I Married a Cartoon by George Beckerman

That is not a pejorative statement. My ex-wife Viva was animated. But not in the way you’d think. It had zero to do with her personality. Although, she was as they say, a pistol. I’ll go back to the day we met.

My brother is a professional cartoonist. His animated creations are so lifelike, you get the feeling they’re going to pop right off the page. Well, one such character did. The aforementioned Viva. She was the whole package. Unintimidatingly beautiful. Intelligent, but not flaunty. Sophisticated, but unpretentious.  She was one of the cartoon universe’s most popular Pictoria’s Secret models, fergodsakes. But you wouldn’t know it by talking to her. Even her name oozed class. Viva. Two matching syllables combined to intoxicate. And as a bonus, she made me laugh. Yes, I admit it. Beautiful, intelligent, sophisticated women ruffle me. But from the moment Viva peeled herself off of my brother’s drawing board and into my life, I was overcome by a calm absence of body/mind stuttering. It was delightfully empowering. 

Fictosexuality, fictoromance, fictophilia. Popularized online terms that portray strong and lasting feelings of love, infatuation, and/or desire for fictional characters. So while my brother was in the kitchen grabbing a beer, Viva and I snuck out of the office and into a new world and life for both of us.

 For two entities in love, marriage is a possibility. Unfortunately, human-cartoon nuptials were widely frowned upon. There had been an underground movement, but it was immediately quashed by myopic “civil” society. That brought both of us to tears. Mine were not harmful. Viva’s however caused her to bleed ink so severely that I had to rush her to an illegal artist’s studio to have those exotic blue-green eyes redrawn.

It wasn’t the first time a bleed affected Viva’s life. Her parents, who were famous comic strip characters died because a family forgot to stop newspaper delivery while they were on vacation. Viva’s beloved were two among hundreds of drawn individuals that a sudden rain storm tragically dissolved into wooden front door steps around the city.

After we were secretly married by Viva’s friend Jesse Custer (a.k.a. The Preacher), we moved on to the next stage in a couple’s life. Viva and I both wanted kids, but the only way we could accomplish that was for me to somehow become animated.  I considered asking my brother to render me, but he was still pissed because I stole one of his creations. So I don’t think I could have trusted him to draw me without a foot attached to my forehead or worse places. 

Unfortunately, children were becoming a deal breaker. But Viva and I didn’t come this far to surrender. We went to a physician whose specialty was in-vitro fertilization. But he had never dealt with human-cartoon couples, so his idea of me swallowing as much ink as possible until my “solution” was concentrated enough to impregnate Viva would probably kill me. 

To add to our woes, a rumor was floating that my brother had drawn a hitman, who he was about to send out to eradicate Viva.  The only way I could protect her was to carry a glass of water with me at all times. Eventually, we learned that a neighbor’s sprinklers took out the hitman when they ignited as he approached our house. It’s a good thing, because faced with severe water shortages, I don’t know how long I could have protected Viva.

And so, with our relationship flailing, I sadly decided it was best to let my Viva fly. We were still in love, so it was painfully sad for us both. Off she went. Once back on the page she met one of her kind, settled down and had some cartoon kids. I was genuinely happy for her. 

Alone again, I tried to get back in the dating world. But Betty Boop’s voice was a little cartoony, anime is too creepy and Marge Simpson’s hair blocked out the sun. On the upside, I joined a fictophilia support group.  Downside: All they wanted to do is watch Roger Rabbit every week. I think they had much bigger problems than I. Although, that Jessica Rabbit is quite fetching. 

Presently, I’m still trying to figure out how to transition from cartoons. It’s been tough. But there’s always the hope that somewhere out there waits a flesh and blood Viva. If not, then it’s back to the drawing board. Ouch. Wish I hadn’t typed that.

George Beckerman’s short fiction has been published in The Punch Magazine, Queen Mob’s Teahouse, Johnny America, Down In The Dirt Magazine,  Little Old Lady Comedy, Potato Soup Journal, Robot Butt Magazine and R U Joking Magazine. His work will suddenly appear in Bookends Review in October andEvening Street Press and Review, Winter 2022 issue.