to celebrate national novel writing month (or the unfortunately nicknamed "NaNoWriMo") this year i will spare myself the white-hair-inducing effects of writing 50,000 words in the month of November by writing a story a day.
these stories will be of any length and veer into any territory i wish. the idea is for me to write one a day for every day of november. these will be first drafts with minimal editing.
if you are into any of it. please comment below! perhaps you can help me figure out if there's ANYthing in these stories worth adapting or polishing into something awesome.
story 2. julian assange was mine
(by jenny yang. friday, november 1st, 2013)
in one humid day in july of 2010, julian assange was mine. once. one night. we were together. i know a couple of other chickenheads accused him of being a rapist. but i had a very different experience. but honestly, it was spiritual.
i was barely twenty-four and had a boring grad school teaching assistant job grading dumbass computer science projects (like kids just put the GUI and IDE away. we can’t even get back to basics because we are IN the basics, dumbasses). if i couldn’t do what i really wanted, work in theater production, and i couldn't’ do what my parents wanted, become a doctor or professional of some sort involved in the healthcare industry, then computer science it was. i figure maybe someday i can still parlay my compsci tech skills into arranging the kind of amazing productions that will label me a visionary artist as i have always wanted. my first production? a reinterpretation and re-presentation of WikiLeaks’ truth-telling about the American role in Afghanistan as a multimedia emotional dynamo. broadway will want to make musicals out of this stuff! and i will have Julian Assange to thank. before all this happens, i figure, i can thank him in advance. he needs to be thanked. i had to have him.
i wrote a search program that aggregated in a much nicer interface than stupid google alerts all the times that Julian Assange made public appearances. after over a year of compiling this data i finally decided that this TED talk in England would be the most probably opportunity for me to talk to have access to him. just my ucla apartment rent took most of my t.a. money, but i had to fork over the last-minute plane fare to london in july 2010 to see him interviewed for a TED talk in Oxford, England.
while i watched the city fall away beside me on the long-ass bus rides from Heathrow airport, i finalized what i was going to say to julian once i saw him after his talk. i prepped a few strategies.
first, i gotta find the production team access doors for ted talks. i brought over a headset, walkie, clipboard and comfy shoes so i can walk right in through the back door without incident.
now, if i couldn’t make it in through the back door, i also prepped a wad of euros to give to a nice homeless person, child or underpaid service individual to fake faint as a distraction for me to enter the building without a ticket.
i mean, what did julian assange’s hair smell like? that shiny mop of platinum. does he use some earthy lavender or patchouli stuff? i mean his parents were like hippies in Australia. or was he more of a musky manly type, like he dabs a little michael kors. but i think i’d prefer no scent. i feel like he’s such an ascetic...like he’d just use whatever was available in his hotel or whatever bunker he’s hunkering down in. all he needed were his burner computers, sim cards and hard drives in a small backpage. he was like my hybrid fantasy mix of draco malfoy’s danger and albus dumbledore’s wisdom. but for god sakes that hair had to be mine.
i get off the bus and walk toward the auditorium where the TED talks were happening.
he’s quite the lothario but no matter, a man who works in abstract planes still needs earthly needs fulfilled. i would make clear after tracking him down post-TED talk that my attentions will be available to him. a few opening lines were in contention:
“i’d like to show you how my WikiLeaks.”
“i’m WikiLeaking. can you help plug me up?”
“can you put your Wiki in my leak?”
god. they were just variations on the the name of his company.
i had to get more creative.
“my motherboard desperately needs your RAM.”
these had to suffice. i was losing time just getting lost in how his hair would smell like.
getting into the TED talks was actually rather easy. the building had very little security to speak of and i walk right in past the ticket takers. once, inside i enjoyed every moment of Julian’s brilliance. i was angled toward his eyeline at the side of the theater so i could make sure he could catch a glimpse of my cleavage. (it’s fantastic)
just before his talk wrapped up i already got myself backstage. stupid old buildings in england sure do not understand the idea of locking backstage doors. my headset and walkie get up sure worked.
there he was.
“sir we have a few press requests for post show that will happen in the anteroom adjacent to the green room, if you could come with me” and placed my hand behind his back. electricity.
“sure, right.” he said, a little flustered. i hustled him toward the unlocked door where i entered even offered to hold his rumpled blazer. there we were, waiting in the dark hallway away from the production cameras.
“it’ll just be a few minutes before i get notice that they are ready for you.” i stalled for time. we were leaning against either side of the hallway, facing each other. i presume he trusted me because of my walkie and headset but also i’m a tiny Asian lady with an American accent. what kind of harm could i do him? especially if i also had a fantastic cleavage as my accessory. you can’t miss it. i also had a bright gold buddha necklace that served as an arrow pointing directly down into my v-neck tshirt.
julian noticed this too.
“sir. while we wait. if i may. i would love to accompany you for dinner after this. i’m in town just to see you. i’m a computer science doctorate at UCLA and would love keep you company tonight.”
that’s what i should’ve said. instead, i blurted, “come watch me wikileak!”
“pardon?” i think he didn’t actually hear my outburst.
“oh. false alarm. they cancelled the press inquiries. i can escort you to whereever you need to be after this. i was instructed to make sure you are comfortable between the auditorium and your hotel room.” i said this and walked right in front of him. there it was. this was my chance.
“i see.” Julian figured it out.
“yes. i’m a computer science doctorate from UCLA and flew in just to escort you. i think it’s time to get fish and chips and crumpets!” i said with a smile.
this made him giggle. he paused, and took a moment to size me up.
