Archive for the ‘Paranoid Romantic’ Category

FES, Morocco

I was on the payroll.

Whose payroll, it was uncertain.

Foolish is he who follows his heart into espionage. If you are going to dabble in espionage, you should only be swayed by financial gain, not ideologies which can be appealed to by any two-bit hack positioning himself as a “friend of the cause.” Sure, you might think you are playing for the right team, but just as you believe you are safely past Checkpoint Carlos, los Federales appear and Natasha, your anti-establishment, on-again/off-again intimate bunkmate unmasks herself to reveal her true identity as Stan from the IRS who is after your estranged uncle’s back taxes.

Why should you only get into espionage for the money, not for ideological nonsense? Because Stan.

Fortunately, the Australians (I assume they were them) paid well. My handler (boss, benefactor or spy-pimp, if you will; I often called him “mother” to which, in his chagrin, he’d suggest I’d be a might bit prettier if he had birthed me) could usually be found grilling saussies in the rock garden of his diplomatic villa in Rabat’s bubbling suburb of Sale. Bruce MacKenzie weighed dozens of stone and cast a shadow over the entirety of the local Kasbah. “I’ve got a new mission for ya, Vic.”Bruce informed me as he stuck his fork into a steaming sausage (actual pork frozen and flown from Brisbane to Morocco). “Heaps of gratitude if you choose to accept it. I need ya in Fes.” Here was when he appealed to my ideology: he was bringing the girls out on a holiday. He was emptying the Australian Embassy secretarial pool for the weekend and wanted to take them to “the Athens of Africa.” Would I be there to see the ladies through safely? The short answer, without the stammer, was yes. I had seen his secretarial pool. “Good on ya, Vic!” Bruce roared his appreciation. “And thanks for the new details on this Baroness bird.” Bruce MacKenzie then yelled over his shoulder at his fellow-countrymate, Digger McKenzie (no relation), “Say Digs, would you ring up the Qatari desk before you knuckle-down into that pigeon pie? I’ve a bone to pick with that dodgy bastard at the consulate.”

So began my sojourn to Fes with the greatest buddy a paranoid off-the-grid spy novice could have: Rafiq. Rafiq was much like me: tall, lean, punctual, deviously handsome, repetitive, punctual, dark & brooding, enigmatic, effortlessly flippant, wickedly cunning with an uncanny sense of direction. The chief difference was he was a mix of Arab and Berber while I was a mix of Slav, Turk, Spaniard, Cherokee, Prisoner of Mother England, Scot, Magyar and Pakistani Gypsy (there might be a drop of Irish whiskey in the mutt cocktail somewhere). Rafiq also spoke Arabic, Berber, English and the Romance languages while I was still humming my way through the Queen’s English. We were, however, both the same age (over-ripened though undercooked) and beholden only to our adored nieces. He did have this one shtick that sent the ladies swooning – he would shake hands with his right hand and then immediately move the escaped palm to his chest to ensure his passionate heart did not erupt from his breast plate. Brilliant, really.

Neither of us trusted the other, but we got along quite swimmingly.

Tariq and Vic, a pair of Nevermen

Rafiq and Vic, a pair of Nevermen

In Fes, I followed the footfalls of Rafiq and some tabby tomcat named Mister Giggles through the medieval corridors of the old medina. Mister Giggles was a striped bastard, feral and malicious, licking his maw after spare mice bits and hissing at the heathen sinners as they pass. Mister Giggles had thirty-four thousand half-brother bastards wandering this city and a few sisters and cousins after them, each one of them stink-eyed and crooked toothed, yet pleasant as punch when you dangled ostrich gizzards their way.

“There are 12,000 dead-ends in the medina of Fes.” Rafiq warned.

“Yesterday you told me there were only 10,000 streets in the medina.”

“Yes.” Rafiq confirmed; his brow billowing as a storm cloud billows. “And for every street there are many dead-ends. There is a story of the Englishman who buys a home in the Fes medina. He leaves for milk and never finds his home again. It is funny.”

“Indeed.” I agreed as did Mister Giggles, the spit-shined white stray that poked its head out of a cardboard box to see what the uproar was about.

I embraced Fes and the One Thousand and One scents of an Arabic night: cat piss and saffron, the recycled teeth peddled by street dentists, muleteers driving their mulleted mules, knife sharpeners scraping pigeon liver off of metal, tanneries dipping animal hides into guano to preserve the color, tagine stews and roasted lamb, couscous and mint tea, sacrilegious sex and Hammam sweat, the old clothes of the water-sellers with their jangling bells. All the way, Rafiq led and Mister Giggles would follow, one moment he was a black cat, the next a calico.

By the time I had lost all faith in my navigating skills, Bruce MacKenzie and the secretarial pool arrived.

Fes

Fes

I was there at the train station, gracious host, hoisting luggage from train to waiting van. This was when I first met Sheila, the Australian typist with hair of Celtic bronze knots tinged with rust, who hid behind aviator goggles and a semi-bemused smirk. Sheila’s waning enthusiasm barely qualified my existence, but it was just a façade, a false calm under-which her humble bosom betrayed her cool as lungs heaved deep-lunges for oxygen. I too, was unlike myself. I combatted her “Well, hello Vic” with a “Howdy, Pilgrim”, which is entirely unlike me to quote John Wayne, but I was on auto-pilot, especially after my bewildered greeting rescued a smile from beneath her guise, allowing it to escape and eviscerate the aortas that attempted to hold my heart into place. My knees turned to J-E-LL-O and Sheila was forced to drag me into the van like an exhausted fish struggling to breath out of water. Sheila might have been slight, but she was full of piss, vinegar and vegemite and easily hauled my carcass into our vessel.

Mister Giggles watched the ordeal with absolute condemnation, shaking his filthy whiskers the whole damn time. Laugh it up, Giggles…

Mister Giggles spying from afar

Mister Giggles spying from afar

Touring the medina of Fes, we entered one gate and when I lost the path, I led them out to another gate, assuring them we took the better, more scenic, route. Along the way, we found the foul tanneries with all that bird shit being tossed about. We lunched on vegetarian tagines and bottled water. We shopped for leather goods and Damascene plates from Meknes. At a pottery studio, I allowed Bruce and his hens to browse as I entered into the café where the resident potters break for French cigarettes and card games. It was here where Sheila was casually sipping hot tea like a tulip suckling a droplet of spring dew.

“Have you seen these before?” I asked, picking up a handful of playing cards off the ground. “They are like Moroccan tarot cards.”

