Excerpt: 'Derail this Train Wreck' by Daniel Forbes



From The Telltale Bulge:

My backpack adding bulk to heft, I breasted the waves of commuters spilling from Penn Station, important people breaking on the prow of a heavily laden ship. Aghast at the impertinence of this slack vessel plowing doggedly forward, some sleek, overpowered types barely veered clear. Why, it carved entire seconds from the start of their Thursday.

Crossing Seventh at 34th Street, I saw it was pushing 9:00 a.m. Almost Leslie time, when the well-mannered pit bull graced hundreds of little radio and TV stations around the country with more real news in her introductory headlines than you’d get from hours of the mewling accommodationists on Narcissists’ Permission Radio, never mind the shouting elsewhere on the dial. Leslie’s assessment of another loathsome day, her measured jeremiad, brought to mind Brando’s Wild One. Asked what he was rebelling against, Brando’s biker laconically replied: “What’ve you got?”

I dug my little silver transistor radio out of my pack, stone-age technology fine by me. But I didn’t walk along holding it cocked to an ear – a tad too doofy. So there was the occasional odd stare at the curious bulge resting on my shoulder under my shirt. My yap closed, despite looking like a mouth-breather, the yakking wasn’t coming from the fillings in my teeth. Hell with ‘em, cause the last several blackouts, people crowded around to hear the news, no one snickering then.

So as not to drown out my imminent pronouncement, I’d silence Leslie (fervently wished in many a quarter) once she finished her initial take on the world. Given the tenor of the times, I certainly wasn’t messing with cops while carrying a bulky backpack and having some weird bulge tucked under my shirt. Weren’t bulges one of the lies the London bobbies hurled at that Brazilian – plumber? electrician? – shot in the head way back when? Anyhow, should fortune smile, and my pack and I get plucked for a search, my statement would be short:

Officers, I hereby assert both my right not to be searched and to continue my journey. As you know, having sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution, the Fourth Amendment prohibits “unreasonable searches and seizures.” The simple act of carrying a backpack by no means a reasonable cause for suspicion, I now require a statement from you that I am free to leave.

If the cops stood there scratching, I’d take it from the top until sheer, ready fury prompted the type of police action I’d already seen way too much of that week. Focusing on the three key elements: Fourth Amendment; no reasonable cause; and their acknowledgment I could go; I could fumble my way through it easy enough.

Leslie caressing me under my shirt with the day’s news, I headed for the main entrance to Penn Station, the execrable rabbit warren tucked under a mid-Manhattan office tower and the dreary round hatbox of Madison Square Garden. To the degree her professional persona ever cracked (just an occasional hunh muttered under her breath before her next question), Leslie sounded quite exercised about a D.C. circuit court ruling permitting a U.S. “administrative annexation” of a vast swath of Venezuela for the latter’s own defense. The court leaned heavily on HeadMan’s recent “manifest rights” decree during the Current Permanent Crisis.

The crowd a thicket still a block from Penn, I saw six cops on horseback hanging out a little ways down a cross-street. Cops my meat that Thursday morning, they merited a detour from my usual, Seventh Avenue entrance. I walked up all but whistling, I was such a happy-go-lucky fellow. The equally sanguine cops sat way up high chatting amongst themselves. Seeing them in their black leather boots and shiny helmets towering overhead on their choice NYPD horses, no wonder the Aztecs believed the Spanish horsemen were gods.

Cops on the clock doing their usual in a vastly over-policed New York, no grist for my mill. But lookey-there: an official station entrance tucked away on this side street. Never a reason to skip the main entrance before, it was new to me; it just might let me scout out any bag-search operation down below. Spy one, and I could retreat back to the main entrance to stage a calm, full-frontal approach for a safe encounter with some undoubtedly twitchy police. Busy pawing through citizens’ stuff at their rickety table, like Chilean Cassandra had said the day before, they knew damn well they couldn’t safeguard even themselves let alone the rest of us.

An escalator spat me out up at the Jersey Transit level. But, loyal to the land of my birth, I wound down and around a stairway to a narrow public corridor, signs pointing the way to the Long Island Rail Road. Despite my bum ankle and a pack full of books, I motored along at a good clip. Otherwise, that part of midtown, you’re left for the crows to peck. Plus, having passed through this dump all my life, I was curious where this unknown corridor led. The wall on my right stretched unbroken; on the left a big opening lay just ahead, perhaps the main LIRR hangout where folks lingered to be shot from a cannon once their track was announced.

