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Ninety Days Inside The Empire: A Novel by William Appleman Williams

The Dream and The Reality of Violence

Page 98

Ralph George Crown was periodically irritated by his failure to place an informant in the NAACP. Once he thought he had succeeded only to discover that the Negro, selected by Wendell Rogers, was making a fool of him. But he had gleaned enough gossip about Burton's appearance before that group to consider chastising his friend.

He began the process, but Burton stood his ground (in his mind swinging that sand wedge) and Crown veered off into issuing instructions about what to do in Washington. Burton let most of it drift away on the breeze cooling the terrace at the Bayview. If there was one thing he knew better than Crown - actually he thought there were several - it was how to operate in the pressure cooker of high politics. Crown finally gave it up and they enjoyed a pleasant round of golf.

Others did not have Crown's discipline to cut his losses and get on with other matters. One of those was Richard (Richie) Dillon, the young man who had tried to rape Maggie and then let the failure chew on his ego as he fingered his tie while watching her in church on Communion Sunday.

On the following Monday he had been warned by one of Crown's foremen to stay away from Negro women or lose his job. He followed orders and a bit later was rewarded with a crew of his own to monitor a new gas line being built down to Brownsville. That pleased him, but also prompted him to talk to himself out in the field.

-- I wonder who fingered me. Must have been the cunt's old man because he knew my old partner. God, I hated that Nigger kid. But his pecker sure did warm 'em up.

** Forget it, Richie. You got it made now. Lots more money and out of this damn place.

-- Yeah, but I want to get back at those bastards. Maybe one of the white women who hang around the Niggers. That'd be nice. Kind of like that Lieutenant's wife. She looks a nice piece. Hear she's pregnant.

Give that kid in there a tickle.

** Richie, you crazy. Leave it be. Get the Mex cunts down in Brownsville.

- Yeah, but I still want to leave my mark.

** Just leave it alone.

-- Got it! Scare the shit out of em. Kidnap that kid of the Commander who's big with the Nigger minister.

** You sick, Richie.

-- Not sex, you crazy bastard. Just take her and hide her for awhile then let her go. That'll take their minds off the stupid Niggers.

** You stupid, Richie, You dreamin'. That's Fed stuff.

-- You just coon scared. I'm goin' to do it.

And so Richard Dillon began to watch and learn the schedule that Nancy Taylor followed going to and from school in the city. Every Monday and Friday, and sometimes Wednesday, Caroline drove Nancy to school and picked her up. Richie was satisfied with two chances a week, and so began to ease along behind her in his Plymouth as she walked the four blocks from the bus stop to the school and then later back to the bus.

Next he planned where to take her. He knew the back roads. There was a way to cut west on an old road behind Five Corners. Out there was an old barn. He bought some food and pop, and took some blankets and a big flashlight and made it ready.

He was easy, feeling no pressure to rush it. The next week he parked the Plymouth and waited for the bus with her. He got on with her and rode several blocks. By then she was talking with him. He had never had a sister and began to like her. He did it again, that time asking her if she'd like a ride because sometimes he had a car.

"No. I like the bus because you get to talk with lots of different people."

"We could give some of your friends a ride, too."

"That's nice, but no thank you. I'll just see you on the bus."

"Maybe when it rains?"

"Never thought about that -doesn't rain much here."