I am a writer named Rhon Penny (silent h) and I am no longer married. I am writing to you today because I seek advice on how best to deal with a large group of people trying to kill me. That is not to say a large group of people want to kill me at present, but it is my hope that—with your kind help—I can entice a large group of people to want to kill me in the near future. You see, as far as I can discern, the reason I have not yet enjoyed financial success is not a lack of writing talent. Rather, I have yet to stumble upon a really great gimmick, such as the fatwa you were lucky enough to be associated with for so long!
After much consideration, and after talking about this subject over Snackwell Crème Sandwiches for hours with my mother, who is currently limited in her activities due to an as yet undiagnosed scalp condition, and who is a long-time subscriber to Writer’s Digest magazine, I’ve decided that the following groups upset me the most:
DENTISTS: Isn’t it about time someone called them out for their hypocrisy –like saying “uncomfortable” instead of “excruciating”–and moral ambiguity? Everyone despises these so-called doctors! There’s a built-in audience for this one.
WOMEN: America is literally swarming with women. And yes, I know an anti-woman book runs the risk of coming off as “sexist,” at least within the mainstream media, but I just think they are primed for a good skewering. Also, I also don’t find them threatening because they are so weak.
SACRED COWS: Literally. (I am now writing a screenplay called “Sacred Cows” which I’d be happy to send your way. Imagine if the movie “Babe” met the movie “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” and they adopted the movie “Hoosiers” and then raised them together in the same ranch-style home. It’s exactly like that.)
DOG TRAINERS. I can’t stand these people, for very, very personal reasons. But the more I think about it, the less happy I am with this idea. I would prefer groups with good media connections.
Okay, now onto more practical matters. Salman, where should I hide so that people can’t find and kill me? If you could pass along the location of where you hid all those years, that would be grand. However, if you prefer that I pick my own secret hiding place for enjoying my own fatwa, I could certainly use some assistance in narrowing down the following list. (Actually, I already narrowed it down from a list of 120 or so):
-A spider-hole I built myself in my backyard.
-The crawlspace above my ex-wife and her new husband Stew’s newly refurbished living room. They have a flat-screen, which should help pass the time nicely.
-Room 54 at the Hampton Inn in Paramus, New Jersey. (Did some online research and they offer a free continental breakfast.)
-I could also just keep moving from one Chipotle franchise to the next until fatwa is lifted . . . or I tire of burritos.
-Your house (if you can guarantee a working humidifier and ample time to talk with your newest houseguest. If you could also pay for my shingles medicine, that would be fantastic).
Salman, I hear the opening jingle to Wheel of Fortune and, like the regal fish you yourself were named after, I must return to whence I was born (mother’s TV room). But before I scoot, I would be forever in your debt if you could forward me the contact info for your ex-wife Miss Padma Lakshmi. She is very pretty, and I feel like she might benefit from getting to know me better. This will also prove that I am not “anti-women.”
I look forward to your response. Just so you know, you are free to keep the enclosed “Will Write For Chocolate” baseball cap. Now that your fatwa is over, I bet you’re more than a little eager to strut around like a fancy, half-British peacock! There’s a whole world out there for you, Sal. Let it be my time to hide now…
Yours in the words,
Scott Rothman is a screenwriter living in New York City.
Mike Sacks is a writer on the editorial staff of Vanity Fair. His first book, “And Here’s the Kicker,” was published in summer, 2009.