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A Journey to the Center of the Mind, Book II The Police Officer Years

By

James R. Fitzgerald

(A few additional matters regarding Det. Lt. Eckert and our interactions at the time, of the

overt and covert variety.)

Bonus Chapter 50a

As I mention in Chapter 50, with all of the harassing memos coming at me on a

sometimes-daily basis, I felt I would need a better filing system to keep a more detailed and

accurate track of them. On some days back then I would actually forget which memo was to go

to whom, when it was due, and/or even the topic to be addressed in it. Thus, I wanted to design a

method to categorize them for the present time as well as for the hopefully not-too-distant future

when I may be presenting them as evidence to, shall we say, a higher order.

I also wanted to mess with Lt. Eckerts head a bit at the same time. That was always fun

to do and not really all that difficult. Lets seehow could I go best about this?

Before long I came up with two ideas which worked for me. One Eckert would

eventually pick up on. That was more-or-less by design. The other he never would, but I

wouldnt have cared if he had picked up on it.

Allow me to explain.

I decided in the early fall of 85, as copies of the memos in both directions were rapidly

piling up in my home Evidence Closet, to initiate a basic numbering system in an attempt to

keep better track of these documents. It was never designed to be a secret of any kind. It was
one which would be readily noticed by anyone who would receive one of the many response

memos which I had been ordered to write by one or more initiating authors such as Zajac,

Hughes, Eckert, or even that F.F. Walshey.

To begin this process, I went into my home collection of copies of past harassment-

oriented memos and retro-numbered each of them from the start of 1985, both the ones I

received from the Dark Side and the ones I was compelled to write back to them. When I

reached the September timeframe, I was already in the high twenties. In line with this nascent

system of mine, I decided to start including these numbers in the bottom right-hand corners of

the brand new memos I was writing as I turned them into the various Dark Side recipients. This

went on for a few weeks, with the numbers slowly climbing from the twenties into the thirties.

No one else seemed to pick up on their inclusion, but after the flurry of memos between Eckert

and me over one issue or another, he finally noticed. I guess thats why he was a detective

lieutenant.

In a memo separate from the original topics-du-jour during the course of one of these

sustained back-and-forth paper correspondences, Eckert sent me a separate memo one day.

(Duh! You didnt think hed actually talk to me about something like this, did you?) In the

memo, he asked me to explain to him, in detail, the reason for the ever-increasing numbers, now

well into the thirties, found on the bottom of each of my recent correspondences to him. Of

course, he wanted a response via return memo.

I responded, via memo, as ordered. In it, I was honest and upfront and related to him that

the numbering system assisted me in maintaining a semblance of order to the various

correspondences I was receiving from him as well as several others in BPD management. That

way, I wrote, I could more expediently answer them within their usually short deadlines. Oh,
and I included a number in the lower right-hand corner of this very memo. It was one higher

than the memo before it.

An hour or so later, Lt. Eckert responded to my just-submitted memo. In his memo, he

ordered me to immediately stop numbering my memos to him as it was uncalled for and

unprofessional.

Okay, I got it. But I had to let the lieutenant know I got it.

Soright before I left work that day I sent a memo back to Eckert acknowledging his

order and that I would not do it again. However, I couldnt resist. I included a yet another one-

digit higher number in the bottom right-hand corner, but then typed two xs over it, in effect,

crossing it out. Hed still be able to see it was part of my numbering system, but as if I

momentarily forgot his order, I x-ed it out at the last minute before sending him the memo. He

never responded back to me.

As per my written order from the lieutenant, I no longer included the numbering system

in my real-time memo responses TO him or anyone else. However, I did maintain the system at

home, in my own file, and it greatly helped me and one other person before too long to keep

them all in line.

But, I wasnt done having fun with Eckert just quite yet. He may not approve of my

recent numbering system, but I have a lettering system that will be most entertaining to use on

him. Lets see if he figures this one out.

