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Davis, California

Saturday, April 20, 2024

This is not the truth

I have a tendency to hyper-imagine crazy scenarios and possibilities after seeing something that qualifies as even remotely strange. Perhaps this is where my storytelling ability comes from – I don’t know. In any event, I decided I would share the frantic thoughts that travel through my brain when I see the odd things you do.

Real Scenario 1: Yvette, Carrie and I are driving through Davis at 10 p.m. on a Saturday night, looking for adventure. We see a guy climb into the trunk of a car and close it on himself. “What the hell?” we ask each other. We laugh and drive on.

In my mind: There is a man trapped in the car, but of his own volition. He has some mental illness (my knowledge of psychology only goes back to PSC 001, sorry) and has locked himself into the trunk to get away from the bunnies. The bunnies are coming out everywhere – pink, white, blue – but only in his mind. They are gnawing on the tires of the car, hopping out of the gutter and nibbling their way through the glass.

He is terrified. In my mind, I feel bad for him. I, too, am afraid of the dark.

Real Scenario 2: I am at home, and my dog is barking underneath my window. I roll over and grumble something into my pillow before going back to bed.

In my mind: An intruder stalks through our front gate, doing that neat little trick with the string and the latch that my dad taught me when I kept getting locked out of the house. He creeps through the side of the house, alerting my fat mini Doberman, who scrambles over on stumpy legs to defend our home.

After a brief but violent tussle with Kiki, the intruder ties up my dog, shoves him under the deck and enters the house through the sliding glass door that leads into the kitchen. I hear the footsteps creaking on the stairs. I hide in my closet and hope that no one finds me.

Real Scenario: A classmate in high school seems to have no discernible interests other than writing the name of her eighth grade crush in the back of her notebooks, wearing the color brown and watching YouTube videos.

In my mind: The girl is obviously a secret agent. I told my best friend this once, and she said, “What are you talking about?” But I am convinced that the girl leads some sort of a secret life, in which she saves lives or makes drugs in her underground lab. She always did have a vague interest in plants. Perhaps she grows medicinal herbs and markets them to local herbal medication stores?

I am always asking the girl what she does in her spare time. When she says, “Nothing, really,” I am convinced that it is a cover. One day, I will discover her secret.

Real Scenario: We keep losing things in our apartment. Tape dispensers, scissors, dresses that we once wore but now can’t seem to find. A mixing spoon, a poetry book, the disposable animal sippy cups that we bought at Target. We’re messy, forgetful girls. We bring things downstairs and leave them underneath the coffee table, only to be found months later. We leave the flashlight in the kitchen cabinets next to dry pasta and canned milk. Our things are not lost; they are misplaced.

In my mind: For some time, I had the sneaking suspicion that our apartment was haunted. There was no real basis for this, other than the fact that a) we “mysteriously” lost things, and b) when very paranoid, we thought we saw things moving out of the corners of our eyes. Also, I once woke up with strange scratches on my legs and was convinced that a demon had possessed me in my sleep, leading me to “self-mutilation.”

In this case though, I let my crazy musings leak into my real life. I told my parents the theory, and they got a priest to come to my apartment and bless it.

Yvette tells it like this: “I came home and apparently, every room had been doused in holy water. Also, there was suddenly a crucifix in Teresa’s room.” My friends affectionately refer to this episode as “the exorcism.”

Perhaps it’s better to keep these fanciful tales to myself instead of letting them loose and passing them off as reality. Exorcisms, after all, are events better confined to vampire novels and horror films.


TERESA PHAM would like to know if you have a real strange tale to tell. If so, e-mail her at terpham@ucdavis.edu. XXX


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