“And what are you like, Vic?” Sheila asked behind the aviators that swallowed half of her face. “The conqueror or the escapist?” She dropped the cards on the table, stood up and walked away. Goddammit, if she didn’t already know my greatest weakness was woman-speak. What the hell did that all mean? I watched the departure of her blue jean gait as everything beneath my shoulders fell away into the abyss, flushed by some chick from Oceania along with the cigarette she was hiding from her boss, Bruce.

Later in the evening, after the swallows occupied twilight with their maniacal flight, the secretarial pool was exhausted and quick to bed. As they slept, I stayed out late with Rafiq, exploring the heathen dens of the new city with Mister Giggles, the mangy calico, the three of us smoking shisha and drinking terrible wine and terrific beer as I lamented my troubled love-life.

Camel Butcher Shop

Camel Butcher Shop

The next day I guided the troop back through the medina (though I mostly followed one Mister Giggles after another) and we visited the ancient university and the Koranic school. Sheila remained aloof and I remained flummoxed, though manufacturing the utter coolness of an orca napping in an igloo. Without fail, Mister Giggles brought us to the camel butcheries where I was able to find falafel for the secretarial pool to feast on as I waited for the butcher to grill my lunch. Casually gazing through the haze of smoke and heat off the camel barbeque, I spotted a blue-eyed brunette casually gazing back. Her eyes did not shy after meeting mine and her chin rose as it dripped with chickpea grease. Her dimples drew out a devious smile that ripped apart my ribcage and played spoons against the rivets of my spine. Her name was Caroline.

Hearing laughter, I looked down at my feet to see a calico rolling in refuse. Yeah, laugh it up, Giggles…

At the end of our second day, as the ladies of the Australian Embassy lumbered up the stairs towards their quiet chambers, Sheila stopped me. At last, her aviators were removed from her face and hung from the collar of her blouse between the slight – yet perky and beguiling – coils of hempen necklace. Sheila’s brown eyes were moist and earthy, a dampened sacred soil that buried me alive and my demise could not have come sooner or so sweet. “Will you join us for a beer tonight then, Vic?” Sheila asked, her upturned lips an invaluable commodity. I guffawed some unintellectual affirmative. She put my thoughts into better perspective, “You wouldn’t miss it for the world?” I gave an imbecilic nod and she disappeared into the elevator.

Not for the World.

When I heard Sheila ask if I would “join us” I assumed she was referring to herself in the plural as royals do (just like my saying, “we’d like to take us a piss as our bladder has filled over the rim”). Instead, she meant “us” as in a whole flock of wild geese of Australian women and passers-by. It ended up being a group of ten of us – the secretarial pool of the Aussie Embassy, a couple of Swiss women, a lady lounge singer from NYC and Bruce MacKenzie, the Under Secretary of the Australian Consulate in Morocco.

I took the gaggle back to my previous haunt L’etranger. It is difficult to describe the scene of our arrival to a westerner, unless you think of Vic Neverman as some sort of warlord, pimp or soccer hero. I was greeted with a strange oriental merriment bordering on sarcasm. The bouncer of the club, the host, the emcee all embraced me, crying “Ali Baba! Ali Baba returns! Put more beer on ice!” and then kissed either cheek of mine. This outrageous display of affection startled the throngs of ladies in my tow. I shrugged, humbly, and begged the women to follow me into the parlor of absurd notion. My servants quickly reassembled couches into a horseshoe so that my retinue might best crowd itself. I ordered beer, champagne, hookah, bottles of varying wine and the customary cucumbers and olives.

“Victor.” Caroline spoke of me as an Aussie accented songbird sighting spring beyond the crystalized flakes of winter. “What is it that brings you here, to Morocco?”

“Spice.” I spoke with intoxicated certainty, winked with a twitch and slurped my beer with minimal spillage into my Ali Baba beard. We casually chuckled merrily together, Caroline and I; the music was too loud for anything conversational. Beside Caroline sat Sheila, her shoulder chilling as it turned away from us.

A night out with Vic Neverman at L'etranger

A night out with Vic Neverman at L’etranger

Hours passed, revelry continued. Caroline had migrated across the horseshoe to speak with the Swiss when Sheila leaned across me and ignited my olfactory with scents alternating between her dollop of melted peach ice cream perfume and the rich au jous of the sweat that salted her skin. Sheila reached for the champagne with the delicacy and splendor of a fawn crawling out of her mother doe. I toasted the beauty that is life, Bisaha! Bahia! and dreamt of a life together, Sheila and I, at the Gagaju bush camp in Queensland with barefoot children running amuck as I washed cloth diapers downstream with the freshwater crocs… But, wait, no… that wasn’t a dream insomuch as a memory of a different Aussie girl and a younger, much younger, Neverman. My trance was terminated with the birdsong voice of Caroline, Victor! Please do tell us that story of the Costa Rican goatsucker again! Sheila, the other woman, looked at me dully, almost urging my departure, well go along, then, Vic. Tell them your bloody story.

“Well…” I, raconteur, stood and addressed my audience. “It is actually a Puerto Rican goatsucker.”

Midnight arrived like a thud, everything turning into pumpkin. I settled the bill – which is excruciatingly difficult to do in clubs where the abacus is the only cash register. Exiting into the street, I saw a black cat lick its scrotum and then smile.

“Hello, Mister Giggles.” I greeted my companion, certain tonight that I, Vic Neverman, would have the last laugh.

I led my caravan down the darkened street, my mind drawing a map of the sharp left ahead, the half mile beyond that which would return us to the main boulevard of Nouvelle Ville. I was an expert stranger, well in control of my path. Mister Giggles, walking beside me, coughed a hairball in mockery of my hubris.

Spanish cards, frequently played in the dens of Morocco

Spanish cards, frequently played in the dens of Morocco

Cursed with pattern recognition, my eyes spied something amiss on the dark pavement. I reached down and picked up a playing card, the same type I had found earlier. Sheila! I call to her attention, eager to ask her nearer. Holding the card in her hands, Sheila’s intuition prompted her to claim, solemnly, regrettably, “It’s the death card.”

Shriek! The crowd of lady that had assembled dispersed; Sheila held onto the card, looked up at me, asking what she should do. On my suggestion, she dropped it! The card fell onto the NYC lounge singer’s shoe and all girls screamed. I asked for calm, insisting the ill omen was just a warning and we should keep together and be careful. Somewhat assuaged, the ladies calmed and their inebriation assisted in quickly distracting them to other subjects. We continued and within moments all omens were forgotten.

“Victor, where would we be without you?” Caroline asked, admiring me as she walked along my western flank.

