A fascist on disability. A cold steel and sex appeal musclehead. A college senior who believes trolling should really mean something. They’re making Posts From the Underground.
The trolling had been successfully accomplished and yet the pleasure obtained fell short of even the imitation Twinkie that Erik Kramer had just consumed with a single ravenous snapping of jaws and clapping of chins. Granted, there was pleasure, but with everything that had happened recently a large part of his being was now numb to it. The latest New Bremen murder was all over the news and there was talk beginning that a serial killer or something wicked sexy like that might be operating in the otherwise practically comatose pocket paradise.
The police had been back at his door. The dead man, a hard-drinking, wife-hitting, factory-working, shit-kicking, conspiracy-loving overall fuck-up had expired from multiple stab wounds less than a block from where the hit-and-run voyeur had entered into eternity and the department was now operating under the assumption that this was not simple coincidence but indicative of some sort of larger pattern. In a city where there hadn’t been a murder in three decades suddenly having two red pins in the precinct map, practically right on top of each other, was luridly suggestive and small minds were running in overdrive. Facing a situation reminiscent of something the moron box might vomit out on a Thursday night even the wisest of us can fall into folly, let alone someone who needed three tries to pass a police examination.
The questions had been flying and it was clear right from Jump Street that the computer poseur was no longer considered some sort of heroic body-finder but rather was now perhaps the only suspect in a crime wave that was threatening to drown everything good and decent in a sea of spilled blood. Somehow it made it a lot less fun and even the fact that he would make a very unattractive and inadequate prison bride was cold comfort.
They kept asking the same thing over and over, questions about where he was on the night of interest. “In a fucking basement pretending to believe views that I actually don’t in order to provoke a response from various online communities including virulent racists” was not the answer they wanted, apparently. They just kept hammering away, every word dipped in rich creamy disdain, the same sort Kramer had feasted on in happier times. Yeah, it was quite a statistical anomaly that the lair of his extended adolescence had suddenly become Grand Central Station for violent passages into the afterlife. Yeah, sometimes being exposed to an amateur human dissection experiment conducted with an automobile was indeed capable of damaging a person’s psychological health. Yeah, he was a weird fuck. It was all shaping up into a nice little package. When your best alibi is a time stamp on a post calling for Aryans to exterminate all Canadians and annex their lands on a site called New Wehrmacht Reporting it’s understandable that you might end up as a person of at least medium interest.
Still, when all was said and done and all the good/bad officer psychodramas concluded there was no actual evidence to link him to either crime. Simply not owning an automobile made his actual participation in the auto-erotic fender massage unlikely and the other crime involved the difficult anaerobic routine of several repetitions worth of knife in-out, an activity that would be difficult for someone with his considerable carriage and poor cardiovascular conditioning.
Then they left. All the usual bits about not leaving town and keep it in your pants and so forth were offered during the retreat back to donut land or whatever. It wasn’t like there was anywhere to go. Unless he had another very understanding close relative somewhere else, but this was not the case to the best of his knowledge.
Back to the internet. The latest thread was already on the third page, quite an achievement for a forum that probably had less than twenty active posters. Erik sighed and tried to force his fingers to type something that would create more outrage, but writer’s block descended heavily.
In a few weeks he’d be back in school. Senior year of college, last call for irresponsible naval gazing and lotus lunch and then what? Some fucking cubicle somewhere? Loading toner into a printer, but failing over and over until it becomes a struggle worthy of Greek mythology? Kissing some old reptile’s ass to get ahead? All of the above, probably, and it was all uncertain and alien. Nothing he’d done or was doing was providing anything even resembling actual preparation for any of that. Instead he was regressing, descending back to the sand box, to dirt eating, to pointing a finger and laughing. Just be sure to point that finger right away, before you get singled out yourself.
The phone was ringing again. Ah, to be wanted. The adoring public wanted to hear about his latest misadventures. Who am I to deny it?
Leaving a half-finished post accusing other faceless net abusers of being insufficiently dedicated to worldwide revolution he went to grab the call. He’d soon wish he hadn’t, but that’s doing things in the real world for you.
Aaron Zehner is the author of "Posts from the Underground," now available in paperback and e-book.