Thursday, July 20, 2017


J    You must have had a reason for erasing it.  Did I say something wrong or something bad?  
B   No.  It was nothing you did.  It was me.
J    No sir, Barb.  That wasn’t it at all.  It was me.  [No, it wasn’t.]  I wish I knew what it was. 
B   All right.  You were talking about when you met Marie and how you paid a fellow to tell the guy dancing with her that he was wanted on the phone.  And I kept bringing you back to the subject of you and me, how come you weren’t that aggressive with me, and then I thought, you pill, why didn’t you leave him alone and let him tell his story? 
J   It wasn’t that obvious.  I didn’t notice anything, Barb. 
B   I’m the editor of this here machine and as editor, I deleted myself.     
J    I thought you were kidding, of course.
B   Half kidding.  Hey, don’t you look great!  Have I seen this suit?  That tie and that shirt and those shoes?  Have I?
J    I don’t know, but this suit isn’t anything to brag about. 
B    I think it looks gorgeous!  [You do?]  You look handsome.  Extra handsome.  [Aw, I don’t.]  It goes so beautifully with that—
J   It's a twenty-nine dollar suit! Barb, twenty-nine bucks with two trousers!  [Really?]  Two trousers, twenty-nine dollars.
B   It’s so beautiful with that tie.
J    You know what I thought about this jacket?  I liked the way it fit.  [Mmm!  Me too.]  I put it on and I walked toward the mirror and I couldn’t see me, I could just see the vision of the shoulders. 
B   The vision of that person walking toward you. 
J   Vision.  Shit, I used the wrong word.   And I’m gonna have to live with it.  But I say to myself, it looks terrific.  I’ll buy it. 
B   I should think anything you put on would look terrific if it were your size.
J    It was fantastic.  Twenty-nine bucks with two trousers.
B   Where’d you find that?
J    Jordan’s Basement.  It’s comfortable as hell. 
B   How long have you had it? 
J   I don’t know.  I thought I told you I bought two of them at twenty-nine dollars apiece. 
B   Since you met me?  [Yeah.]  I haven’t seen it. 
J   How often do I come over? 
B  All the time. 
J   I mean with a suit on. 
B   Rarely.  As usual I didn’t allow myself enough time to get myself organized.  But I hurried, and I’m organized, Jack. 
J   You look organized.  As usual.  I was thinking about you on the way out here.  Anybody else would have settled for eating out and going to a show and it’s up to me to be here, Marie—{whistles at Freudian slip}—
B   As long as you don’t say Rosalie.
J    I’ve done that twice now.  Isn’t it amazing?  Marie.  Why would I ever—
B   How many years ago did you meet?
J    It was forty-one because in February of forty-two I went to New York to join the service.  I joined up December of forty-one, right after Pearl Harbor, as you might have guessed.  I haven’t changed much. 
B   I was one month pregnant with Teddy, and I was thinking, they won’t take Ed because they’ll know I was pregnant with our second child and we didn’t have that child just to protect him.
J    I wonder how many times they went back to December seventh and counted nine months from then, huh?  [Yes, I wonder.]  What was I saying when I called you Marie.   [Umm . . . I forget]   Oh!  What a nice kid you are.  You know, with girls generally, if you say you’re taking her to a movie, she just gets ready.  She doesn’t go running out to buy something for dinner.
B   Well, I had other things to buy, but it seemed to me that we could take our time if we had dinner here and didn’t have to rush to the movies.   And we could have a leisurely drink.
B   The article said some officials had sent word, “We have information that within a mile of the targets there are American prisoners of war.”
J    They placed American prisoners of war in that kind of a target area.  They did that purposely.  We did the best we could under the circumstances..
B   So we were as ruthless as the CIA or any other kind of spies you see in the movies.  American lives were expendable.  And we didn’t even need to.  The Japanese were on their knees ready to surrender, ready to negotiate.
J    Pretty mouth.  Do you ever watch your mouth when you talk?  Huh?  Really, your bottom lip goes up and down, and your teeth are nice. 
