The Shoe Box - Adam Pond


I was writing a story about a writer called Ellie Quinn who was writing a story about a writer called Raymond Thompson.

Ellie Quinn lived in a small hut on a beach in Hawaii. It was hot most of the time and most of the time people didn't bother her. She was in her 50’s; I don't think she knew which year anymore. She didn't like being around people much, she liked to sit in her hut and drink beer and whisky and smoke cigarettes. Her hut was small, the bedroom and the kitchen were the same room, and only hanging braids separated the bathroom. When the rainstorms came in, drops would seep through her thatched roof and onto her. She only went out to gather supplies, or head to a bar further down the beach when she got sick of being alone. Being alone was good until it wasn't. It was hot that afternoon, and Ellie was half drunk and on her second pack of cigarettes. She sat down at her desk and continued writing her story about Raymond Thompson (the name being a mixture of her two favourite writers, Hunter Thompson and Raymond Chandler).


I'm sitting at my house at 2122 South Longwood Avenue, in Hollywood. I'd been at Tom Haywood’s party the night before. It was a party filled with writers and painters, but all the intellectual kind, the kind who picked all the feelings out of work until it was just work. I had a bit of a thick head. I embarrassed myself yesterday at the party telling all these up and comers that they were shit and they needed to go out and live, and Fuck and find god. I went to the porch, picked up the morning paper and put on a pot of coffee as I began to browse. 13th September 1968. They may as well have written ‘no news today’. I don't care about the student riots or the trouble in Vietnam, I don't even know why I still get the paper. I just care about the coffee. I went to the bathroom and showered and shaved and brushed my teeth. I got dressed and decided to do some work, get some writing done. I wanted to write to god. Tell god that I knew the truth. The truth about the people and the war and everyone in this world. As I was writing, I knew I was writing the truth. I took my pages, put them in a box and addressed it to god.


Ellie looked over what she had written and slapped herself on the forehead. She was too drunk to write well, maybe she can't write anything good anymore. It's too miserable, she thought, I'm too miserable. And what was all that crap about god? Try again when you’re sober Ellie, she said to herself. She went to the shop and bought her supplies of booze, cigarettes and the necessary food. On the way home, she stopped at the bar up the beach for a quick drink, and to see if her publisher had sent her anything (since she had no formal address, the bar had agreed to accept her post). There was nothing from her editor, but there was an old dusty box addressed to her. The brown paper it was wrapped in made it look like it had been sitting under the bar for a long time, but the bartender swore a strange man had dropped it off just before her arrival. Ellie ordered a shot of whisky and a beer. She turned the incredibly light box upside down revealing a return address:


2122 South Longwood Avenue

Los Angeles

CA 90016

USA


Fear hit Ellie Quinn like lightning. It was the address she had written for Raymond Thompson in the early chapters of her story, she couldn't even remember where she had got it from? Did she make it up? What could possibly be inside a package from this address? She drank another beer and carried it up the beach with her back to her hut, leaving it unopened. She sat the box down at her desk and stared at the old and dusty box. Had she somehow brought her character to life? Was her imagination a window looking into alternate realities that could somehow overlap? What really is a work of fiction? Feeling like a character in one of her more successful novels, she looked over what she had written about Raymond Thompson, not particularly remembering. She remembered writing that he had sent a box to god. She was the god of his world. What was contained in the box, would certainly break her world. She knew what was in it when she had written about him that morning. She opened a beer, and slowly undid the wrapping before lifting the lid off the blue box. The box contained a few pieces of yellow paper with words on them. As she read through them, she was disappointed but she had begun to understand the grim nature of her reality. She retyped the words, put them in a shoebox, and sent it to god the next morning. Instead of going back to her hut after her trip to the post office, she went to the bar on the beach, drank the contents of her purse and went swimming in the sea, with the intention of never swimming back.


This morning I received a shoebox. In it contained the words you have just read and the words you are currently reading. I have retyped the words, but I have no idea who to send them to.


Image Credit: APC

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