The following short pieces, with accompanying preface, were delivered to us by two of our field agents.
They were found inscribed on the very last pages of two library books. Found nearly a year apart, the letters appear to be a set.
The preface is from our field agents, and was not inscribed in a library book. Our agents are well-trained and well-heeled and would never deface a library book like some vandalous German.
So do you remember that weird love letter we had taped to our fridge? The one from the back of that library book? Well, when we were at the big SF library a few days ago we just dumb-fuckin-luck happened upon another, but by someone else. It looks like it may even be a response to the first letter.
What do you think about running these on the site?
Mojo and Riley
So this is a paper airplane that I've just made. I've taken nice, austere stationery—nothing florid or aromatic—and written this message on it.
I've folded this airplane with great care, taking into account heft, balance, aerodynamics, distance traveled, cross-town winds and intended recipient.
I've inscribed the outside edges of said airplane with runes and sigils for luck and balance. I've drawn a cockpit with a little Captain waving out. This plane has pinstripes, which will make it go fast and true.
You are at your desk, when this plane glides in gently through the window, giving no hint to the distance it has just traveled. The landing is in fact so gentle that you are sure some child outside has just thrown this magnificent little plane through your window and will doubtless want it back.
You stand and gaze out the window. There is no child, or anyone else for that matter. The street is eerily quiet and clear and perfect.
You sit back at your desk and open the plane, noting the odd drawings and little hearts scribbled around the edges of the wings.
You open the plane, and read the message inside, and the message says, "So this is a paper airplane that I've just made . . ."
The child who will bring you this scroll in her bright velvet messenger bag is solemn, serious and dedicated (except when she laughs her squinting laugh or pikes off to play penny poker in the back alley with her brothers) and is my favorite among the pages. Only to her would I entrust this scroll, and the secret of your location. She'll never tell the others where the airplanes come from, but treasure the mystery and her sole possession of the answer.
This latest missile missive is the best so far, its runic decoration delightful and effective: the paper is in pristine condition. The page turns it over reverently in her dusty tomboy hands as she waits for me to finish my reply.
I rummage through the scraps of palimpsest on my desk and find a fresh piece of parchment, smooth and creamy. Deftly I use my penknife to trim a new quill for the occasion, then let the ink dry as I consider what I should write to you, and my thoughts get lost in the inviting labyrinth of rooms where I keep the you in my mind.
Will you be at your desk when my page knocks no-nonsense on your door? Will you glance up, startled? Will your eyes light up, will you spring chain-jangling from your chair and swing the door open with a grin for the top of this child's tangled curly head?
Impatient, the page whistles her little tomboy tune from the broad windowsill beside my desk, where she's sitting Buddha-style in the thick-as-honey Mission sunlight and shuffling her tattered deck of cards. Your airplane is back in my letter-basket.
I hum along with her to help me focus on the here-and-now, dip my pen again and in my most well-behaved hand, write: "The child who will bring you this scroll . . . "
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Copyright (c) 2000, 2004, David Erik Nelson, Fritz Swanson, Morgan Johnson