In case you don't already know it, the Blenkinsop papers were exchanged between New York and London in the early 1970's, in batches separated from between a week or so and up to six months. There was little attempt to archive or edit for consistency. Not everything got saved, so there are some lacunae in the packets, which were numbered between 1 and 80 or so, with 78a's and 24b's interspersed retroactively. Here follow some selections from the very late ones, just to give one an idea of how it all descended into chaos. These contain some of the best of the material, because the characters had taken on unpredictable lives of their own. I will just introduce them 'in medias res' because I really couldn't explain how events got to this stage without presenting the whole opus. The earlier packets were more on the lines of set-up, scenarios, and World-Forming, with vast amounts of dry documentation.-- Grobius (Feb 1998)
[Besides, no one is forcing you to read this.]
[NOTE: There is a very obscure reference to an actual event, and you will have to read Shortling's Banana Book Anti-violence Shield article to understand the public, as opposed to the Blenkinsop, context. In fact, unless you check out that site first, this will make no sense whatsoever! (take shorcut)]
AN INTERESTING SERIES OF MEMOS AND LETTERSHowever, I scanned in a map of the island of Noo Borneo (very crude scan) as a sample of the sort of thing that would have developed in the future: 'NooBorneo' (or here for a large-scale version).
1. (Nov. 6) Memo from Wen to Fred Fagg[Fred Fagg had come to Earth when ----- "Noname" Fagg disappeared (see Halloween newsletter Item #51)]
New development: We now discount Fosgood's having anything to do with the death. Following up the hint that Leon's wife had "left him for Eugene Ore," I investigated Borgesborg's private life in his role as George Leon Fitzgerald and came to the conclusion that someone (Eugene Ore is obviously a pseudonym, as I could find no entry for him in the telephone book) had laid a murder trap in order to destroy poor B. and run away with his wife. I have had the wife taken care of for security reasons, as well as to avenge B.'s death; we're sending his daughter to the academy in Mt Lesbos.
2. (Nov. 9) Note Discovered in Borgesborg's Desk
Just received news [see Item #58] that Ssespitt has been killed on Blenkinsop. The fools! Though I wanted to help old Boselli retain his province [see Item #53], Fagg was perfectly right in forbidding it. You never can tell what will come of meddling with history, even when it hasn't happened yet. Well, now I know: Fred Fagg Jr has swiftly and silently vanished away and a complete stranger is in his place. He calls himself Fred Fagg Jr, but I know he is an impostor--in fact, he must be Fosgood, damn him. I have lost too much face. I am going to go and commit suicide by setting fire to my mattress. I just can't cope. Consider this my farewell.
3. (Nov. 9) Recording[secretly recorded by Dahlila Pansy, agent for Bordello Mallowfat] of Conversation between Fagg and Wen and Third Party
F: You're fired!
W: But how was I to to know there was a suicide note? I did my duty and... [gunshot]
F: The idiot! OK, Eugene, you can come out now. I liked the way you handled this whole thing. We need people like you in Mallowfat and Fagg.
ORE: Aw shucks.
F: I'm curious. It's obvious you forged that suicide note--everybody knows I'm Fred Fagg and always have been. But how on earth did you manage to kill that Borgesborg moron?
ORE: Gee, boss. When Erica told me her old man was a double agent for Fosgood I just got so goddam mad I went and tried to bash in his door but it wouldn't give and he kept saying "na-na-na-na-na," so I pulled out my peashooter and blew a lighted butt right through them louvre things onto the bed...and wowee it went right up like a virgin when you pinch her in the ass.
F: Are you going to marry that Erica broad now?
ORE: Shit no. She's a good lay but not much else. Besides, that bullet of Wen's took her left tit clean off.
ORE: I kid you not. And I don't dig chicks with only one tit.
4. (Nov. 11) Starcable from Fagg in New York to Bordello M. on Blenkinsop
Mission accomplished. Double agent Borgesborg will never talk now about the Mt Pricanus business. Regrettable about Ssespitt but I guess this kills two birds with one stone--he won't be raising hell about that Noo Bali affair and he won't ever get around to subverting B&S. I'm still very leery though about the changing history even if it hasn't happened yet shtick. I could swear I never had six fingers on my left hand a few days ago, but everybody here says I always have. Let's hope this is the end of the matter.
I recommend promoting this fellow Eugene Ore to head position in the New York office. He doesn't know much about the business yet, but shows great promise. I can stay here and help him out until he is fully trained. But I would like to get back to Lum's Tato for Xmas.
My congratulations to Dr. O'Meinstein for his handling of the Noo Bali incident. Reassure him that his secret is now perfectly safe.
5. (Nov. 20) Summary of Psychiatrist's Report on Fagg's Condition
...complete and irreversible schizophrenia. He has fewer and fewer lucid periods as Fred Fagg and more and more as Eugene Ore; the transformation of personalities is almost complete. However, I recommend, Mr Mallowfat, leaving him in his position as head of the New York office. Eugene Ore seems to be a very competent administrator and an accomplished Machiavellian; he might even be of more use to the company in his present identity and personality than he was as Fred Fagg. And I have noticed that as the Ore-personality has absorbed the Fagg-personality the former has shown a marked increase in literacy and intelligence....
6. (Nov. 21) Final Note (in Mein Own Hand) by Dr Malley O'Meinstein
Bordello mein freund. My new Crazy Droog vorks, nicht wahr? Ser gut!!! Vill arrife back on Blenkinsoap verra soon, schnell.
[here we go with packet #61]
A Note of Explanation
The following message was received here from the short band of the O'Meinstein instantaneous-communicator-keyed-for-relative-simultaneity (ICKERS), the recently developed interstellar radio that can send a communication beam between Blenkinsop and Earth at a controlled faster-than-light speed that will ensure the proper time-distortion correspondence (AD 1971 -- AC 495) and thus in effect bring about instant teletype contact between "Earth-now" and "Blenkinsop-now" [see Time Warp Paradox in Blenkinsop Facts. Oddly enough, this was the first time this device was ever mentioned, after 60 packets no less -- guess it was needed to explain a few things!]
To CCJ in London:
Please forward this message to Cindy-Marie Mincywaste. It is from her husband, E.M., on Blenkinsop. Cindy-Marie was transferred here several years ago and has not seen her husband [the black, giant mayor of Fellow] for a long time. She told me how much she missed him during our long night shifts at the communicator, and since we became such close friends I feel duty-bound to break the rules and pass on this message I decoded in the wee hours of this morning. Please do not report me or divulge to anyone the contents--our new boss, this creepy weirdo Eugene Ore, will have my tits for breakfast and have me killed, but first torture me to death beforehand. They tell me I'm very pretty and so I think it would be a shame to kill me.MESSAGE STARTS: CINDYBABE, I MISS YOU VERY MOCK. YOU MISS ME TOO I HOPE AND DONT FORGET YOUR LOVIN MOTHA-FUCKER WHO HASNT HAD A GOOD LAY SINCE YOU BEEN SNUCK INTO PODGORNY'S ICKERS TOWER WHILES HE LYIN DEAD STONED WITH CLAM-EYE OVER IN EAR CASTLE. MAN, THERES BAD TROUBLE HERE. BAD BAD TROUBLE. AND I WISHES I WAS FAR FAR AWAY LYIN IN MY BABY'S ARMS AND NOT HERE NOHOW. WOW, THIS GUY BORDELLO GOT EVERYONE BY THE BALLS BUT NO ONE SAYS SO AND WE IS ALL FRAID TO UTTER A WORD. BLOODBATH, HON. THE OLD MAN [Mallowfat Sr], HES GOT CANCER THEY SAY AND NOT SO LONG FOR THIS WORLD, SO THIS KID OF HIS IS SORT OF DISTRIBUTING THINGS FORE THE BODY'S COLD