Fiction reveals truth that reality obscures. ~~ Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Andy is far from unique. I was reminded of this today as I watched the excellent documentary The Woman Who Wasn’t There, currently streaming on Netflix. The documentary follows the story of Tania Head, who claimed to be a survivor of 9/11. It’s a harrowing story, very well told, and extremely familiar. I strongly suggest anyone who has followed my story (or any of Andy’s) watch this film. It’s particularly good because much of it is Tania, in interviews before she was unmasked. The rest is told by her victims.
After her story fell apart, her victims discussed the amount of research she’d done on them, plotting out exactly how to become what they would respond to. That hit a chord for me all right, especially when there’s so much discussion and speculation on Andy’s motives and trustworthiness. How much of his “call me when you are at your most vulnerable” routine is genuine desire to help, and how much is calculating?
I’ve struggled for some time over providing a certain piece of evidence that it’s all fucking calculated. I do not want to feed his faux-social-justice martyr complex. However, the truth important. And life-sucking manipulating assholes like Tania and Andy have fewer people to suck in when the truth is told. As my therapist and cult-deprogramer Rory taught me, I will do what I can live with – and I can definitely live with people knowing how coldly, deliberately Andy spins his web. As for the fact that this story is about Andy’s birth identity and gender? Look, I didn’t out him to the internet. I defended it and still refuse to tolerate intolerance regarding his current identification. But the fact is, this is what happened in real life, and I am not going to hide his nature.
This is a segment of yet another sprawling story that Andy was writing. Or rather, Maura Labingi, the real-life actual Frodo Baggins, was writing. It was to be a history of the mindhole (Andy’s channeling ability), told from multiple voices and cumulating in…I don’t know, something that got shuffled aside in favor of more immediate drama. One story was about Tolkien – the man, and how he found the Red Book of Westmarch in the trenches of WWI. One was of the tragically romantic curse that was on Merry (or as we knew him, Kalimac Brandagamba). The intensely creepy Maura-talking-to-Elijah-Wood-in-the-costume-trailer story. After several alternating stories, an fourth narrative came into play – that of Amy Player.
This is from the original file, typed by the body (if supposedly not the mind) of Andy Blake in 2002-2003. I also have hard copies, and Diamond was present during that time (although I can’t remember if she read them). I have made no alterations.
The edge of her lip caught vaguely like rubber between the tips of her teeth, a film of waxen colour and heavy, slick-sticky lipgloss piling on the hard ridge for her tongue to worry over. According to the label, it was supposed to be Rampagin’ Raspberry, a cubist parody of a lumpy purple fruit in holographic sunglasses that had glittered until she had picked them off in some waiting room somewhere. It didn’t taste like any berry she’d ever tasted, though, just a lingering whimper of artificial sweetness buried under garlic butter and that goddamned cinnamon gum.
He always tasted like gum. Big Red. She hated it, but she bought it for him. Always had a pack in her purse. He thought it was sweet of her, tipping his head and blushing and giving in to whatever whim he had been about to balk at. She hated the taste, but you couldn’t ask a better price than twenty-five cents a pack to give the impression of fawning, simpering, sighing, Hallmark card and Meg Ryan movie love.
A shift, a sigh, and his arm was over her now, the smell of cinnamon gum and baked ziti gusting too warm and too damp in her face. Twisting her head and wrinkling her nose only brought his arm tighter around him, and she could feel him against her back now, an uncomfortable cluster of joints and limbs and fur and various things that were too sticky to bear thinking about.
His lips against the back of her neck, nuzzling the short curls, and it was too much. She rolled over, curling her shoulders forward. A bit coquettish, a bit demure, but it did wonders for the fontal topography, so to speak, and more importantly, it kept her breasts away from any part of him. He’d had more than dinner and a movie’s worth of pawing already. A smile, half soft, half scolding, “What do you think you’re up to?”
Long lashes hung listlessly over a thin crescent of hazel, the wetness caught to an unnatural blue in the dim light of the screensaver happily building and destroying walls of something half a copyright lawsuit away from Lego across the room. “Mmm. Sheila.”
“Adrian,” Sharper, the name a rebuke to the guitar-fingered hand that had begun to trill down her waist. She sat up now, groping among the bedsheets until she found soft cotton among crisp linen, tugging the t-shirt over her head in a crackle of red hairspray. “Go back to sleep. Your sheila has to check her email.”
Blink. Grunt. A bitter smile twisted just beneath the surface of her lips. Jesus fucking Christ, you could almost see the neurons fizzling in there. “Three ‘n morning.”
He pushed up on one elbow now, but her hand was in the middle of his chest, pushing him down just hard enough to mean it, but swirling her fingertips just lightly enough across the skin that he didn’t protest. “I know, Angelboy, but there’s this girl I’m talking to, and she’s kind of…” Looking down, biting that spot now stripped bare of wax and left purely with the wet parchment texture of the flesh itself. Her voice lowered in a touch of regretful conspiracy, “…well, I think it’ll be bad if she doesn’t talk to me tonight. She’s really on an edge here.”
The neurons were still struggling valiantly to spark, but at least a handful, she assumed, must have managed to cough in unison, because he seemed reasonably amiable – albeit disappointed – as he tucked himself acquiescently deeper into the bedding. “Just make sure you get some sleep, softie.”
“‘Course I will, love.” A quick kiss to a dark head, and she swung her legs out of bed, hopping delicately across the chill of the wooden floor until she could tuck cold toes beneath crossed knees in the familiar nest of the computer chair’s plastic arms.
She had mail. Of course. She always had mail. A quick spatter of clicks across the now-steady rhythm of slumbering breath, and her fingers were reaching halfway across the globe.
They loved her new story. Nothing new there. Mostly the standard one-liner, but there were a few who seemed particularly generous and specific in their praise. Ones to watch. But she’d get to those later. It was hard enough catching up with people across timelines, and she wasn’t about to let all those ass-numbing hours go to waste. Her fingers rattled with expert speed, her face softening and her eyes widening as a door creaked welcome in the chat program’s narrow window.
Wolfie. Tea, cookies, the full BBC recording of Rings. Sheltered exploratory bisexual with incredible artistic gifts and no self-esteem that needs to be nurtured and pampered into properly liberal blossom before she is sucked into conformity by parental cruelty…
Orangeblossom. Web design, fangirl, possibly a free vacation, need more knowledge of financial situation. Confident artist and benevolent mentor, sensitive, previously abused lesbian with wide-ranging but esoteric knowledge, flirty, amazingly perceptive, lots of insider knowledge…
MsAllegro. Web hosting, action figures, autographs. Exploring heteroflexible with transgender and/or lesbian leanings, sassy, liberal, rampantly slashy, definitely thinks all the boys were doing it, and probably the girls too. Needs a little hand-holding, but given an inch, willing to explore a mile…
MissOverdone. Books, videos, antiques, costume pieces. Resolutely heterosexual but tolerant young Christian, loving fiancée, just peeking out of a conservative shell to reveal a brilliant inner slasher with a limitless well of untapped historical knowledge via a previous life lived as a gay sailor in Nelson’s navy…
Rhythmic chatter of keys punctuated with the falsetto click of the mouse. A chameleon courtesan’s glitter posing sweetly in pixels. Gifts and love and praise pouring through the screen in an opiate haze of approval all the sweeter for the skill called in tatting such delicate little frills of deception.
And she didn’t even have to smell gum on their breath.
*Begit, according to my Westron word list, means “acquire” (verified by this post)