by Dallas Dalyce
This story isn’t a typical mystery, but it does have a mysterious twist.
Yeah, I know I’m beautiful. At least I was until about a year ago, when the cancer reached my face. I don’t take any credit for my beauty. I was created this way. I didn’t have any choice or input. I don’t really pay it any mind; I just accept it, like we all accept that we have two eyes, two ears, one nose, and one mouth.
I’m also pretty smart. On that score, I will take some credit, but again, I didn’t have any input on it at first. But I did use my brain to succeed. I studied hard and got straight A’s in high school; biology and chemistry were my favorite subjects. In the 50 years since I graduated, I’ve kept studying as life brought me new challenges and opportunities.
Some people say I’ve been lucky, but I define “luck” as when preparedness meets opportunity. I didn’t make that up. I heard somebody say it and it stuck with me. I’ve always tried to be prepared and alert for whatever comes my way. (I’ve since learned that it’s attributed to Seneca, a Roman philosopher.)
As a kid in grade school, I was called precocious (I prefer “curious”), but I give a lot of credit for that to my mom and dad, who were super-successful in their fields. My dad was an engineer and Mom was a psychologist. Dad always told me, “Robyn, there’s always a better way to do things,” and “You can figure it out; just look at it from different angles.” Mom taught me how to be both self-confident and modest, and still get along with people in general. They both taught me that bullies were cowards and I just needed to stand up to them and they’d cave. I’ve missed my mom for the 40 years since she died, of the same cancer that’s now killing me (inoperable, incurable). I’ve missed my dad since he died of a massive heart attack 20 years ago.
I’ll always thank them for one particular thing they did for me: They brought a martial arts instructor into our home, in absolute secrecy. I earned black belts in multiple martial arts, from karate to tae kwon do, by the time I was 14, and I’ve kept practicing those skills up until last year.
In high school, I was popular: president of the sophomore, junior, and senior classes, editor of the school newspaper and the yearbook in my senior year, leading actress in most school plays, captain of the debate team, record-setting track star, Homecoming Queen and voted Most Likely to Marry a Millionaire.
My valedictorian speech made it to national TV, and that kicked my nascent modeling career into high gear, which ultimately led to the $ billion- a-year fashion/jewelry/fragrance/makeup business I now head and which bears my name. But I still do some local ads and appearances to give back to the people and businesses who gave me my start. I owe them a debt I can never fully repay, especially with only two months left on Earth.
I admit that my beauty gave me many advantages, but it did have some downsides. In high school I was hit on by boys almost every day, and the ugly girls bullied and tried to sabotage me, and the other pretty girls, in every way they could. Lust and envy are powerful negative motivators. In my senior year, I actually had to knock one guy on his ass after he grabbed mine in the cafeteria. As word spread, the harassment from the guys mostly stopped. Not from the girls, though.
One of them, whom I’ll call Brunhilda, since she was built like a tank, weighed at least 250 pounds and wore a black leather motorcycle jacket every day, in class and out, continued harassing and bullying me. I never gave her the satisfaction of letting her know it bothered me. I just ignored her and her gang. Maybe I should have confronted her and watched her cave, as my mom told me bullies would. But I didn’t.
So she and her gang turned their envy and rage toward my best friend, Betsy, a gorgeous African-American, a rarity in our small Iowa town. But Betsy didn’t have the self-confidence to ignore them or deal with them in any way. Her parents found her hanging in her room right after the Christmas holidays of our senior year. She left a note blaming Brunhilda and her own insecurities.
When I heard the news and saw her note, I can’t put into words how sad and angry I felt. So I confronted Brunhilda, who pulled a switchblade and came at me full speed. I sidestepped, slapped her arm aside and gave her a push. Her head hit the brick wall of the school and she died on the scene. I was never charged; all the witnesses told the police it was obviously self-defense.
That event planted a seed in my psyche, a seed which grew and grew as I nurtured it over the last 50 years. I suppose you could call it my dark side, but I’m proud of it.
For the rest of the year, many of the other students privately thanked me for getting rid of her, happy that she would never again bully, harass, or attack anybody.
When my modeling career took off, guys started hitting on me again. Managers, accountants, agents, photographers, ad agency guys—on and on and on. But I stood up to all of them, never gave up my virginity, and shamed most of them into backing off. Maybe that slowed my career somewhat, but I was still successful, and I was a millionaire by my 20th birthday. I married my husband when I was 24, and we’ve been together ever since. it saddens me to know we’ll never celebrate our 50th anniversary.
Early on in my modeling career, I discovered that my manager, agent, and accountant were conspiring to cheat me and skim off as much of my earnings as they could. They tried to be clever about it, but I did my research and saw what they were doing, and how. I confronted them, and all but my manager paid back what they’d stolen from me. He will never again cheat a client; he’s still listed as a missing person, but his body will never be found. I’m glad I studied biology and chemistry, having no idea back then as to how useful those subjects might be in the future.
I also found other professionals skimming from many of my fellow models, and I developed a program. Step 1: Confront. Step 2: Demand restitution. Step 3A (if restitution is made): Settle and protect future earnings. Step 3B (if restitution is not made): Remove offender permanently, and make sure the body is never found.
I also sought out news about suicides of bullied girls, and some boys, many for their beauty and many for their brains, some for both. I permanently removed as many of the offenders as I possibly could; none of those bodies will ever be found, either.
As time went on, I expanded my range beyond bullies, to include crooks and cons. In 50 years, I’ve removed over 1,000of these creeps; none of those bodies have been found or ever will be.
If people knew everything I’ve done, they might call me a serial killer, but I prefer the term “vigilante.” I mete out justice in defense of beauty…and brains. After I’m dead, if I wind up in front of a god, assuming there is one, she might understand and let me in through the pearly gates. If not, ah, well.
If you’re reading this, I’m already dead. In my will, I asked my husband to get this document from my safe deposit box, have someone read it at my funeral and then post it for sale online.
So now that I’m gone, there’s no one to carry on my mission. If you see bullying or any injustice still being done to people with beauty and/or brains and want to do something about it, please consider picking up my torch and carrying on. But study some biology and chemistry first; it really helps. Really. Trust me.
Note from author: If you enjoyed this story and the twist at the end, I’d appreciate it if you’d leave a review. (But no spoilers, please.) Here’s a link to the Amazon page: www.amazon.com/dp/B07G435PG9 And to the Nook page: www.barnesandnoble.com/w/1129216364?ean=2940161903827
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