SO TO SPEAK. THEY ALREADY SAY, WHISPER LIKE, HE ALREADY DONE-IN THE NONAME FAGG OF EARTH AND PUT THE CRAZY SPELL ON THIS FRED FAGG THEY SAY'S IN NEW YORK THINKIN HE SOMEONE ELSE, AND THEY'S AIRSHIPS ALL ROUND LUMS TATO SO NO FAGGS CAN GET OUT. THEN THIS GUY SESSPIT WAS DONE AWAY WIT, AND THEN THEM AS DONE IT, AND ALL THEM FOLKS OF THE NOO BALI CAPER IS CORDONED ROUND ABOUT. AND I HERE TELL THEY GOT RID OF ALL THEM GUYS IN THE KNOW ON EARTH (WATCH YOURSELF, HON--ANYBODY TALKS TO YOU AND YOU JUST A DUMB NIGGER WHO DONT KNOW NOTHIN NOHOW--CAUSE IFN YOU DONT YOUR HUSBANDS ONE DEAD NIGGER WHO STEPPED OUT OF LINE). THIS CRAZY SCIENTIST MAN OMEINSTEINS BEEN GOING AROUND WITH B.M. ON A TOUR OF ALL THE M&F JOINTS AND WOW WHAT A LOT OF RAVIN CRAZIES BEEN LEFT IN THE WAKE: LIKE MY OLD BUDDY HEMMINGWEG WHO THINKS HE'S A GREAT SHREW, AND OLD DE GICQUE WHO THINKS HE'S MARK TWAIN AND DONT CARE NO MORE BOUT HIS DUTIES TO NWGT, AND SIR BOSELLI WHOS LOCKED HISSELF IN WITH THAT WITCH OBEAH SISTER OF HIS AND REFUSES TO COME OUT, AND HIS BROTHER IN THE DEFENSE DEPT WHOS RESIGNED AND JOINED UP AS A PRIVATE IN HIS OWN GARRISON. AND ALL THEM GERMANS ARE REALLY FREAKING OUT--GOING TROLL, BARRICADING THEMSELVES IN CASTLES, A FEW EVEN GOING OVER TO THE MEXES! OTHERS LIKE COLLEAGUE PODGORNY SPEND ALL THEIR TIME STONED OR DRUNK OR DOPED UP. MAN YOU'D NEVER BELIEVE THIS PLACE. GOD DAMN I'LL GLAD WHEN ITS ALL OVER AND THE MAN B.M. IS ON TOP AND SECURE SO HELL LET US ALL ALONE BEFORE WE ALL DEAD OR LOCO. ANYWAYS, HOPE I CAN SEE YOU AGAIN SOON BABE. ILL DRINK TO OUR QUICK REUNION OUT OF THIS FINE LICKER THAT NEW EARWIG GUY WITH THE BUCK TEETH GAVE ME. I DOUBT ME HE EVER EVEN HEARD OF THIS MALLOWFAT LET ALONE COULD BE IN CAHOOTS WITH HIM.
Message ends. I have been unable to resume contact with Mincywaste to tell him his wife had been sent to London three months ago. --Dahlila Pansy (Miss)
[here we go with packet #70]
Memo to the London Office (from Carl Carlson Jarlcarlson, NYC)
CCJ: My goodness, events have been happening so quickly that I can't keep up with them. As you will have heard by now, my predecessor, Borogrove Borgesborg, is dead, our headman on Earth, ------ [Noname] Fagg, is missing and presumed dead and Fred Fagg Jr, who came to investigate, has gone mad and assumed the new identity and personality of one Eugene Ore--chef d'affaires of all Earthside operations. There has been a purge among all our agents--in London, too, I gather--with many dead, many reassigned, and I, a mere typesetter in the communications center, put in charge of the New York agency. You will remember me from the Pentad celebration picnic in Greenland in 1970, when all M&F Earthside reps got together to pay homage to our then new now retired boss Fashionette Mallowfat; I am, of course, Wenceslas Emery Fosgood Jabberwock. (In view of the recent revelations about Luke Fuzzle--as I knew him--I must here reveal that he is actually my second cousin, but Ore screened me carefully and has determined my absolute loyalty to M&F enterprises, which is doubly insured by the fact that my wife and children are hostages serving in the catering staff on Xing-to and my balls are temporarily in a glass jar in Ore's safe; I don't complain, for what's good for M&F is good for me-- a motto we would all do well to adopt.)
Introductions past, let me sum up what has happened and try to dispel a few confusions.
