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Exquisite Corpse - A Journal of Letters and Life
Some Kind of Truth
by Mike Golden
Author's Links

(Who Killed JFK-MLK-RFK?)

Did you ever wonder
how ghosts deal
with the shock
of being murdered
by an assassin's bullet
they never saw coming?

In the afterlife
do they care
who pulled the trigger?
Who initiated the Contract?
Do they want their killers
brought to justice?
Or do they even know
they're dead? Just lost
endlessly wandering
through the ether
wondering where
the remote control is
so they can change
the channel?

The metaphysical questions
of course,
impossible to answer
from this plane.
if you believe
in that kind of thing
the media whitewash
of the JFK-MLK-RFK trifecta
has made real questions
impossible to answer
from this plane.
The more ghosts
you dig up
from one case
the more ghosts
you find
from another.

When you look back
at the trifecta's history
it's not hard to read
between the lines
not hard to see
which shills voted
the party line
straight down the line.

it's hard
to attack
the critics
or defend
the attempt
to reopen
the MLK assassination
because right
out front
the investigation
always had
the twisted
obsessive urge
to make U-Turns
over and over
and over
the wrong way
down a one way street
against the grain
of the major money interests
in this country
at the same time
most of the witnesses
(including yours truly)
want to sell
their story
even if it is
to most every cringing
Editor in the USA.


In 1997
right after
Oliver Stone announced
he was making Memphis
a movie
about the MLK assassination
I got reinvolved
in the investigation.
Stone's company
had held my script
on the assassination
for three years
before he said
he wasn't going to make
anymore 60s films.
Then right after Natural Born Killers
he made Nixon,
and it looked to me
like he had every intention
of making my film without me.

That motivation may not be
old school altruism
but I'd been spent 10 years
trying to make sense
of my experience as a rookie
on the periphery of history
listening in shock to the live
phantom white Mustang chase
broadcast over a Highway Patrol radio
right after Dr. King had been shot.

I'd just driven 200 miles
east across Highway 100,
from Memphis to Nashville,
parked as usual in the alley
behind Life & Casualty
before taking the elevator
up the back way,
and racing down the hall
towards the Bureau,
just minutes before my shift
was scheduled to begin
when Bill (Hoss) Allen,
the legendary WLAC disk jockey
whose deep hipster drawl
turned on a nation
of white teenagers
to blues and r&b
over the 50,000 watt station,
limped out of his office
and followed me
down the hall
to the coffee machine.

In a city that produced plastic
(corporate before there was corporate)
country music
like pre-packaged bubble gum
I'd grown up under the covers
listening to the Hoss man
John R. Richbourg and Gene Nobles
spin Hank Ballard & The Midnighters,
Jimmy Reed and John Lee Hooker
until the wee-wee hours
of the morning
every night
from the time I was 10-years-old
until I went away to college.
Hanging with the Hoss man
for a little while every night
was the only perk
of being on staff at UPI
since politically
at that time
the Bureau was as much
an open war zone
as the news of the day
we were reporting on.
The idea
there was
and is
impartial coverage
was and is
the biggest lie
and biggest fight
of journalism. Period.
In our particular Bureau
there was no love lost
between George Wallace supporters
LBJ Democrats
the sniping "Clean Gene" McCarthy
and Bobby Kennedy wings
of the Democratic party.
Republicans didn't exist
as a political force
in Tennessee
until the day
less than a week
before the King assassination
when LBJ said
he would not seek
nor accept
the nomination
for reelection.
Over half the Democratic party
jumped on the Nixon bandwagon
and (as the 00 Gore-Bush results showed)
have stayed there
until this very day.

As Hoss and I walked
from the coffee machine
back down the hall
towards UPI
he wanted to know
why I thought
Johnson had really quit.
When we got in the Bureau
I pulled a paperback
copy of MacBird
out of my desk
and tossed it to him.
"Vanity, vanity
all is LBJ,"
Hoss roared
wiggling his ears
like Dumbo
lowering his landing gear
then started grilling me
on the Sanitation Workers strike.
SUDDENLY the news
of King being shot
piped into the background
of our conversation
from the statewide
Tennessee Highway Patrol radio
up on the wall above our heads.

