“The Last Letters of The Halfpipe Lord,” by Michael Somes

Jul 29th, 2020 | By | Category: Fake Nonfiction, Prose

May 3, 2015

Dear Customer Relations,

I am writing you regarding the frozen H. Habilis I recently purchased from your store. While I admit I would be hard pressed to find a more apt section for such a product than Frozen Novelties, generally one assumes that such items are made from ice-cream or a similar substance. Indeed, this is precisely the assumption I made, and while I wondered what exactly to do with an ice-cream model of H. Habilis, such a large quantity of ice-cream available at only 99.99 was difficult to turn down. Imagine my surprise then, when I went to section my purchase so he might fit in my freezer and discovered that this was a living (or formerly living) creature of flesh and blood.

If I may, I would like to offer a suggestion. When selling a new product, especially if it is the fully intact frozen remains of a H. Habilis (which I had to Google by the way!) please include more instructions on what exactly the intended use for such a product is. As it was, all I could find was a barcode sticker on the specimen’s back and nothing to disabuse me of my conception that this was simply a large and rather unusual ice-cream bar. Which, if you don’t mind, segues into my other suggestion. I would have much preferred it if the H. Habilis you were offering in your store had been made of ice-cream, and I’m sure anyone else who made such a purchase would have as well. In fact, such a product wouldn’t only be desirable, it would be the elevation of the genre that Frozen Novelties so badly needs. Such products would move the ice-cream bar from a mere sideshow for giants like Snickers and Haagn-Dazs into a fully fledged desert category all its own.

But I digress. Back in my kitchen, where I had just carved a substantial gash below the knee of a Pleistocene Hominid, I’d come to the realization that I wished to return my purchase. I have neither the culinary equipment nor skill to serve H. Habilis as part of a meal – nor do I have the scientific background to study one of mankind’s primordial ancestors. I assure you that the cut I made below the knee can be repaired. Let me know how I might go about resolving this issue. Please reply urgently, as I don’t have a freezer large enough to store an intact specimen and he is starting to thaw out.

Your loyal customer,

Michael Somes

P.S. The bakery staff is doing a great job.


May 8, 2015

Dear People’s Republic of Burgers,

First off, allow me to congratulate you on finally casting off Burger Monarchy and restoring the hamburger to its rightful station as the sandwich of the proletariat. As a sympathizer to your cause, I was brought immense joy by the news of the installation of a representative government and the subsequent defenestration of the reactionary elements within. I hope that your new leadership would see fit to aid a fellow fighter in the cause for self-determination of all burgers, as I find myself in a bit of a bind.

I recently purchased a frozen H. Habilis from the supermarket and have been trying to get it returned. Unfortunately, I have not heard back from their representatives in some time and I do not have a freezer large enough to store the purchase in the meantime. Would it be alright if I stored the Habilis in the walk in freezer in your 120th St location? (Any other restaurant will do, but that is the closest.) I will ensure he is discreetly boxed up so nobody asks uncomfortable questions.

This is an opportunity to show that the People’s Republic of Burgers is willing to go the extra mile for their customers and to demonstrate that they too can be at the forefront of scientific discovery. Consider, for a moment, how valuable such a specimen is to the field of evolutionary biology. It must be kept preserved!

Thanks Comrade,

Michael Somes

P.S. Bring back the Southwest Barbecue Whopper!


May 20, 2015

Dear Smithsonian Museum of Natural History,

A few days ago I purchased a frozen H. Habilis from my local supermarket. While I was waiting to hear back from their customer service team, the specimen thawed out and woke up in my kitchen. I figured returning him to be refrozen in the supermarket would be deeply unethical at that point, so I took him to meet my friends over the weekend.

I am writing because I have some suggestions to improve your “Mankind’s Ancestors” exhibit. I have discovered that H. Habilis has a near encyclopedic knowledge of the cult classic film The Lords of Dogtown, so I think its safe to assume their society spent a great deal of time watching it. Additionally, could your display illustrate H. Habilis skating (or ‘carving’ as my newly thawed friend put it) in a half-pipe or drained out swimming pool?

The simple fact of the matter is H. Habilis is totally fucking rad, and this deserves to be immortalized in your museum. Since thawing, H Habilis has managed to dazzle my friends with amusing anecdotes, kickflip with alarming ease, and smash my son’s longboard because “you can’t even ollie” on that thing. (He wasn’t even mad.)