(1) The Bordello-O'Meinstein plot has been exposed, with the following results:
(a) Mallowfat I, whose cancer was a clever ruse, is now in complete control again;
(b) several startling events have taken place in New York (see above, and previous information packets--I am curious to know what happened in the London office, especially with regard to Sisslesford, who was sent to Swettipore because of the Land of the Free fiasco and who subsequently disappeared, being reported to have been eaten by cannibals, restored for a time to his London position, joined the Bordello rebellion--in fact, he is on the list of outlaws--, or retired to Tristan da Cunha; nobody here seems to know which is true, not even Ore);
(c) A large number of loyal employees and potentates have been affected to a greater or lesser degree by the Omenstone Crazy Drug, some incurably, some not so badly; this might explain some of the discrepancies we have noted of late in our reports from and about Blenkinsop;
(d) The Ssespitt Secession report of A.C. 502 has been proved to be a hoax perpetrated by, of all people, Borgesborg under secret instructions from Bordello Mallowfat; it was intended to provide an excuse for getting rid of Ssespitt, but turned out to be unnecessary because of the assassination (and the fact he really was involved in a plot); a serious communications lag is blamed for the plot's being allowed to go ahead, and is probably resposible for Borgesborg's death, for he was killed to keep his mouth shut about this as well as the O'Meinstein secrets he was privy to; we hope that the newly installed ICKERS system will improve communications with Blenkinsop and prevent this sort of thing in the future;
(e) Time travel, thank God, is definitely impossible except under the conditions discussed in the Misconceptions fact sheet--that is, Blenkinsop 495 A.C. corresponds to Earth 1971 A.D. with fluctuations caused by cosmic warps, etc. amounting to no more that a week or two either way; incorruptible spaceship computers, which not even O'Meinstein, who invented them, can alter, are programmed to make whatever FTL adjustments are necessary to insure this; don't think shady characters haven't tried to meddle! But even when they succeed it doesn't work--Abervolt's theory is that God likes things this way and won't have it changed (He is Lord of the Universe, but not that smart, and can't keep track)--besides, the facts about Blenkinsop are confusing enough as it is without the added Time Paradox factor; therefore, the B.S.C. has decreed that under the rules of Blenkinsopian Fiction 1971 = 495, so there;
(f) it is not yet fully determined which Blenkinsop citizens conspired in or were victims of the Bordello plot; this matter will be straightened out in a couple of weeks when the Who's Who directory comes up for revision in London, at which time a complete and up-to-date catalogue of all people and places, plus chronology, will be compiled on index cards;
[The astute reader will have gathered from this that Grobius was about to go on vacation to England, meet with Celius, and do this ambitious project. This excerpt from the Blenkinsop packets actually conveys that it was a correspondence, not a novel. The vacation happened, but needless to say the COMPENDIUM never got done.]
(g) Bordello Mallowfat is not a woman; that rumor is complete and utter nonsense; maybe you are confusing him with his cousin Bordella, who is a housewife in Des Plaines, Illinois (she does TV ads for New Blue Cheer).
(2) We do indeed have the remaining Fossa-Beth Regina Hagscript tablets here in our Bowery office; they are being transcribed now as you requested and will be forwarded when complete. Ore has passed on the interesting information contained in Tablets 6 & 7; Bucktooth Normal could only be one of two people: you-know-who and Bobby Kenneday, our Minister of Dwarf Relations in Wetwang Driffield. The latter is due to send his annual report to us in a few days; I shall forward it to you when I receive it.
(3) On the basis of a private communication from E.M. Mincywaste to his wife (who dutifully showed it to us--no action will be taken in this matter, you will be glad to hear) in which Gorny Podgorny's addiction was revealed, and because of the failure of his plan to dispose of the Land of the Free, which showed a lack of sound judgment, Podgorny has been relieved of his position as head of the Don Valley Utopian Zone; his future in M&F will depend on our investigation of his possible complicity in the Bordello plot. Mallowfat I, in one of his first decisions after regaining control, announced that he and his son Sebastion intend to go ahead with plans to ram legislation through the B.S.C. Senate abolishing serfdom in all areas under direct control of that body--which should be no problem in the densely settled and sophisticated Liverpool & Tidy area where only a few diehard old squires still have serfs; it will be slightly more difficult in outlying areas of the Blenkinsop continent that are more conservative; no sweat in Queen Victoria Land, which is practically run by peasants anyway; but very hazardous in places like Wall, Noo Borneo, and New Eire, where dukes, barons, emirs, and absentee landlords abound--but these will not be affected because they are not under direct B.S.C. rule. What will be done is to offer to annex Land of the Free as a direct-rule, but self-governing province of B.S.C. Mrs Redan has agreed in principle; however, she insists that B.S.C. go to war with the Convention and annex it too. This is improper and UNCONVENTIONAL. Sebastian is trying to work something out.
