Friday, August 13, 2021

Crazy (Patsy Cline)


Several years ago I dated George Washington. His mother named him after a founding father hoping he would do great things. At first, I thought the name was appropriate as George was a rising star criminal lawyer who quoted Thomas Paine, loved the opera and prided himself on his knowledge of Shakespeare.

The name was where any similarity ended. George Washington the president could not tell a lie, but my ex George could not tell the truth. While I could not speak to George’s abilities in the courtroom he had the lying part down pat. Classics include but are not limited to: telling people he went to The University of Michigan when he went to Michigan State, claiming he was a studio musician with The Violent Femmes and Detroit Cobras, waxing nostalgic about a storied semi-pro boxing career, sleeping with three famous actresses (famous outside of the US but too famous for the worldwide web), and finally, telling people Jimmy Hoffa was his dad’s godfather.

After three months, while I was willing to give him half credit for the boxing career as he wore boxing shorts, George’s vivid imagination became too much to handle. After a huge fight because he told yet another fibaruski, George and I broke up.

I was sad as George was sweet, smart and looked good on paper, but being with a compulsive liar was kicking up every trust issue I had. The lies still continued to reveal themselves after we broke up. George had claimed to have written a song about me. One day, while listening to the radio, I had discovered Snow Patrol had actually recorded it. Feeling I deserved someone who could tell the truth and who’s constant garbage didn’t stink up my life, I put George’s memory on the curb.

Enter Lizzy Nebowicz. Tall and angular, Lizzy was a musical theatre drop out and aspiring standup comedian who worked the door at a venue where I was a regular. A long Islander who still lived with her parents and took the train to the city, Lizzy wore flannels sans makeup, smoked pot, and performed a pale imitation of a Carlin-esque act where she boasted of a teenage shoplifting conviction and drug experimentation. While her jokes got laughs, the content was hardly original and blended in with every would be edgy lady comic. If anything, Lizzy’s street persona was a mere put on for the 21 year old lost follower.

Offstage Lizzy was affable, friendly, and was a welcome sight at a venue riddled with behind the scenes drama. One day I said to Lizzy, “Find me on facebook and let’s do coffee. I like you.”

“You too,” Lizzy said, “It’s tough to find girls that arent petty bitches.” After that, we high fived rocking out to Nirvana as the club janitor put up the chairs.

Lizzy never found me on facebook and I let it slip from my mind as life became a busy mix of singing telegrams, other survival jobs, road dates doing comedy, first drafts of manuscripts, lovers coming and going, roommates coming and going and my brother’s wedding.

That is, until Valentine’s Day when I got to the club and my $100 poster and $50 post cards were gone. I worked three jobs to pay for those things, and had worked even harder to promote the show running my immune system down. My posters also helped with foot traffic which was at times fifty percent of my audience.

Kirk, the club manager, who was usually a hard ass, contrary to his nature reimbursed me for my stolen posters and post cards in cash. Uncharacteristically apologetic, Kirk not only promised it wouldn’t happen again, but as a good will token booked me in the big room where the national headliners performed, an honor for a little fledging who looked up to those folks.

As my show for my five audience wrapped, Lizzy arrived at the club. Instead of her normal self, Lizzy looked like a shell of a human. Blotchy face and puffy eyes, Lizzy looked like she had been crying. Valentine’s Day was the day for love but the day for loss, so I decided to say hi and to comfort my friend. Lizzy responded by letting out a yelp and running away as if she had seen Godzilla. I scratched my head, what the hell had just happened?

In the back I could hear Kirk tearing into Lizzy who sobbed like an injured animal, “I don’t care if you are dating an asshole. You destroyed property and cost me money! I want to see you succeed. Do it again and you are fired, understand?!” No wonder she was upset, she was having a crappy day. Yeesh.

I didn’t connect the dots as Kirk was usually melodramatic, and painstakingly planned my March show. The show date arrived, and I saw my post cards and posters were stolen yet again, and Kirk apologized and reimbursed me for a second time. I also heard Lizzy had been fired, but Kirk fired people constantly. Shortly thereafter he hired her back, but this was typical Kirk.

I decided to take a break from producing the next month as not only had my things been thrown away by an anonymous hater, but busting my butt to perform for five people two months in a row was disheartening, especially when I was being sabotaged. Plus I had scheduled a trip to the beach with my family.

When I got back from vacation, I ran into Benny, a mutual friend of George’s and mine. Truth is, until I saw Benny I hadn’t thought about George in so long that I barely remembered his last name.

