My friend Ben Faroe is a remarkable writer, and the story he is currently posting on his blog is asking some great questions that need to be asked. If you love a good story told well, you should take some time to read, enjoy, and think.
**(First episode pasted below…click the link above to read more.)**
Michael Zenickowitz, known to his friends as Zen, woke up at 4:23 with a brilliant idea. He left his Sleeping Hammock, which was bolted to the walls in one corner of his bedroom ceiling, and swung along a rope ladder to his Working Hammock, which was bolted to the opposite corner of the ceiling. He opened a worn lap desk, pulled out five beautiful sheets of ivory résumé paper and an ultrafine black Sharpie, and began writing.
Dear Mr. D. in 5B,
I observed you yesterday picking up an empty beer can from the sidewalk, and was thrilled at the reminder that there are humans among us. You are a true gentleman and a rare breed in the rushing anonymity of this city and century. If you would ever like to share a cup of tea, please do not hesitate to knock on my door.
Zen in 3A
This took perhaps a quarter of the page, and Zen tore it roughly off and began again on the blank remainder.
Dear Brown-Haired Girl in 5A,
I guess we haven’t met yet, but we should. You seem like someone who loves life. Whenever I see you it seems like you’re actually happy to be you, and your glow rubs off. Keep smiling beautifully, and stop by for a cup of tea if you ever feel like it.
Zen in 3A
PS – If you happen to like baking, I will show you an unorthodox but highly successful biscuit recipe of my own invention.
He tore this off as well, and began again.
Dear Mrs. Valdez,
Thank you for the lovely chat the other day. Your history is fascinating, and it sounds like your husband was a great man. I still need to hear about your years together in Argentina before the war, though, and this time it is my turn to host you. Please come by at your convenience and I will give you a cup of my favorite new Darjeeling blend and, if your timing is good, a homemade cookie.
Zen in 3A
This completed the first page, and Zen started immediately on the second, writing without even stopping to breathe.
Dear Max in 4A,
We passed by the mailboxes the other day, and you struck me as an interesting sort of guy. I’m sort of old-fashioned and think neighbors should actually know each other, so if you’re ever in the mood for a good cup of tea and gourmet snackage of some sort, come downstairs and see if I’m home.
Zen in 3A
The next was to his floor-mates in apartment 3B.
Dear Marco and Daniela,
You guys are the best. Thank you for the box of Earl Grey Lavender you left by the door yesterday. I sat on the rooftop listening to the clouds as I drank my first cup – no cream, light sugar, iced, per your recommendation – and it is truly the best iced tea ever. I’m considering setting aside the thirtieth of September as an annual commemoration, complete with festive decorations, dancing, fires, and the release of many small live birds and/or squirrels.
I’m planning another philosophical dinner for Thursday evening. You two are some of my very favorite people, and I would love to have your company at dinner and long into the night.
And so the letters continued, the paper torn rough at the end or beginning of each, one to every resident in the apartment building. When they were done, Zen folded the smooth side edges of each letter into the center and, using a lighter he kept for that purpose, melted a few drops of sealing wax onto each one and stamped them with a crisp rectangular seal bearing the letter Z.
He swung down from the hammock onto a floor covered knee-deep in pillows, slipped into pajama bottoms and a white t-shirt, waved goodbye to his roommate Alex, who was getting ready for work, and padded barefoot into the hallways to deliver his letters. For the fifth time in the last three days, he didn’t notice the paper on his front door.