Purloined Letters Part II
by Solomon Philbrick

Once again, I have nothing new for this week’s column and presentations coming up, so I headed back and mined the old Myspace blog just to have something to post. The first installment of the series can be found here. These are the last of M.’s writings to his old friend before he died tragically at the hands of angry Korean transvestites on Hollywood Boulevard. Unless, of course, I’m wrong.


January 20, 2006

Forster.jpgGreetings once again, dear friend. As you know, I have once again joined the "world of e-mails and passive aggression," as E.M. Forster so aptly put it. After the pleasant solitude of this last weekend (disrupted by Aunties antics,) this world is most trying. Last night a gaggle of women brought their screaming, bawling brats into my workplace just as I had taken my break and was outside reading my beloved John Milton. As you can well imagine, attempting to read poetry with screeching humanoid offspring in the background is rather difficult, and retiring to the break room offered no relief, as I could still hear the row. Most aggravating, I must say, especially since it occurred during the only ten minutes of peace upon which I normally can rely. I spent the rest of the night in the office, annoyed but not particularly anxious to return to my living quarters, for reasons that I will further outline.

Yesterday morning, I happened upon a most startling discovery. It seems that someone has been reading my correspondence to you when I have been away from my writing table. The evidence for this came in the form of a scrawled letter left on my table, written in what I at first believed to be blood, but thankfully turned out to be nothing more than John_Milton.jpgchocolate milk. I first suspected that it was Auntie, but she is still passed out from the other night's dreadful episode. I then thought that possibly the ignorant popinjay who lives next door may have broken into the house for no other reason than to cause mischief. However, all the entrances to the house were locked from the inside.

As my mind raced through the short list of possible suspects, I heard a slight clatter from the attic. I quite naturally thought that the noise was caused by rats, so I retrieved a ladder and some very non-humane traps with which to catch the little pests. Upon entering the attic, I was most shocked at my discovery and at the same time found out the identity of the culprit, for there, kneeling next to a grimy cot and in front of a dusty chest, was a young woman who I almost instantly recognized as my long lost cousin S.

This was indeed a most shocking discovery, as I had not seen S. in almost twenty years. Indeed, Auntie had long ago told the family that S. had died in a tragic food fight gone awry, but it appears that instead S. had at some point gone quite mad and Auntie had shut her away in the attic, feeding her only water and leftover olives from her martinis. (If all of this sounds like something out of a bad nineteenth century novel, I can only assure you that truth is sometimes at least as strange as fiction.) So, to add to my cares, I must now watch the doings of S. as well as monitor Auntie. I shall in the future surely lock the door to my bedroom.

Sincerest regards,


M. Goes to a Party

January 28, 2006

Oh, dear friend, how trying these times can be. Last night, a friend of mine found himself in a bit of a pinch and required something called a "deejay" for a party he was holding. As you may well remember, back in my days in the Oh So Secret Society I used to throw Welk.jpgquite excellent soirees, so I thought that this request was not too difficult to meet. Besides, my continuing difficulties with S. and Auntie have made life as a willful recluse more of a bother than it is really worth. (In answer to your question, Auntie finally did wake up, though she does not remember that nights events and demurred when I inquired about her reference to Pericles. Let it be said that I am still a bit suspicious.)

Anyway, I accepted the request and dusted off my trusty gramophone and my Lawrence Welk 78s along with some jazz to "spice things up" as they say. You know that I cannot stand the dreadful noise that these jazz "musicians" produce, but I am sensitive to the changing times I realize that to entertain a crowd nowadays one must at least attempt to keep up with current fashions. However, on the whole I made every attempt to keep the evening’s musical entertainment as tasteful as possible, in order to not offend any ladies that might be present. One must be ever so sensitive regarding these things, as you so well understand.

I dutifully brought my gramophone and record collection to the home where this party was being held, and was immediately horrified at the degenerate state of the event. First of all, these young folks were swilling some awful beer called “Bud Light” from cans. Cans, friend! You know full well that I have no churlish objection to a fine ale now and then, but these rowdy youths were making quite a scene. I have never seen such
meanness of dress and behavior or heard such foul language in my (admittedly short) life. Well, I decided to keep a stiff upper lip and perform my duties as a "deejay," even if I thought the scene atrocious. It is, after all, a man's duty to keep his promises. Sensing photo02-gramophone.jpgimmediately that this audience would not appreciate the fine music of Mr. Welk, I placed a jazz album onto the gramophone and resigned myself to a dismal evening.

My friend, things only got worse from that point, the beginning of a complete downturn of events. This group of ragamuffins hooted and catcalled the moment I began playing records, demanding to hear some person named "M&M" or "J.Z." I was then pelted with half-empty beer cans and assaulted with epithets that I would not dare to write down on paper, lest I should be associated with these disorderly creatures. Then, a group of these thugs grabbed me, summarily dragged me into the lavatory and dunked my head into the toilet. My gramophone and Lawrence Welk albums were destroyed in the fracas.

This morning, the host of the party telephoned and apologized profusely, saying that the youth these days expected to hear some new form of music called "rock and roll" and "hip hop" (two revolting phrases, I think you would agree) and that they listened to them on something called a "seedy." Seedy, no doubt. Once again, I must lament the tastelessness and ugliness of our modern society, which has apparently spread even to the fairer sex, who were dressed last night in clothing that I find too repugnant to describe. Suddenly, S. and Auntie do not seem such bad company.

Will my sorrows ever cease?


Sir Philbrick should know better than to taunt Korean transvestites. Archives

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