The Correspondence

Submitted for Contest #34 in response to: Write a story told entirely through text messages or emails.... view prompt

Dear Mr. Everson,


I’m not sure if you remember me. My name is John Walton. I graduated from Henry Knox High School in 2008. I took your European History class my Senior year and I was really inspired. It’s because of you that I decided to become a history teacher.

To get my diploma in secondary education, I’m required to student teach at the high school level. I was wondering if I could come and teach in your class for a few weeks. If not, I totally understand. You’re probably very busy. But if you’ve got the time and patience to put up with an amateur, I’d be thrilled to come back and learn the ropes from my favorite teacher.


Sincerely,

John Walton.


Dear John,


Yes, of course, I remember you, John! How could I forget the best student I ever had? I still have the desk ornament you gave me on the last day, that little figurine of Napoleon Bonaparte on horseback. I’m looking at it as I write this email.

I would be more than happy to have you come and teach here. You’ll find very little has changed since you departed my classroom all those years ago. Same chalkboard, same desk, same flags on the wall, same uninspired teenagers. I swear, either kids are becoming harder to teach or I’m becoming a bad teacher. I just cannot get through to the kids this year. Come time for the exam, they won’t know Rousseau from Descartes! Maybe someone young like yourself could really connect with them.

You ought to contact Mrs. Leroo in the guidance department. You remember “Mrs. Leroo the Old Cockatoo” from your time here? She was ancient even when I first started teaching here back in the eighties. Anyways, I’d email her and tell her you want to student teach in my class. She’ll tell you what to do from there.

I look forward to seeing you in the classroom again real soon!


Sincerely,

George Everson.


Dear Mrs. Leroo,


Hello. My name is John Walton. I reached out to Mr. Everson about student teaching in his class. He told me to email you. Is there any application or paperwork I have to fill out before I start student teaching?


Sincerely,

John Walton.


Dear Mr. Walton,


I’m so sorry. You must be mistaken. Mr. Everson doesn’t teach at Henry Knox High School anymore. He died five years ago in a car accident. There’s been some kind of miscommunication. Again, I apologize.


Sincerely,

Maryellen Leroo.


To whomever this email reaches,


I would ask you to stop imitating Mr. Everson. It’s a very disrespectful and harmful prank to play. Please, whoever you are, however you got hold of Mr. Everson’s email, I ask you to reconsider your actions and stop playing this sick joke.


Sincerely,

John Walton, a friend of the late Mr. Everson.


Dear John,


I think you’re mistaken. I’m not dead, John. I haven’t passed away. This is me, George Everson, typing out this email to you. Whoever told you I’m dead was mistaken.


Sincerely,

Mr. Everson.


I’m not joking around. Stop impersonating Mr. Everson, whoever you are. Not only is it not funny, it’s also just a horrible thing to do. He’s dead for God’s sake, show some respect. If you don’t stop soon, I will contact someone about this.


John Walton.


Dear John,


You don’t understand. This is George Everson. I’m alive. I’ve attached photos of me, holding up my phone displaying the date in time for proof. I don’t know who told you I died, or why they did, but they were lying, John. You gotta believe me.


Sincerely,

George Everson.


That’s a pretty convincing Photoshop job. Please, just stop with these games. This is your last warning. After this, I’m contacting the authorities or whoever can get this issue resolved.


John Walton.


Dear John,


Attached is a copy of the letter you gave me on the last day of school in 2008. Attached are copies of paychecks, bills, and all other documentation bearing recent dates and my name. Attached are copies and screenshots of emails and voicemails and text messages all sent to me over the past few days, marked as such. Attached is a document listing various other intimate details that only I, as George Everson, could ever know.

In short, John, I am alive. I don’t understand where the confusion is coming from. This isn’t a joke, this is really me.



Sincerely,

George Everson.


Dear Mr. Everson,


I’m so sorry for the confusion. The strangest thing happened. You see, I contacted Mrs. Leroo like you told me, but she told me you died five years ago. I’m not making this up, I’ve forwarded the email so you can see it, clear as day. I think age is getting to her and she mistook you for somebody else. I’ll email someone else in the guidance department.

