Hello, Hello? Is That You?
Just when my keel was scraping bottom and was about to break, a voice out of the blue telephoned me late 1975.
The voice said that some of the work I had done over the years (*) had ended up in Washing-Dick (a/k/a Washing-(ton) DC) and apparently impressed somebody, and would I like a job in the Arab East?
G’wan! Is this a crank call? Nope. Pick up your prepaid ticket at the aerodrome and come visit us at Mother Oil.
Huh? You talking to me?
(*) SIDEBAR: Americans who may be pissed-off at the Nazi-style government snooping of their daily activities in 2006 are blissfully unaware that public agencies, universities, and other information generators have been on standing orders for 40+ years to quietly submit city plans, economic analyses, road-airport-seaport plans and similar info to specified federal government recipients, a/k/a “them”.
No explanations, but I refer you to Mr Robert Redford in the movie “Three Days of The Condor”, whose job it was to sit with others in a converted brownstone mansion downtown somewhere and daily analyze books, newspapers and other “open sources of intelligence”, then report findings to “them” located somewhere else.
Elegantly simple, eh? No James Bond gymnastics needed.
Life imitates art.
It was good news, but now it was getting edgy. What would spooks in Washing-Dick have to do with Mother Oil?
[Well, think about it. Foreign workers can’t enter Whiz-Bang countries without a visa and you can’t get a visa—and that vital work permit–without evidence of“critical skills” (pilot, doctor, nurse, petroengineer, et al.). The old “I am a journalist” dodge doesn’t make it any more.
Mother Oil, a metonymy, had worldwide locations and cross-ties with other metonymies for “critical skills” people: Britain, Netherlands, USA, Japan, Saudi Arabia, China, Australia and on and on. Huge financial and political clout. Worldwide communications. A 5-acre “antenna farm” in the desert outside Sand City. Wads of faloose (Arabic for $$) for bribes, slush funds, et al. What a cover.
There were probably only a few old rogues inside Mother Oil’s collective management who were operating the pro-American espionage ring, with 99.998% of other employees [especially the locals] probably clueless.
Now, We’re Short One
I didn’t know it at the time, but “they” had experienced some recent serious personnel losses. One guy in Sand City had disappeared and his safe was found wide open.
Disappeared? Yeah. Empty safe. Spooky. I never knew that until much later.
How come “they” never told me about their need for hasty recruiting? Don’t be daft!
Apparently, “they” were going the “contractor” route now, because it was quicker. Get replacements even if you have no time to train them properly. Desperate people like me who would do anything for money and keep their mouths shut about it.
Contractors with absolutely no traceable ties to “them”. No ID cards to flash and no mantras to chant, unlike those waggits at “FBI!…FBI!” and “CIA!…CIA!”.
Patriotic people. Anonymous people. Pilgrims. Fresh meat. Willing machine-gun fodder. Expendable and disingenuous people.
My interview at Mother Oil lasted all of about 12 minutes. I was practically thrown back out the front door. I was stunned. It was almost like “they” didn’t want to be seen with me. [Or, didn’t want anybody to recognize me in Sand City and start asking questions.]
I was hired as a Petroleum Engineer grade IV. I didn’t know shit from crude oil. I would have dropped the Kelly on my foot first time on a drilling rig. They gave me a book about 3 inches thick. Study this. There may be a pop quiz at the top of The Whirling Dervish in [Miami]. And another on the plane to Sand City from the guy sitting next to you. There was.
Then, it was back into a Cowboy Cab Company taxi [we hit 80 along the Loop; the driver was smoking dope, hey] then onto the hotel. At the time, I was really miffed. Later I figured, what the hell—for the money they’re paying, they can throw pigshit at me if they want to.
Wife and Sohn
I will be brief. My high school sweetheart and late wife equated money with love.
So, over the 46 years we were sometimes married [we never divorced] I quitclaimed or relinquished everything we jointly held because she said she wanted it. Money never held the fascination for me that other people suffered.
(Besides, she was the only woman I ever loved. My buddies would laugh at me because I refused to go with them to knock shops and they didn’t believe I couldn’t get sexually aroused unless I loved the woman.)
After some years of on and off separations, my son called me home to do 24/7 nursing duty during the last 3 months of her terminal lung cancer and I was her caregiver round the clock. My son and I sat at her bedside as she died. My reward for a lifetime of loyalty and love was deceit and treachery.
My son was a joy. Never smoked tobacco or pot. Never drank or caused the heartaches some other teenagers brought. Did well in military school. Unfortunately, he chose to leave City University in London for the charms of the young woman who eventually became his first wife. His choice. My loss.
Any rate, my wife and son were on the margins of my activities. She knew some of what I did and hated it, and apparently hated me to the moment she died.
I don’t know how much he knows. I never told him much, even pre-Martha Stewart, which was deliberate, since the FBI raided his house one time in Florida and confiscated stuff I had given to my grandsons. Sometimes I think he thinks I am the reincarnation of Josef Mengele. End of story. End of whining.