More on Captain Cassie

I recently posted the seeds of a few stories. In that post, you’ll find a bit of information about a character named Cassie going on a mysterious trip and unexpectedly meeting her long-estranged father. A bit of the back story as to why Cassie would take such a trip can be found below. Thanks, as ever, for reading.




Covered in dust, one sneeze away from a full force bout of sobbing, Cassie filed and boxed the possessions of her newly former mentor. She had been avoiding the task of going through Nora’s things, but the unkempt appearance of the house had lured her. Cassie had come to trim the hedges, but stayed to sort through a lifetime’s worth of treasures and junk.


Keep moving, Cassie, she thought. Donate the clothes, pay the bills, and toss the food. She checked to-do items off her mental list as she worked. As long as she didn’t allow herself to remember why she was donating the maroon sweater that Nora had worn for Christmas dinner last year, she could keep her composure and efficiency.


No Christmas dinner, she told herself. Bills.


Cassie sat down at Nora’s desk. The broad surface was covered in a rugged terrain of stationery. She picked up a stack of envelopes, searching for unpaid bills and other financial obligations to settle up. In the stack of envelopes from the gas company and bank, Cassie found a plain white envelope. She removed the folded pages.


Dear sir or madam,


I have been a consumer of your product for several decades. Of particular note, I have been on a monthly subscription plan for the last 13 years. Unlike with many automatically renewing accounts, the reminder email that my commitment to your product would be cemented for another year and the debit from my bank account have always been sources of abundant pleasure to me. It is with regret that this letter, then, is not one of praise, admiration and thanks. Unfortunately, this letter is intended to register with you my deep dissatisfaction with a recent decline in your product.


Allow me to assure you, before laying bare your faults, that I speak not out of haste. As a years long, loyal customer, I have overlooked occasional typos or lapses in quality. However, as I have documented in the spreadsheet enclosed with this letter, the frequency of untenably shoddy work has become alarmingly regular.


Let me also put your mind at ease that I require no recompense. I do not ask for the return of my subscription fees, nor compensation for my time and energy. I merely seek to inform you, assuming such errors could only be born of naivete rather than malice, so that your publication may once again achieve the heights of its golden days. Oh, the entertainment! the hours of fun! to be had upon procuring your latest issue from the newsstand. It was truly a thing to bring friends together in earnest contemplation, to convene the family after the supper plates had been cleared.


My dear Editor, I beseech you to heed my admonishment. Several of your recent answers have left something to be desired. Often, while not technically incorrect, your solutions leave much to be desired with regard to an appreciation for nuance and connotation. Furthermore, a bright young friend assures me that, 20 Across, Antibody-producing white blood cell is not, as your publication maintains, macrophage. Imagine my displeasure to find that your answer was not only incorrect, but the correct answer was the far more mundane B cell.


It is with a heavy heart that I submit these concerns for your consideration. I hope that you will be able to rectify the situation and return to your former excellence.



Nora Brubaker


Cassie put her head down on Nora’s desk, laughing and crying until her last reserves of energy were drained.


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