Thomas Wictor

Stuck in the middle

Stuck in the middle

I’ve always loved “Stuck in the middle with You,” by Stealers Wheel.

You hear it once, and it’s in your head for good.

Trying to make some sense of it all
But I can see that it makes no sense at all

Bassist Tony Williams has a Fender Musicmaster, a short-scale and the first bass I owned. I had to play mine upside down, which was absurd. But listen to that tone! And the woman in the video is spectacular. She has just the right amounts of oddness, eroticism, and theatricality that press all my “Go!” buttons, even if she has no eyebrows.

Yesterday I got some really funny news that reminded me of this song. My post about Mike Albee and Lura Dold has angered the craziest person I’ve ever met. I’m going to be sued for invasion of privacy!

That’s really hilarious. I’ve totally exposed two professional grifters and unequivocally called them frauds and thieves, but their only reaction has been to take down our Basecamp project and my Facebook and Twitter accounts, which they created for me. No cease-and-desist letters from lawyers, no denials, no explanations. Perfect silence.

Yet my post about two other people is grounds for someone else—someone not involved in the slightest—to sue me for invasion of privacy. I’ve lost track of all the hysterical threats. They never come to anything. Meanwhile, I’m following through on what I told Mike I’d do if he didn’t refund my money. That’s the difference between childish, narcissistic tantrums and actually trying to stop someone from destroying others’ peace of mind and health.

It comes back to fraudulence. I’m stuck in the middle, but it’s not clowns on one side and jokers on the other. It’s frauds all around. Their motivations are different; Mike and Lura wanted my money so that they could stuff their faces and live the high life. And con artists really get off on pulling the wool over your eyes. They enjoy the fact that you trust them even as they’re screwing you. It’s an ego thing.

Though it’s also an ego thing with the threat-making machine that goes haywire every now and sends me its hope that I die soon, I know it doesn’t want money from me. What it wants is submission. It wants to dictate what I can and can’t write about. I’ve had to explain to several people that I get to document my life. One tragically depressing conversation sticks out.

“You can’t put this in your book.”

“Why not?”

“Because it makes me look bad.”

“But…but these are my own thoughts. They have nothing to do with you.”

“Yeah, but they’re your thoughts about me.

“So you’re saying that I can’t publish my own thoughts?

“Not if they’re about me.”

“Nobody in the entire human race is going to read this and think badly of you. They’re going to read it and think, ‘Christ, Thomas Wictor is a terminal neurotic who misinterprets everything.’ It’s absolutely clear to the reader that my thoughts about you were incorrect. I’m putting them in to show how messed up I am.”

“But you’re thinking about me. I don’t want people to get the wrong idea about me.”

“They won’t. They’ll get the right idea about me. And nobody knows who you are. I’ve completely disguised you.”

“But I know. And I don’t want that impression of me out there where people can read it.”

“The whole point is that it’s a misconception. Nobody’s going to come to any conclusions except that I have massive problems.”

“Don’t you understand? I don’t want you to write this! It’s about me! I don’t want it out there!”

In the end I retained the description of my own thoughts. They’re my thoughts. I get to publish them. Let’s say I tell you, “I think President Obama is actually a John Deere tractor,” and then I show you this photo.


“See?” I say. “Is there any doubt? This was taken in the Rose Garden. The president is a tractor!”

Would that make you think President Obama is a John Deere tractor? Now how do you suppose President Obama would react if he heard that obscure, failed writer Thomas Wictor thought the president was a John Deere tractor?

Better yet, what if President Obama heard that obscure, failed writer Thomas Wictor thought President Obama was a John Deere tractor but had actually disguised the president in his writings as an elderly female Russian street sweeper.

“Anya Baliskova, age eighty-three—a street-sweeping babushka in Moscow—is actually a John Deere tractor.”

Do you think President Obama would call me and say, “Thomas, I don’t want folks to be thinking I’m a tractor,” or do you think he would just get on with his life and leave me alone?

Lawsuits mean publicity, not only for the defendant but also for the plaintiff. And anyone who sues me is going get an instant countersuit. We can all put our secrets out on the table for the world to see.

Frauds. I despise them now.

A long time ago someone accused me of making up Ghosts and Ballyhoo. I really wish I had that kind of imagination. No, it was all real. Here are the sources I used.


Top row, from left: 1) my unpublished novel The Mermaid Lamp, 2) correspondence and memorabilia from Japan, 3) memorabilia from college, 4) memorabilia from Japan, and 5) photos from Japan.

Middle row: 1) two binders of correspondence from Carmen, 2) three binders of personal correspondence, 3) correspondence from my career as a freelance music journalist, 4) memorabilia from college, and 5) a binder of memorabilia from Japan.

Bottom row: 1) correspondence and memorabilia from high school, 2) a box of cassette tapes from my career as a freelance music journalist, 3) a second box of cassette tapes from my career as a freelance music journalist, 4) a diary from Japan, 5) correspondence from Bass Player, 6) memorabilia from Japan, and 7) all the letters and photos I sent to my mother from Japan.


From left: 1) memorabilia from high school, 2) two boxes of photos from 1992-2002, 3) a binder of correspondence related to the four books I published before Ghosts, and 4) four folders of memorabilia from my career as a freelance music journalist.

I’ve also got a phenomenal memory. When I wrote “Time to embarrass Scott Thunes,” I used a quote that I remembered from 1967.

You are, dear Elephant sir, the last individual.

All I had to do was Google it to find the author, Romain Gary. At five I wasn’t interested in authors.

At fifty-one, I’m no longer interested in authors. I don’t like most of them, and my attempts to be one have come to nothing, so from now on I’ll call myself an expositor.

One of the people who worked for Mike Albee and Lura Dold was just so amazed that I still had a letter I wrote to Mom when I was six.

“It’s great that you’re so close to your mother!” she oozed. “You’ve got to put that letter on your Website!!!”

So I did.

Though this oozing fan of mine was in reality a fraud engaged in ripping me off of $40,000, her corruption doesn’t change the fact that I wrote a really great book. It’s my favorite so far.

And I still like hamburgers.