Return Engagements (Book Two) PART 22

(Continued from part twenty one)

Over the next hour or so, Jens showed me how to find food, water and so on. Everything was similar to our Earth supplies, but none of it identical. The ship had, in the cooking station, a refrigerator, a stove and a sink. Again, they were all close enough to use but not the same. He went on to show me how to control the lighting and the window, the bathroom and the shower. I made a few notes just so I didn’t spend too much mental energy on remembering, but they really weren’t necessary.

Jens also explained that this ship had been a mystery to his world for a long time. It had simply showed up in his star system, empty, spawning some variation of the Flying Dutchman mystery. They had reverse-engineered its course fairly well over the subsequent years, but this visit gave Jens a chance to improve their calculations and follow the ship back more precisely. Maybe even to learn what happened to its crew.

This is for fun,” he told me, then paused.

I’m using your terms, now, like ‘just for fun.’ But that’s actually misleading. Fun is a virtue, not a waste. It engages necessary parts of your being and teaches your inner parts to value and express themselves.”

This was a spot where I needed to stop and dig in a bit.

And by ‘inner parts’ you mean something like ‘subconscious’ or ‘psyche’?”

Well, all of your terms for this are partial and sloppy. Soul would be a good catch-all, save for the religious dialogs it spawns. I think ‘inner parts’ has the fewest appendage ideas attached, and so I’m using that one.”

I appreciated his care for us and our language, but I was feeling agitated by it. I knew why… it was something I had thought about many times over the years, and with significant discomfort… though I didn’t want to just blurt it out; that struck me as rude or disrespectful. But I should have know that this man would read me deeply enough to see it. He was kind, but nonetheless hyper-advanced compared to us.

It’s okay,” he said, “this is a good time and place to express what you’re feeling.”

I’m tired of being a damned monkey!” I said it loudly and with a considerable level of passion. “I want to understand these things… I am capable of understanding them… I don’t want to be always the ignorant brute.”

You have to know that we don’t look at you as a brute,” he said.

I know, I know,” I went on, now standing and pacing. “But Jens, I don’t want to be ignorant and undeveloped. I want to understand and to engage in the important things, not to be stuck in a sandbox, playing with baby toys!”

I continued to pace, long enough to notice that he had gone silent. I looked at him and found him crying.

I… uh…”

It’s okay,” he said in a choked-up voice, “I understand… I sympathize.”

I sat next to him and waited. He reached over and held my hand. And I could literally feel some sort of benevolent substance running from him into me.

In your book, Paul, you wrote about being half-way between homo erectus and full growth, did you not?” He was still holding my hand, still emanating the benevolent substance.

I did.”

Then I’d like you to understand that I am less than half-way between where you are and full growth. I haven’t experienced frustration to the extent that you do, but I’ve felt it nonetheless. Please believe me that if I could make it all better for you, I would.”

Then I started crying. “I believe you,” I pushed out.

The two of us sat there for a bit, then began regathering ourselves. Jens found two towels in a drawer, wet them, handed one to me and proceeded to wipe his face with the other. Then he poured two glasses of water and sat back down.

A big part of your problem,” he said, “is that your inner parts are out of sync with your cognition. You were born into that, but it seems to me that you’ve been addressing it fairly directly over the past few years. Is that your impression as well?”

I explained to him that he was correct; that I had several dreams in which it seemed my inner parts, as he calls them, were trying to communicate better with my cognition, and vice versa. First by feel and then with at least some understanding, I had been working on that, though I added that I’m still doing it by image and feel.

At this point that’s probably the only thing you can do,” he said mournfully, “but it will improve.”

I nodded, and smiled as appreciatively as I could. Knowing that I was at least progressing helped.

And that’s part of why I want to get off this ship quickly; to leave you with as much time alone as I can give you.”

Because being alone in this environment will help me sync-up with my inner parts?”

Exactly so,” he said. “Think of this as being deeply alone. Not lonely, as in missing people, though that would happen eventually… but alone, where the outside pressures simply aren’t there.”

Then this will be instructive to me.”

He laughed. “I suspect it will be an especially good kind of instructive… the kind you never saw coming.”

I laughed along with him, and then struggled to find a last question or two to ask him, because he was now standing and scanning the ship to be sure there was nothing else he needed to do before leaving.

We’re glad you’re writing about these adventures,” he said.

Honestly, Jens, aside from my regular subscribers – a tiny fraction of the world – I’m not sure who’ll care about it. Without some fairly serious reading and thinking, they’re not really going to understand.”

You’re right,” he said, “aside from a few, they won’t. But writing endures. It will be waiting for those who are hungry to understand, and for a long time.”

I nodded.

Follow me down to the ship,” he said, smiling. “it will remind you of a Star Trek shuttle.”

All of Book Two on Kindle

Book One on Kindle

Filling Gaps In The Shadow Gate Documentary

The Shadow Gate documentary contains a lot of intriguing information. I can’t verify it, but it is the kind of thing we’ve been seeing for some time. In no way do I mean to degrade the documentary – I am thankful for it – but I’d like to fill some of the gaps in what it reveals:

Shadow Gate on Bitchute (banned by YouTube/Google as “hate speech”)

Dr. Janda discussing Shadowgate

NSA Whistle-blowers Bill Binney & Kirk Wiebe

Julian Assange on Google

Google’s Selfish Ledger

The big picture


Paul Rosenberg

Why Homeschooling Is Easier Than You Think

I homeschooled several children all the way into college, back when people thought you were seriously crazy for doing it. So, I have some background for what I’m writing today. And I want to get this out now, because millions of parents are presently considering options they never expected to face.

Please pass this along to anyone who may need it.

The Problems With Home Schooling

When I say homeschool is easier than you think, I really mean it, but there are complications and caveats involved. So, let’s start with the problems and get them out of the way.

First of all, there will be days that suck. The kids won’t listen, will be difficult, or will just be obtuse. Expect it. Either you’ll come home from work to your spouse telling you to forget the experiment and find some other place to send them… any other place; or perhaps you’ll be that spouse. It happens. No experienced person ever said that raising kids was painless. That said, nearly all such parents get over the day’s mayhem, and decide to continue the experiment.

Secondly, there’s an underlying problem that tends to drive many others, including the one above: You arrange your homeschooling so that other people can’t criticize you. Below I’ll explain why.

After that are the kinds of problems you’ve already considered: Things like two incomes being required in the modern world and figuring out how to reschedule the work lives of two parents. These are significant problems, but they can be worked out if you take the education of your children as an imperative and arrange your other affairs around it. I’m not promising this will be easy, but please believe me that it’s worth it. Educating your child is rewarding and meaningful.

You are likely to remember these years as your hardest but your best. When you’re 90 years old, do you want to remember the giant screen TVs you had in every room, or the fine people that you – with blood, sweat and tears – molded, filled and sent into the world?

The Big Problem

As I noted above, a terribly common and large problem is arranging your efforts to keep people from criticizing you. I’m telling you to forget that. Let them criticize; let them whisper about you and make fun of you. You don’t want such people in your life anyway. What you must do is arrange your efforts around the results you want.

Your goal is well educated children: Children who can think clearly; who can read, write and do arithmetic well; who are blessings upon Earth; who have confidence in their own abilities. And I’m telling you that doing this, with all the caveats noted above, is easier than you probably think. Please consider:

  • You do not need to start at 9:00 AM. Start when all involved are ready to start. The clock is not God, and you’re dealing with complicated little beings. (As well as your very complicated self.)

  • You do not need to spend 5 hours per day. In fact, you may not need to spend even 2 hours per day. One hour of quality learning, every day, is a lot of learning. Government schools – factory-model schools – are hideously inefficient, and children simply cannot maintain unidirectional concentration for hours on end… and more than that, they shouldn’t.

  • Still, routine can be your friend. Will power is required to set up habits, but once set, willpower and cajoling are no longer required. And so you may find doing school between breakfast and lunch to be a great model. Get it set up early and run with it. You can certainly make exceptions, but a routine helps make the journey a lot smoother.

  • Be adaptable. Once the learning habit is established, be open to temporary adaptations. At one point in my homeschooling career, we looked out our window to notice a deep trench being dug through a nearby park… a park I knew to contain debris from the 1871 Chicago Fire. And so we dropped everything and spent three days digging in a trench, uncovering artifacts of the 1860s. This is one of the great advantages of homeschooling: you can follow the surprise opportunities that arise. It’s especially important for the older kids.

  • Adapt your lessons to each child. Like the clock, the curriculum is not God. Each child is different, and each will respond to each subject and lesson differently. That’s okay; more than that, it’s good. You, the homeschooling parent (or grandparent, aunt, uncle, or whatever) are very directly observing this child; so, decide what you think will be best for him or her. Will you be wrong sometimes? Of course you will, but you’ll also be able to adapt instantly. The ability to tailor lessons to each child is a central advantage of homeschooling. Use it.

The Unexpected Benefits

Before I close, I’d like you to know some of the benefits of homeschooling you may not be expecting:

  • You’ll forge closer relationships with your children. Not only will you know each other better, and will have a larger number of personal and intimate conversations, but you’ll have more shared experiences.

  • Your children will learn how to learn. That is, they’ll develop confidence in their ability to read, examine and grasp concepts by themselves. They’ll tend to become self-driven learners.

  • Your children will not see much of an adult-child divide. They’ll consider themselves full beings, jumping into conversations with adults. They’ll tend to be bolder than they would as products of factory-style schooling.

  • Once you see some results, your confidence in your own abilities will grow. Accordingly, the set of options you see in life will expand.

All of That Said…

All of this said, I’m obviously an enthusiastic proponent of homeschooling. But I’m also an experienced advocate, and I told you the bad bits first. 🙂


Paul Rosenberg

Return Engagements (Book Two) PART 21

(Continued from part twenty)

The room – it had no square corners but was still a room – was an odd white, almost metallic and ever so slightly pink. I was laying on a bed-like platform, a little lower than our usual. The mattress was difficult to describe. It felt soft as I first emerged from sleep, but the more I woke up – opening my eyes, looking around, engaging my muscles – the harder it became. On a normal day I’d never pay attention to my mattress while waking up, but feeling it change beneath me got my attention right away.

But I pushed that back out of my mind. I had more important things to observe. I scanned the room carefully and found nothing distinctive. Nothing that located me in any way.

There was a door-like opening from my sleeping room to a much larger room, and that room was built of the same material. I’d call it metallic, except that it had an almost organic appearance.

We’re not in Kansas anymore, was the line that ran through my mind.

I sat up and found a roll of white clothing at the foot of my bed. I unrolled it to find a pair of underwear, a T-shirt and a pair of coveralls, all made of some unfamiliar fabric. The same went for the shoes and socks. Everything was appropriate and functional, but odd.

Come on out when you’re ready, Paul, “ a voice sounded from the main room. “I’m making some coffee… or something that’s very much like coffee.” The voice sounded like Jens, but with the acoustics of the large room, I couldn’t be sure.

I finished putting on my shoes, which involved something like Velcro, but not fuzzy. I stood and stepped into the main room. Off to my left, 25 or 30 feet away, at what seemed to be a cooking station hugging a curved wall, was Jens. He was pouring a brown liquid from a carafe of some type into a couple of mugs.

Sit,” he said, smiling and gesturing to a couple of chairs and a small table. They were also made of the quasi-metal material. I sat and waited.

Here you go,” he went on, handing me a mug and sitting next to me. “Good to see you again.”

And you,” I said, taking a sip from my mug (not quite coffee, but close) and looking around the big room. It was an easy 40 feet across, maybe 18 feet high, round and narrower toward the top, like a transverse section of an huge egg.

Where and when are we?” I asked while noticing that the room was bright without any visible light source.

Jens smiled. “40,000 light years from Earth – the Earth of this galaxy – and 3,500 years before your time.”

Fifteen hundred BC,” I muttered, “that would be entertaining… save for the language problem.”

I have a trick that could fix that for you,” he said with an off-hand sincerity.


You have the ability, kind of buried in you, to understand and even speak languages you didn’t previously know. You’d have to listen rather than speak for some minutes first, but after that you could jump right in, almost effortlessly.”

I’ve heard stories of brain-injured people who woke up speaking new languages, but I always figured they were false.”

Without a doubt you have people who would make up such a story, so perhaps they were false, but a serious brain trauma might cut through the obstacles and allow someone to do that… once in every few hundreds or thousands of such accidents.”

I was half-stunned, but Jens handled the subject like I’d handle a discussion of fruits and vegetables; it was a long-known, almost trivial subject to him. After a moment or two, I decided to put it aside and move on.

And what is this place?” I asked, turning my head and scanning the room as a gesture.

