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Send her to the carnival in the sky

Dear Mr. Bonaparte,


It has been my privilege working with Napoleon’s Flying Circus for the past year and a half.  I believe that my hard work, tiny dimensions and freakish flexibility have made me an asset to the troop.  I have made many strong friendships with my fellow contortionists, and I would be sorry to leave.  However, my working relationship with The Amazing Tatiana is intolerable.


Tatiana has been working with you for a long time, quite possibly before I was even born.  And I hate to break it to you, but it shows. 


We all know that back in the day she was at the top of her field.  Trust me, she never tires of telling us.  But those days are over, and yet she insists on keeping the best tricks for herself.  The girls and I have been trying to cover for her, but the other day in the group contortion act when her arms gave out at the top of the pyramid, she almost put Tara in the hospital.  She is still jumping through the hoop of fire, even though they don’t make flame-retardant unitards in her size anymore. 


The worst was last Saturday after the big cookout.  She wouldn’t think of skipping the barrel contortion act – which was a gross miscalculation, because she got wedged in there so tight, it took two elephant trainers and three pounds of melted butter to slide her out.


Mr. Bonaparte, I was born to squeeze myself into that barrel.  My entire career has been building up to this point.  Give me that chance and you won’t be sorry.


I know you encourage us girls to sort things out on our own, and that the occasional catfight boosts ticket sales.  But in the interest of professionalism, and in fear of what has been described to me as “Tatiana’s bloodthirsty shiv” I am begging you to intervene before it’s too late.


Yours sincerely,


Tasha the Invincible


The bird can stay, but you gotsta go

Dear Pixie,


Paul and Phil and I had a talk the other day and we have decided unanimously – you need to move out as soon as possible.


It’s true that you and Pete have been more respectful lately by getting high on the porch every night instead of in the living room, but since you are perpetually stoned, you haven’t been to the grocery store in at least a month, and in that time I haven’t had a jar of peanut butter or a carton of ice cream last more than thirty-five minutes in the house, and I gave up buying frozen pizzas about the time you moved in.


I’ve long suspected you of mooching off my toiletries, but I had no idea how bad it had gotten until I went away for 10 days.  I measured everything by weight before I left, and now I am down by 10oz of shampoo, 25oz of conditioner, 3oz of moisturizing fluid, and about a pint of mouthwash.  By my estimates, this means that in the past six months you’ve stolen about $300 worth of my shit.


Phil just about busted a gasket when he found out that you had used his entire stash of saffron to make body paint.  But the final straw came when Paul found a toenail in your telltale shade of neon green at the bottom of his cereal bowl.  How in God’s name it got there, I don’t know, but we cannot go on living like this. 


I know this will be a difficult time for you, but we will do everything we can to make this a smooth and rapid transition.  Have you and Pete thought about moving in together?  I can help you pack, and the guys are totally willing to help you with the heavy lifting. 


There is one other issue, and I know this might not be the best time to ask, but it has to do with Parcheesi – Pixie, we love your bird, and we want him to stay. 


Ever since we noticed Parcheesi looking a little groggy and realized that you were out of birdseed – who knows for how long – the three of us have been taking up a collection to keep him in seed.  And that time when he got sick, I was the one who read the bird books and fed him medicine out of a dropper.  I love it when he flies around and lands on my head while I’m reading, and his happy little chirping makes my day.  Honestly, we waited so many months to tell you to move out because we love the little guy so much. 


Please think of what’s best for Parcheesi.  You know that we’d take great care of him.





There's something wrong with your monkey

Dear Mariko Suzuki,

I regret to inform you that Marimbo Monkeypants, the spider monkey my wife and I rented from your business, was defective.

My daughter loves monkeys and we were thrilled to make her birthday wish come true.  We read all of your literature, and when the trainer arrived, we had a platter of vegetables for the children at the party to feed Marimbo.  However, the trainer appeared visibly stoned and after returning from a cigarette break, she began pelting Marimbo with donut holes.  The trainer and the children thought this was hilarious.  But Marimbo underwent a horrifying transformation. 

At first my daughter was thrilled when he began swinging from the chandelier, but her love affair with monkeys ended when Marimbo began tearing open her presents and racing through the house emptying and stomping the contents of drawers and cabinets.  The sounds of children wailing only enraged him further and he began flinging his feces at her young friends.  At this point my wife and I were distracted between calming children and trying to contain the monkey. 

