ON FACEBOOK THERE IS A CATEGORY called Nearby Friends. I glanced at my phone this morning without my glasses and thought it read, “Nearly Friends”.
How would Facebook know? I wondered, addressing my fried egg via mental telepathy.
Then I opened today’s rejection letter from a literary journal.
“Aha,” I said, and the egg gave me a knowing look. The sausage looked bored and read his Manchester Guardian. Poser.
I re-read my short story rejection letter as if it were the response to a request to be a friend of someone on Facebook:
Dear Mitchell, you simpering, insignificant wad of banality;
If you weren’t already dead (I speak of your social life, as described on FB) I would have you killed. Or maimed – at least then you’d have something to post.
Thank you for applying to be our friend, but unfortunately, with over 12 submissions this social period, we have been unable to find a place for you and must reject your application for friendship.
We applaud your submission – it’s adorable, really. In fact, we here at the Forlorn Recycled Paper Depot want to spend about eight seconds knitting together a few cliches to smugly show our complete and utter lack of regard (that’s one, for those scoring at home). We’d take the time to actually say something meaningful about the content of your application, or anything really but, no. Like a well-worn trollop, this is fast and easy and we know where everything goes.
In fact, let’s all just save some time, shall we? Just re-read one of your other rejections.
Please be sure to compost this letter – it is made with the hopes and dreams (that’s two) of would-be Forlorn friends. (And fish heads — there are fish heads in this paper too. Also bull manure.)
Marzy & Pan
Friendship Editor and Assistant Friendship Editor
“Look,” my half-eaten egg said, slurring its words slightly due to the drool of yolk oozing out over the plate. “See that clear, somewhat eggish stuff you left in the frying pan?”
I looked. Sure enough, there was a cellophane skin of egg-yuck left in the pan. I had cut it away with the spatula before lifting the egg onto my plate.
“Well, you are kind of like that clear stuff,” the egg said, continuing patiently. I ate the sausage, pretentious cableknit sweater and all, as I listened.
“We know the clear stuff is egg. It came from the eggshell; it would pass an egg DNA test — in fact there was an episode like that on TV last night (on two different CSI-style shows, actually). It’s egg, buuuut, it’s not egg. Ya know? Where’s the yellow? Where’s the yummy? Where’s the cholesterol — although I am pretty sure we as a pop culture are off of hating eggs now, but I have not listened to CBC Radio for a few days, so don’t quote me, eh?”
She — by the way, I asked and she identified as a female. Her WordPress blog name is Madame Ovary. Pretty good stuff, if a little scrambled. Anyhow, she took a deep breath as I slid her onto a piece of buttery rye toast for the coup de grâce.
“Look, buddy – don’t feel bad. You are like the cellophane. You are a Nearly Friend, just like that clear eggy stuff is a Nearly Egg.”
allfornow – m
Copyright Mitchell Toews ©2016