Dear Department of Homeland Security,

So I was recently looking at the usage statistics for my Web site, and I couldn’t help but notice that someone connecting to the Web via a dhs.gov server visited tomhop.com thirteen times in the month of February of this year, checking out a total of 101 pages. Wow! Thanks for stopping by! I am, of course, very curious as to how you ended up here in the first place. Were you the visitor who Googled “the design for marshmallow guns”? Or perhaps “ship stability”? “Truth in nonfiction,” maybe? Or my favorite, “don’t blame Cortázar”? However you got here, I’m so flattered that you stuck around for so long! Were you curious about my modest contributions to small literary journals? Were you admiring my photographs and drawings? Did your poking around have something to do with the security of the homeland? Or were you just bored at work? If the latter, believe me, I understand; the Web can be a very distracting place! (I mean, have you guys checked out Strongbad? Hilarious!) Speaking of homeland security, you know, maybe you can help me out with something—basically, I’m embarrassed to admit, I’ve never really fully understood what “homeland” means. I mean, are we just talking about the contiguous 48? Or Alaska and Hawai’i too? Do the territories get lumped into the “homeland”? How about embassies? I know, dumb question! It’s just I feel like I never heard the word before 2002, when your department was established in the first place. (You probably get this all the time, but it’s a bit creepy sounding, you know? Not quite as bad as that whole “Total Information Awareness” thing, but still!) Anyway, if there’s anything else I can help you with regarding literary fiction, please feel free to give me a call anytime. I’m sure you’ve got the number!