Dear God-I hope you got the letter.

Dear God- I Hope you got the letter

A Story by Michael Sisemore

at99sy@yahoo.com

This is the start to a much longer story/screenplay that was inspired by the song Dear God by XTC. It has been in the back of my head for a very long time.

Logline: After 18 months in prison for embezzlement, a reluctant and self-centered parolee takes a job in the dead letter office and begins answering letters sent to God in an unconscious attempt to redeem himself and to help others. 

Genre: Drama, Spiritual

Characters:Main  Adam Toller- Recently paroled, self-centered,”recovered addict”  and working at the dead letter office as part of his parole agreement..

Comps:

Closing Lines: “Can a single glance, smile, a few kind words change the trajectory of your life? What if it already has?” 

#1 Scene opens with feminine hands struggling to write inside of a beautifully hand crafted card- 

The song Dear God by XTC plays quietly in the background. 

Dear God  I have not a friend in the world,…. 

Then scenes of diagnosis, chemo, doctors office visits, arguments among family members about money, hair loss, notice in an email about losing her job. Scenes of personal tragedy and hopelessness. Losing the ability to use her dominant, right hand, friends refusing to return calls, or see her. 

Then the trembling hands seal the card in the envelope, writing her name and return address, Emily’s hands put a stamp on it and address it to God in Heaven.  We see her, eyes down, as she descends the stairs of her apartment, then walking down a busy street in a not affluent section in a large city, from her own POV,  passing someone who says hello (never seeing her face) she responds with a small, timid wave, never looking up. We follow her as she walks a block to the mailbox on the corner, only seeing the ground and reflections in the store window. She is dressed as if she has been in the same clothes for days, with a knit hat on her head even as it is summer and hot out. Her right hand is only semi-functional due to her illness, and we see that her hand is almost clawlike in its paralysis. Her left hand holds the letter for a moment as she considers whether to drop it in the box or not. Finally she does so and lets the mailbox door fall closed with a loud bang, instantly cuts to the street signs above her of Winston and Chancellor avenues. Then fades away to the next scene

#2 A man in an ill-fitting but expensive suit is walking through the release gate of a prison, where he has just been paroled. A well worn two-tone blue mini-van is waiting for him. 

I’m guessing you’re Adam Toller. Yeah that’s me. Well, I’m George, your new P.O. get in. 

Adam looks at the vehicle with disdain. Wow, I used to drive a Masseratti. Now I get to ride in this. Great.

George-You also spent the last 18 months in prison, what were you driving in there, or should I ask, what was driving you? Get in!

Adam- So, you’re my fairy godmother or something?

George-Nope, I am your warden and I’ll be watching you like a hawk the next 18 months to see if you should serve out your sentence on parole, or go back to the pen.

Adam-great. Got any smokes?

George- sure do, but none for you. I’m taking you to the joint you’ll be staying at for the next several months to reintegrate you into society as a productive member. Sips his coffee.

Adam-you didn’t think to get me a coffee?

George-no…I  didn’t.

Adam-this is the start to a beautiful relationship. 

They drive in silence for a few minutes and pull up to a multi-story housing unit on the outskirts of a beaten down city. People mulling about, and sitting in chairs outside. A couple of worn out couches serve as perches for the locals. 

George-Go inside, ask for Tiny, give her this envelope, DO NOT OPEN IT! She will give you a transition bag with personal hygiene items, a pair of sweats, a voucher for some clothes at the Goodwill across the street, and then you get to listen politely as Tiny tells you the rules. You will be polite, and do everything she says. Any questions? I didn’t think so. (not giving a chance to answer)

#3 Going through the in-take with Tiny, a gruff no nonsense woman who runs the place like a cross between a Zoo keeper, prison boss, and a tough love den mother. You don’t mess with Tiny. She is about 270, built like a WWE wrestler, and may have been, she has tattoos up both arms and on her neck. Tiny gives Adam the layout, the “Speech” and instructions for what he will do his first night there, and the next morning. Ending with adamant directions that he will be sitting outside the PO office at 7 am sharp and ready to go to work if need be. If you’re late, it’s one point, if you don’t show it’s 5 points. 10 points and you go back to lock-up. 

