous arbiter of the universe.  She expected the Pope to call her any day for advice.  She wasn't sure who the Pope was, but her little Italian playmates claimed the Pope had the final say on moral matters and most other issues as well.
Still, visitors made over Bertha calling her "adorable, cute and so precocious."  After extensive consideration, the brothers concluded that "precocious" had to mean "evil."
Susan seemed to be no better informed about the opposite sex. She had no siblings as a reference point.  Many, if not most, parents rued discussing sex.  They postponed it, or waited for the child to come to them for advice on the matter.  It’s a time in life that sociologists have labeled “independence.” Nature tells the youth to break away from the ways of the parents.  In case the environment has changed, the youngsters will be looking for alternative ways of life.  Those who choose correctly will adapt and survive.  The others will suffer, or even die off.
          Adolescence, Scot concluded, is the first years of a 10-15 year period where Mother Nature subscribes to Charles Darwin’s first law: “Preservation and perpetuation of the species.”  Testosterone inundates the teenage male’s body.  Oxygen is diverted to the reproductive system first.  The brain competes for any remnants of the gas.  It’s not a period when the wisest decisions are, or can be, made.  Mistakes are abundant.
Maybe Susan wasn’t really that beautiful. Maybe she was less sexy than the image formed by the oxygen-deprived brain.  The proto-brain, the lizard brain, that now controlled his body wasn’t about to quibble over the minor issues.  The gut feeling, the intuition, the hunches sang out in a thunderous, harmonious chorus with a singular message:  Explore!  Explore!  Explore!
What is beauty after all?  Beauty is the possession of all of the most common features.  Whoever has the most common nose, mouth, ears, eyes, face, head size and proportions is considered to be a ravishing beauty, an exceptional person, when that person is, when all is said and one, just the most common.
In addition, we do not look out at the world.  Just as the sun appears to rotate around the earth and to be a fraction of the size of the earth, the exact opposite is true in both cases.  Images we “see” are billions of photons striking an object, changing their wave lengths according to the “color” of that part of the object, then bouncing off in every direction.  Some of the altered photons pass through the iris of the eye and strike a membrane in the brain.  The membrane reassembles those photons as if it were completing thousands of puzzles per second.  The result for perfect eyes is an exact replica of the original object altered somewhat for conditions such as distance.  The brain makes thousands of changes, such as inverting the image, before the image is passed on to the cognitive and other sections of the brain.  A teenager with hormones firing like Fourth of July pyrotechnics can see whatever he wants to see.  
            Susan had everything a testosterone gorged teenage male mind could want.  She also came with several bonuses.  Lunch was a daily horse race since the high school provided no food services.  When the noon bell rang, hundreds of hungry students poured out into the streets and made a mad dash to the limited neighborhood food providers.  Those with some dignity refused to join in the daily dash and subjected themselves to more distinguished, but time consuming, trips to the farther reaches of the town.  Many were able to go home to eat lunch.
            Susan, unlike Scot, participated in nearly every extracurricular activity the school offered to females.  One of those activities was the school band.  Scot couldn’t remember which instrument she played.  The important part about the band was that rehearsal was held during the last morning period.  Since time was needed to care for and store some of the instruments, band class ended ten minutes earlier than other classes.  Susan was able to leave immediately, go to the nearest restaurant and save a table.  Several people dined with her from time to time, but one chair always was reserved for Scot.
            Dating for Scot, and most other rural guys, usually involved drive-in movie theaters.  Most dates were planned to end in fondling opportunities.  Summers and parts of Spring and Fall were easy to plan.  Winter was more of a challenge.  Parents’ homes were a last resort.  The result was fewer dates during the Winter.
            As a consequence, Scot saw a lot of bad movies at the local drive-in theaters.  In spite of speakers that crackled louder than the dialogue they transmitted, the drive-ins prospered.  There must have been an urgent need for fondling in that community, because the drive-ins frequently sold out even though technical difficulties were a frequent, but tolerated, complement to the films.  Horns honked on those occasions in case the projector operator had fallen asleep at the reel.  The impatient horns represented that tiny fraction of the patrons who were there primarily to watch a movie.  The protesting horns were more annoying than the blank screen for most drive-in patrons.
