The Case of the Terrified Tiger

She was a dame with high-voltage looks and an eroticbook contract. Her name was Tiger. No last name. Just Tiger. And she was in trouble.

On October 25, 1994, Tiger delivered the first ten books. The next day, the bookstore left a message on Tiger's answering machine, saying that the book was not what they expected, and they would not be ordering any more.

Tiger said she'd been banned, censored. The girl had a temper.
She and Donnie visited ASU's student ombudsmen, talked to ASU lawyers, even stormed the office of ASU president Lattie Coor. Other than a check for the first ten books, they got nothing.

Eva was crushed, and Tiger suffered physically for it. She lost weight.
Sometime in December, while at a movie theatre watching the film Pulp Fiction, at the very moment when Uma Thurman's character gets a needle jabbed into her chest to revive her from a drug overdose, Tiger took the film to heart, went into convulsions and passed out.

In January, she dropped out of school for health reasons. Her life got worse.

On February 7, as she was riding her bike to a Federal Express office, a young man on a bicycle ran her down in the street, took aim, she said, locked in like a Scud missile, and launched her sideways into the gutter.

Donnie took her to the hospital. She was bleeding from the ears, a lump rising on the back of her head. The doctors x-rayed her up and down, gave her Tylenol and sent her home.

Her apartment was broken into. She claimed all her documentation on ASU's chicanery was conveniently wiped clean from her computer's memory.

Her behavior was always eccentric; but "eccentric" became "erratic." She tried to leave Kinko's copy shop without paying for the copies she'd spent the better part of two evenings making. The salesclerk stopped her. She went into a rage, then went on the lam.

The cops went to Donnie when they couldn't find her. She had already left town, but in his reports to her, he explained that he paid her fine "because it is easier to pay $58 now and not have a warrant for my girlfriend than to pay $500 for bail + $58 + dick-around costs after your arrest. I don't want anybody to get their mitts on you."

Then, on March 28, with Eva out of town, her answering machine recorded the message from avoice claiming to be "ASU," and telling her she would be wrenched from sleep and killed.

She ended the story there.
I wondered why she didn't just stay back East if she was so sure that ASU was out to get her. But she was bent on revenge. She listed her demands:

"There are five things," she said, forcefully. "One: thatthey honor our contract for 4,000 books. Now, I know that's a long shot, but you have to have a goal."

She was just warming up. I was getting a heat rash.
"Two: that they start acting like a university and reverse the censorship of my book.

"Three: that they make restitution for the damages I've incurred. A public apology for the breach of contract--that's wrong--for banning my book--that's bullshit for a university. It's probably something that I'll never see in my life, but that's what I'm going for."

She never got to four and five. Items one to three would be like pulling a rabbit out of a hat.

I thought back to a diatribe she'd written right after the bookstore backfire and distributed as broadsides all over campus.

"Nobody, not Houdini, not David Copperfield, ... knows how to get a surly rodent out of a hat when the little cutester doesn't want to go," she wrote.

This one didn't look like it was coming out of the hat, either.
"I decided at 15 to live by writing and lead with my tits," she declared later in that writerly rant.

They had led her to me.
She suggested we go have a drink and get to know each other better. Her blouse fell away just enough to reveal the depth of her cleavage.

I got that drink by myself.

Three days later, Tiger--not Eva--showed up at my office.
She was the girl-next-door, clearly out of goddess mode, wearing jeans and boots and a man-tailored shirt. She seemed spent and vulnerable, and her eyes had the tired crinkle of someone who had been up all night. And she hadn't been having fun.

She confessed that she had been hiding Donnie's role in her demise. Their relationship had ended in handcuffs in a Colorado motel.

It was March 27, the day before the death threat, and they were road-tripping, holed up in a Denver suburb called Greenwood Village.

Tiger called the police because her money and credit cards had been stolen. Part way into her story, according to the police report, she told the cops that maybe, just maybe, Donnie had taken them, and they rode around looking for him.

The cops accompanied Tiger to her room. The sweet smell of reefer wafted from under the door, so they invited themselves in, made themselves at home, found a roach clip, some roaches, some prescription drugs and a straw full of something that might get you a speeding ticket.

Oops! The boys were not amused when the lady told them that her legal name was Tiger, and they said so in their report.

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