You just can’t beat a good bit of Metallica in the shower. But just the one today: I’m in a bit of a hurry. So this is going to be a quick one. Sorry. Places to go, things to do, people to be. Or, as I believe the saying used to be “I’ve got to see a man about a dog.” Although wasn’t that a euphemism for going to the pub?

Anyway, as I said, time is short today. I’m not being deliberately mysterious on you or anything, it’s just that it would take too long to give you all the details. Have you ever had times like that? When you’re genuinely busy, and you try to tell people as much, but you get pestered, and in the end, it would have been quicker just to give them a blow-by-blow description of your plans for that day?

I would never be deliberately mysterious on you. It’s not fair and, frankly, it’s simply childish.

The next song came on – Billy Idol. I hopped out of the shower. The song reminded me of a number of instances of FMS, or “Fabricated Mystery Syndrome”, all of which were, obviously, back in my teenage days. I mean, we all know a least one girl from our school days who only ever seemed to go out with mysterious and improbably perfect boys who always went to a different school and holidayed in places we’d never heard of, where postcards and photography were seemingly prohibited.

But hearing that song reminded me of one particular girl who created a stir talking about her ‘famous uncle’. He was a member of a famous pop band of the time, she said. She dropped hints about presents and outings, and went into great detail about how she couldn’t tell us anything.

However, things had to escalate and soon she had to tell everyone who it was, and from then on the lies became more complicated and trickier to keep track of.

Then she dragged me into it.

I’d met him too, apparently. We’d gone to his house for the weekend. Where was it going to end? What made matters worse was that soon after, the band released a song that just happened to have my nickname as a title. That cemented it all as truth with everyone.

Fast forward a few years.

I’m now living in London and – guess what – I’ve actually met this famous uncle. He and the rest of the band happily allowed me onto the stage to take photos of them at a gig. As you do. I mentioned it in passing to her (she was still an obsessive fan of the band but I didn’t know the status of her fantasy at that time). We still kept in contact, writing to each other every few days, telling each other silly stories of our various antics.

And then I fell ill.

It was all to do with my metabolism, another one of the delightful side-effects of being a vampire. Naturally, the medical profession were puzzled, and threw their hands up in confusion. It didn’t, of course, stop them from pumping me full of a variety of drugs just to see what would happen.

Having a drip stuck in your arm and daily explorations of things that really should never be excavated left me no time for letter writing. On the day I was finally released from hospital, a friend came to pick me up. He had a bundle of mail for me. One of which was a letter from this girl.

I wish I had torn it up right there and then.

The letter was full of such hatred and vitriol it made my nerves sting. I was barely strong enough to walk, and yet here was my friend, not only knocking me down when I was too weak to defend myself, but stomping all over me. This was the logical conclusion to her stream of fantasy.

So, if you know someone with FMS, please look behind the tales. Talk to the person, not the fantasy.

Just don’t add fuel to the fire.


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