from KGB (Killing George Bush)
by Mike Palecek
… as performed by Chuck Gregory & Mike Palecek, “The News From Mount Liberty,” on The New American Dream Radio show
“Well, it has been another long week in Mount Liberty, Nebraska, my hometown.
You might have seen that George H.W. Bush still lives.
That old snake that we saw sneering in the backroom on the night his son was dishonestly named President of The United States.
The one who lied that he was out of the loop.
The one who ordered the killing of thousands of people in Panama.
The one who ordered the building of many new prisons to get tough on drugs and criminals in America, and it was all a scam, all to get elected, gain power.
George H. W. Bush.
The one who sneered at the funeral of Gerald Ford when he mentioned from the podium the killing of John Kennedy.
The one who claimed he was not in Dallas that day, but there is a photo showing he was.
The one who sits in the front row at the baseball games on national television and is applauded, not hit with tomatoes and fists and handcuffs, because he has been so successful in concealing the truth from the American people all these years.
The one who has said that if the American people knew what he has done, they would string him up by a light pole.
Well, actually, there were some guys, right here in Mount Liberty, some guys who suspected the truth about George H.W. Bush.
Who cared enough to find out the goddamn truth about our 41st President.
They were not the leading citizens. They did not write the editorials or sign the loans or even cut the hair of those who did.
They inhabited the underground, the earth.
The destitute, the hated, the laughed at, the so-called criminals themselves.
And they understood.
They knew where the power resided, where the truth could be found, what the reasons were, where the bodies were buried.
And they could not understand … and they wanted to find someone to ask why there might be such a stink about even talking about the killing of a rich so-called leader — and yet, the real-life slaughter of thousands, millions of poor people goes by without a whisper, a passing breeze in the trees that is gone and forgotten by the time the hail-fellow well-met in the cooks hat in the backyard shouts that the hot dogs are ready.
And so, with nothing better to do, they decided to fight.
KGB, they said.
Kill George Bush.
The men of D-Block are Mark Pontiac, Bobby Ford, Stephen Baltimore, Martin Mumford, Billy Mourning Dove, Miguel Mendez and Alford Arthur.
The new guy is Michael Zags, snatched from a downtown construction site for threatening the life of former president George H. W. Bush.
The jailer is Don Burton.
… There is the jail. There is the outside.
Some on the outside are headed to the jail. Some few realize that and some have no idea.
Unknown to the men in D-Block, an underground, pirate radio station had begun operating in downtown Mount Liberty, one woman’s plan to get around the arteriosclerosis blockage of non-information provided by the regular radio stations.
We have seen how Elana Usak had just finished her morning program when her apartment was raided by agents of the FCC. They threw her equipment and personal belongings out the window on to the street, in front of the media cameras and people standing on the sidewalk, just as Elana was able to slip away and into the little café right under her window, and then to her friend Martha’s office on the campus of Morningside College. Martha happens to be the step-mother of one of the men in D-Block. She asked Elana to stay with her and suggested that together they would figure out how to rig up her home to broadcast Elana’s radio show.
Then they had to move the radio show out of Martha’s home.
Paul, one of Elana’s biggest fans and listeners, volunteered to let her live at his house since Martha’s place was being watched by the FCC copes, then later to drive her around town to do the show on the move.
… Back at the house, while Paul’s kids sat in front of the television eating Cheetos and drinking chocolate milk, Elana and Paul sat on the front step. Elana wore a hooded sweatshirt and men’s tan coveralls.
“I need to get back on the air,” she said.
She wrapped her arms around her folded legs. Paul held a warm liter of Coke between his legs.
“Yeah. We need to get that stuff out of the basement. You could, well, they’d just bust you again.”
He ground a rock into the sidewalk with his shoe.
He set his hand on the cement between them, hoping she’d take it.
Elana looked at the stubby paw, the grizzled fingernails. She smiled at him. A rapper car passed.
“We could broadcast from your car!” she said.
She grabbed his hand and squeezed it in both of hers.
“What do you say?” she said.
Paul said it would probably be all right, except when he had doctor’s appointments.
“How do you do it?” he said.
Elana assured him she knew how to hook up her equipment by connecting to the existing wiring and antenna, taking out the back seat backrest and using the cushion as a desk, she would kneel on the floor.
“We just drive around town and they never get a true reading on us. Oh-my-God!” she whooped. “And we’ll be able to reach places we never could before. The college campus, downtown drive time again, South Side, North Side. The mobile revolution!”
