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

Image reads “Fit the Seventy-Eighth: Gnome Crime Ring. Emails From Lake Woe-Is-Me.” In the background is a dark starry night with the silhouette of trees. Creepy black slime drips down from the top of the photo.

[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 Wipe your feet before entering.]


Hello All! Melanie here.

When your favorite writer kills off a beloved character, it’s hard to believe that writers have hearts. But at least 47% do!

Things were sobering last week in the writer-heart department. When last we left our heroes, Writer X had been anticipating a week full of writing with promises to send us fresh pages. Her boyfriend would be moving into her much expanded (and half-stolen) house, and she and Tryxy were looking forward to it.

That was…until Tod Boadkins left a note stating, “All good things must end.”

X was plunged into the bewilderment of a break-up. All things considered, she handled things maturely. She texted Tod a mere 147 times in the course of an evening, and comforted herself the way so many of us do: with some light stalking.

Two days later, Tod hadn’t answered her calls or sent an explanatory email. Nor did he show up at the bi-weekly meeting of their writing critique group.

For comfort, X took an evening walk in the town green. There, she ran into a suspicious looking gnome carrying Tod’s phone.

Meanwhile in Cradensburg, we haven’t had updates on the recent break-in at the Mysterious Complex, only that the giant hole tunneled beneath its equally mysterious gates hasn’t been filled.

Will this gnome phone-carrying put new light on X’s love situation? Will X write anything in her epic fantasy saga? I wonder if the Mysterious Complex is still looking for its missing furniture.

Without further ado…

Fw: Can we talk?

Dear Gladys,




Begin forwarded message:

From: Tod Boadkins
Date: May 24, 2023 at 4:43 pm
To: Writer X
Subject: Can we talk?


How about meeting me for dinner at Fish! Fish! Fish!?



Subject: The Great Gnome Gang Lord in the Sky

Dear Gladys,

When your ex-boyfriend, award nominated fantasy writer Tod Boadkins, suddenly decides he doesn’t want you anymore, you can either go through a very hard time or you can kidnap a few gnomes and inject your life with meaning!!

It all started when I was knee deep in a box of Kill Your Capillaries Cabernet, writing an eighty-eight page email to my exboyfriend to give him a piece of my mind. Leaving me after I nursed him back to health??? I’m gonna have to unpack ALL my adjectives to describe a person like that!!!!

That’s when Tryxy and #bestkitten staged an intervention and took away my adjective suitcase. You see, apparently all this pain I’ve been going through will be over in exactly three weeks. It’s true, Tryxy showed me an article about it online and the internet NEVER lies.

All you have to do is keep yourself from having any contact with your ex for three weeks and it all goes away!! No phone calls, no emails, no text messages, and you have to cut your spying activities by at least half.

Actually, the article didn’t mention spying but Tryxy thought half was a good palce to start. This is why I need you to not mention the email I sent you to Tryxy!!!! He’s been keeping me accountable!!!!! But I didn’t contact my exboyfriend, HE contacted ME. But I’m not sure what the internet rules are for that, so let’s just keep this secret to be safe. 

Since I had three weeks to burn, I took up a new hobby: getting to the bottom of the theory of relativity. Only I’m not calling it relativity. I’m calling it the Great Gnome Conspiracy!!!!! This is an explanation of all of life as we know it.

My eyes have been opened Gladys!!!!!! Look at the world around you!!! Nothing is as it seems!!!!! It may be hard to believe, but everything around you—and I mean EVERYTHING is trying to keep me from writing!!!! It’s all part of the grand conspiracy.

This is why the gnomes have brainwashed my exboyfriend, award nominated fantasy writer Tod Boadkins. They know that if he moved in with me, I WOULD WRITE MORE!!!! They don’t want me writing because, if he moved in, I WOULD WRITE MORE. This is the only explanation, Gladys and I need you to sit down, because when I tell you what I’ve learned, it will ROCK. YOUR. WORLD!!!!!!!

As you know, while gazing into the great big hole outside the Mysterious Complex, I came into possession of a gnome in possession of my exboyfriend’s iPhone. At first it wasn’t so obvious what I should do with this gnome, so I tied him up and put him by a jar of nickels I keep in my writing closet. Occasionally I took him out to binge-watch episodes of the first season of True Blood together (IT’S THE BEST SEASON, GLADYS!!!!!)

After Tryxy and #bestkitten’s intervention, I knew what I should do with the gnome!!!!! I should INTERROGATE him!!!! Fortunately, in an act of prescient interior design, the gnomes built an interrogation room under the umbrella room when they pimped my house!!!! So I placed lil’ gnomey (that’s what I call him) in the interrogation room.

I swiveled a big light on him. His pupils shriveled to the size of microchips. It’s a pretty good interrogation light. Long, bendable arm, megawatt bulb, white aluminum lamp shade, a label that says “PROPERTY OF MANAHEE MOTION PICTURES PROP DEPARTMENT” on the base. You know, standard features.

Immediately lil’ gnomey burst out, “I won’t do it!!! You can’t make me talk, Writer X!!!! You can tickle me all you want, but you’ll not get a word outta me!!!! I’m way more scared of the Big Guy, than I am of you!!!!!”

“Who is this big guy and why did you have my boyfriend’s phone????” 

But that gnome wouldn’t budge!! I tried everything to get him to crack, Galdsy, I tried feather dusters and random disco attacks. I even tried waterbedding but the waterbed sprung a leak and now I need to call a carpenter to fix the damage. I was completely out of ideas so we took a break and watched the second season of True Blood and lil’ gnomey and I agreed that the cult plot line was abandoned too soon.

I sat there, missing my boyfriend and wanting to call him to see if he also agreed that the cult plotline of season two of True Blood was underdeveloped but then I remembered my promise to Tryxy and then I also remembered that lil’ gnomey was in possession of my exboyfriend’s phone.

