Team Deathray – Letter 1

Philip,

I would like to discuss with you your performance on the Volleyball courts.

I know it was our first week of this recreational league, and I even heard some people from other teams say things like “this is a great reason for us to drink beer and have snacks by the water!” Well, this is NOT the attitude I have, and it will NOT be the attitude that we have on Team Deathray.

Team Deathray is about WINNING. Winning and winning alone. Which is why I declared myself team captain, and why am writing to you today. This is a competition, Philip, not an excuse for you to laugh with your friends and play games.

I know that we only met at your sister’s and my wedding a few weeks ago, but the reality of the situation is that I am here to stay and that things will be my way or the highway. We had to move back to New Jersey because your sister’s job transferred her back to her hometown. No offense, but I was fine not knowing your family. The stories I hear make me uneasy. All the joy and imbibing and baking…not my style.

I am big on stern competition and winning. I laugh whenever people say “it’s not a competition.” EVERYTHING’s a competition! This recreational Volleyball league was your sister’s idea. She wanted to get some friends and your family together in an opportunity for us to all get to know each other better. I warned her that if we did this, I would need to be team captain, and I would require 100% dedication. She laughed.

She should not have laughed.

This recreational league is serious business, Philip. And if we are to win am going to have to start seeing more dives, more spikes, and less chit-chat and beer consumption. How you choose to abuse your body is none of my business. However, it becomes my business when you bring a cooler to our court and ask who wants “a brewskie.” This behavior has to stop NOW.

We will meet after work tomorrow to go over drills and discuss our next plan of attack. It’s a war to first place, and I intend on standing atop a pile of those who I have defeated and shouting “I HAVE DEFEATED YOU! I AM YOUR NEW GOD!”

Respectfully,

– Your brother-in-law Scott

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

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.