I Think I Felt My Soul Break

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 14.472% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

Do not send money to your online interest. There are online users that earn a living by faking love and pretending to run into hard times.
Part of me read that and went, “What an interesting fiction challenge! I bet I’d be really good at that.”
Then I started to map out the sorts of personality traits it would take to appeal to the lonely guy/gal – a good reason for a stunningly attractive person to be lonely and looking for someone on the Internet, the secret rituals that make someone feel loved, constructing the steely-eyed hard-luck story where I’d never ask for money, I have my pride, but – no. Really? You’d do that? I couldn’t. But….
Inevitably, I’d run into other professional love-fakers. We’d get together for conventions, flown to exotic locations on the dollars of sad men, exchange best practices for not being found prematurely, gossip about our best and worst conquests. We’d hold contests to see who would extract the most money, and I’d win. Other lonely-hearts extractors would whisper about me: “Have you seen his techniques? Oh, it’s a pleasure to watch him set the hook.”
In time, I’d step away from the danger of predating on sad boys in basements – they’re eager, sometimes they track you down, sometimes things get violent. Instead, I’d move into the role of paid advisor, troubleshooting sticky situations for a cut of the gross, showing up like Mister Wolf – a chain-smoking professional who barely shows his disdain for the clumsy hash you’ve made of things. Really? You let him buy airplane tickets for his mom to meet you? Oh, we’ll have to –
And then I snapped back to reality, realizing what a horrid, horrid fantasy this all was. I’d never do it.
But if I did? I’d be good at it.

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