Travel Mates

Thursday, April 27, 2006

An Unexpected Correspondence

The letter came by hand delivery by a nondescript-looking white man in nondescript clothes, who immediately turned and got into his nondescript Ford Taurus and drove away.

Amused, Paul took the letter to his computer desk, which along with his chair were the only two pieces of furniture in the living room of his rented, four-room town house in the poor side of town. He stared at the delivery as though waiting for it to speak to him.

The envelope was high quality. Light blue with a tasteful gold border, it had his name and address written in what appeared to be handwritten calligraphy. He examined the front and back but there was no return address nor any other hint of the sender. He opened the envelope with his imitation dagger letter opener and pulled out the contents, a single sheet of heavy paper which matched the envelope.

To his surprise, the letter was entirely in calligraphy as well. He read:

Dear Paul:

We are extremely pleased to inform you that you have been selected as one of the grand prize winners of our first inaugural Traveler’s Club contest.

“That’s right,” he said aloud (a hazard of living alone your whole life was talking to yourself for company), recognition suddenly spurred. Almost six months before, he had seen a poster up by the school where he sometimes subbed, asking for submissions for a contest which promised the winner the “travel experience of a lifetime”. He had written an essay for that contest on the What The Hell, I’m Not Doing Anything Else platform, and submitted it. That had been over six months ago. He had forgotten all about the damn thing. He went back to the letter.

Your non-fictional essay, “An Experience in the Wilds of Bolivia”, was selected by our panel of judges from over seven thousand entries and exemplifies the high standards of writing that we were searching for when the contest was initially created.

In order for you to commence the process of claiming the grand prize, the travel experience of a lifetime, you we need to meet with us at our local office in the city, located at 1435 Broadview Street between Bryant and Loews Streets. All of your questions will be answered there. We will send a car to pick you up this coming Saturday, the 15 of May, at exactly 9:00 am sharp. Please do not bring anything with you. All you need will be provided.

“Sweet”, Paul said to no one. “I guess there are some advantages to being a ‘freelance’ writer.” For once, being unemployed didn’t seem so bad at all.