Alison ... my aim is true

An open letter to Alison Mosshart, lead singer of The Kills:

Ms. Mosshart --

In my single days, I found the direct approach to be the most effective. With that in mind, I submit the following:

I love you.

My love was confirmed about four minutes into the set your band played at the Bottleneck in Lawrence, Kan. You -- singing the song "Getting Down," writhing around onstage with your hair loosely covering your face. Me -- standing toward the back, trying to keep my toe-tapping and head-bobbing to a reasonable level. It seemed for a second that we made eye contact, but that could have been due more to my height and the age-old performer's trick of looking at the back of the audience than it was to the animal attraction I was hoping was present.

The love of which I speak started a long time ago, but like many males, I was foolish and didn't recognize my feelings for years. Sometime in the spring of 2005, I walked into Stinkweeds Record Shop in Phoenix and asked the girl behind the desk if she had heard anything about the band on the CD above the top-10 rack. She told me that I should buy the album -- your second, called "No Wow" -- immediately. I took her advice, made a half-hearted attempt to engage her in small talk (she was cute), and walked out the door.

I was captivated by the sparse, bass-heavy sounds on the album. I thought you sounded like PJ Harvey if she'd been trained to sing better and, as "No Wow" made its digital revolutions on my computer, I was enthralled by your style.

Like a glimpse of a pretty girl at a frat party, my encounter with you was exciting, but it wasn't enough to fully hook me. I confess, I lusted for another. Her name is Amanda Tannen; she is the bassist for a band called Stellastarr*.

After seeing you in Lawrence, I have decided to repent. I've come to my senses and I've washed my hands of my brief (four-year) dalliance with Amanda. Probably, it shouldn't have taken so long -- I didn't really want to date a girl who's been linked for so long to the lead singer of Thursday. Thursday sucks. (The band, not the day. Thursday the day is amazing -- so much upcoming weekend potential.)

If you can accept my brief stint as a rock 'n' roll philanderer, I'm yours for the taking.

I know there are hurdles. I know you have to tour, write music, and, you know, not be in Kansas City. We can work through the obstacles. Did Antony allow a few hundred kilometers to keep him from Cleopatra? Did Lloyd let Harry keep him from ... whatever the character played by Lauren Holly is named?

Most importantly, does your bandmate, guitarist Jamie Hince, let pesky complicators like tour buses, bad hotels and the Atlantic Ocean keep him from being the boyfriend of Kate Moss?

I'll give you the answer: No.

There is one more potential deal-breaker. I kinda, sorta, might ... have a girlfriend. She's beautiful, funny and charming. And I think she's going to take our breakup hard. Then again, she's always told me that if Clive Owen comes along, I'm history.

Alison, you're my Clive Owen. Let my friends drool over Scarlett, Jessica and Penelope. The moment I saw you stalking the stage like a panther on Red Bull, I decided that the only girl for me is a lead singer. What's an actress compared with a rock star? They pretend to feel what others have written. Meanwhile, night after night, you pull back the curtains from your sensitive heart for the entertainment of a crowd of moderately intoxicated and cynical fans. You do it with songs you've written, with only a guitarist to accompany you.

Fortunately for our impending union, we've already met. After the show, I was hanging around the T-shirt stand, readying a text message that said, "Sorry, babe. Met someone else. Have a nice life." You came out from behind the table. I engaged my inner Bogart and hit you with this knee-buckler:

"So, where do you guys go from here?"

You said, "Austin."

Me: "That sounds terrible."

You: "It's not so bad -- we sleep on the bus."

Me: "OK, cool. Thanks for the great show."

You: "Uh, thanks."

Dynasties have been built on fewer words.

I won't take much more of your time, Alison. Actually, I can't -- my girlfriend is calling; she's getting suspicious about the frequency with which I've been using, "Yeah, well, Alison wouldn't have said that." So far, she thinks you're a friend's extremely patient girlfriend. But the charade isn't going to last. So if you could hurry up with a decision, I'd be much obliged.

Thanks for your time.

Paul Shirley

P.S.: In the event that you're otherwise romantically occupied, tell the guitarist that, if it doesn't work out with Ms. Moss, I might be persuaded into homosexuality. He's not the beautiful lead singer, but a guitarist ain't bad.

Paul Shirley has played for 13 pro basketball teams, including three NBA teams: the Chicago Bulls, Atlanta Hawks and Phoenix Suns. He can be found at myspace.com/paulshirley and by e-mailing him here. His book "Can I Keep My Jersey?" -- which is available in paperback -- can be found here. With his brother, he co-hosts an online radio show, "Off Topic with Matt and Paul Shirley."