I’ve insisted for a long time there is only one way I would do this, and that is to post it.

So, here goes. Simple truth and nothing but the truth: I snapped. Snapped! Snapped a pic, that is. I fell out of the club at precisely 3:00 a.m. A trifle early for me, honestly. My phone recorded my exact whereabouts. I always have all the apps running. I headed uptown to my loft, alone, wobbling on my Manolos, head swimming on a gentle and receding dose of Molly, black AmEx should’ve been in my back pocket but wasn’t – we’ve all been there – when I stumbled upon the SCENE OF A CRIME.

Not a fashion crime, LOL. As a respected macro-influencer, I witness and opine on those every day. No, this was a real crime. The aroma of blood and other bodily fluids floated through chilly Manhattan air and mixed with my Massive Mangoes vape as I contemplated the situation. The victim’s unconsented-to nakedness almost glowed.

The location was in the alley next to Killer Vibes Dance Studio.

Twinkletoes – I know many have a problem with that label, but I needed something catchy and I didn’t have unlimited time – was presented in a way you couldn’t miss, feet first out the alley, clothed only in a pair of brand-new pink ballet slippers.

Did I feel scared? Not exactly. The normal siren squeals and street chatter of New York quieted, and I guess I just felt lonely. It’s a philosophical, tree-falling-in-the-woods concept: Do you really exist if people aren’t paying attention to you? For a split second, alone on that sidewalk, I had the fleeting idea that with nobody looking, not a soul caring about my situation, I might as well be as dead as Twinkletoes. 

So, I did what any girl with a Hollywood dream and one-fourth of a degree in applied communications would do under similar circumstances. I spent a quick nine minutes adjusting my phone’s camera settings. Then I took 152 selfies of myself with the victim behind me in the background. The body was face-down, which made my actions morally permissible, and I’ve made that argument in many interviews and I’m not going to rehash those points now. Just like I fought down the bile at seeing deceased Twinkletoes, if you got a problem with me or what I’ve done, I’ll exhale slowly and clear my mind. Blocking people out and looking out for myself is something I learned long ago. As a kid you learn there’s stuff you have to ignore and forget. Like stomps and silence, sobs and more silence, new apartments infused with the aroma of cheap cigarettes and wet pit bull.

The squeamish may agree or disagree with my actions, but I immediately posted the best three photos of Twinkletoes. My expression was serious, falling snowflakes made my false eyelashes glisten, and thank Jesus I’d gotten that Brazilian blowout earlier. Next, right after consulting with my agent via encrypted text, I called 911. I took additional selfies with the cops around. The yellow crime tape got put up, red and blue lights flashed, and my violet chinchilla jacket looked smoking hot in the icy moonlight.

Back to the victim. The ballet shoes were too small. NASTY the way the killer forced them on. There was a lot to say about this online, and I had to respond to others. Plus, I’d seen a white van with tinted windows slide by while I was taking more selfies, and I posted a pic of its license plate. Sorry I ruined your life for two weeks, dude, but all leads had to be followed.

My life got crazy after that.

I sought out other crime scenes, took selfies, and posted shout-outs to witnesses, investigators, and victims’ families. I referred to female prosecutors as “pant suit bitches” just one time, and a Supreme Court justice offered restrained criticism of that during an international Women in the Law forum in Aspen, Colorado. (I was not invited. If I had been, I would have informed that bitch that it had been a compliment. Mostly.)

In general, my online followers increased exponentially. Some appreciated that I beamed a spotlight on violent crime. Others said they were disgusted by my “opportunism.”   

It’s true; opportunities knocked. I went with a streaming show called Tell Me Who Cares? Each episode spotlights an unsolved murder. Law enforcement was less concerned with my online activities than you might think. Keep posting, they said. Keep posting.

The whole thing wasn’t exactly what I had dreamed for my life. I’d wanted the classic stuff – a role in a superhero movie, a turn on Broadway, maybe a harmless scandal involving an indie movie actor. I wanted a Santa Monica mansion with a salt water infinity pool and chicken coop. Was it too much to ask? Stuff that gets you some respect and maybe a little bit of friendship. But by the time I was slogging up that dark street outside my old dance studio, my life felt like failure. What’s worse, every hour of therapy put me deeper in credit card debt. And that affected me more than you might think. It would anybody whose childhood plummeted from ballet lessons to buying T-shirts at Walgreens.

