Page 8 of 9
The sun went down, and we left the car in a Walgreens lot and started stapling the fliers to telephone poles. Trentadue told me that he hired Robb to drive up from Arkansas for his wedding. Robb asked only for his travel expenses, and Trentadue was married by the head of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. "My parents knew who he was," Trentadue said. "They weren't happy about it, but at the end of the ceremony, even they had to admit he did a nice job."
When we finished the stapling, Trentadue handed me a stack of the leftover fliers I promised to distribute in Kansas City. I did this by depositing them in a Dumpster behind a barbecue restaurant. After I left him, I retraced our steps and took down and pulled out every flier we'd distributed that night.
"You got any felonies on your record?" he asked.
"No. Why?" I already knew that, according to court records, the worst thing on Trentadue's record was a DUI resulting in some criminal damage in 2001, for which he had served 60 days in jail and 18 months' probation.
"I got some guns. Maybe we could go shoot sometime. Do you like guns? Because I could get you some, cheap."
"Like, for hunting? I've handled a rifle before."
"No, I've got a shotgun and a handgun. It's for home protection."
I pictured Trentadue, belly-down on his roof, blasting into a horde of uncircumcised Edomites.
When we got to his house, he thanked me for going out with him. "It feels good to do something instead of just sitting on your ass complaining."
He reached out to shake my hand, and I took it. And for reasons I still don't fully understand, I reached my free arm around him and pulled him into a hug. He was still for a second, then I felt his other hand on my shoulder, returning the embrace. Maybe I did it because I knew I'd be writing about all of this later, and it seemed like a good moment for some catharsis. But another part of me — still recovering from the dual tension of lying to him while trying to plant Klan literature under the noses of Olathe's residents — recognized that, regardless of my opinion of him, we'd gone through some sort of bonding experience together.
I started to leave, then remembered that my Klan shirts were still in his house. I followed him in. His wife was on the couch, curled under a blanket. She was brunette, with a piercing in her lip and tired eyes. She was clearly happy to see him.
"This is Bobby," Trentadue said. "He's in the Knights."
She smiled at me. "That's great," she said. "It's so good to meet you."
The sweet way she greeted me brought all the fear back again. Trentadue wasn't interested in my life outside the Klan or in my experience. Wives and mothers always ask personal questions. I realized how stupid it was to go back into the house. I excused myself as smoothly as I could.
Out the door and down the stairs. Freedom. I'd done it. One foot on the curb. The moon was bright. Then I heard Trentadue shout, "Hey, Bobby!"
I remembered the guns he'd mentioned earlier. I turned around. It had been a good life.
He stood there in the darkness of his porch, his arm extended in a Sieg Heil.