1x02 - incorporeal girlfriend

CHARLOTTE:

Hello Violet Beach! Charlotte Cranor-Liu here to keep informing the general public–or, the not-general not-public–about how terrible everything is!

So! Let’s talk.

I’m Char, I’m sixteen, junior at the Corielli Academy For Creative Youths, and your new best friend. Unless, like, we’ve already met, in which case, you already know what I think of you.

So. Where to start? Cuz I got stories. Uh. At fight call today, I hit Andrew Meyer for real, which was pretty satisfying. Cuz he’s the worst? AJ high-fived me afterward, and actually told me where he worked? Which was super satisfying, cuz I got kicked out of the Starbucks for fighting in the alley by it? In fairness, the guy stole tips, it was–it was morally an obligation. But the assistant manager was like, “oh, but now he’ll sue us, and why did you claim to be an employee,” which, like, has she never heard of getting into character to add more feeling to a situation? He would be more likely to give it back if he thought he was stealing my money? Just—whatever. I needed a new coffee-source and now I have one.

But, anyway, AJ took me to the Bean Zone today, which, cool, I didn’t know they were even open. Neither did anyone else, though, I don’t think because it was empty. Which might also be because their coffee is kind of the worst? Still.

I kept AJ busy, though. He used his employee discount, so, I only paid, like, ten bucks total for my thirteen drinks. So. After I was properly caffeinated and his two-hour shift ended, which, I didn’t even know they did those, we started biking to his place, and he–he fell. And I got nervous, and I grabbed his arm to help him up once I was sure he was okay, and when I made contact, the–

Well, Teresa talked about this last time, but the sky went that gross purple color. And I assumed tehat–I assumed that the glow was because of us touching, so I let go, and then–I couldn’t.

And then the breeze that’s always there happened again. And we were back on the road, on our bikes, and we were pedalling. Like nothing happened.

And he said, like, uh, “Nice grip,” or something, and I nodded, because my grip’s pretty nice, and we were just, in, like, a really weirdass situation, so.

Anywho. So we went back to my place and my sister was all like, oh, wow, who’s this, your–censored rude term that disrespects AJ, who is, like, maybe my only friend–and so I yelled at her?

I mean. He’s not my only friend. I–he is.

Why can’t I say that I have other friends? Like–I’m trying to lie, right now.

Um. Okay. Cool. So.

We’ll get to that later.

But, anyway, I did scream at her, yes. Cuz she was an ass. As per ush.

So. Anyway. AJ and I went up to my room and started watching a bootleg of—y’know? If this, like, truth serum thing going on’s a thing, I’m not gonna try to name the show. Cuz it’s embarrassing. I wanted to—no. Okay.

Can’t lie! That’s—

Ugh! That’s so stupid!

Um. What else? I think I saw a ghost during photography today, but that’s just how the woods are sometimes. AJ and I broke into some asshole’s beach house back there for this week’s project, because last year the guy who owns it was a creep to me. But I think that maybe his house is haunted? Cuz there was this, like, weird mist in the living room right by the TV.

But again, that’s just how the woods are. I think. That’s not really my zone. But, of all places in this town to already be haunted? That’s, like, top thirteen spots, natch.

Also: Gregory And Janet Wilson Who Live In The Beach House Development In The Woods From May To September Every Year But Who Live In Virginia Otherwise left three spare keys under the lion statuette in their uglyass overgrown garden. So, there. Make of that what you will.

But. It’s a supernatural occurrence, or whatever you wanna call it, so I should put it on here. The ghost sighting. Not his key location. That’s–that’s just a thing that I know. Obvi.

The mist was, like–it was kind of all-consuming? Like, in that way that people are always all-consumed by beauty, but not really, because I was also having heart palpitations. Or something. Not really sure what heart palpitations are, but, uh. I was overwhelmed by the beauty but also? Very, very afraid of it. I felt like I was frozen in place, like I was being swallowed by it–

And then AJ said, “Are you okay?” and I snapped out of it. I asked him if he saw it, and he nodded, was like, “uh yeah, but, like, we could agree before entering that the woods are super haunted,” and I agreed, but, like, he didn’t seem to get the vibes that I did. Swear to god, I heard horror movie music behind me.

