The Trickster Diaries/Chapter 71
Then one day I realized something. There was another active component hidden within those GIFs. From out of nowhere it dawned on me how they worked. I didn’t know how they shut down memory, but a clue to that question was in their remarkable ability to mimic.
Do you have any idea what that meant? It meant Juliette KNEW that, and was using perfectly timed fragments of highly interpretable, yet suggestive story to mimic the average time signature for breathing and human heart rate. It also meant immediately throwing her into the genius column, a place that in my world, kid, comes with lots and lots of empty space.
This, of course, was a gigantic secret—the key to her game. I couldn’t tell anyone, ever, yet I was compelled to let her in on a secret of my own. It seemed linked, somehow. Surely there was a physiological, neurological connection.
So in a private email I described to her an experience—an experiment, really—I had years ago while dining out with a friend. A boring friend. True, I could have excused myself politely, gotten up and left, but the odd concept came to me that, since I wasn’t listening to him anyway, I’d simply blink every time he blinked, see what happened.
The result was astounding. Within a minute he was raving, as if some very private, safe and secure corner of his essence felt endangered, under attack. Days later—still completely unaware of how I’d merely echoed his blinking—he called to apologize, confessing no reason or cause or explanation for his radical mood swing.
It was an experiment I’d performed several times since.
Always the same outcome.
Funny, never heard back from her on the topic.
She was shy, I’d learned, about expressing herself when she felt cornered, accused, discovered. Afraid of punishment? Of hurting someone’s feelings? Maybe, like the rest of us humans, she just felt she had to protect that gooey tar at the bottom of everything from sunlight.
So, slowly, I learned where to go and where not to go. But if I saw an opening I took it, like yesterday, 4PM my time, 7 hers, when I sent a private email with photo attachment.
The photo was from a still I’d made from one of her GIFs, into which I incorporated a single layer of deep background imagery. It was startling. It re-transformed her work and mine instantly, sent it spiraling into deeper, uncharted realms on the starmap. The note said: “Forgive me. Couldn’t resist.”
Juliette: Forgive you?! Thank you thank you thank you!!! This is wonderful! Transfer to phone wallpaper as we speak. Now desktop. Haven’t you posted it?
It was exactly the way I thought she’d respond, and a wild left turn down a very unfamiliar and unusual new street.
And it was something else. Something that scared me a little.
See, dolls like her—they’re like high strung thoroughbreds, and if you so much as hope to gaze up into those magnificent eyes, you need to bring unconditional tenderness to the game. And keep it there.
(Lights cigarette, turns to camera) That’s what scared me.