You might think that you know me from the movie and book about me by the man I call BFA, for big famous author. Sometimes the “F” stands for something else, depending on my mood. I’ve always been irritated about his claim that he created his best seller that got him started. Truly, he just adapted an event that he saw in our hometown Neville newspaper.
BFA started researching his story after seeing the newspaper headline – “Local girl Cherry Black kills prom goers with magical powers after being subjected to a cruel prank while being crowned Prom Queen”. He checked around, but got her whole back story wrong. I know the true story because I am ironically named Cherry, AKA Kerry to BFA. BFA just changed some names and altered some of the events, that’s all that he did to get his best seller. I don’t know how he got away with it. Maybe some of the principals were paid off, maybe people just didn’t remember. It wasn’t a huge deal at the time, and the crazy reporter had to retract the story in the next edition because of his outrageous claims. I suppose BFA was desperate to get a plot, after being nickled and dimed on short stories he had been selling to questionable magazines.
BFA in all of his books adds a ton of junk as filler to generate a jillion pages. Just look at “The Brighting”, “Mortal Area”, “Animal Graveyard” and “Hojo”. Each could have been about one third the size without losing a thing of consequence. I’m not that kind of sadist that will make you slog through a bunch of pointless crap. I’m just writing a CNF (creative non-fiction for the uninformed) and seeing who will publish it in hopes that I can get justice and a piece of the action.
Prepare to be shocked at the real story that BFA never admitted to stealing. He could have at least written “inspired by a true story”, but I never got a dime or any credit.
Because I’m the star I’ll start with me. I’m nothing like the ethereal, naïve person in book and movie. Fragile like Missy Spacey? I think not. I had a lot of acne, but a dynamite body. As the idiot boys liked to say, “I’d love to put a sack over her head” and you can guess the rest. People thought that I was an insecure weirdo loner. I laugh out loud thinking back on it. My first period didn’t bring me magical powers and I wasn’t a virgin very long.
The book got my mother Mo wrong too. She was based on her reputation as a prudish Bible thumper, not her reality. Her husband didn’t run out on her because she was against sex. He just couldn’t keep up with her and she let him know it. She didn’t hide what she thought of him. When I was around four I heard her from the bedroom “What kind of man is good for sex just once a week” and “I wish I’d sampled the goods more before I made the mistake of marrying you”. A couple of years later, he had enough and hit the road. She never admitted it, but Mo probably assumed that he would be a machine in bed, because he had the look. Over six feet tall and a hunk. She told me she first saw him when she was on a treadmill and he was benching three hundred pounds. I got a good idea where my strength came from. Mother clearly gave me her curves.
After husband Jeff left, there was a solid, but discrete parade of men through her bedroom. She was good enough that they were willing to risk relationships and reputations to get next to her. I had to suppress giggling when Pastor Hennings would hold forth on adultery at church after sleeping with Mo on Saturday.
Mo never asked for money or gifts from her men. She would say “Hey, I wonder if I should invite you and your wife over here for dinner next week.” That’s all it took to get presents of clothes and money. She never flaunted it, never dropped her act, and got away with it. Her interest in sex and what it got her made me want to be like her.
Unlike some mothers who might try to deter me as I developed, she said “In a year or so, if you can do something with that rat’s nest of hair and your acne gets better, you’ll get all the sex you want and you’ll love it. Just be careful.”
With my mother’s help I started my own conquests at a young age. As with her, it was mostly with middle age men who were in no position to talk about it. The age of consent in my home state is quite early, so you middle aged matrons have no reason to clutch your pearls. To warm up, there was a lot of leaning into and rubbing up against men and things that Bill Clinton didn’t think were sex. At first dry humping was enough to get the guys off. I later learned that much of my early experience is called lap dancing. Not my problem, but I wonder how those men explained their sticky underwear to their wives or girlfriends. When I was old enough for the real thing, Mo got me started on birth control and I spent a lot time in the principal’s office and with the fathers of my classmates when the family was gone. I avoided the hopeless boys my age. As with Mo, I got a lot of presents without any direct requests.
BFA used the telekinesis and fire starting thing in his first book which is about me – it worked once, so BFA made it the main event in another book. I’m not supernatural, but I’m not bragging when I say that I’m strong and clever. When I said I had dynamite body, it was true in two ways. I think that I could have easily made the boys’ football team, even though I’m not large or appear muscular. I can pass the football eighty yards with no problem and bench press twice my weight. As for clever, it didn’t take much to outsmart the boys and girls my age. Numb nuts Nelson Hansen thought that he could trap me in the woods, but instead a large branch fell on his head knocking him cold. He never saw me in the tree overhead. Jerry Hamet lost a couple of fingers in a shop accident after he called me some names I didn’t like. When the snotty girls that always put me down had a picnic all of their food baskets burned up. By that time I was an expert with incendiary devices.
