Yohannon (yohannon) wrote,

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Process of Elimination - Part One

Okay boys and girls, it's time to reveal the first "TRUE" statement, as listed in my "Liar, Liar..." post. I've decided that the stories behind each of the statements are too much fun to condense -- besides, this way people will have a chance to decide which ones are true from the remaining list.

Item number 1: "As a result of a frame up job, I was interviewed by the secret service for threatening the life of the President of These United States (as opposed to the Other United States, I imagine...)"

(drum roll please!)


While dragonwitchling correctly points out I would never stoop to threatening the Shrub (or indeed any president, however heinous), she missed the part where I said that it was a frame. A pretty shoddy frameup at that.

That story dates back to my Junior year in college, when the Shrubs father was still veep to Ronnie Raygun, and the Shrub himself was still snorting the Devil's Dandruff in the great state of Texas.

I had managed to create a schedule that kept all my Friday's completely free, which allowed me to party pretty strenuously the Thursday before. As a result of one such debauch I was trying to sleep in that particular Friday, only the damn phone kept ringing. Since the apartment I was in shared a phone, this meant I had to get up every 30 minutes, trudge into the living room, and try to sound coherent and write down messages. During these dark ages we didn't have voicemail, and even answering machines were a luxury that most students couldn't afford... or at least we didn't prioritize them very highly. In other words, we were spending our "spare" dough on beer and drugs.

After the last call I answered I decided that disconnecting the phone would be a good idea, as I was ready to throw it out/through a window. I crawled back into bed, pulled the covers over my head...

... only to have someone knock on the damned door.

Life really IS a sitcom, sometimes.

Anyway, I resigned myself to being long suffering, walked to the door, and opened it. It was one of the Public Safety dudes I knew, "Ranger Tom" (the outfits they made PS wear looked a lot like ranger outfits, and his name was Tom). To say this guy was easy going was an understatement -- he had a rep for being incredibly cool, and I, for one, trusted him not to over-react to anything. So I was a bit taken aback to see him look so... serious.

He told me that they wanted me in the dean of students office. Since I had dealings there a few months earlier (I'll get to that in a bit... it's actually relevant) I had this sinking feeling in my stomach. I told him I would be right there... and he said he had to take me there himself. This wasn't looking so good.

I got a jacket, tried to look as presentable as someone who hadn't had enough sleep after partying can look, and went with him. Back then my hair was halfway down my waist, which I tended to tie back. I wore an old Army jacket (I think Jen got it after the breakup) and ratty jeans... pretty much the only pair I had. I didn't think anything of it -- the Dean knew me, and was pretty tolerant of my sartorial non-splendiferousness.

We got to the offices (some old traditional buildings that were a part of the property before SUNY Purchase had been built), and he walked me up, and I got my first inkling that something Very Weird was going on. In the receptionist area outside the deans office, sat... the Dean. Which was all wrong. Why wasn't she IN the office, being intimidating and all?

The answer was that there was already someone in there, out intimidating the dean. There were two people, so incredibly well dressed my first thought was "oh-oh...lawyers". Then one of them asked if I was John Halbig... after I said it was, he identified himself as an agent of the Secret Service... as was the woman.

Now, I'm normally the picture of utter confusion on a good day, so this sent me to a special place that seems almost idyllic to me nowadays. They started asking me these odd questions, like, had I ever written anyone in the government (uh, yeah... I was in college, I was pretty certain I had written my congresscritter at least once), had I ever written the president (uh, no... why would I? While the president is an obvious focus, it's usually congress that gets things done... at least that's what I thought then as a complete political naif)...

Finally, they show me this letter, written on what had to be one of the manual typewriters in the library, that was essentially a veiled threat against the president... as in "you better watch out or someone will take a shot at you" kind of wording. It not only had my name and address on it, but my social security number, my HOME address, and just enough warped fact to make it seem almost plausible it was sent by me.

I really wish I had a picture of my face when I saw that letter. Aside from the fact that I hadn't written it, it was almost an insult: The writing was awful, the facts skewed (it claimed that I was "angry because I couldn't get my medication" because of Regan's budget cuts, which I pointed out wasn't true... I was covered under my sperm donor's insurance until I was 21), and didn't even have an attempt at a signature. The killer was that at that point I *never* used the manual typewriters any more... I had full access to the computer labs, complete with dot matrix printers.

After about 20 minutes I could almost feel the focus move off of me like a spotlight, having spotted, moving on. That's when they asked me who COULD have written the letter.

I was about to answer negatively, when it hit me.

Remember I said I had dealings with the dean recently? Well, it was because of a problem I was having with someone I had "rescued" many months earlier. There was this girl... Lisa... who was being harassed by this harmless schmuck, Louis. He was just being friendly, really, except she was painfully shy and afraid to tell Louis to leave her alone. Mary, a mutual friend, asked me to talk to Louis and ask him to back off.

As it turns out I had the opportunity to do that one day in the hallway, where the woman was trying to make herself one with a wall as Louis chatted her up. I chased him off, apologized to her for his behavior... and wound up being stuck with a stalker.

I didn't know that's what it was called then, but she developed this thing for me that was... well, uncomfortable. She was kind of pudgy, and maybe even kind of cute... but beyond that, nothing. She started leaving me gifts in my mailbox, notes slipped under my door, and so on.

It was starting to creep me out, so I asked her to back off... that's when the rumors started. Just really twisted stuff involving sexual escapades that not only weren't true, they were demonstrably not true. Several of them allegedly occurred when I was with my Dungeon and Dragons group, spending hours going over character minutiae.

I finally had to tell her to stay out of my life (I admit I was *trying* to be nice... and wound up being smeared), and things seemed to quite down... then the really UGLY rumors began to surface.

That's where the Dean came in: She called me in to talk to me about the stories that she had been spreading, not coming right out and saying, but pretty much hinting that I had raped her.

By the end of that meeting she told me she was going to tell Lisa to "put up or shut up": Either register a complaint or stop spreading rumors. The rumors stopped, and that was the last I heard about it. At least, until then.

I reluctantly admitted that there was a possible suspect, and gave her up. Even then I didn't want her to get into trouble... but this was so far beyond the pale, I knew I had to do something.

All in all I was in there for 30, maybe 40 minutes. I found out later they caught up with her while she did typesetting in the school newspaper's office ("The Load"... loved that paper!) and spent *90* minutes with her. It even made the paper later, under the headline "Bonzo's Gonzos Invade Purchase".

I think I would have been a lot less charitable if I had known that, at the same time I was being interviewed, my MOTHER was receiving a visit from another two agents on Long Island. Not knowing my status, they made me sound like another Jodi Foster fan freak to her. That took me an hour or two on the phone to talk her down later.

So, I was pretty much cleared, and as far as I know Lisa was never charged with any crime. As unnerving an experience as it was, I almost never had the chance to clear my name: Apparently the only reason they were there was because Daddy Shrub was due to give some sort of speech in Westchester. Otherwise I could have had that filed in some sort of special drawer somewhere under "dangerous wackos" or some such.

Lisa? Last I heard she wound up a paralegal somewhere in Manhattan. A bit of a relief, actually... She was majoring in psych at college.
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