Emails From Lake Woe-Is-Me — Fit the Fifty-Fifth

[Introduction: Melanie Stormm continues her humorous series of posts about the misdirected emails she’s been getting. Stormm is a multiracial writer who writes fiction, poetry, and audio theatre. Her novella, Last Poet of Wyrld’s End is available through Candlemark & Gleam. She is currently the editor at the SPECk, a monthly publication on speculative poetry by the SFPA. Find her in her virtual home at coldwildeyes.com. Wipe your feet before entering.]

PAVLOV’S BACKSPACE

Hello All, Melanie here!

There’s a time for a writer’s self-editor to scrutinize their manuscript. The first draft is not the time. Especially not when NaNoWriMo is on the line. Hey. That rhymes.

Without further ado…


From: Bevvy Hart

Fw: I’m afraid we’re too behind

Dear Gladys,

Can you please respond to this, I’m in the middle of seeing a guy about a taco truck!!!!!!!

xox,

X

P.S. If she thinks I’m going to roll over and let the Fantasy Writer’s Meet Up win our November Writing Competition she’s got another thought coming!!!! What is keeping these fantasy writers from writing?????

P.P.S. Brokenheap can’t win. They don’t even have a corn maze!!!!

begin forwarded message

Dear X,

It’s November 13th. While you have definitely made progress with Ravenhair’s word count last week, looking at these numbers, I can’t help but think our team is terminally behind. I don’t mean to make you feel that you are unappreciated, but what are your plans to address this? Edwina is LOSING words.

I’m available at any time if you would like some guidance on how to get us back on track.

Fantasy Writer’s Meetup of Brokenheap, NH:
88,766 total words written

Ink Black Coffee Club’s Fantasy Dream Team of Cradensburg, NH:
30,405.15 total words written

Bevvy Madison Hart: 0 total words written
Tod Boadkins: 23,760 total words written
Edwina Tómas: 6.15 total words written
Ravenhair Silkenwind: 6639 total words written
Writer X: 0 total words written

I am confident my word count will catch up when I write today. I’ll start my story just as soon as I decide on what font I should write it in. Georgia? Times New Roman? Comic Sans?

With Concern,

Bevvy

Bevvy Madison Hart she/her

Wandering Spirit Small Press, CEO
A Vegan Owned and Operated Press


Subject: Sasquatch Repellent

Dear Gladys,

I’m sure you’re dying to know how my Poison Oak rash is doing. Whatever Tryxy tells you, I think it’s definitely playing a role in how effective my latest disguise is!!!!

This situation with the Fantasy Writer’s Meetup of Brokenheap New Hampshire is really starting to stress me out. I also haven’t gotten ANY words written so far and you know I’m usually a WRITING MACHINE, Gladsy!!!

Right now I have to focus on cracking the case on Edwina’s disappearing word count. Now that I have all the necessary equipment I can see myself wrapping this up today as neat as a burrito and then getting to work on Bevvy Hart.

THIS IS GOING TO BE EASY!!!!

…that was an affirmation. But I didn’t feel it deep down in my spleen. And just as I typed that, dark storm clouds rolled over the horizon and blackened the sky and an ill wind began to blow.

Hmmm.

While I have you, you once told me that there’s something you can put in your yard to keep the sasquatch away but now I can’t remember what is was? Mothballs? Deer urine?? Drakkar Noir???

Could you bring me some of whatever it is? I need it ASAP. The sasquatch situation on this side of town is out of control. Johnny Chicken had a whole display of decorative gourds on his front porch and it was taken by sasquatch. I’m worried that they’re going to get meat from my freezer like they did to my protege R___’s house!!!

But don’t bring it to my house or my work!!! You can find me down at the Gun Factory in my latest disguise as a Taco Truck Lunch lady. I’m wearing a hot pink sombrero and have a lot of calomine loation all over my face!!!!

The workday bell is ringing, gotta go infiltrate a Gun Factory!!!! Will send updates soon on Edwina!!!!!

xox,

X


Subject: THIS IS HARDER THAN I THOUGHT!!!!!!

