Hot Lips Brandy

Dear Prospero,

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to read your piece entitled Hot Lips Brandy.

While we enjoyed some aspects of the story, many of us kept questioning whether street swindler might not be a better vocation for you, but this sort of office chatter is unlikely to prejudice our view of your work as we are a top-tier behemoth of the publishing industry.

In some passages, our most senior editor seemed to have the need to lower her uvula, diverting air flow through her nose and producing a sort of nasal whine.

Though it is from time to time the sensitive writer’s wont to murderously impale certain words, many thought the word ‘veliger’ was typographically incorrect and that you must certainly have meant ‘villager,’ which in the context of the “visit to the local brothel” episode (part 3c) would have made good sense. But it was only on the fourth reading that a small cadre of us grasped the freshwater gastropod angle.

The sudden shift to Esperanto in the penultimate paragraph was admittedly unexpected. This linguistic sleigh of hand only works one out of a thousand times. This was not one of those times, though we did enjoy the sexual innuendo which came of its own toward the climactic end of an otherwise distracting and poorly lubricated gear change.

I personally felt your diagnosis of meningeal tuberculosis was unconvincing. Young farmer Brown probably suffered from eye strain.

One of our staff, Tina, a recovering bibliophile, saucer-eyed and mercurial of temperament, said your work was a finely chopped mixture of horseradish, Spanish onions, and Herbes de Provence sautéed in homemade goat butter and reduced nicely to an unctuous paste, and while her recent run-in with the law does not automatically disqualify her from opining on any of the material we receive–in hygienically sealed envelopes, as per the new regulations we were forced to adopt in the latter half of 2016–we make sure she is at all times kept away from the deep fryer.

In short, the majority of us look upon your cosmoramic writing style with a jaundiced eye. Gone are the days when a byzantine style is likely to curry favor with an editor, especially one prone to self-immolation; moreover, multi-protagonist stories can work a treat in the current market, but this sprawling amalgam of mirrory characters in search of the ‘perfect polygraph’ is weighed down by the crushing weight of its own invention.

Speaking personally again, I hope you will have occasion to submit some of your other work. We are always happy to discover new talent even if we have to look under rocks to find it. And believe you me, we’ve a huge collection of rocks ranging from petite pebbles to bulging boulders in the portico of our New York office.

We also wish to thank you for your submission fee. Rents are high and some of our staff seem to have acquired expensive habits.


  1. It’s 5 to 5 in the morning here and I think my laughter has just woken everyone up. Oh for a reject letter like that! The best one I ever got was:
    “Plotless, humourless, characterless – there’s enough trouble in the world without your play.”

    Liked by 2 people

    • Actually, I thought I was applying to a posh magazine, only to find out it was a creepy tattoo parlor in Manhattan. I’m so desperate I’m happy to hear from anyone.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Don’t tell me your rejection was written by Stormy Daniels? How doubly wonderful!

        Liked by 1 person

      • No. The paper on which the letter written was dry. More like Michael Avenatti. (More lawyerly than slatternly).

        Liked by 1 person

      • What ?


  2. ‘In some passages, our most senior editor seemed to have the need to lower her uvula, diverting air flow through her nose and producing a sort of nasal whine.’ – That’s what’s known as a Manchester accent in the UK.

    You would make an excellent street swindler to be fair – otherwise it seems rather harsh. Would you like me to release the hounds?

    ‘Gone are the days when a byzantine style is likely to curry favor with an editor, especially one prone to self-immolation’ – Hahahahaha

    Hugely entertaining Prospero, you are as swift as you ever were, it’s a real joy to have more wordage from you.

    – Esme waggling her uvula at him upon the Cloud

    Liked by 1 person

    • And here I was thinking HLB was my best work. I invested so much of myself in the farmer’s character and sought to imbue the work with wonderful (my adjective–not theirs) mud-splattered metaphors and all things animal husbandry. It’s a shame surrealism is no longer in vogue. Still, my work packs quite a punch in that regard–enough to wake a sleeping New Zealander or to vellicate a dozing uvula.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You got a letter? Well done. I get stony silence but now I understand why.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Susanne!

      Having sworn off writing for the final time (there must be better things to do) and then, in a moment of weakness, returning hesitantly to my escritoire, I was happy receive fan mail.


      • Your mistake was using an escritoire. I find it much easier to write with a pencil rather than squeeze cheese.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I wonder with caprine excitement at what you would do with a tube of aerosoled goat cheese and a writing pad. Don’t knock it till you try it.

        Liked by 1 person

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