A.N.: Contrary to popular belief, I'm not dead, but I did get a dog, so thoughts of suicide are certainly there. I bought this cute little puffball who spends all of her time yapping, peeing on my floor, and trying to eat people.

And yes, I adore her.

As always, my thanks to my grammatically-challenged but highly amusing beta, the Sloth, and to my muse, Jessi.

CHAPTER THREE: What Happened to the Poof?

Cute Gay Stalker Man was standing only a foot or so away, close enough to touch, close enough for me to realize just how much taller he was. His eyes were riveted on mine, and while I couldn't find any shock in them, he still looked confused.

He was also still wearing his pajamas.

He opened his mouth to speak, but before he could say anything, I shook my head. "Whatever it is," I told him, my voice too tired to be as harsh as it probably would have been at any other time, "keep it to yourself. I don't want to know."

I was still shaking my head as I pushed past him, practically elbowing him aside as I headed for the door. I didn't look back at him as I left, though I had already decided not to say a word of this to Brian or Anne Marie. They don't need more proof that I'm crazy.

Still, I'm so getting drunk tonight.

You know, I've done a lot of stupid things in my lifetime; letting Brian set off firecrackers in my bedroom when we were in the fifth grade was probably the worst of them, but my decision to get drunk last night comes in at a close second. Knowing how horribly I react to alcohol and how moronic I get when I drink anyway…let's just say that when I fell out of the stupid tree, I must have hit every squirrel on the way down.

And now I have a hangover.

Woohoo. Really.

Seriously, though, I feel like I've got a bunch of manic penguins using jackhammers on my brain, and if this is a contest between me and them, they're winning.

The sunlight coming through the open window blinds wasn't helping, either. I groaned and tried to shove my pillow over my face to block it, but even getting my pillow out from under my head required way too much effort, and I quickly gave up and decided to just keep groaning instead.

Somehow, this is Brian's fault.

No, really, it is. If he'd just believed me about my stalker going poof, I wouldn't have felt the need to drink my weight in vodka. And if I hadn't drunk my weight in vodka, I wouldn't be fighting this hangover right now.

Yep, all Brian's fault. And as soon as I can manage to open my eyes and actually get out of bed, I'll be punishing him accordingly.

I sighed, still keeping my eyes tightly shut and desperately trying not to remember anything from the night before. I keep picturing myself doing a chicken dance on the bar, and I'm just hoping that's me being crazy and not an actual memory. If it really did happen, though…well, the birthday curse is obviously still in affect.

I hate my life.

Why in the world did I think getting drunk was a good idea? What the heck was wrong with me? Stalker or not, there just isn't any excuse for that level of stupidity.

Though this does bring me back to my original problem: Poof Man. What am I going to do if I'm not crazy and I really have picked up a stalker who can make himself disappear?

…you know, that sentence alone is probably proof enough that I'm certifiable.


I groaned again—no, it's not really helping, but I have to express my frustration somehow, right?—and began the long and uncomfortable process of opening my eyes. They were stinging from exhaustion, the pressure from my hangover-induced migraine was only adding to that, and if my bladder hadn't been so full, I probably would have just gone back to sleep.

"Stupid penguins," I muttered as I rolled onto my side, thinking that turning my head away from the window might at least make things easier.

And maybe it would have…if turning my head hadn't also made me realize that my stalker was lying on the bed next to me, his head on my extra pillow and his eyes boring into mine.

I'm slow in the mornings, and I spent a second or two wondering why he was always in those pajamas before it occurred to me that I should be wondering why he was here in the first place.

Or, you know, not wondering anything at all and just screaming instead.

Which I did, though since I'd waited so long, I probably shouldn't have bothered. My scream was kind of lame—I pretty much sounded like a monkey being poked with a taser.

Still, for all that it was really more of a strangled gurgle, scream it was. I jerked back, still screaming/gurgling and then completely falling off my bed in the panic that had only just then set in. I started scuttling backwards like a crab, one hand blindly fumbling by my bed for the baseball bat I technically kept for emergencies but usually just tripped over. I stumbled again as I finally found it, jumping back to my feet as quickly as I could and then waving it in Too-Perverted-To-Still-Be-Cute-Gay-Guy's face.

"I don't know who you are or what you want," I hissed, finally deciding that threats would be better than yelling, "but you've got about five seconds before I brain you."

I was completely serious, and I figured this guy couldn't know that the only bat I've swung lately was the fake one on Brian's Wii. I had to have at least looked a little threatening, right?

Okay, so probably not. I'm nearly a foot shorter and weigh a whole lot less than this guy, but if Asian ninja chicks can pull it off, why can't I?

Then again, I'm not a ninja chick, and the guy didn't even react. He only continued staring at me, though at least he'd had the courtesy to sit up. He was still on my bed, though, and while I hadn't let myself think of that too much, I was starting to twitch.