(4) Hutt and Wetwang have been completely restored, and improved upon. As you mentioned, Schirrelshire (ex-Fosgood Manor) has been rebuilt, but the principle agents, Admiral B. and S. MacCacacgh, are not around to see the results: the former is quite mad from the Omenstone Crazy Drug and the latter has fled under interdict for plotting with Bordello--he has been Unconventionalized under the 1st Amend. E.M. Mincywaste, who now thinks he is white but has otherwise recovered from his dose of OCD, is now head of the Don Valley Utopian Zone as well as mayor of Fellow; he has refused to sell Earwig to Mr Goodman on the grounds that he has bad taste in whiskeys and is therefore untrustworthy. Mallowfat I regards this attitude as an aftereffect of OCD and has therefore overruled Mincywaste on this point and handed over the deeds to Goodman.
(5) Minor News Items: (a) The Mallowfat-Mevitrevelly Development is now open to the public of Blenkinsop; houses are available; real-estate information available on request. (b) Turnips have been grown successfully in experimental greenhouses on Snail Island; M&F plans to rent the island from B.S.C. and grow turnips for all the North Shore. "This will revolutionize the diets of these nortern savages," says Alastair Tusk, horticulturalist in charge of the project. (c) Fufufubran-hualp has succeeded in recovering a large part of the treasure of the sunken galleon (I forget its name too, but it doesn't matter, since he says Magnesium Clams have eaten up the nameplates anyway); he is to get 25%, the rest going to the Conventional Navy. (d) Jeremy Mallowfat was reprieved from hanging on condition he join the Swettipore Foreign Legion's Jungle Brigade; relative of Hutt victims protested to no avail. (e) Antipode has been opened up by B.S.C. for settlement by anybody who doesn't like the government; this way they hope to get rid of troublemakers without use of force. There will be no rules there or any supervision, the only condition being that anybody who relocates there must stay forever. (f) Duc de Gicque has turned his empire over to his wife Sheryl de Gawrle in order to devote his life full time as a linesman on the Vive la Q. riverboat.
All's well that ends.... Apart from a few more packets of fill-in-the-blanks stuff and some afterthoughts (and additional descriptions of outlying islands and provinces), this was the end of the Blenkinsop Chronicles. I think the killer was when we said, "Should we sit down and organize and index all this stuff?" The answer? "Naaah..."
"KNAPP COMMISSION: I am pleased that some sort of investigation is a reality. The point is, how real it it? It appears to be more of an appeasement action for the general public's benefit, as usual, more than an honest, sweeping house-cleaning."Since 1964, Mr. FitzGerald had worked double shifts on Friday and Sundays as an admitting clerk at Roosevelt Hospital, across 58th Street from his living-room windows. He was dead on arrival there yesterday.
9 Firemen Felled
It was the latter door that firemen finally smashed to enter from the
hall after nine of their number suffered smoke inhalation and exhaustion
trying to force open the steel door. They were treated at Roosevelt
Residents of the tenement said they did not know Mr. FitzGerald well and considered him "different" from themselves. Most have at least two locks on their doors.
The almost total destruction of the apartment--including the charred crib and its mattress--could not obscure the hours of work and thought that had gone into its remodelling and decoration.
Plaster had been removed from kitchen and living room to expose the brick and dramatize a small fireplace. A round dining table and ladder-back chairs with cane-type seats were in the kitchen and a walnut-finished spice cabinet, fully stocked, was still in place.
Framed travel posters were from Lufthansa Airlines, where Mrs. FitzGerald has worked in reservations and sales for the last three years. Mr. FitzGerald, described as modishly long-haired but a "fairly conservative dresser," frequented O'Neals' Baloon, a restaurant and bar on Columbus Avenue across from Lincoln Center.
It was there that he met John Papakostas, manager of the Empire Hotel coffee shop in the same building, who was reopening the hotel's vacant Motor Bar restaurant and took him on a bartender.
Mr. Papakostas knew nothing about the FitzGeralds' Oregon relatives or other details of their lives and neither Roosevelt Hospital nor Lufthansa would discuss the matter.
"He was doing the wrong thing, trying to fix a place in that slum," Mr. Papakostas said. "He should spend a little more and get in a good address. But if it wasn't him, it would be somebody else. That's the city."
It was the latter door that firemen finally smashed to enter from the
hall after nine of their number suffered smoke inhalation and exhaustion
trying to force open the steel door. They were treated at Roosevelt
The article was preserved in the Banana Book, but the original Packet (#57) and further explanations (#57a) have been lost or misplaced, so I'm not sure where Wen comes into it, or why he inadvertently shot Mrs Fitzgerald's left breast off. One cannot depend on memory of such things after 25 years without the documentation. --G.S. Return