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1995nov16. Mail.

Dear X Magazine,

I am a twenty year-old part-time film/photography student who would love to write for your magazine. Living in Canada I could be your magazine’s very own roving-gonzo international correspondent. I have no qualms about rolling up my sleeves and uncovering scandals from cafeteria recycling to the illegal trade in beaver pelts and muskets which still flourishes unabated to this very day. Considering the volatile social climate of Canada, a culture capable of bringing the free world to its knees, it is not only irresponsible but potentially dangerous that your magazine has no Canadian representation. This Christmas give your readers and loved ones the gift of me, even though they may not appreciate it now and may in fact feel alienated and insulted by this cold, seemingly meaningless gesture, I assure you they may get some sense of your half-hearted attempt at gratitude, and may even thank you for it sometime down the road. Knowing that it is a compliment to suggest to a business that its time is an extremely valuable and carefully rationed resource; I won’t waste any more of your valuable time with my sad, run-on sentence ramblings.

Love,
Brent P. Esq.
Windsor Ontario P.S. Could you please send me some subscription information.

I’ve got to stop reading my mail while I’m in line at the Post Office, the clerks are starting to wonder what the hell’s so funny all the time.

1995nov16. I have been told occasionally that I receive “interesting mail.” Ha! You people who tell me this, you don’t even KNOW interesting mail. Occasionally letters appear for former owners of the X box: a small businessman, a syndicated TV show about glass-cutting, etc. One day, the businessman gets a letter from Nigeria. Right, like he had business in Nigeria. That sucker’s MINE. I glanced over my shoulder for the postal inspector, and hightailed it out of there into a world of INTERNATIONAL INTRIGUE. Oh yeah.

Sir, [form letter! My hunch is korrect!]

OUR URGENT REQUEST FOR YOUR UNALLOYED CO-OPERATION We are a team of top officials who are highly placed with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), as well as the Federal Government of Nigeria Contract Review Committee, who are interested in commencing an immediate business relationship with you. We hereby solicit strongly for your assistance, to enable us transfer (forex) funds which total USD21,500,000.00 (TWENTY ONE MILLION, FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND U.S. DOLLARS ONLY) into a reliable bank account overseas, which you have absolute control over.

Our firm resolve to go into this partnership with you is anchored on our strong desire to establish a long-lasting business relationship with you, having been recommended by an associate at Nigerian Chamber of Commerce here in Lagos, who assured us in confidence of your ability and reliability to prosecute a transaction of even greater magnitude.

I interrupt here to mention that the previous box holder, evaluating the types of BILL PAST DUE letters I received for some time after his vacation, probably ran a business with not much more conviction and magnitude than the statement “on a whim” can provide.

These funds are presently trapped [I must SAVE them!] in the NNPC account with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). These are as a result of grossly over-invoiced contracts blah blah blah ...

As it turns out, the entire COUNTRY is corrupt and junk like this is flying out of Nigeria at a blinding pace. What the hell would I do with twenty-one million dollars, anyway?

1995nov16. I haven’t been dancing in a long time. As winter approaches, the desire to regularly attend a club-type locale rears its ugly head once again. I am not a club person, but I get lots of sorely-needed exercise from dancing. My friends expressed interest in “going out”; we are all approaching the time of our lives when “going out” will no longer involve any physical activity more taxing than hailing cabs. There is a dance club located on Fourth Street in Old Town, that will have to suit our needs for the night. A majority of this club’s playlist is standard dance hits from 1993. I am not the type of techno-oriented faux-DJ-type person who believes that anything over six months old is right out, but I do have my limits. As we entered, we were suddenly accosted by a magician hired by the club to entertain the drunken hedonistic masses. You could tell that THIS was exactly what today’s modern yoot wanted in the form of club amenities. Pick a card. Any card. Is this your card. Feel this steel ring. Hold this ring. Hold this rope. Take these scissors. Cut this rope. I cut the deck, and they’re ALL aces! I don’t like magic; there’s too much free labor involved. I was pretending to be much more interested in the large video screens showing cheesy computer graphic demos ([Note: it is in this parenthetical note that I remind the reader that I can say anything I want to, without adhering to “context” or “sense.” Thank you.] Are any of them good? Why does everything have to be so goddamn realistic? Let’s stop pretending and go back to the halcyon days of the Atari 2600. A block was a tank, a plane, or a bomb, and you used whatever was left of your brain to imagine the damn things. It’s just like music videos. And who in the hell designed the Academy Awards logo? Are these people still alive? This is wrong [the really sad thing here is that this all makes perfect sense to me]). Actually, I wasn’t pretending. Then, one member of our group spots a small shank of rope resting by the magician’s shoe. This, of course, is a magician’s naughty bit, the crux of the “tie knot onto long piece of rope to make it look like two pieces of rope” trick. Hey! This magic is FAKE! Never trust a guy in a turtleneck. On our way out, the magician revealed a trick of the club itself: strippers are given the red carpet treatment there. Free admission, free booze. This explained the overabundance of short skirts, Miracle/Wonder/Amazin'Bras (actually, they’re everywhere now. Even pets have them), and pancake make-up. The magician scrambled to a remote corner of the club to insert Yet Another Magic Prop into his mouth, and continued to work the crowd as we left.