Thursday, December 10, 2009

Correspondence throughout History

Our understanding of history changes all the time. We reach new perspectives and we uncover new information or primary sources that alter our understanding of what came before. In years past I was privileged to attend a Great Institution of Higher Learning and I still have some friends there languishing in History grad programs. By "languishing" I mean "gainfully employed." They've been kind enough to furnish me with some transcribed letters from ages past. These are actual historical figures holding forth on the issues of the day. It's fascinating stuff and I hope everyone is enlightened by it.

Tsar Nikolai Alexandrovich Romanov, to Grand Duchess Olga, 1915

My Dearest Olga,
It snowed again in St. Petersburg. Your mother believes I should not spend so much time at the Winter Palace, but if I am not here the serfs swiftly demonstrate all the worst signs of sloth and idleness. I have put them to work tilling the fields to the East of the palace grounds and their bounty is everything I expect from servants of the crown. Captain Grigor informs me the response from the serfs has been nothing but positive. For I see with my eyes what my people see with theirs: the fallen snow represents a bounty of fresh water that we ought not take for granted. These are not wasteful people; when water falls from the sky, they will drink it with their mouths. When it is on the ground, they will likewise drink it with their mouths. Such is agriculture. Wnd when the spring comes around, these people will not have the sleep of Winter hibernation in their eyes. A Winter spent working prepares one for a Spring spent working and I have no doubt the fields will yield the greatest mud harvest in half a century! My advisors tell me the Palace's mud is the envy of the Empire. This is something I take great pride in, for I take great pride in all my endeavors. Remember this, my little steppe thistle.

I do not bear many new tidings, except to say we had to massacre another dozen protesters last Tuesday. This has become something of a chore, and honestly I fear the ennui it elicits in me. It has been nearly a decade since the unfortunate events at the Winter Palace and we still have found ourselves unable to top it. You tell me I build up my expectations too high and perhaps you are right. But nonetheless, I am disappointed. A dozen is insufficient for the Tsar of Luxembourg, to say nothing of myself! It was like that time Rasputin dragged us out to Tunguska. I am sure you remember; Alexei got a splinter and nearly bled to death before we could apply the poultice of pomegranate and quicksilver. But we got there and there was nothing but dead trees. A mighty empire full of living trees and that daft old monk drags us to the only place where they are all dead. I am simply a man who expects the best. This is what the Tsar is supposed to do, after all.
I hope this letter finds you well, my dearest caribouska.
-Papa Nicky

William Randolph Hearst, to himself, 1937

My Dear William,
Bully for us on a great legislative victory! With the passage of the Marihuana Tax Act we've not only secured our material interests with respect to publishing, but also deprived countless thousands of degenerates from enjoying its smoky embrace. Armenians and Sodomites all! There's no place in decent American society for such vices; and is it so unreasonable after all to think that the planet's smaller folks might enjoy their nightly relaxation out of a snifter, as the Lord intended? Heed not the braying and neighing of the opposition--for they are by preponderance Appalachians, and Appalachians as every man of Science knows hold no real authority in public debate. Their hips and wrists are wider than the common man's, leading oftentimes to a persistent ague that can over time drain the wits and turn the libido towards bestiality.

Blood and thunder! Millicent is making a racket downstairs. I write from the Ranch and she takes no pleasure in the present arrangement of poolside statuary. I have given her the authority to speak directly to Havier. He is our statuary manager, an Hispanic, and insisted at first on spelling his name as his people do. I would have none of it. They take their meals by eating out of corn husks and this I will endure. I will not see the English language miscegenated! But I digress. The pool will be arranged as Millicent wishes. It is impossible to feel attraction to a woman named Millicent, just as it is impossible to convince a she-Pole to wash her clothes with both soap and water. With any luck, Caucasians of good breeding will retire the name permanently.

I tire of writing and will retire soon to my customary nightcap of cigars and bourbon. My doctors have insisted that I begin drinking vinegar regularly, as it improves the constitution. I will endure this. Doctor Jameson comes from the finest stock (not a drop of Welsh in the man!) and I trust his advice. One last event of note: the mongrel writer Steinbeck wrote to me once again. He wishes me to expand cultivation on the Ranch's grounds. I am sure he misunderstands the function of my estate. It is a place of relaxation. How, precisely, are Millicent and I to relax when the grounds are filled with common laborers? I am told Mr. Steinbeck is something of a novelist (an artistic form that appeals to lactating mothers and Mediterranean types), so his whinnying does not surprise me. California is a magnificent country, but its open spaces lend themselves to degeneration.
You are my truest friend, and the one man on whose judgment I may always rely.

Goblin King Jareth, to his sister Cecily, 1986

I'm at my wits' end and don't know who else to reach out to. It's been too long since we spoke and for that I apologize. Ever since Dad died and we sold the house it's hard to think of family. As I've said, if I could reach out to somebody else I would.
I've put myself in a sticky situation. Without getting into too many details, I kidnapped a baby from Earth. I'm not proud of it. As soon as I re-materialized in the castle with him I asked myself why I did it. I couldn't answer my own question. I mean, I kidnap Human babies to turn them into goblin muppet slaves. That's what Grandpop did, that's what Dad did and that's what I do. I know my responsibilities. Hell, the kid's sister summoned me to the human world just to grab the kid. But you know something? I hate muppets. Every one of the goblins in my castle is just fucking obnoxious. I hate them; you've seen me go off on them when you've come to visit. I'm trying to uphold my responsibilities here, but honestly the last thing in the world I need is another dumbass muppet hanging around the castle. The kid isn't changed yet and in all probability I'll turn him into a goblin anyway, because I'm a moron who could never say no to Dad.

I hate this.

There is another problem. The sister; I've fallen in love with her. She's 15. I know you've been reading this letter all the while, wondering "when is the other shoe going to drop?" Well, here it is. I can't get this girl out of my head. I don't want this, not really, but sometimes the heart gets greedy. I'm only so strong, even after they passed those laws and I had to register online...I know you think less of me. I'm doing my best. But it's impossible. She's resisted everything I've thrown at her. She asked that the child be taken; I took him. I have re-ordered time. I've turned the world upside down, and I've done it all for her. And it's not enough. I'm exhausted from living up to her expectations of me. I don't expect you to understand or to condone, Cecily. I suppose I just want you to listen. I will find a way through this darkness. Please believe in me. I need some faith about now.
All my love,

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