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The Golden Apple

There is no god but man.

Man has the right to live by his own law— to live in the way that he wills to do; to work as he will; to play as he will; to rest as he will; to die when and how he will.

Man has the right to eat what he will; to drink what he will; to dwell where he will; to move as he will on the face of the earth.

Man has the right to think what he will; to speak what he will; to write what he will; to draw, paint, carve, etch, mold, build as he will; to dress as he will.

Man has the right to love as he will.

Man has the right to kill those who thwart these rights.

The Equinox: A Journal of Scientific Illuminism, 1922 (edited by Aleister Crowley)


Believe not one word that is written in The Honest Book of Truth by Lord Omar nor any that be in Principia Discordia by Malaclypse the Younger; for all that is there contained are the most pernicious and deceptive truths.
—"Epistle to the Episkopi," The Dishonest Book of Lies, by Mordecai Malignatus, K.N.S.



To choose order over disorder, or disorder over order, is to accept a trip composed of both the creative and the destructive. But to choose the creative over the destructive is an all-creative trip composed of both order and disorder. —"The Curse of Grayface and the Introduction of Negativism," Principia Discordia, by Malaclypse the Younger, K.S.C.

April 25 began, for John Dillinger, with a quick skimming of the New York Times; he noticed more fnords than usual. "The fit's about to hit the shan," he thought grimly, turning on the eight o'clock news— only to catch the story about the Drake Mansion, another bad sign. In Las Vegas, in rooms where the light never changed, none of the gamblers noticed that it was now morning; but Carmel, returning from the desert, where he had buried Sherri Brandi, drove out of his way to look over Dr. Charles Mocenigo's home, hoping to see or hear something helpful; he heard only a revolver shot, and quickly sped away. Looking back, he saw flames leaping toward the sky. And, over the mid-Atlantic, R. Buckminster Fuller glanced at his three watches, noting that it was two in the morning on the plane, midnight at his destination (Nairobi) and 6 A.M. back home in Carbondale, Illinois. (In Nairobi itself, Nkrumah Fubar, maker of voodoo dolls that caused headaches to the President of the United States, prepared for bed, looking forward to Mr. Fuller's lecture at the university next morning. Mr. Fubar, in his sophisticated-primitive way, like Simon Moon in his primitive-sophisticated way, saw no conflict between magic and mathematics.)

In Washington, D.C., the clocks were striking five when Ben Volpe's stolen Volkswagen pulled up in front of the home of Senator Edward Coke Bacon, the nation's most distinguished liberal and leading hope of all those young people who hadn't yet joined Morituri groups. "In quick and out quick," Ben Volpe said tersely to his companions, "a cowboy." Senator Bacon turned in his bed (Albert "the Teacher" Stern fires directly at the Dutchman) and mumbled, "Newark." Beside him, his wife half woke and heard a noise in the garden (Mama mama mama, the Dutchman mumbles): "Mama," she hears her son's voice saying, as she sinks back toward a dream. The rain of bullets jolts her awake into a sea of blood and in one flash she sees her husband dying beside her, her son twenty years ago weeping for a dead turtle, the face of Mendy Weiss, and Ben Volpe and two others backing out of the room.

But, in 1936, when Robert Putney Drake returned from Europe to accept a vice presidency in his father's bank in Boston, the police already knew that Albert the Teacher really hadn't shot the Dutchman. There were even a few, such as Elliot Ness, who knew the orders had come from Mr. Lucky Luciano and Mr. Alphonse "Scarface" Capone (residing in Atlanta Penitentiary) and had been transmitted through Federico Maldonado. Nobody, outside the Syndicate itself, however, could name Jimmy the Shrew, Charley the Bug and Mendy Weiss as the actual killers— nobody except Robert Putney Drake.

On April 1, 1936, Federico Maldonado's phone rang and, when he answered it, a cultivated Boston voice said conversationally, "Mother is the best bet. Don't let Satan draw you too fast." This was followed by an immediate click as the caller hung up.

Maldonado thought about it all day and finally mentioned it to a very close friend that evening. "Some nut calls me up today and gives me part of what the Dutchman told the cops before he died. Funny thing about it— he gives one of the parts that would really sink us all, if anybody in the police or the Feds could understand it."

"That's the way some nuts are," pronounced the other Mafioso don, an elegant elderly gentleman resembling one of Frederick II's falcons. "They're tuned in like gypsies. Telepathy, you know? But they get it all scrambled because they're nuts."

"Yeah, I guess that's it," Maldonado agreed. He had a crazy uncle who would sometimes blurt out a Brotherhood secret that he couldn't possibly know, in the middle of ramblings about priests making it with altar boys and Mussolini hiding on the fire escape and nonsense like that. "They tune in— like the Eye, eh?" And he laughed.

But the next morning, the phone rang again, and the same voice said with elaborate New England intonation, "Those dirty rats have tuned in. French Canadian bean soup." Maldonado broke into a cold sweat; it was that moment, in fact, when he decided his son, the priest, would say a mass for the Dutchman every Sunday.

He thought about it all day. Boston— the accent was Boston. They had witches up there once. French Canadian bean soup. Christ, Harvard is just outside Boston and Hoover is recruiting Feds from the Harvard Law School. Were there lawyers who were witches, too? Cowboy the son of a bitch, I told them, and they found him in the men's crapper. That damned Dutchman. A bullet in his gut and he lives long enough to blab everything about the Segreto. The goddam tedeschi . . .

Robert Putney Drake dined on lobster Newburg that evening with a young lady from one of the lesser-known branches of the House of Morgan. Afterward, he took her to see Tobacco Road and, in the cab back to his hotel, they talked seriously about the sufferings of the poor and the power of Henry Hull's performance as Jeeter. Then he took her up to his room and fucked her from hell to breakfast. At ten in the morning, after she had left, he came out of the shower, stark naked, thirty-three years old, rich, handsome, feeling like a healthy and happy predatory mammal. He looked down at his penis, thought of snakes in mescaline visions back in Zurich and donned a bathrobe which cost enough to feed one of the starving families in the nearby slums for about six months. He lit a fat Cuban cigar and sat down by the phone, a male mammal, predatory, happy. He began to dial, listening to the clicks, the dot and the dot and the dot-dot, remembering the perfume his mother had worn leaning over his crib one night thirty-two years ago, the smell of her breasts, and the time he experimentally tried homosexuality in Boston Common with the pale faggot kneeling before him in the toilet stall and the smell of urine and Lysol disinfectant, the scrawl on the door saying ELEANOR ROOSEVELT SUCKS and his instant fantasy that it wasn't a faggot genuflecting in church before his hot hard prick but the President's wife . . . "Yes?" said the taut, angry voice of Banana Nose Maldonado.

"When I reached the can, the boy came at me," Drake drawled, his mild erection becoming warm and rubbery. "What happened to the other sixteen?" He hung up quickly. ("The analysis is brilliant," Professor Tochus at Harvard had said of his paper on the last words of Dutch Schultz. "I particularly like the way you've combined both Freud and Adler in finding sexuality and power drives expressed in the same image at certain places. That is quite original." Drake laughed and said: "The Marquis de Sade anticipated me by a century and a half, I fear. Power— and possession— are sexual, to some males.")

Drake's brilliance had also been noted by Jung's circle in Zurich. Once— when Drake was off taking mescaline with Paul Klee and friends on what they called their Journey to the East— Drake had been a topic of long and puzzled conversation in lung's study. "We haven't seen his like since Joyce was here," one woman psychiatrist commented. "He is brilliant, yes," Jung said sadly, "but evil. So evil that I despair of comprehending him. I even wonder what old Freud would think. This man doesn't want to murder his father and possess his mother; he wants to murder God and possess the cosmos."

Maldonado got two phone calls the third morning. The first was from Louis Lepke, and was crudely vehement: "What's up, Banana Nose?" The insult of using the forbidden nickname in personal conversation was deliberate and almost unforgivable, but Maldonado forgave it.

