Abusive ex finds my online haven; Meeting a hit man–College Memoirs: Life At Roanoke–March 1995, Part 2

My cat Hazel died in late January or early February.  I thought I was getting over her death, but of course, I hadn’t gone home yet, so it hadn’t hit me that she was gone for good.

The cause of Hazel’s death wasn’t certain; Mom wondered if her love of Twinkies was actually a symptom of diabetes.  A few months before her death, Hazel grew emaciated, had worms, and lost much of her hair, so it was hard to pet her.  For her, death was probably a welcome release.

The most frustrating thing was that for years I told my parents she had worms, that she left dead ones behind on my bed.  But they treated me like I imagined it–and was too fussy about that debris on my bed.  According to this, because of the dead worms I found, it was probably tapeworms.

Just like I told them my room was far too hot in the summer and I couldn’t sleep.  But not until I moved out and my brother moved back in, did they discover the air conditioning in that room was broken.  What is this with not taking me seriously, anyway?


One day, Sharon told me that Phil was now on TCB!  She couldn’t remember his handle, just part of it.

One day, I saw a new person online, Crash Helmet.  I had a weird feeling about him, checked his registry, and knew it was him.

In his registry, he gave his full name (complete with “III”) and said his favorite music was alternative.  That was a switch!  He used to say he didn’t like alternative.

I don’t know where he got the name Crash Helmet, because he didn’t have a motorcycle.

It was a shock to see him online.  It seemed that, not only did guys break up with me and then join the Zetas, but now they went on TCB!

Even Charles, who said he didn’t want to pledge because it would be like boot camp all over again, had joined the Zetas.  Was he the next to go on TCB?  Would Stimpy come to Roanoke and join the Zetas?  (Neither happened, fortunately.)

One night, I went online and found both Crash Helmet and Stimpy.  In those days, I didn’t feel the need to keep much personal information out of my registry, except for my phone number, so Phil could probably see my full name just by pulling it up.

He’d go and play in tele and joke around and such; I rarely talked to him.  I paged Stimpy and said that was the borderline abusive ex I told him about.

I joined “Crash” and the others in tele, filled with a certain curiosity, wondering what was going to happen.  I wondered if he would check my registry and realize who I was.

I wondered what I would say to him, what he would say to me and the others in tele.  I wondered how Stimpy would treat him (as far as I know, he didn’t talk much to him).

Now both Peter and Phil were on the BBS with me, when I thought this was my own thing.  Phil never showed much interest in going on BBS’s like I did; I think he specifically said once that he didn’t want to.

I went to BBS’s to get away from exes, and there they both were!  Peter had always been into such things, so that wasn’t a big surprise.  But how in the world did Phil end up on TCB?  I may have asked him once, but I don’t remember what he answered.

I didn’t like seeing him there, seeing him playing in tele, there in my territory.  I didn’t like seeing him at all, though my hatred for him abated months before.  I wondered how long he’d be around on TCB.  (Not very long at all, it turned out.)


One night, Stimpy flirted with a girl online in front of me in tele.  I pretended to be mad.

Privately, however, I whispered to Stimpy,

“You can go out with her if you want to.”

He whispered back, “I really don’t want to date anybody else.”

“Do you want us to tell each other when we go out with other people?”


Hm.  Did he like me more than I liked him?  I hoped not, but if he didn’t want to date anyone else, that was a distinct possibility.


I liked to make nicknames out of people’s handles.  For example, Speakery for Speaker, The for The Elite Lamer, Lord for Jesus Christ (yes, there really was somebody with that handle, along with Satan), Flez for Flezter.

One of my favorite songs of the time: “Against the 70s” by Mike Watt with Eddie Vedder, about the return of 70s fashions, music, etc.  It says,

The kids of today should defend themselves against the 70s.  It’s not reality, just someone else’s sentimentality.  It won’t work for you. … Look what it did to us.

I loved it because all these high schoolers and college freshmen around me now dressed like the 70s, the same decade that my generation made fun of because the fashion/pop music was so ridiculous.  And here was a rock singer echoing my sentiments on bringing back the 70s.


Pearl invited over a national, Christian theater group that did skits and things for InterVarsity groups.  They came on Wednesday, March 1.

Pearl told us one of the guys (who was our age) used to be a hit man, and we should have him tell us the story during lunch.

Say what?

So we did.  Here’s a summary of what he said:

He sat on a bus next to a woman, maybe middle-aged or older, during his travels for this group, and told her he was a hit man.

He told her all the things he did, all the hits he made.  She didn’t know what to think, sitting next to a murderer.

Then, finally, he admitted that he was just fibbing: He never was a hit man.

He had us all going for a while, with Pearl’s help.

I think some of us figured it out sooner than I did (not surprising because of the NVLD), but I didn’t know until he said it that he’d never actually been a hit man.  Here I was, sitting at the dinner table behind the partition, thinking how weird it was that a Christian guy our age had killed people in the past.  And then I found out it wasn’t true.  That was a relief, of course, but I felt a little foolish.

Cast of Characters (Work in Progress)

Table of Contents

Freshman Year

September 1991:

October 1991:

November 1991:

December 1991: Ride the Greyhound
January 1992: Dealing with a Breakup with Probable NVLD
February 1992:

March 1992: Shawn: Just Friends or Dating?

April 1992: Pledging, Prayer Group–and Peter’s Smear Campaign

May 1992:

Sophomore Year 

Summer 1992:

September 1992:

October 1992–Shawn’s Exasperating Ambivalence:

November 1992:

December 1992:

January 1993:

February 1993:

March 1993:

April 1993:

May 1993:

Summer 1993: Music, Storm and Prophetic Dreams

September 1993:

October 1993:

November 1993:

December 1993:

January 1994:

February 1994:

March 1994:

April 1994:

Senior Year 

June 1994–Bits of Abuse Here and There:

July & August 1994:

January 1995:

February 1995:

March 1995:

April 1995:

May 1995: