Satire

Fiction — “To Dr. Sterling pertaining his Artist”

Dear Dr. Sterling,

I have a complaint about your advice column, but it’s not about your advice specifically. In fact, I was delighted by your response to my letter on how I should deal with my husband [see Issue 8, 2016]. I was afraid our problems would lead to the dissolution of an unhappy marriage, but ever since I began to act the compliant, chirpy wife, per your suggestion, we not only get along better, but we make decisions quicker.

No, my complaint is about the artwork you feature inside your column, which does not reflect the tone of your advice.

You may need to speak to your artist, Ms. Josie Aurelio, about her visual direction. For example, in your response to my letter, Ms. Aurelio created a diorama (the images constructed out of magazine cuttings) depicting a nude Barbie doll in a wheelchair, her head cut open with a pink, gummy brain floating above her. Jumper cables connect the brain to a 2017 Jeep Wrangler (snipped from a Fiat Chrysler Automobiles ad), in the driver’s seat of which sits a Ken doll, who I can only infer is revving the engine. I found this image to be disturbing and insulting and possibly misandristic. Would you have a talk with the young lady?

Sincerely,
Victoria Greene

* * *

Dear Dr. Sterling

Again, I have good and bad news.

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Writing

Fiction — “Raymond Clem”

I hadn’t thought about the letter in years. It wasn’t until I was at the MoMA a few days ago that I saw a name that reminded me. Mallick Clem. It was an inscription on the wall. Mallick. Clem. The installation itself had not been substantial. Mallick had starved a cat to death in a bucket painted like a can of tomato soup. The Warhol reference I got, but the poor cat? I guess I just don’t understand modern art.

The name Clem, though, rattled awhile in my synaptic nerves. Then it came back to me. That curious incident with the letter. Clem! That had been the addressee. One Raymond Clem.

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Life

A letter from Barbados to my friend, Stilgard the Warren-hearted

Greetings my astute and totally manly companion,

As I sit on this quite comfortable and well-cushioned lounge chair in my villa’s mezzanine, overlooking a salmonella sea that’s almost lapping against my toes, it’s difficult to retain a humble and God-seeking perspective. Luckily, my humility is about the size of a very small planet. And again, less luck and more awesomeness, it’s difficult to lower my gaze from the sublime and write this note. But by some astrological direction, although more perhaps due to the tenebrific nature of the setting sun, which darkens my tapestry, I will peruse your person for grammatical errors. And write.

Pertaining my drinking habits (and I do say habits deliberately), there’s a Stygian sting to your condemnation. Mountebank! Marauder! You… dare I say it? Friend. I have been at the drink, indeed. However, do not fret! I am Charles Bukowski only in spirit, not through spirits. I am Lord Byron only in sexcapades. I am Sir Francis Richard Burton only in my ability to speak to animals when intoxicated.

Buffoonery aside, I do do (ha!) want to speak to you at some point. Perhaps by dint of Skype, or Facebook, or auxiliary technology. Ad interim, letters will suffice. There’s a cough of Kafka in all of this, which arouses me. I await correspondence from my chums of old. Be wary of venereal warts.

Most ungratefully,

Desmond White