Editor’s Note: Ah, now I see what these two are up to. Looks like Halton Stoves and Tasty Yumyum are doubleteaming NaNoWriMo this year. The forthcoming anthology Dear Fiend: The Letters of Stoves & Yumyum will undoubtedly be a joint work as its title suggests. In this installment, Halton replies to a fresh-penned young Tasty for the very first time. If you missed Tasty’s letter, check it out first.
Dear Fiend: The Letters of Stoves & Yumyum
February 29, 1975
Thank you for your interest in my recent work, as well as your delightfully regional moniker! Smelled Like Fish, Tasted Like Cucumbers was not an easily birthed piece and it took me some time to fully grasp the enormity of what the novel attempts to say about modern contemporary culinary habits as well as the political & socio-economical climate of your esteemed country, which I must admit I have never visited. Your use of the word ‘epic’ is quite concise and I urge you to use it as often as possible in public regarding the work. I would also ask that you include the words ‘affordably priced’ for the benefit of my Swedish publishers.
Your confusion surrounding the anthropomorphic bedpan is rightly founded, as this device was intended to be just that—a reflection of the inborn smokescreens which we humans send up in our discourses with one another, especially in the dealings between the sexes. I am also pleased that you have not chosen, as so many of my western reviewers have, to describe the character of Boobs MacGillicuddy as a ‘crass pantomime of womanhood’ or ‘a disgusting amalgam of Stoves’ conceits regarding the fairer sex,’ to quote two such wound-up philistines. By the way, you were right about Gertrude and her relationship to Boobs McG. And in case you’re wondering, the clock represents an antithesis to the latent animalism of your people in the time of Charles IX. Whatever you may think of him he was an overreaching scoundrel!
I suppose you are expecting me to be offended by your reading of the section dealing with the shoehorn industry in your frigid and ice-encrusted homeland, however you are quite right to be dismayed by my interpretation of events. You may not realize with what ferocity the development of your nation’s sudden and unexpected prowess in shoehorn manufacture tore at my family’s finances, being an industry which comprised at the time of the novel’s inception a large part of my family’s collective income. I fondly recall visiting the dentine works as a youth with my Great Grandfather Percival Stoves, who regarded the concern as his own personal life’s work, having at that time retired from his peerage with the Lords Temporal. He was a great source of benevolence and guidance to me and I take greatest umbrage with anyone or anything which impedes upon his well-earned contentment! Perhaps you might better understand if you yourself were forced to cut short a delightful Laotian holiday by a whole 7 weeks due to a sudden and nauseating tightening of the family purse! I don’t expect you to have any conception of what a garden of prurient delights Southeast Asia has become in its darkest days of turmoil, but try to imagine being torn from the bosom of the whitest, warmest Swedish lady imaginable, or being robbed of the biggest plate of kippers you can possibly conceive of.
Please feel free to publish your review, inasmuch as you follow the guidelines I have mentioned here. If you wish I will instruct my handlers to allow your entry into the upcoming convention. Please do bring as many literature loving Swedish females as you can muster and also make certain that they are aware of my standing in order that they may properly appreciate my appearance at that event. For my part I hope to have read some of your manuscript by that time, as I am a voracious and speedy reader who delights in reading the works of unpublished authors, especially those with poor legal representation.