Gabby Is Missing: Part Twenty-Six

This is the final part of a fiction serial, in 767 words.

Benedict.

“Okay, my name is Ben Halliday, not Benedict, and I am doing this interview to just explain our part in the story of Gabby Parker. Is your camera running?”

The man nodded.

“My wife Michaela wants no part of this, so I will not be answering any questions about her. She is seven months pregnant with our first child, and I don’t want her bothered. I will only be making this statement based on the questions you supplied me via email, and that’s it. Okay?”

The man nodded again.

“So we met Gabby that first week at uni. You could hardly fail to notice her, with the cropped hair that so many girls have now. She was good-looking too. Confident, clever, with an interesting life story, none of which was true, as we know now. She was good to be around, everyone thought so. Was I in love with her? Yes. Was everyone she met in love with her? You bet they were. She knew what she was doing from the start, but we had no way of knowing that five years ago”.

He stopped to drink some water from a metal flask.

“Were we fooled by her? I don’t know about that. We were just happy to be around her, and didn’t judge, or ask questions. Kimberley Lau was certainly fooled by her. She thought they were a couple, gave her a huge amount of money, and ended up where she is today, in a mental institution. But for myself and Michaela, we escaped, I suppose. After Mikki finished teacher training, she got a job in a primary school here in Canterbury. I transferred with my Banking job, and we bought this small house you are sitting in”.

The man adjusted a light behind him, then Ben continued.

“After the disappearance, there was the book. We were described in that book as ‘love-struck losers’. I’m not denying that, and neither is my wife. But we have moved on, we have our own life now, and Gabby is not a part of it. We didn’t bother to see the film, and I was pleased that it didn’t get any Oscars, despite three nominations. But now Gabby is the face of child abuse, reporting on the BBC about child abductions and sex-trafficing, and she appears on telly every day as part of the Loose Women team. We cannot avoid her in theory, but we do in practice”.

After another swig from the flask, Ben continued.

“Then there was the second book, and after that the third. She was consulted as some kind of expert on child abuse every time something similar happened. Meanwhile, five people were serving terms in prison after she gave evidence against them at their trials. Those who escaped that have no career left. I mean, so many people, young girls and boys, have abusive childhoods. That’s horrible. But Gabby used hers as a springboard to fame and fortune. Do you know that she lives in a five-bed house in Hampstead? She has her own driver for the car she owns, and her agent got her onto Big Brother, I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, and she was even a contestant on Strictly Come Dancing? She got to the final of that, but didn’t win. Sorry, I need a pee”.

When filming resumed, Ben remained calm.

“Do I resent her? Actually, no. She got me together with Michaela, and claims that was her intention all along. Either way, we are happy, and loving the idea of becoming parents. But she was so hard on people, so harsh. Even now, she has never had a boyfriend, never contemplated marriage or children, and revels in her huge following on social media. I understand that alone makes her ten grand a month, on top of all the telly stuff and books. She doesn’t travel, doesn’t spend her money on much other than the house and car. Is she remotely happy? I really doubt that”.

There was a pause. The light in the room necessitated a change of direction for the white umbrella.

“Okay to continue? Well my take on it is this. Gabby embraced the cult of celebrity by making herself a celebrity based on a youth of abuse and neglect. She has earned a lot of money, ruined many lives, and become a household name on the back of it. That is an example of everything that is wrong with society in the twenty-first century, in my opinion”.

After some camera adjustments, Ben raised his hand.

“That’s it, I’m afraid. You need to leave now”.

The End.

55 thoughts on “Gabby Is Missing: Part Twenty-Six

  1. Bit lost for words there Pete, in a good way. What Ben says is absolutely spot on and it’s now making me wonder about how all these celebrities rose to fame. Very, very sad life some people lead. Very happy for Ben and Michaela though, and their little baby 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Ami. This story was inspired by ‘fake celebrity’ of course, and I wanted to show how someone can manipulate a background story that nobody can really prove ever happened.
      Glad you liked the story.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Like

  2. I would certainly choose Ben’s life over Gabby’s any day. Like you I don’t need fame or notoriety. I am content with enough money to provide a home and meals, a good man, and many friends on WordPress.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hats off to Ben for telling it like it is. I’m glad he was the final episode and also I think the first. The good thing is that he and Mikki ended up together. Well done, Pete!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, Ben began the story, and Ben ended it. He and Mikki both survived the encounter with Gabby, and neither envied her the success that came with its own problems.
      Thanks for all your engagement with the story, John.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I didn’t like Gabby from the start, but that’s what you intended. I stopped believing in the plot with the back story about the abusive teachers. You’d never keep that quiet in a school, certainly not with several teachers involved. But on the whole a decent tale about the fake celebrity status of the 21st century. Famous for being famous. I was hoping for a twist at the end where Gabby was found out to be lying and sent to jail herself.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nobody can ever be sure about her back story of course. She slings some mud, and it sticks. There was never going to be a twist, because in real life women (and men) like Gabby always seem to come out unscathed and successful. But she will be liviing a lonely life, with nobody ever being able to really trust her.
      Best wishes, Pete. x

