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Luring the Recluse
by Con Chapman

A 17-year-old girl lured chess champ Bobby Fischer out of seclusion with a letter that began “I would like to sell you the world’s best vacuum cleaner! Now that I have your interest, turn the page.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Endgame, Frank Brady

CORNISH, New Hampshire. I have come here, like so many disaffected youths before me, to meet The Great One; the man who looked into my soul in 1951–although I wasn’t born yet–and understood me, the way my parents and friends don’t! I know–lots of other tormented adolescents have tried to meet J.D. Salinger before, only to be rebuffed.

But–I’m different. Not only does he understand me, I understand him! Even though his property is posted with “No Trespassing!” signs, and America’s Oldest Living Adolescent has been known to threaten fans with violence, I know he’ll listen to me.

That’s because I brought along the Black & Decker Dustbuster Hand-Vac. With unsurpassed sucking power and the convenience of cordless, the 14.4-Volt model is the only vacuum to have around the house, when you don’t want anybody around the house!


I’m in Beverly Hills to break through the outer–and inner–circles of confidantes that surround Howard Hughes, former boy genius, aerospace pioneer and world-class horndog. I have read of his obsessions with his peas and the movie Ice Station Zebra, which he once watched 150 consecutive times! This is not healthy behavior. If he bought Bird’s Eye Frozen Peas I’m sure he’d be pleased with the uniform size achieved by the food industry’s top quality-control specialists.

I know what a stickler he is for detail–how he wrote a memorandum to the film crew for The Outlaw to fix a flaw in Jane Russell’s blouses that made it appear she had two nipples on each breast. Howard, I will say when I get through to him–don’t sweat the small stuff. Two nipples on each breast is a good thing!

But it’s his obsession with germs that causes him to erect formidable boundaries. He stays in his room, surrounded by Kleenex boxes, which he continuously re-arranges. I can help him, dammit!

I’ve got the Purell NXT home Hand Sanitizer system, with two 10-ounce refills!


“I vant to be alone,” she said, and I honored her wishes. When Greta Garbo moved to New York I saw her on the streets and yearned to tell her that I was someone she could trust.

In her last comment to the press she tied Calvin Coolidge’s world’s shortest interview record when a reporter said “I wonder . . .” and she replied ”Why wonder?” and left. That’s what I was up against.

But then I saw her, and I couldn’t control myself. I took a deep breath–I’d only get one chance–and approached.

“Miss Garbo,” I said in a polite voice.

“Yes?” she said, igniting a flame of hope in my brain.

“My mom used to swear by the Hoky Wet-Dry Carpet Sweeper,” I said. “You oughta try it.”