Peter and Andrew – 10th Letter

To my dear friend Andrew,

I write to you with foot stuffed securely in mouth. As I write you this letter, I have right next to me on my desk a reply letter from none other than Mr. Ted Kooser! I read through it, it’s a bit cryptic (you oddball poets are all the same) and there’s a poem written at the bottom. I won’t ruin the surprise for you so I won’t re-write it, but enclosed is the letter from Mr. Kooser. Congratulations, you’ve officially made me look like an idiot for doubting that you’d ever make something of yourself besides night-manager at Wendy’s.

I’m very excited to hear that you’ve finally made it to California and are making friends (although slightly, er, eccentric, they seem kinda cool) and doing what you love. You’re living the AMERICAN DREAM my friend, and if your parents weren’t so concerned with getting you out of jail so often they’d be very proud of you. I have to say, and this may be the first and only time I’ll ever say this, I’m mildly jealous of you. Ugh, I feel all icky after saying that.

I would like to apologize for my bitterness towards you in my last letter. I hope you understand how difficult it is for me to continue my life without Cheryl. Since that fateful night I now call “The Evening of Sullen Intrascrotal Hematoma” I’ve gotten fired for an intense slide in production (who could blame me?) and have been watching re-runs of Pete and Pete and eating nothing but Manwiches. I was extremely broken up about the situation, as you can tell. I finally got a chance to speak with Cheryl recently and I got a chance to find out how much of a filthy whore-skank she really is. She felt that since the relationship is over and there’s no need to please the other person, it was alright for her to list the dudes she had slept with while we were dating. There were… a couple.

So I’ve reached an impasse. Do I stick here with no job, girl, or friends? Well, as fun as it might seem, I may be done with this boring life I’m leading. If your offer still stands, I’m packing up and moving to California to finally pursue my life-long dream of becoming a marine life taxidermist. I KNOW, it sounds crazy, but this just may be the thing that finally makes me happy! I’m sending over your porn stash and some of my stuff right now and I’ll be in San Francisco International Airport a week from today. GET READY! It’s time to reunite the devastating duo of Pete and Andy. PREPARE FOR IMPACT!

Foreverfully the dudest of your friends,

Pete

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Peter and Andrew – 8th Letter

Andrew,

As of now there is no word back from Mr. Kooser. I’m sure he will be writing back any day now, so I’ll make sure to contact you as soon as possible.

I want to congratulate you on ruining not only my wine-tasting party but also my life while being more than 2,000 miles away. “How on earth did I do that?” you might ask. Well, things were going fairly well, Arthur, Laurie, Cheryl and I were having a great time. I was getting progressively drunker while still getting by on my minimal wine-knowledge by calling everything I tasted “grape-y.” That is, until Arthur mentioned that he read the most bizarre and hilarious news article earlier that morning while browsing the internet at work. He asked to use my computer to show it to us and I obliged, so we all crowded around the computer to check out this “crazy” story.

Well Andy, apparently news from Salt Lake City travels pretty fast because lo and behold, there on my computer screen in front of me was my friend Andrew, screaming his head off, being dragged away by the police, and throwing Burger King napkins at everyone he saw. Cheryl was noticeably peeved, but then we actually read the article. Everyone got a good laugh at it, that is, until the following excerpt:

…As the crazed man was finally being pulled into a police cruiser, he blurted out “Tell Peter thanks for all the money he recently sent and tell his disease-ridden wench of a girlfriend to go to hell and stay out of my room! BLACK POWER!”

Oh boy, did Art and Laurie every get a good chuckle out of THAT quote. Cheryl, on the other hand, was less than pleased, and she conveyed that feeling to me by trying to put her knee through my testicles. She explained that this was the reason why she could never be serious with me (the reason, I’m assuming, is you) and proceeded to pick up her bag and storm out of the apartment. This was obviously very awkward for Art and Laurie, who asked if I needed help cleaning up before grabbing their things and leaving before I could answer them.

So, thanks again for destroying the one thing about my life that made me really happy. I won’t be sending you any money, for obvious reasons. If you need anything else, don’t hesitate to ask, so I can remind you of that time that you ruined my life.

Please get to California safely. As much as I hate you right now, part of me still doesn’t want you to die.