Jens smiled. “Do you feel ready for a pleasant surprise?” he asked.

He was smiling, and I could feel the benevolence coming off him, and so I said, “Yes, I think so.”

Okay,” he said, as he got up, walked over to a large console in the middle of the room and pushed a button.

I stood involuntarily as the far wall slid up, like a thick window shade, leaving as clear a window as I’d ever seen. And behind the window was a galaxy… our galaxy. In a fog of amazement I walked directly to it.

You can lean against it if you’d like,” Jens informed me. “You could run a truck into it and never come close to breaking it.”

I was dumbfounded and overwhelmed.

I’m going to obscure it a bit now, Paul.”

I suppose I had been standing there half a minute or so.

Otherwise it will hold your attention too much. We need to talk.”

I knew he was right, and a second later I could see just a hint of the galaxy through the window, but I still didn’t want to leave. I wanted to feel what was on the other side, even if I couldn’t very well see it.

Still, some few moments later I pulled myself away and made my way back to our little coffee klatch. I turned my back to the window, breathed deep, and refocused my mind on the situation in front of me.

Okay,” I said, “tell me about this.”

Certainly. We are in what you call a space ship, but not much like anything you’ve seen or imagined before, I’m fairly sure. We’re traveling at .65 C, by your measurements.”

I nodded, quickly calculating (too quickly for my usual thinking, perhaps) that we were moving 195,000 kilometers per second. Insanely fast. But I pushed that away and focused on Jens again. He continued.

There are some technical things you can learn here, and I’ll find some schematics for you, but I didn’t ask to bring you here for that… I wanted to return your favor of welcoming me to your world, and give you a first taste of the world that lies ahead of you.”

Favor? I thought. It was an amazing gift to me. But again I let it pass.

This galaxy will last only a few days… two or perhaps three… and so there’s nothing for you to do in it. But I would like you to feel space… to feel what being unobstructed is like.”

Thank you,” I said, then went silent again and waited.

This is not an area where you’d feel a powerful life-force, as you call it, but it is away from the influence of seven billion confused minds. Right now you’re overwhelmed, but once you’re alone and relax a bit, you’ll feel it. And so I’m only staying long enough to orient you. Then I’ll take one of their small ships and do some exploration on my own. Does that make good sense to you?”

I nodded my head, sipped some coffee and decided that I’d trust his judgment on the things I didn’t understand.

Yes,” I said. “In a way I’d prefer you stayed, but I’m sure your plan is better overall.”

I think so,” he said with a grin.

All of Book Two on Kindle

Book One on Kindle

“You Guys Are Gonna Win”

(continued from last time)

I got back from my bathroom-and-bar escape, determined to move the conversation in a less unpleasant direction. And I had noted that Alex wasn’t wearing a mask, even though the bar – at the governor’s demand – had a sign up.

You’re not worried about the virus?”

Listen, I can’t have sex anymore and I have three serious health issues, any one of which could kill me within a few days. I’ll be checking out within a few years. I’m not going to spend my time living in fear. Screw that.”

Sorry,” was all I could find to answer.

It should be good for you, though.” I looked at him in some confusion. “Your enemies are shooting themselves in the foot, don’t you think?”

That cheered me up a bit. “Well, at least in some ways… shutting down the schools interrupted the greatest source of compliance inertia they had.”

He nodded. How many families do you think will start homeschooling now?”

I don’t know, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it ended up in the millions. Very definitely they pushed anyone thinking about it over the edge into action. Lots of previously uninterested people will be pushed into it as well. However much they trash-talked it before, they want their kids to learn. Video teaching won’t work very well, and two-days-on-three-days-off would be a scheduling nightmare… not to mention the prison camp rules the CDC is promulgating.”

Well, that’s how I see it too. One of my old contacts is predicting ten million homeschooled kids within the next two years… along with lots of universities crashing and burning.”

I had to have been smiling, because he noticed and smiled with me.

You guys are gonna win you know.”

Alex and I worked together at a cypherpunk project, so I knew what he meant by “you guys.”

Maybe not you personally – it’ll still take some time – but your stuff will win in the end.”

Tell me why you think so,” I asked. “They’ve interrupted their mass conditioning of the children, and that’ll have big effects in a decade or so, but what else?”

Well, money, of course. You guys finally got your crypto coins working. I know they’d like to kill it, but doing that would come at a huge cost these days… and you guys would work around it anyway. They couldn’t even get rid of pot (cannabis) after throwing a trillion dollars at it. How are they gonna get rid of sound money once theirs goes unstable?”

I don’t think they really can,” I said. “They’d have to trash the Internet, and the intel bosses would never allow that.”

Right,” he said, “they’re cooked, and they know it… or at least some of them do.”

There is one big problem remaining, Alex.” He looked at me and waited. “Mass surveillance plus Big Data.”

I figured you guys would solve that.”

Oh, we’ve solved it. The problem is that no one’s willing to pay for it.”

How much does it cost?”

Not a lot. Two hundred bucks per year.”

He looked shell-shocked.

On top of that, there are a ton of garbage sites promising the same thing, for cheap or free.”

So, the world is being destroyed with the ‘free candy in the car’ scam?”

Yeah, pretty much. A few serious people come to us, but a tiny percentage.”

He sat frozen for a moment, then got angry.

Then you guys had better do something about it!”

I’d love to, Alex…”

No, you don’t understand. If they get their way, it’s the worst of Orwell and Huxley put together!”

I know, Alex. I’ve written books about it.”

Then you’ll have to do more! I have a dozen nieces and nephews, and I don’t want them growing up in that [crap]!”

I agreed with him, but I can’t force people to admit that Google and Facebook are vampire parasites.

Look, Alex, they’re in too deep. Until they feel serious pain, maybe even face death, they’ll defend their previous investment… they’ll just keep saying, ‘Isn’t hurting me!’ My partner and I are holding the door open for anyone who wants to escape, but how do you convince people of something they don’t want to see?”

He sat silently for a minute or so, thinking.

Okay, look,” he finally said, “the happily hypnotized are getting old and dying. The young are no longer finding a glitzy world to hypnotize them, and those in-between are being seriously disappointed. Those people are going to start waking up. Pain does that.”

I said, “Well, that’s true, but they find solace… they find status and meaning… in Facebook. And they get an endorphin rush from anything that’s free.”

So…” he paused in thought. “The new concentration camps have ‘Free Shit’ written over the gates rather than ‘Work Makes You Free.’ Is that it?

Yeah, pretty much.”

I don’t care!” he said fiercely, “You guys have to figure something out!”

I began considering 12-step programs for Facebook addicts. He sat silently, letting me think. After a bit I raised my eyes again.

Listen,” I said. “We’re trying and will continue to try. And we’re open to ideas; we already tried several without success. Check with your network, and if you come up with anything, you know how to find me.”

He nodded and muttered a sort of “okay.” I’m not sure I’ll hear from him again, and it would certainly be odd to take ideas from a guy in that profession, but these are strange times, and I try to take good ideas no matter where I find them.

We talked a little bit more about old friends. Then I helped him into a cab and watched him drive of into a foggy night. It seemed fitting.


Paul Rosenberg

Return Engagements (Book Two) PART 20

(Continued from part nineteen)

The next three days were both wonderful and odd. I took Paul on a tour of my life and told him things I never thought I would. Aside from the issue of this being a virtual world, I felt completely open talking with him, and he with me. And we talked almost non-stop… and again, effortlessly. It was like self-conversation, the kind we conduct within our own minds.

The experience was utterly unique, but while underway it felt natural. The oddity of it struck me as I lay in bed at night, reviewing the day’s events.

Young Paul was undeveloped, error-prone in a way, sometimes erratic, susceptible to feelings of guilt, but he was eager to learn and eager to improve, and that saved him. He was too eager, really, always pushing for more knowledge, ahead of his inner development, but he was also honest, and so again, that saved him.

* * * * *

The first day we made it through Indiana and stayed the night at a grand old hotel in Louisville. The second day, Saturday the 26th, we went only as far as Nashville, again staying at a grand old hotel. Sunday we woke early and drove straight through to Gainesville, Florida, where we stayed at the Holiday Inn on University and 13th.

We were almost on borrowed time. My note said, “only three weeks, perhaps a day or two less.” That meant one, two or three days left, depending. Paul and I discussed this and quickly arrived at a conclusion: That we’d meander to the south for a bit (starting at the wonderful Silver Springs) then back north until our time ended.

The speed at which we arrived at conclusions was notably rapid… not like the speed-thinking experience with Lara and Jens, but definitely fasted than any agreements between two people than I could remember. It was closest to an internal decision, I suppose, which again fits the model I noted above.

We stayed Sunday night in Titusville, poked around NASA Monday morning, then headed back north on I-75. As we approached Ocala, Paul asked to go to Silver Springs again, and so I pulled off and drove that way. We got distracted, however, by him recalling stories I had told him in the interim about Silver Springs Shores, a suburb almost abutting Silver Springs. And so we spent a couple of hours driving and walking through that development before heading down the road to Silver Springs.

By the time we left Silver Springs it was getting dark, and so we decided to go back to the Gainesville Holiday Inn and spend the night there. And about halfway between Ocala and Gainesville, that world ended. Fittingly, I thought, we were passing a hidden spot where I used to do my reading in the mid-1980s. I made some good internal strides while tucked into that spot. And so it struck me as perfect that a world would end in that place.

* * * * *

And then I was simply back in bed, hurriedly opening my eyes as my body rushed to catch up with my mind. My wife remained sound asleep, and this time I didn’t wake her. In fact, I didn’t even get out of bed. I lay there for an hour or so, waiting for my mind and body to re-sync.

Having attained that, I fell back to sleep, and deeply. After what I think was several hours, however, I woke up somewhere else.

This was my third time opening my eyes in some random place, looking around and gaining my bearings. As my eyes adjusted to the light I had the feeling that I was getting a handle on it. But this place… there was almost nothing for me to recognize.

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The New Age of Intelligence

In 2014, Jonathan Logan and I started on this book, ultimately releasing it in 2016. Being involved in online privacy on a daily basis at, we saw where things were headed and decided that we had to warn people. Still, I had hopes that the progress of evil would be somehow derailed, at least partially. Sadly, that has not happened, and things are turning in very bad directions.

And so we’ve decided to make this book available to everyone for free. The threat is both serious and imminent. Furthermore, ignoring it empowers it. We want to spread this information as far and as fast as possible. People need to know.

Please read it and share it. (PDF)

“In Their View, Epstein Was A Humanitarian”

Alex, as a mutual acquaintance once put it, is a force of nature. He’s neither moral nor immoral. He can be either a strong friend or a very dangerous man. And so I wasn’t entirely pleased to be hearing from him after twenty years. Most of the world presumed him to be dead over those years – there were gruesome stories in the news – but old spooks love their disappearing acts, and I was fairly sure his “death” was just that.

I spent some time considering the risks of meeting with a guy who used to kill for the government. But Alex is old now, at least in his seventies, and he hated his old employers: they railroaded him and stuck him in jail for several years. Beside, if he really wanted to kill me, he wouldn’t contact me first, he’d just get some intel from whoever was paying him and strike from the shadows.

Still, I set up the meet on territory I controlled, which meant Jay’s Bar. More than that, I stopped in a few days prior and discussed it with Michele. He reminded me of the revolver he keeps within reach.

And so I setup the meet and made my way over to Jay’s (carefully) at the specified time.

I barely recognized Alex as he rolled through the door in a wheelchair. I guess all the years of dangerous living caught up with him. I greeted him, we ordered a couple of drinks, and we moved over to a quiet table for some conversation.

I was surprised to hear from you,” was my opening comment. “I didn’t really believe you were dead, but I didn’t expect to hear from you either.”

Well,” he said with his characteristic frankness, “I’m lonely. I was in your town for a couple of days and everyone else who could understand my life is either dead, won’t talk to me, or too goofy to have a serious conversation with. ”

I’m sorry, Alex.”

He nodded, our drinks arrived and we each took a swig. I decided to get the conversation going.

So, of all the crazy things going on this year, what interests you?”

He smiled. “Probably your dead countryman and his girlfriend.”

Ah, Epstein and Maxwell… did you ever have business with them?”

No. I knew someone had taken over the kiddie porn blackmail, but I didn’t know it was them.”

He waited for me to confirm I understood his reference, which I did, unfortunately. It’s the kind of story that makes you feel tainted as you drive home.

Yeah, I know… You’re new in Washington, you’re invited to a party, you wake up in a back room and find a picture stuffed in your pocket… it’s of you and a ten year-old naked together.

