Spaghetti with sauce from a jar. Pepsi. #typicalFriday
Matt blinked hard, trying to rub the sting of exhaustion from his eyes. The tweet he had just flung into cyberspace was his usual fare: details of the boring food that was patterned after the rest of his boring life. His phone was happy to help him punctuate his existence with feeble attempts at social interaction.
“Social network”. What a joke, he thought as he leaned back against the headboard of his otherwise unoccupied bed. He figured he was one of the only people on Twitter with no followers. Zero. He had tweeted a dozen times, but no one had ever interacted with him. He understood that the “successful” Tweeters (Twitterers? whatever…) were spewing life secrets non-stop for global consumption, but he wasn’t comfortable with that. What’s sad, he thought, is that I don’t even have any secrets worth revealing.
I have no secrets. #srsly
He laughed tiredly, plugged in his phone as he set it on the nightstand, turned out the light and went to sleep.
His phone buzzed loudly, the screen awakening in the darkness.
Matt sat quickly upright and looked incredulously at the device. He just glimpsed a blue-and-white icon with some trailing text before the screen blacked out again, plunging the room in darkness.
He fumbled for the phone, tapped the home button, and read the message.
@matt4243 everyone has secrets #srsly
It was a reply from @not_matt4243. He had never heard of him (or her, he thought with a jolt of hope), of course. Weird username.
He unlocked the phone and viewed Not Matt’s profile. It was blank except for a white egg on an orange background, a typical I-don’t-have-a-profile-picture picture, or maybe an I-am-so-new-I-don’t-know-how-to-upload-a-picture picture. Whatever it was, it didn’t help Matt figure out who Not Matt was.
The phone vibrated again, and this time he saw a new Interaction. Tapping, he discovered that @not_matt4243 had followed him. Matt felt another surge of excitement. A follower! It was happening!
Quickly he tapped out a message:
@not_matt4243 not me. Nothing to hide. #srsly
He giggled to himself, thrilled that he was having a conversation with another person. Well, probably with another person, he reminded himself. Bots were very cleverly written sometimes.
But again a message came:
@matt4243 I know you do. You hide things all the time. You're not #serious.
Matt’s elation vanished like a soap bubble bursting. What was going on? The first time someone talks to him online and they’re being a jerk? Angrily he keyed in a response:
@not_matt4243 I don't even know you. Why are you saying that? @matt4243 I was there. I saw it happen. I know. You didn't tell anyone, but I saw, and I know.
Matt turned on the light. He was shaking now, and his eyes were strangely blurred. Tears, he realized. He was crying. Who was Not Matt? What did he know? How did he know?
@not_matt4243 leave me alone! @matt4243 I don't think so.
He tapped through a couple more screens and blocked Not Matt’s account to prevent any more messages. Sighing in relief, he sank back into his pillow.
His phone buzzed again.
@matt4243 not that easy. #srsly
It was a message from @not_matt4243b. Matt could barely see through the tears now as he deleted his Twitter account and let the phone clatter to the nightstand. He buried his face in his pillow, moaning and hugging himself. It wasn’t possible. No one knew what had happened. He made sure of that. The only person who saw anything was dead, because he had killed her. The only girlfriend he ever had.
Again the phone buzzed, this time with the green icon of a text message. He looked at it, whimpering.
Sorry, @matt4243. I'm still here. You didn't get rid of me then, and you can't get rid of me now.
You're stuck with me. I'll always, always be here, Matt.
The screen darkened once again as Matt smashed it with a baseball bat, sending pieces flying in all directions. The instant the debris settled, though, his computer screen illuminated.
Sorry, not going to work. Forget it. #srsly
Shaking, Matt crossed the room towards the LED panel. He raised the bat over his head, but then dropped it from his suddenly-numb fingers.
It's me, Matt. Jessica. #srsly