"My name?" Jake said. "Michael McFaul. I work for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. My number in Washington is 202-932-2322..."
For some reason, either McFaul's name or his employer did not sound plausible to Linda, and finally she revealed a glimpse of the eXile-created tension in the CimiCorp offices:
"Oh, I know what this is aw-ll about!" she shouted angrily, and hung up the phone.
Seizing upon the fact that Cimicorp was now likely to hang up on any caller with an unusual story, I immediately dialed the Voorhees police department:
VP: Voorhees township police department.
eXile: Um, yes. I'd like to report a domestic dispute, involving my neighbors.
VP: Where are you located, sir?
eXile: On Andover Court. My name is Ed Mathany.
VP: Where's that, Ed, Andover Court?
eXile: [quickly, having studied map] It's off Forest Hills Drive.
VP: Oh, okay. I see it. What makes you think there's a domestic dispute?
eXile: Well, there was a lot of shouting, and I heard the sound of breaking glass... and, frankly, this isn't the first time. It's a couple, they work together, they have a lot of problems...
VP: What's the address where you think there might be a dispute?
eXile: 6 Andover Court.
VP: And are you hearing that shouting now?
eXile: No, it was about twenty minutes ago.
VP: (sighing) Okay, well, we'll send someone over when we get a chance.
Impulsively I then called Michael McFaul and left a message on his voice mail: "Mr. McFaul, my name is Thomas Nolle. I'm an internet consultant in New Jersey. I need to speak with you immediately on a matter involving a newspaper called the eXile. My number in Camden county is (856) 753-0004..."
With any luck, Linda would then have one more person to hang up on...
While all this was going on, investigations were continuing in another direction. I can't reveal how, but we got hold of Nolle's social security number. As soon as it turned up, I sent Nolle a note:
202-32-8896? You've gotta be kidding me! My Social Security number is only nine numbers different than that!
As I was writing that, Heisel was using this and other information we had gathered to order a MaasterCard in Nolle's name... Not that we'd ever use it, mind you, but it would be a nice thing to have. We're told it will arrive in Moscow within two weeks.
Ten years ago this month -- at last we get to the retrospective -- I was watching the August putsch on television from a friend's house in the hippie capital of the world, Woodstock, New York. It was a critical moment in my life; I'd just made a discovery that had changed my world view forever. The discovery came during a year-long period during which I had been regularly treated by psychiatrists for extreme hypochondria. I'd passed a whole winter unable to sleep, focus, socialize, even so much as read a page of a magazine, so convinced was I that I was dying of some dread and mysterous brain disease. Psychiatrists who treated me tried to help me out of it by discussing my relationships with my parents, but I wasn't cured until I had completed a battery of expensive physiological exams, including MRIs and countless X-rays and blood tests. What I found out during that period was that modern science, and modern doctors, knew almost nothing. If I was dying of some mysterious brain disease, they would never be able to tell me for sure. They openly admitted to me that their jobs, ultimately, came down to guesswork. By August I was coming to terms with the reality of being alone in nature, essentially left to fend for myself against the horrible things in life. A year later, believing that no life strategy was inherently safer than any other, I'd moved to Russia and then Uzbekistan, where I drank water out of the tap and quickly learned to thrive in the philosophy of Being Fucked.
People like Thomas Nolle -- who fight all their lives to support the super-rich regulators and profit-mad corporations that have no use for them -- generally never learn to comprehend what Being Fucked is all about. They live to advanced ages (Nolle is 59) continually believing that someone up there will always be ready and willing to help decent citizens like themselves, so long as they do their part in the form of constant public tribute to their masters.