Saturday, November 19, 2005
But really, aren't we another year older every day?
It's been a rough few weeks for Telly. In truth, it's probably been a rough year, but I didn't see that. Or at least, I didn't really see it. I was an only child, my parents were older and I never really connected with them. On some level, I wonder if maybe I just don't get the whole close-knit family thing.
Yesterday was Michelle's birthday. Twenty-seven years on this chassis, although I think I look a bit younger. Of my three birthdays, it's the one that means the least to me. I'm fairly healthy, so the amount of wear and tear on this body isn't frequently on my mind. I'm thirty-one or two, depending on the context, but I'm only in my mid-twenties when I'm trying to make an impression. And I don't have any attachment to that date, no big events or chocolate cake or presents or lifetime spent writing it in forms.
But it means something to Telly. He's had cake and ice cream that day every year all his life. And now, after spending the last year slowly getting more and more freaked out by his sister not acting like she should, he discovers all this. And where he'd been worried before, now he's whatever comes two steps after that. I mean, before, he may have thought I was acting strangely, but I was doing okay; I had a decent job, was putting food on the table, had good friends, and wasn't going with someone who was abusive or didn't respect me. He could look at that and even if how I was living my life didn't make any sense to him, it seemed to be working. Now, he looks and sees I'm just his sister on the outside - well, mostly - and the part that remembers him and must love him is halfway around the world, in some other body with who knows what going down for the past two years.
He came by the apartment last night, with a birthday present. Not much, a little necklace with a frog-shaped charm on it. Kind of cute. Michelle liked frogs, he said. Not for the whole enchanted prince deal, but for the starting out as one thing but outgrowing it, for being cute when they jump. It was her thing. He bought it a month ago, figuring that maybe if he gave it to me, I'd acknowledge... I don't know, that I was still his sister and stop playing around.
It's cute. I'm not a jewlery person, but I wouldn't mind wearing it on a day when I had to dress up a bit. And it's thoughtful. I feel like a complete heel for not being the person who would really love it and have it mean something to me. So I had him wrap it back up, and told him that I was sure Agent Jones and his team would find Michelle really soon, and then he could give it to her. Or him, as the case might be.
Then we drank. Probably not the most sensible course of action, but it was one of those situations where there weren't many better options. He slept on the couch. Still is, actually.
We really need to find his sister.
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
It would be cool to only have one thing going at once
I like only having one "project" going at a time. I've always tried to live my life that way, especially my first life. If I'm looking for a new apartment, I don't like also looking for a new job. If I'm putting in a whole bunch of hours at the office, no need to also be hitting the bars trying to pick up girls/guys (depending on who has the complementary sex organs at the time). Heck, I let magazines pile up until I finish a book.
This makes me procrastinate, especially if the second project isn't really a process I enjoy. I mention this because I just got a call about a job interview, and for some trivial amount of time - just seconds, really, but enough to show up as hesitation on a phone call - I thought of saying "thanks, but I've got too much on my plate as it is." My excuse would be the whole "Michelle showing up online" thing.
Which is stupid. The Feds are doing all the heavy lifting there; all I'm doing is being very, very interested in what they find out. But I'm lazy, and I hate interviews, so I've been severely slacking off in terms of even looking for new opportunities. I could use the money and the challenge, but I don't like interviewing. I never liked it, but my recent experiences have been extremely not-cool, and any excuse is a good one to get out of it.
I was about to make excuses, when the HR type on the other end mentioned that it was one of those "bounty" situations, where the company offers their employees a couple hundred bucks if they recommend someone who gets hired. And, apparently, the person who recommended me is one "Carter Drummond".
So, I emailed them a copy of my current résumé. Don't know if it'll get me an interview, but I figure that there's a chance they might at least be open to my wacky history if they've already got Carter on the payroll.
Sunday, November 13, 2005
I sort of had to meet this girl
I could have happily done without meeting Michelle's old friends and classmates, but I sort of felt I owed it to them. I mean, there they were, just happily living their lives in peace, and then, WHAM!, here comes the FBI, asking if they can look at some of your emails because they've got an interest in any information having to do with Michelle Garber's whereabouts - and this despite the fact that Shelley probably never did anything worse than stealing boyfriends.
Besides, those friends got together and compared notes - Telly's saying that Michelle is living in Boston under another name and acting crazy, while other folks are saying that they're receiving emails from her about living abroad. Some confusion is understandable even without the government getting involved.
At first, Special Agent Jones and the others really didn't want me talking to them at all, which was OK, but pretty soon after they looked at the emails that Monica had forwarded to Telly, the others got organized and asking what this investigation was about. It couldn't be missing persons, because Telly knew where Michelle was, and even with the Patriot Act, the Feds were having a hard time getting warrants to examine computers; their friendly judges weren't going to do this without a crime.
So, I met up with Telly, Carter, and a couple FBI guys to take a trip up to New Hampshire yesterday to talk to Michelle's old friend. Which was... weird. We knocked on the door, and this girl sees me, squeals, and gives me a hug like I'm her long-lost best friend. Then comes the explaining that I'm not her long-lost best friend, that I've got her body, but my mind spent its first thirty years in the skull of that handsome fellow over there. That her friend, or at least the part that remembers her and wears earrings and bought an N Sync CD at some point has been bounced from body to body, spending months in a comatose man before being switched into a teenage goth girl and then lost when that girl went to Europe and came back with someone else inside.
She doesn't believe me, of course, and starts looking around for hidden cameras and the like, but Telly says it looks like it's the truth, that he didn't believe it either, but he's been living in Boston all year and even though "Marti" has been cool to him because being a blood relative does mean something, there's too much that doesn't fit any other way - and the Federal Agents are for real; check the badges, call the Boston Field Office.
She does, it's true, and she faints. She actually faints. Agent Jones has to catch her, set her down on the sofa, and have his partner go get some smelling salts from the car. Then she kind of starts pulling into a ball, not wanting to be near me. Fair reaction, I guess, but it hurts a little. She doesn't have any trouble with Carter, but then, she didn't know Carter 1.0 or Martin 1.0, so she can kind of put the whole mind-switching thing out of her mind when dealing with him. She lets Jones and his partner, who is apparently a computer crime specialist, take a look at her computer, and makes calls to the other people who have been receiving emails, saying to let the Feds look at their machines, and don't make them bring me up to demonstrate why - it's too creepy. As I said, it stings.
We both watch Agent Reis from opposite corners. There's apparently some malware that came with the emails, but that's not suspicious in and of itself - it's not exaclty a high-end ISP she's using. Reis asks if Monica has any old emails from Michelle for comparison, but Monica tells her she doesn't. Jones asks about the information in the emails, and Monica says there are lots of things she doesn't think anybody else knows.
At the end of the day, we don't all hug and go out for dinner together, but everyone seems convinced that these emails are for real
Which is exciting and scary. I've been worried about her, thinking that maybe she was just killed as a loose end or something. It's good to know she's still around. I do worry about what she might think about how I've been living her life, though.