My dear Mr. Vanderwoude,
Thank you for your recent gift. Now once again as the holidays approach we ask you to remember the plight of the Bosnian and Serbian orphans. For many of these children there will be no Christmas — no presents, no toys, and worst of all no parents to love and protect them. We thank you for your past generosity and hope you will not forget these little ones as you enjoy the comfort and affluence of your safe, warm home during this joyous season.
P.S. Please accept the enclosed paper Christmas wreath, hand-constructed by seven-year-old burn victim Susie, and hang it on your tree. I trust you’ll think of the orphans whenever you look at it.
Dear Mr. Vanderwoude,
If this letter happens to cross yours in the mail, please forgive me; I know the post office is slow and unreliable during the Christmas rush. I’m sure you received my last letter and that your generous gift is already on its way to help the homeless orphans of war-torn Bosnia-Herzegovina. But just in case our letter — or even yours, God forbid — might have gone astray, I’m sending this reminder to thank you for what you have already done and to ask if you can find it in your heart to do just a little bit more this Christmas.
P.S. The attached miniature pinecone, painted holiday green and dipped in glitter, was brought back from the former war zone in the tattered coat pocket of a little boy we call Buster. Enjoy.
Dear Mr. Vanderwoude,
I’ll admit I’m puzzled. Surely you must have received my previous letters asking you to add just a little holiday cheer to the lives of our orphaned Bosnian and Serbian boys and girls. And surely you cannot be unmoved by their tragic plight — after all, you made a significant contribution to our cause only a few months ago. Perhaps you yourself have faced unfortunate circumstances recently — a long illness, the loss of a job, or even the loss of a loved one. If so, I offer you my deepest, most heartfelt sympathy, and I look forward to hearing from you in the near future when things are going better for you.
But if you are not facing hard times, Mr. Vanderwoude, if what you suffer from is merely a hard heart…God help you, Mr. Vanderwoude.
P.S. The enclosed sketch of the dove of peace was done by little Amalric, a paraplegic war orphan who has learned to draw by holding a piece of charcoal between his teeth. I hope it fills you with the generous spirit of Christmas.
As I write this, the orphans are weeping. I had to tell them that there would be no toys this Christmas, that they might not even have a roof over their heads come December 25th. “Why?” they cried. “Because a man named Richard Vanderwoude has apparently decided that your unimaginable pain doesn’t matter,” I said. “Because he has put his own selfish whims and desires above your basic needs. Because he thinks you are not worth saving.” At that point I had to restrain one of the children, Tedescu, from leaping through a plate-glass window.
How can I be so sure of your lack of charity? You see, Mr. Vanderwoude, I did a little checking around. I found that you are not sick, that none of your friends or loved ones have died recently, and that you have not only not been fired but have received a substantial raise and promotion in the past few months.
I am not enclosing a postpaid return envelope with this letter because if you do decide to melt your icy heart and send a donation (which I doubt), I think it appropriate that you should pick up the tab.
P.S. The enclosed finger painting portrait of you (you’re the one with the fangs) is by Lisel, an eight-year-old deaf-mute. The bright object underneath you is either a holiday candle or the flames of Hell. Of course, we can’t ask Lisel, can we?
If you think you can escape the consequences of your evil actions (or rather, inactions) you are wrong. You will pay. I will see to it personally. And I’ll have lots of help. You forget, Mr. Vanderwoude, that these are Bosnian and Serbian orphans. They have been handling firearms and explosives since they were two. They are really pissed off at the world and don’t know who to blame, but you make a very plausible target. We know where you live.
P.S. The fiery red composition I’ve attached to this letter is the joint effort of Tommy and Tony, identical twins who have sworn a sacred blood oath (that’s their blood on the paper) not to rest until they have taken vengeance upon you. The artwork depicts your head as it would look after a losing encounter with a fragmentation grenade — a picture I hope to see someday in real life.
O Ricky boy,
You’ve really done it now, mister. I heard the cops coming up the stairs and managed to hide in an air vent while they ransacked my office. After they left I took the few weapons they had missed, stuffed my remaining files into a briefcase, and then torched the place.
So now you know there are no orphans — Bosnian, Serbian, or Martian. But that doesn’t let you off the hook, Rick. Not by a long shot. If there had been any orphans, they would have been just as hungry and hopeless as my letters made out, and you’d be just as guilty. Oh no, Vanderwoude, you aren’t out of the woods yet. Because no matter where you go or how much police protection they give your worthless ass, I’ll find you, I’ll hunt you down like a dog and show you ethnic cleansing like you’ve never seen before.
If I were you I’d start drinking gallon jugs of double espresso right now and make plans to never, ever go to sleep again. Better install rearview mirrors on your glasses, too. Wherever you are, I’ll be right behind you.
P.S. Enclosed is an artist’s rendering of the place I’d most like to visit on this earth: your grave.