Hello coffee lovers and avid readers! Welcome to Olive’s Library at Olive’s Café, where you can read the stories of adventurous characters as they explore life.
Here’s a story about a netizen who gets caught by the ISF (Internet Security Force). For your awareness, all the characters, organization, and events are fictional. The purpose of this story answers the question, “What if there was a security force that can catch people who write malicious content on the internet? What if these netizens finally get caught?”
WARNING: This short story will contain adult content, including suicide, vulgarity, malicious comments, and disturbing dialogue. If you feel that you will be triggered in any way, please DO NOT read past this point. Reader’s discretion is advised.
“But I have to ask, how do you feel about the criticism?” Blaire asks, sitting up as she anticipates her answer.
“I mean, I’m so used to it by now, it doesn’t even phase me. But I do remember to improve in the next project,” Tia answers, with an admiring smile.
“Of course! Especially since your movie is a box office sensation,” Blaire compliments enthusiastically, making Tia grin.
“I have to thank the viewers who watched the movie, though. There will be people who hate it, and those who love it,” Tia reassures.
Blaire nods in agreement, then she looks straight at Tia and asks next, “What about the harassment?”
Tia’s smile almost fades as she’s taken aback by the question, and she takes a deep breath, looking away from Blaire, wanting to carefully think about her answer. After letting go of her breath, she looks up at Blaire and smiles…
Edward Residence, Autumn 2048
What the fuck? How come I can’t log on? This stupid app is always giving me problems on my phone. I get up from my bed, pissed because now I have to log on from my laptop, and I wasn’t planning on getting up from my bed today. Not when I have a day off from work. I wake up my computer and click on the app on my taskbar, and it opens.
What I see makes my heart drop to the floor, as if it was too heavy for my body to carry. This is the second time that it’s happened, and I had to make another account with a new email.
This account has been closed due to multiple reports of malicious content posted.
I don’t understand what’s the problem. I only post my opinion on this stupid app, and they suspend me? People be so butt hurt about it. Whatever, people can kiss my ass.
I close the app, and just because I’m bored, I open up the browser, and attempt to find something juicy. I know for sure I will get my account back later, so let me just gather shit while I’m here.
Knowing how stupid some of these netizens are, they’ll believe anything.
I scroll through the browser page, and it’s nothing but boring articles about fitness, self-care, weather, blah blah blah.
Where the fuck is the juicy shit?
I continue to skim through the browser, until I see an article. About Tia Manor.
Seriously? Another article about her?
But this one seems different. I look closer and hover my mouse over the title of the article, ‘Fans Mourn over beloved actress, Tia Manor’s (28) passing.’
Beloved? Oh please, these people cannot be serious.
I roll my eyes as I click on the article, just to see what’s in it. As I scroll and skim through it, I read aloud in annoyance, “Tia Manor, the actress of the box office hit Star-Crossed Friends has passed away last night in her Manhattan apartment. A 911 call was made by her sister, Miranda Manor, who was visiting her last night. The police are currently investigating the scene, so this story will be ongoing.”
Oh, God, seriously? What the fuck Tia? You want more attention now?
I scroll through the rest of the article, and I see nothing worth reading. All I read is, “OMG, I can’t believe this! Tia Manor, may you rest in peace.” “Tia Manor was such a sweet person, and a phenomenal actress. She will be missed.” “I hope her family is okay.” People are really eating her shit up. Like, she’s not that great, and she’s nothing special.
I really don’t get why people like her. I mean, she’s not the greatest actress of all time. She can’t even act in opinion.
I stop scrolling once I see one HootHouse post, and I laugh as I look at this essay. I mean, truly, people are so butt hurt about opinions.
“Tia Manor was such a great person. She may not be perfect, but she was a beautiful human being that just wanted to show the world how well she can perform in film. When I read her suicide note that was posted online before she died, I was heartbroken. People can be so cruel in this world, and she was in pain because of those words. Why can’t people understand that words can hurt, even worse kill, others. We really don’t know what people are going through.”
What a sob story! Like, seriously, how can people be so gullible. Do they not know about the shit she was doing when she was 19 years old? The drinking, the smoking, I mean people in the limelight shouldn’t be doing these things. And she’s not a fucking angel. Angels don’t party and drink underage.
I really wish my account wasn’t suspended. I got so much shit to say.
