Dear Readers, Please accept this humble excuse for a story with my thanks and apologies. I took a bit of liberty with some much-loved characters, but it was for the best. Any and all inquiries and complaints can be directed to Random, c/o O.G., NA, Earth

The True Saga Of Weak-Willed Christine

Chapter One: In Which I Am Erroneously Called Gloria

It all started, I suppose, when I was born.

But I can't really remember anything about that, and so I think I'll skip to an episode that occurred when I was about six— six? yes, six, I think. I'm not sure. But I remember it well. Or rather, not too well. In any case I remember it better than I remember my own birth, which is very hazy indeed.


When I was six— or whatever— my father came to help me get dressed, as was his normal custom.

"Which frock do you want to wear today, Christine?" he said, a smile crossing his gentle, handsome face. "The red one? The blue one? The lilac?"

"I—" I said. "The red— no, the— um— lilac? No, blue. No, lilac. No, isn't there a green one in there somewhere? No, green doesn't agree with my complexion— I must have dreamt it. Blue? Red? Lilac? I don't know. What is the cosmic significance of each color, father, so that I can determine what subliminal message I intend to transmit to onlookers as a result of what I wear? Blue?"

The smile had faded somewhat by this time and he shook his head gravely. "Child, if you don't determine your thoughts and learn how to make up your mind, your weak will is going to get you into trouble one of these days."

Oh, how true were his words!

At least, they have been so far—

I remember also a poem he used to recite, which confused me immeasurably. It went something like this, as I recall—

"Little Lotte let her mind wander. Little Lotte thought, Am I fonder of dolls, or of goblins, of shoes, or of riddles, or frocks, or of chocolates— no, not chocolates. Or maybe— dolls? Or goblins? No, riddles. No, frocks. No, perhaps it is chocolates after all. Shoes, maybe? Or, wait, was there something on the list perhaps that I am leaving out?"

At any rate, when this whole business with the Phantom of the Opera started up (or "O.G." as he sometimes liked to be called, or "Erik," which was his name, or "Angel of Music," "Angel of Death," "Angel in Hell," "Just Plain Angel," "Red Death," and occasionally, "The Phantom Fop-Killer," for which I have always resented his peculiar sense of humour) I have forgotten what I intended to say at the start of this sentence.

Oh wait, I remember.




Alright. When this whole business with Erik started up, I was a young-ish girl slaving away in the ballet corps. Well, not actually slaving, but you get the general idea.

It came one night when I was sitting on my stool in my poor little dressing room— a voice of an angel. Well, not an angel, as I learnt much later, much to my chagrin. In fact Erik played me for a fool, pretending to be a voice and only a voice whilst depriving me of seeing him as a living, breathing man. And it was a deprivation, you see, for I fell in love with him. At least, from my point of view I did. Erik didn't seem to agree.

Later on, my childhood friend, companion, sweetheart, acquaintance, next-door-neighbor, what-have-you, anyway his name was Raoul, which I always thought was kind of a ridiculous name, but he was tall enough to pull it off and anyway had a ponytail so I suppose he bought fully into the whole "fop" ethic and didn't mind being called it, which was fortunate since that is what Erik invariably did call him, arrived.

That sentence does make sense, for a given value of sense. You may have to read it through again, but you'll get it.

He didn't remember me at all but I suppose I impressed him with my weak-willed simplicity, and also my extremely low-cut costume, for his eyes bugged at least an inch out of their sockets when he saw me.

"Gloria!" he shouted. "I almost didn't recognize you standing up!"

"I am not, and I never have been, Gloria," I said determinedly. "At least— I don't think I ever have been. I may be mistaken. I wasn't fully educated about past lives, you see, this being France, an enlightened country—" I frowned thoughtfully. "This is France, isn't it?"

"It was the last time I looked."

"Oh? And when was the last time you looked?"

He frowned in thought as well. "I don't recall. I shall have to look it up in my little book."

"Oh? And when was the last time you looked it up in your little book?"

"I don't remember that, either. As a matter of fact—" Suddenly the expression on his face turned quite panicked. "I don't remember anything up till— this morning! My childhood— my father's face— the way my brother looked when I hit him with a handful of mud last week— wait, no, there it is, it's alright, it's come back now."

"Thank heaven," I said, frankly relieved, though I didn't know why. Raoul wasn't ever a considerate, or even an attractive, man, being selfish in habits, never returning my phone calls, never writing to say whether he found work or not as I had jokingly instructed him to do, and generally being somewhat beastly in appearance. Nevertheless, I found myself falling almost instantaneously in love with him all over again.

I don't know why.

Erik won't be happy about this, I thought to myself.

Or— will he?

Will he even care?

Will he even be able to tell, if I don't tell him?

Will he be awake when I get down to his lair, or sleeping it off again?

Only time would tell.

Or— something like that, anyway.