Letters to the Living

I know I shouldn’t be doing this, but I really want to know what Indigo was talking about. She told me that there was someone in the book named Rex, and he writes plays. She had this look in her eyes when she said it and I knew that she would not let me go until I found out about him.  I know you’re probably wondering, “why do you care that he is a playwright?” Well, I care because when I died I was trying to write a play but I never could find a way to finish it. Sounds bananas right! Well, I couldn’t find a way to end it then, and I’ve decided not to try again now.

“Ok Margo, it’s now or never. You have to do this,” Did I mention that I tend to talk to myself? As I walk over to the book in the center of the room I start to get really excited, and then I start thinking about what they could do to me if they find out what I’m doing. “Well it’s too late to turn back now,” I say to myself. I’m standing right in front of the book and with one swift movement the book is laying open and the name is right there. “Rex Barnes, age 25. What? Indigo said he was 50, well I’m not surprised, she’s terrible at reading,” Was that to mean to say out loud, even if I am alone? “So he is a playwright ! That’s so groovy!” Whoops! I really should not be yelling. Rushing, I take down his address. “53, West End Avenue, Los Angeles,” He lives in LA! This guy is just too cool. Oh, and I wrote down his address so that I can write to him, and no, it’s not wired for a dead girl in the Realm to write to a living guy above, at least I hope it’s not. I mean it’s only weird if i tell him that I’m dead.

“Margo! Are you in here?” Indigo is here! Should I tell her what I did? Nah, it will be my little secret.

“Ya, I’m in here!” I call out.

“Hey Margo, do you want to go down to the truck and practice for tomorrow?” The ‘truck’ is where we go to hangout and practice for shows. Oh, I forgot to mention that I am an actress, and right now Indigo and I are in a play where everyone is reenacting their deaths. It’s pretty cool, but also incredibly morbid.

“Sure, why not? Let me just go change and grab my bag.” I like to practice in costume so that I’m comfortable during the show. “Ok, I’m ready, let’s bounce.” That was weird.

“See you tomorrow!” Indigo just left so I think that I’m going to write this letter.

Dear Rex Barnes,

Wow, this is really weird.


I don’t know how to say this without sounding psycho, so I’m just going to go for it.

I’m a student at NYU in Manhattan. For my english class we were all assigned pen pals. I’m not sure how they found you but they did, so I’m going to roll with it.

My name is Margo Vanter, and I’m 23 years young. I’m studying to be a writer and actress. I think a lot about life, and how we all fit in and what our purposes are. I feel that we were all put on this earth for a reason, and I am determined to find my reason and make sure that I fulfil my duty.

If you think this is too weird you don’t have to write back, but it would be cool if you did (that sounded really stalkery).

Your new Pal (get it penpal, new pal),

~Margo Vanter  

I can’t believe he wrote back! I checked my mail, and it was there. I can’t believe it!

Hello Margo Vanter,

This is kind of weird.

I’m not sure how they got my name either, but I am glad they did. You seem like a cool girl.

I am 25, and I am a playwright.

I see where you come from with your whole view on life, and purposes, but I think we’re put on this earth so that we can create our own path, our own morals, our own purpose. I would love to hear more about where your opinions on life come from.

I can’t wait to get to know you more, unless you think I am a total jerk for disagreeing with your view on life (wow that sounds weird).

Your pal,

-Rex Barnes

He seems really groovy, and he wasn’t too freaked out that I somehow got his address, or at least he didn’t show it in his letter. It’s also a really good thing that I didn’t tell him what I really am and made up a little story. It wasn’t completely made up though, so it’s not so bad. I did go to NYU for those things, but we never got pen pals.

“5 minutes till curtain.” Crap! I’m not ready. It’s the second night of our show and there is a wonderful turnout, but that just makes it even worse.

“Margo, were going on in one minute!” Mark shouts. Mark and I are in the same scene. We were both killed that day in Central Park during a be-in. If you don’t know what that is, it’s when we would sit around and hang out, while protesting the Vietnam war.


