Notes to my Sister if I’m ever featured on 20/20 or Dateline

Over the years I’ve watched thousands of murder mystery shows. I write murder mysteries, so you could call it research. Dateline, 48 hours, 20/20, Snapped—I watch them the way a Wall Street trader watches a hot stock. If I should ever be so unlucky as to end up on one of these episodes as a victim, I have prepared a list of things I’d like you to carry out.

First and foremost, use only pictures from my college days. Nothing from before nothing after. I realize this may confuse the audience since I will be quite a bit older, but it’s my fifteen minutes of fame, so I’d like to look my best. Pick out the most attractive ones (not the ones where I had that perm and looked like a poodle). You might want to pull out my old glamor shots.

Stay away from cliches. You and I both know I don’t ‘light up a room’ and I’m not the ‘nicest person in the world’. Start thinking now of something original that will make people wish they had known me. On a side note, if you’re going to shed tears on camera, don’t make that ugly cry face and wear waterproof mascara.

Also, don’t let them interview just anybody from my past. My boyfriend from eighth grade is not going to be a good character witness. Things didn’t end so well, and he might take the opportunity to get even. They can talk to my neighbors but not the one I told you about down the street, she’s always been jealous of me. On second thought, she’s probably on the suspect list.

Speaking of interviews, do not tell that story about how I fell out of that tree. It doesn’t show either of us in a very good light. I may not be Mother Teresa, but I’m sure you can embellish a few things, after all I would do it for you. If you struggle to come up with something laudable about my bygone days, just remember I know where you live, and I hear it’s hard to sell a haunted house.

Also—and this is important—if an insurance policy surfaces after my demise, that’s a red flag. To my knowledge I have no such coverage. As they say follow the money to the felon. The beneficiary is more than likely my murderer. I’m sure you will say horrible things about this person but if you need help check my nightstand. I have dossiers on those closest to me (disregard the one with your name on it) that should get you started.

On the other hand, if things are reversed and I end up being the accused—I do light up a room, I am Mother Teresa, I’ve had that insurance for years, and my passport in is in the lockbox under the stairs.

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