From the November-December, 1995 issue (Vol. 3 No. 1) of Probe
The following is the text of a letter from Richard Case Nagell to his friend Arturo Verdestein. (It is one of several that CTKA once offered in its catalog along with other documents from our Richard Case Nagell file.) All elipses below are from the original.
October 8, 1967
I've received both of your letters, dated 9/26 and 10/4, respectively. Still haven't seen hide nor hair of the Equipment Times, though. Does it really advertise the likes of machines that nibble steel at the rate of three feet per minute? Now I know why E. T. wasn't delivered. Should have thought of the reason sooner, last week, when a recent issue of a popular magazine was withdrawn from circulation because it featured a bar-stretching device. Looks like the meticulous inspection-for-microdots-and-sophisticated-cable-arrangement theory will have to be shelved in favor of a more logical premise. Can you imagine the possibilities that E.T.'s next issue might provide to some innate-genius with a penchant for slapping together a facsimile of the Steel Eater, merely by studying the specifications set forth in E.T.? Wow! I can see it now. Built on the Q.T. in the prison library, cranked up and let loose after its christening, like some weird science-fiction monster, easily smashing past 20,000 volumes of Zane Grey, bursting out through the side of the library building, rumbling slowly across the west yard toward the nearest gun tower, bullets bouncing off its impenetrable armor, tear-gas bombs exploding all around it, sirens wailing, bedlam - National Guard called out, still rumbling onward, onward, not to be stopped, finally reaching THE WALL, angry now - completely out of control - spitting gooey blobs of black molten tar at the N.G. Commander running along the top of the wall, now rearing a gigantic head, flashing a single mamouth [sic], keenly-polished incisor, hesitating, momentarily, then suddenly lunging forward, chomping at the wall, bricks and chunks of concrete flying every which way . . . once . . . twice . . and . . through! Daylight on the other side! A gaping hole, 20' x 20', appears out of nowhere . . . . two thousand cons stampeding through, on their way to Sacramento.
After perusing your comments about the First Day's reporting of the Great Bank Robbery - random shots, 27 centavos, gambling activities, etc. - I am more convinced than ever that you should see the transcripts of the first and second trial record. As for myself, I've never read either transcript, though I would bet that I could give a fair account of both without much error. I wrote sis again, this time asking her to send everything.
Here's a more up-to-date lead on Abe Greenbaum: "Informant F-HC reports subject handed suspected courier forty pieces of silver on 10/21/62 at Laredo, Mexico, for delivery to nuclear physicist residing in house on 92nd Street, New York City. S/A B. O. Schernnn, Washington, D.C. Field Office, reports subject seen 11/28/62 walking east on Beacon Street, constantly checking for tail, suddenly dashing into parked limousine sporting U.S.S.R. Embassy license plates, which speeds away, runs red light, terminating surveillance as Agent Schernnn forced to brake bicycle to avoid breaking the law. Informant F-111-B reports subject and suspected courier observed at King's Tavern, Wilmington, Del. on 12/6/62, paying for drinks with strange-looking silver dollars taken from bulging briefcase carried by subject. Subject now suspected of being Mr. Big in Communist plot to disrupt U.S. economy by flooding country with hard cash. /s/ I.M. NEVERWRONG, SAIC, D.C. LAIR."
Or, we could furnish Mr. Xerox an even more up-to-date lead, of somewhat different vintage:
Abe Greenbaum, long suspected leftist is actually confirmed rightist, in deep cover, working plausible denial bit with one of nation's leading and best-financed foreign policy-making firms. He is driving along highway not far from Langley, Va., peering intently out of jagged hole in windshield of his Volkswagen, searching for sign bearing acronym "BPR". Date is November 21, 1963. BPR-Bureau of Public Roads-is innocuous designation used by Abe's firm. "Gee, the Chief must be upset about something," Abe mutters to self, "he used a rock this time instead of the ol' soap-the-windshield trick." Purposefully cruising past BPR sign, Abe makes U-turn in center of highway, barely missed by Fruehauf semi-trailer, then turns right onto road leading to firm's Main Office Building. "Must not be seen making left turn this close to headquarters," Abe mutters. Arriving at destination, Abe circles Main Office Building five times, finally enters parking lot abutting wooded area to right rear of building, drives to extreme right end of lot, parks Volkswagen on right side of firm's undercover utility truck, disguised with Bell Telephone Company markings. Sliding across right-hand seat, he exits from right door of auto, walking long distance to right rear entrance of Main Office Building which is draped with high Quonset-hut type roof. "Hello there," Abe mutters as he slips by uniformed guard he recognizes as Soviet defector, former KGB light colonel. Abe proceeds down mile-long, musty-smelling