Attempting to remain humble, I responded, “You’d just have to hail a cab, I guess.” I turned to my opposite shoulder to see if Sheila might appreciate my modesty, but she was hidden deep under her aviators despite the after-midnight darkness of the street. Resigned, I returned to Caroline to make some casual quip about her having breakfast at my place (i.e. the continental spread at the hotel), only to find Caroline preoccupied with Mister Giggles who decided to cross the street here rather than wait for the crosswalk.

“Oh, kitty, no…” Caroline suggested plainly, with maternal insistence. Mister Giggles wasn’t registering. “Kitty, no!” Caroline was more impassioned, hurrying towards the curb. Mister Giggles snorted his contempt towards her, though did not advance further. “Kitty!” Caroline hollered, “No!” Mister Giggles, spooked by the raging Aussie, darted into the street until thwap and we were all left witnesses.

It seemed to be in slow motion, watching Caroline reach out for Mister Giggles… Mister Giggles darting into the street… the red cab thwap! The audible thump was Mister Giggles, you see, as he was interrogated by the front of the taxi cab – THWAP!

Mister Giggles was overtook by the front left wheel of the car, run-over, and then lurched up into the wheel-well to be spat out again and re-run-over. The car braked to a stop. Pause… Absolute silence from the spectators… The car sped forward, leaving the crime scene behind. The crime scene, it was a mound of giggles. I cringed, hoping the beast was dead, knowing that otherwise I would have to put Mister Giggles out of his misery with a coup de grâce stomp from the business end of my flip-flop. Fahck! Mister Giggles lives! The damned cat pulled himself to his feet and fueled by adrenaline in the last 260 seconds of his existence, Mister Giggles dashed down the alley to where he would surely collapse and expire.

I cannot even attempt to explain the disposition of Caroline. She pulled her collar up above her mouth in horror and was inconsolable even when Bruce MacKenzie wrapped his bear arms around her, insisting all was right with the world, there were too many bloody cats anyhow. It was a futile gesture, Caroline was in hysterics. I turned to Sheila and she stared back at me, aviators removed, her eyes widened at the realization… the death card she had drawn… Her eyes then tightened with bitter blame… the death card Vic Neverman had given her. For every mL of Caroline’s despondence was a Liter of Sheila’s hatred for the Neverman. Or perhaps vice versa – I am American and this metric shit is confusing.

I managed to corral the women and deliver them safely to the hotel. The dark omen had played out, but those under my watch were safe. After the women left by train the next day, I would never see them again. Sheila, at least, waved goodbye, or perhaps, she was fanning the flames of my dejection.

As for Mister Giggles, he was waiting for me outside the hotel, splotchy black and white, stink-eyed and surly, laughing his mangy ass off.

 

Read more of Vic’s travels in Morocco here.

Read more of Vic’s troubled paranoid romances here.

Advertisements

Nothing takes the taste out of peanut butter quite like unrequited love.

-Charles Shulz

Galway

I loved a woman once. She was a hashed-out Gypsy, a street performer who watched me with dead eyes. Not lifeless, just… her eyes, they gazed at me from somewhere else, like a long-dead star whose extinguished fire burns from a million light-years away. They were hazel eyes, more grey than anything, the grey and familiar of an ancestor looking back from a black and white photograph. Familiarity; she recognized me from somewhere. Somewhen. She was stoned, certainly, like a fucking gargoyle, but stoned, she watched me without abandon. Grey eyes, sunlit lunar surfaces. Her lips were thin, thin like they were drawn by a cartoonist rushing to meet a deadline, a mere fleshless slash where her mouth was. She smelled. I mean, she had a scent. All things smell, she had a scent. It was as if a skunk ate a shit-load of asparagus and then pissed into her shampoo bottle. Except I don’t think she ever washed her hair. It wasn’t a bad scent, but noticeably… earthy.  I loved her then and I loved her now and I loved her tomorrow. She was the first to see me dead, and yet, here I type, still alive. More than ever.

I loved you like a man loves a woman he never touches, only writes to, keeps little photographs of.

-Charles Bukowski

Taupo

I loved a girl once and she laughed at my bloodied feet, “You look ridiculous!” A yoga instructor, she would maneuver through her poses atop the urine & herpes-pocked tile of the shower stalls at our hostel. Always in motion, her sunburnt hair was a silken haystack always pulled back into an aerodynamic pony-tail. Always in motion, her smile sent spirited pinballs bouncing off my chakras. Always in motion, she once went stumbling, spilling onto the barroom floor until I stopped her descent. My hand… in an attempt of well-intentioned, dumb-fucking-lucked, haphazardly-happenstance assistance… my right hand would cusp her left breast as I caught her. I loved a girl once and she laughed at my red-faced humility. “You look ridiculous!” she said to me three days earlier, the first words shared between us. She was right. I did look ridiculous, hiking the gravel path up the mountain barefoot with twin silver dollar blisters on the balls of my feet. A month later, our last night together, at midnight outside Christchurch Cathedral I launched her up and atop my shoulders so she might come closer to grasping the hunter’s moon. She sat above me with her arms outstretched at the night sky saying heaven can fall unexpectedly into your hands; but then, I remembered this from the Taupo barroom.

Of course it’s possible to love a human being if you don’t know them too well.

-Charles Bukowski

Dallas-Fort Worth Airport

I loved a woman once, a fellow wayward traveler within congested cross-roads. Her lips, I was convinced, were laced with some flying-swine flu virus, catching me unawares as I minded her tightly-packaged quesadilla. I wouldn’t have been here, been there – at the Americana franchise bar – had all flights not been delayed. Yet weather happens and whether or not I intended it, there I was, amongst the high-fructose-fried-chicken-bits and gallon beer jug specials when an assumingly unassuming nudge struck me from behind. She sat to my left, finding to her right an uneasy conversationalist: a weathered and wizened loner whose lone concerns were making it back to Chicago. She offered, nay! insisted I taste her quesadilla. Humbly, I accepted the gift, proactively insisting I would not be so brazen as to double-dip the cheesed appendage into her pit of salsa. This was when she grabbed the back of my head and inoculated me with the super-flu, dooming the world with catastrophic disease beginning with yours truly, the lonesome wanderer from Chicago. “There” she said after removing her lips from mine. “Now you don’t have to worry about double-dipping.” Self-aware of my own assured demise, I accepted fate.

Love is all right for those who can handle the psychic overload. It’s like trying to carry a full garbage can on your back over a rushing river of piss.

-Charles Bukowski

* “Jane Doe” is a pseudonym for the accused. Since this post is an attempt to clear her name, Jane Doe’s actual identity will remain hidden in order to avoid further publicizing her recent troubles.

