An open letter to GRACE SMITH

>> Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Dear Friend ,‏


From: SMITH (
Sent: Mon 2/28/11 7:55 PM

Dear Friend ,
My name is GRACE SMITH ; I am 24 years old, from EGYPT, where I school and work as a fashion designer for part time job during after my school. MY FATHER WAS KILLED BY AGENT OF OUR FORMER DICTACTOR Hosni Mubarak

Before the death of my father, he had willed part of his Real Estate Business, Gas Stations and a total sum of ?12,000.000( Twelve million Pounds Sterling) to me. Now at the of my fathers death, things has become very hard for me paying my school fees, putting food on the table and taking care of my other needs which my fashion designer work I do as a part time work after my school can’t help, I went to the bank where my late father deposited the funds on my behalf to with-draw money to take care of my self and pay for my school fees and other bills.

I was shocked when the Bank Manager explained to me that I will not be able to with-draw from the deposited money, because my father had put a clause on the Will, which he used in depositing the funds with them, saying that before I will be given access to the money, I will either have to be 30 years old or I will be given access to the money, if only i get married before the age of 30 , in which case, my husband will be legible to collect the money on my behalf by standing in as my late fathers next of kin to claim the deposited funds on my behalf.

Today I am only 24 years old. And I have no access to the money till I'm 30 years. So, I’m contacting you to stand as my husband to claim this fund on my behalf if you are married already, you can still help me by standing in as my late father’s next of kin to the deposited funds. So, please get back to me as to know how you will be remunerated as I will part with 40% of the total sum?12,000.000 (Twelve million Pounds Sterling),while 10% will be mapped out for any expenses that we're to use to receive the money from the deposited Bank.

Please remember that I am writing you this email purely on the ground of trust so we can achieve this deal together. This transaction will last for two weeks after you get back to me on how serious you are to claim these funds on my behalf.
Please reply to my alternative
Yours Truly,

Dear Sweetness,

I remember when I was young, gazing up at the stars over my parents' farm, saying to myself, "Someday." Oh, there was so much contained in that one little word, that someday, that essential yearning. What I wanted more than anything else in the world, I thought in those days, would be to marry a young, wealthy, part-time fashion designer from North Africa. I would call her my Cleopatra and for her, yes, I would be Mark Antony.

And that's the last thing I remember before the bear attack.

I do not want you to feel pity for me, love. It is not the bears' fault that they did what they did. My parents had recently, oh, perhaps not more than a year before, decided they could expand our farming prospects by setting up hives.

You must understand that when my grandfather bought the land he built our farm on and told the seller that he would be building a farm there, the seller (to his credit) tried explaining at some length that while he himself wasn't a farmer and knew next-to-nothing about agriculture, the lot had been very profitable as a gravel quarry and my grandfather might do better to continue using the lot in that line. Grammpa was, however, in addition to being a man of great (and unique) vision, a bit stubborn. He would, he informed the seller, establish a farm there and his descendants would be farmers there.

Ma often told Pa that Grammpa was a bit... well, she never used the word "eccentric" but that's how I preferred to take it, anyway. I think in my heart of hearts I knew she was probably right, and Pa probably knew that, too, but to acknowledge that Grammpa had purchased the land... with some lack of foresight as to its fertility and access to clean water or, well, soil--to acknowledge this uncomfortable fact might be to admit that the Family Curse was still in effect and had not been shaken.

The Family Curse, of course, was congenital stupidity. This was something that had been noted in my family for many centuries, back to our historic roots in medieval England, when members of my family were among the first Duckists in the British Isles. Duckism, you may recall, was a Protestant sect that had become convinced, somehow, that Martin Luther, St. Augustine, the Virgin Mother and Jesus had all been... well, ducks. I'm sure it was one of those ideas that made sense at the time but in retrospect, absent the context of the era, is all-too-easy to dismiss as a historical absurdity. As Duckists, my family would have been subject to having all their property seized, had either Queen Mary or Queen Elizabeth had any special desire to possess some old sacks with armholes and eyeholes cut in them, wooden shoes and/or quite a lot of duckcalls which the Duckists liked to take down to ponds and swamps for the purpose of attempting to precipitate the Second Coming. Also, they would have been subject to burning at the stake for the crime of Heresy, had anyone thought it worth the bother.

Anyway, after unsuccessful attempts to grow sorghum and corn, and then sorghum again, my Ma finally talked my Pa into turning the gravel pit into an apiary. I think he mostly agreed because he was tired of trying to till the rocks. It wasn't really a good location for beekeeping, really, but our neighbors had a really, really nice farm with crops and a pasture and everything, so Ma thought maybe the bees could sneak over and get nectar when the neighbors weren't paying attention.

Surprisingly, the venture really seemed to be working for a while. Until the bears came.

We don't really know where they were coming from, to be honest. There weren't any woods nearby and the creek didn't really seem deep enough for one to swim up from the ocean, which was many hundreds of miles away. But they had a thing for our honey, yes ma'am, they did. At first Pa was able to shoo them away with a rolled-up newspaper, but as time went on, the bears became increasingly more aggressive and possessive, until finally they'd just hang out amidst the hives at all hours, resting their big heavy forelegs on the tops of hives like lazy businessmen lounging around a watercooler. Things were looking pretty awful until Ma had the idea of putting up a sign that said "NO BEARS ALLOWED," and that stopped them.

