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   l o v e    s t o r y    v a r i a t i o n s    i n    t w e n t y    w o r d s    a    p o p

--- J E F F R E Y   L O O

1. At a cafe this Irish blonde swaps worst-love stories with me, but it's really her man-screening test. She begins softly...

2. "My friend's wife left him to become a totally out lesbian. He was so distraught. Can you imagine the blow?"

3. "How awful..." I sympathize smoothly but suddenly remember: "Hey, that happened to me, too --" Then her laughter is so pure.

4. I explain, "She'd escaped from an alcoholic home -- a totally obsessed Wagnerian opera fan. She grew like vines around me..."

5. She whispers, "My ex-boyfriend was a skeptic about everything but sex, too... He'd always say, 'Ya hafta believe in something.'"

6. "I'd come from work, she'd grab her favorite piece of me -- until sex was like shaking hands... But -- not literally..."

7. "My last one fucked to not talk, too... Isn't it awful?" "... Uhhhhhhhm --" (Pause) "I'm thinking..." Then her laughter practically sings.

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