Saturday, April 09, 2005

Rebecca Schaeffer Tribute #1

This is the first in an ongoing series of tributes to the late actress Rebecca Schaeffer. For those of you who don't know Rebecca was the star of the 80's sitcom "My Sister Sam". She was murdered by a deranged stalker. The following story is by Chris Miller:

Confessions of a Stalker

I want people to understand what a strange effect a beautiful woman can have on a person’s state of mind. When a man sees a beautiful woman walking in the sunlight he will seek to possess her. I remember as a teenager, barely old enough to drive, I’d see a young woman going along the sidewalk and I’d slow right down and stare at her for several seconds as I drove by. Unsatisfied, I’d turn the corner, and circle around solely for the purpose of seeing her again, studying her breasts, admiring her legs, gawking at her graceful movements, memorizing her ass in the side-view mirror. The compulsion of wanting to fuck one sidewalk goddess or another was always there, but mostly just looking upon them was enough.
As I got older, I never dated beautiful women because they wanted nothing to do with me. I began to ruminate, brood and ponder a lot over my lack of female companionship. Everywhere I went I saw women, perfumed and clothed, and I wanted some of these women, but I knew that they were like everything else: they came with price tags. I read a lot of books to answer my questions about females, yet I couldn’t find any answers. Maybe I was reading the wrong books. At various odd jobs I worked with few beautiful women too, and they were never interested in dating me either. When I struck up a conversation with them, they went out of their way to stop the conversation. A fundamental rule of nature became apparent, the one which stated that peacocks don’t associate with crows. So I settled for the porno magazines and I considered giving the hookers a try, but the decent prostitutes charged way too much and the cheap ones reminded me of creepy crawlers and stinkbugs.
I was a child of the Eighties and in those days the world’s most beautiful women were those in movies, music and modeling. Those were the women I most desired. As time went by, I finally lost my virginity, and got the occasional woman to spend 15 minutes with me, and at age 20 I found Lisa, who became my girlfriend. Lisa was not beautiful, though.. Far from being my ideal woman, at least she managed to satisfy certain needs. She was a kind woman, loyal, serviceable in bed, and that’s mainly why we stayed together. Dating Lisa was like drinking cold coffee; at least she was something. Lisa had this friend Amber Schule who affected both of us in unexpected ways.
This is how the story goes… I had seen my girlfriend Lisa with her shirt off many, many times before and I knew what was beneath, which wasn’t a whole lot. Lisa’s chest region was not bountiful. In fact, one night while enjoying beer and pepperoni pizza with my Wednesday night friends, ample-bosomed women was our topic of conversation and I complained to them about my girlfriend’s tiny breasts. “Not like bee stings,” I told my drinking buddies, “more like deflated balloons.” Everybody laughed.
Only three nights later I knew that something was amiss. This was the night I met her friend Amber. When Lisa and Amber came over to my apartment around 9 o’clock, I noticed almost immediately something different about Lisa that I deemed worthy of mention.
"Are you wearing a padded bra?" I asked.
She told me no.
While she seemed neither fazed nor embarrassed by my question, I didn’t believe her answer. Her breasts didn’t look like deflated balloons anymore. I knew she didn’t have the money for implants, so I said, “Your tits look bigger than before.”
“Before what?”
“Before tonight,” I said. “Looks like you’ve got something stuffed down inside there.”
“I’m wearing a push-up bra.”
“You said you weren’t wearing one.”
“No, you said padded bra. This is a push-up bra — there’s a difference,” she corrected me.
She wore a bright green mohair sweater that matched her eyes. Her seemingly bigger-than-usual breasts were jutting out magnificently, straining at the very fabric of her tight sweater. She looked really good on this particular night. I didn’t know it at the time, but Lisa later confessed that she needed to make herself more “presentable” when out with Amber who was, after all, a very beautiful woman that turned heads in shopping malls and wherever else she went. Lisa’s teeth needed fixing, blemishes marked her face, and her butt was a touch too big for her jeans, but since she wasn’t begging me for a serious relationship, I endured her many and varied foibles. If a woman didn’t put too many demands on a guy and didn’t slice him apart with curse words, he could brave the blemishes and cigarette breath. Sure, Lisa had her fair share of imperfections, yet where in the world was a woman who didn’t?
Well, I thought that Amber Schule might have been an exception. A guy could tell simply by looking at her that she was a model. Her career wasn’t going anywhere fast, but she managed to get her photo in a few city newspapers wearing a bikini. She modeled wedding gowns at bridal fairs, and that sort of thing. She didn’t need to change her life with cosmetic surgery or stuff her bra with Kleenex tissues. Photographs of her would not require any airbrushing. Like those many women I used to circle the block for to get a second look, Amber possessed undeniable beauty.
“I need to use your washroom,” said Amber, with a voice as sweet as her ass.
Saying nothing, I pointed down the hallway, and watched her sweet ass as she made her way down towards the washroom. She flicked the light on and went in, turning with a slight wry smile as she closed the door behind her.
Lisa went over and poured a drink for herself. It was rum and coke. While she prepared the drink the two of us could hear Amber taking a whiz. I felt a slight twinge of disappointment, suddenly more aware of the fact that every woman, even the ones full of beauty and grace such as Amber, still had intestines and sweaty armpits and nostril hairs. She peed every day like the rest of them. There was no denying that every woman had imperfections and she was no exception.
When Amber returned from the washroom, the night came alive with chatter and laughter and Roxy Music on the stereo. I fixed a drink for her and another for me. The three of us sat in my apartment smoking cigarettes and talking and drinking Cuban rum. It was a special night. I cannot recall the first line of literature that led me away from all that I loved and led me to desire being a writer. The same could be said for pretty women and late evenings of talk. Sometimes, looking back, I believe this was the night I stopped loving Lisa and began my pursuit of Amber, my dear sweet Amber. I didn’t know it then, but this was the woman I would someday obsess over.