ORLANDO, Fla

Jane Doe* came into my life with the subtlety of a paper sack of wasps in a topless blender. In the moments leading up to her entry, I had unsaddled my steed and walked through the double-doors of a gimmicky saloon on the verge of collapse. I was desperate; thirsty enough to swallow a roll of quarters and she appeared, this messianic apparition, a prophetess carrying the beer menu as if it were stone-carved commandments. I became a man transfixed, thirst forgotten, my trademark tightly clenched jaw suddenly released as the muscular hydrostat that was (and still is) my tongue spilled forward (a lapse in lingua). She, Jane Doe*, moved as a spotted ocelot – which most ocelots, in my travels, have appeared to be (spotted). She was purity at violent opposition with herself – stigmatized with illustrious ink illustrations littering her olive hued flesh in sudden bouts of orgiastic color splendor. Her eyes were a vexing dare, a cool brown of hinting tease. Jane Doe* was danger personified, sex idealized, a crossword puzzle wrapped within a word jumble and dipped into a fondue pot of Sudoku.

“Jane Doe* moved as a spotted ocelot”

I had three questions for her. “Three?” her brow jumped, a display of intrigue. First – was her name really Jane Doe* as it read on the back of her jersey. “Yes, it is a traditional Levantine name” she affirmed with pride. Second – what draft specials did this drinking establishment have and skip past the domestic piss I won’t bother with regardless of how appropriately low-priced it may be. Jane Doe* provided a few worthy elixirs. Third – what the devil befell her elbow, creeping from her sleeve like some baroque Inferno demonstration? She lifted the arm of her shirt to reveal a floral spectacle. She exposed what other tattoos she could while remaining within societal norm, which included playful skulls along her ankles. Without undressing, I described to her the Mayan Calendar I have tattooed betwixt my shoulder blades that will stop telling time on December 21st.

Our meeting took place during the 2012 London Olympics in a generic franchise sports bar with television tablets the stretch of Babel’s tower. I gazed up at the eastern horizon entirely replaced by a live feed of Turkish women playing indoor volleyball. I could not be more pleased. My old antagonist, Phineas Crux, once said about yours truly, Victor Ulysses Neverman, “he is not one to fall for the damsel in distress act, though he is a sucker for an eastern Mediterranean she-devil.” Distracted with sport, I never saw the re-approach of my beer slingstress as she provided adequately, appearing most suddenly within the fog of my garlicky breath. I caught her eyes – they were like twin ocelots, jumping at their squirrelish prey in the near yonder – my squirrelish self. “Any fourth or fifth questions?” Jane Doe* would be well tipped tonight.

“twin ocelots jumping at their squirrelish prey”

The evening commenced rather swimmingly. Conversation with my vexing hostess was a sinister delight, a friendly jousting of wits. My thirst had been drowned until my legs wobbled and my heart was loosed out of its cage and upon the world. Having spied the wobbling knees of Vic Neverman, the vixen Jane Doe* became concerned for the enlightened status of your humble narrator and offered me a ride home once her shift ended in the near future. Would she have really driven me all the way home to Bayou St Basil trailer park? “Well, I live in Sanlando Springs, so it is kind of on the way.” Yes. It was kind of on the way. Nevertheless, Neverthemore, Ever the Neverman, I declined.

Fear not, dear reader, I did have a ride home – Layla Santana Crow was en route to pickup. I had promised her scandalous gossip involving one of her husband’s most trusted friends, the Silver Fox. Meanwhile, back at the watering hole, Jane Doe* asked what sort of business I engaged in to fill my pockets with such crisp dollar bills I was so willing to let fly. I told her my trade: conspiracy theorist extraordinaire with a side-gig in Hurricane Preparation Awareness Survivalist Novelization. “Conspiracies?” she smirked. “I could show you a thing or two.”

And this was her complete undoing.

Well, something was her undoing. The offering up of her secrets could have been what undone it all. Just a hunch…

I returned a week later and never saw my vexing conversationalist, never heard her secrets. My crosstown conspiracy rival, Cyrus Lee Hancock, being aware of my poetic display of admiration for a buffalo wing flinging beer wench, filled me in on details from the police blotter – Jane Doe* had been arrested for larceny. Within a week of my meeting Jane Doe*, her handlers turned her into to local authorities. I was not to find her at the generic franchise sports bar any longer. Jane Doe* was imprisoned on charges of 3rd degree felony after confessing to altering bills that had clientele pay for their happy hour domestic swill and refried chicken bones without all said swill and chook being officially “rung up”, thus bumping her overall gratuity. Over the course of the year that she worked at this generic franchise sports bar, Jane Doe* admitted guilt of swindling $500 in cash. Hold… hold… hold… let that sink in… $500 over a year. For a server that works 40 hours a week for 50 weeks, we are talking 2000 hours… $500 means Jane Doe* was stealing from the company (as she was discounting food, versus ripping off customers) a quarter an hour. Okay, so I suppose this is slightly substantial – but I would also argue this is likely industry standard! If everyone was arrested for the deed Jane Doe* did, ever sports bar would have to resort to self-serve cafeteria style (which actually doesn’t sound so bad, now that I think about it – imagine the hot sauce bar and beer fountain!).

Which begs the questions – why was Jane Doe* singled out and arrested? Why was she setup? When Jane Doe* is likely following industry precedent, why is she suddenly the example that had to be set?

I guess, an extended question I would like to know the answer to… am I, Vic Neverman, somewhat at fault for these charges of Jane Doe*: guilt by her association with a notorious conspiracy hound.

I will search for Jane Doe*. What was it that she did know? Was it so much that the powers-that-be decided to swallow her into the quicksandish pit of bureaucratic penalism? What secrets does Jane Doe* hold that forced her employers to exaggerate – nay! – frame her with ridiculously minimal charges in order to force Jane Doe* into seclusion where Vic Neverman cannot reach her?

I shall continue my search… a search for Jane Doe*… a search for Truth.

This photo was spotted by Vic during his search through Jane Doe*’s twitter feed. It is from a few months prior to her firing and came with the comment, “I quit.” Unfortunately, this is not going to help our efforts to clear Jane Doe*’s name.

UPDATES:

November 2013 – at a Central Florida bar, a tattooed dame in Baltimore Ravens gear celebrates a last second victory by field goal. After apologizing to the crowd in proximity who didn’t hold the same allegiances, her eyes stop on mine and for a moment are collective alcohol-ridden minds ponder, “wait… I know this person.” She immediately exited the bar before I realized who she was. My companion was one of Milwaukee’s Van Triar Brothers who confirmed, “Dude, she definitely gave you a second look.”

