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A Worldcon to Win: Chapter 1   |   Chapter 2   |   Chapter 3   |   Chapter 4   |   Chapter 5   |   Chapter 6   |   Chapter 7   |   Chapter 8   |   Chapter 9   |   Chapter 10   |   Chapter 11   |   Chapter 12   |   Chapter 13   |   Chapter 14   |   Chapter 15   |   Chapter 16   |   Chapter 17   |   Chapter 18   |   Chapter 19   |   Chapter 20   |   Chapter 21   |   Chapter 22   |   Chapter 23   |   Chapter 24   |   Chapter 25
Chapter 25
Lars did not have to die. If he did, it was not my responsibility.
Some of the blame rests on you, Melisande, more on your newfound friend, the writer who calls himself “Milos Savoy”, most of all on Lars Gleason himself. My part was innocent and trivial and without malice. I am no more guilty than the curb that a drunk stumbles on when he falls in front of an automobile.
You may doubt my disclaimer of malice. You know bits and pieces of the past that Lars and I shared. Let me tell you the whole. Then you will see that I have acted reasonably and moderately, despite provocation - which shows that, while I may now and then have loathed the man, I never felt the kind of anger that motivates a murderess.
Lars and I met, appropriately, at my first con. A girl friend told me about the convention. Her own interest in science fiction began and ended with “Battlestar Galactica”, but she’d been to a couple of cons and thought they were great places to garner booze, drugs and sex. Not that she lured me with tales of forbidden pleasures; I was quite pure then. I went because she told me that SF writers would be there, and I wanted to meet them.
Given our disparity of interests, Leanne and I separated early. Where she went, I don’t know. I do know that she was strung out for three days afterward. Me, I went to a panel - the topic I’ve long since forgotten - featuring Niven and Pournelle and Turtledove and Forry and a name that I didn’t know.
That unknown name was “Lars Gleason”.
He didn’t make a strong impression on me. Even Lars couldn’t overpower that crew of co-panelists. But I did, neo that I was, ask a question from the audience, and he stopped afterwards to compliment me on what an excellent question it was. We chatted. He mentioned that he was going to dinner with a group of friends. Would I like to come along?
We were hardly out of each other’s sight for the rest of the weekend. But, just to show you how pure I was then, though I slept two nights in his hotel room, we didn’t so much as kiss until we had to say good-bye on Sunday afternoon. Then I clung to him so long that he almost missed his flight.
All this happened in Boston in January. In June I graduated from B.U. We didn’t see each other in the interim, but we wrote and talked. Especially talked. My phone bill was so extravagant that it nearly got my degree withheld. My folks had to bail me out. Luckily, they paid up before they learned that I would be passing up graduate school in favor of going to Los Angeles with the intention of moving in with a man whom I’d seen only once in my life.
What mattered to me was not how often we’d seen each other but how perfectly we fit together. We were the pas á deux of a magnificent, melodious ballet, dancers and dance only conceptually distinct.
Later I learned that no one dances for another, that each measure is a little war and that the Two seem to be One merely because the dominant partner devours his or her mate. Lars taught me that. It’s a lesson that you’ve never learned, Melisande, and you’ve suffered for want of it.
Lars was wiser in the ways of the dance, so he took the lead easily. I arrived in L.A. We’d agreed that I’d stay at his place for the time being, but there was nothing in our spoken words about becoming lovers. Nominally, I was a newcomer looking for a first job and an apartment of my own.
He invited some of friends over to greet me. There were a dozen or so present, mostly his cronies from LASFS. We sat in a circle and passed around bottles of incredibly over-surgared wine and talked all at once.
About eleven, a famous writer arrived. Years later, he and Lars had a falling out, but they were buddies then. The writer had been detained by dinner with an editor or some such distraction. He pushed the door open without knocking and hovered until Lars became aware of him. All the while he looked fixedly at me.
“So this is the young lady you’ve been telling us about,” he said when he at last had Lars’ attention.
“That’s right. Jody Silverbury. We’re living together.”
In my naivete I was thrilled. I’d been afraid that he didn’t share my feelings. Of course, the first night was the proverbial fiasco. It got under weigh absurdly late, when all of his friends had at long last toddled off. He’d drunk far too much and snored himself into a coma before he’d mounted any serious threat to my virginity. (Okay, not quite virginity, but the earlier times were immature experiments that don’t really count.) I lay awake hugging him all night, so full of warm, syrupy feelings that Hallmark cards could have distilled sentiments from me for a century or two.
