• Harlow in Monte Carlo

How I Met My Killer: Chapter One

THERE are two types of stories - stories that are worth telling, and stories that aren’t. Throughout my life I’ve asked myself all kinds of questions- What kind of person do I want to be? What kind of life do I want to live? Only to realize that the last question anyone of us would ever ask ourselves is always the same:

Is the story of my life worth telling?

It’s understandable that people want to hear the story of Sharon Tate’s life, the biggest “What if” of which being What if she never met Roman Polanski? The question seems absurd, but if you really get to it, you’ll realize there were at least three alternate paths Sharon Tate could have taken that would lead to her still being alive today.

I know the story of my life would never be as exciting as that of someone of the stature of Sharon Tate. Still, I ask myself on a daily basis: Is the story of my life worth telling?

Before we get to the answer, let’s first latch unto the factors that make a dent in my life story.

I’m gonna tell you the story of how I met my killer.


It was back in 2019. I was single, I was still worshipping the concepts of love and Hollywood circa the movie La La Land one year after its release, I lived in West Hollywood with Sara, an extra I met on the set of the last movie I wrote.

My career as a film director had stalled thanks to the shady producer who on my directorial debut movie not only conned me out of my money, but destroyed any prospect for that film with his derelict reputation as a shady low-budget horror film director. I was wan, sick to the core. The increasing self-blame began to take a mental toll on me. I still loved filmmaking. But I had to deal with the urge of vomiting every time I crossed paths with a filmmaker. I couldn’t collaborate with people in this industry anymore, their faces all screaming “money-grubbing“ to me. So I decided to take a break.

I would amble across the Santa Monica Pier all day, or idle lying on the sand watching seabirds fly. One afternoon on the beach I got bored, so I took a selfie and put it on Instagram. Two minutes later, a stranger slid into my DMs with a message:

I was just at the same place you are. Meet me at Casa del Mar. Lobby Cabana Lounge.

Meet PJ, the first link in a chain of events which would ultimately lead to my murder.


It wouldn’t surprise me if the bulk of the operating budget of a five-star hotel went to creating its signature scents. The lobby of Hotel Casa del Mar had the aromas that made whoever gulping it feel superior.

I sauntered up to the Cabana Lounge a few stairs above the level of the bar area. An elderly couple oozing class and wealth smiled at me. Light streamed in from the beach in the background through the floor-to-celling windows. I smiled back at the well-dressed couple. I looked over their shoulders and saw the silhouette of a muscular man in solitude.

I gained on him.

New chapters of Annie Chen’s “How I Met My Killer” appear weekly on anniethin.com.

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