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Story by Bret Fetzer (Read author interview) December 15, 2003

Describe your ideal mate:

I am looking for a good person. Good: Honest, caring, hard-working. Generous. Kind. You remember the good deeds a person has done and forgive, if not forget, the mistakes. And, sometimes, even the malice; you understand that it’s fleeting and the result of a sad upbringing without good role models for that particular behavior.

Money is not important.

Everyone says they want someone with a sense of humor, and I’m no exception. Attractive is also good, but I find a lot of looks attractive. I really do. So I’m not going to go on about that.

I like to cook, but don’t do it as much as I would like. If you’re not much of a cook yourself, that might motivate me.

I appreciate someone who reads. I don’t have much time to read anymore, but I used to. Remind me, please, of that time.

Enjoy sex. So many people say they do, but really don’t. And some that really do, aren’t any good at it. So. And it would be great if you were just a little more adventurous than I am. Just a little. I’d prefer it if you didn’t go too far. When we meet, we’ll determine what’s ‘too far.’ (Anything related to butt-plugs, for example, would probably be ‘too far.’ I just want to be upfront.)

You must have handled paying your bills at some point in your life. Not because I can’t, but because I want someone with a grounding in the real world. On the other hand, I’d like to hear you describe your dreams. If they’re strangely wonderful. Please be able to distinguish between the strangely wonderful and the mundanely obscure.

I’m trying to be more athletic, but I’m not making any promises.

So the same goes for you.

Once, I went on this date with this woman and we seemed to be having a great time—-we laughed a lot, we both enjoyed our meals, during the movie our arms frequently brushed each other in a way that didn’t mean anything, but it was significant that neither of us pulled away. At one point, the conversation lagged, but she didn’t seem to feel rushed or panicked about finding another topic and, much to my surprise, neither did I. But then, when we were sitting in my car just outside of her house and it was pretty late but not too late for us to go have dessert or, if we felt like it, kiss—all of a sudden she began telling me about her ex-boyfriend (actually, she said ‘ex-lover,’ and I’m assuming the ‘boyfriend’ part) and how she still had unresolved feelings for and against him, feelings that left her feeling like it wasn’t the right time to begin a new relationship, which didn’t mean she didn’t enjoy being with me or didn’t find me sexy (she emphasized that I was very sexy, several, well, a couple of times, in a way that made the statement oddly questionable), but now was not the time. And she got out and, after that, every time I asked her if she wanted to go do something, just as friends, she had some conflict.

Don’t do that.

You have to believe in something. A person with no faith in something more than flesh and bone is a person without a soul. I have a soul. I want you to have one too. Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, pagan, anything. It’s all good, as long as you aren’t too pushy about it, because I’m sort of vague myself, as far as anything orthodox or codified goes. But I believe. Firmly.

Pets are okay too.

When I said money is not important, I meant to me. It’s okay if it is to you. I’ll understand that. It might even be advantageous. I’m not sure what I mean by that. Pretend I didn’t say it.

Politics depress me, so I would prefer not to talk about them.

It comes back to goodness. I don’t mean to preach, but there is a right and a wrong, and it would be best if we agree on what those are.

You understand that I understand that this is somewhat subjective, and I’m looking for someone to share my subjectivity.

I’d like someone who walks around because taking a walk clears the mind, because you have to look at things you’ve looked at a million times before and maybe see them anew, or if not, just see them. I’m not talking about nature. Nature isn’t what it used to be. I live in the urban world, and I’m looking for someone who appreciates that world, who can look at a spray-painted brick wall or a limpid puddle of urine and see that as residue of life, fragments of the human need for expression, the wake of someone churning through this off-balance existence, seeking grace. We look at so much, we see so little.

And that enjoying sex business I mentioned earlier? If you need help with that, I’m here for you.

Am I crazy for asking so much of our troubled, corruptible world, to produce this person who could be you? If so, call me crazy.

About the Author

Bret Fetzer writes plays and fairy tales. His collections of original fairy tales, Petals & Thorns and Tooth & Tongue, were published by Rampant Books in Seattle, WA, and are available through www.pistilbooks.net. His plays (including The Three Policemen, Planet Janet, The Story of the Bull, and Scream Queen) have been produced around the U.S. Seattle Children’s Theatre has commissioned him to write an adaptation of the picture book Everyone Knows What a Dragon Looks Like, currently scheduled to be produced in 2004.

This story appeared in Issue Two of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Two

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