I had been familiar with the poetry and writings of E.E. Cummings ever since a high

school English class. My familiarity was further reinforced in an English Lit class I took while

at Penn State University. I believe I wrote one, maybe even two, term papers on him and his
works at some point during those eight years of secondary and advanced education. For some

reason his very distinctive, if not unique, style hit a chord with me throughout my early life and

well into adulthood. I dont pretend back then or now to be an expert in Mr. Cummings life or

his writings, but I know Ive always enjoyed what he wrote and how he went about putting those

words to paper.

So, how does this 20th Century American poet, author, and playwright, having died in

1962, make his way into my life at the BPD in 1985?

Please me to explain.

One interesting aspect of Cummings writing style was that he seemingly enjoyed

inserting hidden messages in various forms into some of his poetry and other works. His

methods of doing so could be complex and relatively obscure to even the well-versed literary

expert. To many of E. E.s readers, and certainly to me, this feature made him even more of an

iconoclast in the literary world.

Yesa message within a message, what an intriguing concept.

So, I wonderedin some amateurish way, and for a very select audience, could someone

like me ever possibly attempt to emulate or imitate the style of an E. E. Cummings? If in no

other way, just with the hidden message thing?

Hmmmshould I even try?

Sure, why not? Especially with a very specific Dark Sider who probably never even

heard of Cummings. And, as this whole back and forth, day in and day out, ever so boring

memo writing campaign was becoming rather monotonous for me, maybe it was time to spice

things up a bit and add a challenge. So, thats exactly what I did.
In undertaking this little wordplay mission, I purposely chose memos which were not

disciplinary or necessarily harassing in nature to add this Cummings-esque feature to my writing

style. I figured if these particular memos of mine ever found their way into, well, lets say a

courtroom, I didnt want them being questioned regarding any possible secret messages in them.

Instead, the ones in which I chose to very rudimentarily mimic E. E. concerned mundane issues

relating to my everyday work duties, scheduling, the evidence closet, or other such inanity. They

were memos most likely not put in a file somewhere, yet still read by Eckert. Before this short-

term creative writing period of mine was over, there were four of them I sent to Eckert over a

several weeks timeframe.

So, what did I do? How did I go about it?

Quite simply, on legal-sized paper I first handwrote the message I wished to relay to the

lieutenant. It would take me some extra time, usually extra paper, and some resourceful word

usage and word placement on my part, but I would eventually come up with the exact lexical and

formatting choices that worked for me. Id then sit down at one of the BPD typewriters and do

my thing.

During these creative writing exercises, the Return key became the most important

button on the keyboard to me when carefully typing these memos. For those who may have

never actually composed a document on an actual typewriter (as opposed to a computer/word

processor), thats the key which moves the carriage holding the paper down to the next line. Its

importance will shortly make sense.

Essentially, my mission in preparing these memos was not the topic itself. It was instead

to have the first letter of each line of the body of the memo, when read straight down from top to
bottom, to include a veiled message to Eckert. They were, in effect, hidden in plain sight. You

just had to know where to look for them, much like with E. E. Cummings poems.

The first of these memos to Eckert, when each of the two paragraph, seven total lines

word-initial letters were read downwards, spelled out a specific dietary request I had for him. It

was simply,

I forget after all of these years what word each letter began, but as they were commonly

used English language letters, it wasnt very hard to do.

The next cryptic message to the lieutenant included a three paragraph, eight-line memo

which suggested to him a place he could visit. Downwards it read,

o
H

The next onewell, its self-explanatory, even in only two words. It read,

The last of these E. E. imitation memos advised Eckert in two paragraphs and ten lines

who I felt was in charge of the BPD, or perhaps would soon be. It read,

a
R

I was particularly proud of that one. I recalled that memos first word being Very.

Finding the right v word to begin a sentence in a memo proved a bit tricky, but I got it to work

for me.

Eckert never decoded these several secret messages to him. Or if he did, he never

confronted me about them. And, yes, I carefully read his memos back to me to assure he wasnt,

in fact, employing the same literary construct at me. I dont believe the lieutenant would have

had the wherewithal or capacity to either notice them in the first place or to then reply in kind. It

was not his style, on multiple levels.