December 2013 – On the way home from hours trekking in Wekiva State Park, I spy a restaurant and think, “I bet this is the kind of place Jane Doe* would work at.” A month after spying her (or so I thought), she was back on my mind. I went to the bar and ordered a burger. Suddenly materializing out of the ether, she appeared. Could it be? She introduced herself as Jane Doe* and I told her, “Jane, I know you.” Her twin ocelots settled on the bar top as she admitted, “Yes, you do.” Is my intuition more powerful than I realized or was deductive reasoning helpful in narrowing down the sports bars in the Sanlando Springs area? Hard to say. The bar was too crowded,she was too busy and I had places to be. I would return, but she would not be found there again.

Greetings Reader and Fellow Traveler,

Welcome to this, the 100th Vic Neverman blog. As intrepid of a reader as you may be, I doubt you have read the entirety of the first 99 blogs. Truthfully, I hope you have not read each of the preceding blogs out of a fear that the resulting unnerving may have literally melted your wits into some tapiopic goo. Perhaps not literal tapioca, but certainly some metaphorically similar pudding-esque substance. You see, I fear the meme-shattering revelations disclosed in these writings may be harmful to your skull jelly and should be taken in moderation. Certainly, pregnant women operating heavy machinery should refrain from reading the entire NeverArchives in one sitting. At least while smoking.

Regardless of how you have found your way here, I once again welcome you as friend (the exception being the domestic spies tasked with monitoring my banter, in which case you’re doubly welcome to my prose abode). It is my intention to profit from this irrelevant numeric milestone by creating some meaning out of it, much as an alchemist may make margarine out of bottle caps and disposed contraceptive devices.

In our search for meaning, let me begin with the statistics

At the time of this writing, the 99 blogs have been viewed 8,765 times. The first blog was written on 1/15/2011.

Out of the last two months
o 46% of the nearly 1600 viewings were from within the United States
o 9% of these viewings were from Canada or the United Kingdom
o 4% were from India.
o Indonesia, Germany, Italy, Serbia, Hungary and the Philippines were the next highest populations of viewing, comprising of another 10%

Out of the 8,765 all time views
o A whooping 48% of these views were for a single blog, my farcical Hulk movie concept
o The two Qaddafi blogs received 8% of the views
o 2% were for my Roswell blog
o 43 views were for my “Occupy Orlando” expose in which I rediscover my knickers
o 1 view was for my Vatican blog. Thanks Mom.

Google was the most popular search engine to refer readers to Neverman. The searches that brought the most readers included
o Anything with “hulk”, especially “angry”. Far and away, this brought the majority of unsuspecting googlers
o “Qaddafi”
o “Drazen Petrovic”
o “Wikileaks Pat Tillman”
o “Khrushchev”
o “roswell alien”
o “Jesus revelations”
o “romantic comedy concepts” No shit. Which would refer the googler to my David Koresh Rom-Com idea

81 views occurred on Vic Neverman’s busiest day, 2/28/2012

For a startling anecdote relevant to Vic’s busiest day, please look forward to the upcoming 100th Blog Amendment.

Of all the blogs, we have uncovered many characters. Some of the favorites:
• The Destroyer, a snitch from Vic’s days in Portland
• ZombieGurl, the wonderful & unobtainable madness that was she
• Phineas Crux, part-time antagonist, part-time ally. After recent talks, PC and VN have sound boarded various schemes to take advantage of the 2012 Maya Apocalypse hysteria.
• The government contracted spook of a brother-in-law who is featured in the latest TransAmericana blogs
• The NeverSister and her daughter, the NeverNiece
• Reverend Chette Williams, the alias of the phantom merchant of death. His warnings set my blog afire, yet he has retreated to the shadows in recent months. After recent visits to Southeastern Conference football sites, I have found his postings circulating in greater number. Especially in regards to Bobby Petrino, former coach of Arkansas. I foresee a day coming soon when the Reverend returns to the Neververse.

Vic’s Busiest Blog Day (amendment to the 100th Blog)

February 28th, 2012 was the busiest day ever for Neverman. Leap day, the very next day, was narrowly the 2nd most viewed day. This is no coincidence. In the month leading up to this great accomplishment, Vic Neverman had found himself in a typical paranoid romance with someone, perhaps, a little too closely tied to mainstream. In fact, this woman dictated to the mainstream as she was a fear-monger for one of the local news affiliates in central Florida. Vic even wrote some fear mongery for her in classic conspiracy theorist style. For example, she would have to promote a story about a Gypsy menace in Daytona and I would write some drivel about locking your children at home. For those that know me, Vic Neverman, this flies in the face of everything I stand for. Yes, I am a conspiracy theorist, but I despise modern media for their fear mongering. Even the NeverSister saw through the relationship, saying the newswoman and I were from opposite sides of the paranoid romantic coin. What we had in common was the paranoid skill set, both of us writers with an eye for the absurd. The difference was while I plied my trade in service of the public, she raped the peoples’ imaginations for the sake of her corporate overlords.

Still, there was chemistry to our paranoid romance and our courtship continued fairly merrily. Our mutual folly finally came to fruition when I betrayed my secret identity and exposed myself to her. Exposed my Nevermanliness, that is. I told her I was, indeed, the voice of the lunatic fringe, the underground crusader, the emboldened broadcaster of all that was bullshit: Victor Ulysses Neverman. This was 2/27/2012, a very slow blog day. The next day, after looking into the Neverman blog, the newswoman emailed me about our “conflicting interests” and wished me luck elsewhere. With elsewhom. I didn’t even get a chance to confess to her, at great personal shame for my role in her hijinx, that the Nevermen actually derived from Magyar/Gypsy hybrid bastards.

The Neverman home site (coincidentally, the same page promoted on the business card I handed her) alone had 40 something views over the next two days. 40 views each day… 80 total (other blogs drove up the number of total views). The reference tool that brought all these new views to my home page? Facebook. One need not be a conspiracy theorist to connect the avarice blotted dots. My paranoid romance discovers my true identity, shuns me, but then promotes “Vic Neverman” to her immense collection of online friends. Yes, that is right. My best days ever as a blogger likely came from a Facebook post, “OMG! I dated this guy for a month before learning his true identity. See the link below. Where do I find these guys? LOFL!” Yes, my best day as a blogger was the ass end of a bloody joke.

Am I bitter? Only when reliving the tale through this composition. Does such mockery threaten my Neverman Raison d’être? Of course. But it is typical when the public is faced with an uncomfortable truth to first deny it and then ridicule it and finally put it on reality television. In truth, I find my former lady to be a worthy nemesis. The main reason I did not write a larger blog detailing this paranoid romance is because I knew that was exactly what she expected me to do. And so, I hide her away in near obscurity as an addendum to my 100th blog!