And Leslie started declaiming about the Disaffected Exonerated. Not nearly as amorphous as they liked to seem, the group of bike riders was suing the NYPD over undercover surveillance of the heinous crime of riding en masse through city streets. Such is the physics of a fluid mass – blow on a dandelion and try to corral the puffs – the last Friday of the month their sheer wheeled numbers allowed several hundred of them to thumb their noses at the cops. Doing so, the group became a wildly disproportionate obsession of NYPD Commissioner Walk-on-Water Ted.

Month after month, expensive phalanxes of menacing police lined the cyclists’ presumed route, then scrambled to their vehicles to catch up when the procession took an unexpected turn. Undercovers with cameras peeking through holes in their shirts, open whole-vid operators capturing the biometrics of every face, helicopters thundering overhead to promote hysteria, mass arrests, Boostings, the whole nine yards – playground-bully Ted achieved little beyond looking foolish.

Enjoying Leslie’s account, I careened round the corner on my left and about knocked over the shorter of two Metropolitan Transportation Authority cops accompanied by a National Guard soldier as they came racing around from the other side. We collided but then were propelled back and apart like two magnets of the same pole, as much from the force of my and the lead cop’s involuntary “Yahs!” as from the jarring collision itself.

My chest still aching from a recent police encounter, he’d clocked me with his nose in nearly the same damn spot, the lead cop maybe only 5’8″ as sense memory had it. I stood there panting, having stumbled back several yards into my corridor. Also propelled back around their side of the corner, they’d yet to reappear.

Granting three armed men the initiative, I froze, my hands well away from my body and Leslie blaring away from my shoulder. Let her talk. I sure wasn’t touching any hidden piece of shiny silver metal until they reappeared. Damn, oughta make ‘em wear bells, like cats in a bird-filled backyard. Double-damn, did I scare them or what? How long was I supposed to stand there? Didn’t these guys know this was my day, one intrepid soul about to hold the forces of state control to account?

And then the three of them came around the corner, the short guy in the middle with, yup! some blood bright on his upper lip, less so where he’d smeared it wiping off his chin. None looked any too happy. Fuck a duck! Just putting one foot in front of the other, I’d gone and bloodied a cop, broken his nose probably.

The bloodied one was maybe thirty, good looking with a shock of dark hair and wearing his uniform just so. The other cop was older, taller, bulkier and with the sort of ’70s aviator glasses that did his face no favors. Crouching with his feet spread, the soldier kept his hands poised to snatch any passing, West-Nile virus mosquitoes from the air.

Adrenaline shooting between us, no one but Leslie said a word. Amazingly, an NYPD honcho had agreed to grace her airwaves. She launched one of her usual, low-keyed, take-no-prisoners questions and said, “Deputy Commissioner Morris, your response please.”

Morris replied in New Yawk cop-tawk about squashing groups with criminal intent. “And make no mistake about it,” he warned. “I’ve seen the T in the eyes of these filthy young Subversives running roughshod on bicycles. The Disaffected Exonerated just don’t get it that when the Commissioner himself says enough, you damn well better stop already.”

A don’t-mess terrier even – especially – with blood on his face, the short cop erupted. “How’s he got a NYPD white-shirt coming off a speaker? Who the fuck are you? Get your hands away from your body!”

Assuredly, they were.

The tall cop said, “Frankie, what’s he got in that backpack? And what’s that on his shoulder? You see that boxy thing under his shirt there!”

Frankie said, “Yeah, and look at that cord going down the strap.” Indeed, my swank, army-surplus pack featured a number of accoutrements and attachments, clips for water bottles and whatnot. Stepping back, Frankie barked into his radio: “Homeless Disgorgement Team requesting a sergeant immediately! Corridor B-7!”

And the soldier said nothing, his eyes boring into me as all they retreated a couple of steps, their hands on holstered guns. Then Frankie’s nose started trickling blood again, undoubtedly rendering him harder to control. I took a step forward. “Hey, man, I’m sorry about your nose. I didn’t see you coming around that corner. I mean, it’s not like you saw me either, right? Look, I got a paper towel with my lunch in my pack – it’s clean.”

