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Thursday, March 15, 2001
By Paul Ford
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:
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.