So I settled into his apartment, and for half a dozen months life was divine. I still have my diary from that period. They won’t let me go home and fetch it, of course, but I remember the kind of entry that it contained:
August 6th. Productive day. Did four loads of laundry and ironed all of my darling’s dress shirts. Also repaired the warped linoleum in the bathroom. He was kept half an hour late at work and was very grumpy until I fed him my special lasagna. We went to bed early and watched the “Star Wars” tape. He fell asleep before I did. I gazed at him for what seemed like hours and kissed him over and over again. I love him so dearly and could never do anything to hurt him.
But then came the day when - I know it now though I didn’t really then - everything started going wrong:
November 15th. Back from Philcon. Spent most of the con wishing that Lars could be there, too. He was gone when I got home, so I puttered around, straightening this and that. When I emptied the wastebasket in the bathroom, I came across a discarded tampon - not mine. Well, we haven’t exchanged any vows, but that fact didn’t prevent me from sobbing for an hour.
He found me despondent, asked why, spun a yarn about how he’d slaved at the office all weekend. Finally, I asked him, Do we have a future together?
Of course, doll, how could you imagine anything else? he answers.
I don’t point to the incriminating evidence, but I press him indirectly. Isn’t our relationship asymmetrical? I’d do anything for you. Is that how you feel about me?
Doll, he answers, you’re my lover. Je t’adore. But if you’re bothered by asymmetry, yeah, maybe there is a little. Wouldn’t you be happier if you had a job?
Lars, darling, I do have a job. I keep my loved one’s house in order. Isn’t that job enough?
Sure you do that, babe, and don’t think I’m not grateful. But it’s your own self-esteem that I’m concerned with. You wouldn’t worry about “asymmetrical” relationships if you were bringing in a pay check of your own.
I won’t transcribe the whole discussion. He didn’t have much trouble convincing me. I was so infatuated that I didn’t even make him concede that his blather about my self-esteem had something to do with his economic well-being.
His firm had an open position. I didn’t have the qualifications, but they took me anyway. Lars smoothed the way. When I worried about whether I could actually do the job, he assured me that beginning accountants don’t have to know very much. I’d pick up the knowledge that I needed.
I did my best. Worked ten hours a day in the office, then as many more as were needed to make a home for the two of us. He acted pleased. Two or three times, he told me that he’d like to get married and have children. But he was never sure that our relationship was exactly right. Then, too, weekends occurred like the one that I quoted from my diary, when I had been away by myself and returned to suspicious circumstances. I never rebuked him. My theory was that trust is the foundation of a relationship and that I made ours stronger by trusting him.
His theories were different. I’d become an enthusiast for attending cons, and I did the usual penny pinching so that I could go to more of them. That includes, of course, sharing hotel rooms with whoever has crash space available. Lars “understood”, but. . . .
We were halfway through our third year together, no longer wildly in love but starting to acquire an aura of permanency. Friends said “Jody-and-Lars” as a single word. We had bought a car together and owned a pet, a noisy cockatiel whose favorite pastime was grooming my hair. I took it as a good sign that Lars tolerated the bird, despite the fact that it couldn’t be housebroken.
I came back from Lunacon on a cold, wet March Sunday. This was one of those periods when air traffic control was arteriosclerotic and flights never seemed to take off before they were scheduled to arrive. I’d had a particularly frustrating trip from New York, scattering missed connections across the country like a broken chain of worry beads. Somewhat after midnight, I found myself at LAX. Lars was waiting, and my first impulse was overwhelming gratitude for his steadfastness and patience.
I flung my arms around him. He stood like a giant, soft statue, neither resisting my hug nor welcoming it. His eyes were cold.
“What’s wrong, honey?” I asked, backing away.
Instead of answering at once, he examined me closely with those still, cold eyes.
“Where did that come from?” He pointed to my new pendent, a bronze dragon’s claw grasping a cut glass “jewel”. It dangled from a leather thong.
“This?” I clutched it. “Deno Stavrakis bought it for me. We split a room at the con.”
“You spend a lot of cons with him.”
It was true that Deno and I had roomed together a couple of times before. And also true that, in a low level way, Deno was trying to court me. But matters were nowhere near the grapple-and-smeared-lipstick stage.
“Darling, will you please tell me what’s bothering you?”
“You shouldn’t run off to cons every weekend. It’s affecting your performance on the job.”
