I'd purposely dressed as anonymously as possible: white shirt and jeans, with an 11-day beard, glasses and a ball cap for a university I never attended. My partner for the evening, Adrian Trentadue, was a bit more noticeable, thanks to his T-shirt with a cartoon gladiator declaring war against the hordes of uncircumcised Edomites (a biblical people who went to war with the Jews). I was clutching a thin stack of fliers. Trentadue had the staple gun in his pocket. At each telephone pole we came to, I would hand Trentadue a flier, and he would post it with a staple in each corner.
The front of the flier gave only half the intended message. Under the heading "Grizzly Bloody Murder" was a description of a young, white Tennessee couple allegedly raped and murdered by a gang of five black men. Walking past it, you might assume that it offered a reward for evidence in the case. The point was on the back side of the page, which was the side against the post. It directed you to a white-power online news broadcast and the national mailing address of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, or the Knights Party.
Trentadue looked back at the woman who had passed. "I don't think she's reading it," he said. "You get a lot of people that just walk right by and don't read it."
Trentadue, 28 years old, father of two, is a fully accredited Knight. Though only two years older than me, he kept calling me a young guy. He had the type of slim, fit physique you often see on farm kids or anyone who has spent his life working outdoors. His scalp was recently shaved, and beneath the dark stubble I could see an S.S. tattoo on one side and what looked like a motorcycle on the other. His only other visible tattoos were the words Italian on one forearm and German on the other — representing his heritage, he explained, from his grandfathers.
After papering utility poles on a few blocks, we went to the other side of the street and headed back toward the car, which we had left in a Walgreens parking lot. We had started distributing literature almost three hours before, and the sun had set. The utility poles were the final bit of the routine. Trentadue always began by putting the fliers in boxes of the Pitch.
"See, if we'd have done this when the sun was out, we'd be dead by now," he explained. "That's why you hit the Pitch boxes first."
I agreed. I was tired, and the initial adrenaline rush was ebbing. I was sweating profusely in the heat, and none of my clothes felt like they fit right anymore.
"They don't understand that I'm not trying to attack their paper," Trentadue said. "I'm just using it to spread the message."
I looked across the street at the woman again. She was walking back, and she paused at one of the fliers. It had been six months since my Knights Party orientation package came in the mail, and I knew that Trentadue had copied the flier off a design sent from the home base.