It was the dawn of a new decade (a new world, actually, as the frazzled collective psyche of the country would never recover from the events of 9/11) where I, Vic Neverman, had returned to my native land barefoot and sunburnt, harried and scabbed, weathered and wizened… and, of course, as broke as a liver on nickel beer night. I needed a job.

Employment was found at a compliance and security firm ruled by its tyrant founder – a rabid, vapid, vile figure you, dear reader, shall come to know as Phaust. At Phaustian Enterprises, the organizational culture was a brew of fear and intimidation. There were strict policies: a suit must be worn everywhere, at all times; no facial hair allowed unless you can prove you’ve been bearded since 1984; and absolutely no smoking on company grounds or anywhere on earth or any orbital trajectory off the coast of earth, on any occasion. These are not exaggerations. And most certainly…

“We have a zero tolerance no-fraternization policy!” the alarmed Human Resources representative expressed with her large doe eyes which were startled at my offhand suggestion of a potential caffeinated rendezvous later on at a break room. She explained the policy in more detail: co-workers were not permitted to interact outside of corporate events more than once a quarter. This rule applied to every fellow employee, regardless of gender or sexual persuasion of parties involved.

“Tight-knit group here, huh?” I, Vic, quipped and did so fruitlessly.

For those of the Neververse familiar with the phobic rants of I, Vic Neverman, you might think such an environment inhospitable for the budding paranoid, as was yours truly, but this would be a false assumption. You see, dear reader, the NeverMind is ideally suited to thrive in a repressed environment. The hyper-sensitive instinct passed down from our proto-paranoid ancestors was an intuitive fear for the figurative sabertooth over-shoulder and this fear may lie dormant in many of our contemporary primates whose heads remain naively buried in the sands of reality television, but this instinct is a dominant trait in us, the conspiracy dwellers whose cynical minds are fully engaged and completely enraged. In fact, we are not whole when we are not threatened. The ideal utopia many of mankind strives for would be uninhabitable for the NeverMind. Certainly, a corrupt purgatory would be a better suited afterlife for Vic than the harp music and cumulus congestus of heaven.

And so existed this Orwellian police state culture within Phaustian Enterprises which favored two distinct subgroups of employees: the ruffian bullies and the sultry vixens those bullies tended to hire. As for the droles – those of us who were lost somewhere in between doing the vast majority of the heavy lifting – this environment created a strange sensory cocktail of equal parts fear and lust/envy. There may have been incentives for obedience, but I would hardly classify them as worthy of the spiritual/physiological opportunity cost. Unless you were willing to barter your kidney for some gold-star recognition, it was best to remain out of the spotlight, avoiding the awareness of the overlords. Thus was my motivation to lurk in the shadows, taking stairs instead of crowded elevators, doing everything I could to work discretely enough to collect the next paycheck. Life, as it were, at Paranoid, Inc.

The local newspaper published stories of the worst places in the area to work and mentioned Phaustian Enterprises for the exceptionally high turnover rate, something the paper attributed to the short-fused, egomaniacal, eccentric, founder. One of Phaust’s key thugs was Jahosefax, an oversized homunculus whose rotund form matched his ravenous personality. (Side Note: the monstrous root-like homunculus is born of the semen ejaculated by the hanged man onto the earth, and this, I believe, is the ‘root’ of Jahosefax’s existence as no human mother could birth such a beast) The alpha dog Jahosefax was not just a decrepit individual with several pending sexual harassment lawsuits, he was the idolized golden child of the Phaustian powers-that-be for his bullish approach to reach their goals at any cost.

When I, Vic Neverman, was interviewed by this land-born kraken, Jahosefax, he grilled me on the gap of time since my previous employment. “Why weren’t you employed?” he growled, salivating at the defenseless flesh within his reach. I explained to him it was personal. “What kind of personal reasons?” Familial personal reasons. “What kind of family reasons”, this elephantine blight on humanity further queried. I explained, politely – as politeness is in my nature – my father died and I had to tend to family business. I did not go into detail how my personal denial led me to believe Old Man Neverman had faked his death and rushed off to Oceania, prompting my departure from North America to Australia in search of him, only to stumble into UFO hunting and interactions with bush camp drug runners. Fortunately, or not, my simplified reasoning was enough to appease the beast.

Once employed within Phaustian Enterprises, I quickly learned there were few I could trust as I daily witnessed snitching and back-stabbing amongst what on the surface seemed likable workmates. Such was the organizational culture where this behavior was encouraged as a means of self-perseverance. For most of my time at Paranoid, Inc, I was under the supervision of one of Jahosefax’s stooges dis-affectionately called “Chubby Hitler”, or so was he known far behind his back (Note of Importance: I, Vic Neverman, repeat his moniker here to set the stage for the universal distaste of his character, yet I never used this name as I believe the list for ‘Hitler’ equivalents should be reserved for the utmost evil and, to be honest, this former boss of mine was a harmless dweeb). The few friends I made within Phaust Tower either quit or were fired due to the actions of Chubby Dweeb. I had the infamous role as being the right-hand man to Chubs, but only because no one else lasted as long as I did under his reign.

Weekly, there would be departmental meetings around a large oak table where the dozens of peons would cower behind their supervisors who would report project statuses to the ultimate leader, Jahosefax. At the end of the meeting, if the fat man’s appetite was unsatisfied, he would single out anyone as a sacrifice towards his appeasement – which is why so many chose to hide behind the plastic foliage in the room. One day, Jahosefax called on me…

“Neverman!” He bellowed like a tugboat pulling into San Francisco Bay. “What’s new with you?”

I held up my wrist and informed him I purchased a new watchband during my recent lunch break. “So what?!?” Jahosefax groaned, his voice trembling the sturdy oak between us. Snickers slipped out around me as my blood-thirsty peers hungered for my doom. I calmly informed Jashosefax the watchband’s significance began with the well-placed compass within it’s rubber. “Compass!” He sneered, vehemently. “What’s that?” Well, I told him, a compass points towards magnetic north. “What do you need that for!?” Jahosefax inquired, his ferocious chins vibrating a percussion beat into the already humid room. I, Vic that I am, informed him a compass assists with telling direction and that my ability to celestially navigate was greatly hindered by our over-bearing sun. Apparently, this was more information than the beast could process as he quickly moved on to the next victim.

It should be noted here, the above experience is nearly verbatim.

Amidst the doom and gloom of this toxic environment, there was to be had some pleasant scenery. In the 1980’s, the company was well known for the ‘Phaust Girls’ who would accompany the company jet, picking up clients and delighting them on their cross-country travels. Times have changed, but the emphasis on aesthetic pageantry remained. The front desk hostesses were of the finest specimen and those that worked the phones would respond to any request with “my pleasure” ever-so-suggestively as they redirected calls.