B   You’re changing the subject.  [Yeah.]  We just had to use that bomb because we’d created it. . .  Did you watch the war thing last night?
J   Oh, you’re talking about the atomic bomb?  [Yes.]  At Nagasaki and Hiroshima?  [Yes.]  They had prisoners there?  [Yes.]  Oh no, I never read anything about that.
B   It was in the paper yesterday.
J   Well, is it true, or was it just in the paper?
B   It was in documents that have just begun to be declassified after thirty years.
J   I’m sure that Harry Truman didn’t know there were prisoners of war in the area.
B   Well, somebody did because somebody sent word that there were and said does this change the location of your target, and the answer came back no. 
    I was watching that war series last night, [It’s a hell of a series.] and it seems absolutely insane when you see [I know it.] the devastation and destruction of lives—If intelligent beings from another planet were watching these people carve each other up, they’d think we were nuts.
J   Sure, sure, it’s beautiful to be in a position to be able to say that.
B  Yeah, beautiful.  You don’t even like it if you see a surgeon taking a cut with a knife on somebody’s flesh.  You hide your face with a pillow. 
J   Oh, I do not, Barbara!  I don’t.  I may close my eyes [laughter]—I have to, I can’t help it.
B   If it’s happening far enough away and it’s happening to the enemy, hopefully more to the enemy than to us, it’s terrific.  [What can I say?]  It’s, it’s childish!  It’s like little boys that still think it’s fun to play cowboys and Indians, and they’ve got to use these marvelous weapons they’ve invented that go off with a big boom like firecrackers.  Fantastic.
J   Barbara, suppose you were in South Korea, and all of a sudden the North Koreans poured over the border and were invading your country.  What would you say? 
B  Suppose you were a southerner in the United States—[Now don’t answer a question with a question.]—and the northerners came down and started picking on the southerners in the United States.  Was that any way to solve it, to have a civil war?
J   No, you’re saying how childish and how terrible it is, but the South Koreans, are they going to succumb or are they gonna say, here they come, we don’t want war, we’ll do whatever they say.
B   Look, all I know is whenever we come to anybody’s help, much worse things happen than if we just stayed out of it.
J   Much worse things happen.  You consider much worse things happening because of Americans being killed, right?
B   No, not just Americans.  Both sides.  Vietnam.  What did we accomplish with all that slaughter in Vietnam? 
J    Well, I don’t know, except that it’s not a communist dominated country any more.
B    They have a corrupt leader and a corrupt government and there’s people in prison down there that shouldn’t be, political prisoners.
J   Yeah, and the man up north, Ho Chi Min, is a butcher when it comes to slaughter.
B   There’s always been butchery!  We have no lily-white record.
J   I know it, but don’t just talk about the South Vietnamese.  You never talk about the other people.  You always talk about us.
B   All right, I think there’s good and there’s bad on both sides, but I think that war is no solution.  I just don’t see what it accomplishes.  Except to kill a lot of—
J   When your country is being invaded, then you might think differently.   
B  When our country is being invaded, okay. 
J   I’m talking about the South Koreans now.  That’s what I’m talking about.  The South Koreans being invaded by the North Koreans.  And you say, There must be a solution besides war.  Well, you talk to the South Koreans and say, “Well lookit, don’t fight, there’s a solution to this thing.”  And they say to you, “Well, these people are pouring over our borders and they’re advancing on us, so what do we do?”
B   So we help one side, and some other big country helps the other side, right? 
J   Yep, yep, yep, that’s right.  That will always be the case. 
So don’t you think each side thinks they’re right?  Or do you always think the other guys are bad guys?
J   No, I’m sure that the North Koreans think that they should invade South Korea.
B   And the people that are helping the North Koreans think that they should help the North Koreans. [Right.]  And isn’t it all absolutely stupid?
J   It would be nice if they didn’t do that, Barbara. 
B  To think of all the money that they spend on one big war plane—Yeah, they do.  If they took all that money and built roads and schools and things.  [I know it.]  This is what democracy will do for you. 
J  Well, lookit, this country has shown what democracy will do for you, but that doesn’t always work. It's still a great country.
B   It’s a great country if you’re not Black or poor. 
J   No, no, no.  It’s a great country because after the war we put Germany back on the map as strong, and we put Japan back.  No other country does things like that without going into them and dictating what their government policies will be.  That’s what we do.  No other country does that as a conqueror.     
J   I know we’re not always great, we make a lot of mistakes, but I’d rather be here than anywhere else in the world. 
B   I would too, because I notice that we’re pretty damn careful not to mess around too much with South America, where there’s a dictatorship and there’s government takeovers and all that.  We don’t want any gunfire to come too close to our own doorstep.  We can spend lots of money thousands of miles away and send our boys thousands of miles away, but no congressman or senator or president wants violence coming too close to his front door.  So we are very careful about how we deal with situations in South America.  Why can’t we be that careful when it’s far, far away?  The diplomacy seems to change when it’s right at our door.
J   We really go in to help.  We have absolutely nothing to gain when we help.
B  Ooohhh!  Yeah, like the CIA helped with a popularly elected leader by having him assassinated. 
Who’s that?
B  I think it was Allende, wasn’t it?
J   I don’t know.  I heard that on TV, and I hope you watched the man that was in charge of the operation.  He was the ambassador to Chile at the time. 
B  He said it wasn’t true?
J   Well, he had quite a story there.  Now you can say, this is what we did, we went in there and did this and did that.  But yeah, I heard that man on TV and he made a terrific presentation, and it’s just a matter of what you want to believe.  That’s all.  I don’t know what goes on, frankly, but I think this country is terrific.
{From the Internet  BBM 3-13-03]

Tim Weiner, "How the CIA Took Aim at Allende," New York Times, September 12, 1998

Tim Weiner, "How the CIA Took Aim at Allende," New York Times, September 12, 1998
WASHINGTON -- From 1970 to 1973, the United States sought to overthrow the government of Chile and its democratically elected president, Dr. Salvador Allende, whom it deemed a Marxist threat to U.S. interests. Under orders from President Richard M. Nixon, the CIA mounted a full-tilt covert operation to keep Allende from taking office and, when that failed, undertook subtler efforts to undermine him. Those efforts "never really ended," the CIA's director of operations at the time, Thomas Karamessines, later told Senate investigators.
Twenty-five years ago last week, on Sept. 11, 1973, the Chilean military seized power, The junta, under Gen. Augusto Pinochet, ruled until 1990. Its death squads murdered more than 3,000 people, and it jailed and tortured thousands more. Chile is still trying to come to terms with the damage done to its democratic institutions.
The declassified government documents excerpted below were collected by the National Security Archive, a nonprofit research group in Washington that has sought to uncover secret records since 1985. They were posted on its website ( on Friday.
They show how much the United States was committed to thwarting Allende even before he took office, and they illustrate a fact that was not well understood during the Cold War: The CIA very rarely acted as a rogue elephant. When it plotted coups and shipped guns to murderous colonels, it did so on orders from the president.
B   I wonder how you'll feel about your grandchildren.  I bet you'll dote on them and spoil them.
J   I’m not going to be around for grandchildren, angel.
B   I know it.  You were going to cut that out, Jack.  You were gonna give them up.
J   I did.  You didn’t even notice.
B   You gave them up for how long?  [For a while.]  Like Ed’s friend, Claire.  She’s given them up for as long as three hours.  She smokes four packs a day.
J   Nobody smokes four packs a day. 
B  She’s smoking all the time. 
Yeah, but nobody smokes four packs a day, Barb.  You know what that is?  That’s eighty cigarettes, and if you knew how long it took to smoke just one . . .
B   What do you smoke, about one pack a day now?  [Yeah.]  I told Ed I thought you were killing yourself.  He says, Claire is, too, I can see the signs. 
J   Well, it takes ten minutes to smoke a cigarette.  If you smoke eighty of those—[I’ve heard of people who smoke three packs a day.]  I have, too, and I don’t know how they do it.
