A Stranger In Harlequin Land

A Stranger In Harlequin Land

To whomever finds this letter:
know that this is not a cry for help!
This is not a signal flare bursting in the dark.
No, odds are good I’m already dead…
or worse, I have gone native.
I write this to warn you
not to come searching for me;
you would just become another prisoner here,
and I cannot in good conscience
invite anyone to join me in this Hell…
I write this to wipe my footprints off the face of the Earth;
and in the hopes that you will set off in a different direction,
any road that leads you away from Harlequin Land,
the unholy province of romance paperbacks.

Please, understand that I didn’t mean to come here-
they trapped me here! I started reading
bits & pieces of them, as a joke!
I was being ironic, God help me…
How could I resist such awful titles like
“Christmas Baby Miracles”,
“Ruthlessly Wedded, Forcibly Bedded”,
“The Sexth Sense”?!
There were so many Harlequin novels:
holiday romances, romantic thrillers, Christian romantic thrillers
men with fangs, men in kilts, men with cowboy hats…
how could I say no to all that unintentional hilarity?
But I should have said no!
I should have.
Because one day those sentences,
slippery & fat with cliches,
slithered out of the pages and snared me in their merciless gasp
like tentacles and dragged me into this paperback hell.

I have been trapped in Harlequin land
for 3 weeks now, and there is no way out.
The natives don’t trust me:
I’m a man with a stutter and a speech impediment,
and none of the men in Harlequin Land talk in any voice other than husky.
And they all either got nerves of steel
or have Steele as their last name.
I’m the fattest person here!
Even the pregnant women are skinny.
I don’t dare smile at people;
their teeth are so white,
a dentist would cum at the sight of them!
My teeth are jagged and askew,
like tombstones planted in quicksand.
I’ve grown a beard and I can’t find a razor anywhere-
the men (who are all Sheriffs, Navy seals, Scottish highlanders, suspiciously Caucasian Sheiks, or ruthless bad boy billionaires)
are either clean-shaven
or could pass as Don Johnson stunt doubles with their immaculate stubble.
I look like I’m about to go to an Animal Collective concert.
I could pass as a lumberjack in the real world,
but not here: in Harlequin Land
the lumberjacks are all clean-shaven
and own yachts.
I don’t even have a rubber ducky to float in my bathtub.

The women aren’t much help either.
They just wait for things to happen to them!
And there are babies everywhere…
EVERYWHERE, I tell you!
I tripped over 2 of them as I tried to sit down to write this letter.

I fear, my dear reader,
that my resolve won’t hold out for much longer.
This morning I thought about changing my last name to Steele!
I caught myself practicing a smoldering stare in the mirror.
The virginal single mother biochemist who lives next door to me
said I was mysterious, like I have dark secrets full of hurt & wounded sensitivity hidden under my cocky exterior.
I was about to shout “what cocky exterior!?” when I noticed
that I had lost weight, and I was suddenly
seized by the impulse to buy a cowboy hat
and wear it without a trace of irony

I can feel myself shifting from 3-dimensions to 2.
I don’t have much time left!
Please, don’t make the same mistakes I did-
don’t go near those accursed books!
Enjoy the real world,
in all its ugly splendor!
Treasure your busted teeth and Joy Division records
while you still can.

Sincerely yours,
Ashley Steele

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s