Brecht Forum had Anarchist Forum once a month which Emerson and Jack liked to attend. “I’ll pick you up at seven,” Emerson offered since Jack didn’t drive. To Manhattan into a strong, twelve story, brick-tall, former sweatshop building on the West side just below the Chelsea Hotel they entered the freight elevator. “I wonder if ‘Cave Man’ will be there again.”
“Probably,” Grinned Jack agreeing with the description, but knowing deeper. ‘Cave Man,’ as Emerson called him (and Jack couldn’t disagree) looked so unkempt and bent out of shape in what should have been a muscular body, wearing the same faded plaid shirt every time they saw him there, tussled medium-length hair, scraggly spotty short brown beard, black plastic-rimmed eyeglasses askew, adhesive-taped temple piece. When Peter Lamborn Wilson spoke, or some other anarchist genius, just as smart but less excited, ‘Cave Man’ would sit and gesticulate fits of rage without removing his ass from the folding chair, just by hunching his shoulders and flailing his elbows. He never said a word; only grunts and noises of objection. Cave Man didn’t shake his head in agreement; that social skill was too trite for him, nor did he shake his head ‘no’; another worn out gesture of bourgeois society. Part of the lecture’s appeal to Emerson was sitting within eyeshot behind Cave Man, near other nerdy, unfashionable anarchist thinkers, and listeners. Cave Man’s erratic moans sometimes didn’t even correspond to what was being said by the lecturer; he had to mull over the gestalt of the delivery before erupting his volcanic mind to its true meaning. Occasionally, someone seated next to him would be shocked by Cave Man, worrying, expecting his protestations to develop into a seizure, perchance, punctuated by dangerous flights or violence, but Cave Man would never go that far; he would calm down; no one ever had to fear telling him to be seated and relax. Cave Man was beyond relaxed. He was a true adherent of Hakim Bey; poetic justice threw out the rules of society, any society, along with the baby and the bath water.
Peter Lamborn Wilson made sense, Emerson thought, when the topic was the degeneration of activism or putrid distain for acceptance of what was overthrowable in America. Wilson never talked about sex at these lectures. Sex was the farthest thing from Emerson’s mind as he listened to the old animated man rant in his scraggly gray hair, smudged plastic turtle-shell rim glasses, slowly pacing the floor, making observations about some point that he just made, occasionally alluding to a book he had written in which the point was erudite.
During the break, Emerson stood with everyone and stretched, went to the bathroom, or perused the slim literature table with a dozen copies of Wilson and other anarchist’s books for sale. Everyone milled around, even the one or two females present. There was some tea to be had at a water cooler in the slab naked reception area near the forum, a foyer really, not a theater at all. At the gigantic floor to ceiling windows of this turn-of-the-century row warehouse, one could smoke a cigarette, and, as anarchists, no one wouldn’t dare tell anyone to mind his or her manners or blow the smoke elsewhere, though one would blow it elsewhere because one was in the presence of two dozen anarchists and visionary thinkers.
At the Sunday IWW meeting, Eupheus Clutch was livid, livid and embarrassed when hearing that Emerson and Covert were going to spend time and listen to Peter Lamborn Wilson at the Brecht Forum. “No, Emerson; I’m busy. Thanks for asking though. I don’t think I would want to go hear what that pedophile had to say.”
“What are you talking about?” Covert’s voice came in the breeze from the back of the room where he usually sat, inevitably perched higher than other members who were seated in a circle at the meeting. Mr. Covert, as a cat would, took to higher ground to view his kingdom and watch for enemies and prey. “He isn’t a pedophile.”
Colonial Clutch (since, to Emerson, he looked like chicken Sanders) lowered his head, scrunched his goatee, tipped his glasses, looked askew at Emerson and in mock secrecy said, “He is a pedophile, you know, a pedophile; he is Hakim Bey. He’s the editor of NAMBLA Bulletin.” Then in a loud voice without turning to face Covert: “He advocates sex with minors, he does.”
“But consensual,” Jack shot back in the walls of breeze, without moving to join the meeting wholly. “Consensual.”
“Now how can an adult have consensual sex with a minor? I ask you, and even homosexual acts at that with children; now give me a break Mr. Covert,” said Colonial Clutch as he rolled his eyes.” One member objected to his negative mention of gayness.
Emerson turned to his fellow worker to his left, “Is what he’s saying true?” The gay supporter replied with mixed feelings, “Yes, it is true.”
“But that’s only a small part of his ideology,” said Mr. Covert secretly hearing what Emerson’s neighbor had said, as if secret chatter was worth responding to more than straight talk out in the open.
“I do believe Peter Lamborn Wilson, or Hakim Bey as he’s known, is an embarrassment to the anarchist community, and you know that Jack, don’t la.” responded Clutch, in final response. “Now can we get back to this meeting? I call the meeting to order. I truly hope y’all don’t have any further announcements,” said Clutch playing captain of the ship though a facilitator hadn’t been voted on yet, “because it is three o’clock already, fellow workers, and I have somewhere to go at 4pm.”
“I move that Mr. Clutch be today’s facilitator since he is so good at it and has taken over the meeting already anyway,”
“I beg your pardon Mr. Covert, are you volunteering?”
“…and when you join us and move your skinny ass off that box we will see if we have a quorum.”
The fact that Wilson was involved with NAMBLA, a pedophile advocacy organization that worked to abolish age of consent laws criminalizing adult sexual involvement with minors, didn’t faze Jack Covert. Emerson had then only known Jack a short while as a colleague at Norman Thomas high school where they both taught. Ten years passed before, after a collected scrutiny of implied behavior, and witnessing interested glances , and meetings on the school stoop, an occasional unscheduled fifteen-year-old coed who looked up to him under his wing, the penny dropped; Emerson could only wonder if Jack was practicing what Hakim Bey preached.