Salutations: Beginnings

I was invited to participate in an interesting writing exercise a couple months back and I’ve now done two.  In the interest of starting a writing project and keeping myself going I’m posting here.

The idea is that people get together at a bookstore and read letters. The whole thing is sponsored by Chronicle books and the first one they held was about beginnings and the most recent one they sponsored was about travel.

To get us started here’s the first letter I wrote for the beginnings event:

Dear Occupant,
I have an offer for you. This is a one time offer. This is an offer so stupendous that we can only
offer it to you. Now. at this time. Through this one time offer letter.
This is the kind of offer that used to come with 12 CDs for just a penny. This is an offer that will
make you will laugh at such a miniscule number of CDs from this point forward. However,
included with this offer you will also find a penny, just in case.
As with any great offer, we should inform you that this offer may make others jealous. Make
friends turn against you. Make people you don’t know look upon you with envious scorn. Make
women throw themselves at you. Make men throw themselves at you. You, my friend, will soon
know your way around the sort of one sided admiration reserved for Brad Pitt or people who
look a great deal like Brad Pitt. Tape this offer to your stomach and then never do another sit
up. This is our promise to you.
Will this offer make you gasp? Yes. Will this offer make your head spin with disbelief? Of
course. Will this offer make you weep, right there in the lobby of your building next to those
horrible aluminum mailboxes? Perhaps, but let me tell you about the offer.
No, let’s not rush to get to the offer right away. First, you are the only one who truly knows
yourself, in your heart of hearts, in the secret moments you share with only yourself, and
perhaps, the mail. Are you the sort of person that when presented with this kind of show
stopping, life altering offer would cast aside your normally stoic exterior and sob uncontrollably
in front the lady from 6a and the downstairs neighbor who’s been your secret crush for the past
year and a half.
You might. Will you? You should pause to think. Take a breath. Really look into your soul. Ask
yourself, am I that sort of person that when presented with an offer that only a fool would reject,
that only a charlatan would turn aside, who would weep tears of abject joy? if
the answer is
“Yes”. Then you should stop reading right now. Get a hanky. Or the towel you keep in your gym
bag. The one that’s been there, clean, unused for the past week and a half. Get one of those
and hold in your non dominant hand. You don’t want to smudge the ink. Offers returned with
tear smudged ink and null and void and subject to legal action.
Okay.
Are you ready?
Good.
Are you sure you’re ready?
Because this offer, which we are offering, this one time, to a very small group of handpicked
eligible consumers, would befuddle a person who’s anything less than 100% ready. We don’t
want anyone befuddled. Or flummoxed. Or caused undue consternation. The offer will be
revoked instantly to anyone showing signs of befuddlement, which as we all know, can be
detected with a simple blood test.
This offer is available to anyone who lives at this address. Male or female, offer also available to
pets, but not cats, for obvious reasons. Proof that you reside here and are not a cat is required.
If you live at this address, can read and are not a cat, you are subject to this amazing offer. If
you are not alive, please know that while we have a great and abiding respect for members of
our spirit community, this offer is not valid for netheramericans.
If you are dead or have been
dead, please be advised to sign the attached waiver and we will send you some valuable
consolation gifts. Which, while useless to a “living” person, would be of no end of valuableness
to someone negotiating the complexities of a time beyond the mortal coil.
This offer, offered to you and some others like you, is comprehensive and inclusive. The offer
includes a series of suboffers
encompassing, but not limited to: This offer, other offers, and
subsequent offers. This offer comes with a dinner salad or a baked potato. If requested the offer
also comes with a wine pairing for acceptees over the age of 21 in the United States or over the
age of 14 in other countries. If you live in New Jersey or Texas, the wine pairing is mandatory.
This offer is void where prohibited by common law but not by the laws of physics, which you will
soon see as irrelevant.
To redeem the offer you will need to report to the office of offer ofference, which is downtown,
next to the post office. Report to the office between 12 and 2 thursday through sunday. Ask for
Mabel. She will be expecting you. Please wear comfortable shoes and a light windbreaker.
Offer details are available upon request and can be provided at time of offer acceptance.
What are we offering, you ask?
Well, we are are offering, for one, the chance to change the way you perceive perception.
To change the way you acknowledge knowledge.
To change the way you think about thinking.
To give you the chance to enjoy Chai Tea while performing Tai Chi.
You will be both sub and super human simultaneously. You will also be sub and regular marine.
Semper Fi soldier.
You will expect the unexpected.
You will never forget a name.
This is only the tip of the iceberg. You will also get the rest of the iceberg.
The offer is available for a limited time. This offer is available to the first 600 respondents or the
first 500 nonrespondents,
whichever comes first. Respond or don’t respond but do so
immediately.
Use the responder envelope enclosed and respond now. Operators are standing by.
If we reached you in error and you are not the person who we thought we were trying to reach
please feel free to crumple this up and throw it in anger at someone you don’t know. This is
probably for them.

 

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