C h a p t e r II
First things come first. It sounds ridiculous to say that, but you never know who might get confused. There are millions of illiterate idiots clogging up the world, and they don’t even understand their left from their right - much less that the first thing comes first. Still, light can be found as easily as put out. Despite their high levels of stupidity, they do give an easy, achievable solution to the problem of out of proportion population levels. It’s quite simple, when you think about it. All you have to do is kill the imbeciles, and the world will once again be big enough for everyone to share it. There's nothing complicated about it.
But forgive me, please. I digress.
The initial, most important thing to recognise is that I am not called, and never have known anybody else by the name of Elspeth Elizabeth Lessing. The name was chosen by a handful of convenient random name generators, which lent themselves rather altruistically to my cause. It’s surprising that no one has taken it upon himself to plead with the creators till they padlock the devices or mark them as unavailable for public use.
After all, anybody can use them for all sorts of means. You never know whom you might find on the Internet.
The second point I must mention is that though I may pretend otherwise, I am neither female, nor fourteen, nor a fan of One Direction. Personally, I prefer more soulful lyrics, and a husky lead singer that doesn't get fawned over by every girl under the age of twenty-three. Unfortunately, tastes such as mine aren't commonly shared with the sort of giggling teenagers that haunt online blogging sites like as HYPEchat, and so it was crucial that Elspeth listened to music a little more mainstream than I do.
I don’t mind this, of course, and you shouldn’t either. Though the vast majority of bloggers are similar to the point of total unoriginality, there's a sizeable portion of pre-pubescent would-be cynics who look down their pock marked, greasy noses at anything mildly popular, scorning it with such distaste you would think it was the cause of cancer. They think that just because something is well-liked and raved over constantly by others their age, it is automatically about as much good as a pile of manure. I beg to differ.
As humans we are naturally lazy. If the majority of our peers prefer a certain thing a certain way, we will be far more likely to agree with them than not. The sheer energy disagreeing would take is deterrent enough for most people.
For instance, the standard format of a book is there for a reason. The beginning, middle, and end style works well and always has done - while there have been other variations where epic sagas are left unfinished, or mournfully sagging in the middle where a whole chunk of story has been forgotten about - the traditional style is the one which makes the most sense, and the one that has been used again and again, if only because nobody could be bothered to write a story in a different way to everyone else.
Being different, as you might suspect, has many downsides.
In every group of people there's always one that will stick out, a tear in the smoothly saccharine sheet of sameness. Perhaps it is something as trivial as a different colour of hair. Maybe this odd person out is slightly fatter, or much younger. If he or she or it is a little plumper, then they will not be able to walk as far as the rest of the group without quickly tiring, insides aching as they battle for breath. If they are younger, they surely won't understand the vulgar, dirty inside jokes so common with young adults these days. Either way, they are at a disadvantage.
What, you wonder, would the disadvantages be if the difference was something more important than a small matter of appearance or age? If class, or disability, or sexuality were the defining elements?
Those are the cases in which the difference often grows to heavy for the owner to bear. The straight children will beat the gay girl down, grating little by little at her courage, and self esteem, and last shreds of hope for her future, until there is nothing left, and her wrists are as shredded as her soul, and her escort to Heaven is one composed from blood.
Sometimes, it is better to be as ordinary as possible. Teenagers were presented with minds from God so that they could think and make judgements, and make judgements they do. Sometimes these judgements lead to death, but if the death was not meant to happen then why give the teenagers the ability to cause it in the first place? Why give the teenagers minds at all?
Elspeth Elizabeth Lessing was created to be ordinary in every sense of the word.
I am not a very ordinary person, myself. This is not a proclamation, or a humble opinion, but a hard, steely fact. Ordinary people do not - will not - do the things that I do. I am glad of this, for to blend in would be sacrilege, for me.
A more superstitious person would say that I have always been destined to be unusual, but I am not superstitious and am bored by the concept. There is no such thing as fate, or destiny, or time foretold by the stars. The only things that count are luck and good, solid hard work.
I like to think that Elspeth was such a prat as to trust in voodoo, and magic, and the arts of the supernatural. It entertained me to think of ways to make her contrast my own character so spectacularly. It was a challenge in a way, to see how long I could live the pretence - a test of will, and of skill, and cunning, clever schemes that took months to dredge up from the dark abysses of my mind.
After a while it becomes ridiculously easy to mimic the mainstream. The secret to unoriginality is this: blend in, and blend in well. Copy the conventional - the dialect, the mannerisms, every little habit. When Elspeth's friends commented on her blog, they included emoticons and excessive punctuation marks, indicating that I should reply in the same manner. If I didn't know better I'd have thought they were helping me, they made everything so easy.
There are so many fools on the internet. It's sort of surprising. Maybe, in days to come, you'll need a license to make sure you know at least the basics of internet safety. A bit like driving, only harder to pass. Even a license wouldn't have saved Elspeth's friends. If someone is born pathetic, it's hard to make them any less needy as they grow older. Not that people can help the personality they're born with, but it does tend to stick with them as they age. It's not like Einstein was born with below average intelligence - he always had the potential to be great, locked away inside his wailing, childlike mind.
Just like Elspeth's friends always had the potential to turn out prematurely dead.
Would you like to know their names? You couldn't visit their graves, but I'm sure they'd like people to remember them. So many people are like that, you see. Wanting to be remembered, yet doing absolutely nothing with their lives. Come closer, lean in, and I'll tell you. Swear on your heart you won't tell?
Their names were Anne-Marie, Kelsey, and Harriet and they once had lives ahead of them. Oops. Sorry. I guess Elspeth thought that a future just wasn't the thing that was scratched into their stars.
I forget myself though. I wrap myself up in the poetic nonsense of story telling, and consequently forget the most important part of my tale. You will know it, of course, but only in good time. Don’t think that I haven’t noticed my lack of payment. If you’re lazy or unsure, don’t bite your lip and waste your time deliberating. Have no fear – you mustn’t think you have to tell me, here in front of everybody. I will find out your wishes and your secrets another way, for I have many means, many bullets – so much glorious, overflowing ammunition – all to use at my own disposal. When the time comes for me to cash in my pay, the force of impact will be ten times the amount it could have been if you'd only been prompt with your payment.
Really, you see, the greatest gift you can give me is to ignore me.