Dutch Treat
By John W. Royal, 1999
15603 Gulf Freeway #1313, Webster, TX 77598
(281) 922-1605; jwroyal@flash.net

    Dickie and I had been meeting at the IconBar every Thursday night for the last ten years. It had been through many changes, from low-rent student dive to hip yuppie hangout. Now, it was a quiet, after work hangout for stressed out professionals.
    I am the first to arrive. Walking up to the bar, ordering a Becks, then walking over to our booth, the one under the black velvet painting of Elvis with the King wearing a white jump suit with the diamonds forming patterns about it. Across the room is a blown-up Marilyn Monroe Playboy centerfold. I look at Marilyn, hoist my beer, tilt it in her direction—a silent toast—then start to drink.
    “What the hell took you so long?”
    I gulp it down, slam the bottle to the table.
    “What the hell took me so long? Damn, Dickie. It’s 6:15. I’m early.”
    L. Richard Carter, IV, Esquire, Dickie for short, slides into the booth.
    Dickie’s harried, his short, thinning, dirty-brown hair ruffled atop his head. His stylish tie hanging loosely about his neck, shirt collar undone. The brown eyes blood-shot, his hands shaking.
    “You don’t look so good, Dickie. What’s up?”
    “I found the records. They thought they had them buried. That nobody could find them. But I did. I know the truth.” He seizes up. Looks around. Pulls me to him. “I need your help.”
    “What truth? What records?” I look into his eyes. I’ve never seen him like this—full of fear. Not even when we took that first Property Exam and had to deal with Law Against Perpetuities and Estates in Future Interests. Even then, Dickie had been calm. Nothing had gotten to him. Not finals. Not the Bar Exam. Not the fact that somebody saw fit to elect George W. Bush governor of Texas. Not that people paid good money to watch women play professional basketball, or that the Bruce Willis/Demi Moore marriage didn’t last. Nothing. Until now.
    “We can’t talk here. They’re after me. The table’s probably bugged.” He pauses. “Oh, God. They bugged the table. They had to.”
    He ducks under the booth, feels the table bottom. He looks inside the candles, the ashtrays. He stands on the cushions, looks inside the lights, feels along the frame of “The King” painting. Marilyn eyes him from across the room, as do the only other five people in the bar.
    “What the are you doing, Dickie? You’re weirding me out here.”
    “Dallas. JFK. The conspiracy. I know the truth. All of it.”
    “Have you been watching Oliver Stone movies again?”
    “He’s part of it.” He grabs my lapel. “It’s all a big disinformation campaign. Anybody who gets to the bottom of it, nails it—they’re discredited, or worse, killed.”
    “Are you taking some kind of drugs?”
    He sits back, takes a deep breath. Smooths his hair. Begins to calm down. Slowly, the Dickie that I’ve known for ten years reemerges. Calm, Dickie. Reliable, Dickie.
    “I’m sorry. I’m just a little spooked. That’s all. I guess.”
    “That’s fine. Don’t apologize.”
    He smiles. That’s better. He’s back. My friend. The rock. The anchor.
    I see a beautiful, blonde woman approaching the table, her left hand gripping an empty tray.
    “Can I get you gentlemen anything?” she asks.
    “Yes. I’ll have another,” I say. “What about you, Dickie?”
    Dickie looks at her. Pauses. Cocks his head in her direction.
    “No. Nothing for me. Now.” She starts to walk off. “Wait.” She stops, returns. “Don’t I know you from somewhere?”
    “No,” she answers. “I don’t think so. This is my first night here.”
    “Are you sure? I could swear that I know you from somewhere.”
    “Well,” she says. “I’ve been told that I look like Sharon Stone.”
    “Oh. Yeah.” He looks at her. “No. That’s not it.” He pauses. “There’s something funny about your accent. Where are you from?”
    “See, Dickie,” I say. “She’s a Yankee. That’s all.”
    Head still cocked, he continues to stare at her, placing her under his own blinding spotlight.
    I wave her on and watch her glide away. She’s right—she does resemble Sharon Stone. That makes me wonder if she’s wearing any panties under her skirt.
    “Pennsylvania Dutch. Get it. She’s in on it, too,” Dickie whispers quietly into my ear.
    “The conspiracy?”
    I shake my head. This is a bit much.
