A Letter to be Read in a Genteel Voice

Murphy Little​

My Dearest Mandy,


It has been nearly a month since I’ve seen your face, and I’ve the most distressing news.

But before I write of this asinine misfortune, I must confess it is your beautiful face I dream of

each night—and it is that beautiful face that keeps me at rest even as the gunfire rips through our

camp. (Goddamn those Auburn devils!) I remember your face as it was when Murphy and I, on

horseback, said goodbye to you and Waco. And I will always remember your face in that

moment, crying and snotty like.

Unfortunately, I must now tell you of evil omens. One of those Auburn bastards piloted a

drone and shot Murphy in the leg! Or at least, that is what I told my Confederates. The truth is, I

was drunk and shot him in the leg. But what was I to do! This Alabama Civil War will make a

man taste the devil’s drink and caress it. And I feared a court marshal… so I might have fibbed. I

fear now we must amputate Murphy’s leg. Typically, modern medicine would remedy such

calamities, but no such panacea exists here. Those Auburn bastards bombed all our hospitals, so

we bombed theirs. (And do not let those bastards tell you otherwise! And be even more

suspicious of any spurious lies that say the bombing started with an Alabama lieutenant—I forgot

to mention I was promoted—accidentally shooting a bazooka into Auburn’s Children’s Hospital.

Spurious lies all!)

This leads me to my most terrible news. I have the cholera and without modern medicine

I am sure to die. I know this must make your face knot up like when I left for Alabama. And all I

can tell you to do is cry. Cry for me. Cry for me, because I did not deserve this fate! Even now as

I compose this mournful letter, I am coughing blood into a kerchief.

And since this is my last letter, I will warn you of some lies that might disparage my

legacy once I have left this terrestrial sphere:

There is no prostitute named Ruby! I would never sully our courtship beneath the silky

sheets of infidelity, no matter how cool those sheets. I have been faithful to you as Moses to the

Israelites, and the only hospitality I have received from another woman is a cool glass of tea. In

fact, I have been so faithful that I have kept other Confederates from reveling in the flesh! Before

he was shot, even Murphy almost succumbed to sin. A hussy named Sandra (Sandra! A whore’s

name if I ever heard one.) had set her lustful eye upon our gentle Murphy, but I said to Murphy,

“Murphy, no! Think of me and Mandy!” And Murphy lowered his head and said, “You’re right.”

Then I told Murphy to return to his post and I would shoo Sandra away. And honest to my word,

I did just that.

It is because of this—I being a scion of fidelity! —that I am so aggrieved by the “Ruby”

lie. I have never met a woman named Ruby, much less known her! It is an egregious lie surely

planted by Auburn’s secret police (A.S.S.) to denigrate my honor. Those A.S.S.’s will use

anything as a weapon: lies, deceptions, avarice, gonorrhea. Do not ask me how I know, because

gentlemen should only speak lightly of such matters, but Sandra had the gonorrhea. I believe

those abominable A.S.S’s paid Sandra, to not only to make us sin against God and women-folk,

but to spread the clapping stink of her hoo-ha amongst us men. All the swelling and burning

(dear God the burning!) that has spread across our ranks, it is like smallpox blankets given to

cold Injuns or a tide of fireants that has bitten your pecker.

Now, I must warn you of a second lie, more heinous than the first! The A.S.S. have surely

planted this deception too, but (unlike the other) this deception has rooted so firmly that

Confederates as south as Fairhope believe it. I have not stolen a cache of Confederate money

from Magnolia Cemetery in Mobile, I have not killed two other men in a Truxican stand-off, and

I am not hiding in Georgia for these crimes! And I declare the Confederacy’s belief of this lie a


I have given the Confederacy all. I have not bathed since arriving here nor had a warm

meal; I have suffered heat, humidity, and mosquitos large as sparrows; I have slept in abandoned

cars and classrooms (whose sanguine splatter I shall never forget); I have been given no

treatment for the cholera; and worst of all, I have not tasted a Krispy Kreme doughnut since

Murphy and I arrived--and for my valor in the face of this deplorable sparsity, I expected the

Confederacy to honor my name. But it has not done so, and I will die a disillusioned man.

As I now choke on my blood and as I write these final words, know that I have always

loved you and that I’m not with Ruby in Georgia.


Your’s Forever and Truly,

Lieutenant Geoffrey Davidson of the Alabama Confederates

Murphy McLeod Little is a writer, preacher, and a peer support specialist who lives in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. His works have appeared in New Reader Magazine, Chaleur Magazine, and Still Point Arts Quarterly.