A month after Stuarts death, Billy Milligan was released from Zanesville. A few days after his return, Allen was reading in his room when Del Moore came in and asked if he’d like to go fishing. He knew Del was trying to score points with Dorothy—Kathy said they’d probably get married. “Sure,” Allen said. “Love fishing.”
Del made all the arrangements, took the next day off from work and came by to pick Billy up.
Tommy looked at him in disgust. “Fishing? Shit, I don’t want to go fishing.”
When Tommy came out of his room and Dorothy confronted him with his inconsiderate behavior—first promising to go fishing with Del and then changing his mind—Tommy looked at them both in astonishment. “Christ! He never even asked me to go fishing.”
Del stormed out of the house swearing that Bill was the damnedest bald-faced liar he had ever met.
can’t take it anymore,” Allen said to Arthur when he was alone in his room. “We’ve got to get out of here. I feel like an intruder with Del hovering around all the time.”
“Same here,” said Tommy. “Dorothy’s been like a mother to me, but if she’s going to marry Del, I want out.”
“All right,” Arhtur said. “Let’s find a job, put a few quid aside and get an apartment of our own.”
The others applauded the idea.
Allen got a job at Lancaster Electro-Plating on September 11, 1973. It didn’t pay much and it was dirty work, not the kind of employment Arthur had in mind.
It was Tommy who did the boring work as a zinc-tank operator, pulling the cage that hung from the overhead moving chain and lowering it into the acid for the plating. He moved from one square tank to the next; they were lined up the length of a bowling alley. Lower it, wait, raise it, move it, lower it, wait.
Sneering at such menial labor, Arthur turned his attention to other matters. He had to prepare his people to move out on their own.
All during Zanesville, he had been studying the behavior of those he allowed to come on the spot, and he was beginning to understand that the key to survival in society was self-control. Without rules there would be chaos, endangering them all. It occurred to him that the rules at the youth camp had a salutary effect. The constant threat of being bumped back to zone 1 or 2 had kept all those unruly lads in check. That is what would be needed when they were on their own.
He explained his code of behavior to Ragen. “Because someone became involved with women of ill repute,” Arthur said, “we were accused of rape by those two women in Pickaway County—a crime we did not commit—and they sent us to prison. It must never happen again.”
“How you vill prevent it?”
Arthur paced. “I can usually prevent someone from taking the spot. And I have observed your ability to bump someone off immediately after the vulnerable moment of switching. Between us, we ought to control the consciousness. I have decided that certain undesirable individuals should be permanently banished from the spot. The rest of us will be required to live by a code of conduct. We are like a family. We must be strict. A single infraction will result in someone being classified as undesirable.”
With Ragen s agreement, Arthur communicated the rules to all the others:
first: Never lie. All their lives they had been accused unjustly of being pathological liars for denying knowledge of things one of the others had done.
second: Behave properly to ladies and children. This included avoiding foul language and adhering to proper etiquette, such as opening doors. The children were to sit straight at table, with napkins across laps. Women and children must be protected at all times, and everyone should come to their defense. If any one saw a woman or a child being hurt by a man, he or she must step off the spot immediately and let Ragen deal with the situation. (If one of their own were in personal physical danger, that would not be necessary, since Ragen would take the spot automatically.)
third: Be celibate. Never again should the males be placed in a position where they could be accused of rape.
fourth: Spend all your time on self-improvement. No one was to waste time with comic books or television, but each should study in his or her own specialty.
fifth: Respect the private property of each member of the family. This was to be most stricdy enforced with regard to the selling of paintings. Anyone was permitted to sell an unsigned painting or one signed “Billy” or “Milligan.” But the private paintings done and signed by Tommy, Danny or Allen were personal, and no one was ever to sell something that did not belong to him or her.
Anyone violating these rules would be banished forever from taking the spot and would be relegated to the shadows with the other undesirables.
Ragen thought about it and asked, “Who are these—vat you call—undesirables?”
“Philip and Kevin—both unmistakably antisocial, criminal types—are banished from the spot. ”
“Vat about Tommy? He is antisocial sometimes.”
“Yes,” Arthur agreed, “but Tommy’s belligerency is needed. Some of the younger ones are so obedient that they would harm themselves if a stranger told them to. As long as he does not violate other rules or use his escape talents and lock-picking abilities for criminal purposes, Tommy may take the spot. But I will rattle his cage from time to time to let him know we’re watching him.”
“Vat about me?” Ragen asked. “I am criminal. I am violent and antisocial.”
“There must be no breaking of the law, no crimes.” Arthur said, “even so-called victimless crimes, for any reason.”
“You must realize,” Ragen said, “is always possible for me to be in situation vere crime could be necessary for defense, for survival. Necessity knows no laws.”
Arthur placed the tips of his fingers together for a few moments and considered Ragens argument. Then he nodded. “You will be the exception to the rule. Because of your great strength and power, you alone may have the right to hurt others, but only in self-defense or in defense of women and children. As the protector of the family, you alone may commit victimless crimes or crimes necessary for survival. ”
“Then I accept idea of rules,” Ragen said softly. “But system vill not always vork. During mix-up periods, people steal time. Then ve do not even know—not you, not me, not Allen—vat is happening.”
“True, ” Arthur said, “but we have to do the best we can with what we have. Part of the challenge will be to keep the family stable and prevent those mix-up times.”
“Is difficult. You vill have to communicate this to the others. I do not yet know all of the—how you say?—the family. They come, they go. I am not sure sometimes if one is outside people or one of ours.” .
“That’s natural. It is as it was in the hospital or even in the youth camp. One learns the names of some of the people who live around you and becomes aware of the existence of others. But quite often even outside people don’t communicate with each other although they’re living in close proximity. I will communicate with each of our people and tell them what they need to know.”
Ragen mused. “I am strong, but vit all the things you have learned, you have gained much power.”
Arthur nodded. “And that is why I can still beat you at chess.”
Arthur reached the others one by one and told each one what was expected of him or her. In addition to the code of behavior, there were other responsibilities for those who were on the spot.
Christene had stayed three years old and constantly embarrassed them. Yet Ragen insisted, and it was agreed that since she had been the first and was still “the baby” of the family, she would never be removed or classified as undesirable. She might even prove useful at times when it was necessary to have someone on the spot who couldn’t communicate and wouldn’t know what was going on. But she, too, was expected to work at her own goals. With Arthurs help, she was to learn to read and write and struggle to overcome her dyslexia.
Tommy was to pursue his interest in electronics and strengthen his mechanical abilities. Though he could pick locks and crack vaults, the techniques he had learned were to be used for only one purpose—not to penetrate, but to escape. He was never to aid anyone in stealing. He was not to be a thief. He was to practice the tenor saxophone in his spare time and to perfect his talent in painting landscapes. He was to control his belligerent attitude, but use it to deal with other people when necessary.
Ragen was to take karate and judo lessons, to jog and to keep the body in perfect physical condition. With Arthurs help and direction, Ragen would learn to control his adrenaline flow so as to focus all his energies in times of stress or danger. He was to continue to study munitions and demolition. Part of the next paycheck would go toward buying him a gun for target practice.
Allen was to practice his verbal skills, to concentrate on painting portraits. He would play the drums to help release excess tension. He would generally be the front man to help manipulate others when it was necessary. As the most sociable one, it was important for him to get out and meet people.
Adalana was to continue writing her poetry and perfecting her cooking skills for the time when they would, be leaving home and getting their own apartment.
Danny would concentrate on still lifes and learn to master the airbrush. Since he was a teen-ager, he would baby-sit and help care for the younger children.
Arthur would concentrate on his scientific studies, ex-pecially those in the medical arts. He had already sent for a mail-order study course in the fundamentals of clinical hematology. He would also use his logic and clear reasoning to study law.
All the others were made aware of the need to use every moment of their time to improve themselves and expand their knowledge. They must never be still, Arthur warned, never waste time, never allow their minds to stagnate. Each member of the family must strive to achieve his or her own goals, and at the same time be educated and cultured. They should think of these things even while off the spot and practice them intensively when they were holding the consciousness.
The young ones were never to drive a car. If any of them found himself on the spot behind the steering wheel, he was to slide over to the passenger’s side and wait for someone older to come and do the driving.
Everyone agreed that Arthur had been very thorough and had thought things out logically.
“Samuel” read the Old Testament, ate only kosher food and loved to sculpt sandstone and carve wood. He took the spot on September 27, Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and said a prayer in memory of Billy’s Jewish father.
Samuel knew of Arthur’s strict rule concerning the selling of paintings, but one day when he needed money and no one from the family was around to give him advice or to tell him what was going on, he sold a nude signed by Allen. Nudes offended his religious sensibilities, and he did not want it where he could see it. He told the purchaser, “I am not the artist, but I know the artist.”
Then he sold Tommy’s painting of a bam, a painting that clearly had fear surrounding it.
When Arthur learned what Samuel had d.one, he was outraged. Samuel should have realized he was selling paintings the others held dear to themselves, paintings so personal they were never meant for the eyes of strangers. He ordered Tommy to find Samuel’s favorite creation—a draped Venus surrounded by cupids, done in plaster.
“Destroy it,” Arthur said.
Tommy took it out back and smashed it with a hammer.
“For this terrible crime of selling other people’s art, Samuel is henceforth an undesirable. He is hereby banished from the spot.”
Samuel argued his fate. He pointed out to Arthur that he should not be banished, since he was the only one among all of them who believed in God.
“God was invented by those who are afraid of the unknown,” Arthur said. “People worship figures like Jesus Christ only because they fear what might happen to them after they die.”
“Exactly,” Samuel said. “But look, it wouldn’t be such a terrible idea to have a little insurance. If after we die we find out there is a God, what should be so bad that there should be at least one of us who did believe in Him? That way one of us has a shot at getting the soul into heaven.”
“If there is a soul,” Arthur said.
“So whats the rush to take the gamble? What would it cost to give me another chance?”
“I’ve made the rule,” Arthur said, “and my decision stands. October sixth is your holiest day, Yom Kippur. You may take the spot to fast on your Day of Atonement, but then you are banished.”
Later, he admitted to Tommy that in making his judgment in anger, he had made a mistake. Since he couldn’t know for sure that there was no God, he should not have acted so hastily in banishing from the spot the only one of them who believed.
“You could change it,” Tommy said, “and let Samuel take the spot sometimes.” .
“Not while I dominate the consciousness,” Arthur said. “I admit I made an error in allowing my emotions to affect my decisions. But,having decided, I will not change it.”
Thinking about heaven and hell bothered Tommy. He found himself going over and over the thought in his mind, and he wondered, if they did get sent to hell, whether there would possibly be a way to escape.
A few days later, Allen ran into a school acquaintance downtown. He vaguely remembered that Barry Hart was a friend of someone he used to know. Now, with his long hair, he looked like a hippie. Barry Hart invited him up to his place to have a beer and talk.
It was a big rundown apartment. While Allen sat in the kitchen talking with Hart, people came and went, and Allen got the impression there was a lot of drug dealing going on. When Allen got up to leave, Hart said he was going to have a lot of friends over Saturday night for a party and Allen was invited.
He accepted. What better way to follow Arthur’s instructions to get out and socialize?
But when Allen got there on Saturday night, he didn’t like what he saw. It was a heavy drug scene, with people drinking booze, smoking pot and popping pills. Most of them, he thought, were making fools of themselves. He’d stay for just a little while and have a beer. But after a few minutes, he got so uncomfortable he left the spot.
Arthur looked around, disgusted at the goings on, but he decided to sit back and observe this species of lowlife. It was interesting to see how different people made fools of themselves under different drugs: belligerent on alcohol, giggling on marijuana, trancelike on amphetamines, tripping on LSD. It was, he decided, a laboratory of drug abuse.
Arthur noticed one couple sitting apart, as he was. The girl, tall and slender, with long dark hair, full lips and smoky eyes, kept looking his way. He had the impression she would talk to him soon. The very idea annoyed him.
The fellow she was with made the first move. “Come to Harts parties often?” the young man asked.
Arthur let Allen take back the spot. He looked around, dazed. “What did you say?”
“My friend says she thinks she’s seen you here at a party before,” the young man said. “I have the feeling I’ve seen you before too. Whats your name?”
“They call me Billy Milligan.”
“Challa’s brother? Hey, I’m Walt Stanley. I’ve met your sister.”
The young woman came over and Stanley said, “Marlene, this is Billy Milligan.”
Stanley wandered off, and Marlene talked with Allen for nearly an hour, trading observations about the other people in the room. Allen found her amusing and warm. He could tell she was attracted to him. Her dark catlike eyes gave him an odd feeling and he was drawn to her. But he knew that because of Arthur’s rules, nothing would come of it.
“Hey, Marlene!” Stanley called from across the room. “You wanna split?”
She ignored him.
“Your boyfriend is calling you,” Allen said.
“Oh,” she said smiling, “he’s not my boyfriend.”
She was getting him nervous. Here he had just gotten out of Zanesville after serving time on a phony rape charge, and this girl was making moves on him.
“Excuse me, Marlene,” he said. “I’ve gotta leave.”
She seemed surprised. “Maybe we’ll run into each other again sometime.”
Allen took off fast.
The following Sunday, Allen decided, was a perfect fall day for a round of golf. He tossed his clubs into the car, drove to the
Lancaster Country Club and rented an electric cart. He played several holes but did poorly; when he put his third shot into a sand bunker, he got so disgusted with himself that he left the spot.
“Martin” opened his eyes, surprised to find himself with a sand wedge in his hand, addressing the ball from a bunker. He hit it out and finished the hole. Not knowing how many strokes it had taken him to do the par four hole, he scored it as a birdie three.
Martin was annoyed when he saw how crowded the next tee was, and he complained loudly that slow play was ruining the game for better players like himself. “I’m from New York,” he said to a middle-aged man with a group of four ahead of him, “and I’m used to private clubs that are much more exclusive than this and particular about the class of people they allow to play.”
When the man looked flustered, Martin stepped forward. “You don’t mind if I play through, do you?” And without waiting for an answer, he stepped up, teed off, put his ball in the right rough and zoomed ahead in his golf cart.
He played through the next threesome as well, but then hit his ball into a water hazard. He parked the golf cart near the pond to see if he could retrieve it. Unable to find it, he hit a second ball across the pond and returned to the cart, but he cracked his knee against the side as he jumped in.
David came to take the pain, wondering where he was and why he was in this little car. When the pain subsided, David sat there playing with the steering wheel, making engine noises with his mouth and kicking the foot pedals. The brake released and the cart rolled down, sinking the front wheels into the pond. Frightened, David left and Martin returned, wondering what had happened. It took him nearly half an hour, rocking the cart back and forth, to free the front wheels from the mud, and he was furious as group after group played through.
When the cart was back on dry land, Arthur took the spot and told Ragen he was banishing Martin as undesirable.
“Is severe punishment for mistake of golf cart in pond.”
“That is not the reason,” Arthur said. “Martin is a worthless braggart. Ever since Zanesville, all he has thought about is wearing flashy clothes and driving big cars. He puts on airs.
He thinks nothing of improving himself or being creative. He’s a fraud and a phony, and worst of all, he is a snob.”
Ragen smiled. “I did not know being snob is reason for being undesirable.”
“My dear chap,” Arthur said coolly, knowing what Ragen was alluding to, “no one has the right to be a snob unless he is very intelligent. I have that right; Martin doesn’t.”
Arthur finished the last four holes in par.
On October 27, 1973, almost ten years from the day she had married Chalmer Milligan, Dorothy married her fourth husband—Delmos A. Moore.
He tried to be like a father to Billy and the girls, but they resented him. When he started to lay down rules, Arthur scorned him.
One of the things Dorothy forbade her younger son was to ride a motorcycle. Tommy knew it was because of Stuart, but he didn’t think it was right to deprive him because of what had happened to someone else.
One day he borrowed a friend’s Yamaha 350 and drove it right past the house. As he headed back along Spring Street, Tommy looked down and saw the tailpipe was coming loose. If it hit the ground . . .
Ragen threw himself off the cycle.
He picked himself up, brushed off his jeans and wheeled the cycle back to the yard. Then he went into the house to wash the blood off his forehead.
When he came out of the bathroom, Dorothy began screaming at him. “I told you I didn’t want you on a motorcycle! You’re doing this to torment me!”
Del came in from the yard and shouted, “You did that on purpose! You know how I’ve felt about cycles, ever since …” Ragen shook his head and left the spot. He’d let Tommy explain about the tailpipe.
Tommy looked up to see Dorothy and Del glaring at him. “It was on purpose,” Del said, “wasn’t it?”
“That’s crazy,” Tommy said, checking his bruises. “The tailpipe came down and—”
“That’s another lie,” Del said. “I went out and looked at that cycle. Ain’t no way that tailpipe could have come down and flipped that cycle without bending in two. That tailpipe ain’t bent.”
“Don’t you ever call me a liar!” Tommy shouted.
“You’re a goddamned liar!” Del shouted back.
Tommy stormed out of the room. What good would it do to tell them the reason it wasn’t bent was that Ragen had seen the thing coming down and had thrown the bike just in time to prevent a worse crack-up? No matter how he explained it, they were going to call it a lie.
Feeling the anger building up, too strong for him to handle, Tommy gave up the spot . . .
Dorothy, sensing the fury in her son, followed him as he went into the garage. She stood outside and watched him, unseen, through the window. She saw the look of murderous rage as he went to the lumber pile, picked up a two-by-four and snapped it in half. Again and again he broke the boards, venting a deep and violent anger.
Arthur made a decision. They had to move out.
A few days later, Allen found a cheap two and a half room apartment in a white frame house at 808 Broad Street, just a short drive east of where Dorothy lived. It was a rundown place, but it had a refrigerator and a stove. He added a mattress, a couple of chairs and a table. Dorothy let him buy a Pontiac Grand Prix in her name with the understanding that he would make the payments on it.
Ragen bought a .30-caliber carbine with a nine-shot clip and a .25-caliber semiautomatic.
At first, the freedom of having his own apartment was exhilarating. He could paint when he wanted, with no one hassling him.
Arthur made sure aspirin and other medication were purchased in bottles with child-proof caps so that the little ones wouldn’t get into them. He even insisted that Ragen find a child-proof cap that could be adapted to fit his vodka bottle, and he reminded him to make sure his guns were always under lock and key.
A rivalry developed between Adalana and “April” in the kitchem, and though Arthur sensed there was going to be trouble, he decided not to take sides. He had little enough time for his own study, research and planning for the future, so he tried not to pay attention to the women constantly haranguing and arguing in the back of his mind. When the nagging got too bad, he suggested that Adalana do the cooking and April do the sewing and washing, and let it go at that.
Arthur had been quite taken by the thin, black-haired, brown-eyed April when he first descovered her along with the others. She was more attractive than the plain, almost homely Adalana, and certainly more intelligent. Almost as bright as Tommy or Allen, or even Arthur himself. And he was intrigued, at first, by her Boston accent. But he had lost interest in her when he became aware of her thoughts. April was obsessed with ideas of torturing and killing Chalmer.
She worked things out in her mind. If she could lure Chalmer to the apartment, she would tie him in the chair and bum his body, bit by bit, with a blowtorch. She would keep him awake with amphetamines, and the heat of the blowtorch would amputate each toe and each finger, cauterizing as it did, so there would be no blood. She wanted him to suffer here, before he went to hell.
April began to work on Ragen.
She whispered into his ear, “You have to kill Chalmer. You have to take one of your guns and shoot him.”
“I am not murderer.”
“It wouldn’t be murder. It would be justice for what he did.” “I am not law. Justice is for courts. I use my strength only to defend the children and vomans.”
“I’m a woman.”
“You are crazy voman.”
“All you would have to do is take your rifle and hide on the hill across from where he lives now with his new wife. You could take him. No one would ever know who did it.”
“Is no scope for carbine. Vould be too far. Ve do not have money to buy scope.”
“You’re ingenious, Ragen,” she whispered. “We have a telescope. You could adapt it and make cross hairs to do the job. ” Ragen shook her off.
But April kept at it, reminding Ragen of the things Chalmer had done—especially to the children. Knowing how much he cared for Christene, she made it a point to remind him of the abuse Christene had taken.
“I do it,” he said.
He took two hairs from his head and carefully wet them to the inside of the eyepiece. Then he went up to the roof and, sighting through the homemade scope, dropped BB’s, to a small black spot on the ground below. Once he felt it was accurate enough to do the job, he glued the cross hairs in place, mounted the eyepiece on the carbine and took it out in the woods to test it. He would be able to hit Chalmer from the rise across from his new house.
The next morning, an hour before the time Chalmer usually went to work at his foreman job in Columbus, Ragen drove to his neighborhood, parked the car and slipped into the wooded area across from the house. He positioned himself behind the tree, waiting for Chalmer to come out. He trained his scope on the door he knew Chalmer would have to walk through to get to his car.
“Don’t do it,” Arthur said aloud.
“He must die,” Ragen said.
“This does not come under the heading of being necessary for survival.”
“It comes under protect vomans and children. He has hurt children. He must die to pay for it.”
Arthur, knowing that argument was useless, brought Christene to the edge of the spot and showed her what Ragen was doing. She cried and stamped her feet and pleaded with Ragen not to do bad things.
Ragen clenched his teeth. Chalmer was coming through the door. Ragen reached over and removed the nine-shot clip. With the rifle chamber empty, he sighted through the eyepiece, centered Chalmer in the cross hairs and gently pulled the trigger. Then he put the rifle over his shoulder, went back to the car and drove home to the new apartment.
That day Arthur said, “April is insane, a menace to all of us.” And he banished her from the spot.
“Kevin” was alone in the apartment when the doorbell rang. He opened the door and saw a beautiful young woman smiling at him.
“I called Barry Hart,” Marlene said, “and he told me you had this place of your own. I enjoyed our talk at his party that time, and I thought I’d see how you were.”
Kevin had no idea what she was talking about, but he motioned for her to come in. “I was feeling pretty low,” he said, “until I opened this door.”
Marlene spent the evening with him, looking at his paintings and talking about people they knew. She was glad she’d made the first move and come to see him. It made her feel very close to him.
When she got up to leave, he asked if she would come to see him again. She said she would if he wanted her to.
On November 16, 1973, the day he was officially discharged from the custody of the Ohio Youth Commission, Kevin sat in a neighborhood bar and recalled Gordy Kane’s words the day he left the Zanesville Youth Camp. “If you ever need a dope connection,” Kane had said, “look me up.”
Well, that’s just what he intended to do.
Late in the afternoon he drove out to the Reynoldsburg area on the east side of Columbus. The address he had for Kane was an expensive-looking ranch house on a comer lot.
Gordy Kane and his mother were glad to see him. Julia Kane said, in her sexy, throaty voice, that he was a welcome visitor in their home at any time.
While Julia was busy making herself a cup of tea, Kevin asked Gordy if he could lend him enough money to make a buy and start dealing. He was broke now, but he’d pay him back.
Kane took him to a house in the neighborhood where an acquaintance sold him three hundred and fifty dollars’ worth of pot.
“You should be able to deal that for over a thousand,” Kane said. “You can pay me back after you sell it.”
Kane’s hands were shaking and he looked spaced out.
“What drugs do you do?” Kevin asked.
“Morphine, when I can get it.”
Later that week, Kevin sold the pot to some of Hart’s friends in Lancaster and cleared seven hundred dollars’ profit. Kevin went back to the apartment, smoked a joint and phoned Marlene.
She came over and told him she was worried about what she’d learned from Barry—that he’d been dealing pot.
“I know what I’m doing,” he said. He kissed her, turned out the lights and pulled her down on the mattress. But as soon as their bodies touched, Adalana wished Kevin off the spot. This was what she needed. Holding and tenderness.
Adalana understood Arthurs rule of celibacy. She had heard him tell the males that a single violation would make them undesirable. But, proper British gentleman that Arthur was, it had never occurred to him to talk to her about sex. She had never agreed to his puritanical rules, and he would probably never even suspect.
When Allen woke up next morning, he had no idea what had happened. He saw the money in the drawer and it worried him, but he couldn’t reach Tommy or Ragen or Arthur or anyone else for an explanation.
Several of Barry Hart’s friends dropped by that afternoon for dope, but Allen didn’t know what they were talking about. Some of them were belligerent, shoving money into his face, and Allen began to suspect someone in the family was dealing.
The next time he was at Hart’s place, one of the men showed him a .38 Smith and Wesson. He wasn’t sure why he wanted it, but he offered the man fifty bucks, and he accepted, even throwing in some bullets.
Allen took the gun out to the car and put it under the seat . . .
Ragen reached down and took the .38 into his hand. He’d wanted Allen to buy it. Not his favorite weapon. He would have preferred a 9-millimeter. But it would be a good one to add to his weapons collection.
Allen decided to move out of the crummy apartment. Looking through the apartment ads in the Lancaster Eagle-Gazette, he saw a familiar phone number.
He searched through his address book until he found it and the name that went with it: George Kellner, the lawyer who had plea-bargained him into Zanesville. Allen had Dorothy call him about renting the apartment to her son. Kellner agreed to let him have it for eighty dollars a month.
The apartment at 803 1/2 Roosevelt Avenue was a clean one-bedroom second-floor apartment in a white house set back from the street behind another building. Allen moved in a week later and fixed up the place comfortably. No more messing around with drugs, he decided. We’ve got to keep away from those people.
He was astonished when Marlene, whom he had not seen since the night of Barry Hart’s party, came in one day and made herself at home. He had no idea which of the others was dating her, but he decided she was not his type and he wanted nothing to do with her.
She would come in after work, make his dinner, spend part of the evening, then go home to her parents’ house. She was practically living there, and it made everything a lot more complicated than Allen liked.
Whenever she started to get affectionate, he’d leave the spot. He didn’t know who came on and he didn’t really give a damn.
Marlene thought the apartment was great. Billy’s periodic shifts into foul language and his explosions of rage shocked her at first, but she got used to his changing moods—one minute tender and affectionate, the next minute angry and storming all over the place, then funny, clever and articulate. Without warning sometimes, he’d become clumsy and pathetic, like a little boy who didn’t know which foot to put his shoe on. She knew he surely needed someone to look after him. It was all the drugs he was doing and the crowd he was hanging out with. If she could convince him that Barry Hart’s friends were just using him, maybe he would see that he didn’t need them at all.
At times the things he did frightened her. He talked about being worried that some other people would show up and cause trouble if they found her there. He hinted it was “the family,” and she assumed he was being a big shot and boasting that he was working with the Mafia. But when he went to all the trouble to devise a signal, she found herself believing it was the Mafia. Whenever she was in the apartment, he would put a painting in the window. That, he said, would be a message to the “others” that she was there and that they should stay away.
When he made love to her, what often started with foul language and rough talk would always turn into tender caresses and softness. But something bothered her about his love-making. Though he was strong and manly, she had the feeling he was only pretending his passion, that he never really climaxed. She wasn’t sure, but she knew she loved him and decided all it would take was time and understanding.
One evening Adalana slipped away and David found himself on the spot, frightened and sobbing.
“I’ve never seen a rnan cry,” Marlene whispered. “Whats wrong?”
David curled up like a baby, tears rolling down his cheeks. She felt touched and close to him when he was so vulnerable like this. She cuddled him in her arms.
“You have to tell me, Billy. I can’t help you if you don’t let me know what’s the matter.”
Not knowing what to tell her, David left the spot. Tommy found himself in the arms of a beautiful woman. He pulled away.
“If you’re going to act that way, I might as well go home,” she said, angry that he was trying to make a fool of her.
Tommy watched her as she walked to the bathroom.
“Holy shit!” he whispered, looking around in a panic. “Arthur’ll kill me!”
He jumped out of bed and pulled his jeans on, walking back and forth, trying to figure this out. “Who the hell is she?”
He saw her purse on the chair in the living room and went through it quickly. He read the name Marlene on her driver-’s license, then shoved it back into her purse.
“Arthur?” he whispered. “If you can hear me, I didn’t have nothing to do with that. I didn’t touch her. Believe me. I’m not the one who’s breaking the rules.”
He went over to the easel and picked up a brush to work on a landscape he had started. Arthur would know he was doing what he was supposed to, perfecting his talents.
“I think you care more about your painting than you do about me.”
Tommy turned and saw that Marlene was dressed, brushing her hair. He said nothing but went on painting.
“Painting, painting, that’s all you think about is your damned painting. Talk to me, Billy.”
Remembering Arthur’s rule about being polite to women, Tommy put the brush down and sat in the chair across from her. She was beautiful. Though she was fully dressed now, he visualized her slender body, every curve, every hollow. He had never painted a nude before, but he would love to paint her. He knew le wouldn’t, though. Allen was the one who painted people.
He spoke to her for a while, fascinated by her dark eyes, her Till, pouting lips, her long throat. He knew that whoever she was, whatever had brought her here, he was crazy about her.
* * *
No one could understand why Billy Milligan started missing days at work or why he became so clumsy and stupid. Once he climbed up to fix the chain over the tanks and fell into the acid bath. They had to send him home. He walked off the job one day, and on December 21, 1973, he was fired from Lancaster Electro-Plating. He stayed home alone painting for a few days. Then one day Ragen took his guns and drove out into the woods for target practice.
By this time Ragen had bought himself quite a few guns. In addition to the .30-caliber carbine, the .25-caliber semiautomatic and the .38 Smith and Wesson, he had a .375 magnum, an M-14, a .44 magnum and an M-16. He liked his Israeli grease gun because of its compactness and quietness. He’d also bought a .45 Thompson barrel clip, which he thought of as a collectors item.
When the mix-up time reached its peak, Kevin asked Gordy Kane for an introduction to his connection. Kevin was ready to deal drugs full-time. Kane called an hour later and gave him directions to Blacklick Woods, near Reynoldsburg, east of Columbus.
“I told him about you. He wants to see you alone so he can size you up. If he likes you, you’ve got it made. He goes under the name of Brian Foley.”
Kevin drove out, following instructions carefully. He had never been in this area, but he reached the appointed location near a culvert ten minutes early. He parked and waited in the car. Nearly a half-hour later, a Mercedes drove up and two men got out. One was tall, with a pitted face and a brown leather jacket. The other was of medium height, with a beard and a pinstriped suit. Someone was watching from the back of the car. Kevin didn’t like it—not at all. He sat behind the wheel, sweating, wondering what he had gotten himself into and whether or not he should drive off.
The tall guy with the pitted face leaned over and looked at him. The man’s tight jacket showed a bulge under his left, armpit. “You Milligan?”
“Mr. Foley wants to talk to you.”
Kevin slid out from behind the wheel. When he turned, he saw that Foley had gotten out of the back seat of the Mercedes and was leaning against the door. He looked no older than himself, eighteen or so. His blond hair came down to his shoulders and blended into a camels-hair coat and a matching muffler, knotted at the throat.
Kevin started toward him but suddenly found himself spun around and braced against his own car. The tall man held an automatic at his head, while the bearded one reached to frisk him. Then Kevin was gone . . .
Ragen caught the bearded man s hand, spun him and flipped him at the tall one with the gun. He jumped the man, wrested the gun from his grip and held him as a shield as he pointed the gun at Foley, who had been watching from the Mercedes.
“It is not good to move,” he said calmly. “I put three bullets betveen eyes before you take step.”
Foley put his hands up.
“You,” Ragen said to the bearded man. “Take gun from under jacket vit two fingers and put it on ground.”
“Do what he says,” Foley ordered.
When the man moved slowly, Ragen said, “Do it now or you vill be smiling out of your sleeve.”
The man opened his jacket, removed his gun and placed it on the ground.
“Now, vit foot, kick it easy over here.”
The man kicked the gun toward him. Ragen released his captive and picked up the second gun, covering all three of them. “Is not good manners to treat visitor this vay.”
He emptied both clips, spun both guns, catching them by the barrels, and flipped them back to their owners. He turned his back on them and walked toward Foley.
“I vould say you need better bodyguard than these two.”
“Put your guns away,” Foley said. “And go stand over by his car. I’m going to have a talk with Mr. Milligan.”
He nodded for Ragen to get into the back of the car and slipped in beside him. He pressed a button and a traveling bar opened.
“What do you drink?”
“I expected that from your accent. So you’re not Irish, as your name would suggest.”
“I am Yugoslavian. Names mean nothing.”
