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the money and the blessing of the right people. And by the time Jackie’s investigation was in full swing, all the discretion had been publicized out of Bingo’s operation. With Jackie and his investigators leaking, me writing, Adderly televising, and the rest of the press scrambling in clumsy but enthusiastic pursuit, for once in Texas history a little piece of the sordid reality of government was actually being presented in all its grasping, impudent, naked avarice. So if Bingo actually was the target, and if Jackie never wanted to prosecute the vice president, why invoke the Bush name at all? It’s a good question, and one that points up the essential contradiction, the subversive twist of mind that makes me speak of art or imaginationyes, even geniuswhen people ask about Jack Belfast and what really happened in l’affaire du Bingo. Of course he was joking when he suggested \(always in private, always to friends, always insisting it couldn’t possibly that he would use Bingo Satwell to lay Bush pere low. He never had any intention whatsoever of making the tiniest legal move to link the two men. But Jackie most certainly did want to threaten to join Bingo and the vice president in some ugly, public way. Or, in Jackie’s lexicon of ironic prosecution, he wanted to threaten to threaten George H.W. Bush via Bailey “Bingo” Satwell. He wanted to send Bingo to prison, of course, but that wasn’t enough. Jackie wanted to rend Bingo Satwell limb from legal limb, and do it in such an unrestrained and erratic and intensely public way that it would send an unmistakable message into every branch of the labyrinth of corruption. He wanted no onenot even his bossesto be sure where this might lead, or when it might stop. He wanted there to be outraged denouncements and gnashing of teeth. He wanted the unclean to quake at 2 in the morning, wondering whether their perfidy would be revealed to an avid and vengeful public. He wanted the thieves and liars to tremble in caves, and the righteous to stride the city victorious. He wanted truths to be self-evident and proven to a candid world, and he wanted to do the proving himself, in newspapers and on TV, with the wind in his face and a drink in his hand and care thrown to the hindmost dog, because whenever he had done it this way, the glory had always been his. I’m no mind reader, but I also think that, deep down, Jackie wanted to do something decent for his hometown, so his daughter could be proud, and perhaps begin to forgive him, at least a little, for leaving her mother. Of course, Jackie never told me that, in so many words. It’s just what I like to believe, even if, all things considered, it’s not a particularly comforting belief to hold. John Mecklin, editor of High Country News, previously worked as an investigative reporter at the late Houston Post, and as editor of Phoenix New Times and SF Weekly. He can be contacted at: [email protected] . 36 THE TEXAS OBSERVER AUGUST 10, 2007