Less than a minute
after we walked into the office
Less than a minute
after the shooting actually happened
in Memphis
Hoss hobbled over
to the police radio
and turned the sound up.
Instantly the room was filled
so real
Hoss's wooden leg
split and went out
from under him
as he HIT the floor
with a THUD!

We were listening
to the phantom
white Mustang chase
the so-called live
running gun battle
between police and the assassin
going EAST out Summer Avenue
in almost the opposite direction
the real assassin(s)
must have gotten away.
For the next 20-35 minutes
-- it's hard to be sure
how long it actually lasted -
but the chase ran
over every police radio
in Tennessee, drawing
law enforcement officials
from all over the South
in the opposite direction
of the real getaway
and subliminally imprinting
the idea of a conspiracy
in my mind
long before the evidence
manifested itself
to convince me
my first impression
of what happened
was what

Thirty years after
the deed went down
it occurred to me
this story
more than any other
story in our history
is the key to unlocking
the real Shakespearean drama
of the 20th century.

In the beginning
I innocently believed
anyone who discovered
what really happened
would at the least
win the Pulitzer Prize,
at the most
probably be assassinated
for dismantling
the shadow government,
but apparently immortality's not
what it used to be
on either the high
or low end
of the spectrum.

O.J. may be cursed
for the next thousand years
but he'll never be forgotten
like the rest
of the Heisman Trophy winners.
A hundred years from now
the only thing anybody
will remember
about Clinton
is Monica.
Outside the bland official lies
we're taught in school
history has always been
a tabloid proposition
because all we really care about
is who did what to who,
with the whens, wheres and whys
that come after that
patched into the text
just to fill the history books
with story lines
the suckers will bite into.

Before this last gig
I'd never considered myself
a journalist
though in fact
I'd existed as one
on and off
(doing profiles
since 1967-68
when I went to work
for UPI
after finishing
my first novel
and found myself
smack dab
in the middle
of the conspiracy soup.


Though I grew up 200 miles
down the road in Nashville
from the first time
I looked out across
the muddy Mississippi
Memphis has been my canvas.
Don't know why exactly
but I got the same hit
looking west across The River
as Kerouac used to get
from the possibilities
out on the other side
of the Jersey side
of the egg.

driving through the ghost
of downtown Memphis
31 years after MLK went down
in the bluff of the Bluff City
I listen to Private Investigator Big John Billings
ponder who really done the deed,
as we cross Beale Street.

Back on April 4, 1968,
Big John was a 20-year-old
ex college football player
working his way through
a history-political science major
as a St. Joseph's Hospital
Emergency Room scrub orderly
when they brought Dr. King's body
into the hospital.

Running down the halls
wheeling the still breathing body
into the operating room
Big John stood silently in the background
watching the Doctors work in vain
to save the civil rights leader.
When what life was left
finally drained out
of Dr. King's body
Billings was told
by the head Doctor
to go outside
and find someone
in charge.
He walked down the hall
past a row of men
standing guard
with machine guns
until he found
the top ranking Hoover
of the bunch,
then brought him back
to the operating room,
and listened
as the G-Man told the Doctor
to officially put off announcing
Dr. King's death
until they got the word out
to authorities
all over the country,
to prepare themselves
for "the worst".

The worst
of course
is history now.
Whose history
are you going to believe
is the question now.


According to Big John
The question is not
What did Loyd Jowers know?
But What did he do
at 6:00 p.m., April 4, 1968
that proves
the government's version
of the MLK assassination
Even if Loyd
like James Earl Ray
couldn't help lying
through his dentures
every time
he opened his mouth
he had enough truth
buried in with his lies
to change history.

In 1993
the scrawny balding-bespectacled
owner of Jim's Grill
told Sam Donaldson
on ABC's Prime Time Live
that Frank Liberto
a Memphis businessman-mobster
asked him to find someone
and pay them $100,000
to kill Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
and that person
the person
Loyd said
he found
to do the job
was not James Earl Ray.

On November 15, 1999,
the King family sued Loyd
for "unlawful death"
but the 73-year-old
ex Memphis cop
never testified
or against
at his own trial.
His lawyer Lewis Garrison
said Loyd was too sick
to take the stand.

