Attorney at Law
Dickel and Partners
Dear Mr. Love:
As instructed by my firm at the request of your publisher, I have just spent the last hour reading and annotating your manuscript, From the Morbid Compost: Two Spring Breaks in Seaside, Oregon. Let me be blunt. I am disgusted.
After bracing myself with scripture (a few Proverbs, such as Ch. 10, verse 2: Treasures of wickedness profit nothing: but righteousness delivereth from death), I now feel ready to comment and render the appropriate legal counsel. Take heed of it, Mr. Love, because this letter is our final business communication. This firm has a distinguished history of assisting reputable publishers in the matter of producing worthwhile, family-oriented books. It has no wish to represent a degenerate such as yourself on this or any future legal matter. I have informed your publisher of this fact.
I am a well-read man, but can claim no status as a literary critic, so I don't feel qualified to comment on the artistic merits of your work. From a moral standpoint, however, it quite honestly repelled me. With all that said, and adding how much I fervently wish I could take a hand in your incarceration or blacklisting, as your attorney, I strongly discourage you from submitting for publication this unseemly confession about your experiences as a young man in Seaside during consecutive spring breaks in the mid-1980s. Frankly your memoir amounts to an admission of multiple criminal acts and a waiver of your Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination. With the shocking details you so amply provide, I am convinced that any garden-variety Clatsop County assistant district attorney has the discretion to prosecute you unmercifully on any number of the felonies you committed in Seaside whose statute of limitations has thankfully not expired.
There are numerous acts of malfeasance, mayhem, and depravity described in your memoir, and from the tone of it, you don't appear the least bit ashamed. Isn't it enough that you had a good time (by your base standards) and got away with it totally unscathed? Do you now have to revisit these experiences, mine their debauchery for material, employ clever phrases, obscure metaphors, deft spins, and phony revisionism to pander a sordid story that has utterly no redeeming spiritual or historical value? You could have taken a constructive approach to this sleazy content and framed a positive message for youth which warned of indulgence and excess. Unfortunately, I guess that wouldn't have been sufficiently entertaining for the cultural elite.
I could harangue for pages but it would be unprofessional and above all, I am a professional, an Elk, an award-winning lawyer who goes down with the client's ship, no matter how diseased and guilty the captain might be. Let me just say, Mr. Love, your ship is going down, straight to hell, and I doubt Jonah's whale will be there to save you. Rest assured though, despite my intense desire to do so, I won't leak your memoir to various law enforcement agencies or colleagues of mine who handle civil cases and bankrupt reprobates like yourself.
Now, to the legal ramifications of your memoir: 13 years, 90 days in jail and $143,000 in fines. Take particular note of these amounts, Mr. Love. They represent, according to the Oregon Revised Statutes, the combined total punishment if all your transgressions in Seaside during the 1985 and 1986 spring breaks were successfully prosecuted and the maximum penalties imposed. These figures do not, however, consider multiple counts of the same offenses, which if all prosecuted, might exponentially increase the time served and fines levied. The total also doesn't take into account at least a dozen violated Seaside city ordinances.
Luckily for you, these crimes were committed prior to the divine passage of Measure 11. If not, we would now be talking about throwing away the key and a lifetime of prison sodomy. Of course, the statute of limitations has run out on all the misdemeanors and many of the felonies. But there are several serious crimes that are still prosecutable and even though the misdemeanors are off the books, your graphic detail of their perpetration establishes an admitted pattern of misbehavior that could be used against you in future litigation, especially with regard to sexual harassment or winning a custody battle in a divorce proceeding. (I hope to God you are unmarried, childless, and sterile.)
Probably the best way to proceed is to annotate all the crimes in the filthy text and provide brief opinions as to why certain passages should be excised or at least substantially revised. What you ultimately do with my advice is of no consequence to me. I will be paid and your soul will fester. Most likely, you will rip my words out of context, use them for a pithy book jacket blurb or clever press release, all in the pathetic attempt to profit and raise your pitiful standing in the literary establishment. So be it.
I'm not sure where to begin. It would seem logical to start with the "sodden and swashbuckling" automobile trips that kicked off the spring breaks. Consuming a fifth of Captain Morgan's Spiced Rum between three or four men en route to Seaside from Portland violates four laws and all common humanity. I didn't find it at all humorous that one of you wore an eye patch and talked in a pirate dialect. It makes no difference to the justice system that, you, the driver, drank fewer shots and insisted that everyone wear a seat belt. It's still Recklessly Endangering Another Person and Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants (two Class A misdemeanors). And it was your new stepfather's new mini-van! I also didn't find it the least bit funny when you described how nine people piled into a 1974 white Nova and sped through the unpaved, potholed alleys of Seaside in some sort of test of the vehicle's suspension system. I used to own a '74 Nova and what you did to this fine car is a travesty.
