Re: Your Chinchilla


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4 min
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Dear Editor,
Attached is my short story, "Lovestruck." Please publish it in your magazine as I see it becoming a runaway success.
Best,
Nancy
(P.S. It's allegorical.)

***

Dear Editor,
I thank you for wishing me luck in finding a different publisher for "Lovestruck." However, considering that you thanked me for sending you the story, I can only assume that this is a clumsy attempt to frighten me into accepting a lower rate. Professional pay will be fine, thanks.
Nancy

***

Dear Editor,
I see—playing coy, are we? While the automated response did give me a good jolt of humility, in the future you may wish to be more careful: a less confident writer might've taken it seriously and given up! You mustn't overdo the bargaining, you know. But who am I to tell you how to do your job?
Sincerely,
Nancy
P.S. Professional rate is still fine.

***

Dear Editor,
Since it seemed that further emails to the submission link were only bogging things down, I took the liberty of finding your personal e-mail address via Facebook. (You really should be more careful about what you post. There are scads of weirdos out there.)
Now, if we could get on with the process of publishing my story...?
Best,
Nancy
P.S. You post way too many photos of your pet rabbit. That's a surefire way to scare off women. If you're looking for romance tips, perhaps you might consult "Lovestruck"?
P.S.S. I hope your trip to Maui was fun!

***

Okay, listen, Frank:
1) It's not stalking if I look up information that you posted on Facebook. Seriously, change your settings if you're so paranoid about it.
2) How the hell was I supposed to know it was a chinchilla? Who has a pet chinchilla? What even is a chinchilla?
3) I did not appreciate your "critique" of "Lovestruck." "Critique" is in scare quotes because it was not at all helpful. Didn't anyone teach you that criticism is supposed to be constructive? And really—"unpublishable horsesh*t"? That's just mean, Frank. Childish.
Nancy :(

***

Dear Frank,
I apologize for calling you childish. I've had time to think things over, and I realize that life as an editor must be highly stressful. Deadlines, pushy writers, amateurs who think they're the next J.K. Rowling . . . I get it. So I appreciate you, Frank. I appreciate you for not letting me get by with less than my best. I will accept your tough love and revise "Lovestruck."
Thanks,
Nancy
P.S. I did some research, and it seems chinchillas don't tolerate heat well. Perhaps you shouldn't have taken Gus to Maui.

***

Frank:
Unrevisable? What do you mean "Lovestruck" is unrevisable? It's got its issues, granted, but do you think I should abandon it completely? I'm trying to work with you, but you're making it difficult. (Moreover, I still haven't seen my contract. Shouldn't you have sent that by now?)
Listen, I won't put up too much of a fuss, but just let me remind you: people didn't like Tom Clancy's War and Peace at first either, but look at him now. I think Tom Cruise played the title character in one of his movies!
Humbly,
Nancy

***

Frank,
I find it embarrassing that an editor of a literary magazine doesn't know who wrote War and Peace. But fine, let's agree to disagree.
Anyway, since you so morosely and inexplicably refused "Lovestruck," I have graciously sent you my latest piece, "The Forgotten Writer." Considering you haven't sent the contract yet, I don't foresee any problems with the swap.
As far as pay goes, professional rate is still fine.
Yours,
Nancy

***

Dear Frank,
I received your fourteen articles on Leo Tolstoy. One would have been sufficient, thank you.
To cut to the chase: the character "Edgar" was not based on you. I know everyone dreams of being immortalized in literature, but you really mustn't force comparisons like that. Edgar isn't anything like you, except for the editing job and pet chinchilla. There are tons of editors in this world, Frank. And from what I understand, chinchillas have become quite a common household companion. This tendency to see yourself in works of fiction might be prompted by some form of psychological trauma. Might I suggest counseling? I myself see a great therapist. She's the one who helped me find my passion for the written word.
So, when should I expect to see "The Forgotten Writer" in print?
Best,
Nancy
P.S. I thought the scene where the chinchilla died was exquisite. I refuse to cut it.

***

Frank,
Look, you need to get a handle on things here. I don't mean to imply that you're slipping, but you keep accidentally blocking me, and it takes awhile for me to keep making new email accounts. And seriously, the begging routine is getting tedious. I understand that you're busy right now. You don't have to make up excuses—we all fall behind in work. (Though I do confess, you've a way with words—the one about your "inability to comprehend the twisted recesses of my mind" was sheer poetry. Do you mind if I borrow that at some point?)
Yours,
Nancy

***

Dear Emilia,
As I'm sure you've heard, your magazine in on the verge of publishing my delightful short story, "Lovestruck." Thus far I've been working on the publishing process with Frank, but since I'm having a hard time getting a timely response from him, I've taken the liberty of reaching out to you, his colleague. I'm sure Frank won't mind. After all, he is quite busy. He told me he has to take Gus to the dentist every day this week. (Between you and me, that seems a bit much for a chinchilla—I think Frank's dentist is scamming him.)
Regardless, I'm so pleased you'll get to be the lucky gal credited with discovering me. I can tell this is the start of a splendid relationship.
Much thanks,
Nancy
P.S. Do you mind if I call you Millie?
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