"You spotted my boys following you, eh?" he asked genially.

"I spotted your soldiers," Lepke emphasized the word, "and that means you wanted me to spot them. What's up? You know if I get hit, you get hit."

"You won't get hit, caromio," Don Federico replied, still cordial. "I had a crazy idea about something I thought might be coming from inside and you're the only one who would know enough to do it, I thought. I was wrong. I can tell by your voice. And if I was right, you wouldn't have called me. A million apologies. Nobody will be following you anymore. Except maybe Tom Dewey's investigators, eh?" he laughed.

"Okay," Lepke said slowly, "Call them off, and I'll forget it. But don't try to scare me again. I do crazy things when I'm scared."

"Never again," Maldonado promised.

He sat frowning at the phone, after Lepke hung up. Now I owe him, he thought. I'll have to arrange to bump off somebody who's annoying him, to show the proper and most courteous apology.

But, Virgin Mother, if it isn't the Butcher, who is it? A real witch?

The phone rang again. Crossing himself and calling on the Virgin silently, Maldonado lifted the receiver.

"Let him harness himself to you and then bother you," Robert Putney Drake quoted pleasantly, "fun is fun." He did not hang up.

"Listen," Don Federico said, "who is this?"

"Dutch died three times," Drake said in a sepulchral tone. "When Mendy Weiss shot him, when Vince Coil's ghost shot him and when that dumb junkie, the Teacher, shot him. But Dillinger never even died once."

"Mister, you got a deal," Maldonado said. "I'm sold. I'll meet you anywhere. In broad daylight. In Central Park. Any place you'll feel safe."

"No, you will not meet me just now," Drake said coolly. "You are going to discuss this with Mr. Lepke and Mr. Capone, first. You will also discuss it with—" he read, off a card in his hand, fifteen names. "Then, after you have all had time to consider it, you will be hearing from me." Drake farted, as he always did in the nervous moments when an important deal was being arranged, and hung up quickly.

Now, he said to himself, insurance.

A photostat of his second analysis of the last words of Dutch Schultz— the private one, not the public version which he had turned in to the Department of Psychology at Harvard— was on the hotel desk before him. He folded it smartly and pinned on top of it a note saying, "There are five copies in the vaults of five different banks." He then inserted it in an envelope, addressed it to Luciano and strolled out to drop it down the hotel mail chute.

Returning to his room he dialed Louis Lepke, born Louis Buchalter, of the organization later to be named Murder Inc. by the sensational press. When Lepke answered, Drake recited solemnly, still quoting the Dutchman, "I get a month. They did it. Come on, Illuminati."

"Who the hell is this?" Lepke's voice cried as Drake gently cradled the phone. A few moments later, he completed checking out of the hotel and flew home on the noon flight, to spend five grueling twenty-hour days reorganizing and streamlining his father's bank. On the fifth night he relaxed and took a young lady of the Lodge family to dance to Ted Weems's orchestra and listen to their new young vocalist, Perry Como. Afterwards, he fucked her thirteen to the dozen and seven ways to a Sunday. The next morning, he took out a small book, in which he had systematically listed all the richest families in America, and placed her first name and a check after Lodge, as he had done with Morgan the week before. A Rockefeller would be next.

He was on the noon flight to New York and spent the day negotiating with Morgan Trust officials. That night he saw a breadline on Fortieth Street and became profoundly agitated. Back in his hotel, he made one of his rare, almost furtive diary entries:

Revolution could occur at any time.

If Huey Long hadn't been shot last year, we might have it already. If Capone had let the Dutchman hit Dewey, the Justice Department would be strong enough now, due to the reaction, to ensure that the State would be secure. If Roosevelt can't maneuver us into the war when it starts, all will be lost. And the war may be three or four years away yet. If we could bring Dillinger back, the reaction might strengthen Hoover and Justice, but John seems to be with the other side. My plan may be the last chance, and the Illuminati haven't contacted me yet, although they must have tuned in. Oh, Weishaupt, what a spawn of muddleheads are trying to carry on your work.

He tore the page out nervously, farted and crumbled it in the ashtray, where he burned it slowly. Then, still agitated, he dialed Mr. Charles Luciano on the phone and said softly, "I am a pretty good pretzler, Winifred. Department of Justice. I even got it from the department."

"Don't hang up," Luciano said softly. "We've been waiting to hear from you. Are you still there?"

"Yes," Drake said carefully, with tight lips and a tighter sphincter.

"Okay," Mr. Lucky said. "You know about the Illuminati. You know what the Dutchman was trying to say to the police. You even seem to know about the Liberteri and Johnnie Dillinger. How much do you want?"

"Everything," Drake replied. "And you are all going to offer it to me. But not yet. Not tonight." And he hung up.

(The wheel of tune, as the Mayans knew, spins three ways; and just as the earth revolves on its own axis, simultaneously orbits about the sun and at the "same" time trails after the sun as that star traverses the galaxy's edge, the wheel of time, which is a wheel of ifs, is come round again, as Drake's phone clicks off, to Gruad the Grayface calculating the path of a comet and telling his followers: "See? Even the heavenly bodies are subject to law, and even the lloigor, so must not men and women also be subject to law?" And in a smaller cycle, Semper Cuni Linctus, centurion stationed in a godforsaken outpost of the Empire, listens in boredom as a subaltern tells him excitedly: "That guy we crucified last Friday—people all over town are swearing they've seen him walking around. One guy even claims to have put a hand through his side!" Semper Cuni Linctus smiles cynically. "Tell that to the gladiators," he says. And Albert Stern turns on the gas, takes one last fix, and full of morphine and euphoria, dies slowly, confident that he will always be remembered as the man who shot Dutch Schultz, not knowing that Abe Reles will reveal the truth five years later.)

Camp-town racetrack five miles long... During Joe's second trip on the Leif Erikson, they went all the way to Africa, and Hagbard had an important conference with five gorillas. At least, he said afterwards that it was important; Joe couldn't judge, since the conversation was in Swahili. "They speak some English," Hagbard explained back on the sub, "but I prefer Swahili, since they're more eloquent in it and can express more nuances."

"Are you the first man to teach an ape to speak," Joe asked, "in addition to your other accomplishments?"

"Oh, not at all," Hagbard said modestly. "It's an old Discordian secret. The first person to communicate with a gorilla was an Erisian missionary named Malaclypse the Elder, who was born in Athens and got exiled for opposing the imposition of male supremacy when the Athenians created patriarchy and locked up their women. He then wandered all over the ancient world, learning all sorts of secrets and leaving behind a priceless collection of mind-blowing legends— he's the Phoenix Madman mentioned in the Confucian scriptures, and he passed himself off as Krishna to recite that gorgeous Bible of revolutionary ethics, the Bhaga-vad Gita, to Arjuna in India, among other feats. I believe you met him in Chicago while he was pretending to be the Christian Devil."

"But how have you Discordians concealed the fact that gorillas talk?"

"We're rather close-mouthed, you might say, and when we do speak it's usually to put somebody on or blow their minds—"

"I've noticed that," Joe said.

"And the gorillas themselves are too shrewd to talk to anybody but another anarchist. They're all anarchists themselves, you know, and they have a very healthy wariness about people in general and government people in particular. As one of them told me once, 'If it got out that we can talk, the conservatives would exterminate most of us and make the rest pay rent to live on our own land; and the liberals would try to train us to be engine-lathe operators. Who the fuck wants to operate an engine lathe?' They prefer their own pastoral and Eristic ways, and I, for one, would never interfere with them. We do communicate, though, just as we communicate with the dolphins. Both species are intelligent enough to realize that it's in their interest, as part of earth's biosphere, to help the handful of human anarchists to try to stop, or at least slow down, the bloodletting and slaughter of our Aner-istic rulers and Aneristic mobs."

