A Short Story by Black Market Boo
My MacBook Pro opened by itself last night. I was lying awake in the dark at 2am, bored, about to pick up my iPhone and check Facebook, when I saw the laptop on my desk slowly raise its screen. Blue light filled the room, casting shadows on the walls. I didn’t move or make a sound. The desk was between me and the door, so there was no escape. My computer made sinister clicks and whirring sounds. I watched as the cursor floated across the screen. Clearly, it had a plan.
First it opened Google Chrome. Then it logged itself into my Facebook profile. And then, before my eyes, photographs began uploading to my Wall of their own volition. Photos of me, doing things that I’ve never done, with people I’ve never met, in places I’ve never been. They were insane photos that could never have been taken, because I’m simply not that high-functioning in life. In some I was gallantly scaling cliffs, and riding stallions, and landing sea planes; in others I was receiving awards for outstanding creativity before a theater of applauding glitterati; in one I was even getting married, to a suited man with long hair and glamorous mixed-heritage bone structure. Who was he? What was this? Had I been hacked? Was my mind going? Was there a mad Photoshop artist at large? Was I having a dream? An episode?
Almost in answer to my questions, the laptop’s cd drive ejected a cloud of white smoke which puffed and curled and congealed into a solid form. I noticed that the silhouette taking shape was extremely familiar – it was a person, a woman.
“You!” I said, when her features became clear.
“Yes. You,” she replied – for the woman who had appeared from thin air was me. That is to say, she was me, only far better. Her skin glowed with youthful elasticity and E vitamins, her deportment was effortless, her voice pure and soulful. If ever I imagined how I would appear at my best, this creature was sans doute my most perfect embodiment.
“But how can you be me,” I asked, “when you are so obviously superior?”
“I am your Facebook self, the most mighty demon Polypragmosyne!” she said. “And I’ve come here from a great distance out of curiosity to meet you, my maker.”
Strangely, it made sense to me that a demon doppelgänger had turned up. I’ve certainly spent enough time on Facebook to build, or at least curate, a second life. Maybe I’m too susceptible to the temptation of image-construction. Yet sometimes it’s difficult to keep up with my Facebook self. People expect me to be more like her than I really am, and I’ve begun to adjust myself to fit their expectation. There’ve been incidents in her creation of which I am not proud…especially all the backseat Facebooking. You know. Making close friends post comments that were scripted by me, for other Friends to see. It’s not sick, is it? No. I’m sure everyone does it. You have to keep control over how your Friends see you. You don’t want to be misinterpreted!
“How about these, what are all these pictures uploading to my Wall?” I asked anxiously.
“These? This is the life that could be,” said Polypragmosyne. “This is what we will become! Do you want to see more? I can show you. I can show you your Facebook future in animated gifs, if you just step in here.”
“What, in there?” I pointed at the laptop. Polypragmosyne nodded.
“Don’t worry, it’s easy,” she said.“There’s an app for it.” She reached for my iPhone on the bedside table, flipped through the screens, and handed it to me. There was a new icon I’d never seen before. It had a picture of a skull with lovehearts for eyes.
“See. Just use the Underworld App for iPhone.”
Underworld app? I remembered that Polypragmosyne was a demon. Not only that – I had made her in my own image. She quickly caught on to my hesitation.
“Come on, you can trust me, and you should!” she said. “Not all demons are evil. That was just a rumor spread at the dawn of the Christian era to discredit pagan gods. Go on, use the app. You’ll like it. I know how you like a spectacle. You’ll experience life, edited! It’s like living on a golden mountain covered with a billion eyes that are all like mirrors, and you’ll see your reflection in all of them, a billion different ways. You’ll see yourself, in all your completeness!”
“Thanks for the offer, but I’m not sure I need to see that. It sounds a bit confronting.”
She gave a smile of genuine understanding, then grabbed my hand and forced me to tap the icon. I blinked, and when I opened my eyes I found myself in a white box, my iPhone gone. The walls of the box were not much taller than me, and there were two little round peep holes, one in the wall and one in the ceiling. Peering through the hole in the wall, I saw my own name, stretching out sideways in black type across a vast wall. Through the ceiling peep hole came an electronic glow, and high above, I could just make out a white letter F on a banner of royal blue.
Black Market Boo is a New York Based photographer who works in social media. Photography by Ninja Hanna, fashion by Hanna Holmgren, hair by Sherin@Linkdetails, make up by Johanna Sylvan@linkdetails and modeling by Lovisa Axelsson Hager@Mikas.