“Raffle Extension Proposal,” by Ron Singer

Jul 20th, 2011 | By | Category: Fake Nonfiction, Prose

To: Lake Pemaquoddy News
From: Anonymous
Subject: Proposal for Raffle Extension

January 2nd, 2011

Dear LPN editor:

In order to raise extra money for some of the things that keep our dear Lake Pemaquoddy dear, such as the anti-millfoil and loon-counting projects, in addition to the long-established Ice-Out raffle, I hereby propose an extension.

Association members would be invited to estimate (guess) the dates of completion of other local processes about which dates can be estimated (or guessed): e.g., when X will finish shingling the front of his house; when Y, now that he’s insulated his upstairs hall and second bedroom, will sheet-rock them; and when Z will finally clear all the c**p out of his front yard.

Two options for these guesses/estimates that could capsize the whole idea would be “Not This Year” and “Don’t Hold Your Breath.” So I suggest we put the kibosh on these waggish options (and others like them) by stipulating that all guesses must specify dates within the next calendar year.

To tamp down the schadenfreude of summer residents who are chuckling over this letter (presumably in the comfort of their year-round homes), I suggest that we include completion of their winter tasks. Not only when they will contact the caretaker about turning the water back on in the cottage or bringing the boat down to the shore, but items from their winter lives, too, which are already an open book to Lake PQ’s large population of local gossips (perhaps 30% of the 120 year-round residents, with no sexist demarcation): such as… when A (Exec Secy of the Lake Assoc.) will get a new pulley for the window shade in the living room of her suburban Boston home (which is right on the street); or when Philadelphia resident B’s 28 year-old son will end his post-college stay with his parents: i.e., get off his keester and go find his own place (not to mention a job to pay for it, and perhaps even an S.O.—Significant Other—with whom to co-habit in this hypothetical pad).

“Physician Heal Thyself?” The reader is no doubt wondering whether the smart-ass author of this letter has no unfinished tasks of his own. Gotcha! Said author judges that his/her anonymity is a matter of prudence, because, as we know all too well, feelings in the hamlet are easily hurt, and memories, long. To this end, he/she (yes, Boys, a “she” could write this sort of letter) judges that it would be counterproductive to include a raffle item based on his/her own unfinished business. To wit: finally getting the twelve-year old dent in his/her left rear fender fixed; or stopping his/her teen-aged son from shooting off his air gun after dark behind the cottage of the octogenarian neighbors.

Well, folks, now everyone knows who I am, don’t they? Not so fast: this whole letter is a joke. Seriously, I know as well as you do that it would be totally against the spirit of the hamlet to take bets on each others’ shortcomings. All of the above examples (mine, included) are fictitious. No resemblance to persons … (except coincidence, but who can help that?). I mean, we, the denizens of Lake PQ (whether summer or year-round), are not nasty folks, are we?

But we are cheap ones. So let’s cut to the chase.

Why not face the fact that, as Selectperson Milly Bowditch has been arguing heroically for more than fifteen years, we should increase the lakefront property assessment by a few mills on the dollar to pay for our many worthy projects, of which number millfoil prevention and loon-counting just scratch, so to speak, the surface. Who do you suppose pays for all these projects now? I bet you thought it was your Association dues. As if!  People like Milly –and Yours Truly—pay for them, out of our own pocket! Time to pony up, folks.  That’s my real proposal!

And, finally, no hard feelings, I hope. A Happy and Healthy 2011 to all! See you at the Lake.

Respectfully yours,

A (Summer?) Resident

P.S.: To make myself perfectly clear, the only things you can be sure you know about me are that my car does not have a twelve year-old dent – on any of its fenders—and that I do not have an idiotic offspring (male or female) who goes around terrifying our senior citizens. (If I did, you can bet I’d tan his/her hide!)

P.P.S.: If you like, you can do a raffle on my identity, except, of course, that there would be no way to determine the winner. Again, just kidding!    


Prose fiction by Ron Singer (www.ronsinger.net) has previously appeared in publications including The Avatar Review, big bridge, The Brooklyn Rail, diagram, Drunken Boat, elimae, Ellipses, ghoti, Mad Hatters’ Review, Oregon Literary Review, Paper Street, SN Review, Third Wednesday,* Willow Review, and Word Riot. Singer has published a chapbook, A Voice for My Grandmother (Ten Penny Players/bardpress, 2nd ed, 2008); and an e-book of long stories, The Second Kingdom (Cantarabooks, 2009). During 2010-2011, he is making three protracted visits to Africa to interview pro-democracy activists for a new book, Uhuru Revisited (Africa World Press/Red Sea Press).                                                                                   




* The editors of Third Wednesday have nominated Singer’s story, “On Elizabeth Bishop’s ‘One Art,’ “ for a Pushcart Prize.



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