Trust in the Age of the Internet

“If you are happy at the expense of another man’s happiness, you are forever bound.” – Buddha

(Draft thoughts on a short story, maybe fiction, maybe not.)

Lately there has been a constant seeking – a reaching out to her by a stranger.

In her bones she feels it is the same person. First it started innocently…

When did it start? Now she has to think hard. Was it with Words with Friends, or even before that, maybe it was Twitter 2016, the election year.

He is chasing her; she is a mark. Every time she shuts down a path, he surfaces in a new place. She can’t keep hiding and running away; she’ll have to face him.

Maybe she is being paranoid. It isn’t hard in the age of the internet with online stalkers and hackers.

She is certain he changes his name and identity every time. Sometimes he assumes the identity of a famous military person, sometimes a celebrity chef, now he is an identity she cannot verify, in this country anyway. Her hunch is that he is from Africa continent, but she cannot be sure. It can’t be a different person – too many coincidences, or so she believed. She can’t trust him or any version of him, he is a faceless entity on the internet seeking…what does he want?

Warning sign: No one wants to be “just friends” – real friends in the age of the internet, hard to define.

It’s all about influences. What can you do for me? What can I do for you (for a fee)?

Does anyone become friends just for good will anymore, or have we ever in our own tribes?

It is about survival, and yet she doesn’t even know who is in her tribe any longer. We’ve become cannibals.

Stupid childish thoughts will get you hurt, she says while staring in the mirror at her only true friend.

Trust no one.