“You never told me it would be like this!” Cindy said flustered, holding her cellphone up next to her ear.
She was a moderately attractive woman, late twenties, reminiscent of the subject of a Vermeer painting... expressive eyes and features but not necessarily a natural beauty. She had been sometimes referred to by some of the boys, many of the boys, on the high school football team anyway as “butter face”. She had a great body… but her face… was only mediocrity. High school football players and boys in general can be such childish pricks as most folks who survived high school know. They often grow into the kind of men decried by the Me Too Movement... or not... since so many baskets of humans with a penis have found themselves, either by association, or their own violated imaginations consolidated into that assemblage.
Cindy was shaken... and stirred… distressed and discombobulated! It was obvious by the tone in her voice.
A musical ping came out the phone’s speaker to notify her that she had received a text message and the cellphone’s screen lit up. “But you saw it for yourself…” a male voice said.
“I didn’t think it was real!” Cindy said into the cellphone, deliberately opening her eyes as wide as she could as if that would emphasize the point she was making, which of course it didn’t really, emphasize the point she was making, just made her look all the more flipped out. “How could I possibly think that what you showed me was real?!” she said, the timbre of her voice rising another couple of degrees.
It was a video of somebody standing at a kitchen sink with their hand being gobbled up...to the elbow... by a garbage disposal.
“Someone actually having their hand chewed off in a garbage disposal?!” she exclaimed. “Come on! That only happens in cheap horror movies or urban legends! Like somebody putting their poodle in the microwave to dry it off after giving it a bath.”
The cellphone pinged again to announce a new text which was accompanied by the male voice in the earpiece. “I have a video of that as well.” And then another message pinged in. “You are the one who prescribed the method… and victim.
”Yes! That was true! Cindy had just watched a cheap, over-the-top, horror movie before seeing the picture of this ho who- in long since days gone by- slept with her boyfriend and realizing that... the ho... was part of this Murder App thing, she had said what she said- Revenge is a dish best served cold… or whatever and… Cram her down a garbage disposal!
“So it’s on you…” said the male voice in the cellphone’s earpiece. “You were told that this is not a game.” “I won’t do it. No! I won’t! Not again! I never dreamed it would actually…” She suddenly realized how overwrought she was becoming, and looked around to see if she was drawing attention to herself and lowered her voice... “That it would actually happen!”
Ping! Another text came, which Cindy read, as the male voice in her earpiece said, “Are you enjoying yourself... having ice cream at the mall?”
Cindy quickly looked around... surveilling her surroundings again.
That’s where she was alright, at the mall, having ice cream- mango sorbet actually. And there were tons of people around- children, men, and women. Some were talking on their cell phones. Most were not. No-one seemed to be paying particular attention to her, with the exception of this one sort of tall skinny hawk nosed guy most likely mid-twenties who was checking out her tits. She was chesty even though her bod was compact, small.
“No!” she said looking around nervously. “I won’t!”
Her cell phone pinged again. Another text came in but was not this time accompanied by the male voice. “The Default position is….” the text message said…
“The average human body is fifty-three percent water,” he murmured. “Some… a few… have estimated as much as seventy-five. Sixty-five percent of that is Oxygen and ten percent is Hydrogen and eighteen or twenty percent carbon and Nitrogen and Calcium and phosphorus and iodine and fluorine…"
He put his open hands over his mouth like some kind of mask and sort of bobbed his head up and down and walked around, paced actually, in the dimly lit room.
“And what about actual intelligence? What would its mass be? What mineral or rock would it most look like? And if it could be dehydrated and compressed to the size of an orange and shot from a space canon through a wormhole… a flat surface folded in half and a pinprick made through both sides that would sufficiently fork and unify the time space continuum… would the human mineral reconstitute itself after this method of intergalactic travel provided the atmosphere or surface of the target world had sufficient water?” He raised the index finger of his right hand and tapped his temple “Like a jack-in- the-box… yes… yes… like a jack-in-the-box!”
Otis stopped and straightened himself as much as he could.
He was a tall man… shortened by the curve of his spine… which was not even as extreme a feature as the large arch in the bridge of his nose. He had massive hands and biceps like softballs but his feet were inauspiciously… smallish.
He listened. If one could hear the brain… he thought… that is what it would sound like.
