Episode 14

A Letter from Andre?

Read the Episode: 

Hello, Micheal Midas here, and welcome back to the podcast. Before I move on to the next missing singers of the Universal Harmony Choir, I’m going to discuss a little connection between Jan Nibs and Andre Slinger, the first two singers to disappear.

Well it’s a possible connection because the truth about it never came to light. You see, a couple weeks after Andre Slinger went missing, John Smalls, the conductor of the choir, received a letter in the mail, which contained nothing more than a strange tale. And this letter was supposedly written and sent by Andre Slinger, though it was never proved so.

Now if you’ve listened to the two part series about Andre Slinger, you know that he was a charming guy that said the right things, but well, he really wasn’t the creative type to write a strange tale. In fact, he was so inept at creativity, that if someone smiled at him, well, he smiled back exactly the way they did, just like a robot programmed to be a pal.

So when John read the letter, he was torn between not believing that Andre was capable of writing such a strange story, and – for the sake of intrigue – wanting to believe that Andre was a diabolical maniac who couldn’t help but write it.

Never-the-less, what this ambivalence amounted to was that John didn’t reveal the letter to anyone else because A) if Andre truly wasn’t capable of writing the letter, well, John might not be the only one that thought it was fake, and those people would think John had made the whole thing up for the sake of self importance.

And B) if Andre wrote the letter, then John was a little jealous about it, because he liked to write strange stories himself, so he wasn’t going to promote any competition.

Now, it’s pretty hard for most folks to keep a secret, but trust me, John Smalls had the innate ability to bury the most sensitive information in the back of his mind, as though some one had just told him what the weather was going to be like.

Let me tell you a story about how good he was at quieting up.

John has this odd fetish or perhaps its part of a personality disorder. But every so often, while he was visiting a friend of his, he would sneak into their kitchen, open the fridge door, and leave it that way.

He wouldn’t take any food or beverages out, but he wasn’t worried that they would warm up either. If there was a reason why, well, it was for the thrill of knowing that the friend would wonder to themselves when or how it was left open, even though they wouldn’t dare ask him.

“Hey, while I was in the washroom, did you leave my fridge door open?”

So John Smalls never mentioned to anyone that he opened fridge doors, and he also kept quiet about Andre Slinger’s supposed letter.

Something is a little strange. There is a windy sound in my ears, and I feel kind of sleepy. I’m sitting at my computer desk, and it feels like I should be laying down. I might have a little nap before reading the letter.

Man, I’m in a park, sitting on a picnic table. Yuri, why are you sitting across from me? What’s this chess board doing in front of us – and a bottle of vodka?

Yuri:
Hello Micheal. I am using the latest in Russian Spy Technology to contact you. It is called Dream Messaging. We have discovered how to communicate through the collective unconscious. So when you feel sleepy, it is like phone bell ringing.

Micheal:
So what if you contact me while I’m in the line up at the grocery store?

Yuri:
Well, we have perfected this technology, so you only receive the message when you are alone and in a comfortable position to sleep. Like when you are watching a lousy movie, and feel like sleep would be more interesting.

Micheal:
Are you saying this podcast is lousy?

Yuri:
Well, it wasn’t good until the Russians interfered with it.

Micheal:
Let’s get this straight. When we first met outside my house, you said you were an ice cream man, then you said you were a gangster, then you used a microwave beam to transmit a message into my computer, and now we’re having a conversation in my dream. Who the hell are you, Yuri?

Yuri:
It’s not important Micheal. Here were are in park. So we should have discussion, play chess, and drink a little vodka.

Micheal:
What would you like to discuss?

Yuri:
Well, I’ve had vodka already, so I don’t remember. But, I’d rather brag about dream messaging. Hey, you know how Trump got elected? We sent millions of dream messages to American Voters, so at ballot box they all feared that if they didn’t vote for him, they’d get a president with worse hair.

(The phone rings)

Yuri:
Look Micheal, we are losing contact, you should have turned off your phone before you fell asleep.

Micheal:
What? I’m not dreaming the phone is ringing?

Yuri:
Yes, why would you need the phone to ring in dream, when the dream is already the phone?

(Micheal wakes up and picks up the phone)

Hello? Yes?