"Sometimes I still get confused about your theological terms— or are they psychological? The Aneristic forces, especially the Illuminati, are structure freaks: they want to impose their concept of order on everybody else. But I still get confused about the differences between the Erisian, the Eristic and the Discordian. Not to mention the JAMs."

"The Eristic is the opposite of the Aneristic," Hagbard explained patiently, "and, therefore, identical with it. Remember the Hodge-Podge. Writers like De Sade, Max Stirner and Nietzsche are Eristic; so are the gorillas. They represent total supremacy of the individual, total negation of the group. It isn't necessarily the war-of-all-against-all, as Aneristic philosophers imagine, but it can, under stress, degenerate into that. More often, it's quite pacifistic, like our hairy friends in the trees back there. The Erisian position is modified; it recognizes that Aneristic forces are part of the world drama, too, and can never be totally abolished. We merely stress the Eristic as a balance, because human society has been tilted grotesquely toward the Aneristic side all through the Piscean age. We Discordians are the activists in the Erisian movement; we do things. The pure Erisians work in more mysterious ways, in accordance with the Taoist principle of wu-wei- doing nothing effectively. The JAMs are left-wingers, who might have become Aneristic except for special circumstances that led them in a libertarian direction. But they've fucked it all up with typical left-wing hatred trips. They haven't mastered the Gita: the art of fighting with a loving heart."

"Strange," Joe said. "Dr. Iggy, in the San Francisco JAM cabal, explained it to me differently."

"What would you expect?" Hagbard replied. "No two who know, know the same in their knowing. By the way, why haven't you told me that you're sure those gorillas back there were just men I dressed up in gorilla suits?"

"I'm becoming more gullible," Joe said.

"Too bad," Hagbard told him sadly. "They really were men in gorilla suits. I was testing how easily you could be bamboozled, and you flunked."

"Now, wait a minute. They smelled like gorillas. That was no fake. You're putting me on now."

"That's right," Hagbard agreed. "I wanted to see if you'd trust your own senses or the word of a Natural-Born Leader and Guru like me. You trusted your own senses, and you pass. My put-ons are not just jokes, friend. The hardest thing for a man with dominance genes and piratical heredity like me is to avoid becoming a goddam authority figure. I need all the feedback and information I can get— from men, women, children, gorillas, dolphins, computers, any conscious entity— but nobody contradicts an Authority, you know. Communication is possible only between equals: that's the first theorem of social cybernetics— and the whole basis of anarchism— and I have to keep knocking down people's dependence on me or I'll become a fucking Big Daddy and won't get accurate communication anymore. If the pig-headed Illuminati and their Aneristic imitators in all the governments, corporations, universities and armies of the world understood that simple principle, they'd occasionally find out what's actually going on and stop screwing up every project they start. I am Freeman Hagbard Celine and I am not anybody's bloody leader. As soon as you fully understand that I'm your equal, and that my shit stinks just like yours, and that I need a lay every few .days or I get grouchy and make dumb decisions, and that there is One more trustworthy than all the Buddhas and sages but you have to find him for yourself, then you'll begin to understand what the Legion of Dynamic Discord is all about."

"One more trustworthy than all the Buddhas and sages . . . ?" Joe repeated, finding himself most confused when he had been closest to total comprehension a second earlier.

"To receive light you must be receptive," Hagbard said curtly. "Work that one out for yourself. Meanwhile, take this back to New York and chew on it a bit." And he presented Joe with a book entitled Never Whistle While You're Pissing: A Guide to Self-Liberation, by Hagbard Celine, H.M., S.H.

Joe read the book carefully in the following weeks— while Pat Walsh, in Confrontation's research department, checked out every assertion about the Illuminati that Joe had picked up from Hagbard, Simon, Dillinger and Dr. Ignotius—but, although some of the book was brilliant, much was obscure, and he found no clue to the One more trustworthy than all Buddhas. Then, one night high on Alamout Black hashish, he started working on it with expanded and intensified consciousness. Malaclypse the Elder? No, he was wise, and somewhat benevolent in a fey sort of style, but certainly not trustworthy. Simon? For all his youth and nuttiness, he had moments of incredible perception, but he was almost certainly less enlightened than Hagbard. Dillinger? Dr. Ignotius? The mysterious Malaclypse the Younger, who had disappeared, leaving behind only the inscrutable Principia Discordia?

Christ, Joe thought, what a male chauvinist I am! Why didn't I think of Stella? The old joke came back to him . . . "Did you see God?" "Yes, and she's black." Of course. Hadn't Stella presided over his initiation, in Dr. Iggy's chapel? Hadn't Hagbard said she would preside over George Dorn's initiation, when George was ready? Of course.

Joe always remembered that moment of ecstasy and certainty: it taught him a lot about the use and misuse of drugs and why the Illuminati went wrong. For the unconscious, which always tries to turn every good lay into a mother figure, had contaminated the insight which his supraconscious had almost given him. It was many months later, just before the Fernando Poo crisis, that he finally discovered beyond all doubt the One who was more trustworthy than all Buddhas and all sages.

Do-da, do-da, do-da-do-da-DAY...

(And Semper Cuni Linctus, the very night that he reamed his subaltern for taking native superstitions seriously, passed an olive garden and saw the Seventeen . . . and with them was the Eighteenth, the one they had crucified the Friday before. Magna Mater, he swore, creeping closer, am I losing my mind? The Eighteenth, whatshisname, the preacher, had set up a wheel and was distributing cards to them. Now, he turned the wheel and called out the number at which it stopped. The centurion watched, in growing amazement, as the process was repeated several times, and the cards were marked each time the wheel stopped. Finally, the big one, Simon, shouted "Bingo!" The scion of the noble Linctus family turned and fled . . . Behind him, the luminous figure said, "Do this in commemoration of me."

"I thought we were supposed to do the bread and wine bit in commemoration of you?" Simon objected.

"Do both," the ghostly one said. "The bread and wine is too symbolic and arcane for some folks. This one is what will bring in the mob. You see, fellows, if you want to bring the Movement to the people, you have to start from where the people are at. You, Luke, don't write that down. This is part of the secret teachings.")

Slurp, slurp... Camp-town ladies sing this song....

(But how do you account for a man like Drake? one of Carl Jung's guests asked at the Sunday afternoon Kaffeeklatsch where the strange young American had inspired so much speculation. Jung sucked on 'his pipe thoughtfully— wondering, actually, how he could ever cure his associates of treating him like a guru— and answered finally, "A fine mind strikes on an idea like the arrow hitting bull's-eye. The Americans have not yet produced such a mind, because they are too assertive, too outgoing. They land on an idea, even an important idea, like one of their fullbacks making a tackle. Hence, they always crumple or cripple it. Drake has such a mind. He has learned everything about power— more than Adler knows, for all his obsession on the subject— but he has not learned the important thing. That is, of course, how to avoid power. What he needs, and will probably never achieve, is religious humility. Impossible in his country, where even the introverts are extroverted most of the time.")

It was a famous novelist, who was later to win the Nobel Prize, who actually gave Drake his first lead on what the Mafia always called il Segreto. They had been talking about Joyce and his unfortunate daughter, and the novelist mentioned Joyce's attempts to convince himself that she wasn't really schizophrenic. "He told Jung, 'After all, I do the same sorts of things with language myself.' Do you know what Jung, that old Chinese sage disguised as a psychiatrist, answered? 'You are diving, but she is sinking.' Incisive, of course; and yet, all of us who write anything that goes below the surface of naturalism can understand Joyce's skepticism. We never know for sure whether we're diving or just sinking."

That reminded Drake of his thesis, and he went and got the last words of Mr. Arthur Flegenheimer, a.k.a. Dutch Schultz, from his bureau. He handed the sheets to the novelist and asked, "Would you say the author of this was diving or sinking?"

The novelist read slowly, with increasing absorption, and finally looked up to regard Drake with extremely curious eyes. "Is it a translation from the French?" he asked.

"No," Drake said. "The author was an American."

"So it's not poor Artaud. I thought it might be. He's been around the bend, as the English say, since he went to Mexico. I understand he's currently working on some quite remarkable astrological charts involving Chancellor Hitler." The novelist lapsed into silence, and then asked, "What do you regard as the most interesting line in this?"

" 'A boy has never wept nor dashed a thousand kim,' " Drake quoted, since that was the line that bothered him most.

"Oh, that boy imagery is all personal, just repressed< homosexuality, quite ordinary," the novelist said impatiently. " 'I was in the can and the boy came at me.' I think the author hurt the boy in some way. All the references are tinged with more than normal homosexual guilt."

My God, Drake thought, Vince Coll. He was young enough to seem like a boy to Schultz. The Dutchman thought Coil's ghost was shooting at him in that John in Newark.

"I would imagine the author killed himself, or is in a mental hospital by now," the novelist went on thoughtfully.

"He's dead," Drake said grudgingly. "But I won't give you any more clues. It's fascinating to see how well you're doing on your own."

"This is the interesting line," the novelist said. "Or three lines rather. 'I would hear it, the Circuit Court would hear it, and the Supreme Court might hear it. If that ain't the payoff. Please crack down on the Chinaman's friends and Hitler's commander.' You swear this author was American?"

"Well, he came of German ancestry," Drake said, thinking of Jung's theory of genetic memory. "But Chancellor Hitler would hate to admit it. His people were not Aryan."

"He was Jewish?" the novelist exclaimed.

"What's so surprising about that?"

"Only that scarcely two or three people in the whole world, outside the inner circle of the Nazi Party, would understand what was meant by the Chinaman and Hitler's commander. This author must have delved very deeply into occult literature— things like Eliphas Levi, or Ludvig Prinn, or some of the most closely guarded Rosicrucian secrets, and then made a perfectly amazing guess in the right direction."

"What in the world are you talking about?"

The novelist looked at Drake for a long time, then said, "I hate to even discuss it. Some things are too vile. Some books, as your Mr. Poe said, should not allow themselves to be read. Even I have coded things in my most famous work, which is admired for all the wrong reasons. In my search for the mystical, I have learned things I would rather forget, and the real goal of Herr Hitler is one of those things. But you must tell me: who was this remarkable author?"

("He just called me," Luciano told Maldonado, "and I got this much at least: he's not a shakedown artist. He's aiming big, and he's big already himself. I'm getting my lawyer out of bed, to run down all the best Boston families, and find one with a son who shows signs of having the old larceny in his heart. I bet it's a banking family. I can hear money in a voice, and he has it.")

Drake was persistent, and finally the novelist said, "As you know, I refuse to live in Germany because of what is happening there. Nevertheless, it is my home, and I do hear things. If I try to explain, you must get your mind out of the arena of ordinary politics. When I say Hitler does have a Master, that doesn't mean he is a front man in the pedestrian political sense." The novelist paused. "How can I present the picture so you will understand it? You are not German . . . How can you understand a people of whom it has been said, truthfully, that they have one foot in their own land and one foot in Thule? Have you even heard of Thule? That's the German name for the fabulous kingdom the Greeks called Atlantis. Whether this kingdom ever existed is immaterial; the belief in it has existed since the dawn of history and beliefs motivate actions. In fact, you cannot understand a man's actions unless you understand his beliefs."

The novelist paused again, and then began talking about the Golden Dawn Society in England in the 1890s. "Strange things were written by the members. Algernon Blackwood, for instance, wrote of intelligent beings who preexisted mankind on earth. Can you take such a concept seriously? Can you think about Black-wood's warnings, of his guarded phrases, such as, 'Of such great powers or beings there may conceivably be a survival, of which poetry and legend alone caught a flying memory and called them gods, monsters, mythical beings of all sorts and kinds'? Or, Arthur Machen, who wrote of the 'miracles of Mons' during the Great War, describing the angels, as they were called, and published this two days before the soldiers at the scene sent back reports of the incident. Machen was in the Golden Dawn, and he left it to rejoin the Catholic Church, warning, 'There are sacraments of Evil as well as of Good.' William Butler Yeats was a member, too, and you must certainly know his remarkable lines, 'What rough beast/ Its hour come round at last/ Slouches toward Bethlehem to be born?' And the Golden Dawn was just the outer portal of the Mysteries. The things that Crowley learned after leaving the Golden Dawn and joining the Ordo Templi Orientis . . . Hitler suppressed both the Dawn and the Ordo Templi Orientis, you know. He belonged to the Vril Society himself, where the really extraterrestrial secrets are kept . . ."

"You seem to be having a hard time getting to the point," Drake said.

"Some things need to be approached in hints, even in allegories. You have taken mescaline with Klee and his friends, and spent the night seeing the Great Visions. Do I need to remind you that reality is not a one-level affair?"

"Very well," Drake said. "Behind the Golden Dawn and the OTO and the Vril Society is a hidden group of real Initiates. There was a German branch of the Golden Dawn, and Hitler was a member. You want me to understand that to treat these sacraments of Evil and these beings from Atlantis as no more than fictions would be to oversimplify; is that right?"

"The Golden Dawn was founded by a German woman, carrying on a tradition that was already a hundred years old in Bavaria. As for these powers or beings from Thule, they do not exist in the sense that bricks and beefsteak exist, either. The physicist, by manipulating these fantastic electrons— which, I remind you, have to be imagined as moving from one place to another without passing through any intervening space like a fairy or a ghost— produces real phenomena, visible to the senses. Say, then, that by manipulating these beings or powers from Thule, certain men are able to produce effects that can also be seen and experienced."

"What was the Golden Dawn?" Drake asked, absorbed. "How did it begin?"

"It's very old, more than medieval. The modern organization began in 1776, with a man who quit the Jesuits because he thought he was an atheist, until his researches into Eastern history had surprising results ..."

(It's him! Hitler screamed, He has come for me! And then, as Herman Rauschning recorded, "he lapsed into gibberish." The boss himself, Dutch Schultz moaned, Oh, mama, I can't go through with it. Please. Come on, open the soap duckets. The chimney sweeps. Take to the sword. Shut up. You got a big mouth.)

We've got two real possibilities, Lepke's lawyer reported. But one of them is Boston Irish and what you described was the old original Boston accent. The second one is probably your man, then. His name is Robert Putney Drake.

Standing before the house on Benefit Street, Drake could see, across the town, the peak of Sentinel Hill and the old deserted church that had harbored the Starry Wisdom Sect in the 1870s. He turned back to the door and raised the old Georgian knocker (remembering: Lillibridge the reporter and Blake the painter had both died investigating that sect), then rapped smartly three times.

Howard Phillips Lovecraft, pale, gaunt, cadaverous, opened the door. "Mr. Drake?" he asked genially.

"It was good of you to see me," Drake said.

"Nonsense," Lovecraft replied, ushering him into the Colonial hallway. "Any admirer of my poor tales is always welcome here. They are so few that I could have them all here on a single day without straining my aunt's dinner budget."

He may be one of the most important men alive, Drake thought, and he doesn't really suspect.

("He left Boston by train this morning," the soldier reported to Maldonado and Lepke. "He was going to Providence, Rhode Island.")

"Of course, I have no hesitation in discussing it," Lovecraft said after he and Drake were settled in the old book-lined study and Mrs. Gamhill had served them tea. "Whatever your friend in Zurich may feel, I am and always have been a strict materialist."

"But you have been in touch with these people?"

