Friday, January 27, 2006
19a---Journal entry for August 21, 2002
She woke up once again to the sound of tapes being played by him. She made a call to her trusty sidekick. She needed to hear herself think. She needed to understand.
She talked for hours for the purpose of finding out what their true motives were.
She knew he had been offered a years free rent. The money motive was clearly there. In Millbourne all of her neighbors had new cars all of a sudden, even S.
The game motive was to pull in the people who figure anything that is done with a sense of humour is alright. But that was calculated to divert attention from the obvious fact that he was minding her business.
So the game motive was to make it all appear to be some harmless teasing. But it also was used to convey information. See, if you say "Tinsel is a lesbian", you are telling people a few things.
#1. Your letting people know she's gay without admitting you're anti-gay and
#2. You have a way to test people for prejudice. Do you think it's alright to be gay? Are you anti-gay? Do you openly hate homosexuals or do you stand up for gays?
Tinsel stopped typing---she felt like she was typing in circles. Focus, damn it!
1. Primary One---Money
This wasn't working -- she had to stay with the actual event and forget the abstract principals for now until they came forward within the story.
Back to the story.
She talked on the phone for hours -- she doesn't expect this to be alright or to be saved -- she only wants to get the story out while letting people know the many ways it will affect them.
She listens to the radio and people are talking about peace, love, etc. so she knows she's not the only one who thinks this way.
Yes, she has to write this stupid story and figure out how to keep the main focus, which is how much this is destroying her life and hurting others through her.
She had to break past this blank page. How would Vachss write it?
Well it would never happen to Vachss because he'd never be in a neighborhood where he could be ganged up on to begin with. He's got a place where he's well-insulated from that kind of thing.
Well, it would never happen to Burke anyway. But it would happen to some woman he met along the way.
Burke receives a letter from a lesbian who's being run out of her home, etc. He tries to console her and gives her some advice. That's all he can do legally.
No, Vachss receives the letter and returns a letter in reply. He tells his friend about it -- his friend is the same underground man of action he modeled his Burke character after.
So Burke tells him he knows there's more to this thing and he's going to investigate.
From now on we'll call him X.
So X did that. He came back and told Vachss and this is that story. This is what he told him word for word.
"It's all true. They played tapes over and over, almost continuously saying all kinds of things. "Tinsel is a lesbian, really, seriously, she's a shut-in, she never has sex, she doesn't work, she has no friends, her family hates her, she's crazy, etc!! on and on. This tape just repeated this loop of shit and slander over continuously. Their intent -- to drive her insane."
"Didn't other people hear it and report it?"
"He made sure he checked out the neighbors first but since they were the ones who put him up to it he knew they'd go along with it as long as he made it sound harmless."
"Well, they wanted the lesbian out but they didn't want to make physical threats or people would call the police. They made it clear to him that he shouldn't say anything on the tapes which could be true threats but to just say mean stuff. That way, if she taped them it would be like she was the town reject who was complaining because people didn't like her. See, the goal was to run her out and make her appear unstable and insecure."
"Well it was superficially", he shook his head "but if she taped the things being said over and over -- it does become clear that they were harrassing her. See, once or twice it's gossip or opinion, but repeating it over and over is obviously an assault."
"Yes. I'm following you. So did she tape this stuff?"
"Well she didn't in the beginning because she was in shock and didn't realize at first that it was a tape. By the time she realized she'd need to tape it they were already messing with the volumn."
"You say 'by the time she realized she'd have to tape it', when and how did she realize this?"
"Oh you mean like when did she realize she needed 'evidence'?"
"Exactly. I mean did she go to the police and hear that or did she tell her friends and get funny looks or what?"
"Yes, she did both -- went to the police and they believed her but she herself knew it would be important to have other people hear it since she was outnumbered. She talked to a couple of neighbors. The one who could have been her witness had a brand-hew car and thought it was funny to see her upset. The other neighbor was at the other end of the block and heard stuff but couldn't tell who was saying it and so told her she couldn't give info to the police until she knew for sure who it was."
"Too bad. She could have just backed up her story and that could have given the police a bit of ammunition needed to launch some sort of investigation."
"Well, in hindsight, it may seem that way but she didn't feel that neighbor understood it as a threat. She figured it was some gossip, nothing more, and the way to handle it was to ignore it. Only problem is it didn't go away."
"A sad situation I'd say."
"Not really -- it only hurts in the very beginning, now it's just a question of how to get them to make the mistakes that get them caught."
"Which is the same thing they're hoping to do."
"Tell me more."
"Well, she made trips to the police station. They laid low, checked out the windows to make sure the police didn't hear them. They turned the tapes lower and lower gradually over time. This is important because they got a person who never listened to other people used to hearing her name said so much that her ear was now trained to hear things that before she never would have noticed."
"Interesting -- so the creeps had her on edge and anxious now."
"Every waking moment."
"So, they've already succeeded at messing up her rythm and have her feeling unsafe and this is in a neighborhood she's lived in for 7 1/2 years. Great! What happened next?"
"She took the cops advice and filed criminal complaints."
"Did they go through?"
"Nope -- too little interest, no hates crime bill, and one scared artist with no witnesses doesn't mean much to the DA. She was lucky they didn't run her out of there too -- the way she felt."
"Well she felt exactly the way a person under attack feels so they should have seen that much at least. On the other hand, with all the rapes, assaults and murders, not to mention divorces, they are a bit overloaded down at the courthouse."
"Anyhow, she's done fighting at this point. She just wants to get away. She begins to save to move -- Oh did I mention she was barely able to make ends meet. I mean, don't get me wrong the girl owed no one -- she was solvent, which is more than most people can say, but, she was an artist and living for the day. So she had to stop painting , save money and get out."
"So, is she okay now?"
"No, not at all."
"You mean this is still going on?"
"As regular as child abuse."
"The power dynamics are the same too. You have the victim who is at the mercy of her neighbors' good will in the same way that a child is at the mercy of his parents' love."
"Yes, and that's not working for at least a third of the children, at least."
"And she can't get a witness. A child is often not believed and may be betrayed by their closest relatives. But, her one advantage is she is full-grown and has a good head on her shoulders."
"But her advantage has to go up against greed, prejudice and slanderous lies. Not good -- so did she move out or what?"
"Sure, but that wasn't the end of it."
"They still stalking her?"
"Yes, and they've launched another attack on her."
"What is this all about?"
"Well that's what I was wondering. I mean I thought it was a Hate Crime -- a particularly sneaky and hard-to-prove crime, an invasions of privacy mixed up with slander and harrassment and stalking. But, it's way worse that that. I lifted that rock and found the ugliest thing underneath."
"Picture having a nosy neighbor and thinking that they were guilty of disturbing the peace -- someone calls the police, they knock on the door. A man with a beard answers the door.
"Mr. Heidnik right?"