Announcing The First Annual Tusk “Write About Your Fictional Crush” Contest!

Sometimes in the evening, the workers at the Starbucks near my house will throw caution to the wind and abandon the pre-made mixes of gentle funk, honky jazz, and sensitive guitar rock that Starbucks HQ requires they play during the day and switch over to whatever the hell music they actually feel like hearing. Which is how I found myself listening to Will Oldham sing “I See A Darkness” at a table across from some surly teens. Some kids who I felt safe assuming weren’t familiar with Will Oldham. These looked like the type of kids who torture a rabbit because they don’t have the proper tools for expressing their frustration with their stepdad’s rules. These kids hadn’t even bought anything. They were taking up a Starbucks table, (one by an outlet, no less), sipping bottles of Pepsi.

Anyway, Will Oldham sang,

We’ve shared our thoughts
But did you ever, ever notice
The kind of thoughts I got
Well you know I have a love
A love for everyone I know
And you know I have a drive
To live I won’t let go
But can you see its opposition
Comes a-rising up sometimes
That its dreadful imposition
Comes blacking in my mind

And that I see a darkness
And that I see a darkness
And that I see a darkness
And that I see a darkness
And did you know how much I love you
Is a hope that somehow you
Can save me from this darkness

And one of the surly teens said to the rest, “This song makes me think about Princess Peach.”

Another kid went, “Princess Peach?”

And the first kid went, “From Mario. Like, I’d sing this to her. If she was real.”

All the surly teens went quiet. Were they thinking about how weird that comment was? Were they thinking, “No, this song really applies more to Donkey Kong, or Yoshi?” I don’t know. This was a strange thing to overhear, but I don’t want to judge the kid.

When I was in seventh grade this kid asked me if I’d rather fuck Rogue from the X-Men or Mary-Jane Watson (Spider-Man’s then-wife) and I remember thinking that it didn’t matter which one I wanted to fuck, neither of them would want to fuck me. And anyway, if I were to have a relationship with a fictional character, it would be with Marlo Chandler, who was married to The Incredible Hulk’s best friend and sometimes sidekick, Rick Jones. And note that I said “married.” My feelings for Marlo weren’t unseemly.

My feelings for Jessica Rabbit were unseemly. My feelings for Holli Would, from Cool World, were… unseemly in italics.

Anyway, I can sort of identify with that surly teen’s feelings for Princess Peach. Sort of. I mean, not really, but I can try. And maybe there’s something interesting about the bonds we form with fictional characters in an age when every fucking moment brings allegations that tarnish yet another beloved real life person.

So! We’re having a contest.

We’re looking for essays about your crush on a fictional character, what these crushes meant to you, how these crushes reverberate today. Maybe you still have a crush on a fictional character! That’s fine! Tell us about it!

Your essay should be no longer that 1500 words, and must be emailed to by midnight on January 1st. We’ll publish the top three entries, and one grand prize winner will receive an original illustration of themselves hanging with their fictional crush by Nate Waggoner, the World’s Greatest Boy.

Please note: we’re not looking for fan fiction. We’re looking for something with a slightly more reflective bent. We’re also probably not going to run anything super, super raunchy, but it might be fun to read that, so do what you feel.

Please write any questions you might have on a brick and throw it through the windshield of a cop car, we’re sure they’ll get back to us eventually.