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(Some background: the book is a series of journal entries written by a woman with Multiple Personality Disorder. It is meant to be a light read: I produced it in one weekend to force myself out of a nasty bout of writer's block. Also contains coarse language. Apologies if that's not your thing.)

Chapter 1

I stole someone's wallet when I was 12.

Some rich guy who kept trying to get my mother's phone number. Even though she really didn't like him.

One of my other selves was “in charge” that day.

The bad one. The troublesome one. The kleptomaniac.

She made me steal the wallet. Then did the dumbest thing ever afterwards.

Waited until we got home, were having dinner, told my father everything about the rich guy...

And dropped his leather wallet on the table.

Right on top of the meat loaf, cos it made sense to have all parts of a cow reunited after death.

That's what was going through her mind.

My parents had other ideas about what was right.

My father bundled me into the car and drove me to the police station.

Turns out he had a problem with stealing things too when he was my age, and one trip to “the city's finest” cured him of that.

Yay, Grandpa. You raised a good one.

Looking back, I think they paid the police officers to be stern.

“Name,”the desk sergeant insisted.

“Maxine,” that self declared.

“Stop lying!” My father insisted.

“I am Maxine! Just cos it doesn't say so on my birth certificate doesn't mean I-”

“What does it say on your birth certificate?” The officer asked.

Elizabeth,” that self stated with bile in every syllable.

So...my official name is Elizabeth. Most people call me Eliza, though. Because “Liz” was the cool girl down the street everyone knew, fell for and wanted to sleep with.

No one wanted to get “the wrong Elizabeth”. And that's who I was.

Boring, plain, boring, wrong” Elizabeth.

Until the day I stole that guy's wallet and named myself Maxine.

***

So I was – sorry, am – Suzie. And I have to tell you this awesome thing that happened on my ride home from work today.

It was so exciting that I didn't even go to therapy.

I've skipped a few sessions when I have enough pills. It's nothing new. I don't even think Doctor F gets angry about it anymore.

Sometimes I have to be “normal”, you know? Sometimes I have to be Suzie, or Elizabeth, or Maxine. Without declaring it to a paid professional with a super-comfy couch.

So my vehicle of necessity is the train. Crowded, smelly and suffocating. Not so crushing outside of rush hour, which is when I like to travel at the end of the day.

Moving slowly that day. Accident ahead or something. The driver even apologized. I don't think I'd ever heard a train driver's voice before.

But we were going relatively slowly, and I decided to pay attention to the city in the dark for the first time.

And that's when I saw it.

The graffiti on the wall of one of the tunnels: in MY secret alphabet.

It didn't say much. Just a series of numbers.

And I'm so excited by that. I don't know what they mean, but I realized if I add the city's address-code digits in front of it, the graffiti becomes a phone number.

And I'm going to call it. Because why not?

Curiosity is human, right? And if there's someone else out there who can read my alphabet...I want to meet them. Talk to them. See what they're about.

Maybe I'll finally make a friend.

Chapter 2

So Suzie made me promise I'd say who I f****** was before I wrote this. I guess I've defied her in my first sentence. Whatever.

I'm Maxine. And calling that number was the biggest waste of time. Ever.

Do you know how annoying it is to listen to “muzak” while someone repeatedly reassures you that a human will be on the line shortly?

F****** LISTEN TO THIS:...

Okay...I realize you can't hear it cos this is a text-only book, but you get the idea.

F***, I can be so dense without my meds. Which Suzie forgot to f****** take before she went to f****** sleep last night.

F****** slow-ass dumbass holier-than-thou-ass b****.

I swear sometimes if we didn't share the same body I'd kill her.

F****** Suzie. F****** Eliza. F****** phone number.

Yeah, yeah I know. I should stop complaining, hang up and go do stuff. Like go to work or whatever.

B****: do you know how AGONIZING data entry is?

Bad enough we started that job with Suzie in charge. F****** OCD-ass, accurate-to-the-letter Suzie.

She set a standard, now everyone at the company expects better of us everyday. And I HATE the work. HATE IT.

But it pays for the apartment.

I should get ready. Maybe have some breakfast or something. Bills go with checks, right?

And we're on probation. If I get us arrested again we're going to jail. And not “normal” jail. Psychiatric ward jail, where prison sentences don't count and the meds are kinda okay.

I'd go there for the meds, I really would. But f***...would I be okay with being stuck in there for the rest of my life?

No.

But I'll take this f****** diary with me today. If I don't write I'll hit someone. And this body ain't built for fighting, believe me.

***

So I'm on this train and it's going through the tunnel again. Looks like someone edited the graffiti.

I know what it means – Eliza taught us all of those annoying scribbles when we were kids – and yeah...someone added a time to the phone number.

But didn't decide if it was am or pm.

F****** a******, like I have the patience to call twice.

But...I did ring them up and listen to their damn muzak for like 30 minutes, so...

I guess I can handle it.

My watch alarm's telling me it's time for my meds.

Wouldn't it be great if I skipped them today? See what happens?

I'm toying with the idea.

***

So I'm writing this in the bathroom. Maxine didn't take the pills on time and we almost kicked the security guard for saying hi to us on our way into the building.

I came in here, hyperventilated and took the pills...blacked out for about 5 minutes.

And I'm awake now. As Eliza.

It's almost time for the phone call. I can do it: everyone is 5 minutes late for work at least once in their lives. I know it can't get me fired. But I also know I can't let anyone in the office worry about me.

Maxine forgot to practice in the morning. She always forgets to practice.

I say my name – no matter who I am – I say “I am Eliza [last name]” at least 100 times before I leave the apartment. Just so Suzie – or more accurately Maxine – doesn't get any ideas about “lying” to whoever asks.

Having to explain myself is tiresome.

I am Eliza, and Suzie, and Maxine. Just not all the time.

So I'm writing this to tell you – whoever's reading – that I'm about to call the number. At the appointed time.

Here goes.

The book is available here: http://www.kestrokez.com/books/solo-works/seslatero/

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Replies to This Discussion

Not that I know much about multiple personalities, but how common is it that they know about each other to this extent? Cute though.

I actually thinks it's super rare for them to be that aware of each other. But I had this thought when I was writing: what if you sat all the personalities down, introduced them to each other, and asked if they would rather live their own lives?

Does anyone ever ask? Why do people assume that having split personalities is a stumbling block, and not an asset? Oh: and what if a split personality had a split personality? Wouldn't that be interesting...and complicated...

Write away. Sounds like a fun topic to explore.

K.E. Strokez said:

I actually thinks it's super rare for them to be that aware of each other. But I had this thought when I was writing: what if you sat all the personalities down, introduced them to each other, and asked if they would rather live their own lives?

Does anyone ever ask? Why do people assume that having split personalities is a stumbling block, and not an asset? Oh: and what if a split personality had a split personality? Wouldn't that be interesting...and complicated...

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