HLS Letters

The Adventures Of Shoiman Shoiman

  • March 5, 1990

HLS - The Letters Of Harvey L. Slatin

March 15, 1990

their,
Hey, they’re, Udo!–
there,

THIS EXCITING TIME & CONDITIONS REPORT IS PROVIDED TO YOU AT NO COST
(Please Add 6% For Sales Tax)

TIME: 11:21 a.m.
TEMPERATURES FORECAST TODAY: HIGH: 68° F., LOW: 43° F.
HUMIDITY: 61% BAROMETER: 30.11″ Hg.
PRECIPITATION PREVIOUS 24 HRS: 0.00″
PRECIPITATION TO DATE: 16.03″
NORMAL PRECIP TO DATE: 14.85″
FORECAST NEXT 24 HRS: CLEAR, WARM
TODAY IN HISTORY: U of Nebraska chartered in 1869

THE ADVENTURES OF SHOIMAN SHOIMAN: As I understand the plot, Shoiman is having a dream within a dream. He is unaware of one or the other (perhaps both). Within the dream(s) are people who are unaware of Shoiman. You may have here The Great American Dream instead of The Great American Novel. Or possibly Udo’s answer to “Finnegans Wake” (“Finnegans Shoim”? “Shoimigans Wake”? “Udogans Shoim”?) I may have to send you a markeawop xerox for further inatructions. Anyhow, if it sells, éenit fight it. Approaches to the Great American Noyes have been made through a variety of authorial departures, and there is no reason this approach should not oetsell Danielle Steele. (With your connections you probably know her personally. Ask if she would be offendeo if you outsold her.) My suggestions will be forthcoming. They will include the following questions: what has Shoiman done with his life so far? What are his hopes and dreams? What is the occupation of the nearest male relative on his father’s side? Meanwhile, send no money.

“STARING US IN THE FACE!” HE CRIED. The course of action Udobbs Press should take has been staring us in the face, and we blinked!

Do you remember your greatest triumph at The Forbidden City? No, it was not blocking Seymour Katkoff at the exit of Swan Lake Ranch, nor outdrinking Ken Early, nor sneaking Cleo past the geiger counter without triggering an evacuation alarm.

Your greatest triumph was Hill’s-a-Poppin’! Your name was on the lips of every cultured member of the technical and/or non-technical staffs. You were celebrated in song and story, and offered roles to interpret men and women of all ages and conditions.

COLD FUSION: I forward the enclosed article without comment. By now you may have read all this in your professional journals.

THE SPELLING OF OSTER — — – —. The people who owned Springside Farm near Franklin were OsterHOUT. Anybody who spelled it OsterHOUDT was not allowed on the property. This rule was accepted as tough but fair, except by those who wanted to get on the property and couldn’t produce a driver’s license. Some drove without licenses, nevertheless, and were fined heavily when stopped by the State Police. As a gesture of gratitude, the Osterhouts allowed any member of the State Police on the property, even those who didn’t have names at all, just badge numbers. The issue was resolved in 1928 by Judge Tuffbutt Fayre of the Oneonta Court of Appeals (q.v.). The rest is, of course, history.

OTHER EXCITING ENCLOSURES: Claremont in the news: an earthquake, of all things. You must have read about it in The Times or your local paper. The clippings from your paper, with misspelled words and wrong usage, convince me that they are using the Sacrimento Bee Stile Manuel. You are right about the high proportion of boo—boos, but unfortunately they can never approach The Bee’s standard: The Bee has more pages and offers more opportunity for dedicated boo—boors. But tell them their efforts have not been ignored. A little pat on the back never did any harm.

LUKENBILL OF LUKENVILLE, The Story of One Man’s Struggle (with the help of corrupt officials): the decision of the grand jury is pending, but you can see from the small inset box that the City Council is eager for further Lukenbilling (under the table or over it, whatever your style happens to be), even though he may be indicted. He can do no wrong in The Big Tomato. Too bad you stopped accepting contracts and decided to go straight. Are you sure you want to go straight? Here’s a wonderful opportunity to make a few grand for five minutes’ work. Fly out and back first class, same day. Think it over. Loan me know. I’ll put the money in an escrow account. No funny business.

ANNE’S CAMPAIGN: Best of luck, and hope she wins a seat on the Town Council. When that happens you will be known as Big Tim Udo the Queenmaker. (All pol bosses are known as Big Tim. One letter of your name will be changed at no inconvenience to you.)