I scroll some more, and I swear to God, I just want to yawn. Just more sob story posts and shit. Then, as I reach the end of the article, I stop. I can feel my ears burning as I frantically scroll back up and stop at another post. An angry post quoting another that’s from last night. I laugh inside as I read it, “Yo, something is wrong with you! You can’t say shit like this? You do realize that ISF will come after your ass. Don’t start boohoo crying when they catch you, asshole.”
Oh, please. Like they will leave their desk for an opinion. “People really don’t understand that we have Freedom of Speech. Whatever, you dumb fucks,” I mumble to myself, and now that I’m annoyed, I close the browser and turn on my TV. I huff once the news about Titi Manwhore comes on my screen. I change the channel, trying to find something worth watching, until I stop at the channel broadcasting my favorite survival show Gamer’s Night.
Just as I’m watching the show, I hear a knock on the door. Annoyed, I roll my eyes and yell, “What?!” The door opens, and I see my aunt Nelly at the door, her face masked with anger and irritation. “Max, how many times do I have to tell you about yelling when someone knocks on your door?”
I roll my eyes as I say, “I’m an adult, I can do what I want. You’re not my mother.”
“Excuse me, but this is MY house. You show respect in MY house. You DID hear my knock, didn’t you?” Aunt Nelly asks authoritatively.
I swear, I need to leave this house. I don’t need this bullshit.
I sigh heavily while my eyes are on the show, as I said, “Yes, I heard, so do you need something?”
“There’s two people who want to see you downstairs. I suggest that you change your attitude before you come downstairs,” Aunt Nelly tells me.
I sigh and nod before she leaves my room, leaving the door open. I swear, I can’t have a day to myself.
Let me see what these people want so I can go back to my show.
I grab my hoodie from my chair and put it on as I leave my room and walk downstairs to the living room. As I reach the bottom, I look right to see a man and a woman in suits. I stop as I got to the bottom, and immediately I notice their badges on their lanyards. One has a gold frame, and the other one bronze.
What are they, FBI? And why are they here?
“Okay, I’m here, what’s up?”
“Max! Be respectful,” Aunt Nelly reprimands, and then turns to the FBI-wannabes, smiling as she says, “I’m so sorry. She must be tired since she’s worked a double at the convenient store last night. Would you like something to drink? Water? Tea?”
“Oh, no thank you,” the woman with the gold frame politely declines as she smiles.
What’s with people smiling? Fuck, it makes me want to vomit.
“I’d like a glass of water, please?” the man with the bronze frame says. Aunt Nelly nods as she says, “Please, take a seat at the dining room table.” Then, she disappears to the kitchen to fetch the man some water.
I roll my eyes for the third time today as I walk to the table and slouch on my seat across from the woman. After they sit, the woman sets her black folder her down next to her, and I’m already curious what’s in there.
This should be interesting.
“Maxine Edwards, I’m Special Agent Michelle Blaze, and this is Agent Matthew Foster. We’re both from Internet Security Force working with law enforcement and federal authorities,” Agent Blaze introduces.
ISF? What the fuck?
“Wait, you’re from the ISF?” I say, attempting to hold my smile and laugh.
“Yes, and-” she starts to say, but I interrupt her, “Just so you both know, my name is MAX, not Maxine.”
Agent Blaze puts her hand up as she says, “I apologize, Max. Anyways, we are here because we are investigating into the suicide of Tia Manor, and our job is to track down posts, articles, and comments that have been flagged and reported on different social media platforms. We saw a post made by her that contains warning signs. Are you aware of this news?”
“Yes, ma’am,” I answer as I sit up straight, “I just saw it on the news just before I came down.”
“Well, are you aware of what the note contains?” Agent Foster asks, firmly.
“No, I never saw the post,” I say, shaking my head.
Was there a note? I didn’t see it in the article.
“Well, as the investigation is ongoing in law enforcement, we thoroughly went through the note and discovered something in it that grabbed our attention.”
I nod to show them that I understand, but then I ask, “If you don’t mind me asking, how did she die, exactly?”
Agent Foster takes a deep breath, I’m assuming to calm his nerves or whatever, and breathes out as he says, “Medication poisoning with alcohol”
Ha! See? She’s no angel. She’s just another bitch.
“Whoa, I didn’t see that she died from that,” I tell them, attempting to be genuine.
