Chitterer Extraordinaire

originally published February 1, 2008
in “Letters from Heck” at


I was walking the pugs when I found a note next to the corpse of a squashed squirrel. It was in the road next to a sidewalk in my neighborhood. This is what the note read:


To Whom It May Concern,

I have no remorse. I have lived a long life full of joy.

I was Chitterer Extraordinaire in the Signal Core back in The War. I was only in the Signal Core because I was too young for Infantry.

Once, back in the early nineties, I shat on Mr. T’s limo from my perch on a tree branch. If you have to ask why, then remember he once had a Saturday morning cartoon. I saw it through a living room window a couple of times. And then I waited two years for my chance.

I have taken great joy in planting acorns and poplar seeds in flowerbeds and clogged rain gutters. I have pissed on the handles of every mailbox door for twenty blocks in every direction. I have tormented all the cooped-up cats and dogs and birds in all the houses through windows and screens. If you’re local to this neighborhood, odds are I’ve watched you masturbate. And made sketches of it for that comic book thing I’ve been doing. It sells really well in Boise for some reason.

I played clarinet for an amateur Klezmer band that threatened several times to turn pro. Once I climbed up Anna Nicole Smith’s skirt while she was passed out drunk on the patio of a local restaurant — but then who hasn’t?

Once, at an outdoor music festival in Midtown, I danced onstage with Lenny Kravitz. My first wife was maimed by a schnauzer at that show, but you have to take the good with the bad.

When I was young and athletic I was a state champion at that game where you drag a paperclip or some other piece of metal scrap up a utility pole to drop on the terminal of those garbage-can-sized transformers to blow them up. I can’t hear very well anymore, and I’ve logged more air-time than the average Delta pilot, but in terms of making entire flocks of pigeons and migrating blackbirds and crows drop bomber-loads on bicyclists and pedestrians, I was truly world-class. Now I coach a little-league team. We’ve only had four fatalities this season, and that’s good.

I’ve killed four mockingbirds with my bare hands. If you know mockingbirds, you know that’s an accomplishment.

I’ve never gone a day without eating or having a warm place to sleep. Also, I have more than 3,700 grandchildren and great-grandchildren. And I never have to buy them presents or feed them at holiday gatherings.

This is why I am dead now: I have achieved all I have ever set out to achieve. I cannot think of anything more that I need to do.

There is a legend that the one who has achieved everything will be the one to stop a UPS truck with a sheer balls-out frontal assault. The fact that I am lying here right now, inert, proves that I am not the one of which the legends speak.

I must have missed something, somewhere, then. But if I did, I have no idea what. Since I have no idea what I could have achieved that I did not, I am perfectly happy.

But the UPS truck? I made it swerve. That’s good enough for me.


I kept the note as a source of personal inspiration. If, in the course of eventualities, the turn comes for my existence to end, this is how I want to go. I want to at least make the truck swerve.

And I let the pugs eat the squirrel.



February 4, 2011 · by xalieri · Posted in fiction  


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