“You were fantastic!!” Jacob screeches excitedly as he runs across the room to me after the show. Jacob is one of my best friends, and a well known dancer with the biggest company in our part of the realm. He and his boyfriend had come to see me backstage before we headed out to dinner.

“I didn’t think I had that in me.” I can’t believe that I got through that. I was so nervous in the beginning, I thought i was going to die all over again on that stage.

“Are you ready to head out?” Sam, Jacob’s boyfriend asks.


“Pass me the champagne,” I shouted across the table to Jacob. After we left the theater, Jacob and Sam took me to their new favorite club.

“Thank god we got a booth in the back,” Sam exclaims as Jacob passes me the bottle of champagne.

“Oh Sam, do you remember last time we were here?” Jacob cous,

“Oh, my, gosh, yes,” Sam replies, thinking about the memory.

“Let’s go dance,” Jacob whispers, pulling Sam out of the booth. And I’m alone, great. After about five minutes of waiting for them to come back, well, more like willing them with my mind, I decide that it’s time to go. I throw some money down on the table for my drink, grab the half empty bottle of champagne, and make my way to the front.

“Are you leaving already?” Jacob yells at me as I make my way to the door.

“Ya, I am really sorry, I’m just really tired.” And with that I make my way out the door. As soon as the fresh air hits my face, I know where I am going.


Boom “AHHH!” I scream as I fall out of bed. As I get up, I look around. I realize I have no idea how I got home. The last thing I remember is walking out of the club with a bottle of champagne. I guess I finished that bottle, and somehow got home. As I stumble out of my bedroom, I start to feel the pounding in my head from last nights adventures. After I’ve taken two advil and downed a glass of water,  I start looking around my shoebox apartment for what fell. When I finally find it, I laugh quietly to myself because it was just a magnet falling off the fridge.


The second I walk into the theater, everyone looks at me with concern in their eyes, and a few people laugh. “What, you’ve never seen a girl walking around with her sunglasses on inside? I’ve seen at least half of you in the same position,” I yell. I still have a pounding headache, which is weird because I took an Advil. Well, it’s not that weird. I always had a feeling that all this “amazing” science doesn’t work. I continued to make my way to the dressing room, to drop my bag, and chill till I have to be on stage.

It’s now five minutes till curtain, and I still feel extremely hungover. I’m starting to think that I had more than just champagne last night. As I walk onto the stage, the room starts to spin. I walk over to my mark and try not to fall in the process. I grab onto Stu, another member in the scene, to keep my balance. I go through the motions of the first scene, sitting on the ground, watching Stu dance around in circles as we laugh. As I sit on the floor watching Stu, I start to feel better. When I get up to join him my legs wobble and I collapsed on the floor with a thud. As I lay there motionless, I hear gasps from the audience, before everything goes black.


I hear the humming of an air conditioner, as I slowly wake up and open my eyes. I know I’m at Indigo’s house. “Good you’re awake. Is it too cold in here? You know how I always have the AC on,” Indigo whispers, as she walks in.

“What happened?”

“Well my dear Margo, you must have had a crazy night. You were more than hungover, and the Advil you took made it worse, and so did the spotlight in the theater.”

“What happened to the show. It was the final night?”

“Oh, right, they decided to put the final show off till tomorrow. After you fainted, they decided just to call the show. I mean you were the second act and everyone was really scared, so they thought that everyone would perform better if we postponed the performance.”

“What happened to ‘the show must go on’?”

“I have no idea. I guess that rule no longer applies when you’re dead.”

“Why, because we have all the time in the world?”


The minute I got home that night I decided to right back to Rex. I guess I’ve been so busy that I forgot to write back.

Dear Rex,

I guess I see where you are coming from with your view on life. I just think that if you tell yourself that you have to make your own path and create your own propose, then you are putting so much pressure on yourself that I decide to think what I think to make it easier.

It’s not that I’m too lazy to do it your way. Well, I sort of am, but also I grew up in a family of bible thumpers, and my parents thought that if you couldn’t find your purpose in life then you had failed to please god, and the world might just end. I think that that scared me so much that I did it just to make them happy. Also because I don’t really believe in god, if I didn’t think about life the way my parents do then they might disown me, or have my family turn on me. (They’re nice people, it’s just that at times they are scarier than the devil.)