“We just found out this morning from the evidence in her apartment and the autopsy,” Agent Foster says, but I notice that he’s assessing me.
“I’m sorry, but what does that have to do with me?” I ask, now confused as to why they’re here.
Agent Blaze picks up her folder and opens it, then takes out a sheet of paper and sets it in front of me. And then another sheet. She closes her folder and hands it to Agent Foster after laying 5 sheets of paper in front of me. I glance at them, and then look at her as I ask, “What is this?”
“These are screenshots of posts and comments left by a netizen who’s been making malicious posts and comments about her. These are from last week, and the account was just made last week as well,” Agent Blazer explains.
I glance at them, and look at her as I ask, “So?”
“Look, I’m not trying to accuse you. We’re just trying to see if you recognize these posts and comments. Please, if you don’t mind taking a look at them,” Agent Blaze calmly says.
Since she’s so nice, I decide to look at them and see. Just when I look at them, I hear Aunt Nelly come out of the kitchen and walk to Agent Foster, handing him his water. “Thank you, Mrs. Edwards,” I hear him say. “You’re welcome. I’ll be in the kitchen, if you need anything else,” she responds in her most polite tone.
As I read the comments, I can feel my ears burning.
‘Tia Manor doesn’t know how to act, wbk for years. How can people like her?’
‘I bet she’s a bitch diva that screams at the staff. What a loser XD.’
‘WTF? Why is Leo Jacobs in the movie with Saggy Tia? -1/10’
‘What group is this, this song is a flop!’
‘No one is better than Cadence. Tia, you better sit down.’
‘Look how fat Tia is. Ugh, lose some weight.’
‘Tia’s fans are nowhere to be found. They’re so boring.’
‘They’re only laughing because she has a double chin.’
‘STFU, Tia is so bad. They should fire her already.’
‘Yo, this group should disband already. Their songs are dumps.’
‘Yo, Tia, do me a favor: dye’
Why were these reported?! They’re just opinions! Fuck, people are stupid!
“No, I don’t recognize any of these posts. Where are these from again?” I ask, acting confused.
“From Hoothouse. Are you sure that you don’t recognize these posts?” Agent Foster asks, but I don’t think this dude believes me.
I nod as I say, “I’m sure. I mean, from what I’m reading, these look like opinions. So, I don’t see how they’re malicious. And, I don’t mean to sound like an asshole, but the comments about the group doesn’t look relevant to Tia Manor.”
“Wait, you went through all these posts, and that’s what you point out?” Agent Foster asks now frustrated.
“Agent Foster, watch your tone,” Agent Blaze commands, giving him the side look. He shuts up immediately.
Geez, what shoved up his ass?
“My apologies, Agent Blaze,” Agent Foster says as he regains his composure. “I apologize Max. Um, the reason why those posts are with the others is because one member of that group mentioned is her younger brother, Tyler. Fans must have thought that it would hurt not only the group mentioned, but Tia as well.”
“But wait, how would you know that her brother was in that group?” I ask, wanting to know more.
“Because in her note, she requests that her fans support her brother as he’s part of the group. And that she’s very proud of him for making his dream come true,” he explains.
His dream? More like my fucking nightmare.
Now I want to read that note myself.
“I didn’t know that she had a brother,” I tell them. The room falls silent. Too silent for my liking.
I mean, so what if she has a brother? I’m still confused as to why they’re here. And I want that note.
“Can I see the note?” I ask because curiosity is killing me.
“We don’t have the note,” Agent Foster says, clipped. I guess I pissed him off.
Then, how come you have these posts?
“Okay, well, you still haven’t answered my question: why are you here?” I ask again, frustrated, especially since I know by now that I missed my show.
Both agents look at each other and then look at me as Agent Foster answers, “We traced the account to an address from where it was created.”
What? How? I know for sure to turn off the location. Even made sure that I didn’t allow the app to track my location.
“What?” I ask, surprised and confused at the same time. “That’s impossible.”
“Well, we had to dig really deep into it, since the location was turned off. Fortunately, the agent working this case with us worked miracles.”
“We can’t assume who exactly is responsible, but the account was traced, and it led us here. Now, I must ask: do you know anyone who could have used your address to frame you for this? Any enemies that you know of?” Agent Foster asks.
I can’t help but noticed that Agent Blaze has been quiet the entire time. And it’s getting on my nerves.
I shake my head, “No. I don’t really talk to anyone.”
“How about online?”
“I don’t go online that much,” I lie.
Like Tia’s acting.
Agent Foster sighs, then takes his water and chugs it down in almost one gulp. Then, he excuses himself and leaves the room to get more water.
Now, it’s just me and Agent Blaze.
“Your partner is stressed out,” I tell her, trying to be funny.
“Well, he’s just trying to solve this case, to bring justice to the actress’s family. We all do,” Agent Blaze defends.
Over comments? Tia commits suicide over comments? People should really wake the fuck up.
“Well, hopefully it gets solved,” I say, nonchalantly.
After a moment of silence, Agent Blaze sits up and lays her hands on top of each other on the table as she asks, “Can we just have a conversation? Just you and me?”
Weird, but whatever.
I nod without saying anything. “Who’s your favorite celebrity? Who do you admire and love?” she asks me, with a curious smile.
“Leo Jacobs,” I answer quietly, and just saying his name fills me up with joy and lust.
“Really?” she asks, surprised yet she smiles. I nod and smile a little. “I find him cute as well.”
“He’s not just cute, though. He’s like an amazing actor, and he did so well in his last movie Clash of the Zombies,” I say, enthusiastically.
“Oh, yeah, I watched that one just last month,” she says, and I smile even more. However, I feel my skin burn when she says, “I kind of find that movie a little mediocre. Like, I’d give it a C.”
What the fuck? That movie was awesome! It’s better than that bullshit movie he did with Titi Manwhore.
“But you did like his acting, right?”
“Well, that’s why I find the movie mediocre. Good thing his acting saved the movie from completely drowning. Otherwise, that movie would have flopped,” she says to me, shrugging.
I can’t believe this shit. She finds Leo Jacob’s acting mediocre? Is she serious?
“But that’s just my opinion though,” she adds.
Now, I’m offended. “Okay, so what movie did you like?” I ask.
“Oh, that’s easy, Star-Crossed Friends. Tia did such a wonderful job, in that movie,” she answers, and it’s like her eyes lit up the moment she mentions her name, and she smiles.
What the actual fuck? Why? Her acting was poor, and the storyline was lame as fuck.
And why the fuck is she smiling?
“Really?” I ask, pretending to be curious as I tilt my head to the side.
“Oh, yeah. I love friendship stories, and the way Tia portrayed her character, it’s as if she was real,” she says, as her memories brought her happiness.
“Well, friendship stories aren’t realistic,” I tell her sternly.
“Really? How so?” Agent Blaze asks, crossing her arms.
I cover myself in my arms to retreat away from her, as if I was put in the spotlight. Suddenly, the room starts to feel closed in, and I’m about to scream.
“Because… all friends do is gossip, and if people don’t agree to their views, they end up not being friends anymore,” I explain, quietly.
“I mean, you’re not wrong. Friends do break apart. But not all friendships are like that,” she says, reassuring me, and I can hear her hopefulness.
I just want to want to watch my show in my room.
Suddenly, I look at Agent Blaze, irritably, as she asks, “What’s wrong with Tia Manor?”
I shake my head as I say, “I never said anything about her.”
“Well, your reaction says something differently,” she points out, and I feel even more closed in.
“I never saw the movie,” I admit. I wouldn’t even watch that movie, not even if it was leaked and put on the internet for free.
“Really? But Leo Jacobs was in it.” she says, and now I’m fuming internally. She just had to remind me that my Leo is in that fucking bitch’s movie.
“I know,” I tell her, looking down as I fiddle with my fingers.
“So, you wouldn’t watch it, even though Leo Jacobs was in it. I mean, even he acted superb in that movie,” she assures. I really want to roll my eyes at her, but I don’t want to give myself away too much.
“Well, I still wouldn’t watch it,” I say, adamantly.
“What do you have against Tia Manor?” she asks in a calm tone.
“Why would I?” I ask, now annoyed.
“So, why get combative when I mention her?” she asks.
“So, I have to watch her movies to have an opinion?” I ask her with my raised eyebrows.
“Well, it’ll back up your opinion if you saw how she performed.” she says to me, as if she’s trying to understand where I’m getting this feeling of distaste.
I’m starting to let my irritation get the best of me as I ask, “I mean, what’s so special about her that people are falling head over heels for her?”
“Well, she was a sweet, kind woman, and a passionate actress,” she explains.
I want to fucking laugh at this joke. Boy, she is gullible.
“Well, I found out that she was drinking and partying as a minor, so I didn’t find her admirable,” I bring up, almost wanting to laugh as I say this.
“I remember her telling that story two years ago. People make mistakes, and she was young when she did those things. People change after they learn,” she says with so much faith for her.
“Really? Didn’t you say that she drank alcohol while taking medication, which caused her death?” I ask, and now I can’t help myself.
Agent Blaze lets out a sigh, as if she’s getting nowhere. Then, she says, “She needed help, for a very long time. And she received help for years until last night. And these comments online broke her, especially the comment about a group her brother is in. Had these not been posted, Tia would have still been alive.”
“But opinions don’t hurt people. She shouldn’t have let those words get to her. She did say that it was criticism that helped her grow,” I say, a little aggressively.
“Constructive criticism helped her grow. The comments she received online were malicious, and that’s different,” Agent Blaze argues.
I roll my eyes and look away from her. “I still don’t find her special.” Immediately after I say that, the room becomes quiet again.
“Can I ask you another question?” I hear Agent Blaze ask me. I shrug without looking at her. “How did you know about what she was doing 10 years ago?”
I look up at her, confused as I ask, “What do you mean?”
“I mean, you said that you don’t watch any of her movies, so I would think you don’t watch any of her interviews, either. Am I right?”
“What interviews?” I ask, confused.
Why would I even watch any of her interviews? She’s not that fucking special, and her smile is so annoying!
“You mentioned something about her past, and she only brought that up one in an interview, which was two years ago. How did you know about it?” she asks, now interrogating me.
“I don’t know, maybe someone mentioned it online. And I just knew that everything about her was a lie. Even her smile,” I say, and just as I say this, I can no longer hide my disgust and anger towards Tia.
“Online where?” she asks me.
“Hoothouse,” I mention, and then something happened the moment I mention it. Seconds later, my heart starts to beat faster as blood runs cold in my veins, and I can hear ringing in my ears. Soon, my anger fades just as fear starts to settle in, and I realize that I’ve given myself up the moment I mentioned Hoothouse. I was doing so good at hiding, but my anger reared its head and showed up to the table.
How did I fuck this up?
“Here’s my next question, and please do not lie to me,” Agent Blaze requests. I sit still, frozen in my seat as I stare at the sheets of paper right in front of me. Slowly, I nod, and she proceeds, “Is your username in Hoothouse madamlax09?”
I gulp, but my mouth is so dry, it feels like I’m just swallowing a ball of air that grew thorns on it. Suddenly, my blood starts getting colder, burning through my skin painfully. After a moment passed, I slowly nod my head.
As soon as Agent Blaze frowns and sighs, I knew that I was fucked. Right then and there, I can feel myself panicking, as my blood runs cold, and my head starts to pound hard. How could I be so stupid to fall into this? A conversation that exposed me for my opinions online, just because people can’t handle what I think. Immediately, my mind goes on full defense, and I knew I had to justify myself. I am not going down just because I wanted to express myself.
“I don’t know why I’m getting in trouble for these comments. They’re just opinions! I have rights, you know. What happened to freedom of speech?” I justify, trying to escape from being isolated. If I get isolated, I won’t be able to do anything. Work is already brutal, and I need an escape. I need a place to let out my frustration, and I can stay hidden. Why am I getting in trouble?
The next thing Agent Blaze says makes me freeze in place. The phase in which made me understand that I will be in isolation for a long time.
“Well, Max, there’s always a cost to freedom. Your freedom of speech cost a family a life,” Agent Blaze says, and her entire posture changes immediately, and all I see is an agent who’s going to take me in.
Tia looks at Blaire, smiles, and says, “I can deal with the harassment. I’ve dealt with worse over the years, and all the words online are empty words with no feelings. I’m not concerned about me, but the moment anyone harasses my brother, it’ll feel like the world will end before we know it. I just learned to make sure to keep my head up high and walk away. One day, they’ll realize that their words will never hurt anyone, but when they do, it’ll cost them.” Just take this into consideration: although we have the freedom to say what we want; we should still be careful with what we say about anyone. Words have power, and it can either help us, or hurt us. Let’s be kind to each other, whether online or in real life.
Thank you for tuning in on Olive’s Library at Olive’s Cafe!