Baltimore Post-Examiner is proud to showcase an excerpt from the latest work of activist and writer Alan Barysh and his new trilogy called A Book of Struggles (In the Form of Fables and Parables for Modern Times) with politically correct pulp fiction novel Bugged.
Bugged is about William Tell, a radical/revolutionary book publisher, and his nemesis Vincent Seita. Mr. Seita confronts Mr. Tell with an extortion threat and the reader is left wondering what William Tell would do. The rest of this book deals with Vincent Seita and his early childhood up to when he returns from the Vietnam War. Throughout this book, many sub-plots weave in and out that make this book a stream of conscious story.
Vincent Seita, born from a Native American father and White mother, is raised by Neo-Nazis. His story is one of atrocities and hatred. It takes him to the harsh killing jungles of the Vietnam War and back, where he learns the meaning of family.
- Excerpt copyright 2013 by Alan Barysh. All rights reserved.
- Bugged by Alan Barysh
- Paperback ISBN: 978-0615797304
- 208 pages
- Published by Hidden Clearing Books, L.L.C.
The only things the two men had in common were their skin color and sex. The two men just stood there looking at each other. They say clothes don’t make the man. That may be true. In this case, clothes spoke for the men, before the men spoke for themselves. Both men regarded the other as dressing rather strangely. The stranger in the loose fitting half size too large black pinstriped three-piece suit looked with disgust at the man with the black stone washed jeans and the black t-shirt that said “I used to be a white American but I gave it up in the interests of humanity.”
The radical turned radical publisher found the stranger who had just entered his office to be quite out of place. His precious feet anti-abortion tie pin and the silver crossed flag and crucifix lapel pin with the words “Good And Country” on an arch above seemed quite amusing. The stranger thought it was odd that the head of a publishing company would be wearing red high topped tennis shoes and a multi-colored hat. The stranger wondered why anyone would wear a hat on inside.
The radical turned radical publisher wondered how long it took the stranger to shave and how much hair cream he used, because the strangers face was so smooth shaven, and there wasn’t a hair out of place on the stranger’s wet looking hair. The stranger wondered if this big shot publisher ever shaved slowly enough to get all of the spots on his face. The radical turned radical publisher wondered why the stranger looked so tired and, more importantly, why he was in his office.
The stranger wondered about the meaning of the black pin with the blue triangle and the world “illegal’ written on it and, more importantly, why this big radical publisher hadn’t offered him a chair or asked why he was there. Hell he’d been in the office at least five minutes. (At least it seemed that long). The radical turned radical publisher wondered what to say to the stranger who had just arrived, and why this man was staring at him for so long. Hell he’d been in his office five minutes. (At least it seemed that long). He hadn’t said a word. The stranger got impatient and looked at his watch.
Figuring on only being in the office for ten minutes he decided to speak. Hell this standoff could last all day. The last thing he wanted to do was waste time in this dump of an office. Waiting here could cut into his radio listening time. And it was Friday. Open Line Friday on the Rush Limbaugh Talk Show. The only day when callers could pick the subjects to talk about. If he got lucky, he might get to talk to Rush. If he got luckier, Rush might allow him to talk past the commercial/station identification break and into the next segment of the show. The stranger cleared his throat and decided to speak and get this messy business over with. He smiled at the receptionist and nodded in her direction and spoke in a honey covered southern accent.
“Thank yew, m’am,” he said with a little bow.
He turned to face the radical turned radical publisher.
“Mr. Tell,” he said “I have sum verra im-porttaint information to tell yew. I ah wand if I might speak with yew in private for-a moment? I think yew will fin’ what I have to say to be inter-resting. I guarantee I slant take up much of your time today.”
“Whatever,” sighed Will, “I’m not that busy.”
He nodded his head down a skinny, darkly lit corridor with moss green wall paper.
“My office is down there. Care to join me?”
“That would be quite nice.”
Will turned and walked down the hall. The stranger followed behind a good five or so paces, as if fearing either an ambush in the hallway, or the intrusion of another stranger that would somehow mistake his walking next to the radical turned radical publisher as a sign that the two strangers were friends, or at least on speaking terms. Will came to the large oak door with the translucent window of textured glass and turned the large ornate brass door knob. The door opened with a creak like a high c on a coronet. Will walked to his desk waving his left arm at nothing in particular while saying “Take a seat”. The stranger sat in a large leather chair that a poet had found by a fraternity dumpster and given to Will. This was a form of repayment to Will for the money loaned her to get her truck out of the impound lot when they towed it away for being parked in a bus stop.
The stranger sat upright in the chair his body almost in the middle of the cushion. Both arms on the scrolled armrests. His elbows pressed tight against the back of the chair. He rested his head on the head rest between two smooth wood trimmed scrolled leather sidepieces. He cleared his throat.
“Mr. Tell, may I quote one of your fav-orate documents. That ah statement of that group ah Refuse anda Resist. ‘Let us not mince words’ I do believe that’s the one I want to quote. Yes it is. But ah am digressing from my point. Look, both of us know we wouldn’t give the time of day in a Swiss clock factory at high noon to each other lessin we had tew. So I’ma going to make it short and sweet. I have some information that if leaked tew the press could be the end of your career. For example, how do yew think the voting publish would feel about a man who printed lit-rature for the Black Panther Party and sold those little red books of Mayoh on the streets of Baltimore.”
