Well, I had my vacation, followed by the trip to Utah for Pem’s funeral. Now, I guess, we’ll have to write this week off as a “working vacation.”
I had myself marching along with a pretty steady rhythm before the trip to Mexico. A typical week goes like this: I get a new chapter online on Thursday, then take the afternoon off (my wife has a day off on Thursdays – it’s our “date day”); on Fridays I start rummaging through my files and notebooks to see “what’s next?” and let those discoveries simmmer over the weekend. Mondays is serious “rounding up material” from my various and disparate sources. Tuesday is typically “I got nuthin'” day, but so long as I keep my fanny in the chair (glued there by coffee and chocolate in lieu of whiskey and cigarettes…) I’ll have a new installment by the end of the day on Wednesday, and Thursday the cycles starts over again.
This week, I didn’t get my usual head start on Friday and Monday. But that’s not the real reason why Chapter 35 will not be going online today.
When I finally got my fanny in the chair late Monday and Tuesday, I came to a rather challenging revelation: As soon as Townsend Brown disembarked from the yacht Caroline in 1933, his story begins to disappear behind the curtain of…. whatever it was that has kept his story so well hidden for the past half-century-plus. Up until that time, it’s relatively easy to follow his path. But once he steps off the Caroline and returns to the Naval Research Laboratories, the trail starts running cold, the bread crumbs start getting farther apart and it’s harder to tell after picking one up which direction to go to find the next one.
So Thursday has arrived and I’m about where I would — in a more typical week — be on Monday or Tuesday. I have been trying to reassemble Lieutenant Brown’s steps from about 1933 until about 1936. I think I finally have the rough outline of those travels, but the next installment is not ready yet for prime time.
When I lived in Los Angeles in the mid-1970s, I worked on a TeeVee show some of you might remember, an ABC sitcom called “Barney Miller.” I spent about three years as a videotape editor on that show, back in the pioneering days of hybrid analog/digital video editing, when most of and editor’s day (more typically most of your night…) was spent just waiting for the jalopy of the tape machine to just get to the scene you wanted to edit.
I must have worked on about 60 episodes of “Barney Miller. I don’t remember most of the episodes I worked on. But whenever I find myself in a situation like I’m facing this morning, I do recall one snippet of dialog. In this particular episode, one of the detectives has collared a character named “Polanski,” who is having a particularly bad day and is certain that God is laughing at him from on high. Polanski goes off on a rant, and, assuming the posture of God, looks down at the floor as if he is God scorning him and says, “Nothing for you today, Polanski!”
So Thursday has come, and I’m really sorry kids but I don’t have a new chapter for you today. And, as I look out over the near horizon of the story, and consider the experience of the past few days, it occurs to me that it’s only going to get increasingly challenging from this point forward to squeeze the juice out of the Townsend Brown story. Each new installment is going to take a concentrated effort of rounding up the research and correlating the details in order to compile some rendition of what all went on behind the veil that Brown vanished behind after the Caroline.
I guess that’s my way of saying that new chapters on Thursdays may not be appearing as consistently as they have been over the past several months. There may well be more Thursdays when doing the job right takes precedence over just getting it done.
We’ll just call those “Polanski Days.”