How are you this lovely spring? How did that thousand year old body carry you through the winter? Or can anybody tell? I'd have written you sooner but Casey and I got snowed in for a week at Harry's Barngrill and when
we got home it took a month of intensive raisin-jack therapy before I relearned how to spell. That store-bought booze is murder.
Anyway, how are you, you old wallaby? And how's your raggedy-assed old teddy-bear? I mean the one you took along that time you and Casey and I ran off to join the Foreign Legion. You still take him to bed with you every night? Or did you finally learn about girls? I hope so. I sincerely hope so, because I hate to have a friend of mine go all the way through life without learning about one of the things that make life bearable. Maybe, if you haven't learned about them yet, Liz Barry could wise you up. Anything to get her off my back.
[quoteright]Yeah, I mean Lizzie Borden, er, Liz Barry, that female sleuth from Sacramento you loaded onto me by publishing her "Love letter to Willie" in the January Ecphorizer. If it hadn't been for that I would have never heard of Liz Barry. Now here she is saying she's in love with me and that she wants to come here to live. Just as I was beginning to hope I could get through the winter with nothing worse happening to me than happened to the brass monkey.
Says she's got a precedent in that Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett "found each other's heart and mind" through correspondence. Hell, Elizabeth Barrett didn't even have a mind. When they opened her skull at the autopsy all they found was her daddy's dirty socks and underwear. "How do I love thee? Let me count the ways" indeed! If she hadn't got tangled up with old Browning nobody would have ever heard of her. Christina Rossetti could shoot her down on the fly, looking in a mirror. Edna St. Vincent Millay could write her right underground. Barry says she doesn't drink, smoke or dip snuff. Now what would we need with a woman like that? What we need is a woman who can help us drink up this last batch of raisin-jack so Casey can make a better one. He added some corn mash to the last batch as an experiment and it didn't set too good. Before you drink it you have to heat it up and light the fumes with a match to blow off the fusel oil or you'll have stripes before your eyes. But even old lady Skaggs, who cones on Tuesday to bring the eggs, knocks back a jar or two every week so Casey can get on with the show.
And Barry says she and her friends will rustle garbage cans for their sustenance. Fact is, there's not enough edible garbage throwed cut in the whole city to sustain a cockroach. The only people who ever survived around here without a Federal Grant was the neolithic branch of the Kickumas Indians and nobody knows had they managed it. Uncle Wilson Peabody, our local anthropologist, refuses to recognize the thriving Kickumas Nation to this day because he claims they all starved to death over a thousand years ago.
And Barry talks about "the sunlit heights of Mburg." Hell, we haven't seen the sun all winter. Everybody's brass monkey is wearing fur diapers. Two months ago the orphanage cow ate a bag of sugar by mistake and started giving ice cream. That was okay with the orphans but hell on the Methodist preacher who does the milking. He goes around shaking his fingers and yelling "Oii! Oii!." His wife and hired girl both got so nervous that if anybody pointed a finger at 'em they'd jump cut of their thermal underwear. Or into it, I forget which. Anyhow, the preacher sued the cow for damages. Said she had feloniously disrupted his home life. The judge said the preacher's claim must come under the heading of "Frozen Torts" but the preacher said that wasn't the way they spelled it where he came from. He said the judge must mean "Frozen Tarts" but the judge said that was no way for a preacher to talk about his womenfolk and found against him. In summing up, the judge said that as long as the preacher and the cow and the wife and the hired girl and the orphanage were all subsidized t' the Great American Taxpayer, it was just an exercise in futility anyway. The preacher said that he (the judge) ought to know because he (the judge) was probably the biggest pile of monkey excrement that the Great American Taxpayer was ever forced to subsidize. They took the discussion into the street where the preacher pinched the judge in the south and broke off all the frozen fingers on that hand. The judge volunteered to do the milking while the preacher was laid up as long as he too could have finger warming privileges.
And Lizzie says she's going to be in the kitchen cooking up love potions, going to keep my little sister Vernalee out of it. If she can do that I'll personally see that she gets the Key to the City. The combined armed forces of the world couldn't keep Vernalee out of the kitchen or any place if she wanted to go in. What can a normal Army do to stop a telepath who has secret little helpers all over the globe? The only thing that stops the lot of them from ruling the world is that they don't want to, they can't get along with each other for more than a few seconds at a time, and they just don't give a damn. Therefore, the things they do get around to doing usually come under the heading of Naughty Pranks. For instance, in a fit of peevishness the other day they stopped all the world's wars for a few minutes by melting the distributor caps on every military ground vehicle on earth. Lately I thought they'd been subtly influencing President Reagan's speeches to make him sound like an idiot, but Casey tells me Reagan always sounds like that.
That's old Casey, the retired ape who sleeps in my basement. He tells me to send you his love. Says that anybody who can get me so steamed up over a little old love letter can't be all bad. I guess that means he is going to take the light view of this contretemps and side with you and Lizzie Borden. Well, I say it's spinach and I say to hell with it. I'm going to pack some clean underwear and a few jars of raisin-jack and go join the Foreign Legion. Goodbye, cruel world. Anyhow, my little sister Verna said something about a dill pickle ragout for dinner tonight, so what have I got to lose?
The same to you,
Fogard, the Poet Lariat of Mburg, confides that he is a writer of rare persuasion: it's only rarely that can be persuaded to write.
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