Reading: Platen Stories
by David Langford
Link o' the Day: The Lost Symbol and Freemasonry
Welcome to Friday! This week's mail comes in the form of a letter with a black border delivered from an New York attorney's office. As happens with a lot of strange mail here, things like postmarks and return addresses are hopelessly smudged. it's like a cheap literary device to keep the writer from having to explain too many awkward details.
Anyway, the letter reads forthwith:
Dear Mr. Earhart-Jones,
We regret to inform you of the passing of Bacchus "Le" Royal, born John Philip Smith, formerly of Topeka, Kansas. Mr. Royal's passing occurred on September 4, 1995. We regret contacting you at such a late date but you are a difficult individual to track down. Fortunately, part of Mr. Royal's estate included a generous fund for detective work in tracking down former members of 5th Company. All the former members of 5th Company have changed their names save you--which explains why you are the last member of 5th Company to be located and presented with these items left to you by the late Mr. Royal. (We were operating under the assumption that you too had changed your name and wasted much time and money searching for your original identity, unaware we had known it all along.)
In any case, we have located you, and now we may, at long last, close the file on Mr. Royal by presenting with you this box of items that the deceased requested be delivered to you upon the event of his death.
Please check this list against the items in the box delivered with this letter:
A soldier's left boot
Half a bible, cut diagonally
A black and white photo of an elderly Samoan woman
A used clay pipe
A map of Iowa
A compass without needle
A single page from a gentleman's novel
A small spyglass
A bottle of cologne (?)
Fifty-four cents made up of 1 quarter, 3 nickels, a dime, and four pennies--all dated 1954.
I am also charged to pass on the following message.
"Rally the troops. Seek our charge on the island. The time has come."
Again, I apologize for the lateness of this note. In the years that have passed since Mr. Royal's death, five former members of 5th Company have since passed on themselves. Two are in prison, and one is currently under hospice care.
Unless the contents of this box do not match this list, please do not contact this office. We are now closing the file on Bacchus "Le" Royal of 5th Company.
William Nerve, Esq.
In addition to this legal letter comes a folded note on rag paper penned with crimson ink that reads:
To Whom It May Concern,
We are awaiting your signal. It seems like we have to tell you this every week. Last week we gave each other haircuts while waiting for your signal. That did not turn out well. This week we're considering tattoos.
Please send us the signal.
As a nod to the latest Dan Brown book, The Lost Symbol
, today's link takes you to a page the Freemasons put together as a response to the book: The Lost Symbol and Freemasonry
. I make reference to it in a book review I wrote for Forces of Geek