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September 26, 2022

Sweet, Sweet Obsession

By Lydia Manx

It really started ever so innocently. A few years back I was stuck in a rather large chain hotel in a room that claimed to be just like home. Personally my home had much more space, and no neighbors like the ones who were apparently surrounding me on every side in the hotel. The 'suite' came pre-loaded with microwave popcorn and crappy pots and pans. It didn't matter since it was where I was, and after I'd put in a full day -- around 16 hours of work -- I was too revved up to sleep. Add in two of my nearby 'suite' guests were audibly banging boots along with other parts like it was a career move.

When a guy squealed then spoke in a surprisingly husky voice, "Oh, mommy, spank me harder. I am your bitch now!" I decided it was either creepy incest or a job interview. A fluttering thought that they might be filming a YouTube video of a rather naughty nature also chased through my mind. The rocking and rolling from their headboard that was rapidly bashing the space behind my bed chased me when I finally decided that I should leave the room. Sighing deeply, I craved sleep, but knowing if I went to bed I'd end up thumping back, screaming rather nasty suggestions, sent me eventually to the living room. From the rather long event I gathered that the male was more than likely chemically enhanced and that was keeping it all going. And since neither of them screamed a final event moment I was totally creeped out by the continuing thumping of the bed coming decisively through the shared wall into my room. I wanted to be far away from the banging and clanking, and since I wasn't up to a walk down to the front desk to change rooms, I instead decided to watch some mindless fluff on the tube. It wasn't like I was going to be sleeping any time soon. The woman bellowed out, "Fuck me now! Don't stop!" Yeah, sleep wasn't currently on my agenda. They both were screaming with rather fake-sounding moans and groans. I still wasn't sure if they were related or soon to be working together or a YouTube posting in the making.

I flicked through the channels while pushing the volume up on the TV set in the living room, a term I used with a smirk; the room wasn't much bigger than an oversized closet. Soon I found a show that caught my eye. There was a sci-fi marathon running on one of the channels that I quickly figured out was a space western, for lack of better terms. The characters were fairly engaging, and I was bored and trying to block out the wanna-be porn stars practicing in the other suite. I kept watching and was soon sucked into the show. The lead was a character named Captain Malcolm Reynolds and the drama commenced. I found the program distracting at first then pretty entertaining.

After a few hours of the show I broke down and used the nearly expired microwave popcorn. I quickly nibbled through the bag. The neighbors hadn't stopped their escapades, but I was happy with the program. The popcorn was adequate and the space western had me laughing and glued to the screen. Another few hours; I finally was relaxed enough to sleep and the neighbors had either stroked out or checked out. It didn't matter to me which, as I crawled into bed and fell asleep.

My dreams began to chase the series I'd been watching earlier in the evening. The cute main character floated in and out of my sleeping thoughts and I was having fun. I woke feeling that odd dreamscape was real. I craved the characters and wanted to see more. The next work day was as insane as the previous one, so I soon lost the happy delighted feeling I'd awakened with and instead crunched numbers and launched emails. That evening when I finally got back to the hotel, there weren't any neighbors sharing their sexual escapades through the walls, and the sci-fi marathon had switched to one of the Star Trek knock offs, so I slept, missing the space western.

Life continued and I moved to a few different states and had a few different jobs. I eventually forgot about that show. It was a half dozen years later when I stumbled upon a new show. The main character was a writer following a cop in New York City. I looked at the man and something clicked in me. That was Nathan Fillion. The man I'd watched romping around in space years ago in the sci-fi marathon. He was doing a cop show as a writer? I laughed and began to enjoy his latest series. I'd get home from work and click on the TV. There was a channel that ran the older shows in the series for a few hours each night. I began to hurry home to watch the character.

During a slow time at work I plugged in Nathan's name on Google and soon found out many things about this man. My mouth watered as I saw the various pictures of him. He wasn't the typical leading man with a rock hard body and too many Botox injections. He was charming and appeared to be one of those Peter Pan types. His characters in his series pretty much had him cast as the naughty little boy that never quite grew up. His eyes seemed to lock into the camera and he was laughing that he was getting paid to play. Everything I'd read seemed to confirm that assessment.

I went back to the day in and day out of my world, every now and then catching the show since my job had begun to entail more overtime and general life was running amok relentlessly. Then one afternoon I got a call from an acquaintance. She couldn't find anyone to go with her to a convention and had a spare ticket. She begged me to join her. I laughed and asked when, and was surprised to find it was the coming weekend. I hadn't even thought that far ahead so I said sure.

