“I have some bad news,” I said to my groggy sister. It was early in Vegas, but I’d waited as long as I could before waking her up. I was babysitting her kids while she and her new husband were honeymooning.

Specific instructions had been left. Keep the door to her 8-year-old son’s room closed to avoid any cat-eats-gerbil drama.

“What happened?” she asked.

“I think Gerbie’s a goner.” I’d heard a crash and saw the cat fly down the stairs, something in its mouth. “The Habitrail’s on the floor. Empty.”

“Where’s the corpse?”

That was another problem. No evidence of the crime. The cat had hid her would-be lunch in the basement.

I was told, in no uncertain terms, rodent remains in the cellar were unacceptable. I had to find Gerbie, and then tell Max the news when he got home.

“I’m so not qualified for pre-teen grief counseling. Can’t I just go to Pet Smart and get a new one?”

“Nope. It only had half a tail. Even if you found one the right color and amputated, it wouldn’t heal in time.”

“I’m fucked.”

“Yup, but not as bad as Gerbie. Now get to work,” she said.



“I want to start over.”

J’adore do-overs. “Okay, cool. Where from?”

“Um, without you. Sorry.”

Thus begin the seven stages of relationship grief. Denial. Pleading. Stalking. Jealousy. Rage. Homicidal Fantasies. Bitter Acceptance.

It wasn’t the healthiest of relationships. We flashed on and off so often that epileptics couldn’t watch. Friends replaced the hearts around our initials with bio-hazard symbols.

During the pleading stage, I tried the “destiny” card. No go.

“I’m tired of the ups and downs.”

Me, I like the ups and downs. I’d rather ride the roller coaster than sit and watch it twist, climb and dive. Even if it’s a ride I’ve been on before. Sure, you know where the hills are, but your heart still ends up in your throat. Like being in love. The jolt at the end of the fall, the one that made you scream the first time, it still sneaks up on you. But now it makes you laugh.

Sometimes, coming out of a corkscrew, I find myself looking for him — alone in the crowd, holding a box of popcorn for us to share. Stupidly hoping destiny will put him back in the seat next to me. It’d be the best ride.


Arlene sat on the floor playing with her bag of treasure. Daddy had brought it home from a magical land she believed was named after her. It was a place of fairy tales, where kings and queens tossed jewels to their costumed citizens. Where people danced in the streets, and ate food with funny names. It was so far away it even had its own money, enchanted coins called “double loons.”

She draped a particularly shiny set of purple, gold, and green glass beads around her neck. “I’m going to be queen there one day,” she told her father, and crawled into his lap.

A decade later, Arlene moved south and uncovered her soul. Jazz drifted through the thick, magnolia-scented air. Desire coursed beyond any streetcar route. She thrived on a gumbo of voodoo zydeco, draped in swirling white linen.

Eventually, the real world lured her back. Katrina ravaged her pseudo-namesake city and cancer stole her father.

Those first doubloons surely retained their powers. How else could she hold them today, close her eyes and be eight years old again? Wrapped safely in Daddy’s arms, breathing in his lost aura of Brylcream and Old Spice, aching to start life again.


Gay White Pirate seeks landlubber 4 friendship, possible LTR

Me: Old sea dog looking to learn new tricks. Straight-acting, semi-retired pirate seeks mates 2 share land-based adventures. Mid-40s, 6’3”, 190# (w/ prosthetics attached), dark hair, blue eye (just the 1). Authentic scrimshaw leg. Canon-sized arms, 1 w/ large shiny hook. Excellent swordsman. New 2 scene, but having been considering walking a new plank 4 many years now. Enjoy tribal culture as well as Gilbert & Sullivan. No Disney or Andrew Lloyd Weber. PnP (that’s plunder and pillage, right?) within limits.

I’m tired of being dated as a freak-show attraction, hoping to find some1 to meet the man behind the eye patch.

You: Open minded, patient landlubber, 20 – 50, who enjoys talking birds, quiet nights on a beach and the occasional search for buried treasure. Comfortable with tattoos and scarring. Sea faring knowledge not required. Viking / Visigoth background a plus.

Let’s find the treasure chests that land life has 2 offer. Doubloons are rarely an issue, but if U try 2 rob me, I’ll slit your scurvied throat before U can say Davy Jones.

Serious enquires only, please. No fats, fems, gold diggers, Peter Pan role play or Wendy rape fantasies.

Happy to mark your spot with an X.

Your pix get mine.



“So. Excited about meeting Roger?” Artie asked, sucking down the last of his mojito. He loved showing off his successes. A “career reinventor”, Artie wouldn’t just discover the color of your parachute, he had enough hot air to blow it up and send you on your journey.

“Frightened, actually. That scar under his eye looks like DIY with fishing line.”

“It was, but that was only the before photo. And please, when did you join the face fascists? You dated that albino carnie for almost a year.”

“Casper,” I sighed. “Those little pink eyes would light up a dark ….”

“Shh, here he comes.” Artie bolted up and waved across the room. “Remember, he’s not mean, just misunderstood.” A raven-haired, 6’ 3’ Adonis waved back. Smoldering hot, even with the parrot perched on his shoulder.

He swaggered towards us. Getting closer, I discovered it was more of a limp, hearing a subtle thwamp each time his left foot hit the floor.

“Ahoy mates,” he said, smile gleaming almost as much as the silver claw he extended across the table. Was I supposed to shake the hook or merely acknowledge it with a light touch?

And that’s how I met Roger, my ex-pirate boyfriend.