The voice shouting over the PA system has made one thing clear: they are the Social Media Killer.
And they are about to kill.
“This evening, I come to you in-person for a little bit of excitement,” the Social Media Killer says. “We’re about to reveal the worst in humanity.” The spotlight systems began activating on their own, moving around the set haphazardly until coming together and shining brightly together on one individual…
“The casting director?” Karina asked, mouth agape.
That bald dude who was about to hire me for a bit part?
“This is Bartholomew Franks. He’s a despicable piece of human garbage and has been for decades, but hey, that’s show business… right?”
The casting director, Mr. Franks or whatever, is currently staring at all the people in front of him, completely frozen in place and sweating pouring down from his bald forehead.
The Social Media Killer continues. “You see him here? That’s the look of instant guilt. He knows what he has done is wrong; he just never thought he’d be caught, and not in such a special place. For someone who’s made a career out of demeaning and degrading women, you certainly don’t look like you’re all mighty and tough now, do you?”
One woman in the crowd of onlookers– dressed up nicely so she was probably in the tryouts to be an extra– stepped out and pointed. “Yeah, go to hell! You’re a creep!”
One thing I’m noticing here:
The Social Media Killer has to be here, right now. They’ve made specific comments about this situation, and unless they set up some hidden cameras all over the place it seems like they’re actually in the crowd itself.
I dart my eyes around to the people around me, looking for some sort of sign of someone acting suspicious. I quickly notice that there are three tall, bulky men, dressed up in casual baggy clothing, standing in the crowd, and I catch one eyeing me.
That must be those fine men currently tailing me. I wonder if they’ve been watching me since I left my apartment?
I’m looking for someone else…
Ugh, it’s hard to concentrate when everyone’s wearing neon sweatshirts and so much plaid…
I keep looking around as the Social Media Killer keeps speaking. If my hunch is correct I’ll spot someone soon enough. I start walking slowly through the crowd, and Karina realizes this and follows alongside me.
The men, more of Motokawa’s men, notice me walking and begin moving around themselves, repositioning themselves so that there’s no easy way out of this crowd if I make a run for it.
Oh, man, they must think I’m the Social Media Killer after all. I don’t think they’re the same ones from yesterday, but they seem just as intense about it.
The Social Media Killer is still talking, somehow. “–that’s five women and that’s just TODAY. How many thousands, if not tens of thousands of women have been harrassed by this man, who has been the extras casting director for over ninety-five feature films in nearly thirty years? He was wise enough to have deleted his Netnect account last month. But he was not wise enough to delete the e-mail account associate with it. So I reactivated it and posted all the details for anyone to access. Go ahead, look it up.”
Several people at this moment pull out their portable PCs and start typing away at them. The sudden surge of blue light from all these computer screens illuminates the crowd and makes it a bit easier for me to tell people apart.
Still no luck.
“And with that, the Social Media Killer signs off again,” the voice says. “Make sure to treat Bartholomew Franks like he deserves to be treated.”
Now the crowd is starting to scream and shout; robot security guards march up in front of the casting director to shield him from all the cans and bottles being thrown his direction, but they probably won’t stand much chance if…
Well, there it goes.
Dozens of people start sprinting towards the man, forming an angry mob that’s probably going to result in injuries and lawsuits aplenty.
The crowd is going nuts.
I look at the three thugs forming a triangle around me, and then at Karina, and then at a possible exit path. The crowd is about to give us a route out of here without being attacked again, and we’re going to have to choose it fast.
I am NOT getting this suit destroyed too.
Way off in the corner of the crowd, I see someone who isn’t reacting to all the madness. Someone about as tall as me, wearing a hoodie that covers their face, and that’s all I can tell. As the crowd starts stampeding towards the sexual harasser I lose sight of them.
That was the Social Media Killer. I’m sure of it.
“Whatever you do, just follow me,” I tell Karina.
I sprint through the crowd and towards an exit. It’s headed straight towards the Labor Party protest that is now starting to intermingle with this near-riot, and will be impossible for the thugs to follow us through it.
“Sorry, coming through!”
This is a lot of people to bump into. If I were dropped into this situation all of a sudden, I’d be more inclined to think I was in a mosh pit than people watching a movie being filmed.
Finally, I make it through, and turn around to see that Karina has successfully followed me away.
She’s panting, though. “Why… What was that all… about?”
“You didn’t see? There were some more thugs watching us while we were on the set,” I tell her. “If we didn’t run they might have attacked again.”
“Oh, so they think we… ah, crud. I don’t want to get my house destroyed too!”
“No, I doubt they noticed you, especially since you didn’t notice them. They are focused too much on me, I think.”
At least… that’s what I hope. If we get to Karina’s house and they’ve beaten us there, then that will not make for a good rest of the night.
I’m definitely not going to tell her that though.
My fears end up being unfounded; Karina’s house is perfectly fine.
“Uh-oh, it looks like I left the TV on,” Karina says as we enter. “I hope I didn’t burn the image into the screen…” It’s currently halfway through a rerun of The Scott Stutzman Show. Damn, it’s the episode I missed last night. The current sketch is about the adventures of a gopher, but it’s just Scott dressed up in a fursuit walking around the city interviewing people. It’s baffling to see out-of-context, but slightly hilarious too. Sad that I had to miss most of it again though…
I scout out the rooms in the house looking for hidden foes, but it’s soon clear that there aren’t any. I can finally friggin’ sleep…
Karina flips the channel to the nightly news and then walks to the bathroom. The shower head flips on and I hear the pouring water through the walls.
