My Heartbreaking Missed Connection: A Cry for Your Help

by Bonnie

Late last Thursday night, I was suddenly compelled to check out the “free stuff” section on Craigslist. I had been to the wine bar. And the other wine bar. I’m not sure what I was looking for (but isn’t that how so many stories like this start?) Even if I found a beautiful piece of furniture or really rare book, my white-hot fear of bedbugs would prevent me from actually taking it.

But then I saw…Free Shrunken Person (brooklyn). And there he was, sitting in his little cage. “free live shrunken guy. i don’t need or want him anymore, to come pick him up, call me…”

He must be mine, I thought. It was just after 1am, but the ad had only been up for half an hour. My call went to voicemail and I spoke in a clear, firm, friendly voice. Then I sent an e-mail through Craigslist. Surely there would be competition for this handsome, miniature man. I needed to charm, to stand out. I haven’t yet found a Winter Boyfriend, I typed. I referenced an Aimee Bender story, “Cabinet of Wonders”, about a tiny, caged man. And I offered a story of my own in trade! Maybe I sounded too desperate.

The next day I got a reply from a woman named Jen who agreed the small guy would make an excellent Winter Boyfriend. In any case, if you’re free tomorrow, you can come pick him up. Btw, his name is Steve,
and makes an excellent ‘toy’.. really squirmy…hahaha.
I began to fear Steve might turn out to be a lizard.

But I didn’t get to find out what Steve is, or who, because despite my enthusiastic response, I never heard from Jen again. Her e-mail said she was running out of minutes on her phone, and when I tried the number again, my call didn’t go through.

Readers of The Hairpin, I implore you: help me find Steve! The Internet united that subway guy with that flower-haired girl. Now, I need you to help me. Do any of you know Jen? Is Steve really a live shrunken person? Is he a doll? (Because that’s okay!) Or is he, as I fear, a small reptile? Have a fallen victim to an art prank? Again?

And Steve, if you’re reading, get in touch.