I Was a Client of Melanie Mills - Part V The Grand Finale

Well I 'spect it's about time to wrap this puppy up as I fear I have lost the patience of my readers with my lame attempts to create suspense with my none-too-subtle foreshadowing that basically gave the story away. I imagine everybody had it figured out by Part III and went on to read more important blogs about the new bottled water brand, Arab Spring (not to be confused with Lech Walesa's Poland Spring), the economic melt up and down, and the inspiring field of Republican presidential contenders. Of course Melanie Mills didn't really die in a car wreck in Germany, as I learned on the writer's watchdog website, "Writerbeware.org", and neither does Hack (but that is not positioned to be a swift kick to the nuts a la Melanie.) No, not only did I learn our little house elf was quite alive, but that she was the owner of roughly 15 aliases, the most popular being Lisa Hackney, also a literary agent but also a published novelist. I learned that her real name is Elisabeth Von Hullesem and that she is the descendent of Germanic royality - Countess Von Hullesem, and that she was wanted for real estate fraud across the south (including Myrtle Beach!), and attempted murder of her own mother, who she tried to run over in her car, utltimately pinning her to a wall so hard she couldn't fall down to be properly finished off. 

So how did our Countess get caught this time? As it turns out, before she died she organized a high profile writer's conference in Banff/Lake Louise, an historic lakeside resort from the railroad era high in the Canadian Rockies of Alberta. The conference was to feature some big name authors and publishers, and was expected to be crawling with literary agents just drooling to make a six figure deal. She organized and published the schedule on a dedicated website, advertised on all the sites where unpublished writers troll for agents, deployed a reservation system and started collecting money. When she was sated she took off for Germany and got unrecognizably mangled in a bloody wreck. Of course the planned conference attendees, touched though they were by little Ms. Von Hullesem's death (this was the name she used as the conference sponsor), wanted their money back. And when the authorities went to look for it, they found not a trace: no bank accounts, no real estate, nothing to indicate that Ms. Von Hullesem had ever existed! 

But...thank the Gods of Justice that this was all happening in Canada. Had one of the bilked authors been named Nell, you would have heard Dudley Doright's voice echoing across the alpine meadows of the great white north: "Coming Nell!" The Mounties were on this. Meanwhile the authorities in Arkansas and Myrtle Beach, where Lisa Hackney was wanted for real estate fraud and attempted murder, started to follow the case. But even the Mounties were buffaloed by this one - there didn't seem to be any connection between Mr. Von Hullesem and Lisa Hackney. Months passed. 

Now here's where the details start to get a little vague, even to those that have been following this case and are waiting for Von Hullesem/Hackney/Mills to get extradited to the states so they can get a little piece of her moth-eaten wig. From what I've read, there was a scam going down in Vancouver. Somebody was purchasing assisted-living properties on the behalf of addled seniors and making off with the loot. Imagine your granpa and granma showing up at The Golden Vista apartments only to find that there was no reservation in their name and their deposit had gone up in smoke. When the Mounties finally found her, they noticed an uncanny resemblence to Elizabeth Von Hullesem, whose picture was on the website of the Banff writers conference and was, as this point in time, expected to be pushin' up daisies with the Von Trapps near the Austrian border. Sure enough, Dudley made the connection, and Von Hullesem/Hackney/Mills spilled the beans in the fashion of someone who had been the protagonist in their own reality TV con-man expose and was damned proud of it! Last I heard the Mounties had yet to extradite her to Arkansas to face attempted-murder and fraud charges. I also heard that a judge had declared her unfit for trial, and she tried to shed her orange jumpsuite in the courtroom and was going completely commando underneath. She was, in fact, diagnosed with acute schizophrenia and is unlikely do be doin' hard time Martha Stewart-style any time soon. 

Now bend over so I can smack you on the head with the 9" iron fry pan of irony, and so you can avoid reading all this blather again just to see why you started reading it in the first place. First, Melanie Mills, con artist extraordinaire though she was, never charged me a nickel for her services. She even gave me a free Sprite when I visited her in Myrtle Beach. And she did shop the book, in retrospect at least several revisions prior it being ripe, but, ever after the quick buck, she was willing to roll the dice with Hack. 

So am I, or was I, surprised by all of her criminal behavior? Well, now that I know she's a card carrying schizophrenic, not really. But I'll admit barring any coincidental communications (I guess I wouldn't be surprised if she tried to contact me after Hack is published) I will probably go to my grave wondering if Hack's fake death, and his return as a swingin' Harley-ridin' Mexican with a ponytail and pencil-thin mustache, coupled with his agent's plot to rip off their most reliable patron by finding "old" Hack paintings in far off places - I can't help but wonder if the far-fetched plot of my first novel somehow got little Dobby thinking - got those little elf synapses firing -- maybe to prove that such a plot is not so far-fetched after all. I can't say, but I do hope that somewhere in that schizophrenic stew bubbling between her ears she's had a good time. 

Jeb Harrison

Jeb Harrison