The Man from NeXT

 

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Among the many people Weissman contacted, he also caught up with Sue's

father, Floyd, who told me later he didn't trust Weissman and wondered,

too, what the man wanted. While Floyd avoided labeling Weissman "a

bottom feeder" as he had labeled me, he clearly placed me and Weissman

in the same questionable category.

 

When Weissman finally did reach me at home by telephone, he said he had

latched onto the Sue case from the Aug. 2 Star-Ledger article in which

friends and family claimed Sue had been abducted.

 

"I really felt for her 11-year-old son,” Weissman told me. "I thought he

deserved better than that to have his mother disappear and not know what

happened to her."

 

In another conversation, Weissman claimed he had come upon the case via

my Aug. 8 article, while still other reports claim he appeared on the

scene soon after the first article appeared in late July. While Weissman

remained vague about his own history, claiming the less we knew the

safer he was, but he alluded to connections with the state department

and the CIA, and said he frequently traveled to Los Angeles and

Washington, DC. O'Keefe later learned that Weissman had worked as the

official spokesperson for NeXT, a computer software company that did

indeed have extensive contracts with NASA and other government agency.

Weissman, however, appeared to have left the company in 1994 for some

unknown reason.

 

Almost from the beginning, I suspected him of working for Sue. In the

past, at college, Sue had always kept abreast of current information

through someone still in her circle of friends, even when she had

vanished as the result of an argument or an emotional outburst. She

couldn't stand being out of the loop for long, or not knowing what other

people were saying. Often, she would find some unsuspecting fool, a

simple-minded man or woman who would believe she honestly feared for her

life and needed their help to keep tabs on other people.

 

Now with Sue vanishing in a much more dramatic fashion, I could not see

her without such an information source, someone who would ferret out the

intimate details of the police investigation so that she could keep one

or two steps ahead of it, making an appearance here and an appearance

there without risk of actually getting caught. This she got her love of

Abbie Hoffman and his books. In fact, when one of the professors brought

Abbie Hoffman to campus in 1982, Sue was first on line to meet him. She

also apparently modeled herself so thoroughly on Abbie Hoffman's life

that she even adopted his bi-polar disease, something she had studied

fairly extensively in paper-back, pop-psychology books she was so

enthralled by.

 

While Weissman professed to have learned about the case from me or from

the Ledger, he seemed to know more about her habits and her mental state

than anyone I had met to date, but instead of seeking to help us, he

seemed hungry to know what we knew and how far we had progressed in

seeking Sue. He had the habits and thought process of a private

detective, a business into which he might have slipped after his leaving

NeXT.

 

When I pressed him for something more, some better reason, he grew

evasive, saying that he had enemies, and that he couldn't divulge

information about himself. He claimed to have been pursued by Postal

Investigators during his week-long stay at the Royal Motel in Secaucus.

 

"I knew something was wrong," he told me. "I came out of my room and saw

that several cars in the parking lot had their license plates covered.

But one of them got careless. He had left his parking placard on his

dashboard. He was a postal agent. I don't know what they wanted with me,

but I got out of there fast."

 

I thought he was crazy, clearly as paranoid as Sue, and as much the king

of drama as she was its queen. Then, a few days after this, Postal

Investigators busted a local child porno ring. And then, I began to get

scared.

 

What if O'Keefe was right and this man worked for some larger entity,

something much more mysterious and dangerous than either of us figured

on? In all my tours of the underworld, I had run into numerous

characters, from the Pagans on the East Coast and the Hell's Angels on

the West, from Charlie Manson's family and other equally bizarreither of

us figured on? In all my tours of the underworld, I had run into

numerous characters, from the Pagans on the East Coast and the Hell's

Angels on the West, from Charlie Manson's family and other equally

bizarre people to federal authorities pursuing my friend, Mike.

 

This brought me back to his business card, and a more determined search

of his whereabouts in Mendham. I could find nothing and began to take

more seriously his claims to possible connections with the Secret

Service, the FBI and the CIA, even though he never once actually said he

worked for any of these, and specifically denied being a private

detective. He consistently claimed himself a private citizen concerned

about the finding her.

 

But he fit the pattern of a detective, the kind which used to haunt the

street of LA when I lived there, slinking around, showing up at people’s

offices, asking questions without warning, demanding information they

were under no obligation to give.

