I heard about the cabin from Allen Ginsberg, who knew about it from Gary Snyder, who knew about it from Gregory Corso, who was told of it by Kerouac before he skipped down to Mexico again. Around 240 miles north of San Francisco on an isolated stretch of the Klamath River, it was built some time ago by a hermit fisherman who lost his foot falling between slippery rocks and willed it to the public before drinking himself to death.
The perfect spot for me to hide from the world.
Not that I shouldn’t have been out searching for Liz—maybe with her rockabilly brother—but where would I even start? Seemed to me the best way to find her was beat the location out of the Peanut Killer himself. This might not have been that hard, because wherever I went, the Peanut Killer had a knack for finding me.
So armed with Triples Trevor and an old fish-gutting knife I found in the cabin, I waited for him. Nestled in beside the gurgling river and grilled some hot dogs on a big enough campfire to attract a band of Wappo indians. I was never much of a fisherman, but maybe by tomorrow I’d catch myself a fat steelhead salmon.
It was invigorating to be out in the wild, especially under guardian redwoods. Gazing up at the planetarium-like sky was enough to make me feel humble, and the giant, swaying and creaking trees only added to it. It was rough not having a radio for music or ball scores, but that’s what being a hermit’s all about. I spent most of the time just listening to nature, and after shutting myself in the cabin for the night and flopping on the damp bare mattress, listening for the unnatural. The river ran directly behind the cabin, though, so it wasn’t long before its comforting ripples blended with the cheap Cabernet I drank to put me out.
Until that damn cracking twig. Not sure what time it was, but it didn’t matter. It was pitch black out. I grabbed Triples Trevor by the handle, crawled off the mattress to the window. Was hoping to see a deer, or even a salmon-hungry bear poking around, but saw nothing. I retreated to the mattress, made an attempt to fall back asleep.
This time heard someone whispering. And from a different direction than the snapping twig. I dropped the bat, grabbed the knife. Inched my way to the cabin door and slowly opened it.
Nothing out there but a dead campfire and moonlight on the river. I took a step into the damp air and an army of flashlight beams hit me in the face.
“Scare the tar out of me, why don’t ya?”
“Are you Milton Drake?”
I squinted at the voice, then at his colleagues. The flashlights lowered slightly. The men were all dressed in official dark suits, white shirts and ties. Cops again.
“Maybe. What’s this about?”
“It’s about you going with us back to San Francisco.”
“I can’t believe it…One snot-nosed reporter presses charges and you track me down all the way up here? How the hell did you—”
“You stopped for gas, sir. The attendant remembered the make of your car, and the plates.”
“Nice work. What’s the matter, Malarkey had the night off?”
The guy doing the talking stepped forward. I could make out very short hair, a tight mouth and dead fish eyes chiseled into a big face. And when he flipped open his wallet, a monstrous badge.
“Special Agent Griffin Brewster, Federal Bureau of investigation. Lt. Malarkey is officially off this case.”
“You’re kidding. The FBI? Since when did you get involved?”
“Since four hours ago. After the Giants game at Forbes Field tonight.”
“Forbes Field?…in Pittsburgh.”
“Afraid so, sir. A dead steel worker was found in the right field grandstand with Salty Dog peanut shells in his pockets and a sign taped to his back: SNAPPY WAS HERE.”
Either the river or my blood was suddenly bubbling in my ears.
“Well, that wasn’t me! Right? Because I’ve been out here—”
“We know it wasn’t, sir. So does Mr. Stoneham, who now is prepared to meet with you and us.”
“Get off your circus train…The guy just fired me! To meet about what??”
The guy didn’t crack one drop of a smile.
“To discuss Operation Testa.”
(courtesy of Agent Brewster’s contacts with national wire services)
S.F. 011 030 020 – 7 12 1
PIT 400 100 000 – 5 11 0
W-Miller L-Kline HRS: Mays, Virdon, GWRBI-Thomas
Nothing but cold beans in the ‘Burgh tonight. Not only is some poor Pirates fan offed in the grandstand, but his team loses too. Giants spot Pittsburgh four runs in the 1st, only to roar back against Kline with a 3-run Mays shot and three singles and a double in the 8th.
L.A. 000 000 100 – 1 6 0
PHI 002 100 23x – 8 16 1
I don’t know what’s gotten into Don Cardwell, but every pitcher in the league wants what he’s having. Dandy Don is now 6-2 with a 2.21 ERA and 0.95 WHIP. Meanwhile the Phabulous Phils rack up five doubles, three by Bob Bowman, and are just a game out of first again.
STL 002 050 000 – 7 11 1
CIN 100 000 002 – 3 6 0
W-Brosnan L-Nuxhall HR: Freese GWRBI-Flood
Yes Virginia, St. Louis is a whopping three games over .500. Nuxhall has nothing, and best player on the Cards Joe Cunningham gets on base his usual four out of five times in the leadoff spot.
CHI 000 000 000 0 – 0 7 1
MIL 000 000 000 1 – 1 10 0
W-Rush L-Elston HR: Mathews GWRBI-Mathews
See? Archie Stripes writes a column on the disappointing Braves and they respond with their biggest win of the year, a 10-inning shutout by Bob Rush against the first-place Cubs. After his team comes up empty on seven great scoring chances, Eddie Mathews finally parks one off Don Elston.
NYY 000 001 000 – 1 7 1
CLE 000 320 01x – 6 6 0
W-McLish L-Ford HRS: Brown, Power GWRBI-Brown
Whitey Ford turns into an Edsel for the night as new Indian Vic Power bashes a homer one inning after Dick Brown does the same. Ships in the night: Minoso gets hurt for three games, while Yogi Berra is back tomorrow.
BOS 000 100 401 – 6 13 0
CHI 000 000 000 – 0 4 1
W-Bowsfield L-Wynn HRS: Jensen, Gernert GWRBI-Gernert
You know the Red Sxo are scorching hot when their worst starter throws a 4-hit shutout and retires the last 14 in a row. And offense? Right now three runs cross the plate every time they fart. A three-team race it is!
WAS 000 000 011 – 2 3 0
DET 100 100 20x – 4 8 0
W-Moford L-Romonosky SV-Wehmeier HRS: Yost, Wilson GWRBI-Wilson
Red Wilson with a homer, double and single as the Tigers make another push for .500.
BAL 100 000 000 – 1 9 0
K.C. 000 100 30x – 4 7 0
W-Urban L-Harshman SV-Gorman HRS: Cerv, Carrasquel GWRBI-Carrasquel
In his first game since coming over from Cleveland, Chico Carrasquel bats leadoff and puts a Harshman curve over the wall with two aboard for a 7th inning game winner.
National League through Tuesday, June 17
American League through Tuesday, June 17