“Well, my name is Gemilly Johnston — Jem for short — and these are the books I’ll be keeping up with (!).”
So cheerful that first week, she says, reviewing her introductory video, whiskey sour in hand as usual when looking at this type of stuff. So many videos in her collection now. But this was one of the clean ones, before the dirt and grime of the city, this Dodgey City, became fully evident, thanks to John. *Not* Jim.
“I live about 1500 meters up in a nice house with a beautiful perpetual sunset, right on the beach. See? (she indicates a hand, an arm). I’m already working up a tan (!).”
If I could go back and kill her — myself — I would, thinks Jem here, wanting to wipe that ridiculous smile off her face with a rag of acid. OK, maybe Texas Pete.
“The house is owned by John L. Brown, who is also my boss, who is also my, ahem…”
Boyfriend? thought present Jem. Fat chance.
“… cousin,” past Jem completed her sentence.
Wait, is that possible? present Jem thought. She reversed the video, started over. At 2:32: “cousin” again. She doesn’t remember saying that. Plus it wasn’t true (!!).
But John L. Brown for one knew it was and changed the wording yesterday after also slyly suggesting she take a day off for mental health reasons and look at old videos from the archive to soothe her nerves, especially recommending — or starting with — the one she’s viewing right this moment. Jem eventually figured this out as well as she continued to sip (or at least try to contain it to a sip) on one of her whiskey sours and ponder and ponder. Cousin — that aspect conveniently forgotten, conveniently wiped from memory, just like she was trying to wipe the happiness and naivety from her past self’s face back then in her imagination. She imagines someone standing behind her, looking at her as if on a video, trying to wipe something from *her*.
“John L. Brown,” she muttered with Texas Pete, add a little Oklahoma from beyond the screen. She turned (toward the camera?). Time for my close-up.