Phase One: Reconnaissance
Anyone can take a life. There’s no sport in that. But to drive someone to suicide, that’s an art.
It’s just after midnight when I get a text from Shirley. To an SMS site, not my real cell, of course.
~ U Up?
: Hey girl. What r u up to?
~ Thinking about u :*
Her husband goes to bed early to beat morning rush hour.
: What r u wearing?
She sends a sultry pic of herself reclined on a crushed velvet couch, in a sheer nightie and tight lace panties. Her red hair shimmers in the dim light. The carpet matches the curtains, the lipstick, the nightie and the panties. The red pops off her freckled pale skin. There was a time I would have killed for this photo.
: [hearts-in-eyes emoji]
~ U hard? 😉
I search the ‘Greg’ cloud folder and select a pic of the shaved-chest macho stroking his engorged cock. Greg is on a gay voyeur porn site. He and three other guys wander around the house in the buff and there’s cameras in every room. The set piece stays consistent and there’s enough solo content to keep the marks juicy. Greg specializes in JOI—jerk off inspiration—where he keeps eye contact with the camera and instructs the viewer step by step, pausing when he asks a question. He’s quite a convincing actor.
I route the pic through a proxy server to Jess’s phone.
Shirley, not Jess. Fuck. Jess is maggot food already. This is the Greg and Shirley Show. And the show gets more interesting when she sends a clip of herself masturbating. She moans as her fingers dig beneath her panties. I memorize every curve of her pale, athletic body as she arches her back in ecstasy. I lick my lips and watch the video on a loop until I’m sated. We stay up chatting about how much we care about each other and feel trapped by our spouses and blah blah blah.
At this point you probably think I’m a total creep, preying on some hapless victim. That’s because you don’t know Shirley. Well, you know she’s a slut who cheats on her husband while he works his ass off to provide a comfy life for her, complete with space camp for the kids and yoga classes. But you don’t know how cruel and manipulative she can be. You don’t know the hell she put me through in middle and high school, her and her little slut committee. You don’t know how they mocked my stutter, or how she pretended to be interested in me so they could all have a good laugh. A jolly good fucking laugh.
When real life bullying forced me into the shadows of the web, they followed me there, making a sport of trashing my social media profiles and catfishing me into send a nude photo. So an image of my pale bird chest and unimpressive erection made the rounds during the summer before I entered high school, and it was all downhill from there. The school got ahold of it and I was arrested for possession and distribution of child porn—of myself!
The irony is that Shirley Sanderson inspired my passion for hacking and social engineering. I should really thank her.
~ When can I c u?
That’s right, bitch. The fun begins soon.
Shirley thinks we met a few months ago while playing an MMO called Camelot. Once our chats moved outside the game, she asked for help keeping this hidden from hubby. I pointed her to some security software I wrote, and now I have full admin rights. I can track keystrokes, network traffic, or take ownership of her devices. I got Shirley by the cunt hairs.
Who am I? I’m Greg. Or Jerome. Or Lavar. I’m everyone and no one. I’m everywhere and nowhere. I am Binary Vengeance.
Phase Two: Breach of Trust
I get an alert of network activity at two a.m. Shirley Standard Time. I fire up her webcam on one monitor and a mirror of her laptop on another. Her husband is up looking at porn. Asian girls pissing on each other. When he’s done and washing up, I take over and open her messenger in a background tab, then send a text.
: U Up?
When hubby comes back to close the video, he squints at the message for some time before responding as Shirley.
: Wife will be out of town for 5 days in June. Maybe we can plan something?
Hubby’s face morphs forward and backward through the five stages of grief. He paces back and forth before responding.
~ Sounds good.
Then he does a google search on how to clear text messages.
I don’t hear anything from Shirley for about two weeks after that, and all my messages go unresponded, so I start getting jealous, demanding, belligerent.
~ Greg, I can’t do this anymore. Please stop contacting me.
: Why? What happened?
~ He found out somehow. This all felt like a game until then. I had no idea how bad I was hurting him. But he loves me and we love the kids so we’re going to work it out. I’m sorry.
A few days later, Shirley receives two dozen roses at her office from yours truly.
