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  • Writer's pictureJay F. Servedio


Updated: Dec 5, 2022

Jessi’s apartment (and that word is used loosely, being that it resembled more of a standing-room-only prison than legitimate living quarters) was just on the other side of the Hudson in Jersey City, New Jersey. She had a bed, a tv in front of that, and about two steps to her left was a kitchen. Thankfully, the twenty-eight-year-old happened to be a minimalist… though minimalism doesn’t mean one lacks material desire and ambition: she dreamed of purchasing a theremin. She took a class in college where she learned how to play the strange instrument, and fell in love with it almost immediately. There was something about the whirring noise that comforted her; the vibrations filled the cracks in her fractured spirit.

The same fractures most alcoholics had.

And Jessi hadn’t drank for some time up to that day, nearing eight months of sobriety. But after the day she had had, the idea of an eight month chip became obsolete. The two beers she had drank at the bar became a bottle of rosè and reruns of M*A*S*H. It was her late father’s favorite show. The lyrics of its theme song began to occupy her mind.

Suicide is painless,

It brings on many changes,

And I can take or leave it if I please.

Some what ironically, suicide is what took Jessi’s father from her and, even more horribly ironic, it was the one year anniversary of him deciding to paint the inside of his living room with the inside of his skull. This memory came and went, splitting stage time with the image of the spontaneously combusting Animorph-pervert she had encountered earlier that day.

“My fucking life,” she said to herself midwallow, before taking another swig from bottle number two. Then a confused look made its way onto her face. She sniffed the air.

Burning bread? Jessi thought to herself. She sniffed the air again. And again.

“Am I having a stroke?” she thought aloud with slurred speech. After a final waft, she finally realized,

“I BURNT MY CAULIFLOWER PIZZA,” so she jumped up off her rump, hopped over her ottoman like a rabbit on bath salts, and found herself in the kitchen. Jessi opened the oven and was met with smoke. The pizza was (and legend has it that it still is) charred beyond belief.

“Fucking hell!” She turned on the stovetop fan, grabbed oven mitts, and pulled out the pizza… she did not, however, turn off the oven or shut the door.

After pouring water on the crispy, black disk, she disposed of it in the yellow waste basket under her sink (she hated that waste basket, and the color yellow). She believed her job to be complete, so she headed abc to the couch to resume her meandering memorial M*A*S*H marathon.

The oven was still on.

Jessi laughed at a bleak joke about the horrors of war.

The oven door was still open.

Jessi didn’t notice.

The temperature of the room began to rise.

These factors would have remained unchanged and would have led to a fire that would ultimately have burned dear Jessi alive after she passed out due to her level of intoxication… but that didn’t happen.

And Jessi did notice these things.

Only because she noticed the glowing turquoise light that began to emit from the open oven. The glow caught her eye, and her eyes moved to it. Confusion took up residence in her mind as she saw, what appeared to be, a small blue portal-looking-thing inside the oven. She stared at the swirling wormhole, that had the diameter of a personal cauliflower pizza, in disbelief.

“Oh good, there’s a portal in my oven.” The portal began to spin, very, very, fast. Exceptionally fast. It spun and swirled like a buzzsaw.

“Please don’t be angry, oven portal. You can stay in there if you--” she didn’t get to wherever that drunken sentiment was going because the portal, whilst making a cute “toot” noise, spat out what appeared to be a letter, before disappearing into itself.

“Of course. It poops postage.” Jessi got up and stumbled to the oven, which she turned off and closed. She then turned her attention to the envelope on the floor. Jessi paused for a moment, possibly because of the agita from her Thai lunch, more likely due to her new found fear of postage-pooping-oven-portals. After passing gas, she reached for the letter. Upon picking it up, she realized there was glowing blue ink bleeding through the sealed envelope.

“Well… that’s pretty cool,” she thought aloud (speaking to herself, dear reader, was a common thing for Jessi. Not due to any particular ailment of the mental variety, nor due to a vain affinity for her own voice, but rather, because the sound of any human, even herself, helped her suppress the loneliness she so often felt and so rarely often attempted to rid herself of).

“I sure hope this thing doesn’t fucking explode,” (she was also rather fond of expletives). Jessi turned the envelope over and found herself face to face with two words written in more of that glowing blue ink: OPEN IMMEDIATELY.

Seeing those two words in that sequence from an agency of one’s local, state, or federal governing body usually initiates a sense of nervousness. But seeing it on a letter that ominously arrived in one’s living room via oven portal, well, that activated a level of anxiety Jessi hadn’t experienced before.

She stuck an index finger into the opening flap on the left side of the envelope and tore it open. Into the envelope she reached and out she pulled a letter. The piece of paper was folded into threes in order to fit into its casing, and the blue ink glowed through the backside of the folded paper, brighter now than it did a moment ago. A strange sense of comfort and excitement washed over Jessi as she unfolded it.

Hand written letters were a tradition between Jessi and her father, with the last one he sent her being his suicide note… however, that thought occupied no space in her mind as she stared at the white paper and the blue writing that coated it. This is some stellar penmanship, she thought to herself. It was that fact that made it easy for her to read the following:


We understand this must be a strange day for you. We apologize for that. But bad happenings are happening and that is very very bad. We need to talk, but sadly, where things are, eyes and ears are as well. Tonight, keep an open mind and a calm state of being, handy. There is much to discuss and not much time. LARGE BADNESS is sprinting our way and we think your hands may be the only ones to grab the bull’s horns and stop its charging. Bulls can be scary beasts and there is much to fear about them, especially their largeness, but we must ask that you refrain from doing so. All will be well, eventually! Until then,


- WE

“Yeah, I was definitely drugged today,” Jessi said to herself (Reader, I would have informed you myself if Jessi’s mind had, in fact, been tampered with, but almost as if to prove my point, at that very moment, another portal appeared in the oven. It glowed inside and spiraled round and round til it had enough force to fling the oven door open and--


--another fart noise was produced, along with a second sealed envelope. On the front of this one, it read: PLEASE open immediately. Jessi followed the parcel’s instructions. After opening it and finding a (get this) SECOND LETTER, she found the following written down in the same glowing blue ink:

PS: No psychedelics have been administered to you. This is very, very real.

Warmest regards,

- WE

“Oh, good to know, then maybe drugs are just what I need.” Jessi closed the oven door once again, took the letters and herself over to her bed, sat down, and hit resume on her remote, jumping back into the reruns of the 1970’s sitcom.

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