Yesterday I came in and found a fat suspicious-looking Fedex package waiting for me not on my desk with other mail but propped alone on my chair. Normally with potentially harmful mail, I leave it unopened and dispose of it safely in the trash can in the advertising department
But the mailing label on this one stopped me dead in my tracks. It said: "Origin ID: RBDA (214) 670-3738, Wylie H. Dallas, 1500 Marilla St., Room L4 D North, Dallas, TX 75201, United States US."
Wylie H! Curses!
I had no choice but to examine it. You know who Wylie H. is. He is my Moriarty, my nemesis, my worthy opponent. You may recall that I recently offered a reward of $100,000, which I said I had no intention of actually paying, to the first person who provides me with the true identity of the frequent blog commenter and obvious City Hall insider who goes by the nom de clavier, Wylie H.
Inside the package I found a pristine copy of my own book, The Accommodation, published in 1986, along with a note written in words clipped from newspapers that said, "Jim, Hope you enjoy this book! Wylie H."
Inside the book was a yellow sticky note saying, "Property of Mr. Paul S. Besson," dated 5-18-87.
Also inside was a handwritten memo from Vicky Bowles, my literary agent's publicist back then, to someone named Janet, dated March 16, 1987, and a two-page press release about the book. I have reproduced all of these things below for your own sleuthing.
According to Amazon, copies of this book are now worth $60 to $260, which, frankly, I do not believe. I think what the Amazon listing really means is that there are half a dozen people out there somewhere in America who think copies of the book are worth $60 to $260, who probably also have rare New Coke cans they think are worth $1,000 apiece. But there you have it.
The only Paul S. Besson I can Google up is a member of the Illinois Labor Relations Panel who seems to have no history of having lived in Dallas. The phone number given for the sender on the Fedex label is the number for the city secretary.
The room address at City Hall is a little wrong. City Hall labels itself differently, so nothing is actually called "Room L4 D North," but there is a Room 4D North which houses the offices of the city's chief financial officer, Jeanne Chipperfield. Apparently at some point in the past it was the address for the city's Office of Fair Housing.
Some commenters have suggested that I am both Wylie H. and myself, but that I don't know it. And to that extent I agree. If it were true, I assume I would be the last to know.
My own theory on the weird Fedex package is that it points the needle even more accusingly toward one of my own favorite suspects, Robert Wilonsky at The Dallas Morning News, because Wilonksy is a known habitue of the kinds of establishments that might offer for sale musky copies of old instant rare books with people's old moldy stuff inside. Of course, if I'm right, I will owe myself $100,000, which I will not pay myself no matter how mad it makes me.
But I may be overlooking something obvious. If any of this offers any of you a better clue, please let me know. I know this much: Wylie H. will not go free forever. He will be apprehended. It's only a matter of time.