How to Turn a Mere Love Letter Into a Real Heart Attack

"Writing Love Letters: Wooing With Words," the press release said.

"Learn what women wish men would say, what men wish women would say, and how to write letters that are assured to fan the flames of love. This workshop is for writers and non-writers with passion in their souls but who lack the know-how of putting that passion onto paper."

The press release is about a workshop being held Monday night at Golden West College in Huntington Beach. Taught by a husband-wife team, the workshop is billed as studying "the art of writing a love letter."

Pshaw.

Anybody can write a love letter.

Let me just take a second to get in the mood . . .

Dear Bunky,

Could it really have been three days since we last spoke? If so, it has been 72 hours during which my heart has gone without food or carbonation. Please believe me when I say that you have not been out of my mind for a single second, especially during those wretched hours as I waited for you to bail me out of jail and wondered if you had left town with my car.

Bunky, what did I do to deserve having you come into my life? Yes, I know you answered my newspaper ad for a "30ish love slave, no promises, no commitments," but didn't you, like me, feel that we were somehow part of something greater than ourselves?

Such a short time I have known you and already a vault of memories. Do you remember how you said I would recognize you at the taco stand--that you would be the one in braids and a phosphorescent bodysuit eating a taco with the hot sauce running down your chin? And when I saw you, my heart soared, and I literally raced to get a napkin to wipe your face before we were accosted by those young toughs and I ran like a frightened mouse.

On the walk home, you were divine and funny and whimsical. Neither of us knew much about the other, but as we began talking and sharing and discovering that we both were shallow and crude and uninspired by the world around us, our love bond formed.

God, I loved everything about you. When you referred to your ex-husband as "that surly meatball with the Magnum," I could but laugh and whimper simultaneously. When you said you hoped I wouldn't feel superior because I had completed high school, my heart cried over your vulnerability.

I have known many women, but none with your dash, your spontaneity. Do you remember, as do I, the first thing you said to me? Do you? I asked your name, and you said, 'Sharon . . . I mean, Shannon . . . I mean, Sheryl . . . Oh, call me anything you want.' Do you remember that? And do you remember how I told you my name was Felix until you demanded to see my driver's license and saw that I had lied because I hadn't planned to ever see you again?

Someday when we're living in the Dream House, I'm sure we'll look back on my apartment and remember how you screamed at the cockroaches in the sink and how you jumped when the sofa gave off those poofs of dust when you sat on it. And how I cuffed you with the cheese grater until you bled when you asked whether I could tell you to the nearest decade when I had last vacuumed.

We knew that the ecstasy wouldn't last forever and that our relationship would settle into a different state. For me, I think it came after you tip-toed out that first morning and I noticed later that my bowling trophy was missing, along with $47 from my wallet. I've never run so hard in my life as I did in tracking you down and wresting it from you.

I've probably used all the wrong words in this letter (I don't pretend to be any Shakespeare), and besides, I don't even know if you gave me your correct address--so maybe you'll never get this, but all this empty-headed oaf can say is what's in his heart. So trust me when I say that of all the people I've met through the classifieds or in after-hours poker clubs or just walking around in the bad parts of town late at night, you shine through.

And so I just wanted you to know Sharon, or Shannon, or whatever your name is, that I always picture us together. I close my eyes and envision us taking a walk in the early evening and then me coming home and lying on the couch balancing a beer can on my big fat belly while you get in the car and head off to who-knows-where.

Bunky, I can't imagine a day when your eyes don't make me smile, or when your happiness doesn't make me suspicious.

I can't help but feel that we are only on Page 1 of the long wonderful story of the rest of our lives. I can't wait to write the rest of the book with you, knowing that there isn't a force in the world that can pull us apart.

Forever,, Felix (I mean, Boo-boo)

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