Would I like a free home demonstration of the Rondaldo 5000 meat defroster? No thanks, I eat fresh meat. What kind of meat? Ork Meat. What’s it like? It’s like Pork, but without the P. Haven’t you ever had ork chops before? No, I’m not joking. I know where to get Ork Meat – of course you can’t buy it in the supermarket. You have to hunt for it. Where? There’s a set of caverns you can get to from a secret entrance in the basement of Becky’s Coffee Shop. You can find Orks and other strange creatures in them. Hey, do you own a cross bow? Get one, and I’ll take you hunting there. Okay. I gotta go too.

Man, Ork meat, some people will believe anything. Now what was I dreaming about? Something about a Russian Guy that likes to brag.

Anyway, let’s get back to this letter.

It was typed on was kind of a brownish crumply 8*11 with a tiny rip on the right hand side. It appeared to have been sitting in an attic years before it was sent.

Let me read it for you.

Dear Mr. Smalls,

My name is Andre Slinger, and first of all, I’d like to apologize for missing the Spring Tulips Festival. I can tell you why, and I’m sure you’d understand, but I have a more important story I’d rather spend your time with.

It’s about Jan Nibs. Yes, I’ve heard of her too, though not through my involvement with the New Moon Church.

I learned on the news that she’d gone missing after getting into a white van near her college.

It was a devastating story to hear, and why I joined the choir – to help bring positivity back to the music. But nobody would have guessed that, as I modestly claimed to join the choir for the sake of singing.

The following tale explains what happened to Jan Nibs after she went missing.

8:40 Now, I must add this is not an official sighting, but she turned out to be the main character in a legend I heard from a fisherman in a small town called Iron Bridge, which is about a six hour drive North West of the Mysterious Bluffs, or about an hour long flight, or a tenth of a millisecond if your primitive species knew how to bend space – but that’s none of your business.

So this is how the story was told:

During the friskiest of sunny weather, when the wind shamelessly caresses the evergreens, Jan Nibs was doing the backstroke in the Serpent River.

The young lass was braving the cool June temperature in a yellow swimsuit, following the current out to the open waters of Lake Huron. She wound along the shores of rounded rock, which had been massaged for eons by mother nature’s wily hands.

Jan didn’t seem to notice where she was, or what she was doing, but her face had an infantile smile on it, as though nothing was meant to be known.

Then an old crow flew over her and landed on a tree near where she was swimming.

“Do you know where you’re going?” asked the crow.

Jan Nibs stopped swimming and treaded water, and her feet lowered into a patch of underwater weeds.

“Now that I think of it,” she said. “I’m late for choir rehearsal, and I need to find out how to get there.”

“You sing?” the crow asked.

“Yes, it’s my life,” she answered.

“Then prove to me you can sing, and I’ll tell you who in these parts can answer your question,” the crow stated.

“Why should I have to prove it?” she asked.

“Because it’s the only way you’ll get the answer,” the crow said.

“But it shouldn’t matter to you whether I’m lying or not about my singing talent,” she said. “because if I’m not good enough at choir rehearsal, it’s my problem, not yours.

The crow flapped it’s wings a couple times for the sake of comfort.

In these barren lands, you’ll only get ahead from being honest,he insisted.

“And why is that?” she asked.

“Look around you,” said the crow. “Nothing exists but nature, and all that can be done here is survive. There is no room for lies, as you can only prove your worth through ability.
Lies are for a swimmer that tries to outwit rapids, lies are for a fisherman that asks advice from a bear, and lies are for a butterfly hunter that tries to steal a worm from a skunk.”

“But I’m not lying to myself about my ability to sing,” Jan said. “I’d like get to choir rehearsal, that’s all.”

The weeds that covered her feet grew in length and wrapped themselves around her ankles.

They slowly pulled her downwards, as she treaded water faster and faster to stay afloat.

“Help,” Jan shouted to the crow. “I’m going to drown.”

“Then sing,” the crow said.

“Shouldn’t I scream?” she asked.

“No, if you scream in the wilderness, all of its dwellers will run away for fear of facing the same danger you’re in,” the crow said. “You’ll never get help.”

So Jan Nibs sang for her life.