Be safe,

Peter


Peter and Andrew – 7th Letter

Peter,

Because my upcoming days will be hectic, I am writing you a series of smaller letters to keep you informed with my ongoings. I have decided to mail you them all in the same envelope at the same time, not only because it is a multi-part tale for the same story-arc that is my life, but because I want to save money on postage.

Right now I am on the greyhound bus. It isn’t a glamorous ride, but it’ll do. I am deciding which poem(s) to use for the Slam Poetry Open Mic in Salt Lake City. Right now I’m thinking of this one:

there.is.a.cold/
yes.wind/
and.earth.may.just.be/
with.its.own/
but.kind.oh.kind/
must.we.all.falter/
for.the.boo.boo.berries/
the.breakfast.has.called/
crunch/

I think it’s pretty obvious that this is my choice due to its harshness. I read it sometimes and I think “how SCATHING!” I’d ask you your thoughts, but by the time you get this I will have already finished. I’ll keep in touch.

You better stay out of my room!

through.the.stars.and.the.dead.of.space/

andrew

__________

Peter,

I just got to Salt Lake City. The Slam Poetry Open Mic is tomorrow. I checked the Post Office and have no mail from you. I spent my money on a cheap motel room. As I mentioned in my previous letter to you, I plan on passing out copies of my poetry and explaining on stage that the audience and I will silently read the poem to ourselves. I’m sure everyone will understand.

I want to save money and not use a photo-copier, so I politely requested a bunch of napkins at a nearby fast food restaurant, and plan on writing out copies of the scathing poem I mentioned in my first short letter. I will start on that now.

I hope you are doing well and that Cheryl is at least 10 feet, as requested on my note left on the door, from my doorknob.

through.the.stars.and.the.dead.of.space/

andrew

__________

Peter,

It is the next morning since my last short letter to you. I went to the Post Office today and got your letter and your package. While I am utterly disgusted that you have gone into my room, I am taking solace in the fact that my beautiful guinea pig, James Patterson, Emperor of The Currents, is now with me…albeit half-decomposed.

Since you have little to no respect for my wishes of keeping James Patterson, Emperor of The Currents at the apartment so that I may continue the mummification process once I return, I shall continue it now, on the road. But expect at least SEVERAL scathing poems to be written about not only this, but about YOU.

I do thank you for enclosing the $5.06 that was left in my donation tin. I will use this to buy some food. Perhaps eating will help comfort the fact that Ted Kooser has not yet written me back, that you have gone in my room against my wishes, and that my guinea pig is more dead than ever.

Thank you, also, for putting my pornographic materials and statuettes in storage for the time being. I hope the fact that I have lewd statuettes of your girlfriend performing sexual acts with curious barn animals does not put a strain on our friendship. I assure you that I made those while I was going though my “Statuette Phase” a while back…you remember, when I wanted to be the world’s best statuette creator…and that I only use them now for POETIC INSPIRATION.

Let me know how the wine tasting went. I hear that many poets frequently imbibe in wine. Perhaps I should learn more about this. Please tell me all that you learn from the experience.

Oh, and tell that mini-boss of yours to fuck off. Just because you happen to have a convoluted-to-the-point-of-uselessness position at a corporation during a time of economic turmoil they think that they can just tell you that they’re not sure what you do there? Man…this is why I could never work in an office! Well…again. It was only 4 years ago that I wanted to be the world’s best accountant. But then I had an epiphany!

Despite your objections to do so, and your notice that Cheryl will be “so pissed” if she finds out, I could use more money. So, yes, I was going to ask you for money again.

Please send me more money.

I’m off to the Slam Poetry Open Mic! I’ll write and let you know how that went.

through.the.stars.and.the.dead.of.space/

andrew

__________

Peter,

This is my fourth and final “mini-letter” from my Salt Lake City adventure. Please find, attached, the article titled “Wackjob Brings Death to Local Poetry Reading.”

I was not even able to pass out my poems before they attempted to forcefully eject me from the premises just because I brought James Patterson, Emperor of The Currents’ decomposing guinea pig body with me to the reading. I attempted to throw them around the room as they were kicking me out. Hopefully someone picked one up to read it.

While I am not dead, some people from the reading did hit me a few times. I must admit, that did hurt. I was not aware that poetry was such a dangerous undertaking.

