3 or 4 PEOPLE DIE AS A RESULT OF 1134

Two (or three) of the people dying because of Gallery 1134 were innocents; they were not even holographers; in fact the one in parentheses never even saw the place!  But some unfortunate turn of events in their lives caused them to be thrown into the insanity of Loren and Bob and John Hoffmann and Al Ornelas.  The latter was also a victim, as he pursued his own noble ideals but got caught in the fatal flaw of loving the unlovable.
 
It was two of the CETA workers who bought the farm, courtesy of a third, whose deaths Loren could have prevented, if not for her own greed. 

Since Gallery 1134 was a "not‑for-profit" institution, they were eligible for the government dole.  And one of the grants available for under‑employed but creative people was the CETA grant, the acronym being for Cooperative Education and Training Act, one of Jimmy Carter's pet projects.  I guess the basic idea was to train people (mainly slanted to minorities) in new technical fields, jobs that they might not normally be hired for except if there was no risk to the business, in terms of expending a salary for them, and Uncle Sam chipped in not only for that but also for managing the CETA trainees.  Then maybe if they got good at it, then the company would hire them as a full-fledged employee.

When I started at Gallery 1134, there were three Black guys working there, the kind that the program was designed for.  They were Ron Scott, an outgoing, likable black percussionist, whose natural curiosity got him killed working at this place.  Damone Jackson, intelligent, hard-working black actor.  And Collins Williams Daniels, or some permutation of those three names, as he had a Social Security card for each one.  So while one of his aliases was working, the other two were collecting.  He sang gospel after work and recorded, and even sent George Clinton of Parliament/Funkadelic fame to the museum.

These three were quite nice people.  You could have fun with them, they were positive, etc.  You could feel at ease with them.  But then the second crop came in, and they were not very cool.  Scummy street people would be a polite characterization for them. For Loren to get extra money for managing the CETA program there was a minimum number of people that she had to retain, so the CETA offices kept sending them, and she kept taking them.  Besides them, there was good old lonesome Joe Porter, a white guy in his late forties, who would tell us what he was planning to watch on TV for the rest of the week.  His greatest pleasure in life was a pitcher of beer with his lunch on Saturday.  Burnt out from working on the ballistics of Atlas ICBM's in the days before pocket calculators, he was extremely withdrawn from the world.   Women were anathema to him; he was complaining that all they wanted to do was take your money, which must have happened to him.  All he wanted out of life was a nice steady job that he could retreat to, and holography was sort of up his alley because of his technological bent.  He eventually got to be the person who did the explaining to the customers who paid that extra dollar on the weekends.  But Gallery 1134 literally became hell for him thanks to the likes of Raphael Mallory.

He liked it to be pronounced Ray-fell instead of the Italianish Ra-fa‑el.  His path and mine had actually crossed earlier in time, as his brother was a classmate of mine in high school. This cat was the devil of death.  In fact, he didn't even like Loren's black cats, Shadow and Midnight, he said that they were the only things sneakier than him.  And John Hoffmann, Victor Heredia, and myself presented a united front to Loren telling her to get rid of him, as he was dealing somethng other than weed to the rest of the employees, but she wouldn’t, as she needed a certain amount of warm bodies in the place so she could collect a manager’s salary.  She didn’t care even if they accomplished anything during the day, just as long as they got a paycheck and she got hers.

The first one of the three to go was Ron Scott.  Although he was trying to settle down and become a productive member of society,, that didn't stop him form buying some powdered recreation for the weekend from Raphael.  It was "Tick" or some such nonsense which was poorly disguised animal tranquilizers.  Since the weekend began early, like Friday afternoon, he and a friend split the shit.  Ron passed out, but his friend was still somewhat awake so he took the wheel of Ron's Thunderbird, but he was not awake enough to prevent an accident on the Eisenhower Expressway which threw Ron out the car window, and broke his neck, killing him instantly.  Since he was sleeping he died never knowing what hit him.

Loren took us all to the wake.  lt was held in a black funeral home just west of Gallery 1134 and we walked over.  We were the only white people there amidst Ron's friends and family, including his mother.  Since Ron's widow knew exactly what had transpired, the hate rays going from her eyes to Rayfell were clearly visible to all in the room.  The fucking asshole had a look on his face like, "Hell, I sold him the shit, and I'm sorry, but I didn't tell him to take it and drive."

And I blame Loren, too, even more so, for Ron's demise.  There were enough warning signs that Rayfell was a bad influence on the place, plus he was counterproductive.  He would rather do nothing than anything.  As soon as any authority figures were out of the room, he would put down whatever he was doing and start clowning around.  But since Loren had to keep her quota of CETA workers to continue receiving a manager's salary, she kept him anyway.

Even in spite of poor old Joe Porter's complaints.  Because that scummy Rayfell delighted in needling him constantly, all day long, as often as he could, "You know why you ain't getting no pussy, Joe?  'Cause you so square, that's why!" was what I caught him saying to old lonesome Joe, who wanted to stay as far away from pussy as possible since somehow it was involved in his nervous breakdown.  So Joe would be the only one working in a room full of people, trying to ignore all this needless insanity.

He complained to Loren, who wouldn't get rid of Rayfell since she needed his stinking body for that critical number of employees to allow her to collect the manager's money.  She shifted Joe's schedule so that he worked his five days over the weekend and a few weekdays, but still he had to endure the insults 2 or 3 days a week.  This made him the official explainer to the museum-goers who paid the extra buck for the explanation tour.  Just another thing that the poor withdrawn soul needed, but at least the explainees thought he was smart, and didn't sass back.

But he still came in contact with the assholes three days a week, and even when he complained directly to the CETA office Loren still wouldn't relieve Rayfell of his position and so Joe did the most logical thing, he quit.  When he started running low on money, he went down to Decatur, IL, to collect on a debt from his sister's husband.  The brother‑in‑law didn't pay up, so Joe blew him away with a handgun and then blew his own brains out.  All for $300.  All because he couldn't find decent working conditions.  Because Loren wouldn't fire his nemesis, because she "had to get money into this institution anyway she could!"  So Joe Porter was the second person to go who worked there, and his relative gets the (or four) epithet which I referred to in the beginning.

The third Gallery 1134 person to go was Al Ornelas.  He was one of the founders of the place, along with Bob and Loren.  I guess he had met Loren at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and had fallen in love with her.  But when I left, they were at war for some reason, only leaving notes on each others' desks to communicate.  One time during this period they both disappeared into the classroom for an hour or so, and we figured that they had made it.  Al would have been a much better mate for Loren than that asshole Bob.

But Al was married to a very nice lady, Laverne, and Victor Heredia and I went over to visit her to offer our condolences when we found out that he had died, which was after we had both had been ostracized from there.  I found it out after touching base with my mole who was still there, Lisa Liewalt, after I had returned from my epic Motorcycle Trip of the Summer of 1981. The widow Ornelas said that he had died of a heart attack on the way to the Seven Eleven to get some groceries on the first day of his vacation from his normal job and Gallery 1134.  Henpecked to death by Loren was her estimation of the calamity, and she said that he had kept a diary of it all, with poetry, some of it shocking to her, but understandable.

So three or four poor souls could have still been alive, if it were not for the evil brewing in the depths of Gallery 1134.  These are all I know about, there may even be more than that, I wouldn't be all that surprised.  And could there be any more in the future?