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Hola Senor Bill,

Yo para usted tener la importante pregunta yo esperar que usted poder muy mucho contestar.

Surprise! It's me. Anonymous, from the Cope's-Latest-Column Discussion Group. I'll bet you thought it was some senorita from El Meheeco, but no it's just little old me. From Boise. I'm learning to speak Spanish this summer as my summer project because every summer, I have a different project because with my job at the bowling lanes, things get real slow in the summer because there are not so many leagues you know, so a few summers ago, I decided to get a project going every summer so I would have things to do with myself. Last summer's project was learning how to wallpaper a wall, which I did to the walls in my bathroom except in back of the toilet because I didn't learn how to do that. And the summer before that, I was learning how to make kimchi, which is a thing Korean people do with cabbage by turning it into sauerkraut, only it's different and it's called kimchi. This summer, my project is to learn to speak Spanish like I said, because it is such a beautiful language isn't it? When I go to the store and am waiting in line and somebody is speaking Spanish in back of me or in front, too, I always listen in because it sounds like how I think birds would sound if they could speak Spanish and I always wish I could join in.

So I decided if my friend Dottie who you don't know but we have been friends since that time we were stuck in a snow drift on the Fun Bus to Jackpot together can learn Spanish like she said she did, then so can I, except I'm not good enough at it yet to tell if Dottie is really speaking Spanish or just saying any foreign sounding word that pops into her head. So I told her I wanted to learn Spanish too so we could talk in it together and she said to go buy something called Rosetta Stone, which she said is how she learned to speak Spanish, but then I found out I could not afford this Rosetta Stone, which does not come on my computer like that solitaire game does and you have to buy it separate, which I could not afford.

So well then I decided to learn it by going through the whole dictionary and getting that Google translator thing to translate each word for me on my computer. Then I practice saying it over and over only I'm not sure I'm saying it right so I ask Dottie if I'm saying it right, and first she laughs and then she always says I'm saying it wrong, which I don't know if she's right or not, and I guess I won't until I can speak Spanish as well as she can. I am only up to the "B's" in the dictionary and the bowling lanes will be getting busy again in about a month, so I may have to make learning Spanish my project for next summer too. By the way, Dottie helped me say what I said in the first part of this letter, which is "Hola Senor Bill (that means "Hello Mister Bill"), I for you have an important question I hope that you can very much answer."

Oh, did I tell you Dottie is in the Cope's-Latest-Column Discussion Group? Yes she is but I think the only reason she joined is because she likes cookies and punch so much, and when I asked her once if she would mind bringing the cookies for the next week, she only laughed and said "Qué la ganso bobo." Or something like that. Which reminds me that I wanted to catch you up since how long it's been since I wrote to you on how the Cope's-Latest-Column Discussion Group's membership is doing, which if I remember right I told you was down to three people including the one who only comes for the cookies and punch (Dottie, but don't tell her I told you). But now it is up to nine again because the Baumgartners who you don't know but they left last winter to join the Downton Abbey-Season-Four Discussion Group came back since there were only something like two or three episodes in the whole season four of Downton Abbey. Also Ron and Dawn Mabley who you don't know either came back I think just because they don't have many friends, and also Jim Lukengill and Betty Frost joined the group and you don't know either of them either. Jim is a plenty nice man but he was arrested for driving drunk and was sentenced to 40 hours community service, and he somehow convinced the judge that coming to Cope's-Latest-Column Discussion Group was doing his community service somehow. I don't know much about Betty because she only joined last week but already she has volunteered to bring cookies, which is good enough for me.

So anywho, the reason I wrote to you this time is because I really do have an important question for you to answer I hope and...

Oh darn it. Now I cannot remember what I wanted to ask you except that it was important. Oh shoot. I am so embarrassed now you must think I am a rattlehead type but I have to quit even though I can't think of what I wanted to ask you because the mailman will be here soon and I want to get this in the mail today. So as we say in Spanish, "Hasta la tiempo muy mucho proximo."

--Yours truly, Anonymous

•••

Dear Anon,

I am sure if you just relax, your question will come back. It happens to me all the time, so don't be embarrassed. It was delightful hearing from you again and adios, muchacha. (I heard Antonio Banderas say that in a movie and have been dying for an opportunity to use it.)

P.S.: Have you changed brands of coffee recently, Anon? You seem a bit agitado.

Bill Cope will be signing copies of his novel Artists Save the Galaxy from 6-8 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 7, at Flying M Coffeehouse.

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