For some reason, this story has always resonated with me and, in many ways, I find it one of the more memorable things that Kerry wrote. While it has no date on it, my guess is that Kerry composed it in the early to mid-70s.
Enjoy this bike ride down memory lane.
THE KERRY DANCE: A BICYCLE RIDER
To begin my story with anything but The Man on the Bicycle is by now nearly unthinkable to me.
The Man on the Bicycle probably had what by 1942 standards was long hair. He was certainly bearded fully—I remember that much clearly.
My mother says he always wore swimming trunks and carried somehow along with him a butterfly net.
Every morning and every evening of the Los Angeles summer. Up one way and down the other along the boulevard (Hoover Street).
The Man on the Bicycle had a deep sun tan and his hair was like burnished gold. Undoubtedly. Or maybe not. But he certainly seemed a superbly impressive phenomena to my four-year-old mind.
Even passing on a daily basis he managed to surpass in my eyes the occasional canvas-covered trucks of soldiers. And they waved. The Man on the Bicycle probably never gave us more than a passing, casual glance. But there were many soldiers in those days.
That Man on the Bicycle—he was one of a kind.
“If you depend on radios and record players for your music, you owe your soul to the power company.” —The Secret Teachings of Paul Beihl
Twenty years ago this holiday season in 1993, Kerry Thornley, the Discordian Co-Founder & Pope known as Omar Khayyam Ravenhurst or more simply Lord Omar, was corresponding with a friend who was an inmate at the time in Georgia’s prison system. This friend of Thornley’s, as it were, just so happened to be a pen pal with none other than notorious Tate-LaBianca murders mastermind, Charles Manson, then being housed at Corcoran State Prison in California.
As Thornley told The Atlanta-Journal Constitution at the time, “I have a friend in jail who was a tattoo artist. He got into drawing pastels, and he drew a picture of Manson and sent it to him. And Manson wrote him back, and then he asked Manson to write me.”
Charles Manson responded by sending Thornley a Christmas postcard of sorts. The card was a folded-up piece of paper featuring a sketch by Manson of a dark-haired Santa Claus on the “front” with hand-written rants ranging from God to Buddha to Dennis Wilson of The Beach Boys on the other “sides” of the postcard.
During this period, one of Thornley’s Little Five Points friends from Atlanta, a young lady known as Molly, who Thornley characterized as “little brown-haired Molly,” traveled to Los Angeles where she was brutally attacked and sexually assaulted.
According to Kerry’s friend, Chris Wilhoite, “Molly had a mental breakdown over that and ended up in a public asylum. She wrote Kerry, asking for help and we Xeroxed the Manson Xmas card and raffled off the original to free Molly.”
Thornley made up flyers, as was his wheelhouse, and contacted local press to announce he had an authentic Christmas card from Charles Manson and would be raffling off tickets to win the Manson postcard for $5 a pop. As Thornley stated on some of the flyers, “So we Friends of Molly Moonie Rainstar, a slightly schizoid but very warm and wonderful young Discordian lady in her late teens, are raffling off my Manson letter. According to all I have been able to learn on short notice, any letter from Manson is worth at least $850.00 to collectors. Some have auctioned for tens of thousands.”
Molly was soon released and brought back home to Atlanta due to Thornley’s fundraising efforts. Thornley thus declared, “Charles Manson, by the way, has been appointed Superintendent of Sunday Schools in the Discordian Society.”
As Wilhoite recalls of Molly, “She turned out to be a handful and I remember babysitting her during a dissociative episode. Kerry eventually managed to reconcile her with her mum in Maine, so we sent her home…”
In 1962, Marine Corps Pvt. Kerry W. Thornley (and Discordian Society co-founder with Greg Hill) finished writing his first novel based on a friend and fellow Marine buddy, Lee Harvey Oswald, who strangely ended up defecting to the U.S.S.R. in the middle of the Cold War.
Little did Thornley know that his former friend, Oswald, who he used as a template for his main character Johnny Shellburn in his oh-so-hot-new-first novel, The Idle Warriors, would soon become the most-hated-man-in-America, unbelievably accused of assassinating President John F. Kennedy. As a founder of Discordianism, perhaps a young Kerry should have expected some turn-about-is-fnord-play from his sweetheart Eris, the Goddess of Discord, in this matter.
Through the book’s fictional Oswald-based character Johnny Shellburn, The Idle Warriors gives a rare and first-hand insight into the mind of the man who allegedly committed the most infamous crime of the 20th Century.
The Idle Warriors is Thornley’s fictional book written about Lee Harvey Oswald before the John F. Kennedy Assassination, making the work the only unique and pre-assassination artifact completely free of later events and their subsequent biases regarding Oswald and the JFK Assassination. Unfortunately, after the events on 11/22/63 in Dallas, Texas and the subsequent Warren Commission investigation which ended-up hauling Thornley into testify about his personal relationship with Oswald in the Marines and included interest of Thornley’s own pre-Assassination writings about America’s First Lone Nut Assassin, the original type-written manuscript was somehow lost by Kerry Thornley to his eternal dismay.
Believed by Thornley himself and others to be forever misplaced and forgotten, a copy of the The Idle Warriors‘ original manuscript was miraculously rediscovered and rescued from the National Archives in the early 1990s by an unlikely pair of fellows attending a Dairy Queen Christmas-time franchisee convention in Washington, DC, who happened to have a side-interest in JFK Assassination lore, research, and materials.
Thornley gave his a copy of The Idle Warriors manuscript to the Warren Commission as background information to Oswald’s life and motives, and it languished as an obscure evidence item in the National Archives. Originally submitted as exposition to his testimony, the manuscript by Thornley had mostly been forgotten. Over the years, Thornley came to misplace his only other copy of The Idle Warriors and came to believe he had lost all copies of the manuscript.
By some Discordian Xmas miracle, the Dairy Queen franchisee amateur researchers requested, and were oddly granted, special permission by the National Archives to deconstruct the Warren Commission’s copy of the manuscript page-by-page and allowed to photocopy Thornley’s type-written The Idle Warriors pages.
Eventually this photocopy was handed over to infamous conspiracy and innovator publisher Ron Bonds of IllumiNet Press who immediately published The Idle Warriors, in conjunction with Kerry Thornley with a new introduction by Best Evidence author David S. Lifton, in 1991 under the IllumiNet Press imprint, launching the Ron Bonds conspiracy publishing empire.
The only book about Oswald before the JFK Assassination was finally published. Hail Eris and Dairy Queen dip cones!
Here’s your Christmas miracle fnord excerpt from The Idle Warriors:
Many people collect stamps. Some people collect coins, a few collect antique bottles, others shoe laces, bottle caps, yellow pencils, and endless array of miscellaneous items worth absolutely nothing (except, of course, to those who ardently collect them).
I collect belly-button lint.
Before you put this down and go back to your television, read on. It really is quite a fascinating hobby–if you like that sort of thing. Honest!–it is! Well… maybe, but it’s still fascinating. Why, believe it or not, I’ve belly-button lints from all over the world: Spain, France, China, Canada, even USSR. Indeed, I even have lints from some very famous people, too. One of my most valuable is a small wad of plaid lint from an eccentric Scotch clan-leader over 300 years old (the lint, not the man). My favorite is a piece of red lint from Khrushchev’s great gram-pa. I received that one just before I was lucky enough to possess a hunk of green lint from an old Irishman (drunken) I met one night in the gutter facing Barney’s Bar and Grill. Another priceless possession of mine is a pillow stuffed with lint of all shapes, sizes and colors from just plain people.
A novice just can’t realize the thrill and joy obtained from the experience of discovering a piece of belly-button lint once proudly worn by General George Washington just before he met Martha.
All in all, I have about 23,000 different specimens, ranging from one st up to and including a ball almost one and one half inches across, fished from King Farouk’s bath tub. These, I keep mounted in glass covered wall plaques starting in the entrance hall of my home, going through the living room, dining room, through my den and ending in my bedroom. The less interesting ones I keep in my wife’s bedroom (she’s a very understanding woman) and the poor ones I keep in a box in the garage. As soon as it gets about another 7 pounds in it, I think I’ll stuff a mattress.
As far as practical uses, I have already mentioned pillows and mattresses. Well, there is an infinite source of objects that lints can be substituted for if you have a practical mind. Some of my friends are soaking them in formaldehyde and using them as moth balls. Do you have noisy neighbors? Why, just stuff some in your ears and eliminate the noise (or better yet, send a box them next door and eliminate the neighbors). Actually, you can do almost anything with this wondrous material if you have the imagination &/or the nerve.
However, I think I should warn you about using lints for practical purposes instead of keeping them. Nothing, I repeat, nothing beats the grandeur of collecting–especially collecting such an important item as belly-button lint. What could be more satisfying than surprising your house guests by showing them a mounted board or row of glass cases containing hundreds of lints! Doesn’t it sound wonderful!!! It is almost a sure bet that they will never bother you again.
Now that I have undoubtedly sold you completely on the art of collecting belly-button lints, your first reaction is probably: where would an ordinary person like yourself obtain old and rare lints?