"Oh, certainly, and an absurd lot they are, all of them. It began after I published a story called 'Dagon' in, let me see, 1919. I had been reading the Bible and the description of the Philistine sea god, Dagon, reminded me of sea serpent legends and of the reconstructions of dinosaurs by paleontologists. And the notion came to me: suppose Dagon were real, not a god, but simply a long-lived being vaguely related to the great saurians. Simply a story, to entertain those who enjoy the weird and Gothic in literature. You can't imagine my astonishment when various occult groups began contacting me, asking which group I belonged to and which side I was on. They were all terribly put out when I made perfectly clear that I didn't believe any such rubbish."

"But," Drake asked perplexed, "why did you pick up more and more of these hidden occult teachings and incorporate them in your later stories?"

"I am an artist," Lovecraft said, "a mediocre artist, I fear— and don't contradict me. I value honesty above all the other virtues. I would like to believe in the supernatural, in a world of social justice and in my own possession of genius. But reason commands that I accept the facts: the world is made of blind matter, the wicked and brutal always have and always will trample on the weak and innocent, and I have a very microscopic capacity to create a small range of esthetic effects, all macabre and limited in their appeal to a very special audience. Nevertheless, I would that things were otherwise. Hence, although a conservative, I support certain social legislation that might improve the conditions of the poor, and, although a poor writer, I try to elevate the status of my own wretched prose. Vampires and ghosts and werewolves are worn out; they provoke chuckles rather than terror. Thus, when I began to learn of the old lore, after 'Dagon' was published, I began to use it in my stories. You can't imagine the hours I have spent with those old volumes at Miskatonic, wading through tons of trash— Alhazred and Levi and Von Juntzt were all mental cases, you know— to sift out the notions that were unfamiliar enough to cause a genuine shock, and a real shudder, in my readers."

"And you've never received threats from any of these occult groups for mentioning lok Sotot or Cthulhu outright in your stories?"

"Only when I mentioned Kali," Lovecraft said with a wry smile. "Some thoughtful soul reminded me of what happened to Bierce after he wrote a bit frankly on that subject. But that was a friendly warning, not a threat. Mr. Drake, you are a banker and a businessman. Certainly, you don't take any of this seriously?"

"Let me reply with a question of my own," Drake said carefully. "Why, in all the esoteric lore which you have chosen to make exoteric through your stories, have you never mentioned the Law of Fives?"

"In fact," Lovecraft said, "I did hint at it, rather broadly, in 'At the Mountains of Madness.' Have you not read that? It's my longest, and, I think, my best effort to date." But he seemed abruptly paler.

"In The Case of Charles Dexter Ward,'" Drake pursued, "you quote a formula from Eliphas Levi's History of Magic. But you don't quote it in full. Why was that?"

Lovecraft sipped his tea, obviously framing his answer carefully. Finally he said, "One doesn't have to believe in Santa Claus to recognize that people will exchange presents at Christmas time. One doesn't have to believe in Yog Sothoth, the Eater of Souls, to realize how people will act who do hold that belief. It is not my intent, in any of my writings, to provide information that will lead even one unbalanced reader to try experiments that will result in the loss of human life."

Drake arose. "I came here to learn," he said, "but it appears that my only possible function is to teach. Let me remind you of the words of Lao-tse: Those who speak do not know; those who know do not speak.' Most occult groups are in the first class, and their speculations are as absurd as you think. But those in the second class are not to be so lightly dismissed. They have left you alone because your stories appear only in magazines that appeal to a small minority. These magazines, however, have lately been printing stories about rockets and nuclear chain reactions and other matters that are on the edge of technological achievement. When these fantasies start coming true, which will probably occur within a decade, there will be much wider interest in such magazines, and your stories will be included in that renaissance. Then you will receive some very unwelcome attention."

Lovecraft remained seated. "I think I know of whom you are speaking; I can also read newspapers and make deductions. Even if they are mad enough to attempt it, they do not have the means. They would have to take over not one government but many. That project would keep them busy enough, I should think, to distract them from worrying about a few lines here and there in stories that are published as fiction. I can conceive of the next war leading to breakthroughs in rocketry and nuclear energy, but I doubt that even that will lead many people to take my stories seriously, or to see the connections between certain rituals, which I have never described explicitly, and acts which will be construed as the normal excesses of despotism."

"Good day, sir," Drake said formally. "I must be off to New York, and your welfare is really not a major concern in my life."

"Good day," Lovecraft said, rising with Colonial courtesy. "Since you have been so good as to give me a warning, I will return the favor. I do not think your interest in these people is based on a wish to oppose them, but to serve them. I beg you to remember their attitude toward servants."

Back out on the street, Drake experienced a momentary dejection. For nearly twenty years he's been writing about them and they haven't contacted him. I've been rocking the boat on two continents, and they haven't contacted me. What does it take to make them show their hand? And if I don't have an understanding with them, anything I work out with Maldonado and Capone is written on the wind. I just can't afford to deal with the Mafia before I deal with them. What should I do— put an ad in the New York Times: "Will the All-Seeing Eye please look in my direction? R. P. Drake, Boston"?

And a Pontiac (stolen an hour before in Kingsport) pulled away from the curb, several houses back, and started following Drake as he left Benefit Street and walked back toward the downtown area. He wasn't looking back, so he didn't see what happened to it, but he noticed an old man coming toward him stop in his tracks and turn white.

"Jesus on a pogo stick," the old man said weakly.

Drake looked over his shoulder and saw nothing but an empty street. "What is it?" he asked.

"Never mind," the old man replied. "You'd never believe me, mister." And he cut across the sidewalk toward a saloon.

("What do you mean, you lost four soldiers?" Maldonado screamed into the phone.

"Just what I'm saying," Eddie Vitelli, of the Providence gambling, heroin and prostitution Vitellis, said. "We found your Drake at a hotel. Four of the best soldiers we've got followed him. They called in once to say he was at a house on Benefit Street. I told them to pick him up as soon as he comes out. And that's it, period, it's all she wrote. They're all gone, like something picked them off the face of the earth. I've got everybody looking for the car they were in, and that's gone, too.")

Drake canceled his trip to New York and went back to Boston, plunging into bank business and mulling over his next move. Two days later, the janitor came to his desk, hat in hand, and asked, "Could I speak to you, Mr. Drake?"

"Yes, Getty, what is it?" Drake replied testily. His tone was deliberate; the man was probably about to ask for a raise, and it was best to put him on the defensive immediately.

"It's this, sir," the janitor said, laying a card on Drake's desk. Drake looked down impatiently and saw a rainbow of colors— the card was printed on some unknown plastic and created a prismatic effect recalling his mescaline trips in Zurich. Through the rainbow, shimmering and radiant, he saw the outlines of a thirteen-step pyramid, with a red eye at the top. He stared up at the janitor and saw a face without subservience or uncertainty.

"The Grand Master of the Eastern United States is ready to talk to you," the janitor said softly.

"Holy Cleopatra!" Drake cried, and tellers turned to stare at him.

"Kleopatra?" Simon Moon asked, twenty-three years later. "Tell him about Kleopatra."

It was a sunny afternoon in October and the drapes in the living room of the apartment on the seventeenth floor of 2323 Lake Shore Drive were pulled back to reveal a corner window view of Chicago's Loop skyscrapers and the whitecap-dotted blue surface of Lake Michigan. Joe sprawled in a chair facing the lake. Simon and Padre Pederastia were on a couch under an enormous painting titled "Kleopatra." She looked a good deal like Stella Maris and was holding an asp to her bosom. The eye-and-pyramid symbol appeared several times in the hieroglyphs on the tomb wall behind her. Sitting in an armchair opposite the painting was a slender man with sharp, dark features, shoulder-length chestnut hair, a forked brown beard and green eyes.

"Kleopatra," said the man, "was an instant study. Would have made her Polymother of the great globe itself, if she'd lived. She damned near brought down the Roman Empire, and she did shorten its life by centuries. She forced Octavius to bring so much Aneristic power to bear that the Empire went prematurely into the state of bureaucracy."

