Dead Letters

forgotten correspondence

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

A few moments, a short note. I have started this many times in my head, and forgotten it each time, as the pace of work has quickened and the "free" time afforded to me has shrunk to only those moments necessary for meals and sleep. Taking your advice, I have made the most of those seconds and minutes to keep my mind somewhat coherent in the face of those things that I am seeing before my eyes. We will soon do wonderful things, and hopefully these labors will bring to us hairy creatures a vision of God's grace and not merely our own. You, of course, know the possibilites, so i do not need to lay them before you. Speaking of which, I have had some discussions with various officials here, explaining your position of importance in my labors as well as in my heart. Thanks to their understanding, I can speak a bit more feely about what is going on here, as long as those more sensitive letters are delivered in a more secure manner than US post and you commit to destroying them after you have read them.
Go ahead and pay my father's bills, if you find them. He has given us so much. My thoughts and prayers are always with you, though I know you don't need them to get by. Love always,

posted by Derek  # 6:58 PM

Thursday, May 15, 2003

Dearest J,
It's finally stopped raining, but the damage is done. I can't imagine what worse could happen if the rain had never stopped. Ameson came to the house two days ago. He caught me at a vulnerable moment- dusk, and it was raining and the light outside was reddish and dark. The goddamn house was falling apart, making groaning noises as if the whole thing would topple. I should have taken the hint when Decent and the others left that conditions would only get worse. Like rats aboard a sinking ship. I can't believe Decent found our house to be unsuitable. There was a time when a rusted out car suited him just fine for months at a time. But he left with C. and T. and moved into your father's house for a while after the roof fiasco. I received an envelope from him about the same time as your paycheck, filled with bills he had found stuffed in your father's books. "He wouldn't mind," his note read, and I think he's right, though I haven't spent the money. I don't know where they've gone now that the rain has stopped and things are drying out. Things were starting to get in about the time they left. Animals. The area all around was flooded, and the house was the only structure standing as far as I could see. There were birds in the rafters for a while, but even they left when the roof began to cave in. I was dealing with a rat the size of a dog when Ameson knocked on the door. I didn't have sufficient defenses to refuse him. He came to the door and I told him what I had told him last time. I told him to go away, that you couldn't see him or give him any information. He left. I went and stood in the study and suddenly he was standing outside on the lawn, in front of the window in the rain. He fumbled in his briefcase for a moment and pulled out a tablet. He scribbled on it and held it up for me to read. "Please?" I shook my head, laughing a little. He must be mad. He tore off the sheet and scribbled on another. "Split apart/ PUT BACK TOGETHER?" Stunned, I nodded. He tore off and drew up another, an amazed, excited look starting to spread across his face. "Could he fix your house with it?" I shook my head. He stared at me. "Why?" He mouthed. I mouthed back, "It doesn?t work on that level yet." Tore off again, a new sheet. The wet papers were piling up on the lawn.
"Put things back exactly the same way?"
I shook my head. No.

He stood there for a moment, staring at me. He looked up at the roof, the goddamn roof that's made our lovely upstairs unlivable and let the rain in to ruin our books and floorboards. He smiled, and then he ran off, waving his hand in a hurried, excited way. I called the number you gave me and they laughed at me when I told them what had happened. "Ameson doesn't know anything," they said, "Tell him whatever the hell you want, he's an idiot. Any sensitive information couldn't possibly be passed along through note cards and pantomime." And they hung up. They called back a moment later. "You're husband has some good ideas, but they're hardly up and running yet. He's going to be here for a while." They hung up again before I could respond. They didn't seem worried, though I'm not entirely convinced. My biggest worry is that I've somehow put you in danger or kept you there longer. The rain stopped yesterday. I have all the doors and windows open and things are starting to dry out. I hope you can come home soon. This is driving me mad. Let me know how things are going. I can't stand the idea of them putting you through psychological testing and working you so constantly. Please remember to sleep. Write back soon.

