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Excerpted from Chapter 59 of the book, "The Code"

Two Men in the Building

JFK, My Dad and the Roman Empire


There are three themes running through my song, "Two Men in the Building."  One is the assassination of President, John F. Kennedy on Friday, November 22, 1963.  I have said that I believe this event affected the lives of every one of us, even if we weren't yet born. 


The second theme is the generation gap.  My dad's generation lived through the great depression and World War II, not to mention the Korean War, Viet Nam and everything else my generation has experienced. 


In our conversations, I was usually the idealistic and ill informed one, he the voice of reason.  His experiences as lawyer and law professor, Navy pilot, judge pro tem, sailor, skier, judo student, and pianist have all informed our relationship.  The song deals with this kind of disconnect and attempts to portray the emotional damage that the events in Dallas have caused. 


The third theme has to do with power, the powers that be, and all the struggles that accompany power.  This is represented by the references to the Romans, the ruins at St. Germain Des Pres, and the contemporary existence of symbols of the Empire including Caesar's Palace, with all the connotations of Mafia power and their possible implication in the death of President Kennedy. 


Conspiracy theories abound and most of them may be more distracting than productive.  But, there is information in each of them, and by resorting to the wider sampling of that information it's possible to resolve fine points of detail.  There were conspiracies and cover-ups, but not always for the expected reasons.  There were plots against Castro by our intelligence community, and many involved figures of organized crime. 


It's a good guess that Lee Harvey Oswald was aware of many of these operations, and acted out of a desire to strike at what he saw as an evil excess of American foreign policy.  It's just as possible that he was an agent, willingly or otherwise, in another layer of intrigue fashioned by black ops puppet masters with the mandate to destroy the president. 


The song derived from a dream image of two or more gunmen firing from the 6th floor window of the Texas Book Depository and the Grassy Knoll. So much evidence gathered on that day has pointed to a large conspiracy, but after reading Gus Rosso's book, "Live by the Sword" I've had to admit that I believe it is possible that Oswald acted alone. 


On the night before my 21st birthday

November in Paris in 1963

In a little hotel off the Boulevard Michelle

Near the Roman Ruins at Saint Germain Des Pres


Came a knock on the door, said the word was on the wire

They've wounded your President when he drove into the crossfire

He was hurt real bad and he may not make it through the night

There were two men in the building, two more in the bushes on the right


They say that Bobby was the problem, he was comin' down too hard

On Hoffa and Marcello, Traficante and Giancana

They were angy with the President, they were taking him out

He was breakin' his promise to get the boys back into Havana


New Orleans and Chicago brought the battle down to Dallas

They took the Teamster's pension fund, they built the Caesar's Palace

They had a good thing going, they weren't gonna let it go without a fight

There were two men in the building, two more in the bushes on the right


By the time he was of age, my dad was flying transports

Into Pelelu and Kwajalein in the great Pacific conflict

Navigating in the dark, five thousand miles of ocean

By stars I still haven't seen


He's been a judge and a sailor, a skier and a piano player

And everything that a young man could ever want to be

He's heard the wisdom and the lies and everything in between


And for the longest time not a word would pass between us

Experience and innocence impatient with each other

Two generations waiting, waiting for the heat to turn to light


And a long time to come before I could lay me down at night

Without the two men in the building, two more in the bushes on the right


Two Men in the Building

Words & Music by Steve Gillette

(C) 1998 Compass Rose Music, BMI




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