the time, I had got to know Nikki (not her real name) fairly well.
She was an accomplished costumer, but quiet and soft-spoken. She
joined several SF clubs and even the Royal
Astronomical Society of Canada,
as I did, so I saw her often. The stalker, who became known as
for reasons that will soon become obvious, was also a fairly quiet
fellow who joined only one of the groups so I barely knew him. When
he did speak up at meetings (always from the back of the room) there
was a quiet sort of intensity about him, but that was not unusual
for somebody trying to make a point in his second language.
Just an ordinary guy, like the rest of us, a fan of SF movies and TV
The trouble was already well under way when I
first woke up to what was happening behind the scenes of the club I
shall call Trekkers. I remember standing on the steps after a
meeting and getting involved in a discussion between Nikki and
another friend whom I shall call Connie. Nikki was disturbed
because the club would not ban LaRose, but Connie was saying it was
better that Nikki knew where he was and what he was doing. It
was at least a safe environment, and our meetings were during the
day, and circumstances were such that he wasn't likely to be able to
follow her home. The president of the Trekkers reasoned that,
"He pays his dues, so I cannot send him away." He thought
the roses were funny. It was a shock to me, the first of several yet
to come. Ummm, a female member tells you she is being stalked,
followed around by a guy who started showing up every day at the
fast food place where she worked to give her roses, and this is not
cause for banning? Connie said, "At least he is in the
open this way." Yeah, I guess... But Nikki was thinking of
quitting the club, does that make sense? Lose a master
costumer, keep a weirdo?
The discussion on the steps happened because
Nikki was having to wait until LaRose had been gone awhile, and her
friends had taken a look to be sure he wasn't lurking around a
corner to see what bus she took. This is not normal. And, come on,
the guy was not a life member! Just refuse to renew his membership,
at least. But no, LaRose was still welcome to the club meetings, as
was another member who had
in fact been banned from MonSFFA meetings because of his violent
tendencies. After this creep had smashed a couple of things at
meetings, and gone on about how much fun it was to have a party in
and then finding out about LaRose, I was considering quitting, too.
But Connie's point was valid: Don't let them win – you
also pay your membership fees, your voice is just as important.
Absolutely, but MY voice was not being listened to. Was it
because I was a woman and they were males? I don't like to think so,
but the evidence was starting to point that way, and now here was
Nikki standing on the stairs, scared that LaRose might learn where
she lived. Did no one care what was happening to her?
She was living in fear, but the guy in charge seemed to think there
was no big deal.
Finally, Nikki did quit the club, and she
changed her job, and she moved, and eventually LaRose lost her
later, just before noon, the school secretary appeared at my
classroom door, looking white as a sheet. "There's a guy
downstairs in the office wanting to talk to you." And then,
trying to make light of it, "Have you lost your love?"
She handed me a business card: Lost Loves Detective
What the ????? We have detective
here? Well, of course, we must. Never really thought about it
before. Geez, detectives now, at the elementary school where I
teach, when did I start showing up in a TV script?
I got the kids off to lunch and with great
trepidation, made my way to the principal's office where a fellow
with a very bad cold was sniffling and snuffling. Was this
some sort of joke? Lost Loves? Well, yes, somebody had lost
his love, and did I know what had become of Nikki? Not a
joke. Maybe a false agency, but this was not a joke.
Somebody had tracked me down, and found me at my workplace – my
school, full of children. My principal was not there, she
worked two schools and as luck would have it, she was in the other.
She would have made mincemeat of this sniffling excuse for a
detective. I was furious, and ripped into him. How did he find
me? My phone number is unlisted, Internet was new then and I wasn't
on it, not many fans knew what city I lived in, never mind where I
taught school, but somehow Sniffles knew exactly where I taught.
Did he go looking for me at every school for miles around? And most
importantly, who had hired him to look for Nikki? He
refused to answer. Just wanted to know where Nikki was living,
couldn't I just give him her phone number? I told him most
emphatically that I suspected LaRose, that Nikki was not a lost
love, far from it, and if anything happened to Nikki, I was
reporting him and his agency to the police. He left, still
sniffling, and me so angry and upset I couldn't eat. I'm still
angry, even as I am typing this. Sniffles couldn't find Nikki,
but could find out where I taught school, and me just a casual
friend of hers? Suddenly, my world had become a very unsafe place to
That afternoon, I spoke with my principal.
She had started her career as a social worker, and her advice was
clear and succinct: Call the cops.
First, though, I called Nikki to warn her it
wasn't over, LaRose was still out there, don't answer questions from
strangers. Then I called the detective agency and told the head
honcho what I had told his minion, that I was holding him and his
outfit personally responsible if Larose found Nikki, and that the
cops were going to be informed of this unwelcome visit to my
workplace. He refused to answer my questions, and he sniffled, too.
Hmmm, small office?
Then I drove to the local police station. I was
taken aback to realize I was speaking to the duty officer through
thick, probably bullet-proof glass, in a probably deliberately tiny
reception area that wouldn't accommodate a crowd of three. But
this is a bedroom community! Kids, dogs, tulips in the parks,
bicycle paths! Years later, I was to learn that all sorts had
bedrooms in this town, including one of the province's most
notorious gangsters, Mom Boucher. Obviously, the cops knew
what evil lurks in cheerful little cities where the mascot is a big
skunk in a red tuque.
I was afraid the police would not take me
seriously. At that point, I was beginning to think only women feared
stalkers, and men thought we were being hysterical, but he did take
a very good look at the Lost Loves business card, and he listened
patiently to my tale of Nikki and LaRose.
thing to do," said the cop speaking to me through some sort of
grill that distorted his voice, "is find out if this is a
genuine agency." He had his doubts, too, obviously. I learned
that the Sûreté
our equivalent to the State Police keeps tabs on detective
agencies. "The 'Grand quartier général' is
(Well, of course it is, duh, that's where Kathy
works. I am sometimes amazed at how inept I am at joining the dots.)
"Then tell your friend to get an injunction."
Knowing Nikki, I had an idea that was not going to be easy. She
wasn't one to make waves.
I met Nikki soon after at an RASC
meeting, something LaRose had not clued into, and Connie being also
a member, our little group had a powwow. Connie made plans to
take her to the Sûreté, but Nikki wasn't sure about the
injunction. After all, he hadn't found her. "Yet,"
after, Nikki dropped out of everything. She was working, going
back to school, and now busy renovating an old house she had bought,
so fandom went to the back burner. But I wonder, would she
have dropped all her fannish activities if LaRose had not been
making her life a misery? If the club had been more supportive?
I never did find out if the agency was legit,
and though Connie seemed to think she had, I don't believe Nikki
made any move toward getting an injunction against LaRose. I
never saw LaRose after the Trekkers folded. He also dropped
out of fandom. Maybe he never was into fandom much anyway,
maybe his interest was only in Nikki. I think of him sometimes, when
I read of stalkers in the press. I know now that they don't
just go after the John Lennons and Ann Murrays of the world. I
get so angry and frightened. Where is he, who is he following
about now? Does he still buy roses every day for his prey?
Because that's what these stalkers are, you know, predators, and
anyone of us can become prey at anytime.