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  • When I was 19, I fell in love with a super fine Australian man who came home with me one night and never left. We were together every day and over the holidays, which meant that he got to know my family, my friends, my roommate, and all the people I worked with. It was a pure romantic rush, and he was fascinating. He told me all about the brewery his parents owned in Australia, learning to surf with his brothers and sisters, his unwavering love for rugby, and his stubborn but insightful views on what was lacking in American character. We talked about marriage, and it was the first time I seriously considered it. One night about six months after we met, we were talking about the future when I asked him about his citizenship. Did he have a visa? He was talking about going to school but hadn't enrolled yet. How much longer could he keep his day job in the states?

    He became pensive, and then he started to cry. His hands were shaking. "I have something to tell you." I panicked-- like every girl in the history of girls anywhere ever, I already knew that line and all the awful possibilities that tend to follow it. He couldn't look at me. He sat in silence for another 15 clammed-up minutes while I tried to coax the story out of him less patiently by the minute. Finally, he gave a great exhale, dropped his accent for the first time in six months, and said, "I'm from Rialto."

    Rialto, in case you don't know, is the dusty, mostly remote truckstop armpit of Riverside County, California You can Google Map it, and you will see that it is not in Australia. I sat stunned for a little while, while he explained in some new Inland Empire-Juggalosian accent that he had been bored the night we met and trolling to see how many people at the place we met would believe he was Australian, and that he planned to fool me and then leave but then he left with me instead, and he didn't realize he would fall in love, and he couldn't figure out how to tell me that it was a one-time prank that got entirely out of hand and stayed that way.

    His voice sounded foreign to me for the first time. I let him stay the night because I was astounded, speechless, and so entirely blindsided that none of it made any sense. The next morning, though, it all became abundantly clear: there was definitely a sociopath asleep in my bed. Literally every utterance-- every word and every sound-- that had come out of this guy's mouth for six months had been a lie. I climbed onto our bed where he was still sleeping, stood over him, and woke him up with a brisk, violent kick in the nuts. This was the first and only time I've ever done that to a man, and I'll never do it again, but I'm not sorry. When he woke up screaming, I told him to get the hell out of my house.

    The story went viral in every facet of my life, to the point that acquaintances and strangers would come up to me almost every day and want to work through their questions, their disbelief, and their outrage. A few months later, another girl my age approached with some questions, and revealed that she had been listening just to be sure, and that she was positive we were dating him at the same time. When he was with her, he was not Australian. He he told me that he had a day job, and he told her he had a night job, so he spent time with both of us almost every day. He had also been stealing from each of us to give gifts to the other: jewelry, money, food, books, more money, and my amazing vintage Motley Crüe t-shirt. She said she became suspicious because he had given her some records that he said he bought used; they were stamped inside with "Riverside Public Library", and so she took them to the library and found out from a friend that they had been checked out to me a few months before. She didn't know me, but she knew he had been in my house for some reason, and then right after he disappeared from her life without an explanation, she heard someone telling my story and had a bad feeling.
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