Edgar Allen Poe Struggles with Some Ideas on Early Drafts

Murders in the Rue Limace

Needs a new title, for sure. Slug Street doesn't contain even a semblance of the menace needed for this yarn. Buy French/English dictionary. It will come. More sherry. I wonder if Otis down the street is lacing my 8-balls with baby powder. Cocaine should not feel this good on my ass. To work. To work. D├ętective Guy Chalmers is new on the force. He has left his career as a miniature nature painter, as the constant stress on his back from leaning over to reach his miniature easel has stricken him with an excruciating case of osteoarthritis. He must walk on special stilts to compensate for years of working too close to the ground, (I think this stylistic conceit may be something called "litotes," but I also thought that it might be wise to tie my underpants into a serape and moonlight as a Mariachi--something frowned upon by the stuffed shirts at West Point--so who knows?) an affliction that causes him to flinch every time he espies tuna tartare. Chalmers hears of a case where a woman has been bludgeoned and stuffed into a chimney (explore the idea of Santa Claus also stuffed on top of the lady already stuffed in the chimney). All of the doors to the apartment have been left open, thus thrusting the entire population of Paris into suspicion. Chalmers begins an exhaustive search, alphabetically, of all the residents of Paris and by the time he gets to the "Gs," it becomes clear that this method is taking to long, as most of the city's initial suspects have either died or are on vacation in Marbella. Tension mounts as the victims remain stuffed in the chimney and the neighbors begin to complain of the stench. Pressed for time, Chalmers begins to suspect my neighbor Otis. No. No. Detach yourself from the narrative, Poe. More sherry. Damnit! Whodunit? Maybe a horse. Call me paranoid, but I still think it was Otis, that rube. Can a Frankenstein be the culprit? And what was Shelley's broad thinking coming up with a Jewish monster? What does it do--your taxes? More sherry.

The Thing with Marie Roget

Story opens with me and Marie Roget in the shower. There is a fair amount of nudity and a heavy petting session Lord Byron would blush at. Let's do it in Paris again. Baltimore is a yawn. We go at it some more until we get hot and jump into the Seine. Marie begins to float around like a large-breasted buoy, while I yell at passers-by in an unintelligible argot. Wait, no. I think I was just doing that out my window. And where is Marie Roget? That whore. This absinthe is really a kicker--one wonders how I ever got any work done without a steady diet of this little green fairy (and of course, the tried and true ritual of sitting atop a large pheasant while composing prose; for poetry, a wren). I guess we'll just kill her off. Maybe she just keeps floating in the Seine until some sanitation workers confuse her bloated corpse for a manatee and she winds up in the Paris zoo. "Behold the Grand Manatee!" reads the sign. It should read that in French. Again, must buy French/English dictionary. After a naval officer is found dead--an apparent suicide--a delusional Spanish man and his portly companion travel the land, confusing hermeneutics and semiology and also winding up in the river. Oh, hell. That's clear as day. Nobody is going to believe that one (perhaps, though, I could change the fat squire into an Ourang-Outang, or some other hirsute creature who should be called something like "Chewbacchus," or something else literary like that.). Does anybody even care anymore? Ok, Marie Roget escapes from the zoo and maneuvers (what is the word for how manatees get around?) her way to a burlesque house. We have some more sex until I realize that my nostrils are located on my knees. Absinthe is awesome. Also, right when everybody is convinced that Marie Roget is just going to spend the rest of the story having sex with me, she does. Ha Ha!--made 'em read! Seriously, though...where in the smash are my nostrils? A job for Guy Chalmers...

The Sirloin Letter

Man I am starving. It's been six weeks since I've had anything to eat but my own toe clippings. That raises something interesting, though. Question: Can you eat yourself ? You'd have to be careful, remembering not to eat your hands until last because how would you feed you to yourself? I know a guy who can touch his tongue to his nose, but I doubt he could eat his nose. Answer: Maybe. Maybe you could eat yourself. I need a grant to do some research. Actually I need a sandwich. Or something. Mmmm, how about seared duck foie gras with caramelized bananas and fries salad. Damnit. Now a decision--shoe polish over pine sap or pine sap over shoe polish? Sooo hungry. Must work. More sherry. More absinthe. More blow. D├ętective Guy Chalmers suspects a man named Master P of stealing a cut of beef from the royal dining room of the Queen. Written on the steak is a crude note scrawled in crushed up croutons that has some damning information about the Queen. Most likely she is a lesbian or suffers from an acute case of Montezuma's revenge picked up while at a conference in Cabo. I, disguised as a prefect, barge into Master Ps office and eat the steak, thus saving the Queen from embarrassment and curbing my appetite until I can find a restaurant that will admit a man wearing his gym socks as mittens. There you go again, Poe. Why don't you just saunter on into " Antony and Cleopatra" for some spiedino di mare? Such an idiot! Perhaps a night of sleep and a solid meal will engender more fecund notions for these tales of mystery. However, I see a dramatic second act where Guy Chalmers, realizing a dream he's had since youth, opens up a shawarma stand on the Left Bank and spends his days massaging lamb entrails and yelling at women. Christ on a bike, what's the problem here--that's my dream.

About the author:

Tyler Stoddard Smith's works of fiction, non-fiction and poetry have been featured or are upcoming in "The Best American Fantasy Writing," Pindeldyboz, The Bullfight Review, Box Car Poetry Review, Identity Theory, Yankee Pot Roast, Word Riot, Twixt, Monkeybicycle and McSweeney's,among others. He also edits a political satire website, www.demockeracy.com.