St. Nick's Outlaws
By Jim Colombo
Click here to send comments
Click here if you'd like to exchange critiques
Copyright 2001 Jim Colombo
It was seventh period, 1:20 in the afternoon, and the door opened slowly. It was
the Mole. He peered into the classroom to see if it was safe to enter. He entered and
closed the door. With small choppy steps he approached the desk, and placed his secret
files, which he carried with him all the time, on the desk. The Mole was a short man with
no neck, and had tiny eyes that blinked constantly. He had a nervous itch on his nose that
he could never stop scratching. He began class by cleaning his spectacles, then he put
his glasses on, and looked around the class to see if any spies were lurking. It was safe.
“We meet again, “ the Mole said with a sly clandestine smile. Thus began another Civics
class with Brother Clovis and the continuing saga of mysteries, spies, intrigue, and covert
activities perpetrated by “The Government.” Whenever the Mole revealed one of his top
secrets he whispered so the FBI couldn’t hear him. He believed that Standard Oil and
General Electric started World War Two so that they could sell oil and electric motors to
Hitler. The CIA owned Kellogg’s Corn Flakes and was slowing administering drugs to
deaden the brain cells of the citizens. Brother Clovis was unique and very entertaining. All
those years of reading about conspiracies had filled a tiny mind with paranoid.
Class began with the latest news from Warren Hinckle’s Ramparts Magazine. J.
Edgar Hoover was concealing evidence from the Warren Report. The war in Southeast
Asia was escalating. American generals and the CIA were sending drugs to America in
body bags from the Golden Triangle and were selling to the Mob in New York City to
fund covert CIA activities in Laos. Farm subsidies and Billy Sol Estes were getting a lot
of attention. Ol’ Billy, the former aide to the former senator from Texas, Lyndon
Johnson, was living high on the hog. Ol’ Billy was skimming the farm appropriation.
The Mole had the scoop from “The Voice,” an independent newspaper.
Some of the lads asked the Mole inquisitive questions that ignited a spirited
exchange. The lads invented a few conspiracies of their own. Whenever the Mole
became excited about a new revelation, he blinked his eyes and scratched his nose
uncontrollably. “Fascinating. That's fascinating,” the Mole replied. Rico had the Mole
believing that the Vatican had paid a large sum of money to the Nazis in 1945 in
exchange for them not bombing their cathedrals. After the war the Vatican paid ransom to
German dealers for relicts and paintings. The Mole knew that the church had vast sums of
money, paintings and relicts. The Jesuits secretly managed all of the money and
corruption in the Vatican. He believed the CIA was using the Peace Corp. as a front to
infiltrate third world countries.
The Mole’s lecture for the day was about the American Civil Liberties Union, a
group of lawyers who defend an individual’s rights guaranteed in the Constitution
defending anyone they believed have had their rights violated. The Mole was a member of
the ACLU and he donated his time and what little money he had to support the fight to
defend the Constitution.
The Mole was about five feet tall. When he lectured he was consumed with the
topic. He sat at his desk and told his stories like a campfire chat. The tall guys sat up
front. These were the guys on the basketball and football teams who kissed ass for a
good grade. A smooch here, a smooch there, and it all added up to a C+ turning into a
B-. The Kissies concealed the other activities going on in the back of the classroom. As
the Mole lectured, the lads were consumed with their own covert activities. The Mafia
was playing blackjack in the last rows of the classroom. Augie, Restani, Caro, and
Ciaffi were using a deck of cards made from strips of binder paper. Rico was fondling
the latest centerfold from Playboy magazine. He sniffed, licked, and kissed all the
love candy the lady displayed. Griffin and Madox shot tiny paper wads with rubber
bands at the flies circling the closed windows. Prescott and Duke were reading Hot Rod
magazine. Desmond and Bautista were shooting spitballs that stuck on the ceiling.
Butler was sleeping. He was smiling, so it must have been a sweet dream.
Soon it was 2:10 and class dismissed. The Mole was no fool and assigned papers
about current topics he had discussed. The topics were the Free Speech Movement
and the Students for a Democratic Society.
It was crunch time, and Jim needed to get all the A’s he could. Religion, English,
and Civics were good possibilities. American Literature, Physics and Trig were maybe A’s.
A good term paper, a well-placed smooch, and knowing the contents of the final exams
would improve his chances considerably for an A final.
The Christian Brothers had an old duplicating machine that reproduced copies on
a cylinder with a typed stencil placed around the cylinder. The stencil rotated, gathered
the proper amount of blue ink, and printed on the passing sheets of white paper. It was
a dirty job, and only Casmir know how to run the machine efficiently. All the final
questions for all the exams were printed on the duplicating machine. It was extra
money for Casmir. It took about a week to print all the test sheets for all the teachers.
The senior exams were printed first.
Jim learned about Casmir’s talents when he spent time helping Casmir improve
his oral and written English while preparing for his citizenship test. In return Casmir made
copies of the finals at the end of his sophomore year. Jim had a week to prepare for finals
knowing what the questions and the essay topics were. He still had to study and prepare
for the tests, but knowing the area of concentration was way cool. Jim gave Casmir a
bottle of Johnny Walker Red Label Scotch the week before finals in his junior and senior
year. It was a tempting secret to share with a close friend like Augie, so Jim gave opinions
about what he thought the test would be about. The lads were impressed with his
accuracy. Jim had to do enough work to maintain a respectable B during the semester,
then the miracle took place. Jim’s finals were always in the top five and he had a
reputation with the teachers as a strong finisher. The teachers appreciated his valiant
efforts and rewarded his hard work. Some of the guys called Jim the Clutch Man because
he always came through in a tight situation.
Jim was a good poker player never revealing his knowledge or source. He had to
research the topics given by the Mole. That Saturday morning Jim and Augie went to the
library. Jim got information about the Free Speech Movement and Augie got information
about the Students for a Democratic Society. Jim hinted to Augie that the Mole had spent
time lecturing about the First Amendment: freedom of speech. Augie was becoming
suspicious of Jim’s accuracy. He told Augie to pay attention to the amount of emphasis a
teacher gave one topic compared to another. Each had retrieved material about his
subject and they sat at a desk on the second floor of the main library.
“How is it that you know what the finals are about? You know the essays and the
concentration of the test? How is that, Jim?” asked Augie.
“I pray a lot the last week, Augie. You should try praying more,” said Jim with a
“Come on man, no shit, how the hell do you do it?” asked a frustrated Augie.
“Augie, you told us once that a quarterback and a priest can’t divulge their
confidentiality. Well, fullbacks can only reveal their sources in the summer when the surf’s
“You got an angle, right? I knew it. Nobody can be that good with opinions,” said
Augie with emphasis.
“Tell ya what, Augie, when we have our last beach party at Ocean Beach, I’ll tell
all of the secrets,” said Jim with a wink.
“Come on man, I'm dying in Physics and Trig,” said a desperate Augie.
“Cool it, man. I'll take good care of you. You want an A or B final?” asked Jim.
“Man, I thought you were good, but I never realized you were this good.”
“Hey, man, never underestimate the powers of an Outlaw.”
“You know that Azzoni is good in math and science.”
“Remember in the sophomore year when someone set off the sprinklers in the
second floor bathroom?”
“I was walking in when Azzoni was running out soaked. The fool lit a match and
thought that he could run out before the sprinklers went off. He thought that if he did it,
we would think he was cool, instead of a dork.”
“So what did you say when Brother Raymond came?”
“I told him that I saw a leaking sprinkler and I tried to tighten it. By the time they
came the smell of smoke was gone. They bought it.”
“So you've had Azzoni in your pocket for almost two years.”
“Not really. The sophomore year he owed me big time. Now I pay him ten bucks
for information about a lab analysis or copying his math exams. You give me $5, and I’ll
pass it on to Azzoni with my $5 and we’ll have the Physics lab test results. Trig is
different. That’ll cost you $10. On the day of the test I'll give Azzoni your $10. He’ll
let me copy his answers. I'll let you copy mine.”
“I never saw you copping. How did ya do it?”
“We have signals.”
“Be cool Augie.”
“You’re out of sight. You’ve got my word.”
Jim and Augie spent Saturday morning reading about their topics. Three hours
had passed and it was lunchtime. The lads were hungry and Doggie Diner was a couple
of blocks away. They went to the bathroom by the Research Department to take a piss
and washed up. As they left the bathroom, a cute girl going into the ladies' room distracted
Augie, who stopped and tried routine three on the innocent lass. Jim continued walking.
He saw a familiar figure talking to the research assistant and he approached slowly and
discreetly, as if he was looking for a book. He hid behind a row of books and observed a
man who looked like Brother Justin laughing with the young man. It was Brother Justin,
and he was wearing jeans and a sweater. He looked like he knew the assistant and they
laughed and touched one another teasingly. Augie approached Jim and saw a playful
Brother Justin with the blond assistant.
“Holy shit,” said a surprised Augie.
He startled Jim, who turned and motioned Augie to be quiet. They watched for a
while, and then left for Doggie Diner.
“Did you see that? Brother Chicken Shit sparking with the blond assistant. It
looked like the guy did a poor job of dying his hair,” said Augie
“Looks like Brother Chicken Shit has a boy friend,’” said Jim.
They walked to Doggie Diner and were surprised with the revelation that Brother
Justin had the same mannerisms, posturing, and gesturing as Brother Tim when he talked
to the assistant. They had never seen him act like that at school, nor seen him in jeans
and a sweater. Brother Justin had a secret. Jim told Augie not to say anything, because
they didn’t have what the Mole called “the smoking gun.”
More next week...