Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Channeling Poe

In retrospect, it was perhaps unduly harsh of me, some fifty years past, to brick Fortunato into the vaults beneath my Palazzo as punishment for a minor insult, the nature of which I have long since forgotten. But no.

You may well believe that having escaped punishment for my act, I would have taken satisfaction in my favorable outcome and would be loath to chance additional flirtations with the law. And such has indeed been the case for these five decades . . . until such time when I put to paper my confession, as it were, and brought it to the attention--not of the police, for I am no one's fool, but--of the gentleman who lives in the building directly opposite mine, who goes by the name Evil Editor. Confession, I hoped, would at last remove a great weight from my shoulders, and to present said confession in the guise of a work of fiction would save me from living out my waning days in a cell.

"Drivel." It was the word he used to describe my oeuvre, and no blade could have cut deeper. I thanked the boorish pig, never letting on that I had resolved to make him my second victim. But how was I to lure this gargantuan oaf into my crypt? The swill he had offered me in his home was evidence enough that he housed no pretensions in the field of oenology. Only during a casual consultation with Luchesi some weeks later which I cleverly steered toward the subject of my neighbor, did I discover the editor's solitary weakness: cheese danish.

When I "happened" to run into him months after, I subtly sprang my trap. "I have discovered the secret to the perfect cheese danish," I said. "Nitre. This is why I store my cheese danish in the dank vaults beneath my domicile. Perhaps you'd like to sample one? The gleam in his eye betrayed his eagerness.

In the cellar I pointed out the hole I had recently made in the wall behind which Fortunato's remains remained. "Step right through," I said. "The cheese danish is in there."

"What about coffee?" he asked.


"Can't eat cheese danish without coffee."

"There's coffee in there too."

"After you, my friend."

I had no choice but to precede him through the opening; to do otherwise would have looked suspicious. As I went through he shoved me with his boot, and my head collided with the far wall, not far from the hanging bones of Fortunato. By the time I regained consciousness, Evil Editor was working on the final row of bricks. "The good news," he said as he closed the last gap, "is that I've reconsidered. I'll be publishing your tale after all."

--Evil Editor


arhooley said...


Phoenix said...

I see it always bothered you, too, that Poe seemed to be a one-trick pony with all that walling up he did. But layering the victims and walls? Now that's priceless!