An excerpt of the book Confessions of a raving unconfined nut: misadventures in the counter-culture by Paul Krassner
Simon and Schuster, 1993
from pages 212 - 215
A year before the Watergate break-in, E. Howard Hunt, who had worked for the CIA for twenty-one years, proposed a "bag-job"a surreptitious entryinto the office of Dr. Lewis Fielding, a Beverly Hills psychiatrist who had refused to cooperate with FBI agents investigating one of his patients, Daniel Ellsberg, leaker of the Pentagon Papers. It was the function of the White House "plumbers" to plug such leaks. The burglars, led by G. Gordon Liddy, scattered pills around the office to make it look like a junkie had been responsible. The police assured Dr. Fielding that the break-in was made in search of drugs, even though he found Ellsberg's records removed from their folder. An innocent black man, Elmer Davis, was arrested, convicted, and sent to prison, while Liddy remained silent. Mae Brussell corresponded with Davis, and after he finished serving Liddy's time behind bars, he ended up living with Mae. It was a romance made in Conspiracy Heaven.
Hunt also masterminded the Watergate break-in. Three weeks laterwhile Richard Nixon was pressing for the postponement of an investigation until after the election, and the mainstream press was still referring to the incident as a "caper" and a "third-rate burglary"Mae Brussell completed a lengthy article for The Realist, documenting the conspiracy and delineating the players, from the burglars all the way up to FBI Director Gray, Attorney General John Mitchell, and President Nixon. "The significance of the Watergate affair," she wrote, "is that every element essential for a political coup d'état in the United States was assembled at the time of their arrest." Mae proceeded to delineate the details of a plot so insidious and yet so logical that the typesetter wrote Bravo! at the end of her manuscript. However, instead of my usual credit arrangement, the printer insisted on $5,000 cash in advance before this issue could go to press. I didn't have the money, and I had no idea how I would get it, but as I left the printing plant, I was filled with an inexplicable sense of confidence. When I got home, the phone rang. It was Yoko Ono.
I had known her in the sixties as an avant-garde conceptual artist. She had one project which took place on a wooden platform in the Paradox, a macrobiotic restaurant. People would climb inside these huge black burlap bags, singly, or with a partner, and then do whatever they wanted, providing a floor show for patrons while they ate their brown rice and sprout salad. I had helped support the San Francisco Mime Troupe and the Free Southern Theater, but Yoko's project was so absurd that I gave her some money too. As a token of appreciation, she presented me with a personally revised alarm clock. On the face of the clock, there was a blue sky with white clouds, but there were no hands. I wound that clock every day, leaving the alarm knob up, blindly changing the time it would go off so that I would have no way of telling when it would, but trying always to be psychically prepared. It was just a Zen bastard's way of learning to pay attention to the moment. I planned to do this for a whole year, but I decided to stop several months into it, on the day that I was in the middle of giving head to a temporary soul mate on my vibrating chair when the alarm clock went off and we both screamed out loud in unison. I took that as an omen.
Yoko had since married John Lennon. Now they had arrived in San Francisco and invited me to lunch. At the time, the administration was trying to deport Lennon, ostensibly for an old marijuana bust, but actually because they were afraid he was planning to perform for protesters at the Republican convention that summer. I brought the galleys of Mae Brussell's article, which provided a context for John and Yoko's current harassment. I mentioned my printer's ultimatum, and they immediately took me to a local branch of the Bank of Tokyo and withdrew $5,000 cash. I had never intended for the money I once gave to Yoko in New York to serve as bread cast upon the water, but now it had come back all nice and soggy, so precisely when I needed it that my personal boundaries of Coincidence were stretched to infinity. I could rationalize my ass offafter all, Yoko and Lennon had been driving across the country, and they just happened to arrive in San Francisco at that particular momentbut the timing was so exquisite that Coincidence and Mysticism became the same process for me. John Lilly even told me about the Earth Coincidence Control Officeextraterrestrial guardians who protected him by manipulating human events so that he could carry out their higher purpose. At first I thought he intended this as a clever metaphor. Then I realized he meant it literally. And if they were doing it for him, maybe they were doing it for me.
Actually, that melding of Coincidence and Mysticism had begun when I wrote a comic strip, drawn by Richard Guindon. It was about political witchcraft, a takeoff on Rosemary's Baby. A key scene in that film showed Rosemary moving around the letters from a Scrabble game so that instead of spelling out the name of her neighbor the letters spelled out the name of a warlock in a book she had been reading about witchcraft. And now, scrambling the letters of the vice president's nameSPIRO AGNEWit became GROW A PENIS. Coincidence had been my religion, but this was so appropriate that it challenged my theology. After all, when Senator Charles Goodell came out against the war in Vietnam, it was Agnew who called him "the Christine Jorgensen of the Republican party"thereby equating military might with the mere presence of a penis. Around that time, Mike Wallace interviewed me for "60 Minutes." He asked me what the difference was between the underground press and the mainstream media, and I told him about the GROW A PENIS anagram, adding, "The difference is that I could print that in The Realist, but it'll be edited out of this program." My prediction was accurate.
Yoko Ono and John Lennon spent a weekend at my house in Watsonville. They loved being so close to the ocean. In the afternoon I asked them to smoke their cigarettes outside, but in the evening we smoked a combination of marijuana and opium, sitting on pillows in front of the fireplace, sipping tea munching cookies. We talked about Mae Brussell's theory that the deaths of musicians like Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Jim Morrison had actually been political assassinations because they were role models on the crest of the youth rebellion. "No, no," Lennon argued, "they were already headed in a self-destructive direction." A few months later, he would remind me of that conversation and add, "Listen, if anything happens to Yoko and me, it was not an accident." For now, though, we were simply stoned in Watsonville, discussing conspiracy, safe at my oasis in a desert of paranoia. At one point, I referred to Mae Brussell as a saint. "She's not a saint," Lennon said. "You're not a saint. I'm not a saint. Yoko's not a saint. Nobody's a saint."
We discussed the Charles Manson case. Lennon was bemused by the way Manson had associated himself with Beatles music.
"Look," he said, "would you kindly inform him that it was Paul McCartney who wrote 'Helter Skelter,' not me."
Yoko said, "No, please don't tell him. We don't want to have any communication with Manson."
"It's all right," Lennon said, "he doesn't have to know the message came from us."
"It's getting chilly," Yoko said. "Would you put another cookie in the fireplace?"
Lennon was absentmindedly holding on to the joint. I asked him, "Do the British use that expression, 'to bogart a joint,' or is that only an American termyou know, derived from the image of a cigarette dangling from Humphrey Bogart's lips?"
"In England, if you remind somebody else to pass a joint, you lose your own turn."
Mae Brussell believed that her article could literally prevent the re-election of President Nixon. We held a press conferencebut there was a lot of skepticism. It had been five years since I published "The Parts Left Out of the Kennedy Book," and I began to feel like the little boy who cried "Wolf!" Only now there really was a wolf at the door, and I started running around like a graduate fresh out of Zealot School, getting copies of The Realist to the media and individual journalists.