Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Fugitive Generation (xi)


Jim gets out of Greyhound bus. He walks across downtown Ann Arbor.


Jim enters building.


As Jim walks through lobby, he notices HAL, 36, a bearded African-American man. Hal is sitting on a couch talking to small group of white students, who each sit on living room-style chairs. One of the students, PATTY, 20, wears a short skirt. Another student, JULIE, 21, wears jeans and U. of Michigan sweatshirt. Jim stops.

HAL: Corporate power controls the University of Michigan, as well as the churches and the media in Ann Arbor. And corporate power has created an upper-middle class Euro-American women's movement which blocks the liberation and advancement of Afro-American men! That's why the Black Economic Development Council in Ann Arbor feels there's a need to offer this community course on "The Ann Arbor Power Structure" to you students and community people.

Jim raises his hand. Hal nods.

HAL (CONT'D): Yes?

JIM: Where can I register if I'm a non-student?

HAL: You don't have to register for this course. You just come, have a seat and participate.

The students laugh. Jim sits next to Patty.

HAL (CONT'D): Now in this research workshop we're going to be focusing on the corporate connections of the University of Michigan's Board of Regents. And on the corporate connections of the members of the University of Michigan's semi-secret "President's Club." Each of you will pick a Regent. Then you'll each try to find as much about his special corporate connections as you can.

Patty raises her hand. Hal nods.

HAL (CONT'D): Yes?

PATTY: How do we go about doing this? They don't teach us how to research the board of regents in our regular courses.

HAL: Well, that's what we're all going to have to teach ourselves in this workshop. We want to develop a data bank for the Black Economic Develoopment Council that lists every member of the U.S. corporate elite who lives in Ann Arbor. So over the next week, I'd like you to pick a University of Michigan regent that you'd like to research. And I'll see you all at the next session of the whole class.

The workshop starts to break-up. Students individually converse. Julie walks up to Jim.

JULIE: Glad to have you in the class. My name is Julie.

JIM: I'm Jim. I just got into Ann Arbor last week. But I've done this kind of research in the past. When I was going to a community college.

JULIE: You've done this kind of research? Maybe you'll be able to dig up information on the University of Michigan's President's Club? We know it exists. But nobody's been able to find any written material about it.

JIM: It's that secret, huh? I'll go to the library when I get a chance. And see what I can find.

JULIE: That's great.

Hal walks up to Julie.

HAL: You'll have to drive me to Ypsilanti now, Julie, if I want to make that meeting with the Methodist Church board. They're finally discussing the Black Reparations Statement tonight.

JULIE: O.K. I'm ready to leave now. (To Jim) See you when the whole class meets.

Hal and Julie walk out front door of the student union building. Remaining students gather up their books. Jim glances at Patty.

JIM: Have you been interested in power structure research long?

PATTY: No. But my father is very rich. So I thought I should take a course like this. But I don't know if I can really get into this.

JIM: Well, there are other ways to work for radical change than doing power structure research...What's your name?

PATTY: Patty. And yours?

JIM: Jim...Do you feel like going out for a cup of coffee?

PATTY: I was going to go straight home...How about walking me home? We can smoke a joint at my place.

JIM: (smiles) That sounds like it would be fun.

Patty and Jim walk out of lobby together.


Patty and Jim are each laughing, as they sit on floor sharing a joint. Dylan's "New Morning" album is playing in the background. Jim stands up. He is very smashed.

JIM: Well, I guess I should go now.

Patty stands up, also very smashed. She escorts Jim to door.

PATTY: I'm sure we'll be seeing each other again around campus.

Jim kisses her goodbye on the cheek.

JIM: Thanks for the smoke.

Jim turns around and walks onto the street.


Jim sits on his mattress, next to his guitar, writing on a pad of paper. He then picks up his guitar. With the pad on the floor in front of him, Jim begins to quietly sing.

JIM (sings):

Oh, Patty, I need you bad
Oh, Patty, I need your love
And Patty, I feel so sad
Oh, Patty, please give me a hug.

The world's so insane
And I'm lost in the rain
I've seen so much pain
And I don't know my name.

Oh, Patty, let me touch your lips
Oh, Patty, I'm so full of trips
And Patty, let me feel your hips
Oh, Patty, please give me a kiss.

I'm a penniless bum
But I like to have fun
I've been on the run
And I've learned how to love.

Oh, Patty, you're so beautiful
You're someone who I wish to know
And Patty, I will let you grow
Oh, Patty, we can build a home.

The students walk by
Yet they don't hear the cry
There's love in the air
And I wish you were near.