To: All Staff
Subject: Whoops, Sorry About That Last E-Mail!
I’d just like to apologize for the last e-mail, which I sent to “All Staff.” I meant to send it to my friend Alex Stafford. It was a mistake. Sorry.
To: All Staff
Subject: Clarification on Apology E-Mail!
I want to apologize for not being entirely clear in my last e-mail. Let me try to be more specific: originally, I was attempting to send my friend Alex Stafford (not All Staff) an e-mail on horses and how I’ve always liked to watch horses run. I then made a leap into the realm of the imaginary. Again, I do apologize.
To: All Staff
Subject: re: what the fuck?!
Wow. Today just ain’t my day! I’ve been told that I have more “explaining” to do, re: “the realm of the imaginary.” So here goes: I probably should have told you that for the past two years, give or take a few months, I’ve imagined myself as a talking horse and that, as this talking horse, I’ve ruled a fantasy kingdom populated by you guys, my co-workers. The 27 images I included in the first e-mail are, in fact, Photoshop montages, not actual photos. Carry on!
To: All Staff
Subject: re: You Have More Explaining to Do About Those Images!
There are days and there are days! Perhaps I’m not expressing myself as well as I should. I guess that’s why I’m in accounting and not PR! Okay, let’s start from the very beginning. In this imaginary world I’ve created, I’m a talking horse. Simple. You guys are my servants. All of you have kept your real names, but your “imaginary” selves have taken on new roles in my fantasy land. A quick example:
“Mary Jenkins” from benefits is a fair maiden who was born in a stable and grew up to fall in love with “Chris Topp” from payroll, who works as a candle maker and sleeps behind the bar in the tavern run by “Wayne Harris” from the mailroom, who is secretly seeing “April Kelly” from office services, who works as my “horse girl” and soaps me down every night before I sleep on my bed of hay. Is this making more sense? For the record, all Photoshop images are a combination of photos found on the Internet and your headshots from the company directory. Steve, I’m about ready for lunch if you are.
To: All Staff
Subject: re: I Feel Violated!!!
Imagine my surprise to return from lunch only to find hundreds of e-mails in the ol’ inbox! Seems that quite a few of you have additional questions concerning the roles that you play within my magical fantasy land. Sigh. It’s really quite simple:
“Hope Marks” from the nurse’s office refuses to sleep with “Darryl Russell” from security because Darryl is a centaur (see image #6) and Hope is a unicorn (image #3). “Kathryn Haynes” from marketing has caught wind of this because she was born with over-size ears (image #14) and can hear literally everything. She also tends to walk around the village nude (image #8) and sleep with anyone who happens to be available; in one instance, she cavorts with “Jamie Devine” from payroll by the banks of a river, as “Betsy Schneider” and “Krista Stark” from the cafeteria look on in wonder (image #7). I also look on in wonder (images #4 and #5).
In another instance, “Katy Devine” from special projects climbs to the top of the bell tower that’s located on my castle and makes love to “Doug Benson” from security, as “Jessica McNally” from the nurse’s office braids my tail in a most tender fashion (image #11). She is not wearing a top (image #12) or a bottom (image #13).
Meanwhile, “Alexis Weber” from the front office is an angry dwarf in need of gold. He has just taken on an assignment to kill “Bob Simmons” from purchasing, but only after he has promised “Marina DelGado” from human resources that he will turn her into a good witch by way of a magical spell. This magical spell consists of having sex with a complete stranger (“Mitch Fitzgerald,” also from human resources) while riding a white mare, ass-back and fancy free, across a great plane (image #9). The horse, if you haven’t already guessed, is me (image #1). In the background, if you look closely enough, you can just make out “Joe Griggs” from janitorial looking on in wonder (image #2).
Whew! Done! By the way, anyone have the forms for the Milner project? I really need them by this afternoon. Thanks!
To: All Staff
Subject: re: you’re sick!
Holy cripes! Sometimes I wonder if anyone besides me gets any work done around here! I step away from my desk for two seconds and I come back to discover that a thousand more questions have been posed! Don’t get me wrong: I think it’s super that all of you are taking an active interest in my fantasy kingdom, but my goodness! So let me just tie up one loose end and let me do it real, real quick, because I’ve just been notified that I’ve been fired:
Yes, that is you, “Samantha Rymer” from expenses, standing next to a razzleberry bush in image #15. And yes, Samantha, that is indeed a crown of doves perched atop your head, and no, Samantha, those are not your real breasts (images #16-27).
Everyone up to date? I’m really gonna miss all of you! I feel we’ve become especially close over these past two years! And that even goes for “Marina the Good Witch” from human resources! I honestly did not know that “good witches” could get so angry! LOL!
