We are unable to continue our biography of Mike Feder this week as our writer was compelled to take a little sick leave. However, we do have his most recent letter…
21-11-03… the Trans-Alpine Flyer, somewhere south of Lake Lucerne….
My Dear Charles,
Dawn finds me on the express train across the Alps, en route to Gstaad where I have made a reservation at the inn. As you know, the Fussenhoffer clinic is located just the other side of the Zoological Park and I intend not only to take the waters but also to consult Professor G. (who, as you know, treated me once before for melancholia and post-nasal drip after the denouement of the Arabian affair.)
And perhaps, though it may be no more than an idle wish, Countess D’ might be staying at the Inn; for, as you know, it is again time for the swine-trundling festival and that is where we first met.
Though we have nothing but the briefest intercourse during the last decade we have been apprised of each other’s affairs through the agency of mutual friends. D’ is finally divorced from the odious Count and a great deal of her estate and fortune has been returned to her. However, as you may remember, she has never found herself comfortable in her native land-Bulgarian winters being too cruel for her delicate constitution.
She has been traveling in Asia these past two years, indulging in her taste for young-but stay-I shall say no more. I never judged her for what the world was pleased to call her “bizarre” sexual tastes and I shall not do so now-even to name them.
Suffice it to say that she has returned to her old continental haunts, and I, romantic fool that I am, imagine that she has returned to Gstaad, if only to bask in the heated embers of the memory of our overweaning passion.
On the other hand, she may not be there, and, in that case, I have no doubt that Frau F. will be just as accommodating in providing willing young-well, I won’t go on-you know what the world has been pleased to call my “bizarre” sexual tastes. And I will just take this opportunity to resuscitate your unfailingly loyal and generous defense of me, both in print in The Feder Files-and in the closed court hearings-after Interpol issued that warrant for my arrest. It was more than kind of you and Roderigo to stand by me in my time of need.
I’m sure you know that the publicity attached to those vicious charges-especially the six, almost completely false counts of necrophilia-was what ultimately destroyed my marriage and caused the inevitable slide into my current disordered state. Bonnie Sue and I have agreed to a divorce and we will each share custody of little Butch who, by the way, has now begun to speak (and we have been assured that nine is not outside the normal age-range for some children to begin to speak, especially albinos).
But no more of that… Allow me tell you about my trip thus far…
…The last flight of the Concorde-and I can tell you without fear of contraction, there was not a dry eye at thirty thousand feet-set me down in somewhere in Paris. But, as you no doubt are aware, I have too many unpleasant, I would even venture to say, crepuscular associations with the City of Light and so I merely took a cab straight to the station and secured a first class on the midnight train to Monaco. There I rented a charming little suite of apartments atop Le Banque Mayonaisse-no more than stone’s throw from Le Grand Casino.
I wild away two glorious afternoons on the beach and spent two stupendous nights at the casino; losing-Plus ca change, plus de fromage!-at roulette. But the amount was trifling-a mere bagatelle-and I am pleased to say that my luck at Baccarat never deserted me. By midnight I was able to pile up a towering stack of 50 franc plaques before I became bored and retired…(By the way, I have purchased a money order for $26.00 American and have expressed it off to you. By my, admittedly amateur, accounting, that leaves only a debt of $186,273, and I hope to have amount before I return).
Later, walking on the beach, full of champagne and bathed in the numinous silver glow of the new moon, I met a charming young person who invited me to her room just behind Madame Heloise’s pissoire and boulangerie (the young lady in question is the assistant sommelier there).
I won’t go into details; I know that you and Roderigo are really prudes-you’ll permit me a smidgeon of familiarity here-but you can rest assured that when dawn came, the mademoiselle was loaf to let me go my way-begging me for one more grand bouffant-if you will.
But our strenuous night had left me strangely depleted and had thrown up memories that I thought had been buried a long time ago… memories of Madame D’.
…I sat above the roof garden of my rooms, watching the first rays of the late morning sun cascading off the towering battlements of the Royal Palace, just athwart the palazzo. I was awash in thoughts of Madame D’-her long, thin Rubenesque body tossed languidly across the silk brocade of her chifferobe; her bright red, razor-cut hair spiking the damask cushions… I had to wrench myself from these ruminations however, as I had to pack… I finished the last of the cherry marmalade en croute and dressed for the noon train to Berne.
…In Berne I had only a one-hour wait for my next train so I decided to see a bit of the city. All around me, under a leaden sky, the turgid crowd circumambulated beside me. And once again, as I walked those pale, gray-cobbled streets and observed the Swiss in their typically lachrymous frigidity, I was reminded once again that although ostensibly a neutral country, Switzerland often found herself sitting on the fence politically, if not actually refusing to take sides! Such contradictions often plagued me and to shake off the blackness I stopped in sidewalk abattoir for a cup of bullion. After several minutes I saw, sitting in a dim corner of the bistro, Lord F. of all people! He engaged in an intense conversation with some dark, simian-looking central European type. Thank God he didn’t see me, for I know he has never forgotten the Affair of the Discount Drapes and I dreaded having to confront him-my skill with the epee being decidedly rusty. I threw down the rest of bulliobase and hurried out.
…The train to Gstaad pulled out, of course, exactly on time-God bless the Swiss; and I spent the next several hours-in fact, right up this very minute-composing this brief missile to you and reading the Swiss papers. (As usual the press was in a fine frenzy, debating the conversion of the Swiss Franc to the Yen. Don’t they see it’s inevitable? There was the usual passionate plea by the leader of the opposition party but his argument was no better than their cheese-full of holes).
I will break off now. The train has slowed down to negotiate the curve on the descent from Mount Blanc and I can just see, in the distance, the tumid spires of Gstaad Cathedral.
Charles, you were right to insist that I take some time off.
I am feeling rested and I do so look forward to sitting in front of the cozy fire at the inn, a mug of ice-cold Schtunckenschpieler in one hand and a hot brust in the other… Also I haven’t seen Professor G. in several years. His prescription of cold baths and grapefruit enemas has worked but not as successfully as I would have wished and I want to- Hello! What’s this?! There is a man entering the car who seems famial- It’s.. My God! It’s Moriarty! But this can’t be! I left him bleeding his life out on the floor of the Borgo pass. I must-
*** We’re sorry to report that the communication ends there and we have not heard from our writer in several days. Messages left on the answering machine in his Upper West studio have not been returned. However he was sighted, briefly, last Friday, buying chicken gizzards and V-8 juice at Gristede’s on Broadway. We have called his therapist, Dr. Mischkin, and he has phoned a new prescription in to Duane Reade. When we hear, you’ll hear…
Mike Feder (New York City – December 2, 2003)