old illustration of a person being tormented by bats


Sean Nishi is a Japanese-American writer from Los Angeles, CA. He has received praise in the past for attentive listening, skillful juggling, and wearing all black. His work has appeared in STORGY, Sierra Nevada Review, TIMBER, Poydras Review, and Ember Chasms.

IG: https://www.instagram.com/leather_allan_poe/

Jerry Torres  
651 Colby Drive  
Valencia, CA 91354 

Dear Mr. Torres

We were very upset to hear that you did not lose enough weight to complete your  Contractually Obligated Goal (COG) in the allotted time. We here at GetMotivated believe  anything is possible with the right incentive, and because you failed to complete your COG  (which was to lose 200 pounds in six months), we clearly did not provide enough of an incentive. So it saddens me to report that in two to three days, one of our skilled Motivators will arrive at your home address and kill you in a clean and timely manner. 

First off, would I be out of line to suggest your COG was a tad unrealistic? Most health  experts recommend losing one to two pounds PER WEEK, i.e. burning 500-1000 calories a day. Therefore, losing 200 pounds in six months = eight pounds a week, was more than idealistic. We  had a member of our staff weigh you and take your blood pressure, and even she said you should set your COG at a more reasonable level, like fifty pounds. 

Which would still be pretty impressive, given your age and sedentary habits. But this  isn’t about judging a person as they were. It’s about looking at what they could be.  Here’s an example of a successful COG: We had a client once named Tobias Wood, who  came into our offices asking for help with his love life. What was the problem? The guy had it  bad for his coworker, a Brazilian woman in IT. And here was this pasty white guy in khaki shorts without a jawline. You see what I’m getting at? But he had his positive qualities too: He knew how to do an oil change. He knew his way around a ukulele. He could build the shit out of a birdhouse. So we tell him: Ask her out, or we’ll kill you. Then Mr. Wood invests in a pair of nice Levi’s and starts going to the beach to work on his tanlines. He takes his ukulele to open mics and invites his coworkers. Pretty soon, he works up the courage to build a birdhouse for the Brazilian woman in IT. She loves it. He asks her out for drinks. She says no. But they remain friends, which is perfectly fine, because he didn’t set his expectations too high. And by building the confidence to ask out this South American beauty, he’s able to feel good about himself. And a year later, he’s hitched with this community college teacher, who’s not nearly as hot as the Brazilian coworker, but she has a good sense of humor, and she likes Game of Thrones as much as he does, and she picks him up from work when he leaves his headlights on and his battery dies. That’s love, Mr. Torres, and Mr. Wood really lucked out. 

You, on the other hand, are not so lucky. 

Don’t think anybody in the office judges you. We’re used to this kind of thing. And  despite what you might think, it really tears us up when a client doesn’t fulfill their COG. And  besides: I had money riding on your for the office pool. So now I’m sitting in my car trying to  think of how I’ll explain to my partner the $400 missing from our checkings. 

The other thing is: Maybe I encouraged you too much? Six months ago you came into our offices and explained why you needed to lose a lot of weight fast. Not for vanity, but love, pure and simple. We sat down on the nice patio deck overlooking the artificial river outside our building and sipped caffe macchiatos from the machine. What a beautiful day that was. You said you wanted to teach your daughter how to hang glide this summer. How admirable. The other dads were slim and nimble, and here you were, forever tethered to the earth. You felt bad about working all the time and not being there for your daughter, who was now in her teens and (presumably) starting to date. You feared that she would look for paternal love elsewhere, perhaps in the hands of a thirty-year old biker who chews tobacco and swallows innocence (your  words, not mine). You said you admired how free hang gliders looked, soaring through the air  like modern day Icaruses (I added the last embellishment). You wanted to be a Cool Dad, and maybe we were both optimistic in thinking you could lose enough weight to tandem glide with Edie (what an adorable name). And then I told you about my partner who just gave birth to a baby girl! I feel like we really bonded, Mr. Torres.  

Still, you signed the contract, and under Article 4, Section C: A client who does not  complete their COG voluntarily offers their life to a Motivator. And as a skilled death expert, I will personally see to it.  

It wasn’t always like that. Back when we first started, we didn’t have a fancy storefront, no sleek desks or attractive interns, no kombucha dispensers either, and we certainly didn’t have any  military-trained assassins running around. Nope – we did all the work ourselves. Back then it was  military surplus hardware we bought cheaply from Mexico: AK-47s, old service pistols, the occasional hunting knife if we had to get up close and personal. That’s another thing I worry about in this business – it’s not personal anymore. 

You get these Motivators who can’t tell Jack from Joe. All they do is sit at their desk,  shop online, and wait for their client to mess up. The fact is: They really don’t care if their clients  fulfill their COG’s or not, because either way we get a commision. Oh sure, if the client dies we don’t get a referral, but we have enough business as it is. 

That’s not what I’m saying. 

What I’m saying is, I care, I truly do, which is why I’m reaching out to you in this way.  It’s also why I’m going to your house to personally end your life, which is considered  unorthodox, but as a state-sanctioned Motivator, I’m fully within my jurisdiction to do it. I  promise your death will be swift and painless, assuming you don’t run, in which case I might have to go for your legs first. But in those last moments, I will salute you, sir, for your dedication  to self-improvement, your family, and proving once again that our model is perfect.  

Senior Motivator 
GetMotivated Inc. 

Additional work by Sean Nishi:

“Rent-A-Body” – https://storgy.com/2021/06/28/rent-a-body-by-sean-nishi/

“Christmas is a Sad Season For Everyone” – https://storgy.com/2020/12/28/christmas-is-a-sad-season-for-everyone-by-sean-nishi/

“Squish Me” – https://timberjournal.org/archive/squish-me

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