Compiled and Edited by Steven Solomon © 1992
August 23rd, 1956
I am not dead! No indeed, I am quite alive, if not quite prospering. Alas, for the past nine months I have been unable to communicate with you, endeavoring as I was to stay a step or two ahead of the predatory bastards who hounded my trail. At this time, I am momentarily in safe hands with the Free Latvia Union and hiding out under the very nose of and with the acquiescence of certain American officials. More on that later. In any case, I apologize for what I am sure was some considerable worry caused by the dire tone of my last telecommunication.
Yes, the bastards tried to hang me; fairly well succeeded, in fact. Yet, my tormentors' triumph was fleeting, of much less permanence than the predictable outcome of an execution. Suffice it to say, certain of the Dark Ways gleaned from my stay with the People of the Jungle came in quite handy. I would bet you real money that the rum-sodden constabulary of Laoag is still reeling under the weight of recrimination and finger-pointing ensuing from the post-execution escape of so notorious a fiend as myself.
Well, enough of that. Of greater importance is the here and now, eh! Given the pressures that presently encumber my every waking moment, I am forced to adopt such an uncustomary philosophical attitude. At this time, you see, a number of international security and police organizations are actively involved in the effort to apprehend me. Both the Americans and the Soviets want me back, and not, I suspect, to continue The Research. Further, I am wanted by authorities in Australia and, of course, the Philippines.
You may also add to that list a growing number of lesser official and semi-official agencies in various nations, all quite interested in plying my unique knowledge and experience to their own nefarious ends. This, I am informed, they would do with or without my willing acquiescence.
All of this has naturally made impossible serious application of my energies to that Important Work so close to my heart and of so much value to Humankind. Until quite recently, it was not uncommon for me to be compelled to seek change of venue as frequently as twice monthly. It was this peripatetic style of life that led, unwittingly, to the doorstep of my current, Balkan benefactors; a doomed and misguided band of well intentioned nitwits, if ever there was one!
Let me just take a moment to tell you about these folks, a confederacy of aging and demented monarchists determined to hasten the downfall of their homeland's Soviet rulers and the restoration of the Klaipeda Throne. Uh-huh- and please tell me when monkeys start flying out of my butt, okay? Were it not for their cynical FBI keepers, I seriously doubt that these pathetic crack-pots could maintain their little newsletter operation for more than a day or two after KGB bothered to notice that they existed.
Anyhow, unbeknownst to the local federal bureau chief, I happened into one of their investigators. I use the word investigator to denote an individual who's idea of intelligence gathering is reading old editions of Soviet Boy's Life for pictures of pink cheeked, short-trousered adolescents. Well, we got talking over a few drinks and, as I soon realized what work this fellow was allegedly at, I made him an offer. No, not that! Rather, I sought a small stipend and the assurance that the Free Latvia Union would closely hold any knowledge of my presence within their organization, disclosing it not even to their American sugar-daddies. In return, I would provide certain difficult to come by intelligence regarding KGB and her innermost nefarious workings. This they might dispense as they saw fit.
Several meetings were held and I was eventually introduced to the Union's highest leadership, a doddering cabal of octogenarians headed by one Karl Gustav Kronour, exiled Grand Duke of Kaunus, Pretender to the Throne. Well, in short order I had this bunch of boobs wrapped around my little finger and a hand-shake on the deal. The money's not great, and at present I have little opportunity to pursue the True Quest. Still, at least I have a place to lay low and some American currency in my pocket.
Frankly, I don't think I'll be working for these rubes for long; just long enough to feather the nest and thereafter fly the coop for brighter horizons. Already, I have learned that Yugoslavia's Marshall Tito is hoping to establish his very own state-of-the-art intelligence enhancement and neurochemical warfare academy. Yes, it never hurts to have a fresh resume handy, just in case an opening pops up within the borders of a progressive and preferably non-aligned nation.
For the time being, however, if you would like to reach me, please send all correspondence care of: Wladmir Zworkin, Communications Deputy, Free Latvia Union, 1066 Broadway, Suite 3C, NYC, NY. My new friends will be sure to pass it on, although there may be a delay of some few days in reaching me. They will surely want to read my mail before giving it to me and it will, no doubt, take them some time to find out what the big words mean.
So, my friend, it seems that yet again, life begins anew! New opportunities, challenges and tricks to learn, eh? Please do write. I have missed your letters, these past months. And, by the way, let me know if you hear of any job openings that might fit a man of my intellectual dimension and scientific stature... but please be discrete. Remember, Zworkin will be looking over my shoulder.
Yours, under cover and in a sharp looking disguise,
The next communique to The Doktor…
Despair. Everything was terrible. I'd had not one response to the resumes that I'd sent. The many feelers I'd put out resulted in not so much as a single call. I was depressed. If the situation had persisted, the damage to my self-esteem might have compelled me to drastic action; kidnapping the Mayor or taking hostages at U.N. headquarters.
