Last year, a person I used to respect—and even look up to—stole a few of my articles and sold it to a magazine as if they were her own. The Word Thief was cunning enough to sell my work to a print publication out of the U.S. But the hands and eyes of the witchy world covered a distance wider than the Word Thief expected; my former critique partner bought a copy of the magazine and called me.
“Hey G, I didn’t know you were writing for X Magazine,” my ex-critique partner said. “Why didn’t you tell me? I would brag about my friend writing for X, even if your pen name is shit.”
At first, I thought it was a mistake; my ex-critique partner had not read my stuff in a while, maybe she was confused, right? Wrong. The Word Thief had copied everything almost word for word. Thank goodness, the Word Thief’s cunningness didn’t go beyond choosing a foreign market; the dumb woman used her real name.
I contacted the Dumb Thief. The piece of worthless shit, actually told me, “But Maggy, nothing in your blog says that you would mind if people republish content.”
My Wicked Darlings, if the words had come from a stranger, I would have been mad, but hearing such nastiness from someone I once admired, set my gut on fire. I ended the call without saying anything.
I went for a run to burn away some of the fury. After a cold shower, I jumped in my car and drove to the Dumb Thief’s house; a xeroxed copy of the articles in hand.
The Dumb Thief’s daughter opened the door, “Miss Maggy!” she squealed.
“This is not a good time,” said the Dumb Thief, standing behind her daughter.
I ignored her words. “I need to talk to you,” I said, putting the articles between our chests.
“Guerrero?” Dumb Thief’s husband called from the living room. “I got new bones. Come here. Let me destroy your world.” Her husband was always trying to destroy my world at dominoes.
I walked past the Dumb Thief. I must’ve started crying at some point because when I got to the living room, her husband handed me a tissue and then stared around uncomfortably. The daughter went very quiet, too. I shook my head at the collective sight and was about to head for the door, but the Dumb Thief opened her mouth.
“I would appreciate it if you didn’t bring trouble to my house,” she said through tight lips.
My Wicked Darlings, if her family had not been there, I’m pretty sure I would have shoved the papers in her mouth and pushed each page down her throat with my foot. Instead, I told her, “You brought trouble to your house when you stole from me.” I threw the papers at her. The pages hit her on the chest and scattered around her feet. “I want a written apology from you. I want a letter from anyone you sold my work to, and I want the document to show that those people understand you are a plagiarizer. I want everything within two weeks. If you don’t do it, I’ll make sure everyone knows what a piece of garbage you are.” I walked out.
I was crying so hard when I got to my car that I couldn’t drive. I just sat behind the steering wheel and shook. Through tears, I noticed a huge Gerber daisy growing in front of the Dumb Thief’s house; the flower was so pretty that it actually made me smile. Yes, I’m weird like that. I got out of the car and walked around to thank the daisy for cheering me up. I stopped behind the back bumper in order to let a couple walk by. Before I could scream ‘you thieving bastard!’ the girl had snatched the daisy.
During my drive home, I couldn’t stop thinking about the flower. I imagined a large-eyed Gerber daisy looking at me while someone ripped the life out of her. I wondered if things would have been different, if the bloom had a petrifying eye to spot danger and a huge set of fangs to sink into the flesh of attackers.
Many months have past since that incident, then the other night, right before I began to work on something for Stacy’s fully buttered vampire post, I got this message from the Dumb Thief:
“Hi Maggy, I know we haven’t spoken lately, but (insert daughter’s name here) is always asking when you are coming over. Would you please come over for dinner? If you come early, we can discuss this grant I want to apply for. There is a chance that I can get it by myself, but if we apply together we will get it for sure. I almost didn’t ask you, but I told myself that you were too good to hold a grudge for too long or to sit around stewing in pride until you rotted.”
I didn’t reply to the email, but the words brought back memories that inspired me to draw Fanged Daisy. Yesterday morning, I got another message from the Dumb Thief (what too ridiculous to share; trust me). Again, I chose not to respond. Then I realized that I needed entries for The Butterfly Effect and Summer of Colors 2, and told myself, why not? So here is my reply to both of her inquiries:
My not so dear Dumb Thief, no, I will not recommend you for a writing job. Are you insane? And about our friendship, the one you murdered, I must say that it is indeed rotting in pride and enjoying it very much; blooming happily in the surrealist graveyard I’ve created for its remains; it is guarded by a grim daisy and a zombie gnome whose eyes are always watching for the likes of you.
Rotting In Pride: Grim Daisy and Zombie Gnome
Note to the ones who might poke my eyes out, if I don’t say what happened next: I never pressed charges or made the Dumb Thief’s treachery public. However, Fate must’ve have a bone to pick with my once friend, for her life has fallen apart. She used to have a successful business that crashed after her costumers began to abandon her. Also, she seems to have stolen words from other people, took and these individuals didn’t care about her family as much as I did.