As the article states, my parents have been called due to their misconception of my mental state (clearly they agree with you that I am a “deeply disturbed individual”). My parents are currently fronting the money for my flight back home. I will try my hardest to, instead, use this money to make it to California. Although, at my psychological evaluation, Dr. Marvin asked me what exactly I’ll do in California. Apparently my response of “MAKE IT AS A RICH POET” was not “rooted in reality.” I feared they may soon force me to go home, so I started running away. I am currently “in hiding” which is all I will say. But, since I still am on foot, and waiting for both my parents and your money, I am meandering around the Salt Lake City area. You can contact me at the local post office.

Did any newspapers try to contact you? If so, I hope you did not tell them of my massive and unusual collection of pornographic materials.

through.the.stars.and.the.dead.of.space/

andrew

Peter and Andrew – 6th Letter

Andrew,

I hate to break this to you, but if you were confronted by law enforcement for doing something you weren’t supposed to do and detained for any length of time for performing said action, you were arrested. Just so you’re aware of and completely clear on your situation, you were definitely arrested.

I’ve got some good news and some bad news. First the bad stuff: no letter from Ted Kooser, sorry man. I wouldn’t give up hope yet, though. I mean, he’s probably a very busy guy. I’m sure he’s got piles and piles of poems that he’s busy laureatting and he just hasn’t gotten to yours yet. Just give it some time.

And now for the GOOD NEWS (albeit very small good news)! Some chump(s) left $5.06 in your (new and improved!) donation bin. Some geezer passing by must have mistaken it for some kids with cancer charity it tossed in whatever they had in their back pocket. “Better I give it to this sketchy bucket than the government steal it and give it away to those dang-darnin’ (enter racial slur here).”

Despite your best efforts, I finally got into your room! It only took a grappling hook and a brick, but I did it. Honestly though, I sort of wish I had never gone in there. I’m finding it very difficult to unsee most of the things I saw in there, whether it be the half-rotten remains of James Patterson, Emperor of The Currents or the statuettes of what appears to be Cheryl participating in lewd sexual acts with carious barn yard animals. You’re a deeply, deeply disturbed individual. I luckily was able to get most of the pron out before Cheryl came over, however the neighbors have a new nickname for me: “Creepy-looking Pervert” (come on, it’s not even that clever). Don’t worry about your porn, it’s in storage and you can send for it when the time right (soon, please make that time soon).

Speaking of James Patterson, Emperor of The Currents…

enclosed please find the half-rotten remains of James Patterson, Emperor of The Currents! I figured you’d like a travel companion, and who better than the partially-mummified remains of the guinea pig that’s made my apartment smell like death? I bet you were excited when you had a package waiting for you at the Post Office, weren’t you?

I’m glad I took care of the smell situation when I did, because Cheryl and I are having a couple of her friends over my apartment for a wine-tasting get-together. I’ll admit, I don’t know much about tasting wine, but how hard could it be (“this tastes like grape juice, but grape juice that will get you FUCKED UP!”)? Really I’m just trying to get to know her friends better so she’ll be more comfortable to take the “next step.” ::crosses fingers::

Oh man, that meeting. In a nutshell, the meeting consisted of three members of upper-management, my manager and a sort-of-my-manager-but-not-really-my-boss-but-can-tell-me-what-to-do (I call him my Mini-Boss… like Protoman) explaining for a good hour and a half how they’re “very disappointed in my work,” and “are not entirely sure what I do here.” I mean, COME ON! I’m the assistant to the assistant team-leader in charge of developmental synergy and research juxtaposition! WHAT DON’T I DO!? Man, sometimes I feel so unappreciated for all the work I do there.

I’m glad to see you showing interest in my goings-ons. Usually the only time you ask me about my life is when you’re buttering me up to ask me for something.

Wait. You’re not about to ask me for money again, are you? You know Cheryl will be so pissed if she finds out about this!

I’m curious to find out what Slam-Poetry in Salt Lake City is like. All dissin’ people’s 4th wife and declaring “ain’t nobody worshippin’ like I be worhippin’!” Let me know how that turns out, it sounds absolutely ridiculous and perfect for you.

Here’s hoping you don’t offend too many SLC’ers, I hear they can kick you out pretty quickly for the most minor of things (although I’m sure getting kicked out is old hat for you, at this point).

DON’T DIE!

Pete

Peter and Andrew – 5th Letter

Peter,

You always were the practical one of us. After all, as you mentioned in your previous letter, your job at Global Synergy Limited could not be more predictable. This is why, I imagine, that you dream about something so straight-forward and unimaginative as Space-Cars. By the way, I never asked how that “big meeting” went at your job?

As for your comment that you can twist and turn poetic meaning to whatever you’d like just because the analysis of a creative process is, at best, a subjective task, and is therefore influenced by a myriad of personal feelings as well as inferred significance…well, to that I say that you are a DICK.

How DARE you even compare the “Itsy Bitsy Spider” fluff to my poetic masterpieces?!?! If you weren’t my only friend, and currently my only source of income, I’d think quite heavily about ending this letter RIGHT HERE.

But, because I have news to tell you, and because I choose to believe that you were really “just kidding” like you said, I’ll write on!

To answer your question, “Are the best poets the ones that can bury any sense of meaning under layer upon layer of obtuse metaphors?” I say YES. The best poetry should be an unending and densely enigmatic experience, whose ultimate meaning, upon finally being discovered, can be treated like a secret club between the reader and the author.

If I wanted to read something straight-forward, I would read the manual for the microwave at our apartment so I can finally learn how to defrost chicken in there without making it all cooked & rubbery. But, alas, as the chicken has taught us, we are all here for only a short amount of time before being an unpleasant carbon mass ruining life’s dinner plans.

Hmm…I’ll have to write that down on a piece of paper. I think I may have STRUCK GOLD with that one!

Onward to my story! Last I wrote, I was (im)patiently headed towards Garland, Nebraska in order to meet my new hero-by-proximity, TED KOOSER.

Well, as it turns out, people in that small community happen to know Mr. Kooser, and happen to “respect his privacy” enough not to tell “random lunatics” where he lives. Don’t worry, I wasn’t “arrested,” but I was asked by the police to please discontinue my search for the famed poet. I asked someone from Garland to please give him this poem to explain the situation. I hope it gets to his hands, as I feel he will quickly be in contact once he reads it:

kooser/
the.traveling.to.and.fro/
has.caused.the.distress/
of.digress/
with.toads.i.beckon.forward/
to.spot.the.lick/
cro.cro.cro.cro/
many.clocks.have.faltered/
the.inspiration.of.the.ages/
lies.in.this/
please.write.back.at.the.attached.address/

Since I’m not too sure when he’ll read it, and where I’ll be when he does, I figured I’d keep in touch with you and give him the address of our apartment. Right now, after explaining to the police that I wish to make it out to California, they explained that tomorrow they will escort me to a Greyhound bus. For now, I am being temporarily detained (much different than “arrested”…only lasts 1 night!) at their precinct.

The bus is going to stop at the Salt Lake City Greyhound station. I will be sure to check the Post Office at Salt Lake City for your reply. I assume, by then, Ted Kooser will have sent you his wishes for my contact information.

An officer here tells me that his younger brother goes to college near Salt Lake City, and that he attends some Slam Poetry readings that take place there. Apparently there is an open mic! I may spring for a room if I can’t find a place to crash so that I can take place in this reading.

Although, as we both know, my poetry is not much for being listened to. It is more about being read, and examined. But I’m sure if I explain this to the crowd, and pass out photocopies of my works, we can all spend my 5 minutes of stage-time reading silently.

As for the other portions of your letter, that poem you found from our “Poet’s Bender” was certainly a good lark. Again, I don’t know why the bartender wouldn’t let me pay for our shots with that poem. These people just don’t understand the value of GOOD POETRY!

It is with regret that I discuss, finally, the portion of your letter that deals with my room and Cheryl. If you and Cheryl ever do get married, and if I am indeed the best man, I always planned on my speech being “delivered” in the same fashion of my reading I plan on doing at the open mic: I will distribute copies of my poem/speech, and allow a moment for everyone to read. If, in fact, my poetry is as dense as she says it is, only I will know the TRUE MEANING behind my “cryptic words.” THEN WHO WILL HAVE THE LAST LAUGH?!?! James Patterson, Emperor of the Currents, you will be avenged!! The best guinea pig to ever roam the earth will not have died in vain!

