I decided a little while ago to become Shannen Doherty. I’m not going to tell you why, because that would reveal something about me and if I start to do that and you start to get to know me a little, then it’ll be harder for you to cope with my eventual transformation to Shannen. I’m going to withhold information for your sake.

The full transformation is going to take some time, so you may know me for a bit without really knowing anything about me, which might be strange, but I’ll make it up to you when I am Shannen Doherty. I’ll tell you all about what really happened between Alyssa Milano and me and also how big Luke Perry’s dick is. Winona Ryder? Yeah, I’ll give you the skinny on her too.

You might think this sounds insane, but so far it’s been easy. First thing was to stop eating. I was far from overweight, but I was a good dress size and a half over Shannen. I also needed plastic surgery, a lot. In a way it’s lucky that I didn’t realise until late in life that this is exactly what I need, because older Shannen has had some work done, so it wasn’t too hard to look a lot like her. And even if people don’t buy it, even if people say, ‘Something’s different about you Shan, I can’t quite put my finger on it,’ I’ll just say I got my cheeks done and it’ll be believable. Lots of Hollywood actors get plastic surgery. I’ll be like everyone else.

The physical transformation wasn’t difficult; it just took some time and a lot of money. I won’t tell you how I afforded all of this because to tell you that would flirt close to telling you about who I used to be. So let’s just say I earned all the money from my starring roles in the hit nineties television series Beverly Hills 90210 and Charmed.  

Physically this was always plausible. What I’ve taken more seriously is the extensive research necessary to at first pretend I’m Shannen Doherty until I properly transform into her—salacious stories about the Spellings, a shoddy misguided understanding of paganism, etc—and of course there’s dealing with the original Shannen Doherty. I’m sure you can guess how I’ve managed the former. I read a lot of interviews, the official biography. I got like 22 pages deep in a Google search. What is going be harder is the murdering of Shannen Doherty. You can’t google that. Don’t do it—it’s ugly.

So this is how I came to be here in Mexico with Shannen, her husband Kurt and her best friend Sarah Michelle Gellar. It makes sense before I kill her to observe her for some time. To learn to copy her. To learn to be her. Maybe it would make more sense to observe her at her home, in her usual haunts, but I was too worried she might notice me with my Ford Torino and Ray-Ban sunglasses. Big stars are attuned to stalkers. You could say they’re paranoid.

So we’re all here in Mexico. Shannen likes seafood buffets, she picks at the prawns. She also likes white wine, but never drinks too much. I won’t tell you what things I usually like eating and what my dinner table manner is like, but I will say that it is vastly different to Shannen’s and it’s going to take a real conscious effort to eat like I am her before I actually am her. I have a feeling this is going to be like when I learnt [redacted foreign language] because I was living in [redacted foreign country] and each night I’d go to bed exhausted from the effort of having to think so hard to express even the simplest feelings. I felt anxious and full of thoughts and desires that I couldn’t explain. But after some time the language became natural and I wasn’t always mentally constipated. I try to remind myself that now. Eventually, soon, I won’t feel like this.

The holiday looks great! There’s an infinity pool at our hotel and we swim at private beaches. The whole gang tries stand-up paddle boarding! Look, to be honest, it looks boring, but I’m happy for them. It gives me some solace to know Shannen is spending some time with her loved ones before I kill her. It’s a nice few weeks for them.

Please don’t think me awful for doing this. I know it’s hard for you to understand why I must kill Shannen Doherty. And, even worse, you don’t understand why I won’t explain. I cannot reiterate enough how necessary all of this is. If you knew me, which you never will, you’d get it. So I guess you’ll never understand, but that’s fine. This is only for now. Once I’ve transformed, then the person I am will be gone and you will have your Shannen back.

