copyright 2001, by
Dr. Hannibal Lecter, Clarice Starling, Jack Crawford and Paul Krendler were created by Thomas
Harris. He is used herein without permission, but in the spirit
of admiration and respect. No infringement of copyright is intended, and
no profit, of any kind, is made by the creator, maintainer or contributors to
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I'm sure you are all aware that with
the incredible upsurge of interest in HANNIBAL, much more scholarly
effort has gone into the unearthing of Mr. Harris's early writing.
Through an extremely circuitous route, I have learned that Harris
actually set the groundwork for his later brilliant vision as early as
grade school. The following document was recovered from the estate
of a certain Ms. Adora Fillposy, Harris's fifth grade teacher. Ms.
Fillposy recognized Harris's precocious talent immediately, and luckily
for our purposes, saved some of his nascent work. She hid it away
in a safe deposit box, and when she died last month from certain
mysterious complications following surgery, her remaining estate was put
in the care of the Matagorda, Mississippi branch of Cox & Company
Bank. In my ceaseless effort to bring to light new material (and
due to which I am now forced to use only my nom de plume) I have this
remarkable piece in my possession at last, and have copied it down here
for you. I think you will be as amazed as I was at the ten-year-old
writer's grasp of literary allusion and his preternaturally
sophisticated vocabulary. The following is, in fact, young Tom Harris's
version of a well known fairy tale, although for reasons best known to
himself, the mature author refuses to acknowledge the work as his own.
April 1, 2001
Addendum: For her kindness and
confidence in my ability to pursue "The Fillposy Project" (as
it is being dubbed for grant-writing purposes) I dedicate this research
effort to Miss Hannah.
WOLF IN THE FOLD
Once upon a time, in
the far off land called Chesapeake Bay, there was a great big forest.
On the very edge of the forest was a little house, and a young girl
lived there with her Uncle Jack. Her name was Clarice, but she had
lovely auburn hair with golden highlights and she always wore a favorite
red warm-up jersey that her Daddy Who Was Dead Now had given her, so
people called her Little Red Riding Hood behind her back and made jokes
even though the boys all still thought she was really cute.
One day, Uncle Jack got
a call from Uncle Paul, who lived on the other edge of the forest in his
big farmhouse near the water. Uncle Paul was very sick, and asked if
Little Clarice could come visit him and bring a basket of goodies.
Chafing a bit at always being ordered around like some messenger girl by
her uncles, and being really creeped out by the notion of visiting Uncle
"Smirkyface", as she thought of him privately, Clarice
nevertheless put on a brave smile and told Uncle Jack that of course she
would go. With her she took a large basket of many nice things,
including some old case files, an X-ray, a box of tartuffe bianci, a tin
of pate du foie gras and a nice bottle of Montrachet-Batard with the
vintage keyed to Uncle Paul's birth year.
It was late afternoon
by the time she started, and the forest was very quiet. Too quiet.
Clarice felt as though two eyes were boring holes into her back, but she
shrugged it off to rampant paranoia.
"I've just been
cooped up in that dusty old house with Uncle Jack for too long!"
she decided. "What I need is a good, long SKIP! Uncle Pauly can
La La laleelooo---"
And with that she set the basket down and skipped merrily along the
trail to a big sunny meadow full of pretty yellow flowers.
The forest fell quiet
again, though off in the distance Clarice's merry peals of laughter
could still be heard. Slowly, deliberately, a dark figure rose up from
among the oleander. It was the Big Bad Yet Strangely Appealing Wolf! His
small, sleek head rotated around like a periscope but his body stayed
where it was. Weird, huh? Even weirder, though, were his EYES, which
could be either scary maroon or a piercing, cerulean blue, depending on
his mood and to whom you spoke. Anyway, the Wolf's eyes narrowed as he
spied little Clarice hopping and skipping down below in the meadow. He
sniffed the air --"Hmmmmn....freshly washed cotton.... Bactine,
L'air du Temps....TRUFFLES???" and he pounced on the basket nestled
in the leaves by his incredibly large, furry, perfectly formed paws.