Scene ends with Adam climbing several flights of stairs to his small room on the fifth floor. The place looks as you would expect it. Decades of addiction, remorse, anger, violence, and despair etch the walls, floors, and ceilings. Even the lights seem to cast a shadow of doom and hopelessness. Sounds of the mentally ill arguing with themselves, pounding on the floor, and arguments on cell phones coming from the other rooms. Adam finds his room, #52, the two having long ago fallen off, leaving a shadow of where it had once been. It’s ajar, he pushes it in with his foot, revealing a dark, windowless, room with a small dresser, and a single bed with small mattress like he had in prison, and a metal spring bed frame. Cuts away to a memory of his luxurious bedroom of his pre-prison life.

#4 Adam-This is bullshit! I have a master’s in finance and accounting and you want me to work in a cage in a basement? fuck that!

George- What is bullshit is you have a felony conviction for embezzling $280,000 from your former employer, and you’re a heroin addict.

I am a reformed addict, and it was meth!

Right, REFORMED addict, just waiting to fall off the wagon, I give it three days, and if you do not take this job, you are violating the terms of your parole and you will go back to prison. Today! You have 2 options, take it, or go back to the real cage we like to call… prison. You will live in a housing unit for parolee’s and you will attend twice weekly meetings with me, your PO, you’ll take weekly substance abuse tests, and will undergo counseling for your host of issues. 

 Your move hero, what’s it gonna be?

Adam-Fine, but how much am I getting paid?

George-$17 an hour, but 75% of everything you make goes towards restitution to your former employers. They want their money back.

Adam-Fucking hell, how am I supposed to live on that?

George-Your housing is free for the next 6 months, and so are 2 of your meals from the soup kitchen across the street. As long as you play by the rules.

Adam-So you’re telling me I have to work in a cage for 8 hours a day..

George-It’s 9 hours actually.

Adam-Even Better! 

A cage for 9 hours a day, looking at fucking letters to Santa, the easter bunny and the tooth Fairy?

George-And God.

Adam-Sweet Jesus! 

George- Him too. And Yes…. you are working in the mail recovery department as a temp, and will be sorting a lot of letters that are considered undeliverable. Most of it is junk mail, but there will be letters and cards to Santa, God, and every other kind of spiritual entity you can think of. It just gets sorted into different boxes and then sent to whoever gets them. The junk mail often just gets sent to recycling. But they’ll tell you what to do when you get there. In 15 minutes. You start at 7:30am today. to be fingerprinted and given safety and protocol briefings. They will also teach you how to do the job, you do what they say, don’t ask stupid questions. You don’t get to think, make suggestions, argue, or anything else. You do exactly what they say to do, and how they say to do it. Any Questions? You know the rest.

Later that morning-Adam-That was 2 hours of my life I will never get back, at least I’m not locked up in a cage any longer, (looking around at the small underground room, with no windows, and a long bank of steel bars and a gate that suspiciously looks like his former jail cell) (pushes the gate, yep it opens)

At least I’m not locked inside this cage, anyway. All right let’s get something going. 

Sort sort sort, junk mail goes down the shoot to the recycling containers, santa in the giant red box, all other fairy tale letters go in the green box, god goes in the white box, (white? Hmm that fits I suppose) and Don’t read the letters! 

Who would want to read this shit anyway, they told me Santa stuff goes to the North Pole, really? That’s a place?

God stuff goes to local churches sometimes, and sometimes dentists will get tooth fairy letters. Whatever, I’m here to just sort shit. Sift and sort, (shuffling stacks of letters and cards and tossing handfuls of junk mail down the shoot) only 17 months and 29 days left of this.

I should take some of this back to my room for some light reading, maybe some of it will be entertaining at least. (stuffing a large handful of tooth fairy, santa, and god letters into his lunch bag) How much trouble could I get into for reading letters to Santa and God. 

5:00 I’m out of here. 

(Going back to his room at the transient housing complex-the shanty as some call it, plaza royale by others)

In the small cafeteria area of The Shanty-Internal dialogue- That! was a lovely meal of dry meatloaf and french fries that I wouldn’t have given to a dog two years ago. I really adore the new ankle monitor to make sure I do not move more than 1,000′ from my job or home as it purposefully limits my entertainment opportunities. Not to mention they only gave me $50 when I got out. No dating life for a while I guess. Sure have missed the Maz and Cali-King bed. Cheapskates Feld’s and McKlintry are still doing just fine. They wouldn’t even miss a few million let alone the 280 large I smoked and gambled away. Hell Feld’s boat was a million two. If they paid me what I was worth, never would have ended up like this. Flashbacks to drugs, gambling, bars, women, more drugs, loud music, stumbling down stairs, waking up covered in puke….” Pricks!

Later in his room-Pulls out the stack of envelopes, mostly cards. Opens some and reads them, mostly dumb kids writing to a myth they still believe in, a few confessions to god, basic foolishness according to Adam. But-

Near the bottom of the stack, A gold envelope card inside. Even has a return address and full name, he has noticed that most of the god cards he has sorted have neither, as if the writer does not want, or does not expect an answer. Test of faith perhaps, do they even really believe if they don’t put a return address? He pulls out a handmade card.

Adam begins to read, eyes focused on the handwriting, it is uneven and hesitant, almost childlike but from an adult. 

Dear God… I have not a friend in the world, am crippled by chemo, have a paralyzed arm, and unable to walk more than a few minutes at a time. My family resents me because of the medical bills, and I have not experienced anything close to happiness in many years. I have no hair, and am hideous and alone. Why am I still here?

If you do not send me a reason to live by the end of the month, I will do whatever it takes to make sure that my time here is over. 

I hope you get this letter, and can make it better…

In your hands-Emily

Whoa that’s messed up, she sounds as bad off as I was in prison. My family bailed on me also when I needed them the most. This is the third, she has three and a half weeks left to live if god doesn’t write back. Glancing at the return address, Whoa, she only lives about a mile from here on Winston Ave. I used to go to a diner there once in a while for lunch.  I hope the church doesn’t screw around. (tosses it back in the pile) 

I’ll sort these out tomorrow.

Weeks later, turning on the tv in the common room in the half-way  house. Evening news

January 1st. “A 34 year old woman ,Emily Clarkson, was struck and killed by a public transport bus this morning at 9:00am on the corner of Chancellor and Winston Avenues. Witnesses told WXKY news that it appeared she purposefully walked in front of the vehicle after standing on the sidewalk for quite some time. One local resident said that she had been ill for some time, and it looked like she was crying when she did it. This is Carson Trent reporting.” 

Adam-What in the actual hell! That had to be the woman whose letter I read. Didn’t the church write to her? 

Holy shit! I wonder if they even got it. All she needed was a letter and she would still be alive? She was pretty messed up, but still, she had to have something to live for. (inner dialogue, should I have written, told someone, no I’d get fired and go back to jail, “DON’T READ THE LETTERS!” echoing in his head. Someone should have done something, where was her family? I’ve sorted hundreds of god letters in the past few weeks, how many more were like Emily’s? What should I do? This isn’t my problem, If I hadn’t read the letter I would not even know about this, it’s not my issue! Just do your job and you’re free in 17  more months with a clean record. 