~ Please stop. It’s over.
Please. It’s over when I say it’s over. I’m just getting warmed up.
When her Camelot persona receives a dazzling gift of rare armor and several desperate messages, she cancels her account.
~ Can’t you take a fucking message? Leave me alone!
My response is blocked. So I send an email to her personal account with the video of her masturbating on the couch.
: Maybe you don’t remember what we had. But I do.
It goes unresponded, and my next email is returned undeliverable. I send a snail mail package with photos of her. But she holds her ground and doesn’t respond. So I send another email to her work.
~ This is Dave, Shirley’s husband. I know everything, and it ends here. This is your first and last warning.
I reply with the video of Shirley’s solo performance. Goosebumps run up my arm when I hit send.
Phase Three: Penetration
I write an email “from” Dave to all of Shirley’s coworkers, family, friends, neighbors and other parents at her kids school. Over eighty recipients. The subject reads, My Wife Is A Whore. The body of the email contains quite a body indeed. When I click send, I burst into an uncontrollable fit of giggles.
~ Did u do this?
: Do what?
~ Don’t play stupid. U know what. My husband would never send that video.
: He probably thought u would never make that video.
~ I had to quit my job. I can’t get out of the car when I pick up my kids up. I don’t even leave the house except to take out the trash, and even then I get dirty looks.
: Wow. Sounds miserable. [Crying emoji]
~ I’m sorry I cut things off with you. I really did like you. But I had to do it for my family. If you’re behind this, please, please, please stop. It’s hurting my children, not just me.
I sip my Mountain Dew Code Red. What does that mean, anyway? An emergency on the mountain? A snowboarding accident?
: What do I get in return?
: If I stop
~ So u admit it, u fucking bastard. What did I do to deserve this?
: U broke my heart </3
~ I’m sorry but u will find someone else. I have to rebuild my whole life now. We’ve talked about transferring schools and even moving.
: It’s a buyers market. U should rent out ur place. Make good $$$
~ What do u want to make it stop? Money?
A wide grin spreads across my face. This is a special moment in our relationship, the moment when she realizes she has to do whatever I want.
: I want a new video.
: I’m bored of the old ones. And let’s change it up. Use a dildo this time.
Phase Four: Annihilation
As I savor breakfast in bed, I draft an email to Dave’s coworkers containing the dildo video. Not a good look for a Campaign Manager. It’s determined his personal life is too much of a distraction and a liability to the campaign, and his letter of resignation is tendered.
I don’t see Dave on the webcam anymore. Not even for late-night jerk sessions. I’m gonna miss that guy. He makes some funny faces when he’s shooting a load.
Shirley starts a new job at a mail processing facility. Quite a downgrade. I’ll give them some mail to process. A dozen envelopes with raunchy Shirley photos. All go to her work but one. I write her home address on the last one.
Greg is sixty-nining his roommate on the couch at the voyeur house in south Florida when the cops arrive to deliver Shirley’s restraining order. When he answers the door in a towel, the livechat blows up with frenzied demands for the cop to take it off and join in.
: U think this will keep me away?
I get booted off the network when her password changes. The firewall closes a few open ports. I check the last entry of the keystroke log, but it doesn’t work. She must have changed her password several times.
Or, if she was smart, she just unplugged everything. So I kick back and wait. I have all the time in the world, and I’m very patient.
A month passes before she reconnects to the web, but everyone needs the web. At that point, my software on her network uploads all the lost text logs to a torrant server, and I sift through it, trying anything that looks like a password until I get back in. I wait some more.
Her laptop is replaced but the spyware is replicated on her router. Once I’m back in, her webcam goes dark. Must have put up a piece of tape. No way to hack that.
: Remove the tape, or there will be consequences.
~ Get a life.
: I have ur tax info. Anywhere u go, I’ll be there.
~ I called the police. I know ur not Greg but they will find out who u r so u better stop.
: [scared emoji]
I’m on hold with the case worker at Social Services. I’m a concerned neighbor, and I think there’s abuse going on in Shirley’s house. I hear the way she scolds them and I’ve seen bruises on junior’s back. No, I’d rather stay anonymous. I’m afraid her husband might retaliate, or they might take it out on the kids.
~ I hope ur proud of hurting a child u sick fuck. My son had to show his whole body to that social worker.
: I warned u of consequences. Remove the tape and I will call off DSS.
The tape comes down. I don’t see the kids on the webcam anymore. Maybe she’s just making them avoid the camera, but no more cartoons are being watched on Netflix and Dave’s car is no longer in the driveway on satellite images.
The broth from my chicken soup burns my tongue, and it has a slight metallic taste. It’s way past its prime, just like Shirley. I post a personal ad on Craigslist and a few other sites with her home and cell phone numbers.
:~ I’m into rape fantasies. Call me anytime, anywhere, and tell me what you’ll do to me.
Her home and cell phones are both disconnected later that week. New numbers are private and unlisted, so that slows me down for a few days. But do you know how many sites ask you to provide your phone number?
:~ I’m into snuff fantasies. Call me anytime, anywhere, and tell me how you’ll kill me.
Dave files for divorce and full custody, and her house is on the market as a short sell. It’s a buyers market, and once they pay all the fees and split the rest, they’re underwater on their mortgage.
Shirley has $1079 in checking and $355 in savings. Her mortgage is through her bank, and they’re paying her 1% interest on savings and charging two points over prime to loan her own money back to her. The system is so rigged.
Dave, stand up guy he is, springs for the security deposit and first month’s rent on her shitty single-room efficiency. Just staring at this place on Google Earth makes me depressed.
Shirley doesn’t get a new job. A month later, she files for bankruptcy and her car is repossessed. Not like she needs an SUV with a third row anymore.
Her next move surprises me. Shirley launches a profile on a webcam voyeur site. She takes requests on a live chat and she’ll do pretty much anything. She always loved being the center of attention, and she’s always been photogenic. Plus, I suppose she realizes I’m giving it out for free, so she might as well turn a buck. Not like she has many prospects. But I must admit these last few months have taken a toll. Wear some cover-up under those bags, girl. Have some dignity.
~ U want more vids asshole? 15/mo all access
I buy a membership with Dave’s company credit card. I’m subscriber #49. Greg had like 30,000 subscribers but she’s just getting started. I’m proud of her entrepreneurial spirit. She’s going places.
~ Everyone has seen it all so there’s nothing more u can do to me u pathetic piece of shit.
: Wanna bet?
For every one thing I do, there’s a hundred ideas I nix for various reasons. Too risky, too boring, too much effort. I consider filling out fake prescriptions for more Xanax, or trying to sell it online, or getting heroin mailed to her place. But there’s only so many hours in a day, and unlike Shirley, I have a full time job.
I work from home as a freelance IT Security Consultant. It’s a sweet business model. I hunt for systems with weak security, and offer my services. A lot of Universities and Non-Profits and small companies that don’t know what the fuck they’re doing. If they decline, I sell their info on the dark web, wait a few months, and come back with a more expensive offer. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Shirley’s never on Facebook anymore, so she doesn’t notice when she starts posting paranoid conspiracy theories and increasingly agitated rants against the government. Or when she applauds a mass shooter.
: Hello, FBI? I’m concerned that my friend is planning a mass shooting or a terrorist attack. No, I’d rather not say who I am.
Now it’s time for her to get caught with some kiddy porn. Her deep system folders fill up with all sorts of pervy shit, including one photo of a pale, scrawny fourteen-year-old stroking his unimpressive dick. I stare at the picture of myself for a minute. I want to reach through the screen and hi-five him. We got her, buddy.
The charges don’t stick. I didn’t expect them to. By now, she has a thick dossier of my activities. Detectives eventually determine this is not her. But that’s after the remnants of her life get a thorough colonoscopy.
No response for three weeks. I’d better check in on her. I’m worried.
: Feeling paranoid? Talk to Dr. Ackerman about it at ur Thursday 4 p.m. therapy appt.
~ Ur diseased. What happened to make u such a horrible person? It’s sad
: Yes it is 🙁 Don’t forget to refill ur Xanax. Ur running low.
