The first line is funny because it concerns mostly everyone. May 11, 2009

To Whom It May Concern:

My name is Nathan Bullock and you probably know that, either from the envelope or the news. I was (or possibly am) 5’6’’ and weighed 190 pounds. I have brown hair and brown eyes and my left arm is slightly longer than my right. I wear a size 10 shoe and a large t-shirt. I do not have a favorite food, but I ate pork chops last night and they were pretty good. I am in the 11th grade. If everything went as right as possible this is common knowledge, but if you’re going to write the book about me you need a few more details than what the biopsy will show.

I wasn’t trailer trash until someone told me I was. Up until then I wouldn’t have even said I lived in a trailer, or in a trailer park. I would have just said I lived at home. I live with my mom and I am an only child because my dad got cancer and died. My mom says his last words were that he loved me but I overheard my Uncle Terry say that he just said he was cold. I don’t know my mom very well but I think that is less because she works a lot and more just because she is my mom. Sometimes I wonder if she dated anyone before my dad, or if she ever wanted to be a scientist or a lawyer when she was a kid, but there never seems to be a good time to bring it up.

My room is small and clean. I have a window next to my bed and I can look at the sky when I lay down but it is usually cloudy. Our house is near to a highway which is near to a hospital, so the sirens sometimes keep me awake. Dead people were probably moving past my bed in those ambulances but it never really bothered me much. People who were dead were just dead and didn’t really care about anything so I never really cared about them. The ambulances sometimes blow their horns at the people driving on the road and I usually laugh at that.

I had a friend and her name was Janice. She was never a dancer but would have liked to have been. She found a VHS tape at a garage sale of people doing ballet and she was very sad when it broke. From the highway to our park there was a small patch of dirt road before the pavement of the park would start and you could tell when she had walked on it. Every ten or twelve steps she would point out her toe and do these little mock pirouettes, tracing half moons in the dirt. I have seen her do it and when she does she lifts her arms slightly, pointing her hands at her hips but not touching them. I slept with her once and it was not good. I was not surprised when she was gone in the morning, but we talked afterwards and it was OK.

My school had all the grades from six to twelve so everyone was sort of angry all the time. There was always something someone had done last year that the other person didn’t like, but they had to talk to them and be nice because there was no one else to talk to. So people were only sort of angry most of the time.
I have never been in a fight but I have come close. My favorite teacher was Mr. Andorelli. He taught History and watched CNN on his lunch breaks in his classroom and sometimes I joined him. Teachers did not like him but most students did because he would make fun of the kids who didn’t do good in his classes. After school I would leave through the teacher parking lot because it was faster and one time I ran into Taylor Murray. Mr. Andorelli would make fun of Taylor and Taylor would sulk and talk in class. That day Taylor decided to drizzle Mr. Andorelli’s car with yellow paint, and I saw this and I told him he should stop. He asked me why and I said because Mr. Andorelli wouldn’t like it. He looked like he was going to hit me and then he left. After that I went to Mr. Andorelli’s room and watched CNN with him. We watched for a few minutes and I told him that his car was covered in paint. He didn’t really react the way I thought he would. He just ran his fingers through his hair and said yes, it probably was. I think about that sometimes when the ambulances go by.

The only time I tried to have a conversation with my mother it was because my hand hurt. I started waking up every now and again with my hand all clenched in a fist and I told her because it was uncomfortable in the morning. My knuckles were sore. My mother was usually getting home from work when I was awake. She worked hard and never hid a bottle in her purse, but she did sometimes leave pills out in the open. I told her about my fist and she said not to worry because it was just a hand.

I never really went to the parties. People I knew went to because they were always saying they were going to be fun. I was never really in need of fun. I was fairly content with what was happening. Janice told me to come to one, so I did but I left shortly after we got there. There was alcohol soaking into the shag of the house it was at and kids were playing an old piano badly. I told Janice goodbye and walked home in the middle of the street the whole way. A car went around me and honked so I waved.

They are probably saying that this was all because Janice died but that isn’t totally true because she was just dead and it never really meant anything. All the kids said Taylor put something in her drink and people were sort of angry but there was not really anything they could do but be angry. The ambulance sound came up the dirt road this time. I guess she had done it herself with her father’s pistol, which I suppose was a good thing to do because her dad would have done it anyway on account of the baby. Probably. But everyone was really sad and they would ask me if I was sad and I usually said yes but sometimes I would just say nothing and they would pat me on the shoulder. A priest told me she was in a better place now so I guess he liked wooden boxes.

I would have liked to have seen the ticker. The words running across the bottom of the screen, usually with more facts about whatever news story was running, sometimes breaking weather alerts or celebrity sightings. I asked Mr. Andorelli why they did this and he said it was because people love to be sad and angry at the news so the more news they put on screen the more people would watch their channel. He said tragedy is a seller’s market. That made a lot of sense to me.

