I'm sure he sensed in me a Celtic madness similar if not apposite, to his Frankish mien. John had the political savvy of Charles DeGaulle, with Sartre's hatred for the Church.
He was more cynical than Charles Bukowski.
I was forgetful - John remembered everything.
I was thorough - John was sloppy.
Me deadpan - Him spontaneous.
So John invited me to accompany him on a 'quest-less quest'. This was John-speak for a mission without a goal. A quest-less-quest has a beginning, New York invariably, a middle, (meaning a road-trip) and an end (some insane mission to impress a point of history upon peoples who require enlightenment.)
"Let's be serious. If we're going to win we have to fight unconventionally."
I wondered what 'win' meant. Victory? Impossible. A pair of Quixotic nay-sayers making journeys that prove nothing. Ah, but winning can take other forms. Adventure for the sake of it! There is the delicious fruit of a fight.
These were the moments when John made forays into history.
The American Revolution:
"We mustn't forget we're descended from a bunch of deer-hunting farmers who knocked the crap out of the best trained army in the world."
or . . .
"We're Templars. Don't forget it. You're a Templar. I'm a Templar. WE rode with Baldwin. We were sword swinging avengers. We took the the Holy Land from the Saracen. Let's not ever forget it!"
"Let's not forget who we are here. We backed De Gaulle and the resistance. Most of the French caved in to the Nazi. But not us. We, were Knights. We stayed in France after the Crusades ended. Were WE going to sit around while a posse of lying Krauts took away our women? No f-ing way! We sent the a-holes back to Berlin we did."
The Middle Ages:
"Who the fuck wants to return from the Holy-Land to a farm ridden by plague? Not my ancestors, and not yours either! Hell, we camped out in the south of France. The women there were beautiful. They let down their hair. That's why I'm part French. A Crusader who didn't want to be English anymore!"
Historical guilt overcame John. He became serious.
"I never saw ground action in 'Nam. I brought down 12 Mig's, got decorated, then slugged my commanding officer. They let me go but took away my guns. I spent the rest of the war flying recon."
John guffawed. "Hey, aren't you French? Partly?"
I told John something of my family's past: "I'm related to the painter Daubigny. My great-great-great grandfather watched a cousin get hanged by the Sheriff of Nottingham."
"Yes, he was a prick that Sheriff. Everyone in England knew it. He was one of the reasons we came to the New World! Twenty generations of that Sheriff, all pricks, just like the LA PD."
That first quest, to DC, was to provide footage for a massive video essay John was compiling in his crowded cupboard apartment at 302 Mott Street, four floors above mine. That video would re-inspire the Lost Generation, a diaspora of the now disintegrated Beats, and a hitherto undefined new generation of Yuppies, to take back the wholesome American liberties which had been squandered and lost.
Our Quixotic-dual rampage was to be upon NASA, the NSA, and the Smithsonian Institution. To John these emblems were remnant Bardic Halls, of fictive and poetic power, that wasted the creativity of our nation.
John assumed for starters that everyone was a genius, unless you happened to forget you were a genius, in which case you were an idiot and a sell-out. John's starting assumption was that 'WE' should get the Nobel Prize for Peace. I mean WE could invent dynamite.
"That shit's just nitro mixed with sea-shells!"
A hilarious bout of laughter and coughing ensued.
"Seriously, when we get there, let's not forget decorum. We'll set them right we will. But we'll be polite. But before we start swinging, I want to show them the piece I've edited." John tapped a file of incriminating damning evidence that would set the bastards in Washington straight.
For a moment I believed we were driving south to drink mead with the President.
We arrived in Marble Quarry, John-speak for the nation's capital. I parked my car in the Smithsonian lot after paying for the ticket.
"My mother used to have a lifetime pass. She gave millions. Bastards have no respect for inheritance."
At the information counter John demanded to see Gordon Ripley, Director of "The National Attic", as John called the museum.
"I'm sorry sir but do you have an appointment."
"No we don't but could you tell him that as one Knight Templar to another I'd like to give him an opportunity to star in a documentary about our National Attic."
Story continues: Battle Lines are Drawn, Dr. Factious - Part II