 

“Private detectives like to drop in on people unawares,” said one friend

of mine who used to work for such an agency. “They like to intimidate

those people they want to talk to, make them uneasy, they’ll even talk

to people under any pretext, just to get information out of them. There

are no laws governing how they behave. They can lie, and often prefer to

deal with people in person rather than over the telephone.”

 

Who the hell was Weissman and what did he want? And why did he show up

just after I had visited Judy's place in Newark? The next time he calThe

next time he called I asked him specifically had he

 

"No, not in Newark," he said, hesitantly. "But I might have seen her in

New York."

 

And thus we came to something Weissman had selling since his appearance,

telling family, friends and the police that Sue had little or nothing to

do with Newark, that the sightings were all an illusion, and that Sue --

or a woman he thought was Sue -- had actually talked to him in a number

of New York City clubs, including Shenanigans and Dangerous Curves, both

on East 47th Street, New York Dolls on Murray St, Private Eyes on 45th

Street, and Flash Dancers on Broadway. Each advertised numerous

international topless show girls for daily viewing pleasure, though

Flash Dancers had the distinction on investing "the table dance," a form

of performance dancers did for individual groups at their tables. These

places also boasted of the biggest busted women in the world, as well as

brand name liquor and beers, free hot buffet for lunch and dinner and

happy hour that gave patrons two drinks for the price of one. Unlike the

clubs like the Vault, patrons got in for free.

 

Sue had indeed danced in such places in the past, but had sought out New

Jersey clubs partly because she could no longer compete with the

younger, prettier, and more talented dancers that now starring at such

places. Many of these dancers came via East Coast Entertainment,compete

with the younger, prettier, and more talented dancers that now starring

at such places. Many of these dancers came via East Coast Entertainment,

a well-known, if not totally respected, talent and booking agency --

which claimed some of these same women appeared on such

 

Sue had also ceased to perform in such places -- or so she said in

Redlight and Screw -- because the clientele had changed from working

class to Yuppie, and the men who now spread their wealth in these clubs

wanted dancers to do more for far less, holding out tips, not just for

the backrubs the women sometimes offer, but full body rubs and just

about anything else. These arrogant men descended upon these clubs like

Roman Conquerors or the Nazi elite Sue read so much about her those

early 1970s girly magazine, acting as if they owned the place as well as

the women. In the VIP rooms, which required a fee, these women became

victims to the slightest whim, stopping short only of outright violence.

 

Each of these particular clubs advertised a slightly different flavor.

Flashdancers boasted of women straight out of the pages of men's

magazines. Melissa Hines had danced her with Sue from time to time.

Private Eyes was a sports cabaret, on Manhattan's west side, where men

could choose between watching the Yankees or Giants with a blonde or

redhead on his lap. New York Dolls was just two blocks from the World

Trade Center in the Wall Street area, instead of TV screens for sports,

this bar featured strippers parading under a ticker tape with two whole

floors of continuous entertainment for businessmen to check out the

"stocks and blondes." Shenanigans is supposed to have a more laid back

atmosphere while Dangerous Curves brings wommen's magazines. Mel

 

The more Weissman annoyed Melissa the more fearful she got, telling me

over the telephone that she would call the police if he did not cease

bothering her. He kept pressing for a meeting with her, and perhaps knew

that it was her photograph that appeared on one of Flash Dancer's

flyers, a full-breasted brownhaired woman with eyes so sensual that even

when fully dressed she seems to be coming on.

 

O'Keefe actually met Weissman before I did and came away believing the

man played an important role in keeping track of the movements of the

various players. The police chief and the chief investigators granted

him interviews that main stream media such as Associated Press could not

get. In fact, on Labor Day, Weissman claimed to have met with the Nutley

Police chief for nearly and hour to discuss the case. But in each

instance, Weissman seemed to come away with more information that he

gave, despite the fact he had come to give us something new to work on.

 

Finally, Weissman insisted on a face to face meeting with me and

O'Keefe, agreeing to come to Secaucus. And when pressed, Weissman had

not only seen and talked to a woman he believed was Sue, he had talked

to two.

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------

A meeting of minds

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------


Sue Walsh story: 1998 menu

Spielberg menu

Main Menu


email to Al Sullivan