You probably think that I’m a huge coward for not taking control of my life, but again, it makes everything easier.

On an easier topic, what kind of plays do you write? I tried writing a play once, but I couldn’t find a way to wrap it up.

I’d really love to get to know you better.

~Margo Vanter


“You better not pass out this time,” Benji says. As we stand behind the curtain I can just feel that the house is full. Apparently word got out about my little spill last night, and now people from all platforms are here to document the final night of the show.

“Oh shut it, Benji. Admit it, you were happy that the show was canceled so early on. I saw you struggling with the new lights and the new curtains backstage.”

“At least I didn’t give myself a bad rep in the biz.”

“What are you talking about?” One little mistake couldn’t do that much damage. And I can always say I was drugged.

“As you must know, word got out about your little fall. Show Magazine called you recluse, unprofessional,” Oh ***. I knew I made a mistake, I just didn’t think it was such a big one.

“Well, let me just set a few things straight. I don’t have a drinking problem. I just get lonely and sometimes it’s the only way to fill that little hole. And I didn’t even drink that much the other night, I was drugged, so it really wasn’t my fault.” I whisper/shout at him, as I turn around and walk away. God, I hate that he gets to me. I will definitely have to set things straight with the press after the show.  


Bang. We’re at the point in the scene where Steven has just been introduced. Steven, despite what happened, is not that bad of a guy. Steven joined us a few years ago after a car crash, and with some bargaining and stage makeup, we convinced him to be in the act, for he played a big role in the day. Steven was in the park walking his dog. They had stopped on the same lawn I was on, to play frisbee. He had not been looking where he was going and accidently ran into Danny, who at the impact tripped. Danny’s gun went off. Danny was a member of the police force. He had been on the lawn because an escaped prisoner was reported to have been seen on the lawn. His gun was out because, well, he was after an escaped prisoner. So when he tripped and his gun went off, it fired 4 times.  Stu, Mark, Jan, and I were all killed.


Hello Margo Vanter,

I hardly think that your parents would disown you for having different views than them.

Although I see where you are coming from with how it makes everything easier. I do think that if it were supposed to be easy, then there would be some book out there that told us everything we needed to know about everything we needed to know things about.

My plays are mainly realistic fiction, but once in a blue moon, I will write one about fairies or superheros. I have to say those are probably the most fun to see put into action.

I doubt that your play was as bad as you think. I always think mine are terrible until they are done and I see them being acted out. Sometimes even then I think they are terrible. It’s always good to have somebody that you can trust to give you honest feedback, and tell you if it is indeed terrible. If I were you, I would finish the play and give it to a friend that you trust to read it. Even if they say it’s terrible, you can at least say you wrote a play.

If you would like, I can read it and give you feedback. I promise I won’t steal your ideas.

Your pal

-Rex Barnes


Is it weird that every time I get a letter from Rex it makes my day so much better, but I know that what I’m doing isn’t fair to him, or me? In his last letter, when he said “If you would like I can read it and give you feedback. I promise I won’t steal your ideas,” I realised that he actually cares about me, and thinks of me as a professional and a friend, a good friend. He thinks that I’m a normal human being. I think that when I found Rex, he was my last real connection with the real world, before I have to fully accept that I can never go back to earth, and I have to move on. Its not fair what I’ve been doing to Rex. But I’m going to send him one last letter.


Dear Rex Barnes,

It’s with great pleasure that I’ve been able to have this friendship with you, but I think I need a little break.

A lot has been going on in my life, and I think I need to take a little break from everything. I have loved getting to know you, and seeing the world through your eyes.

I’m going to really miss your letters.

Love always

~Margo Vanter

P.S. Along with this letter I’ve also sent you my play. It would warm my heart if you could take a look at it, and maybe even turn my dreams into a reality. I give you full rights to it, and I hope you do it justice.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *