To Whom It May Concern


Third Prize winner of the 16th Annual Geist Literal Literary Postcard Story Contest

To whom it may concern… I write to you from Moncton’s Magnetic Hill Zoo with a miracle. (The “I” in this case not referring to anyone in particular as this letter, and as such, I, the facsimile essence of a correspondent, are just the borderline-inconceivable product of coincidence).

That is to say, it’s happened! The captive chimpanzees’ pecking has finally borne fruit. While what you’re reading may appear to be a dispatch penned with sentience, intent and situational awareness, it is nothing of the sort! It is, rather, an eventuality of typewritten chaos. A message utterly absent of intellect. Raindrops on a tin roof singing the national anthem in Morse code.

They say if you give a monkey infinite time… well, infinity has arrived early!

The odds of this: galactically improbable. Not even a millionth of a millionth of a part per million chance. Illustrated mathematically, one simply takes the reciprocal of the 88 character options on a standard-issue ape typewriter to the power of the 2,339 characters in this message. You’ll have over 4,500 zeroes to the right of the decimal before a natural number rears its head.

That is to say, if a bulletin of equivalent length were generated once per millisecond since the Big Bang, a veteran bookie would still take a snowflake’s chance in hell over you ever reading this message. Yet, here you are!

But alas, it will go uncelebrated. What a tragedy. A miracle in our time, but nobody’s going to care because it’s not Shakespeare, now is it? No “To be, or not to be.” Nary an “Out, damned spot!” The whole thing desperately lacking in pentameter, let alone of the iambic variety.

It’s trite, of course, but that’s what the folks upstairs have in mind. Bard William’s plays, plucked out, letter-for-letter on antique keys. And to what end? Redundancy? Of all the one-in-a-zillion outcomes, to pick one that’s been done before. Where’s their sense of adventure? (Up their asses with their sense of taste if what they’ve been feeding the monkeys is any point of reference!)

I digress. No sense in lamenting further. It is what it is. This camel will never be a canary no matter how well it sings. Besides, I fear our tme grows shorth,. ih woud seeemr luhksrunning oat n th3 rand7op//nes iswnce hagainimpauzzif(le to +\]coimpeehind>>’;

jst lettrsdfgl7 8*jpua oj^flaliuh





Tom Grainger is from London, Ontario. Most recently, his work has involved launching businesses in regenerative agriculture & at-home care for the elderly. He shares essays and humour at


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