Sir or Sirs:
When I was five, I was in a theatre fire. A real one, not some hackneyed joke played up for laughs by idiotic teenagers. Upon reflection, I think it was utterly mad that there would actually be a fire—such a clichéd concept, isn’t it?—but this was back when smoking was allowed in theatres, so I suppose it couldn’t have been that rare.
Some other child, probably not much older than me, screamed that there was a fire, and it was one of those terrifying old movies, something by Murnau, so all the patrons were already absurdly tense. All the children started screaming together in unison. My mother broke my arm dragging me out of the theatre, and four people were stomped to death fighting to get out. That’s when I realized how dangerous it was.
Not the fire, of course. No one died from it. People died from the panic. From the other idiots. Trampled to death and unable to defend themselves from the feet of everyone coming down on their face or neck or chest. One of them was another child. Sometimes, I like to think that was the one who warned everyone. A touch morbid, but I know you’ll not judge me. How absolutely perfect would that be? A voice that called out to save everyone, crushed to death by the feet of those he would help. It’s so wonderfully bittersweet. Nigh unto sublime, but more impeccable than that. Supernal in its delightful tragedy.
That was when I realized it. Ideas. What could be more deadly? The idea of the fire, or the actual fire? What’s worse: the thought of grinding a file over your teeth, or actually doing it? How much worse is the idea of a needle sliding into your eye and then jerking out… or someone actually doing it to you? Can a shark be any worse than the idea of one? The absence of one? But then, I’m preaching to the proverbial choir, I believe.
Brilliantly done. I must admit, at first I was skeptical of your vision, but now, I can see the sort of concepts you were hoping to achieve. I hope that you will continue to work like this in the future, building these anti-concepts into things much more beautiful than their terrestrial origins. Of course, we’ll supply the funds for your next project. We are, after all, great patrons of the arts, and these pieces are more elegant than anything we’ve received in the past.
With warm admiration for your craft,
J. Carter, ESQ.
CEO Marshall, Carter, and Dark, ltd.