“Dear Contributor, We Apologize for the Two-Thousand-Year Late Reply, but We Are Unable to Accept Your Article at This Time,” by Daniel Galef

Jan 4th, 2017 | By | Category: Fake Nonfiction, Prose

Dear Sir or Madam or most likely a disintegrating heap of bleached bones,

The editorial board of the Libri Paginarum Minimarum Herculanei thank you for the opportunity to review your submission, but regret to inform you that we cannot include your piece, “Ten Reasons Emperor Titus Will Be Nothing Like His Father (Titus Will Definitely Crucify Me for Number Eight),” in Volume XVIII of our publication, which, incidentally, no longer exists and has not existed for some twenty centuries.

We apologize for holding on to this submission for so long. We understand that two thousand years can be a long time to await a reply on a five-hundred word column, but we like to be thorough with our vetting process and hang on to good work in the hopes that it might better fit an upcoming issue than the current one. Obviously, this was not the case with your piece, whose topicality made it an unlikely choice for any of the, again, one thousand, nine hundred and thirty-six years for which we held onto it. While this was partly a matter of the nature of political writing, it probably is more a result of the fact that our backlog, offices, and entire production staff were incinerated by the same cataclysmic eruption that killed you and destroyed the entire city of Herculaneum. This setback made it difficult for us to continue with our normal publication schedule, and we also must announce at this time that Volume XVIII (80 C.E.) is no longer forthcoming, and the journal is on what we dearly hope to be a temporary hiatus. We apologize for any inconvenience.

The offices of “our” chief editor were just this past month exhumed as part of an ongoing British archaeological dig, and among the literary artifacts in varying states of preservation was found your submission letter, the wax-sealed scroll of papyrus still in its boxwood casing, as well as several back issues which we regrettably cannot send out as contributors’ copies due to their being requisitioned by the government of Italy as of historical significance, which just goes to prove the Tempora Romae magazine reviewer all the more wrong, when you think about it.

According to leading lawyers and classicists at the University of Rome, who immediately and at a very reasonable consideration set about translating the unearthed records, not only is the Resina Weekly Celebrity Gossip legally considered a successor publication to the Libri Paginarum Minimarum under its questionably-worded advertising motto claiming to be “Naples’ Oldest Tabloid Newspaper,” which we here at the R.W.C.G. have the choice of either sticking by or admitting to advertising fraud, but also, our lawyers tell us, we are bound to comply in these cases with our stated editorial policies, which, although thankfully not including any sort of time limitation, do require us to respond to all submissions, regardless of age. As the efforts of our legal team to locate any genetic descendants have proved impossible, we hope our decision to leave this letter embedded in the millennia-old strata of ash that comprise the ruined semblance of what we can only assume serves as your final resting place proves adequate.

Thank you for sending this our way. Although we have to pass this time, please do feel free to submit new work in the future.

The Office of Holconius Pompeianus Murullus
Publisher, the Libri Paginarum Minimarum Herculanei
Typed by Adolfo Vanzarelli
Summer Editorial Intern, the Resina Weekly Celebrity Gossip


Daniel Galef is a poet and playwright oscillating between New York and Montreal. He has previously published humor in Kugelmass, Light Quarterly, and the Journal of Irreproducible Results.

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