"What do I call you?" said Joe. "Lucifer? Satan?"

"Call me Malaclypse the Elder," said the fork-bearded man with a smile that seemed to beam through endless shifting veils of warm self-regard.

"I don't get it," said Joe. "The first tune I saw you, we were all terrified out of our minds. Though when you finally showed up looking like Billy Graham, I didn't know whether to laugh or go catto. But I know I was scared."

Padre Pederastia laughed. "You were so terrified, my son, that you were trying to climb right inside our little redhead's big red bird's nest. You were so frightened that that hefty cock of yours"— he licked his lips— "was squirting juice all over the carpet. Oh, you were terrified, all right. Oh, my, yes."

"Well, I wasn't so scared just at that moment you mention," said Joe with a smile. "But a little later, when our friend here was about to appear. You were terrified yourself, Padre Pederastia. You kept hollering, 'Come not in that form! Come not in that form!' Now we're all sitting around the living room behaving like old chums— and this— this being here is reminiscing about the good old days with Kleopatra."

"They were terrible days," said Malaclypse. "Very cruel days, very sad days. Constant wars, tortures, mass murders, crucifixions. Bad times."

"I believe you. And what's worse, I can understand what it means if I believe you, and I can live knowing that you exist. And even sit down in this living room and smoke a cigarette with you."

Two lit cigarettes appeared between Malaclypse's fingers. He passed one to Joe. Joe drew on it; it tasted sweet, with just a hint of marijuana.

"That's a corny trick," said Joe.

"Just so you don't lose your old associations to me too quickly," said Malaclypse. "Too quick to understand, too soon to misunderstand."

Padre Pederastia said, "The night of that Black Mass, I simply had worked myself up to the point where I totally believed. That's what magic is, after all. The people who were here that night relate to left-hand magic, to the Satan myth, to the Faust legend. It's a quick way to get them involved. It worked with you at the time, but we've brought you along fast, because we want more help from you. So now you don't need the trappings."

"You don't have to be a Satanist to love Malaclypse," said Malaclypse.

"In fact, its better if you're not," said Simon. "Satanists are creeps. They skin dogs alive and shit like that."

"Because most Satanists are Christians," said Joe. "Which is a very masochistic religion."

"Now, just a minute—" said Padre Pederastia with some asperity.

"He's right, Pederastia," said Malaclypse. "Nobody knows that better than you— or me, for that matter."

"Did you ever meet Jesus?" Joe asked, awed in spite of his skepticism.

Malaclypse smiled. "I was Jesus."

Padre Pederastia flapped his hands and bounced up and down in his chair. "You're telling too much!"

"For me, trust is total or nonexistent," said Malaclypse. "I perceive that I can trust Joe. I wasn't the original Jesus, Joe, the one they crucified. But— this happened a few centuries after I experienced transcendental illumination at Melos— I was passing through Judea in the persona of a Greek merchant when they crucified Jesus. I met some of his followers the day he died, and I talked with them. If you think Christianity is a bloody religion as it is, this is nothing to what it would have been if Jesus hadn't seemed to come back. If the seventeen original apostles— five of them have been purged from the records— had been left on their own, they would have passed from horror and terror at Jesus's death to vindictive fury. It would have been as if Islam had come seven centuries earlier. Instead of slowly taking over the Roman Empire and preserving much of the Greco-Roman world intact, it would have swept and mobilized the East, destroyed most of Western civilization and replaced it with a theocracy more oppressive than Pharaonic Egypt. I stopped that with a few magic tricks. Appearing in the persona of the resurrected Jesus, I taught there was no need for hatred and vengeance after my death. I even tried to get them to realize that life is a game by teaching them Bingo. To this day, nobody understands and critics call it part of the commercialism of the Church. The sacred Tarot wheel, the moving Mandala! So despite my influence, Christianity focused obsessively on the crucifixion of Jesus— which is really irrelevant to what he taught while he was alive— and remained a kind of death worship. When Paul went to Athens and made the link-up with the Illuminati, who were using Plato's Academy as a front, the ideology of Plato combined with the mythology of Christ to deliver the knockout blow to pagan humanism and lay the foundations for the modern world of superstates. After that, I changed my appearance again and took the name of Simon Magus and had some success spreading ideas contradictory to Christianity."

"You can change your appearance at will, then," said Joe.

"Oh, sure thing. I'm just as quick with a thought projection as anybody." He pushed his pinkie thoughtfully into his left nostril and worked it around. Joe stiffened; he didn't care to watch people picking their noses in public. He looked resolutely over Malaclypse's left shoulder. "Now that you know as much as you do about us, Joe, it's time you started working with us. Chicago, as you know, is the Illuminati nerve center in this hemisphere, so we'll use this town to test AUM, a new drug with astonishing properties, if ELF's technicians are correct. It's supposed to turn neophobes into neophiles."

Simon slapped his forehead and shouted "Wow, man!" and started laughing. Pederastia gasped and whistled.

"You look blank, Joe," said Malaclypse. "Has no one explained to you that the human race is divided into two distinct genotypes— neophobes, who reject new ideas and accept only what they have known all their lives, and neophiles, who love new things, change, invention, innovation? For the first four million years of man's history, all humans were neophobes, which is why civilization did not develop. Animals are all neophobes. Only mutation can change them. Instinct is simply the natural behavior of a neophobe. The neophile mutation appeared about a hundred thousand years ago, and speeded up thirty thousand years ago. However, there has never been more than a handful of neophiles anywhere on the planet. The Illuminati themselves sprang from one of the oldest neophile-neophobe conflicts on record."

"I take it the Illuminati were trying to hold back progress," said Joe. "Is that their general aim?"

"You're still thinking like a liberal," said Simon. "Nobody gives a fuck for progress."

"Right," said Malaclypse. "They were the innovators in that instance. All the Illuminati were and are neophiles. Even today, they see their work as directed toward progress. They want to become like gods. It's possible for humans, given the right methods, to translate themselves into sentient latticework of pure energy that will be more or less permanent. The process is called transcendental illumination, to distinguish it from the acquisition of insight into the true nature of man and the universe, which is ordinary illumination. I've gone through transcendental illumination and am a being composed altogether of energy, as you may have guessed. However, prior to becoming energy fields men often fall victim to hubris. Their actions cause pain to others and make them insensitive, uncreative and irrational. Mass human sacrifice is the most reliable method of achieving transcendental illumination. Human sacrifice can, of course, be masked as other things, such as war, famine and plague. The vision of the Four Horsemen vouchsafed to Saint John is actually a vision of mass transcendental illumination."

"How did you achieve it?" Joe asked.

"I was present at the massacre of the male inhabitants of the city of Melos by the Athenians in 416 B.C. Have you read Thucydides?"

"A long time ago,"

"Well, Thucydides had it wrong. He presented it as an out-and-out atrocity, but there were extenuating circumstances. The Melians had been stabbing Athenian soldiers in the back, poisoning them, filling them full of arrows from ambush. Some of them were working for the Spartans and some were on the side of Athens, but the Athenians didn't know which ones they could trust. They didn't want to do any unnecessary killing, but they did want to get back to Athens alive. So they rounded up all the Melian men one day and hacked them to pieces in the town square. The women and children were sold into slavery."

"What did you do?" said Joe. "Were you there with the Athenians?"

"Yes, but I didn't do any killing. I was a chaplain. Of the Erisian denomination, of course. But I was prepared to perform services to Hermes, Dionysus, Heracles, Aphrodite, Athena, Hera and some of the other Olympians. I almost went mad with horror— I didn't understand that Pangenitor is Panphage. I was praying to Eris to deliver me or deliver the Melians or do something, and she answered me."

"Hail, she what done it all," said Simon.

"I almost believe you," said Joe. "But every once in a while the suspicion creeps in that you're simply doing a two-thousand-year-old man routine and the butt of the joke is me."