Or most of them.

I don't know what the deal was with the bear we came to call Black Bessie. Perhaps she couldn't read. Perhaps she was a scofflaw. Perhaps she simply didn't care. One fall evening, we were all sitting out on the back porch, listening to the bees buzzing, when Black Bessie came lumbering up to the sign--it was prominently placed--and stood there for a minute looking at it. Maybe she was reading it, or maybe she simply guessed the meaning. Either way, she stood there on all fours for a minute, looking at it, then she stood up on her hindquarters, swatted it down and trod on it for several minutes.

We could only sit there in shock as she walked up to the hives and began overturning them and eating the honey. We began jumping up and down, yelling at her, and when we did that she suddenly stopped eating the honeycombs and charged at us.

Well, we did the only thing we could do, which was climb up onto the roof and hope this wasn't one of those flying bears Pa had seen them talking about in USA Today. I don't think she was, but whether she was or she wasn't, all she did was charge up onto the porch--and right through the back door and into the house.

We sat up there for maybe thirty minutes--it seemed like forever--and then the bear came out of our house and lumbered off behind a huge rockpile and vanished from view. When we came down and went in the house, all of Pa's beer had been drunk and the cans thrown in the trash instead of the recycling. Also, the button for Ma's favorite radio station had been reprogrammed from the salsa channel to NPR.

Well, that about tore it. Ma said she wasn't going to let some bear take away all our hard work and livelihood and mess with her channels. She went out and she collected up all the wax and honey that hadn't been eaten or destroyed, and when she came back in she immediately lit the stove and set herself to a whole mess of rendering and boiling, until every bit of honey and wax Black Bessie hadn't taken from us had been rendered into soap.

It wasn't very good soap. I have to say that, bless my Ma's heart. It smelled good, sure, but there were little bits of wing and bee thorax stuck in it, and if you weren't careful you could even sting yourself scrubbing if the pointy part of a dead bee was embedded in the soap you were using. Nobody wanted to buy Ma's soap. She took it down to the A&P and the manager said it was "too bee-ey," and maybe he called ahead to all the other supermarkets in walking distance, because they all said the same damn thing, would you believe it, my love?

So when Ma got home, exhausted from her failed effort to market the soap, she said she would be damned to hell if the soap would go to waste. She had me get in the tub and scrub myself until 93 pounds of bee soap were used up. When I emerged from the tub three weeks later, puckered and covered in welts, I reeked to high heaven of beeswax and honey, so much so that as soon as I walked into the living room, Pa almost threw up and said I smelled like Ma when he was paying for it (whatever that meant) and told me to sit outside.

And that is where this letter began.

Ironically, none of the bears was Black Bessie. Where she went to, I don't know if we'll ever know. Perhaps she joined a circus or settled in a zoo, but I like to think that perhaps, with her resourcefulness, she became the first bear on the moon or invented a cure for the common bear cold. But every other bear within eight miles came upon me as I sat out in the backyard that night, and it was just before my other eye was knocked out that I happened to notice--I remember this distinctly--that my parents never did put the "NO BEARS ALLOWED" sign back up, I guess because the hives were destroyed and it must have seemed pointless, then. It still lay in the dirt, facedown, though perhaps it would have made no difference. I really did smell like something a bear might like to eat.

And so twenty-seven years passed until I got your letter.

You cannot imagine the thrill I felt when my helper monkey read it to me. I don't know if you can understand this, but in our country a man with no arms, one leg, one foot, one ear, no tongue and no upper lip who lives alone in a gravel quarry and who still, after almost three decades, smells like honey and wakes up screaming inarticulately from bear-filled nightmares at least five nights a week--such a man has few prospects of marriage and starting a family of his own. My parents, of course, are dead: my father died of shame and my mother of heartbreak, notwithstanding what the coroner said about the garage being full of carbon monoxide. Six years ago, the state provided me with a helper monkey to assist me with things like checking e-mail, but I sometimes suspect the wretched little beast is a rotten thief who steals family heirlooms and pawns them and he is an adorable, diligent and faithful servant who doesn't even know where the dogtrack is, whatever you may hear from some lying liar whose mouth is full of lies.

Thus, I accept your proposal of marriage. God knows, it's probably the best I'll manage, a grim limbless parody of a man living in this bear-infested pit with a shrieking gambling addicted monkey who's trying to kill love me. Please reply soon and let me know when we can conduct our nuptials, and don't worry about the money, love will solve everything could you possibly wire me an advance before complete strangers break my monkey's legs on Friday, thanks.


Jeri Wednesday, March 2, 2011 at 12:17:00 PM EST  

Eric, you really need to shop an anthology of these around to publishers. They are genius.

Nathan Wednesday, March 2, 2011 at 4:58:00 PM EST  

That explains why your photos never shows anything below the neck!

timb111 Thursday, March 3, 2011 at 10:14:00 AM EST  

Do you think that after you're married she'll call you "honey" or "sweet thing"?

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