This house is much nicer than mine. For one, it’s actually a house, not an apartment, even if it’s small for what Karina and her father’s combined income should surely be worth. Two, it’s got matching sofas and a big screen TV and nice cream-colored carpets. There’s a lot of clutter lying around in the living room like old magazines and half-read books on the Civil War, but at least there isn’t glass everywhere and the rocking chair is in one piece, unlike my place.
Director Martin Quartermaster, an older British man, is on the screen, looking downward as he reads from a prepared statement on the lectern in front of him from his lawyer’s office in London. “…and that my own casting director would be accused of such heinous unprofessional behaviors is completely shocking to me. I have never suspected that Bartholomew Franks would have behaved in such a crude manner, and there is no firm proof that this is not a hoax. Until an official inquiry has been launched, I will stand by him. That is all.”
Of course he will. If he didn’t it’d completely disrupt the shoot when he arrives in Atlanta later this week. Assholes gotta stick with assholes, am I right?
Okay, I don’t know if Quartermaster is an asshole. But getting attacked by the Social Media Killer is hardly a hoax; they are usually pretty comprehensive with providing evidence, at least as far as I’ve been shown. But that’s just the way the world works. Without the Social Media Killer, these kinds of people might never be exposed.
In a way I’m kind of rooting for them.
If it weren’t for the fact that they are responsible for my apartment being wrecked, that is.
And now it’s more coverage of Kendrick Deal and his denouncing of Mayor Epstein. It’s showing a clip of his appearance on CNN earlier this evening, where he said some strong words and… whatever.
Kendrick Deal is young, black, and rich– the perfect qualities for the New Hope Party to get its next mayoral victory. He was an award-winning teacher and a public speaker. It has been assumed that the smear on the party from Mayor Epstein’s scandals would prevent any candidate from that party from succeeding, but Deal perseveres. He’s expected to trounce any opponent in the next election, even his similarly-charismatic Labor Party rival Aisha Baker.
So it’s only natural that he’s rumored to be behind the big Recall Epstein movement that might get the mayor removed from office with a special election to be held soon afterwards…
Being in a family of political debaters has taught me that everyone in politics is scum; you just have to vote for the least scummy of them all.
The news anchor robot continues from where the clip left off, mentioning the tepid response to his speech by critics before droning away about the latest business regulations being repealed next month involving human safety trials.
I turn the TV volume way down. I don’t want to hear anymore about that.
I’m beat! Pooped! Tired!
I was attacked just yesterday and then I spent the entire day walking around like it was nothing. Dang, I feel terrible. I think I’ll just shuffle off to sleep and take a shower in the morning so I can feel all refreshed for…
…Ugh, work. I really hope I’m not fired from work for just blatantly skipping out like that. Mr. Larkins does not have a reputation for being nice, but I’ve known him to be more charitable than he appears, so maybe there’s hope.
I take off my clothes, and then go into Karina’s father’s room and find a tank top and sweatpants to use as makeshift pajamas. Karina’s father is taller and heavier than me so all his clothes are a bit big, but I’ve borrowed them a few times when I spend the night here. He never seems to notice since he’s rarely ever home, what with his fancy robotics job with Sakaguchi Automations and all.
I start to put on the tank top when I hear the bathroom door creak open, and Karina steps out with a towel wrapped around her chest and another on her head. She hurries into her bedroom and shuts the door, slamming it against the doorframe.
I tap on the door. “Did you forget to take your pajamas with you again?” I ask.
“Shut up!” I hear through the walls.
A few moments later, Karina comes out of her bedroom wearing lavender polka-dotted pajamas and plops down on the couch in the same spot I was sitting on before. It’s the good spot right across from the center of the TV, so it’s always a fierce battle between us to who gets to sit there. It seems in my slowness, I have lost.
So I just sit down next to her and prop up my feet on the coffee table, hoping she’ll scoot away and give me more room.
“Put those down,” she says. I comply.
She turns it back on and changes it to some skeevy reality show titled School Counselors: Miami Beach Edition. This is not what I wanted to spend my time watching, but I guess I could fall asleep to it.
“So, what are you going to do tomorrow?” Karina asks.
“I have some plans,” I say, my eyes starting to get a bit heavy. “I… got to go to…”
“Where, Morgan? Are you going to flee to the Eastern Union and hide out as an exile the rest of your days?”
I snap myself awake. “Uh, no. No. I’m going to see an old… person. Not a friend, per se…”
“I understand,” she says. “I’d help, but… Sorry.” She’s a busybody. Getting one day of her undivided attention was like some sort of miracle, and she had to skip her classes to even do it.
“I couldn’t use your help tomorrow anyway, so it’s okay,” I tell her. “I don’t want you… getting…”
My head slides to its side and lands on Karina’s shoulder. I don’t have the energy left to move it.
“Morgan… you know I hate it when you fall asleep on me and I can’t… Morgan?”
I’ve reached the point of no return for sleepiness. I’m out cold in an instant.