An Open Letter to Tom from 203 October 21, 2020 Loni Pinecone

Tom is my downstairs neighbor who has a bunch of dead bugs on his floor and never leaves his house. He smokes, has warts on his nose and says he almost collaborated with Ray Bradbury 20 or 30 years ago. Tom talks so much that even my building manager Ian who also talks incessantly will get trapped in one-way conversations with him, which he finds completely boring. One time Ian sarcastically commented "Thomas, you always have the most interesting stories" when he wanted him to be quiet and go away. I have been repeating this phrase "Thomas, you have the most interesting stories" at first for days, and now still months after this incident- under my breath, out loud, to myself or at other people- errupting laughter in no one else but myself. This letter is written in the (English) accent of Ian as if he were a royal diplomat penning a letter of praise to his masterful Thomas.

Thomas, from what faraway lands do you uncover those famed and beloved stories of yours? Certainly in your day you must’ve traveled to all the continents and ancient cities to collect stories as interesting and compelling as yours? From Ancient Rome, to Alexandria, to Bethlehem? To the fabled city of Atlantis and back? What I mean to say Thomas, is that your stories are truly one of a kind, so fascinating and interesting and great.

Thomas, have you ever considered writing an anthology? One which could capture the vast spectrum and volume of your fabulous stories, which I love hearing time and time again. You really do always have (and I mean this) the most interesting, fascinating stories to tell. My only wish is that I would get to hear them more often! (I especially enjoy when you tell two or three, or maybe even four stories in a row without any recourse from me to interfere with their telling. I am of course floored to hear such stories, owing to how great and interesting they are.)

Now I hope you can forgive me for asking, but have these tales really all happened to you, Thomas? Judging by how interesting they are, I find that hard to believe sometimes. Tell it to me straight– are these really your very own stories? Which are so interesting and great? Either way, they are always so fascinating and I look forward to hearing them every chance I get. It just seems amazing to me that one man could have such great and interesting stories to tell at the drop of a hat. I hope you don’t misunderstand me, Thomas — this is a compliment! I find myself in disbelief sometimes, that you always have the most interesting stories to tell!

I hope I'm not being too familiar, Thomas, but sometimes I lay awake at night wondering if you have specifically sought these tales out for my personal benefit, so that you may have such fascinating and interesting details to recount me? I think I've made it quite clear enough, Thomas– I just can’t keep myself from thinking about your deeply rich and interesting stories even in my most quiet moments. This, I believe, is another testament to just how very interesting they are!

Tell me again about that one story, Thomas? The one where you worked in Hollywood, in that proverbial City of Angels? That is an impressive story, and in my mind certainly no less interesting hearing it again now for the fourth or fifth time.

Whenever I see you Thomas, I think ‘Now. Here’s a man who has some of the greatest stories, which are always so interesting to tell.’ In the mornings, when I see you standing there just footsteps outside your door, having a cigarette at breakfast time, I can only imagine what fascinating stories you have swirling in your head just waiting to be told! In those moments I pray I should be lucky enough to hear them one day too!

It really is you, Thomas. You are the beholder of the greatest stories of our time AND of our lifetimes–and I really mean it when I say this to you. Your stories should be put in a time capsule for future generations to hear, so they can also discover just how fascinating (and interesting) the stories you tell are. I’ve never heard such amazing stories, Thomas. Not in my entire life, not until I met you, that is. From that day forward there has never been a shortage of fascinating stories for me to hear–and might I add–tales that can only be told by you, which only adds to how utterly fascinating and great the stories that you tell always are.