Unfortunately, the police were called after he drained my neighbors pool to practice backside airs, and he needs to skip town for a little bit. I think he would make a tremendous consultant on your exhibits. Is there any better way to learn about prehistory than from someone who was actually there?


Michael Somes

P.S. Tell your gift shop I want to buy real dinosaur teeth.


June 3, 2015

Dear Broomfield County Combined Courts,

I strenuously object to your recent ruling that I have violated the terms of my divorce decree by allowing my son to be in the continued presence of a wild animal. H. Habilis is one of our earliest ancestors. The name is latin for “handy man.” Imagine calling your plumber, or your great-great grandfather, or your great-great-great grandfather who happened to work a lot with his hands, a wild animal?

I can concede the point about the longboard. H. Habilis’ reaction was maybe a bit overblown, however it was nowhere near the animal rage my now ex-wife described. The early hominids had a different society than we did, and what seems like blind fury to us might be a measured response to a “bullshit plank” (his words, not mine) to them. I am willing to buy my son a new one, however, if we can work something out about visitation.

Warm regards,

Michael Somes

P.S. It should not count as “failure to appear” when the person in question is now an exhibit in a museum.


August 15, 2015

Dear Bill Nye,

Is it possible to build a half-pipe so large that a skateboarder could reach escape velocity and jump into orbit? A friend of mine claims that this is why H. Habilis isn’t around anymore, but I’m not so sure. Wouldn’t air resistance prevent a skater (assuming they were unassisted by some sort of propulsion) from reaching enough speed? I don’t necessarily doubt the ability of H. Habilis to construct a halfpipe, given present scientific understanding, but I’m pretty sure they would need some sort of engine to catch that much air. I guess maybe Earth’s atmosphere was different back then, but it seems like it couldn’t be too different and still have support large hominids.

My friend says I’m a weak poser. I say my friend is a big dumb caveman who is too egotistical to admit he’s still bound by the laws of physics, no matter how hard he shreds the new Smithsonian skatepark. He was angry enough that he wouldn’t let me go with him to meet the director of Dogtown and the Z Boys even though he knows I love that movie. You’re a smart guy Bill, do you know how to mend a relationship with an offended H. Habilis? Would proving him wrong help?


Michael Somes

P.S. Do you think Lords of Dogtown or Mighty Ducks 2 is more culturally significant?


October 1, 2015

Dear Elon Musk,

I understand that your launch window is short, but can you please delay firing the refrozen H. Habilis into orbit? This is not what he would have wanted. I know its what he said he wanted in his farewell press conference, but I think he was under a lot of stress, and if he were thawed out to think about it some more I’m sure he’d change his mind. Deep down he knows that using a Falcon Rocket instead of a half-pipe to achieve orbit is basically the same as owning a longboard. (You might achieve the same result, but you can’t nail a 360-flip along the way.)

If its too much trouble to thaw him out, can you please press this letter against the glass of his liquid nitrogen cooled pod? I don’t know if that will do anything, but it costs nothing to try right?


Michael Somes

P.S. It took me a long time to realize it was called SpaceX because of Space Xploration. That’s clever.


October 8, 2015

Dear Elon Musk,

He was my friend.

Michael Somes

P.S. I think I was his friend too.


October 18, 2015

Dear Tony Hawk,

What is the best material, in your opinion, for a halfpipe? Does it differ depending on the size? I expect each wall to be about a mile high. I was leaning towards concrete reinforced with steel to form the superstructure, but then should I cover the actual track in laminated wood?

Also, from a technique standpoint, should I just go for the big jump right as soon as I drop in or should I take a couple of passes first?

You are welcome to try the pipe either before or after I’m done with it.


Michael Somes

P.S. All of the pro skater games were great except for 4 and downhill jam, can you disown those?


March 5, 2018

Dear Greenway Village Homeowners Association,

I am sorry I commandeered the golf course for the past few years to construct the tallest half-pipe, and tallest structure in general, known to mankind. However, in the same way Bill Nye got me to reconsider each member of the Icelandic hockey team in Mighty Ducks 2 as its own Jungian Archetype, so must you reconsider your golf course as a half-pipe. (Also consider how parentheses are little half-pipes for your words.)

I will be especially sorry if Tony Hawk’s prediction “you’ll die in that thing” comes true. Please know that, thanks to generous support from GoFundMe, every eventuality has been planned for. Please let my son know he’s welcome to try the half-pipe after me, but only if he wears his helmet.



Michael Somes lives in Denver. His work has appeared in Gutfire! Magazine, Necessary Fiction, Bear Review, and 100 Word Story.


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