My Dearest A-1 Hardware & Feed,
No force in the world can compel me to slumber. For so many fitful nights I have lain awake, unable to find comfort even in the stupefying indolence brought by strong wines and opiate tinctures. I can no longer deny the task set forth by my heart. My soul shall not afford me even the briefest respite until I have delivered this declaration to you, my sweet.
I can no longer deny my love for you, and I can no longer be denied your love. Every moment I spend away from the comfort of your seed-strewn aisles is a dolorous eternity of sorrow. Oh, how I yearn to wrap my body in the honey-sweet embrace of your wide selection of baling wire; I cannot live without the soft caress of your seemingly infinite varieties of hay, from your clean and dustless Crested Wheatgrass to the rich green of your Smooth Brome. My senses are a collection of worthless and vestigial faculties if they cannot forevermore drink in the soft aroma of lanolin, sorghum and steer manure. If I cannot have your love, I will waste away and die a broken-hearted fool.
To say that my love for you merely humbles the fleeting enterprises of man would be too great an understatement. My perfect love for your reasonable prices and down-home friendly service dwarfs even the permanence of nature. Even as mountains slide into the oceans, even as the stars of the firmament dwindle and extinguish, my love for your wide selection of seeds, feeds, and household needs shall shine like a radiant beacon. If all the creations of God should one day dissipate into nothing like a drop of India ink in an infinite sea, the vast empty space that once was all creation shall be marked with just one feature: the bright, enduring and indestructible symbol of my love. It shall float there in the void, neither solid nor abstract (for it is too real to be an abstraction and too immaculate to be a concrete object), forever announcing the most flawless love ever to grace the universe.
I beg of you: be my wife, and join me in my manor so that we may live the rest of our days in perfect bliss. My financial means are by no means modest, and I could guarantee a life of comfort and abundance. You would want for nothing, my dearest plum. Please return my love and satisfy my only need in this world, or I shall promptly cast myself into the sea.
Eternally your loving servant,
Thank you for your interest in A-1 Hardware & Feed. We pride ourselves on the satisfaction of our customers, but we regret to inform you that your particular desires must go unsatisfied. Pragmatically, we have no way to answer your personal affection; we are unable to relocate our facilities to your manor, and the law will not allow a man to marry a business enterprise.
All of our employees are flattered by your devotion to our little store, but we are sorry to say that we can offer you nothing more than low prices, friendly service, and the highest-quality feed in the county. You’re welcome to stop by any time; at A-1, the coffee’s always hot and free!
Please do not cast yourself into the sea!
With my best wishes,
John O. Newman
Owner, A-1 Hardware & Feed
My beloved Paco,
From the first moment I laid eyes upon you on that glorious spring day, I knew that nothing in the world would satisfy me until you were mine. I can no longer apologize for the forwardness of my advances; the passion in my soul so consumes me that I sometimes feel like a beast, intent on nothing more than having and possessing you. I cannot apologize for my passionate outburst beside your cage, when the torment in my soul burst forth from my mouth and formed such savage, ineloquent declarations of my desire. I know that I embarrassed you in front of your companions, but I cannot apologize. My mouth was, at that moment, an organ with no other purpose than to express a need for you, and I could no sooner stifle it than I could stifle my heart from beating.
I know that I am unworthy of you. I cannot hope to match your purity, your virtue. But if a creature so perfect as you could, even for a moment, condescend to entertain the love of a beast like me, I would die with the assurance that there is mercy in this world. I worship you, my Paco. You are my conception of the divine, an angel sent here to spin the course yarn of my basest desires into the gentlest silk of love.
I must make an awful confession. After I bared my soul to you beside your metal cage, I was so consumed with passion that I nearly sunk so low as to buy the title to your bondage. I asked your jailor if, for a price, I might take you home and release you in my manor to be my wife. The cruel slaver informed me that you could be purchased, like property, for a mere pittance; however, he claimed that you were a wild creature, and he insisted that even if I purchased you from him, I must keep you caged at all times.
Although I restrained myself from performing physical violence upon him, I knew that I could never offer any sum of money to such a beast. I do not wish to purchase your love, Paco. I am not a slave-owner and you are not a courtesan or a harlot. Nor will I steal you from him, for a man of my station cannot bear to break the law, even if he against whom I trespass is an immoral procurer of flesh.
Our love is not doomed, Paco. You must escape! Merely lift the latch in the front of your cage, and you will be free. Leave that horrible place behind, and live with me upon my impressive tract of property. I will make you my wife, and we shall enjoy a lifetime of beautiful love together.
Leave that terrible place and fly to me, Paco. I shall waste away and perish if I cannot hear your gentle voice once more intone the very few words that you can pronounce. Although you are from a far-off land that is strange to me, perhaps one day I can translate your trills and whistles into my own tongue, or perhaps I can teach you to speak in mine. Until that day, I shall be content simply to hear you say “Paco, hello Paco.”
If I do not hear the beating of your gentle wings again, Paco, I will hasten my withering by swallowing a fatal dose of laudanum.
With my deepest love,
We regret to inform you that Paco has been sold. He was a great bird, and we’re sorry you weren’t able to purchase him sooner. However, we currently have two other yellow-faced Amazons in stock, with three more on order. Since we buy only captive-born, handfed parrots, almost every yellow-faced Amazon that passes through our shop is as talkative, friendly and personable as Paco.
We would like to assure you that we are not cruel and we certainly do not consider ourselves jailors or “purveyors of flesh.” Given adequate cages and plenty of attention, most parrots are perfectly happy living in captivity. Furthermore, we only deal in captive-bred birds, and we never buy or sell wild-caught parrots.
Before you do anything hasty, please stop by again and see if another bird catches your fancy!
My dear sweet Travis,
I have lost count of my attempts to write this letter to you, my dear Travis. Each time I attempt to put to paper the message that I so desperately need to convey to you, my pen stalls upon the page, or my heart reels from the thought of what I must say, or my words become overly ornate (I know that you are more comfortable with simpler correspondence, and that the meandering of my elaborate poesy would only perplex your innocent mind). I only hope that you do not mistake my terse words for anger or dismissal, because I love you with all of my heart, mind, and soul.
Forgive my weighty preamble; I sought merely to delay the writing of the following line: Travis, we must never meet.
My correspondence with you is what keeps me alive, and I know that you are likewise invested. Our love must, however, remain exclusively in the realm of words. Our romance will forever be in the record of our correspondence, but it shall live there and only there, never to be consummated in deed.
I know that your disappointment must be unbearable, but please do not despair. While your simple conceptions may conclude that our love will never truly come to fruition if we cannot be together, perhaps a lifetime of tragic correspondence is the most ardent embrace two humans can ever share.
The world is not ready for our love, Travis, but one day our letters will be read by heartsick romantics the world over, and perhaps they will take comfort that such a full and passionate marriage could be carried out in words alone.
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