No response for a few minutes. Our chat fills one monitor, her saucer-eyed deadpan fills the other. There’s a chime in the background. My torrent download of the new Bond film is complete. Hope it’s not complete shit like the last three. Bond is not supposed to spend half the movie depressed about the death of the chick from the previous movie. He’s supposed to fuck the bad bitch, then fuck the good bitch. Good bitch kills bad bitch, Bond kills bad guy who was his friend in the beginning—Oh shit, she’s responding.
~ U won, okay? U won a hundred times over. Dave left me and took the kids.
: So ur single now?
~ Fuck u. I lost two jobs. All my friends and fam. U took everything. Happy?
: Not everything. Ur still alive [noose icon]
~ The thing about rock bottom is, now that I’m here, there’s nothing more u can do. Ur powerless over me. Go to hell.
: The thing about rock bottom is, ur not there. There’s always farther to fall. For instance, I’ve opened credit cards in ur kids names but I haven’t used them yet. I could email everyone at Dave’s new job and every job. Get ur insurance cut off. Make ur kids starve. Maybe what I did to u, I can (1/2)
: do to ur kids, ur parents, everyone u know. Maybe I’ll wait til ur kids r in HS and send all their friends ur vids. Maybe ur sons wants to join ISIS by then. Or they’ll be looking online for GFs. Or maybe u can do whatever I want, whenever I want (2/2)
Phase Five: Hara-Kiri
Shirley’s insurance record updates with a hospital visit for a Xanax overdose, then a week long to rehab. She’s still on Dave’s plan. He really was too good for her. Honestly, I did him a favor. I leave her alone for a few weeks before I message.
: Pills? U can’t even kill urself right. Ur worthless.
~ I’ll try harder next time.
Do I detect a hint of sarcasm?
: [pic of Rosie the Riveter, We Can Do It! poster]
On her voyeur site, she’s wearing the red nightie that ties in the front and red panties. The same thing she wore in all our personal videos. This is going to be good.
“Greg, or whatever your name is. Are you watching me right now?”
: Yuppers. [eggplant icon]
“Good. I’m all yours tonight. Whatever you want me to do.”
She leans back into a slouched sitting position on her bed, then spreads her legs with her knees up. She sucks on two fingers, then slides them under her panties in slow circles.
“Is this how you like me, Greg?”
$ Hell, yeah baby. Show that pussy.
* Take a shit.
$ Go away loser. She’s mine.
# All y’all suck my ballz
@ visit www.redlinx.co.au for V1agra and C1alis
$ Valerie, don’t listen to those other guys. Dance for me, beautifl.
# Get on your hands and knees and put a finger in your ass.
: Her name is Shirley, and she’s not taking requests from you mooks tonight. Move along
Shirley stops masturbating and rolls her eyes. “Yeah, he’s right. That’s my real fucking name. The name my mother gave me. Thanks again.”
: NP :*
$ I love u Shirley. Marry me. I’ll take care of u gurl.
@ Increase your size and stamina. Shower her with buckets of cum. Visit www.redlinx.co.au
@ has left the room
“Enough foreplay.” Shirley leans over, reaches into the nightstand and pulls out a box cutter. She installs a fresh blade. I’m all tingly inside.
$ Oh shiznit!
With an expressionless face, Shirley cuts the center of her bra, revealing her perky tits. Then she cuts the sides of her panties, and the lacy cloth falls forward, exposing a freshly trimmed red bush.
“Sure you want me to do this? Last chance to stop me.”
: [gif of Michael Jackson eating popcorn in a theater]
Shirley sticks the razor blade into her inner thigh, a few inches from her crotch.
$ OMG!! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?
She moans and sucks air through her teeth as she slices upward. Blood trickles out into a dark reds stain on the white duvet. It’s not spurting, so I don’t think she hit the femoral artery.
# This is fucking crazy!!!
* So worth the $15 😀
$ Shirley don’t. Call 911 and stop the bleeding!
She shake her head and shrugs. “It’s not up to me. Greg, should I stop the bleeding and call 911?”
$ GREG TELL HER TO CALL 911!
: Do the wrist.