I will acknowledge here and now that composing and forwarding those hidden memo

messages to the lieutenant was immature and sophomoric. I readily admit it, lo these many years

later. However, it wasnt easy coming to work every day back then and being derided and

disparaged in almost every way possible, privately and publicly, by those in charge and even

sometimes by those in lower ranks. So, these fun little lexical games allowed me to retain some

element of control and one-upmanship over my bad lieutenant and the Dark Side at a time when

I had virtually none.


Eckert never knew I was doing this to him, but that didnt matter to me at all. It still felt

damn good doing it. And, as an added bonus, I recall my headaches temporarily going away

once I started working on one of these clandestine prose projects. Thus, all the more reason to

keep it up for this short timeframe.

Thank you, E. E. Cummings, wherever you may be. Having read many of your works

over the years and knowing of you and your ingenious style of writing helped me manage life in

one small way for several weeks during some difficult and troubling times.

Interestingly, just about ten years later to the month, I was a brand new FBI profiler just

assigned to the Unabom Task Force in San Francisco. While there, I became highly suspect of

our now very prolific anonymous writer and his possible inclusion of similar hidden message

devices in his Manifesto and the prior letters he sent to his bombing victims and/or the media. In

just a short time, I managed to uncover possibly one of them.

Thanks once again, Mr. Cummings, even a decade later. Im convinced someone else

borrowed from you too, all the while cleverly constructing deadly explosive devices.

(More on this in JCM Book III.)

*****

In closing to this brief, if secretive interactional written history with Lt. Eckert, yes, I got

over him in the few minor ways mentioned above. They were of minimum consequence and

substance, of course. In doing so, it felt good as for once it was me screwing with him, even if
just a little bit and known only by me, with the aforementioned memo-related number and word

games.

However, the lieutenant wasnt resting on his laurels as they pertained to me; no, not at

all. It seems besides his almost everyday harassment of me in the workplace by one means or

another, he also managed to find one other way to really piss me off. He succeeded too. And, it

didnt even occur within the four walls the BPD.

Eckert no doubt knew of me attending Villanova University graduate school. While he

couldnt do anything to stop me from attending there, being enrolled in the MS program, or

getting my seventy-five percent reimbursement check after each course I successfully completed

(and he now had to approve), he could manage to find yet one more way to screw with me in that

regard. And, did he ever.

The lieutenant did it with his mere presence.

On a class break just a few weeks into the fall 85 semester at Villanova University, I

walked down the hallway to use the mens room and who do I see standing by himself outside of

one of the adjacent classrooms on his class break but THE Bob Eckert himself.

What the f**k?!

What was HE doing at MY school?!

Well, okay, it wasnt technically MY school, but that didnt matter to me on this

particular evening. Here was this guy at one of the few sanctuaries in my present professional

life where Im respected, the professors and students like me, they treat me as an accomplished

adult and intelligent person, and most importantly, dont harass me or those around me. I needed
this place to be my sanctuary from Eckerts ilk as well as the whole of the present BPD

environment. But now, he chooses to follow me here to take a class?

I suppose imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but seriously, I didnt need Eckert

attempting to imitate me in any manner, certainly not scholastically at MY school. At least it

wasnt in the class in which I was presently enrolled. That would have really disconcerted me.

Again though, what the f**k?!

As it turns out, I only saw Eckert two or three times that semester at Villanova. He saw

me too. We never spoke. I mean, why start now? I had my friends there, composed of students

and professors alike, and certainly didnt need to talk to him. When our paths would

occasionally cross, Eckert and I simply acted as if we didnt know each other, which was fine

with me. After that one semester, I never saw him again on campus. Im not sure if he ever

officially enrolled in the Human Organizational Science program, just took that one course, aced

it, flunked it, or what. I didnt care. For reasons soon to become evident, both of our lives

would be drastically changing. As such, I guess the whole grad school thing didnt quite work

out for him, at least not at Villanova.

Good riddance!

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