The fact that during this chaos the trainer passed out in a barkalounger, I’m afraid can only be attributed to a massive substance abuse problem, or barring that, acute narcolepsy.  During her impenetrable sleep, and before we could remove the children, Marimbo Monkeypants stripped her from the waist up and began to commit erotic acts that beggar description. 

My wife and I were not planning to explain the facts of life for some time.  Instead we were forced to interpret an act of reverse bestiality to half a kindergarten class on what should have been the happiest day of our daughter’s young life.

We are hoping that we will not have to resort to legal action, but our lawyer is encouraging us to seek a class action suit for ourselves and the traumatized families.  We would be willing to settle out of court for damages and the cost of what will likely be years of therapy.

Michael Martin
Dear Liz,

I am so sorry I haven’t written you back.  I was grateful to get your Christmas card, and yes, now that Leo and I are retired, we would love to come out and visit you.  When it hit me the other day that Christmas was, oh, nine months ago, and you’re still waiting to hear from me, I was mortified.  

Unless you’re a true procrastinator like I am you won’t understand, but basically your card was displayed prominently until Easter with all the other Christmas cards, and I thought of you often.  "Geez, I should really call Liz," I’d think, and then I’d do about forty-thousand other things, walk past your card, rinse, repeat.  It must have been around Easter that I started to feel hugely guilty for not responding, so then when I thought things like, "oh, I just saw the greatest movie that Liz would totally get a kick out of,' I would just start berating myself for being such a lousy friend.  

Now, logically, the best way to stop feeling guilty would be to stop torturing myself and just call you already, but somehow my pathology defies logic.  I could have gone on digging this hole for myself indefinitely, but luckily, I had one of those moments of total hypocrisy where I was impatiently waiting for my daughter to return a phone call, and I thought of you, and here we are.

So, new season’s resolution - I will reply to letters as soon as I get them and stop missing out on great opportunities like snorkeling with you and Larry, which I would so have loved to have done.  Maybe next year?  

To recap: 1) Hi, my name is Lauren and I’m a recovering flake.  2) Leo and I will start looking at dates to come out for next summer right away, and if you don’t hear from me in a couple of weeks CALL ME.  3) If you haven’t seen The Bourne Ultimatum yet, you’ll love it - thought of you the whole time.


Your underwear ruined my life

Dear Jean Bisniak,


I have been a customer of your lingerie line for many years.  From the high-waisted full-coverage of the eighties to the micro-thong of the late nineties, to the low-rider boy-shorts of today, I’ve been with you all the way.  I even had a pair of circa 1995 Rios – not a lot of people can say that!  Over the years I’ve been highly satisfied with the quality of your product, and I’ve encouraged friends to support your store as well.


However, I recently had a tragic underwear malfunction which is changing my opinion of Bizniz Intimates.  I don’t know if you were asleep at the wheel, or if you intentionally pimped out inferior undergarments to the public, but the fact remains: the elastic in that thong was woefully inadequate.


I am referring to model #867114R, which is a thong with a picture of George W. Bush making a monkey face, saying, “Give Me Your Banana.”  My boyfriend purchased said thong from your store as a gag gift to me.  In the box?  Hilarious.  In the bedroom?  A little unnerving, perhaps, but still funny.  On the floor of my place of employment?  Disastrous.


I work as a waitress at a German restaurant.  On Friday night, in the middle of happy hour, I was bustling over to my table, arms balancing a tray of massive steins, when I felt the faintest slip of fabric.  Little did I know that I was facing a total elastic shutdown.  Before I realized what was happening, George Bush was around my ankles, and I was lying bare-assed on the floor covered in ten pints of beer. 


I don’t know if I lost my job because I refused to replace what turned out to be very expensive steins, or because I flashed the entire restaurant, or because my boss is now convinced that I’m a Republican, but the end result is the same.  Your underwear ruined my life.


I am enclosing the thong in the hopes that you will give me proper compensation for the financial hardship and emotional anguish I have endured.  If that “compensation” comes in the form of underwear, so be it.  But please, no thongs.  It’s too traumatic.


Yours sincerely,

Jen Kearney




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April 2008


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