Despite our talk, Blossom seemed determined to have things her own way – i’d log in to find huge swathes of text clogging up my messages, all from Blossom, telling me in minute detail about the things she’d been up to, together with photo’s and LMs. i’d arrive inworld to find her messages filling my screen, with all my other messages capped and lost. When i tried contacting her, she’d be ‘unavailable’ but seemed to magically know when i was at my busiest and would contrive to IM me in the middle of something important, or simply appear uninvited at the most inappropriate moments – it was incredibly frustrating.
Worse still were the occasions i’d arrive to find her waiting for me in my own skybox – “I just feel like some company”, she’d say; “don’t mind me, just pretend I’m not here.” That was something i just couldn’t tolerate – it had to stop! We had a big row about it, which ended in her storming off. Did i feel bad about it? Not at all – she had to learn that privacy is not to be abused… mind you, i suffered for it – next time i logged in, she’d practically written me a novel about how friendship is all about ‘give and take’, that she couldn’t understand why i was taking things so badly, needless to say, i didn’t respond. The following day i received an even longer message, apologising profusely and begging me not to ‘throw her on the scrapheap’. My reply was brief and to the point:
“Just stay outta my way for a while. Cool it, calm down and give me some space – that’s all i’m asking”
Fat chance of getting some space – after several days of relative peace, bar the occasional begging IM, i logged in to the biggest shock of my SLife! Every single plot around my little piece of land had been bought up by a land developer – Tourniquet Smythe. i arrived to find my peaceful garden completely surrounded by tower blocks, sleazy nightclubs and strip bars, garish neon hoardings and constantly blaring sound. i reeled in utter horror at the desecrated and ruined ground around my own plot – a tiny island of beauty in a maelstrom of light and noise… and then i saw her, waving to me from a tower-block balcony – it was Blossom.
“I’ve got a new friend”, she replied, “his name is Tourniquet and he was looking for some land. I happened to mention that the land around here was really cheap and, before I knew it, he’d bought the lot! He even paid me commission – how cool is that? I think he’s rather anxious to buy your plot too, but I told him you’r never sell up… but just think of all the fun you can have exploring these new places!”
Devastated didn’t even begin to describe how i felt – my virtual paradise had been destroyed and it was all down to her! This was the last straw… i unfriended her.
You don’t want to know about the tirade of abuse that followed, or the griefing attacks, unwelcome guests and shocking occurrences that became a regular feature in and around my land: it was driving me mad, but there was no way i was giving in. The worst of it was the message that popped up every single day – ‘Fartblossom would like you to be their friend…’ – a message that received exactly the same derisory response every day, and would do so until the end of time itself!
Weeks passed and the situation went from bad to worse. Although i’d unfriended her, she’d joined the same groups as me, visited the same stores, the same clubs and hung around the borders of my land whenever i was about. These days she rarely talked, but she was always there, in my peripheral vision – a blot on the horizon that i couldn’t erase. To make matters worse, she was twisting things to her advantage with all my friends. Although she’d be utterly evil when around me, Farty continued to tell my friends how wonderful i was; what a great time we were having sharing our cottage by the sea and how much we enjoyed spending time together – and, dammit, she was convincing!
Nobody would believe me when i told them she was evil – when she turned up at events, i’d be the one who had to leave, because i just couldn’t stomach her lies: she was just too damn nice, going out of her way to show everyone what a great team we were – i couldn’t handle it.
The final blow came when she discovered the ‘Mega-grief deluxe’, a ‘personal protective device that even the most determined avatar will be unable to evade’. This noxious device somehow overloaded its target with self replicating scripts – the unfortunate victim would slowly grind to a halt in a sea of lag, before succumbing to the inevitable, and crashing horribly. She delighted in turning her new toy upon me at every opportunity, waiting until the most ‘amusing’ moment to zap me and send me crashing out of sl – often several times in as many minutes.
That was it – either she went, or i did!
i stopped logging in at my normal times, avoided my usual haunts and became a virtual recluse, but somehow, she always found me out. Eventually, the inevitable occurred…
It was supposed to be a night out – fun and games with friends at the local club with ‘The Rocker from Rio’, Lupus Leamington – it turned out to be the worst night of my life. Within the first hour, she’d turned that infernal contraption on me at least half a dozen times and i was at my wit’s end – just one more time, i vowed, and that would be it!
The familiar ‘ding’ of an incoming IM caught my attention – it was my old friend, Neryn Blackberry:
“Hey! Are you sure that you and Blossom aren’t alts? Or could it be that you’ve hooked up in RL and haven’t told anyone?”
Baffled, i asked her what she meant.
“Well, it’s just so weird the way that you both always crash at the same time – it’s almost like you were sharing the same connection. Who knows though, with SL, it’s freaky at the best of times”
It was freaky! i actually looked behind me in rl, to check she wasn’t stood there! Then, before i could dwell on it further, that familiar laggy feeling came over me again: the bitch had zapped me!
Enough was enough. i wasn’t going to wait for the crash – she’d won and i’d lost, and all i wanted now was to get the hell outta there and as far away from her as possible. i hit ‘Quit’ and logged out of sl for the very last time.
Goodbye friends. Goodbye Fartface. Goodbye Second Life… i’ll miss you.
Back in ye goode olde dayes, St Ruperts would have been called ‘the asylum’; in more enlightened times, although before political correctness reared its ugly head, we’d have called it ‘the mental home’ – these days, it was just known as ‘The Institute’ – the inmates were still barking mad though.
Doctor Cheung paused in the corridor outside room 412 and turned to his colleague:
“This next case is fascinating, Robert – multiple dissociative identities and borderline psychosis. When she first came to us, she exhibited archetypical ‘Jeckyll and Hyde’ type behaviours but, unlike most of the patients we see with such symptoms, she’d experience them simultaneously – for want of a better example, I’d use a ‘Fight Club’ analogy.”
Robert Fender pursed his lips, glancing at the notes Cheung proffered.
“Well, I agree she’s an interesting case, but I wouldn’t say fascinating – I don’t think the Journal would want to publish if that’s all you have.”
“Oh, but they will! You see this particular case has a quite unique twist – the patient only has limited awareness of her true self and, prior to her arrival at The Institute, spent a significant proportion of her waking hours online, living vicariously, and contemporaneously, through her dual alter-egos. The identities with which she most strongly associates are both constructs – virtual projections of her thought-processes. In layman’s terms, reality is – for her – experienced virtually, through – if you like – twin online personalities… one, a ‘good’ twin, the other an ‘evil’ twin – the ‘twins’ represent and act out her mental and emotional conflicts. She experiences her world separately through both identities but is completely unaware that they are representations of one and the same person – herself. As for how she relates to the real world, she is barely conscious of it.”
Handing the notes back to Cheung, Robert smiled broadly. “Now, that is fascinating! Shall we take a look then?”
Cheung smiled brightly at her, “Hello Blossom, this is Doctor Fender – he’d like to ask you some questions.”
The girl sneered at the men, a look of sheer hatred crossing her face.
Fender raised a quizzical eyebrow towards his colleague, who nodded in response. He took a step towards the girl, who snarled silently as he drew near.
“Blossom, is it? That’s a lovely name! And, can you tell me how to spell it?”
Suddenly, a warm smile filled the girl’s face and she looked shyly up at Fender – “Yes, i can, she whispered…. it’s s-e-r-e-n-d-i-p-i-d-y”
No matter how I try,
I just can’t get her out of my mind
And I when I sleep I visualize her.
The Divine Comedy – Our Mutual Friend