Letter Found in a Bottle in a Fountain in the Metropolitan Museum, July 1998

I fear I may need to eat the mummies for sustenance.

I fear I may need to eat the mummies for sustenance.

To whomever finds him- or herself in possession of this note-

I humbly request your immediate help. I wandered off from my tour group somewhere in the American Wing and have become impossibly lost. I thought I found an exit, but it only led me into yet another room with Japanese Art from the Meiji Era. There, after resting, I proceeded up some stairs into a room with nothing but shelves. I do not know for long I have been wandering in this labyrinth. Judging from my beard growth, it must be weeks since I last had any contact with the outside world. I fear I may be going mad. Time feels as though it has stopped. 18th-Century English Landscapes and 20th-Century Socialist Realism are one and the same. Yesterday I stared at my reflection in a 16th-Century trumpet until I felt my mind merge with the outside world in a glorious union of transcendental expression. Please find me before it’s too late.

And let my family in Garden City, Iowa know that I love them.

Terrance Sherd


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