Also, Peter, I can not believe you called a locksmith to enter my room! There was a reason why I put my entire collection of pornographic magazines, videos, and statuettes in front of the doorway, and exited through my window, down a rope, and to the street: it is so that no one could possibly enter. My years of magazine, VHS, DVD, and lewd-statuette collections may have prevented me from attaining any kind of real human relationship, but at least now it is preventing anyone from entering my room–and it is ESPECIALLY preventing Cheryl from moving any of her stuff in there! My room will not be your girlfriend’s closet space on my watch.

Hope all is well! Please write back with Ted Kooser’s response, and with any money left in the now-larger donation tin.

through.the.stars.and.the.dead.of.space/

andrew

PS. the wretched smell is probably from James Patterson, Emperor of the Currents’ decomposing guinea-pig body. Since I left, I haven’t been able to continue the mummification process. I promise that I will continue this upon my return.

Peter and Andrew – 4th Letter

Andrew,

You should write a poem about space cars, they sound totally cool. Think about it; rocket-cars transporting astronauts to space-work and rocket-minivans transporting their wives to space-pilates class. Space-cars man, that shit’s crazy.

Judging by the explanation you gave me, it seems to me that any poem can be construed to mean anything. Like, the “Itsy Bitsy Spider” could represent your Dad, the “rain” represents his raging alcoholism and love for bare-knuckle boxing your dog and the “sun” could mean it finally dawning on him that he loves dudes and his running away to Chile with Armando. You see? It all makes sense now that I made some vague connections and talked down to somebody in a holier-than-thou tone. Do you think I was born to be a poetry critic after all?

I’m just kidding, man. I don’t mean to make fun. I guess I just never got poetry, you know? What makes it good? Are the best poets the ones that can bury any sense of meaning under layer upon layer of obtuse metaphors?

Actually, why don’t you get Mr. Kooser to answer me, since you’re so positive you’re going to be meeting him? I honestly couldn’t imagine him letting some random fan into his house, but you’ve certainly impressed me with your resourcefulness thus far. I’m sure you’ll be able to lure him in with the old “if I spend $100 dollars on you, you’re morally obligated to be my friend” trick. Then, he’ll give you all his poetry secrets and you’ll get to California and write the classic American epic and make millions of dollars, all thanks to the generous gift by your friend Pete.

But more than likely he’ll just call the cops on you. Just make sure to not get busted for anything but trespassing.

I called a locksmith to try to get into your room (changing the lock, very mature) but he said there was still something on the other side of the door that was keeping him from opening it.
A. What the fuck did you do?
B. How do I fix it?
There’s a wretched smell coming from in there and I can’t do anything about it but fill my apartment with scented candles. The apartment smells like the collection of gifts that I got for every girl that I knew well enough to feel obligated to buy a gift for but not well enough to know what they actually like.

I wish Cheryl and you got along better. You know, if we get married (oh no, I hope I didn’t jinx it), you’d have to be best man, which means you’d be forced to say something nice about her in your speech. You can’t put too much blame on her for the untimely death of James Patterson, Emperor of The Currents, the note you left for her was one of your poems. I doubt she understood it.

Speaking of the “poet’s bender,” I was cleaning out my closet and found a poem you wrote during that week of debauchery. Here it is (edited without the dots and slashes, for legibility purposes):

SHOTS YOU FUCKING BITCHES
RRRRRRRRRRAAAAAAAAARGH!
Peter’s a pussy, alliteration=truth
Check out the rack on that specialty pie
No leave? We’re only not seeing!

Oh man, I still feel like I’m recovering from that.

If you’re in jail by the time you get this, be someone’s bitch or kill someone the first day. That’s the only way you’ll be protected.

I’ll try to save up in case I have to wire you bail money, but Cheryl yelled at me sending you money last time. I’ll see what I can do.

For the love of God take care of yourself.

-Peter

Peter and Andrew – 3rd Letter

Peter,

First off, I would like to thank you for what you said about seeing a “marked improvement” in my poetry.

