Please note the footnotes appear poorly in this sample.
The following is a printed reproduction of a handwritten diary originally
scrawled on thirty-three canvases of various sizes (the “Canvases”).
The Canvases were found buried among the rubble and corpses
of an unknown town in Appalachian Kentucky. The horrific scene was
discovered by a pair of hunters in December 2017. No earlier record of
the buried town exists and its location is classified. Further, although the
scientific community has designated the event the “Carrington
Tragedy,” no proof has substantiated that the town was in fact named
Carrington. No survivors were found. Up until now, the investigation
has been kept entirely confidential to prevent panic and conspiracy
theories from permeating the general population.
The Canvases came across my desk as the subject of a property
dispute. I represented the hunters against the federal government which
claimed eminent domain over the Canvases as evidence in the ongoing
genocide investigation. As part of the settlement agreement, further
details of which I cannot disclose, my clients retain ownership of the
Canvases in exchange for a limited license to print and reproduce the
words written on the Canvases for public distribution.
The purpose of this license is to help locate the author of the
diary, Richard Maltessouri 1 . No other record of him exists and none of
the living individuals mentioned in the Canvases have any memory of
such a person. All leads dead-end.
Past attempts to transcribe the Canvases in full have failed.
Photography cannot capture the ink due to its unique characteristics and
the problem is exacerbated by the writer’s frantic handwriting. The first
attempt at a complete transcription (the “Wade Transcription”) failed.
Only twenty or so Canvases were transcribed before the attempt ended
1 The author’s assumed name since that is what he calls himself.
Fortunately, I am entirely colorblind and therefore immune to
the adverse effects of the ink. For this reason, the rest of the members
of the Investigation Oversight Committee (the “Committee”) voted
eight to one 2 in favor of delegating the task of transcription to me. 3
The Committee also voted to send me and another attorney to
Lexington, Kentucky, to depose witnesses as my transcription of the
diary identifies them. My partner volunteered and was approved by
unanimous vote due to her unique connection with the matter. Sahar
Ayubbi and I leave for our “expedition” tonight.
I am enamored by the predicament—how could a man who
doesn’t exist leave behind a diary? I’ve read the Wade Transcription
hundreds of times and, admittedly, I feel empathy for Mr. Maltessouri.
Despite his atrocious narcissism and problematic opinions, I can’t help
but feel sorry for him.
Of course, this is assuming he was ever real in the first place. I
concede the possibility that this is a wild goose chase. That the diary on
the Canvases might be a piece of immersive art by a Banksy or what
have you, or some sick practical joke that achieved the goal of being
taken seriously. Your jaw would drop if you knew the amount of public
and private resources that have been spent searching for Mr.
Nonetheless, despite every rational explanation, the Committee
cannot yet discredit the possibility that Mr. Maltessouri’s account of the
events that caused the tragedy might be true. After all, it isn’t every day
that a couple of hunters stumble across hundreds of corpses in the
middle of nowhere.
/s/ Joseph D. Blackhurst
October 1, 2022
2 Dr. Terrance A. Milsap opposing.
3 All footnotes are my own interjections to provide pertinent context and information.
Please submit any and all information you have concerning
the author of the diary
to federal or local law enforcement.
I wish the marionettes would stop trying to break through the windows.
Incredible. I’m not entirely convinced I’m still alive. I seared my thumb
pouring the jar. Tried to be careful. Hands shaking. Get rid of it. Get rid
of it. Write write write writingwritingwriting.
Around and around. Around and around. I can’t believe I did
that but he deserved it. I hope it hurt. I hope he slowly dies. Have I
gone mad? I don't think I've gone mad. I don't think you should trust a
self-alleged madman's opinion of whether or not he's gone mad. That is,
assuming I’m still alive. Writing writing writing. Maybe I got shot in the
motel or died in that car accident. I don’t think she stabbed me with the
pickaxe, but maybe she did. Ghosts could be real at this point. Might as
well believe that too. Ghosts who don’t know they’re ghosts. I gotta be a
ghost. Yep, that’s it.
Outside, the blizzard is pitch black from the coal, I think. Or
because of whatever evil all this is. The black ashen flakes blot out the
light except for the white eyes of the marionettes watching me. I’ll be
snowed in soon. There’s no end to it. Looks to be about a foot. In New
York, I once walked in a blizzard and an old man walked toward me.
Sam was old like him and Sam got me killed. Bastard. But Sam couldn’t
walk. The old man in New York was bent over, inching along pathetic
and decrepit. The high snow on the sidewalk narrowed to the width of a
4 Certain compelling visual details of the diary are of course lost in this printed
transcription. Namely, how tiny and crammed together the words are. The sheer amount
of scribbles on Canvas One is unnerving. Violent, sharp depressions take up half the
surface area. The pen pierced through in several places. In the scribbles, you can make
out certain shapes. Arrows, stars, a poorly sketched merry-go-round. These may be
irrelevant—I find myself partial to doodling while on the phone, for example. Still, I
note these details in the event you, the reader, understand something I don’t and
perhaps these details may in fact be psychoanalytic clues to where Mr. Maltessouri might
shovel blade and I crossed it without stopping, making the old man wait
his turn. Why won’t the baby stop crying and let me write?