Adam-Tossing and turning all night, can’t get this out of his mind, Adam replays the scene in his head that he envisions is Emily’s life in the weeks before she died. Waiting for a sign, a SINGLE sign that she matters. And not getting one. A single letter. Adam recalls a story he heard in his Psych class in grad school. It was about a suicidal man who wrote a letter and left it in his apartment. It said that if a single person smiled at him, or said hello on his way to the Golden Gate Bridge, he would not jump. He jumped. Adam, having an existential crisis; Can a single smile or greeting have the power to save a human life? That’s absurd, but what if someone had said hello to that man, would he still be alive? Would it matter? Isn’t that just a condition of being a human being, we all just go about our own lives and rarely consider others. What am I saying? According to my therapist, That is legit exactly how I ended up here. What if I had put others ahead of my own selfishness and greed.  Hell, no one else in the office gave a damn about anyone but themselves for sure. Adam- tormented about what he should or shouldn’t do. Sleepless, really wanting a bump, or five, starts sweating and appears to be going through withdrawals, even though he hasn’t used in over 18 months. A voice echoing in his head, “do as you must” “make your peace” as he drifts off to sleep. 

Adam- muttering to himself as he gets ready, I do not need to add to my problems, just do your job, keep your mouth shut and get through the next 17 months. Looking at himself in the mirror. “Do as you must, make your peace” faintly heard in the distance. What is that? Looks out his door, there is a woman at the end of the hallway with a bible in her hands, speaking as if delivering a sermon. “The Lord gives us all the power to act in his image, to make your peace, and to do as you must! It is in our power to follow our destiny and to spread kindness where we go.” 

Tiny hurdles herself up the stairs and grabs the woman, “I told you to stay out of here, this is a men’s only facility!” Get your bible thumping rear-end out of here!”

A comedian’s famous punchline comes to Adam-“here’s your sign!”

Adam- to himself, but out loud- I need to find out what happens to these letters. 

The next day at work:

Supervisor- (Carl-on name tag on his jacket) “Sometimes the local churches come by and get a box, but there is no set schedule or anything. They are just as short staffed as everyone else. We haven’t had a pickup in several weeks. You can see the stacks of boxes over there where we consolidate all the sorted undeliverables, and the recycling is over there in the large dumpsters that get picked up each week.” 

“So the santa, tooth fairy, and god letters just sit around til they get picked up?

“No, Santa goes out every couple of weeks, We send it to North Pole Alaska, where they.. (Adam looking at Carl like he is BS’ing) No seriously, they send all these kids a card from Santa, and it is postmarked North Pole. Alaska.”

“The other shit sits around until we run out of room and then it goes into the recycling dumpsters. “

Ok thanks for the info. I was just curious what really happens to all this stuff I sort every day, Well, Back to my hole.

Adam to himself- If all it took was a letter from god to save this woman’s life, and no one is even reading them, (long pause)

How much trouble would I really get into if I wrote back to someone once in a while? 

Should I read them all, or just the cards, maybe some of the letters too? I’ve noticed that only a few have names and return addresses. I could just take a few home once in a while, maybe just the cards, maybe those are the most sincere? Oh man, this could go bad in so many ways. Fuck what do I have to lose! I’m stuck in this hole for the next 17 months, (grabs a small stack of god cards) Maybe I should come up with a better name for these. Maybe… hell I am not qualified for any of this. What if I say the wrong thing? No, how do you screw up, “don’t kill yourself, you still matter” ? Is that enough, should it be more spiritual? More “godly” maybe quotes from the bible, what if they’re not christians? Wait, would they write to god if they weren’t? I’m a numbers guy, this sentimental shit is above my paygrade, Fuck, everything is above my paygrade nowadays, Oh yeah, this is going to be an epic shitstorm of a disaster. “Make your peace” echoes from the street preacher outside.

That night in his room. 

Adam-Seriously, you write to god to “confess’ ‘ that you hate your husband’s cat? Just tell him, work it out. I should be a marriage counselor. You hate your kids, …you’re feeling guilty about stealing food, addict, addict, addict, addict, you need money for school, you want world peace, you voted for Trump and your family disowned you, you told your family your gay and that was cool, but they kicked you out after you said you were a republican, man that’s cold blooded. Be fabulous and conservative brother. 

He picks out another card near the bottom. Scene cuts to a strong type-A looking man, a veteran most likely, staring down from the edge of a bridge overlooking a beautiful river gorge. He is thinking about how long it would take to hit the rocks at the bottom. I would never do it during the daytime. It would be an awful thing for kids and families to witness, Maybe very late on a weekday, non-holiday time. There goes my practical side again, nothing to chance, and always considering others first. Scenes from his childhood-Father telling him as a small boy “men don’t cry” and “Men don’t ask for help” “men get things done on their own, anything else is weakness!” “You never quit no matter what” “Don’t complain, suck it up, be a man”

Back to Adam-he takes a card out of the envelope. His eyes drawn to the carefully penned wording-

Dear God 

my world is one of darkness, I feel like nothing I do is good enough for anyone in my life. I feel like my presence here is without meaning, nor value. I go to work, pay bills, go through the motions of being a human, much of my life is spent pretending to be a happy functional human being. I just can’t do it anymore. I have not felt anything in so long, I no longer even remember what it feels like to feel something, anything. I think about hurting myself just to see if I can feel the pain of it. I have thought about killing myself, as I see no point in being alive, but I don’t want to be responsible for a mess someone else has to clean up. I cannot think of a single reason to go on besides feeling guilty about making a few people sad for a short while. I was also raised to never quit. Men don’t quit. But, what is the purpose of just existing to work, pay bills, and pretend? That’s not living. My life is almost an out of body experience. Like I am floating about a dark pitch black hole that I could fall into at any moment, but never do. I don’t feel anything towards anyone else either. Not interest, sympathy, empathy anything. 

It is all absurd. I have everything one could want to have in their life, and yet it does not bring me joy or fulfillment. What is wrong with me? My wife is an amazing woman, and we have a terrific daughter. I love my job, but I confess that it has lost its shine recently due to covid and other nonsense that has tarnished my profession as a contractor. I have many successes in my life, a great house and dogs, I have accomplished much in my life. We are not rich, but we are not struggling either. We can pay our bills and have been able to put our daughter in private school. I literally have nothing to be unhappy about. But I have no one to talk to about this. I feel like I am less than a man simply for having these feelings. Men are supposed to have all the answers, and need to be strong, any sign of weakness is a sign that you just aren’t man enough. Men don’t ask for help, men don’t get sad, they suck it up and plow through the roadblocks, they take care of others. We don’t get to feel beaten or depressed. Men don’t do those things. That is what I was taught, and that is what I see everywhere I look. I am tired of doing everything on my own, but I don’t even know how to not live like this. I really don’t think anyone would miss me, until It came time to fix or pay for something. Everything about my feelings make me feel like I am the biggest failure to my family. I have been physically present in their lives, I say the right things, but I have no emotion to give strength to the words, they are hollow and cold. My wife has always been there for me, through some really hard times, she is my partner in everything we have, and everything we have done as a couple and family. She is everything that I am not, she always sees the good in people, she expects good things, and does not dwell on the negative. I wish that I had her ability to see goodness and kindness in others. That just has not been my experience. I am just so angry all the time. They deserve so much better than I can give them. I was the one everyone comes to for advice, and solutions to their problems. I have never been unable to solve my own problems, but for the first time I do not know what to do. I can’t go on much longer. I can’t live with this black chasm of emptiness, I can’t bear this complete lack of feeling, it is torture to myself, and to the family that I cannot give what they deserve. 

I’ve never even been to church, I don’t know why I am even writing this. Maybe because I know you will never read this, nor reply.  But if you have any advice, I will listen.

Regards

Gregory

Adam- looking up, oh no, this is not good. What do I say to this guy? He is on the edge and slipping fast. 

What does he need to hear? He has all these torments inside his head, and he isn’t talking to anyone. Maybe tell him to see a therapist? No God would not say that, a priest, he’s not religious and doesn’t sound like he wants to be either. This is a desperate man here. Who can he turn to?

His wife? He says that she is his partner in everything, but he hasn’t told her what he has been going through. She probably doesn’t even know there is something wrong. He is acting out a role that everyone recognizes to hide the pain he is in. No one knows! He has to talk to his wife. Do I just say that in a letter?

How does god write, what does he/she/it? Sound like? Flashbacks to being an intern at the finance office, Adam’s mentor telling him “listen, if you are going to lie, keep it simple so you can remember it, keep it vague so there are few details, that’s how you get through the BS around here.”

Keep it simple.  Yeah, keep it simple. 

Adam pulls out a blank note card. Looks at it for a few seconds, then begins to write. We cannot see what he is writing. He puts it in an envelope, and addresses it to Amicus. 

No return address. Stamps it and puts it in his lunch bag. 

The next morning, Adam walks to the corner, and drops it in the metal mailbox and goes to work. 

Several days later, Gregory walks outside on a Saturday morning, his daughter is playing in the front yard with a friend, and his wife, Sylvia, is in the backyard mowing with a self propelled mower Gregory bought her because she insisted on doing the mowing as one of the household chores. And she really liked the satisfaction of seeing her work progress every time she made a pass around the yard. He goes to the mailbox and pulls out a large stack of items. Ads, junk, life insurance, credit card offers, the community newspaper, several other solicitations from political candidates, and a small envelope containing what seemed to be a card inside. Addressed to him, but no return address. A postmark from (wherever Adam lives). 

That’s odd. I’ll check it out after my coffee. Gregory walks inside and tosses most of the mail in recycling, and looks tentatively at the card. Looks out the window and sees his wife still happily mowing the grass. Probably 20 minutes left. His daughter opens the front door and asks to go to her friend’s house across the street. Sure go ahead, just watch for cars, look both ways-twice! He chuckles. 

He has a sense of foreboding, and fills a cup with coffee, black, no sugar. I don’t know why but I think I need to go upstairs to open this. He climbs the stairs and walks to the room they affectionately call the library. It is really just a room that they converted into book storage and a place where they could do homework or read, whatever they wanted to do and have some privacy. 

Gregory sits down and puts the coffee on the side table. Looks the envelope over and slides his finger under the sealed flap and pulls it open, tears if open actually. It is just a simple cream colored card, small even for a note or a thank you card. Only the word Hello is stamped on the front of it. Nothing else, just blank except for the single word. He flips it to the back, nothing. Stares at the card for a few more seconds then opens it.

We do not see what he sees. His eyes go blurry, and we hear sobbing and mournful wailing as if someone’s very soul is being wrenched from their still living body. A sobbing so complete and all consuming that it is choking Gregory and he falls to the floor. The table turned over and the coffee spilled. Uncontrolled guttural sobbing. And then darkness. 

Gregory feels like a hole has opened up and he is falling out of control into a void that is at the same time crushing him from all sides, is this what dying feels like? Blackness overcomes him as he continues to fall.

We pan above to see Gregory unconscious, his chin and shirt soaked with his tears. His skin pale, and body lifeless. The card, upside down, stained with the spilled coffee, is near him. We hear the mower stop and minutes later Sylvia comes into the kitchen and she yells for Gregory. “Let’s have drinks on the patio, we can admire my mowing skills!”

“Gregory” “where are you? Sees a couple of bills on the counter. Where is he? She goes up the stairs and calls out for him again. No answer, She opens the door to the library and sees Gregory on the floor. Panicking, she runs to him and turns him over, shaking him and yelling his name. 

Gregory quickly comes around and opens his eyes, but they are unfocused and he is confused about where he is, and what happened. She gets him to sit up and wants to call 911, but he tells her no, he’s okay.