    He smiles. Relaxes. A good sign. It’s the Dickie I know and love. The unphaseable. The Assistant U.S. Attorney responsible for bringing down the largest Southwest United States crime family. The Untouchable—the one who made Elliot Ness look like a Al Capone flunky. My Dickie.
    “You don’t believe me, do you.” He laughs. “I wouldn’t if I were you either. I didn’t myself, until yesterday.”
    “Believe what? That the CIA killed Kennedy?”
    He leans forward. Pats me on the arm.
    “If only it were that easy.” He looks around. “I’ve learned the truth behind every conspiracy of the millennium. I know the answer, and I might die because of it.”
    “I’m worried about you.”
    “Have I ever lied to you?”
    “How should I know,” I answer. “Until this moment, I thought you were sane.”
    “Look. I know you think I’m nuts. But I can prove it.” He grows quiet. “But not here. It’s not safe here. Come with me.”
    “Sure. I guess so.”
    Dickie leads me to the men’s room, locking the door, turning on all of the faucets, flushing all of the toilets. The IconBar men’s room hasn’t changed much in ten years, full of Playboy centerfolds which have been glued to the wall. Many which are still here. But faded, torn, and many have been pasted over by the more current Playmates of the Month. It makes for an interesting case history—the evolution of the girl next door from the natural girl with slight airbrushing of blemishes to the doctor-enhanced, fully inflatable version now favored by Mr. Hefner down at the mansion. Personally, I far prefer the version of ten years ago.
    Dickie paces about the room, trying to figure how to begin. I look at Miss June 1986.
    “Dickie. What are you doing? What’s with all of the water and flushing?”
    “A trick I picked up from the Mob trials. The noise drowns out the bugs.”
    I shift focus from Miss June to Dickie.
    “Do you want to fill me in now?”
    “It’s simple. Every conspiracy of the past several hundred years, every revolution, assassination, every war. One party’s behind it all. It’s a plan for worldwide domination.”
    He looks at me—the puppy dog who wants very much to be rewarded for bringing back that damn stick. I find myself drawn to Miss December 1989.
    “You mean like the Freemasons, or the Trilateral Commission. Something like that?”
    “What?” He answers back. “Do you really think I’m that nuts?” I nod my head slowly. If they could respond, I think even some of the centerfolds would agree. “This is serious, damn it.”
    “Look, Dickie. I’m sorry, man. But none of this makes sense. This all sounds like something on late night A.M. radio. You know, with the black helicopters and the U.N. troops all set to invade the United States.”
    “I know. It sounds strange. But hear me out. Please. It makes sense. I’ve seen the papers.”
    “Okay. But do we have to do it in here? I mean, nothing personal. But if it means listening to you or looking at Jenny McCarthy’s boobs on the wall behind you, man, well then, she’s going to win every time.”
    “Okay,” he says. “As long as you promise to listen.”
    “I promise, mi amigo.”
    We exit the men's room, walk back through the bar, outside into the hot, humid August twilight, to his car, a brand new Lincoln Navigator, quite the step up from my twelve-year-old Hyundai. He turns on the radio, cranking it loud, forcing me to strain to hear him over the hyper-modulated tones of the Houston Astros' play-by-play announcer. It’s the bottom of the second, and the Astros are losing to the hated Mets. By the time Dickie starts to wrap up, it’s the bottom of the ninth, the Astros are down by sixteen, and there are two outs. But that’s not important. Hell, Jenny McCarthy’s boobs would suffer in comparison to this story. Dickie’s on to something. Not even Oliver Stone in all of his drug-induced nightmares could imagine something like this. This is real.
    “You’re telling me that it’s all the Dutch?” I finally say. “That the Dutch are behind all of this?”
    “World War One?”
    “They had the Archduke assassinated.”
    “Hey, they’re freaking Deep Throat.”
    “The Red Scare?”
    He nods his head, gravely.
    “Kurt Cobain’s suicide?”
    “Yep. Even that.”
    “But why? What could he do?”
    “He broke the code. Those unintelligible lyrics on Nevermind, it’s the Dutch code for the whole damn conspiracy—Y2K, Monica Lewinsky, Charlton Heston, the Teletubbies, ‘Louie, Louie’, retractable roof stadiums, everything.”
