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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

52. "YOU BRING THE CROISSANTS"




Eringer, deflecting more hypnosis from Ira Einhorn


Undercover with the FBI

January 1999



The 35-seat EMB-80 Brasilia lifted from Nice on the French Riviera, into a flawless blue sky.  It circled the azure Mediterranean to gain altitude for clearing snow-capped French alps, then lurched northwest toward a region of France Ira Einhorn would soon describe to me as "the back-end of nowhere." 

I fast determined that if the Angoulois is indeed the rear-end of France, the dismal village Champagne-Mouton, where Einhorn resided with his wife, is its butt-hole.

As the noisy plane fought clouds, I plugged my ears with a Walkman:  The High Llamas' Cold and Bouncy, which aptly described this flight. 

The date:  January 20th. 

Most of this plane's passengers disembarked at Clermont-Ferrand; only a handful remained on board for the short hop to Limoges, famous for its porcelain. 

A tall, skinny, bearded man greeted me at the small airport. 

"Mister Eringer?" said Jean-Pierre Yot, an Einhorn friend who'd been tasked with fetching me.  (Einhorn never did a lot; one thing he never did was drive.) 

Yot was chatty during the hour-long ride to Champagne-Mouton.  His questioning gentle; his nonchalance, pronounced (a police informant?). 

When he eventually got round to my business with Einhorn, I responded with affable vagueness, never missing an opportunity to keep my mouth shut. 

Yot told me he'd known Einhorn about three years. 

"I knew him when he was still Eugene Mallon," said Yot.  "Nothing much happens in the Charente and people like it that way," he added.  "People keep to themselves.  If you live twenty miles away, you're considered foreign."

It had become fashionable among the Dutch and English to settle here, he said, for those who desired a simple, cheap existence in France. 

We entered one end of Champagne-Mouton and exited out the other.  A sign on the right side of the road said Moulin de Guitry.  On the left side sat the Einhorn’s old mill house.  I checked my wristwatch:  1:15 p.m. 

I climbed out and found what I found:  Ira Einhorn, emerging from his front door.   

"Welcome!" he called.  

Einhorn was dressed in a yellow button-down shirt, tails hanging over his dirty blue jeans. 

I crossed the street, shook Einhorn's hand, and looked deeply into his eyes.  I expected to see hypnotic powers.

After all, wasn't this the highly intelligent Unicorn who could supposedly brainwash people? 

All I detected was a possible thyroid condition.

Einhorn's eyes, bloodshot from age (then 58) or stress, protruded from their sockets.  Sincere, yes; truthful, no.

I expected Einhorn to be a lot cleverer than the man with whom I locked eyes; with whom I would then spend many hours in conversation.  My ears would soon encounter an intense bluster; a carefully articulated but flatulent psycho-babble.   

Annika, behind him, studied me with unsure eyes. 

We entered the Einhorn residence, into a dark, cold foyer.  This led to a kitchen warmed by an old wood stove, the only source of heat in their abode. 

Einhorn grabbed a bottle of wine.  "A neighbor of ours made this."  He poured four glasses. We sipped.

Silence ensued. 

Jean-Pierre Yot commented politely that perhaps it needed time.  

I said time would not help.  "It tastes like Welch's Grape Juice without sugar." 

Einhorn laughed. "You're right.  This neighbor of ours doesn't know what she's doing." 

He uncorked another bottle, barely drinkable plonk. 

It was immediately apparent that the Einhorns were in wretched financial shape, living on whatever pennies would buy. 

Einhorn dismissed Yot, reminding him to collect me the following morning from Hotel Plaisance and stop by for croissants and coffee. 

"You bring the croissants," he instructed. 

While Annika prepared lunch, Einhorn gave me a tour.

Adjacent to the kitchen was a multi-purpose living and dining room/home-office.  At one end, a rustic dining table; at the other, Einhorn's computer station and Compaq equipment with twenty-inch monitor.  All these high-tech toys were gifts, Einhorn told me, from ABC News:  a pay-off for the Connie Chung interview.

"She also gave me a color TV set, but I sold it for cash," said a gleeful Einhorn.  "I think they broke every law possible by giving me this stuff." 

(My report to the FBI suggested that they arrest Connie Chung for aiding and abetting a wanted fugitive.)

