Richard Saller: Yes, I’m responding to your demands, just let me finish writing this novel

Humor by Sachin Singh
Nov. 5, 2023, 10:12 p.m.

Editor’s Note: This article is purely satirical and fictitious. All attributions in this article are not genuine, and this story should be read in the context of pure entertainment only.

Dear Stanford Community,

It has come to my attention that some students are currently conducting a sit-in at White Plaza, with a list of demands concerning University communications and affiliations. These requests have been heard by the University, and I wish to reassure the community that I will personally release a response to these demands, addressing each request individually and with careful attention, as soon as I finish writing my crime thriller novel.

What novel, President Saller? Golly, I’m glad you asked! It’s a post-noir, alternative-pulp, heart-in-mouth genre-beater tentatively titled “You!” Set in 1973, the plot follows Rick Hazard, a hardboiled private eye with one finger on the trigger of a .45 ACP and another on the pulse of America. Rick’s a grunt, although he still feels like a flyboy, dropping beachside bombs somewhere over the Mekong Delta near Saigon. The war took a toll on Rick — his best friend is Jack Daniels, and that’s no living man — but he’s found work in the offices of J.D. Pippitt, working as a street liar and pistol for hire. Now, J.D. didn’t fight in the war, so Rick resents him a little — what ex-flyboy wouldn’t envy that coiffed hair and weightless smile? And Rick’s no slouch himself, I mean, he had his fans back in Vietnam, but Rick’s a clean-cut guy, keeps his eyes on the eight ball, no getting stuck wherein you can’t get out. But they get along fine, you know, almost brotherly, is how folks would describe them, all brotherly and chummy-like.

Anyhow, Rick and J.D. are on the streets when they get a call from Horatio Henriquez, a Mexican guy who went to law school with J.D. and now runs his own practice downtown. Horatio seems upset, and J.D. knows Horatio doesn’t get upset often, so they rush over to his apartment on 53rd and Eighth and find him on his knees, totally broken down. He’s crying and saying something about cigarette butts, muttering about smoking with some girl, but before Rick gets anything else, he puts a pistol to his head and blows his brains out, totally wipe-od out. I mean, Rick can handle that stuff, but J.D. loses it, you know, he gets sick and faints. And then Rick notices cigarette burns on Horatio’s Oxford, in a strange sort of pattern, like Morse, or something approaching Morse. Rick knows Morse, obviously, it was standard practice to train pilots to communicate visually in case they were behind enemy lines. But Rick was too good a pilot to worry about that stuff.

So anyway, Rick wakes up J.D. with some pine smelling salts, and J.D. begins rambling about how this is too much for him, and then Rick’s pissed, because he’s a stonehearted guy, willing to cut off the arm to save the body, you know, a fighter. They’re about to fight, but then J.D. starts to tell Rick about Horatio’s girlfriend from law school, this Cuban woman named Esperalda de la Pinta, a real seductress, but also a hell of a sharp girl, who used to smoke constantly, you know, half-pack per conversation types. Esperalda used to tell Horatio about her father’s friend, Simon de Santo, a drug kingpin in Havana, and word was that Simon and Horatio used to meet in Havana in the sixties, with Esperalda acting as a facilitator, and J.D. knew about Esperalda’s ties to Simon, who was chummy with Castro himself. J.D.’s never told Rick this before, because that’s a red-hot Commie paper trail if I’ve ever seen one, and Esperalda and Simon basically had Horatio’s balls in their fist, and no one knew why. But then Rick looks down and sees some Cuban cigars by the ashtray, still smoking, and as he looks closer, one of them is dripping in blood. Aaaaaaand that’s how the introduction starts. Boo-yah!

Now, where was I? Right, the sit-in statement. I promise I will get to it in just a moment. All I ask is that you, the Stanford community, have faith in me, just like Rick had in J.D., until later in the story, anyway, when there’s a fall-out between them over what kind of curry goes best with steamed rice. J.D. thinks it’s coconut chicken, but Rick thinks he knows better, of course, because he picked up some cooking techniques in ‘Nam …


Richard Saller


Sachin Singh is the Vol. 265 Managing Editor for Humor. He is from Santa Clara, CA and Bangalore, India, and enjoys reading and going outside.

Login or create an account