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John Doe No. 2 and the Dreamland Motel

Kenneth Womack

Publication Year: 2010

On April 19, 1995, a truck bomb exploded just outside of Oklahoma City's Murrah Federal Building, killing 168 people. Within a matter of hours, the FBI launched the largest manhunt in U.S. history, identifying the suspects as Timothy James McVeigh and John Doe No. 2, a stocky twentysomething with a distinctive tattoo on his left arm. Eventually the FBI retracted the elusive mystery man as a bombing suspect altogether, proclaiming that McVeigh had acted alone and that John Doe No. 2 was the by-product of unreliable eyewitness testimony in the wake of the attack. Womack recreates the events that led up to this fateful day from the perspective of John Doe No. 2--or JD, as he is referred to in the book. With his ironic and curiously detached persona, JD narrates--from a second-person point of view--his secret life with McVeigh, Terry Nichols, and others in America's militia culture as McVeigh and JD crisscross the Midwest in McVeigh's beloved Chevy Geo Spectrum. John Doe No. 2 and the Dreamland Motel is the tragicomic account of McVeigh's last desperate months of freedom, as he prepared to unleash one ofthe deadliest acts of domestic terrorism in the nation's history. Womack's novel traces one man's downward spiral toward the act of evil that will brand his name in infamy and another's desperate hope to save his friend's soul before it's too late.

Published by: Northern Illinois University Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication, Quotes

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pp. 1-8


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pp. ix-12

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1 The Dreamland Motel

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pp. 3-6

Thwack! Timothy McVeigh is throwing firecrackers at you from across the room. You are sitting on top of a bedspread in what you would generously describe as a “seedy” motel. The kind of motel that rents rooms by the hour and whose deserted, rectangular swimming pool has a milky sheen to its perpetually...

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2 Innocents Abroad

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pp. 7-14

You are rolling across the Heartland in Timothy McVeigh’s Road Warrior, a silver-colored 1987 Chevy Geo Spectrum with expired New York plates. You are listening to Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit” on a withered old cassette tape. It is the only song that Timothy McVeigh really...

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3 The Shooter

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pp. 15-21

In all likelihood, you would have never set eyes on Timothy McVeigh again had it not been for the biker dudes and their despairing tale about the late great Randy Rhoads. As you make your hurried exit from the snack bar, you find yourself face-to-face, yet again, with the Walther P88 salesman. When he sees you reentering the main...

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4 My Platonic Sweetheart

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pp. 22-29

You are watching Gina as she reclines in the chaise lounge in the backyard of her Wichita boardinghouse. You are thinking to yourself that she is immaculate in her white bikini top and periwinkle shorts, the sun splashing down in spangles across her exacting face, her strawberry blonde hair pulled back in a...

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5 Eff You

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pp. 30-38

“It’ll be a cold day in hell before I go back to that fucking place again,” Gina announces as you enter her bedroom at the boardinghouse. One lousy day as a dropout and her language continues to devolve. To devolve utterly. You make a mental note to maintain your own language standards even as hers erode into sailordom. At least one of you has to keep from slipping...

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6 The Gun That Won the West

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pp. 39-46

Timothy McVeigh is piloting the Road Warrior into the former territory of Colorado. “Welcome to the Centennial State” reads the sign at the border. Glad to be here, you think. Nice to make your acquaintance. A white straw dangles from Timothy McVeigh’s mouth. He has been chewing on it for the entirety of the three hours since you left the McDonald’s drive-thru back...

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7 The Mysterious Stranger

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pp. 47-55

As you leave the N.R.A. booth, a bizarre cuckoo clock catches your attention. An attractive timepiece with a replica wooden chateau from the Bavarian Alps as its face, the clock signals every quarter hour by producing a miniature Adolf Hitler—his right arm extended upward in his iconic, eerie salute—from an elegant alpine doorway. What could possibly...

