An open letter to Lukas Willson and/or Gabrielle Walcott and/or Augustin Maranatha and/or other persons unknown

>> Monday, December 19, 2011

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Dear Miss Trinidad and Lukas Willson from Tobago,

First, I have to confess: I don't know who I'm responding to. The current Miss Trinidad and Tobago Universe, per Wikipedia, is Ms. Gabrielle Walcott, and there has never, so far as I can tell, been a "Miss Trinidad" named "Lukas Willson". Or maybe this is a letter from Ms. Walcott and Lukas Willson, in which case I'm very sad to hear you're both in the hospital together and am not sure why you speak of yourselves in the singular; the only suggestion that Ms. Walcott might be one half of a conjoined pair is this photograph:

...but the text of this article makes no mention if this seemingly salient fact (on the other hand, it might explain why you introduce yourself as "Miss Trinidad" when the proper name of the country would be The Republic Of Trinidad And Tobago: it would be fair and reasonable, I think, if you were Miss Trinidad and your twin was Miss Tobago--poetic, even).

Or I may be horribly misreading your missive and, in fact, you just happen to have the last name "Trinidad", in which case I apologize for overthinking things a bit.

Still, it's that tendency to think too much that has me wondering why you're using your dwindling time on this planet to send an e-mail to me instead of to some great detective or to the police. Or, for that matter, to your stepmother. ("Dear bitch," I would write, "fuck you for poisoning me and I'm giving my money to a complete stranger whose name I randomly picked. Suck that.")

Speaking of your (perhaps murderous) stepmother: first, I don't know why it matters she's from Côte d'Ivoire. You write "she Is An Ivorian by Nationality" as if this signifies much, but as I don't know any Ivorians, I have no idea what that's supposed to mean. If you're signaling that she is particularly ruthless by way of her upbringing (which frankly seems a bit xenophobic and bigoted to me, but what do I know?) it raises the question of why I'd want to get involved in the battle over your inheritance. Is your stepmother the kind of person who might come after me? Would she try to poison me as well? Would she poison me and some other person, as that appears to be her modus operandi, unless she only does that to conjoined twins? This seems a bit hairy and involved to me, and I'm not sure I want to get involved in that kind of kerfuffle. I am under the strong impression I have only the one liver and would prefer poisoning it myself, if you know what I mean.

Things get more confused from there. I know some athletes give nicknames to special and distinct plays and strategies they've come up with, but calling your tennis serve "Augustin Maranatha" and hiring a lawyer for it seems a bit much. Are you sure your poisoning didn't cause some kind of brain damage? Oh, wait--it must have been a typo, as later on you clarify that "Augustin Maranatha" is your servant, and that I should... bring him to America and "esterblish [sic] HIM as [my] sound"?!


I regret not playing guitar nearly as much as I used to; not at all, really. I should do something about that, I know. But, to the extent that I ever had my own sound, it wasn't really so much my own sound as it was a sound I kind of copped from The Edge: lots of saturated reverb and brittle jangle, mostly, though sometimes smoothed-out with a bit of chorus or flange. Part of the reason I don't play much anymore, however, is that I'm trying (with mixed success) to spend more time writing. What I'm getting at, is forming a band with Mr. Maranatha, or learning to play like him, or whatever it is you're trying to get me to do, sounds like a time commitment I'm not prepared to make, even less when I haven't heard the man play and have no idea whether his "sound" is that of a flatulent tuba or what.

One last thing, in the spirit of helpful advice (for I'm afraid that's all I can offer you, really). The idea of using a code word or phrase in messages to authenticate them is a good one, but I'm obligated to point out "Hospital" is a terrible choice. You are in a hospital, anybody who describes what's happening to you or where you are must use the word, etc. If I were to get a message from your stepmother that read, "What did my stupid dying stepdaughter who is in the hospital ask you to do? Did she mention the money?" I have no way of telling whether or not it's a coded message from your musician butler or not (aside from the obvious clues, I mean). I would suggest you incorporate a more subtle codephrase than that, something that would sound natural but not come up in an ordinary exchange, e.g. "Have the pomegranates hatched yet?" (though, on re-reading that, it's just terrible: pomegranates don't usually hatch, I don't think). You get the idea, though.

Good luck, Mr. Willson (

R. Eric VanNewkirk
Standing On The Shoulders Of Giant Midgets


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