Dear Gladys,

Well it’s the end of the workday and I have ZERO leads on what to do about Edwina’s word count. Hang on, I have to put down my phone, there are police lights.

Okay I’m back!!!! There was a sasquatch family crossing the road outside the gun factory and the police were slowing traffic during the migration. Had to put down my phone so that they don’t think I’m texting while driving a taco truck!!!!!

Is it just me or are the sasquatch especially bad this year???

With my taco truck safely parked in the employee lot, I was able to smuggle myself into the gun factory. I found Edwina working in the cell that makes dart guns and strategically hid myself behind the wax castings.

Edwina was working peacefully, absolutely no signs of writer’s block!!!! She was listening to Celine Dion’s 1998 Grammy-Nominated Christmas Album “These Are Special Times” when boss interrupts and starts lecturing her. I couldn’t hear what he was saying over the foundry but Edwina visibly shrunk and shut off her music.

At lunch, she ordered three chicken tacos (she didn’t recognize me thanks to the calomine loation), pulled out her laptop and started to work on what I can only describe as elven erotica. It was hard to read the screen with these binoculars, but as far as I could tell she wrote ats least THREEE single spaced pages.

I turned my head for ONE SECOND Gladys to nuke this guy’s BEAN N CHEESE BURRITO and when I looked back, her pages were gone and she had exactly SIX words!!!!!

The only thing good to come out of this is that I noticed a detoxifying foot bath in her bosses’ office. Think I’ll sneak in and treat myself to a nice simmering toe treat since I’ll be back here tomorrow. My dogs are killing me!!!!

xox,

X

P.S. Brokenheap can’t win!!!! They don’t even have a headstone salesman!!!!!

sent from my iPhone


Subject: NOTES FROM THE GUN FACTORY

Dear Gladys,

I’m going to send you my notes as soon as the whistle blows!!! Please comb them for clues on what to do about Edwina’s word count!!!!

And here are the latest word count updates, they’re getting far ahead of us. Tod Boadkins needs to up his word count!!!!!!!

Fantasy Writer’s Meetup of Brokenheap, NH:
97,161 total words written

Ink Black Coffee Club’s Fantasy Dream Team of Cradensburg, NH:
34,862.85 total words written

Bevvy Madison Hart: 0 total words written
Tod Boadkins: 26,209 total words written
Edwina Tómas: 5.85 total words written
Ravenhair Silkenwind: 8,648 total words written
Writer X: 0 total words written

That’s the whistle!!!!

– – – – –

9:07 a.m. Edwina makes it to her cell where they are making dart guns. Says hello to the other workers in the dart gun cell. EVEYRONE IS IN A GRATE MOOD< GLADYS!!!

9:16 a.m. Pulls a CD out of her bag. It’s Mariah Carey’s seminal 1994 holiday album “Merry Christmas” or at least I think that’s what it is. I have a lot of calomine in my eye. Well, you know what it means when people start playing christmas music gladys!!! Thanksgiving is a few weeks away!!!!

9:56 a.m. The foreman tells Edwina that she’s going to drill holes in barrels again today.

10:07 a.m. Boss comes out of his office. Maybe I can slip in and use his foot bath!!!!

10:12 a.m. Whew! That was close, Gladys!!!! Glad I didn’t take off my sneakers or I wouldn’t have escaped the office in time when the boss came back in to get his coffee mug!!!!

10:58 a.m. Edwina is putting on the Mariah Carey album again.

11:06 a.m. Boss goes out and starts yelling at Edwina. Gives her a stack of forms to fill out. Tells her she used blue ink on the last ones and she should have used navy blue ink. Tells her if she doesn’t get the forms filled out before lunch, he’s going to write her up. Edwina is very red and lloks like she might cry.

11:09 a.m. Edwina puts up picture of boss on wall. Throws darts at it. Others join in.

HANG ON!!! Have to get out to my truck, Gladys!!! IT’s getting to be TACO TIME!!!!

