THE MAN WHO COULD TALK HIS WAY OUT OF ANYTHING

BY MATTHEW SOAMES

Dear Jon,

Allo. It is I, Marcello Fortinbrook. What purpose I've had upon these wasted spaces of land and sea was lost in winds and waves in whens that nobody will dare remember. But whatever purpose I was given upon the Creator's final seal, I fathom my own Baptism back-fired and instead of my original sin passing out from under me my chance of Grace was substituted. It is a sad story, the circumstances surrounding my christening, but that story is for another time.

Another time all-together.

Here, today, or tonight, or whatever this is, I agreed to recount for you a history of my uncanny ability to talk my way out of anything. Instead of talking my way out of our agreement, I shall indeed write it up, the way it should be done.

It is an art, this "talking." Not anybody can do it – you must be born with that beautiful, tempting voice. Some are born with ugly voices, and therefore can never fully master it. When we had our first meeting, you yourself could not help but note my champagne-smooth vocal-strokes. But a voice can only get you so far – you must train yourself in the schools of rhetoric, from the satirical to the stone dead serious. From the likes of Aristophanes to Aristotle, I read any Athenian I could handily acquire. This was for sport, for fun, one summer before the beginning of my sixth year in grade school. It was that year I found a use for this peculiar little hobby: our teacher, a fine young man named Eli Bishoff, kept a jar of jelly beans on a certain Science Lab table, in very plain view. Human nature being what it is, and my especially sinful birth-rite circumstance factored in, I had no real choice in having a bean when my compadres were out on the schoolyard during recess. Bishoff being the compulsive bean-counter that he is, he found the jar disarranged and questioned me. I made accusations, they were brought in for questioning with me. Had we been questioned individually, my little story fantastic might not have held up as well as it had! In brief, by the time our conference was over, I had Bishoff not only convinced Bishoff that one of the poorer members of our class had stolen the bean to settle his angry stomach, but had also convinced that financially challenged "peer" of his own non-doings! It was from that point on that I knew I had a knack for talking my way out of the tightest circumstances.

Now, seventh grade was a more relaxed time. But eighth? Oy, Gott! It was that year I had perhaps one of my worst teachers, a German-Irish bull-dog named Ms. Margo. She hated me with a passion, and I more than returned the sentiment. However, whenever she sent me to our principal, a senile nun who predated the Code of Hammurabi, I would come up with the grandest explanations of scornful acts, making myself out to be a great hero of some national epic. The day after I finished my grade school, Ms. Margo decided to end her miserable existence with a bottle-full of Valium, having had an unexpected, brief exchange of words with yours truly at the Supermarket. I can use words as a weapon as well as a deterrent: this was one of those cases.

But enough of meaningless grade school, I'm quite sure you'd be intrigued by my adventures in high school. I made ample use of my craft there, making our unequals run home to their mothers, crying theirs eyes into their pom-poms about how some mean boy taunted them about this or that. And every time, I evaded the justice due my sins! But please, do not think I spent my years in secondary school only acing my AP's and bullying little girls. I was the King of Drama. I was up on every channel of gossip I could grasp. A pin didn't drop in my school without me hearing about it. I'd spread words, true or not, for the fun of it, as I wanted to see if I could untangle myself from the messy web of scandal I'd woven round corridors and hallways, tripping up even the most moral members of the student body. There was one instance in which I was almost expelled – however, thinking on my feet, or ass, as I was seated at the time facing my principal and the disciplinarian, I was able to twist purest truth into the most beautiful lies you could have ever heard. It was a symphony of deception, and I was the conductor, stringing along notes of deceit in staccato strokes of self-saving shit!

More recently, having completed my university and taken office on the Hill – again through word-smithy – I maintain an image of a clean family man, married with two wonderful sons and a daughter, while I frequent dark lairs of sodomy where I can find and fuck into innocent, curious chaps such as yourself.

Jon, you were a top-notch vessel. You stand out from all the other loafs I've had my way with. I hope we can continue this correspondence. You know well enough not to let this go public, as it would only waste our time – I'll simply talk my way out of it, and that will be that.

Yours,
Marcello