And yet – HR Rule #1, no fraternization! Phaust bore us droles brilliant fruit, yet we were not to touch. As the administrative assistants came and went with increasing attractiveness (typically leaving soon after filing a harassment lawsuit against the homunculus, Jahosefax), my courage for defiance steadily increased. By my third and final year in my stint with Phaust, I had developed a network of confidants, securing myself against the various corporate snakes in the grass. I had even moved out from under the Chubby Dweeb and into a different department. Amongst my trusted colleagues, we developed our ‘secret language of the birds’, which was a simple system of codewords and names for various individuals. For example, in my last days under the Jahosefax regime (before he took over a different department), “Pandora” was our name for the unobtainable (don’t touch that box!) beauty that was his administrative assistant (before she filed suit against Jahosefax). With the reassignment of Jahosefax came a new department director and his own administrative assistant, whose beauty even outshone her predecessor. I, Vic Neverman, first encountered this exotic creature in the hallway. She stared straight-ahead with those godlessly dark eyes as her dirtied-blonde hair was pulled impossibly back, yet… upon her face, one worthy of Michelangelo’s inspiration, was born a smirk, a suggestion of her awareness of I, your faithful protagonist. My heart was immediately lost in a cloud of ignorance as the world I had once thought was simply ceased to exist now that this… she… was present within it.

Goddamn if this entire story weren’t just the entrance and exodus of her, the Cheetah. But so it is and so it shall later be fully told.

Following the aftermath of the Cheetah dialogues (which shall be spelled out in good time), I, Vic Neverman, would return from a vacation of infiltrating Castro’s regime in Cuba (goodwill American spying on the commie bastards, all strictly pro bono) with a full-beard to Phaust Tower (beard? blasphemy!) and explained to Jahosefax’s replacement director’s deputy-director that I, Vic Neverman, was never again to be employed by Phaust.

I was immediately escorted off the premises.

The same year Phaust sold everything to a bigger corporate entity, but one – it must be mentioned – that had a reasonable HR policy. Within the year, the tyrannical bastard would die. Phaustian Enterprises was no more.

Life as a paranoid conspiracy theorist is not easy, especially when attempting to assimilate into a society repulsed by alternative thought. I’ve always tried to offer up advice to fellow paranoids on the subject of interacting with the mainstream populace, but I, Vic Neverman, am not always successful. Especially in the art of romance.

As a conspiracy theorist, where success is measured by how many alphabet groups are monitoring you (i.e. FBI, CIA, NSA, ATF, DEA, FEMA, IRS, etc.), quality of life depends on how well you live off the grid. Living off the grid is more than paying in cash, unpredictable behavior, and learning how to trap, kill, gut, skin, and cook a squirrel. Living off the grid means you must be very selective in choosing those who remain close to you. The closer, the more selective you must be.

Last night, a moderately attractive bartender and I amused ourselves by discussing 3-leaf clovers in the head of the Guinness pints she served up and I threw back. She was practicing for the upcoming St Patrick’s Day traditions and I was endeared to her in the process. Yet, outside of my healthy gratuity, nothing will become of this frivolous flirtation because I cannot trust her. She has recognized me from earlier patronage which leaves her susceptible to outside corruption. Has she been employed by an antagonist agency looking to undermine me? Probably not. But since I have frequented this bar, there is a reasonable chance she has been. That is a chance I will not take.

As a conspiracy theorist who hides amongst the shadows in order to deliver the unfiltered light of truth, I cannot expect anyone from the local bar, gymnasium, library, burrito stand, or DMV to not be employed in some manner by an organization seeking my demise. Thus, being a paranoid romantic is not easy. The most common people in my life have to be suspected the most.

Which is why I strive to find romance in spontaneous encounters. In search of one such encounter, I accompanied a friend and his two young spawn to a children’s birthday pool party in the suburbs of Florida where there was the promise of attractive single moms. I arrived with my long time co-conspirator Tusk (learn more about him in the Cast of Characters page) and his mini-clones at the typical suburban compound equipped with a swimming pool. My primary duties were to attend to the children of my associate, but for the sake of secondary duty, I puffed out my chest in peacockian display to illustrate to any adequate female that my loins were ripe for the adjoining. I even had scripted dialogue at the ready.

The scene was a crazed playground of small people aged less than some of the half & half in my fridge. These little beings were all smiles and tears, subsisting, it seems, entirely off of highly sugared edibles. Tusk was recognized by the elders of the party and he formally introduced his non-sexual male companion, Vic Neverman, as a writer. The collective sum of the elders inquired what it was I might write, to which I responded…

“I am a blogger for Scientology, catering to the upper tiers of the membership. If I were to share any of the information from my blogs with you, your heads will simply and literally explode for lack of reasoning capacity.”

I smiled after this delivery. The response was stifled, at best. These party-goers soon turned towards each other and immediately resurrected their previous conversations, any small talk distraction to distance themselves from my announcement. I did clear my throat and assure them my statement was a joke, but by this time, they were fully entrenched in ignorance warfare. My humor went without laugh.

And so I was left alone with Tusk’s two small persons who were crawling around like sloths scavenging earthbound cookie crumbs. I took to my duty as caretaker and I took it rather seriously as it was the best way to further myself from the other adults I was surrounded by. Until… she walked in.

I appropriately say, ‘she walked in’ as her face and name were rather forgettable while her legs were absolutely not. She (name aforementioned was forgettable) did carry around a creature born of her womb, but she did seem relatively un-husbanded. I relished this chance to engage this bastardized child’s mother and Tusk was quick at the introduction, “This is Vic, my friend, the writer.”

She inquired into what sort of writing I pursued. While my writings cannot be bound by simple characterization, I can lean upon one aspect or another as needed. In this case, I harped upon a recent project I have taken up with the assistance of my ally Tusk: a children’s book.

She seemed delighted. She regularly read to her birthed person stories from such books. She inquired into what my book was about.

“Well…” I began, ever eager to impress. “The title is ‘Who Shot JFD’?”

Distracted by her progeny, she expressed some half-hearted confusion at the premise.

I continued, eager to expound upon my works. “It is a children’s conspiracy book, you see. The premise is ‘who shot John Fitzgerald Duck?’. JFD is the first web-toed elected president of the park and a very popular president at that. But he has his enemies… First of all, there are the squirrels who John F Duck announces can no longer eat from the bird feeders. Then there are the raccoons who John F Duck says can no longer eat from the garbage bins. Then there is the fact John F Duck doesn’t always sleep at home” At this point I wink at the mother corralling her spawn. “Because he happens to have a few ‘birds’ on the side, if you know what I mean. These birds happen to have their own mates who are jealous of John F Duck and thus wish him ill. In short, JFD had many enemies.”

