My best friend in school, Diane Harper — or at least her name — made it into a comic book when we were young.

I was curled up with “Journey Into Mystery” when I suddenly saw the name Diane Harper. The whole story revolved around her.

I said something like “Jeepers!”

Diane, not a fan of comics, couldn’t see why I was so excited for her.

I shelved my literary envy.

Then, a few years ago, I discovered the name of another friend, James Rogers, as the villain in a murder mystery. And the heroine in a juvenile novel bears the name of Lisa Fuller, another friend.

Even my husband, Max, has claims on fictionality. There’s a TV character named Max (Secret Agent Maxwell Smart) whose agent number is 86. My Max was also number 86 — on his high school football team.

I wanted to be fictional, too. But the name “Leslie Slape” is not one a writer would be expected to invent. Fictional characters often have familiar monikers, such as the friends I mentioned above, or distinctive ones, such as Albus Dumbledore or Scarlett O’Hara.

Then last week, while looking up my name on Google, I stumbled across an on-line writing game based on the Harry Potter books. The players all wrote stories for the Daily Prophet, the wizarding newspaper in the Potter series.

In a crime story, someone had written: “Murder has not yet been ruled out, but there appeared to be no sign of forced entry or struggle, said Leslie Slape, spokeswitch for the Department of Magical Law Enforcement.”

Not only was I a fictional character, I seemed to be in a position of importance!

I was delighted and intrigued.

Within a few days, I learned all. A fantasy-writing friend of mine, Coren Idle of Longview, admitted being the game’s moderator and said she just “had to give a shout-out” to me.

“I thought you might find that eventually. Heehee,” she wrote in an e-mail.

In other words, she tossed me into Harry Potter in much the same manner that the Great Persky tossed Kugelmass into Madame Bovary in Woody Allen’s short story “The Kugelmass Episode.”

Barely had I realized my fictional status when a wave of congratulatory letters arrived from other fictional folks, who must have heard about it from my storytelling friends.

One of them, Horace J. Digby, said he hoped he would see me at meetings of “the league of fictional characters.”

Most definitely! I look forward to finally meeting my favorite detective, Ellery Queen, and I want to ask Lois Lane for tips on covering supervillain crime.

I even heard from a fictional dog, who wrote: “I just wanted to share with you a sense of the diversity that awaits you now that you have crossed over. As a good friend once said to me, ‘Stay … Good girl!’ ”

I only regret that I discovered my fictionality too late to wrangle an invitation to Dagwood and Blondie’s anniversary party.

Fictional life promises to be lively. In addition to performing my spokeswitch duties with the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, I plan to visit Alice’s Looking-Glass world, go time-traveling in the Tardis, learn to tesser, ask Superman to take me flying, play 3-D chess with Mr. Spock and try on those traveling pants.

But perhaps I have been fictional all along and never realized it. I hope I’m not like the woman in that Twilight Zone episode whose playwright-husband told her he dictates his ideas on tape and they come to life. She gets mad at him, tosses the tape into the fire and poof! She’s gone.

If someday I should vanish with an audible pop, you’ll have to look for me in the story where I first found myself. We fictional characters reappear every time you open the book.

Originally published in The Daily News in 2005

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