“There was this actor in the ‘60’s,” Ruthanne was saying. “His name was Franck O’Day. He disappeared after a plane crash in 1968.”

“You mean, he died in a plane crash in 1968?” I asked. “Like Buddy Holly and the Big Bopper?”

“Oh, no. There was never any proof that he died,” Ruthanne replied emphatically. She added wistfully, “He was beautiful.”


“Flawless. Irresistible.”

“And you think he’s still alive?” I asked. “You think that he’s wandering around in the woods somewhere, un-rescued all these years? Like Bigfoot?”

She shot me a withering, now-that-would-just-be-ridiculous look.

“I can prove it to you.” Ruthanne revealed that she was an avid member of this dead actor that she believed was still alive’s fan club. You joined it by sending in two keys to a PO Box in Los Angeles.

“Keys?” I asked.

“The keys are a symbol for his fans,” Ruthanne told me. “It works like this. You find two keys, meditate on them, fill them with your good wishes, your love for him, then you send them to the fan club. He receives the energy and love from the keys – and infuses each with a little of his own grateful energy, and mails them back.” Ruthanne looked affectionately at her own set, hanging from her keyring. “I own something that he actually touched, Carol! Something that’s imbued with a little of his energy, a little of him.”

Not for the first time in our association, the thought crossed my mind that Ruthanne might be certifiable. It was obvious that she really believed that some long-forgotten matinee idol not only wasn’t dead – he’d actually touched the keys that she now gazed at fondly, thereby filling them with his energy.

“Actually, I was thinking that his life story might make a great novel. The energy thing is novel, in and of itself.” Ruthanne smiled at her little pun. “Might put you up there at the top of The New York Times’ Bestseller list.”

She went on to tell me that Franck’s life had been marred by scandal and tragedy, commercial successes and dismal failures. These were all interesting highlights, but I kept coming back to the strange requests from the fan club for keys and love energy. Not to mention the fact they were putting it out there on the interwebs that this guy wasn’t dead at all. Yeah, it might make for a good read, if I could just find the right angle. There were all those the tragedies and scandals – but the weird requests for energy from devoted fans, and those claims of resurrection from the grave – that might put a fresh spin on the whole thing.

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