            Susan was a year behind Scot in school, but her guardian seemed not to be worried that her young impressionable granddaughter might get into trouble.  The community was near the Ohio River on the frontier of Appalachia, so most residents came from lower income families that live from hand to mouth.  The sooner their daughters got married, the sooner they had more discretionary, or more often, necessary funds for other necessities.
            It was the first date that they were entirely alone.  Usually Susan insisted that at least one other couple accompany them.  It might have been a condition her grandmother imposed for her to go on a date.  She denied it when Scot challenged her motives.
            The evening was cool, so snuggling began immediately as the parade of previews marched across the screen interspersed with loud, colorful promotions for the snack bar.  It was uncanny how the speakers seemed to work flawlessly when the snack bar commercials were running.  It was more uncanny how much less inviting the food looked when you purchased it.
            Scot had his right arm around Susan’s shoulder.  She leaned her head on his shoulder for a minute then began talking rather aimlessly as if she were a little uneasy.
            Scot kissed her gently to shut her up.  His left hand touched, then rested on her small waist.
          “The movie’s beginning,” she announced, as if Scot might not discover that on his own.
The screen brightened and the camera zoomed in on a group of people with strong Southern accents standing near a highway.  One had binoculars through which he scanned north along the smoothly paved road.  A couple cars approached.  He zoomed in on the license plates then turned away.  Then another car came into view.  He zoomed in on the license plate.  His body tensed in excitement.  He zoomed in and out a couple times.  “It’s from New York,” he announced gleefully.  A man standing beside him waved to another man standing on higher ground about a hundred yards away.  He in turn waved to another group of men positioned about a half mile down the road. They quickly placed a sign on the road announcing that it was closed, and directed traffic off to a detour West.  The men ran behind some bushes and sinister smiles crept across their faces revealing great joy and decades of dental neglect.  They watched the car slow, then obediently take the direction instructed by the sign.
Then the screen burst with color, and loud music wealthy with drums, poured out of the speakers.  The movie producer’s logos streamed across, up and down and in circles around the screen.  Scrolling script reminded infrequent movie watchers just who the producers were. Preliminary credits listed the stars’ names for those idolizers who want to see the actor or actress and could care less about the theme or content of the film.
Scot shifted a little and moved his left hand higher on the taut stomach.  Daily cheerleading practice had removed any surplus fat that might have accumulated during those years before and during puberty.  The change was like the American landscape where the flat plains of Nebraska turned into the rolling hills and protruding mountains of Colorado.  The left breast, still a rolling hill, nevertheless obstructed the upward movement.  Susan put an end to the Westward adventure when she gently, but firmly, removed the pioneering hand.
This was not going to be a cakewalk.  The girls had initiated Scot’s previous experiences with sex, his first kiss, his first, failed sex attempt.  That was contrary to what adults always had said about these encounters.  Scot was confused.  Were those other girls rare exceptions?  Were they all of the exceptions? How would he proceed from here?  He really wasn’t comfortable discussing the subject with his parents or friends.  Older boys seemed to have nothing else on their minds, but he could not imagine making arrangements to discuss the subject with any of them.  They would just mock him.  They seemed unable to keep secret the intimate moments with their girlfriends.  Their first opportunity to relate their Friday and Saturday night sexual adventures usually was at church on Sunday morning.  If God disapproved, He would have put the Sabbath on Friday.  Of course the details of the date might had become more risqué given time for an active young mind to embellish the real event.
