Saturday, April 29, 2017

More Mysteries and Fewer Answers: Roswell, New Mexico in 1947

Mack Brazel's Tale: Desert or Damnation?

"Why in God's name would he shoot somebody?"

This is Part 3 of our Bits and Pieces of Roswell Story. If you're just now coming into it, you should probably start at Part 1 below :  "New Revelations Add to the Collection of Mysteries in Roswell, 1947". This one is Part 3.

In pursuit of the truth, Roger Craggett has been willing to call out an entire subsection of the population, particularly in Roswell, a friendly little city trying really hard, and for the most part succeeding, to create a tourist industry based on an old traffic incident that was poorly reported at the time.  They still talk about it, even though the version they celebrate the most has been outlined in glitter and those little glow-in-the-dark star stickers they used to sell at Walmart.  It tends to subtract some from the overall credibility index.  They've worked at it pretty hard, though, and they probably deserve something for the effort.  So you should go there someday.  Buy yourself an alien slushee or something.  Pig out on one of those 26th Rib Sandwiches instead of grabbing at another Big Mac.  Support the local economy, for God's sake.  Dress up and walk in a parade. Do something completely unselfish for a change.  Probably best to avoid the star-sushi, though.  It can get pretty damn hot in Roswell, and sea food can turn so quickly.  Now then, what were we talking about?  Oh, yeah ... 

SPI SANTA FE NM -- In the beginning there was just the doubt... 

Now that's a phrase we tend to bandy around a bit, but it's still the God-honest truth.

The original picture of the world is a secret that nobody ever truly realizes, and it is why our memories are a firm expression of that secrecy. Hardly ever does an account of fact remain unchanged through time. Sometimes, it becomes unrecognizable, just like any other secret in this world. It is the one truth that the entire world is well-aware of, yet fails to discuss. There are secrets. And secrets can explain everything ... 

But only when your fellow conspirators are under oath and ready to spill everything for immunity from prosecution.

Ardajio Jonas, it turns out, has no real use for secrecy of any kind, and so he enjoys talking a great deal about his friend, Patient-X, a fascinating gentleman he once met who died and came back almost fifty years later with a young man's mind in an old man's crippled body. When interest is shown, Jonas can go on for hours. Secrets have always accompanied death and for that reason as well, he just lights up when the environmental awareness catches fire. It's not often that a man meets someone who truly affects his outlook on life and how he chooses to live that life after such a man has gone. 

Jonas retired almost immediately following Patient-X's unsettling and somewhat lonely death, having watched the old man's body give out in mute surrender to the weakness and the pain that so often accompanies the rigors of awakening thoughts within a living body with organs turned to earth and stone. Jonas, however, now has a new thirst for life that the old man gave him before he succumbed to the darkness and the secrecy of death. He insists that he has a hunger for an improvement to the quality of his life that he lacked before meeting Patient-X. 

"That old man spent nearly two-thirds of his life in a miserable coma. He valued every second of his waking life, and I find that admirable. But a lot of people place great value on their lives -- it's not a particularly rare facet of a man's personality or even his existence. What I found remarkable was the man's very real gratitude. You'd think a man who had been effectively unconsciousness for so much of his life would probably feel some bitterness about it. There was no bitterness in that man at all. He had some regrets, but these were primarily the type of regrets that a man has in his later years, regrets that maybe he didn't take advantage of the blessings in his life as much as he could have. He had no real anger or sense of loss, only self recrimination. 

"To some extent he was critical of how he had responded to the life he was given in his youth. None of that, however, had any effect whatsoever on the unconditional gratitude, the thankfulness that he felt at the end of his days. He thought of his life as a wonderful gift, and I believe that everyone who knew him was affected by that attitude. I know that I certainly was. I won't ever forget him."

Ardajio Jonas promised himself that for the remainder of his days, he would try very hard to live his life to the fullest, thankful for each and every moment allotted to him. And to be thankful, he decided, was to have fewer regrets. As a result, he quit the job that he had never really grown to love, and travelled for a year or so, living off of the retirement savings the federal government, the U.S. Navy and the Veterans Administration had given him the opportunity to sock away each month for the past thirty-seven years. It didn't amount to much, but it gave him the freedom to choose, and that, he believes, made it a far more valuable commodity than what he could reasonably expect to purchase with it. So he travelled a bit, not particularly certain in his mind what he wanted to do.with the time fate had left to him. He taught himself how to paint for no particular reason, but discovered in the process the value a man can find in the lazy, yet feverish afterglow left behind by a runaway existence that lies nonetheless imprisoned by its dedication to self-actualized contentment. It wasn't so much the painting that he learned to value as it was the drifting away from himself when he focused his attentions on the sober act of creation that happened outside of himself. At such times, he disappeared, the works of art and committment channeling through him, not originating or deliberating within him. 

The irony at the end of the day left him truly and sometimes viciously flushed.  He slept like a child again when the carnage within faded.     

Jonas is a lucky man in that fate blessed him with a talent that others had the need to share. Because of this, he has managed to create a private marketplace through which he could filter those works he no longer had the desire to keep around him like the sad poems of adolescent dreamers with corrupted hearts. This provided everything he needed when the desire to wander wrapped itself around his head so tightly that he needed to resolve the matter with action. He not only had the desire to travel, at times, he now had the means to do so.

And it is for this reason and this reason alone that upon returning to Santa Fe at the end of cruise that took him and over a thousand other souls through some of the world's richest fishing waters around the Aleutian Islands stringing off of Alaska like a net of sparkling glass floats, the first place he went was the American Legion club for a quiet unwind and a small pitcher of ice cold beer. It was early in the spring of 2014. That same evening, while he was partaking of that quiet unwind, a young man by the name of Roger Craggett decided that he could use a quick cheeseburger and a cold beer, and this was how he met Jonas at that same, nearly deserted American Legion club in Santa Fe, New Mexico. 

He told Jonas that he was once an airman with the U.S. Air Force, and had recently returned from a tour of duty outside of Istanbul, Turkey. He wasn't exactly lying; for the most part, he was telling the truth. It was, however, the truth as it stood about five years earlier. He just didn't like it when folks asked him why he was still hanging around an American Legion club with a bunch of retirees even though he was still a relatively young man. Within thirty minutes, Craggett no longer cared about that at all.

He overheard Jonas talking at the bar, and the conversation seemed interesting enough for him to buy the old man a beer. By the time Jonas got to the part of the story in which the heart and soul of Patient-X appeared to reject any sense of imposed interest outside of a few silly cartoons in the 21st century world he had awakened in, Craggett was burning alive with interest, like it was an electrical storm sparking up somewhere in the back of his head.

But Jonas was just getting started ...

"I was advised by the Director of the coma ward that it wasn't a good idea to tire the old man out with a bunch of questions that he may not even know the answers to. He was extremely frail, and the doctors had been very clear that he could not survive for very much longer. It would have been cruel to hasten that end with a bunch of silly old questions that couldn't possibly have any real effect on the man's future. They were very sensible. Wise men, in my opinion, and it was obvious that they cared about the old man a great deal. But who wouldn't, y'know? There were some pretty insistent signs about that any normal man would find it damn hard to ignore and keep quiet through. And that was me. I wasn't just hooked, though, 'cause what he started talking about required some kind of response. I had to ask him a few questions 'cause he needed me to ask him a few questions. And that can make all the difference in the world."

As such things go, it had become clear to Jonas that Patient-X had been cursed by the subject of his lost years, but this wasn't necessarily what disturbed him the most. There were memories that the old man needed to reconcile with his advanced age, and this was unexpected. That crippled and dying old man with that bright and shining and unbelievable mind was driven by an open wound in his heart to bind himself to the harsh and disconsolate pain that drove him into a world of silence and dark corners, and the revelations this conversation eventually brought to light carried with it the stain of unexpected repercussions. According to Ardajio Jonas, the discussions of the day had rested in an uncomfortable valley during which both men were trying to bring up another subject, any subject, which was a necessity once the NickToons broadcast block of the day had ended, this being the only television screening the ancient relic seemed to get any real enjoyment from. 

Possibly just to fill the silence, something he understandably had an obvious aversion for, he said with a suddenness like it had come right out of the blue sky, "did any of those Braceros I was trucking up to Albuquerque ever make it? 'Cause I had the impression that Mack thought every one of 'em was all dead and gone, an' the thing is, you could never tell with that guy. I'm pretty sure he had no problem killin' though. He once told me that his uncle had shot and killed Pat Garrett, and I never knew anybody who could be so proud of something like that, but he sure seemed to be."

"Who are you talkin' about?"

"Ol' Brazel ...  Mack Brazel. Some folks called him 'Billy', but for most, he was just 'Mack'".

"Mack Brazel?  Yeah -- I know about him; he died a few years back. 'Bout twenty years ago, I think.  Coulda been a little longer.  It's a bit hard to recollect, but it was in the newspapers."

Some folks called him 'Billy', 
but for most, he was just 'Mack'.
"Huh ... Well, he was the last person I ever had any real connection to before I went under for good. Y'know, I was lyin' there in the dirt, and I couldn't move, I couldn't even think to move 'cause everything was so dry and slow, and even though he came back an' told me what was goin' on an' what he did, I couldn't turn my head to look, and the not knowin' was what I hated the most.  That not knowin' was bad, real bad.  Y'see, I heard that old Army Colt of his go off a coupl'a times, an' I've been real bothered by that sound for a long time now.  Too long."

Patient-X didn't move -- not much anyway, according to Jonas, who immediately qualified that estimate of the man's silence and his still being. "But when his eyes cocked a certain way, it meant he was real busy inside.  That look was unmistakable and at the time it was all over his face." 

"There were moments when I was in the coma that I was aware of my surroundings. I couldn't move, of course, but I could weigh things in my head, an' I tell you, those Braceros were mighty heavy.  I always felt bad about what happened, and I'm not even sure what that was."

"What exactly do you remember?"

"I remember takin' a short cut across from the old dirt road that ran past the J. B. Foster sheep ranch where ol' Mack was foreman.  We got to know each other during the war 'cause we went after a lot of the same jobs.  I figured he was littered with some mental pox half his life or somethin' and couldn't fight. He must have started drinkin' himself into the grave to kill time.  Somethin' like that anyway.  Who the hell knows? I couldn't go to war, 'cause I was lazy, and really didn't give a goddamn about what was goin' on all over them Jap islands. The coupl'a times my name came up, I went to old Mexico for a spell an' jus' changed my name before I come back. Did that a coupl'a times, which is why most folks never really knew my real name. But I got to know Mack well enough. There was times he could be a real shit kicker, like anybody else -- me included -- but I never figured him for a murderer ...

I remember takin' a short cut across from the old dirt
road that ran past the J. B. Foster sheep ranch.
"The thing is, how much does anybody know about anybody else? We're stuck here for a very few years and it's hardly enough time to learn anything 'bout anything, an' so we got a lotta questions when we got the time to sit an' think a spell.  An' I sure had my share of sittin' an' thinkin' time."  This was the point where Jonas flipped the video record on his cell phone, and after it focused on Patient-X, he smiled some, but didn't say anything to indicate that Ardajio should turn it off, and he was well aware by that time that the cell phone was a video recorder as well.  He just didn't seem to care.  He didn't seem to care about a whole lot of things that generally bug the rest of the world.  Maybe that's not always a fine and good thing, but it worked for him ... mostly.

"We was nex' to the desert on one side and Foster's ranch on t'other when the axle on my truck snapped.  That's what I figured it was -- the axle.  It about flipped us when it happened, an' I know it roll'd at least twice.  I went right through the windshield an' on one of them rolls that truck came down hard on my legs.  An' I was lucky at that 'cause back where the Mexicans was I'd long before put half of an old engine and pretty much the whole back end to a busted up '37 Chevy, an' when we flipped it musta been like missiles in there.  God knows how anything would survive.  Didn't have much time or steady a head to think about anything much 'cept 'damn, I'm dead now' which is about when ever'thing else all around me went dark brown and I just left the world for a spell."

Patient-X was quiet for a good length of time -- time enough for the deep sigh that was picked up on the cell phone, and then some. "I came back to a little bit of awareness, and that sad story seemed to go on just forever.  The thing is, I was in and out of pain, tremendous pain, but I could hardly breathe, couldn't even sweat an' that's what my whole life was. It gives the world a whole new flavor and color, and I can tell you now that I know why our visions of Hell are hot and dark red and brown and there just isn't any real steady thought outside of the true desire, that heavy, heavy need to just die and let everything go away. But you're scared and fearful that the blackness in our whole forever after is just gonna be so much worse, an' so you hang on to the pain, as much of it as you can and you just want to weep in your own Hell, an' I was in and out of it.  And I lived and thought I'd die there for a whole other lifetime.  The very thing ...

"I don't know how many times I heard that ol' side Colt of Mack's fire off, but it was at least a coupl'a times. I did hear somethin' else, though -- an' there ain't no doubt what that somethin' else was. Ol' Mack was sobbin', and it was a heavy, heavy cryin' that I heard, an' I seriously doubt any of those Braceros would have been cryin' without also screaming for help from somebody.  'Specially since he shot at least a couple of 'em."

"Why in God's name would he shoot somebody?"

"When he came an' sat down next to me he said they looked so bad, he'd never seen anyone look so broken up and hurt so bad in his whole life.  Brazel called it mercy killin'.  He said he'd feel less than human if he didn't do somethin' for 'em, but it hurt him inside so much.  An' when he bent over me, it looked like he was in very real pain.  I hope I never see a man look like that again. 'Cause I was pretty sure I was just about to die."

Of course, Patient-X did not die, but he sure came close. There was contemplation on his features, so it's not surprising that Ardajio Jonas would have silently waited for something else. But Patient-X didn't say anything at all for the longest time. It turns out that there wasn't much more for him to say. He mentioned that part of the in and out of his consciousness was Mack Brazel trying to clean him up some.  He got worried for a bit when Mack said his leg looked almost as bad as a couple of the Braceros looked, but then he lost his thoughts again and the world spun and went out for him. That had to have been a mercy.

"I'm gonna take you down to the Army base; mebbe their doctors can help you more'n I can. I gotta tell you, boy, I don't think you're gonna make it, but your a white man an' I ain't gonna treat you like some Mexican deportee.  Me an' my family'll pray for you, so mebbe God'll see fit to bring you through it or to put you down, but it'll all be up to Him, not me.  I'll pray for your Braceros, too, but I 'spect they'll be dependin' more on whatever prayers they may have done 'fore today.

"Don't you worry. I'll drop you at the base first, mebbe that clinic they got, and then I'll come back here to give them boys a proper burial -- at least until their families take 'em back to Mexico. I'll have to leave your truck here, but I expect it'll get cleaned up after I explain to the Sheriff why I shot three of yer Mexicans."

I'm gonna take you down to the Army base;
mebbe their doctors can help you more'n I can.
According to Patient-X, he spent the next few dozen years in and out of awareness and trying to reconcile what he remembered with the sound of those gunshots and that weeping. Unfortunately, he was never going to find any real relief on that score. Ardajio exhausted every possible avenue of research and was unable to find a single record, referral, or rumor to even suggest that a bunch of Braceros were killed on their way to reasonable employment. He probably thought it didn't matter so much, and easily convinced the right side of his brain that the whole thing was probably a lost cause. He nonetheless looked everywhere he could possibly imagine to find some mention of those Braceros, doing so more for Patient-X than for himself. When the old man finally did pass away in the early autumn of 2010, Jonas pretty much quit looking for any of it. As far as he was concerned it was just another end to another story. It was also a resolution he had grown to know intimately; by the time the winter months started crackling with lightning and the dry freeze that came along with the blown sands, there was nothing left to consider or talk about except the story. Patient-X, without fanfare, had continued his journey through the universe within the same pattern of existence that had brought him of out of the coma: he died alone and in silence. Jonas' desire to help ease the older man's restless heart was no longer necessary.

Now Roger Craggett, you have to understand, knew exactly who Mack Brazel was, but this was a story about Brazel he had never heard before, a story that had nothing at all to do with the alleged flying saucer he was supposed to have discovered the very same day as his encounter with that bunch of dead Braceros and a broken up white man. He couldn't have said why, at that moment, but he had a feeling this story was going to be a desperate one for a lot of people. All by himself, he felt as if he could almost blow away some of the secrecy of this world with a single breath, scattering the desert sands and unveiling a whole new universe beneath it. He decided right then that he was going to find those Braceros and determine for himself if Mack Brazel had discovered and been forced to keep secret a wrecked flying saucer and a bunch of dead aliens, or the wreckage of an old produce truck and a bunch of dead Mexicans.