Malaclypse stood up with a little smile. "Come here, Joe."

"What for?"

"Just come here." Malaclypse held his hands away from his sides, palms turned toward Joe appealingly. Joe walked over and stood before him.

"Put your hand into my side," said Malaclypse.

"Oh, come on," said Joe. Pederastia snickered. Malaclypse just looked at him with a gentle, encouraging smile, so he reached out to touch Malaclypse's shirt. His hands still felt nothing. He closed his eyes to verify that. There was no sensation whatever. Thin air. Eyes still shut, he moved his hand forward. He opened his eyes, and when he saw his arm sunk into Malaclypse's body up to the elbow, he almost barfed his cookies.

He drew back. "It can't be a movie. I'd be almost willing to say a moving holograph, but the illusion is too perfect. You're looking right at me. To my eyes you are unquestionably there."

"Try a few karate chops," said Malaclypse. Joe obliged, swinging his hand like a scythe through Malaclypse's waist, chest and head. For a finale, Joe brought his hand straight down through the top of the being's head.

"I suspend judgment," said Joe. "Maybe you are what you say you are. But it's pretty hard to take. Can you feel anything?"

"I can create temporary sensory organs for myself whenever I want to. I can enjoy just about anything a human enjoys or experiences. But my primary mode of perception is a very advanced form of what you would call intuition. Intuition is a kind of sensitivity in the mind to events and processes; what I have is a highly developed intuitional receptor which is completely controllable."

Joe went back and sat down, shaking his head. "You certainly are in an enviable position."

"Like I said, it's the real reason for human sacrifice," said Malaclypse. He, too, sat down, and Joe now noticed that the soft upholstery of his chair didn't sink beneath his weight. He seemed to rest on the surface of the cushions. "Any sudden or violent death releases a burst of consciousness energy, which can be controlled and channeled as any explosive energy can be. The Illuminati would all like to become as gods. That has been their ambition for longer than I care to say."

"Which means they have to perpetrate mass murder," said Joe, thinking of nuclear weapons, gas chambers, chemical-biological warfare.

Malaclypse nodded. "Now, I don't disapprove of that on moral grounds, since morals are purely illusory. I do have a personal distaste for that sort of thing. Although, when you've lived as long as I have, you have lost so many friends and lovers that it is impossible not to take the deaths of humans as a matter of course. So it goes. And, since I achieved my own immortality and nonmateriality as the result of a mass murder, it would be hypocritical of me to condemn the Illuminati. For that matter, I don't condemn hypocrisy, though it is also personally distasteful to me. But I do say that the method of the Illuminati is stupid and wasteful, since everybody is already everything. So, why fuck around with things? It is absurd to try to be something else when there is nothing else."

"That kind of statement is simply beyond my comprehension," said Joe. "I don't know, maybe it's my engineering training. But even after my own partial illumination in San Francisco with Dr. Iggy, this kind of talk doesn't make any more sense than Christian Science to me."

"Soon you'll understand more," said Malaclypse. "About the history of man, about some of the esoteric knowledge that has been lying around for tens of thousands of years. Eventually you'll know all that's worth knowing about absolutely everything."

(Tobias Knight, the FBI agent monitoring the bugging equipment in Dr. Mocenigo's home, heard the pistol shot the same time Carmel did. "What the hell?" he said out loud, sitting up straight. He had heard the door open and footsteps walking about and had been waiting for a conversation . . . and then, without warning, he had heard the shot. Now a voice spoke, "Sorry, Dr. Mocenigo. You were a great patriot, and this is a dog's death. But I will share it with you." Then there were more footsteps and something else . . . Knight recognized the sound: it was liquid being poured. The steps and the pouring liquid continued, and Knight abruptly tore himself out of his state of shock and pressed the intercom. "Knight?" asked a voice which he recognized as Esperando Despond, the Special Agent in Charge for Las Vegas. "Mocenigo's house," Knight said crisply. "Get a whole crew out there double-quick. Something is happening, one killing at least." He released the intercom and listened, paralyzed, to the footsteps and the liquid sounds, which were now mixed with subdued humming. A man doing an unpleasant job, but trying to keep his cool. Knight recognized the tune, finally: "Camp-town Races." The humming and walking and slurping continued. "Do-da-Do-da . . ." Then the voice spoke again: "This is General Lawrence Stewart Talbot, speaking to the CIA, the FBI and whoever else has this house bugged. I discovered at two this morning that several people in our Anthrax Leprosy Pi project have accidentally been subjected to live cultures. All of them are living at the installation, and can easily be isolated while the antidote works. I have already given orders to that effect. Dr. Mocenigo himself unknowingly received the worst dose, and was in advanced morbidity, a few minutes from death, when I arrived. His whole house, obviously, will have to be burned down, and I am also, due to my proximity while examining him, too far gone to be saved. I will therefore shoot myself after setting fire to the house. There is one remaining problem. I found evidence that a woman had been in Dr. Mocenigo's bed earlier— that's what comes of allowing important people to live off base— and she must be found and given the antidote and each of her contacts must be traced. Needless to say, this must be done quietly, or there will be a nationwide panic. Tell the President to see that my wife gets the medal for this. Tell my wife that with my last breath I still insist she was wrong about that girl in Red Lion, Pennsylvania. In closing, I firmly believe that this is the greatest country in the history of the world, and can still be saved if Congress will lock up those damned college kids for once and for all. God bless America!" There was a scratching sound— my God! Knight thought, the match— and the sound of flames, in the midst of which General Talbot tried to add a postscript but couldn't get the words out because he was screaming. Finally, the second shot came, and the screaming stopped. Knight raised his head, jaw clenched, repressed tears in his steely eyes. "That was a great American," he said aloud.)

Over cigars and brandy, after George had been sent off to bed to be distracted by Tarantella, Richard Jung asked pointedly, "Just how sure are you that this Discordian bunch is a match for the Illuminati? It's kind of late in the game to change sides."

Drake started to speak, then turned to Maldonado. "Tell him about Italy in the 19th century," he said.

"The Illuminati are just men and women," Maldonado replied obligingly. "More women than men, in fact. It was Eve Weishaupt who started the whole show; Adam just acted as her front because people are used to taking orders from men. This Atlantis stuff is mostly bullshit. Everybody who knows about Atlantis at all traces his family, or his clan, or his club, back there. Some of the old dons in the Maf even try to trace la Cosa Nostra back there. All bullshit. Just like all the WASPs tracing themselves back to the Mayflower. For everyone who can prove it, like Mr. Drake, there's a hundred who are just bluffing.

"You see," Maldonado went on more intensely, chewing his cigar ferociously, "originally the Illuminati was just a— how do you call it— a kind of 18th-century women's liberation front. Behind Adam Weishaupt was Eve; behind Godwin, who started all this socialism and anarchism with his Political Justice book, was his mistress Mary Wollstonecraft, who started the woman revolution with a book called, uh . . ."

"Vindication of the Rights of Women," Drake contributed.

"And they got Tom Paine to write on women's lib, too, and to defend their French Revolution and try to import it here. But that all fell through and they didn't get a real controlling interest in the U.S. until they hoodwinked Woody Wilson into creating the Federal Reserve in 1914. And that's the way it usually goes. In Italy they had a front called the Haute Vente, that was so damn secret Mazzini was a member all his life and never knew the control came from Bavaria. My grandpa told me all about those days. We had a three-way dogfight. The Monarchists on one side, the Haute Vente and the Liberteri, the anarchists, on the other, and the Maf in the middle trying to roll with the punches and figure out which way the bread was buttered, you know? Then the Liberteri got wise to the Haute Vente and split from it, and it was a four-way fight. You look it up in the history books, they tell it like it was except they don't mention who ran the Haute Vente. And then the good old Law of Fives came into it, and we had the Fascisti and it was a five-way dogfight. Who won? Not the Illuminati. It wasn't until 1937, manipulating the English government to discourage Mussolini's peace plans and using Hitler to get Benito into the Berlin-Tokyo axis, that the Illuminati had some kind of control in Italy. And even then it was indirect. When we made our deal with the CIA— it was called the OSS back in those days— Luciano got out of the joint and we turned over Italy and delivered Mussolini dead."