Scot decided that the only person with whom he could discuss the subject was Susan.  How to approach it?  How had his previous encounters developed?  The first was when he was 11 years old.  There was a wooded area not far from his parent’s house where the children of the neighborhood often gathered to play jungle games or Cowboys and Indians.  It followed a stream that came out of the ground during normal weather.  When it rained, water flowed down from the surrounding hills and turned the stream into a river.  The stream flowed several miles.  The uncertain bank heights made it inhospitable for habitation. Consequently, no one built a home within hundreds of yards of the stream.  Trees, bushes and weeds were able to grow freely.  There were locust and wild cherry trees that served no valuable purpose for the children.  Then there were large oak and hickory trees that they could climb.   They could construct rudimentary tree houses on the long thick branches of the oak trees that often stretched away from the trunk parallel to the ground for several yards.
It was in this wooded area that Scot took a walk one Fall day at Hazel’s suggestion.  Hazel was a plain, spindly girl with auburn, unkempt hair and an abundance of freckles.  She kept her hair cut short, unlike most of her female classmates.  Scot preferred the longer hair, a taste most of his fellow males seemed to share based on how they described new girls they met.  Scot’s mother told him Hazel should not be considered as a potential girlfriend because “they’re poor.”
For some reason, a mother’s admonitions become decrees.  Scot figured it was nature’s way of passing on learned experiences.  Fred postulated that it formed our first, and all too often, only, moral code.
Hazel was an infrequent playmate as far as Scot was concerned.   He assumed they were going to climb a tree, throw rocks, throw crude spears or visit the old blockhouse.  The blockhouse wasn’t there, as far as Scot knew, even though that wooded area was called Blockhouse Hollow.  No one knew where the namesake originated.  There was a collapsed brick cellar on a rise in the hollow, but the old folks claimed that was not the Blockhouse.  It was just some pioneer’s poor choice for a cabin location.
The Blockhouse, according to a local wise man known as Mr. Norris, was a large house/fortress.  It was a common frontier structure.  It was constructed of huge logs.  It had two levels.  The upper level cantilevered over the lower level on all four sides.  There were holes in the floor of the overlapping sections of the second story.  If Indians or other hostile visitors arrived, the occupants could shoot down, pour boiling water or dump hot coals on anyone at the doors, or near the building.  According to legend, this particular blockhouse was destroyed when some Indians loaded a wagon with wood and straw, set it afire and pushed it down an incline into the blockhouse.  The entire building burned down.  No one knew or even guessed what happened to the occupants of the building.
“Let’s go visit the Blockhouse,” was a common ploy to play on new kids or visitors who were too uppity or naive.  If the visitor was too snobbish, he was told to stay at the sight while the rest of the kids went to get Mr. Norris to give them a tour of the fabled site. Then they abandoned the visitor, sometimes for several hours.  If the gullible guest still was there when the sun set, it was a complete victory for the pranksters.
Scot and his brother were notorious for the tricks they played on other youngsters.  Many families didn’t allow their children to go into the areas near the home of the two brothers.  They lacked discipline.  Even when their antics were witnessed by adults, their father refused to correct them.  He seldom was home to get the whole story or administer immediate punishment.  All disciplinary action was the preserve of their mother.  She was overwhelmed by the frequency, and novelty, of trouble the two youngsters could get into.
“Let’s try to spear a frog,” Scot suggested, as they passed a tree where several of the crude weapons leaned.  He already was bored.  ‘Why did he agree to play in the woods with a girl?’ he asked himself.  How boring.  They can’t do anything that’s fun. Girls probably couldn’t even throw a spear.  Their spears, made of wild cherry tree branches, had no flint heads. They had points crudely sharpened by dull penknives.  The weapons were no danger to anything except the eyes of playmates.  Scot still had a scar from a spear that penetrated this left forearm, broke and left a three inch sliver of wood embedded in and hanging from the skin.  He pulled out the spear head.  There was almost no bleeding.  He resumed playing.  It took a long time to heal and left a large scar.  He had read that some warriors cut their skin and filled the cut with mud to create scars and an impression of toughness and fierceness.  Scot planned to wave his scar in the face of anyone who threatened him.
“I don’t like doing that,” Hazel responded.  “Let’s go over and sit under those trees.” She gestured toward a dense clump of wild cherry trees growing on a small plateau.