I started to reach, but first to silence Leslie talking quite unhelpfully about a subpoena for records of police undercover activity. And Frankie said, “He’s doing some kind of Demo with a tape about the cops or what? Who is this guy?”

“Officers, no. This is a radio playing a regular station. Actually, pretty darn unusual, but still right in the middle of the FM dial, as long as HeadFu – you know – lets it last. Let me just get at it so I can deal with you gentlemen properly.”

I reached up across my body to my shoulder, my hand (shaking a little and, damn, I didn’t like giving them that satisfaction) trying to push past the heavy pack’s strap and under my shirt.

And one cop yelled “Hey!” and the other yelled “Watch it!” They all backed up another step, and Frankie stashed his radio back on his belt. Behind me came the determined clack-clack-clack of a pair of darting high heels, a sound that might normally turn my head. I said, “No, man, come on. Let me just show you what the deal with this is – that it works.”

And I pulled out my little shiny silver radio. Smiling at my ridiculous, lonely dependence on such a simple thing, I saw the younger cop draw his gun. “Hey, guys, come on! Maybe I should just shut it off. Or let me tune in something you officers’ll like on AM. Just about any station, right? You’ll see.”

Trying to position my hand to flick the little switch from FM to AM, I stretched it out to show them. And the bloodied, good looking cop with the crease in his pants and the shine on his shoes put one hand under the other and pointed that thing at my face. Our eyes locked, him looking all twisted and tragic and – Christ! sighting through one eye. It all too quick for me to get hysterical, I stood rooted as his face scrunched up like a five-year-old trying not to cry after his big sister walloped him. Then the gun exploded, the noise beyond measure in the metallic corridor.

The older cop screamed, “Frankie, what the hell are you doing? What the hell did you just do?” Frankie not answering, the other cop took out his own gun, aimed carefully at the floor behind me and fired.

Sounding like she was underwater, but all the louder for it somehow, Leslie cut deep through the roaring in my ears. Before anything else, that pain had to stop. A tree hit by a car, not knowing if I was yelling or whispering, I said, “What’s your problem? Wait! Can you please just let me take care of this so I can deal with you.”

And then this man standing fifteen feet away put his hand under his wrist again and again fired as the soldier leaped to knock the gun upwards.

After a bit, I realized part of the throbbing in my head was a woman behind me screaming her own fool head off, and who could blame her, shots flying all over. I felt the blood coming down the side of my face and swooned to the floor.

It’s true what they say: your life does pass before your eyes. I’d experienced it as a teenager lying near the bumper of a car that’d just screeched to a halt, your story in a fleeting whirl you never quite forget. Lying crumpled on my side, my dumb pack full of books half-humped on top of me, I looked up at the two guns dangling from two hands and was glad that no panorama-of-me flashed by. But my relief was tempered by the fear I might’ve wet myself when I felt blood on my face. I didn’t dare move my hand down to check.

The blood dripping off my head to the floor, so much for any exalted martyrdom to the Fourth Amendment. So much for emulating Bartleby taking a stand at Lincoln Center two nights back. So much for the master of disaster always thinking he could control any situation no matter how slippery. Amateur semiotician and first-rate fool, I kept telling them, just let me deal with you, a charged, murky phrase. Forget my dumb mouth, maybe a shiny silver radio was simply no longer safe in a micro-zap world.

Shot in the head. Not good. It’s one thing to get rubbed out in some grand, Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death moment refusing a search. Me and the self-immolating Vietnamese Buddhist monks – right on, right on! A pretty fraught combo: a jumpy, dopey cop and a careless dope whose tongue flapped wrong. Heaven knows how long-gone Moondog would’ve fared these days, the peaceful New York poet and composer who dressed like a Viking and carried a spear.

The soldier bolted towards me lying defenseless on the floor. Rather than finishing the job with his big black boots, he ran on past. I turned and was confronted by baby-blue panties on a serious blonde sprawled on the floor, keening and clutching her stomach with both hands trying to staunch the blood seeping through her short, tight green dress. Had the first shot hit her too, or the second ricocheting off the floor that his partner had fired for cop-cover-up solidarity? Or was it the third, bouncing off the ceiling when the soldier hit the bloodied cop’s wrist? She was entitled to scream.

