February 15, 1989
To John Hicks
From San Luis Obispo County Jail

Dear John:

I did get your earlier letter.

For the past year, due to the "legal case" I have not read a book, have had no social life, and have simply ignored my personal correspondence. (What an asshole!)

In coming months I will be revealing the details of this attack by Moral Majority whackos. You won't be able to miss seeing it, unless you move to Mars.

Various people are working behind the scenes to get me out of jail, including Clint Eastwood.

Meanwhile, a sequel to "The Short-Timers" (the 2nd volume of a trilogy) called "The Phantom Blooper" is due out in October.  The makers of "Three Men and a Baby" will make it into a movie. James Caan is interested in a detective novel I just sold entitled "A Gypsy Good Time."

In 6 weeks (or less) I'll be living in Paris. As Mark Twain and Ernest Hemingway said, the reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.

Yes, we're related up in there somewhere, cousins, I guess.

I've been to the Strand. I bought some books there which I later stole from libraries "all over the world." Actually, I was disappointed by the bookstores in New York, except for the nice selection of remainders.

I've heard of Frederick Barthelme, but I've mostly read Donald Barthelme.

Your girlfriend is cute. How does she feel about older men? Does she have a sister? I'm 41 now.  I'm so old I can remember when Annette Funicello didn't have any boobs.

Please pass along my love and best wishes to your Mom and Dad, and especially to Jane, the family lawyer.  If she is a kneecapper who likes to destroy people's lives, I've almost always got somebody in New York I want to sue.

Presently I am working on a book which may redeem the family name. It's about Sherman's siege of Atlanta, seen through the eyes of Ambrose Bierce, the only important American writer to serve in The War For Southern Independence. Of course, he was sort of a Yankee. This is "Gone With The Wind" from the Yankee point of view, minus the weepy Valley Girls. But at least it's not political, not obscene, and nobody will try to lynch me for it. What a change of pace.

So life is a minimalist experience in M-I-crooked-letter, crooked-letter, etc?

I came to L.A. to escape small town life. I found drug wars, poverty, Moral Majority fanatics, traffic jams, and people who can lie faster than a spider monkey jacking off.

New Orleans has always been my choice as the most interesting city in the South. Atlanta is too much yuppie-big business. New Orleans has style. You could be a starving writer there. At least you'd always have gumbo.

I apologize for being so tardy in my reply, but...(maybe I could get that made up into a rubber stamp).  I have not "gone Hollywood."  But I sure have been taking incoming from all directions, so I'm hunkered down in my bunker when I'm not running twice as fast to stay in the same place

your pal,

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