After those incidents, and more, the word got around that I was a witch with supernatural powers. I did nothing to dispute that idea; I liked having power over those rude rubes that feared and ridiculed me.
The part about Drew, me fixing up with her boyfriend Willy at the prom is right, but I wasn’t flattered, I was amused. Big joke, like I needed to have my ego boosted by a popular boy. I was hanging out with sophisticated, but pathetic men who were hot shots in the community at that time. Drew was the popular girl who had taken me on as a project. That is probably unfair to her, let’s just say that she thought that I was lonely and needed a friend, and I went along.
The king and queen thing was loosely as depicted in book and movie. BFA wanted to go with something big, but the truth wasn’t that dramatic. Some of the really rude creeps in the auditorium threw condoms and dildos at Willy and me. When I got hit in the head with one of the dildos, I screamed “I’m going to kill you” because it was the first thing that came into my head. I swear that it was a coincidence that an electrical fire started a few minutes later. After the hysteria about me burning down the school died down, the truth came out, but BFA went with the early report.
Only a few died, unlike the way it was portrayed in the book. I was one of those reported dead because of a visit from a former classmate. Jill was one of the few students that I had hung out with. We had been the two members of the Teeth Club before she graduated and moved to New York the previous year. Both of us had perfect teeth and had never gone to a dentist. She had come in unseen in a back door before I saw her in the bathroom doing her makeup. It was the bathroom where the fire started while I was being crowned, and she was burned beyond recognition.
It seemed like a good idea to sneak out and never come back. I had enough of an Eastern small town with small minded people. Mo had already been encouraging me to leave. She thought that I could make it in Los Angeles with my body and cunning. I made my escape by taking some of the cash that we had stashed. Mo drove me to the nearest intercontinental bus stop twenty miles away. In those days bus travel was a fairly cheap way to travel.
BFA made up some zombie or voodoo stuff about me after his fire scene.
Mo promised that she would tell people that she had no idea that I had survived. Because no one knew that I had left Neville, or that Jill was at the prom, it was assumed that her body was mine. It helped that there was no dental records for either of us.
I did some sightseeing on the way to California. A surprising number of men and some women were happy to buy drinks for a teenage girl and entertain her in various ways. Joan and Gerald in Denver hosted me for a week. It is all hazy, but I think a lot of it was illegal. I was surprised, maybe disappointed that they didn’t want sex with me, they wanted me to watch them. They were flexible, strong and inventive. So much so that I clapped when they finished after half an hour. On the way back to the bus stop, they bought me a lot of clothes, some of which I still wear. She was a state senator and he game developer. We keep in touch by email now and I get some intriguing videos from them.
The LA bus stop was pretty much the same. I was somewhat surprised that some of the guys hitting on me were not the usual collection of horn dogs and pimps, but had real entertainment connections. My pockmarked face was a problem, but could be somewhat corrected cosmetically. My ratty hair could be remedied with a wig.
I started off as an extra and advanced to stand-in for the stars. If you saw Winona Ryder’s back, it may have been me. Kirstie Alley swimming, but you couldn’t see her face? Might have been me. When I showed off my physical ability, I got work as a stunt double. If Kelly LeBrock improbably beat up a guy twice her size, but her face only showed in close ups? Me again.
After five years and a lot of stunt work, I became the cliché star of B movies, small parts in A movies. The lead’s quirky friend, the woman that lost the guy to the star in regular movies. The white girlfriend in blaxsploitation, the ass kicking lead in chop sockey movies. You can check out my credits in IMDB under my working name, Kerry Handy (the last name is an industry in joke). Lately, I’m getting roles as mothers and (yipes) grandmothers.
I’m not doing a tell-all here. That may come later. You probably know all the stories and rumors by now since all of the old taboos are gone. Homosexual, interracial, kinky? Yawn.
Why tell my story now? Most important, all of the questionable things that I did earlier are past the statute of limitations. My failed attempt to become a movie star took up most of my time up until lately. I’m hoping that if I can get this published somewhere with enough circulation, it will boost my career and BFA will give me credit and maybe some cash for what he owes me.
Doug Hawley restarted writing when inspired by local author Cheryl Strayed's "Wild" and physical problems limiting his mobility (better now). He subsequently has received around four hundred placements for his work in the UK, USA, Canada, Iran, the Netherlands, Spain, Germany, Australia, and Hungary/Mexico/USA*. He is untroubled about his lack of training or nuance and ignores most of the few writing rules that he knows. Protagonist and conflict? Doesn't need them. He will write about whatever occurs to him: monster porn ("Black Lagoon"), Stephen King parody ("The Dumb"), memoir ("Balance"), horror ("Marriage"), straight humo(u)r ("Rat World"), humo(u)r/politics ("Space Force vs Space Squid") and humo(u)r/technology ("Brave New Word). Besides online publication, he is in many anthologies - Down In The Dirt, Dark Dossier and a few more.