posted by el  # 10:06 AM

Monday, May 12, 2003

Dear M,
First I must apologize for the time that has passed since I received your letter. We've been busy here and I've had hardly a moment to myself. It is Sunday now, one of the few things around here that is truly sacred, and so I can smile and consider it all and think of you. The Cervantes -- I should have mentioned earlier that simple correspondence is all that they will allow in or out for security reasons. It is frustrating, but I think it is due more to a lack of resources that they can devote to mail screening than to a legitimate fear that the contents of the novel were subversive. A letter, they can read, pass on, and study for any secret codes, etc., but for anything else it gets too complicated. They must ensure that no sensitive information comes in or out of this place. The paranoia, though understandable, has been a bit disorienting. They put me through two days of psychological testing and interviews before they let me continue with the work I had been doing back home.
But, considering the visit from "Dr. Ameson,"i think all this security might prove prudent. A man by that name had called me at the lab a few times, desperate to set up a meeting. This was after it became clear that I was coming here. I was under instructions not to make any new contacts in the month before I left and never took his calls, but apparently he is persistant. Ignore him. If he becomes threatening, or even too annoying, call the main number here: (4XX)xxx-xxxx. They will know what to do. He is likely harmless. And, as they screen the mail here, they should already have someone watching him. I wouldn't worry. Besides, all my research he might want to take a look at is here, or destroyed by water, or secure.
By the time you get this, you should have received my first paycheck. They provide for us, and I won't get out into the real world for a while. Anything I need at the commisary is deducted.
I hope the weather has improved. Is the house holding up? It sounds like it needs more than simple repairs, but it's been heading in that direction for a while. Where are the others staying? Take care, be safe, and stay dry.


posted by Derek  # 2:16 PM

Thursday, May 08, 2003

Dear J.,

I hope the dry and the open-space are doing you good. It worries me that they've put you up on-site, but I'm glad if the arrangements are pleasant enough. Remember to sleep. People who are in a hurry often forget that such things are necessary- I know that you're no exception. Sleep, and try to think occasionally of something besides the work they have you doing. I tried to send you a book, something I thought rather innocent, a simple hardback Cervantes, but it was returned to me promptly, with my note all but obliterated with black marker. I don't know whether it was the object itself (sharp corners and a loose thread in the binding?) or its contents that they found to be offensive and possibly detrimental to 'the project'. I can't imagine what they found threatening. It's frustrating to me to think that the view out your window is your only pastime. Though I've heard the sky changes constantly there, so maybe that's enough for you. As for here, the weather is maddening, and the view's a bit bleak. The others have left the house, ignoring my (mostly hopelessly optimistic) words of encouragement. The roof is caving in and the floorboards are starting to warp. We were awoken one night to a horrible slough-creaking, and in the morning, when we went outside to survey the damage, the roof had been pushed in like soaked paper. I'm trying to keep track of things, but with everyone leaving and you away I spend most of my time worrying. A man came by looking for you yesterday and I didn't know what to tell him. I tried to explain that you were away, but he was very impatient, and kept trying to peer around me into the house as if I were hiding you. He carried a brown briefcase and didn't seem to know what to do with his hands; they kept fluttering out in front of him as he spoke. Several times he seemed to startle himself. He left a card:

W. Ameson, Ph.D. ASATAbt.
Chicago, IL

I don't know what that means. And I don't recall that you've ever been to Chicago.

Do you know if they will pay you yet? And are they sending you anywhere else? Promise me you'll pay close attention to what's going on around you. I hope your colleagues are interesting. Come back as soon as you can, and bring some desert weather with you. It's too quiet here without you. Write back soon.

Of Course, You Know,


posted by el  # 1:23 AM

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

J-------- W---------
c/o National Research Laboratory
L-- A-----, NM, -----

Dearest M-----,
Thank you for your quick reply, it brought me much comfort. I can receive letters through the above address. They have put me up in a small apartment on-site. It is cramped but pleasant, and as you know I didn't bring along too many personal affects. The one window brings a view of wide open desert, criss-crossed by tiny roads that dissappear into dust before they reach the horizon. I have yet to meet most of the people I will be working with -- this first day has been all tours and orientation and breifings. As you may have guessed, I will be able to say little about the work we are doing here. All correspondence is reviewed before it is posted, and you already know, of course, more than I could ever discuss in a letter.
Don't worry about the boxes for now. There is enough to do before we would have a use for those documents that we should be able to get another set of copies.
As for yourself, stay dry and stay safe. I will be back as soon as I can. I am off to another breifing, and then to sleep, much needed, too, as it has been an exhausting day.

Love Always,
posted by Derek  # 2:15 PM
posted by el  # 6:54 AM

Tuesday, May 06, 2003

posted by Derek  # 6:29 PM


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