Edwina ordered the tostada plate with extra guacamole. Wrote five sizzling pages of elven erotica.

Oh that annoying Burrito Guy is back. I have to go tell him where to stick his pico de gallo!!!!

WHAT HAPPENED CLADYS!!!!! Edwina’s words disappeared!!!!! She’s down to FOUR WORDS!!!! I’m never going to hear the end of this from Bevvy!!!!!

xox,

X


From: Bevvy Hart

Fw: We should talk soon

Dear Gladys,

ARGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

HHHHHHHHHHHHH

HHHHHHHHH

xox,

X

P.S. Some sasquatch broke into my meat freezer and stole all my taco meat!!!! Fortunately Tryxy is my pinchhitter. He’s off to Mr. Morgans to scrounge up some replacements for today’s lunch menu!!!!!

P.P.S. I NEED ACCESS TO THAT FOOTBATH GLADYS, My stress levels are so high my face is itching again!!!!!

begin forwarded message

Dear X,

I can’t believe I’m writing this, but we are at November 15th. That’s exactly halfway through NaNoWriMo and our team hasn’t even written half the words that Brokenheap has written. We have never been so catastrophically behind.

Except for last year and the year before when we were significantly more behind.

I’m particularly concerned about your word count. How are you supposed to lead a team when you’re not producing any words?

I thought you were helping Edwina, but how are her word counts shrinking? I don’t want to come down on you but I can’t help but feel that I threw you into this responsibility before you were ready for it. Please don’t be afraid to ask for my help. Have you tried sending the writers some affirmations?

Don’t worry about my word count. I usually do my best writing in the latter half of the month. I have time to write today and will start just as soon as I teach my turtle telepathy.

Fantasy Writer’s Meetup of Brokenheap, NH:
107,551 total words written

Ink Black Coffee Club’s Fantasy Dream Team of Cradensburg, NH:
40,252 total words written

Bevvy Madison Hart: 0 total words written
Tod Boadkins: 29,254 total words written
Edwina Tómas: 4 total words written
Ravenhair Silkenwind: 10,994 total words written
Writer X: 0 total words written

Call me please. We can’t have Brokenheap win. They don’t even have a ubiquitous New Hampshire Vape shop.

Bevvy

Bevvy Madison Hart she/her

Wandering Spirit Small Press, CEO
A Vegan Owned and Operated Press


Subject: All I want for Christmas is this footbath!!!!!

Dear Gladys,

Being a write team coordinator is hard work but it comes with its perks. It is afternoon and I am writing you from the boss’s office and enjoying an orange bergamot footbath. I bet you when people read fantasy novels they never ONCE think how many taco trucks had to be hijacked to make sure those words were written!!!

This little break is brought to you by Edwina’s boss’ need to MICRO MANAGE EVERYTHING. He really needs to be nicer to Edwina, if I didn’t need to use his foot bath I would march right up to him and given him a piece of my mind and a coupon for fifty percent off Taco Tuesday.

This morning Edwina’s music choice was Josh Groban’s fourth studio album, the critically acclaimed Christmas Album “Noel.” His rendition of Little Drummer Boy just SENDS ME!!!!

But this whole time Edwina’s boss has been out there telling her “not to load the drill like this, load it like that or you’ll kill someone!” and “what are you doing? TRYING TO MAKE A GUN THAT SHOOTS AROUND CORNERS?!!!” He’s very yelly.

That said, I THINK I’VE FIGURED OUT WHAT’S GOING ON WITH EDWINA!!!! She’s hitting the backspace key whenever she finishes writing for the day!!!!!! What are we going to do to break her of this habit????

At lunch, Edwina ordered a PBJ sandwich (Tryxy’s solution, he’s a genius!!!) and an horchata and wrote FIVE pages. Re-read them, looked worried, looked over her shoulder back and forth, AND THEN HIT THE BACKSPACE KEY UNTIL EVERY WORD WAS GONE!!!!!!

Oh, gotta go, Gladys!!! I better flee!!!! That’s the boss entering his offi

sent from my iPhone


Subject: ANOTHER CASE CLOSED!!!!!!