    “Wait a minute. I’ve got that damn CD, and the lyric sheet. They don’t mention anything about any of that.”
    “He wasn’t stupid. He didn’t put the real lyrics down. It would cause a world-wide panic if he did. No he mumbled them when he sang. Not even the rest of the damn band knew what he was singing. Like I said, he wasn’t stupid.”
    “Then how do explain Courtney?”
    “She’s part of it. She’s in with the Dutch.”
    That suddenly explained a lot, I thought. The popularity. The movie roles. Yeah. That explained a lot.
    “Okay, Dickie. Let me see if I got this. The Dutch killed JFK because he found out their secret?”
    “Yeah. But only after they tried to discredit him with the Bay of Pigs and Marilyn Monroe.”
    “And Marilyn?” I ask. “She was in on this?”
    “Of course. Just like Courtney Love.”
    The streets around Richmond Avenue teem with life. People and cars maneuver around Dickie’s battleship, searching for that ever-elusive parking spot. The radio is dominated by callers to the Astros’ post-game show, demanding the head of manager Larry Dierker, decrying the inability of the Astros to win games in the clutch. I sit back, trying to come to grips with what Dickie’s told me.
    “So why did they kill Marilyn then? She was working with them, right?”
    “Because she told Bobby. She wasn’t supposed to. And once Bobby knew the truth, he wasn’t going to rest until he was in position to put it all to a stop.”
    “Okay. So the Dutch killed Bobby, too. But why did they wait so long? Why wait until 1968?”
    He sighs. Looks out at the Houston skyline—the Transco Tower spotlight rotating about high above the Galleria area.
    “It would’ve been too soon. They had to cover their tracks. If they did it too soon after JFK’s death, the public might latch onto the truth. So they had to cover tracks. Issue the Warren Report. Then they forced us deeper into Vietnam. Set up LBJ. Brought about the civil rights turmoil, the riots, Martin Luther King and Malcom X’s assassinations. Then, and only then, was it safe to kill Bobby.”
    I laugh. “I can’t believe it.”
    Dickie smiles. “Yeah. You got it. I knew that you would. That’s why I came to you.”
    “One more question, Dickie. One thing I don’t understand.” He looks at me, expectantly. “Why? Why the Dutch?”
    A sigh. The shoulders droop. Dickie deflates.
    “I don’t know.”
    “I don’t know. They don’t say, outright. There’s hints about controlling the money supply. Owning rights to all of the currency. But nothing that could be nailed down.”
    The post-game host shouts down a caller—calls him an idiot. This is the same host who doesn’t know how to compute the earned run average.
    Dickie looks up at me. Life floods back into his eyes, the spirit reenters his body.
    “I’ve got my own theory, though. Want to hear it?”
    I look out the window. The tinted windows cut out some of the light, but I can make out the Chase Tower in the distance, dominating the downtown skyline. It’s my turn to sigh.
    “Go ahead, Dickie. Let me hear your theory.”
    “Because they can. It’s that simple. Because they can.”
    “So,” I pause. “Aren’t we in a bit of danger now? Aren’t our lives in danger.”
    “Mine is, maybe,” he says. “They’ll try and discredit me first. I’ll lose my job, probably be disbarred. They’ll probably make me do some kind of jail time. After that, nobody’ll ever believe me. I’ll probably be safe.”
    “But what about me?”
    “That’s why I told you. I had to tell somebody. Somebody who’d believe me. But somebody who’d never be believed by anybody. That’s you, my friend.”
    He turns off his radio. Slaps me on the back.
    “Come on. Let’s go on back in and get something to drink.”
    “Sure,” I say. “Good idea.”
    He opens the door, starts to step out. But before he can, I slap him on the back.  “Sorry my friend. Sorry.”
    He looks back at me, puzzled. I turn, start to get out of the car on my side. I turn and see him climb out, stand up, start to turn and look at me.  A firecracker explodes, far off in the distance. Dickie spins, slumps against the car, slides down to the street. His face expressionless, a blank. Blood flows freely from the back of his head, pooling around his limp body, spreading out from him into the street. I look up toward the Houston skyline, which is momentarily blacked out by the silhouette of a silent, dark helicopter. I duck back inside the car, pick up his car phone, and call nine-one-one.
    “I want to report a shooting,” I tell the operator. “My name? My name is Dutch.”


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