On the last evening of our holiday Shannen and Kurt and Sarah have a nice meal by the water. Shannen eats tacos with real corn tortillas! I’m so pleased. You must have carbs with your last meal and tacos aren’t real tacos unless you have corn tortillas. They walk along the beach back to their hotel where I am working as a cleaner. I won’t tell you how I managed to get this position and how this has all fallen in to place for me because, well, you know why. It’s distressing being here with them because I look so much like Shannen now and at work I must wear the uniform, which is a black shirt and black slacks. I cannot wear my large sunglasses, trench coat and headscarf and when Shannen enters through the glass doors laughing I must look away. She and Sarah Michelle Gellar have linked arms and Shannen is laughing at Kurt, “Oh yeah, honey. Sure!” Sarah laughs too, her head resting on Shannen’s shoulder. I am emptying the bins in the hotel lobby. I busy myself, making it seem as though these bins are a real ordeal, obscuring my face that looks like Shannen’s. I think I can feel her eyes on me and I bury myself in further. There’s a faint smell of rubbish covered by the strong toxic smell of the black plastic bag. I swear I can still feel her staring. Maybe she wonders how uncanny it is that this cleaner looks so much like her. Or maybe she wonders why a cleaner would bury themselves so deep in their trash bag.

Shannen works out in the hotel gym in the evenings after dinner. I know this from my stalking, and I know that neither Sarah nor Kurt join her late at night. I go to the gym while Shannen is running on a treadmill. I wear a surgical mask as I vacuum around the perimeter. Eventually, just as I’ve timed it, The Smiths’ 1984 hit ‘How Soon is Now?’ plays over the gym’s speakers. I try as hard as I can not to look at Shannen. I stare at the dust on the floor as I steal it into my vacuum and I reach in to my mop bucket for my meat cleaver and book of spells. I can feel her eyes on my back for a few moments before she starts to sing and although I don’t look I can sense when she really starts to lose herself to the song. Eventually I look up and watch in the mirrors covering the gym’s walls. She flails her arms above her head. Her pace is slow to match the song’s beat but she runs with elongated strides. “I am human and I need to be loved.” Those are her last words. Her last words were sung.

I’m not going to go into details because nobody wants to hear about the suffering of our darling Shannen, twice-nominated for the Best Young Actress in Television. Nobody other than you even needs to know that this happened and nobody not even you need know the gory details. I hate that I had to do this, trust me I hate it more than anybody, but we can all be proud to know that our Shannen, twice-nominated for the Best Genre TV Actress, put up a fight. Really, she fought me like a demon. It was hard for me. I kept having to stare into the eyes of Shannen Doherty knowing that I was hurting her. I’m not sure I’ll ever forgive myself for this and that’s also why, apart from all the other reasons, I can’t detail how I killed her to you. It’s just too distressing for me.

I dispose of her body and of my cleaners uniform in the hotel’s dumpster. I change into Shannen’s magenta tights and oversized grey sweatshirt. I run fast for five minutes. Enough time that I can get almost as sweaty as Shannen would’ve been had she been working out and not dying this whole time. I pour a bottle of water over my head for effect. I look at myself in the mirror and I can hardly believe it. I really do look like Shannen Doherty. Mostly. Enough, anyway. I breathe heavy and watch the drops of water run over my new face.

Now all I have to do is retire to my hotel room with my husband Kurt and he’ll say, ‘Good work out?’ and I’ll say, ‘Oh yeah, honey. Sure!’ And I’ll shower and sing my favourite Smiths songs as I wash my long black hair and when I lie down to sleep I will mention to Kurt how excited I am to go back home. That we’ve been away so long, I’ve almost forgotten the old house. I’ll say, ‘I’m not sure I’ll even know my way around there anymore!’ And I’ll close my eyes and soon, not right away, but eventually, one day none of this will be pretend anymore and I really will be Shannen Doherty. I will no longer be who I used to be and then everything will be ok.


Allee Richards‘s short fiction has been published widely in Australian journals and magazines. Her debut novel will be published by Hachette in 2021.