Gone Lawn
a journal of literature
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Gone Lawn 14
Spring, 2014

Featured Novel Excerpt
New Works

Katie Cortese

First-Line Treatment of Involuntary Celibacy, Otherwise Known as "Singlitis"

How do you know if LETLUVINTRIN® is right for you?
It's your birthday and you know you should be happy. Your friends surround you and you want to bask in their love and support but it's like you hit a cold pocket while swimming and no amount of surreptitious water-peeing will warm up this ocean made from your tears. You used to be a happy person, you think. You liked crossword puzzles and Mai Tais and the color blue. You enjoyed cakes like the one on the table, even though it's homemade and leans to one side so some of the chocolate icing avalanches onto your clean tablecloth. You know that happy you, that former you, would not mind the stained tablecloth (nor would it blame the friend who took three hours from a very busy day to bake and ice the cake in the first place). But this new, strange, angry, lonely, sad, depressed, horny, self-pitying you can barely concentrate on the uncertain warbling of your friends' mingled voices while they serenade you in three-part harmony. Instead, all you can see are the wax numbers plugged into the center of the cake. They've used numbers because the amount of individual candles needed to represent your age would seriously deplete the world's supply of wax. And wax is more important than you are.
If any of this sounds familiar, then you'll want to take advantage of this limited-time free trial of LETLUVINTRIN®, a new, proven FIRST-LINE treatment for the crippling Singlitis that is the only barrier between you and lasting1 conjugal bliss.

How does LETLUVINTRIN® work?
Not so long ago you were as far from contracting Singlitis as any other Joe or Jane off the street. But then came the bomb. Your Joe or Jane sat you down for a variation of The Speech. "Joe," your Jane said (or "Jane," your Joe said): "It's not you, it's me, but we can't continue cohabitating, and certainly not fornicating, and I don't want you to take this too hard because you were one of the best temporary mates I've had the pleasure to interact intimately with." He or she packed his or her books and CDs and underwear into giant, blue Tupperware containers and before you knew it, you were single again, but worse, you were still afflicted by a crippling sense of love, desire, and/or respect for the very Jane or Joe who left you high and/or dry. Even if that Jane/Joe was never good enough for you in the first place. Even if there were better relationship candidates available within your very own loyal friend group, candidates unfairly placed in the friend zone, candidates who could make you forget Jane/Joe ever hypothetically existed.
Here's where LETLUVINTRIN® goes to work. A powerful combination anesthetic and amnesiatic, you'll feel a numbing in the area around your heart with the very first dose. After two or three days, you'll forget the way Joe/Jane always left a Hershey's kiss on your pillow, or gave the best backrubs this side of the Mississippi. You'll forget the delicious way he/she smelled stepping fresh and dripping from the shower. You'll wonder what you loved so much about the constellations of freckles on his/her shoulders and forget whether he/she had braces, or if that was the one you dated before him/her. In short, LETLUVINTRIN® eases the transition between past and future lovers, so you can move on and stop plaguing your friend group with pitiful laments regarding Jane/Joe's absence, breaking one of their hearts with the tunnel-vision that has thus far blinded you from seeing the one person who was born only to make you happy.

Who does Singlitis hurt?
Me, you stupid, tennis-playing, bass-strumming, sandal-wearing, puppy-dog-eyes-having, stubborn, selfish, shortsighted, punctual teller of knock-knock jokes and eater of sushi at three in the morning when I called you up that one time after Max left. Why couldn't you have said no then? Why couldn't you have said, "Marcie, it's not a good idea to see each other right now. I'm in a relationship, Marcie, and we don't want to cross our wires." Why, instead, did you say, "What the hell?" and meet me at Sushi Eye, squeeze edamame beans into my mouth directly from the pod, and tell me Max was an idiot because I was beautiful, then kiss me goodnight only to call the next morning saying it was a mistake? You trusting, heartbroken, fatally oblivious man. Everyone else thought Trudy would fuck you over. But I knew it for sure. And now look.

So, what are you waiting for?
No matter what it feels like now, you are not alone. Singlitis affects millions of people worldwide, so don't let shame hold you back from living and loving the life you deserve. Ask your doctor for a sample of LETLUVINTRIN® today and oil up those rusty hinges on your heart so the man and/or woman of your dreams can move her books and CDs and underwear right in! You're hurting now, but you can love again, and we can help . . . with LETLUVINTRIN®.

Though LETLUVINTRIN® has proven safe in 75% of simian trials and is currently under serious consideration for FDA-Approval, potential side effects include: upset stomach, nausea, vertigo, irregular heartbeat, excessive perspiration, dry mouth, tremor, weakness in limbs, euphoria, memory loss, selective vision, overactive libido, frequent cuddling, and diminished logical thinking. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery while on LETLUVINTRIN®, and tell your doctor if you've ever contemplated thoughts of suicide after a break-up.

LETLUVINTRIN® Can Help Heal Your Broken Heart™

1 The permanence, compatibility, or mutual enjoyment of any present or future relationship embarked on under the influence of LETLUVINTRIN® cannot be guaranteed.

Katie Cortese holds an MFA from Arizona State University and a PhD from Florida State. She has earned prizes in contests hosted by Narrative Magazine, River Styx, Silk Road and elsewhere. Her fiction, nonfiction, and poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Gulf Coast, Third Coast, Blackbird, Smokelong Quarterly, Word Riot and Monkeybicycle, among other journals. She currently teaches in the creative writing program at Texas Tech University where she also serves as the fiction editor for Iron Horse Literary Review.