"Let's try this again," I told him, my voice still barely more than a hiss. "I've got a bat, and if you don't crawl back out of whatever hole you came from, I'm going to use it on you. Or is there something about this that you don't understand?"

He still didn't react, though at least he didn't look like he was ogling me. If anything, my stalker looked a little annoyed.

And that annoyed me. He was the one who'd broken into my apartment, so what gave him the right to get irritated? If anything, he should be grateful I was only trying to kill him rather than calling the cops!

Not that I could get to a phone or anything anyway. I don't have a house phone at the moment, and though I was still wearing my clothes from the night before, I could already tell that my cell phone was not in my pocket.

So I lost my phone and picked up a crazy man instead.

And I still have to pee.


"I'm counting to five," I reminded the crazy man, though I didn't do anything so pathetic as to actually start counting. I lifted my bat instead, fully intending to swing and see how much damage I could do to his skull, but of course I didn't get the chance. Someone was banging on my door and practically screaming my name, and from the irritation in that person's voice, it could only be my roommate.

"It's seven in the freaking morning, Rachel! You'd darn well better be getting murdered in there, or I'm going to kill you myself!"

Yes, feel the love. I'm positively basking in it right now.

I tried not to roll my eyes, if only because I wasn't about to look away from my stalker even for an instant. "I'm sorry for waking you up," I bit out, wishing that for once I'd just left my bedroom door unlocked, "but can you please forget about that? I've got a guy at…at bat point, and I need you to call the cops."


Huh. I hadn't thought anything could shut Sarah up, and if I hadn't been dealing with a perverted stalker, I think I might have stopped to enjoy the moment.

Unfortunately, it didn't last.


Oh, for the love of…

Honestly, my roommate isn't the brightest bulb, but why did she have to go all Jessica Simpson on me now? Her timing, as always, completely sucks.

"Just call the cops, Sarah," I told her, not even trying to hide my irritation and no longer caring if the stalker knew her name. She'd told him mine, hadn't she?

"Let me in, Rachel!"

I did roll my eyes then, if only because she'd apparently decided that trying to kick my door down was a better idea than calling the police…because, you know, why not? After all, when a perverted stalker breaks into your roommate's bedroom, wouldn't you want to meet him? Sarah apparently did.

And doesn't she realize that by the time she actually gets the door down, I'll probably already have been murdered? Anyway, if she wants in that badly, why can't she be like any other Angelino and just pick the lock? Oy.


Should I be offended that she sounds more irritated than alarmed?

Okay, so Sarah is obviously going to be as helpful as a Chihuahua on crack. Fine. I'll deal with this on my own.

I retreated until I'd nearly hit the wall, and then I started inching my way towards the door. "Don't even think about trying anything," I told Stalker Guy as I scuttled across the room, glaring for all I was worth and praying I wouldn't trip over anything else. "I really will use this!"

He didn't say anything, only cocked an almost bored eyebrow in response, and I couldn't help wondering why he wasn't trying to do anything. If he was that unthreatened by me, why didn't he just try to take the bat away? I was obviously about to call the police on him, but he was acting like he didn't even care.

He truly is crazy, and I'm starting to realize that it's probably a good thing he's gay. As pretty as he is, he really shouldn't be contributing to the gene pool. This world doesn't need any more crazy.

Brittany Spears pretty much has it covered, after all.

I was at the door by then, and still without taking my eyes off my stalker, I reached behind myself and fumbled around until I'd found the doorknob. I flicked the lock, pulled the door open, and then practically fell backwards into the hallway, crashing into Sarah in the process. We went down in a tangle of arms and legs, Sarah taking the brunt of the impact as I immediately twisted to kick the bedroom door shut.

Sarah was groaning beneath me, body jerking again as I "accidentally" elbowed her while trying to stand. She was still moaning in pain as I righted myself, but I was too busy putting my weight against the door to care.

Not that I would have cared all that much anyway. She may be my only ally at the moment, but she's still Sarah.

And being Sarah, she just couldn't pass up an opportunity to yell at me. "What in the name of the Great Mother Earth is going on?"

Great Mother Earth? Sarah must be on one of her kicks again. How very Hollywood of her.

I rolled my eyes as Sarah glared indignantly at me, but I was still working on bracing myself against the door. I didn't think I could do much if the guy really wanted to force his way out, but maybe I could hold him long enough for Sarah to get help.

…assuming I could make her realize that we needed help, that is.

"Look, you blonde bimbo, some pervert has broken into our apartment, and I either need to kill him or get him arrested. I'd be good with either one at this point, but you're going to have to stop being special long enough to call the police. Can you handle that?"

Apparently she couldn't, because when I finally looked back at her, I realized that she wasn't listening. She was staring at me, but I could tell that she wasn't really processing my words. Or, if she was, she didn't believe me. There was so much suspicion in her eyes that I was offended even before she actually spoke.

