February 22, 2002

Dear Sir or Madam:

I am writing in reference to an invoice dated January 10th that is now past due.

I suspect that you get a lot of mail at a company of your size, and so I imagine it was a mere oversight on your part – perhaps it was misrouted to Ronald McDonald, although I clearly marked it Attn: Accounts Payable. Or perhaps that Hamburgler is at it again.

Ha ha. That was a joke.

“Ha ha” always looks so stiff in print, doesn’t it? “Heehee” or “hehehe” sound, to my ear, high pitched and maniacal. The emoticons, (; and such, look out of place on a business letter – a little too casual or something.

Ideally, I wouldn’t have to say anything – you’d know it was a joke. But as we have no previous contact, I’m forced to be explicit – I can’t have you thinking that I believe that your cartoon mascots are real, although I’m sure many children think/hope they are.

And I, sir or madam, am not a child, although I hope I retain a child’s sense of wonder. I am in fact a science fiction novelist and my invoice is in every way an adult’s invoice, and I expect to be paid.

I think you’ll be pleased by McDonald’s as it appears in Everyone In Silico – not much has changed by 2036, except that people order their Big Mac and Fries (should that be capitalized?) at an ATM style machine. You’re welcome to implement this idea for free, once you’ve paid the invoice. No more having to close down an outlet for costly days when a staff tries to unionize!

Have a good day,

Jim Munroe.

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