Editor’s Note: The fast-developing saga of Dear Fiend: The Letters of Stoves & Yumyum continues with this rightfully bitter screed from 1975. It would seem that the first meeting between Tasty & Halton did not go well (to put it mildly), and the former felt the need to air certain grievances and commit the surreality of the occasion to permanence.
Dear Fiend: The Letters of Stoves & Yumyum
March 6, 1975
Though my head and heart still hurt from our meeting the other evening, I felt it only prudent to fire off a few words and get a few things off of my chest. While I did, at first, appreciate you offering to meet me at the writer’s convention, I truly wish I had never taken you up on the offer. To say that our time together was horrific would be akin to implying that ABBA is a fairly popular band. I have never in my days seen or met a man as debauched as yourself, with such disregard for humanity and social grace. Maybe my humble (re: poor) upbringing will not ever allow me to understand a man like yourself. If that is, in fact, the case, I have never been so thankful in my entire life to have been born into empty trousers. While I expect a louse like you to not spend one short minute worrying about the impression you have made upon a “fish-sucking shitfuck” like myself, I would like to take a few moments to recount a few of your mighty transgressions. I hope to accomplish two things by doing this: to exorcise the filth of that night from my psyche and to rub your nose in your own ill-placed excrement like the dog that you more than proved yourself to be. In a perfect world, like a dog you might eventually learn that your behavior is absolutely and irrefutably unacceptable in this culture or any I have ever read about, but I do not hold my hopes of that happening very high at all.
Please take a few seconds to thank your so-called “handlers” for the welcome they afforded Farley and myself. I will have you know that Farley Sjoestrom is my oldest friend in the world and a man of great standing in the community. For your brutish brigade to have cavity-searched him is a tragedy. Adding insult to injury, your insistence on referring to Farley as Fartley, Shoestring and Blowjob for the entirety of the evening certainly took its toll on my companion’s mood, which you more than once described as being “as fun as diarrhea in a spacesuit.” Farley has since asked me why I would want to meet a man like you and if you are a fair example of writers the world ‘round, why I would ever want to be a part of such a “disgusting cabal of awfulness” (his words, not that I, at all, disagree). I found it impossible to answer him in any way that would explain away the dreadful experience or stop the flow of his tears.
Having tried to forget the previous minutes, Farley and I were able to watch your lecture on the irrelevancy of the comma in modern literature. Your attitude towards the audience was deplorable; these people had paid 25 krona each to hear you speak. For you to spend nearly the entirety of your allotted time railing against the Swedish shoehorn industry was, at the very least, disappointing and, more truthfully, racist drivel founded mainly on false Nordic stereotypes, lies and, most often, complete rubbish. I, as well as those other poor “fans” in attendance, am now well aware of your past as a boy who grew up in the gilded lap of the great Western Shoehorn tradition, and while I may, in time, be able to find the smallest shred of sympathy for a family growing ever-closer to financial ruin, I certainly cannot afford you my pity today. To have thrown a bucket of herring offal onto the master of ceremonies (who was only trying to remind you of what your speaking topic was supposed to be) and call her a “Krona-hungry, Swedish-berry-sucking whore”….well, that is a bridge too far, in my opinion. Honestly, what kind of degenerate scum brings a bucket of herring offal to a literary symposium in the first place? It is all too obvious, now, that you had planned this lunacy from the get-go. I only wish that I had listened to Farley when he had then suggested we skip our rendezvous with you. It was with a nagging sense of morbid curiousity that I compelled him to join me in meeting up with you. What followed was very much morbid and curious. Morbid, curious and heart-breakingly repulsive.
Let me take a moment to point out that I firmly believe that you probably remember little or none of your abhorrent behaviour. While I realize this is due, in most part, to your seemingly endless supply, and ingestion, of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, it still does not act as any sort of excuse whatsoever. While Adolf Frederick may approve of your alcoholic prowess, I cannot say that I am in the same sloop. It has just occurred to me that maybe my revisiting these events on paper will help you to see how completely out of control you are, have become, or have always been. One can only hope.
Now, seeing as you are ignorant scum, it probably didn’t occur to you that the restaurants of the Norrmalm district are the finest in all of Stockholm. Wedholms itself, is held in the highest regard and has been rated, many times, as perhaps the finest fish restaurant in all of Europe. I cannot say for certain, but I do assume that the night in question was the first time ever the maitre d’ was referred to as “numbnuts” and I have my suspicions that none of the waitresses had ever had a customer try to not-so-surreptitiously sneak a lutefisk into their fanny. While all of your flashing and doling out of money may have bought you enough time to perform your overtly lewd and overly loud rendition of “My Dingaling” (a song long-banned in our country; whether you knew this in advance or not did nothing to assuage the poor elderly couple to our left), it did not, by any stretch, purchase anyone’s respect or forgiveness. In a small way I find myself hoping that your familial empire does crumble, sooner than later, so that you might one day see how much leeway money once gave you, and how few friends you will have once it is finally gone. I am not proud of these thoughts, but how could I be? I am, after all, just a “literary laughingstock in waiting” with “the brains and instincts of a seahorse.”
While you may not distinctly remember slipping a tab of acid into Farley’s Julmust, everyone else at the table certainly does (with the exception, of course, of Farley himself and me, who would have stopped you had I known). Maybe it is customary amongst your circle of cronies and confidants to surprise each other with highly dangerous chemicals, but there is no precedent for such chicanery where we come from. And while Farley urinating into the pipe organ and biting the arms of not one but three policemen may have caused much merriment for you and your cohorts, I assure you it was no laughing matter. The only thing that kept poor Farley out of prison was his good reputation in the community and the promise of a sizeable donation to a collection of local charities. The fact that you and your “boyos” started a “lock him up!” chant was, ultimately, the final straw. It seems obvious to me that anyone who acts in such a manner is not capable of having real friends or sharing in a true relationship, like Farley and myself have for many years. Of all the things that I find sad about you, and, believe me, Stoves, there are many, this is what I find the most pathetic. No one in their right mind would ever treat a new acquaintance in such an ignominious and loathsome manner, let alone a friend (a term which you leveled at me all evening long). No, sir, you are no friend of mine, and I doubt you are one to anyone or anything on this planet save for a handful of dime-a-dozen drug dealers and liquor store proprietors.
I truly regret, with every fibre of my being, ever hearing your name. I will, for eons, never forgive myself for asking to meet you. And if it takes me until the day I shuffle off this mortal coil, I will do everything in my power to expose you as the hateful, base, contemptible beast that you truly are. All of your flowery paragraphs and wonderful literary turns will never change my opinion. You are a monster.
And, as it is true in most fairie tales it is as true in the real world; no one loves a monster.
Rot in hell,
PS—Please return my manuscript. I would rather burn it than ever hear your opinion on my world view. Also, it may amuse you to know that I have just finished a short story entitled An Evening with Elton Staves. I have done very little to change any pertinent fact, and the main character is quite obviously you. It is, to say the least, a damning diatribe on your utter worthlessness. Oddly enough, despite this story having only been finished 24 hours ago, I have already had 4 offers to publish it. Weird. It seems even more grim for you than I expected. Not only do you have few friends in the writing world (or any), with every passing hour I learn of some new enemy you have made along the way. Count your blessings and save your money, Stoves. I have a feeling your life is going to be a rollercoaster ride the likes of which Werner Stengel could only have conjured up in his worst, sweat-soaked nightmares.