HLS - The Letters Of Harvey L. Slatin

Plaza Azul Productions
2954 Plaza Azul
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87505
Office Of
The President
(505) 473-1954

August 12, 1988

Dear Tommy,

I like the Condensed Bold, right justified style that you have adopted for your correspondence.  It looks very professional and is sort of easy to read.  You will note that I do not believe in dividing words; I am right into “Word Wrap,” a mode that takes a word then goes past the right margin, moves it down to the next line, and then fills in the blanks when I issue the “Align” command.

We have been, Dear Friend, far too long out of communication.  I have relied on Dobbsy to keep me informed about your comings and goings, and, as we both know, the “C” in Fred C. Dobbs stands for “Cunning.”  He has been keeping us incommunicado for reasons of his own that will ultimately be revealed when Gabriel blows his horn and not a moment before.  Well, Tommy, fuck him.  He cannot keep us apart if we don’t want to be kept apart.

“Howard” is the name that was assigned to me back in the days when Billy Jim was in charge of assigning names to us troopers.  Coster became Dobbs, I became Howard, art Gurney became Curtin, and you became Tommy Udo.  Ask me how his mind works and I will tell you.  It is not a pretty story.

You cite a certain “Jean” as the reason for your timidity about writing.  Perhaps you have in mind my ex-wife of nearly seventeen years, whose name is “Jeanne.”  She did have a habit of intimidating people, including those she referred to as my “bummy friends.”  You were one of them, and she evidently did a pretty good job of intimidating you.  If she really kicked you down stairs in Beverly Hills, I urge you to sue her.  She loves lawsuits.  Loves them so much, in fact, that she has one pending against me here in Ciudad Diferente for alleged arrearages in alimony and support payments — a suit that I am defending myself against with every fibre of my being and with dreadfully expensive legal counsel.

According to my calculations, she has, over the past thirty-seven years, robbed me of about a half-million dollars.  She has also robbed me of my daughter, now age 25+ and working on a Ph.D. in Physics at Johns Hopkins University, a young woman I have not seen sin ten years and from I have heard nothing since 1981.  Except that she (my former daughter) has hired a lawyer in Albuquerque to represent her in a suit against a bank that tried to give her, at my investigation, $1,000 for her twenty-first birthday.

You do not want to know any more about this messy domestic situation.  Take my word for it.  Suffice it that Jeanne’s animosity toward you is no longer an obstacle to your corresponding with me, unless (of course) her agents are intercepting my incoming and outgoing mail.  I am just paranoid enough about that monster to imagine such a thing could be happening.

Well.  To more cheerful topics.  Since my return to Santa Fe, the only place on Earth that I was ever homesick for, I have been working on becoming a Large Frog in a Small Pond.  This has been going on for some six years, and I am making headway.  I am now a famous local actor, having appeared in sixteen or more productions at the Santa Fe Community Theatre, always to rave reviews.  I have appeared on local and national television, usually in non-speaking roles, and I won an award for “Best Actor in a Musical” a couple of years ago for my portrayal of the Leaned Judge in “Trial By Jury” (Gilbert & Sullivan, you will recall).

I write acerbic literate and often profund letters to the Editor of the Santa Fe Reporter, and I have a fan club that grows with every published issue.  People approach me in the check-out line at my local supermarket and tell me: “I am going to kill you, you Pinko Commie Freak,” or: “Keep up the good work.  I wish I had said that.”

I was recently elected to the Board of Directors of the Santa Fe Community Theatre.  I am a member of both the Planning Committee and the Physical Plant Committee.  My plan for the Physical Plant is to sell it to the highest bidder, take the money, and build a genuine theater as our future home.  Tesuque might be a good place, on leased land, or Cuyamungue.

Our present facility, at 142 E. De Vargas, is a converted automobile garage, an Historical Treasure, and a complete disaster as a place for the performing arts.  To bring it up to electrical code, I am informed, would cost us about $20,000.  To turn it into an adequate theater would cost us an unimaginable sum.  Pushing a quarter of a million bucks.  Which we don’t have and could never raise, despite my best efforts at fund-raising.  That is another Committee I am evidently on — Fund Raising.

I went into this with my eyes wide open.  As you may recall, I love theater.  I expecially love being on-stage, and applause is my bread and butter.  What I want to do is bring the perspective of the performer, who works for no compensation and who gets his/her jollies from audience response, to the business of community theater.

That is altogether enough on that subject.

You said, in your note, that you had a wheel chair and that you were ready to travel.  Okay, Tommy, put your wheel char where your mouth is.  I will furnish you with an address (in Fort Lauderdale, Florida) and you can do the rest.  Keep my name out of it, and I will do the same.  Terms are as previously negotiated, payment on delivery.

Write soon, or I will write again.  Then, Tommy, you will be two down.  Don’t let that happen to you, at your advanced age, which is too old to be a brand-new father.  If you like, i can send you a book by Margaret Sanger.  Full of good advice.

Fondly, As Always,


John K. Herzog


Post Script: In case you are wondering about the letterhead, be advised that this is the imprimatur of a Genuine Corporation that Dobbs and I have formed.  I am President and Chief Executive Officer.  He is Vice-President and General Manager, West Coast Operations.  Mary is Secretary/Treasurer.  We have Articles of Incorporation, a Certificate, and our dues are paid until the end of this year.  Put that in your thistle-tube and smoke it.


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