corridor, pauses under tiny, inconspicuous replica of firm's seal which is painted upside-down on right wall, notices that Bald Eagle's beak on seal is pointing to far left. "Must tell Chief Bald Eagle looking wrong way," mutters Abe. He then takes elevator to fourth floor, goes directly to Chief's office, raps out coded knock on unmarked door, enters. Chief is reclining in swivel-chair with feet on desk, arms folded, sleeping. On desk Abe sees torn-up typewritten letter addressed to CHIEF, DIVISION OF DIRTY TRICKS, signed by B. KNOWNOTHING. Chief is balding, slender man, oft referred to by underlings as "Dirty Dick", albeit behind back. "What's up, Chief?" asks Abe. Chief blinks eyes, opens them, snaps, "I see you got my message!" Chief smiles. "What's with this guy Osborne recruited for Fair Play Caper? XYZ man claims he's being used for wet affair by team we sold out at Cochina Bay." Abe shifts weight to left foot, uncomfortably. "Don't know, Chief," he mutters, "Ozzie seems like good man for penetration of target." Chief stands and yawns, grins slyly. . "Well, just the same you'd better contact Tidbit and have him execute alternate . . . plan." Abe stares at Chief with knowing-look. "Right, Chief, I'll get on it . . . first thing Monday morning." Abe picks up cloak and dagger conveniently lying on desk, turns to leave, stops dead in tracks. "Incidentally, Chief, Bald Eagle on firm's seal is pointing left." Chief grins, sits down in swivel chair, leans back, puts feet on desk, clasps hands behind head, closes eyes. "Really?" He says. Soon Chief is snoring. Abe departs, returns to Volkswagen, worried about jagged hole in windshield. Mutters to self, "Gee, I hope it doesn't rain tomorrow."
|Richard Case Nagell 1930-1995|
Of course, this lead is utter fiction too, a figment of the imagination . . . still, it may make interesting reading for somebody.
Are you aware that a Duesseldorf record company has come out with just the thing for any German who wants to relive the heady days of Nazi victory? It is two long-playing phonograph records called, "From the Fuehrer's Headquarters (Aus dem Fuehrerhauptquartier)." Billed as documentary records, they are comprised of victory announcements and special bulletins from the Nazi high command, military music and soldier's songs, Nazi songs and speeches. A booming voice discloses the Nazis are fighting for the German nation and the security of Europe "against the . . . plot of the Jewish-Anglo Saxon warmongers . . . and against the . . . Jewish rulers of the Bolshevik central in Moscow."
(Now where did he get that? What does all this gobbledygook mean, anyway? Could this be an important lead? . . . I mean there is this thing about doing business with the Military-Industrial Complex, you know.)
Seriously, Arturo, I had better give with a plausible lead on this Abe Greenbaum fella, in spite of this business about plausible denial, or "they" are liable to drop his name from my approved correspondents list. That would be catastrophic, considering that he is the only other person besides sis who is so approved. And the lead had best not sound too cryptic either, or "they" might ship #83286 [Nagell's prisoner number] back to the Funny Farm . . . you know, for more "treatment."
So let's try again:
Young Regent of Yanquis Land is visiting "Little D" to plug for assistant who is fast losing popularity amongst ultra-conservative proletariat of Friendship Province. Date is well-remembered date in fall of '63. Young Regent is hated by proponents of Secret War (and by director of large pharmaceutical combine specializing in manufacture of cyanide capsules) because word is out he intends to decree curtailment of clandestine operations of various Yanquis Land spook outfits, citing as reasons that regime's continued reliance on covert methods of achieving political goals widens faith-in-government gap, is corrosive to principles of democracy, etc., especially when spooks get caught in the act. Young Regent feels one spook outfit in particular is exceeding bounds of propriety, has expanded narrow function delegated it by International Security Act of '47 . . . is becoming TOO POWERFUL . . is unduly influencing both foreign and DOMESTIC policy by its shenanigans . . . thus, must have nefarious activities at home and abroad throttled, or at least have them restricted to endeavors which cannot be accomplished by other, more acceptable means. BANG! BANG! BANG! Young Regent no longer Regent of Yanquis land. Clandestine operations of spook outfits not curtailed. Cyanide capsule market flourishing. Too Powerful One getting MORE POWERFUL . . .
What has all this got to do with Abe Greenbaum? ANSWER: Nothing. Is it a plausible lead? ANSWER: Not very.
Before visit to Little D, Young Regent also thinking of effecting rapprochement with Isle of Cuber, establishing nicer rapport with Isle of Cuber's Big Mother Busher. Strange! . . . Young Regent of Isle of Cuber also thinking of effecting rapprochement with Yanquis Land, establishing nicer rapport with Yanquis Land's Big Doctrine, Monroe.
Feelers put out by both Young Regents through "private" channels in July '63, then quasi-official channels in August '63, through "official" channels in September '63.