“I don’t think so. I finished my work on the Grigsby audit before I left, if that’s what you’re referring to.”
We had started walking, side by side, in the direction of baggage claim. Now he stopped and whirled to face me. His eyes were painful to look into.
“Jody, did you test the accounts receivable? Give me a straight answer.”
“They were tested. Sure.”
“Did you test them?
“Well, not quite the usual way. I was running a little behind -”
“I’ll finish that sentence. Just tell me whether I finish it correctly. You were running behind and wanted to turn in your workpapers so that you could go to Lunacon. So you let another person - an employee of the client - prepare work papers for you, and you turned them in as your own. Is that the truth?”
“Yes. . . . I didn’t see that there would be any harm.”
“Perhaps you did something similar on last year’s audit, and the one for the year before.”
“I guess so.”
“You were glad to have some help, maybe? It’s a big audit, and you were in over your head?”
“Sort of.”
“Right. Well, Mr. Halstead doesn’t take weekends off during important audits. He did some checks of his own. There’s massive fraud, and it looks like it’s been going on since you started working on the account. Your helpful friend at the company was taking advantage of your eagerness to conhop as a way to hide his doctoring of the books.”
He said it just like that, not trying to defend me or see my side of the story. He had insisted that I take a job. He had gotten me this particular job. He had known full well that I was no accountant. What could I do except rely on whatever help others were willing to provide? I never stole a dime or took a payoff. I’m sorry that I didn’t know enough to ferret out fraud, but it wasn’t my responsibility if fraud took place.
I left the next day. Lars gave me about a thousand dollars for my share of the car and the other possessions that I couldn’t fit into two suitcases. He also kept the cockatiel. I heard later that he didn’t keep its wings clipped; it flew off one morning, never to be seen again.
I took the bus to Seattle. AlkiCon was a couple of weeks off, and Deno was involved in running it. He put me up at his place, and we started to become better friends. I might have stayed there a long, long time - if you hadn’t suddenly appeared in his life.
You and I had seen each other very casually at cons. I think that we probably knew each other’s names. Or first names, at least. Deno knew you slightly better. We all came together at a party. You were wearing your little-girl-lost expression that men find so irresistible. I, on the other hand, wasn’t at my best. Among other sources of tension, Lars had shown up at the con, and I had to explain more than once to mutual acquaintances that I was not with him.
Deno and I said hello to you. You said hello back. You would then have passed out of the weekend, except that Deno added, “How’s Rob these days?”
You looked touchingly woebegone. “It’s over, Deno. He moved out two weeks ago and filed for divorce.”
Within half an hour, I knew that I would have to locate fresh lodgings. Deno dripped sympathy, leading you through the whole, sad story of your marriage and exuding comfort at every turn. When he tiptoed into our room at five in the morning, I was still awake. He claimed that you two had merely talked all that time. You know better than I what was or was not the truth.
After AlkiCon, I drifted. I don’t like to recount, or even to think much about, that part of my life. Basically, I lived as cheaply as possible from weekend to weekend and was usually able to find accommodating men to feed and house me at cons. A few of these arrangements lasted longer than a weekend, but never a whole lot longer.
When necessary, I worked at the sort of jobs that someone with no experience and a three-year blank in her resume can readily obtain. Could I have done better? No doubt. After all, I had a reputable college degree, and a “failed marriage” explained the blank. With energy, initiative, maybe a little boost from Affirmative Action, Jody Silverbury could have turned herself into a prosperous yuppie.
I didn’t want that. I wanted to float in the rich, dense, murky biosphere of fandom, a Brownian particle wafting in an intricate dance of collisions with her fellow particles.
For a long time, I had no inkling why I craved this existence. If asked (and I was asked), I shrugged “FIAWOL” and floated on. But my heart had reasons that my reason knew not, and little by little I came to know them.
Beneath my gipsy restlessness lay a secret purpose. I wanted to destroy Lars Gleason.
To destroy Lars Gleason. I’ll underline it for you, and I can guess what conclusions you’ll draw. You’re wrong, though. No one was more intensely solicitous of Lars’ life and health than I was, because no one else hated him so thoroughly.
Dead men don’t know that they’re dead, so what’s the point of having killed them?
If I ever had faith in God and an afterlife, in the fairy tales that Deno spouts incessantly and you would like to believe, that faith vanished with my other girlhood possessions, with my dolls and my teddy bears and my David Cassidy albums and my maidenhood. Lars’ death, when I learned of it, brought me only dismay, for I had been robbed of revenge.
Vengeance gave me a purpose. At first, though, this purpose seemed no more attainable than walking on the moon. My immersion in fandom made it easy for me to follow what Lars was doing - particularly after he left L.A. for Seattle - but what was I to do with my store of information? My only plan was to watch and wait and hope that something would turn up.
Occasionally, Lars and I found ourselves in each other’s vicinity. I tried to maintain quiet dignity. He would flirt and leer, making believe that we were “still friends”. Still, I did not try hard to avoid him. There was always the possibility of gaining the crucial piece of data that would make vengeance possible.
He was holding forth during a party at Balticon. There were about eight of us left, of whom he was the loudest. I was too tired to leave. I shut out most of his monologue and fitfully dozed.
One of the audience - it was Colin Satterlee, though none of us knew him then - asked a question. “Why did you have to leave Los Angeles?”
I’d never heard anything about Lars having to leave, so the question perked me up instantly. I looked for some sign that the insinuation (which stupid Colin probably never intended - this was the first time that he and Lars had ever met) had struck home. I didn’t see any. Lars could keep as steady a poker face as any man I ever met.
“I wanted to get out of the rat race,” he said. “In Seattle you can breathe and take weekends off.
“Also, no point in hiding it: I’d really like to chair a Worldcon, and Los Angeles isn’t the place for anyone with that ambition. Too much competition and too much politics.”
“Is there going to be a Seattle bid?” Colin asked, all wide-eyed eagerness. “I’m from Portland, you see. I’d love to help out on a Pacific Northwest Worldcon.”
Lars scrutinized him with less kindness than an enthusiastic volunteer might think he deserves. “Yes, I expect that there will be a Seattle bid. For ’05. We aren’t ready to announce yet, but I’ll keep you in mind when we do.”
I was the first person in fandom to foresee that Lars Gleason and Colin Satterlee would never be the best of friends.
Genie Galen is - was - one of those people whom it’s impossible not to meet, however much you try. She collared me for lunch at Rivercon, thinking that I was an important personage in some fannish circle or another. It turned out to be a propitious luncheon. She told me about her bid for Las Vegas in 2005, and I began to discern how I could destroy Lars Gleason.
I saw Genie again at Capricon. That was the one at which you and I helped load the art show hangings onto a truck in 20 degree weather. You went with the concomm to an off-site dead dog party. I returned to what was left of the con and hunted for Genie.
We ended up drinking in her room, exactly the scenario that I’d hoped for. I acted a little more drunk than I was and talked about Lars.
What I told Genie (and her tape recorder; I’d observed it at our first lunch) was the truth. Perhaps not the literal truth but the essence of the truth. I made it clear that Lars had thrown me aside in order to protect his own career. The details were simplified a bit.
I won’t disguise my intentions. I had given Genie blackmail material, and I expected her to use it. I’m sure that she would have, except that she waited too long.
Lars is dead, and Genie is dead. If there were a God, I would beg him to bring them both back to life. So that she could exercise the power that she held over him. So that he would have to surrender his great ambition.
If I could view their confrontation, as a camera or the proverbial fly on the wall, I would need nothing else to make my life happy!
My purpose was set in motion, which was enough to satisfy my soul for the moment. The morning after that Capricon, slightly hung over, I looked carefully into the mirror. All at once, I didn’t like the reflection. I knew where you were staying in Chicago and called. We drove back to St. Petersburg together, and you know most of the rest of the tale.
Let me fill in the parts that you may not know.
Whatever resentment I felt about your “stealing” Deno went away as soon as I learned more about him. He and I were not a match made in heaven (his or mine), and I’m grateful that you saved me from a fatal blunder.
Thus I came to Florida, determined to resume the life that Lars had interrupted. That wasn’t so easy as I had optimistically assumed. The blank on my resume was twice as long now and harder to explain away. I scraped along, better off, in objective terms, than before, but far more wretched, because I cared once again about the quality and quantity of food, clothing and shelter.
When the St. Petersburg Worldcon started to absorb your life, my first reactions were annoyance and jealousy. Fandom had ceased to interest me. When you suggested that we go to cons together, my standard tactic was to plead poverty and stay away.
Thus I saw little of the bidding effort. When you and I met for lunch, we talked less and less about fannish things. Your health was the dominating topic, naturally, since the anxiety attacks that had begun about the time of your divorce were becoming severe.