That being said…SPACE-CARS?!? Seriously, Peter. My poem is not about Space Cars. If it even makes you THINK of Space Cars, you must have some kind of reading problem, because that is fucking stupid. Let’s go through it all. Believe me, it’ll benefit you when I’m famous so you don’t look like an ass telling people I write poems about Space Cars, when the rest of the world knows the truth, and can see my vision! The poem is obviously about the dark side of pollution:

the.kiss.of.fate/

– The Kiss of Fate here is clearly the Sun. The sun floats in the sky like a hot Hershey’s Kiss. And “fate” is because it’s the sun. Clearly the sun has a lot to do with our fate.

supplies.me.with.all.the/
chances.the.sky.needs.to.sanitize/
the.highways.as.the.cars.fly.by/

– It seriously couldn’t be any more obvious, Peter. The sun provides me (by which I obviously mean The Earth, because, as I told you before I left, I’m working on my epic masterpiece in which I write poems with the Earth as the narrator) with all the chances the sky needs to sanitize the highways. Ok, well The Earth’s saying “The Sun’s giving me everything I need to clean these highways,” but then “as the cars fly by” is saying “perhaps, but the cars keep coming.”

It is now that we feel the intense drama that is this poem. The narrator, the Earth, wants to clean his highways, and the big Kiss in the sky wants to help, but the cars keep coming.

vroom.kaboom.spitoon.platoon/

– This line depicts an epic battle whose size and magnitude have never been seen in all our human wars. Even if you combine the War of 1812 with the prophesized war between good and evil in Revelations, you would not even come close to the DRAMA of this line. Think about it: it all rhymes, AND it shows the cars, “vroom,” the bombs, “kaboom,” old-timeyness like the War of 1812, “spitoon,” and the battle, “platoon.” The war between moral obligation and a harsh reality is underway.

what.can.we.all.know/
only.that.it.is.us/
that.holds.up.the.stars/

– Well, what can we do to help the Earth’s battle against this dark beast of pollution? It is us. We hold up the stars at night, by which I of course mean it’s our trash on the highway. But we can’t clean it up, because we’ll only make more. Much like how we may hold up the stars, but some of them don’t even exist anymore–their light just finally reached earth. So we are holding up everything and nothing, the dark and the light, the used condoms on the side of the road and the trash bag. What can we do?

THAT, Peter, is what this poem means. Hopefully you see how obvious it all was now.

And thank you for the $100! It is much appreciated. I’m sorry that your mom has such little faith in my ability to survive on my own. As you can tell by this letter, I am still very much ALIVE.

I got off the bus at the Omaha Bus Station, then walked to the Post Office. I picked up your letter and this cash. I was going to, as you said, use it on a train or bus ticket to get me to California safely, but then I realized something: I’m only 74 miles away from the home of former Poet Laureate and all around amazing man TED KOOSER! The last time I checked his Wikipedia page, it said he lived near Garland, Nebraska.

So, I started walking the 74 miles to Mr. Kooser’s house. I started to get very tired after only 12 hours of walking. Luckily, someone passing by saw me, and was nice enough to give me a ride! I explained who I was, my dream of being a poet, and my desire to be dropped off at Ted Kooser’s House.

I am now at a homeless shelter in nearby Lincoln, NE. The man who picked me up told them I was a crazy homeless man with delusions of grandeur. I have heeded your advice and shaved my beard, since I was unable to convince anyone here that not only was I a poet and not homeless, but that I was only 28 years old (the average guess here was 54). I have since thought of some poets that were clean shaven, and that has helped.

Everyone is very nice here, and they provide with me food. However, I am planning on running away tomorrow (tonight’s meatloaf!) to get advice from a former Poet Laureate!

Thanks for not telling the IRS where I was. It’s a shame that tax evasion is currently biting me in the ass in the form of an empty donation tin. This is why I have sent, along with this letter, a much LARGER vessel I found under the beds here.

I’m happy to hear about things going well between you and Cheryl. You and her go great together, and you know I believe that, so I hope you don’t take offense, but tell that bitch to keep her whore body out of my damn room! If she even thinks of laying one slutty finger on that doorknob, tell her I will personally write the most SCATHING poem I can, and title it “Cheryl: Diary of an ASSHOLE.”

Sorry man. I just still can’t forgive her for killing James Patterson, Emperor of The Currents (or “the guinea pig” as she whorishly called him). She couldn’t even do me the simple favor of taking a week off work to give him his shots at the appropriate times when you and I left to go on a “Poet’s Bender.”

I’ll check the Post Office in Garland, Nebraska for your reply. If you have any more money to donate, it would be much appreciated. I plan on spending this $100 taking Ted Kooser to a nice restaurant for dinner.

through.the.stars.and.the.dead.of.space/

andrew