On December 8, 1999,
after three weeks
and 70 witnesses
a jury of six black
and six whites
spent all of 60 minutes
before returning with a verdict
that said Dr. King's death
was the result
of a massive
federal-state-local government-mob

Loyd was willingly a part
though his lawyer insisted
all during the trial
Loyd didn't know
Dr. King was the man
who was going to be whacked.

Though that scenario's
with a straight face
Jim's Grill,
for those of you

who never
had the displeasure of hanging
in a real grunge lowlife dive,
was a South Memphis
hamburger joint-cop bar
under the rooming house
the Feds always claimed
Ray shot King from.

if you believe
in that sort of thing
the overgrown jungle growth
covering Loyd's backyard
was directly across the street
from the balcony of the Lorraine Motel
where Dr. King was standing
when they popped him.

Just to set
a very crooked record
Loyd didn't sing
for ABC
until his role
in the assassination
got discovered
earlier that year
by Big John
and his eagle eye Fleagle mentor
Kenny Herman
who at the time
were gathering evidence
for Ray's 1993 HBO mock trial.
Though Ray was declared Not Guilty
in that trial, Big John says
"the decision had no weight
getting him a real trial
and was virtually ignored
by the media; it was almost
like it didn't happen."

if you believe
in that kind of thing
the media's reaction to the verdict
in the 1999 "unlawful death" trial
reeks of a lot more than deja vue.

Back in '98, the prosecutor in the case,
Assistant Attorney General John Campbell
told me about a week before Ray died
"If Ray dies tomorrow
it will make no difference,
'cause the stories
have gone way beyond that.
They go out and touch
other people,
and other theories."
It may make my life a little easier,
from the standpoint of a court case
that I've been dealin' with,
but I still think
they'll be people out there
advocating certain theories,
and that'll go on for quite a while."

"Like the phantom white Mustang chase?"

"That's been out there since '68,
and we'll never have an answer. . .
I guess any major historical event,
there's gonna always be things
out there that are gonna trigger debate.
The white Mustang chase is one
that's gonna be out there forever."


"Yeah, forever.
There's not much you can do with it.
And whether it proves
there was a conspiracy
ahead of time,
maybe so.
But all I know is
Ray got in that Mustang
and drove off.
There was only one Mustang
that drove off.
Ray drove off,
and was able to get away.
And whether or not
the other radio transmission
was some kind of decoy
to get him out of town,
that's something
you can speculate about,
but I just don't know
how you can prove it. . .
Thirty years later. . .
It's a fascinating story. . .
Hell, it's a great story. . .
People keep thinkin'
you're going to be able to divine
some kind of truth

out of it,
some bottom line truth
you know
this is what really happened,
but without Ray cooperatin'
I don't see how
we're ever gonna solve this.
Now if he says something
it's just 'cause he wants
to get out of jail.
The fact of the matter is
he's said so many things
in the past,
I don't know how anybody
would ever believe
James Earl Ray. . ."

While Campbell didn't believe
a thing Ray said about anything
he wouldn't dismiss his involvement
like he dismissed Jowers'.
"Jowers keeps comin' up with dead people,
and if they turn out not to be dead,
he drops their names,
and names other dead people.
Now we have a police officer
who killed him.
A year ago
he had a different police officer.
Frank Holt was the first guy.
But when he came up alive
in Florida
Loyd came up with another
dead police officer
as the shooter.
And now they say Earl Clark
a third dead police officer
was the real shooter.
But we can't prosecute dead people.
So I think we've gone into the realm
of the historian, the journalist;
they're the people
who are going to take
this case forward."

My own personal choice
is the novelist
or filmmaker
or as Ed Sanders' work has shown
the poet is the Private Investigator
who best represents
the voice of truth
to the historical record.


When I first got reinvolved
in the summer of '97,
I had gone down to Mississippi
to interview an old friend
musician-producer Jim Dickinson
about the Dixie Flyers,
the legendary Atlantic Records house band
he had fronted at Criteria Studios
in Miami in 1970.
After finishing the interview,
Dickinson, knowing my interest
in the case, suggested,
"While you're down here
you oughta talk to Nate the Rat.
I heard he met with Oliver Stone
a few days ago."