She hugged Paul’s shoulders, making his eyes pop wide.
His pop spilled onto the sidewalk. She let him go to charge into the house.
He put his hand to his chest to catch his breath. …
… At one a.m. the night guard clicked down the hall. His flashlight moved with his right leg. He talked into his walkie-talkie, not bothering to be quiet for the sleeping prisoners. The doors of the sally port clanged open. The guard stalked in, click, click, down the row, shining a light into each cell, counting to himself.
“Mornin’, Gary,” Pontiac said.
“Mornin’,” said the guard, walking past.
He strode back without speaking.
Pontiac sat on the top bunk, his big bare feet hanging over the side. He rolled another cigarette. Gary glanced at Mumford doing pushups. The doors clanged shut.
Gary and Pontiac repeated the scene at two and three.
At the four o’clock count Pontiac was asleep.
As the night guard checked the blocks each hour and talked to the street cops who brought in prisoners and the woman who worked the front desk, while the lights at the corner clicked from green to yellow to red and the kids drove past, the men in D-Block dreamed like summer campers.
They dreamed of being twenty feet to the north.
What could that possibly be like?
They had never been there before.
They had each been born in jail.
They had never seen their mothers or held their children. They had always known Burton, always known his name. He had always been there in the morning, telling them when to eat, to read, to watch television.
They dreamed of really blue sky, flying up through the clouds, falling down into clouds and bouncing lightly.
They dreamed of playing softball and baseball.
Their dogs licked their faces as they slept. They made love to fairy princesses. They told their fathers they loved them and helped their mothers peel apples for pie.
And they smiled, wide, a wonder their faces did not crack and clatter to the floor like old pottery during a change in the weather.
They cried as it came near the time they had to leave their loved ones and blindly wiped real tears from their cheeks. They reached out their arms and could not reach out because of the top bunk or the ceiling.
They moaned and they jerked and they sobbed some more.
They grabbed themselves, not wanting to walk down the cold upstairs hall to pee.
Teetering on the precipice of their dreams they heard the school custodian’s whistle down the hall. They heard the jingling of a little brother’s toys in the living room. They heard someone reaching for keys to start a truck.
They clinched their teeth at the click of hard shoes on smooth, shiny concrete.
They heard the metallic-tasting language of a machine.
They opened their eyes and saw their mothers had flipped on their bedroom light against their wishes.
They felt the coarse blanket on their shoulders, heard the growl of Burton, “Brrr-ekfst!”
And the mechanical opening of their cages.
They opened their eyes, squinting, then rolled to their backs and shut their eyes, trying to retrieve their dreams, remembering they were in prison.
– Mike Palecek
I like KGB because it tells the forgotten story of prisoners and conspiracy theorists and people slaughtered by Bush Sr. in Panama and women and children in jail visiting rooms and other stuff.
I would like to say something about KGB.
I would like to ask why there is such a stink about even talking about the killing of a rich “leader” in a fictional story — and yet, the real-life slaughter of thousands, millions, of poor people goes by without a whisper, a passing breeze in the trees that is gone and forgotten by the time the hot dogs on the grill are ready.
I am not for the killing of George Bush Sr. or George Bush Jr. or George H.W. Bush or George W. Bush or George X.Y.Z. Bush.
I am not for killing. Period.
But I do think it is within the parameters of fiction and good taste and morality to allow the characters in a novel to discuss what they might do if they ever discovered how they came to such a desolate place in life.
In KGB we hear from his victims in El Salvador, Panama, prison, jail visiting rooms.
In KGB we have a pronounced preference for the poor, as it should be.
I am not for killing.
I only wish the same were true for George H.W. Bush.
KGB, first published 2001:
The jail squatted beneath the Woodbury County courthouse, invisible as a good boy to those walking outside, known only for the white vans disappearing into the yawning jaws of the off-white overhead door to the enclosed parking lot.
Each week day morning the door would groan and open, just enough for the van to reappear to take inmates up the street to the federal courthouse.
Those prisoners needing to appear in county court would walk. They would crowd handcuffed and shackled into the elevator in the jail front lobby with two guards for the ride up two floors.
The door would open into the world of color, people in a hurry, people whose days “flew by.” People with smiles on their faces, people with faces serious about nothing.
The door would open and reveal the load of orange men with scraggly, matted hair, men with no reason to shave, who had just walked into a department store holding the hand of a little girl and the girl asked the sleeping man what she could have and he said, nothing, and he woke …