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Edgar Allan Poe Vs The Baltimore Sanitation Department

September 4th, 1848


This is now the fourth occasion that I have found myself writing in regards to the provision of refuse disposal at my domicile on Amity Street.

As you should be well aware, this detritus should be collected during Thursday mornings, on a weekly basis. However, this seemingly perfunctory event never appears to occur. And when a miracle is granted and these purveyors of trash do attend, there is often as much of the material strewn about my property as contained in the conveyance offered for this purpose. It’s almost as if these rubbish-mongers are purposefully befouling my perimeter.

Now sir, I have tried cajoling you, pleading with you, flattering you and even, God help me, reasoning with you in an ill-fated attempt to improve your performance. I’m afraid my patience has worn rather thin and I feel that my only course of action is to delve into the unsavory.

I hate to threaten Mr Pargeter, but as you know I am a writer of some merit and was recently dubbed the ‘Master of the Macabre’ by a leading periodical. This estimation is not disingenuous, my dear sir. I am extremely macabre. Possibly too macabre, sometimes. I don’t believe you would wish to discover the lengths and depths of my macabre imagination and unleash its contents upon you. But I fear your continued ignorance compels me to do so.

Let me provide a hypothetical. Perhaps a letter were to reach you, unsigned, scripted in ink of the most fiendish crimson. Inside you would find a tale so chilling, so disturbing, so freaking macabre, your nightly sojourns would be forever affected. I feel an example may be necessary to fully make my meaning clear.

Wait! What was that noise? A strange creak behind you? But what of its source?

Surely you’re all alone in your lodgings? And no guest is expected, and the servants have the night off.

Yes, not very nice is it? But look, it only gets worse. Listen! Is that a scritch-scratching at my chamber’s windowpane? Surely you are too paralyzed with terror to countenance and yet you may go simply insane if you do not investigate. What could it be? A spectre? A branch? Surely reading a letter describing such an incident would cloud your nightmares forever.

But our macabre adventure has just begun. I can be way, way more macabre. So macabre, that a fixed grimace of agonizing misery would forever grace your visage.

BATS! Oh yes, weren’t expecting that were you? Nasty little things. Flapping and prying. Disturbing your hair and clothing with their leathery, unnatural wings. How delectably macabre. Especially where I plan to place them, Mr Pargeter. Directly in the centre of your mind. Ghoulish, no?

MORE BATS! THEY’RE IN YOUR HAIR! SQUEAKING! Just picture it, or a tale similar to this, expanded obviously, with even more bats, and perhaps a few moths, to inconvenience you. Your existence would be altered forever. Your hands shaking every time the letterbox was engaged. Is it more tales of horror? What have you done to deserve this?

Of course, all this macabre unpleasantness need never occur. Merely ensure that your sanitation aspect is rendered satisfactorily. All this proposed horror can be stowed safely within me and never be unleashed against you.

But if the situation were to persist: CREAKS! NOISES! BATS!

Think on,

Edgar Allan Poe

P.S. It may be more appropriate if you were to read the more macabre passages from above in a deep, ‘spooky’ voice, if you could be so kind.

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