Katie End

04 Oct

Katie had made me her Myspace friend. For this kind of a relationship, Facebook was perhaps too fancy. But, as everyone knows, once you are friends on the internet you are friends in real life. Obviously.

I’d spent the days since Katie and I had last spoken making myself believe that she had nothing to do with it. Her profile pictures showed no one of special importance. The males who costarred in her online life were nearly indistinguishable, bluff and grinning slabs of blunt man meat. Mostly, though, she was alone, caught in mid-leap, turning her green eyes meaningfully toward the lens, or represented only by two trite feet in a field of generic grass. Thousands of girls had pictures like these, but these pictures were hers. Inexplicably, they made me want to know her. Absurdly, I felt an unfocused but nagging anxiety that she didn’t know me, not really. She’d continue having leaping, toe-wiggling, green eyed adventures without me. I agreed with myself that there had to be some explanation that made sense. An explanation that allowed for her not being petty and awful.

After Omega began calling, Katie stopped taking my calls.

We hadn’t yet exchanged email addresses. It seemed superfluous, since we’d gone straight to phone numbers (a slight breach of etiquette, but one that I’d considered acceptable since we’d met according to the conventions of the previous century—that is, in real life). I thought messaging via Myspace was gauche, but I couldn’t come up with any other options.

“Hey Katie. Some jerk keeps calling me at four in the morning and waking me up. I think he knows you or something. Can you tell me what’s going on? Thanks, Dan.”

I reread it six or seven times. It seemed good. Functional. Brief, but not terse or accusatory. I sent the message. Meanwhile, I filled out a police report as a gesture that was meant to seem purposeful but in reality was flailing and helpless. I didn’t know what else to do.

When, after days of bullshit, my phone rang with Katie’s number, I felt incredible relief. She still wanted to talked to me. I looked at my phone and then looked across the room. My clock read past two in bleary, indistinct numbers. Earlier that day I’d unexpectedly found myself in the company of a bottle of wine, but now that bottle was nearly over. Two o’clock is a bit late to be calling someone who you don’t know very well or who you don’t intend to harass, but it was a Saturday night and my reason was infected with wine-soaked hope and desperation. I answered the phone. A familiar voice spoke in spongy, moist syllables. “I’m going to fucking kill you.” I hung up on him and logged back into Myspace.

“Katie. You’ve been ignoring me ever since I’ve started getting these late night phone calls, but maybe you’ll pay attention to this. I’ve already filed a police report, and if this is not the last I ever hear from this asshole, I’ll go back to the station to give them your name, phone number, and address.”

Strictly speaking, I did not know her last name or her address. Strictly speaking, she didn’t know that I didn’t know. An hour later, my phone rang again with her number. I let it go to voicemail. I listened to it. This time, Katie’s voice came over the phone, sweet and plaintive.

“I can’t pretend that I don’t know what’s going on, but it isn’t my fault. I didn’t want it to happen. I can’t control what my friends do, but it was just a joke. Don’t call the cops. I hate cops. I’m still your friend, right? Please don’t call the cops.”

I thought about the calls, and I thought about hearing her voice, distinct and laughing in the background. I thought about the dozen or so people who could have warned me about this and chose not to. Queasy with anger, I pulled my computer close to me. No, she wasn’t still my friend. I responded to her voicemail.

“Katie – I wasn’t kidding. Leave me alone. Tell your friend.”

Here is another rule of dating: Real people are just as bad as internet people. I decided to keep Katie’s number in my phone, just in case the calls didn’t stop. Three months later, I deleted their numbers.

I rolled onto my back and reached for the last of the wine. Strange noises echoed through the vents. Downstairs, my roommates were watching something gooey by David Cronenberg. I finished my drink and trudged down to finish the movie with them.


Leave a Reply