- A History of the African American People by Strom Thurmond (Part 2)
In our previous issue, readers were privy to an exchange of letters pertaining to the publication of A History of the African American People, by Strom Thurmond.
Our correspondents include:
• Barton Wilkes, self-professed Junior Adviser and Intern to the Honorable Strom Thurmond
• Martin Snell, an editor at Simon & Schuster
• R. Juniper McCloud, B.A. (English), New York University, 2001, Snell’s assistant
• Percival Everett, Senator Thurmond’s black alibi, a minor novelist and reluctant ghostwriter
• James R. Kincaid, an English professor, Engels to Everett’s Marx, the other ghostwriter
Minor (possibly imaginary) characters include:
• Vendetti, Snell’s colleague at Simon & Schuster, who may or may not be Italian
• Reba McCloud, R. Juniper’s sister, a beautiful onanist
• Mrs. McCloud, matriarch of the McCloud clan, the subject of much speculation
• “That student” pressing charges against Mr. Kincaid
• The Venerable, Honorable Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, the seniorest senator in the history of the U.S. Senate
As we rejoin the paper trail, a pair of ghostwriters retained by the publisher discuss what on earth they’ve gotten themselves into.
October 7, 2002 FROM THE DESK OF PERCIVAL EVERETT
Didn’t you have some other project you were working on? One of those Victorian writers or something? Maybe you should keep that alive, vary your interests some. There is such a thing as overdedication, you know.
All things will come to us if we wait. [End Page 68]
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[End Page 69]
I sure don’t want to rush Strom.He can’t stand much rush, is my guess. Wouldn’t want to be responsible for killing him—not directly responsible.
So just hang tight. They’ll send us some stuff when they’re ready.
Did you see that student who lodged the complaint about you? Just be sure you have a witness when you talk with her, and don’t threaten her or anything.
October 7, 2002
The company does not have a Halloween party, but that does not mean parties are disallowed or anything.What do you say?
As for Wilkes, tell me more fully what you told him about masturbating. I don’t see how I can help unless I have all the details. If you’d rather not share with me, fine, but I must say I don’t know why you would share something with Wilkes, whom you’ve never met, and withhold it from me, who is close to you in terms of where our offices are—if in no other way, though I rather thought . . . never mind.
When is he visiting?
Perhaps you could meet him halfway. Do your parents live about halfway? That’d be one plan. Meet him at your parents’ place. Are your parents still alive?
Remember, the idea is for you to find out about Wilkes, not vice versa. I thought I had made that clear. You wouldn’t want to go half-time with Vendetti, would you?
October 14, 2002
To: Percival Everett and James Kincaid (one copy each)
From: Barton Wilkes
I figured it was best to send a copy of everything to both of you. That way, it wouldn’t look as if I were favoring one of you over the other. Also, it wouldn’t look as if I gave a damn what your internal relations might be. Just so long as you produce results that meet the Senator’s demands, I don’t care if you are mortal enemies, lovers, locked in a custody battle, contenders for the light-heavyweight crown, married, operating an auto parts store together, or father and daughter. I’m both easy with and indifferent to your workings, writerly and otherwise.
Here are some historical materials that the Senator plans to use.
What he’d like you to do is write them up as you plan to write things up, just so he can see how you do things.
These are very short snippety things, just so he can see.You understand.
So please write...