B   How do they accomplish anything?  When do they have time to go to the john or look up a phone number?
J   Is Claire pretty?
B   She’s very, very attractive.  She has pretty hair. . . .
J   Why don’t you take a picture of her? 
B  I told Ed I’d like to.  I’d like to have her model for me.  The second time I met her, she was wearing a stylish looking hat and a pantsuit.  She’s very thin.  I don’t think Ed has ever seen her in a skirt or in a bathing suit.
J   He’s seen you in a bathing suit.  You’re a picture in a bathing suit.
B   She would not wear a bathing suit when she went to the beach with him.
J    Barb.  You are.  Honest to God.  You’re the same on both sides. 
B   I’m not, Jack.  I don’t have anything that matches from head to toe.  My eyes are crooked, my shoulders are lopsided—[No, your shoulders are lovely.]—my boombooms are crooked, one calf is bigger than the other, one foot is wider than the other.  You could cut me in two and if you matched up each half, I’d be two  different people. 
J   Your shoulders would match, your face would match. . . [No.]  Well, I know the hips match.   I saw them at the party the other night.  You were standing there looking the way you do, and accepting it as being So What.
B   I never had so much trouble fastening these slacks before, Jack.
J   But do you know what I mean, honey?  You’re tall enough, you’re slender enough, and you’re just shapely enough.  Now, you have to be thankful.
B   I’m thankful you think so.  That’s what I’m thankful for.
J   Do you know you have your trousers on backwards?
B   What?  I do?  Oh, I think they are!  (peals of laughter)  You’re right!   
J   Am I?  It doesn’t matter, though.  It seems to me you shouldn’t be always perfect. 
B   (prolonged laughter) Isn’t that funny! 
J    I thought they were so beautiful in the back. 
B   Now don’t look, Jack. 
J   No, I won’t, angel.  I want to see if it makes any difference. 
B  Look afterwards. 
J   Yeah, I’ll look afterwards. 
B   Jack!  Cut it out!  Okay, now you can look.  See, I think that’s better.  Right?
J   You’re funny.  You keep laughing about it.  Isn’t that nice, though, huh?  Not many people could put their trousers on backwards and have it hardly noticeable.  You’re funny, Barb. 
B   Funny terrific, or funny peculiar? 
J    Both.  That’s what you are.
B   You’re funny, and that’s what’s going to break us up. 
J   Hahaha.  Oh, really? 
B  It’s aging me!  You give me too many laugh wrinkles.
J   It used to be something else that was going to break us up.
B   Umm. . . When I said, “And you’re not it!”?
J    Yeah.  Oh Jesus, that sounded so final.  "And you’re not it!” with such emphasis.  I stood out on that balcony in Florida for hours.  Finally I’m saying to myself, “This kid has suffered enough, Jack.”  Never dreaming she was sound asleep while I’m out there in agony.  I think, well, I’ll go on in, and we’ll talk.
B   I woke up fast, though, didn’t I? 
J   You were very. . . 
B   Welcoming. 
J   Yeah, it culminated in something . . . there’s a word for that.
B   It was more than welcoming.  Would the word be climax?  [That’s it.]  The only reason I was sleeping was that I had taken a pill.  
J   Yeah, but why would you do that?  Why would you take a sleeping pill when I didn’t have any?
B   Because I expected you to conk out the way you always do so easily.
J   After an argument?  No, I wouldn’t do that.  I couldn’t do that.  When we have an argument I’m not too good for a while.  Like the other day you said, “I suppose you’re going to get into one of your moods,” and I said, “Occasionally I do.” 
B   Occasionally?  Every time.
J   No, oh no.  Only when you’re wrong. 
B   Which is every time, right?  It takes you three or four days to begin to see that there might be two sides, and maybe I might possibly have some teensy-weensy justification on my side.
J   It does?  These are facts that you are presenting?
B   Okay, you just decide to forgive me for being wrong. Oh, hey, I’ve got to start the eggs.
J    You’re going to start the eggs?  You livers are going to be all shriveled up. 
