The Fox Trapper – Letter 9

To the family of Mr. Wilbur Popbottom,

My name is Arthur Sleevington and I am the Sheriff of Charleston, West Virginia. I am writing to inform you of the where-abouts of one Wilbur Popbottom and it may come as quite a shock to you so please, before you read on, have a seat. If you are already seated, you may like to lie down, but I understand if this is a bit excessive.

We’ve burned Mr. Popbottom at the stake. It seemed the only correct punishment for such a heinous, heinous crime.

You see, in the words of Mr. Popbottom, he felt that it would be some pumpkins to sneak into the houses of innocent townsfolk and stab them repeatedly while they sleep. He did this on 9 separate occasions, and after the ninth instance we found him in a nearby barn, passed out next to a blood-drenched knife and a small cage containing a field mouse. We carried Wilbur to the jail, locked him in shackles and force-fed him bread until he had the energy to speak. We believe that he went mad due to malnutrition, judging by the deep, dark circles under his eyes and his extreme frailty.

Wilbur, on the other hand, told me a very different story. During his questioning, he informed me that the mouse that was accompanying him politely requested that he stab the next person he meets. I assume the rodent asked this for enjoyment’s-sake, which is all the more sickening. Wilbur later told us that as the days went on, the mouse, or Claudio is he insisted on calling it, began to get more pushy in its requests and at one point threatened to “not give him help with his shaft” if he did not kill somebody soon. He did not elaborate on what “shaft help” entails, but I fear it is something so horrifyingly perverse that I dare not write it.

And so, with the full admission of the murderer and town morale being quite low after a brutal winter (and the murders), the town board unanimously decided to burn Mr. Popbottom at the stake. For good measure we burned the mouse at a small stake. It was rather amusing, actually. We used a small pile of twigs and some twine to tie the mouse up. But I digress.

The local paper has dubbed the past few weeks “The Winter of Wilbur.” It is rather catchy, don’t you agree?

I would tell you that I’m sorry for your loss but, let’s be honest, I’m not. I’m actually quite relieved that no one is killing the people in my town anymore.

Arthur Sleevington, Sheriff of Charleston

The Fox Trapper – Letter 7

To my oft-inebriated love Eliza,

Claudio and I have made the decision – we’re escaping this horrid encampment. I can tell from miniature companions squeals and shakes that he is trying to tell me that something terrible is going to happen to me. I fear the men have grown tired of me and my “antics,” as the captain has called them. One evening about a week ago one of the men caught me yelling “BEWARE! BEWAAAAARE!!” off into the forest and they now believe I’ve gone mad. The camp medic has diagnosed me with an adult case of St Vitus Dance and they have quarantined me to my own personal tent. What fools, the only disease I have is my amorous feelings towards my furry friends. That and my recurring case of Crimpers Pelvis.

I must say, my dear, that I am extremely impressed by the enormous amount of progress you have made in your art. Dare I say it, maybe you should be inebriated ALL the time! The results are in plain sight, you perform much better under the influence. Alas, if only MY expedition had left for the wilderness to get Corned, I would not be in the sad state I am in now. Even being permitted to get corned would help ease the pain of being kept in this stuffy tent.

Claudio and I plan on leaving the encampment tonight under the cover of darkness. I shall send this letter and then prepare for the long journey through the woods. Eliza, it will be a long, arduous journey, and I am fearful of what evils await me on this trail. However, the thought of returning to your arms back home in Windsor is my last glimmer of hope. Embracing you with all my might while enjoying the scent of a large breakfast as well as a bit of licorice emanating from your golden locks. Pressing my lips against yours and becoming slightly inebriated from the whiskey on your breath. Seeing your brother over your shoulder giving me the subtlest of winks. This is what I travel for. THIS IS WHAT I LONG FOR!

If you wish to reply, I shall be headed towards Charleston, West Virginia and will check the post office upon my arrival. Please Eliza, pray for my whiskered ally and I.

Until I am wrapped in your arms once more,