Some days I spent alone in my bedroom laying on an unmade bed and staring off at the wooden dresser strewn with dirty laundry. Listening to the dull hum of lights, I wondered why I was still there. What did I have to live for, really? Yoked down with lies for so long, I didn’t even know what was real anymore, the education and the lore about life not falling in sync with what I was finding out. While the rest of the world spun by outside in pursuit of its own picayune ideals I continued laying all by lonesome, reluctant to play those same reindeer games, refusing to chase illusions, and feeling an ever-present resentment towards men who dealt in real estate, insurance, municipal politics, fakery.
Many other things bothered me, too. For instance my rent was too high for the foul conditions I lived in. I contemplated moving, but whom was I fooling? Rent was high everywhere. Another thing that bothered me was the palaver of the local street kids, unable to articulate their thoughts, talking to one another as though they were filming a rap video. We went to the same schools, and had many of the same teachers, so I didn’t understand why I was more communicative than they were. All of those things bothered me. The faces, tongue-tied voices, police sirens, homeless animals, working my ass off for minimum wage, shadows in the alley … all of those things affected me adversely, multiplied within my own sense of the tragic.
Being a loner in my early 20s, of course, resulted in me being labeled a psycho, a weirdo and fucked in the head. This was nothing new. To paraphrase that great 20th century philosopher Norman Bates, “Sometimes we all go a little crazy.” While some young men self medicated with drugs and alcohol, engaged in self-destructive behavior and self-abnegating sexual activity, or read Sylvia Plath poetry, my long and lonely nights were a haze of depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder brightened from time to time by a first-rate bout of masturbation.
All of this is typical young-man angst, but with one twist: I fell in love with Amber Schule, and I thought that if she would ever give me the time of day, there was damn good chance she would fall in love with me. Late into the night I fantasized about her, jerking off as I imagined being her gynecologist or giving her a mammogram or the two of us running naked on a tropical beach or using her face as a seat cushion. I imagined her on a nightclub dance floor, amidst the orange and purple strobe lights, shaking around in a miracle of colour.
The thing about Amber is that she was a borderline celebrity now. Sure, she still worked part-time at the Red Rooster, but her modeling career was progressing. The year was 1989. She modeled brassieres and panties in the Sears catalogue and the local small town newspaper starting comparing her to the famous supermodels, which was probably an exaggeration. I clipped the pages showing Amber in her delicate white bra and panties, and started a scrapbook. I looked at the pictures in the book every night, sometimes twice a night. The pages of the scrapbook were moist.
The more I found out about her, the more I loved her. From a newspaper story I learned that her mother was a painter, and her father was a high school math teacher. Her art/math, left brain/right brain combo was a real turn-on. She was also Christian. She was spunky, independent, determined, and possessed every quality I was looking for in a woman and nothing like the other bitches in my town.
Knowing that Amber worked the early shift at Red Rooster I used to drive by every morning and check if she was working. The small convenience store had blinds on the windows but usually they were open and I could peak inside through the window. If I saw Amber working, I’d go inside and buy Twinkies or a coffee or a bottle of aspirin. I’m not sure when my aesthetic appreciation for her undergarment photos turned to obsession, but the more I learned about her the more I started harbouring theories that she and I were meant to fall in love. In some ways, I was already convinced that Amber was in love with me, even though we never spoke except to say “thank you” or “have a nice day.”