Your Imaginary Leader Who’s Now Waving Goodbye . . . As Kathy from Security Hangs on Tightly and Rides Him (see attached image),
Mike the Talking Horse
Dear Mister Thomas Pynchon
A Rhon Penny Letter
Dear Mister Thomas Pynchon:
Thank you for taking the time to open this envelope and read what is contained herein. I know that you, like me, are a very busy and serious man, so I don't intend to waste our times. I will have you know that while I am a fan of your work, this is the first instance in which I have attempted to make contact with you. You could say that I was waiting for the exact right moment and, if you did say that, then you would be right.
I am a writer named Rhon Penny (silent h) and I am no longer married. I am writing to you today because I have just finished my latest novel, and it would be my great honor for you to blurb it. If you are unaware, a blurb is one of those glowing remarks you find on the back of a book’s cover written by a highly-regarded author or T.V. chef. For example, if I were blurbing this letter it would go:
“If you could only read two things this year, make one this letter . . . and the other maybe the Magna Carta!”
In today's literary climate, it is essential that a new writer obtain a blurb so that Joe Q. Dumbbell will feel confident that a famous person thinks a book is worthy enough of purchase or library rental. My publisher/mother tells me a top-notch blurb can mean the difference between Harry Potter-type sales and Harry Stottleberg-type sales (a guy who lives in our building). As my primary care physician says, “Humans are fickle pickles,” which, while true, has never really explained why he has me on such a complicated smorgasbord of pharmaceuticals. I am very tired.
Like yourself (no doubt) I find blurbing to be absolutely repulsive. It is crass, pathetic, and couldn’t be less artistic. Just so you know, I am only doing this because the more I think about it, the more I would like to make a lot of money. Full disclosure: I named my conjoined Siamese cats Tommy and Pinchie. Tommy just died, which has made movement difficult for Pinchie. But she pushes on like a feline boat against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past (F. Scott Fitzgerald).
Like blurbs, an author’s choice of title is very important for sales. Take Gravity’s Rainbow. That is a terrific title. Why? Because it tells you exactly what the book is about. I would like to think that my book’s title does the same: Cream of America Soup.
Okay. By this point, I am going to assume that you have already agreed to blurb me, so let me just say, “Thank you.” I truly appreciate it.
Now let us concentrate on the blurb itself. If you would like to construct your own blurb then, please, by all means, construct it! You’re good with words. On the other hand, should you prefer that I create a blurb for you to affix your name and well-deserved reputation to, then I have taken the liberty of coming up with some samples (please note the use of exclamation marks). I am not saying these blurbs are all of the highest quality, but I will say that I could not possibly be prouder of them, even if they were to somehow leap off this page and go cure cancer. Here they are:
“Fifteen thumbs up!”
“If I had a disease that made me retch every time I read a great sentence, I would never stop vomiting while reading Ron Penny’s latest novel!" [Note the misspelling of “Rhon.” This will get people talking.]
“It is not for me to say if Rhon Penny is a great new young talent, but I will say this: Yes, he is greatly talented, and no, he is not young!”
“If I were married to Rhon Penny . . . I would never leave him!”
You have to be wondering: What in the world is this novel I’ve agreed to blurb actually about? And why is Thom no longer married? Excellent queries both. I will not tell you why I’m no longer married, but my book’s subject matter is very much like Gravity’s Rainbow in a way, and in other ways, not at all. It's also very much a post 9/11 book, but not overtly. I’m not saying you need to know a lot about the medieval feudal system, Lady Byrd Johnson, bats, my wife’s fear of conjoined Siamese cats, democracy, or linguini . . . but it wouldn't be such a bad thing if you did.
What I am saying, however, is that the book takes place in Connecticut. (Yes, I’m aware that a lot of people refuse to write about the Nutmeg State—for obvious reasons—but it is a state I know and care deeply about. Furthermore, being afraid of criticism just ain’t in Rhon’s genetic nature.)
For reasons I can’t get into, I must end this correspondence right now. But I will not sign off without addressing the giant elephant in this letter. Yes, if you blurb my book I will then blurb your next one. And I can promise you, as sure as I’m writing this letter with my lucky troll’s head pen, that it will be laudatory . . . even if I absolutely hate it! I just have a funny feeling that I’m going to “adore” and “love” and “highly recommend” the thing! Catch my “drift”?
In closing, let me say three things. One, I would certainly take my ex-wife back if she ever leaves Bernard. Two, feel free to keep the enclosed sign that reads “Danger! Writer’s Zone!” That is a gift and it will go well in your office. And three, please allow me to express what I have to say in the form of a blurb:
“If you could grow great people in the ground like tomatoes, then I would only plant seeds of you in the garden of my life so that I could have you available to top all of my future life salads. That said, if you could send a really well-thought out blurb to my return address, I would greatly appreciate it!”
Self-addressed envelope included. Stamps, not, but highly recommended.
Yours in the words,