Giving me a long hug on the street that seemed to last an eternity, Benny said, “April! What a pleasant surprise! Hannah and I would have loved to have had you at our wedding!”

 “Then why didn’t you invite me?” Benny had talked about his wedding to Hannah, his NYU Law School sweetheart, constantly. Even to strangers.

Benny struggled to form the words, “We thought it would be too hard.”

“We’re friends and I want to see you happy. Why would it have been too hard?” Now I was confused. Although we hadn’t spoken in sometime, Benny and I had remained friends after I parted with George.

“George said you were so distraught over the breakup that you tried to kill yourself,” Benny said. Shocked and flabbergasted at this ridiculous claim, I burst out laughing. Sure, the year and a half leading up to this was filled with struggle and getting my teeth kicked in more times than I could count, but I would be Goddamned if I gave up. It was also a relief to leave that relationship.

I said, “Benny, honey, sweety, tell George the only place I was distraught was his dreams. So while I did not try to commit suicide, George’s credibility just did.”

Benny said, “April, just so you know, George has a new girlfriend?”

“Is she real or made up just like his cancer was?” Shortly after we broke up George was facing discipline from the legal board for trying to punch a colleague. He told everyone he had cancer, but in six weeks he had been cured, curiously in enough time to save his legal license.

“April, no need to get bitter….”

“Bitter! The ass hat lied about having cancer and just tried to kill me off!”

“True, but the girlfriend is real. I met her and she’s also a comedian and she knows you,” Benny said.

“What’s her name?” I said, curious to know who this broken creature was.

“Only met her once. I think it’s something like Julie but I know that’s wrong. She’s real young, like 21 or something….”

While I knew I should have cared less, morbid curiosity had gotten the best of me. Going home, I logged onto facebook and went to George’s profile. He was in a relationship with guess who? Lizzy Nebowicz. I thought my head was going to explode. First he has to rebound by dipping his dick in my pond. Second, I knew I was looking at the girl who ripped down my posters. Now everything made sense. Maybe George had lied about me trying to kill myself, but if I saw these two in person I swore to God I would murder them both!

I was livid, but my friends tried to talk me down. One pointed out perhaps George had changed, but if so why was his girlfriend destroying my property? Others told me I had no proof, but sometimes a woman’s intuition is all the proof you need, especially when the man involved is a walking shit pickle. The majority of my social circle assured me that Lizzy had George which was punishment enough and I should just work hard, ignore the ass hats, and soldier on like I always did. Instead of picking up a felony I chose to do the latter.

I wanted to move on to a bigger venue, but Kirk reeled me back in by pleading that he needed content and by personally promising that my stuff would not be stolen. Kirk, despite his flaws, was a man of his word. Not wanting to risk Lizzy’s moods, I invested in a simple $20 poster in case it ended up in the trash.

When I arrived at the club to drop off my poster, I discovered Kirk had sent me a text. His father, a movie theatre mogul, had a heart attack. Kirk needed to drop everything and head to Jersey. Like Cerberus at the gates of Hades, Lizzy there to greet me.

Not in the mood, I eyed the back entrance. Too late. Smiling like she was about to kill herself and take six people with her, Lizzy ran up to me and gave me a long hug. Picking me up, Lizzy twirled me around giving me the easily some of the most terrifying ten seconds of my life “April, I missed you!!!!”

“Missed you too,” I said, as Lizzy set me down, my head still spinning from the unwanted twirling and surreal experience.

 “We need to have that coffee and talk about boys!” Lizzy said jumping up and down, her unwarranted excitement coming from no where.

“Speaking of boys, you seeing anyone?” I knew the answer to that.

Lizzy now swayed nervously, “Yes, a lawyer in Queens!”

“I was seeing one of those too. Lied like the sun came up. But it’s probably not the same guy,” I said, hoping to plant it in her head the next time she felt like destroying my things. While I could tell she knew she had been caught, I also pitied her as George was the best she thought she could do. I didn’t want George back, but I wanted to work and mind my own business so right now I had to stand my ground.

 “Yeah. But seriously, we need to get that coffee and talk about boys!” As she spoke her tone mellowed which made me second guess myself. Maybe I was overreacting and George had changed after all.

“It was weird, you never hug your man’s ex,” I said to Sally-my palm reader friend-as we both shared a cigarette on her stoop.

Sally said, “April, she was hugging you because she wanted to strangle you. And she trashed your posters because he still talks about you. And she is going to take them again.”

