[Originally published June 11, 2012.]

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Carl, thank you for holding my plastic bag full of live bats while we go over your engagement photo shoot. I am sorry that Staci can’t be here to listen, but I really needed one of you to kneel on the front stoop of my house with your ear to the ground and listen. I am expecting a delivery and the gentleman I employ to kneel on the front stoop and listen for deliveries called in sick today.

First, I can’t wait to begin taking pictures of you and Staci and a rotting electric eel I found on the beach last week! The eel has a long orange worm that crawls in and out of the hole where its eye used to be and has several water fleas that jump in and out of it and eat the flesh in celebration. It is my gift to you for signing me as your engagement and wedding photographer. Please tell Staci that the eel reminds me of her—and not just because of the smell.

I reviewed your list of requests, but must admit that I didn’t read them all because my anteater ate the second page, and seeing how much he enjoyed it—I ate the third page. The page looked like how a woman’s armpit hair covered in small clumps of grape jelly would taste. Please try both in the next few days–-the woman’s grape-jelly armpit hair and your stationary—and confirm this for me.

Moving on. I learned from my mistake and didn’t eat the fourth page of requests. Instead, I rolled the fourth page into a tiny mustache and glued it on my mustache, so that my mustache now has a mustache—I have named my mustache’s mustache “Franco.” Please do not refer to it by anything else. 

So admittedly there are parts of your four-page list that I didn’t read, but rest assured I read a good portion of the top of the first page. Including the request that I take pictures of you backlit by a sunset and walking on a train track or possibly against a brick wall. This phrase appears to have no translation in my native Spanish, but I think it roughly translates to something such as “I can make seven salads with mayonnaise and one of them is perfect to accompany a TV dinner eaten while sitting on a commode the color of the orange worm that crawls in and out of the rotting eel that smells like my fiancé.”

In reference to your question about cost, I have a question for you, “Beaver beaver tomato soup?” Please be respectful in your answer, because your mother is known to be a tomato-soup beaver.

In regards to your request that “we should hang out before the shoot and get super comfortable around each other”—I think this is a most excellent idea. Here is how we will make that possible: I will come live in your bedroom for the six days and twenty-seven minutes leading up to the shoot. I will dress as how I imagine your mother would dress (support top pantyhose, tube socks, Indian bead belt, nothing else). Every night we will crawl in your bed and snuggle and go to sleep, being careful not to crush the three Syrian hamsters that I have put in my control-top pantyhose to simulate the extra skin and weight I gained when I was pregnant with you—my body will never be the same—and you will tell me about your day with rotting-eel smelling Staci and I will kiss your head and whisper in your ear, “Tell Franco, my mustache’s mustache, about your troubles.”

After six days of living together, we will construct a ten-foot vagina and cover it with honey and ants. Then I will undress out of the clothes that marked me as your mother—including both tube socks and one and a half of the Syrian hamsters—and, naked, I will push myself through the honey-ant vagina to be reborn as Salvador Dali—the greatest artist of the 20th century. 

Naked and glorious, I will then take your engagement photos. Please bring a friend with at least two arms to help release the locusts and to throw the rotten eel between Staci’s legs. 

In response to your question, “Will you do anything too weird?” I doubt it, but to be sure, I will ask Franco, my mustache’s mustache, and get back to you.

Oh, I see the honey and ants delivery has arrived. Please go get into your fish suit.