Friday, January 12, 2007


Salutations Fellow Scholars,

In one week, Makeshift Theatre shall open its production of Jack Neary's Rumplestiltskin, the fourth and final installment in his Misdirected Series. I know for a fact that it shall be their finest production yet, as I have just recently forwarded to them my fully compiled report on the Aarne-Thompson Type 500 folktale. With the wealth of information it contains on the subject of Rumpelstiltskin, they are sure to give the most accurate portrayal of the story since its first telling in 1577! There are five performances of Rumplestiltskin at the Coolidge Corner Theater and only one at the Regent Theater in Arlington, so make sure you buy your tickets today!

I'm sure you're all familiar with the story of Rumpelstiltskin in one version or another, but did you know that in the Hebrew telling of the story, his name is Ootzli Gootzli? As it turns out, the character of Rumpelstiltskin has almost as many names as Santa Claus! In Spanish, his name is el enano saltarín (which translates to "the jumping midget") and in French, he's called Grigrigredinmenufretin. Of course, the Slovak prefer to keep it simple; they call him Martin. Needless to say, their version of the story is exceptionally brief.

Now, I understand that the last time you heard from me, Nero and I were in a particular state of distress, being without a home and consistently pursued by the nefarious secret forces of Interpol. In the event that any of you are worried about my safety, I can assure you that I am quite well; I managed to devise a rather ingenious plot that shall keep Nero and I out of harm's way for the time being: we need simply lay low long enough to establish our newly obtained identities as irrefutable.

While in Belarus, Nero and I made arrangements to pick up two completely legitimate, definitely not stolen identities from a salesman in Homyel; his office was a bit cramped at first, but it became much more accommodating once Nero climbed into the back seat. Unfortunately, since we didn't have any money on us, Nero and I had to pay him with our service, instead: we were enlisted as couriers to deliver an icebox to Riga, Latvia where, upon its receipt, we would receive our new birth certificates and passports.

The journey to Latvia was not an easy one. In addition to our constant vigil for Interpol agents (one Detective Inga Litmonger, in particular), Nero and I had received explicit instructions not to open the icebox under any circumstances whatsoever. You can guess what happened there. Five minutes after we boarded the train to Riga, I had to convince Nero that what he had seen in the icebox were just two remarkably large, brown, slimy jelly beans just to keep him from bursting into tears and vomiting. He asked if they were internal organs. I told them that they were certainly not internal organs any more. He seemed okay with that.

Eventually we made it to Riga, where we exchanged the icebox for our new identities. As this included the receipt of our new birth certificates, Nero insisted that we throw ourselves a birthday party; at first I was nonplussed, but, as the trip over had left my assistant's demeanor in a rather dismal state, I figured there was no harm in a little cake and ice cream. For Nero's sake, you know. Think of it as counselling.

At any rate, Nero (or Artūrs Žoltoks, as he is now called) and I have settled into a beautiful little two-bedroom apartment in the coastal city of Liepāja, a fishing community first established in 1253. Nero's had to get a job as a fisherman to pay for rent while we stay here, but there also happens to be an international airport not far away. Once we've been here long enough to blend in with the local laymen, we shouldn't have any trouble getting past airport security and onto a return flight to Boston!

And, as always, The Book remains safely in my possession.

Brilliantly Sincere,

Martin Klingáčik
Director of Field Dramaturgy
Makeshift Theatre Co.

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