We took the local trolley in to the event as it was packed and there wasn't any parking to be had for any reasonable amount of money. The event was huge. It wasn't just that one day but many, and each day various movie stars, writers and fans mobbed the convention center to dangerous levels. I seriously doubted that the fire marshals had any clue how overfilled the venues were. There were people like me just walking around in 'street clothes' then there were the 'others.' Oh my! Some had little more than body paint and decadent grins while others had layers of plastic and latex that formed aliens, dead men walking, cartoon characters and casts of characters from shows I'd never seen, much ever heard of, in my life. They were assorted folks that tagged along and asked, even begged for attention from the costumed fans. My friend, to my mild embarrassment, turned out to be a rather involved fan of one of the older Trek shows, and was dressed in a slinky outfit she spilled out of while she shared all the details about the show, and the exact episode her 'character' was in during our way into the convention. She'd paid for the ticket and I decided to just enjoy the event with open eyes and a closed mouth.

I truly wasn't prepared for the mass of humanity that filled the spaces. The costumes after a while blurred with the noise level and increasing heat. Whoever the idiot was with the idea of hosting such a popular event during the hottest part of the year deserved to be roasted over an open pit. Preferably extremely slowly and with an occasional poke with a sharp stick.

I dodged another lurching creature with no sense of personal space and a rather lethal-looking hooked sword swinging widely around, nearly taking off a child's spiked hair and the top of his head. I wasn't sure if the weapon was real, but from the bulged eye glance from the kid I think it was. A few bits of hair floated in the air, confirming the blade had sliced some hair off the top. The kid tugged at his father's hand whining about the unexpected haircut. The dad said, "Sure, sure," rather unconvincingly answering the kid all the while ogling a green-skinned beauty with four or five rows of rather massive breasts. From the grin on his face, the man didn't care they were fake. His child spit out, "You aren't hearing me!" That too fell on deaf ears.

My friend noticed my distraction and then decided I needed to know about that multi-breasted creature. She began to recap a show with the nuances of a true believer, so I tuned her out and let my eyes wander. There was some commotion nearby that caught my eyes. A lot of cell phones were being held up and there was some man in a blue shirt at the center of the mass of men and women. I felt my mouth drop open as I realized that it was actually Nathan Fillion. He gestured while talking and his hand ran right into a man behind him in a guard uniform. He spun and gave the man a brief embrace and seemed to be checking if he'd harmed the guard.

I couldn't believe that the actor I'd seen in those shows years ago was at the convention. I heard a shrill scream -- surprisingly not that unusual but rather common throughout the day -- a foot from me and saw a stunning redhead put her hands to her face saying, "Oh, my God, oh my God! I can't believe he is finally here!"

She seemed to be alone, but was talking aloud as if someone would answer. I saw her bright blue eyes were pointed directly at the actor and her crimson nails clenched her face, and she spun right to me and asked, "Did you see that?"

Automatically I looked behind me to see if she was directing her comment to an unseen friend. There was nobody else looking at her. I turned back to find she'd closed the distance between us. It was then I caught a faint glint of brown in between the red locks, indicating that she'd dyed her hair. It was a pretty good job, but I detected also a shift in her blue eyes; a mousy brown edge slipped into view and I concluded she was wearing colored contacts. I must have looked like I was paying attention to her, because she got right up next to me and said, "Isn't he divine!" Something tugged at me. There was a familiarity to her, but I couldn't for the life of me place where I knew her from much less her name.

It wasn't a question but a gushing statement. The crowd around us shifted and my friend had slipped away following another herd of fans going elsewhere. I wasn't overly worried because I knew we both had cell phones, and I was perfectly capable of finding my own way home if need be. My phone was in my front pocket set on vibrate because there was no way I'd be able to hear anything in the crowd. Not feeling any tingles on my leg I mentally shrugged and figured to go with the flow.

Having not answered the woman didn't seem to dissuade her from further conversation.

"Isn't Rick looking delightful? Did you see how kind he was to that man? I must catch up with him!" I nearly corrected her with the actor's given name, but there was an unhealthy glint in her eyes and the smile was somewhat off. I shrugged and tried to look past the woman to see where the actor was being taken by his handlers.

