Sunday, February 11, 2007

Breaking Scandal

At a party yesterday evening (happy birthday, S. and E!), Pretty Lady was shocked to discover that a former client of hers has succumbed to a Life of Crime. There appears to be little doubt; the lady has Disappeared, after accepting cash advances upon the alleged sublet of her New York apartment, from two or three different individuals. Her downstairs neighbors interviewed the hapless would-be subletters themselves.

Pretty Lady can only imagine the panic and desperation that led to such an extreme action. The lady in question is a rather well-known journalist; her career is undoubtedly toast, even should she have the chutzpah to go the Jayson Blair route, and publish a memoir of her criminal escapade. Moreover, as soon as she telephones her editor, this editor will be morally compelled to Turn Her In.

She is undoubtedly in South America by now; by Pretty Lady's calculations, the maximum cash she could have obtained under the sublet pretext is roughly $20K. This sum will last her four to five years in South America, if carefully husbanded in the proper economy. What will she do then? Being unable to earn a dime under her professional name, or to take advantage of the career contacts she spent so many years accruing?

Obviously, she will have to assume an Alternate Identity. Pretty Lady, being an aficionado of Thomas Perry novels, has some notions of how this is to be done. She must obtain a false passport, or other form of identification, and construct an identity around it. She must obtain credit cards in this name. She must alter her hairstyle, and other signature elements of her personal appearance. She must find a new career, one that is not remotely connected with journalism. Perhaps she could go into healthcare, or ecology, and work with blind children in the rainforests.

It is a terrible pity that the lady did not get in touch with Pretty Lady before disappearing. She could have provided herself with some useful contacts, South of the Border, and some grounding words of caution. Such as, do you really think this is a good idea? Really?

But, sadly, Pretty Lady suspects that the root of the problem was simple bashfulness, as well as a dearth of familial support network. It is a terrible thing, to be a bashful journalist. It makes one's row exceptionally difficult to hoe. It causes one to hole up in one's unpaid-for New York apartment, growing increasingly desperate in one's isolation, as one's bank account drops inexorably into the red.

Pretty Lady's heart bleeds, of course, for the persons who are now out several thousand dollars, and have no place to live. But her heart bleeds equally for her erstwhile client. Oh, what a tragic world we live in.

P.S.: When subletting an apartment in New York City, make sure to get a working key and a written contract BEFORE handing over the cash. Duh.

P.P.S.: The apartment is still vacant.


Anonymous said...

Actually this is not as difficult as you might imagine. As you are aware, identity theft is the new black in white-collar crime, so anyone versed in the arts of credit card fraud should have little difficulty obtaining a series of new temporary personas. Of course, a certain amount of acting is necessary, as well as fluency in the local language of your destination.

I had more to offer here but I redacted it for the sake of operational security - should it become necessary it would be unwise to post even one avenue of escape on the Internet. Suffice it to say that the porosity of our southern border is breathtaking, and given the osmosis of criminal elements moving to points north, I applaud any criminal elements that wish to take up residence south of Nuevo Laredo.


Pretty Lady said...

should it become necessary it would be unwise to post even one avenue of escape

Crom, I have given this some consideration, and have concluded that if I, personally, needed to disappear, it would be more than usually difficult. I, as Uma Thurman once said, am a bit of a Sore Thumb. I am also a creature of deeply entrenched habit, and signally strong values and personality. Wherever I went in the world, I'd be that...well, people would point me out in a crowd.

My best recourse then, I believe, is to keep hiding in plain sight, and trust to the grace of God to keep me safe.

Anonymous said...

I have never seen you, so I don't know how much you project out into the world, but your studies in yoga and energy healing should have you familiar with aura projection. I was taught to draw myself in, and to blend myself with the environment. Despite being over six feet tall, I often like have fun with receptionists that are reading at their desks. I will stand in front of them, sometimes for a minute or more, and then they look up and are invariably startled. I also enjoy standing behind people who don't hear my approach, and watch them jump when they suddenly realize they are no longer alone. I don't make a lot of noise when I walk, and to have someone as big as me get next to you without you knowing it is disconcerting to a lot of people, and an endless source of mirth for myself. However, when I want to I can enter a room and draw all but the most distracted persons' attention without making noise or speaking.

Presence is something you can cultivate, and project or draw in as needed. If you were in a situation where you needed to be invisible, I would bet that with concentration you could reverse your polarity and instead of being a sore thumb become as ephemeral as fog. At the very least, the exercise would be a test of your skills.


Desert Cat said...

Fascinating, Crom. I might have to practice this back and forth some.

I used to be able to draw myself in to near psychic invisibility. Projecting outward would be more of a challenge for me, but I know I can do it.

Anonymous said...

Desert Cat,

I know I have never come close to psychic invisibility, if that is even possible. However, I have met some people who are so anonymous that you could literally sit next to them on the train into work every day and never notice that it was the same person. Part of it's distraction, some of it's this drawing in of your aura and personality, and some of it's simply good tradecraft. I am not an expert, not at all - just adept enough to do what I need to, or scare the occasional secretary. =D


Pretty Lady said...

Very interesting. After considering the matter, I suspect that I got into the habit of projecting a very large aura, ironically as a means of self-defense. When you grow up around people who are determined to treat you as either invisible or odd, you get into the habit of being very visibly odd. I now think that when I'm feeling insecure, I project such a presence in compensation that the space clears for five feet around me on all sides.

Maybe I should work on toning it down a bit...

And that secretary trick is a teensy bit mean. You watch it. My ex-boyfriend got his kicks out of manipulating people into jumping in the water naked at Coney Island on New Years' Eve; I now regard too much exultation in the abuse of one's superpowers as a Red Flag.

Crom said...

Sigh, I have been beflagged.

Superpowers might not really be a good description, it's not like I can Force-choke people from a distance or shoot purple lightning from my fingertips so any Imperial ambitions I might have had were DOA.

As for the Coney Island thing, was it merely good salesmanship that led the people to a watery auld lang syne or was it something more sinister, like an involuntary trance induction?

Although you cannot see the wolfish grin on my face, take my word that the secretaries - despite my "superpowers" - do indeed like me.

Pretty Lady said...

It was straightforward psychological manipulation tactics. That guy was a great one for carefully engineered 'spontaneity,' as well as for habitually saying one thing and doing the opposite, so as to keep all of his personal relationships in a state of precarious uncertainty, and allow himself a legalistic bolt-hole, which he used suddenly and without warning.


It is a firm familial contention, however, that all of us have superpowers. They may not be flashy, but they are unique, and can be used for good or ill.

Desert Cat said...

I was an extremely shy child, so making myself unnoticeable was a useful defense mechanism. I never got as good as I wanted to though, to completely avoid the bullies.