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Velcro Part Five: My Guy




Part Five: My Guy


My dad’s wife replies back, "I'm doing fine-tks for asking. Your Dad was so pleased with your ph call, and yes, calling more often would be awesome. That's her cell number#-her landline is [...], which I think she uses more than her cell#. Hope you're well!" She added some emojis with smiley faces and hearts. I'd have to circle back to her later because I could not wait to speak with Sean and fired off two texts,


"Call!!!!!"


"Call!!!"


When I got the confirmation that it was Aunt Strigga, I jumped up off the sofa and began pacing. What were the chances that a conspiracy theory I had and was volleying back and forth with someone, fueling the intrigue to a point where it seemed too convoluted to be true, was actually true? Sean calls me fast and I answer fast, "It's her, it's crazy Aunt Strigga." I took note that crazy had been front-loaded before aunt in our conversations. Sean and I excitedly exchanged bemused details. Every sentence we shared was punctuated with a version of "That's crazy."


I asked what transpired over the phone and to my delight and with impressive accuracy, Sean imitated Aunt Strigga's intense, insinuating, lockjaw voice. She recapped what I initially knew about wanting gentle breathing classes leading the conversation to restorative yoga and then to me. Sean asks me again about the car accident Striggy mentioned and I said it was plausible but unlikely. Sean explained how twice Aunt Strigga got off the phone after she was asked a health question to check with her doctor and get his okay. Then she would call Sean back after a couple of minutes and say, "My guy..." in reference to her doctor. I have doctors and even in private I don't refer to them in the possessive. If I have a guy, it's to resolve a plumbing issue in my apartment. If it's to work on me, my personal plumbing, the title stays Doctor. I asked Sean if she'd ever been in a similar situation with a request for a private teacher and she explains that because it's a yoga studio, you're assuming people are good and these conversations maybe go on for a longer period of time than they would if it were another industry, but usually get stopped before any harm happens.


For the next scam-segment meeting with Aunt Strigga, the terrible singing producer was told to bring payment in the form of a five-thousand-dollar cashiers check. They meet at a place that looks like a Halloween display is hanging from the ceiling. It's hard to see clearly because the camera is shooting in a grainy black and white. Did the display mean it's October or did the decorations stay up and then come in vogue once a year? With food already on the table and Aunt Strigga having no clue she was secretly being filmed, she was asked again about the potential of her possible new client, the bad singing producer, having a music career. Just before the question was asked, Strigga had grabbed a butterknife to cut her food. After the question she stopped cutting and sat up. Like stopping salad preparation. There's a shift in her demeanor she tries to hide, but throughout her disingenuous answer, Aunt Strigga holds the knife pointed upright in her fisted hand, the way a combatant might in a moment of prepared quiet, while eagerly awaiting to hear "Charge!" from a commanding officer. With doubt on the table, Aunt Strigga is either caught off-guard or related, she shares the desire to eat without disruption, and the question is delaying her to hangry. The segment cuts to a confrontation on a sidewalk outside and ends with sage advice regarding handing money over to a music producer. Aunt Strigga never got that cashiers check.

I woke up in the middle of the night replaying the whole thing over with one long stare into darkness. Wow, that really happened, Aunt Strigga called the studio I work at trying to get in touch with me. Since she didn't hide her name, was it a call for help, or since she didn't outright say she was related, a bad quick reflex using her real first name? The lack of pseudonym doesn't inspire me to want to reach out. I fall back to sleep remembering Aunt Strigga sitting at the diner, hoping for a fat cashiers check with the ghost above her head, the booth’s vinyl cushion stuffing popping through cuts in the fabric like acne, and the gesture of her holding the butterknife in a lunch-meeting transgression akin to beginning battle.


In the morning I was less amused than I was the evening before. Time and sleep reset the previous day’s funny events in a new morning light. Aunt Strigga contacted my place of business and wasted the studio owner’s time with multiple calls and a fake interest in working privately. That wasn't okay, and I was lucky the studio owner found it entertaining. What if whatever Aunt Strigga was attempting jeopardized my work. I was lucky too that I could be forthright from the start with Sean, "Hey, that might be a crazy Aunt." I was also anxious about her showing up near the studio, though mostly Aunt Strigga's actions now angered me. But the truth was I'd been angry at Aunt Strigga long before finding out she was scamming people, before she punched me, and even before she dirty danced inappropriately at a Bar Mitzvah.


(To Be Continued Friday, March 22nd ... Part Six: Velcro)

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