Sunday, 5 January 2014


--reposted from the old site-- January 5, 2014

(Fifty years ago today, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. But what if November 22, 1963 had been a day like any other? What if JFK's head had remained intact that day, instead of getting struck by a bullet and exploding open, to the shock and horror of those assembled to watch the presidential motorcade wind through Dealy Plaza? How might history have turned out differently following this crucial point of divergence?

What follows is an excerpt from Andy Nowicki's short story "Oswald Takes Aim," part of a collection entitled Lost Violent Souls, now available from Counter-Currents and on

Lee Harvey Oswald sat in the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository building and gazed out at the lazy traffic flowing down Elm Street towards Stemmons Freeway, bound for destinations across the city of Dallas and beyond. His thin lips twisted into a smirk as he regarded the mass of humanity beneath his feet.

Stupid Americans, he thought.


It had been on this very day: November 22, ten years ago, in 1963—this had been the day that could have, should have, changed everything.

The intervening years had not been kind to Oswald. Now 34, he had the weathered look of a man who could have been at least a full decade older. Of course, the last decade hadn’t just been hard on Oswald, but to much of the entire world . . . Might things have gone differently, both for Oswald and for mankind, if he had accomplished what he’d set out to do that day?

Oswald squinted his beady eyes, tried to recall the sights and sounds of those moments when he squatted in this very room, and held the future of the world in his hands. It had been a warm day for late November; that much, he distinctly remembered. Today, November 22, 1973, was by contrast bitterly cold. Back then, Oswald had been a clean-cut young man in a plain white T-shirt and slacks, an all-American boy secretly plotting chaos and discord. Today, in accord with current trends, he sported a handlebar mustache; his hair, having thinned noticeably on top, came down past his collar; his checkered suit coat clashed brazenly with his brown, corduroy bell-bottoms. (But then, Oswald had never been the least interested in fashion—he just wore whatever he could buy from cheap clothing stores; he fiercely detested the bourgeois notion that “the clothes make the man.”)

Yes, the world had grown colder, meaner, more terrifying. Wars, devastation, mass upheaval, near extinction. Yet the United States of America limped on, a shadow of its former grand self, gravely crippled, perhaps terminally ill. Oswald smiled to think of it. Not that he sided with America’s enemies, either. All nations, principalities, and powers could go take a long walk off a short pier as far as he was concerned. He cared for nothing except to maintain his revolutionary edge to the bitter end.

The last few years had seen a panoply of supposedly radical organizations emerge, primarily on college campuses: anti-war, anti-draft, anti-American imperialism, anti-atomic bomb, and so forth. Oswald viewed these groups with visceral contempt. He wasn’t a joiner. Moreover, he considered these hippie-dippie activists to be lightweights, creampuffs, stooges, spoiled little rich kids with trust funds playing at revolution because it was currently “hip” to do so. Oswald, himself a high school dropout, could not tolerate being lumped together with such stupid little overprivileged frauds. Which of them, after all, had come anywhere close to the commission of a real revolutionary gesture?

It was a secret. His secret—his and his alone. A secret contained within the very walls of this insignificant room full of schoolbooks. His wife didn’t know; he’d left no note for her that morning ten years ago, as he had on the day of his attempt on Walker’s life. He’d gone back to the Ruth Paine home in Irving on a Thursday, the night before. Normally, he remained in his Oak Cliff apartment in Dallas during the week and only traveled out to his family in the suburbs for the weekend. Marina had been surprised, and not too happy, to see him.

They’d had words that night, and then some. He’d asked her to go away with him, to let someone else watch the kids for a week or two. She’d refused, telling him that he was crazy; where did they have the money? And who would they leave the children with, his crazy mother? Oswald had darkened at that. He’d hit her before, on several occasions, when she’d spoken to him with such blatant disrespect. On this evening, however, he channeled the anger and despondency he felt in a different direction. He turned away from his wife, pursing his lips, squinting his eyes, and shaking his head. No, no, no. It wouldn’t do. He’d had an inkling all along, and now he knew for sure . . .

Oswald spent a good deal of time in the Paines’ garage that night, dismantling his mail-order Mannlicher-Carcano rifle. Tomorrow was a big day. President John F. Kennedy would be driving through Dallas in an open-air motorcade, en route to a ceremonial lunch at the Trade-Mart. Plans were for the motorcade to pass through Dealy Plaza, exactly adjacent to Oswald’s current place of work. Was it serendipity? Or even destiny? Oswald of course rejected religion and its ridiculous antiquated claims; he’d never in his life felt any need or cause to ingest that which he felt sure was naught but the opium of the drooling masses; still, he saw here an incredible opportunity to make his mark on history, an opportunity that he found it hard to believe hadn’t dropped to his lap from some transcendent source . . . What Oswald had planned here went way beyond what he’d tried to do with that pissant redneck segregationist—here would be the most powerful man in the world, moving right past Oswald’s place of work, easily within the reach of his rifle’s scope.

After a restless night’s sleep filled with violent and happy dreams, Oswald had ridden back into the city with Wesley Frazier on Friday morning, carrying his disassembled rifle in a long package. He told Frazier that his package contained curtain rods, which he intended to use in his Oak Cliff apartment.

The morning passed uneventfully, Oswald’s fellow workers buzzing in anticipation of the president’s visit. By lunchtime, crowds began to gather around the Plaza, waiting for the presidential limo to come slowly taxiing through, bearing the American leader and his lovely wife. Oswald, trying to play it cool, asked one employee if he knew the route of the motorcade. When told that it would indeed pass through Elm Street past the Book Depository building, Oswald’s heart swelled within him and a rush of color rose to his thin, sallow cheeks. “Oh, I see,” he muttered, trying to make his voice sound casual as he turned away, eyes twinkling with excitement.