He knew that he had been summoned, not with his ears, at least not the ones on each side of his head anyway... which had once been once compared (at least once) to the open doors of a Volkswagen Bug. He stood at the doorway and looked in.
The room was dark… except for Him, where he was… before the altar- the chariot… attached to it by divine conduit… protoplasmic tentacles.
If the neural net and all the ganglia and the synapses and racing bio-electric bursts and blasts could be seen with the human eye at the human scale… he thought.
It was a dozen to fifteen feet into the room, to where the chair sat like a throne. The back of it was all he could see- lit from the front by the brilliance of the Deity. He had never seen the front… or he couldn’t remember… but his memory could’ve been erased. It was like when Moses saw God and his hair turned solid white and his face was burned like it was cooked over a flame… just seeing the back side of God as he passed did that… or when Arjuna looked at Vishnu… and had to beg him to close his cloak… lest he be destroyed.
Yes that was probably it. Their brains are just not wired that way… sufficient enough to perceive reality…Otis could see the very top of the back of His head… over the chair… and beyond it in front of it… the reflective face of the Divine Being… messages flying across its countenance and off it like shooting stars… from the deep soul of heaven.
He had... been called… without words… but he knew… he had been called. And what he had done was... well... the will of the Divine.
“Hello good looking man!” she, or someone, had written for Frank to read. “It is nice to meet you on here.”
That was a bad sign, Frank knew from the jump. Real women don’t talk like that or write like that. He’d thought perhaps, at first, when these messages started coming in from young, scorching hot females- supposedly- who were signed up on the dating site, that they were actually being written and sent to him by bots, some form of Artificial Intelligence: Chatbots or Spybots or some kind of conversational computer program. But then, because some of the messages were so poorly composed, Frank’d come to the conclusion, more or less, that Artificial Intelligence wasn’t that stupid… or shouldn’t be anyway.
By the looks of the profile picture that was posted, the woman (alleged woman) was early to mid-thirties. And that is what her dating profile said basically… she was 29. I am honest, sincere woman who loves to make my man laugh and have fun… the dating profile said.
“This is a really, really good looking woman…” Frank Cherry could not help but say to himself aloud as his scrutinized the profile picture.
She had long brown hair and was wearing a very low cut dress exposing medium large, round, ample breasts. He always liked that adjective for breasts “ample”. She had a great smile and though she was sitting down in the picture, with her legs crossed, he could tell that she was slender, and way… way… way out of his league. Frank was not lacking in self-confidence; he just wasn’t ignorant.
Looking for new friends and casual dating that may lead to serious long term relationship with mutual caring.
Frank laughed. “And a better command of the English language perhaps!” He clicked on the photo, saved a copy and took it to Google Images and dropped it in. Immediately there were about 50 hits.
“What I figured…” he muttered.
The same photo was being used… by someone… or some group…on a lot of different dating sites all over the world. Frank imagined some fat, pimple faced dude from the Ukraine sitting in his underwear in his mother’s basement trolling the dating sites with the photo of this totally good looking, sexy woman, trying to lure lonely heart old dudes into some kind of honey trap that involved money.
Not that Frank was old…. or young. He was still limber and strong. But it was obvious to Frank that “older men” were being targeted on these sites- this site in particular anyway- by whoever it was.
A musical note rang out from the speaker of Frank’s computer, notifying him that he had just received a fresh message. Someone likes you! popped up across the top of his profile page.
“Okay…” Frank said to himself and then pushed his mouse around to move the cursor so he could open the profile page of the “woman” who had just messaged him.
Stana…42 years old, average build, divorced, no children and doesn’t want any.
She was kind of an attractive woman.
I enjoy reading mysteries and crime thrillers and participating in mystery party games.
This certainly was not the photograph of some little or unknown Ukrainian or Brazilian porn star that had been hijacked by a dating site troll. That didn’t mean that this user wasn’t involved in some kind of scam.
Favorite movie: SEVEN. Favorite Novel: THE MURDER OF ROGER ACKROYD by Agatha Christie.
Why do I even do this? Frank thought. “Oh yeah…” he said aloud, “because I haven’t had a date or been laid in two years!” It wasn’t that Frank was ugly, he wasn’t. He’d dated a lot in college and for a while after. But a series a dramatic near hits or misses, depending on one’s point of view, and bad break ups had taken the fun out of the whole relationship thing, casual or otherwise. He hadn’t become bitter really… more… jaded… to characterize it succinctly.