You told me your diagnosis and prescription, the first time that I had heard of Nardil. What I know about the drug, I learned from you. Thus you are responsible for my belief that only a truly massive overdose would endanger anybody’s life. Four or five tablets, you told me, would render the victim sleepy and disoriented for a day or so. You never mentioned special cases like people with heart problems. (Not that I knew about Lars’ heart, but, if you had bothered to give me complete information, I would have been more cautious.)
I had gone for months without taking notice of science fiction or fandom. Then, one Friday in April, you called, your voice charged with excitement, and invited me to breakfast the next morning at the Le Peep near your home. You wouldn’t say why it was important for us to meet, but the air was heavy with omens.
“Jody!” you shouted as soon as we saw each other. “We’re going to win!”
I needed a moment to divine what you were referring to.
“Washington’s dropping out of the bidding. A mundane convention preempted their facilities. That means I’m really going to be chairman of the Worldcon. I can’t believe it. I’m not even sure I want to.”
I offered congratulations, in the same spirit that one congratulates a friend who has added a long-sought stamp to her collection. While you burbled over your gooey bun and pancakes and I consumed a frittata, my thoughts were on the only Worldcon whose site interested me. I wondered whether Genie had sprung her surprise yet and visualized satisfying dialogues between her and Lars.
“Aren’t you going to give me any answer at all?” you asked when the check came, dragging me out of the world of daydreams.
“Answer? I’m sorry, Melisande. What’s the question?”
“You certainly are in another galaxy today. You don’t have a new boyfriend you haven’t told me about, do you? Anyway, what I asked was whether you’d be willing to be head of the finance division of the convention.”
“Why me?” I was genuinely puzzled.
“I trust you. I need somebody local for the position. And I know you have an accounting background.”
It was a few days before I accepted, with no ulterior motive except friendship. On reflection, I realized that chairing a Worldcon would squeeze many non-fannish interests out of your life. I didn’t care to be one of those casualties.
My employment situation was not improving. After many false starts, I got a job that had a modicum of promise, an entry level position in the accounting department at a faceless corporation. I entertained visions of climbing the corporate ladder, fantasizing all the way up to CFO. (Somehow, even in fantasies, I could never make it as far as Chairman of the Board.)
After a few months, my feet were reasonably secure on the ladder’s lowest rung. That’s when the company had a big reduction in force, carried out with less than velvet-glove tact. My own status wasn’t affected, but my morale certainly was. All sense of security evaporated. I worried constantly, and constant worry is no goad to efficiency. Particularly not when your bosses have been warned that every division must pay its way and that their jobs are on the line if they don’t maximize productivity.
Last March the pressure was nearing the explosion point. I had to escape somewhere, for however short a time. Lunacon was coming up, and I suddenly felt an urge to go. I’d be a whole continent away from Lars, so he wasn’t likely to be there. On the other hand, I might be able to gather some clues as to whether my vengeance was beginning to take hold.
The obstacle was that I was busted, flat broke and without a sou. The cheapest air fare to New York would gobble a week’s take home pay, and, even at the con rate, the hotel rooms were monstrously overpriced. (My gipsy days were definitely over; I had no desire to get free lodging by sacking out with some horny, overweight fan.)
So I borrowed from the Worldcon. We had a large cash balance, and all of our major expenses were almost two years away. If I paid back the loan with, say, ten percent interest, the convention would never miss it and would earn a better return than it was getting from the unimaginative certificates of deposits and money market funds that were its principal investment vehicles.
I knew that the arrangement couldn’t be formalized, because it would violate some of the technical rules relating to the con’s tax-exempt status. That’s why I never told you about it. You often instructed me not to trouble you with details that didn’t require an executive decision. So I didn’t.
The trip was distinctly the right idea. Lunacon is where I met Mark, the first man since Lars who had truly attracted me. I’d been out of love so long that I’d forgotten what love was like and why people fall into it. When the con was over, Mark didn’t want me to rush off. He had a week of vacation planned, during which he had planned to visit his parents. Now he gave his parents excuses and spent the week with me.
I called in sick at work. You were too busy with other matters to notice my absence. Later, when you learned about the trip, I claimed that Mark had paid for it. That fib is, I gather, part of the evidence against me, but it had no guilty purpose. I didn’t want to get into a discussion of the loan that I’d gotten from the con; that would only have added to your worries at a time when you had plenty to worry about.
The following Monday, I showed up at work, still under the enchantment of the week before. My boss summoned me into his office at nine fifteen, demanded evidence that my sick leave was due to bona fide illness and placed me on warning. A month later, I was out of a job.