Sam got me killed for his wife. Figures. Women ruin men every
day. I slaved (unnoticed) to lay more and more brick down the
lonesome boot-strapped path of success toward the spotlight of their
recognition and, head down, I was brought to darkness instead. Women
operate on whims, not reason. 5 My mother worst of all. She doesn’t
even deserve to be called that. Why am I writing about her? She must
still be alive since I’m dead and she’s not here. But maybe ghosts don’t
work like that. Sam made me his puppet. But first he killed those
children. Then he killed me. Writing writing. Great, now I’m crying and
my stomach is so cut up it hurts.
Too much power for a stupid old man. Write writing writing
some more. I don’t get what’s in the well. Is it really just bugs? It bugs
me. Ha ha hah haaha. If I’m dead, maybe I can ask god what’s going on.
How do you get god to show up when you’re dead? Maybe that’s not
the way god works. Or maybe this is purgatory.
It’s kinda funny watching the marionettes get covered in snow.
I hope they freeze in the cold like bugs.
Might restore confidence in my own faculties to figure this
thing out with the entire statement of facts. Rule derivation rule
application. Rule derivation rule application. Columbia really did teach
me how to think like a lawyer. Sam said this tint 6 had rules he couldn’t
5 Apologies to any readers who take offense with Mr. Maltessouri’s words. These are his
alone and are views not shared by myself or the publisher. No part of the Canvases will
be edited or omitted during my transcription to preserve a complete record of the
evidence in order for the public to assist with the search.
6 The ink the Canvases are written in.
figure out. Yeah, well, Sam was retarded. 7 So I’ll review the record de
novo. 8 March forth my army of tiny logic ants! Euph, too soon.
What the well does with the dead is awesome (in the true
meaning of the word, not the trite meaning my generation’s overuse has
depreciated it to like so many termites). Actually, awful is a better word
for it. In both its horrific and reverential meanings. The well eats the
living. I don’t know why the well wants us but I know the well in fact
wants us and helping the well is, itself, the well of endless reward. Yes I
know the use of “in fact” is poor writing. See Strunk and White The
Elements of Style page whatever 4th edition year whatever.
There. Happy, Scott? Everyone every. . .one.
Oh har har har. Red pen that all you want, but I like the ring of
that sentence. It’s sassy rhythm. (I hate parentheticals but they eat up a
couple extra drops of tint.)
Gotta figure all this out. Women ruin men. I bet Sam killed his
wife like he killed me. Amara, I think he called her. I gotta hand it to
him. The portrait he painted of her is good. I look at it next to me in
true awe. Hahahaha. Oops woke the baby back up, speak of the devil.
Wow that’s ironic. Or déjà vu or something way crazier. The baby
doesn’t like it when I try to hold it. Better to just let it work itself out.
What’s that sound?
The portraits Sam painted are pretty. I guess I’ll give him that. I
hope he didn’t die on impact. I want him to freeze slowly. Yes, freeze
really slowly. With broken leg pain. Wait, he wouldn’t feel that. He must
still be alive since I’m dead and he’s not here just like my mother isn’t.
Or maybe the problem is I’m still alive and they aren’t. Seriously, what’s
that sound? Gonna check.
7 See supra n. 5.
8 The appellate standard of review in which no deference is given to the lower court’s
determinations of law or fact.
Great. The marionettes are battering the doors now. I wish they
would just hold their horses and stop.
One is holding the horse. I need to lay down. I mean lie down. I
need to understand. I wish I knew what Sam knew.
OCTOBER 2, 2022
It’s nonsense, I know. I transcribed Canvas One—and now write these
notes—shortly after midnight at our terminal where our flight has been
delayed for six hours. Sahar objected to me taking the Canvas out of the
carrying case. She insists it’s dangerous to both the Canvases and
bystanders. I insist it’s important I use every spare minute to make
progress on the transcription to inform our witness selection and fact-
gathering decisions during our expedition. It takes both our keys to
unlock the case. We compromised by having me sit in the corner, on the
floor, away from prying eyes.
Not much can be said about Canvas One to aid the reader. It
makes as much sense to me as it does to you. So many unanswered
questions—the marionettes, the motel, the car accident, the bugs, the
baby. Ramblings of a lunatic, it seems. He may be as dead as he suggests
for all we know.
Sahar went for a walk. She says it’s a headache but she didn’t look
at the Tint. I know how she gets when she’s upset. The airline wouldn’t
let her bring Borlú as a carry-on and so they put him in a kennel in the
cargo hold. The bag check manager apologized for Sahar’s impression
that her emotional support animal paperwork was enough. Apparently,
there’s still a strict size limitation, and a 6-month-old German shepherd
clearly exceeds it. How anyone could turn an angel like Borlú away is
I’m sure it doesn’t help Sahar’s anxiety knowing the Canvases
soon mention her.