"I'll see you later!" She called out as I lingered back from her over-enthusiastic one-sided banter. She practically ran to join the mass surrounding Mr. Fillion. I wandered around, not sure where I was headed for the next half hour. My friend didn't call me right away, so I gathered she'd run into some of her friends with the same costumes. I'd noticed quite a few Trek outfits of all varieties and knew I'd be finding my way home alone. After another hour of not really seeing anything that caught my interest, I texted my friend that I was headed out and she said fine she was with her family. I knew better than asking 'real' or 'television' but smiled and went out into the breeze that had been missing from the convention center.

With all the visitors and traffic it took me nearly an hour to get home, but I was tired so I curled up on the couch and dozed while the television hummed in the background. My dreams were laced with brightly animated creatures and Nathan Fillion being chased by the red head I'd seen. My mind finally placed where I knew her from. This wasn't quite right -- since I didn't actually know her but the character she resembled -- the girl at the convention looked like one of the ex-wives in the cop series. That settled, my dreams waxed and waned as I slumbered uninterrupted for a few hours.

My cell phone vibrated on the coffee table and groggily I saw it was my friend. "Yes?"

My voice was thick with sleep, and I fumbled for my water container next to my phone. I half-caught the plastic as it nearly spilled and shook myself slightly while sipping.

"Oh my god! You are home, right?"

"Uhuh?" I was still barely awake, and puzzled why she was asking.

"Turn on the local news!" I looked to see a drama playing on the television and searched for my remote. It took me a second to find it beneath my couch where it had fallen after I'd gone to sleep.

I pushed a few buttons and then saw a breaking news story.

The background was totally familiar. It was the convention center I'd just left a few hours before.

"Okay, what am I looking for?" The volume was down and I tapped it up while a white-faced woman stood poised for the cameraman. There were a few dozen people directly behind her jumping up and down clowning for the news, some in costumes, most just kids from the area.

I saw my friend wave her hand off to the left of my screen.

"Cool you're on TV." I still wasn't fully awake and wondered why that was breaking news.

She whispered, "Okay, so like that guy Nathan Fillion was nearly killed!"

"What? I just saw him at the convention." I remembered his clocking the guard but didn't see how that made him suddenly almost killed.

"No, some chick tried to stab him to death!" She was squeaking, so it took me a second to understand what she was saying. I was still trying to hear the reporter, but the screams of a siren and the crowd were making it hard, since I was getting the echo from the TV after I heard it on my phone. There was some delay between the 'live' report and reality.

Then the camera swung around to the police escorting a now-too-familiar woman in handcuffs towards a waiting car. She held her head high and was shouting, "He's my husband, I tell you! Stop this right now. Rick will not be happy if you don't let me go. He's rich and famous."

The news reporter said grimly, "Thankfully the actor was not harmed by this stalker, but as we find out more, we will keep you posted."

A quick cut and a commercial for breakfast cereal filled the screen.

"What happened?" I interrupted my friend's rapid fire whispering. I hadn't heard a word she'd just said.

"You remember Carol from the acting club in high school?" Then everything snapped into place. The red head I'd seen earlier had gone to school with us. She'd been a mousy little thing that didn't do much to warrant notice until she got on stage. Then she was transformed by the director into whatever and whoever he chose. Outside acting she was an absolute mouse, but when she was in a play, she stole the show.

"Yes?" I offered with a sick feeling tumbling in my stomach.

"That was her. She fucking snapped! She thinks she is the wife of that actor on that series! I heard she's been following him for the last three years at every convention and every live shoot that she could gain access to." My friend's phone garbled something and she said, "Damn, out of juice. I'll call you later!"

She hung up without waiting for my reply.

In the weeks to come I didn't need to talk to her to find out what else she'd been trying to tell me. The local and national news took over and uncovered Carol's past. High school had been her time to shine. Once she graduated, she went from job to job trying to find herself while doing some community theatre. Those who were the brightest and best in high school don't always make it in the real world, and quickly Carol's aspirations were shot down, along with the other thousands of women who came to California to be discovered. Though talented, she wasn't a superstar or much more than a waitress and dog walker with a dream of being a famous actress. After a few years she began to fixate on the actor Nathan Fillion. From there the letters of undying love arrived, and vows of her adoration for the man.

The restraining orders held no power over the disillusioned mind which eventually twisted her obsessive love with unresolved issues of anger, and what she took to be abandonment. Naturally she was declared mentally unable to stand trial and stuffed into a prison institute supposedly designed to help her get well.

Remembering her eyes I sincerely doubted she'd ever come back from that edge of sweet, sweet obsession.

Article © Lydia Manx. All rights reserved.
Published on 2014-02-10
Image(s) are public domain.
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