The soldier bent to the Blonde. Less than a minute since the third shot, maybe fifty people had come racing around that idiot corner. Luckily, seeing two people bleeding on the floor and two cops with their guns out, the stampeders shimmied to a halt, more and more newcomers jostling up behind to crane their necks. I slumped down further to rest my head on my arm on the floor. From this odd angle everyone led with their knees, their faces swimming awfully high up. A skinny yammerer in a sleeveless shirt and a bald guy with a gut in a pricey sports coat started shouting questions and suppositions. I tried to sit up, but couldn’t shrug my way out of my rhinoceros of a pack.

The older cop got out his radio and said, “Dispatch, we got a 10-13, repeat, 10-13, officer needs assistance, in LIRR corridor B-7. Repeat, LIRR corridor B-7!”

Great. Now every cop within a square mile would rush up with his gun out, looking to protect his brother officers. Hey man, it wasn’t the cops, but the civilians that needed assistance, our life’s-blood dripping on a grimy floor.

The short cop – Frankie, that was his name – stood there mooning, his gun loose and disowned in his hand. Maybe he’d drop it to go off again to finish the job. He suddenly started kicking the wall’s metal baseboard over and over, the booms in my head worse than the shots, Frankie squalling deep in his throat about how his wife was gonna kill him. That she was gonna be really pissed. That this’d probably be the last straw for the two of them, if he got kicked off the force and lost their health insurance.

A jellyfish tossed up on a crowded beach, I lay in the middle of the floor with the crowd edging ever closer now that it looked like the shooting was over. I managed to haul myself to my elbow and then scooch back to lean the pack I couldn’t unharness against the wall, some thick hardback, probably the damn Solzhenitsyn, assaulting my kidneys. The effort costing, my head lolled on my neck like a newborn’s. The world twirled, then wavered. I got ahold of my hair on the side away from the blood and pulled my head upright. The corridor swam until it slowed and eventually righted itself. I found I could maintain.

Bending over the Blonde, the soldier yanked something out of that pouch they wear strapped to their leg and pressed it to her stomach. Man, look at her! No matter what, she was gonna steal my thunder on protesting the searches. Not that I’d get to make any. With a beautiful girl gut-shot by one of our Heroes patrolling the perilous front lines at Penn Station, big-galoot me was damn sure getting cast as the villain of the piece once everyone started pointing fingers.

My ears roaring and my breath somehow rasping inside my skull, I tried to keep my head still. The soldier rose from the Blonde, muttering and grabbing for his radio. He talked into it, then reached out and banged its base against the wall I was leaning against. Another bomb in my head. Striding back, he stepped over my legs and took Frankie’s radio off his belt, the cop not noticing. Yelling with his arms outstretched, the other cop tried to stem the crowd. And the soldier, praise be, got through on Frankie’s radio and started hustling up medical assistance. Realizing I’d soon be passing through others’ hands, I confirmed my drawers were dry.

A lady in a LIRR shirt elbowed her way through the crowd towards Frankie, demanding the who/what/why.

That snapped him out of it. Ignoring her, he came over to me and bent quick for the radio. My hearing screwed, I’d spaced on it blaring there in my hand. Frankie refocusing my attention, I heard Leslie revisiting the Venezuela story, something about a proposed bombing campaign designed to spark a national uprising, though, improbably enough, by the people getting bombed against their own government.

If Frankie had bent for the radio nice and slow, I might not have reacted. But he darted too quickly, and I got a good grip on it. He started prying my fingers open, then picked up the whole limp noodle – to bite me? If he disappeared it, whatever I’d pointed at them could be said to have gone lost in the general confusion of the growing crowd, it then soon morphing to some kind of pistol. Poor procedure to lose it, but both cops had done their best.

“Hey, Frankie,” I wheezed. “Haven’t you done enough for one day? It’s a radio, like I told you. It’s always gonna be a radio, and it’s mine!”

Saying nothing, he started digging his nails into the sides of my fingers. Lucky for me, intelligence from the far reaches of my empire wasn’t transmitting all that well back to headquarters. But this little struggle obviously wasn’t lasting long. I took a deep breath and remembered to generate volume from my diaphragm. “Help! Somebody help me! This cop shot me, and now he’s trying to steal my radio so he can say it was a gun. Folks, this ain’t right!”

