alternate views
of the Konnectikron's










Dad loved polymers

The Konnectikron was overtly built of card file drawers from bankrupt libraries, file cards handwritten, typed, pasted with clippings, holes and notches punched in patterns along the top, and JC Penney’s curtain rods, the thin ones.  But Jimmy sensed motion within, the smell and hue of an odorless, colorless void. “It embodies a contradiction between theory and practice,” Cosmo explained. “It won’t connect the cards that have connections. It disconnects the cards that have connections and drops them on the floor. The cards that aren’t connected stay in the drawer. The cards that fall on the floor create their own order according to how I pick them up which introduces new information.”

He sat on a rotating bar stool in the center of the living room, holding two curtain rods.

“You said you found out how they jammed you up around my bail. What did you find?”

“It’s sort of embarrassing.”

“Coz, I went to jail over it.”

“I mortgaged the house through an account in a bank the CIA runs to hide their funding for covert ops in the Caribbean.”

“That has flair.”

“I was misled by my advisors. So what can I give you? Anything you wanta know.”

What Jimmy wanted to know crawled to mind. He hadn’t known he wanted to know it, in fact he didn’t want to know it, he wanted not to know it, which implied that what he wanted not to know was true. We always suspect that Truth = Bad News.

Jimmy knew his father was an intelligence officer in the Pacific during World War II. He knew Walter risked his life in aerial reconnaissance over Japanese military installations, directing the 380th Bomb Group, Fifth Air Force, the ‘Flying Circus,’ as it churned the earth of islands and their inhabitants from the Arafura Sea to Okinawa. He was proud of his father, he loved and admired his father. And yet.

Walter liased with the OSS in China. After the war the OSS was converted to the CIA while Walter converted to peacefulness, a kind, curious man who loved technical innovation, took nude photos of his wife (which Jimmy discovered catastrophically when he was twelve), covered news stories, knew people who. Knew who? Knew what?

“My dad,” said Jimmy. “And the CIA.”

This required Cosmo to perform a sort of Fire Dance for Curtain Rods on opposite ends of the Konnectikron Room. Rods in place, he slid the bottoms of the drawers out, dropping a salad of 3 x 5 tea leaves on the floor.

“Forget it,” said Jimmy as Cosmo scooped them up, but too late, the cards were dealt. Cosmo proffered them. “No, you read,” Jimmy said. Then he could claim he never read them, never knew.

Cosmo shuffled them.

“So?” said Jimmy.

Cosmo shuffled them again. Pulled one out, riffled, put it back somewhere else.

“Stop it,” said Jimmy, “Konnect me already.”

“There’s duplicates and contradictories.”

“Is this research or Tarot?”

“Gimme a sec.”

Secs went wherever secs go.

“You’re sure about this?” asked Cosmo.

“Are you sure?” said Jimmy. “It’s your magic trick.”

“Your dad liasoned with OSS in China.”

“That I know.”

“His liason was a guy named Howart Bruer.”

“I knew him,” said Jimmy. “All too well.”

“Two cards on Bruer. OSS in Italy under James Jesus Angleton. OSS in China under Paul Helliwell. Helliwell later paymaster for the Bay of Pigs.”


“Your dad took part in a medical experiment in Cincinnati involving a drug that simulates schizophrenia.”

“He told me, some sort of experimental therapy.”

“Indeed. Lysergic acid.”

“No shit.”

“Run by the CIA and Army Intelligence.”

“Is there a chase we can cut to?”

“The chase is Helliwell. He runs the CIA bank I financed your bail from, Castle Bank & Trust.”

“Castle Bank & Trust?”

“Castle Bank & Trust.”

“Where the money in my wallet comes from.”

“Say what?”

“We get checks through Walter from the Castle Bank & Trust in the Bahamas. He's a bag man.”

The sun dropped off the edge of the planet. They moved outside, sat by a salmon-sprouting oleander. “Oleander,” said Cosmo, “every part — leaf, bark, root, flower — deadly poison.” It practically gurgled death. “Konnectikron makes no judgement about your father, only that he’s on an information path.”

“Yeah, but what does that mean?”

“Information means what we mean it to.”

“And this information comes from where into all those holes and cards?”

“I had the exclusive franchise on ergotamine tartrate. People will give anything for that, even information. Why do you think they call the drug trade the Connection? Take smack.” He started to chant, hopping as he did, like a squat bushy basketball player teetering for the tipoff.

“Bought from the Mob

which buys it from grunts

who pull it from bodybags

stashed there by traffickers

who got it for guns

they traded for opium

pure from poppies grown in the mountains

of Laos Thailand Burma and flown into Nam

on planes Air America (used to be Sea Supply)

pilots were Nazis recruited postwar

by special intelligence OSS China chief —“

“Named Helliwell,” said Jimmy, “who sends me the checks.”

“And that was the house that smack built.”

“Which puts my dad on a map of criminality.”

“It’s only the trail they leave,” said Cosmo. “Think of him as standing beside the path.”

Instead of cooking oleander porridge, Jimmy searched the refrigerator, came up with hot dogs, scorched them in a pan.

“The acid they served him,” said Cosmo, “doesn’t make him CIA. They tell him it’s odorless, colorless, harmless. It mimics schizophrenia without making you crazy. He’s lucky they didn’t slip it in his punch or drill holes in his skull, inject it in his forebrain. Did he have a bum trip, get flashbacks?”

“He never talked about it.”

But it made sense: Walter ingesting advanced technology for the brain. First on the block to buy an electric dishwasher! And look at this, son, it’s called Formica, like magic! stains don’t stick! Polymers. Dad loved polymers.

“I’m going to bed,” said Cosmo. “Please don’t kill me in my sleep.” They made a bed of pillows for Jimmy next to a calavera lamp. Silk and cheesecloth formed a billowing sky. Cosmo tossed him a comic book. “Someone needed ergotamine tartrate so bad he traded me this. How rarer can something be than