Nathan Whitlock, a.k.a., Nate the Rat,
first became involved in conspiracies
at the age of eight-years-old.
A musician, songwriter, cabdriver
and sometime pro wrestling manager,
Nate was, and is, known
in rock'n'wrestlin' circles
as "the Rat",
because he carries a live rat
in the coat pocket of his pink
Lansky Brothers suit,
and always pulls it out
as he comes into the ring,
defiantly shaking it
at the audience
as he struts around
the apron.
Though you can't really say
he looks like Cagney
or Edward G. Robinson
-- more like John Garfield,
without any innocence left to lose --
Nate definitely comes across
like a refugee
from Little Ceasar
or Public Enemy.
He was driving a cab
when we met,
one hot airless July evening,
at an open air bar
behind Overton Square. . -

"How'd you get involved in this?"
I asked him as we sat down
on the kind of beaten down
50s lawn furniture
Bill Eggelston used to photograph
in his early art.

Though Nate wanted to hold on
to his cards
until he saw what I was holding,
it was too hot
to feel me out
very long
before making his move.
I didn't have the patience
to play cat & mouse with him,
and with the motor of his cab
still running,
it was obvious
he didn't have the time
to dance back and forth
over the line
before blowing a gasket

Once upon a time,
as Nate's story goes,
his father was the chaplain
of the Shelby County jail,
and like most fathers,
he used to take his young son
down to the workplace with him
whenever he could.
On the specific day
that changed young Nate's life,
his father pointed into a cell
with two men in it,
and asked him,
"You know who that is in there?"
Before Nate could ask,
"which one?"
his father said,
"that's the man who shot Martin Luther King. . ."

The incongruity of not knowing
which of the two men -
James Earl Ray
or the legendary Memphis badass
George Tiller -
his father was talking about,
must have created
a permanent distrust
of that old
what you see is what you get axiom
in Nate's head,
because from that moment on,
he was hooked into conspiracies.
As one of the leading sources
of Orders To Kill,
the book Ray's lawyer
Dr. William Pepper
had written on the assassination
Nate testified
Frank Liberto had told him
that he-Liberto
had ordered
the assassination
of Martin Luther King.
But almost as soon
as Nate started talking
about Pepper's book,
his face contorted
into a portrait of constipation,
and he began complaining
that Pepper had made millions
from the book,
and he
poor Nate,
who had furnished the material,
had made nothing,
and had been ripped off.

Before this whine
could go on
much further
I said,
"I heard
you just met
with Oliver Stone."

"Yeah-yeah. . ." Nate mumbled.
"a couple of days ago,
at the Peabody."

"Stone's in Europe now.
When was he here?"

"That Barton Fink fella. . ."

"John Turturro?"

"Yeah, that Barton Fink
screenwriter fella. . .Kario. . ."
Then without acknowledging
he'd been nailed
converting his meeting
with screenwriter Kario Salem
to Stone himself,
Nate said he'd been subpoenaed
to testify before a grand jury,
and offered to sell me
his sealed testimony for $3,000.

"Did Oliver buy
the same information
you're offering me?"

Nate snapped.
"I want a different deal from him."

"Oh yeah. . .
What do you want
from him?"

"I wanna be a consultant
on his movie,
and then
I wanna be in it,
so I can get my S.A.G.E. card."

"Your SAG card?"

"Yeah-yeah-yeah, that's it!"

Realizing I couldn't afford
to wait
for the right segue
to ask Nate
what I wanted to know,
I quantumed
right to the most successful
defense lawyer in history:
the one and only
Percy Foreman.

Nate exploded out of the blue.
"She had Jack Ruby's baby!
And Foreman was fuckin' her too!
I saw her at the Grand Jury hearing.
Ask John Billings about her,
if you don't believe me!"


Eight months later, bonded together
in a foxhole under attack
by authorities & media
who want the case buried,
Big John says, "Now you may wonder
why Frank Liberto would hire anyone
like Loyd for a job as big as this
but the word was out on the street
Loyd and his partner Willie Aikins
were known to have done
more than a few hits together.

What would you do
if a big growling black bear
was coming at you
from one end of the street
and little white weasel
was sleazing toward you from the other?
Well nine out of 10 times
you turn towards the lesser
of the two evils - the weasel
to be exact. So Loyd was not exactly
considered a dime store novice
at the deep six trade.