My feedback loop rampaging since the first shot, I didn’t know whether I was shouting or squeaking. But right on cue this big Asian dude with magenta hair and a slinky white girl dressed in a heat-wave smile and a sneeze, both about nineteen, pushed their way out of the crowd, the guy lugging a clunky, presumably licensed, old-school whole-vid camera. Not looking like one of the few, HeadMan-approved visual media, he was probably one of the rare film students grandfathered into a whole-vid.

The girl bent down to see Frankie’s badge and called out, “Marko, this guy said the cop’s name is Frankie. He’s MTA and his badge number is 5-9-4-7. Get both their faces, including their ears if you can. And get his head wound too, though it doesn’t look too bad.”

Some highly starched dude started yelling at them to just let the Protectors do their job, but these kids, bless ’em, ignored the swelling pro-cop chorus. Frankie said a whole lot of bad words jumbled all together, put one hand up by Marko’s lens and the other painfully on my knee to push himself up, and vanished through the crowd that parted for his uniform and his gun. I clicked the damn radio off, then six or seven soldiers came rushing up, two with big guns they used like halberds to push the crowd back. Finally a use for those things in a crowded train station.

The gutsy young girl was obviously a precocious med student who knew all about entirely superficial head wounds. Illustrating why HeadMan had banned them for almost everyone, Marko’s whole-vid became an instant press pass. He went over to film the Blonde who’d slumped to the floor, her head cradled by a female cop. And two paramedics came rushing up with enough equipment to invade Normandy, took one look at me and headed straight for her. Two more then barged through the crowd, and one put ammonia painfully under my nose, cut my sleeve off and got some goop flowing into my arm.

The lifesavers didn’t tarry. As the crowd grew and pressed against the soldiers and then a swarm of cops, they wheeled the Blonde past, the same lady cop running along besides her stretching a fluid bag awkwardly over her head. The crowd melted for them and then flowed back like wet sand at the water’s edge where some kid has dug.

My two guys, the chunky one with the big stud in his ear stood up and stared down at me, while the skinny, hawk-nosed one tipped me forward and with some difficulty wrestled me out of my pack. He applied a heavy-duty band-aid of sorts, then wrapped some gauze around my head and taped it down on the good side. He asked if I had any kind of weird taste in my mouth, and when I said no, Skinny said, “You know what – relax, cause it just grazed you. Didn’t even penetrate your skull. You’re either lucky or the most hardheaded bastard I’ve ever seen.”

Chunky detached a portable wheelchair from the back of his largest case. I told them I could get up myself, but they each got under an armpit and hoisted me into the chair. The walls going wavy again, I managed to pop the radio, hopefully unseen, under my ruined shirt.

A dough-faced cop in a white shirt showed up bellowing for everyone to move back, that he was the “Incident Commander.” Maybe four bystanders retreated a step. He then yelled for someone named Frost, and Frankie’s partner came up with a crisp salute. “Thought I told you to keep Reisner out of trouble,” white shirt said. “Where the hell is he?”

“Captain, he’s here. He must be gathering evidence.”

“I see. You fired your gun too, Frost – that new, well, not Reg but … ?”

“Captain, I – ”

“Right, Frost. Say nothing till the Response debriefing. I think Nembach’s running it today, a Calfer, thank God.” Pointing down at me, “This the perp?”

“I guess so. I mean –”

“That’s an affirmative regarding this Suspect. You have two daughters, don’t you, Frost? I don’t imagine you’re going to try to swing college – not for both, post-Plunge – but still.”

Rocking back and forth on the balls of his feet, almost strutting in place, the captain stared at his subordinate. Finally Frost saluted and took two steps back, almost tripping over a weaselly guy crowding in, his stained tie a bad match for his stained polo shirt. He’d already caught my eye by continually blowing little saliva bubbles.

The captain turned to Chunky and said, “This Perpetrator’s, uh, cut is not life-threatening, correct? As the Incident Commander, I will rule on the timing of his release to medical authorities. If he cooperates, we can arrange a visit to a city clinic soon enough. But right now he has several statements to sign.”

Chunky smiled to himself, shrugged and half-turned away. The captain sputtered and almost reached out to grab the big EMT by the sleeve. Thinking better of it, he turned to his uniform and said, “Frost, you and –”

“Captain, not even close,” Skinny intruded. “This man is our patient, so forget that ‘incident commander’ stuff. We don’t recognize it – certainly not from the MTA. This man’s health is my responsibility, and he’s leaving for Bellevue immediately. He’s at risk for swelling, intracranial hemorrhaging or maybe a stroke. I’d think you’d want him to get the quickest treatment possible. But either way – let’s go!”

