Contest Winners & Truth is Stranger Than Fiction

Firstly, I'm happy to announce the winners of the Pink Skull Prize Packs are: Melissa and Lauren, who both entered via the website, www.dawnmetcalf.com and who will, I hope, enjoy some great books, pretty bling & sweetness this summer! And now, the winner of the Grand Prize Luminous Summer Gift Box is...

*** oarlock_queen!!! ***

Congratulations!!! (cue fireworks, balloon launch, and triumphant brass band)

WARNING: The rest of this post is dedicated to Twilight Zone-like weirdness.

I knew I had to write this blog post, even though I doubt you'll believe me unless you know me personally and can attest to the many, many strange things that happen to me on a regular basis. Still, the truth is out there and must be told, so I'm going to tell it like it is. Or was. Anyway, this is what happened:

This weekend, I went to return some clothes and had shopped around for some things to try on in order to make an exchange. Stopping by the fitting room, I asked where I could park my cart and the girl behind the counter pointed to one side. I started dutifully counting out hangers, but couldn't remember if the store's policy limit was eight or ten and turned to ask the girl behind the counter, but she wasn't there. I looked down. She was on the floor, shaking, the phone off the hook and no one else in sight. I quickly looked around for another employee but saw no one. I bent over the young woman, her hair fanned out behind her and her eyes rolled up, the whites showing between the fluttering mascaraed lashes, and she was quivering. I hung up the phone and dialed zero. When it connected, I said that someone had collapsed in the fitting room.

Voice: "What?"
Me: "A young woman is unconscious in the fitting room."
Voice: "Huh? Who is this?"
Uncertain whether I dialed the phone operator or the store, I hung up.
She was still shaking, but it was starting to ebb.

Turning out into the store at large, I said very loudly: "Can someone please get a manager NOW?" Three or four heads looked up from their shopping, glancing at me in disbelief and then went back to their shopping! Disgusted, I knelt down and held the girl's hands to her chest as she began to wake up. A grandmotherly shopper stuck her head in and asked if I still wanted her to get someone. I said, "Yes, please!" The girl had stumbled to her feet, obviously shaken and embarrassed.

I tried to keep her lying down but she wouldn't listen, insisting that she was fine. I ignored her and helped her to sit on the nearby bench in the shoe department. Another salesgirl finally came over and I calmly requested that she get the manager and an ice pack. I kept talking to the girl, asking her where it hurt and telling her what had happened. She had a lump on the back of her head the size of a nectarine and complained that she felt sweaty, but there was no blood. I tried to sound calm and light-hearted, explaining that's what happens when you lose consciousness and I was familiar enough with it because I was in the martial arts! Our dojo was next to the town where she lived. I kept her talking until the manager came over. He asked if she was okay, and, of course, she said "Yes" but I shook my head over her shoulder "No." He asked if she had fainted and she said "Yes," but despite not wanting to scare her, I said, "She was having a seizure. She didn't faint." I asked that he call 9-1-1. He didn't. (Later he said that most people don't want to call an ambulance because of the insurance. I said that as a business owner, you should always call 9-1-1. He said it's only in case of minors or if they lose consciousness...which she was and she did but I digress.) Finally, I asked if she had been drinking enough water and she said she had a bottle with her and he got it for her to take a few sips. I reiterated that she had fallen and I didn't know if she'd hit the counter on the way down, but she had to have hit herself pretty hard to get a lump like that and should go to the ER. The manager escorted her to his office and said that they'd call her mother. I watched them go, feeling frustrated and helpless and disapproving, and continued into the fitting room...

...when it hit me...

This happened IN MY BOOK! The first chapter of Luminous describes the main character fainting in a fitting room and hitting her head, gaining a lump on the back of her skull! AND NOW THIS ACTUALLY HAPPENED! *I* was one of those faceless women helping the girl to sit up and asking someone to get her juice! And, what's even impossibly weirder, is that it happened in the very store whose fitting room I used for the book! I was in shock. I stood there muttering how I couldn't believe it and no one would believe me and G-d help me, please tell me that she's not Latina because that would just make my brain explode. I wanted--no *needed*--to tell somebody who'd understand and called my writing buddy, my husband, my best friend, my Mom...and they believed me because they know how strange my life can be in that eerie, quirky, Bizzar-O universe that is my Fate from time to time and how this was no exception.

And it really happened. And I feel like I'm in Stranger Than Fiction. And so I had to write and tell you because, well, yeah.

And now I'm wondering if I should submit this to the store's parent company?

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3 Responses to “Contest Winners & Truth is Stranger Than Fiction”

  1. Holy. Cow. This is the oddest, weirdest, most frightening thing a writer can have happen to them. Not only is the situation horrible, but then to realize THAT YOU IMAGINED IT YEARS BEFORE. You must be really shaken.

    Please don’t start writing dystopia.

    Also, if this is a chain I sure would contact the main office. They could be sued for what that stupid manager did. And they should be. He put that girl’s health in danger because he didn’t want to be charged for an ambulance call.

  2. Jenn Bailey says:

    You haven’t written any murder scenes have you? Good Grief how fantastical! I faced a similar “no help” situation when I lived in San Francisco. Guy in front of me tripped, fell and whacked his head on the escalator stair. His head got cut up and he lost consciousness. No one would help me get him to a bench. I finally got someone to get a BART worker. Similar issues with providing an ambulance. They wouldn’t unless he asked so I told him to ask and got scolded by the BART cop. It was only later someone said “He’s bleeding. You shouldn’t have touched him.” I guess everyone thought Young Male + SF = Aids. Like that excuses you from being human. I think you should let the parent company know!

  3. Dawn Metcalf says:

    It was such a dizzying moment. Truly surreal.

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