But help was not needed. The weeds around Jan’s feet magically loosened, and she sighed with relief. The crow was so impressed by the beauty of her voice, that it cawed with joy.

There was a clasp of thunder in the distance, and the crow flew off without saying good-bye. Jan looked in the direction of the noise, and saw dark clouds approaching.

The chance she would be caught in a storm didn’t really bother her, not nearly as much as the crow flying off without telling her where to get directions for the choir rehearsal.

In hopes of finding another creature that could tell her about it, she continued to swim down the Serpent River, towards the open waters of Lake Huron.

Jan spotted a lone Grey wolf standing on a cliff that protruded over the shore. The wolf had a small wooden plaque in it’s mouth, which it dropped into the water. Then the wolf ran off and out of sight.

Jan smiled with anticipation. The wolf must have left a message for her. She swam over to the plaque, grabbed it, and read it.

It said: “Congratulations Herman and Edna on your 50th wedding anniversary.”

Jan frowned with disappointment. She let go of the plaque and swam to the rocky shore underneath the cliff. She sat on a small bolder and watched the thunder clouds approach.

“An important heirloom was just discarded by a wolf, so how can I expect to get directions to a measly choir rehearsal,” she said.

A gargantuan beast with neon green eyes arose from the water. It’s head was shaped like a cougar. It had a thick neck, and a sturdy feline body with four legs and a long tail. It’s skin was scaly like a snake, and it had claws that could turn trees into chopsticks.

Well, if Jan’s straight blond hair wasn’t so wet, it would have stood on end. But the monster smiled, which gave her some courage, so she spoke to it:

“You don’t scare me,” she said.

“You have thick skin, my dear,” the monster said.

Jan looked kind of disappointed. The monster was a know-it-all, which didn’t seem very monster-like to her.

“Since you know so much,” she said. “Tell me where my choir rehearsal is.”

The monster hissed liked Niagara Falls shooting through a jumbo bull horn.

“That is why I have come to you, but first you must answer three questions.” the monster said.

Jan shivered with frustration. She was not in the mood for formalities.

“Whatever,” she said.

“How do you think you arrived in the Serpent River?”

Jan dove into the deepest reaches of her memory, but could not find an answer.

“I must have snapped my fingers, then magically arrived here,” she said.

“Excellent answer,” the monster said. “You’re a step closer to the choir rehearsal. Next question: How long can you swim for?”

Jan brightened up inside, believing the monster was truly concerned that she reach her destination.

“I’ll swim for as long as it takes,” she said.

“That’s exactly what I want to hear,” the monster said.

Jan’s heart burst with joy.

“Bring on the next question,” she said.

The monster’s smiled as though he had the best question in the world.

“Name the ingredients in your mother’s banana cake recipe,” he said.

“My mother never made banana cake from scratch. She always bought it frozen. You know, the square one with icing on top. Ready in fifteen minutes,” Jan said.

“Sorry, that’s the wrong answer,” the monster said.

Jan’s face turned fire engine red.

“But the cake was moist and delicious,” she said.

“Your mother would have baked her own banana cake, if she thought you were worth the nine months she carried you. I don’t wan’t to bother her by letting you sing at choir rehearsal. She might skip dessert altogether,” the monster said.

“My mother loved me and fully supported my singing,” Jan cried. “And why dessert is so important?”

“Well,” the monster said. “Dessert doesn’t exist in a barren land like this, so all I can do is lust for it.”

“What else could I expect a monster to say,” Jan declared.

“No worries,” he consoled. “I have a better place for you to go than choir rehearsal. I’m going to take you to the open waters of Lake Huron.”

Jan felt a warmth inside her heart like never before. She felt her parents inside her heart. She felt her grandparents and many generations before them. She felt like nothing could ever harm her again.

The monster snatched her in one swipe of a paw, held her tight against his chest, and disappeared under the river. She was never seen again.

Hi Micheal here, now that was the end of the legend, but the letter itself finishes with couple more sentences:

Mr. Smalls I hope this legend will lay to rest any unsettling feeling you may still have about Jan Nibs. Again please accept my apologies for missing the performance at the Spring Tulips Festival, and I wish the choir luck in their future endeavours.

Yours Truly,

Andre Slinger.

End of the Mysterious Bluffs Part 14.