Emails From Lake Woe-Is-Me — Fit the Ninety-Eighth

A dark forest sits beneath a starry sky. Creepy black goo drips over the scene. White letters read: “Fit the Ninety-Eighth: Enter the Wortex.”

[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 (temporarily closed for update). Wipe your feet before entering.]

ENTER THE WORTEX

Hello, all! Melanie here.

It’s been an eventful NaNoWriMo for Writer X and her friends, although not much of it was spent writing. If you were writing for NaNoWriMo, I hope you had a great month.

When last we left the writers of the Ink Black Coffee Club Critique Group, they were still searching for the missing fantasists of their nemesis writing group, The Fantasy Writers’ Meetup of Brokenheap, NH.

You see, thanks to her love of spying on people, Writer X had discovered that men in blue latex gloves had abducted each of the missing fantasists. Further investigation revealed another character posting clues about the abducted writers’ whereabouts. The poster went by the name of the Mysterious “W.” The Mysterious W informed them that the disappearance was part of a Deep Publishing Conspiracy and urged those looking for the writers to find out what the writers had been writing when they were abducted. Then, they would have to “Enter the Wortex.” 

It turns out that each of the Brokenheap writers had been working on their memoirs when abducted. If that doesn’t send a chill down your spine, you probably need some explanation.

Meanwhile, Tryxy has been stuck in Paris in the year 1789 thanks to his borrowed SpaceTime machine breaking down. X has been kitten-sitting #bestkitten while he’s away, but it’s complicated her ability to throw herself fully into discovering the missing writers.

Without further ado… 


Subject: SECRET Secrets of the Universe – DON’T TELL!!!!!!

Dear Gladys,

What I am about to tell you may risk your life. Remember how I told you last week that we took the advice of the Mysterious “W” and discovered that the missing fantasists of Brokenheap WERE WRITING THEIR MEMOIRS???? And remember how I told you that it made PERFECT sense??? And remember how I told you that I would explain it to you some other time??

Please make sure you are sitting down while you are reading this.

Everything in the world is an ILLUSION.

Remember when we were taking tenth grade physics with Mr. Hunky Dunky Anastasio??? And he told us that there are four forces working in the universe: Gravity, Electromagenta force, Strong Nuclear Force, and Week Nuclear force. And remember how I failed physics and Mr. Hunky Dunky said it was because I “never studied” and “never did my homework” and “slept through the final exam???” Well it turns out, Mr. Hunky Dunky wasn’t just a dreamboat, he was also unknowingly in on a global conspiracy!!!!

IT WAS ALL A LIE, Gladys!!! I didn’t fail physics because of something as silly as “homework”!!!!! I failed physics because there AREN’T FOUR FORCES. THERE ARE FIVE.

Gravity. Electromagenta Force. Strong Nuclear force. Week Nuclear Force. And the most powerful FORCFE of them ALLLLLL!!!!

Marketing!!!!!

And THAT is why Memoirs make perfect sense.

You see, the marketing forces of the universe have been shaping our existence for thousands of years. Much of what you see and experience in the world is as a result of marketing forces.

If it weren’t for marketing forces, we wouldn’t have book genres, or words like “dependability” and “halitosis.” We wouldn’t have signs that say things like “Act Now!,” “Limited Time Only,” and “Black Friday Sale.” And we wouldn’t have decision fatigue!!!! What would you do without decision fatigue, Gladys?? Your decisions wouldn’t have nearly as interesting outcomes as they do at 7:16 pm when you’ve finally left work and have to choose between leg night at the gym, a clown shoe flash sale, and leg night at KFC!!!! 

But why would Memoirs make the fantasy writers of Brokenheap disappear?? Well I’m about to tell you.

Oh wait. They just called #bestkitten’s name. I’d better act now; the nurse will wait for a limited time only. Now THAT’S Dependability!! It’s a little hard walking with these clown shoes covered in fried chicken grease so Secrets of the Universe are going to have to hold a little longer, Galdsy!!! I’m at the vets and they’re giving #bestkitten a dental cleaning to treat her halitosis.

Secrets later!!!!

xox,

X

sent from my iPhone


From: Bevvy Hart

Subject: Fw: Re: Re: Re: How do we enter the Wortex?

Dear Gladys,

I’m still at the vets!! Will write more about marketing forces later. A sasquatch got loose and ran through the examination room and now we can’t find #bestkitten!!!!

I’M INFAMOUS GLADYS!!!!!!

xox,

X

begin forwarded message

Dear Fellow Writers,

I want to repeat that writing a memoir is EXTREMELY dangerous and any of us that engages in such a thing are taking our lives in our own hands. That said, if one of us is going to do something as deadly as write a memoir in hopes the Blue Hands capture us, it should be someone who has enough writing clout. ALL of the Brokenheap writers have publishing credits, and no doubt that has something do to with their abduction.

Ravenhair, I’m sure you’d like to think you’re well known and capable of saving the day, but you aren’t. You don’t so much as a have a short story credit to your name.

If anyone is famous enough as a writer to draw the attention of the Blue Hands, it’s Tod Boadkins.