Scot wanted to do something that would expend some of his excessive energy.  He could think of nothing more boring than sitting under a grove of trees, especially without a picnic basket, but decided to accede to her wishes.  She led him to a small clearing in the grove, took off her skirt and turned it into a blanket that she spread out on the ground. She had a shiny silk slip underneath decorated with small, embroidered flowers.  The image of that slip and those small flowers, for some reason, remained embedded in his memory.
“Sit down,” she invited, patting the makeshift blanket with the flat of her hand as if she were training a dog.
Scot tried not to touch the partially exposed girl, but the small, makeshift blanket made that impossible.  Hazel leaned up against him with her small, nascent right breast touching his upper left arm.  He pulled away to give her more room, but the breast stuck to him like a leech attached to a fresh blood source.
“I noticed that you fidget in your seat quite a bit at school,” she said, out of the blue. “Are you getting erections?”
Although Hazel was in Scot’s class, she was nearly a year older than he was.  Due to the strict age cut off rules, Scot was the youngest student in his class.  Hazel was among the oldest.  He was born at the end of November.  She was born at the beginning of January.
“Would you like to put your thing inside me?” she asked casually as if she were inviting him to share a sandwich.
Scot was speechless for what seemed to be an eternity.  Did he hear correctly?  Was that a rhetorical question or an invitation?  The caution instilled by his Presbyterian rearing kicked in.  The excessive caution would haunt him throughout his adolescent years.  On occasion, the caution saved him, but on the whole, it was a millstone around his neck.   “Give the child to us until he is seven, and he’ll be ours forever more,” the old legend goes.  “Ours” usually referred to some priestly or witchcraft group.  There were a hundred voices in his head each giving him different, often conflicting, advice.  Most told him she was asking a hypothetical question out of curiosity about the opposite sex.  Maybe she was taking a survey.  Other voices said no, she actually wants you to do it.  The later group was gaining ascendency as more and more blood was diverted from the brain to lower parts of the body.
         “Look how she is rubbing herself against you?” the minority voices said.  “She definitely wants to try it to see how it feels.”
“No!” said the majority voices.  “Girls never want to have sex.”  It’s only when they want to have babies that they agree to do it, his Bible-thumping spinster aunt had warned him.  He was a few years too young to have a child.  Better find out if she wants to have a baby, he concluded.
“Do you want to have a baby?” he blurted out, in a nearly inaudible voice.
Hazel was visibly taken aback.  The breast detached itself from his arm.
“I don’t want to have a baby!” she shot back.  “Besides, it’s the wrong time of the month.  I can’t get pregnant this time of the month.”
“Wrong time of the month?”  What was she talking about?  Most of Scot’s knowledge about these things came from other boys.  His parents never had a detailed talk with him about such matters, nor with his siblings as far as he knew.  What little they had said was in the form of criticism of someone else’s sexual misadventures.  Decades later, Scot would discover that his parents had a little secret, and the subject was very sensitive.
The ice was broken as was any semblance of romantic mood.  Lust now was the loudest voice remaining to guide his actions since the breast-arm disengagement signaled that the carnal opportunity was in danger of being lost.  It drowned out all other voices.  Primitive animal instincts had overpowered and shut down the cognitive sector of his brain.  Logic had been expelled from the thought processes.
“So!  You want to have sex just for the fun of it.”
“Yes,” she said curtly with just the slightest hint of irritation.
Had his aunt lied to him about the sexual desires of females?  If so, what other lies had she told him about relationships?  What lies had they told him about everything?
Scot reached down to the embroidered hem of her slip and slowly drew the garment up toward her waist.  He still expected to be admonished at any second and chastised for trying to do such a filthy thing.
The breast reattached to his arm.  The silk skirt had slipped up further mysteriously exposing most of her ivory white legs.  The rest of the initiatives were left to him.  He raised the slip up to the white panties.  When the elastic of the panties came into view, his hand slipped under it and eagerly, awkwardly, began tugging the garment down.  As it became evident that he needed help, she rejoined the cause.  She raised her hips so the panties could slide over them, and her knees, one by one, bent toward her chest reducing the distance necessary to slide them off her body.  Now he was 99% sure she intended to go through with the forbidden act.  The one admonition his mother had said repeatedly was never to have sex until you are married.  That warning appeared and disappeared in his mind like a blinking neon sign over the entrance of a drug store.  However, the beast instincts quickly overpowered the logical warnings.  The flashes of the soft white legs penetrated deeper into the brain blocking all other brain functions.  Her legs stretched momentarily then relaxed and spread slightly apart revealing her vagina and a thin patch of auburn hair that was sprouting in response to the  commands of nascent puberty.  “Why is that little patch of hair there?” Scot thought for a split second.  Then that curiosity slipped away.
Scot was not aware of foreplay, so he climbed on top of her and fumbled around looking for the insertion location.  Unable to find it, two more hands joined in the search.  Frustration set in.  The erection began relaxing as both tried more frantically to complete the coupling.  The erection that always was there when it wasn’t wanted, wasn’t there for  just a few minutes when it was needed.  There would be no penetration that day.
“Scottie . . Scottie . ..SCOTTIE!” a voiced was saying.  “Are you alright?  You acted as if you were in a trance.”
Scot’s daydreaming faded as his mind returned to the present.  Susan was looking into his eyes with concern on her face.  She had  been hiding her head to avoid seeing the ghastly images on the screen while Scot was lost deep in his daydreaming reminiscences.  Scot suddenly realized that she was holding his hand against her breast.  It was a firm breast, almost perfectly symmetrical.  Of course, the molding was due in part to her bra.  Someday, Scot now felt certain, he would feel and even see the real thing.
Meanwhile, on the theater screen, peoples’ limbs were being hacked off, and blood was spouting effusively in every direction and covered the ground like a carpet.  One victim after another slipped into shock, nature’s merciful, final sedative.  All pain stopped, but the heart kept pumping blood in a futile attempt to repair the damaged parts of the body.  The shock stopped other vital functions and the victim soon expired.  It‘s just a film, Scot told himself.  Still, the sight was revolting to him.  Someone imagined this.  Could someone actually do it?  It’s done all the time in wars, according to the history books Scot had read.  Crusaders and other warriors fighting with swords specialized in the tactic.  Stab where the major arteries were located.  Were any of them appalled by their acts?   Did some actually enjoy hacking other people apart?   There were stories of U.S. frontier soldiers bayonetting helpless, pregnant Indian women.  Apparently soldiers can be dehumanized to the point that they can dehumanize their victims and kill them with no remorse.  The movie screen depictions were more vivid than most readers could imagine.
Susan experienced even greater revulsion and refused to face the screen.  Had Susan taken things farther than she wanted to get Scot’s attention or as a diversion from the disgusting movie?  Either way, it worked in Scot’s favor.  The relationship had advanced to the breast fondling stage.  Where would it go next?  Did  Susan have the sexual urges Hazel had, or was Hazel unique? Was Hazel the girl who goes bad and ends up starring in a pornographic movie or fully exposed on the pages of an adult magazine?  Is she the one girl in the class who would become a prostitute or call-girl?
Scot decided later that Susan mistook his reminiscences about Hazel as pouting over her rejection of his advances.  She must have decided she cared enough about him to compromise her dating guidelines.
His mind drifted back to Hazel.  He wondered what happened to her?  He spent the six months following the aborted incident in the woods dreading the day he would see a group of girls gesturing in his direction and snickering about his sexual inadequacy.  Boys told everything about their sexual escapades, especially the unusual ones.  Surely, girls were twice as bad.  Scot had many sleepless nights imagining that the girls in his school would shun him for the rest of his life.  They would tell all of their friends who would tell all of their friends until the whole world knew that he was sexually incompetent.  He vowed to himself that he would never try sex again until he got married--if that ever happened.
Hazel had not reappeared in school the following year.  No one noticed.  She had not spread rumors about Scot’s sexual ineptitude.  His opinion of her became elevated.  He missed her.  Thanks to her, he was the most “sexually” experienced male in his Junior High School.  Sure, only Scot and Hazel knew it, but he could feel superior to his classmates in that respect at least.