At that very same moment, he understood exactly the precision so inherent to one man's illumination.

The first step to wiping away the secrecy overlaying the Roswell flying saucer claims was to walk the area, the original locale of this alleged story of dead Mexicans. Craggett reasoned that Mack Brazel would have never gathered up all ten bodies, transported them to another location, and buried them in secret. Accepting that what he had supposedly told Patient-X his real intentions were as basically a truthful account, he concluded that Brazel would have most likely buried the bodies very close to where they had originally died. He clearly suggested as much in the story Ardajio Jonas had told, suggesting as well that the burial would most likely only be a temporary one, that family and friends in Mexico would eventually reclaim their missing sons and fathers. None of this was borne out by the evidence, however, so Craggett assumed that the bodies were still buried in the desert, probably near the original accident site.

According to Roger Craggett, he spent the next five weeks looking for the mass grave he fully expected to uncover. He was not successful. It's possible, he reasoned, that he was looking in the wrong place, so he went back to Ardajio Jonas, who showed him all of the recordings he was in possession of. They discussed the matter with other witnesses at the long-term care facility where Patient-X had awakened and then died. Being a thorough researcher, Craggett exhausted every possible resource he could find, including what additional witnesses have discussed in relation to the reports of a wrecked flying saucer. He reasoned that if one story had been based on another, there would still be common elements to both, and that common element may well be location, location, location.

So Craggett went and bought himself one of those metal detectors that old white men in bermuda shorts and bright legs the color of fish bellies will sometimes pick up in their retirement so they can comb the beaches for something a little more entertaining than sand castles and old towels soaking up the sea salts and the hermit crabs, a handful of old keys and hunks of bent up metal screws and washers rattling about and telling the world that this is what retirement's like when you've got little enough to give and nothing to do except dream of pirates and treasures to be found.  And then he hit the desert with both feet burning in his old sneakers. Over the course of the next two months, Craggett checked every site even remotely associated with the Roswell crash stories and found nothing, just as every other investigator has also found nothing. There was no sign of an accident, no sign of burials, no sign that something large had plowed into the earth at high speed, and no sign of anything that might indicate an actual event of some importance may have occurred. In his despair, he decided that there was only one possible solution that incorporated every known crash site and yet started with the assumption that some type of incident actually took place: every known crash site was wrong. Dead wrong.

As you can probably guess, this negativity was not a good place for an obsessive man to start from -- not if he had any hopes of actually discovering something. The assumption that the answer can only be found in the one place that has never been proposed and still meets all the requirements dictated by Patient-X, i.e., off a dirt road near the Foster ranch on one side and the desert on the other, didn't exactly limit the focus of his search, especially given the fact that those requirements had to be applicable to the region in June 1947 and therefore might be completely different now. He was forced to reexamine every source available, recover every scrap of information possible that would enable Craggett to locate the site of the events discussed therein. And just like every other investigator who found it necessary to backtrack and reassess, he discovered nothing.  Again.

Thus ends our Part Three...

This work is the culmination of The Saucerologist's most complex and lengthy investigation to date. As a result, the necessity for travelling throughout the States of New Mexico, Maryland, Georgia, and Utah to conduct interviews and to access numerous archives of personal records has increased significantly the expenses and time required to complete the task. While it's true that we would prefer not to incur such a taxing condition, we would nonetheless be far more dissatisfied were we to ignore such obstacles that fate has placed before us. Expenses are relatively easy to ignore. Doing so, however, tends to increase the relative effect of the time we have invested in our pursuit of the truth. The Saucerologist therefore finds it necessary to apologize for the increased time between the varied Parts of our present examination of the alleged crash of a flying saucer north of Roswell, New Mexico. The Saucerologist apologizes for the sometimes inconsistent and untimely character of our publishing timetable. We are genuinely working towards a more palatable and consistent solution and hope to reduce our present consumption of minutes in the day. Please remember as well that ...

Part Four will be published right here in a bit of time measured out by clockwatchers in steps of quality found primarily at the end of grace! And always remember:

This is a Saucer Press International Publication

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