Google Search, 12:35 AM

Online, revenge is forever

The phone rang after midnight. “Michael”, she said. He said nothing. She said, “Are you there?”

“I don't have anything to say,” he said.

“How could you do this? How? To me?” She began to cry.

Rage flew out of his throat, through the wire. “To you.”

She was silent. Then: “I did a search. I did a search. I saw the pictures.”

Oh, oh, oh, he thought.

She must have searched for his email address. On Google or one of the search engines. Why hadn't he thought of that? He imagined the Web page she'd found, her result:

From: michael@consolidatedundulatingprong.com
To: Alt.binaries.pictures.erotica.shave
Subject: More pictures of my cheating bitch wife.
My wife left me three weeks ago for a man with a smaller cock, but a bigger bank account. I'm cleaning the slut off my hard drive. Enjoy!

Then there would be three pictures of her, taken a year ago with a digital camera when they were both in a holiday mood. Her body shaven, stretched on their floral comforter, her legs slightly blue and spread apart, a painting of a seaside sunset, bought at an art fair on a trip to her parents, in California, hovering in the background.

“IknowitwasterribleIwasdrunkandsolonely,” he mumbled, trying to inspire pity. But he wasn't the injured party and she screamed even louder. He heard the word “lawyer” many times, and “irrevocable.” In time Michael put down the phone in its cradle. When it kept ringing he turned off the ringer. He went to bed and curled into a ball under the blue comforter, below the oil painting of the sunset, imagining the blankets crawling with insects.

.  .  .  .  .  

See also: Robot Exclusion Protocol.




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About the author: I've been running this website from 1997. For a living I write stories and essays, program computers, edit things, and help people launch online publications. (LinkedIn). I wrote a novel. I was an editor at Harper's Magazine for five years; then I was a Contributing Editor; now I am a free agent. I was also on NPR's All Things Considered for a while. I still write for The Morning News, and some other places.

If you have any questions for me, I am very accessible by email. You can email me at ford@ftrain.com and ask me things and I will try to answer. Especially if you want to clarify something or write something critical. I am glad to clarify things so that you can disagree more effectively.


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© 1974-2011 Paul Ford


@20, by Paul Ford. Not any kind of eulogy, thanks. And no header image, either. (October 15)

Recent Offsite Work: Code and Prose. As a hobby I write. (January 14)

Rotary Dial. (August 21)

10 Timeframes. (June 20)

Facebook and Instagram: When Your Favorite App Sells Out. (April 10)

Why I Am Leaving the People of the Red Valley. (April 7)

Welcome to the Company. (September 21)

“Facebook and the Epiphanator: An End to Endings?”. Forgot to tell you about this. (July 20)

“The Age of Mechanical Reproduction”. An essay for TheMorningNews.org. (July 11)

Woods+. People call me a lot and say: What is this new thing? You're a nerd. Explain it immediately. (July 10)

Reading Tonight. Reading! (May 25)

Recorded Entertainment #2, by Paul Ford. (May 18)

Recorded Entertainment #1, by Paul Ford. (May 17)

Nanolaw with Daughter. Why privacy mattered. (May 16)

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