Fiends in High Places

My move to Paris from New York in 1982 came with costs. I said good-byes to Anne Borchert and Jill Chapman. The first ended up having an affair with the artist Jean Michel Basquiat. The second maintained a letter correspondence informing me about the Internal Affairs investigation concerning Viktor Malenski’s murder at the Continental. The 18 year-old model wrote that my name never made the newspapers, but Sergeant Ferguson from the IAU has asked her for my address in Paris. Jill was a good girl. She said nothing and I looked forward to her visit in June.

We scheduled a rendezvous at the Pere Tranquille in Les Halles. The cafe was the epicenter for les branchees. I sat at a table on the terrace. The afternoon sun edged over the construction of the shopping center. Models looking to score a bag of dope after their fashion shoot crowded the other tables. They were beautiful and thin, but pale shadows of desire in comparison to the girl walking my way.

Jill was wearing a jean jacket and Levis.

Pure New York.

Jill and I had only kissed up to this point. I expected more. She smiled upon seeing a familiar face. Her lips brushed my cheek like I was an uncle.

“I have something to tell you.”


“I started seeing your friend Richard.”

“Richard the DJ?” We were good friends. He must have known how I felt about Jill. The anger of betrayal rattled through my skull like dice coming up with snake eyes.

“I’m so happy for you two.”

She was brave enough to tell me in person, soI spared her any recriminations. They would have been useless. I said good-bye and kissed her cheek without any hope. I didn’t see her for years.

Richard and Jill lasted two years. I stayed in Paris until 1986. I was never going to be a Frenchman, especially with how I spoke French with South Shore accent. My apartment became available and I moved back to East 10th Street. My reintroduction to city life was slow. New Yorkers hated anyone who abandoned Manhattan. One night I was sitting in a Soho bar. A beautiful woman sat next to me. She seemed to know me.

“It’s Jill.”


She looked older.

5 years older.

She laughed at my memory loss and shook her head.

Guess I never meant anything to you anyway.”

“It’s not that.”

“Then what is it?”

“I haven’t thought about after you said you were Richard.

“Not once?”

I don’t think so.”

“Have a good life.” She rose from the table and left the bar.

I never saw her again, but in 2010 Richard said that she had married to a Marine who was accused of killing two unarmed Iraqis.

Ilario Pantano had re-enlisted after 9/11 and sparkled as a 1st lieutenant who believed in motardation ie a grunt term for officers who were motivated to retardation, but his unit only suffered one casualty during their stay in Iraq. A 2nd tour to Iraq took the 2nd Battalion 2nd Marines to the hellhole of Fallujah and April 15, 2004 Pantano emptied two magazines into two unarmed Iraqi civilians.

“I was going to send a message to these Iraqis and others that when we say, ‘No better friend, no worse enemy,’ we mean it. I had fired both magazines into the men, hitting them with about 80 percent of my rounds.”

One army witness described Pantano shooting the kneeling Iraqis in the back.

Charges against him were dropped by the Pentagon and Pantano wrote the memoir ‘NO GREATER FRIEND, NO WORST ENEMY’ for Simon and Schuster. His cause was championed by his mother, a literary agent. Killing innocent civilians was never a crime under Genghis Khan and Pantano ran for North Carolina’s 7th District Congressional seat.

PHe lost in 2010 and 2012 to the 7-term Democratic incumbent, but he’s a “born-again Christian and a born-again Southerner.”

Pantano fought in two wars with distinction for his country.

I have fought in none and I never made love to his wife.

Damn you, Richard, she was so beautiful.

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