Harder to buy,
may be why Liberto
would tell someone
like Nate the Rat
he'd had King killed.
But Nate had known Liberto
since he was a kid
and his mama was dating him.
Lookin' at Nate now
it's hard to believe
but people say
he was some kinda
super charmin' rascal
wanderin' through his mama
Lavada's restaurant
like some kinda
down home
midget Dean Martin,
serenadin' Liberto
with all these I-talian songs
while he was there eatin' lunch.
One night while Liberto
was watchin' television with Lavada,
he told her too.
So beside this unlikely
mother and son corroboration,
we've got John McFerren,
a local black businessman,
who testified he was in Liberto's place
the day of the assassination
and heard him yellin'
at someone over the phone,
When you put everything
those three had to say
together with Jowers' claim
Liberto had a man named Raul
bring him a $100,000
to find someone to kill King,
it looks like Frank C. Liberto was the man!
But the truth is,
Liberto was an insignificant pissant
who took orders directly
from Houston-New Orleans mob boss
Carlos Marcello,
who just happened to own
the pinball-game parlor
next door to Jim's Grill.


Marcello's lawyer,
coincidentally enough
just happened to be. . .
The one and only
Percy Foreman
- that's WHO!
The very same lawyer
who coerced Ray
into pleading guilty in 1969.
Foreman was so confident
he could do anything
he wanted
and get away with it
he even gave
Glenda Grabow
an inscribed picture
of himself."


Big John grins
like the cat in the hat
who swallowed
the hole in the soul
of the donut
and tells me Glenda Grabow
the other major witness
besides Loyd,
used to have
sex with Foreman,
Raul, Jack Ruby
and Ruby's so-called partner
(whose name I shouldn't mention
if I want the movie deal
at the bottom of the pot of gold
at the end of this oil slick rainbow
to ever go down in Hollywood).
Glenda was 14-or-
15-years-old then,
still making kiddie porn flicks
over in Houston
for Ruby & his partner
who she claimed was
(LBJ'S future
right hand
the same guy
who's the President
of the Motion Picture
Rating Association
of America.
The guy
the same guy
who to this day
whether our dreams
are X or R rated.


There's more hanky-panky
than academics are willing
to acknowledge
throughout all history.
What academics don't get
can't be got
from analyzing history.
When you tell a partial truth
you have to tell a partial lie
to cover the motives
behind the actions
that fill in the gaps.
And once you do that
just like James Earl Ray
you're caught in a cat's cradle
a rat's trap
a dangling participle
entangled in contradictions
that don't make sense
to anyone anywhere
but the freaks
who write
the buried
the history
of the growth
of the history
that the shadow
doesn't want us
to know about.


According to the freaks,
while Ray may be innocent
of the assassination per se,
he wasn't anymore innocent
than The man who shot Liberty Valance.
No matter what he said
he could never quite explain
the truth - which was
he thought he was hired
to kill MLK
until the day they -

those dirty rats --
poor James
set up
poor James
as the poor-poor
patsy James -
and put him in position
to sound like a bigger liar
telling the truth
than when he told the lies.


Everybody wants a movie deal
but you've got to have a plot
the audience can follow
and Ray and Jowers
weren't the only ones
with more than one story
that left the arc of this story
twisting in the wind.
Take Betty Spates -
Take Betty Spates, PLEASE!
Take the then 16-year-old black waitress
who told the police
she saw Loyd
with the gun in his hand
right after the assassination.
But don't take her story
to the bank
when you try to sell it
to Hollywood, baby.

"I don't believe
she's ever deliberately lyin',"
Big John laughs.
"I just believe
the truth for Betty changes
from moment-to-moment
as she tries to figure out
what angle to play.
She supposedly told
the Attorney General
when she originally said
she saw Loyd comin' in the back door
with the smokin' gun in his hand,
she only said that
'cause she was tryin' to help him
get a movie deal.
I've heard
William Morris agents
have been usin' the same strategy
for their clients for years,
but everybody knows
Betty was havin' an affair
with Loyd,
and had his son.
And was livin' in a house
she bought for $19,000,
within a year of the assassination.
Loyd probably
bought her the house
with the money
Raul brought him
when he brought
the gun
for him
to give to the shooter.

Even before the point,
the money crossed
Loyd's palm
he probably reasoned,
'Easier for me
to do the job myself
and pocket the money
than find somebody else
who might fuck-up the job
Once you've already
killed a man or two
what's another notch
on the conscience,
especially when it's a chippie
in your own backyard?

"Death's knockin'
on Loyd's door now,
(Cancer finally took him
in May of 2000,
if you believe
in that kind of thing,
just four days
before the Justice Department
finally released
their long awaited report
which said
among other
they waited two years to release
that Loyd had called
the Attorney General's chief Investigator
and told Mark Glankler everything
he had told the King family
had happened
that day
was false).
so Loyd had as good a reason
to come clean
as anybody ever got
but every time it looked like
he was gonna spill his beans
and say he did it
he named
somebody else
as the shooter."


To get Loyd to repeat
the story to me
that he told Dexter King
in a series of videotaped meetings
that led to the "wrongful death" lawsuit,
seemed less probable every day
I waited to hear from him.
But just when it looked like
I was going to leave
Memphis empty handed,
Billings connected me
to Jowers' closest friend,
James "Popeye" Millner.
With Jowers' and his lawyer
Lewis Garrison's permission,
the 60-odd-year-old
cowboy cabdriver
leaned up against a parked car
in front of the building
that used to be Jim's Grill
and proceeded to tell me
Loyd's "real" story.

Though I wasn't sure why
I should believe him,
much less
why Popeye
should believe Jowers
it was the only story
in town
and to this day
(if you don't buy
the Justice Department's
sloppy version)
this is as close as it gets
to the real thing
without going
all the way.

Millner scratched his jutting chin,
considering my challenge
to the veracity of Jower's word
and said, "All I can say is
in all the years
I've knowed him
Loyd never lied to me.
So that's why I believe him
when he says Frank Liberto,
a produce dealer
over on Scott Street,
asked him if he could find
someone to do the killin'.
Loyd says he told him,
'Well maybe I can. :
I don't know.'
Then nothin' happened
for a few days,
and Loyd just forgot about it.
Then all of a sudden
Liberto called him
and told him
'I've got a $100,000
that's gonna be shipped
in your pro-duce,
in the mornin' delivery.'
He said, "Somebody's gonna come by with it,
so you just take it, and put it up.'
That's when Raul come by with the money
for the three po-lice officers.

"There was John Barger and Earl Clark -
Barger was a field commander at that time.
He used to be Loyd's partner in 1949,
when Loyd was on the po-lice department.
They was partners together.
And of course Earl,
Loyd used to go down to Mississippi
to hunt with him all the time.
So, they was all good buddies.
And little by little
they was gonna plan this thing out.
But when they sit down in Loyd's café
to begin workin' it out
Barger brought a male black
with him by the name'a McCullough,
Marrell McCullough,
and introduced him.
So they was the ones
who planned this thing out
over a two day period.
There was also two other men
there with 'em too.
But Loyd said he didn't know
who they was."

"Did Loyd ever meet Ray?"

"Loyd said he seen Ray
come into the cafe,
but he didn't really know him."

"What happened then?

"On the day of the killin',
Earl called and told Loyd
to be at the backdoor at 6 o'clock
to receive a package.
And at 6 o'clock he heard a shot
and he opened the door
and Earl Clark handed him the rifle.

"So Loyd didn't see
who pulled the trigger?"

"No sir,
he didn't actually see
who pulled the trigger.
This all happened
within about a second or so.
Loyd pulled the rifle down,
took the shell out of it,
wrapped it up and
put it under the counter,
and he was told,
'Don't worry about a'thing, Loyd -
there's gonna be plenty of evidence',

They promised they wouldn't leave
nothin' in his place; 'the evidence
is gonna be right out there
where they can find it,'
they told him."

"So this was all set up before Dr. King
was even at the Lorraine?"

"Oh yeah.
They knew he was comin'.
There was people
who was givin' everybody
information about it,
ya know,
like Marrell McCullough.
He was like in with the Kings
as an undercover po-liceman."

"Is McCullugh dead?"

"No. He's with the CIA right now.
Matter of fact, I talked to a lot of officers
I know,
a lot of 'em told me for a long time
they didn't know
who Marrell McCullough was.
They didn't know who he was
or what he was."

"Does Loyd have any idea
who told Liberto to set this up?
Was it Marcello?"

"Well I don't really know
what Loyd knows about that.
But the next day Raul came
and picked the rifle up.
I hear tell, later
he had somebody throw it
off the bridge
into the River."