“Kirk promised…..”

 “Hell hath no fury like a jealous woman. You don’t have to be a psychic to see that,” Sally took a puff of her cigarette, “April, you want out of there anyway. This place annoys you and pays you shit to begin with. You have better things coming. Just cancel the date now and move on.  I’m tired of hearing about those assholes.”

Sally was right. Two days later, I found out from an inside source my poster had been trashed again. I scratched the date fibbing about being double booked. Kirk however had seen the poster in the trash and fired Lizzy. While the hands of justice made me happy, I had also gotten another opportunity that would serve me better in the long run. All and all, this was for the best.

George and Lizzy became an after thought until one night I was walking down the street. George looking shriveled and tortured like a gremlin who had given up on life, skulked behind Lizzy who was wearing a dress that resembled a garbage bag. Pulling him along as he dragged his feet, the coupling resembled a man being marched to the gas chamber rather than two people in love. I tried not to snicker, but this was karma in all it’s splendor.

Later that year, I filmed for My Strange Addiction with my puppets. As a result I got a job hosting a web show, was cast in a horror movie, got the chance to model, record music, and had international magazines interviewing me. As fan mail from all over the globe poured in, I had my pick of future ex husbands and ex wives from all over the world. George again became a blip on the radar.

That is, until I logged onto facebook Lizzy appeared on my feed. Instead of the mousy brunette or badly dyed whatever, Lizzy was my exact color of blonde, which would have been a lot of expensive salon visits to get to. Unlike the woman I had known previously, Lizzy who never wore makeup, was now wearing Sephora shades similar to mine. This didn’t strike me as odd as performers change their look, especially at the urging of managers, all the time. Lizzy was also kickboxing and auditioning for reality TV, again performers go on trendy fitness kicks and reality TV was a quick way on TV. Then I I saw Lizzy signed up for a puppetry class. This was single white female come to life!

Whenever I posted a video on facebook, Lizzy would post one of her own within the hour. One day I posted two and Lizzy did the same. While her singing voice was better than mine, it creeped me out that she was watching my every move. She had her own talents, why couldn’t she just focus on those? When the platinum was growing out of my hair, I low lit. Within a day, Lizzy proceeded to low light her hair, too.

Some friends thought I should be flattered and told me my “psycho girl stalker” officially made me famous. Others suggested I strip naked, shave my head, smear myself in chocolate, and run down the street screaming to see if she would do the same. I needed the laughs, but it was also apparent Lizzy was deeply disturbed.

Through the grapevine, I heard George, was telling people he was the infamous fiancĂ© from My Strange Addiction, the one who made me choose him or the puppets. George would lament that my love for ventriloquism ruined our relationship, but he was proud of me and had become a fan. My friend Rick said, “April, correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t your ex-fiance a different asshole?”

Yes, Rick was right. My ex-fiance was a different asshole, but asshole George was gaslighting Lizzy and now she was sucking me into their codependent abyss. More sad and pathetic than anything, I gradually got better at ignoring her.

Shortly thereafter, George moved Lizzy into his Queens pad and got her a cat. Once cohabitated, Lizzy announced on facebook aspirations to teach high school English, and then plans to attend law school and clerk for Justice Ginsberg. While this was shocking for someone who bragged of never attending college, studying or reading, Lizzy was focusing on positive goals and leaving me alone and that’s all that mattered.

That fall, I released I Came, I Saw, I Sang: Memoirs of a Singing Telegram Delivery Girl. This meant being profiled by Mensa, signing at Brown University, and pitching my ideas to network TV. These opportunities were hard won after writing the first draft the two summers before in an apartment without air conditioning coupled with endless hours of revising that I thought would surely kill me.

One day, after submitting a writing packet to an editor, I got a call from a blocked number. I ignored it figuring it was spam, but the number called again and again. Figuring it might have been in regards to my writing packet, I picked up. A woman’s voice on the other end screamed, “STAY AWAY FROM MY BOYFRIEND, POLLY POCKET!”

Immediately recognizing the voice I said, “Better Polly Pocket than Lizzy Borden, Lizzy.” CLICK.

Like the alien monster the crew thought they slayed, Lizzy had not in fact died but was back for the sequel. Recommitted to her resentment towards me, Lizzy created a blog of her own. Using her virtual blank canvass, Lizzy penned angry poetry directed at me. According to Lizzy, I was her sworn “psychotic enemy.” She ranted about how I was mean, told lies about her, tried to break her and George up, lacked talent and was delusional in regards to my goals. I would say the poetry sounded like it was written by Lex Luther, but Lex Luther’s understanding of rhyme would have been better, metaphors more original and he definitely would have used spell check.

