The Recommendation Letter

A short story by Amin Matalqa from the upcoming book, Heroes & Idiots.

To: Gloria Stone

From: Robert O’Malley

Subject: Recommendation Letter

Dear Ms. Stone,

I hope this email finds you well. It’s been a long time since the “good ol’ days” at the firm. I hope “the boys” are in good health (and still employed) (LOL, just kidding). I’m writing because I’m sure you’ve heard through the grapevine that I was let go from Goldstein & Goldstein :-( Don’t worry about me. I’ll be okay. All companies have to make cuts at some point (I hear you’ve had to make some cuts yourself too, hahaha). I apologize for writing you this email on such short notice, and I would completely understand if what I’m about to ask is something you’re not comfortable doing, but I need a special favor that I promise to repay TEN-FOLD one day. I need a letter of recommendation to go along with my application for an exciting new opportunity at another accounting firm, Shaeffer & Schiffer.

I know you weren’t the biggest fan of my behavior before I was relieved of my duties working under you, but I’ll never forget the time you praised my performance in front of the rest of the team when I was still new there. I’m sure you remember the incident, but I’ll remind you just in case. Someone in IT had crashed the central database and lost a substantial amount of important data before it was backed up. And though I’d only been at the firm for a month, I stepped up to the plate and volunteered to restore the corrupt files (thank God for all those hours of playing with computers in my garage over the years, haha). You told the rest of the team what a commendable young man I was for having saved the company thousands of dollars (I estimate tens of thousands, but who’s counting?)

Anyway, I would be eternally grateful if I could just get a nice letter that depicts your vote of confidence in my abilities as an accountant, and if you don’t mind, please mention how reliable I am. It doesn’t have to be very elaborate. So long as it’s well-written, sure of itself, and communicates that I’m professional at my job and people like (sometimes love) working with me.

Thank you so much for doing this. I will owe you with MY LIFE when I get this job. You’re the greatest!

Sincerely

Rob

___________________________________________________________________

To: Gloria Stone

From: Robert O’Malley

Subject: Recommendation Letter

Dear Ms. Stone,

I’m so sorry to bother you, but I’m writing to follow up regarding an email I sent on Monday last week requesting a letter of recommendation for a new job I’m applying for at Shaeffer & Schiffer. Did you get the chance to check your messages? If not, for your reference, I sent the email on May 6th. I know how generous you are, both by your reputation and from observing you during my brief (but life-changing) stint at the firm back in 2007. I’m sure you should remember me. I had the red hair with freckles like a school girl that you once said resembled your daughter’s. I also flew remote control helicopters for a hobby (you never saw me fly one, but I mentioned it to you once at the cafeteria while we were in line for pizza — incidentally, we both ordered pepperoni — what a small world). Anyway, I don’t want to take up too much of your time, but I urgently need that letter of recommendation for this job application and I know what a respectable name you have in the accounting community. I’ve always admired the way people talk about you. Your support would be immensely helpful, as I really need this job, and it’s been more than a couple of months since I’ve received a paycheck.

Thank you so much for your precious time.

Sincerely,

Rob

___________________________________________________________________

To: Gloria Stone

From: Robert O’Malley

Subject: Recommendation Letter

Dearest Ms. Stone,

I don’t know if you’re getting my emails, so I left you a voice mail. You might want to check if some messages are mistakenly going to your junk box. Just go to your mailbox preferences and check to disable junk mail message filtering. I sent you two emails dated May 6 and May 13 regarding a recommendation letter I’m seeking. Can you please check those emails? Thank you so much. I’ll try to call you again this afternoon to follow up. I hope this message is getting to you. Please send any acknowledgment just to let me know you got this. Thanks. You’re the greatest!

Sincerely,

Rob

___________________________________________________________________

To: Gloria Stone

From: Robert O’Malley

Subject: Recommendation Letter

Dear Ms. Stone,

It’s Tuesday morning and I waited all night refreshing my email inbox hoping that you had the chance to respond to my messages. I just spoke with your assistant Tracy and she said you were in a meeting. I hope you’re aware that she’s a little argumentative and unprofessional in her tone. I simply wanted to make sure that you’re getting my emails. Please hit the reply button and write anything to notify me that you’re getting these. You can also call me by phone if that’s easier for you. Thank you and again, I apologize for any inconvenience I may have caused you.

Sincerely,

Rob

___________________________________________________________________

To: Gloria Stone

From: Robert O’Malley

Subject: Recommendation Letter

Dear Miss Stone,

I think your assistant Tracy is doing a lot of harm to your client relations. She’s rude and uncourteous. I don’t know who hired her, but I can make some excellent recommendations if you’re looking to replace her.

Speaking of recommendations, I’m writing to follow up on the letter I requested. I forgot to mention that it should be printed on company letterhead. I can swing by and pick it up any time that’s convenient. You are so cool.

Rob

PS. How’s your daughter Jennifer? God, she must be all grown up by now. Is she in high school already? How time flies!!!

