Posted by Dr. Amrit Chadwallah
Editor's Note: The following words were found scribbled on a legal pad in a Ghost Detainee Center, apparently in Pakistan, judging from the postage stamps, and sent to me in a cardboard box along with a photo (shown here) of the Author Function and his personal effects, including the red rain coat.
I stand broken before you, clutching my baggy pants with no belt, and I testify in a hollow voice. As agreed, I read the Full and Frank Confession that I have signed.
My real name, your Honor, is Master P.B. C****, Esquire, as can be verified by the Registrar of Balliol College, Oxford, OX 1, 3BJ. Since April of 2002, I have willingly and knowingly allowed myself to be used as the Author Function for Wealth Bondage. I am not now, nor have I ever been, The Happy Tutor, Dick Minim, Candidia Cruikshanks, Dr. Chadwallah, or Dick Minim, though I write to their dictation.
I was raised in Middlebury, Vermont, where my father taught College English. As a faculty brat, I was under the illusion that everyone loved literature, and that the world was a tribe of English Teachers. Others grew up wanting to be a professional baseball player, or a rich man. I wanted only to be a College English Teacher.
Growing up, I heard paeans to the Liberal Arts before I could lisp The Pledge of Allegiance, or the Lords Prayer. The Liberal Arts were our Religion. (My mother was Irish Catholic, and I was confirmed Catholic; only in the last few years have come to realize that my sensibility is Catholic still.)
I was educated at The Loomis School, then in English at Williams College, then in Philosophy and Psychology at Balliol College, Oxford, and then for six years in the PhD program at Yale in English Language and Literature. After a year teaching College English, while struggling with a dissertation on what it is to do justice to a work of art, I found myself teaching insurance sales to rookie agents in AL, and then in GA. I have been in a pickup truck with my Trainees down many a dirt road, with my tie blowing in the wind ("redneck air conditioning"), in pursuit of sales everywhere from trailer parks to junkyards to big houses on the hill. I have been places you have not been, and done things you would not do.
Over 21 years, I have risen through the ranks from nothing, to little more than nothing, and have learned in the process how to write business plans, marketing brochures, advertisements, Cost/Benefit Analysis, speeches for my bosses, sales tracks, PR releases, training guides, Employee Evaluations, Last Change Reprimands, Vision Statements, White Papers, Bromides, Tag Lines, and Encomia. I am a Switch: by turns a Master and a Sub. On the Hay Scale, I have eight levels of bosses above me and 8 levels of subordinates below me. Like Horace, I take the Middle Way.
My specialization is philanthropy. I have worked with some of America's wealthiest families, literate and illiterate. I have helped them "crystallize their vision and values" and their "goals and objectives." I know more about the Vanity of Human Wishes than a Parish Priest. And, like the Priest I will take the Sins I hear in Confession to my grave. I have seen despair in a handful of dust, and written it up as a Family Mission Statement.
I am loyal to my employer, Candidia Cruikshanks, and follow and enforce every rule of Corporate Procedure. I observe the dress code, and the written and unwritten rules of taste, tact, and decorum of American Business. On Company Time, I am in Full Compliance and Strive for Excellence, stopping short only of three syllable words, and reference to works requiring an eighth grade education or better. None of these Standards, however, prohibit, or control (as far as I knew) my work as a writer of Fiction, operating on my Own Time, as a Free Citizen, until my recent arrest.
I do not write the pieces posted on Wealth Bondage. I simply
weakened to the point where I could no longer suppress them, at least
not all of them. I fought against it for over 20 years. I have seen
Psychologists. I take the medicine prescribed for me. These postings
are not mine. They are the Voices that I Hear when I get on the
Computer. Nevertheless, I confess to harboring doubts. I do believe
in God; but I am not sure about The Market. I believe in the
English Language. I believe the August Dead walk the earth until they
find a friend to inhabit. The Wisdom of the Dead is transmitted like a
social disease. Bits of Swift through my mentors to me. Bits of Spenser
through my teacher to others in my class who now sell shoes, drive
cabs, sell cosmetics. Writing, whether anyone reads it or not, is the
procreation of the Dead. Words, the old dead words, don't you see, are
their genes? When you learn the words, the dead live. The dead care
about as much for us as genes do, hopping down the generations. As long
as they live, they don't care what happens to you. I am not in my right
mind, and have not been for some time. I have confessed that
already, over and over. I submit to whatever penalty may be imposed.
Colonel, Your Honor, I do not blame you. Whatever you have done, I have done
worse under orders. We are all doing the best we can.
As promised in return for this Confession, my wife and children will be spared. (May God have Mercy upon my Soul: not a word of this is true.)
Editor's Note: Master C****a was found hacked to death in his cell, an apparent suicide. He left no note, other than his testimony before the tribunal quoted above, and is buried in an unmarked grave. Send condolences to me, Dr. Amrit Chadwallah, care of this site. Wealth Bondage is a Corporation and as such enjoys immortal life. With the Author Function dead, we characters now assume a life of our own. Expect no change, except an improvement in the prose style.