M. Pierre–Fragments of Life

I’ve heard lots of not so nice things about Empee, but you better not tell ‘em around me and my family. For me and my people — well, Empee is the salt of our earth fer sure. I’ll mention just one thing, so you can understand. In Brooklyn one year, we was all so young then ya know, my daddy was laid off from the trucking, and pretty soon money just wasn’t around, ya know. So I and the guys we’re on the stoop just talkin’ and my father walks out to buy some cigs, and Empee he says hey, what’s with your pop ‘cause he usually working right up through the dinner. And I tell him, “Empee, he got laid off and we on the welfare, ya know?”

And Empee, he is all about saying that is terrible and he knows this guy always needs drivers. So I ask him, what you know about people hiring people, we just a bunch of guys with no jobs, playing cards and hanging and all. And Empee, he is huffy about now and says, basically, look maybe I don’t want to work but I could, and I know people, good people. So everyone is hooting a little, but Empee he gets the beer somehow so no one is landing on him real hard and all.

So that is like a Friday or Saturday and that Monday, someone calls my pop and says hey I hear you a driver and I got needs for that in my shop, you come down to DeKalb Avenue, he gives him a number, and we talk about it. And don’t you know Empee he got my dad a job right like that, didn’t ever say anything about it except when I tried to talk about it he said, Lias, just don’t talk about it, ain’t no one’s business.

And that was just once, there was others as Empee got older and started going into the City regularly, all dressed up, all like a mystery but he helped out lots of people I tell ya. Me too. That Empee, he knew who his friends was, I tell ya that. Cool ass card man also, I tell ya.

Ya know, one time we was …..

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For a first novel, Mr. Pierre has written on a rather strange theme, a fairy tale for adults but with purely child-like tropes. It is hard to categorize The Further Adventures of Maximillian J. Pussycat, and this reviewer has been looking at fiction for a couple of decades now. The premise, that a pet cat is particularly equipped to carry the world’s moral burden by reason of multiple lives, and the self-affirmation that comes from that perception, is stretched to its philosophical extreme by reason of the cat speaking to the world only through the mouth of its eight-year old owner. That conceit makes it difficult to separate the profound from the infantile, provided there is a difference of course. And it is not clear what Mr. Pierre had in mind by referring to “further” adventures when there are no “prior adventures” within our frame of reference. The photograph of the author, on the back cover flap, shows a small grey kitten of no particular standing; this reviewer suggests that in fact Mr. Pierre is homo sapien, although not of the most robust tribe.

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Count 1: Violation of Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934

  1. The government repleads all facts set forth in paragraphs 1 through 21 above.
  2. In or about the Spring of 1992, Mr. Pierre revised the format of his Sunday afternoon program, away from a listener-participation discussion of positive energy derived from nearness to feral animals to a general monologue concerning the United States economy and the economy of Latvia.
  3. In or about June 10, 1993, Mr. Pierre placed a series of short sales orders through his on-line brokerage account wherein he effected disposition of shares of all the companies traded over the Exchanges of the United States and Latvia engaged in the business of selling armaments to the Middle East.
  4. On information and belief, the aggregate proceeds of such short sales was approximately $7,434,800.
  5. In early July of 1993, Mr. Pierre began mentioning on his radio program, which by then had a listenership of almost cultlike magnitude among the aged 35-54 cohort, that a certain fictional feline appearing in a book previously authored by him in the early 1980s, believed that negative energy derived from the arms trade with warm-climate countries could depress the market value of all companies within that space by a factor of 30%-50% over the next few months.
  6. All stocks reasonably within the identified industry grouping thereupon began to fall in market value, and by mid-August had declined from their June 30 market price by an average of 55%.
  7. On August 30, 1993, Mr. Pierre covered his short positions by purchasing the subject securities at reduced prices, generating a profit, prior to sales commissions and charges, of $7,111, 723.35.
  8. By reason of a manipulation in the information available to the marketplace for a group of companies the securities of which are traded over the exchanges located within the United States, Mr. Pierre conducted a fraud on the marketplace by which the general trading public was damaged to the extent of approximately $7 Million, in violation of the laws of the United States.