___________________________________________________________________

To: Gloria Stone

From: Robert O’Malley

Subject: Recommendation Letter

Dearest Miss Stone,

I am so so so sorry. I just read the terrible news on the Internet. My sincere condolences about your mother’s passing last year. I realize how rude I was not to send you a message of condolences at the time. I suppose that’s why you’re upset with me, and I completely understand. I hope you’ll find it in your heart to forgive me, because I was very disconnected from the world at the time, but that is all going to change now that I’ve set up a Facebook account. I just sent you a friend request by the way, so please go ahead and click Accept at your earliest convenience. I’m glad we’re putting all this behind us.

___________________________________________________________________

To: Gloria Stone

From: Robert O’Malley

Subject: Recommendation Letter

Dear Gloria,

I want to apologize in advance in case last night’s coincidence may have given you a fright. I had no idea that Jennifer’s high school was in the same neighborhood as my friend’s house. I was pleasantly surprised to run into her, and as luck would have it, I happened to have a draft of the recommendation letter that I came up with me on a memory stick. I figured this would save you time. I hope she’s delivered it to you by now. This encounter was clearly a sign from the universe. Please let me know when I can come by the office or the house to pick it up. Thanks.

PS. Your leadership is an inspiration to all of us.

PS2. I know your address so don’t worry about emailing it to me.

Sincerely

Rob

___________________________________________________________________

To: Gloria Stone

From: Robert O’Malley

Subject: Recommendation Letter

Urgent!

Dear Gloria, I’m standing downstairs outside the building. I happened to be downtown and I figured it wouldn’t hurt to swing by. I made sure that Tracy got the copy of the recommendation letter. All I need is your signature. It will only take a second. Maybe even less. Please, just have someone bring it down outside the South revolving door. Anyone but Tracy because I didn’t like the way she handled the paper as the security guys escorted me out. Thanks, you’re amazing!

This message was sent from Rob’s iPhone

___________________________________________________________________

To Human Resources Dept — Shaeffer & Schiffer,

My name is Gloria Stone, and I am the president of Stone, Bennet, & Cornfeld CPAs. I have known Mr. Robert O’Malley for over five years now, and he is one of the finest accountants I have ever known. He is not only disciplined, knowledgable, and creative with numbers, but he is also a good man.

My employees have always loved working with Robert because he is reliable, sincere, diligent, meticulous, and affable. I can personally testify to his mild-mannered nature and have actually learned a few things from him myself. Robert is a team player, highly intelligent, perceptive, resourceful, informed, astute, and an inspiration to work with. I also consider him a good friend.

I suggested to Robert that he should work for your firm because I know he would make a perfect match to the team culture you’re known for at Shaefer & Schiffer. Robert is the kind of individual who adds value to whichever company he works for, and I wouldn’t want you to miss out on hiring him. To not have him on your team would be a big mistake. I have tried to lure him back to work for my company, but I don’t know that I can afford someone with his level of expertise. What a special human being.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me directly (though my schedule is terribly busy over the next month, so I may not be available).

Sincerely,

Gloria Stone

President

— — — — — — — — — — — — —

To: Gloria Stone

From: Robert O’Malley

Subject: Recommendation Letter

My Dearest Gloria,

Thank you so so so much. I know how insanely busy you’ve been lately, so I wanted to let you know that I went ahead and submitted my application to Shaefer & Schiffer and attached the above letter of recommendation. As I’ve received no protest to this on your part, I just quickly signed it on your behalf. I know you don’t care, so no biggie (hahaha). Anyway, it’s more convenient for everyone, and nobody got hurt. If you have any qualms with this, please just send me a reply email and we can talk about it. I’m so grateful for your cooperation and look forward to the day when we can meet up for coffee and laugh about all this.

All my very best,

Rob

___________________________________________________________________

To: Samuel Shaeffer

From: Robert O’Malley

Subject: Job Application

Dear Mr. Shaeffer,

I hope this email finds you well. I imagine everything must be blissful at the top of the food chain. It’s been over a month since I submitted my very impressive CV and letter of recommendation to Shaeffer & Schiffer, but it seems no one has bothered to read them. Forgive me for writing to you directly, but I’d like to file a complaint against your subordinates. Over the past three weeks I’ve left two dozen voice mails, yet nobody ever returns my calls. Also, I’ve tried to get through to you by phone but your assistant Louise is impenetrable. She even threatened to call the police on me yesterday. I know. I couldn’t believe it either. It has become evident to me that your firm has something against Native Americans. I should point out that although I look Irish, I have quite a bit of Cherokee blood in me from my mother’s side. I assume that nobody wants to get sued for racial discrimination, so I shall wait no more than 24 hours to hear from you in person to set up my long-overdue interview before I am left with no option but to contact my very talented lawyer (who happens to be Jewish and very very good).

Thank you so much for taking the time to reply. I know how busy you must be.

Sincerely,

Robert O’Malley

___________________________________________________________________

To: Robert O’Malley

From: Sam Shaeffer

Subject: Re: Job Application

Dear Mr. O’Malley,

Thank you for your application, inquiry, and follow up email. I was so intrigued by your excellent letter of recommendation that I had to call my old friend Gloria Stone to hear her praise in person. It’s a small world indeed. I just got off the phone with her. I hope you’ll forgive my use of the French language, but please do everyone a favor and go fuck yourself.

Sincerely,

Sam Shaeffer