“You’ll have to come up with something better than that friend. Everything you’ve mentioned is in my autobiography Rebel Without A Pause. Yes it is. Everything but the title is in my very own words. Oh and it’s in its’ third printing. Got anything better?”
“Does the voting public know you had an 18 year-old homosexual lover? Do they know you kicked him out of your house when you found out he was part of a Trotskyist group. I think it was the Sparticist League? How old were you when this happened? 22? Sounds interesting Mr. Tell?”
Will sat up in his chair and looked at the stranger.
“Hold it buddy, your accent is slipping. I’m not as dumb as I look. All that information is in my book. That is with the exception of a made-up gay lover. If you are talking about Fred Thompkins, an ex-roommate of mine, re-read chapter twelve. You might find the part about him leaving on his own quite interesting. Oh, and by the way, in chapter thirteen he quits the Sparticist League.”
The stranger slumped in his chair. He reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a pack of Chesterfield cigarettes. From his vest pocket, he found a Zippo lighter. He lit the cigarette with one hand and began talking in bored tones.
“Well you’re smarter than I thought” He inhaled deeply.
“Yes, indeed, you get an A for effort. I thought a southern accent might make you think I was Klan, or something like that. I hadn’t thought I’d be in here too long. So I’ll come to the point. It doesn’t say anywhere in any page of that lame excuse of a book of yours about you abandoning your ex-roommate because he has AIDS! It doesn’t say that because you don’t know about it! Yeah Fred, or Freda, or whatever its name is, is spending his last days at the abortuary over on Charles Street. You know that hospital that performs abortions–The Greater Baltimore Medical Center. Also, no one comes to see him, but his parents. Not even his old Berkeley roommate! They’re all avoiding him. Why, because they all feel guilty for having ruined his life. All his old radical friends have turned yuppie. They could care less about him. They don’t want to talk to him. They are all afraid of what they’ll find. See, they see their hedonism in him. They don’t want to face the facts that this could be them too! So they stay away. Now it would be a pity if a Rush Limbaugh or Les Kingsolving got hold of this information. Who are Rush Limbaugh and Les Kingsolving? They are both conservative talk show hosts. Both are on W.C.B.M.. It’s a Baltimore A.M. station. Les is local. Rush is nationwide. His show originates out of New York City. Eleven maybe twelve million people listen to him. It would be a shame if this news were to get out.”
The stranger leaned toward the right side of the chair. He took one final puff on his cigarette and leaned over and crushed it in the round flat glass ash tray.
“Don’t believe your old roomie Fred Thompkins is at G.B.M.C. See him on visiting nights. See him next Wednesday before your Towson Democratic Club meeting. You can wave hello to me. I’ll be out there protesting the fact abortions are performed there. Your little buddies from Refuse and Resist! will be there too. They really are foolish if they think they can stop us. Pitiful creatures. Look, go see for yourself. I’ll talk to you next week. Don’t get up, I’ll see myself out. We’ll be talking again real soon. Now ah mus be putting on mah best fake Southern Axcent. Wouldn’t want the receptionist lady ta getany ideas. By now, an have a nice day”
The stranger got up and opened the door, much to the surprise of Will’s receptionist. She stepped to the side as the stranger walked out of the room. It was as if he didn’t know she was there. She squeezed up by the door frame as the strangers body filled up the space that one was a door.
“Excuse me, m’am, I’ll see my way out.”
“Pardon me Will.”
“Your lunch is here.”
In the vestibule, the stranger hurried by the purple haired delivery boy, smiling and pointing his thumb back to Will’s office.
“He’s back there young man,” said the stranger to no-one in particular as he stepped into the hallway.
Once outside, the stranger walked quickly to his car. He drove once around the block. Then he drove toward his apartment on Hollins Street in down town Baltimore. He took only two detours. One to the Giant Supermarket to buy some Jack and Jill Three Flavors In One Ice Cream. The other time he went to a liquor store was to buy a fifth of Jack Daniels and a carton of Chesterfields. He went straight home and straight to his kitchen. He put the ice cream (bag and all) into the freezer. Turning around, and leaving the freezer door open, he went to the cupboard and got a glass. He turned to the still opened freezer took out two cubes of ice and put them in the slender green Plexiglas glass. Glass in hand, he walked into his bedroom. He threw his coat over a nearby chair. His jacket, vest and tie followed. He turned and looked into the mirror. He pointed to his reflection and smiled.
“Vincent . . .” he said to his reflection. “Vincent Seita, I believe you really put a scare into William Tell’s heart.”
He pointed to himself and smiled. Once again he spoke to his reflection.
“Vincent, you got him where you want him. Time is on your side.”
He raised his glass in a toast to his reflection in the mirror.
The written word and political activism are intertwined in the mind of Alan Barysh. For as long as he has been an activist, he has been a poet. Barysh got involved in politics in the Sixties. His poetry and fiction have been included in numerous collections, including Gimme Shelter: An Anthology of Creations.