It seemed like a bad idea at the time.

Out of necessity even the worst ideas can take on a positive spin that make them seem like good ideas. Mistakes are made, fingers are crossed and we hope for the best. However, once we slip blinders on we can forget that originally these were in fact bad ideas. The following slice of real life adventure is a demonstration of the danger of putting bad ideas into action.

Bad Idea #1: A few months after I had a long term relationship end on really bad terms, my mother was insisting that she was going to find me a new girlfriend. Anyone with experience in such matters knows that the end result is rarely good. In this case, it was far from good, and it was a bad idea to let my mother introduce me to Melissa. I did not find myself attracted to her on any level and our initial conversation was bleak with no common ground on which to make contact. Since she worked with my mother and I had met them for lunch, I thanked them both and moved on, leaving no indication that I wished to continue this further. However, my mother felt I was just being shy, so she gave Melissa my phone number. After that, the calls did not stop. She insisted I give things "a chance" between us. So, I saw her a few times, always keeping my distance and telling her this just wasn't going to work for me. After pursuing me for the better part of six months, she finally agreed that we could "just be friends." Soon after, she pretty much vanished from my life for about a year.

Bad Idea #2: Having rented a house with a friend of mine as my roommate, I found myself stuck with the house after he buggered off into the wild blue yonder. For two months I tried to find another potential roommate and nothing really came together. Then my mother mentioned to Melissa that I needed a roommate. Suddenly, Melissa was unhappy with her present living quarters and called to tell me she wanted to take a look at the house and perhaps share it with me. After a tour of the accommodations and a discussion about rent, bills and that we would remain nothing other than friends the paperwork was signed.

The plot thickens: Things actually started working out very well, as Melissa became the model roommate, at least from the surface perspective. My lifestyle and everything I did was fine with her and she was more than happy to take care of the cleaning of the house and other chores that displeased me to undertake on my own. I had been dating fairly regularly, although not long after Melissa moved in, I found that no one ever wanted to take me up on my offer of a second "date." They did not even return my calls. Oh well; I figured, I must be losing my charm. It would be on to my next appointment.

Enter the Dragon: I have a very fragile relationship with my muse, the woman who is much like the other half of our twin souls. When things are comfortable, she sticks around, when things become controversial or we get too close, she disappears. Several months after Melissa and I became roommates, she would reappear and we would have perhaps the most pleasant handful of months in our history. Slipping on those blinders, I paid little attention to the way Melissa acted when the muse visited or the snippy comments she made when I mentioned I was going to see her. Melissa asked many questions about my relationship with my muse, and my long, drawn out explanations did not placate her. After I informed her that my muse usually sticks around for a month or two and then vanishes, she sarcastically remarked "that's too bad." However, this time eight months would pass before the muse's disappearance.

The Calls are Coming from Inside the House: For several weeks the calls would come, perfectly timed to coincide with my return home after spending time with the muse. They would be threats, made by a man who called himself Eric, warning me that if I did not stay away from the muse I would be sorry. Disturbed and thinking that someone was stalking her, I informed her of the calls and insisted that she examine the people she knew to find out who was calling me. Having the calls traced produced nothing, as I was told they could not be traced and the telephone company suggested I change my phone number. Then, two events caused me to realize that I might be looking at it from the wrong perspective. First, I ran into one of the women I had dated some months earlier in a local store. I asked how she was and if I had said something that made her not want to return my calls. She informed me that she did not want to have anything to do with someone who lives with their girlfriend and dates on the side. I asked her why she would get that impression. Yes, I said, I live with a woman but she is just my roommate. She told me that wasn't what the man who called her had said. The caller had told her that he was Melissa's brother and that he wanted all the women I was dating to know exactly what I was up to. Then, while watching a hockey game later that evening, I was greeted with the Bud Ice penguin commercial where the frightened couple is told by the police that "the calls are coming from inside the house."

Setting a Trap and Catching Yourself in it: Weighing my options, I decided that I needed to catch Melissa red handed. After all, all I had was circumstantial evidence and I was not 100% certain of my theory. I made a call to the muse from my bedroom and kept the door ajar so I could listen to what was transpiring downstairs. We had separate phone lines, but both were connected to a two line phone in the kitchen. As I made the call, Melissa was in the kitchen. A very noticeable red light appeared on the kitchen phone whenever one of the phone lines was engaged. There was a quiet "click" on the phone line and I could see that Melissa was standing by the phone. Not wanting to give away that I was on to her, I told the muse that I knew what was going on but that I could not explain it over the phone. She wanted to know exactly what Eric had said. I told her that I suspected one of our phone lines was tapped, expressing to her that for some reason this "Eric" knew everything we did and said to each other. She exploded, demanding an explanation and telling me she suspected I was making the entire story up. I told her that I needed to talk to her in person as soon as possible. Annoyed, the muse hung up the phone after cursing me with a few choice words. After the call, I slipped out of my room and descended the stairs. Melissa had gone back into her bedroom, which was on the first floor while mine was on the second. I looked at the kitchen phone and within seconds, the red light went on to show her phone line was engaged.

"Let's just be friends" does not give you permission to stalk me: I went back upstairs and waited, feeling that I was about to validate my theory. If I was correct, then "Eric" would be phoning shortly. The way it appeared, Melissa would hear my conversation and then place a call to an associate who would play the part of "Eric." Sure enough, my phone rang and I picked it up to hear his voice. "You don't listen do you, asshole? Why did you call her? Are you fucking stupid?" I waited until the next day to confront Melissa. I told her about the woman in the store and the phone call she had received. I also told her that there was only one person who knew all the details that Eric knew when he called. Eric often quoted specific times, dates and locales where I had been with the muse. She said she had no idea what I was talking about and went angrily into her bedroom and slammed the door. The next day, she began packing her belongings and moved out before I came home from work. I would select my next roommate more carefully.

Truth is often stranger than fiction.
Remember to be careful out there.

Amended: 11/26/02: I happened to read this and realized a piece is missing from the story. Prior to the "trap" I set up to "catch" Melissa, the muse had set her own trap. She believed only one person could have been capable of the calls and told me she told them something that would cause them to call me but that she also suspected I was making the story up. During the call where I was trying to prove Melissa was behind it, the argument between the muse and I came from me not telling her what the caller had said. Because I was derailing her trap and not giving her information, she believed I was either misleading her or being difficult. It was impossible to relate the information I knew as Melissa was listening on the other line. As such, the entire affair turned into a bloody mess that has cost me to this day...

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