Right. They used poor but pretty kids that they kidnapped. But after that King guy got caught, and with all the stuff Gunderson published, they had to close it down. That’s when they brought your countryman in.”

I really didn’t like the “countryman” reference. Almost every Jew on the planet wishes Epstein had been anything but. Still, it wasn’t worth fighting over.

A smart sociopath who wanted to play in the big game?” I asked.

Yeah, something like that. A math whiz; the New York money guys brought him in. He and the Maxwell girl combined and took over her father’s money operations.”

That and the pedophile thing.”

No,” he said, “not pedophile. That was the change Epstein made.”

What do you mean? They were using underage girls.”

From their point of view, Epstein was a humanitarian.” My mind reeled for a couple of seconds. “These weren’t kidnapped kids, like it was before. These were gullible and desperate teenage girls from poor and messed-up families. They weren’t forced; they were seduced.”

I had to admit that he had at least half a point. The whole thing was still horrid, and in a way it made me feel more sorry for the girls, but I still wanted to get to the other side of the conversation. I was starting to feel dirty.

Okay, fair enough, but what about the money operation?”

Well,” he said, “that’s what they’re really afraid of. If the Chinese or Russians or several others find out what they were doing, a whole lot of operations will have to roll-up, and fast. That’s why they killed Epstein. I’ sure this Maxwell woman made arrangements before coming in, but they’d like to kill her too. If they can remove her, the whole thing becomes a lawsuit between estates, and that can be handled.”

A friendly judge settles it quickly and quietly?”

Yes. Then the records are tucked away and a tragic fire destroys the lawyer’s storage room a few years later.”

I nodded, having seen that scenario before.

Unfortunately for them, too many of the yokels are paying attention to this, and so maybe she’ll catch cancer in a year or two.”

I was feeling a bit less dirty, but not all that much. But I did come up with an idea.

So, this guy was trying to play Sidney Reilly?” I asked. (Reilly was called “The Ace of Spies,” and pulled off deals that people are still trying to untangle.)

At that he laughed. “Yeah, I’m sure of that much. He wanted to be smarter than all of the operators. He probably was, but he pushed too far, and didn’t do anything about that reporter in Miami.”

At that point I had enough nastiness and didn’t want to get into killing reporters.

He toggled between the Americans, the Brits and the Israelis?” I asked.

Yeah. And bad for you, whatever’s exposed on this will probably will trace back to Israel; they’re the low man on the totem pole.”

Great… just what we need.”

Yeah, I know,” he said, “it gives the crazies one more reason to hate you.”

Yeah,” I groaned back. Then I excused myself to the bathroom and asked if he wanted another drink. I’ll give you the rest of the conversation next time.


* As I’ve noted before, the stories I set in Jay’s Bar are fictional, although based upon real people and events.

Paul Rosenberg

Return Engagements (Book Two) PART 19

(Continued from part eighteen)

Half an hour later he walked into the restaurant and sat next to me at the counter.

You have to be hungry,” I said.

I suppose I should be,” he said, “but I guess you’re right about this affecting me. I don’t feel like driving either. Is where you’re staying far?”

I explained that I was staying downtown and we agreed to take the train then order room service.

As we walked into the station I couldn’t help noticing how much he looked like a hippie. His hair was moderately short (though it had recently been quite long) but most everything else about him was hippie-ish. I know that I didn’t particularly feel like a hippie at that time, but looking at myself now, it was pretty clear that I was.

So…” he said.

Sorry, I’m just remembering when I was… as you are now. It’s been a long time, you know, and confronting you in this world, with all the little details that go with it… it’s like a huge chunk of my memories are getting an electric shock.”

Huh… I guess that makes sense.”

I patted him on the back. “Remember, my memories are forty years older than yours.”

That would be strange.”

I looked at him and laughed. “It will be!” I assured him. And at this, finally, he laughed out loud. And from there I went into a basic explanation of my missions to the past.

That’s heavy,” was all he said.

The rest of the ride downtown was spent mostly in small talk, which seemed best to both of us. But once we changed to the subway train at Belmont I began thinking about walking into a hotel room with him and spending days in close proximity. And so I stood to get off at State and Lake, so we’d have time to talk before we reached the hotel. He silently followed.

Paul,” I said as we reached the top of the stairs on State Street, “it will help you to be very sure that I’m telling you the truth. We obviously have a special kind of connection between us, but you’ll have to sort all of this on your own. Why don’t you ask me more questions about our youth?”

