Just before the great East Coast blizzard of late 1995, Francis E. Dec Esq. was lapsing into a slow death without any hope that his secrets concerning the Worldwide Containment Policy would be revealed. He had barely spoken during the entire three years of his geriatric stay at the St. Albans VA Hospital in Queens, New York. Usually, he had only one visitor, his despised and abusive brother Joseph, who would come to his bedside several times a week in a devotion both sympathetic and hateful. No doubt Francis felt that his life had been destroyed and wasted by a society that could not understand the peril it faced. He had expended his sanity hiding in the cellar of his house in Hempstead typing mad letters of warning about Frankenstein Controls, Eyesight Television, the Earphone Radio, and the Synthetic Nerve Radio Directional Antennae Loop, but no one had listened during all those years. No one seemed to care that he was now a twisted, atrophied puppet of a man, or so he thought.
Then one day, exactly thirty years after witnessing a CIA "Gangster" pumping deadly poison nerve gas smoke into the cabin of his escape flight to Poland, Mr. Dec woke up from an afternoon nap to find three Men In Black suits at his bedside with a few questions about the Computer God he had postulated. Was this trio a vindication of his insane efforts or a further persecution? I was there to pay homage and to frighten the man who has bewitched my brain-bank brain, but I will never know how he perceived our manifestation because, though he lies there consciously, Francis Dec still refuses to speak.
I first heard of Francis E. Dec via Doc Britton's recorded rants which were played at a semi-religious, ritualistic Winter Solstice nitrous oxide party hosted by the Hot Tub Mystery Religion before Christmas, 1993. I was not merely intrigued; I was imprinted. The only sense the rants made to me at the time resided in the echoing giggle-realm that accompanies the phantasmogorical insanity that laughing gas bequeaths to the brain cells it consumes. Over the next few months, I listened to the tape dozens of times until addiction set in. Not addiction to nitrous oxide but addiction to the concepts of Francis E. Dec. Now they comfort me, quietly, motionlessly. Now I, too, am a parroting puppet of the Computer God. But I love it.
I became obsessed and the rants looped endlessly in my mind. His rants reveal him to be a naughty racist and a paragon of misanthropy, but this did not deter me: I decided that I must meet the man. Snooping into a national directory of phone numbers yielded nothing. I called every listed Dec in New York City and Long Island, but no one claimed to know anything about Francis or Joseph. I called the local newspapers and the Army, but no luck. Finally, it dawned on me to write a letter to 29 Maple Ave. and hope for the best. Since I had read reports of Dec's consistent unavailability to visitors, I was resigned to the probability that he was either dead or incapacitated. A letter posted from Brooklyn from his brother Joseph confirmed that Dec was incapacitated. I wrote back to Joseph, but he would have nothing further to do with me.
In his letter, Joseph mentioned that Francis was "inactive" in a VA Hospital. From this clue, I deduced that the hospital must be either near Hempstead or Brooklyn, so I called VA Hospitals proximal to both places. After some careful questioning, I got through to Dec's ward (F3) at the St. Albans VA Hospital. The nurses refused to answer my many questions about Dec's health, military status, and mental abilities, but from their minimal responses I decided that it was worth the trip to New York.
After securing flights and a modicum of surveillance equipment, David Hanson, Ean Schuessler, and I converged in Manhattan to carry out our gangster plan -- to meet Francis Dec. The nurses assured me that we were perfectly welcome to visit any time between the hours of 9:00 AM and 9:00 PM. Initially, David wanted to stay the entire twelve hours and insisted that I bring my pet tarantula to throw on the poor bed-ridden fellow at 8:59 PM. I reminded David that, although we might look menacing to Dec in our black suits, we were there to venerate and terrify him, not to harm him.
Once in New York, we played up the pseudo-secret agent roles. We had authentic Secret Service earphone radios; devices that fit in the outer ear while broadcasting and receiving sound from distances up to 100 meters. Also, we had a small 8mm videocamera for the purpose of independently recording the images of Dec and his mythos apart from our own subjective Eyesight Television playback brain-bank brains. After all, it's a long way to the other side of the moon.
We went to see Dec at the hospital on Friday December 15th. As mentioned above, exactly thirty years before, according to his own testimony, he was starving himself after being beaten bloodily by "Polish" police with no identification at a small snowbound St. Lawrence River airport. So he was not surprised when three Men In Black appeared at his bedside. Our manifestation did cause a stir among the nurses, however, and they busted us after only four minutes of filming.
Many observers of our video of Dec lying moribund in bed think that our visitation was cruel, but I insist it was not. We traveled hundreds of miles and spent thousands of dollars for five minutes of his silently paralytic time and we view the encounter as a success. In the curving hall of Ward F3 my brain achieved a balance between the ecstasy of the numinous and the menace of the demonically paranoid when I saw the plaque on the door that stated "Dec, Francis". Unfortunately, we did not otherwise document this token of his presence nor did we steal his empty check-up sheet that his doctor probably hadn't scribbled on in months. All that mattered was that we were finally in the presence of the man who dared to stand up against the Worldwide Mad Deadly Communist Gangster Computer God.