"Are you having another one of your…episodes, Rachel?"

Forget groaning—now I just wanted to kick her.

Too bad she's not male and kicking her wouldn't be nearly as much fun.

Then again, this is Sarah, and I bet I could enjoy her pain anyway.

I started grinding my teeth together. "No, I'm not," I all but growled in response. "Can you please just call the cops? Or take the bat so I can?"

Sarah was still looking at me like I'd just grown an extra head, but then she only rolled her eyes. "Fine," she huffed, "but this had better be real, Rachel, or I'm moving out."

Was that supposed to be a threat? I cocked an eyebrow at her, then grimaced as I realized that I was reacting the same way Cute Gay Guy had when I'd threatened him.

Though my threat was real, and at least my I.Q. is higher than four. Sarah's isn't, and my irritation is a little more justified.

Besides, part of me is now kind of hoping Poof Man isn't real, just so Sarah will have an excuse to leave. Unless Paris Hilton herself shows up at my door and asks for a room, anybody new is bound to be an improvement over this diva wannabe.

I glared at my roommate, suddenly wishing I could be back in the room with my stalker rather than out here with someone who makes SpongeBob seem like a genius in comparison. "Please don't do anything that will require me to clean your blood out of the carpet," I told her.

I didn't give her time to make one of her not-so clever retorts. I simply handed her the bat, then turned and darted down the hallway, heading for the kitchen and Sarah's landline.

I dialed 911 as quickly as I could, biting my lip impatiently until some nasal-voiced operator had come on the line. I told her about Poof Man as I ran back towards my bedroom—though, no, I wasn't stupid enough to mention the actual poof part—and I was in the process of giving her my name and address when I realized that not only had Sarah opened the door to my bedroom, but she'd also gone inside.


Seriously, though, she'd better not have gotten blood on my any of my things.

I pounded down the hallway to my bedroom, slamming the door into the wall as I rushed inside, fully expecting to find Sarah dead on my floor. She wasn't. She was standing in the center of the room, her hands on her hips, her face turned away from me.

She was also alone.

Dang it.

I sighed, stared at the place where Poof had been and then slowly realized that I'd let my arm drop down to my side. I reluctantly put the phone back against my ear. "Never mind," I told the operator—who clearly didn't care anyway—and then ended the call.

Sarah had turned, and from the way she was glaring at me, I guess I was supposed to feel guilty for dragging her from her much needed—very much needed—beauty sleep just to deal with my hallucinations. Shockingly enough, I didn't. I had bigger problems.

Like proving that I wasn't crazy.

Sarah jerked the phone from my hand as she stomped past me and out of the room, but I ignored her, since finding evidence was so much more important than the fact that I might—joyfully—be out a roommate. I needed proof that my stalker had really been there, because otherwise Brian and Anne Marie were going to think I was just being psychotic again.

Well, more psychotic than usual, anyway.

There was nothing concrete. The bed covers were wrinkled where Poof Man had been lying next to me, but that could have been my own fault. He hadn't touched anything as far as I could tell, and my stereo and laptop were still on my desk. I even checked my underwear drawer, but nothing had been moved there, either.

So what had been the point of him coming, assuming I hadn't just imagined him?

Which I hadn't. I may be crazy, butI know he was here.

I sighed, sitting down on the edge of my bed and wondering if I should just keep this whole thing to myself. It seemed like a good idea, especially since I still hadn't figured out how he'd left the room. Not even Sarah would have let him past her, and though at first I thought he'd just gone out the window, it took me only a second to realize that he couldn't have.

Mostly because the window was nailed shut.

Crap. This means I'm crazy.

Venus Smurf's Thoughts of the Day:

Signs you have a hangover:

You're convinced that chirping birds are Satan's pets.

Trying to gain control of the situation, you continue to tell your room to "stay still."

Looking at yourself in the mirror induces the same reaction as chugging a glass of fresh paint.

You'd rather have a pencil jammed up your nose than be exposed to sunlight.

You set aside an entire morning to spend some quality time with your toilet.

You replace the traditional praying on your knees with the more feasible praying in a fetal position.

The bathroom reminds you of a carnival barker shouting, "Step right up and give it whirl!"

All day long your motto is, "Never again."

You could purchase a new bike just by recycling the bottles around your bed.

Your natural response to "Good morning," is "Shut up!"

An Irishman, Englishman and Scotsman go into a pub and each order a pint of Guinness. Just as the bartender hands them over, three flies buzz down and one lands in each of the pints.
The Englishman looks disgusted, pushes his pint away and demands another pint.
The Scotsman picks out the fly, shrugs, and takes a long swallow.
The Irishman reaches in to the glass, pinches the fly between his fingers and shakes him while yelling, "Spit it out, ya bastard! Spit it out!"

To some it's a six-pack, to me it's a Support Group.