Annoying Colleague

Ray, thanks for your side-splitting commentary during my pitch of the new ad campaign. It in no way distracted the client. I expected you to drop by my office afterwards—not that we had an appointment, but you always seem to sense when I’m on a deadline and need to unwind with some of your famous sex jokes.

Speaking of which, this envelope contains my just completed rom-com. Think Notting Hill meets The Shining. As the office comedian, you’re the perfect guy to show me how it could be a lot better. Stop in ASAP with your critique…

Deadbeat Former College Roommate

Stewie, just got your voicemail from the Greyhound. No, having you on my couch for nine weeks while you got your “shit together” was no imposition. And the water bill stayed low thanks to your “no shower” policy. I agree, it was great to reconnect, especially after reconnecting last fall, and also reconnecting the previous spring. Loved our all-night heart-to-hearts till I left for work, bleary-eyed, you sleeping in till I got back. Katie’s edginess? Nothing to do with you, pal, blame it on hormones.

Stew, attached is a PDF of my latest screenplay—a revisionist western set in Newark. You’ll need to read it on your phone because I know you pawned your laptop. No one gets me like you do, and I’d love to hear your candid comments.

Persistent Car Salesman

Hi, Jared, it’s me, Buddy (at least that’s the name you call me by), the dude who impulsively dropped into your showroom back in 2013 to scope out the new Porsches. Mostly, I want to thank you for phoning me every week since, updating me on the latest deals, and asking, “What would it take to put you into a new Boxster today?” I feel close to you, Jared, and know you would be there for me if I were ever in need.

Well… I’ve written a screenplay! Yes. Kind of like Taxi Driver, but with time-travel… maybe a tad long at 194 pages. It’s being messengered to you as we speak. Call me the minute you finish—you know the number!

Friend with an Agenda

Denise, great to hear from you, as I do every February. Didn’t mean to rush you off the phone, but had to conference with the gardener. I’m sorry that Katie and I won’t be able to attend your Spring Gala for the Feline Senility Foundation. Thirty-five hundred per table, hosted by Ryan Seacrest—it’s killing me to pass. But it conflicts with our long-planned walking tour of the Siberian tundra, and we’ve already packed the mukluks.

Wait, it just occurred to me: I’d love to get your thoughts on my new film script. It’s called Zombies of the Round Table, set in medieval times—a trilogy, so I’ll send you all three.

Thanks. Can’t wait for your detailed feedback.

Contentious Neighbor

Mr. Petersen, I want you to know that I’ve put it all behind me: The time you informed the city that my new fence was three inches higher than the law allows and I was forced to tear it down and start over. The time I picked lemons from that overhanging limb and you told me that since the trunk is in your yard it’s legally your tree and so is all the fruit, and then you sued me for theft of property.

And last week, when my brother pulled partially into our driveway, behind my car, and you told the cops he was blocking the sidewalk and they gave him a two-hundred-dollar ticket. All forgotten! Because you, sir, are detail-oriented, exacting, and hypercritical—just the combo I need to appraise my new screenplay, enclosed, which I can best describe as a “space noir.”

When you’ve read it, toss your notes over the fence!


Ma, Katie and I are still talking about your fabulous Thanksgiving dinner. And that’s saying something, since it’s now June. Time flies. She absolutely loves our annual tradition of me carving the turkey, while you blame your ruined life on Dad, now 18 years dead.

Mom, it was great to hear from you! I’m so amazed that you read my post-apocalyptic buddy comedy. And you even took time out from berating the maid for not dusting the moldings, to give me your copious notes. Very thorough. I take to heart your main comment—that the script’s problems lie both in the first act and with the author who never should have dropped out of law school to become a “so-called writer.”

In fact, I was so impressed with your coverage that I’ve enclosed the manuscript of my new 810-page novel set in the world of Malaysian tin mining. Take your time, Ma, think about the many characters and subplots in this multi-generational saga–and look for cuts.

Love, Ben