I CONFESS 


Whatever else you might think of me, it's really important that you understand two things. I loved Bob Dance's beautiful granddaughter. And what happened was completely an accident.

Yes, it's true: I was there with her when her number came up. All the other theories, you can officially discard. The anguished months of not knowing, the dead-end clues, the red herrings — all of it is in the rearview mirror now. Bob is innocent. So is Mrs. Bob. Those whispers of an inside job were just checkout-aisle claptrap. It was me, me, me — and never for a second did I want it to be this way.

I know I may be cooking my own goose by admitting all this. My lawyer keeps saying I'm going to regret every syllable of it, just as soon as the Fen-Phen wears off. But I loved that child. Who in his right mind wouldn't? I adored her truly and deeply, from the first time I flicked on my TV and heard her dear voice inviting me to that magical Neverland "where evwybuddy wides." Yet it wasn't until I started researching her biography for an SCC term paper that I recognized how important she was in my life. Within weeks, I could recite her commercial's spiel by heart, even when the set wasn't on or I wasn't technically awake. "That's my beautiful granddaughter," a soothing, avuncular voice in my head would intone. "That's my beautiful granddaughter."

One day, a second, more pained voice answered back. No, it said. That's MY beautiful granddaughter. And I knew I had to do something to make the world understand. Just remember, it was all an accident. A big old "oops." Oh, yeah.

At this point, you may feel that I'm being vague. So be it. Believe me, it's not easy to boil down a deep, meaningful relationship into what major newspapers like to call "an elaborate and hazy narrative." But I'll be happy to spell out all the relevant details — perhaps in the pages of Interview, or as part of an exclusive, 7-part sit-down with Pat O'Brien on The Insider. But not on Tyra. I'm talking about a show somebody watches.

Now, to properly grasp the issues at work here, you're going to have to put aside a lot of irrelevant distractions. For instance, there's the little matter of me showing up for this press conference wearing eye makeup and high-fastening pants. If I had an image consultant, she'd probably advise me that they don't go too well with this enormous forehead. God only knows what you thought when you switched to CNN and saw me peering out at you. Probably something along the lines of, "Hey, check it out! They arrested Gary Numan!"

And to fully get where I'm coming from, you'll have to overlook some of the shadier entries in my past. I'm thinking of 2002, when I attempted to legally marry the Appliance Direct guy. Then there's the troubling knowledge that, at the time of my arrest, I was living in a van parked behind Circus Circus and poring over blueprints of Florida's "F" schools. Put it all together, and, yeah, I guess it does sound kinda sordid. Whatever.

Remember: This is a love story. And like any great love story, it naturally raises more questions than it answers. Am I innocent? No. What happened to the weapon? EBay. Why did it take so long for me to come forward? Stage fright. Why do I keep stuttering, and why does it look as if I'm about to burst out in hysterical guffaws? That's the Fen-Phen again. This job and/or hobby of mine, is it something a person can do outdoors? No, I'm sorry. You've failed to advance to the lightning round. But we have some lovely parting gifts for you. Thanks for playing.

There are those who call my confession bogus. They say I'm just after attention, and that none of my claims hold water. They want to confuse the issue by throwing out all kinds of trivia, like DNA and why I don't have any. Some of the worst naysayers won't stop pointing out that the kid we're talking about is known to be alive and well, and that the only trip she took in the last three years that wasn't caught on camera was to Chuck E. Cheese. Oh, and that any "accident" she may have suffered there was down to inadequate potty training. And too much dairy.

As if any of that matters. Representatives of our major media outlets, I implore you: Don't give in to skepticism. You're sitting on the story of the century here. Lead with your expense budgets and not your head. Meet our agreed-upon terms, and the lead item on Fark.com is yours.

Now as I recall, I was promised Funyuns for my trouble. And until I see some, I won't even think about telling you where I buried Mr. Toyota.

sschneider@orlandoweekly.com

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