FLASH FICTION: To whomever it may concern in regards to Mr. Jefferson Clement Walker,
To whomever it may concern in regards to Mr. Jefferson Clement Walker, He keeps a dog-eared copy of Dorian Gray on his shelf by his desk. He tells people it's the same one he's had since high school, but that's just another of his lies. Like the abuse, the affairs, the Hollywood stories, hell, even his own name. The only true thing that he's said the whole time I've known him was that when he set foot in Los Angeles for the first time ten years ago, he knew that he'd never go 'home' again.
Los Angeles is a place to be born again, to change your life, and redefine your history. All he bothered to change was his name. The man lived here as he lived there. Except that now he would tell bigger stories, unprovable due to distance and, frankly, he delivered it all with such panache that there was rarely a person who doubted his twisty turny stories. Besides, isn't it better to know the guy who beat up six guys before being jumped by the carnies at the Tulahuset State Fair? Isn't it better to know the guy who fucked the girl who went on to be the star of the show your girlfriend makes you watch every Wednesday night?
No, Los Angeles allowed him to be who he always wanted to be. The tortured, tormented, zit covered, tiny-dicked jerkoff he was back home was erased in favor of a 'rough and tumble smartass know-it-all of arcane acerbity', as he often would refer to himself. And we all fell for it hook line and sinker. When an old friend told us he fucked him out of a thousand dollars, we figure, maybe that friend is just a bit sketchy. When word came back that he may have tried to fuck your girlfriend, it must've been the other way around. Pulling him off of some random stranger after a night of drinking becomes just a funny story. Taking phone calls at all hours as he 'plans his next move,' be it career or stickup related, was just part of his charm. Begging for a couple hundred to pay off 'the guys' he's been playing poker with for four nights is just the price of friendship.
Until one's usefulness has been worn out.
Then, there's no place colder than his empty stare. No theft, be it literal or figurative, is out of the question, and every minute in his company makes you into a walking, talking, breathing target for his rage, self-loathing, and, most of all, his fickle sense of humor. For years, we'd watch him alienate those around him one by one. I'd say 'those that he loved', but, a man like that, he was incapable of love. He was incapable of anything other than the selfish thoughts and instinctual moment to moment chemical explosions in his brain pan. Each of us laughed as he turned his razor tongue on another innocent soul, knowing somewhere in our minds that we may be next.
But I never thought he could do what you good people think he did. I know for a fact that he could never have done what the people on the news and in the paper and in the court room all said he'd done. But, when you stop and think about it, sure, he probably stole the forty grand, why not? It was only money to him. And, then, well sure, he could've been freaked out, grabbed a gun (hell, he was the kind of guy who casually told you about the 9mm stashed behind a bottle of Cutty Sark that he used to get out aggression by shooting the rats and cats and bats and whatever other rhyming four letter furred creatures entered his back yard), and sure, maybe in the heat of the moment, a shot got squeezed off, and that shot went through the throat of the guy who was running the card game. That shit happens, and I could see how it could go wrong.
But the little girl. No. Even him, he couldn't do it, not the way they say he did.
I've known him since he moved here. I ain't saying I know him any better than anybody else, and, in fact, I doubt any of us even know him at all. I've seen him do awful things, but, truth be told, every once in a while, I've seen him do something halfway decent.
I wish I could be there today to speak on his behalf, but, the last time we talked he told me he wanted me dead, and he'd do it his-own-damnself if he ever set his eyes on me again. I like to think it was probably just him talking tough, but, I figured best not chance it.
Some people have trouble doing the right thing. I wrote this letter, in spite of all that went on, because I like to think I ain't one of them.
Allen Gilbert Douglas California State Penitentiary
P.S. For what it's worth, I might not of done what he said I done, but I surely deserved to be sent here. -- Joshua Hale Fialkov Los Angeles, CA 3-9-09