      Like

  5. Great ending, as ever I was wondering how you would bring it to its conclusion.
    Gosia and I will often reflect on some of the people we meet or read about and ask the same question ‘Are they remotely happy? I really doubt that”.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. A satisfying ending. Sure, it would have been nice to see Gabby not rewarded for her scheming ways, but this feels more realistic.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. (1) Overheard:
    B. Halliday (interviewee): “Is your camera running?”
    K. Russell (interviewer): “Does a computer wear tennis shoes?”
    (2) Mikki was as quiet as a mouse during this interview.
    (3) Kim flew over the cuckoo’s nest.
    (4) Mikki entertains her students with bawdy Canterbury tales, including one about a miller.
    (5a) Gabby may be done with sex, but she regularly visits Gabbys Unisex Hair Salon in London.
    (5b) Gabby often orders food from Gabby’s Caribbean Takeaway. Because she prefers to eat alone.
    (6) Gabby said to her driver, “Let’s stop for some cinnamon rolls, Royce.”
    (7) Gabby is not remotely happy because Hampstead is not remote.
    (8) “Gabby embraced the cult of celebrity by making herself a celebrity based on a youth of abuse and neglect.” She got more than 15 minutes of fame, but she’s about as happy as a dead lark.

    Note: Your serials have put a number of people in prison. Are we going to get a serial that depicts prison life?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I did set the ending of one short story in a prison, but as I have never been in prison, it didn’t occur to me to do that as a serial.

      Rule 45


      Good idea though, as I know enough people who have served time, and could use what they told me about their experiences.
      Rolls/Royce was very clever, David.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Quite the serial Pete. Bravo!

    I don’t guess the endings (futile) but was surprised here, expecting the last episode to hold ‘one more’ twist, given your serial history and, especially given the character buildup on Steve. And this from chapter 25: “I have nothing to hide. This is all a set-up. I know what she’s up to”. And how she conveniently showed up to his flat where her words could be recorded.

    I wrongly assumed that Steve’s familiarity with Gabby’s amoral personality traits would have him laying in wait with iron-clad protection to avoid being cut out of his share: i. e. 24/7 surveillance of every inch of his flat, audio of every conversation that took place there, affidavits from her school friends of the premeditated defrauding Gabby unleashed on them, etc.

    “Protection” packaged in a way such that Gabby would need to drop all Charges or Steve could have Gabby hauled Into court, and be at risk of doing serious jail time and damages to Steve. She would have to work the entire program until the films, additional books, etc. Had run their course. Oh, he could afford to wait a few years because Gabby would have to agree to a much larger share, certainly much larger than the original 25% he had agreed to before she set about to defraud him.

    Meh, just my projection.

    Enjoyed it immensely throughout.

    Cheers,

    CT

    Like

    1. Chris, I found your comment in the Spam folder, it seems that WP has it in for you!
      This story was never really about a twist. It was about how people can manipulate a situation to become not only ‘famous’, but a celebrity and TV personality based on nothing but hard to prove accusations and tell-all confessions.
      Steve might well have recorded Gabby’s threat had he not just woken up and his phone was in the bedroom. She used a spare key from the time when she lived there, and planned her surprise visit in advance.
      In many ways, Steve was foiled by his own supreme self-confidence, and the fact he was sure that he and Gabby were a ‘team’. Even more so, he doubted Gabby would ever do something like that, as she would need his contacts. Of course, g
      Gabby used those contacts until she had made enough of her own, then dumped him.
      Despite your plot reservations, I am very glad to hear you enjoyed it.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Like

      1. I think of my comments as well. . . ‘connents’. Not “reservations” Pete.

        Given your background in surveillance, the bugging of one’s own apartment for security under the circumstances just fit into my own expectations.

        But just because someone is an accomplished aquestrian doesn’t mean he or she is going to nessarily arrive for Sunday Tea on horseback brother 😘.

        You wrote a fabulously entertaining story which was one of the best I have read.

        You indeed have a talent and I am lucky to be able to read them.

        Cheers!

        CT

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Thanks very much for that, Chris. Your comment was allowed through this time, but only as ‘Anonymous’.
          You may have to take issue with WordPress my friend.
          Best wishes, Pete.

          Like

    1. Same here, Don. It was young women like those who inspired this story. Nobody ever knows for sure if their ‘back stories’ are true, but they are always believed, and lives ruined as a result.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m with Liz on this one. Ben and Michaela are among the few likable characters. I didn’t take to Gabby at all. She seemed pushy and creepy, with those “pillowy” lips. But I think you’re right about celebrity culture.

    Liked by 1 person

All comments welcome

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.