If anyone is infamous enough, it’s Writer X. 

Warmly,

Bevvy

Bevvy Madison Hart she/her
Wandering Spirit Small Press, CEO
A Vegan Owned and Operated Press

On Mon, Nov 27, 2023 at 9:04 AM  Thomasina Prepper <DoomsdayReady@xx_xx.com> wrote:

Bevvy,

I trust that you’re the best judge of your feelings, even if I can’t help but feel you have a lot of unexpressed stress. I have a meet up tomorrow with my Perimenopausal Self Defense Shitkicking Group. You’re free to join us if you’d like to blow off any steam.

Ravenhair, I’m blown away by your bravery and willingness to endanger yourself to blow Deep Publishing into the next world and save the Brokenheap writers. Please don’t start anything until we’ve all had the chance to plan our attack.

#EnterTheWortex

<3,

Thomasina

On Sun, Nov 26, 2023 at 7:14 PM Bevvy Hart <wanderingspiritpress@xx_xx.com> wrote:

Thomasina,

I don’t see what you’re saying. I’m not resentful of Ravenhair at all. I’m deeply supportive, and harbor no animosity toward any living creature. I’m vegan. That means that I am committed to peace with all living things, even if they erringly feel they know the answer to everything.

Warmly,

Bevvy

Bevvy Madison Hart she/her
Wandering Spirit Small Press, CEO
A Vegan Owned and Operated Press

On Sat, Nov 25, 2023 at 10:17 AM Ravenhair Silkenwind <Ravenhair@xx_xx.com> wrote:

If that’s what has to be done, I’ll do it. I’ll write my memoir. I’m single and no one would miss me. Except my mom.

But how would we do this? Would you all come to my house and watch from hidden locations? How long should I attempt memoir writing? Is there any information out there that shows how long a memoirist has to live once they start their memoir?

-Ravenhair Silkenwind

On Sat, Nov 25, 2023 at 9:13 PM Thomasina Prepper <DoomsdayReady@xx_xx.com> wrote:

Y’all,

There’s no getting around it. If Deep Publishing is behind the Blue Hands that X described, we have to get abducted by the Blue Hands to get to the bottom of this. The only way we’re going to enter the Wortex that the Mysterious W wrote about would be for us to write OUR memoirs. If the Wortex or the Mysterious W exist at all.

Everything I know about Doomsday, the Illuminati, and the DaVinci Code tells me that THIS IS ALL TRUE. I can feel it in my prepper bones.

Bevvy, I don’t mean to pry, but I noticed that you seem to have a lot of resentment directed at Ravenhair over the last few weeks. Is everything okay?

<3,

Thomasina


From: TRYXY BO BIXIE BANANA FANA FO FIXIE…TRYXY!

Fw: Fw: Claim #66678PXTU

Dear Gladys,

I’m still at the vet’s office which is why I haven’t told you more secrets of the universe. But it’s gotten very interesting here. After that sasquatch completely wrecked the exam room and stole all the ancient magazines in the waiting room, the vets had some trouble finding #bestkitten so came out to enlist my help. 

We searched and searched and found her in the break lounge. She was napping peacefully on top of a laptop keyboard one of the technicians had left open.

On the screen there was a new document file with a poem written that the technician swears they did not write.

“Friends are all there is,
in a world full of striving.
Friends are all there is,
when you gonna start thriving?
Friends are all there is,
so put your ego down.
Friends are all there is,
bSIH q8yq=30th=q0e”

Gladys!!! Is it possible #bestkitten can write things with her butt????

In the meantime, I got this from Tryxy. Things are not getting any better for him in Paris of 1789. I’m not sure how I’m supposed to write a memoir and get captured by the Blue Hands while I’m still kitten-sitting!!!

xox,

X

begin forward message

X,

DID YOU TAKE #BESTKITTEN TO APPOINTMENT? WATCH OUT. THAT PART OF TOWN IS INFESTED WITH SASQUATCH.

LOOK AT THIS. THE PANDEMIC STILL HAS EVERYTHING MESSED UP. THIS IS THE LAST TIME I SPACETIME TRAVEL. TOO MANY ISSUES.

LOVE YOUS,

TRYXY BO BIXIE

BEGIN FORWARDED MESSAGE

On Mon, Nov 27, 2023 at 7:34 AM  Spacetime AAA Claim Support <[email protected]> wrote:

Dear Claimant,

Thank you for your patience. We are working to resolve your claim. Please know that our rescue and repair department is short-staffed. We have been unable to assign an agent to your claim.

The SpaceTime machine HK007 models that have service issues frequently require a specific sensor light to be replaced. That sensor light is only made by a company located in 2914 on Betelgeuse. Our next shipment of sensor lights should arrive in 4 to 6 centuries.

You are a valued customer. Thank you for trusting SpaceTime AAA for all your spacetime traveling needs.

Sincerely,

Agent 33867


Subject: We lost

Dear Gladys,

I’ve been meaning to write you about the secret secrets of the universe, but I’ve been very busy.

Once we all agreed that my boyfriend, award nominated fantasy writer Tod Boadkins, should be the one to write his memoir and lure the Blue Hands into a trap, we all loaded up on shots of espresso.

