Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Mike's Story Part 67 - Political Opportunity or Dog Park?


February 3 2008
   He calls.  I wish him Happy Birthday which is no doubt the reason for the call.  On my own initiative, I wouldn’t have observed the occasion, even with an email.  I’ve done my bit for him when he needed it.  Any more would be sycophantic.
   “I’m single-handedly upholding the American economy,” he chuckles, referring to his buying spree for his new apartment, which included an HD TV for which his LAPD friend served as consultant.
   The statement for our joint account confirms this.  But he’s exhilarated to be home and is providing background information for a movie about the FBI’s harassment of two folk singers.  If the movie is made, he’ll get to play the "asshole FBI guy."  
   The only thing left is a “dawg.”  He’s been to three pounds but hasn’t found the right one.
 
Several days or weeks later
   He has found his true love, a mutt who is going to require multiple treatments to rid himself of mange.  But he’s idolatrous and goofy which are the two sine qua nons.  His name is Rags.  To me, he looks like the canine incarnation of Mike.
 
March 14 2008
   My dawg snores.-- MCR
 
March 16 2008
   don't sleep with him - JO
 
March 16 2008  From Mike:
   He sleeps in his new doggie bed on the floor, right next to my bed. Hewouldn't have it any other way.It must be love because I wouldn't either.Woof!
   I am a really good Daddy.Mioss you.Smooch.
 
   One of Mike's politically-connected friends is in New York and we get together for drinks with some of that person's circle.  
   “Has Mike called you?” Mike's friend asks.
   I hesitate before answering.
   “He’s calling every day?” the friend misconstrues my silence.
   He’s called twice:  The first time, as relayed above, on his birthday; the second, to straighten out the Paypal account which was set up in my name because it was linked to the bank account.
   “Are you going to go out to see him?”
   “He doesn’t want me in LA.”
   “Why not?”
   “He says I’d slow him down there.”
   “I’m in shock.  You saved his life.”
   “He’s unique at what he does." 
   The friend later emails that I've achieved "serenity" but that is a rosy interpretation.  I got the lay of the land a long time ago.  It wasn't even Mike who taught me cynicism though in our relationship, it certainly came in handy.
 
   April 15
   Mike calls.  He had dinner with the politically connected friend last night and gives me an update "on the QT."  The 60 Minutes Al Gore piece was a possible set-up to get him drafted at the Democratic Convention, Mike learned.  Some sort of disaster is anticipated before the election - but what sort?
   “Both Buffett and Soros have used the D word, ‘depression.’  It could be something with entitlements.”
   I go on Google alerts for Al Gore.  
 
   April 27  
   Two dreams:
 
   1: Mike is invited to hell to interview Satan. (It's unclear who invited him.)  I ask if I can come along, then have second thoughts (cold feet?)  If I change my mind while in Hell, will I be allowed to come upstairs again? 
   The answer is unclear. I decline the opportunity. Mike goes off. 
 
   2: Alex and I and about four other people are on a makeshift wooden boat in the ocean. A wave comes that is six storeys high. I take solace in the fact that we are in the curl of a less daunting part of the wave and try to calculate how long we'll have to hold our breath. The dream ends before we're overcome.
 
   June 7,  5 A.M.  
   The phone rings.  I wake up but don’t answer.  
   “Good.  I hope you’re out having a good time.  Moofie, it’s me.  [He mentions a political opportunity - an extremely long shot - that has been offered to him.]  I need to talk to you.”
  This isn’t an I’m-about-to-strangle-myself 5 A.M. call; it’s just an I’m-hyper-and-no-one-else-will-take-this-shit-but-you call.  
   Such are my thoughts until eight when I leave for work, still marvelling at his sense of entitlement and toying with the idea of going righteous on him.  But that would be too obvious; more to the point, it would cut off the information which only he can provide.  As usual, the writer in me prevails; I call him back at six that night.  
   “Hi, Moofie.  I was at the fortieth anniversary of Bobby Kennedy’s assassination, so it was a public event.  [He repeats the information about the political opportunity which was offered to him and about which he feels conflicted.]
   ‘I have a good life, here; a dog I’m committed to.  You’d love Rags.
   ‘I don’t want to get back on airplanes again.  But we could get Peak Oil into the national conversation.”
   “That’s not the problem.  It’s the danger.  Correct me if I’m wrong but the "Powers That Be" be so powerful that you’ll only be allowed so much success.  If you really look as though you’re having an effect, they’ll make sure to put a stop to it.”
   “Those are the thoughts I’ve been having, too.  Anyway, [the friend] is going to have to come here and sell me.
   ‘How are you?”
   “Tired.”
   “Sorry if I woke you...”
   Sorry enough not to do it again? I think but don't say.  (He never did do it again.)
   “...but I had to talk to somebody.  
   ‘How’s Alex?”   
   “His usual HUA self.”  I know better than to give more than one sentence.  Unless there’s an entertaining story, Mike, like many people, has little patience for listening to details about the lives of others.  And for the record, at the moment that I was maligning him, Alex was in the process of doing first rate work at college and has since graduated from an excellent law school.  "HUA" referred only to his stand on Peak Oil, but he's become more open-minded about that as well.
   “Bobby’s lawyer was at the anniversary, Paul Schrader.  I talked to him for about twenty minutes.  I told him, ‘I didn’t realize then that the people who were after me were the same ones who were after Bobby.’  He was very moved by that.
   ‘I haven’t heard from Danni Tillman [Pat Tillman's mother] but she could still be on the book tour.
   ‘She said she thought that by thanking Stan, [Stan Goff, who had written the Pat Tillman series] she was acknowledging FTW.”  (Mike had been upset not to have been thanked for that series in some public forum which I've now forgotten.)
   “That’s what I thought.”
   “I was right to let her know what that series did to me...  I never realized how much of what I did was survivor guilt over Pat.”  Another war hero, like Mike's dad.  Then there’s the guilt of having survived his own birth, possibly, he felt, against his mother’s wishes.
   “Well, Rags is here, lying on his back with his tongue hanging out to the side.  You should see him at the doggie park.  Oh, he heard me say, ‘doggie park.’  Now I’m going to have to take him.  O.K.  I guess we’ll go.”

2 comments:

Debbie Metke said...

I've been enjoying these, Jenna. Gee, Mike sounds like so many people these days... just caring about themselves and not putting in the time to think of others' feelings. Sorry you had to go through that.

Jenna Orkin said...

no problem. thanks. the info I acquired from reading and working for ftw as well as the opportunity to know mike and write about the experience made everything worth while. what he gave was incomparable.