Sticking his wet nose in the basket, he inhaled deeply and sighed.
"AHHHHHH." With exquisite economy of precise movement, from
between his small, pointed teeth uncurled his very long, red, pointed
tongue. His eyes rolled back in his head as his tongue wrapped three
times around the handle of the basket. A high, thin, piercing,
whimpering sound escaped his lips and his back leg thumped in near
"HEY! What're you
doing to my basket, you mangy old wolf???"
Caught 'in flagrante de
lingua', so to speak, The Wolf jerked up and his tongue snapped back
into his mouth with the force of a roller blind.
"AH! Ood effehn--ahem.
Excuse me. Good evening....You would be……Clariiiice, I take it? I
just happened to be strolling by here and saw this great big basket all
by its lonesome, and I...was just ...trying to find out to whom it
it??" said Clarice, who was nobody's fool for long.
"Yes. Well. The
olfactory sense, you see, when combined with er--that of taste, rather,
they are both quite powerful memory enhancers...and I was...erm,
attempting to identify the owner THAT way, you see..."
The Wolf quickly
recovered himself, smoothed his fur back into place and smiled winningly
at Clarice. The way he looked at her made Clarice feel strange really
far down in her stomach.
"Oh. Well. That
makes sense. I guess. You being a Wolf and all……"
now, and where would a lovely brave little thing like you be going all
by yourself with this big heavy basket?"
"To Uncle Pauly's
house. He's sick."
"Ah yes. Dear
Uncle Pauly. SAY. I haven't seen ol' PAUL in simply AGES. Why don't we
walk there together? I could carry the basket for you, and we could pass
the time in conversation--you tell me things, I tell you things, rather
a quid pr-"
"Yeah, yeah I got
it. Ok Wolfy, you got yourself a deal. Just don't go slobbering over any
of the food in there--it's imported, capiche?"
mio agnellino. After you."
And so they walked on
through the forest. It was unfortunately rather a one-sided
conversation, since The Wolf had to carry the basket in his mouth. But
little Clarice was delighted to have found a friend, someone who really
seemed to understand her thoroughly--
"And THEN when I
was TEN, my Dear Daddy the Town Marshall tried to stop this big holdup,
see?? And he went off half cocked and got blowed away and left me and
Mama and all my brothers and my little sister who I seem to have
completely lost track of and for some unknown reason Mama couldn't keep
us all together even though this was West Virginia, let's face it, and
if she had really given a good goddamn she coulda; ever neighbor within
30 mile was a cousin or brother or uncle or something--I mean it's not
like we was eating all that much and I were a good shot even as a little
bitty thing and coulda brung in more'n my share a squirrel and possum
all by myself and--"
The Wolf sighed heavily
and adjusted the weight of the basket to a bit farther back on his
molars. He let the vapid monologue wash over him as he escaped into his
"Things To Do" Palace, filled with visions of chasing rabbits,
rolling luxuriously in something dead, and taking a large bite out of
Clarice's very active little throat.
things……" he reminded himself, and sniggered rather evilly.
As it grew dark,
Clarice began to tire and she allowed that a short break might be in
order. Remembering one lesson at least from her ill-fated days as a Girl
Scout, Clarice built a small fire. As they sat and warmed themselves,
Clarice stared deep into the flames and the Wolf asked her many, many
questions. She found herself disclosing more and more about the
constricted, lonely, loathsome, thoroughly depressing and pathetic life
she led; how she had been manipulated and abused by the very men who
should have taken care of her best. At long last she fell quiet and The
Wolf pondered what he had heard. He cocked his head to one side,
scratched his ear thoughtfully, and was amazed to feel something
fundamental shift in his wolfish heart.