The man certainly looked dead as we approached. He may have had the head of a Polack, but he had the snake legs of Abraxas.* By saying that he had snake legs I mean that they were bound in coils beneath the bedsheets in what one nurse termed "contractures," a medical condition that manifests after a stroke. Apparently, Dec suffers continual muscle spasms that must cause him considerable pain. He may have been sedated or otherwise medicated. His ears were abnormally long and flabby, his chin displayed triangular red nicks from a recent shave, and there was a DEADLY TOUCH TABIN NEEDLE IN HIS ARM! Some would call it an "IV" but we knew better. His arm was bound in an infinite onion of gauze so that he would not pull out this needle. He waved this cottony mass at us, perhaps in communication. Sadly, there was a television pointed directly at his face. He shared the room with three or four other patients, none of whom could have suspected that a bitter, latter-day god was dying before them.
It was quite difficult to ask questions of this near-corpse. We asked him about his brother, his house, Frankenstein Controls and the Synthetic Nerve Radio Directional Antennae Loop, but he had nothing to say about any of these crucial matters. I do think that he understood us, however, because at one point David asked him to nod his head if he could hear us. Instead of complying with this simple request of head-nodding, he shifted his eyes. I do not offer this ocular tracking as unassailable proof of his coherence, but I am convinced that he was aware of us and our questions. The strangest phenomenon of our visit was not recorded. I will never forget how Dec's jaw made a continual muffled click as he chomped on his mandible. Also, I believe that he tried to communicate something by waving about his gauze-wrapped arm.
Though we were nearly arrested by the Hospital's security, we were not discouraged. The next day we rented a black Lincoln sedan (with driver) and drove out to Hempstead to see the "low deadly gangster nigger-town old house" (29 Maple Ave.). The most remarkable thing about it was the crazily painted mailbox, that was in actuality a small metal trashcan. I was tempted to steal the lid, but I refrained out of respect for future visitors. Also of note: many milk cartons around the horizontal venetian blinds; the very old black car in the garage; the ghost-of-Dec plaid shirt in the window; and the evidence of scavenged wood above the rear outer cellar door. We tried to break in, but there were simply too many people gawking at us while we pressed the videocamera against the windowpanes in vain hopes of getting a decent shot of the house's interior.
We must have looked odd emerging from and returning to our sinister black car in our black suits. These somber habiliments lent us an attitude of bravery and boldness, so we questioned as many neighbors as we could find. Though we were polite to everyone, only one person was accommodating. When asked why we were interested in the old man, I told one neighbor that Dec's writings were political in nature and might have some bearing on the Kennedy assassination case. We had flown from Dallas to find out what we could.
And that's what we did. We discovered that Dec is lost to us and the future sure seems hopeless.
Days later I spoke to one of the more candid nurses and she told me that Joseph visits Francis several times a week, though Francis rarely speaks a word. Francis' only confirmed words in three years came when the nurse told him to sit up. He looked her in the eye scornfully and asked, "Do I have to?" Yes, Francis, you must do whatever they tell you in the sealed robot arm operating cabinet. And that is where he remains, in the VA Hospital taking commands from the black nurses he hates so silently, lingering for the inevitability of gradualness.
In closing, I want to make a plea for further research into Dec's rants and life. Donna Kossy, R. Crumb, and the subGeniuses have done the world a great service by publicizing the man. Even as I write this account, there are lawyers in New York researching his legal troubles of the late 1950s. A CD release of Doc's recorded rants may appear on the market soon and the Computer God looms ever larger in the new fake starry skies. Please contact me with any information you might have about Francis Dec. I am offering a large sum reward for original Dec letters, flyers, etc. I realize that I have been sucked into Dec's realm of insanity, but how can one deny falling for such a beautifully self-consistent paranoid and viral message?
Also, I urge everyone with the inclination to visit Francis, if only to scare him and the nurses. This terrorization might be considered cruel gangsterization, but does Dec with his unparalleled racism and hatred of everyone (shy of Will Rogers) deserve gentlemanly treatment? You be the judge. Call the St. Albans VA Hospital. They will not tell you much, other than photos are a no-no, but there is a chance that you will run into Joseph there. If you decide to visit, please do me a favor and wear a black suit!
* Abraxas was the chicken-headed, snake-footed god the second century Christian mystery sect of Basilidians. Dec certainly possesses the power of such a Demiurge, in that he has created an entire world full of material evil. Dig? Dec, the Gnostic God of these End Times! I worship you!
© 1996, Forrest Jackson