As you may remember, Gladys, the Blue Hands make you drowsy when they kidnap you. Bevvy Hart had the most espresso, about nine double shots in all. Then, we met at his house and hid under his bed and in the closet. Mark and Thomasina Prepper both have martial arts training so they took the spaces closer to my boyfriend so that they would be free to attack.

Sure enough, no sooner had my boyfriend written the first three sentences of his memoir, a swirling blue circle appeared behind his chair. Out stepped a big burly guy in suit, sunglasses, and blue latex gloves.

Mark and Thomasina moved from their hiding spaces in the closet, but to everyone’s surprise, Bevvy Hart leapt through the air with limbs flying like a yowling cat. She was a flurry of rage as she bowled the Blue Hands over and proceeded to beat him with her writing journal as she yelled: “How dare you write no words for NaNoWriMo!! Some of us struggle to write! You think you know everything?? You think you know everything??”

We all stood in shock until Bevvy straightened herself and took a cleansing breath. Then, we dragged the unconscious Blue Hands into the Wortex with us, but not before we deleted my boyfriend’s memoir file and narrowly avoided a moose stampede!!!!

When we got to the other side, we were standing in the barracks of a secret publishing compound of a corporation called Kindlespark – A Memoir Publishing Specialist. Fortunately for us, they had just called everyone into their latest marketing meeting so there were only a few guards posted around for us to fend off. Bevvy Hart had really gotten into expressing her artistic frustration through violence, so most all of them ran off.

Unfortunately, the secret publishing compound was very large and we got lost several times in the cafeteria and child care center. But then Ravenhair spotted a sign that read “This Way to the Missing Fantasy Writers’ Meetup of Brokenheap, NH.”

I should probably tell you more about the secrets of the universe, Gladys, or else you might be REALLY confused.

Once upon a time, there were very few people who could read and even fewer people who could write Memoirs. This meant that memoirs were extremely valuable with many selling long after the writer’s death. With the invention of public education, social media, and a five day work week, a lot of other people began to want to tell their own story. Many of these were famous people or people who had contributed something to larger society, but a lot were not.

As a result, the market became FLOODED with memoirs by people whose only contribution to society was their memoir, thus driving down the value of the memoir genre with many writers giving away their stories for free on amazon. There was an imbalance in the marketing forces of the universe.

That’s when the marketing forces kicked into gear. Since there were so many people writing memoirs, the marketing forces worked to make those memoirs more valuable. Remember when I went on that Writing Retreat a couple years ago and over thirty memoirists went missing??? That’s an example of the marketing forces at work. One of the best ways to have a memoir from someone you don’t know become valuable is for that person to die AND THAT’S WHAT THE UNIVERSE STARTED DELVIERING!!!!! Not every writer knows this which is why so many can be fooled into WRITING THEIR MEMOIRS!!!!

That’s when Deep Publishing began. A small collection of memoir publishers came together and started luring small and medium famous people to write their memoirs, offering huge advances paid on publication. Then, they abducted the writers into the Wortex—a place where the laws of physics don’t always reach. Then, the writers would finish their memoirs where they were safe from marketing forces. When they emerged from the Wortex, they had finished memoirs and were immediately killed by a falling anvil, or a rogue lawnmower, or a freak moose stampede, leaving Deep Publishing free to forgo an advance, and sell a book that has increased in value BECAUSE THE WRITER DIED IN A FREAK MOOSE STAMPEDE!!!!!

Back to our rescue attempt!!!!!

We found the Brokenheap writers in their own comfortable cells, each sitting at their assigned computers, typing away. The blood drained from our faces as we realized what they had done. You see, Gladys, if they wanted to survive our bringing them back to the real world, they would need to immediately delete their memoirs or else risk Deep Publishing releasing the memoirs in retribution and killing them!!!!

But to the horror of our writing group, the Brokenheap writers HAD NOT BEEN WRITING THEIR MEMOIRS. Instead, they were protesting their abduction by switching back to their NaNoAnimal novels. Seeing as they had nothing to do for an entire month BUT write, they had collectively written over 567,000 words. Meanwhile, we had written just over 160,000 words. This means that, if we rescued them, we would succeed in thwarting Deep Publishing, but we would also lose NaNoPour Some Sugar On Me.

So we took a poll. In the end, we narrowly passed the vote to rescue them after four or five recounts. I also had the chance to explore the complex and discovered the year 1789 packed away in a closet somewhere in HR. There I retrieved Tryxy and now everything has been restored back to our nice, usual normalcy!!!!!

When we got home, I found #bestkitten asleep on my desktop keyboard and a note from the Mysterious W on the screen.

“Congratulations. Sometimes losing is winning.”

Well, another NaNoHit Me With Your Best Shot is behind me. That means I’m free to start writing again!!!

Pages next week, GLadys!!!!

xox,

X

SO GOOD

TO BE

HOME.

CAN’T BELIEVE

NO ONE

ASKED ME

WHO THE

MYSTERIOUS

W IS.

THAT’S

#BESTKITTEN’S

TWITCH

HANDLE.

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