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The Pink Panther [1963)

Reporting from Lugash…I just have word that Cortina d’Ampezzo is a real place.  It cannot be confirmed at this time, but the report indicates it was the location of the 1956 Winter Olympics.  What is even more unbelievable is the claim that a James Bond movie was shot there in 1981.

There is no disputing that Switzerland has four official languages (including Romansh), but our fabled Cortina is said to have a language called Ladin.  This is, I know, hard to fathom.  It is even said that Hemingway wrote for a short time in Cortina, but I do not believe it for one second.

Now…Skardu, in Pakistan:  that is an actual town!  [and not too very far from Lugash, I might add]  But one must never confuse Akbar the Magnificent with the Mughal Emperor Akbar.  They are approximately 450 years apart chronologically.  There are some rumors of a mountain called K2 in the vicinity of Skardu, but do not pay this any mind.  It is simply a myth, I tell you.  It would behoove these mythmakers to concentrate on more pressing problems such as Y2K.  The world is still in danger, I tell you!  Think, for instance, if a clock was 15 years behind, yes?  It could be this very New Year’s Eve when this very real menace finally brings our technological world to its knees.  But I digress…

Now, let me tell you about this lake in the vicinity of the very real Skardu (near to the very real Lugash).  Shangrila Lake is as lovely as the probably-fictional Cortina purports to be.  There is even a restaurant in the fuselage of an aircraft which crashed nearby.  See:  you would never have such an obviously real detail in the notes of a “place” like Cortina.  One must use logic and deduce what is faux from what is not faux.  Now then…

I tell you all of this back story because I firmly believe Sir Charles Lytton to be one and the same with Sir James Bond.  I know this may seem to be a stretch to the untrained mind, but I will elucidate my reasoning in due time.  I would also be willing to bet my job with the Sûreté that this same Sir Charles is the elusive Phantom for whom I have been searching my entire life.  In due course I will explain this, this…how do you call it?  Triple agent!

I, of course, am now writing from the Gaol here in Voghera.  I believe that the very real Princess Dala was conspiring with someone (I don’t know who…certainly not my wife) and that she stole the Pink Panther herself so that it would not be taken away from her by the government of the very real country of Lugash (Voghera being a little-known hamlet in the Lombardy area of Lugash).  I will address the claims that I am homosexual at a later date.

The fact that I was made to testify against myself in court was really a sneaky gambit on the part of Sir Charles’ barrister.  I must admit that I passed out in shock from having the Pink Panther fall from my coat pocket.  Now they are claiming I also stole some ridiculous and obviously nonexistent jewel called the Hope Diamond, but I tell you…I am about 400 years too young for that to even be possible.  And contrary to accounts, I have never gone by the name Tavernier.

I would like to clear up some further controversy.  The Daria-i-Noor diamond does not exist.  I can see how some might mistake it for the very real Pink Panther because of the preposterous similarities between the very real Lugash and some fictional country called Iran, but I can assure you that there is no Iran.  India?  Yes.  Persia?  Of course.  Iran?  It sounds like a song by The Flock of The Seagulls.  It is obviously a lie.

Most importantly!  I do not plan to be held in the gaol for much longer as I am sure the real Phantom will strike again.  At that point, I intend to resume work for the Sûreté (having been properly exonerated of all wrongdoing).

Furthermore, I have never heard of this silly Alfred Itchcock nor his supposed film Foreign Correspondent so I cannot answer claims that any of my story bears resemblance to his film.  But be well-advised:  when I chase a criminal, I always catch that criminal.  As my great countryman Racine said, “There are no secrets that time does not reveal.”

One last note.  Topkapi is just a movie.  I will admit, I do not see the humor in the criminal aspects, but I do enjoy that the thieves are eventually dispensed justice.  So to further clarify with the geography lesson:  Topkapi is not a real place.

I have been asking for coffee here in my cell in Voghera in Lugash since I have been imprisoned and if Topkapı were really a neighborhood of Istanbul I would demand they bring me a Turkish coffee immediately (and it better be tonight).  But you see, they could not…the whole concept is a farce…unlike my very sad and serious imprisonment.  Please tell my darling Simone that I love her…and remind her not to be too frugal with the housekeeping money.  I know she is quite capable of buying mink coats from the leftover money.  She has done it before, my pigeon…


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