Lizzy, not wanting to limit herself merely to poorly written poetry, branched out into the personal essay. Opining about the pain of being bullied as a teenager, struggling with her weight and battling cystic acne, the words sounded so familiar it was as if they were mine. Then I realized they were, because Lizzy had plagiarized my work!

Part of me wanted to beat the hell out of her, as plagiarism is a capitol crime in the writing world. I also wondered why she couldn’t write about her own shitty life, I mean she did sleep next to George every night. Ranting about her as I always did my friend Sally said, “April, block her now, she is making you as crazy as she is. And you are becoming just as obsessed with her as she is with you, and you are making yourself sick over this bullshit person and that’s what she wants,”my friend Sally told me.

“But that bitch is trying to pass my work off as her own!”

“Let her. She can’t write, she’s a marginal singer, and she looks terrible trying to be you. Lizzy is better than any joke you could ever write,” Sally said.

Taking Sally’s advice I blocked Lizzy. Redoubling her efforts to cause chaos, Lizzy told anyone who would listen that I was “a mentally ill drama queen” who cyber bullied her because I was jealous of her relationship with George. Lizzy also claimed that I had plagiarized her work in parts of I Came, I Saw, I Sang. Those who knew me knew this was ridiculous as I was guilty of being married to my work and had little time for flimsy flame wars. Even people who disliked me would give me that. However, Lizzy successfully managed to manipulate those who had either only known me in passing or had never met me at all. I had people confronting me in person or sending me nasty messages online, and each time I said, “I have no idea what a Lizzy Nebowicz is.”

I was going high, but Lizzy, being the ultimate succubus, was determined to drag me right down to her hellish level. Posting a comedy sketch she had filmed with her friends on a site she knew I trafficked, a character named April, described as “a fame whore,” had was jumped and beaten up junior high style by Lizzy and a group of girls. I reported the video and it was taken down. However, Lizzy had crossed the line from shrill annoyance to dangerous stalker.

I had repeated nightmares that Lizzy broke into my apartment to kill me. My stomach began to have issues and I could barely keep food down. On the street I feared running into her, so I found myself snapping at strangers. Focusing at work became a challenge because her harassment was sucking all my mental energy. I was being bullied, it wasnt fair and I was honestly scared of this woman.

I had worked hard and was reaping the rewards, yet I was always having to apologize to this real life gorgon who’s mental state was threadbare. Instead of ending her dysfunctional relationship with George, the thing actual causing her pain, I had become the scapegoat. Sick and tired, I took to my blog, a place I knew she compulsively visited, and let this boundary allergic chicklet know the next time she tried to contact me for any reason I would make sure she broke out into handcuffs.

I found out through the ever open gossip channels what triggered Lizzy’s latest burst of fury was George was growing unhappy in their relationship because Lizzy refused to work, drank all day and terrorized him nightly when he got home. As a result of the stress from Lizzy’s behavior, George developed migraines and a twitch. I couldn’t feel bad for him because he had created this monster. Desperate for better times, George was vocal, saying he wished he had been better to me because maybe his life would be different. An avid reader, George purchased a copy of I Came, I Saw, I Sang. Lizzy of course found it and went ape shit.

 Interestingly enough, I was not the only ex of George’s that Lizzy harassed either. One-a law school sweetheart of George’s who at the time was clerking for Ruth Bader Ginsberg-wrote Lizzy a cease and desist letter. Another, a high school English teacher in Lansing, was so upset that her husband called George angrily and threatened to drive to New York to shoot him if Lizzy ever contacted his wife again. While Lizzy’s ability to multi-task was impressive, it sucked to know I was no longer special.

Shortly after I put my foot down via blogosphere, George decided to commit to Lizzy for real in a surprise wedding ceremony at the courthouse. This took Lizzy off of all of our collective hands thus ensuring peace and quiet in all the land. As an added bonus, Lizzy abandoned all of her literary endeavors which was a victory for all humankind.

Lizzy and George left NYC and moved to his uncle’s pig farm outside of Dallas. He no longer practices law and plays guitar while Lizzy sings live in bars local bars. George manages Lizzy, so George might just get the music career after all, and Lizzy gets to use a gift that her own. To pay bills between gigs they shovel manure on the farm, which means they are both knee deep in mutual shit, but the most important things is these soul mates are doing it together.