You look at the photo now, knowing what you know, and you can swear that Bethany Storro is smirking at you.
Before, you might have said her expression---upturned mouth peeking through a curtain of acid-corroded skin---was that of a relieved, grateful woman who was just happy to be alive.
The photo of which I speak is that of the 28-year-old Storro, who is, for the moment, the most famous hoaxster in Canada and the U.S.
She's the clearly disturbed girl from Vancouver who falsely reported that she'd been the victim of an apparently random attack in which acid was thrown in her face by a black woman.
Storro was snapped, sitting in her hospital bed, the effects of the acid evident on her forehead, nose, cheeks, and chin.
But not in her eyes, and not on her mouth.
That makes sense now, of course---because Bethany Storro splashed herself with acid. So why would she splash her eyes and mouth?
How ironic that she should have taken care not to damage her eyesight or accidentally swallow the caustic liquid---while at the same time in need of more help than a cat in a room full of rocking chairs.
The first thing you think of when someone concocts a false story of being victimized is one word.
OK, so Storro got the attention she craved, alright---presuming that was one of her motives.
She became a dual national story---both in her native Canada and in the United States. Fundraisers had already begun their planning stages. Facebook pages were started. Oprah came calling.
Storro had even made up what quickly became a signature line of the attack, allegedly spewed by the perp just before the act.
"Hey pretty girl, have a drink of THIS!"
So it not only became a perplexing story of randomness, it had a sinister edge. The attacker apparently chose Storro because of her looks and, perhaps out of jealousy, lied in wait until Bethany appeared. The acid was designed to take those good looks away.
And she was attractive, Bethany Storro was. I saw a photo of her prior to the incident. She was a pretty girl.
OK, so what else, other than attention, would Bethany have been seeking?
Bethany Storro, her eyes and mouth "miraculously" unaffected by acid
Attention is fleeting. Even a person in need of mental help must know that. Fifteen minutes of fame and all that. Eventually, the furor over her misfortune would have faded. It always does.
From where would she get it? How can you sue someone who doesn't exist?
Donations were starting to come in, but money from that kind of source isn't just forked over, especially when there's a criminal investigation involved.
"I think it got bigger than she anticipated," one of the police officials told the media of the reaction to Bethany Storro's fable.
I see---she wanted attention but not TOO much attention?
As I write this, it's unclear what charges will be levied against Storro. But there will be some, you can bet your bottom dollar on that.
Some false police reports make a degree of sense, like the woman faking rape or abduction because she's afraid to go home or back to an abusive boyfriend. Doesn't make it right, mind you, but there's a path from Point A to Point B, though it's clearly a crooked one.
I've thought on Bethany Storro's tall tale, and I'm not seeing Point B at all.
Where was she going with this? What was her end game?
This was an acid attack, don't forget---something that involves a certain degree of time and planning, and acquisition. It loses a lot of its spontaneity when you factor everything in.
Storro "miraculously" was wearing sunglasses at the time of the incident, an item she said she purchased about an hour before the "attack." Or else her eyes may have been splattered.
Thank God she bought those shades!
I don't know how far Bethany Storro thought she was going to take this hoax.
But she has a chair with her name on it at a psychiatric hospital, somewhere.
Pray for her.