THE BUSKERS AND THE RATCLIFS

Attn: Gerald Busker VII
455 Market Street
Energy Resources Building
Beverly Hills, California 90209

Dear Gerald Busker,

I'm writing this letter for a couple reasons. First, to introduce myself and make your acquaintance. But also to inform you of the strange history which connects our lives quite inextricably.

My father had the ability to level a man with kindness when he took the sauce pan off his head. And although his overalls were held together by the same mud and twigs that made Vassar Clements pick up a fiddle and kick his heels together in youthful abandon, I hesitate to describe his speaking voice as very musical at all. In fact, it was a total lack of rhythm, tonality, vocabulary and coordination that endeared him to people like yourself (people from a more refined stratum, I'm guessing). You can probably imagine the conflicted expression on Judge McCoy's face when he ordered my father to cease carrying his favorite shotgun in public. It was an item of interest during an investigation involving several accidental deaths at a family-style restaurant.

However, the Ratclif name is famous for more than just accidental deaths and I'll repeat the history for your benefit, lest it repeat itself. It's a struggle which began in the late 1800's and lasted, though with a declining measure of seriousness, until very recently.

About a hundred years ago, my great grandfather Sebastian Ratclif went out to feed the hog, only to find the poor animal amputated, nailed to a cross and swaddled in a rebel flag. The perpetrator was Yoham Busker... YOUR great grandfather. And he left a note:

"LAST WARNIN -- YOHAM"

The Busker family had been feuding with Sebastian for several months over a simple tangling of words that was later pieced together by my gifted and well-loved father in his usual manner of putting two and two together making nearly four. The Buskers had lost a wether in a freak accident. I don't suppose you know what that means, so I'll just tell you: a wether is a castrated sheep, and quite a handsome status symbol, still, in certain parts of the countryside. Sebastian was a social man and a kindly purveyor of small-talk. He greeted Yoham one exceptionally hot morning after the animal's death and said, while happily tipping his pan, "How 'bout that weather?"

Yoham froze, and my great granddaddy, knowing nothing about a dead wether, continued trimming hedges without a trace of malice or bad blood. Shovels soon went missing and booby-trapped rocking chairs collapsed every few minutes, marking the start of a very dangerous quarrel.

I wouldn't mention any of this had my lot in life been managed more carefully. And I believe we are friends who've never met. Connected through history. Inextricably.

Anyway, after a hundred years of friction, including the untimely deaths of twelve (12) Ratclifs and nine (9) Buskers, we are the last of the last. You and I. The only narrator and torchbearer left with the guts to keep our names. What I'm requesting, therefore, is a small loan. Nothing more than perhaps ten dollars to start with. Or whatever an upstanding and well-to-do Californian like yourself is able to afford. Do be a courteous friend in this regard. After all, my family has suffered dearly at the hands of Buskers, and my debts are extraordinary. We have a responsibility to protect our legacy, and I'm afraid that without some small financial assistance, I may die from a complicated sinus infection that continues to worsen. My father was 28 when he died of old-age. He told me from his deathbed after a moment of Appalachian meditation, "It ain't the age on your frame, but the mileage that slows you down."

I thank you for your time and, hopefully, your generosity.

Sincerely,
Sebastian G. Ratclif VII

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