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An Open Letter To Author Benjamin Weissman

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Dear Mr. Weissman,

Not twenty minutes ago, I was sitting at the Seaside Restaurant on Legian beach in Bali, Indonesia. I’ve been bringing your book, Headless, with me to meals because I’m currently traveling alone. I got married here last week, but that’s another story.

Anyway, I start reading “Marnie” and get to the part where you describe her ski crash and my ears instantly stuff up and sweat does not just bead up on my face, it oozes out of pores like at a Play-Do Fun Factory. My heart starts racing and everything starts to go black. I swear I’m going to pass out and I haven’t even gotten to the part where you find her wrapped around the tree yet. I’m a twenty-hour plane away from everyone I know and love in San Francisco and I can’t believe your story just plunged me into a full-scale panic attack. I haven’t had one in a year. And trust me, I’ve done a lot of damn work to make it that way.

It’s a beautiful sunny day. People are surfing. My waiter is sitting off to my right smiling contently in my general direction. I don’t know how I’m going to get back to my villa without passing out or drawing a crowd. Finally the word “bathroom” flashes before me. I clasp my cold drink for a few seconds and put the makeshift compress that is my hand to my head. A few deep breaths and I’m up. I almost walk off of a three-foot drop in my hurried quest to find an unoccupied stall.

Once inside, I hike up my skirt and take a shit reminiscent of the one you describe in “The Fecality of it All.” I spot a sign that says “Do not flush Softex down toilet. Please place in sanitary bag and dispose in the trash.” I think fuck, this toilet isn’t burly enough to handle toilet paper, and now I’m trying to flush a two-foot turd?

At this point, I wonder if you’re some kind of psychic and your book isn’t somehow predicting my future. The thought of your prescience during this intimate moment creeps me out.

Like you, I’ve got no choice but to flush. I do put the Softex in the trash though. For whatever difference that makes. Then I wash my hands, take a deep breath, and hightail it out of there.

On my way home, I think about the passion fruit granita I left behind at the restaurant. It had an entire scoop of real passion fruit at the bottom. The seaside even gives you a little spoon so you can scoop the seeds out when you’re finished sucking up the sweet ice. This is really the only part I’m pissed about. Well, that and knowing that I’m going to force myself to read the rest of your damn story even though I know it’s going to make me sick.

So, anyway, thanks for the book. I quite like it.


Travel Betty


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