Sometimes, when I had time to kill, I'd ride the elevator to the top of the Empire State Building and stand on the observation deck. There I would quietly look over the edge, mentally calculating the terminal velocities for human bodies of different weights and surface areas. I pictured those standing near me, individually plummeting toward the oblivious passers-by, so far below. Sometimes, I would spit over the railing. Soon, I'd ride back down and get a lousy knish from a vendor on 34th Street. I do not believe those things actually contain any potato.
The Latvians are complete fucking idiots. They were driving me mad with their insipid and incessant interrogations. I was so bored. Over the past weeks, I'd given them just about everything I could recall of KGB operations and structure. They didn't seem to notice that everything I had pertained to the best kept secrets of a decade past. I waited for a moment when they were all sitting down to break the news that Stalin had died.
Oh, so very bored. A few days ago, I was left cooling my heels for over an hour in Kronour's office. He had wanted to see me, a follow-up on my last interrogation; some matter concerning a reference made to my previous research into geriatric libido enhancement. I was informed that the old man's limo was delayed in that hellish joke that is known as Manhattan traffic. In any case, I was ordered to stay put and left with nothing to do but browse the aged crank's antediluvian library.
There was precious little worth reading, of all the leather-bound volumes. Oh, let's see: here are the collected works of Fyodor Landsbergis, that peripheral and severely wrong-headed, nineteenth-century political philosopher. He was and still is widely ignored as an apologist for the divine right of kings; Landsbergis, dreary champion for the dismal necessity of Monarchism.
What else? Hmmm- Dmitri Urbanus, elucidating some of the worst fringe science from the early years of this century; interesting primarily for its utter lack of connection to empirical observation. The old fellow died insisting that he would eventually be vindicated, that the interior of the Earth to be found hollow and peopled by an advanced race of blonde, bosomy, big bottomed, winged women. They wore no clothes, of course, and kept men purely for purposes of craven sexual gratification. It was this very theory that caught Hitler's attention in the twenties and eventually led to some of the Reich's best theme parties.
Moving on, I find several over-ample biographies of long forgotten Baltic Kings and generals. A folk so well accustomed to having their rear-ends kicked and lands overrun from north, south, and east, the Baltic people take strange pride in memorializing those who had made them preeminent in defeat and submission.
Finally, I was heartened to find a few volumes on pure, if profoundly ill-conceived science, and her hard-working sibling, invention. Among this last category, is the charming story of Pydor Schtevik, legendary creator of the Schtevik Original Steam Powered Safety Long-wool Sheep Shearer, a sinister product of the 1880's enthusiasm for things pneumo-mechanical. No doubt many a good sheep met their doom in the bowels of Mr. Schtevik's early prototypes. God only knows how much flash-boiled, albeit hairless mutton was put on the table in the trial and error process that is True Invention.
Thus and so on, distracted and momentarily forgetful of my sour mood, I sifted through the stacks. Well, finally, I stumbled across something that actually siezed my sincere interest; Darwin's, Ascent of Man. You know, it had been since my childhood that I last read the old Deacon's fundamental works. Gingerly, I removed the tome from the shelf and began to thumb the dusty pages. As Kronour finally arrived, I was deep in thought.
You see, something had been jogged in my mind as I meditated at that cross-road between Darwin's early speculation and my own, deeper elucidation. Suddenly, I felt myself delving toward a crucial vein of intellectual query; one that had lain half exposed but largely unmined in my consciousness. Perhaps, I thought, there is something important to be known in contemplating that ages-long tradition, the long line of Kings and generals, themselves descended through the ages from every alpha male; baboon, wolf, human. Perhaps, there is something in our reverence and eternal search for authority and supremacy, other's and our own... something deep and as inescapable as our very genes...
Doktor, are we not but the flowering of that simplest weed, the genetic code; florid in its evolutionary development and embellished in complexity, mighty in self-regard, but never more subtle than a screeching monkey yammering for attention. There he is, Father to us all, demanding to lead or be led, beating us over the head and shoulders, biting at our necks, scratching, striking with furred but five-fingered fists at the ground and howling to be made President, King, Premier, General... the Biggest, Meanest Monkey of Them All?
This is, granted, an obvious and time-worn line of thought. Still, I have no doubt that the ramifications of this meditation extend both to our primate past and to either a shining or gloom benighted future. Our politics are in our genes, are they not? Trapped, as I am, momentarily in the world of things political, forced to view my True Love, Real Science, from afar and sans the tools of the trade, questions such as these preoccupy my thoughts.
I suppose that things could be worse. It's been more than a week since my last trip up and down that elevator. Plans to take over the U.N. building are presently on hold. For now, the Mayor remains safe in Gracie Mansion. Resumes continue to go out. Feelers are feeling, and I've got a feeling that things will start looking up any day now!
Yours in renewed optimism,
We will resume the story, some time later, and thence to Dallas, Texas. Ed.