Yes, it was happening! Now was his chance to rock the world. In spite of the eagerness he felt, Oswald managed to keep his emotions in check. He prided himself, as always, on his iron will; indeed, he never found it the least difficult to opt to do what the mass of men found to be excruciating, even morally exhausting, tasks. As such, he considered himself a true vanguard, destined from birth to lead the world in a revolutionary direction. Like Marx, Lenin, Mao, and Castro, he would boldly step where others dare not tread.

Such radiant happiness animated him as he climbed up the steps to the inventory room on the sixth floor, stood and gazed out the window, package in hand! Now, alone again in the same room exactly ten years later, he recalled his younger self’s exuberance in an instant. Up here on the sixth floor, before the window in his makeshift sniper’s nest, he had spent the most glorious few minutes of his life. He felt like the king of all that he surveyed. He could see out, into the streets teeming with the burgeoning crowd. The people on the outside couldn’t see in; or rather, they had no real reason to look in at him, no reason to scrutinize the nondescript little man who would interrupt the obscene bread-and-circuses spectacle with a hail of righteous bullets . . .

But then: How swiftly did one’s mounting glory turn to ignominy! Oswald, all these years later, positively winced to think of it—his great, fatal fumble! He still didn’t understand why it had happened, but for some reason it had: when reassembling his rifle, Oswald was suddenly afflicted with nerves. His hands began to shake, and he found that his mind couldn’t focus on the crucial task at hand. The looming enormity of his planned act had left him dizzy and lightheaded; his palms sweated, and he actually began hyperventilating. All efforts to gather himself proved futile, and when John and Jackie passed through the Plaza with placid waves and regal smiles, all Oswald could do was watch, helplessly, forlorn lump in throat, his rifle still lying in pieces all around him on the Book Depository floor.


Afterwards: shock, heartbreak, supreme frustration, bitter sorrow. Oswald recalled muttering “What now, what now, what now?” in a plaintive whisper. For the first time in his life, he felt close to tears. All his dreams, gone! Lost, due to an inexplicable onset of anxiety! It all struck him as somehow cosmically unfair . . . but then, as the human throng—still luxuriating in the afterglow of being within spitting distance of a president—began to filter away, Oswald’s automatic impulses kicked in once more. With machine-like efficiency, he took the various parts of the rifle and thrust them, one by one, back into the box he’d brought in from Irving that morning.

All of the rage and sadness he felt at having missed his one moment to achieve greatness he pushed firmly out of his mind; his face once more assumed its accustomed sullen impassivity. For the rest of that day, he said nothing to anybody; when his boss Roy Truly enthused about how wonderful it was to have seen Mr. and Mrs. Kennedy in person, Oswald couldn’t help but glower murderously, causing Truly to grow pale and shamble away quickly, like a killer fleeing a crime scene.

Oswald brooded for weeks afterwards, but never told anyone about what he’d tried to do that day; not a soul in the entire world knew the significance of that window on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository building in Dallas, Texas.

Marina, of course, had had an inkling that something had been up with Lee that day. When he came back home that night, she gazed at him quizzically before asking (in that smirking tone of voice that Oswald hated) if he’d forgotten anything. Ruth Paine, the landlady from whom they rented their rooms, looked on the tense scene with some embarrassment; the frequent spats that erupted between Lee and Marina often left this staid woman on edge. Much as she adored their two beautiful children, and appreciated Marina as a friend and someone from whom she’d been able to learn a few phrases of the Russian language, Lee had always seemed like bad news to Ruth.

Still, Ruth was a believing Quaker, and she took seriously the notion of throwing in her lot with the poor in spirit and the sick of heart. The Oswalds weren’t always prompt in their rent payments, and Lee’s work record was spotty, to say the least; still, she couldn’t in good conscience throw the family out—she conceived of looking after this troubled family as her Christian duty.

On this occasion, things seemed spectacularly tense, even by the standards of the typically tumultuous personal dealings of Lee and Marina. When she saw Oswald’s angrily scowling face, she feared things could turn ugly. She knew Lee had a ferocious temper, and Marina had confided several times about his proclivity to abuse her.

However, Lee now seemed disinclined to be baited by his wife’s taunting provocations. He turned away, and began to stalk off, but Marina for some reason just wouldn’t quit.

“Forget something, big man?” she repeated, even more scornfully than before.

Oswald turned back, and Ruth at that moment was sure that for some reason he looked frightened, like a man who’d seen a ghost. Marina was holding up her wedding ring, a viciously contemptuous look animating her face.

“You left this on the dresser, big man! You planned something big today, no?”

Oswald looked positively helpless, Ruth thought. Like a trapped animal with no hope of escape. He reached over, snatched the ring out of his wife’s grip, then walked out of the room, muttering to himself.

Weeks passed, then months, then years. Something fundamentally changed in Oswald after that day, something that Marina, try as she might, could never comprehend. It seemed that his quietly lethal violent intensity just got up and left, leaving behind a broken shell of a man. He no longer plotted or planned; he merely sat around, brooding and dispirited. He quit his job at the Book Depository, took on a few more dead end jobs, then one day simply disappeared, leaving behind a terse note and a sum of money from his last paycheck in an envelope.

Andy Nowicki, co-editor of Alternative Right, is a Catholic reactionary writer who loathes all modernist dogmas and superstitions. He is the author of six books, including Heart Killer and The Columbine Pilgrim. He occasionally updates his blog ( ) when the spirit moves him to do so.

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