What happened Gregory!? She is visibly panicked and worried. Gregory is holding his head trying to get his bearings. He looks down and sees the card in the middle of the mess on the floor. Picks it up and time slows as he turns it over, we can see now that it reads, 

“Your wife, your partner, Do as you must, Tell her, Make your Peace” 

Gregory instantly breaks into an uncontrollable sobbing and tear streamed fit of choking and crying.

Sylvia is horrified and shocked by what she is seeing. This is the strongest man she has ever met, she has never seen him ever visibly shaken or without a complete sense of confidence. Telling him over and over that it will be okay, and to tell her what is wrong, they will get through it together like they always do. I love you’s flow out of her mouth in a soothing voice that one might use with a small child, she is comforting him and holding him so tight that nothing could pry her away from him. Protecting him from whatever demon he is struggling with, refusing to let him go as he is wracked with waves of guilt and pain. Long moments pass before the grief begins to wane. His breath coming in deep gasps for air, and low moans of inner turmoil. Sylvia holding him with relentless protection and fear for whatever is tormenting him. Slowly he becomes calm, while she continues to assure him that she loves him and that she is here for him. 

“Tell me what it is and we can fix it together” “You know we can beat anything together”

He takes a deep breath and looks her in the eye, then away, she grabs him by the face with both hands and turns him so they are eye to eye. “Tell me”

He looks down, then back up, “I can’t do it anymore”

Do what?

“Any of it, I don’t want to be alive anymore, I just can’t do it” 

She grabs him with all of her body and strength and tells him they will do it together, and we are going to get you help. Anything you need, we are going to get you. We are partners and you’ve never let anyone down, now I am not going to let you down. You are going to tell me what you are feeling and why right now.” 

They embrace and for the first time he feels like the weight of the world just got a little lighter, and the sunshine the tiniest bit brighter. 

“I wrote a letter to god.”

Sylvia looks confused and unsure of what to say.

“He wrote back”

He shows her the card that is stained and the ink has runs from the tears and coffee that was spilled on it.

“Tell me what you told god, and we will figure this out together. We’re a team and we don’t let each other struggle alone.” “look at me, we got this” 

“What did the letter say?”

Gregory-Dear God. My world is full of darkness………..

The song by XTC begins playing softly in the background. 

Summary: A young woman (Emily) sends a note to God, in the mail, unbeknownst to her, this would set off a chain reaction that no one could have predicted. Ex-con Adam, who is also obsessed with his Masseratti that he no longer owns, is mandated to work in the basement of a letter sorting facility for undeliverable mail, (Dead letters as a condition of his early release from prison for embezzling from his employer. Adam takes a stack of letters to his dorm at a halfway house and reads them. Finding the card from Emily, he is shocked at her condition but does nothing to help her. Three weeks later she kills herself and Adam is confronted with a dilemma that changes his life and that of others he will never meet. He begins to write back to people. 

A series of events confirms to Adam that he needs to do this, not only for others, but as a path to his one redemption and salvation. In this story we get a glimpse into the secret lives of those who are silently tormented with a host of issues that they cannot speak to with anyone in their lives. In desperation, they write to god, pleas for help, confessions, and the expressions of the deepest depressions and thoughts of hopelessness. Adam’s first letter goes to Gregory, who is an Army veteran and has spent years pretending to be everything everyone else thinks he is. But he has been hiding the darkest thoughts and desires to end it all from those closest to him. Adam will write to others as we learn about their struggles via a brief letter, accompanied by first person imagery of their lives past and present, before he reaches out to them. The audience will witness the changes, both wonderful and tragic, in those that he writes to. 

Ultimately, Adam must confront his own demons and accept that, instead of blaming society, his former bosses, and everyone but Adam, he is in fact guilty of the crimes and poor decisions that he has made in his life. He must give himself permission to accept his faults, and failures, and that a kind gesture may take you farther than a fancy car. 

Closing scene- Adam completes his work-stay period and fulfills his parole conditions. Weeks later, he writes his own letter. 

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