CLAREMONT: Your response just arrived. We will begin to arrange reservations down, while there, and back. You will be kept advised. Over and out.

Now… let’s review the bidding, as you were known to mumble on more occasions than just a bridge hand.

What surrounds you in Stamford? The Catskills, featuring Beaverkill, Fishkill, Schuylkill, Cobleskill, Peekskill, Catskill, Plattekill, Sparkill, Wallkill … (from the Dutch kil, meaning brook).

“Kill’z-a—Poppin’!”

Major General Pitt N. Spollish, Commandant of the Department of Defense Environmental Corps, oversees Stamford’s environmental program. He is an outstanding military leader who inspires the admiration of all except those who come into contact with him. At issue: the ponds! (Another water problem!)

General Spollish refuses to yield to those who want the ponds drained or those who don’t. “We cannot proceed without taking the mosquitoes into account. If the construction of a twenty—four-lane expressway was halted because the rare twit— beaked gargler nested on the right—of—way once every thirty years, we cannot charge ahead and ignore a hereditary breeding ground for one of Man’s best friends, the anopheles mosquito. It is common knowledge that, without this cooperative insect, the Panama Canal would never have been completed.”

“On the other hand,” continues General Spollish, in his fairminded manner, “we cannot idly dismiss the effect of mosquito bites on the tourist trade. Moreover, I have been advised that the rare twit-beaked gargler eats almost nothing but mosquitoes. I propose, therefore, to take no action until I have received input from the mosquitoes, the garglers, and those for and against having the ponds drained. Also those against and for.” This pulls—no—punches approach will provide the plot for “Kill’z-a—Poppin’!”, the laff-riot directed by Thomas Udo, The Shubert of Sing Sing, that will pack them in night after night at the Stamford Bijou!

ACT I
Scene 1

The Stamford Field Headquarters of General Pitt N. Spollish, Commandant of The Environmental Corps. On the general’s desk are a fine—mesh cage of whining mosquitoes and a birdcage of twit—beaked garglers. At rise, the general is frowning at his desk (that should be “is at his desk, frowning”). The field telephone rings.

GENERAL

(The ball is in your court from here on. write, print and sell on behalf of Udobbs Press. What you have waited for.)

“Along those lines, one might say.”

“How splendid, Charles! I see now why you rose in the Foreign Office.”

“Merely a quid pro quo, my dear. And after that we can deal with our Guardsman.”

“You do make it all sound so elementary, Charles! Now, then, what else was in today’s post?”

“Another gas billing. I put it in the dustbin, of course.”

GUESS—A—HEAD! The new exciting game for Bee readers! Guess what a headline means! Read the enclosed headline and send your interpretation of the meaning to “Guess—A~Head Editor, Sacramento Bee,” and win a lifetime subscription!

Show this to your editor friend, and ask him if his Stamford paper could equal it! This is Big Time Journalism, Udo. They don’t play by Girls’ Rules out here. This is his chance to win a lifetime subscription to a Big Time paper, and he can copy its techniques at no cost. (If he doesn’t leap at the chance, who can blame him? It takes a lot out of a person to read The Bee even once, much less for a lifetime.)

JAPANESE FUSION: Cold fusion research must now be going on all over the world. You may know about the enclosed but, if not, you are now up to speed. If this keeps up, we may all drive cold fusion cars in a couple of years, and the oil companies will have to find a new use for that icky stuff they pump. No more Exxon groundings, no more water—table pollution, no more smog. The Old Values are going, Udo, one at a time. Face it.

“TOWN COUNCIL APPREHENSIVE!” Rumors around Stamford, N.Y: are that the Town Council is highly concerned about innovations that might be proposed by Councilmember Anne Slatin following her eye—opening trip to Russia. “If you think things are bad in Russia,” Councilmember Slatin told this reporter, “you should take a close look at Stamford. I have a couple of suggestions that I plan to make at the next meeting.” Your reporter will attend the next meeting, and a full report will appear in this paper, the Newspaper of Record in the Catskills! These rumors have reached as far as Palenville and Oneonta, where muttering crowds are reported in the streets! The mutterings will also be fully reocrted in this ca er! Renew your subscription today!

Fred C. (Mutter, Mutter…”) Dobbs

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