Perhaps You Misunderstood the Rules of Our Duel

Dear Sir,

Contrary to what you might think, it is you who comes out of last week's afaire d'onore looking like an incorrigible, lower-class poltroon, not I. I can hardly concede that you "kicked my ass," as our utter sham of a proper duel last Friday evening evinced a number of misconceptions on your part as to the rules of the vaunted Code Duello. In fact, I'm tempted to assert that you have little-to-no experience with these procedures (famously put into practice and observed with fealty among non-mongoloids unlike yourself since 1777). Let's examine just a smattering of the myriad miscues and abominations of civility perpetrated by yourself and your equally barbaric "second" over the course of this farce.

Typically, a duelist will recognize that when a glove has been cast at the foot of another, this signifies that, to use one of your boorish terminologies, "it's totally on." What this does not indicate, as you so eloquently confused in front of everybody standing outside the elevator, is that "[I am] a douche who carries a white glove because [I am] a huge wet pussy." I'll have you know, that glove was passed down to me from my father, who received it from his father, who used to mime along the quais during the Nazi occupation; so yes, I could have done without you tossing that family heirloom down the elevator shaft. I hope you soon come to grips with the fact you are a blight on mankind, which is why you couldn't procure a proper "second" to hash out the details of this embarrassment to both the duel itself and its attendant puntiglios d'onore.

Speaking of seconds, I'd like to bring up another of your gross affronts to honor that leads me to believe somewhere along your single-celled way, you or one of your misinformed, charlatan associates read or heard that it was appropriate behavior for the primary duelist to engage the "second." The Code Duello ensures that private combat be limited to the primary duelists, and the fact that before we even met out back by the shipping dock, you locked my associate (and loyal "second") Joey from IT into a bathroom stall after breaking his nose. As stated in the Code Duello: Rule 21: Seconds are bound to attempt a reconciliation before the meeting takes place, or after sufficient firing or hits, as specified. As a gentleman, I afforded you the opportunity to reconcile this matter through Joey and your second, who, as far as I can tell, was you. Is it that your rudimentary grasp of arithmetic is so abysmal that you fail to comprehend the notion of a "second" as "one more" than a first? Or had you decided that a centuries-old document to which I and every gentleman hold our allegiance had lived out its usefulness and gone obsolete? Shame on you! I can see that you have no scruples--we all know that; what I failed to realize is that you would be so bold as to attend our duel without the slightest inkling of an appropriate weapon. Rule 5: If swords are used, the parties engage until one is well blooded, disabled, or disarmed. What part of "if swords are used" don't you understand? Now, I would characterize my predicament during last week's abortion of a duel as "well-bloodied, disabled and disarmed," but where was your weapon? A duel is not some primitive arena where fists fly willy-nilly and all sense of gentlemanly refinement goes out the window--a duel is to be carried out as a set accord hashed out between the seconds beforehand. Joey tells me he received little more than a caustic e-mail from you (again, your "second" should have been responsible for this) the details of which make me blush to even consider (Also, I'm going to have to ask you to return my sword. I know you took it, because I saw you lumber off with it as I was being lifted onto the stretcher, as you and the rest of your obtuse retinue of account executives headed over to what could have only been Hooters).

As a gentleman, I'll tell you what I'm prepared to do. I'll overlook your blatant disregard for Rule 10: Any insult to a lady under a gentleman's care or protection to be considered as, by one degree, a greater offense than if given to the gentleman personally, and to be regulated accordingly, as your remark that "my wife is a whore," is a.) fairly accurate and b.) since we currently separated, I can hardly refer to her as "under my care." Thus, I'll give you one free pass, you despicable oaf; what I won't do is ignore the vast coterie of malice you seem so intent on throwing my way every time we're in the elevator. Has it occurred to you that the old "pass gas and then blame it on someone else" gag is hackneyed and well-beyond the maturity level of somebody your age? No, I didn't think so. Therefore, let's try this again, shall we, scoundrel? I accept your challenge. That's right: 5:00 out back by shipping. Vengeance is mine. Of course, as stated in Rule 22: Any wound sufficient to agitate the nerves and necessarily make the hand shake, must end the business for that day. As you may have noticed, my hand (and to be quite honest, the rest of my body) has been quaking with shock and disbelief since you embarrassed the institution of dueling last week, so we may have to put this recontre on the back-burner until I have sufficiently recovered.

Hey, rules are rules.

Tyler Smith

About the author:

Tyler Stoddard Smith's works of fiction, non-fiction and poetry have been featured or are upcoming in: The McSweeney's Joke Book of Book Jokes (Vintage), The Best American Fantasy (Prime Books), Esquire, Meridian, Pindeldyboz, The Big Jewel, Ghoti Mag, Yankee Pot Roast, Word Riot, Fresh Yarn, Barrelhouse, Monkeybicycle, and McSweeney's Internet Tendency, among others.