It wasn't the most delightful thing to get a letter from a goon like that. And nor even addressed to me. To my wife Agatha. Who's been gone these five years, may the Good Lord give her peace at last.
The bonehead called me something unmentionable, and threatened me, said I would soon be arrested for my “heinous crimes.” Hey, listen here. I’m a tough guy like the rest of youse, but don’t try to pin no crime on me you got evidence for like you wined and dined Bacall last night. That don’t fly, unless I made somebody in high places hot around the collar, which I ain’t done. So it don’t move, see? It just lays there like you would in Sodom that hot Canaan night, right Looney Tunes? You just wasted your time, fathead, and forced me to pray, which is a good thing in the long run ‘cause it’d been a good while since I had a chat with the Big Man, and it felt real fine for a change. Better than snappin’ my cap, I bet, which you wouldn’t too much care for, I don’t think. I didn’t even have to hit the hooch after I studied your poor excuse for communication from an even poorer excuse for a man. A real man faces his foe and says Toe-to-toe, jackass. Let’s see what you got. A real man don’t write a letter to a man’s dead wife with a threat about as scary as a one-winged housefly.
Funny thing what a woman scorned will do, eh? Even if she ain’t really been scorned. The knucklehead’s wife was in my own arms two long decades ago, and she really had a thing for me. I mean, I knew she was khaki-wacky, but I believed her when she said one day we’d get hitched. I was doll-dizzy myself, but I waited for her for a good long while. Then one day, when it looked like it just wasn’t gonna happen, I found out she married either for convenience or a shotgun. So I tripped the light fantastic and headed for the City of Angels. Not long after, I met Aggie and we started to cook with gas, only to have it all cut short one night at the behest of a speeding bullet. One of Bugsy’s boys bending his elbow a bit too much, they told me. Why not me? I was standing right there with her. We had just strolled out of the Pantages Theater—I forget what picture show we saw. Shock does that to the head. I heard one time about a dog called Highball who witnessed the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. It’s said that just a little while later the poor animal lost its mind because it seen so many men lose their lives with such quick, vengeful violence.
So anyways, like I was saying, funny what a devious female will do. It’s pretty obvious my old flame used me as a knight-errant in her little game of intrigue against her mousy spouse who gave her too many Good Catholic mouths to feed and a life she never really wanted, but felt pushed into somehow. I would of gave her the poet’s life, the rover’s life, the free-and-easy life, and then another one altogether—better than she ever dreamed. But she picked a Marine with a Bulge under his belt. Guess he looked like a roughhouse version of Jesus to her or something, I don’t know. Or maybe she was sorry for what her priests did to the Jews all them years ago. You can’t be too sure with these kind of things. But what you can be sure of—I mean if you’ve been unlucky enough to dip your roll in the sauce once or twice and got the essence of the dish—is whether a dame is a Jezebel or not. Of that you can be certain, and about this chick I’m friggin’ damn certain. She’d throw Ahab to the dogs so fast his head would spin. Glad me and ol’ Elijah was always good buddies, ya know?
So Jezebel there used me, her old torch, to get back at her ex-Marine hubby for whatever she imagined he did or maybe didn’t do. Sweet one, that Tilda. It’s just that I didn’t too much appreciate being used like her seven-day rag. But like I said, I prayed, and never heard another word. Well, I prayed and then sent the idiot a note of my own. Tilda must of not told him. Funny. Maybe she didn’t know some poets have justice in their souls. She could of done more research before she sent in the wolves.
Herbert J. Alderman, FBI