You know, folks, we live in a time somewhat similar to Salem Witch Trial days. Then, if a lady’s behavior seemed to be a tad outside of mainstream; that is, a bit different from her peers, she was the subject of outlandish and cruel scrutiny. All it took to ruin (or take) her life was an accusation. Today all it takes to trash a man’s reputation, and perhaps brand him forever as a sex offender, is an allegation of impropriety. Whether or not the charge is true doesn’t seem to matter. We humans generally enjoy believing the worst; the old where-there’s-smoke-there’s-fire syndrome; that is, accusation equals guilt. |
This is not the kind of writing I enjoy, but a recent event compels me to press on, especially in light of (it seems) so many who feel entitled to do as they please to advance their particular agenda with no concern about harm to others. In the words of a self-entitled woman in a recent motion picture who cuckolds her fiancé, “So I betrayed you. He speaks French. Duh! Get over it.” Holier-than-thou, self-serving, and not an ounce of remorse.
Judas may be the most infamous betrayer, but I’ve always maintained he got a bad rap; a raw deal. I mean, someone had to inform on the Nazarene for the scene to move forward, right? Besides, Judas was a Zealot, a tribe dedicated to bringing down Rome. Perhaps he thought he’d force the issue, and Jesus would use his powers to get rid of the interlopers. Whatever, the facts are lost to history. However, history does record that in 67 AD (CE for those “offended” by Anno Domini) the Zealots slaughtered the entire Roman guard in Jerusalem, and it took Rome three years to recapture the city. The Bible indicates Judas took his own life, and the Qur’an maintains he was crucified in place of Jesus. Either way his time on Earth ended badly.
Betrayal is an ugly word, and intended or unintended aftereffects can be devastating to the one betrayed. Some never recover. The word insinuates treachery, disloyalty, deception, and/or dishonesty. The story that follows includes all of those elements. However, it is not my purpose to either express or solicit anger; nor an intention to “get even”, but to communicate bitter disappointment of the one betrayed. He feels abject sadness for the loss of one he thought was a friend. Given our naturally flawed human condition, I suppose at one time of another some of us may have also wittingly or unwittingly betrayed another person—parent, sibling, friend, lover, spouse—which is not an easy thing to admit. Once aware of such action, guilt can be devastating until one accepts what has been done, and an attempt is made to atone. But what if the betrayer is amoral; void of moral compass, and/or so practiced at rationalizing deception such that duplicity is true reality in his/her mind? Perhaps you’ve known such a person; one who at first impression seems open, friendly, spiritual, and genuinely caring.
Sound familiar? Read on.
Travis first met Alexa in a Zen-like physical improvement class she taught. She is an excellent instructor and very helpful in the details that make the class value-added. Travis left each session feeling more energized physically and more relaxed mentally. Alexa seems genuinely interested in each of her students. She tends to be very (maybe overly) touchy, feely with all—male and female—not in an overt creepy, flirtatious way; but it’s borderline. That said, it would be easy to misinterpret her words and physical attention if one were inexperienced in life or vulnerable. Still, there are those who request she not lay hands on them. The intention is, in her words, to make the experience healing. Often, Alexa goes off on oratory tangents about Eastern philosophy, the magic of crystals, exotic oils, vegan diet, UFOs, etc., but most participants chalk it up to enthusiastic, innocent naivety. “That’s just Alexa being Alexa,” someone would say after class, and most nod knowingly. However, she does have a cadre of doting disciples.
Alexa knew Travis had been instrumental in getting a certain popular National entertainer, his old friend, Serge, from the Midwest booked for a performance locally, and that he would be returning for another gig. Earlier in life, she had been a minor entertainer and wanted to get back into the action. She requested Travis’s help, and gave him a CD of her songs. Travis requested Serge give her a shot. Serge warmed to the idea after listening to the CD, and continued to collaborate with Alexa via electronic media.