The bathroom, basic and sparse, was very cold, un-kissed by the wood stove. 

Next, the barn, which contained two large piles of chopped wood. 

Einhorn crowed about what a find this had been; that he'd paid $75,000 for it (Annika's money, of course). 

We returned to the dining area, reared our rumps, and Annika served lunch:  potato and leek soup, country pate, hard cheese, a tossed salad, baguette. 

We ate and talked, and talked and talked, for hours.

Annika served, cleaned up, hauled firewood from the barn to the kitchen, stoked the oven, and knitted, as Einhorn talked, occasionally listened, and bounced back and forth to his computer station for document retrieval.

Annika was there to serve the ponophobic Einhorn. 

His role in this household? 

To read, study, pontificate, philosophize, and write, though, Einhorn confided, he’d been suffering writer's block ever since French gendarmes arrived at his door. 

"I was in the middle of my fifth novel," Einhorn sighed.  "I could never get back into it after what happened."

Annika seemed in awe of her husband, though I discerned some tension between the two, perhaps because she did everything and he nothing. 

Einhorn professed eagerness to know my whole background, although he constantly interrupted my spiel to eruct related tangents personal to him.  Each time I allowed Einhorn to fully indulge his logomania. I had no doubt that, within 24 hours, he would regard me as his new best friend. 

Einhorn whined about having been deceived by Connie Chung and ABC News; that they were not supposed to lead-in their interview by describing him as "a fugitive who got away with murder" (edited out of the videotape they sent him). 

"Maybe I did it and maybe I didn't," said Einhorn, referring to the murder of Holly Maddux in reference to the U.S. extradition request.  "That has nothing to do with it." (!) 

Einhorn tried to convince me that Holly was murdered to frame him and thus end his social activism.    

I asked who would do this. 

Einhorn jumped up, strode to his computer, printed out a document, returned. 

"Ron Pandolphi," he said. "He's head of the Weird Desk at the CIA." 

"The Weird Desk?" 

"Yeah, uh-huh," said Einhorn.  "That's the most interesting department.  Mind control, Stanley Gottlieb.  Pandolphi's also involved in the Chinese satellite stuff."  He winked.  "And Kit Green.  He used to be chief of the CIA's Weird Desk.  He investigated seven suspicious deaths.  One was Holly.  Another was William Franklin, a metallurgy professor at Kent State.  Now Green is head of medical research at General Motors.  You need a Q clearance to get into this stuff.  But the main reason they framed me," Einhorn added.  "UFOs." 

"UFOs?" 

Einhorn nodded.   "I know they exist.  Monsanto and other companies have been developing technology retrieved from crashed alien spaceships:  fiber optics, lasers... they all derive from Roswell, New Mexico."

Einhorn zipped off somewhere. 

Annika, knitting at the table, leaned forward and said, "It's so good you are here.  Ira has not been able to talk like this to anyone for eighteen years.  The villagers don't understand him." 

His English or his psycho-babble?  I did not ask.

Einhorn, famously referred to as "a bum who photocopies things," returned with new photocopies.

"So what do you want to do with me, with my books?" he asked. 

Put you behind bars, asshole, who gives a crap about the books. 

More to the point, Einhorn added, "How much money could I get?" 

I asked which of his novels most excited him. 

"Cantor Dust," Einhorn replied without hesitation.  "It's my fourth novel.  My best." 

"Okay," I said.  "That's the one I want to read." 

"I haven't decided yet whether to give it to you," said Einhorn.  "The important question is, how much could I get?" 

"Obviously, I have to read it first." 

"But let's suppose you read it and you like it.  How much?" 

"Maybe twenty or thirty thousand dollars." 

"Good," replied Einhorn.  "I really need 25 thousand dollars." 

We finally adjourned at 5:45.  I gifted Annika with a box of soap, assorted fragrances from Provence.  For Einhorn, a biography of Nabakov he'd requested.  And I gave him a copy of Edward Howard's book, Safe House, mentioning that I had edited it. 

"That must have been tough," said Einhorn. 

"Just a rehearsal for you," I said.  "Your book." 

Annika drove me to the nearby Hotel Plaisance.  I checked into room 17, with two hours to rest before dinner. 



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