A Letter From the Doctor
(Originally ran on November 15th, 2002 as "Hit and run--evading Mexican police")
I was getting worried. It had been several weeks since I'd watched my good friend and mentor Dr. Venison Skidmore head north in my beloved Nissan in a desperate attempt to outrun the Utah Highway Patrol and Mexican National Police. I had no idea if he had made it to the safety of his southeastern Idaho commune, Planet Venison, or if he had been overtaken and executed for running down a member of the Mexican National Soccer Team. It also occurred to me that I was seven thousand miles overdue for an oil change.
Then, the other day, a small Hispanic man slipped an envelope in my coat while I was admiring the new He-Man figures at Fred Meyer. Without a word, he slipped away.
At first I thought it was the information I had requested from NOSOTROS on the life of Ricardo Montalban, but as I opened the envelope and began reading the enclosed letter, I realized that it was a secret message from my missing mentor.
It was written in the kind of handwriting commonly used to illustrate the condition of your brain after consuming 17 or more alcoholic beverages, but with a little concentration I was able to make out the following:
I have been trying to contact you for some time. For the last twelve days I have been incarcerated in Mexico, exactly where I cannot say. Without your help I fear I may be here indefinitely.
After I left you in Smithfield two weeks ago, I managed to outrun the authorities and reached Planet Venison in about an hour. The Maxima held up well, my friend, but I regret to say that shortly after arriving it started to make a sound kind of like the sound you would make by running over Barbara Streisand with a cement mixer. Then the engine fell out and your cassette player ate your Perry Como tape.
The authorities camped beyond the gates, and for the next two days they threatened to shut down the commune if I didn't give myself up. They told me the man I had run down in Mexico wasn't really a member of the national soccer team, that he was just an extra from HBO's The Sopranos who'd wandered off a set, and that I wouldn't be tried for anything more than a misdemeanor. They said I couldn't get more than a week in jail, but I didn't give myself up until they promised to retain my subscription to Boy's Life.
Within a day I was transported to an undisclosed prison in Northern Mexico. I can't say where because somewhere in Arizona they blindfolded me and started playing Mel Torme on the stereo really loud, so I have no way of getting you here.
I kept asking for reassurance that I was only going in for a week, but my captors would only repeat the phrase 'You bet,' then speak very quickly to each other in Spanish. My suspicions were aroused when they refused to drop off my change of address form at the post office.
After arriving in my cell (furnished in a strikingly similar fashion to Aggie Village) I tried to get my jailers to deliver a letter to you. They agreed to mail it, but two days later I saw that they had posted it on their breakroom wall and highlighted the repeated references to my mother.
Luckily last week I met a true ally by the name of Gualinto. He runs a small smuggling racket in the prison that makes sure that all inmates are supplied with Q-Tips and new issues of American Quarterly. He told me that from time to time he would send his brother Chon as far north as Malad to make deliveries, and that he would be happy to get a letter to you. If you are reading this, then he is truly a man of his word.
Though I yearn for freedom and the familiar glow of Cache Valley, prison life isn't all so bad. The food isn't horrible; we eat a lot of Chinese. We also listen to music, though the guards only have Toby Keith's' Unleashed', and on Tuesday mornings we get exercise when the guards let their dogs chase us around the grounds.
I desperately need your help if I am to get out. Gualinto's brother will find you when you are ready to contact me.
P.S. Bet HEAVILY on the Bears on the 17th.