B   No, I turned them off.  
J   Hey, am I glad you turned your trousers around!
B   You were telling me how nice I looked from the back, and it was a big fib.  [Shoulders, I said.]  You were saying to yourself, “Her little ass looks crazy.” 
J   “Her little ass looks backwards,” I said. 
B   Bassackwards. 
B   I had two calls from Ed, and first he told me he had sold his lot on Jerusalem Road.  He decided he couldn’t afford to build the house, and he sold the lot this morning.  And I said, Just like that?  You didn’t even discuss it with me?  I thought it was kind of a big decision to make so quickly, considering how much money he’d put into it.
    The next call, he told me the people who were using the condominium this week went down, Dr. Wacks and his wife.  My brother had been there, and he’d left a frying pan plugged in.  Everything was smoked up.  I guess there was a congealed egg or the remains of a meal, and he’d left it plugged in, smoking up the kitchen.
    There was also mildewing, damp laundry smelling up the whole apartment.  That’s because of Naomi’s problem.  I had written to her because of her husband being so sick, telling her not to worry about the apartment, I’d keep sending her money.  I also told her people were going to be there, and I intended for her to go over and clean up after they left, but I hadn’t known my brother was going to leave a pile of laundry.  Ed was mad about that. . . .
J     I was thinking today about that night down in Fort Lauderdale. I was shaving; in fact I cut  myself while I was thinking about it.  
B  The night I got mad?  I remembered I had a good reason.  You went down to get me the paper, and it started to rain, so you ducked into a pizza parlor and had a beer and a pizza.  You never did bring home the paper.
J   I don’t think I’d gone out for the paper. 
B   Yes you had, because I asked you to.  I was fixing dinner for us, Jack.  Then you were gone so long, I was trying to keep it warm without its drying up.
J  Isn’t that funny.
B   I didn’t think so.   Especially when you walked in and said you weren’t hungry.  That's when I said, "I thought I'd found the perfect man, but you're not it!"  
J   You can’t imagine that feeling of almost agony out there on the balcony.  It was horrible, absolutely horrible.  I should have said, I am too it, Barb.  If only I’d  made light of the situation—
B   And made me laugh
J   —yeah, made you laugh.   Hey, you know what’s on tonight?  Evil Knievil. 
B   I saw him interviewed a year or two ago, and he sounded fascinating.  I’ll go turn him on.  I saw my doctor today.
J   What did you say, dear?  Your mind’s going faster than a greyhound.
B   I told the doctor I can’t seem to slow down my motor.  When I go to bed, it’s still racing. 
J   What did he say to that? 
B   I guess you’ll have to have some sleeping pills.  I told him I’d tried acupuncture and Mind Control . .  .  I was pleased when he said I could stay on the pill.
J   I thought it was a foregone conclusion.  I hate that expression, but it fits.
B   The more conservative doctors believe you should taper off.  He has one patient who’s complaining because at fifty-five she’s still as regular as clockwork.  I said, I’ll never complain about it.  I think it’s great. 
J   Is there anything he can do to help her?  Like impregnate her?
B   Good thought.  Then she could recommend him to all her friends with the same complaint. 
B   You didn’t want to corrupt me, is that what you’re trying to say?
J    Corrupt you?  Holy cats!  You are. . .
B   What?  Incorruptible?
J   You corrupted me.  If anyone corrupted anybody, you have corrupted me.  When I first came here, I thought kissing was the greatest.  
B   Do you like your steak kind of rare, Jack?
J    Kind of.  I don’t like it not cooked, angel, do you?
B   No, I really don’t.  I’ve had many a steak that I would have enjoyed more if it wasn’t half raw. Or still mooing, as my mother used to say.  I need some glasses so I can see where my glasses are.  Ohh, beautiful.  It's pink in the middle.
J   Barb, you know how that song goes, Oh, beautiful for spacious skies?   What does spacious mean?
B   Well, it means being clever, like perspicacious.  
J    No, seriously.  Why do they say “for spacious skies”?
