The entire class was handed the same postcard, pictured below. What follows are the micro stories written by members of the class.
(Hudson Saffell found he was inspired to write an entire short story based on the card. His is not included here.)
Pornography destroys all people… and so does putting the Republican Party ahead of your family.
Father, First I’d like to thank you for sending this. If you had thrown this away as soon as you received it, my message would have been doomed from the beginning. There mere fact that you are willing to listen is cause for hope.
You haven’t answered my calls and you haven’t replied to my emails, so hope is all I have left to cling to as I write this final plea.
LET’S AGREE TO DISAGREE.
You say our freedom of speech is our country’s greatest gift to us, but you push anyone who says anything you disagree with away.
Your stubbornness destroyed your relationship with mom, but I’m willing to look past it. Now that mom is dead, you’re the only family I have left. I’d rather debate the night away with you than suffer this silence.
I may be a Democrat, but I am your son, Charles.
Anne Itkin—To My Other Self
Charlie, By the time you read this, I’ll be long gone. Where I am is no one’s business. I could be in the slums or the big city, but the freedom of that choice to move is what matters. Hopefully, you’ll move on, forget I existed. The others pulled us apart, separating such a close bond, but in the end it felt like I was disappearing. It’s my turn; I’m taking control to do what I want, this time without you. Goodbye.
Thomas Van Osten
Before Loretta got sick I’d never stopped by this place, this den of sin. But after the chemo turned up useless, a $4.50 pack of smokes, a $13 24-pack, and a copy of Ass-Man Monthly didn’t sound so bad. The one stop convenience is actually kind of nice. Tanning, an atonement, what a concept. Loretta wouldn’t be happy, but I’m happy.
They said I had to tan up for the next “film.” It’s whatever, I don’t mind. I look pretty damn good after a tan anyway. It’s after the scene that that ends. To be fir, though, I’ve seldom felt more attractive than after the scene ends and I’m reeling from the rush. I can’t remember feeling more beautiful than when I sat on those couches, naked, disheveled, covered in the spunk of multiple strangers. Before, I’d tart myself up to so that I could deceive my way to perceived beauty at various clubs. But now I’m honest, and millions will see me in all my wondrous physicality, truthful and significant.
I count the seconds until we meet again. While my body and mind reside here with me, my heart follows you. It is hard to believe that, at the time of writing it has been but twelve days since we have last met; it feels like one hundred, for the hours we spend apart feel like days, and the days like centuries. But soon, my love, I shall come to you, and we shall never be alone, for we will have each other. My heart aches to the point where, if I must chose between all of the tortures this world can concoct, or never again to see you, I would chose the latter, for this separation is torture greater than any hostages of captives have endured. My love, to die in your arms would be preferred to an eternity away from you.
The slave of your heart forever.
Actress Toni Assmaster just earned $3,200 in less than an hour by sucking two guys dry on film. It’s September 22nd. It’s 3:43 p.m., so Toni still has enough time to go home and catch the Vikings games and have the chance to see her brother on TV. He’s a 3rd string quarterback for the team. Her brother Micky would love knowing he has the support of Toni and his family, but the family has more important things to attend to. Toni, whose real name is Lisa, parks up in front of the Church of the Nazarene and sees The Reverend signing some papers. She walks up to him and exclaims—
“Really decent sign, Daddy! How much did it cost?”
The Reverend replied, “Only $5,500 to have it up for one full year, and it’s worth every penny of the good peoples’ donations. How did volunteering at the homeless shelter go, Sweetheart?”
Nathaniel looked up and squinted as the midday sun glared back at him. He glanced over to the cars at the far point of the horizon on the Interstate. Their shapes wavering from the heat coming up from the road. A man in a grey, pin-striped suit strolled toward him.
“What will it take to wake them up, Father,” Nathaniel asked the sky.
“That’s the pesky thing about humans,” said the man. “They’d rather continue to dig their own graves than save themselves. Lucky for them, I’ll be there to hand them the shovel.”
The man smirked.
“Not today, Valath.” said Nathaniel.
The California heat seemed to have no effect on Nathaniel as he zipped up his black leather jacket and stared at the church sign, hoping Valath would walk away.
“You think a church will save the world, my ﬁne feathered friend?”
Nathaniel turned to the demon. Valath’s eyes glowed red under the dark arches of his eyebrows.
“I think God will save everyone.”
“Are you sure,” asked Valath. “Look.”
Nathaniel saw a man kiss his wife as she drove off toward the highway. As soon as she was out of sight, another woman walked out of the nearby tanning salon. The man and the woman embraced and shut the door to the Malum Motel.
“Does that look like God is working in their lives?”
“People make mistakes,” replied Nathaniel. “And I have faith in God’s plan.”
Nathaniel withdrew a silver blade the length of a Samurai sword and rested it against Valath’s throat.
“You should leave,” growled Nathaniel, the wind ruffling his dark brown hair.
Valath looked amused.
“Oh, come on. Don’t be like—”
Nathaniel pressed the blade harder as blood trickled down Valath’s neck. The back of Nathaniel’s jacket gave a shudder as if something was trying to burst through it.
My Dearest Roman,
Today father outlines to me in explicit details the many shortcomings in your mother’s “immature, right-wing psycho” thinking. I don’t know how much longer I can take this. He hates her more than he loves me, it would seem. Her putting that billboard in front of our newest shop was the final straw. I am forbidden from ever seeing or speaking to you again, our love stumped out in its twilight. I can’t take this… I crave you, and my father’s misgivings only amplify my yearnings. Should you receive this by the 3rd, meet me in the spot our love has always shone the brightest.
Forever yours, Julian
It’s been about two months since we last heard from you, and it’s starting to worry me a little. I know things didn’t end well when you left us, but it’s not like you to not even drop a call to check up on us. I tried getting in touch with the agency overseas you were supposed to be working with, and they haven’t heard from you either. I can’t believe I’d ever write this, but I hope you lied to us or else I’ll have to fear the worst.
P.S: I found this card the other day when I was looking for one to send you. Remember the porn shop near the abandoned church on the other side of town where we used to live? Well, it seems some social justice warrior with a camera and a tumblr did, too. Haha
Hey, Wally, I miss you. I know you’ve been really busy with your meeting and all, but when you can, write me back. Home has been fine. My parents came, ya know just to annoy me. Ellie is going to be in a spelling Bee, and John had detention again. But on another note, something happened and I wish it didn’t. If only you did what I told you to. If only you would have thrown that box away instead of leaving it in the den, then
maybe the kids wouldn’t have found that tape. You remember, our tape from ’05.