Dear Gladys,

Well, the sasquatches ran off with my taco truck last night and threw it in the river, but that’s okay because I won’t be needing it anymore as a cover. Let me catch you up on what I’ve been up to the last two days.

As you may have seen on the news, I was captured by the gun factory security and carried off the premise. I tried to return the next day, but they saw straight through my disguise as a dominos delivery driver. I wasn’t going to let that stop me!!!!

I went straight down to the town green, looked under a bunch of rocks and found that fugitive gnome that escaped from the Magical Marketplace a couple winters ago. It turns out he is a CODING Wizard!!!!! I described to him my problem with Edwina and he whipped up an app. All that was left was for me to break into Edwina’s locker and install it in her computer. But the question was, HOW COULD I GET INTO THE GUN FACTORY NOW THAT THEY SAW THROUGH ALL MY DISGUISES?????

Easy. Buy a gun.

I marched right into their offices and said “Would you toss out a paying customer?????” Never mind the fact that they don’t have a retail front there, I was able to wave around about $2000 cash in the boss man’s face and he let me walk out with one of Edwina’s dart guns. Was able to slip to her locker and install the gnome app.

The way it works is, every time Edwina hits the backspace key, the system seizes up and shows her a picture of her boss and gives the sound of a loud and foreboding bell. I bet you’re wondering if it worked? Well, I’ll just let these numbers speak for themselves.

Fantasy Writer’s Meetup of Brokenheap, NH:
124,321 total words written

Ink Black Coffee Club’s Fantasy Dream Team of Cradensburg, NH:
54,640 total words written

Bevvy Madison Hart: 0 total words written
Tod Boadkins: 36,856 total words written
Edwina Tómas: 2756 total words written
Ravenhair Silkenwind: 15,028 total words written
Writer X: 0 total words written

Would you look at that success!!!!

Only Bevvy’s right. We are WAYYYY behind Brokenheap and I don’t know what we’re going to do. We’re going to have to take some EXTREME MEASURES next week, Gladys!!!! NaNoRoBots is NOTHING to play around with!!!!

Fortunately I’m especially good at extreme measures.

Sometimes you have to focus on the positives. I got a dart gun out of the deal. I dropped by the Department of Fish & Game to pick up some sasquatch tranquilizer darts. I was banned from that office last year but they didn’t even recognize me so I was able to waltz straight in and load up on narcotics!!!! I’m going to head out and try and take down some of the sasquatch in my yard.

Off to drop some squatch!!!

xox,

X


Subject: Just shot the mail man

Dear Gladys,

Edwina makes horrible guns. I just tried to hit a sasquatch standing RIGHT in front of me in my yard and the dart went sideways and hit the mail man. Your mail might be late. He’s probably going to sleep for a day or two.

I’ll just cover him with some of these leaves here.

That boss should fire Edwina!!!!

xox,

X

TOLD X SHE

SHOULD STOP

SCRATCHING.

DIDN’T LISTEN.

POISON OAK

SPREAD TO

HER FACE

NOW SHE

LOOKS LIKE

DON CORLEONE.

SIGH.

SO WHAT ARE

YOUR PLANS

FOR

THANKSGIVING?

3 thoughts on “Emails From Lake Woe-Is-Me — Fit the Fifty-Fifth

  1. Since you asked, Tryxy, I’ll be traveling to Massachusetts, very close to the border of New Hampshire. I’m not sure if Cradensberg is near Mass, but nevertheless I will be sure to drive carefully. I wouldn’t want to accidentally “drop some squatch”.

  2. Hello Kitty. Sasquatches hate Hello Kitty, no one knows why. Usually they just run away, but sometimes they go into a rage, so be careful

  3. @PJ Don’t you get a “this car dropped some squatch” bumper sticker a lá “this car climbed Mr. Washington”? You wouldn’t want to miss that, would you?

    @Jim Yes. Yes, this makes sense. Adding this to my notes: Hello Kitty is to Sasquatch what Hot Sauce isn’t to Bears.

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