L---- I---- of I--------
1-, J---, ---2
Dear Dmitri Alexandrovich,
As I prepare to lay down my pen for the very last time in this year of the Lord ---2, here amongst the beans and bees, I recall the time when Garton, Sandy, Chivers and I were pursued through Kenya’s Burnt Umber Highlands by a pack of the most brassica-breathed square-headed Huns that Marlowe of the Foreign Office could ever grow to fear and send clean-limbed Englishmen against; ill-prepared and disguised as an itinerant band of Romanian Gypsy plasterers. Sandy was but a beardless youth in those days, on the very verge of his manhood and more than half in the dark about what he had left behind in the grey-green fields of Lancashire’s west coast; its fields as flat as the local vowels and his potential for beauty and pleasure almost as high as Blackpool’s iconic, ironic iron tower overlooking as it did the hope and poverty of the lower classes as they drank and sandcastled their pitiful wages away, wages they had sweated for and been bloodied with the work of a year; a year of weeks of long cold days in mills and warehouses; manufactories, mines and the offices of counting-houses. Chivers had once said (and how poignant it still seems, even now as I recall it here amongst the beans and bees) in our early days together at Oxford, struggling with Homer, Virgil, Sir Walter Scott, Scott Tracey, Brains and the eaters of brains and a host of other cultural giants;
“W------,” he ejaculated, “I dreamed of you again last night.”
“Was I dressed as a clown again this time, old boy, or naked?”
“You mean there’s a difference?”
But I grow weary tonight, Dmitri, and I can hear the scraping, the awful scraping that I can no longer ignore and fear, and only wonder when my dear, late wife shall be with me again, despite the best work of the embalmers and the Golden Child’s sweet promises in that magical spring when my grief was young and the cyborg outriders of the Lazy B Ranch rode into town.
I bid you goodnight, Dmitri Alexandrovich, and wonder where you are; learning to perfect your art perhaps; not merely in its mechanisms and its technicalities, but in the passion and the heart and the spirit of what it offers to a world possessed by empty-eyed navigators, bricklayers and, of course, by the Possessed themselves; G-d damn their empty, soulless, bloodthirsty eyes.
Migration Day, Second Spring, First Tide of Perihelion, Age of the Coming.
How are the thighs? Any hope of putting some speed into them, as is days of yore when Fat Molly, Deekins Dewlap, the estimable Reverend Sqeedley-Banksman and we two journeyed the length, breadth and collar measurement of the Continent together, one step ahead of the Frenchman and his ticking, creeping, dream-crushing dripping poxy nose; afraid that each day that we would every one of us would awake as bowler-hatted voles, never to see England again?
The puppet show is going well and, if I can but persuade my honorable employer, Mister Themistocles Widdycobbler, to abandon his obsession with creating the world’s largest albino corset, I shall then be free to perform for all the folk in the castle our tale of the woodcutter’s son who, for a year and a day at teatime was obliged by the Grand Vizier to mime a well-known Elvish ballad narrating the hopes and ambitions of a little Cro-Magnon girl trying to make it in the tough male-dominated world of jocks, hard-bitten editors, and discharged (in so many ways) soldiers, and thus convey in no fewer than nine, one thousand-page volumes her deep, agonized, eternal, self-sacrificing love for an adopted, bulimic, bioluminescent trouser-wearing teenage bear.
But I must hurry. They are coming and slow-moving though they are; if I linger they must surely catch me at last. Happily, I have jury-rigged a scattergun from abandoned prosthetics and scraps of abandoned hosiery and P assures me that I have the fastest and best-adapted car in this most deadly of possible futures; an Alpha Romero.
But one thing still puzzles me: why have your words and deeds towards me always been of the tenderest and why have you never disclosed, as once you promised, the identity of my parents and the secret of my birth?
L---- I---- of I--------
2-, ----ber, ---2
My dearest Dimi,
What can any parent say, or do, once they have launched a child into this world of pain and wattles? Only that I knew your mother was trouble from the moment she walked into my grimy office on the corner of Ninth and
From the moment my eyes crossed hers, taking in hair fit to make you weep and
legs that went all the way up and across and down the other side to Kansas
again, I knew our future held nothing but fear, mystery, and gradually slowing
And your birth, son? All I can say is that the Butler Yeats did it, who else?
From Chuck Wendig’s Flash Fiction challenge to write the end of an imaginary novel.