BACK TO WORK!!!! I tied lil’ gnomey back up and fixed him with the inquisitional lighting.

“I still won’t do it!!!! The Big Guy is not to be trifled with!!! You can’t make me talk!!! Not even with a Lean Cuisine could you get me to talk!!!”

I was starting to get into this gnome’s head. I promptly went to my freezer, pulled out a Lean Cuisine chicken marsala with its freeze dried noodles and congealed sauce and microwaved it within an inch of its life!!!!! Lil’ gnomey wept as he ate it. Then he complained that it was still frozen in the middle but I wasn’t going to get sentimental!!!

“You’ll eat every lick of that low-calorie atrocity, or you’ll talk!!! It’s one or the other, lil’ gnomey.”

After the Lean Cuisine, I could see that I had broken his spirits. What you may not have learned in your lifetime at the CIA, Gladys, is what a good interrogator must do. A good interrogator has to get their subject to TALK!!!!! But it’s easy does it or else you can send your subject into a low-calorie stupor.

I eased in with some unsalted rice cakes. Lil’ gnomey gagged and asked if he could wash it down with some water. I’m not a complete animal, Gladys; I offered him a calorie-free, fruit punch flavored Crystal lite.

“Not the fruit-punch flavor!!! That tastes like a chemical burn!!!!” he cried, but nonetheless he choked down the plain rice cake and the liquid that definitely didn’t taste like fruit punch.

When I whipped out a tub of plain greek yogurt to spoon onto a baked sweet potato, lil’ gnomey CRACKED!!!!!

It all came out, Gladys!!!!

His role in the Grand Conspiracy started when lil’ gnomey was part of your average gnome MLM juggling pyramid. Things were going great with the other gnomes in the pyramid; they were making their quarterly goals, earning dance-offs with their uplines. Most importantly, they were reinvesting their earnings into their MLM schemes and juggling, juggling, juggling away. Lil’ gnomey was this close to making triple ruby status.

Fate would have it that a higher up was skimming cash. The next thing lil’ gnomey knew, he was out of income to reinvest into his developing downline. That’s when it all came crashing down, colorful balls rolling in every direction!!!

Lil gnomey and his cousins, close friends, and facebook followers were suddenly pyramid-less!!! They had nowhere to go, no product to sell, and no Annual Sales Convention to look forward to.

“It’s not safe for a gnome to be without a pyramid. That’s when the Big Guy came for us,” lil’ gnomey said. Next thing he knew, lil’ gnomey was swarmed by goons with gnome-sized baseball bats. He and the rest of the gnomes were forced into a new kind of profit scheme, this time with the Big Guy as the Triple Black Diamond upline of them all!!! But this wasn’t a proper LLC like the other MLM Juggling schemes. In fact, they weren’t even juggling. You know what they were doing, Gladys????

Pimping. Houses.

Every day, he and his regional associates would be forced to find a car, drive around door to door selling pimped out upgrades to unsuspecting suckers for bargain basement prices. When they got the cash for their completed work, they would hand it up to the Big Guy. He would mail them a commission in 4-6 weeks.

The only hitch was that the Big Guy wouldn’t provide them with any house pimping supplies. They had to source it on their own. Fortunately for them, they found a big empty building loaded with unwanted, unused furniture!!! That’s a relief Gladys, I was afraid they would have to steal!!!!

But talking people into pimping their house takes time. They didn’t have time!!!! With the help of a brainwashing device loaned to them by the Big Guy’s goons, they would brainwash Cradensburg residents into allowing them into their homes. Except for me.

“You were the only one who didn’t need the brainwashing device,” said lil’ gnomey. “You signed up in 3 minutes and .23 seconds.

CHeck out THOSE numbers Gladys!!! That’s brains!!!

The gnomes’ hands were full with the house pimping operation. Only lil’ gnomey and his regional associates consisting of cousins, close friends, and facebook followers, hadn’t lost the passion for juggling. They each quietly agreed that they would save their commissions until they had enough to reinvest into their original juggling pyramid scheme.

But the commission checks never came.

“When we stopped getting daily statements, I got suspicious,” said lil’ gnomey. “I gnew we had to get out of the house pimping business, but I was trapped. I needed to get some income for my downline, fast!!! We were in the middle of finishing your writing wing when I saw that your boyfriend wasn’t using his phone anymore, so I flashed the brainwashing device on him and took the phone. I was on my way to sell it to a banshee when you caught me.”

Then he said he thought his pants were fitting him better. 

Did you get all that, Gladys????!!!!!!

My boyfriend was BRAINWASHED!!!!! Now the only thing left for me to do is hunt down the other gnomes and steal that brainwashing device!!! Then, I’m going to break my three-week rule, and meet my exboyfriend, award nominated fantasy writer Tod Boadkins, for dinner at Fish! Fish! Fish!, use the brainwashing device on him, and put it in reverse so that his brain gets good and dirty the way a boyfriend’s mind is SUPPOSED TO BE!!! Then, he’ll move back in and I’ll finally write my epic fantasy saga, publish it, and instantly become famous!!!!

But first, I need to watch season three of True Blood with lil’ gnomey. We’ve come this far, Galdsy, WE HAVE TO FINISH THE WHOLE THING.

Not to worry, I’m going to defy the entire universe and squeeze in a little writing time before I grab that jar of nickels and my spelunking gear and go searching for lil’ gnomey’s regional associates.

Pages soon!!!



Subject: HALP!

Dear Gladys,

First off, how are you?

Secondly, I’m sure you are dying to know how my writing is going. Small hang up.

Thirdly, I’ve been kidnapped by a gnome crime ring.


Pages next week, Gladys!!!



sent from my iPhone















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