Attempting to destroy a beautiful family automobile is bad enough, but urinating and simulating fellatio and anilingus on Seaside's Lewis and Clark memorial is indescribable in its obscenity and plunges you even deeper into the inferno. Your lack of personal morality is obvious enough in this memoir but defiling a public monument borders on treason. Is nothing sacred? Your horrific and unpatriotic act violates two laws, Public Indecency and Abuse of Venerated Objects, the former a Class A misdemeanor, the latter a Class C misdemeanor.
All I can say about this desecration is: where were the Seaside Police? This question nagged me throughout your narrative. How could you and your henchmen get away with such brazen illegal conduct? You write that the police were most often engaged breaking up fights and preventing a full scale riot. You also suggest that your cunning and clean-cut appearance caused you to go undetected. I don't believe this. To me, it was simply a matter of coddling by local law enforcement and perhaps too few police resources.
Whatever the reason, I much prefer the way the Oregon governor called up the National Guard in the early 1960s to quell the Seaside riots. It proved that martial law isn't such a bad thing if young people refuse to respect American values. Perhaps truncheons, fixed bayonets, and tear gas would have taught you some manners too.
I should also add that I am sending a personal check for $5,000 to the Seaside Police to pay for additional security during the next spring break, which my family will attend to see Pat Boone perform at the Seaside Convention Center. Speaking of popular music, you write a lot about how the power of rock and roll transported you to a state of nihilism, "breaking on through" as you defined it, and I actually agree with you on this point. It truly is the devil's music.
Something else we both agree on is your profane and candid observation that, "I still can't understand why someone didn't stomp the living shit out of me." Getting thrown out of every Seaside bar and tavern, including one where you interfered with a high stakes shuffleboard game between two bikers, would seem to be a case where a man is asking for a beating. Too bad someone didn't oblige you. And only if it had been that woman who threatened to "kick your ass" after you doused her with beer!
More violations. On several occasions you relate the practice of "dining and dashing" at various Seaside restaurants. This is considered Theft of Services, a Class A misdemeanor. For your information, the contention that it wasn't really stealing if the meal was vomited before receiving the check, is pure nonsense.
Finally, to the bulk of crimes in your memoir: Criminal Mischief in the First Degree, a Class C felony. What would possess you and your fellow hooligans to break off every faucet device in the Shiloh Inn? Hurl shoplifted cocktail glasses against buildings? Brutally tackle senior citizens' lawn gnomes? Trash the cute castles and windmills at the putt-putt golf course? Destroy a half dozen pieces of public property? Or play Gilligan's Island on a retiree's luxury fishing boat and try to shake it off its trailer? (Which also happens to be Criminal Trespass in the Second Degree, a Class C misdemeanor.)
That completes the litany of criminal offenses. But perhaps your most heinous act is not a crime at all as far as I can determine, but it is an affront to even a heathen's definition of decency. In From the Morbid Compost, it receives casual mention, a few sentences, yet the act succinctly sums up your immoral character. Remember this throwaway scene, Mr. Love? Remember when you and your marauding Visigoths, in a collective drunken stupor, surrounded a frightened child in the bumper car arena, ganged up on him like hyenas, repeatedly slammed cars into his vehicle and pummeled him to the point of tears and a possible concussion, all the while shouting, "You are mine! You can run but you can't hide! You will be absorbed!"? I saw A Clockwork Orange, Mr. Love, and it seemed tepid in comparison. All I can really say is... my God.
Although it is not my place to say so, I cannot refrain from disputing what you offer as explanations for your sociopathy. You can't be serious when you blame "breaking on through" because you'd read the Jim Morrison biography No One Here Gets Out Alive and Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas just prior to visiting Seaside. Books don't influence people to extreme behavior.
Another absurdity is the assertion that the Reagan Presidency instilled an explosive hatred in you and your fellow miscreants for the Establishment. It was the 1980s, Mr. Love, not the 1960s. It is also ridiculous for you to suggest that your behavior was a sub-conscious strategy to attract women. What woman is ever attracted to anti-social behavior? By the way, prostitutes were not unduly attracted to Jesus because he was some sort of cultural/political rebel who performed wild dangerous deeds. Stick to the sex, drugs, and rock and roll Sir, and leave the theology to men of faith, not those who believe in Jesus Christ Superstar or The Last Temptation of Christ.
There's not much else to say. To sum up: make significant changes in this manuscript or face certain, imminent legal peril. With this advice, our professional relationship is concluded. By the very fact that you want to publicize your debauchery, I sense you are still the same soiled human that infected Seaside years ago. Write about something decent Mr. Love, something uplifting. Your memoir should be stuffed full of recrimination but it seems downright nostalgic. Pursue some righteousness in print, I beg you. You've already experienced the wickedness. Today, you're the perfect person to show how gently confessing (sans gratuitous, pornographic, and potentially incriminating detail) inappropriate behavior as a youth can lead others to avoid sin.
Do you realize this strategy took George W. Bush all the way to the White House? You could be a role model.
Attorney at Law