"Ray's first story
after they caught him
had Raul covered in a white sheet
and jumping in the white Mustang
with him before he took off."

"Well I think that was just some stories
that Ray was tellin' to put people off.
What I understand,
Ray came out on the street here
(in front of Jim's Grill)
before they killed King,
to go get a flat tire fixed.
He came back,
and seen the po-lice there,
and thought maybe
they was after him
for his arms dealin',
him being an escaped convict
and all -
so he left."

"So you don't think
Ray even knew
they were after King?"

"From what I know,
Ray thought he was there
for one thing,
and that was to sell arms.
The whole time
he was comin' to Memphis
they was framin' him up.
That rifle
with his finger prints on it,
well right now
they suppose to donate that
to the civil rights museum.
Of course Ray's brother
Jerry is fightin' over the rifle,
and all that
but they're fightin' over
a piece of firearms
that wadn't even there.
It ain't the one that done it.
It's the one that was dropped out
(by Raul)
30 minutes before the killlin'.
Anybody with common sense
ya don't just gift wrap evidence
and hand it over to 'em
unless it's a plant."

"Where were Barger and McCullough?"

"Marrell McCullough
was across the street,
layin' over King,
tryin' to stop his bleedin',
that's where Marrell McCullough was.
And of course Barger,
he was a field commander,
he was suppose to be leadin'
people on a goose chase."

"What about the phantom white Mustang?"

"Well there was two white Mustangs.
One of 'em with Alabama tags;
that's Ray's.
The other one
with Arkansas tags.
If I had to believe anything
about Ray,
it's that he fucked up their plan
when he come out early.
They couldn't kill him
before they shot King,
so they had to let him go.
But if he'd come out of there
when he was suppose to,
after they shot King,
they'd a killed him too,
and that'a'been that.
There'd been nothin'
to start up nothin'.
But they didn't get him.
He left.
They brought him back.
And they kept him in isolation.
And he tried and tried
and tried to get a trial,
but he couldn't never get one.
From what I understand
a couple of Judges was thinkin'
about givin' him a trial,
and they mysteriously come up dead.
Just like the guy at the fillin' station
over there
who remembered Ray
when he come in to get the tire fixed.
He's gonna come forward
and tell the po-lice about it,
but he mysteriously
come up with an attack -- dead.
There's been a lot of people
(in this)
come up dead, ya know."

Jowers so far wasn't one of them.
But the odds of him
ever saying anymore
than Popeye had
in his behalf
was a long shot
(long passed it's time)
since he passed up
the opportunity to testify
at his own trial
(before he passed away).

There were rumors
after his death
he'd been writing a book.
Everybody involved
except Glankler (probably)
is writing a book,
writing a screenplay,
making a documentary,
you know. . .

Popeye was at the Conspiracy trial
testifying that Loyd told him
he was 90% sure it was Earl Clark
who handed him the gun
through the back door.
Neither Billings or I could buy
that 10% that was leftover.
I believe Ray left early
because he realized
he was the patsy, not the shooter.
Billings would buy that,
if witnesses hadn't sworn to him
they saw Ray sitting in his Mustang
outside Jim's Grill
an hour before he took off.
I see no problem with my theory
connecting to Ray sitting in the car
though I have trouble believing
witnesses in any case
remember the time of any event,
or how long it lasted,
what color shirt
the supect was wearing,
or any of that other
Perry Mason shit
lawyers always plant in the record
to prove their case.

For some reason
I didn't understand
it seemed like a good way
to come up dead,
ya know.


I did know

or thought I knew.

Over a four year period
anytime I talked
about the case
to friends
they got sick -- RAN
to the bathroom
to puke
or shit
their guts out.

It was very frustrating
but now four years later
I understand
what they were feeling.

The media reaction
to the trial
turned whatever outrage
I had
into nausea
and made it hard
to keep caring
about anything
but my own
bottom line.

That may be the true crime
America has allowed itself
to commit against itself:
Right or Wrong
WE just don't give a fuck

who killed MLK,JFK, RFK
because I'm OK, You're OK
as long as the next time it happens
we just keep on keepin' on
and keep on saying OK, OK
so they stole the election
but at least they stole it
fair & square.



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