The Purple Light

13 01 2011

I know this woman, Tiffany, who used to work with my mother, who tells this story about a personal encounter she had with the television show, Americas Most Wanted. When she tells it her voice gets kind of deep and creepy and her eyes widen. She “swears to God” it’s true. She always says this at the end of the story as if we didn’t believe her. When she says this, she leans back a little bit and presses her chin to her chest. I don’t know why. When the story begins, it starts off light. Her voice is light.
She was taking a semester abroad in London with her friends. They had nothing figured out. So they first need to go apartment shopping. They found the perfect apartment. It was spacey and cheep. They were happy. They began living there immediately and their landowner, Eve, stayed below them. In the evenings Tiffany and her two friends would look outside their window and see a blue omniscient glow coming from the window below where Eve lived. They came to the conclusion that it was a tanning machine because Eve was always awkwardly tan. One evening Tiffany came home early from school to the low murmer of Eve’s voice in her kitchen. She was surprised to see Eve because she had been out of town for a month or so. “What did you do with the bodies?” asked Eve.
“Oh my gosh!” I would say, “Really?! What did you do?” Tiffany would look at me, widen her eyes, and open her mouth wide to respond, “I swear that’s what I heard.” Then she would press her chin to her chest and stare through me for a moment and then keeping going.
Eve had heard Tiffany and quickly said a hush-hush goodbye to whoever she was talking to. “Sorry,” she grumbled as she looked down at Tiffany’s feet, “I. Uh. My tele was out downstairs. Hope you don’t mind.” Then she left.
“And you didn’t do anything?” I would ask.
“No,” she said, “I just let it lie.”
Soon it was time for Tiffany to go home. She was only studying business in England for a semester while her two friends would stay the whole year but they all went back to The States for Christmas. Tiffany was readjusting to her life at home when she got a call from her friends. A ton of their belongings had been stolen over vacation. It had all just disappeared. Tiffany thought about Eve and that strange phone call she had walked in on. She thought about the nervous gestures.
“Do you think it was Eve?” I asked. Tiffany stared towards me. She gave me that empty look again and paused for a minute. “I don’t doubt it,” she said.
About a year later Tiffany sat in her Boston apartment watching America’s Most Wanted with her boyfriend. A story came on about a murder and robbery in California that had happened a little over a year earlier. John Walsh’s voice trailed in at out of Tiffany’s attention. Finally at the end of the story they showed a sketching of the “most wanted person.”
“… And I swear to God it was Eve,” Tiffany said. This time everything that she had been doing throughout the story was emphasized. Her chin was pressed so hard to neck that little rolls of fat formed. Her blue eyes were huge. And her voice was so low it could have been a man’s. You could tell Tiffany loved telling this story. She loved having the sort of power that it gave her. It was a good story. She knew it. We all knew it. And she also “swore to God” that it was true.

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2 responses

13 01 2011
Mister Fischer

One of the things I noticed in reading over your story this time (which I missed on the version you handed in) is that you tell the story in third person, as if you are recalling it, rather than through the voice of Tiffany. I think you need to get it into Tiffany’s voice. That’s the point, right? You want to use her voice but trick us into thinking that it’s being told more objectively so that it’s only at the end that we realize, “Oh, right! It wasn’t objective! It was Tiffany!” Otherwise, it seems to me, you lose the effect that you’re going for.

19 01 2011
Jackie P

I like this description used in the story. It really helps me to understand it better!

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