Ostensibly, I was a victim of reorganization. The company promised an acceptable reference. If they kept that promise, I never saw any proof of it. I had twenty interviews and twenty rejections and ended up doing temporary work for an agency.
As my income fell below rent plus a starvation diet, the expenses of romance - phone bills and little presents and a couple of short weekends out of town and the like - had to be met. Those needs led to more loans. When Zephyrcon rolled around, I surveyed the situation and decided that I would borrow no more money after this one last trip. Mark and I were bound to start making housekeeping plans, and our joint income would be enough that I could repay what I owed.
On the Thursday before Zephyrcon, you told me that you had agreed to give Lars a copy of our convention’s financial records. I protested that they weren’t really in the right shape for outsiders to see, but you insisted.
The difficulty was this: I hadn’t recorded the loans on the books, so that you wouldn’t be confused if you happened to look them over. This meant that the accounts were not quite in balance, a fact that probably wouldn’t concern you unduly but would naturally trouble an accountant. I didn’t see why I should have to explain my transactions with the convention to Lars, and you hadn’t given me time or opportunity to put in balancing entries and rerun the accounting program. Indeed, you were in the office, standing over my shoulder, as I copied the data to a fresh disk.
When the copying was complete, I had an inspiration. While you were looking elsewhere, I typed “FORMAT A:”. The disk drive whirred, and I relaxed. Lars would receive an unreadable disk, for which he would no doubt blame your and my computer illiteracy. No matter. I’d promise him a fresh disk, to be waiting for him as soon as he returned from his vacation in Cancun.
Little did I comprehend that the disk that I had so casually reformatted was cursed. First, that writer attached himself to you and chivalrously arranged to make the data readable again. (I hope that his princess rewarded him handsomely.)  I was lucky enough to retrieve the repaired disk from the hotel’s front desk. Then I found out that your writer had kept a copy - which of course he had no right to do.
That is Milos Savoy’s share of blame for the tragedy. He was under no obligation to meddle.
Now I had to find a way to keep Lars from reviewing the data. I remembered what you had told me about the effects of a mild overdose of Nardil. If Lars fell ill for a day or two, until the start of his vacation, that would be sufficient. One thing that I was confident of was the his fiancée would not tolerate work on Worldcon finances during an erotic getaway.
Abstracting a few tablets from your purse, under cover of hunting for mascara, was simple. Administering them to Lars was the challenge. I’ve never believed mystery stories in which murderers drop pills into other people’s drinks. These tablets wouldn’t dissolve, and I doubted that Lars would carelessly swallow them with his wine.
The plan that I formulated was not pleasant. It meant intimacy with Lars, at which my flesh revolted, and a night’s separation from Mark. He and I had talked about starting Saturday evening with a cozy dinner. He’d hinted about discussing our future. I had to beg off with a tale about a last second invitation from local friends to whom I had unshakeable obligations. He took it badly.
Lars invited me to his room on the first intimation that I was willing. The process didn’t take long. He didn’t really try to prolong it. He must have thought that I had grown frigid.
To maintain the cover story that I had used on Mark, I left the hotel, intending to return in the wee hours of the morning, go directly to his bedroom and repair the damage that our relationship had suffered. As it happened, my chance to carry out that part of the plan never arrived. I haven’t seen or heard from Mark since, and nobody will give me news about what he is doing.
Actually, I hear little news about anything. It is as if the world had stopped moving in order to allow the doctors endless time to evaluate my psychological state. Between their examinations and my lawyer’s visits and the periods during which I am too depressed to think or act, I have written these pages, so that you, if you haven’t grown hopelessly prejudiced against me, will be able to understand my viewpoint on these sad events.
Lars did not have to die. Let me repeat that once more. And it was not my actions that truly caused his death. No, I was as much a victim as he was.
Melisande, you and your writer friend have much to answer for, both from Lars’ ghost and from mine. I mention his ghost, though I don’t believe in the supernatural. Lars visited me a few minutes ago, while I was writing the page before this one. He sat on the edge of my bed and gazed tenderly at me, never speaking a word
I returned his gaze until he faded away, yearning to embrace him one last time. Maybe I’ll have the chance. The doctors have prescribed Nardil for my depression, and I think that one of the attendants can be persuaded to let me have an occasional extra pill. Only one or two at a time. I’ll have to be patient.
Good night, Melisande. I forgive you.
- END -
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