Robin Angelo Yankin
I wrote short stories in my spare time between studies. I never wrote any standard cookie-cutter pieces, mind you, and I never wrote down a single word for money (although that would have to change once I turn older). There were, however, three things that I did without fail in my writing – I cursed, I innovated, and I revealed the truth. Nothing more. Nothing less. If any of those things had been absent in my work, then I would have compromised on my visions. No, that wouldn’t do at all now, would it? Man, what I would give to go back to that life. The last time I picked up on the written word had been the month after I finished magna cum laude. At the time, boredom was rife, so I had decided to do another piece of historical fiction. But not just any piece of historical fiction, mind you. The writing had to have something weird and experimental, something stream- of-consciousness, something that offended the sensibilities, something unthinkable. Something controversial. But before I had even booted up the laptop and opened a blank Word doc, I already thought of a title:
The Scandal of the Century
By [Yours truly]
And the rest of the story went like this:
I asked him a
question that day when he took me into his room but then I noticed his jacket
and went on what a lovely jacket you have dear god I like that gee I like that wanna try it on he said yes I said and he slipped the jacket on me and I told him
I wanted to sell this house as I already had a place to live who what does it
look good the jacket I meant and he said yes but you’re going away you’re
leaving me well what do you want me to do and went on and on that FM thinks he can beat me
up for it why do you think so oh um so I have no money left dear but I can raise a little here and there wife’s in hospital see so straighten this out straighten what out dear this house I said I signed in on this stupid house options payments two thousand five thousand ten thousand power of attorney [. . . insert more mundane details . . .] and it’s 6:30 no 5:30 he said don’t you have a watch no watch everything’s been shipped off to some boxes in Beverly Hills and out of nowhere a statement saying come live with me please stay with me everything else I saying that I’ve barely anything with me not even television and anyhow he went on anyhow what about our baby I completed I don’t know I thought we kept it a secret oh but you see I wasn’t going to tell anybody I was teasing dear but he said he thought I wouldn’t keep a secret like that he laughed ha laughed and laughed ha-ha-ha like you wouldn’t believe but I said it’s been a year and no news of our trysts [. . . insert more mundane details . . .] and then he tells me to do my ‘scenes’ you mean you liked it I questioned and FM tells me I do so I did jacket off and the rest and well he told me ah you know you could improve your shape you know and he tells me to do this and that and he had his camera with him why takes pictures of me whatever for and he said he wanted to make his own calendars yeah for my calendars [. . . insert shower segment transitioning to the bedroom. . .] so then you can have the baby without anyone knowing FM said when I asked and he said now [. . . insert ‘those kinds of scenes’.
. .] fuck let’s do it again FM pleaded to me oh darling dear practice for the baby fill it in oh darling [. . . insert more of ‘those kinds of scenes’] and then he sings to me in a hoarse drunken voice: Pusok indengam man / toy umas-asug / agrayo ita sadiam
// Panunutem man / di ka pagintultul’ngan / toy agayat / agruknoy ita emmam dear
hmm what is that and then he tells me it’s a song from his youth called what dear tells me a staccato voice Pa-mu-li-na-wen…
Fast forward a few months later. My story had made its appearance in a reputable regional literary journal. To my surprise, the readers had not bemoaned it nor damned it with faint praise, and the critics had given it favorable reviews. And naturally, I patted myself on the back and said, alright, you bastard, you did it again. Great work. That was it. The end. Scene. On to the next piece–
Well, not exactly.
For some reason, IM and her family – by now, you should know who these people are that I am alluding to here – heard of my piece and wanted to come after me. Why? Defamation of character. But then again, how did my story portray defamation of character? Was it not true that the affair between DB and FM – it’s obvious who these people are – had been made public knowledge in 1970 by DB herself when she had regaled the media with her screw tapes? I was only being accurate to the source material, I explained in a public statement, and in no way is any of this ‘defamation of character.’
Long story short, I had numerous death threats sent my way (via email) for a few weeks straight before IM with her ugly posse decided, screw it, write whatever the hell you want, we don’t care anymore, and dropped out entirely. But by then, they had already damaged my reputation.
It broke my heart to do it, but I had to put up the feathered cap and quit the writing life. Society was too unforgiving.