On the 19th of April, 2002, Michael meets his cyberstalker. At first, he has trouble recognizing her. Michael first met Rachel on New Year’s Eve of the year before. He made dinner for his friend Mischa K. Michael brought Isabelle. Isabelle was back in Los Angeles for the holidays. She had been Michael’s friend with benefits since 1998. Michael and Isabelle met through an online dating site. She had left town two months earlier to sell Chinese antiques in Maryland. Isabelle was engaged to be married. She wanted to be with Michael for the holidays. Michael’s friend wanted to be with Rachel. At 40, Mischa was getting past his prime as a musician and ladies’ man. Both Rachel and he were recently divorced. They had been seeing each other for six months. They exchanged affectionate words. Mischa was eager to settle down. Rachel was hungry for distraction. She was despondent over the failure of her marriage. She never stopped talking about it. They parted on bad terms. Michael recalls all that as he sits across the table from Rachel. He also recalls Mischa’s complaints. Michael wears ballistic armor under his motorcycle jacket. He carries a gun. Five months earlier, his life had been threatened in the name of Erin’s father Min Zhu, and his billion dollar company, WebEx. Michael is suing the Zhus and WebEx. He has no doubt that the man capable of raping his daughter would have no qualms about executing his threats. He has no room in his life for another bitter, hysterical, manipulative female.
Félicien Rops, L’Incantation, 1896 Musée provincial Félicien Rops, Namur Dépôt de la Communauté française de Belgique