* Whoa savage
# Greg you’re fucking sick bro
* I don’t see you leaving
# Good point [gif of MJ eating popcorn]
* video of Magikarp Guy
Shirley’s eyes are drooping already. She takes the box cutter to her left wrist and cuts across. She drops the blade and stands up, a little wobbly, then walks forward to the laptop. The volume cranks to “You Oughta Know” by Alanis Morissette.
“Cause the love that you gave that we made wasn’t able to make it enough for you to be open wide.”
I can’t fucking stand Alanis Morissette, that whiny bitch. I could take control and change it to something like “Bodies (Let the bodies hit the floor)” by Drowning Pool. But I let her have this moment. She’s earned it. She lasted longer than the others, and was way more entertaining.
She shrugs and the red silk nightie slides off her shoulders. Completely nude, Shirley begins a sensual dance, swaying her hips as blood runs down her leg.
$ I can’t watch this. U guys r sick.
$ has left the room.
* Peace out mofo
# I hope the view is good from your high horse.
She licks the blood on her forearm, then smears her bloody wrist all over her tits and stomach.
“Well I’m here, to remind you, of the mess you left when you went away.”
Her gyrating gets loopy and she throws her head back, staring up at the ceiling and twirling, like she’s totally enraptured in this shitty music and she’s forgotten about us. Enough of this. I take over and pause the song.
: I didn’t ask u to dance
Shirley’s jaw drops as she reads the screen. Honestly I don’t know why she’s listening to me at this point either. It’s like she forgot she’s going to die in a few minutes.
“Greg, I’ve given you my body and soul now. Can I just ask your real name? Who are you?”
: I meant it when I said u broke my heart. I didn’t say when.
I open a private chat.
: [pic of naked 14 year old me stroking unimpressive erection]
She stares without blinking. Her lips sneer and brow furrows. “You? Is that what this was all about? You destroyed my life over this high school bullshit?” Shirley holds her chin up and sweeps her red locks over her shoulder with a look of victory. “I’m taking you down with me, fucker. I’m writing down your name.”
: Go ahead. But the thing about rock bottom is…
In our private chat, I launch a live stream through a remote camera mounted to the monitor at the foot of my bed. The camera pans around the sparse surroundings and Shirley’s confused by the array of machines and robotic equipment. Specifically, a large curved appendage swooping over my headboard with exposed wires and cables. As the camera pans down, the corners of my hospital bed come into view, and then my head. My sallow complexion, sunken cheeks, my greasy dusty blond hair and unruly beard, my gaunt collarbone and limp arms.
The machine connects to a tube in my mouth which I’m using to control the camera. I wink at the screen, then pan down over the lifeless body I’ve been stuck in since I jumped off an overpass when I was twenty. All because of an endless and inescapable bullying campaign that started when I fell in love with a girl who I thought was in love with me.
A girl named Shirley Sanderson.
I release the straw and speak into a microphone that translates my speech to text.
: Once you hit rock bottom, you have nowhere left to fall. I can’t be sent to prison in my condition, and it wouldn’t matter anyway.
“Oh—oh, God. I’m so sorry.” Shirley covers her mouth with her bloody hand, leaving red fingerprints on her cheeks. Tears streak her eyeshadow until she looks like The Crow.
# Ummm… I see there’s a moment going on w/ u n Greg, but I’ve been a loyal customer from day 1. So before you croak, could you put a finger up ur ass plz?
She stares at the screen and snarls in disgust.
: U heard the man. Stick it where the sun don’t shine [eggplant emoji]
# Yeah, Greg. My nigga [fist bump emoji]
Throwing major stink eye, Shirley holds her middle finger to the cam, then picks up the laptop and throws it down. My two monitors go dark.
Phase Six: Eulogy
Shirley Sanderson’s Facebook page becomes a memorial, and suddenly all the people who abandoned her are so heartbroken. She was such a good person, a loving mother and a loyal friend.
I open a file of my high school yearbook and skip to the black and white photo of Shirley Sanderson, sneering with her signature resting bitch face and that too-good-for-you smile. Then I overlay a fat black X on her portrait.
Now, who’s next?