...there was Bible scripture that he recalled...
Man does not live by bread alone.
Whatever that means.
Frank clicked on the message that had just been sent to him by Stana. Immediately, a window opened up on his computer screen and a message popped up.
“No, no, no, no, no, no, no…” Frank said and started pushing keys on his computer keyboard in an effort to stop what was happening.
“I was afraid I might get a disease from this site…” he sort of yelled, “…but not a computer virus!”
Download complete… popped up on his computer screen… as his cellphone rang.
An icon appeared on his computer screen: MURDER APP. Frank answered his cellphone. “Hello…”
“Frank?” a female voice said. There was something odd about it- the voice. “From the dating site, Perfect Match Dot Com?”
His first thought it was a robocall or something- the robocall voices sound so real anymore a person can hardly tell the difference at first. “Yes…” he said anyway, despite his misgiving.
“It’s Stana…” the woman said. “I sent you a message and you just opened it”
“Yeah,” Frank said barely managing to suppress his hostility, “And I think that a computer virus or something was just downloaded into my computer and installed.”
“It was The Murder App,” said Stana.
“The Murder App?” Frank said, still not quite convinced that he was speaking with a real live, female human being and not a computer program. “I didn’t want the Murder App.”
“I’m sorry…” Stana said… not particularly convincing. “It says in writing on the dating profile, that by responding to the message, you were authorizing the download and installation of the Murder App.”
“I didn’t see that!” Frank said and immediately went back to the message from Stana again… and sure enough… there it was… written in smaller italicized letters…
“Try it…” Stana said. “Open the App!”
“I don’t want my computer infected any further!” Frank protested, but to no avail… the Murder App opened itself to Frank’s further shock and dismay “Are you operating my computer remotely?”
“WELCOME TO THE MURDER APP!” flashed across the page that had opened itself on Frank’s computer screen. “Who do you want most to Kill? Ex- Lover? Boss? Boss’s Mother?”
A series of photos flashed across the page. Many of the individuals in the photos resembled people that Frank had seen on the dating site as well as men and women he had never, to the best of his knowledge, seen before. At the bottom of each photo was a bio providing the person’s age and job description.
He heard the pinging sound from his cell phone that notified him that a text message had come in. He pressed the tab on the side of the phone and the text popped up on the screen
“Killer or Victim?” the text message said.
“Killer or Victim?” he said aloud.
His phone pinged again. “Choose now.”
“But what if I don’t want to choose now?” he said.
The phone pinged again, almost as if in response to his question. “Random default position is…” the phone emitted several musical pings of different tones before a new text popped up on the screen and the female voice, Stana, from the ear speaker said, “Killer.”
“Killer?” He said. “I didn’t even want to play this game.”
His phone pinged again and the female voice Stana supposedly said. “Choose method of murder.”
“I don’t want to play...” he said.
“Death by gunshot?” the voice said out the speaker into his ear.
“I don’t want to play!”
“Blunt force trauma…”
“What?” he said. “No. I am going to hang up now!”Frank attempts to terminate the call by pressing the button at the bottom of his phone.
“Death by multiple stab wounds…” the female voice said.
“Have you got control of my phone somehow? I don’t want to play this game!” he said.
“This is not a game.” The voice said, “Choose.”
“Fine!” he said finally, becoming exasperated. Death by skill saw!” he said openly hostile and sarcastic. “You know, like a carpenter uses to cut boards!”
A number of musical pings came from his cellphone and then a text message on the screen said. “Location…”
“Location?!” he said.“You must pick a location for your victim to be murdered.”
“What is this… like that old board game, Clue?”
“Yes… Clue. You must pick a location.”
“Fine! Fine!” he sort of shouted. “In a rocking chair!” he said defiantly, flippantly coming up with the first ridiculous thing that popped into his mind. “The victim is murdered in a rocking chair with a skill saw!”
More musical pings came out the speaker of his phone and then… “Male or female?”
“Male or female?” he said.
“Choose the gender of your victim.”The text and voice said.
“I don’t want to choose the gender of my victim. I don’t want to play this game.”
Several more musical pings from his cellphone- a text message popped up on the screen of his phone accompanied by the voice. “Random choice is…”