Card 1: Initially appears to be a typical “cheesecake” portrait. The card is actually a photograph of a billboard, as evidenced by edge curling visible in-frame. The phase fragment “—derful life!” is visible. The model wears a two-piece bathing suit.
Hey Bonnie. They forbid me to call you but I guess snail-mail is still okay. Less chance of “temporal dissonance?” Dunno. I thought of you today. You looked great in that red two-piece, especially the last time I saw you in it. When was that, Long Beach? All those ruffles. Wish you could write back.
Card 2: Photograph of a dry lakebed. A tree, possibly one of the Salix genus, lies half-buried in the bank. A bird of prey perches on the highest branch. The species of the bird is unclear.
20 days. 20 days. I ran out of cigarettes already. The tinned beef’s low, but I’ve got plenty of lard. Hell. If there were lizards I could catch lizards. I’d even eat a bat. 20 days. Are you sleeping with someone else? Please don’t let it be Harvey. He dumped his last wife at a funeral. 20 days. You can have it.
Card 3: Wide-angle photograph of a single-pump gas station. The signs reads McNeal’s, with the neon tube for the N broken in several places. A model-T ford sits on cinderblocks beside the entrance.
I think I’m getting scurvy. Has my aunt called you yet? Whatever she says she’s a goddamn liar. She wants a chunk of that widow’s pension. I know I’m not dead, but I may as well be. You’re lucky, the earlier saps they sent in here were reported as AWOL. No honor, no money. Like I got honor. I miss Fred.
Card 4: Several large hay bales on the side of a barn. The barn is missing a wall.
I cheated on a geography test back in sixth grade. I don’t know why it came up today, but now I can’t put it down. Is Buster II okay? I know you can’t respond, but it helps to ask. Thinking of you.
Card 5: Photograph of a judicial building. The facade is clearly Bauhaus design. A high-relief fascia sharing scenes with Dante’s Purgatorio is visible beneath the eaves. The statue of Justice has three scales.
Fred must’ve hit this wall before me. He’s the only one who would write “Kilroy was here” in the middle of nowhere. I miss that bastard. I don’t think he’s alive anymore. I’ve got sand down my crack. I don’t think I’ve ever been this dry. The air tastes like metal. Last fire I set didn’t want to burn. Thin air. I wonder if there’s radiation down this way.
Card 6: What appears to be an advertisement for some kind of cola. The subject is a heavily bearded man with rouged cheeks. He smiles and tilts a bottle of cola towards the camera. All ad text is in Cyrillic characters, except for a date in roman numerals indicating a publishing date of the 1950’s. This is the only photograph in color.
Wanna know something funny? I think I found Chicago. This place is different, but not. I think I’m right outside your parent’s house, but you wouldn’t know it from Australia. Nothing lives here, at least nothing that shows its face.
Card 7: Reproduction of a Mondrian canvas. The composition does not match any known work of the artist.
Honey when you get this, could you try to send me some sign? Move some things around where you are, see if it makes a difference here. I know we’re like at opposite ends of a mirror, but could you just try? I think the Guggenheim shifted in my sleep. If I just knew things could change from there to here, that something could make a mark on this place, then maybe, maybe[card cuts off here]
Card 8: A lithograph depicting a series of biblical scenes. The representation of Satan carries a seven-tined hayfork. The bottom reads “Abyssus Abyssum Invocat”
I think I’m dying. I wanna call you. I’ve been sick for six days, out of food. I think I’m dying. They had no way to send me back. Widow’s pension. ha. I miss you, miss your voice. We’re not heroes, not like the astronats[sic] we don’t come back. What the hell is the point, anyway?
Card 9: A photograph of the Washington monument. There is a statue beside it that is 1/5th larger in scale. The young man it depicts is unknown. He carries an adze and scythe, a skull with the Iron Cross on its forehead is tucked beneath his arm.
Fred found me, gave me food. I’m alright now, sorry to worry you. Fred’s a swell guy. He’s even clean-shaven. Only guy who could get lather in this wasteland. My spirits are back up, ready to press onward. Fred said we shouldn’t have been sent in apart from the beginning. I agree. Love you.
Card 10 is badly mangled. Any picture has been obscured by damage. On the back, only four words are legible:
—fast. That wasn’t Fred.