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8 Life on the Mississippi

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pp. 56-63

Timothy McVeigh is gone. You shake yourself out of a deep sleep. You are sitting in the passenger’s side of the Road Warrior. The bright light of morning is shining on your face through the prism of the vehicle’s windshield. There is no Timothy McVeigh in evidence. He is nowhere to be found. Disappeared. Just like that. You glance around the interior...

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9 The Royal Nonesuch

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pp. 64-73

You are hiking with Timothy McVeigh around the far-flung reaches of the Nicholses’ farm. Off in the distance, you can see the farmhouse and the barn, the silo looming like a silvery monument above the fields. The sun flashes and glints upon its smooth, rounded steeple. You follow your partner along a dusty trail and into a copse of trees. He’s cradling one...

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10 Buffalo Bill’s Defunct

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pp. 74-81

You are convinced that Timothy McVeigh is a pervert. That he has become a sexual deviant. A man who is dangerous to all things good and holy. That he cannot possibly be a John Wayne type of guy. Timothy McVeigh is driving the Road Warrior across the southern Michigan border into Indiana. You have been traveling wordlessly since you left Decker...

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11 Aliens—and More!

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pp. 82-92

Timothy McVeigh is doing the dishes in the Fortiers’ tiny eat-in kitchen. With its lingering stench of stale food, alcohol, and cigarettes, the trailer is a filthy mess. Your partner begins tidying the place up almost immediately. Sweeping. Vacuuming. Gathering up old pizza boxes, dirty clothes, and beer...

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12 The Hypnotized Never Lie

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pp. 93-101

You are no longer speaking to Timothy McVeigh. You are sitting on a swivel stool in a Baskin-Robbins ice-cream parlor in Kingman, Arizona, trapped in a one-sided conversation with Evangelina Labio, whose shift ended nearly two hours ago. Her friends call her Angel for short. She lets you call her Angel, too, although you’re pretty certain that...

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13 A Tooth for a Tooth

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pp. 102-112

“This has become quite a little fortress!” announces Mike after touring the house in Golden Valley with Timothy McVeigh. He is standing in the living room with your partner, nursing a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon. Lori is sitting on the couch, leafing through a copy of Soldier of Fortune. Oblivious to...

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14 The Candy Store

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pp. 113-121

Terry Nichols is standing in front of the entrance to Baskin- Robbins. He is wearing a black turtleneck sweater, black trousers, and black shoes. And—lest you forget, how could you forget?—a ridiculous dreadlock wig. He couldn’t look any more preposterous if he tried. You wonder if...

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15 Back to the Future

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pp. 122-129

As you look on in amazement, Terry Nichols begins transferring your booty from Bob’s robust paneled van to the beat-up, road-worn Honda. You glance over at the posse of boys who are still playing baseball on the dirt diamond. Oblivious to your crimes. Oblivious to the two men in ski masks shuffling back and forth between the vehicles. The weight of Bob’s precious...

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16 Feed Your Head!

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pp. 130-137

For the first time in months, you wake up in the cool morning air of Wichita. And you are sore—terribly, painfully sore. Staring into the sun—into the bright light of a new day—you are reclining in Gina’s backyard. On the chaise lounge to which, once upon a time, she had brought so much glory...

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17 Ascending Mount Carmel

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pp. 138-146

You are riding with Timothy McVeigh across the barren Texas plains, gradually making your way into the comparatively fertile environs of the hill country. Mike Fortier reclines in the backseat of the Road Warrior, his feet dangling outside of the vehicle’s passenger’s side window. Lost in a deep sleep since Albuquerque, he has proven to be an unobtrusive...

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18 Anarchy in the O.K.

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pp. 147-154

Timothy McVeigh is guiding the Road Warrior down the Centennial Expressway off-ramp. The Oklahoma City skyline looms just ahead in the distance. A low-lying fog drifts among the office buildings, evoking the impression that the cityscape is floating in a sea of clouds. Timothy McVeigh...