You will probably go with a well known journalist or writer, and I don’t really know any but you should pick one that has done this sort of thing before because I want it to be good. I have been mowing lawns since I was ten and I have all the money saved under my mattress because people would tell me I should save it but when I asked what I should spend it on they never really had an answer. Some would say a car so I could drive my friends around but I only had one friend and she liked to go to parties and I didn’t so that never appealed to me. So I went into town and retained a lawyer to cover my likeness rights. I learned about them on the computers at my school. I only paid him for a week, but made sure he got a portion of my estate as a retainer, so I assume he will still work for me. His name is Jerry Klingmann and he is sixty-three years old and has no idea why anyone my age would need to have his likeness rights protected but he humored me and took my money and signed my papers. I would guess he no longer will need his pension.

My dad had a gun so I will probably use it but I don’t know what kind it is so you will have to find out. I think it is a revolver. It doesn’t hold many rounds but each one is a charitable foundation waiting to happen. I will probably shoot a few bullets into the roof so everyone hides. I have been working on my aim so I won’t hit anybody I don’t want to. I hope they all duck under their desks and tables like they do on television because I could never help but laugh when I saw them do that.

I will shoot Taylor though because he probably deserves it, and maybe someone else but not so they are killed. Somewhere non-lethal, like the fleshy part of the thigh. They won’t deserve it but it will give them something to drink about, like Janice’s dad who told us he had lots of whiskey because of a war he was in.  Taylor won’t really care because he will be dead, and I doubt I will care either, because he is just dead and not really anything to worry about. Maybe I will shoot him in the chest and make him care for a little while. Somebody will run their fingers over his eyelids and that will make me smile and they will notice. They will write a poem about it and I’ll get paid for that too.. A few cracked eggs, they will say, and they will be right.

Maybe a round will stray and hit someone outside a window, someone walking their dog or taking out the garbage. Two feet to the left, a minute later, they would have been fine they will say. They’ll talk grimly about how random things are.

After all that I will probably shoot myself, not because I want to but because it seems like the thing you are supposed to do, and you need an ending to write about. In their darker moments people who threw the parties will probably spit and say I had my fun and they will probably be right.

I don’t really care for the things but I have bought a few video games for you to choose from. There are a few movies in the house, and I think there are a few with guns in it. Books were never really my thing, but I have a few comics and tapes in my room. I will probably add to them just to give you a nice selection. One of these things probably set me off, so I will leave it to you to decide which.

I figure that you and your competitors will probably all write a book so I have sent this to them too so that way my mom won’t have to work again. She works too much and I don’t like that. Janice sometimes said that being a dancer was probably hard work, so I hope I can bring myself to do this because being famous is probably just as hard, but that is only if you are famous and living. Being famous and dead is just lucrative. This way I can just skip to the finish.

Anyway, there is a mailbox outside my school, so I will drop this in there and hopefully it makes it to you. If there was some way you could tell Mr. Andorelli that I was sorry I couldn’t do anything about his car, that would be great. I always wanted to tell him that. I don’t think I will care if you don’t, but if you could, that would be OK.


Nathan Bullock.

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Every Little Bit Helps April 5, 2009

Recession proves big business to otherwise stifled platitude industry.

By Clinton Hallahan

As the world financial market downturn drives the world economy into a recession, any glimmer of hope is encouraging, says California businessman and proprietor of platitudes Ellroy Thompson.

Thompson markets and distributes platitudes, a business very nearly driven out of business by eight consecutive years of economic prosperity, a prosperity Thompson was shocked to hear was mostly manufactured.

“They took it all the way to the bank,” he remarked “and almost drove me into the ground.”

With the foundations of global commerce now crumbling, Ellroy says his business is booming. With bloggers and print media pundits alike scrambling for ways to describe the widespread panic and hardship, Thompson says he is nearly swamped with requests.

“I had “in times like these” and “pinch every penny” stocked on the shelves for miles”, said Thompson on Tuesday, “and now I am scrambling to keep the pantry full.” By Friday evening Thompson’s stock of “recession-proof” and “Wall Street fat-cats” was completely sold through.

Competitors corroborate the increase in sales. Jerry Wilder, a truism dealer from New Mexico is experiencing a similar spike in sales. “Around Christmas I was overstocked on “you can’t borrow your way out of debt”. I was sold out on February 1st.”

Use of timely “Grapes of Wrath” quotations is also set to double from last year.

“If somebody lowers a price on something, people need a way to communicate the gravity of the situation.” Thompson said.

The upturn is not universal, however. Inner-city optimism vendors are reporting the lowest sales since Reagan, and purveyors of dictums are decrying the offenses being made daily against their craft. Ellroy Thompson is unsympathetic.

“I took my lumps and its their turn now,” he said of depressed industries, “its the way things go.”

Thompson plans to use the increased profit to invest in a small cliche factory in Denver, which he sees as becoming lucrative in the post-recession economy. He says the revenue from “not in this economy” and “credit crunch” alone will fund the venture.

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