115th Annual Conference - Honolulu, Hawaii
Friday, November 10 - Sunday, November 12, 2017

A Simple, Golden Necklace

Sean Gandert, Florida Southern College

My story explores the world of contemporary voyeurism through the mind of a character who does not believe himself a voyeur. "A Simple, Golden Necklace' concerns a man who becomes obsessed with a famous actress and begins running a website devoted to her. Through actions meant to "protect" her from other users, he obtains her personal information and becomes even more devoted to following his idol.


“A Simple, Golden Necklace” is focused on Karl Mondragon, a slightly geeky, Hispanic man in his late-20s living in Albuquerque, New Mexico. After attending a film screening featuring the actress Andrea Dimas, he becomes infatuated with her and watches every work she’s ever been a part of. Not long afterwards, he founds a fan site online devoted to her. He documents every public appearance she makes and posts photos and videos of these online. He also hosts a forum devoted to her, with members just as obsessed with Dimas as he is. The community encourages voyeurism within its members, though no one within this group thinks of what they’re doing as harmful.

                After one of the forum members doxes (leaks personal information including a person’s address, phone number, etc.) Dimas, Karl bans and condemns this member but saves the information for himself. He decides that he wants to communicate with Dimas, and does this through letters. When she doesn’t respond, he decides to try sending her a gift so magnificent she can’t ignore it. He takes a second job, sells his car, and spends months saving up to pay for a $11,000 necklace, hoping he’ll see her wearing it publicly. During all of this, his relationships with his friends deteriorates to the point of non-existence, as he is uninterested in anything but watching Dimas. His obsession loses him his job, but he doesn’t care until Dimas appears on a talk show and explains that she did in fact receive the necklace, but she did with it the same thing she does to all gifts from fans that arrive in the mail: she threw it away. Karl is devastated.

                The story’s dénouement takes place many years later. Karl is now married, while Dimas’s career has gone downhill a bit. He’s reconnected with his friends, and living a more “normal” life. When they begin discussing Dimas, though, it triggers memories of him, and a certain wistfulness about his period of obsessive voyeurism. He loves his wife, but by knowing her personally, rather than simply on electronic screens, something seems to be missing to him.