Hypothetically speaking…

The Holloway letter

Let’s say you’re on an airplane, and the old man sitting next to you starts chatting. Normally, you don’t like smalltalk with strangers. Or any talk with strangers, especially when you’re strapped into a tiny coach seat on an aging 737. But he’s elderly, so you listen respectfully as he tells you all about himself.

Let’s go on to say that because you’ve shown polite interest in the man, he begins telling you a story. You do a little mental eye-roll, but the old man is a veteran, and when a veteran tells you a story, you shut your damn mouth and you listen.

Two hours later, and the man has finished telling you one of the strangest stories you’ve ever heard. And you know it’s just a story, because it was too bizarre. It was unreal. It just couldn’t have happened the way it was told. But you’re fascinated, so you ask the old man some questions. And he won’t answer you. He shakes his head and changes the subject, acting like he’s uncomfortable that he told you the story in the first place.

Upon landing, the man apologizes for not asking you enough about yourself, so you hand him a business card and give him the ten second highlights of what you do, and you write his name and address in one of your notebooks.

When you get home, you find that his story is still stuck in your head. What parts, if any, were real? Was he just old and confused? He’d told the story with too much conviction and too much detail for it to be entirely fabricated. So you write him a letter, and ask him to tell you more.

But you get nothing in return. Maybe the poor guy died, you think. You forget about the old man and his crazy story, and go on with your life.

Then several months later, to your complete surprise, a thick envelope shows up in the mail. There’s a letter from the old man, telling you some of what you wanted to know. The envelope is full of papers and materials that corroborate a large amount of what he told you in his story.

So now you are completely freaked out, because if he lied about what happened, then so did the other men who were with him.

And the whole thing is just too fucking eerie to believe. But you don’t have a choice.

posted 8/19/09 at 11:27am to Random, Writing · 13 replies · »

13 replies to “Hypothetically speaking…”

  1. AlexanderF said:

    Good pitch.

    Book or screenplay?

    Aug 19, 2009 at 11:38am
  2. Derek said:

    I’m listening.

    Aug 19, 2009 at 11:44am
  3. river brandon said:

    when will we hear this story? my curiosity is piqued.

    Aug 19, 2009 at 11:50am
  4. Ryan Guill said:

    Okay, nice hook. Please share more.

    Aug 19, 2009 at 11:50am
  5. MostlyHuman said:

    That gave me goosebumps. Or I’ve got the AC up too high again.

    Aug 19, 2009 at 11:51am
  6. J.C. Hutchins said:

    This is the very best blog post I’ve ever read, period.

    Aug 19, 2009 at 4:25pm
  7. Aline said:

    OMG. This just happened to me, too!

    Aug 19, 2009 at 4:42pm
  8. CrazzyWarrior said:

    if this isnt a real story you could have so much fun making it. like JC Hutchins with Personal Effects you could make documents and make websites and everything make it even more real then it would seem. i look forward to hearing more. thanks for the intresting hook to think about while i sit here at work.

    Aug 19, 2009 at 4:57pm
  9. Phil said:

    To steal a term from J.C., this post leaves me “cliffhangered”. You can’t leave it like that.


    Aug 19, 2009 at 5:36pm
  10. Charlie said:

    How Interesting. I love the idea.

    Aug 19, 2009 at 5:37pm
  11. Kevin Reeves said:

    Wow. Do take this further. What papers? What other men? What coroberation? Is this some kind of black ops thing? Code Phantom? Groom Lake? Now the wings of fancy take flight.

    Aug 20, 2009 at 4:01am
  12. Hissy said:

    Dammit! Of course nothing like this ever happens when I’m checking your mail! My life sucks:(

    Aug 20, 2009 at 9:20am
  13. Abbey Lelina said:

    you should read The Things They Carried by Tim O’brien
    its wonderful and on the lines of this story. its wonderful

    Nov 14, 2009 at 6:07pm

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