But a clearance rack childhood doesn’t mean you’re destined for a clearance rack life. I was determined to make the most of my moment. After I filmed Who Cares?, I started my own fashion line. It was a hard-boiled detective meets ballerina look, mostly neon pink trench coats and fedoras, with a modern twist where everything is fair trade organic vegan. To generate attention to this endeavour, I posted a pic of my rescue pugapoo Dick Tracy wearing a fedora and four tiny ballet slippers. The slippers looked exactly like what had been stuffed on Twinkletoes. It went viral, as I intended. Crazies sent death threats to Dick, can you believe it? The FBI warned me of a kidnapping plot against both of us. People loved Twinkletoes, you know. His songs are meaningful.

Then there was my home improvement show on construction and design of panic rooms. We covered mansions as well as smaller-scale stuff to assist viewers in their penthouse DIY projects. Don’t forget to check out my holiday special on luxury bunker prep. Security brands begged for my endorsement, and still do. I have immense credibility in the area of crimefighting. An open world video game is in production, starring me as sleuth avatar. I’m insisting that she carry a briefcase, because that’s what people really respect about me, that I’m an entrepreneur. 

Of course, as we know by now, police were investigating the Twinkletoes murder all that time. They found my stash of ballet slippers. They discovered that I owned dozens of cell phones. They realised I knew more about technology, including security camera hacking, than my vast expertise in low-carb diets and natural hair extensions might suggest.

Prosecutors had theories but little evidence. They charged me anyway. Whatevs. Can you say circumstantial? I said, bounce me down to murder in the second degree, ladies. They did.

The trial went on for three televised months. I had time to serve remotely as a recurring guest judge on cable’s ninth highest-rated cooking show, Crimes in an Urban Kitchen. Maybe this magisterial role made the judge in my trial respect me more. If you haven’t tried it yet, my recipe for braised beef kidney pairs well with two shots of Cuervo Gold.

On the way to court each day, people screamed for selfies with me. I would behave appropriately, ignoring everyone from behind my platinum shades, including in the courtroom. I didn’t even interact with the filmmakers I hired to do my unauthorised docuseries. But apparently, somehow a juror may have accidentally followed me on social media without realising it. The slight possibility of mistrial arose. Negotiations resulting in this post commenced.

I’ll say this: You can sentence me but you can’t cancel me.

The victim, Twinkletoes? He had it coming. That’s what happens when society ignores 19 accusers. Can you say manslaughter? This confession is part of the deal. I’ll be out in 12 years. Worth it. I cancelled that MOFO, for real. I get that people love his music, but Twinks got what he deserved and I’m the one who did it. I’m not playing a game. But if this is a game, I won. People respect a woman who goes up against the system and wins.

I started with nothing. I earned enough waitressing to get back to studying dance. During that time of nothingness, I had scored an audition and Twinkletoes said there was a role for me in his next music video. He asked, Don’t you want it? You have to show me you want it. It wasn’t possible to escape. I’d put all those details in the police report 10 years ago, along with the medical stuff. That accomplished nothing. And you know what? I didn’t even get the part. Of course, I was used to having nothing. But at that point, I was officially fed up with being treated like I was nothing.

Who am I now? I’m somebody. I’m the Ultimate Influencer. The police say I’ve inspired copycats. The judge says it would be helpful if I expressed remorse. No dice. As I will say in my autobiography, Chapter 3, you can be prey or you can be the stalker. And you can upgrade from one to the other.

Maybe I didn’t get everything I ever wanted, but you know what I have? Respect. All kinds of followers and you are all my friends. It’s safe to say I’m in an upper echelon of women who achieve. I’m a social crusader now. I could’ve killed quietly and sunk Twinkie’s body in the East River attached to my heaviest Pilates equipment. But I took things to the next level.

Like I said, this is a 12-year stint. That doesn’t mean you won’t hear from me. Direct all correspondence to my counsel and I will respond. First Amendment, y’alls.

Marilee Dahlman

About Marilee Dahlman

Marilee lives in Washington, DC. Her other stories have appeared in The Bitter Oleander, Cleaver, Metaphorosis, Mystery Weekly, Orca and elsewhere. She can be found on Twitter @marilee_dahlman.

Marilee lives in Washington, DC. Her other stories have appeared in The Bitter Oleander, Cleaver, Metaphorosis, Mystery Weekly, Orca and elsewhere. She can be found on Twitter @marilee_dahlman.

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