Two Previously Known and Fifteen Brand-New Closing Signatures,
to be Inserted at the End of Your Love Letters
For Valentine’s or Any Other Day

(Originally appeared on McSweeney’s, February 14 2007)

X = a kiss

O = a hug

R = a saucy lick

T = a meaningful pat on your high, yummy ass, not too hard, not too soft, now you try it on me, perfect, that’ll do just fine.

I = remember that day at the park? That day when we walked hand-in-hand alongside the reflecting pool and then strolled, ever so casually, over to the Cocker Spaniel with the very bad breath and that vague, far-away stare that reminded me of the rabid dog I once saw beneath the arts-and-crafts cabin at summer camp? I’m recalling that memory as I write this. You should be, too.

W = a delicious ear nibble, making sure not to draw blood this time. Sorry about the last time.

G = nude calisthenics, preferably before a very large mirror and with appropriate lighting.

S = a shake of the head, a puzzled frown, a slight gasp. Is that a new haircut? I like it. May I ask you a funny question? This is just in the planning stages, not completely worked out, but I’m thinking about leaning you over my strong, compliant lap and spanking the fire out of you. What’s that? Don’t feel like it? Then be a sweetheart and hand me the new Kissinger bio … can’t you reach it?

H = I would very much like to fix you a bath of sparkling champagne. If that’s too expensive, then something much cheaper. Like wine spritzer, perhaps.

V = both of us in bed, side by side, watching “American Idol” with our tops off. I’m holding the clicker.

J = a linking together of our arms, a counter-clockwise gambol, do-si-do and away we go, a change of direction on the second lap … this time to the accompaniment of actual music and not with me blowing trumpet noises through my tightly-clenched fist … work with me here, c’mon, I can’t do this alone …

Z = the back of my hand pressed soothingly against your forehead. It seems that your fever has finally subsided. I shall now slowly close the bedroom door and allow you to slip into a deep and relaxing sleep, and we shall talk tomorrow about your screams concerning the carnival roustabouts in your last fevered dream. Just let me write down the word “syphilitic,” as I’ll most surely forget it before we talk again … Done.

C = an exciting, powerful high-five, similar to the maneuver we once saw performed at the local sports bar, minus the spilling of onion rings onto our laps.

N = a shrug and a confused look. The bedroom aids? The ones with my initials on them. Still at the dry-cleaners?

B = a lingering caress, a removal of your shoes, my shoes, an unzipping of your pants, an unzipping of my pants, an unbuttoning of your shirt, an unbuttoning of mine, your underwear, socks, bra, my socks, underwear, a jump into the outdoor whirlpool, a request to the voyeur across the yard to aim his telescope at somebody else, a caress, another request to the neighborhood freak, the middle finger, a half-hearted attempt on my part to jump out of the whirlpool and into his yard, the sudden turning off of the lights in his basement den, me jumping back into the whirlpool, an embrace, a loud crash emanating from his upstairs’ bedroom, a shadow in the form of this prick and his telescope, an exasperated rolling of our eyes, a shouted promise to have him beat up by that other neighborhood freak, that fellow with very little intelligence and yet, please note, a young man with a very admirable penchant for remaining frighteningly loyal to those who buy him hot-fudge sundaes at Friendly’s.

L = oh, don’t look at me like that, please don’t look at me like that. (Pause) All right, m’lady, I’ll clean out the frog cage. Then may we lie in each other’s arms?

F = and this one, let us not forget this one, for this one means that I love you…. I always have and I always will. In this lifetime and in the next … you are my everything, let us never be apart…. By the way, that Kissinger bio that I was asking you about? Pass it over already, I’m still waiting. There we go, baby … nice.