An Open Letter To The Scoundrels Who Kidnapped My Secretary
From the desk of Tucker W. S. Huntley, Esq. DDS
To Whom It May Concern,
I expect you’ll be surprised to receive this letter, having staged a scene clearly intended to cover your tracks. As you well know, I arrived at my office this morning to find a letter on my desk, from a “Dorothy,” tendering resignation from her position as my secretary, a role she has filled with honor and dignity for an impressive amount of time, probably. In this letter, “Dorothy” presumably enumerates reasons for leaving that have something to do with family, or whatever, and endearingly expresses regret for the situation that must bring our fruitful and amicable working relationship to an end. I would not know, as I stopped reading past the offensive misspelling of my name, the hastily scrawled couple of sentences ending with the more-carved-than-written “I QUIT,” the crudely drawn middle finger, and the signature. Whatever tear-stained eloquence that must certainly be on the back is not worth reading, as the credibility of this note ends with your gross incompetence in failing to correctly determine that my secretary’s name is Suzanne.
Furthermore, the idea that Suzanne would resign for cause is ludicrous at best. The efforts I personally have made in service of easing her time with the company include asking her to give herself a raise if she had the authority, sending her a note to warn her that the building was on fire after I’d asked her to go back to the office to turn off my warmer plate, and granting an entire afternoon off for the death of her husband. And he didn’t even work here. The worst I have ever asked of Suzanne is to hold my CPAP during my naps for several months when the strap was broken and she had so much trouble finding me a velvet replacement (velveteen irritates that little space under my earlobes). And locking her in the supply closet over Labor Day weekend, twice, though to be fair I’ve never seen any reason to even go in there at all myself and always suspected she was simply hiding so I wouldn’t ask her to replace all of the stale staples, as I always do on Friday afternoon. And I suppose I also recall that she was upset when I asked her to return in the middle of her husband’s funeral, but leaving the phone’s ringer on to annoy me in her absence is scarcely my fault. Also, he didn’t even work here.
As another clear signal of your idiocy bordering on the absurd, you’ve neglected to leave me any way of contacting you to discuss the terms of this kidnapping. So herein please find my assessment of the situation and my proposal. I also enclose with this text notes intended for Suzanne, the first immediately below, which I expect even lawless swindlers will have the integrity to share with her and to refrain from reading yourselves.
Suzanne, trust that you will be rescued and that the rogues who have done wrong to you will be brought to justice. I know who these monsters are, I know what they want, and there are no bounds to what I and the company will do to ensure your safe return. Until then, it is imperative that you hold your company knowledge close. And don’t worry, I’m not really even that angry that you failed to call for your replacement this morning. I have handled it. Myself.
I do not know who you are or what you want, but I can assure you there are limits to what will be sacrificed in exchange for Suzanne’s safe return. You’ve made a tragic mistake in estimating her usefulness to me and to my organization. Suzanne is a “Kelly Girl” in the language of the day, and while she has been working with us for perhaps many years or something, she is neither entrusted with secrets of the business, nor especially useful. She certainly does not, as your bogus note indicates, “practically run this place” and I assure you that I will not “be sorry.”
At this point it does not really make logical sense for me to conclude that you have Suzanne, or that she is in fact alive. All I know is that she is not here and that someone has embarrassed themselves with a pathetic attempt to fool me. In light of this I must suggest that you provide proof of life in the form of a photograph. Of course, I will also require proof of recency, in service of which I might recommend that Suzanne be seen holding a newspaper in the photograph. It occurs to me that producing this sort of evidence conventionally involves an instant camera — if the movies are to be trusted, and why wouldn’t they be — and that the reason for this is that kidnappers can’t be waiting around to get film developed! Similarly, the abductee is often posed upon — no, attached to! — a commode, and surely there must be a good reason for that, too. Toward the purpose of a good sturdy bond, and the bonus function of gagging the target, I might recommend duct tape. I must say, I’m starting to see how having a hand in the way a criminal endeavor unfolds is somewhat exhilarating! Please forward to me a photo of Suzanne, duct taped to a toilet and holding a newspaper. Make sure her thumb isn’t covering the date. On the newspaper. That is something she would do. In the event that you are not local to this area and do not know where to find a newspaper, or duct tape, or a toilet, let me know your location and I may be able to direct you to these things. The Polaroid is a taller order, for which you may want to consider seeking an online resource.
Suzanne, when you get a moment please contact the agency and discuss the requirements for a replacement. The fellow they sent when I called this morning after receiving this fake note is an absolute moron and a very slow typist who has also just talked back to me, something about not having to take abuse, which I can’t be bothered to listen to during a crisis and I honestly have no idea who this abuser is he’s talking about. Perhaps prepare a complete description of everything you do and have it couriered along with the photo of you duct taped to a toilet. Do not block the newspaper’s date with your thumb. That is something you would do.
Returning to the question of what it is you want, I wish to make a few important points. New paragraph. First, as mentioned above, you’ve gravely miscalculated the value of your hostage. That being said, I am coming to value her typing skills, not to mention her ability to quote hear between the lines unquote as I am fond of calling it. Not to be rude my dear but exactly how much Roquefort was in the lutefisk casserole you had for breakfast this morning. I’m going to have to ask you to go. It’s my fault for not specifying my preferences with regard to choking to death from a noxious cloud in my own office. Have the agency call me. I’m going to lunch. Seriously, get out. Stop tySecond, as it occurs to me this abduction may be some form of punishment against me I wish to remind my aggressors that I am merely an accused arsonist and that the building in question was not even the correct one. Finally, I urge you to consider the precarious legal circumstances you’ve brought upon yourselves, assuming a court would find that Suzanne didn’t somehow have it coming, a question I cannot personally speak to given I love her like a reasonably agreeable distant relative of some kind or another.
Barring any deterrence brought on by the above, we are left to assume that you expect some sort of ransom, in which case, if I may make a suggestion: are you open to simply keeping Suzanne? If not (I would understand) I have been authorized to authorize payment in the sum of one hundred eighty-five (185) USD for Suzanne’s release. Technically, the authorization is for a pre-owned dictation machine (the good kind), but wordsmithing for budget is kind of my thing. Assuming this is an adequate proposal, I would like to suggest once again a conventional trade for such a situation, in which the funds are made available to you, and Suzanne is deposited, rolled up in a filthy carpet remnant, on the side of a railroad bridge. I am admittedly quite taken by the almost cinematic romance of this whole scenario and imagine Suzanne will be grateful for her freedom despite any number of what I think we can agree are, in relative terms, rather mild discomforts.
Suzanne, I know you’re occupied at the moment but I need you to prepare a payment of $185. I’d have you just cut a check but I think they’re probably going to want cash, small bills even. The department will reimburse you probably. Keep in mind your bank closes at 5.
In closing, while I have not pulled punches here and fully expect my impolite manner to be taken as a mere suggestion of the force with which I and my company will fight and litigate either to the death or to the conclusion that comes most quickly and with least consternation, resulting in minimal upset to daily operations—particularly my own, which as you can see have been upset to personal limits already—I do admire a risk taker. You appear to be deeply unintelligent risk takers; nonetheless you have (temporarily!) bested me by absconding with my presumably occasionally valued assistant and I am therefore dutifully tipping my hat. I look forward to something approximating a peaceful resolution and urge you, in the meantime, to please do Suzanne the dignity of calling her by her correct name.
Tucker W. S. Huntley, Esq. DDS
Dictated, not read