VIRAL, a novel excerpt
I go home. I’m a danger to myself. I read PsychologyForToday.com and discover a new mind fuck called Fiction Depersonalization Syndrome, wherein the afflicted acts like she’s on a reality show, cameras trained on her at every second of the day. We act in our real lives for cameras that we’ve created in our heads. We don’t know reality anymore. We don’t know truth, only our own spin. The article makes my guts feel heavy. I think, I did that. Me. I did that to us. I chain-smoke and stalk Sam on Facebook. In her profile picture, she’s holding up a giant Swordfish, standing on the deck of some ghostly fishing vessel, a reality camera crew behind her, all holding their own swordfish. Her pea coat collar is popped and her lips are lush. I want to rip them off with my teeth and taste the salt of the ocean in her blood. When I piggyback my third cigarette, I realize I’ve been here too long.
I was having three different conversations, like a crazy person, the first time I met Sam, on season five of TRRL. As a Story Producer, I was responsible for orchestrating the Fiction Depersonalization you’re addicted to and for gently nudging cast members down the rabbit hole of the drama I made up. I was your dealer. I was the production company’s trap queen. Every night I needed two showers before bed, I was that dirty. When I met Sam, I was on the phone. My phone had become affixed to my right ear and on the other side I held a landline. Sometimes I said the wrong thing to the wrong person.