Writing a fictitious novel is radically different than the complexity of a historical book. Patch and Shari’s downtime by the powers to be is not written for the reader to take in the beauty of the Galveston coast. Nor is this chapter inserted for Patch to do ‘kissy-kissy’ with Shari and tell her how he feels about her. All those aspects work. With history, if you’re honestly aligning dates and times with relevant events, you can jump ahead to the important part of the historical narrative or you can give depth to characters and maybe enhance the story with romance. So, the gap between Dallas and the New Orleans Oswald operations works just fine.
All of us have been in over our head during our life. But I doubt we’ve had the likes of Johnny Roselli, the mob, the anti-Castro Cubans, and the intel agencies put the squeeze on us. Patch and Shari walk into the Lafyette Postal Annex and approach the post office box. In every assassination book David Ferrie shows up. And until recently everyone thought Ferrie to be a quirky, high pitched voiced weirdo. That’s not the case. Ferrie was ultra-conservative with a baritone voice. And he was intelligent. During the audio recording of Return to Dallas the high pitched Ferrie’s voice had to be changed when a five second piece of tape with the real Ferrie’s voice was unearthed. The transformed voice alters his persona. Ferrie, an unequivocal JFK assassination participant, hands Patch a tiny brass key for PO box 300543, next to Oswald’s PO box.
“I flew him into Cuba during the Bay of Pigs ahead of the invasion,” says Ferrie, adding to Patch’s lost memories of his past. After Ferrie leaves Patch removes a manilla envelope, containing two-thousand dollars, from the PO box. Patch is indebted to Roselli for the phenomenal cash flow. The risk of the surveillance and the cast of marginal characters who can easily kill, create a constant tension.
Eladio del Valle
La Petite Fluer
August 2, 1963
Before Patch and Shari enter La Petite Fluer they hear the weird song- it really did make the top forty, Tie me Kangaroo Down Sport. I’m not making this up. Eladio del Valle, who will die on the same day as David Ferrie in 1967, comes under scrutiny by researchers in the JFK Assassination. del Valle’s role in the assassination is very serious business and Patch having him as a contact is not meant to diminish his importance. Ferrie’s ties to del Valle link him to the assassination.
And not to become farcical but the rabid anti-communist Guy Bannister, who knew Patch in 1961 in the Kennedy Paradox shows up at the bar. Bannister’s pearl handle revolver is in plain sight. Yet due to his memory deficiency Patch does not recognize Bannister which triggers the short-fused Bannister into threatening Patch. Bannister, like del Valle and Ferrie are on a need-to-know basis with the surveillance operation and the assassination. This is done merely to demonstrate that these individuals, including Roselli were a part of the conspiracy.
Patch and Shari, acting on a tip from Bannister himself, walk through the French Quarter to Orest Pena’s Habana Bar. Although this is not the beginning of the official surveillance Patch and Shari see their target- a more social Oswald than described by Ruby and McWillie as well as Oswald associating with the very people he purports to oppose. New Orleans is the center of the storm as the book progresses with the players involved in the conspiracy, many a part of United States intelligence agencies, about to make appearances in the subsequent chapters as the surveillance begins.
Postscript: Since Return to Dallas was written there have been rumors of intel personnel surveilling Oswald before the assassination. Having Oswald surveilled zeroes in on the agencies true motives as they handled Oswald or sent others out to impersonate him.