One late evening I drove by Red Rooster and noticed Amber at the checkout till. That she was working a nightshift surprised me. This was the night I almost crossed the line. Outside the store I sat in my car and watched her. She looked out the store window but paid me no mind. She was restocking the cigarette shelves or something. Just looking at her was an erotic experience in itself.
I unzipped my pants. I wanted to go close to Amber, touch her with my hands, be touched by her hands. Instead, I sat in my car watching her. With my right hand I touched my own chest, still watching her, my fingers itching at my own torso, imagining my hand was actually inside her shirt and stroking her pale breast. My hand inside my pants, I rubbed myself affectionately, again lost in my own imagination that the woman I saw through the store window had her hand in my lap. I could have stayed there all night, as long as she was there, but I grew worried that somebody would come by and catch me with my pants unzipped, stroking myself. I zipped up, and drove away.
I went home and drank beer, plenty of it, for a few hours. Finally I ran out of beer and wanted some more, so I got in my car and drove drunk in the direction of the nearest liquor store. It was raining. My tires hissing on the wet pavement, I had not yet reached my destination when I came upon this female figure hitchhiking in the dark. She stood on the gravel, on the opposite side of the road from the general hospital, her arm extended, thumb pointing up. I recognized the female figure as Amber. Our timing couldn’t have been more perfect. Her spring jacket buttoned to the top, she hunched her shoulders against the chill and the steady drizzle.
I slowed down, and she waved her arms in the air, hollering for me to stop. I stopped. How could I refuse? This was the opportunity I had been waiting for. Not unlike the ballplayer who finally gets the call up to the major leagues, my time had come; this was my moment to shine. She was coming into my life again at just the right moment.
Pulled over, she got in. “Hi!” she said, ever so eloquently.
“Hello,” I said, fumbling for the proper words. I worried over what to say, and how I looked. Was my hair combed? Why was I wearing this ridiculous yellow polo shirt?
“Thanks for stopping,” she said.
Amber was in my car, and a sudden thrill passed over me. She was all I had dreamed of and more. A brilliant, pretty, outrageous woman of exquisite innocence was in my car. I said, “Glad to be of assistance.”
The date was Tuesday, July 18, 1989. A tragic news story came on over the car radio that 21-year-old Rebecca Schaeffer, the star of My Sister Sam, was shot dead in the Fairfax District of Los Angeles. Amber and I listened to the broadcaster tell the story. We learned that a crazed stalker shot her dead. Two gunshots, two screams. She lay twitching in the doorway, her eyes staring up. A neighbour rushed over and checked her pulse, but found none. Half an hour later she was pronounced dead at Cedars Sinai Medical Center.
“That’s sad,” said Amber, noticeably heavyhearted by the news of the young TV star’s homicide. “There’s a lot of lunatics in this world.”
“Don’t I know it?” I agreed, my car spitting gravel as I accelerated, and the two of us drove off together into the black guts of the night.

-20 Stories of Drifters, Drunkards & Dreamers edited by Chris Miller is available at

This short story collection contains samples of fiction from some of the best underground writers in the world today, including Delphine Lecompte, Calvin Liu and Chris Millis. Many of the stories involve violence, heavy drinking and intense sexuality. You won't be disappointed.


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