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The first time I married M. Pierre—yeah, right I married the old guy twice – was in ’75, in Rockville, Maryland, which in those days was just really a farm town. I was daughter of the man who had the only hardware store in Rockville, a big barn of a place with a loading dock out back from which daddy sold everything from rolls of barbed wire to fence posts to milking machines to I don’t know what. I was a little long in the tooth by then, resigned to Rockville like a pleasant sentence to a lifetime of relaxation and without much of an interest in men; frankly, nothing had worked out and I felt I was sort of lucky not to have ended up like half my friends, on the bus to Baltimore to visit Dr. Tom, the famous Dr. Tom.

So this tall thin guy buys an old house, not even a real farm house, just a square box of a place on the outskirts of town, meant to be on the edge of things but the town never really got that far; red faded paint, dark though, going to greyish purple, rail fence, but nicer than it sounds actually, neat lawn and a new roof, daddy sold Harry the shingles and some paint to fix the place up for this new guy; rumor had it he bought the house for cash, sure it was only 25 grand or so but not a lot of people had 25 grand free and loose in Rockville back in ’75.

And this guy, M. Pierre a’course, he comes into the shop one day early on looking for bigger lightbulbs, he can’t see at night he says, the place is really sort of dark and he needs lots of light. So I ask him as a matter of politeness, why do you need so much light. I’m a writer, he says. No kidding, I say, as there weren’t many of those in good ole Rockville at the time, what are ya writing? “A short novel about a feline,” he replies as if he were saying something normal like “the life of George Washington” or “a cookbook for egg recipes.”

“Can I see some part of it?”

“Well,” he says with some surprise, “it is not usual for someone to ask to see a work in progress.”

“Yeah,” I says. “Maybe not where you come from but here in Rockville, everyone knows everything about everyone. Where you from, anyway?”

“Points North,” he says and I reply “Ya gotta mean New York, no one from New York wants to admit it around here, not that there aren’t many anyway.”

So M. Pierre, he gives me that famous M. Pierre smile, and I melt just feeling it all of a sudden, and he says with that smile, he says “I guess Rockville is just a friendly place so next time I come in I will bring you a chapter or two and you can tell me what you think.” And I said that is fine with me, I will look forward to it, and we both smile politely at each other and I can see his eyes moving around me a bit and I think, at that moment, “hmmm, that’s pretty interesting even though I am surely younger than he is, maybe not much but….” We married that winter and I loved him but never knew him and when the baby died he stopped giving me that M. Pierre smile and we were divorced as part of his leaving Rockville with his book finished and off he went to New York and got to be famous and a media star.

About 20 years later, in fact October 18, 1998, by then he was what, well past 60 and I was a only few years behind him on that score, on that very date I am closing the store at 6pm and thinking about going back to the house we shared, now in fact part of the thriving town of Rockville, in walks this distinguished guy, same grin, really nice clothes, and I read about him in the papers, a successful investor and even did get to publish that book about the cats which I thought was pretty lame, man knew damn near nothing about cats I tell you, and he says he’s been thinking about me and would I like to pick up again and move with him to Atlanta which was where he was now living, having just gotten out the Federal Jail there for something to do with stocks and he say no reason to move onward, having nowhere to go; which led him to thinking, blah blah, and so if you were coming onto 60 years old and spent your whole life behind a wooden counter in Rockville Maryland you would agree to move to Hades with the devil himself if he picked up the cost of the train ticket, and so a week later I showed up at this small cabin near the bus station in Atlanta and just moved in with my stuff and we were married and had a pleasant few years before one day I came home from the food store and his clothes were gone. He left a lot of money in the bank account, so I figured it was a clue that our relationship had run its course and I transferred the money to the store account and went back to Rockville which is where I now live, having sold the store and ending up in the only place where I had any friends to speak of.

I guess I was still married to the guy when he died, but I didn’t hear about that until after, and was not mentioned in the obituaries the librarian found for me on the internet. Mr. Tucker inquired on my behalf but there was no estate left for me to make a spousal claim….

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I first met M. Pierre when he arrived at the Thompson Retreat here in Slocum, and I recall the day perfectly. It was a Saturday in the Spring of 2004, and the forsythia had been out for a few days. He came walking up the gravel path, dragging a small suitcase on tiny rollers that the taxi driver had gotten from the trunk. Tall man with straight white hair, neatly trimmed, wearing a sports coat which is not how most people dress when they get here. Hair white as the sheet on your bed. I was on the porch in my chair, and up the gravel path he walks, straight as an arrow, little stones shooting out behind the wheels on his luggage, just strolling up the path with all those yellow flowers on either side of him, like some triumphal honor guard.

He said, “Hello old timer” and I said “I bet you’re older than I am” and from then on, until his passing, we were best friends. We talked business, he had his theories but after a few years the government had to pick up his tab so I guess his business success was not so great, ya know? He showed me a book he had written but it was about cats so I took it and told him I enjoyed it but frankly I couldn’t get out of the first paragraph. Damned cat talked and everything; he said it was a book for adults!

He said he had no people, and no one ever visited him. He got no mail. When he died all he had was his clothing and a pearl tie tac which Mr Lattimore gave to me as a remembrance. I don’t wear ties at my age, but I sometimes put it in the lapel of my shirt for decoration.

I do miss M. Pierre. Miss him a lot…..

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“It is my pleasure to talk to you, class, on this beautiful day. I am from New York, and I did not know how beautiful it is in San Francisco until I got here. You are very lucky to be children here, and I am very lucky to be able to speak with you.

Your teacher said you were a very smart class and so I am going to ask for your help. I have just become a teacher myself. I started studying later in life. I did not really go to school to be a teacher until I was almost thirty years old. I know that sounds really old to you. It is not that old, but it is old to start paying attention in school. I know you kids will not make that mistake that I made, I know you will do your homework and pay attention to your teachers and parents all along.

So I teach writing. How to write stories. I have an idea which we can discuss, an idea for a story. It is about an animal, a pet in a family. It might be a dog, or a cat, or even an iguana or a turtle. Does everyone know what an iguana looks like?   Good. This pet is pretty special. This pet is very smart, almost as smart as you children, and can talk. Not pretend talk like in a fairy tale, but can really really talk. And this pet has the answers to all the problems of the world. But no one will listen to him or her.

So what I want to ask you is, how do think the best way would be for this pet, let’s call her Max, to be able to tell the world the answers to all its questions? Who wants to start.      —-   Someone can start, there are only ideas, not wrong answers, we are making up a story here. You? Good. And what is your name……”

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Special to the New York Times, Page 47, April 18, 2014.Pierre, M.,author and public personality, passed away on April 4 in Slocum, Georgia at the age of 80. He left no family and the cause of death was not disclosed.

Mr. Pierre, born July 15, 1933 in Brooklyn, New York, as Maurice Pender, had a meteoric career in the public eye, parlaying his one published novel, The Further Adventures of Maximillian J. Pussycat, into a wildly popular radio talk show that ran from 1978 to 1993. Born into poverty during the Depression and after serving several brief prison terms for various petty crimes of violence, Mr. Pierre was adopted by the Brooklyn Catholic Archdiocese under a special program to benefit underprivileged Brooklyn citizens. He graduated from Brooklyn College in 1963 with a degree in elementary education, taught school around the country for a decade, then removed himself to Rockville, Maryland, where he spent several years crafting his haunting novel, a tale of a highly moral pet feline who had finally found a way to communicate its thoughts to the world.

Mr. Pierre built a radio career on the book, at one time being heard over 656 outlets in the United States and Canada. His utilization of his radio program to manipulate the price of securities caught the eye of the United States government, and after conviction he served three years in prison at the Atlanta Correctional Institution. Having lost his radio pulpit, Mr. Pierre lived out his life in seclusion in Georgia.

Married once in the early ‘70s to Lettie Harrison of Rockville, Maryland, Mr. Pierre divorced Ms. Harrison shortly after completion of his novel. The couple had no children.