He in his turn quietly
began to tell her of the world. He spoke of art and music and Dante and
Nietzsche and chaos theory, of places he had seen and the battles he had
fought and what exactly the trick WAS to making "really good"
Riz de Veau Grenobloise. His rusty yet soothing, rumbly, lilting voice
enveloped her like the slightly damp Pendelton throw that you put on the
backseat so the dogs won't get it muddy, and Clarice listened with rapt
attention. She would have done so all night and begged him to continue,
but finally The Wolf coughed modestly and said that for now, it was
enough. They enjoyed a companionable silence and then Clarice seemed to
gather together some new resolve.
"To HELL with
giving all this keen stuff to Uncle Paul. He doesn't deserve ANY of it!
You like wine?"
She cracked open the
bottle defiantly, and after passing it back and forth a few times, well,
it seemed only right and natural to polish off the truffles and the
pate, and to burn all the case files and the X-ray too.
And as she fed him one
perfect, still-weeping strawberry from the basket and gently patted his
muzzle dry with her handkerchief, little Clarice found that she began to
love The Wolf for the dangers he had pass'd, and he loved her that she
did pity them.
At long last they
continued on to the final leg of their journey.
They came to Uncle
Paul's house and an agreement at roughly the same time.
"You convince him
to open the door, Clarice. I'll take care of the rest."
"You got it,
Clarice knocked on the
door and trained her voice to a tentative quaver. "Uncle Pauly??"
The heavy door swung
open and Uncle Paul was there, dressed only in a dirty white terrycloth
robe. He leered down at her with bloodshot eyes and scratched himself.
"Bout time, you
little snot. Takes you 9 hours to get across a friggin' forest? I could
be dying here."
"What a lovely
notion." At that the Wolf leapt out from the shadows and with one
great bite removed most of Paul's face. With the next chomp he tore out
Paul's still beating heart and offered it to the girl.
"No babe, you go
ahead. I'll have some later. I'm feeling……creative."
Clarice jumped in with
a will and the crossbow Paul just happened to keep in his study, and
they soon had a lovely new showpiece displayed above the mantle.
dear? I do believe the next one should be a bit lower down and farther
to the left."
Clarice took careful
aim and pressed the crossbow's trigger.
was all it needed. Saint Sebastian to a 't'. Something in the angle of
that bolt in his right thigh brings Botticini's interpretation
delightfully to mind."
The Wolf turned from
the dripping red horror that had lately been Uncle Paul and admired his
own handiwork; the rabid huntress he had unleashed. He saw her panting
and quivering and smiling at him all bloody there with her killer grin
and the crossbow still clenched in her delicate little fist, and his
breath caught in his throat like a shattered chicken bone. He felt a
momentary frisson of…… what was it? Uncertainty? And he thought that
maybe, just maybe he'd really put his paw in the trap this time. Even
so, all he could manage to say to her was, "My GOD, you are
They gazed into each
other's eyes. Clarice realized that her life up to this point had been
nothing more than a fairy tale, and she saw The Wolf as if for the very
first time. What large furry strong yet sensuous paws he had. What
unusually small for a Wolf yet perfectly razor sharp teeth he had. What
strangely compelling eyes he had--were they blue or maroon? She couldn't
"Did you know that
you never blink? I mean ever," Clarice whispered.
"What? And miss
one nano-second of the sight of you?" The Wolf growled seductively.
Clarice felt stirrings
and longings she'd never felt before. For no apparent reason she
remembered that her eighteenth birthday was only three weeks away. As
the last wisps and tendrils of her old life floated away, she saw big
bay windows aligning like mad. She heard a single guitar string snap,
and the claxon horn in her head blasted a long loud 'Aaoooogah".
This was better than anything. Better than Almond Roca. Better than
Christmas. Better even than riding a pony.
she said tentatively, "maybe we should go upstairs and……ummm……wash
up a bit? There's a really BIG bathtub……and nice soap."
The Wolf, for his part,
thought of many things as well and he grinned his acquiescence.
"My dear," he
mused as he padded gracefully up the stairs beside her. "Have you
ever heard the story of Leda and the Swan?"
copyright 2001, by
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