By and by, Alexa requested Travis meet with her after class to “talk about something”. To Travis that seemed a bit odd, and suspected he was being “played” (flag). He made sure they met in a very public place, and immediately afterward told his wife and a number of neighbors—those who knew Alexa—about the content of the meeting. Alexa communicated some unasked for personal information veiled in a request, to wit: 1) she requested contact information for recording studios in our local area. Inasmuch as that data is easily accessible via Internet, Travis got the distinct impression she was looking for a “sponsor” (flag); 2) she left her hometown because male family members “came on to her”; 3) she left a local band because the leader “came on to her”; 4) and finally, her husband does not understand her, and she is dissatisfied with her marriage (another flag). Several days later, Travis gave her a list of recording studios. He did not receive a “thank you”, but they remained friendly.
The night of the performance, Travis noticed Serge and Alexa were extremely cozy with each other, but given her proclivity to get up-close-and-personal didn’t think much of it until the two remained behind a closed door between shows. When the second show was over, I (being a eavesdropping, nosy writer) overheard the following conversation:
Travis probed Serge, “You going to see Alexa, maybe have lunch, before you go back east?” He later said his intention was to warn Serge.
Author’s Note: Travis knew Serge had experienced a devastating break-up, and was vulnerable. He also surmised because of Alexa’s wiles, Serge was thinking with the wrong part of his anatomy. When guys get in that mode, no words can jog them back to sensibility. Even when men are old and past hope, they still think of romance.
Serge with a sideways look, “You getting up in my business?”
Travis obviously perplexed by the tone from his friend simply said, “Nope,” and turned away. What was he to say when his friend only had the love of Connie Fivefingers for the past year?
Travis continued to attend Alexa’s classes, but not as regularly. One day she informed the class she was traveling to Nashville for a recording session. The class ohed-and-ahed, and told her she would be famous. Alexa ate that up. A week later, the pictures she posted on social media were not from Nashville, but from Serge’s neighborhood (in another state) where he books acts, and teaches voice and performance. The pictures were of her in a hotel room, and performing in a recording studio. That was the last Travis was to hear from either of them for over a month.
Tired of the bizarre drama, Travis dropped out of Alexa’s class, and sent Serge a how’s-it-going text message, which was ignored. Odd behavior for a friend, he thought. When Serge finally contacted Travis weeks later, he sounded devastated, and related the following:
Alexa verbally agreed to a contract with Serge’s booking and entertainment company, took the document back home with her saying she’d sign it, but never did. However, she made several small payments before one bounced. Among other services, Serge had provided recording studio time, writing, rehearsal, and photography for Alexa. She owed him about $8,000.
Alexa’s husband called Serge and said they weren’t going to sign the contract or pay her outstanding debt because Serge “came on to her”. (Does this begin to sound like an old story?)
“Did you?” asked Travis.
“Well, she’s always flirting, and she came to my hotel room while I was in Arizona. We didn’t do anything that wasn’t consensual,” admitted Serge. “Plus, I have copies of all her text messages and emails that prove she was the instigator. I told her husband I’d send him copies, but he refused saying he chose to blindly believe his wife. I think that’s a scam they’ve been using for years to get her on a lecture tour, a book deal, work as an entertainer… I think she wants to be famous, and will do anything to get there aided and abetted by her husband. She pretends to be oh so spiritual, but is completely amoral, immoral or both.”
“Take it to a lawyer. You have a case to collect what’s owed you. But why call me now? We’ve been friends for a long time, and since Alexa’s secret visit to you I haven’t heard a peep. What’s up? Why now?”
Serge paused for a moment and sighed. “She tried to put a wedge between us. In addition to saying her husband was a slob that didn’t understand her, she told me you came on to her; even stalked her. Said you used her father, who she hates, to get to her.” He paused. “See, you didn’t help her directly so she used you to get to me. I think she thought I’d fall for her, and forget about business. Now she’s in denial, and doing damage control. Take a look; she’s ‘unfriended’ both of us on Facebook.”
Travis was dumbstruck. What a punch in the gut! That was his payoff for being a friend? To be betrayed and slandered as a sexual predator? To this day, he can’t help but wonder to whom else Alexa told this despicable lie. For what it’s worth, Travis repeated this story in its entirety to some key participants in her class. They were not surprised.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: For what it’s worth I’ve seen some of Alexa’s text messages to Serge. They are as indicated above, and give light to who was coming on to whom. Maybe she could write a book, “Sleeping My Way to the Bottom”.
By Gene Myers, defender of truth, justice, and the American way! (Wait, did somebody else say that?)
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