Meanwhile, anti-Castor Oilers known as Bravo Club gets wind of feelers . . . doesn't like smell . . . nohow! There is huddle. There is chant: "Remember Cochina Bay! - Remember Cochina Bay! Soon there is talk (louder than '62 talk) of giving Young Regent of Yanquis Land Xmas present . . . yo! . . . gonna brow that out to keep situation status quo (at worst) . . . to change status quo for worse (at best).
Patsy is needed! She is pro-Castor Oiler well-known to Bravo Club. Two Bravo members speak to Patsy, convince her they are boyfriends, buy her Cuber Liber Cocktail (minus rum), get her drunk on glory, tell her they are special emissaries to Yanquis Land personally by Young Regent of Isle of Cuber to give Xmas present to Young Regent of Yanquis Land . . . have "chosen" Patsy to help deliver Xmas present. Will be furnished Safe Conduct Pass to Isle of Cuber by Embassy in Mexico City. Will be given proper treatment on arrival. Oh, joy! Will live happily ever after. Can Patsy join Xmas Present Committee now?
Uh-uh! Not yet. First must prove self deserving of great honor. Must set up Chapter of Foul Ploy for Isle of Cuber, must stand on street corner . . . pass out pro-Castor Oil tracts, must appear on TV . . . root for Castor Oil products, must rumble with anti-Castor Oil salesman. Above all, must not mention Xmas Present Caper to anybody, not even husband, Ivan.
Meanwhile, Single-Man named "Snerd" gets wind of Xmas Present Caper and going-on at Bravo Club. Snerd is Isle of Cuber's Big Mother Busher's illegitimate son. Snerd gets in touch with Double-Man Abe Greenbaum, working in deep cover at BPR, Division of Dirty Tricks, as Rightist. Actually, Abe is Leftist-turned Middlist. Middlist Abe contacts Triple-Man Zero, sitting on ice because has burned butt. Triple-Man Zero instructed to join Delta Club, which is affiliate of Bravo Club, find out if things real. Zero does just that, craftily, in guise of crossbow expert. Discovers Patsy undergoing hypnotherapy by ex-ferry pilot named Hairy De Fairy. Reports to Abe things are for real, yes siree! Abe passes info on to Dirty Dick (and Snerd). Snerd passes info on to Big Mother Busher. Somebody flashes word back for Zero to let go with well-aimed arrow in Patsy's rump . . . leave Yanquis Land, hubba hubba! Zero chickens out day he is to arrow Patsy, six days before Xmas present to be delivered. Pens Abe nasty note. Pens Snerd nastier note. Pens Dirty Dick even nastier note. Also pens note to Boss of Yanquis Land's Main Secret Police Bureau, tattles on Xmas Present Caper, tattles on Patsy, etc. Burns butt again. Searches in vain for cake of ice to sit on. Winds up in Friendship Province Halfway House.
End of lead? Not hardly.
Apparently something amiss. Xmas Present Caper does not come off per schedule. Delta Club disintegrates. Bravo Club Xmas Present Committee disintegrates. Abe drops out of sight. Dirty Dick is mum. Snerd crawls back inside Big Mother Busher's womb, dies. De Fairy puts on falseface, hides at 3330 Clubhouse, gets whipped. Director of large pharmaceutical combine gives order for increased production of cyanide capsules. Boss of Main Secret Police Bureau sits in office, drums fingers on desk, waits. Zero is still in Friendship Province Halfway House, getting older . . . if not wiser.
End of lead? . . . Not hardly.
Day of Infamy arrives! Patsy crouched at open window, armed with second-hand crossbow, quiver filled with curare-tipped arrows slung across shoulder. ZIP! ZIP! ZIP! BANG! ZIP! BANG! ZIP! BANG!
End of lead? . . . Not hardly. (See this sidebar.)
Patsy awakens from hypnotic trance. Says, "What am I doing here?" Wonders what cyanide capsule is doing clenched between teeth? Wonders what cloak and dagger is doing on window sill? Wonders why floor of room is lettered with pro-Castor Oil pamphlets? Wonders how chicken bones got in lunch pail? Memory returns. Patsy flees. Refuses ride by former Bravo boyfriend driving by in utility truck bearing Bell Telephone Company markings. Catches bus instead.
End of lead? . . . Not hardly.
Patsy has gone her way. De Fairy has gone his way. One former Bravo boyfriend now living vicinity M. Cyanide capsule market still flourishing. Dirty Dick promoted within superstructure of BPR . . . is still mum. Snerd reborn as "Terd". Abe Greenbaum has changed name, retired, resides in mansion protected by pack of snarling German Shepherds, disappears for one hour each night in vault to count huge pile of American silver dollars. Boss of Yanquis Land Main Secret Police Bureau has four-year old secret . . . but is relaxed. Zero out of Friendship Province Halfway House . . . is now in Old Triple-Man's Home for Aged. More Powerful One now MOST POWERFUL (evidently). End of lead? . . . Not hardly. End of letter? . . . yes.
Most sincerely yours,
Richard C. Nagell 83286