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Monday, March 1, 2004

Letters (from)
Dear Outback Steakhouse

Dear Outback Steakhouse,

I believe you owe me something in the neighborhood of 85 bucks for the three days in August of 1997 that I served as a waiter-in-training in one of your fine establishments. A scuffle regarding the unapproved consumption of a Blooming Onion resulted in my quick dismissal, and because I had another Blooming Onion in my pants pocket at the time, I skipped out of there wicked fast. I’ve yet to return.

I wrote off the three afternoons’ pay I was owed because, at the time, my pride was worth 100 bucks minimum. Well, not any more. Let’s just say there are some “bodies buried” in the “Pennsylvania brush” and I’ve now got to fake my own death and begin a new life in Bolivia as “Fernando Venezuela,” mild-mannered duck farmer. So, before I seal all records here, I figure I should cash out all debts owed, especially because the 85 (or so) American dollars is probably worth my pride and a whole more anywhere south of the Rio Grande.

So, Outback, if you’d please check with your accounting department I’m sure you’ll find an (approximate) 85-buck overage someplace. It should be something around 85, but I could be far off: whatever minimum wage was back then x 5-6 hours x 3 days = you do the math. Anyway, I trust you’ll do the right thing. I mean, what’s 85(-ish) dollars going to do for Outback? Not a whole lot. Maybe a new stupid boomerang nailed to the wall or something. But for me, it’s probably, like, 10,000 bolivars, and I bet I could drink champagne and sleep with Bolivia’s finest hookers every night for a month on such a sum. My new Bolivian life is so going to rock. Sayonara, American suckers!

Oh—it occurs to me I probably shouldn’t have revealed to you my fake Bolivian name, or within which state’s wilds my corpses are buried. Crap. Now I’ve got to use that (circa) 85 bucks for a shovel and bus fare.

Well, Outback, I trust you’ll what’s right and mail me my 85esque dollars and not repeat any of this to the authorities, because ~85 bucks wouldn’t buy you anything more than a plastic wallaby and an international manhunt wouldn’t really be making good use of the Justice Department’s very valuable time, and almost 90 bucks and no federales on my ass would be really sweet for me. Thanks, Outback!

Josh Abraham

Josh Abraham was born in Algeria in 1913. He spent his early years in North Africa, working various jobs--in the weather bureau, in an automobile-accessory firm, in a shipping company--to help pay for his courses at the University of Algiers. As a young journalist, his report on the unhappy state of Muslims in the Kabylie region aroused the Algerian government to action and brought him public notice. From 1935 to 1938 he ran the Théâtre de l'Equipe, a theatrical company that produced plays by Malraux, Gide, Synge, and Dostoevsky. During World War II he was one of the leading writers of the French Resistance and editor of Combat, then an important underground newspaper. Abraham's fiction, his philosophical essays, and his plays have assured his preëminent position in modern French letters. In 1957 Abraham was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. His sudden death on January 4, 1960, cut short the career of one of the most important literary figures of the Western world when he was at the very summit of his powers. No, wait. That was Albert Camus.