The Trickster Diaries/Chapter 93
Most definitely I was a cigarette addict, but, leaning on the customer side of the counter, Liz leaning on the proprietor side, our conversation never touched on whether or not I wanted smokes.
Liz: So it’s been, what, a week?
Me: More like four, five days.
Liz: And that’s unusual?
Me: Oh yeah. But, see, half our communication took place on Ello.
Liz: And now that you’re outta there…
Me: Right. The only choice is private email.
Liz: It’s addictive, social media. For some people it’s their whole world. Sometimes people come in here and except to tell me what cigarette they want they never stop looking at their phones. In fact they text each other, INSIDE the store.
Me: (Laughing) Wait. You mean instead of talking to each other…
Liz: Yeah. They text. They never look up. They can be standing right next to each other and you can see one react to what the other has just texted.
Me: Jesus. Well, she may be like that. She IS like that, I think. But, see, that’s cool, that’s maybe not the truth I wanted to uncover but at least now I know.
Liz: Yeah but still it’s only polite to respond. Where does she live?
Me: New York. She owns a shop there, she says, but who…
Liz: I should fly there, kick her ass.
Me: Right. Like, ‘Who do you think you are, sister, messin with my friend?’
Liz: Wait. Is she white?
Me: No, but fully Americanized.
Liz: Same thing.
Liz: (Looking more deeply into my eyes than she ever has) Oh, Rico, you miss her.
(I nod. Liz continues) So she’s pissed you abandoned her.
Me: That could be a very big deal. Fear of being abandoned makes people cling even harder, which makes the person being clung to WANT to run.
Liz: And when they do, like you did…
Me: Desperation. She already tried it with that cancer number.
Liz: Shit. Is it true?
Me: (With much exasperation) Who knows? It’s the internet. But check this out—I just read this article about a woman from Australia who, in her blog, claimed to have brain cancer. Inoperable. Terminal. All this sympathy pours in. Then she concocts this special diet that seems to at least make her feel better. Next check up reveals she’s completely cured. So she writes this best selling cookbook, makes a fortune, does all the talk shows, lands all these speaking engagements, etc.. Then, one day, one of the companies she’s contracted with decides to do a background check. No medical records. No evidence at all she was ever sick. Now everybody, including the book publisher, is suing. It was all horseshit. And she’s admitted it.
Liz covers her face with both hands, then takes them away and looks at me: “OK. She’s got abandonment issues. She could be a fat Russian man. Her whole reality is virtual reality. She’s probably a liar. She lives on the other side of the country. She’s… how much younger?
Me: 20 years, about.
Liz: OK. That’s not a big deal…
Me: But everything else is and your question, given all that, is why am I still interested.
Me: I have to go. Uh, Camel Filters?