PAPIERFLIEGER: Dear Lacuna Inc.

Dear Sir/Madam,

I hope this correspondence finds you well. Unfortunately, I am writing to Lacuna, Inc. to bring attention to the fact that I am extremely dissatisfied with the quality of services provided by your company. I am of course referring to the services provided to me on 15/11/2020, namely the focused erasure of recent troubling memories.

I believe that in this instance I have been the subject of – quite frankly – customer negligence. As stated by the terms and conditions expressed not only in the contract which I signed with your company, but in the televised commercial which first brought my attention to your services, I was informed that Lacuna provided a “patented, non-surgical procedure which would rid me of painful memories of my choosing, in turn allowing for a new and lasting peace of mind”.

At NO point in the contract I signed with Lacuna was it disclosed that I would still be afflicted by the emotional imprintof these memories. In the weeks that have followed your procedure, I have found myself living in a nightmare. I have been riddled with a most profound sense of melancholy and abject despair, almost certainly associated with an object and/or person. I believe it is a person, as I am somewhat triggered whenever I hear the derived variant of a specific Latin name – which I am forbidden to refer to as stated by the terms of my contract – although I will disclose that this name refers to the phenomenon of light.

I believe this truth is evident in the fact that I simply cannot look at lights anymore, even the lights in my own home. They hurt my head and I want to smash them all up. Whether or not this is the result of some residual trauma still associated with whatever memory has now been displaced from my consciousness, or it is merely a biochemical side-effect of the procedure, I do not know (though if I am able to determine this affliction as having resulted from the latter, then I must inform you that I have every intention of suing your company).

Indeed, I cannot sleep, as a result of some voice in the back of my head telling me to (pardon this expletive) “f**k sleep” itself. I have been subjected to a recurring dream wherein I am standing on the bank of some pond in the blazing sun. It’s a rather big pond, where ducklings waddle along the banks during the day, and rats in turn scuttle by night. It’s situated between a big park and a long, winding road that looks as if it has been lifted from American suburbia (which is in itself odd, as this park is unmistakeably a place which I have visited many times in North London).

In this dream, I’m standing on the bank of the pond in Springtime. There’s this girl in my arms, but she’s not really there. I can feel her hair and her clothes and her skin pressing against mine, but there is no physical matter in between my arms, and as such they are merely coiled around thin air. This girl keeps telling me she’s about to sink into the soil and asks me to go with her into the water to stop her from getting trapped. I try to help her move into the water, but I can’t, because as previously established, she isn’t really there. She’s like thin air, just passing through me.

So the girl lets out this bloodcurdling scream; some strange, cacophonous sound comprised of the dissociated fragments of what sounds like verbal abuse. The scream is deafening, and it causes my ears to bleed so much that I collapse to my knees. And then I burst into tears because I know the things she’s screaming about are not true and are just horrible lies that have been put in her head, but I still just want her to be OK more than anything. But she just keeps on screaming, all the while getting closer and closer to being trapped without even realising it will be forever. And so I’m reminded of the subtitle of the seminal 2002 Bright Eyes album ‘Lifted or The Story Is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground’ (if you haven’t yet heard it, you really should. It’s fantastic). Though of course I can’t keep my ear to the ground because it’s bleeding as a result of the girl’s horrifying screams, and so – not wanting to risk a potential infection caused by the meeting of dirt and blood in my ear – I instead LOOK at the ground, where there’s this note which has been etched into the earth which simply says this:

We do not move through time. We are stationary. And time passes through us.

I find this theory quite difficult to accept; in all honesty, I feel I would not be able to go on living were it in fact true. As a result, I trust you can understand the extreme disappointment that I feel towards the quality of services provided by your company, or at least empathise with the trauma I have experienced as a result of these services.

I must therefore request that you address this issue with immediate attention and notify me if any members of your staff are able to decipher this dream of mine and all its (dis)contents. It is of extreme importance to me that I uncover whether this dream has been placed in my head by your company, or if it is anything to do with the memories which I sought to erase with the aid of your services.

After all, this dream cannot belong to me if all the memories which it has supposedly sprung from have been erased… surely?

Regardless, I expect full compensation for these services. In the event that you are able to refund my memories, please do let me know, in that at least with their restoration I might be able to figure out what the hell this dream is really about. Whoever this person is or whatever she may represent, I think I miss her/it an awful lot, and hope that she/it stops listening to lies which cause her/it to scream and sink into dirt. Perhaps that way, not only will my ears stop bleeding, but she might stop hurting too. In the dream that is.

I look forward to your reply in what will hopefully be a short span of time.

Yours sincerely,

Frank Fregoli Jr.

Written & Directed by Jaden Stone
Additional cinematography by Prentice Wright and Jade de Sylva

Jaden Stone is a 23-year-old filmmaker, writer, illustrator and musician based in London, and alumni of the BFI Film Academy. He is a part of S.O.U.L Celebrate Connect, a festival aimed at supporting ethnic minority filmmakers, and in 2015 received a bursary through the BFI to develop a feature-length screenplay as part of the prestigious Screen Arts Institute. He is currently developing his passion project, a dark fantasy animated sitcom series, as well as a collection of admittedly pretty freaky short stories.