Again, I am so, so sorry for not believing you. It’s really weird looking back on it, thinking you died when you actually didn’t. Hopefully, you’re still interested in having me in your classroom.


Sincerely,

John Walton.


Dear John,


No worries! Now that you’ve explained everything, it makes total sense. I think I remember hearing about some teacher from this school dying five years back, someone with a similar last name to me. The Old Cockatoo is, as her name implies, old and bound to err. I’ll email her and tell her, hey, I’m not dead!

Yeah, I would email someone else in the guidance department and tell them about wanting to student teach with me. Hopefully, now that we’ve got this weird misunderstanding worked out, it won’t be long till we see each other in the classroom.


Sincerely,

George Everson.


Dear Mrs. Leroo,


Hey there! This might be a bit of a weird thing to say but...I think you think I’m dead. A former student of mine, John Walton, told me you sent him an email saying I died. Just wanted to let you know that I’m alive and well and to humbly ask you to please stop contributing to the reports (or I guess, rather, the singular report) of my death being greatly exaggerated.


Sincerely,

George Everson.


Dear Mr. Everson,


I’m so sorry. You must be mistaken. I haven’t told anybody you’ve died. I also certainly haven’t received any emails from John Walton. The kid who graduated from here in 2008, he died five years ago in a car accident. I’m sorry there’s been some kind of miscommunication.


Sincerely,

Maryellen Leroo.


Dear impersonator of John Walton,


You think this is funny, do you? Making up this big joke about how I’m the one impersonating a dead man over email when you’re the one who's actually been doing it all along. I’ll have you know John Walton was one of the best, brightest, and kindest kids I ever had in class. You better get off his email account ASAP before I let someone know about this.


Sincerely,

George Everson, a friend of the late John Walton.


Dear Mr. Everson,


I’m not dead either. I swear. I have no idea how this keeps happening. Mrs. Leroo must be mistaken again. Just search my name in Google, nothing will come up. The local paper, The Midwest Star, it publishes its obituaries and I am not in there. You have to believe me, Mr. Everson. Either Mrs. Leroo has made another mistake or she’s playing some joke on us.


Sincerely,

John Walton.


Impersonator of John Walton,


I did as you asked. I Googled you. Linked below is the January 10th, 2015 online edition of The Midwest Star. John Almhearst Walton is among the obituaries. I’ve also provided a bunch of articles that mention how you died in a car crash coming off the highway.

I know you’re lying. Just admit it and promise me you’ll stop playing this cruel joke on mourning people. I’ve looked into it. You could go to jail for this. But if you promise to go now, I’ll play nice and not call the cops.


Sincerely,

George Everson.


Mr. Everson,


I clicked those links. I looked at those articles and that obituary. In every place you said I’ll find my name, I found yours. It says you died in early January 2015 in a car crash on the highway. 

Also, to prove I’m alive, I’ve attached copies of similar documents and similar videos you provided to prove you’re alive. 

I don’t understand. What’s going on here?


John Walton.


John,


I looked at everything. I have no doubt that you're alive, but all these articles say you’re dead. And it’s the reverse on your end, my name where your name is?

There’s something going on here, something really obvious that we’re just not seeing. To clear everything up, let’s meet face to face. Tomorrow at noon, I’ll wait outside the school parking lot and we’ll meet there. Does that sound like a plan?


George Everson.


Mr. Everson,


Sure. I’ll be there. You’re right, there’s something that we’re just not seeing. Once we can see each other, prove to each other we’re both alive, I’m sure we’ll figure out what’s going on.


John Walton.


John,


I’m standing outside in the parking lot. It’s 12:30. Where are you?


George Everson.


Mr. Everson,


Can’t you see me? I’m right underneath the oak tree, next to the Dodge Journey parked in the back corner.


John Walton.


John,


That’s impossible. I’m right underneath the oak tree, next to Dodge Journey parked in the back corner.


George Everson.


Mr. Everson,


I swear to God, I’m right here. I’m right where I say I am, but I don’t see you.


John Walton.



[name redacted],


The alternate dimension transportation threat has been stabilized. There remains one small matter, an email correspondence out of Indiana. Our top-level agents are working to apprehend the man involved on our side. I’m sure the agents in that other dimension are doing the exact same thing.


Sincerely,

[name redacted].

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