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An exploration of identity in a digital world...
From the Desk of Minus Three:

So here’s this sort of leftfield thing I wrote for the CAW 8.5 challenge on the forum side of the site. The theme was Halloween, and this is my take on the premise. Costumes, disguises, masks. I can’t remember why I didn’t post it on the Stories side sooner. Anyways, it’s here now. If you want, go over there and vote for me! Or don’t. I’m posting something else later today that I’m just finishing up, so in the meantime sink your teeth into my slightly surrealist exploration of identity in an increasingly digital world.

There’s No Just Holly

Holly had become an object of fantasy in my mind. I knew she wasn’t my type at all; she was too buttoned down, too straight laced, too stuck on her prim propriety. It might have been the way her perpetually gray skirt clung to a perpetually perfect ass. It might have been because she was one of the only girls in the office I hadn’t fucked after some night out drinking after work. The others I hadn’t been with weren’t my type either, but that was more a function of how they looked rather than a function of who they were.

I wondered over what it might have been, but I already knew what it was. It was her voice. Holly took a tight tone on topics work related and didn’t talk on topics that were not. She barely even left her cubicle. She even ate lunch at her desk. While discussing something with Ken from payables I heard it the first time. Holly’s real voice. A resonant lust, a lingering breath after certain syllables, a particular use of non-word sounds. ‘Mmms’ and ‘ohhs’ and a sigh for punctuation. Looking up over the top of my cube there was Holly On The Phone in her chair with her back to me, and as she finished her conversation she swiveled slightly and I saw that she had one fingertip between her teeth. As she put her phone down she saw me and the twinkle in her eye vanished. Instead of Holly On The Phone she was Just Holly again.

Since then I hadn’t been able to get her out of my mind. I’d lurk near her desk hoping to hear her on the phone with someone from the outside world so I could hear that voice again. I’d leave at the same time as her so I learned which bus she took. I got on it once when it was crowded so she wouldn’t see me, and though I couldn’t get to the door in time to get off at the same stop as her, I now at least knew which stop it was. When I started a fake profile on a social networking site to see if I could find out more about her without her knowing it was me doing the asking? That’s when I realized I was stalking Holly.

You might think that this is the sort of thing that comes as a shock when you see it staring back at you. You might think that you’d be disgusted with yourself. You might think that you’d creep yourself out and stop. You might think those things, but you’d be wrong. If you’re me, you realize you’re not doing it…you’ve already done it. It’s gone too far to stop. You’re sitting there in your chair at home, sipping a beer with your computer on your lap, doing image searches for ‘handsome guy’ or ‘dark haired man’, or ‘nice looking male’ so you can set up your fake life and your fake friends and your fake everything else and you start typing ‘how to tell if you’re being stalked’ because you want to make sure you don’t tick off any of those little bullet points. Not to make sure that you aren’t doing those things, but to make sure you hide those things well enough that you don’t get caught. You’re doing this and then you stop and say ‘I’m stalking Holly’; and then you do another image search for ‘nonthreatening profile picture’ and you find what you want and you right click, save picture as, and then you get another beer.

Holly needed a lesson on privacy settings. Not from me; no, that would have been defeatist. It’s enough to say that online you are an open book to a determined person who wants to know more about you unless you take steps to provide yourself more than the illusion of security. There are six degrees of separation between all of us in the real world, but someone who wants to tilt the odds can see that number down to three or four degrees. What you Like, I Like; and now it’s down to two. Before long you’re saying something in a Group Discussion and I Reply to someone else, not you, but I make it provocative enough to prompt you to Reply to me. I tell you ‘we should take the conversation off-thread’ and now I’m in your Inbox. I say all the right things; I agree when I should, I disagree when I think you’ll like the challenge, and now we’re Friends and two degrees become one. Now you know all about my fake life and my fake friends and my fake everything else and I’m looking through your Photo Albums to see if there’s any Pictures of you in a bikini because you’re Just Holly and I’m dying to know what you look like under all that gray decorum. Fun Holly. Out With Friends Holly. Posing For The Camera Holly.

It’s called grooming. Go ahead; look it up. I know because I looked it up too; not so I could make sure I wasn’t doing those things, but so I could make sure I was doing them right.

Holly takes pictures but because she’s the one with the camera she’s not in any of them. Holly writes Notes and I post Comments on them about how I feel the same and everything I say to her is just a twist on something she said to someone else on another Page. If you’re Holly you get all emotional one night at 2am and your Status is ‘Why am I so alone?’ and all your Friends will reply that you aren’t, and to keep your chin up, and to call them and talk, and for some reason people click a button that tells the rest of the world that they Like the fact the Holly is alone; and then, if you’re Holly, you’ll tell them ‘they’re good friends’ and you’re ‘lucky to have them.’ If you’re me you’ll send Holly a Message that tells her that she’s ‘not the only one’ and she’ll tell you ‘you’re a great guy.’ You’ll smile all smug and proud of yourself at the sprung trap.

You’ll do all of this, and you’ll know that you’re stalking Holly, and you’ll keep doing it anyways. You’ll crack another beer and push yourself a little deeper between your pillows and send Holly a message asking her if she ‘wants to have a drink together’. She’ll say no and you’ll quickly assure her you didn’t mean in person, and you’ll Laugh Out Loud and you’ll make a joke about going for a drink together over the internet and she’ll Laugh Her Fucking Ass Off and tell you again that you’re a great guy and that she’s pouring a glass of wine.

This me that I was online? Holly’s Me? He didn’t like wine. She already knew that and so it was easy for her to poke fun at me for not appreciating the finer things and so it was easy for me to mention that I just needed the right teacher. Me? The real me? I don’t like subtleties; but Holly’s Me had a charm spun out of innuendo and entendre and a special type of cheese that I knew she appreciated because she Liked that sort of thing. Holly Liked Oscar Wilde so I looked that up too and quoted something I found somewhere. Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V; all of a sudden she’s complimenting my wit and telling me that she’s starting to feel better because everything I say is everything she’s ever wanted to hear. Holly identifies with me and then we’re talking about work and how she can’t stand all the people there. How they all look at her funny and how she doesn’t fit in, and how there’s this one guy that always stares at her and she thinks he followed her onto the bus one time. I tell her to ‘watch out for guys like that; because they can be dangerous’, because ‘they can cause trouble’, because ‘they can start workplace drama that no one needs when they’re one month into a busy quarter.’

Holly tells me that ‘he’s harmless, he’s just the office slut and probably has a list somewhere with my name one of the only ones not crossed off’. If you’re me you look at that mental list and shrug and then tell her ‘he sounds like a jerk’ and the hooks go in a little deeper and she tells me that I’m ‘pretty sensitive for a guy’. I tell her ‘it’s because I was raised by my mother’ and I know that she means it when she tells me that she understands because I already know that her father passed away when she was a little kid because of the pictures she took at the grave two months ago.

This goes on, and if you’re me you keep looking at the little clock in the corner of the screen. Not because you’re anxious or impatient, but because you’re really proud of yourself for having such a long conversation with Holly. Holly Who Doesn’t Make Small Talk And Eats Lunch At Her Desk is now Holly Who Chats Online All Night. Holly, who’s in the middle of telling me about this really bad relationship she had three years ago. Holly, who admits she’s had too much wine and that she has to get some sleep because she has meetings all morning. Good night. Thanks for the talk. Thanks for understanding. Thanks for being there. Bye! Holly is unavailable for chat. Your messages will be sent to Holly’s phone.

If you’re me this isn’t good enough. If you’re me you want to cross her off the list.

Holly starts to seem more distant at work. Holly starts breaking company policy and signing in to her Profile while at her desk. If you’re me you know this because you’re breaking those rules too, looking for a series of pictures that aren’t watermarked so you can start an Album of your trip to Peru last year. You’re fine tuning your Education Information and adding random people from Pages of graduates for the same year you didn’t actually graduate from a school you didn’t actually go to. The little window opens and if you’re Holly you’re asking me ‘do you work downtown’, and ‘would you like to meet for lunch?’

Of course you can’t say yes. If you’re me you have to say no. You have to make up some story about a client and how demanding they are. You think back to a conversation you overheard this morning where Holly told her supervisor that she didn’t think she could meet a particular deadline and how disappointed he was, and then you retell this story as though it happened to you and Holly likes you even more. So much in common. So many things to talk about. So lucky to have found each other.

Holly wants to know about tomorrow. Or even tonight after work. Or next week. And every excuse makes the whole thing a little more fragile and so I finally say yes. If you’re me you’re suddenly Holly’s date to her office Halloween party. If you’re Holly you don’t usually go these things and everyone will be surprised you’re there, even more surprised that you have a date because everyone thinks you’re the office prude. You’re so happy and so proud and you feel so strong finally. We start talking about what to wear, and how we should have his/hers costumes because that’s the kind of cute thing Holly thinks is charming. If you’re me you’re trying to come up with a costume that covers your face, and if you’re Holly you’re okay with that because you already know what I look like because I’m a Non Threatening Profile Picture. None of it seems suspicious because I’m such a Great Guy and Holly is such a trusting person.

So then, if you’re me, you’re the Great Guy costume who’s going to be wearing the Ugly Monster costume while Holly wears the Hapless Victim costume. Me? The real me? I laugh at this because I know what irony is. I know because I looked that up too.

I’m really busy all the time. Holly knows this because my Status tells her it’s true and she trusts me. People I’ve never met from places I’ve never been back it up by talking to me like they know me. Everyone wants to appear so involved so they Like things and Comment on things and then suddenly I get Tagged in a picture I’m not in. This me? Holly’s me? He’s a really a Great Guy. I kind of like him. I can’t Like him because then the one degree of separation becomes six again and Holly follows it back and it’s all over; but I like him. I can see why Holly likes him. He sends flowers to her office and I stand by the cooler and watch her blush and smile and act all awkward in the spotlight as the people in the cubicles around her act all surprised. If you’re Holly you tell me later that you loved the way it felt to have everyone pay attention to you for a minute or two; so if you’re a Great Guy you send her flowers every Monday and artsy little cupcakes every Friday. Wednesday is ordering delivery to her cubicle so you can ‘eat lunch together this way’ and it’s so romantic and you’re just such a Great Guy.

I found myself having a little of the same on each of those days. Not the flowers mind you; if you were me you wouldn’t order flowers for yourself. But you’d smile a little predatory smile at just how well you thought all of this was going in your favor. You wouldn’t know how to seal the deal without blowing it, but you’d worry about that later.

All this is fine; but I start to get worried. Suddenly I’m not stalking Holly so much as I’m courting her. The thrill is still there, and the list is still there, and Halloween is still there only a few days away; but the reality is there now too. If I was falling for Holly this would be okay. No, it wouldn’t. It wouldn’t be okay because if you’re Holly you suddenly find out that the Great Guy who’s sweeping you off your feet is really just a Non Threatening Profile Picture and A Weekend Of Search Engine Results. He’s actually just a Real Jerk. He’s actually just the Office Slut and you’re not Just Holly anymore, you’re Last On The List.

If you’re me you remind yourself not to fall for Holly. You repeat it a few times until it sounds true, but no so many that it doesn’t sound like words anymore. Me? The real me? I’m wondering what that’s called and it’s on the tip of my tongue and so I look that up too. Presque vu; the sensation of being on the brink of an epiphany. Distracted. Disoriented. Rarely Lead To An Actual Breakthrough. It’s some me between Real Me and Holly’s Me. If you’re me you move the little mirror by your computer on your desk because you don’t know the person who’s face you see looking back at you. Jamais vu; when a person momentarily does not recognize a word person or place that they already know. Go ahead; look it up.

Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V; all of a sudden I’m at Holly’s desk and I want to know if she’s free for dinner that night and I’m surprised to be watching myself do this. If you’re Holly you aren’t, because you don’t like me and you have plans anyway. Me? The real me? I know that means she wants to talk to a Great Guy online and that he warned her about Guys Like Me. Like the real me. Great Guys give this sort of great advice, but you still wish you hadn’t said it.

If you’re me you remind yourself not to fall for Holly. You repeat it a few times until it sounds true, but no so many that it doesn’t sound like words anymore. Me? The real me? I’m back at my desk looking in the little mirror trying to draw a line somewhere.

Costume shopping is surreal when you’re me and you’ve been wearing one for a month already. You’re not picking something that suits you, you’re picking something that suits your fake life your fake friends and your fake everything else. I’m an Ugly Monster in a Great Guy costume out looking for an Ugly Monster costume. It’s not hard to find. You barely have to look. I take it home and put it on and take a picture and post it. If you’re Holly, you Like it. You like it a lot. You post a picture of yourself in your cheerleader outfit and your fake blood and your pigtails and I get absolutely rock hard looking at you. Just Holly wears skirts every day; they’re gray and come to the knee and fit the way they’re supposed to. Halloween Holly doesn’t dress like that. She wears a red skirt, not gray. It’s shorter and pleated and shows more leg. Just Holly wears sweaters; lighter gray and loose and professional under a jacket. Halloween Holly wears a sweater too, but it’s tight and white and has a letter on the front. It’s too small around the chest and that makes it Just Right. Just Holly’s ponytail is plain, Halloween Holly’s pigtails are a little high up the sides of her head and if you’re me you can see them bouncing around in your imagination.

If you’re me? The real me? You remind yourself not to fall for Holly.

Halloween comes and I leave work early and I say I’m sick and that I can’t come to the party. If you’re any of my coworkers this surprises you because I love office parties. You tell me I’ll be missed because I’m the life of the party. I leave anyways and you’re shocked. I go home, I put my costume on, I talk to Holly. Halloween Holly wants me to meet her at her office and gives me the address. The party starts at 6 and so she tells me to ‘be there at 6’.

Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V; all of a sudden I’m back at work and no one knows who I am. Everyone acts differently when you’re someone else. If you were me, you’d see what I mean but you don’t because you’re you. