Category Archives: Adventure

“Jeeze, what a life…” a final blog post from Jeanne

“Jeeze, what a life. What a ride this has been. What a phony, sexy, drug-induced hallucination.” -Old Jules

Well, folks, it’s time to end the blog posts. I’ve tried to keep Jack’s words alive over the last 2 1/2 years by posting from his former blogs, letters, and miscellaneous writing. I’m awfully glad I did all this during lockdown two years ago, as I’ve enjoyed re-reading along with you. Special thanks to those who have “liked,” commented, and shared these elsewhere.

My youngest daughter, Julia (the recipient of some of those letters) is getting married in a week. After that, I’ll reassess what to do with Jack’s legacy of writing. There is more material, especially of the “Ask Old Jules” variety. I’d love to see a book of those so I’ll delve into that material first. Since they were not saved in any particular order, that will be time-consuming to organize. If I can pull it together, it will be published through Lulu.com like the previous volumes of blog posts.

“Oracle” cards are still hugely popular. I’d love to design a deck of cards with some his quotations, so that will also be on my mind as I go through the Q&A material. I’m under no illusion that either of these projects will be lucrative, it’s just for me. Jack would shake his head and laugh if anyone ever had the impression that he was wise. But his words are still helpful to me. And the creative learning curve of such a project appeals to me.

The blog will still be here, but I may not be checking for comments as often. The published books will always be available on https://www.lulu.com/ Just search under “Jeanne Kasten” or “Jack Purcell.” They are in order by year, starting with 2005.

If anyone wants to make suggestions or contact me, please leave a comment or an email (elisekasten@hotmail.com). If you email, be sure to put “So Far From Heaven” in the subject line so I don’t miss your remarks.

I’m grateful to all of you for reading, commenting, and thinking about his words over all these years that the blog has been in place. You’ll see more here if I come up with something relevant in the future.

Best wishes to everyone for the new year.

Jeanne Kasten

Fourth of Four Letters to a Young Man

You’ve asked a worthy question. I suppose I made the connection with you
because I thought you were a meth cook. The name “chemist,” your liking for
guns, and your thoughts that you’d like to spend some time in solitude in
a remote cabin all made me think that. Cooks sometimes refer to themselves
as chemists, though a lot of them never got through high school chemistry.
Most of them also like guns for the most practical of reasons. And some
of them probably understand that cooking meth is something best not done in
town.

Nineteen years old and a meth cook struck me as a combination that might
include another trait: a lack of complete awareness in the road
conditions after you travel it a little further. When you connected with me because
of the picture of the El Palenque grips I immediately assumed all these
things. Along with that assumption came the thought that, if you were making your
choices without a full understanding of the downside it mightn’t hurt you
to get a look at one facet of it. There’s plenty in television and movie
fantasy about all that, but it isn’t reality, whereas this is. (At least
from my viewpoint.) The people who create those media dramas probably
haven’t been there.

If I managed to tell all that without intruding into your boundaries and
choices, I thought it couldn’t hurt. If you didn’t want to hear it, you
didn’t have to read it.

The hardening realization that Dan and his mom are probably dead has
occupied my mind a lot lately. I’m finding I’m moved by it, despite
myself.

Although I have no inclincation to do any cooking, now, I can see from my
own experience how a man might be moved to do it. I learned to cook out
of curiousity, hanging around the lab. I never did a cook, but before it was
all over I believed I could duplicate Dan’s product. For a brief span of
time I thought it might provide me a way out of the financial morass I’ve
gotten myself into. A few cooks would probably hold me for the remainder
of my life, the way I live.

The downsides are that it’s illegal enough to get you life in prison,
you’ll probably expose your body to a soup of destructive chemicals, and you have
to surround yourself with meth users. A couple of years ago, I didn’t
have any appreciation for the importance of that third part, which I’ve come to
believe is the one that carries the most weight. When it all culminated
with a near bust, the lab accident and Dan going insane, I finally figured
out that meth wasn’t the place for me. That entire reality is filled with
people ten times my ugly in ways I don’t find remotely interesting.

Over the last few years some of my closest friends have been hard men who,
over time, enlarged the boundaries (in my mind) of the concept of
“normalcy.” Even those expanded boundaries weren’t wide enough to include
the people I encountered during my “meth phase.”

I didn’t expect to hear from you again after I sent the anecdote about Dan
and his mom. When you replied with a brief description of your
aspirations, I figured I might as well offer a few thoughts on the subjects you named.
You succeeded in getting me interested in the problems a 19 year old might
have in trying to wind his way through a 21st century future, given your
preferences. Somehow that all wandered off down a monologue about the War
on Drugs.

What kind of person am I? I’m a man who tries to live by his belief
system in ways that go beyond what most people think of as “normal.”

My belief system includes the concept that life is probably “intended” to
be difficult. It also includes the concept that we are all entirely
responsible for our own choices. That no one “owes” us anything. That
“fair” is an absurd concept except when it’s applied during the feeding of
multiple pets or dividing cookies for kids. That pain, as we usually
think of it, doesn’t really hurt much and is worth enduring without complaint.

I believe almost every aspect of this life experience, the good, the bad,
the ugly, is a blessing that needs to be recognized as such.

I believe the choices other people make are mostly not any of our business
unless they apply force on the ones we make ourselves. I believe life is
an important place; a lot more important than most people give it credit for,
and in ways most people don’t imagine or perceive; that the choices and
decisions we make during this lifetime are crucial in some ways we ought
to each be concerned about, but mostly aren’t.

Years ago people who knew me well used to quip that I was a 19th century
man in a 20th century world. If they were correct, now I’m a 19th century man
in a 21st century world.

Last night I was browsing through DeviantArt and, in the back of my mind
caressing the thought about the folks who seem to have felt enough
hostility toward me for the past couple or three years to attempt to add
difficulties to my life. I found myself composing a piece of prose/poetry about it.
“He,” of course, is me:

If he could only feel

The fear, the doubt, the terror;

If he cold only satisfy your yearning

For him to feel those things

He’d probably do it.

If he could only understand

How much it means to you

To cause him pain;

With what a flood of anguish

And hatred you wish him ill

And want to be responsible;

Want him to know,

He’d almost certainly try.

But, he can’t.

Despair’s no longer sexy

To those who’ve seen it naked.

Fear cowers under a straight, steady gaze.

You’ll have to offer up something more frightful

Than your rage; your idealized terror;

Something more dismal than your impotent concept of emptiness;

Something with more substance than your scorn;

Something more somber than you think death is

To make him care.

Maybe that tells as much as all those other words about the kind of person
I am.

Best to you,
Jack

Note from Jeanne: Several years later, Jack was pretty sure he ran into Dan at a casino near Placitas. His looks had changed, but he was recognizable. Jack tried to have a conversation with him, but the man left.

Third of Four Letters to a Young Man

I’ve been thinking about where you think your life might lead you. I’ve
had a few thoughts I want to share, in case you haven’t considered them. It
isn’t intended as advice. It isn’t even intended as a suggestion, except
that you might find it worth considering. Once I post this email, whether
you even read it becomes a moot issue for me. I tend to clarify my own
thoughts by writing things down, and in a sense, that’s what I’m doing
here:

You mentioned art as a career possibility. Art has been a tough gig for a
long time. I think it might still be possible, but like writing, there’s
an increasing amount of competition. Looking over the DeviantArt page I’m
impressed with the plethora of talent of all ages, compared to the
likelihood of a market for what’s being done. I suspect for any of those
people to make a living at it they’re going to have to have a lot of luck,
in addition to their talent. My suspicion is that a lot of Michaelangelos
and Picassos are going to go hungry during the 21st century. There’s a
shocking amount of talent out there, and probably not much of an increase
in the size of the market for it all.

As for solitude possibilities: If there comes a time when you want to try
solitude on someone elses nickle you might look at being a fire tower
watcher for the US Department of Agriculture, forestry service. Gives you
a seasonal job, time to think, and you get paid something for it. Those
jobs aren’t impossible to come by, and it gives you three or four months a year
in the nearest thing to solitude you can get while still getting paid for
it.

Law enforcement: If you want law enforcement, minus a lot of the
difficulties people find there (including the antithesis of solitude), you
might look at something in US Forestry Service or the Bureau of Land
Management Enforcement. I don’t know much about those, except that there
are a growing number of them. I think the money is probably pretty good,
and although a decade ago all of them I saw around looked as though they
were retired Texas Rangers, I think that might be changing.

Also, most of the western states have livestock investigators who chase
down stock rustlers and movements of diseased animals. Those are outside the
mainstream of policeman work, have a lot of autonomy, and probably enjoy
their jobs more than the average police officer. They’re mostly cowboy
types, and I imagine they probably mostly come from ranching backgrounds,
but they get paid the same (at least in NM) as State Police officers, but
aren’t spending time trying to catch people going five miles an hour over
the speed limit.

Game wardens are also outside the mainstream, although I think I their job
has a downside. Getting to be too many baddies in the woods these days,
and everyone they come into contact with is armed. They have to treat them
all as though they’re honest hunters until they prove themselves otherwise.
That might be too late for some. As the war on drugs continues to erode
the criminal justice system in this country, this aspect of things might get
worse. My impression is those guys (Fish and Game officers) don’t get
paid as well as other State Police officers, also.

For the average policeman on the streets, I think life is a pretty tough
gig, and not likely to get much better.

Engineers? EEs are still able to make a good living, I’m thinking, though
the competition is growing as the third world cranks out more and more of
them. Petroleum engineers are all working as civil engineers when they
can find jobs, or as shoe salesmen.. Even incompetent civil engineers can
still find jobs doing something, last I heard, which was a decade ago. That
might
have changed, because the government grants for building new sewer and
water plants, which kept most of them busy, have been drying up slowly.
Mechanicals are in a shrinking marketplace as the US produces fewer and
fewer products. Industrial engineers are mostly doing something else,
too. 20 years ago I’d occasionally hire an industrial or petroleum engineer to
an entry level position as environmental health workers. A big step down
compared to what they’d have gotten when times were better. Hydrologicial
engineers are probably in about the same position as industrial and
petroleum people, though a bit earlier in the timeline. I don’t know
about chemical engineers. Maybe that’s a possibility. I’d imagine
pharmaceutical engineering, if there is such a thing, is another. All the baby boomers
are getting old now and have all the aches, pains and diseases nature can
throw at them. Health care providers are likely to be doing a land office
business a decade from now.

I imagine whatever you choose is going to be a tough gig. This country is
probably going to be a difficult place for young people trying to eek out
a living where nothing much is being manufactured except drugs, hamburgers,
and computers. Private sector jobs will probably be in areas involving
leisure (for the flood of retiring oldsters) activities, health care,
sales, advertising, and gambling. Public sector will most likely involve law
enforcement, prison work of one sort or another, judicial system
activities, and a million government busywork things in other areas.

(Reading back over this before I send it, I find that here I begin roaming
away from my purposes in writing you. I doubt any of it will be helpful
to you at all in anything. If it gets tedious or offensive to you, feel free
to just blow it off.)

Possibilities for a decreased demand for law enforcement personnel:

I suspect there’s a (only slightly) greater than zero possibility that the
country will eventually get a bellyfull of the war on drugs. If that
happens, there are going to be a lot of cops, lawyers, prosecutors,
judges, prison workers, forbidden drug dealers, forbidden drug manufacturers, and
general ne’er do wells, wondering where the next paycheck is going to come
from. In the unlikely event that happens, a person mightn’t want to be
anywhere near any of that, depending on it to make a living.

(Here begins my circuitous logic on the whole War on Drugs/criminal
justice system snarl. I really don’t recommend it as a good read)

The only reason I think there’s a remote possibility of it ending is that
so many lives are being ruined by the War on Drugs. It’s costing a lot
without having any impact at all on the availability of drugs, nor the demand for
them. Even inside the prisons. It is, however, creating a river of
money, corrupting the whole infrastructure of the criminal justice system. The
end product is the habitual drug user on the lower end of the financial
spectrum. He’s the cash cow that keeps the whole system running, and
without him the whole sand castle would collapse.

The problem, (the reason I think there’s a possibility that eventually,
like prohibition, the War on Drugs will end) lies in the nature of bureaucracy
and government. It always wants growth. Prosecutors want more
prosecutors to work for them. Judges want more courts and more judges. Prison
officials want more prisons, more prison workers. Cops want more cop
shops. Everyone wants the public to perceive more need for what they do so they
can increase their budgets.

The only ways they can do that are 1) to shorten sentences so they can
recycle the product faster, 2) make more things illegal to include a wider
sector of society, or 3) reduce their selectivity in their enforcement so
as to include more working class and upper middle class people and get them
into the system.

Reducing sentencing would imply that what they are doing isn’t important.
I don’t think they’ll pick that option. They might try number 2, but I
doubt it will increase the product much. They’d be drawing from the same pool
of applicants they are drawing from now.

The only practical option for them is to tighten enforcement to include
more middle class and upper middle class drug users. I doubt they’ve thought
it through that far, but I suspect it’s the only chance the War on Drugs will
eventually end. If the prisons begin filling up with the offspring of
middle class and upper middle class parents, someone is going to begin
looking closely at the whole thing. It won’t stand close scrutiny.
There’s an obvious, simple answer people aren’t interested in looking at so long
as it’s mainly people from the ‘hood’ behind bars. I imagine they’d open
their minds to other solutions to the drug problem if it was their own kids in
those hellholes getting gangbanged.

With a bit of a stretch, you might say that’s how prohibition eventually
ended in the United States. Even though things have changed a lot since
then, it might actually happen again.

Again, I see I’ve rambled far outside my original purpose.

Best to you,
Jack

Second of Four Letters to a Young Man


That was a long story; probably more than you wanted to hear; certainly
more than I originally intended to tell you.  But I needed to write it down,
anyway, and telling it to you was as good a kick in the ass as I needed,
to get it started.

You are 19.  I'm 59.  Both of us have a liking for, and in my case, a
respect for firearms.  You have a notion you'd like to go spend some time
with yourself in the woods; in solitude.  I've done that a few times.
You've chosen the nick, “chemist,” which, combined with the other things
you've said about yourself, leads me to think you are choosing some
directions for your live that will almost inevitably lead you into some
interesting places.

I'm not going to try to give you advice.  You haven't asked, and if you
had I'd be the last person on earth you should take advice from.  I would,
however, like to make a couple of observations about the sort of life you
might be choosing for yourself.

I don't pretend to know what a person ought to do with this lifetime, but
I do know that the kinds of choices we make for it are a driving force in
the direction it goes.  Every person in the anecdote I sent you was the
product of his choices.

15 years ago, Dan thought he was going to be a Baptist minister.  He
believed himself to be a peaceful character.  He'd never had anything at
all to do with drugs.  But he ended up as a bouncer in a titty bar in Phoenix
and met his wife, who was a waitress there.  From there, his life took
directions he never anticipated, ending in insanity, and most likely a
shallow grave.

Tammy was in Phoenix to escape the confines of Valencia County.  Everyone
there (in Valencia County) was related to one another.  The gene pool is
lousy, and the social matrix is worse, as you've probably discerned by
reading between the lines.  Now she's come home, a drug queen, and
probably a murderess or accessory to murder.  Dan used to tell me stories of the women of Valencia County who went off elsewhere to find husbands, then
came home and eventually became widows under suspicious circumstances.
Frequently, this involved large insurance policies.  Tammy had a large
insurance policy on him, which he'd tried in a number of ways to have
cancelled and hadn't succeeded.  But Dan was crazy.

The Mexican mafia lad was personable, intelligent, seemingly well
educated, and strikingly handsome.  He gave the impression of someone who came from a good home, and who had a lot of potential outside the drug community.
When I admonished Dan that he, at least, appeared to be someone in that crowd
He could trust, he answered with a long, bitter laugh.  Then he told me who
The man is.

Jesse was on his way to becoming a champion rodeo rider before meth came
along.  Maybe that isn't much to shoot for, but for a not overly bright
lad who can do that sort of thing, it was probably better than being a yes man to Tammy, shoveling her shit for her.

Then there's me.  I've done a lot of things in this life.  Chased lost
gold mines, spent a lot of time in solitude, been a scholar and for many years, a pillar of the community.  At 59, I'm on the skids, minus alcohol or drugs, and the focus of a lot of hostile attention from somewhere.  Maybe from
more than one place.  Even though I don't know, in some cases, what the choices were that brought me where I am, I'm absolutely certain that every aspect of my life today is the product of my own choices and decisions.

With any luck at all, at 19 your choices and decisions are mostly still
ahead of you.  I don't know what they should be, but I believe all of us
would be well served in our lives to consider our choices carefully, with
a lot more wisdom than we are usually capable of when we are making them.

Best to you,
Jack

First of Four Letters to a Young Man

For Pie Town people, it seems
No hallucinations, no dreams
Can give them the rise
They get from their pies
and methamphetamines.

The following entry is the first of 4 letters Jack wrote to someone who contacted him on the internet about, I think, firearms. He sent me copies of the letters. He wrote this first letter to clarify some things he thought the young man needed to consider. He continued to write the entire story because it helped him try to make sense of the events and their conclusion. These entries are long, but readable, and give more insight into what Jack’s living conditions were and how he tried to help a friend as well as help himself.

Sent: Wednesday, January 22, 2003 12:45 PM

I’m assuming the part that interests you is the explosion, though I
imagine there are other aspects of it all you might profit from.
The operation was a big one (maybe still is, minus Dan). He believed he
was turning out the highest quality crystal that could be attained, short of
an actual pharmaceutical plant. His last cook was his largest, roughly 8000 grams of pure.

I was an outsider to the whole operation. Dan and I became acquainted
because he bought a CD book I’d written about a lost gold mine I’d spent
20 years searching for. I knew almost nothing about meth when we met. When,
a few moments after we met, he told me he was the “biggest meth cook in the
Albuquerque area,” I quipped that the others were probably eating a lot of
chocolate in trying to catch up. Dan was a big man. I knew meth was
illegal, but figured it was about on a par with LSD or marijuana.

We went prospecting together that weekend, and while we were camped, Dan
told me a long, outrageous story about how his life had been running for
the past few years. I only half believed it. In part, he was being held
captive by the meth infrastructure of the area he lived in because of the
product he turned out. He’d tried on numerous occasions to run away, but
a warrant for his arrest would appear like magic in the records, and he’d be
snagged in North Carolina or Texas and brought back and released into the
custody of his wife. He was making too many people too much money to let
him get away.

Dan had tried to teach other people to do what he did the way he did it,
but they could never get the quality, for some reason. His product had the
longest “legs” anyone had ever seen. When we met he was desperate to make
another try at getting loose from them. All the years he had been
cooking, he wasn’t getting any money from the cooks. His wife did all the peddling and trickled money back to him when he asked.

At the time we met, Dan had begun to hold back half of each cook for
himself, brokering it himself. He had a sizeable sum set back that he
believed was “his own” money. During the same time period, his wife began
an intensified attempt to train several other people to his method of
cooking.

During the time from September 2001 until March last year I spent a lot of
time with Dan, either prospecting, or hanging out at the lab. I was the
only person he knew, including himself, who wasn’t a user and wasn’t a
dealer. Because of that, he trusted me.

From September onward, Dan had me trying to locate a place in a remote
area 100 miles away from his current lab where he could go and hide and turn
out a few big cooks, then quit entirely. He had me searching for sources of
crystal iodine, pills, and phosphorus, as well because he’d have to cut
the ties with his current sources when he went into hiding.

Meanwhile, things were becoming increasingly disjointed back in the east
mountains. The crowd that constantly encircled him there were subtly hostile. His wife kept the entire lab bugged with baby monitors and (Dan believed) other surveillance devices so there could be no private conversations there. She also had some hangers on and cook trainees
loitering around to keep an eye on things.

Dan had me, and his addicted mom, who lived in a house on the property out
50 yards from the main house and 75 from the lab. He’d hired me to build
some webpages to execute some ideas he had for the two of us to do some
non-drug related business on the internet. He saw the internet as one
means to escape the meth cooking business.

The money he kept in the desk in his lab grew into a 4-inch-thick roll of
bills, and product was lying around all over the place in quart sized
freezer bags. There was constant traffic of dangerous people coming in to
buy, share a pipe, trade, or just talk. In retrospect, I think the reason
Dan wanted me around was to guard his back. He spent most of his time
with his back to the whole scene playing a computer game called Tribes. I hung around with a 9 mm barely concealed in my pocket or waistband wondering
what the hell I was doing there; wondering when, what I saw as almost
inevitable, was going to erupt.

The lab was a nightmare in its own right. It was heated by a large wood
stove. On one wall was a giant fan that could be opened to ventilate the
place, but everyone hated to do that until it as absolutely necessary
because of the subzero temperatures outside. The odor of iodine and
acetone pervaded the place. Every surface was coated and discolored by iodine. I believe I’m probably still carrying iodine in my body from that time.

There was a lot of open flame around during the cooks and preludes to the
cooks. Dan believed he could gauge exactly when the acetone fumes were
about to reach the combustion point in the closed area, and then he’d
raise the vent cover, kick on the fan, and open the large doors on the opposite end of the room to let out some of the fumes, but letting in the cold outside air, as well. Not a moment before his internal monitors sensed it was “time,” despite the gentle suggestions or loud protests, mainly from
me.

I don’t recall why, but I wasn’t there for the last cook. Half the county
was over there popping pills out of cards for some while before the cook,
and maybe that’s why. Dan had been off the stuff for a couple of weeks,
but he went back on for the cook because he was going to have to be busy night and day for a while. It wasn’t unusual for him to go without sleep for a 5-day period when a cook in preparation or in progress.

The first I knew about the accident was a cryptic phone call from Dan,
asking me to come over that way, saying he had had “a little explosion.”
It turned out a pressurized tube of acetone, maybe in solution with iodine,
had burst in his face. I never really got all the details, except that he was covered with it, soaked, from his hair to his toes.

The next two weeks were fairly strange, with Dan and I negotiating with a
programmer in Albuquerque to work up a database system for one of the web
pages, him becoming increasingly certain his wife was setting him up for a
bust, or worse, and an increasingly deteriorating situation on the
mountain.

Dan was preparing to run, but also preparing for a “raid” by police from the
adjoining county. Occasionally in the past they’d donned their ninja
suits and M16s and crossed over for an “unofficial” raid. They’d load up all
the lab equipment, the money, the product, guns, and anything else that wasn’t tied down, and then sit down for a cup of coffee and discussions about
methodology, praising his techniques and asking for particulars.
Naturally, when Dan thought one of these raids (which he believed his wife arranged) was about to happen, he’d hide everything he could and try to keep the loss down as much as possible.

Dan bought a motor home without his wife knowing it, and put it in an RV
park in a town 50 miles away. He also rented a separate apartment in the
same town. One night we headed into Albuquerque to meet with the comp
programmer there, and a lot of strange things about his wife’s behavior
caused him to be suspicious. She wanted to make certain he had product
with him, along with some other things. She was supposed to meet us at the
motel, and everyone was going to stay there that night.
As we approached the motel where the meeting was to take place, both of us
sensed that something was awry. We stopped at a hamburger joint before
reaching the motel to think things over. As we discussed what we’d both noticed, and compared notes, but both became certain the meeting was a setup for a bust.

We drove past the motel and stopped about a block further on at a
convenience store where there was a pay phone outside. I waited in the
truck while Dan called his mother in the east mountains and told her to
get everything ready to make a run for it. While he was on the phone, an
unmarked carload of plain clothes cops did a u turn out on the street and
came through the parking lot, craning their necks to look at him, then
drove out of the parking lot and turned in at the motel.

After a hair-raising run back to the east mountains, I stood guard on one
of the hangers-on while Dan gathered every cell phone he could find and
disconnected all the phone lines to the house. He didn’t want Jesse, the
hanger-on, to call town and let the wife know what was happening. Then he
spent an hour gathering everything he could pack into his truck and his
mom’s car, and we got the hell out of Dodge by separate routes. Along a
dark back road he stopped the truck and had me bury 5000 grams beside a
telephone pole. At that point he was carrying $60,000 in cash, as well.

We headed across the mountains, picked up the RV, and went south. We
stayed in a motel so Dan could check the internet to see if there’d been a
warrant issued for him. There hadn’t.

The next day we moved again, and we tried to make plans for what to do
next. We were uncertain what the hell was happening, and equally uncertain who
all was looking for us (and with what intentions), though a lot could be
assumed. I left them late at night with plans for him to call me the next
morning on the cell phone and do something, though we were uncertain what.

Next day he didn’t call. I tried repeatedly to reach him on the cell
phone and went to the RV, which was empty and had evidently been hastily
ransacked. The door was unlocked, and nothing of Dan’s nor his mom’s was
inside. The wall clock was partially disassembled, along with a scanner
his wife had sent with him on the earlier trip to Albuquerque that night.
Even the carpets had been pulled up.

Eventually I got his mom on the phone, and she was cagy with me. She
finally admitted he was in jail in Albuquerque, and that she was waiting
to get him out by posting bond. She told me he’d gone to the FBI, and that
they’d arrested him. I went down to wait with her, but she obviously
didn’t want me there. She told me that he’d told the FBI “everything.” I wasn’t sure what “everything” was, but I was appalled. At one point earlier he’d done a cook in the garage of a DEA agent. (His wife was a close friend of the agent’s sister, and the agent was gone somewhere). That, along with
all this other stuff, wasn’t the sort of thing a person would want to walk
into an FBI office with and expect to come out with your life all patched up,
everything rosy.

Over the next few days after his release, Dan refused to see me, but he
made a lot of accusations on the cell phone. Accusations that I’d been fucking his wife; that I’d been working with her and her faction the entire time we’d been friends. He called me by a number of different names I’d never heard before, believing I was those people, too, and part of a conspiracy against him. He told me the FBI “knew all about me.” Claimed I’d tried to set his mother up to be killed.

I continued to work on the webpage, assuming he’d eventually get his head
on straight. He was my friend, and I wanted things to go well for him, as
well as for me. About a week after all this, I saw his truck in the parking
lot outside Comp USA in Albuquerque. I drove toward it, and he immediately
drove away, trying to avoid me. He pulled into an overhang in front of a
big motel and I pulled in beside him. He pointed a .40 automatic at me
while I pleaded with him to just sit down with me and talk about all this
shit, try to clear it up (his mom sitting in the passenger seat screaming
incoherence in my direction). He muttered more accusations and I drove
away. He spent the next week or so leaving messages of craziness on my
telephone, filled with threats and accusations. The incident pissed me
off pretty badly.

All that happened in March. I didn’t hear from him again until June, and
he was still obviously insane. He was living back on the place in the east
mountains, his wife somewhere else, and he said he had no intention of
leaving. By that time the web pages had been up for a while, and they
weren’t fulfilling his (or my) expectations. The whole thing was a
financial disaster, and the ideas he contracted with me to execute on the
internet turned out to be a violation of Federal law.

FBI agents came to the town where I live and began asking questions about
me, sometime during that period. Eventually they arranged an interview.

In November I got an email from his (now ex) wife telling me she was
remarried; that Dan and his “mommy” were “gone.” She wanted me to copy
the software we’d bought for the business for her. I never answered the
request.

I wrote the next part up in an email to a friend a while back. I’ll spare
myself the typing by just pasting it below.

I probably should have elaborated on why I thought he might be dead.
1) He knew too damned much. When Dan went to the FBI making all those
claims about me, he also told him the TRUTH about his wife and that
network of Valencia County meth freaks. The police there on the take… the ones who raided him, confiscated everything unofficially, then sat down at his table and told him how much they admired his product and talked about
cooking techniques… the judge, the whole ball of wax. When he was in
jail that day, that’s what his mom told me he was doing.

2) Snitches. Even the lowbrow meth gangsters don’t cotton much to
snitches. Dan was in a position to know so damned much that if the cops
hadn’t been so corrupt, the whole county would have been in jail. 7 miles
down the road from his place there was a multiple murder just a few years
ago over meth… killed the mom and dad and left the kids locked in the
back room to starve to death or die of thirst… pre schoolers. That’s a rough crowd he was messing with.

3) Value. He was no use to them crazy, and he was no use to them if he
didn’t cook anymore, which he was determined not to do, as of the last
time I saw him.

4) His mom. Both Dan and his mom were confident Tammy had made several
attempts on his mom’s life, well before March, 02. One of those included
replacing a container of something she put in her bathwater with lye.
Another involved getting one of Tammy’s customers to kill her. There was
A brief flurry of activity that way back about the time Dan and I met.
Jesse I think it was, lured her on a drive to “town,” pulled off somewhere on a dark road and claimed the car died. He got out and started walking, and
some guy came out of the bushes and up to the car. She locked the door
and dug out an extra set of keys she kept under the floormat… drove the hell out of there, left Jesse on foot too. Went back home, and that night
someone tried to break into the mother-in-law house she lived in 100 yards
from the main house. The dog (inside) started raising so much hell the
guy left, but he left tracks outside the house and jimmying marks on the
window and door. Dan’s mom was a piece of work, herself. A major user of Dan’s products, and a fairly hard to take woman. Had a constant feud going on with Tammy. Dan used her house to hide the money at times.

5) Dan was scared to death to leave his mom in the apartment we rented by
Dean’s store as a refuge for the two of them. He was sure they would kill
her… when he was crazy he accused me of wanting to “get her killed,” by
renting the apartment. By that time, it mightn’t mean anything because he
was completely looney tunes.

6) Dan always swore he wouldn’t leave his daughter in the hands of Tammy
and her crowd. A bunch of those folks were Satanists, and old time
Valencia County witch folk. That was the only thing that kept him in his marriage at all, for several years. When I exchanged emails about the webpage with him in late May, or June, he was living on the place and had no intention of leaving. I can’t imagine how they’d have gotten him out of there without the use of force, if only because of his daughter and the constant litany of expressions of determination not to leave her with Tammy. Tammy, according to the ICQ details she has up, has the daughter with her.

7) Dean has always thought all that weirdness right after Dan went away,
and continuing until recently, had something to do with Dan. I really
never agreed with that until I considered: if Dan and his mom are buried on the property out there, I’m the only person in the universe who might give a
damn. I doubt that bunch over there knew what he’d done to me with the
FBI, threats, accusations and whatnot. They knew we were close; knew we were
trying to start the web business together; knew we spent all the time we
could together and that I was helping him try to get something established
that would allow him to make a decent living without cooking meth. I was
his only friend, he always said. The only person he could trust. They’d
have wanted to make sure I didn’t do any snooping or prowling, trying to
get questions asked about what happened to the two of them. Someone was
watching my movements REALLY closely for a long time. Putting a lot of
energy into it. That might be the source. Tammy had a lot of connections
with that meth bunch south of here you and I know a lot about, too. Maybe
they had a shared interest.

8) Life’s cheap in the drug community. Tammy had connections with
Mexican Mafia. Hell, I met one of them at their house a dozen times. Dan was a liability once he started talking to the officials, and there was nothing at all in his favor, once he quit cooking.

9) The email I got from Tammy in November never made any sense to me. No
sense at all, her wanting me to make copies of the business software, nor any reason to think I would. But if Dan and his mom are dead, I can
imagine how she’d want to try to get a feel for whether I was wondering about
them; whether I was in danger of stirring anything up. Also, maybe she wanted to be sure I knew Dan and his mom weren’t out there so I didn’t come over there and see any one of several things that would have twigged me something is pretty fishy. There are some things such as his truck and the RV, along with the 4 wheelers, that I know for sure he wouldn’t have left without.

10) They had 4 big outdoor dogs they were really attached to. If Dan
left, the only way he could have taken them would have been to go to a place
that would accommodate them, and he’d have had a fight on his hands with Tammy. Those dogs were used to having the run of big country all around there. Going to a fenced yard somewhere would have driven them nuts. Now,
however, she (according to the details on ICQ) has only one dog. Probably the pit bull that stayed indoors. I think there’s a possibility she doesn’t want dogs running outside, digging and whatnot. If Dan didn’t take them, I
can’t imagine what would have persuaded her to get rid of them. Those dogs were the first line of defense for the place.

There’s a lot more that’s gone through my head on all this, but this is
getting long. I’m in no danger of putting my nose into this, but those
guys don’t know that, and they still have a grudge against me south of here;
maybe over in the east mountains, too. Anything happens on this end,
maybe some of this info will come in handy. Hell, I don’t know. I think if the feds ever decide to investigate any of this beyond the interview I had, someone will make damned certain I don’t talk with them.

Afterthought, Christmas gift, The hat

the hat

Jack wrote this in December, 2005:

For those of you blogsters who visit to satisfy your hungries for weirdness, here’s something that I forgot to mention in reference to the blood/hat stuff yesterday.

I got to examining that hat more closely, though I’ve yet to clean off what’s on it.

Turns out it isn’t quite black, but is a deep green instead.  But I’ve only seen one hat like it in my life.  I believe this hat belongs to me, that I haven’t seen it since before Y2K.  It’s a doppelganger of one I think I might have bought from L.L. Bean 15 or so years ago because it could be wadded up and stuck in the pocket.  Nice hat, but I quit wearing it after I bought my first Tilley (canvas, hat-wearer/appreciater’s dream) hat.

If I’m correct about this hat in front of me the implications are troubling.  It would have come from some box or storage barrel out at my Y2K cabin, 150 miles from here, roughly.

Just an added note to remind you that strangeness exists in this life if you let it in.

Jack

Nice little Christmas gift

And I didn’t even expect to get one.

That old hat cleaned up real nice.  A Quaker of the old variety would observe admiringly, “It looks real plain.”  Another thing to be grateful for this great day, plus another addition to the mess of hats that cause me a lot of trepidation when I go outdoors.  Hmmm this one, or that one?

Sometimes I pick the wrong one but don’t realize it until I’m out in the truck.  End up having to unlock the adobe and come back in to switch.

But the Tilley’s are still the best for just plain old backpacking and he-mansyness out in the manly world where manly men do manly things.

Anyway, just got back from playing another few hours of blackjack.  Ain’t entirely certain I won’t pick out just  the right headgear and head on back down there after the cats get their outdoorsiness taken care of for a while.

Might not even buy lottery tickets for tonight, though I’m torn.  When you feel as exuberant as I’m feeling it mightn’t be a bad idea just to polish things off with a QP.

Hope all of you are having a grand old time.  Hope you’re all just forgiving the bejesus out of all those folks you tend to be impatient with.  Hope you all are spreading a lot of love and kindness and mercy to those around you.

In a sense that’s what tomorrow’s supposed to be the anniversary of the beginning of.

It ain’t ever too late to begin.

Jack

The Hat

Best Christmas gift I’ve had in years.  Probably still would be if it weren’t the only Christmas gift I’ve had in years.

Only thing wrong with that picture is that I betrayed the difficulty I was having keeping from grinning.  Holding a camera out at arm length and trying to take a picture of your new hat can be like that.

Smiling good thoughts at you blogsterissimos.  But not grinning.  That’s what self-discipline’s all about.  Remember where you heard it.

Jack

Casino’s shut down for Christmas

Jack wrote this Dec. 24, 2005. I posted it  again  in 2020, and I’m aware that I’m repeating it here.

Hi again blogsters:

Went back down there for some more blackjack and didn’t get in more than a few hands before a pit boss announced they were shutting down the tables, the casino, and sending everyone home to spend time with their families.

Surprised me, but a worthy cause I wouldn’t have expected of them.

Fact is, all those gamblers who aren’t aware that blackjack’s a spiritual experience needed to be off somewhere else, anyway.  Which is to say, pretty much all of them except me.

So, I smiled to meself with a warm red glow that a casino would let the employees go home to be with their kinfolks instead of staying there making a lot of money for the mafia.  Swung over by Taco Bell on the way back out of Bernallilo and picked up three bean burritos and three crispy tacos to celebrate a victory for those employees over casino management.

Brung those tacos and burritos back up to the village and capped the hill looking down into Placitas…. looked as though something awful had happened here….. flashing emergency lights copcar style all down on the main road.  Sheriff with a flashlight was waving me to take a back road.  I rolled down my window, “Accident?”

“No.  Most of the roads are shut down.  People in groups in the middle of the roads singing Carols.  You’ll have to take this road.  Be careful.”

Happened ‘this road’ was the very selfsame road I needed to take to trip my young arse home as fast as safety allowed to lock the front gates and turn off the outside lights before any carol singers could catch me unawares and make me listen to Christmas carols.

I don’t so much mind people singing carols.  I think it’s kind of cool, actually, especially if they were to go a step further and listen to the words they’re singing.

On the other hand, I honestly don’t want to listen to the words, the music, nuthun do do with Christmas carols.

I figure if I can go through an entire presidential term without knowing who’s president, and go through Thanksgiving to New Year without hearing a single Christmas carol (most especially ones involving Santy and reindeers), it will be okay to die.  I’ll know I’ve lived right, at least one period of my life.

Anyway blogsters, if you’re reading this blog you need to get your young arse off the computer and go spend some time with the family.

But if you don’t have somewhere else to be, don’t have someone else, why heck, amigos, rejoice.  Luxuriate in the beauty of being alone with yourself and any cats you might have.

If you don’t have any cats, nor any particular self you can bring yourself to rejoice about, heck.  As Sonny and Cher used to say back when everything was supposed to be pretty well straightened out by now,

You got me, babe.

Jack

Christmas in Korea, 1963

24 December, 1963

Dear Folks,
Christmas Eve is here, like so many others before it I suppose, and it’s wearing a black gown spangled by a thousand sequins and a deathly cold, second to none in my experience. I am in Seoul this week, or at least three days of it. My three-day pass started at 0600 today and ends 0800 Friday morn. I can truthfully say I will have a merry Christmas this year. It has been a truly unique year in many many ways, and I wouldn’t have missed it for anything in the whole world, even this Xmas, I wouldn’t have missed spending it here. It is a shame all GIs can’t be as happy here as I have, because if they were there would be an awfully lot of people enlisting and volunteering for the Land of the Morning Calm.

 Actually, when I open my mind enough to realize it, I am forced to admit that it doesn’t really matter what the environment, you can enjoy it if you force yourself to. It frightens me to open my mind to the Real Facts, even long enough to put it on paper, but Korea is really a pretty lousy rotten place, but I just don’t admit it, even to myself, and I don’t allow myself the luxury of not enjoying it, or being miserable, even on times like Christmas when everyone is obligated to be miserable. I feel almost guilty for being happy instead of wanting to blow my brains out. I am having a hard time convincing myself that I’m right and the world is all wrong. After all, what right do I have to be happy on a miserable occasion like Christmas. PEOPLE ARE FUNNY, you know?

Wednesday, December 25th, Christmas Day, 1963, Seoul, Korea

I’m just lounging around, not really accomplishing very much or even trying to, for that matter. It is somewhat warmer out now, which doesn’t say much. The sun is shining, though. It doesn’t really seem like Christmas, — I can’t really place what is missing. The vendors are walking around the streets pushing carts and foreign announcements of their wares, while scissoring noise makers give tinny forecast of their presence. And life goes on.

 The Koreans are an odd people in that respect. Off through the distance amidst a conversation of nationals and among a flurry of alien phrases you can pick out the words “Merry Christmas.”
 A vendor has just come past the window selling dried octopus and I couldn’t resist the temptation. I bought an octopus for 20 Hwan (about .15) and said “Kajuo Shipsho Makkoli” which means “If you’ll get me some makkoli I’ll make it worth your while.” Makkoli is a Korean liquor that has an alcoholic percentage that is as variable as it is questionable. I am not sure it is alcoholic, but it is definitely depressant. Sometimes a little dab will do you, while at other times you can drink a gallon with only myopia as a result. It is the color of very weak chocolate milk, and has a taste that isn’t like anything a sane human being ever dreamed. It is I think made from fermented rice. A half-gallon costs .60 Hwan. Dried octopus has a pissy flavor that is very near to being flavorless, it is something like chewing dry rubber. The first time you try it, it is the furthest thing from desirable, but like makkoli, you develop a taste for it. The two go amazingly well together after you get used to the idea of the thing.

2300, 25 December, 1963

 Another Christmas draws to a close. It has been uneventful in any respect, except that it has been Christmas, and that, in itself, is self-sustaining, I suppose. The world is as you see it, and it sees you as you see yourself when you look in the mirror. Goodbye, Christmas Day 1963, it has been real. It is cold out again and the day is dying.
With love,

Purcell
Your Loving Son
PS Hoping you have all had a Happy Hornica and a Merry Xmas, too.

Ask Old Jules: Police officers, Trusting the government, Fixing the economy, Why people stay faithful, How long would you wait?

jpmineshack

Old Jules, can a sensitive person be a police officer? and who would have better luck as a police officer, a people person, or a tough guy? since the job is to serve (people person) and protect (tough guy). I’m guessing its 50/50, but anyone else have an opinion?

Can’t be done. Nor an honest person. You need to be a person who wants the power to swagger a gun, the ambition to confiscate a lot of cash and product without putting much of it into evidence, and write tickets to people for burned out license tag lights.

Old Jules, do you trust the government?

I don’t even trust them to be the government.

Old Jules, if you were president,  how would you fix the economy?

Protective tariffs on foreign manufactured goods beginning with appliances and graduating to heavy industry over a decade.
Institute FCC rules regulating political talk radio.
Instruct the IRS to grant broad margins of enforcement leniency involving cottage industries.
Until we rebuild a manufacturing base and begin producing products the economy can’t recover.

Old Jules, why do people stay “faithful” in marriage?

I was married to a woman I loved for 25 years. Happened she didn’t care for sex, so we had an agreement I could go with other women for sex so long as it didn’t interfere with my relationship with my wife. It worked 20 of the 25 years and it sure as hell wasn’t cheating.
When it quit working it was because I thought through all the pain my keeping on that way was causing husbands. And it would keep on causing pain for husbands because a rule of the Universe is that women ALWAYS eventually tell their husbands.
I decided I preferred to leave a woman I loved [eventually] over being the kind of man who had sex with the wives of other men.
Why does someone stay ‘faithful’? I’ve no idea. I have a lot a huge life experience full of women who didn’t. Roughly half the men in the US ought to be assuming their wives are stepping out on them. I don’t know what the other half ought to assume.

Old Jules, if you love someone and they don’t love you yet, how long will you wait for them?

It ain’t as though nature puts more males on earth than females. It ain’t as though there’s much special about the great majority of them that you won’t find in others. That being the case my personal time limit would be roughly 10.3 seconds.

Zombies On Boogie Street, Methamphetamine In the New Millenium

Around 2003 I was writing the book.  I never got around to finishing it.   Maybe one of the reasons I never finished it was the fact Mchael Powell passed out of my life after Chapter 3.

Hi Michael (Ratso, from Midnight Cowboy, always seemed more appropriate, but you lacked his charm and virtue):

It must have been Veterans Day, you commented you didn’t understand why I was allowing you to hang around or some such thing.  You claimed you never understood what I saw in you.  I almost told you that night, after you’d flitted around Sky City and the streets of Albuquerque behaving like a lunatic, approaching one stranger after another trying to sell meth to them.

You,  persuading me that morning to take you; urging me to keep in there with you, almost begging me to allow you to continue.  I’d never before observed anything in that league for human folly.  You, a man out on bond for a couple of felonies, evidently manifesting the best behavior you could muster, were an irresistible experience for any writer worth his salt.

I never made any bones about the fact I’m a writer.  When we first met I was completing a book about the lost gold mine.  You sat in my apartment one night and read part of it.  When all the refinements on that were finished, you might say I was a writer all dressed up with no place to go.  I was always surprised you never made the connection.

The study of human frailty is meat and potatoes for a writer.  You dropped into my life as a voodoo-doll on a parachute.  You reminded me of a 1950s cartoon of a Tasmanian devil.  A sort of whirlwind energy creature dedicated to breaking anything breakable, and disrupting anything disruptable.

You are one of those rare, incorrigible folks incorporating the entire catalog of human vice and frailty, and showing none of the virtue, so far as I was ever able to detect.  You stayed in my life from March 1, until a couple of weeks after Veterans’ Day without much input from me, sponging, begging, stealing, banging on my door at all hours, and generally rebuilding my enthusiasm for the project whenever it flagged.

The name of the new book is, Zombies On Boogie Street, Methamphetamine In the New Millenium.  It’s all about blasters, pathological liars, rats, snitches,  thieves, sex-addicts, stupidity; people who shoot meth and people who believe they are possessed.  Generally, in short, about the low-life scum bottom-feeders who choose to make meth their major goal in life.

You inspired a book, and you earned a major piece of it.

Three chapters, so far, although your part isn’t really finished yet.  I expect the Michael J. Powell ones will be the centerpiece.  There’s nothing in the book I didn’t see for myself, if it’s stated as fact, or that you didn’t tell me as fact.  The reader will be forewarned that that whatever came from you can be trusted only as far as you can be trusted.  Which is to say, not at all.

I do believe your assertion that you are possessed, though I don’t know much about possession by demons.  I think my readers will be as convinced of your possession as I am.  I expect they’ll be convinced some of the homicides, burglaries, rapes, robberies, and other mayhem you claim to have committed, actually happened, as well.  Even a pathological liar doesn’t lie all the time.

For a long while I really felt sorry for you.  That’s why I prepared and took food to you and your mother when you didn’t have any.  It’s why I prepared the Caisse’s Tea for you when you dreamed up the story about having a brain tumor.  I knew it was probably a lie, but figured, just in case, it couldn’t hurt.

Anyway, being around you cost a lot of money, time, and energy.  Probably most ‘normal’ people would agree that a day with you leaves a person feeling a good hot bath isn’t enough to wash off the residue you leave behind.

I’ve already done what I can to make sure some unsuspecting person doesn’t get blown away by your ‘satchell charges’, assuming they exist.  If someone does get hurt by your burying the damned things, then allowing them to stay there, dangerous as you described, responsibility will fall where it belongs.  The same applies if you actually manage to snuff me, or someone near me.  You’ll be right up there at the top of the list.

That brings me to the threats you’ve been making about me and folks I care about.  If you want to try to carry them out, it’s your call.  The widow-lady figures there’s nothing about you a .357 magnum won’t cure if you come bothering her anymore.  If you manage to harm her, or her daughter and the law doesn’t do anything, you’ll be well advised to move to Bangor, Maine, and change your name.   I intend to make certain you don’t get off without any consequences.  ‘Nuff said.

As for your intentions toward me, I just don’t give a damn.  You do what you think is best and we’ll see what happens next.  Exposing the Michael J. Powells to the world is a worthy enough job for now.  If you blow a hole in me, I’ll heave a sigh and consider it a job well done, knowing you’ll finally be off the damned streets.

See you around, Space-Monkey.

Best to you,

Jules