Envelope with canceled stamp and a photo paperclipped to it

Letter Excerpts – Trevor O'Shea


Investigating Officer(s): Det. T. Armstrong, Det. S. Murphy
Incident No.: 001019-28B-2022
Case Description: Andrea Stover death investigation

The Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department collected as evidence from Andrea Stover's residence five hundred forty-eight (548) letters addressed to Andrea Stover at the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility.

Included in that number were five (5) letters from Trevor O'Shea (Evidence #s 001019-21-341 through 001019-21-345).

YCSD investigators have examined those letters and assembled the following O'Shea letters as potentially relevant to the Andrea Stover death investigation and typical of the content of all letters from Trevor O'Shea.

Jun 5, 2020

Letter Date: June 5, 2020
Postmark: Oxford, MS

This is rotten luck. I can't know what you've gone through in the hour before you read this. Every scenario I imagine is dire — rotten food, rotten cellmates, rotten gray walls, water stains on the ceiling, a treeless caged yard.

Do you have a window? I need to know. For some reason, I am desperate to know if you can see the sky.

I'm feeling awfully guilty, And. I should never have sent those kids your way. They were my responsibility, and I failed. Not only failed but dragged you into it. I'm responsible, and yet you're in jail — not me. So if you only had a window, I'd feel better.

I see as I write how selfish this is.

Forgive me.


––End letter––

Jun 22, 2020

Letter Date: June 22, 2020
Postmark: Oxford, MS


I don't know what to make of your letter. On the one hand, you're right — who am I to be mooning around, complaining about feeling guilty, when you're feeling a thousand times worse?

But what is this — a contest? You win the misery award, and so you're the only one who gets to feel rotten?

But how do you know you've won? Because things aren't exactly breezy for me. For starts: The school board. You don't think COP would pass up such an opportunity, do you? I could lose my job, And.

Even if I don't, do you think parents are going to allow their college-bound seniors to run the risk of being embroiled in a sex scandal? It's all over.

Do you know how happy I was? Do you know what it meant to me to have a roomful of students — who outside the class are jocks, tech nerds, wallflowers, track stars, poets, stoners — all transfixed by a rhyming couplet? I loved it, and now it's gone.

Next: Lucy. Now she tells me she has some thinking to do. Plans are on hold. The dress has been put in the back of the closet. She isn't sure about me, all of a sudden. Am I the right man to father her children? Now, because of what's happened, the future is evaporating. At least you know in 18 months you'll escape your hell.

So when I said I was responsible, when I said I was guilty, I had all of this in mind as well as your dirty cell and your dirty play. How about you? Do you feel at all responsible?

Did it ever cross your mind to warn me about what the kids would see? Did you ever wonder if it was worth it to contest those charges so vigorously, so goddamn nobly — even if it meant taking others down with you?

And as the soldiers bore dead bodies by
He call'd them untaught naves, unmannerly
To bring a slovenly unhandsome corse
Betwixt the wind and his nobility.

Annoying, I know. But perhaps if you'd acted a little more responsibly, we wouldn't be exchanging these rotten letters.


––End letter––

Aug 12, 2020

Letter Date: August 12, 2020
Postmark: Oxford, MS

I've officially renounced you to save my job. I could have resisted writing to tell you that, but I didn't feel like it.

I know thee not.
For God doth know, so shall the world perceive,
That I have turn'd away my former self;
So will I those that kept me company.


––End letter––

May 14, 2021

Letter Date: May 14, 2021
Postmark: Oxford, MS


There are 14 students in my Shakespeare class. We are studying "The Tempest." For the past three classes, we have been discussing one passage. You know which it is:

You do look, my son, in a mov'd sort,
As if you were dismay'd. Be cheerful, sir.
Our revels now are ended.

Etcetera. I would like to go on, but I know how annoyed you'll be. And I don't mean to annoy you with this letter.

It's not a favorite of mine, this play. But like all his later works, there's a preoccupation with what's to come: nothing.

And so I've been contemplating the distant horizon and thinking of nothing. How long can I hold hate in my heart?

Lucy is my wife. I have this bounty. You have nothing, except the same rotten cell as nearly a year ago.

I'm responsible. I take the blame.

Now, will you forgive me?


––End letter––


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