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Purple Heart: A 1??o evi a s n io c n e ist By Merryl Derrotado The other day I went to visit my friend Junior Johnson, a 34-year-old recluse who is often in need of companionship. On the day of my visit, his cheeks were darkened and hollow, his eyes, like two pale pearls at the bottom of two sinkholes. He was unshaven and uncombed and he barely had the strength or courage to rise from his chair in greeting. Junior admitted that his mood was low. “The newspapers drove me to thinking,” he grumbled with the illhumor of a hangover. I glanced around his cluttered apartment, and sure enough, I saw, not emptied bottles of booze, but stacks of morning dailies. Examining a few of them, I realized that Junior had finally gotten around to reading the November editions. The report which set off his thinking binge, he told me, was an account of a University co-ed’s death in Austin. The young lady had died after leaping from her boyfriend’s car during a romantic ar gument, the news reports said. Junior’s interpretation was somewhat different. “There’s a war going on,” he told me. “This girl, she was a casualty. Just another casualty in what we so insensitively call ‘the battle of the sexes’.” Junior was quite serious. He tugged me by the coatsleeve, imploring me to sit down and listen to his theory. According to Junior, the sexes are out to make conquest of one another but in a very fatal way. The object of romantic relations, Junior contends, is to bring about the rule of one sex by the other. Deceit, intimidation, and even force are used to compel a surrender. “Look at the typical engagement scene, the kind of moment Norman Rockwell painted,” Junior exclaimed. “The man in the picture, he’s on his knees, in the posture of surrender!” Engagement and marriage, he said, after calming himself, bring only a temporary respite. A thought occurred to me. “What about yourself?” I asked, attempting despite Junior’s demeanor to attempt delicacy. “Have you been in . . . ‘combat’ . . . recently yourself?” Junior glared at me. “What does it look like?” Indeed, his house might have witnessed a terrible campaign. I didn’t answer. “Alice and I are finito,” he said. “Finito juarez.” “Sorr ” y. “It isn’t a matter of sorry. That’s what I’m trying to tell you, mushbrain. It’s a war. I’m just a minor casualty. She’s just a temporary victor.” “Oh.” “A goddamn guerilla,” he muttered. “I see. ” “No you don’t, because you ain’t seen the battle up close like I have.” I could have objected, but I would have been quarreling with a paranoid. That’s not smart. “Then it wasn’t just the 12 FEBRUARY 13, 1981