Saturday, March 20, 2010

A Missive From Abroad, pt. 3: Félix's Flight

Dear readers,
I trust that you all remember Gaspard's old chum Félix Bandolier, a man of great spiritual depth and erudition, whose advice has formerly graced the pages of the Rakish Life. Well, today I am the bearer of the sad news that Félix Bandolier has lost his mind. Either he is deep in the clutches of an opium addiction--something about which I myself know a thing or two--or his syphilis has finally progressed to the tertiary stage. Which is it? You be the judge! Whichever it is, his most recent letter will make it abundantly clear that old Félix is off his rocker, gone completely insane. Despite this unfortunate development, it is quite entertaining. Enjoy!

Dear MEN,

May I offer my deepest apologies on the behalf of fate, as an egregious gap in our correspondence has occurred. Then again, a properly sealed letter is difficult to send from an airship leering 12, 000 knots above St. Louis. Though all things come to pass and as luck would have it a precocious family of high-altitude pigeons found domicile on the back rudder of my zeppelin, enabling me to train that long-time-coming courier to arrive at your house of erudition, correspondence in claw.

Cruel events of tumult and sadness have led to my state of levitation, and though nothing more would please me, I’m afraid a complete account of a sometime colorful life is completely out of the question as I have vowed silence to certain organizations veiled by steady tongues. Be that as it may, I can, at the very least, inform you of my most fortunate purchase of an airship and the events leading to my current location amidst the troposphere above St. Louis.

For you see, after a falling out with a cutlery salesman I was often fond of, over the unfortunate circumstance of his nubile daughter’s seduction and following abandonment, I felt as a man, very much alone in this mortal coil. Whilst not solace nor fraternity come easy to my demeanor, there I was drinking a fine coco-port like I had promised myself never to do again. Port was a consolation and the pillowed mid-afternoon light massaged my spirit, for I can say without any caveat that it was as fine a tavern as any in South Carolina.

Emanating through the fine luminiferous aethyr the sound of shouting woke me from a daydream. There standing, at the other end of the bar, was a man cloaked in black with a delicately donned montera; pointing a stiff, accusatory finger at the barkeep. The man berated the bartender claiming his whiskey was gin in disguise, and the poor man with the white towel receiving all of this was, for his part, utterly confused. The barkeep poured the tempestuous man a comparative glass of gin, and after tasting both, the fervor cooled.

After this explosive altercation, the man in black grew silent and pouted at the far end of the bar. I soon struck up a conversation, which is unlike me, and learned that this man who we’ll call, X, had mixed the mortar for the pyramids and it was to his feet that laurels should be placed for the structure’s longevity. Computing the mathematics in my head, I leaned back and said-“My God man, that would make you several thousand years old!”

I came to understand later that while in good health, his confusion over the liquor could be explained away as a symptom of the kind of dementia that takes hold of a man who has contemplated his own existence for a span longer than 500 years. Then, he told me it was his birthday. Rejoicing, I bought him cocktails, as is customary in South Carolina.

As we swayed down the foggy moonlit cobblestone hill. X straightened his gargoyle countenance and spoke: “I’d like to make you an offer that I, perhaps in a more sober state, could not pronounce,” he smiled and continued. “You see, novelty wears off my friend and I have only six miles from here a blimp, one which I have tired of, that I will give to you for the contents of your coin purse.”

I gasped, “Perhaps you have taken me for a richer man because I was able to make timely comments on the contemporary arts, however the contents of my purse amount to exactly three piastres.”

Lifting his stiff finger once more, he spoke: “3 is a prime number, a prime and fine number.” X embraced me. “This is the best birthday I have had in 856 years. The money you offer up is merely to concretize the transfer of will in our economic relationship.” At that, the man cloaked in black ran off into the fog.

Confused on my next step, I cleared my voice to yell, but X’s chant echoed through the darkness: “Your left pocket!” Inside was a key. I walked straight for six miles, found the airship, and from there began following only the whimsical strumming of the Aeolian harp.

That should suffice for an answer as to how the blimp came into my possession. But why by the sacred hands of augury, St. Louis? You see an arch is not an arch when looked at from above and so St. Louis keeps my faith in God, esoteric principles, and the possibility of Platonic transcendence.

Look forward to missives more frequent. I cannot sign my name, due to some of the aforementioned issues, but in case the author is unclear, this is the only man whoever beat the two of you fine gentlemen in Australian doubles badminton while holding a tonic in each fist. Godspeed.

Square the Circle,


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