Norman Cattan, former programming head of Central Broadcasting Network, remembered Mr. Pierre from his heydays as a radio personality. “He never was flashy; he always was calm, understated. Not the kind of shock-jock people you hear on the radio today. Always had an interesting, softer angle on life. He got sidetracked by some problem with the SEC in the’ 90s. Never understood all that, why he did it. He was such a gentle, helpful man.”

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“The son of a bitch, he took all my money and never looked back. Damned right I’ll tell you about so-called M. Pierre. He was born up North, New Jersey I think, or Massachusetts. Wherever, he came from dirt. He had no manners, but that guy had a lot of what they call charm, charm like the guy selling you vitamins on the TV, that kind of oil. Rap like a hammer. That shit about his being born in the South? Of people who were from the French? Don’t you believe it. I knew the guy, ya see. Real well, I knew him. That’s how he robbed me, son of a bitch, in this town in Oklahoma. Summer of ’70, he arrived because he had been hired by the public school to teach English. Said he wanted to settle into town before the school year started. Hot as hell, that summer….”

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Dear. Mr. Madison:

I am writing about a pair of your thin-soled “Manhattan” model shoe, which I purchased in brown in Macy’s, just a couple of weeks ago. I found that, through normal wear, the front flap of the sole on the right shoe has separated from the upper part of the shoe. The people at Macy’s say that I must have mistreated the shoe, but I assure you I did not.

I am asking you to send me a replacement pair, 10W, or at least a right shoe, in brown, to the address below. I am in the media and I need to look my best at all times and would be pleased to comment favorably if you were to make good on your shoe at your earliest convenience.

As you know, one comment by a radio personality, either favorably or not, can have a big impact on the commercial success of any company, particularly a company directly serving the consumer.

I eagerly await your advice.

Yours truly,  M. Pierre

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  1. Pierre, born Maurice Pender in Brooklyn, New York July 15, 1933, and died of natural causes on April 4, 1914 in Slocum, Georgia, American author, radio personality, investor.


Personal Life

Writings and Radio Career

Later Career

Personal Life:

Mr. Pierre was born to poverty in a particularly depressed area of Brooklyn, New York of working class parents. An indifferent student in school, Mr. Pierre dropped out of High School at age sixteen. There followed a period of petty crime and temporary jobs. He was then taken into a program run by the Catholic Archdiocese of Brooklyn, which paid his living expenses while he graduated (1963) from Brooklyn College with a major in education in three years.

Pierre traveled through much of the United States holding various jobs in education until he settled in Rockville, Maryland, married Lettie Harrison in [? Information needed], to whom he was married for several years while he wrote his single novel, The Further Adventures of Maximillian J. Pussycat.

The novel was wildly successful and launched Mr. Pierre on a career in public broadcast described below.

Little is known of his personal life after the publication of his novel. [further information needed]

Writings and Radio Career

Mr. Pierre’s book, cast as a fairy tale for adults in which a feline, speaking through its master, explores the simple truths of life and the need to return to basics, topped the charts for fiction from its first publication in June, 1978 for seven months, and remained a top seller through six editions and eleven paperback printings, the last edition being published in English in May of 1992. It was translated into fourteen foreign languages, and was the basis for two cartoon series on Cartoon Network, one voiced by Meryl Streep.

The most transparent and most quoted passage from his novel, The Further Adventures of Maximillian J. Pussycat, is set forth below, a soliloquy by M. J. Pussycat himself:

“You must understand. I am a cat! Mystery is my life. Or lives. I do not have only nine, you see. I have many. Each new day is a new set of lives, to live as if my entire life. If I bring joy that is good. If I rub up against a visitor to our home and she begins to gasp and wheeze because she is allergic to me, if she must be taken out to the fresh air in extreme distress, if she even happens to die on our porch, her air passages swollen beyond relief, her face blue-tinged as her chest heaves uselessly– well, her day of her life was not very good of course but, as for me, I still had the arm chair to lie in and my little girl who stroked my fur and who told me that it was not my fault.”

Mr. Pierre was contracted to conduct a daytime talk show about any and all topics, first on CBN, beginning in May of 1980. His four hour talk show was moved from the 12-4 slot to the 3-7 slot after several weeks, when it was clear that his drawing power, and simple way of phrasing serious life questions so that the solutions become obvious, had attracted a large following. Unique among talk show hosts, his popularity was highest during prime “drive time,” and did not wane although he never had guests and had no formal training in any particular area.

