Whole truth

Of course the teddy bear, why not the teddy bear. The bear had a no-shit, state of the art, government-issue, super-long-running ultra-micro-mini tape recorder in its tummy with an itsy-bitsy tape inside, which, held up to Cathy’s magnifying makeup mirror and read backward, said property sog.

Its dying words — “You did this to me, bitch, cocksucker!” and the whack of Jennifer’s kick of it against the wall which dislodged the miniscule battery — woke Cathy from a dream of fear induced by earlier sounds on the tape, played by a sobbing Jennifer in the next room (there was no teeny-weeny volume control), which documented in lo-fidelity her beating and expulsion from home.

Cathy entered the living room alarmed and dense with sleep; Jennifer had figured out how to rewind the tape with her mascara brush; they sat through the replay smoking Cathy’s Kools. First, a phone conversation in which Jennifer inanely tormented some soldier’s longing for her. Jennifer rolled her eyes: That’s me. That’s the way I am. Then a recital by her father of Jennifer’s betrayals and hopeless fate, and the demand (so calmly!) that she prepare to receive “the little slap,” her pleading, the rustle of fabric, the adjustment of her body, the intimate dead sound of beating, Jennifer’s screams choked off, bereft of the need to cry or plead, denying him the pleasure or resigned to whatever end.

Cathy did not interrogate, made breakfast, during which Jennifer choked, or laughed.

“He watched me pack,” she said. “I forgot the teddy bear. He handed it to me. Here, Princess, you forgot your teddy bear.”

And had her followed. The apartment bugged. MIG photographers outside. Telephone for sure.

She phoned Lynn to come over.

“Oh please,” Jennifer said at Lynn’s name. Cathy said she’d call back.

“Can’t you stay?” said Jennifer.

“For what?”

“Did Shauna mean what she said?”

“She always means what she says.” Two years away from Jimmy was proof enough.

“I’ll testify. Where do I sign? Get me Stew.”

— No, said Cathy’s body as her mind formed the word OK. — No no no no. Jennifer will be in outer space by the time the trial begins, her word as good as lead.

“It’ll take a few days.”

“They’ll kill him, b__ , lady.”

“They haven’t yet.”

“Fuck. He did stuff, he knows stuff, secret ops. What they kill you for. You think you know everything. They don’t just kill people, they evaporate them, like the world was flat and they kick em off the edge.”

“No worse than yesterday.”

“At that War thing, he didn’t want — he waved me off. And when I ran toward him he ran away. What if I do what you want and he won’t see me?” She started to vibrate, buck.

“I’ll do whatever you want. I need him. Please, Cathy.”

and nothing but

A gust of phone calls. Cathy stretched the cord from kitchen to bedroom to the living room sliding doors; on the other side Jennifer smoked a joint, defoliated Daddy-in-her-brain, slid the doors open once to tell Cathy, “I know my rights.”

“No you don’t,” and dialed the 10th, 50th time. What could Bev tell her about Stew’s habeas and bail? Coming along. When could she depose Jennifer? As soon as you get a cameraman to film it. Don’t we have to include the prosecutors? Not if we forget to.

How soon can someone at Newsreel come over with a camera and sound equipment? (No, Jennifer, not TV, one guy, his name is Allen, heavy dude, Newsreel is an underground thing, no one sees this but the court.)

Who can get a message through to Jimmy, in person, with the bare report, don’t promise him anything specific, tell him exactly what I told you, don’t elaborate, send someone to pick up the photos to show him, no, forget it, we need them.

(I won’t tell anyone about the teddy bear, Jennifer) who had yelled through the door: I’m not fucking with you, there are limits, I’ll stab you and burn down this place and split, I’m serious, ok?.

During which a woman named Michelle Freneau called from Boston to tell Jimmy she was leaving for Paris, a revolutionary situation was developing, her cousin had been tortured by the flics, I will stay at my uncle’s, 309 rue de Vaugirard, and would Cathy take down this number where he can reach me.

A law student came to look at the photos. No you can’t meet her. (“I am not on show,” Jennifer said through the door.)

Allen from Newsreel carried his camera, jeans, and ponytail well; Jennifer flirted with him by rote. Thirty minutes later, Bev appeared. “There’s a bald little man in a gray Chevrolet with government plates parked about 20 yards up the street,” she told Cathy at the door.

“Doing what?”

“Reading the Wall Street Journal, what else?”

“Who’s the cunt?” asked Jennifer when they entered the room.

“Your lawyer, honey,” said Bev.

They arranged her on a chair by a blank wall away from any political art, tipped the shade of a floor lamp to light the unbruised side of her face [We can’t confuse the two attacks — cop’s and father’s — Cathy explained.] They had her wear the peasant dress.

Why were you at Stop the Draft Week?

[Emphasize your dislike of the demonstrators. We don’t want anyone to think you’re defending Jimmy because you admire him. (Cathy did not say, We don’t want anyone to think you’re one of Jimmy’s Women)]

Why did you run across the intersection?

[Best not to mention your brother. (“What brother?” asked Allen and was glared to silence.) Say ‘someone you know.’ Leaves us free to call him as a witness or not.]

Did you intend to harm the police or interfere with their duties?

[You hate demonstrators. You like cops.]

[“I hate cops.”]

[Not at that moment. You were running toward a friend. You intended to leave the demonstration.]

How did you feel when the cop grabbed you?

[Not angry. Terrified. You’re a girl.]

What did the policeman look like?

[Here’s his photo. Glasses. Fat.]

What were you afraid of? He was just doing his duty.

[“He was going to hit me and hit me and hit me and hit me and not stop and.” Ok, Jennifer, that’s ok, calm down.]

Did you say or shout anything?

[You might have shouted for help. You may not remember in the excitement. You certainly did scream, it might have been for help.]

Could you have escaped on your own?

[“No, I’m a girl, remember?”]

Then what happened?

[Here are the photos, in order.]

How did you feel about Mr. O’Shea’s actions?”

[Pretend it was Stew who saved you.]

Jennifer delivered a compelling, clear, affecting tale, Boy Saves Girl, a classic known to all, the heart of many movies. And completely true. Every word.