One day last month, I turned up a minute or two before my booking, caught a glance at what was on the screen, and was puzzled by the title of the site. After he was gone, I looked at the site, and found it to be a profoundly repulsive white supremacist conspiracy site with a particular anti-Semitic slant. It's one thing to look at that in terms of research, or in terms of stumbling across it. It's another if it becomes repetitive.
He's turning up now quite regularly at the same computer, before my booking, when I'm there. I've taken to calling him Der Fuhrer. I've arrived a few days after that first occasion to see a prominent Nazi swastika on the computer screen; upon his departure shortly thereafter, he had a happy expression that was the face of a true believer. Any other time since then that I've arrived early, sure enough, there's something on that screen that looks decidedly white supremacist in nature. This is the sort of person who takes racial hatred to heart. A strange thing, knowing something like that about someone and not knowing their name. Personally, I find racism repulsive and abhorrent. I have mentioned my idiot ex-brother-in-law before; one of the many, many reasons I disliked him was his rampant bigotry and racist views. I feel the same revolted response to this guy.
I wrote a passage in Heaven & Hell that I'm adding in here. It's a passage that was very difficult for me to write, for the simple fact that I was getting into the head of a white supremacist. That's not the kind of mind I want to spend any time in, yet I felt the need to flesh out their backgrounds. These two unnamed characters, both true believers, are very unpleasant people, far more than the terrorists I write as antagonists. The passage doesn't really tie to the key events in the novel, but those events form part of the backdrop of this sequence. I have thought of using white supremacists in some future book, but the prospect of getting into their minds again for anything more than a brief sequence is a deeply unpleasant one. And so without ado, here it is. Let me know what you think.
|New York City|
They had come into the city hours earlier, from their homes upstate. It was a trip they didn’t particularly like making- this city was one filled with those they considered the enemy- but it was a necessary one. Some of those enemies were of different races or faiths, the sort they would consider sub-human. Others were people who merely had different political thoughts. Most of them would never share their leanings. All of these reasons made them enemies. And all of them were freely considered to be targets in a war that had to be won.
They had come down through the towns and villages along the Hudson River, pulled into the orbit of the sprawling city as they got closer. New York was home to a melting pot of culture, a swirl of people of various races and creeds, few of whom would agree with the way the two men thought, the loyalties they held. It was home to banks, to financial institutions, to the cultural elite and intellectuals they and their friends railed against. In short, it was a place that disgusted them both.
The older of the two men was in his fifties, a farmer in northern Vermont, and a cell leader for their group. He looked undistinguished, had the sort of face that could be easily forgotten. He had inherited his loathing for anyone who wasn’t white from family. His father and grandfathers had been in the Klan; he knew they had committed their share of lynchings in their time. His mother and grandmothers had been fierce white supremacists. He himself would have ended up in the Klan, but that organization, finally broken, was a mere shadow of what it had once been decades ago. He had found like- minded people in the survivalist groups, the rabidly anti-government far right extremists. There he had people he understood, and who understood him in return. Gradually over time, he had worked his way up the ladder. The group he belonged to wasn’t as well known as some of the others, but there were advantages to that. There was less of a likelihood of infiltration by the hated federal agents who would seek to break them.
The younger man had been in the group for five years now. He was in his late twenties, firmly committed to the cause. A good soldier, the leader thought. He might have never come to the cause had circumstances been different. He had ended up in a factory, mindless assembly line work, frustrated by watching others get ahead, and had found an outlet for his frustration. Immigrants and people of other races had gotten the promotions that should have been his. His frustrations had continued to fester, to build inside him. Finally his wife had left him, had walked away from their marriage. It had been yet another reason to be angry, to spend his nights drinking, listening to the hard right talk radio shows and the apocalyptic talk about how they were responsible for what was wrong in his life. They might be liberal thinkers, the government, ethnic groups... but the talk he heard built up in his mind, and gave direction to his anger.
And then she had come along. She had been a member of the group, devoted to white supremacy, to the cause. She had listened to him, had given him a friendly ear so that he could vent. And she had given him much more, taking him to her bed. It hadn’t taken long before he had become fully devoted to the cause, willing to give his life in the war that was soon to come, the final war against the New World Order their allies on the radio and in the far-right anti-government groups insisted was coming. Both men had already shed blood, had killed enemies, and had successfully gotten away with those crimes. The younger man had learned well, knew how to cover his tracks, to conceal evidence. Yes, he’s a very good soldier, the older man thought as they made their way to their next target of the evening. They had already made one such stop.
They had been at their homes, watching the news- FOX was their preferred choice, since one of their heroes occupied prime time space on that network. The explosion and subsequent violence in the Middle East dominated it all. Given their low opinion of people on all sides in that region, both men would have gladly preferred that nuclear weapons be dropped along a line all the way from Morocco to Pakistan, wiping the whole region and its peoples out of existence. Watching the locals rise up and be at each other’s throats instead would have to be enough.
The older man had received a call at his home, instructions from the group leader in Idaho. The timing seemed right to take advantage of the turmoil unfolding half a world away. From there it was a simple choice of who to take along. The two men had made the trip to both of their targets on previous occasions, a rehearsal of sorts for this day. They had driven down with sufficient explosives, well hidden out of sight. In the past, they had driven right into the city with explosives and back out again. Once again, they had succeeded, bringing their customized bombs into the city.
The first target had been a mosque, with minimal security and easily infiltrated. They had worked in the darkness, assisted by compact night vision goggles, a gift from members of the group who also served in the Army Reserves. The explosives had been placed, both men well acquainted with them and with the blueprints to know where the most damage could be done. The explosives had been wired for remote detonation, and the men had left as quietly as they had come.
Now they moved through the shadows to the side door of a synagogue a few blocks away. Like the mosque, it had minimal security arrangements, had never been the target of any threat. The younger man quickly defeated the lock, and the two men donned their night vision goggles, and went inside, toting kit bags. Both men worked in silence, placing and wiring explosives at key places throughout the building, particularly in the sanctuary. The older man made a point of placing a set close to the Torah ark cabinet on the east wall, and the bimah, the reading platform at the heart of the hall.
It didn’t take long, and they were finished. They verified that the explosives were active, both men examining the work of the other, and withdrew from the building, taking their empty kit bags with them, removing their night vision goggles. They walked away, down the street, to a side street, where their car was parked. No one was about at this time of night, even in the city that never slept.
The older man removed the detonator from a pocket, knowing that the distance to both sites were in range. It was a custom made device, much like the explosives they had placed. All it required was the press of a button, and he did so. The explosion rocked the neighbourhood, a loud roar that set off the car alarms close by. Another explosion was heard, somewhat more distant. They could see a glow down the street, beyond the corner from where they had come. The two men got into the car, and the younger man started it up. They pulled away, down the street. The older man saw smoke out of the corner of his eye as they went through the intersection. He smiled to himself, congratulating himself on a good night’s work.