By the wide-eyed, open-mouthed, expression on her face, I was able to gather that she was rather enthralled by my children’s book thriller.

“After the assassination of John Fitzgerald Duck, the park authorities quickly nab Harvey Lee Opossum for committing the dastardly crime. Harvey Lee Opossum, of course, admits that he is a patsy, which is believable because how can this lowly marsupial pull off the murder of the century? But before Harvey Lee Opossum’s voice can be heard, he is in-turn gunned down by Jack Rooster! And Jack Rooster soon dies from cancer (perhaps a cancer delivered by the crazed scientist Mojo Monkey of New Orleans who had created such an evil disease made transitional via syringe). So who is really to blame?”

She, the one with the legs, was mostly speechless. Suddenly, there was the presence of a masculine figure hovering over my baited prey. He asked of her a status of goings on. She immediately introduced me, Vic Neverman – a writer – and quickly excused herself. The flee by which she made was expected as this man appeared to be the husband we did not account for. Shame. He stood defiant in her sudden absence, arms folded tightly over his chest. He was a meager man in the shadow of my form, but his standoffishness was to be respected out of my adherence to civil law (though I was tempted to box his ears). He, having not heard my long story, inquired upon what sort of writing I engaged in.

“I write a blog on Scientology.”

A Vic Neverman by any other name is still paranoid. Here is my (slightly delayed) Valentine story…

Living discretely and off-the-grid is about blending in and escaping notice. Pay in cash and wear clothing camouflaged to match wallpaper. At the height of my stealthiness, I was so good I could barely use public restrooms: the auto-flusher, auto-faucet, auto-dryers never detected my motion (which is why I carry my homemade bacterial soap (note I did not say “anti-bacterial” as that shit only makes you more susceptible to disease) made of bovine lard and crushed mint leaves).

As hard as I am to track down, I am not surprised when Father’s Day comes and goes without any cards from any potential bastardized progeny left in my wake. Nor am I surprised when no Valentines arrive… especially when you take into account my very first entanglement with love all those years ago.

I was 14 and one of a herd of kids from my town making a pilgrimage to a protestant bible camp deep in the Appalachia backwoods. I took after my father and was more of a fair-weather Jesus fan, so when I found myself surrounded by similarly aged children who were biblical scholars, who experienced orgasmic ecstasy through hymn, and who welcomed the possession of their body by the holy spirit, I knew that I was infiltrating this world as an outsider. So I did what any kid raised on Miami Vice and 21 Jump Street would have done: I created an undercover alter ego. For the first time, I became “Victor”.

Oddly enough, the kids from my hometown thought it a good idea and went along with it. No longer was I the boy from ___, but now I was Victor from ____ City! It should be noted that I wasn’t entirely responsible for spreading the lies as I barely spoke at that age and certainly didn’t mutter much to girls other than throaty grunts. Instead, it was friends ER and a boy to later be known as “‘Cuda” that came up with elaborate back-stories, spewing whimsical lies I merely nodded along with. At one point, one of the Georgia peaches ER was wooing mentioned, “Your friend Victor sure doesn’t talk much.” ER confirmed with the explanation, “He’s been quiet ever since his father, President of Eastern Airlines, died in a horrific microwave accident. But Vic is pretty cool once you get to know him.”

Young Vic & Friends, clockwise from bottom left: 'Cuda, Dude, Dude, Dude, Vic, Sister Neverman, ER

I cleared my throat a few more times in the presence of the pretty southern belles ER wooed, but they were not for me. I befriended some rough and tumble country kids who I felt more comfortable with when they weren’t talking about their snake-handling preacher back home. One of these kids was a brace-toothed tomboy I barely noticed, (for the purpose of this exercise we will call her…) Cammie. She was a girl I was actually able to speak to, probably because I never quite realized she was just that: a girl.

Until the night of the farewell dance. Cammie metamorphosed and all of a sudden had beautiful golden locks of hair and dear Jesus… cleavage! I don’t know how it began, but she and I danced for a mere eternity, my knees wobbling the whole time. After slow-dancing to Jimmy Buffett’s Volcano, Cammie kissed me on the cheek and said in her sweetest Carolina accent, “Goodnight Victor.” I can still remember those sweet words to this day. I stood there, knees buckling, and the only sound I could respond with was a throat clearing. I intended for words to follow, but my air-pipe restricted, cutting off air to my lungs.

Our chaperones arrived to take the various groups back to their respected houses in the small presbyterian college town. I watched Cammie longingly from afar as she spoke excitedly to her friends. They in turn pointed in my direction, speaking words I could not hear, and suddenly, Cammie’s expression collapsed.

My cover was blown. Cammie learned that I was not Victor. I was someone else. I had betrayed her. I met the disappointment in her eyes one last time before she turned and walked away.

The mole was none other than ER. The very friend that built me into legend, reduced to me into ash. That night, I couldn’t sleep and just stared at the dark ceiling, muttering puppy-like sighs, until finally, ER’s guilt overcame him. “Alright!” He groaned and climbed out of a neighboring bed in our dorm room. “Let’s go find this girl.”

ER and I strapped on some jeans and sneakers. We quietly climbed out the window into the dark void, blindingly finding a footing to bring us to the roof. From atop our house, we found the large oak tree where we made our descent down to earth and away from the all-seeing eyes of the adult dictatorship that kept us under lock and key. ER and I fled through the night to the house Cammie’s church group was staying at. A knock at the window and a light came on. One girl’s face disappeared and there appeared another girl’s face. It was Cammie. She looked through the glass at me, her soft blue eyes already forgiving me my deceit.

“Why did you say your name was Victor?” She asked with no mask to her vulnerability. “Who are you… really?”

I cleared my throat for the last time, “I told you my name was Victor because… I am Victor. I am no less Victor than I am someone who belongs here, in this place, amongst these people. You see, there is a mainstream within which I do not flow. I belong in the outer fringes of society, moving always within the shadows and just beyond reach. You and I cannot be, my sweet first love, for you are a beauty to be drawn out beneath the sun and I am a creature too unworthy to lurk in the moonlight. But for tonight, I was Victor and you were you, and nothing will ever change that.”

(Of course, I am paraphrasing here, I don’t exactly recall those last nervous words.)

Cammie and I parted forever. Over the course of a few hours, she had become my first true love and my first real heartbreak.

It is not easy being Vic Neverman.