The movie was too disgusting to watch.  Scot remembered his vow of chastity and decided that the fondling had gone as far as he was ready to go at this time.  Susan seemed ready, if not eager, to take the sexual exploration to the next stage.  Scot froze in fear of the humiliation that could result from sexual misadventures.
“This movie is revolting,” he said committing to a course of action that was a course on non-action.  I thought it would be about an insane asylum and the inmates doing hilarious things.  “Let’s go to Isalys for a milkshake.”
Susan was caught completely off guard.  Apparently her sex advisors had told her that men were no different than animals when it comes to sex.  Any time, any where was their guideline.  Was she being rejected by a sex maniac, even if he still was in the budding stages?
Their relationship changed that evening.  The roles reversed.  Susan became the sex initiator.  At every opportunity, she did something sexually provocative.  She began wearing shorter skirts and left more of her blouse unbuttoned.  When they were alone in the car, here skirt kept slipping up and more and more of her legs became exposed.  It seemed accidental, but accidents don’t occur routinely as the slipping skirt did.
Then the Poodle Skirt found its way into Susan’s wardrobe.  It wrapped around the thighs and legs down to just below the knees and was held together by a large pin.  Her pin magically came loose every time they were in the car on a date.  By the time they had driven a couple miles, everything was exposed up to and including glimpses of her black panties.  Scot’s driving became more erratic than a Saturday night drunk trying to find his way home.
Scot was both defensive and tempted by the alluring gestures of this nubile young lady throwing herself at him.  Now that he felt he could have her any time he wanted, he was less inclined to believe he might be passing up a golden opportunity.  He also began realizing that even very attractive young women want most what they can’t have.   The more attractive they are, the more they can’t bear rejection and will compromise their values, even if that involves a relationship with a lower-tiered person.   Armed with this knowledge, perhaps he could promote himself to a higher tier.  Perhaps he could qualify for a varsity cheerleader.
Scot stored these bits of insights in his repertoire of information for dealing with the opposite sex.  He came to believe that the female half of the human race has an entire library of “How To” books for dealing with the male half of the human race, and the male half is completely ignorant of the existence of that library.  It’s the “Eve Effect.”  Gaelic  legend claims life thousands of years ago was matriarchal and relatively tranquil.  Women ruled the tribes.  Children were well-behaved.   Men were tolerated, allowed to visit, especially if they had a freshly-killed deer or rabbit, but had to leave after a couple days of visiting.   They had to leave because they tended to be lazy and burdensome.  One night, one of the women, in a moment of weakness, passed on a tiny bit of super secret knowledge to a man who was residing with her.   She informed him that men were crucial to producing children.  Since there was a nine month interval between sex and birth, no man had made the connection.  The Christian version of this story is known as Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden.  The “knowledge” revealed varies in the Christian version.  This bit of information gave men power over women.  If  women wanted to fulfill their most basic instinct, reproduction of children, they now had to accommodate the men.  With this knowledge, men were able to take control of the family groups, and impose patriarchal values on them.
The patriarchal values such as war, greed, gluttony, selfishness and self-destruction now dominated the instinct for perpetuation of the society.  Half of society had a powerful “nesting” instinct and wanted to continue it.  The other half was willing to destroy it, even if it meant destroying themselves.  Thus emerged a new dangerous phase in the delicate balance between survival and self-destruction that continues today.
A few days later, Scot read a review of the movie they had abandoned.  The story involved citizens of a Southern town whose ancestors had been victims of a brutal slaughter by Northern soldiers during the Civil War.  The town’s citizens had been seething over the savage event for nearly 1 and 1/2 centuries.  They needed closure.  They needed revenge.  They watched for cars with Yankee license plates, detoured them into their trap, and carried out their brutal revenge against people who probably were totally innocent.   They might even have been from Confederate families that migrated north.  Justice seems to be a strong instinct, Scot thought to himself.  Justice seems to have a lot of conflicting definitions.