"And the point of all this?" Jung asked coldly.

"The point is," Maldonado said, "the Maf has been against the Illuminati more of the time than we've been with them, and we're still doing business and we're stronger than ever. Believe me, their bark is much worse than their bite. Because they know some magic, they scare everybody. We've had magicians and belladonnas— witches, to you— in Sicily since before Paris got hot pants for Helen, and believe me a bullet kills them as dead as it kills anybody else."

"The Illuminati do have a bite," Drake interjected, "but it is my judgment that they are going out with the Age of Pisces. The Discordians, I think, represent an Aquarian swing."

"Oh, I don't go for that mystic stuff," Jung said. "Next thing you'll be quoting I Ching at me, like my old man."

"You're an anal type, like most accountants," Drake replied coolly. "And a Capricorn as well. Down-to-earth and conservative. I won't attempt to persuade you about this aspect of the matter. Just take my word, I didn't get where I am by ignoring significant facts just because they won't fit on a profit-and-loss statement. On the profit-and-loss level, however, I have had reasons to believe that the Discordians can currently outbid the Illuminati. These reasons date back many months before the appearance of those marvelous statues today."

Later, in bed, Drake turned the matter around in his head and looked at it from several sides. Lovecraft's words came back to him: "I beg you to remember their attitude toward their servants." That was it, basically. He was an old man, and he was tired of being their servant, or satrap, or satellite. When he was thirty-three, he was ready to take them over, as Cecil Rhodes had once done. Somehow, he had been maneuvered into taking over just one section of their empire. If he could think, truthfully, that he owned the United States more thoroughly than any President in four decades, the fact remained that he did not own himself. Not until he signed his Declaration of Independence tonight by joining the Discordians. The other Jung, the alter Zauber in Zurich, had tried to tell him something about power once, but he had dismissed it as sentimental slop. Now he tried to remember it ... and, suddenly, all the old days came back, Klee and his numinous paintings, the Journey to the East, old Crowley saying, "Of course, mixing the left-hand and right-hand paths is dangerous. If you fear such risks, go back to Hesse and Jung and those old ladies. Their way is safe and mine isn't. All that can be said for me is that I have real power and they have dreams." But the Illuminati had crushed Crowley, just as they smashed Willie Seabrook, when those men revealed too much. "I beg you to remember their attitude toward their servants." Damn it, what was it Jung had said about power?

And he turned the card over, and on the back was an address on Beacon Hill with the words "8:30 tonight." He looked up at the janitor, who backed away deferentially, saying, "Thank you, Mr. Drake, sir," without a touch of irony in his face or voice. And it hadn't surprised him at all that, for deliberate contrast, the Grand Master he met that night, one of the five Illuminati Primi for the U.S., was an official of the Justice Department. (And what had Jung said about power?) "A few of them will have to fall. Lepke, I would recommend. Perhaps Luciano also." No mystical trappings: just a businesslike meeting. "Our interest is the same as yours: increasing the power of the Justice Department. An equal increment in the power of the other branches of government will proceed nicely when we get the war into gear." Drake remembered his excitement: it was all as he had foreseen. The end of the Republic, the dawn of the Empire.

"After Germany, Russia?" Drake asked once.

"Very good; you are indeed farseeing," the Grand Master replied. "Mr. Hitler, of course, is only a medium. Virtually no ego at all, on his own. You have no idea how dull and prosaic such types are, except when under proper Inspiration. Naturally, his supplied ego will collapse, he will become psychotic, and we will have no control over him at all, then. We are prepared to help him fall. Our real interest now is here. Let me show you something. We do not work in general outlines; our plans are always specific, to the last detail." He handed Drake a sheaf of papers. "The war will probably end in '44 or '45. We will have Russia built up as the next threat within two years. Read this carefully."

Drake read what was to become the National Security Act of 1947. "This abolishes the Constitution," he said almost in ecstasy.

"Quite. And believe me, Mr. Drake, by '46 or '47, we will have Congress and the public ready to accept it. The American Empire is closer than you imagine."

"But the isolationists and pacifists—Senator Taft and that crowd—"

"They will wither away. When communism replaces fascism as the number one enemy, your small-town conservative will be ready for global adventures on a scale that would make the heads of poor Mr. Roosevelt's liberals spin. Trust me. We have every detail pinpointed. Let me show you where the new government will be located."

Drake stared at the plan and shook his head. "Some people will recognize what a pentagon means," he said dubiously.

"They will be dismissed as superstitious cranks. Believe me, this building will be constructed within a few years. It will become the policeman of the world. Nobody will dare question its actions or judgments without being denounced as a traitor. Within thirty years, Mr. Drake, within thirty years, anyone who attempts to restore power to the Congress will be cursed and vilified, not by liberals but by conservatives."

"Holy God," Drake said.

The Grand Master rose and walked to an old-fashioned globe nearly as large as King Kong's head. "Pick a spot, Mr. Drake. Any spot. I guarantee you we will have American troops there within thirty years. The Empire that you dreamed of while reading Tacitus."

Robert Putney Drake felt humbled for an instant, even though he recognized the gimmick: using one single example of telepathy, plucking Tacitus out of his head, to climax the presentation of the incredible dream. At last he understood firsthand the awe that the Illuminati created in both its servitors and its enemies.

"There will be opposition," the Grand Master went on. "In the 1960s and early 1970s especially. That's where your notion for a unified crime syndicate fits into our plan. To crush the opposition, we will need a Justice Department equivalent in many ways to Hitler's Gestapo. If your scheme works— if the Mafia can be drawn into a syndicate that is not entirely under Sicilian control, and the various other groups can be brought under the same umbrella— we will have a nationwide outlaw cartel. The public itself will then call for the kind of Justice Department that we need. By the mid-1960s, wiretapping of all sorts must be so common that the concept of privacy will be archaic." And, tossing sleeplessly, Drake thought how smoothly it had all worked out; why then was he rebelling against it? Why did it give him no pleasure? And what was it Jung had said about power?

Richard Jung, wearing Carl Jung's old sweater and smoking his pipe, said, "And next the solar system." The room was crowded with white rabbits, Playboy bunnies, Bugs Bunny, the Wolf Man, Ku Kluxers, Ma-fiosos, Lepke with accusing eyes, a dormouse, a mad hatter, the King of Hearts, the Prince of Wands, and Jung was shouting over the din. "Billions to reach the moon. Trillions to get to Mars. All pouring into our corporations. Better than the gladiatorial games." Linda Lovelace elbowed him aside. "Call me Ishmaelian," she said suggestively; but Jung handed Drake the skeleton of a Biafran baby. "For Petruchio's feast," he explained, producing a piece of ticker tape. "We now own," he began to read, "seventy-two percent of earth's resources, and fifty-one percent of all the armed troops in the world are under our direction. Here," he said, passing the body of an infant that had died in Appalachia, "see that this one gets an apple in its mouth."

A bunny passed Drake a 1923 Thompson machine gun, the model that had been called an automatic rifle because the Army had no funds to buy submachine guns that year. "What's this for?" Drake asked, confused. "We have to defend ourselves," the bunny said. "The mob is at the gates. The hungry mob. An astronaut named Spartacus is leading them." Drake handed the gun to Maldonado and crept upstairs to his private heliport. He passed through the lavatory to the laboratory (where Dr. Frankenstein was attaching electrodes to Linda Lovelace's jaws) and entered the golf course again, where the door opened to the airplane cabin.  

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