“let’s go. just fish and chips, right. i know just the place.”
and there we went. did i just script this? because it felt like out of a movie...or my wildest dreams!
i followed julian down a few blocks cutting through the damp summer evening air. he had on a crisp ten dollar white buttoned down shirt and i could see the sweat stains accumulating while we hoofed it the ten minutes across town.
there i was quoting him back to him while we walked sounding like a outta control fangirl.
“i mean when you said that you core values is to comfort the victims and that you were really combative so you aren’t that nurturing i mean so funny because i feel the same way about my computer science career..it’s something to fight rather than something to nurture. so true.”
i could tell that my enthusiasm endeared me to him. he smiled the only way he could: with crooked aussie teeth.
we ducked into a pub that basically looked like the dark dungeons of every other pub i’ve seen on television.
“this is my first time in a real england pub. wow.” did i sound as young as i looked?
“two pints and two orders of fish and chips. oh that one” julian pointed to the tap.
“so what do they call charming young computer science students in America?” he asked.
i didn’t quite catch his drift. “you mean graduate students?”
“what is your name, dear?”
“oh. cathy. cathy fang.” i think i managed to say these words while staring into his eyes and not really remember how my mouth actually moved since my brain was short-circuiting from what was happening.
“perfect. cathy, it is. so cathy. no one is tailing us right? where’s your wire”? his face turned grim.
“huh?” i panicked, “a wire? i’m just here on my own are you kidding me?!”
“bwaha! just kidding. got you there.” he tapped me gently on my right arm with his first and turned back toward the bar to say to the bartender, “this yankee needs a sense of humor,” then turned back to me with a full grin.
from there it was a blur. i just remembered that the fish and chips were greasy and gross. note to self, never ask julian assange for food recommendations. this guy was skinny for a reason - he had horrible taste in food. like, never set up a yelp account, Julian.
after i downloaded my tales of woe about growing up with parents who were both completely hands off and strict in their expectations because they were so busy with their donut house business in Orange County, California, i felt closer to him. he shared about how his parents were always running away from a cult so he’s never really planted roots. cyberspace is so dreamy i thought, especially when you have julian assange as the posterchild. it makes me think computer science is not so bad after all.
“julian, i just have to ask you. there’s not way to put it without sounding strange.” i wiped some vinegar off the corner of my mouth.
“go ahead. look at me. you think i don’t understand strange?” he took the final swig of his second pint, turned his bar stool to face me directly and set his hands on my knees.
whoah. julian assange is touching my knees.
i look him dead in the eyes and said, “i want to smell your hair.”
he blinked once. then twice.
“yes. it is very important that i do that.” in yet another moment of courage in an evening filled with my most courageous moments, i place my hands on his.
at this point, i’m not sure if it was a look of surprise or disappointment, but Julian looks at my face for a few seconds then blurts out a loud, “yes! what are you waiting for!?”
holy crap. i’m gonna smell Julian Assange’s hair. Julian Assange: internationally wanted hacktivist.
i place my hands on his shoulders and pull his head closer to mine. i think this would be the moment when that dawson’s creek song would play as if we were going to go in for a kiss in slow motion. i held my breath until i get my nose as close as possible to the top of his head before it touches his hair. at this point the tall man was essentially staring straight down in my cleavage, but no matter.
oh dear. i hope he doesn’t think we’re gonna do it tonight or something. the thought finally occurred to me. i was not well-versed in the ways of seduction and actual follow through after i get someone in my sights was not in my training.
does he wanna get naked with me?
what if i don’t want to sleep with him?
does he know that?
will he get rapey with me like those other girls?
did i put on enough deodorant after a full day of travel dear lord he’s so close to me.
i close my eyes and take in a huge whiff.
i must’ve been holding julian bowing down to my boobs like that for longer than necessary because he breaks my trance and said, “yes?”
“oh. yes.” i let him go.
“was it everything you ever wanted and more?” he smirked.
“YES.” i lied. straight in to the face of the ultimate truth-seeker Julian Assange.
“NO.” I just had to say it. “No. I don’t know what i was expecting. i just wanted to smell something. feel something. i think i had this idea that you were a different breed of human. that either you were odorless or had your own scent but nothing struck me as different. you smell like hair.”
visibly disappointed in himself julian said, “oh. well. that’s that.”
then i started laughing. cackling, really. my laughter became so uncontrollable, julian started laughing with me. we were loud, drunk laughing fools in this pub where i slowly realized through my short breaths between the laughter that people were holding up some smartphones filming our chuckle fit.
“This...hahahah….is….all so…..hahahhahahha...stupid. what am i …..hahhah doing...here….anyway...hhahhahahha and you’re….hahhahah JULIAN ASSANGE!” i just couldn’t stop.
julian stopped laughing after than and smiled.
this is when i started tearing up.
“oh dear,” he muttered and grabbed a stack of bar napkins.
“i just spent two thousand dollars on a stupid ticket to the other side of the world and here you are!” i’m full on sobbing at this point.
“my dear. i am a public figure now and you have somehow decided i was someone who could give you answers.”
“i know. but i’m sure i have the answers inside me all along.”
“of course.” he agreed.
and then we fucked.
he paid for our food and beers and said goodbye. i gave him a big hug and my ucla grad student card. we walked our separate ways and i caught the first flight back to los angeles.
i wrote him a thank you email when i got back home.
i never heard back.