AKA Finch

by J. Fallthrough

You know my crime. You must, because it's only spawned like ten thousand documentaries, feature films, books, and now all the Website and blogs and podcasts and whatever set up by the obsessives. The only thing I'll say about the 50 years of coverage is that it routinely misses the point—when it's men writing about us its because it's impossible for them to see it and when it's women it's because they don't want to. That's why I'm writing this now.  But let me be clear: If you're expecting some new eye-popping tidbit about how we lived in the commune or some bombshell about other crimes we committed stop reading now. There hasn't been one of those for decades, and I've told you everything I know.  

            When I met Albion (You know him by his real name) I was nineteen and living part-time on a California beach and part-time in strangers' apartments. I often smelled of a mixture of salt and sweat and my hair was a skein of knots. I liked to think of myself as wild and I didn't shave my legs or underarms even when I had the chance. I was one of Albion's younger followers. I think the media fixated on me because of that and also because I was one of the prettier ones and came off as a little ditzy. When a reporter asked me how I could have done such hideous thing I giggled and said, “What hideous thing?” My hair had been straightened out in jail and it was in two ponytails at the time that was filmed.

We killed—massacred and mutilated, really—in a neighborhood where that kind of thing wasn't supposed to happen. It was the kind of place where insanity was handled with pills and permanently calm psychiatrists with summer homes. We did it all because Albion told us to. We blindly followed a conman who strung us along with a combination of spiritually tinged babble, personalized manipulation, and drugs, lots of drugs. You know all that—unless you're one of those people who think we weren't controlled at all, that we were acting on our own. Then you know nothing.

            “How could it have happened?” They ask it over and over again without any intention of ever answering it. It happened because we were women. Women are dangerous, treacherous. Not because we're inherently evil, but because we're inherently nothing. That only changes with the attention of a man. Albion told me I was beautiful and that he loved me. He also told me I hated my body and thought myself unlovable, and it was this process of both seeing and correcting my problems that made me feel like I wasn't spectral for the first time. When that happens we feel we we owe it to the man who made us to use our newfound existence to whatever ends he wants. What Albion wanted was the attention of the whole world. He tried it first with his music and when that didn't work he dispatched us to commit the crime that made one 20-year veteran of the police force break down on national TV. If I had been luckier I would have met a man who wanted to build the perfect housing development.

I think I knew this when I was young because I watched my mother dissolve when my father left us. Without him she couldn't even stand up anymore. Does this knowledge make more culpable? I say no. What could I have done? Killed myself? How? Remember, I didn't exist. I did eat and need shelter—it's a strange non-existence we women have that requires a minimum amount of calories to keep us intact. Although by the time I met Albion I ate so little that I had started to doubt that and Albion thought hunger was optional. He called me “Finch” because I was so boney and delicate. “AKA: Finch:” that's followed my name since the crime.

The fascination with us will never end because although we're infamous we're quietly legion. They have to keep rehashing our story to remind them of us because forgetting about something so dangerous isn't an option. Billions of women out there animated only by the men in their lives—bouncing along sidewalks, going to school, cutting your hair, cooking your food, sleeping beside you—you see them ever day and don't even know it. I still get tons of letters from them. These women want to pick me apart. They treat me like a curiosity because they know with me they can't deny their own non-existence. These are the same ones who send Albion letters and beg me for details about him. I doubt this will ever change. Unless maybe someday—if all the men somehow disappear and we have only each other—we can breathe life into ourselves.