B   America is beautiful because of its—[Oh, I see.]—spacious skies.  Of course I don’t know what else a sky would be except spacious, unless you were around Logan Airport. Then it gets kind of crowded.
     So you have only three more days of work, Jack.
J   (sigh) Yeah.  [You don't sound very happy.]  I am.  I am. I'm very happy.
B  Stop sighing, then.                               
J   Well, I would have sighed anyway. That was just. . . you know, a sigh is just a sigh.
B   I forget.  Sing a few bars. 
J    You’re a wise guy.
B   My mother‑in‑law was so funny.  She told me Ed was saying he wanted to have a woman,  and she said, "Oh, at your age you don't need that."  Then he asked what he was supposed to do about his sex life. She told him  that was what got him into so much trouble in the first place.  She said, "You're way beyond that."
    So I said to her, "Of course he's not, Mimi.  Men and women can enjoy sex right into old age." She said she'd  heard some women liked it, but she  never did.  She didn't like being mauled.  I said, "I don't think of it as mauling.  I think it's nice."
J   Well, I suppose a lot has to do with the way its done. 
B   I think it was the way it was presented to her when she was young. Her mother probably said, "Be careful of men, they're going to want to maul you."
J   Oh, I see, and from then on she considered it being mauled.
B   Ed says that was the big problem with her marriage. 
J    I wonder what part of loving that is.  How much of it is that, or how much of it is the way you look and the way you talk and the way you move.  I never really categorized it.
B   As what?
J   As what part of the whole picture all these little things are, what part is the way you dress, or the way you look or the way you smile or the way you do things.  You know it all makes up the whole thing.
B   Let's try not going to bed for a month and see.
J    I'm supposed to say all right, and I will, but I don't want to say "Like hell," either.
B   Why not?  I wish you would.
J   I don't know that you wish I would.
B   Of course I do. 
J   I hope you do.  I didn't mean anything by that, I just meant, you know, that plus the other.  I was figuring maybe 50 % is one thing and 50% is all the other things.
B   It''s all so intertwined, I can't separate them.
J   No, but they are.  They are separated.  It's parts that make up the whole.   But maybe I'm talking ragtime. . 
B   All I know is, if I didn't feel about a guy the way I feel about you, I couldn't care less about wanting to be in bed with him.
J   That's fantastic, because I'm not exactly what you would expect, I'm sure.  You know what I mean? I had one girl all my life, and that wasn't any any great thing, as far as sex goes.
B   That's been part of the fun.  The fact that you were not a man of the world and that everything we do together I wouldn’t have visions of you and someone else.
J   Yeah, but you could have been disappointed.  That could be the case, you know.
B   I seem to have a miserable time, don't I?
J   No, you don't, but I'm fortunate that I'm what you like.  I was thinking that tonight.  I flew out here as if I hadn’t seen you for a month.
B  I hope you like cold eggs and cold toast.
J   You know I do.
B   I've been invited to go to Fort Lauderdale.  I told him my lawyer said I can't do that.  Ed said, "I won't tell if you won't tell.’ I hate to be cynical, but I think he'd like to derail this divorce. 
J   If you went, that could happen?  
B  If I went, obviously it would be on the old basis, and I won’t do that. I don't know whether to feel sorry for him or suspicious.
J   When was this, Barb?
B   A few days ago.  I sort of forgot about it, actually.  Then I remembered I was supposed to call my brother and make sure he wasn't there.
J   If you went, you would have gone tonight" 
B   That was the idea.  I said I hoped he'd find someone and that he’d have a nice time and that I was really sorry he was lonely. Tell me about the farewell luncheon.  Did they sing "He's a jolly good fellow"?”
J   No, nobody thought I was a jolly good fellow. It wasn't a big thing, you know.  We had a feed and we talked and had some drinks and it was nice. There weren’t any speeches or anything like that.
B  No tears?  [No, none of that stuff.]  Now we won't get invited to the Christmas party.  You'll have to make friends real fast at the bank.
J   I don't make friends that easily. 
B  You do too.  They gravitate to you.
  They do in a pig's ear.

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