5 January, 2019
Turtle, Senator and I sat at a table at the Beachcomber on Wollaston Beach while the redheaded guitar player, billed as The President of Rock ‘n’ Roll, roared:
There’s a riot goin’ on!
Down in cellblock number nine.
I was in the slammer with Albert DiSalvo, shouted Senator over the music. He nodded his head at the bandleader. And Myles too. This didn’t sound right. Albert DiSalvo, known as the Boston Strangler, confessed to raping and killing a dozen women. I couldn’t picture Senator, real name Jim White, doing anything that might land him in prison. In Cu Chi he had kept a low profile. A college graduate, he was about 26 to our 19 or 20. Balding. He looked like a Senator so we called him Senator. Turned out he wasn’t actually locked up in Walpole, just a teacher. Now he worked as a security guard at a construction site, making good money reading dirty magazines in a trailer on the overnight shift. Turtle, chubby, slow talking, slow moving, pink skinned, blond crewcut Turtle, hailed from Thomaston, Georgia. After Vietnam he worked a shit job in T-Town for three years, bought a new car cash, and headed north. Stopped to see Hagey in North Carolina. Hagey was doin’ awright. Got hisself enrolled in college. In Philadelphia, Dave Winton was doing awright too. He was an exec-u-tive now, drivin’ a Mazda RX-7. In New York State Spanky was fixin’ to reenlist and head for Germany where the frauleins were waiting with open arms. Me? I was killing time in the post office and going to school now and then. While we waited for the grand reunion, the reunion came to us. A reunion on wheels: Turtle. Myles Connor, the fiery rock ‘n’ roller, stopped by our table between sets. Senator told him I played piano and Myles urged me to try out with his band. We need a keyboard player, he said making it sound like a done deal. An exciting opportunity, but I could barely play so the tryout never happened. A good thing, perhaps. Myles was said to have a genius level IQ but was a notorious criminal who once wounded a cop in a shootout with police on a Back Bay rooftop and later beat a double murder charge. Less than a year after the Beachcomber gig he stole a Rembrandt from the Museum of Fine Arts in broad daylight. A fucking Rembrandt!
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