A week or so ago, I got a nice email from a woman who told me how much she enjoyed a recent podcast I’d done, and added that she had bought my Boston Strangler book in its Kindle edition, and was enjoying it. Of course I wrote back right away to thank her.
The thing is, I hadn’t done a podcast, although I am scheduled to do one at some future date with the interviewer whose name she mentioned as having done this particular one. I thought this was rather odd—my memory is still sufficiently acute to recall any podcast I’d made recently—but then, after thinking about it a bit, I decided that perhaps some audio I’d done for another broadcast at some point had been licensed by the producer of this particular podcast and interpolated with questions from the interviewer. That would be an odd way to go about doing an interview, but not, I suppose illegal. And what do I care if it results in a book sale? And as long I don’t sound like an idiot, which apparently I didn’t.
Are you with me so far? I have a feeling this is going to be hard to explain.
Okay. So. Just as I was sending off my reply to the first email, a second one, from the same woman, appeared in my inbox. This one was a little different from the first. Still very nice and polite, but different. She told me how much she enjoyed meeting me, and then apologized for the condition of her house when I was a guest in it.
I have never met this woman (she gave her name). I have never been in her house. I have never even been in the small city in which she lives. And of course I don’t know the two relatives to whom she mentioned having introduced me.
Cue the theme from The Twilight Zone. I mean, really. Where’s Rod Serling when you need him to explain things?
Narrator: This is Susan Kelly. A little-known writer living in a small town. Her life follows a routine as clearly marked as a highway. But today, she’ll take an unexpected exit off that well-known road, into…The Twilight Zone.
I wrote back to the woman, saying: “I’m terribly sorry to be so forgetful, but could you refresh my memory about where and when we met?”
She wrote back, asking, “Have I made a mistake?”
Actually, I can understand why people—who’ve never seen nor met me—might confuse me with another Susan Kelly who’s a writer. There are about six of them, which is why I don’t bother with my Facebook account, since no one can find it anyway. If I’d known this back in the day, when I first started writing, I’d have changed my pen name to something like Cynthia Ricker Hayes, or Margaret Eleanor Abbott, which would have had the advantage of honoring some of my ancestors (a tougher crew of stand-up broads than you can imagine; I’m honored to inherit their DNA) while distinguishing myself from the other seven hundred gazillion Susan Kellys on the planet.
So I don’t know. If there’s someone prancing around pretending to be me, I can give you a test that will confirm, absolutely, that you have the real Susan. Ask her if she wants a vodka martini, on the rocks, olives, before dinner.
If she says “yes,” it’s me.