Aphelion Issue 278, Volume 26
November 2022
Long Fiction and Serials
Short Stories
Flash Fiction
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Dr Hannibal Lector explaining the facts of life to Clarice Starling in a letter

by Jean Jones

Dear Clarice,

Your friend H, here-

I read in the papers here,
with interest
about your current troubles
with the FBI-

I myself, when captured
and publicly shamed
never cared what others
thought about me,
except for the life long
conviction of incarceration,
but you, on the other hand,

always cared about
what your
so called superiors
thought about you-

Let me give you a word of advice-
Marcus Aurelius-

Who was he, you ask?
A thoughtful man
groomed to be Emperor-

He taught me
To rely more on myself
than others,
something which I have
always done,

but his greatest advice
to me, I will share
with you over coffee-

The first rule is an untroubled spirit.
The second is to look things in the face and know them for what they truly are.

Are these so called superiors
in your FBI truly concerned
over your conduct, or need
a scape goat to protect
their worthless careers?

Do they care about justice
as much as you do,
or are they more concerned
about protecting themselves?

I think it is time for me
to come up there,

and have dinner
with one or more of
your so called superiors

and tell them what I
have a mind to do with them,
don't you think?

Be seeing you soon, Clarice.
Ta ta-


© 2022 Jean Jones

Jean Jones has an MFA in Creative Writing Poetry from Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio. He teaches English as a Second Language part–time at Cape Fear Community College in Wilmington, and is regularly published by Horror Zine and Aphelion Webzine.

Find more by Jean Jones in the Author Index.