This last was directed at Chunky, as Skinny pushed him around to the back of my chair and picked up my knapsack and deposited it – umph! – in my lap, his hands soon full with his and most of Chunky’s gear.

The captain darted in front of us, my toes up against his shins, his hand on his gun. He said, “Frost, write down this man’s badge number.” Skinny turned to Frost and plucked his medical-service badge away from his chest for easy reading. “All right big-shot band-aid man, you can take this Suspect to Bellevue for short-term medical clearance. After that, he’s mine, B.E.I. And believe me, we’re going to find out who’s behind him and his T. I am not having Everidge’s plans for all of us loused up by a no-account Subversive. You got that, Frost? You play your cards right, and we can find a cush spot for you too. Though you should probably wait two more years till you get your twenty in.”

“Captain, I’m going to ask you to get out of our way. Now!”

“Sure. Sure thing, Mister MD. But one more thing: whose pack is that you gave him? That’s not yours?”

“That’s his property,” Skinny said.

“That means it’s mine. This is a crime scene and that’s evidence. Have you even bothered to check its incident significance? It looks awfully bulky to me, not exactly his laundry home to momma.”

I gaped up at them, curious whether Skinny would defend my property rights. The captain bent to the pack. I put one hand on my shirt so the radio wouldn’t fall out, and the other weakly gripped a strap. Suddenly a bunch of bright dots flared up all around. “Hey, this is my stuff – my books – so keep your hands off and let me get to the hospital. Listen, I don’t feel so good right now.”

“So go to the hospital, Subversive. We’ll be there waiting for you.” And he knocked my listless hand away, but failed to scoop up my brand new pack with one hand. Getting a better grip, he handed it to Frost. Chunky then wheeled me down the corridor to an escalator and spun me around none too gently to tip my chair and ride me up backwards. I peered down through my feet at a couple of hundred people milling around, the crowd densest over by where the Blonde had been. They started peeling off around the edges to start their day, their murmur fading as I rose.

A cop outside helped hoist my chair up to bang painfully into the back of an ambulance. Chunky driving, Skinny got in the back, whipped out a blood pressure cuff, but then started listening to my heart. I asked what the matter was, but he ignored me. One of the back doors opened, and an older guy with colorless, greased-back hair and a shabby, metallic green suit clambered aboard with surprising deftness.

Skinny bending over me with his back to the doors, I said, “Hey, is he coming with us?”

Skinny turned and, crouching low, advanced on the man. “You’ve gone too far. This is my bus – mine, inside and out! I don’t care if you’re deputy chief of the whole damn department, this is my ambulance and my patient. And you’re getting out.”

“Steady there, sonny. Just making sure a crucial piece of evidence doesn’t leave the crime scene. Now if you don’t mind, I – ”

And Skinny put his head down and charged forward and basically forced the cop back out. The cop grabbed a handle going down as his other hand scuffled under his armpit for the cops’ usual helpmate. Skinny engaged a latch on the doors and banged hard on the wall – man, that went right through me – yelling to his driver, “Move! Let’s go!”

Chunky made the siren scream, wheeled into a U-turn and full-tilt-boogied the wrong way up Seventh Avenue two long blocks to 34th Street judging from the hard right turn he wrestled us through. The guts of my brain wobbled horribly as we beat our way to Bellevue, still the best gunshot ER in the City.

The way everything felt loose and goosey upstairs and with all the dots flashing up and winking out, maybe that slinky girl who’d rescued me from Frankie wasn’t such a great diagnostician after all.

Photograph by slgckgc


Excerpted from Derail this Train Wreck, forthcoming from Fomite Press. A novel sparked by the NYPD’s assault on my wife and I for exercising our free speech rights during a concert at Lincoln Center. Our successful federal lawsuit (1:05-cv-07331-NRB) was cited by the New York Civil Liberties Union as bolstering free speech case law.

About the Author:

Daniel Forbes caught the White House diddling TV scripts for political aims; the networks’ hush-money: $22-million. Congressional hearings ensued, and his testimony before the House and Senate undressed the Drug Czar. His journalism has appeared in places you know and garnered embossed lucite for the mantelpiece he lacks.