Uh. The Corielli board is meeting tonight, and I’m supposed to talk about the theater program, just–I don’t like talking in front of the PTA, because I don’t know any of their kids, like, logically, I should know their kids. There are maybe 200 people in the high school, and I know most of them. I know all of their faces.

But the Corielli board’s faces don’t look like anybody. Like, literally. I’ve talked at Corielli board meetings, like, seven times, and I cannot tell you what a single parent looks like.

Which might be supernatural happenings also? Nice.

[faux-excited]

Mystery! Intrigue! Cool!

[a pause, a sigh]

At least this truth-curse-or-whatever-the-hell-it-is has room for jokes. That’s, like, legitimately cool.

Um. So, I have to talk to the board tonight, and I think that’ll be—that—shit. Shit, it’s in ten minutes.

I’ll record more later.

[static, and a click. CHARLOTTE is out of breath.]

Okay, I’m back. I’m—holy shit.

So, I think the truth curse is off, but—like, obvi, I’m not gonna—I can promise that I’m not exaggerating.

So, the board. The board.

So, I think I said that they might be paranormal activity? They super are. I’m usually late, when I go to meetings? But I was on-time, and, uh, I was supposed to stay in the auditorium, but I went backstage to check on the set, but. Whatever. I was backstage. And so were they.

The board, I mean.

And they were—they were silent, in a circle, staring at each other. All of them. No one said anything, for a minute—like, I started timing a few seconds in, and it was at least seventy-seven seconds.

And one of them looked up, and just—feedback and sirens came pouring out of his mouth, like during an emergency when you’re watching TV or—

And he looked at me, blinked, and said, “Miss Cranor-Liu, you made it!” and he pushed through the circle, and nobody moved, just—and he grabbed my shoulders, and I wanted to—I wanted to hit him, to—

He just said, “The meeting’s cancelled, dear, didn’t you hear?”

I tried to take in his face, just cuz, and—nothing stood out to me.

And I tried to pull away, to hit him, to—to, like, kick him in his balls, or whatever, and my body just—it froze. And then there was that stupid purple again, and—

And I was outside. And I checked my email, and I didn’t get a cancellation notice, so—uh.

Something’s happening at Corielli. And, uh, I think—four or five of us went to Corielli, like, Teresa and Elaine def didn’t, and Benji, like—I’ve seen him on campus before, like, when I was in middle school, but also, I’m pretty sure he’s omnipresent, so. Who knows, with him. But the majority of us involved went to Corielli, so—like. That’s relevant, I think? Put it on your conspiracy board, next to the seven photos of Avril Lavigne and her dopplegangers. Use green yarn, for, like—for my sake. S’a good color for conspiracy theory boards that you never see anywhere.

I watch a lot of conspiracy theory videos, just to—to laugh at that. Also, they’re so consistent to me? So they’re very relaxing. Good to fall asleep to. Like, some folks need white noise or ASMR or whatever, but a good ol’ Andy Kaufman death hoax ten hour loop, y’know? Or, like, a Sondheim is multiple people one. It exists. You have to look hard for it, but, like, it almost convinced me that there are eighteen of him, so it’s worth it. I watched a seven-part documentary on the moon-landing thing when I was a kid, and that thing just, like—it got me so interested. I’m not crazy or anything. But this is ringing major documentary alarm bells. Maybe I can hit up some clickbait site and they can send folks over here to wrap a nice bow on this whole weird situation.

[beat]

Nobody’s gonna listen to this, like—and AJ’s the only person who’ll care, so, like, might as well talk on here.

Mae Babson the new transfer student is hot as hell. Like—I try not to have crushes, because they’re dumb, and they keep my eyes off the prize, which is to say, y’know. College. My art.

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that feelings are pointless and that we’d be way better off without them, y’know? Especially when those feelings are for really dreamy girls who manage to look, like, at least 70 percent like she’s into girls, even though this is Corielli, so, like, she could be the straightest girl on earth, and also she’s weirdly nice, like—nicer than most people. And it’s kind of annoying how nice she is, like, she—she’s nice to everybody. Even to people who don’t deserve it.

But. Anyways. She’s super hot and I’m kinda sorta in love with her. Whatever. Rant over. I’ll edit that out.

So. Ghosts and mystery and intrigue. Woo.

Y’know, maybe Mae’s caught up in this mystery, actually, cuz—well, she only showed up after all that happened. Maybe she’s, like—maybe she’s a ghost. That’s the nightmare, honestly, being in love with a ghost. Like, second only to her being straight? Worst case scenario.

I could write a solid one act about being in love with a ghost and, like, protag comes to accept that she’s dead and is willing to make this work, but ghost girl’s like, “Oh, too bad, don’t like girls. Sorry, honey!” And that’s the plot twist. Sad ending. A tragicomedy for everyone.

But. Incorporeal Girlfriend and playwriting dreams aside, it is weird that she showed up, cuz—we never get new juniors, especially not midyear? So. It’s not entirely out there that she’s involved. Put her pic up next to the X-Files poster, connect ‘em with red yarn. For love symbolism.

Also, she’s like, otherworldly-ly attractive, so. That contributes to Benji’s alien theory. Also, Benji? I don’t care about your alien theory. Or that you wrote your thesis on aliens. Or that you—

Ugh. Just. The email thread is very long and you aren’t Agent David Duchovny On The X-Files I Don’t Know The Character Name But Oh Boy Do I Know Who David Duchovny Is. Also, use the goddamn group chat? Some of us don’t ever check our emails. And I know you’re gonna call me blasphemous or something for not knowing the X-Files guy’s name, which, yeah, I did that on purpose.

So, um, I was helping out the lighting designer—Ollie, the other day, because if the show looks like shit it’s my fault somehow, and they kept asking me about purple lights. I forgot about this, like—

Wait.

God, I can’t stop thinking about the board, actually. I don’t know why I didn’t say anything. I’m—I’m pretty self-aware, I would have said something. I’m me, for God’s sake, I would’ve said something half-charming and half-assholey, and then I would’ve been kicked out, and I would’ve, uh, maybe tried to pick a physical fight, and then—yeah. You know the deal. I told the Starbucks story earlier. I think—I think they somehow stopped me from saying anything, like—just like that force wouldn’t let me lie or let go of AJ’s hand or fight back—there’s always an inability to do something.

I swear, if this interferes with the show, I’ll fight God. Or whatever force is out there, like—I will press legal charges against fate or destiny or the passage of time or aliens or whatever the fuck. And also punch it.

The lighting designer stuff—that’s just me being paranoid, but the—the board, that’s real, and I’m scared as hell. I’m gonna—I’m gonna maybe do some recon, re: that, get those costume slash makeup design elective credits I’ve been trying for. I haven’t taken the class, because it’s seniors only and also because Ms. Dunkers hates me because her nephew accused me of selling him fake Rent tickets, which, I didn’t know they were fake, so, he can’t blame me, so she won’t let me in her classes anymore. She has explicitly told admin that “Miss Cranor-Liu is not to enroll in any of my electives no matter how much she complains to you.” So I asked admin, like, can I just do a bunch of independent studies, and I think they’re afraid of me? So they said yes.

Anyway.

I’m gonna sneak in on next week’s board meeting as an interested potential transfer student. Need an alias, and you know that it will be Faith Deathstrike. Which is an unfortunate last name, but a badass codename.

So. Uh. I’m signing off. Come to the show, week of February twentieth at the Corelli auditorium, and watch me get possessed by an actual ghost during my solo, or whatever. And if I get ritually sacrificed at the board meeting, now you know what led up to my disappearance! This is basically Serial, now, but in real time, right?

Anyway. Cool. Thanks. Bye.