| Dearest Mother,
As I am not sure to what far-flung
haven you have removed yourself at this time, I am hoping that a forwarding
order will assist my little missive in gaining your proverbial doorstep.
If I am mistaken, alas, then you shall have to wait for news of me.
Doubtless, your keen ears and well-placed sources have already made you aware
of my current positionrelative to employment, that is. Globally, I
am positioned in the fair city of Denver, which best can be described as
at least having a pulse. It is certainly not Atlanta, and any offhand comparison
to New York or Paris would be laughable at best. Still, it does have cultural,
gastronomic, and apparently sporting pleasures if my compatriots are to be
believed. But, as they say, Aye, theres the rub. After
an exhaustive study of the rare gems of entertainment that can be mined in
this metropolis, and of the characters of my colleagues, I would be reluctant
to rely on their predilections as any indicator of profitable or pleasant
ways to pass my leisure time.
For example, take Mr. Wilmington. The man is never at a loss for a story,
either appropriate or inappropriate. Said story never fails, of course, to
monumentally inflate his enormously bloated reputation as a lawman, rogue,
and lothariothe last in particular. One might think that an overblown
ego such as his would be ripe for the popping by any woman with half an ounce
of sense, but here is the wonder of it: as he seems to be endowed with a
softness of heart to match his softness of head, and a modicum of what I
shudder to refer to as charm, irrational, nay unbelievable as
it seems, women actually do seem to fall for his ridiculous blatheron
a regular basis! And, as there are plenty of flowers in the field, as it
were, Mr. Wilmington feels no need to become unduly attached (either tightly
or loosely, if you take my meaning).
To all of his ridiculous stories (to which, I admit, even I sometimes find
myself attending with some fascination), our young Mr. Dunne listens with
rapt attention. This is no mean feat, as our Mr. Dunne is barely able to
sit still long enough to drink a cup of coffee. Mr. Dunne is our resident
computer genius. Genius is not a term I throw around lightly, so you can
see the measure of his ability. As you can also see, however, he is, I fear,
still hopelessly naïve in many other ways, and although others find
it, shall we say, endearing, I cannot help but feel at times
that it is a dangerous traitif not for himself, then for the rest of
us. Since his chief character traits seem to be that he is earnest and
determined, I must admit that he steadily improves. At least now, he recognizes
that Mr. Wilmingtons random ramblings are not necessarily the Gospel
Speaking of the Gospels, that brings me to Mr. Sanchez. The son of a missionary
and a defrocked priest himself (a story to which I must get more details),
Mr. Sanchez seems to be a man on a spiritual mission, although he seems to
have arrived without a road map. It would seem that Mr. Sanchez and his maker
have come to a rather serious disagreement, but are loathe to part company.
Rather it appears that Mr. Sanchez would prefer to reconcile their differences.
A trained anthropologist, Mr. Sanchez is our team profiler. He is quite learned
in a broad range of the philosophies of the worlds varied cultures.
Like you and I, Mother, he is a student of human nature. Thus, it confounds
me that his belief in the inherent dignity and value of humankind remains
intact and unshaken.
Therein, perhaps lies the basis of Mr. Sanchezs rather unlikely friendship
with Mr. Jackson. Mr. Jackson is a medic by traininga rather clever
piece of foresight on our leaders part, given my teammates amazing
ability to attract trouble and pieces of shrapnel. In the 4 months that I
have been here, Messrs. Tanner and Larabee have had a total of 3 bullets
removed. Mr. Wilmington has had seventeen stitches put in (although none
were job related), and Mr. Dunne sprained his ankle last week.
Mr. Jacksons family hails from the South, but not the privileged South.
His parents, it seems, were Civil Rights workers, which, in the end, took
its tragic toll. I shall not elaborate, as the details are not mine to tell.
Nor would I want to sully your charmingly and anachronistically genteel image
of our fine southern heritage.
Mr. Jackson has, on occasion, expressed a desire to continue formal medical
training, but his attachment to his job, and perhaps his teammates, keeps
him among us, patching up stubborn heads with infinite care, a firm hand,
and no small amount of self-restraint. He has recently begun campaigning
for the idea that we should each have a modicum of medical training in the
event that we should find ourselves in need of attention without benefit
of his guidance or skills. Perish the thoughtboth of being in such
a situation and of having to take said training! Nevertheless, Mr. Larabee
has been making some rumblings that may presage his agreement to this idea.