“Can you use a gun as well as’ your hands?”
“You have gun for demonstration?”
Foley reached under the seat and handed Ragen a .45.
“Is good veapon,” Ragen said, testing its heft and balance. “I prefer nine-millimeter, but this vill do. Choose target.”
Foley pressed the button, lowering the window. “That beer can on the other side of the road, the one near the—”
Before he finished, Ragen s hand moved out and fired. The can clattered. He hit it again twice as it bounced away.
Foley smiled. “I can use a man like you, Mr. Milligan or whatever your name is.”
Ragen said, “I need money. You have job, I do it.”
“Do you have any objections to breaking the law?”
Ragen shook his head. “Except one thing. I do not hurt people unless my life in danger, and I do not harm vomans.” “Fair enough. Now go back to your own car and follow us closely. We’ll go to my place, where we can talk business.” Both bodyguards glared at him as he brushed by them to get into his car.
“You ever do that again,” the tall one said,”and I’ll kill you.” Ragen caught him and spun him quickly against the car, twisting his arm upward just a fraction short of breaking it. “For that you have to be more faster and smarter than you are. Be careful. I am very dangerous person.”
Foley called from his car. “Murray, damn you, get the hell over here. Leave Milligan alone. He’s working for me now.” When they got into the car, Ragen pulled out to follow them, wondering what this was all about and why he had come here in the first place.
He was surprised when the car pulled into a luxurious estate not far from Reynoldsburg. There was a storm fence around it, and behind the fence, three Doberman pinschers ran back and forth.
It was a large Victorian mansion, thickly carpeted and decorated in a simple modem style with paintings and objects dart. Foley showed Ragen around the house, obviously proud of his possessions. Then he led him to the bar in the den and poured him a vodka.
“Now, Mr. Milligan—”
“People call me Billy,” Ragen said. “I do not like name Milligan.”
“I understand. I imagine its not your real name. All right, Billy, I can use a man like you—fast, intelligent, strong and damned good with a gun. I need someone who can ride shotgun for me.”
“Vat is ‘ride shotgun?”
“I’m in the shipping business, and my drivers need protection.”
Ragen nodded, feeling the warming effect of the vodka in his chest. “I am protector,” he said.
‘‘Good. I’ll need a number where I can reach you. A day or two before each delivery, you’ll sleep here. We have lots of rooms. You won’t know what’s being shipped or where until you’re on the road with the driver. That way there will be less chance of a leak.”
“Is sound very good,” Ragen said, yawning. On the way back to Lancaster, Ragen slept while Allen drove home, wondering where he had been and what he’d been doing.
In the weeks that followed, Ragen rode shotgun for deliveries of narcotics to various dealers and customers in and around Columbus. He was amused -to find marijuana and cocaine being shipped to prominent people whose names he had seen constantly in the newspapers.
He rode shotgun on a shipment of M-l’s to a group of black men in West Virginia, and wondered what they wanted them for.
Several times Ragen tried to reach Arthur, but either Arthur was being stubborn and wanted nothing to do with him or it was a very bad mix-up time. He knew that Philip and Kevin were stealing time because occasionally he found open containers of barbiturates and amphetamines in the apartment. And once he discovered that one of his guns had been left out on the dresser. He was furious, because someone’s carelessness could harm the children.
He decided that the next time one of the undesirables came on the spot, he would try to be alert and bump them into the wall to teach them a lesson. Drugs were bad for the body; vodka and grass in moderation, having natural ingredients, were not. But he wanted nothing to do with hard drugs. He began to suspect that Philip or Kevin had experimented with LSD.
* * *
A week later, after returning from delivering a shipment of marijuana to a car dealer in Indiana, Ragen stopped in Columbus for dinner. As he was getting out of his car, he saw an elderly man and woman distributing Communist party leaflets. There were several hecklers standing around, and Ragen asked the couple if he could help them.
“Are you sympathetic to our cause?” the woman asked. “Yes,” Ragen said. “I am communist. I have seen slave labor in sweatshops and factories.”
The man handed him a stack of leaflets describing the philosophy of the Communist party and attacking the United States for supporting dictatorships. Ragen walked up and down Broad Street, pushing them into the hands of passers-by.
When he was down to the last leaflet, he decided to keep it for himself. He looked around for the old couple, but they were gone. He wandered for several blocks looking for them. If only he could find out where the meetings were held, he would join the Communist party. He had watched Tommy and Allen at Lancaster Electro-Plating and knew that the only way to improve the lot of the down-trodden masses was through the peoples revolution.
Then he saw the bumper sticker on his car: workers of the world unite! The old couple must have put it there. The words sent a thrill through him. He kneeled, and in the lower right-hand comer of the sticker, he saw the name of a Columbus silkscreen company. Someone there might be able to tell him where the local communist group was meeting.
He looked up the address in the telephone directory and discovered that the silkscreen company wasn’t far. He drove there and watched the store from the car for a few minutes. Then he drove to the phone booth up the block and, using his cable cutters, snipped the wires. He did the same to the other phone booth two blocks away. Then he went back to the store.
The owner, about sixty, with thick glasses and white hair, denied silkscreening the bumper stickers for the Communist party. “It was ordered by a printer in north Columbus,” he said.
Ragen slammed his fist on the counter. “Give address.” The man paused nervously. “Do you have some identification?”
“No!” Ragen said.
“How do I know you’re not from the FBI?”
Ragen grabbed him by the shirt front and pulled him close. “Old man, I vant know vere you send these bumper stickers.” “Why?”