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19 The Battle of Fort Er

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pp. 155-164

Timothy McVeigh is leaning his body into the stovetop in Mike and Lori’s eat-in kitchen, scrubbing and scouring as hard as he possibly can. “This is—bar none—the nastiest shit I have ever seen,” he exclaims. It always amazes you, you think to yourself, when your partner morphs into Felix Unger. When he transforms into an unmitigated neat freak. You are sitting in...

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20 Tattoo You

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pp. 165-174

You push your way, forcefully, through the double doors of the biker bar, with Timothy McVeigh following closely on your heels. “It’s time,” he announces confidently. You look at him incredulously. Does he ever stop? you wonder to yourself. “It’s time all right—...

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21The Road Warrior’s Last Stand

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pp. 175-182

Timothy McVeigh is flying across the frigid Michigan terrain in the Road Warrior. Rushing headlong toward the Prairie State. Toward the rendezvous point with Snow in Cairo, Illinois. Of all the places, you think to yourself, why Cairo, Illinois? As Timothy McVeigh drives across southern Michigan, you pass through one small...

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22 The Girl Can’t Help It

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pp. 183-191

As Timothy McVeigh drives along the interstate—leaving the quiet streets of Cairo and its stealthy posse of federal agents in your wake—your blood brother becomes increasingly wary about heading in the direction of the Sooner State. At least just yet. “It’s code red, dude,” says Timothy McVeigh as he steers the Pontiac along the...

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23 Escape to Elohim City

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pp. 192-202

“Welcome,” says Timothy McVeigh, “to the Month of the Bull.” He is steering the Pontiac across the craggy eastern plains of Oklahoma and into the foothills of the Ozark Mountains. And you—you are holding on for dear life. Your partner pilots the station wagon into the parking lot of an old filling station, where...

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24 Roughing It

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pp. 202-211

Timothy McVeigh is piloting the station wagon across the hills and dales of Junction City, Kansas, pop. 20,604. You are traveling from your seedy room at the Dreamland Motel to a Firestone auto-care center—and you are on an honest-to-goodness, balls-tothe- wall emergency mission. The Pontiac has been overheating and leaking coolant all the livelong...

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25 Lighting Out for the Territory

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pp. 212-216

As daylight gives way to the dark of night, Timothy McVeigh wheels the Ryder truck into Ponca City, Oklahoma, pop. 26,359. Steering the heavy-laden vehicle off of the interstate, he brings it to a rest in a vacant parking lot behind a McDonald’s. Across the highway, the neon lights of Amazing Ray’s American Steakhouse are all lit up, blinking....

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26 Phoenix Unbound

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pp. 217-222

You are standing alone on the roadside, and you are dumbstruck in your predicament. You are absolutely dumbfounded by this sudden and unexpected turn of events. In the distance, Timothy McVeigh pilots the Ryder truck onto the interstate. You watch, mouth agape, as the vehicle’s bright yellow cargo bay vanishes beyond...

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27 Lazy Circles in the Sky

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pp. 223-227

You are standing on the dusty off-ramp at mile marker 225, with the tractor-trailers whipping by on the interstate just beyond the rest stop. You still have $11 nestled away in your wallet, along with the AirLite revolver tucked safely into your waistband. You are carrying your dorm-room key and your “Jot It Down” pad in your trouser pockets, and your trusty...

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pp. 228-230

As history well knows, Timothy James McVeigh was executed by lethal injection on June 11, 2001, in Terre Haute, Indiana, pop. 59,614. Exactly three months later, 19 Middle Eastern hijackers brought his dubious record for domestic terrorism to a sudden, cataclysmic end with the deaths of nearly 3,000 innocent civilians. But the devastation wrought by...

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pp. 231-242

Special thanks are due to Lou Michel and Dan Herbeck for their indispensable volume American Terrorist: Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City Bombing (2001), as well as to Jon Hersley, Larry Tongate, and Bob Burke for...

E-ISBN-13: 9781609090043
Print-ISBN-13: 9780875806402

Page Count: 236
Publication Year: 2010