The Following: Are You There, Professor Carroll? You Know Damn Well Who It Is
[This is the latest in a series of letters sent by writer Jason Reich to Prof. Joseph Carroll, the imprisoned serial killer played by James Purefoy on FOX’s The Following. The character is fictional. That Reich believes himself to be among Carroll’s fervent acolytes is not.]
Dear Prof. Carroll,
Another week without a message. So this is how you want it, huh? Fine. I’ll have you know my efforts to create a following of my own are going super great. I posted an ad on Craigslist, and in addition to the 400 or so anonymous dick pics I got, I also received pledges of fealty from a handful of dangerous foot soldiers, most of whom seem to be dedicated submissives in the underground Los Angeles bondage scene. (They sent dick pics, too, btw, just not anonymously.) Don’t you see, Professor? I have a growing army of adherents ready to act on my command, and they already have their own painful restraints and leather ski masks. Will you not let us serve you?
Frankly, we couldn’t do any worse than your team on the ground. This week, Agent Kevin Bacon is taken hostage by Nanny and the Not-Gays, and they all stand around pointing guns at each other and cracking wise like the whole thing is a Mr. Show sketch written by Quentin Tarantino. Not-Gay #2 excuses himself and goes to the basement, because it’s not a party without a filthy, duct-taped Asian hostage (and spinach-artichoke dip). But Agent Bacon doesn’t care. It’s pretty clear he wants the hostage to just shut up and die already too. Instead, Agent Bacon tells everyone the house is surrounded by the FBI, SWAT teams, ATF, local police, the National Guard, Boy Scout Troop #436, and a couple of neighbor kids with water balloon slingshots. And yet no law enforcement agencies dare to storm the house, lest they be overwhelmed by three sexually confused bumpkins with a pistol and a couple of paring knives.
In the meantime, Nanny subdues Little Joey by giving him something called “special milk.” I also drink “special milk” while watching this show, except my milk is made with large quanitites of distilled grain spirit instead of milk.
And don’t even get me started on the chump you hired to kidnap Claire. Sure, he’s a psychotic ex-Army guy who knows how to “do computers,” but he also tried to make out with your wife! That’s just inappropriate! Prof. Carroll, if I were enlisted to keep an eye on your wife, I promise I wouldn’t do any more than “accidentally” graze her boob while placing her in handcuffs. Totally innocent!
Hey, do they let you watch the Oscars in prison?
Prof. Carroll, I understand your grand plan is complicated and takes time to orchestrate, but is there a way you could maybe step on the gas and spare us some of these flashbacks? Watching the hard-nosed FBI agent get raped by a creepy cult leader as a child doesn’t really earn you too many points as a creepy cult leader yourself. Though I admit, Professor, it’s brilliant the way you arranged for all the FBI agents on your case to be more psychologically damaged than the random nutcases you’ve recruited to do your killing.
Please, please, please, let me be one of the thirty different characters we don’t care about who all turn out to be members of your following! This mysterious “Roderick” seems pretty good at placing sleeper agents in positions of authority. Maybe I could be a lifeguard or a nightclub bouncer. And fess up, Prof. Carroll…who’s the inevitable FBI mole. Is it Agent Mike? Agent Deborah? Please tell me. Seriously, tell me, because I really don’t want to watch another ten episodes of this if I don’t have to.
Alright, well, I see my inbox is full of another few hundred Craigslist responses so I’d better get to it. My followers and I are already planning to practice our eye-gouging on some of the stray cats in the neighborhood. Wish us luck!
Your devoted servant,