In or about 199? His program suddenly diverted to reports on economic matters and selection of investments, which triggered a sharp decline in his popularity. His show was moved to Sunday mornings only in 199?. In 1994 he was indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice for violation of the Federal Securities laws, was convicted and spent 3 years of a 4 year sentence in the United States low security penitentiary in Atlanta, Georgia.

Later Career   [if anyone has credible information about Mr. Pierre after his release from prison, please propose supplementary information to the editors]

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Selection from Eagle Scout Project Outline submitted by Scout First Class Maurice Pender, Troop 81, Brooklyn New York, September 24, 1954.

“At the new beach park known as Jones Beach, located in Suffolk County, Long Island, there are three very long walkways from the distant parking areas to the beach houses and beach itself. On hot days, many people become tired and thirsty during that walk, carrying chairs and umbrellas and coolers and permitted beach toys. My project is to install water stations at 25 yard intervals on all paths, using pumping equipment, piping and water fountains provided by the Park. I have a letter from Mr. Robert Moses, Director of the Triborough Bridge Authority, saying that he will cause the State of New York to provide all materials including bubblers if our troop will dig, and then cover over, the ditches to bring the water along the paths. Work will be done during the beach “off-season.” My Troop will provide the labor. We will have parents pack suitable food and transportation. My project will improve the park and cure dehydration, which leads to many headaches and is a factor in drowning accidents.

My thanks to Mr. George Richter, Asst Scout Master, who helped me write this project proposal.”

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Report Card

Spring Semester 1943

PS 216, Brooklyn New York

Absent: 22

Tardy: 13


English Composition                         B

American History                              B

Mathematics                                      C-

Science                                                C-

Geography                                         D

Art                                                      C

Music                                                  A

Comportment                                    D. Maurice is a polite, respectful boy, always correct with teachers. He is often the center of disturbances, however, usually involving large numbers of children. He seems to make groups of children angry with each other. Teachers and our psychologist, Mr. Levitan, suggest that Maurice be taken to a consultation with a private practitioner, as he is a bright boy with behaviors that we at 216 do not feel experienced in addressing.

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Selected Street Interviews, Conducted by Murray Schlictstein, “Man on the Street” for WKKL-TV, April 10 to 16, 2014. Each interviewee was asked if he or she had heard that M. Pierre had died.

+ Really. That is too bad. Poor woman, sorry she passed.

+ Oh, that guy.  I don’t even think that guy every really existed, it was whaddaya call it, a fake name, a nom de plume for someone else, some famous guy. Urban legend I think. Pretty sure about that. Yeah.

+Great man, listened to him all the time for must have been a couple of decades. His novel changed my life. He made me understand that each of us has both good and evil, and that sometimes you don’t get to choose which one of you comes to the table at a particular time. We are all part of the unpredictable world, you know! Goddamned genius‼ Hey, carpe diem.

+ Oh, did not know. Shame. Best shortstop the Mets ever had.

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Yeah, M. Pierre was my father. How’d you find me anyway?

I haven’t had any contact with him for maybe forty years before he passed away. My mother told me I was a love child, that’s the way it was on the streets. Hard times. Sometimes he would come by, but after about when I turned 10 or 11 he just stopped. I cried about it, yeah, asked mamma why he had stopped, he was nice to me and my only father. It was years later that I once tried to reach out to him, he was on the radio of course, I called in but they would not put the call through. I left my number and explained why I called and the woman said she would be sure to give him the message, but I never did hear back. I guess he was just a fleeting memory for me, but I was just no memory at all for him.

It wasn’t until Mr. Jamison, the guy who wrote that biography about my father after he died, came to see me, that I learned about the, well, I guess the alleged incidents. He had seen some court records about a case brought by my mother about some sort of improper conduct, but I told him, I don’t recall anything of the kind. I think I just loved him because he was my only father.

By then of course mama had passed, so I had no one to talk to about all that….