Fan Mail by Anna Vernon

Mr. Hefner,

Thank you so much for ensuring that your publications are accessible and affordable for all types of people. Last night I caught my 11-year-old son looking at your April edition with two of his schoolmates. I was up because the dog started coughing, and for a moment I thought my husband had come back, but I checked downstairs and he hadn’t so I went to the kitchen to get some ice cream. Then I climbed back up the stairs and I had to go slowly because I ate too much ice cream and I saw light creeping under my son’s stickered door so I peeked through the crack without actually going in. As it was I couldn’t go in; he had locked the door.

We have a no-lock policy in my house. My son understands this, so the pit in my stomach opened up. I went around the house in the darkness to his open window and pulled back the screen and just barely moved the curtain.

From the glow of the moonlight, I found him and his friends huddled over a picture of your cover girl, Kate what’s-her-name, and they had the magazine open to the page with just pictures. My son and his friends were doing something with their hands that I will not put in paper.

I didn’t know what to say because they hadn’t seen me yet so I started rehearsing my mom-speech while I still had the chance. I was going to burst in like an angry hen and tell my son that he was hanging out with the wrong crowd because I don’t want my son hanging out with boys who have access to Playboy. I tried to remember all of the phone numbers of the parents of my son’s friends but I couldn’t so it gave me pause for a minute.

But then I overheard that my son is actually the one who supplied the magazine, and he didn’t actually buy it he received it from one of the older boys who lives on our street. Before my husband left I used to think that older boy had a pleasant physique. Shapes rise and fall across his body like riverbeds converging into a mammoth stream of muscle. The air hits his jawline at the perfect spot, a spot that I’m sure, of course, many women have kissed. But now I’m not supposed to think like that because it’s not right since my husband left me for a younger woman. At least that’s what they tell me in therapy.

I didn’t know what to do with the information that my son was the owner of the magazine so I decided I should sleep on it and maybe confront him in the morning. And then I walked back to my room and the dog was still coughing, making me think of my husband who left me last year. I guess I thought about yelling at my son a little but even more so I was thinking, or hoping, rather, that he had more copies of Playboy because that means he will make more friends. And I wanted to know if you think that’s wrong that I wish for that because I know I’m not supposed to. My son is kind of shy looking but he has a very good heart and he looks like his father, my husband who left me. Maybe in ten years he will be the older boy on the street with the big, tan arms that all the divorcees lust over. Or maybe he will be like my husband who left me.

This morning I planned on going to the grocery store to get some more for my son and I planned to slip them under his bed where I knew he would find them because that’s where he hides everything but one of the ladies from the PTA board was at the store so I couldn’t.

Which brings me to the reason I am writing you. If you are not terribly inconvenienced, could you send a few more copies to 2531 E. Street Northlake, VA.? I don’t care what edition they are. They all look the same to me. Address the package ‘To Nathan, From Bobby.’ You could also change the ‘Nathan’ to ‘Nate’ if you think it sounds better. I am not sure which one is cooler or how, exactly, Bobby, the older boy with the tan arms on my street, addresses my son. Perhaps since you are of the generation of people whose crow’s-feet have formed, you could pass this letter on to a younger employee and ask her opinion as well. I have enclosed ten dollars in the event that you can.

Many Thanks,
Mrs. Hillard


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