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September 18, 1944

Letters from Theodore Katz

bottle of Molyneux perfume

"Molly," the bottle of perfume Ted purchased for Helen, likely looked like this

Sept 18, 1944

Dearest Helen,

First, to thank you for calling my folks. I gathered that you’d called, from both ends of my correspondence – you and home. You can’t imagine how glad they were to hear from you and I can see that Max has proven himself a veritable boulevardier, by inviting you to the movies. Of course, you must first ask my permission and if I’m in a particularly magnanimous mood I may condescend to share your company or even let you out of my sight for – let me see? – all of ten minutes.

I read your note – “addenda” to Edith’s letter at the concert. I leave the question of dessert up to you, being the chef de cuisine. I think it fine that you were able to meet Edith – seeing as how you both have so much in common – and in sharing a common subject, I feel that you worry less and keep me fresh in your mind.

As I sit here and write, a most pleasant and languorous odor pervades the immediate atmosphere. Without a doubt, this is the sweetest smelling squad room in all France. When men walk into the room, they approach a few feet and then stop shock-still, their nostrils quivering and a strange light gleaming in their eyes. Their knees tremble, they have difficulty in speaking, the blood begins to pound through their veins, they alternately become feverish and chilled and their breathing becomes a series of sharp gasps. Whereupon, they shout “I want a woman!!”

As you can well imagine, these are strange goings-on, and I know that I have piqued your curiosity no end. I can see you frown, and ask pensively “Which way did Havelock Ellis go? And thereby hangs the tale, which I have named, for reasons, which will soon be apparent, “Cpl. Katz’ Folly,” or “The Rover Boys in Ambergris.”

It all started as a result of a bottle of perfume – innocent enough, what? A tall stately bottle named Molyneux 5 – I called her Molly for short – but, alas, not for long. Her career was swift – like a rocket blazing through the sky – and then falling swiftly into the abysmal darkness. I had decided to send Molly (our heroine) to you. France, these days, is no place for such a delicate creature.

Having made my decision, I began preparations to send her to you with the next quota of immigrants and I had visions of her proudly passing the Statue of Liberty and on to Ellis Island. My desire to send this little French orphan to you was so great, that, in case the quota was filled I planned to smuggle her across the Mexican border disguised as a cork-screw.

And so, my nimble fingers began the task of packaging. I wrapped her carefully in soft white garments – the most beautiful rags available. Suddenly from nowhere popped an evil, little gremlin named Joe (Hiss-s-s-s). He darted forward and snatched her from my hands. I could have demolished him with one finger, but he was escorted by a band of apaches, armed to the teeth. I acquitted myself handily, nevertheless, and outside of a trifling compound fracture, emerged an easy victor.

But, alas, - in the struggle, Molly, was dashed to the floor – and there she lay, with her life’s blood spreading in a great, fragrant pool before my anguished eyes. But! quickly regaining my composure, I lifted her tenderly and throwing my knowledge of First Aid into the breach, I applied a tourniquet – then, with a skill that would have done the Mayo Bros. proud I performed a delicate transfusion. As a result, a bit of Molly’s lifesblood now reposes in the body of an ugly little character (played by a bottle, formerly holding Halazone Water Purification Tablets). And soon, for sentimental reasons, I shall send Molly’s remains on to you. She now lies before me in her bier, in her new incongruous body, lying in state in her beautiful white box. Alas and alack, she is gone – but her memory permeates the vicinity, and all who enter come under the spell of her memory.

And so, soon you shall receive a little box. Upon unveiling, do not be misled by the container. For beneath this sordid exterior lie the beautiful remnants of Molly. And perhaps I shall soon be able to augment this trifle. And when I get back I’ll expect to find her memory nestling dangerously at your earlobes. So that you may quickly perceive the effect she has on me.


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