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Unlikely Pen Pals: Penny Dobson, Seventh-Grader from Suburban New Jersey circa 1985, and Vladimir Tarkovsky, Inmate of a Siberian Gulag circa 1952

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Dear Vladimir, Hi. How are ya? This is so awesome. I’ve never had a pen pal before. Now I’ve got an honest-to-God Russian guy to write to. I guess I should tell you a bit about myself. My name is…

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Thursday, September 22, 2005   |    Fiction

Tonight … and Beyond!

by Savannah Schroll

From: redevildog@yahoo.com
To: angel_eyes1257@aol.com
Subject: Tonight … and beyond!

Dear Angela (such an appropriate name! Like the angels!)

I wanted to let you know that I had a wonderful time tonight, and I hope that you would like to go out again, despite our rather unfortunate parting. I also wanted to let you know that in your haste to leave the parking lot, you apparently scraped a curb and lost your hubcap. I went back to pick it up and can return it to you sometime over dinner.

I’d like to express my sincerest apologies for having imprudently exposed my “enthusiasm” for you outside the restaurant. Please know that this has nothing to do with the “long dry spell” I mentioned at dinner. It was your ineluctable charms that inspired my heartfelt response, and you should be pleased to know that you could easily make any man’s circus come to town. You have to understand that sometimes the animals escape the tent because they cannot be contained in the presence of considerable magnetism like yours. I do also apologize for having torn your dress. This is simply indefensible, and I’d like to offer you some reparation for my thoughtless act. As my cellmate always used to say, “Treat women like gold. They are just as easily lost … or spent, like my old woman.” Perhaps next time, I can pay for both our dinners. It’s the least I can do.

Your scream, by the way, is positively lyrical. You should consider becoming an opera singer.

Yours in abject regret and hopeful enthusiasm (please call me!),

Savannah Schroll is author of the fiction collection, The Famous & The Anonymous (Better Non Sequitur, 2004) and editor of Consumed! (So New Media, September 2005). Find more of her world at malaproductions.com.