I’m not sure,” he said. I’d forgotten that I used that phrase in that way; it meant he was hesitant to step into something.

Or how about this: I’ll just ramble about things from Decatur, our friends, our adventures, Dick and the Warriors, and the group. You can stop me if you want to ask anything.”

He nodded and I proceeded, telling the stories of our shared life… the triumphs, tragedies, secret wishes and so on. We continued right past the hotel, by a mutual but unspoken agreement, and circled back around.

Then, he picked up his head, stopping me.

What did I do?” he asked. “Did I do important things? Did I have a family? Do you have children… or grandchildren?”

I won’t recount the rest of that conversation; it was intensely personal. But a few minutes later we were huddled together crying, on the corner of Jackson and State as a hundred people walked or drove by. More than anything else, we were thanking each other. I owed him an incredible amount and he owed me an incredible amount… one owed that other more than could ever be paid and the other owed it right back. It was an exceptional experience.

Finally we pulled apart and I said, “We’d better get to the hotel.”

Once back, we ordered food and I spent the rest of the evening answering questions about the future.

* * * * *

The next morning I woke before he did and took a shower. I found a line from an old Fleetwood Mac song running through my head: “The gypsy that I was.” The hippie that I was, I said to myself, beginning to understand why I hadn’t felt like it at the time: I was a few years behind the center of the hippie movement. I was around a pretty fair amount of it, but I was the kid on the bicycle, not one of the singers and dancers. I had always felt one step removed.

As I went through my memories, however, I was forced to admit that I hadn’t missed very much. From the National Guard marching into Chicago, to young people thronging Lerner Park (anyone from my era in West Rogers Park will be most amused to read this), to people ODed on the grass, to concerts in the park (Styx, in their very early days), I was there. I even made an effort to get to Woodstock. (I owe my mom an apology for that… I was 11.)

And so I had to admit that I really had been something of a hippie.

And strangely enough, I had the same experience with the Cypherpunks. I hadn’t been there at the very beginning and so felt like I was always catching up. In retrospect, however, I was very much in the game.

I might have thought about this more, but by the time I left the bathroom the young man was ready to take his own shower, and so I pulled a chair to a window, looking out upon 1978 yet again. Soon I’d leave it behind for a second time, and the odds of coming back for a third tour were close to nil.

Cleaned up, we ordered breakfast and started talking about young Paul’s recent past, and soon enough I found myself asking him questions like, “When’s the last time you saw Uncle Dave?” “When’s the last time you saw Mom?” “How well do you remember the incident in Rogers Park after JFK was shot?”

I was trying to sync my memories with his, not because of any decision I made, but as a balancing mechanism. And there was something unusual about it. I stopped and half-indicated to Paul that I needed a moment.

He understood.

What I had done was to speak to him without any internal analysis… as in “Should I ask him about this?” And I realized that I was talking to him as if I was conducting an internal dialog… filters disengaged.

That, of course, spawned a long conversation between he and I, though I did think about that one before I started it.

In the end we decided that we were, more or less, identical twins, temporally separated. We also decided that this was just a model. It might be useful under the circumstances, but we agreed to use it only as long as was necessary, then try to just let the relationship be whatever it was, with no tags attached.

Soon thereafter, we decided that we’d like to take a road trip together. He had a driver’s license and I had money, so it wouldn’t be a problem. I stipulated that I wanted the old man version, stopping fairly early and staying at nice hotels, and he agreed. We called around and found a good car, canceled the suite, paid a ridiculously high deposit on the car, took Lake Shore Drive to the Stevenson, the Kennedy and the Skyway, then headed south on I-65.

All of Book Two on Kindle

Book One on Kindle

Podcast: On Shame

“Shame,” wrote psychologist Silvan Tomkins, “strikes deepest into the heart of man… it is felt as a sickness of the soul which leaves man naked, defeated, alienated, and lacking in dignity.”

Shame is the great barrier that keeps people from acting as individuals and from expanding beyond a minimum-energy state. The expectation of shame is paralyzing to the vast majority of humans at some points of their life, and to some more frequently than others. Many people have spent their lives seeking shame-avoidance positions.

All of this is a horrific waste, and in this podcast, we take it on.

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