Ragen pulled out his gun. “I am looking for my people and I cannot find them. Give me information or look for the hole in your body.”
The man peered nervously over his glassses. “All right.” He picked up a pencil and wrote down an address.
“I vant to see record to be sure,” Ragen said.
The man pointed to the order book on the desk. “The records are over there, but—but—”
“I know,” Ragen said. “Address of communist customer is not in there.” He pointed the gun at him again. “Open your safe.”
“Are you holding me up?”
“I vant only correct information.”
The man opened the safe, pulled out a sheet of paper and laid it on the counter. Ragen checked it. Satisfied that he had the right address, Ragen jerked the phone cord out of the wall.
“If you vant call them before I get there, use pay telephone two blocks away.”
Ragen walked out to the car. He estimated the printing shop to be about four miles away. He would have enough time to get there before the man could find a pay phone that hadn’t been cut.
The address was a residence with a small sign in the first-floor window: printing. Inside, he noticed that the business was run from the front living room. There was a long desk, a small hand printing press and a mimeograph machine. Ragen was surprised there were no hammer-and-sickle posters around. It looked like a simple operation. But the vibration under his feet told him that printing presses were running in the basement.
The man who came through the door was about forty-five, heavy-set, with a neat Vandyke beard. “I am Karl Bottorf. What can I do for you?”
“I vant to vork for the revolution.”
“Because I believe ‘U.S. government’ is another vord for ‘Mafia.’ They take labor of vorking people and use money to support dictators. I believe in equality.”
“Come in, young man. Lets talk awhile.”
Ragen followed him into the kitchen and sat down at the table.
“Where are you from?” Bottorf asked.
“I thought you were a Slav. Of course we will have to check you out, but I see no reason why you cannot join us to help our cause.”
“I vould like to go to Cuba someday,” Ragen said. “I have great admiration for Dr. Castro. He took band of rebel vorkers from sugar-cane fields into hills and created revolution. Now all people in Cuba are equal.”
They spoke for a while and Bottorf invited him to attend the meeting of the local communist cell that afternoon.
“Is here?” Ragen asked.
“No. Its near Westerville. You can follow me in your car.”
Ragen followed Karl Bottorf to a wealthy-looking neighborhood. Ragen was disappointed. He had expected it to be in the slums.
He was introduced as “the Yugoslavian” to several nondescript people, and sat in the back to observe the meeting. But as the speakers droned on in abstractions and slogans, his mind wandered. He struggled to stay awake for a while, but finally he gave in. Just a short cat nap, and he would be alert again. He had found his people. This was what he had always wanted to be part of, the peoples struggle against the oppressive capitalist system. His head nodded . . .
Arthur sat up straight, alert, on edge. He had observed just the last part of Ragen s trip and had become fascinated watching Ragen follow the other car. But now he was amazed that such a bright fellow should be taken in by all this. Communism indeed! He had a good mind to get up and tell these mindless robots that the Soviet Union was nothing more than a monolithic dictatorship that had never turned power over to the people. Capitalism was the system that had brought freedom of conscience and opportunity to people all over the world in a way that communism could never hope to. So inconsistent was the Yugoslavian that he would rob banks, live off the fruits of narcotics traffic and yet convince himself that he was involved in the liberation of the people.
Arthur stood up, gave the entire assembly a withering glance and, in an even, unemotional tone, said, “Balderdash.” The others turned and stared in astonishment as he left.
He found the car and sat there for a few moments. He hated to drive on the right-hand side of the road. But try as he might, he couldn’t reach anyone to come and take the car. “Damn these damnable mix-up times!” he said. Slowly he eased himself behind the wheel, and craning his neck to see the center line, he pulled away from the curb. He drove tensely at twenty miles an hour.
Arthur checked the street signs, and it occurred to him that Sunbury Road might be in the neighborhood of the Hoover Reservoir. He pulled over to the curb, took out the highway map and plotted the coordinates. He was indeed near the dam he had been intending to visit for a long time.
He had heard that ever since the Army Corps of Engineers had built the dam, the sludge had accumulated against the structure. He had been wrestling with the question of whether this sludge area, with its varied forms of microscopic life, might turn out to be an ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes. If he discovered this was indeed an infested area, he would inform the authorities that action must be taken. The important thing was for him to take some scrapings of the sludge and examine them under the microscope at home. It was not a major project, he realized, but someone had to do it.
He was deep in thought, driving slowly and carefully, when a truck passing him swerved back into the lane, drove a car ahead of him off the road, and kept going. The car hit the guardrail and went into the ditch end over end. Arthur pulled quickly off onto the berm. He got out calmly and climbed down. A woman was moving, crawling out of the car.
“I say, don’t move any more,” he said. “Let me help you.”
She was bleeding, and he used direct pressure to stop it. She began to gag—he could see her teeth had been knocked out and she was choking. Discarding the idea of performing a tracheotomy, he decided to create an airway instead. Searching through his pockets, he found a plastic ball-point pen. He pulled out the ink sheath and, using his pipe lighter, softened the plastic shell and bent it. Then he slipped it into her throat to help her breathe, turning her head to the side to allow the blood to run out of her mouth.
A brief examination tpld him that her jaw was broken, as was her wrist. Her side was lacerated and he suspected her ribs were crushed. She must have hit the steering wheel when she went forward.
When the ambulance arrived, he quickly told the driver what had happened and what he had done. Then he walked off into the gathering crowd.
He discarded the idea of going to the Hoover Dam. It was getting rather late, and he really should be getting home before dark. He did not like the idea of driving on the wrong side of the road at night.