Ah, Mr. Larabee... How to describe him? If any of my previous mentions from
Atlanta or the news you have gleaned from your own sources have made him
out to be some sort of Cro-Magnon era victim of testosterone poisoning, I
am afraid that this picture is somewhat misleading. The trouble is that I
dont quite know how to describe him in any way that would offer an
accurate picture of his character. Despite your careful ministrations and
my own (without bragging overmuch) well-honed skills in spotting others
motives, I find myself, inexplicably, at a loss. But then, I do so love a
I can tell you this much about the man, so far. He doesnt speak much
and usually only when necessary. He has, however, other communicative talents,
which seem to be quite effective. The most famous of these is the Larabee
Glare. I exaggerate not, Mother, when I tell you that two hardened
arms dealers surrendered yesterday, after he literally stared them
into submission. He spoke not a single word, yet communicated quite clearly
to all present his delighted willingness to inflict excruciating pain upon
their persons should they persist in their armed resistance.
I can assure you that Mr. Larabee is more than capable of said violence and
has a hair-trigger temper to boot. Nevertheless, he is not quite the Neanderthal
that others would have us believe. He is actually a man of some education
and, at times, even sophistication. He owns a ranch, where he lives and keeps
several horses. Having been to his abode, I can say that it is surprisingly
tasteful and comfortable--having apparently been decorated by his wife, the
late Mrs. Larabee. Yes, I did indeed have a hard time imagining Mr. Larabee
in a state of domestic bliss, but I have been told on Mr. Wilmingtons
reliable authority in this matter, that it is indeed true. Unfortunately,
Mr. Larabees wife, young son, and an unborn child perished tragically
in a car bomb a few years ago. Perhaps I understand now the source of his
At any rate, his ranch also houses a burgeoning personal library of a surprising
range of literary genres. He seems to also have wide-ranging tastes in music
and alcohol, if my preliminary surveillance offers a true idea of his tastes.
With Mr. Larabee, however, one can only surmise. What one sees is not often
what one gets.
Since beginning this job I have been asked aloud by the curious (and not
very discreet) what it is exactly that keeps this diverse group of law
enforcement professionals working for a foul-tempered, egoistic, Visigoth
(Those are my words, Mother. Theirs were eminently less printable. Clearly
Mr. Larabee is not one to advertise his good qualities.) In studying the
question, thus far all I can say is that perhaps it has to do with Mr.
Wilmingtons assertion (charmingly accompanied by his usual bad grammar)
that working with Mr. Larabee aint so much a job as an
As one of the newest such addicts, perhaps Mr. Tanner would have insight
into this phenomenon. He is our sharpshooter and a gifted one, at that. Unkempt
and ill mannered, he possesses the gastrointestinal equivalent of an industrial
trash compactorand an infuriatingly cheerful grin. He is a former U.S.
Army Ranger and also a former bounty hunter. No manner of breeding at all.
He is a true loner, yet for some reason, he seems content to tie himself
down with this team. Like our leader, Mr. Tanner is not one to waste words.
Between the two, I doubt that Mr. Tanner and Mr. Larabee say more than 5
unnecessary words in a day (expletives not counting, since Mr. Tanner has
a formidable vocabulary in that regard.) But when the laconic Mr. Tanner
does deign to speak, he has a surprisingly sharp wit, accompanied by the
sharpshooters ability to hit the target dead center every time. He
is also, apparently, an inveterate practical joker. As you have frequently
admonished, it is the quiet ones of which one is well advised to be wary.
Well, that concludes my letter. If I have bored you with my narrative, I
send also my abject apologies. I hope you will be pleased to hear that I
am well and intend to stay that way, despite my teams disturbing
willingness to take on cases that others deem foolhardy. Fear not, though.
I am far more cautious than my colleagues.
I trust that my letter will find you at ease and enjoying the fruits of your
labors or at least the fruits of others labors.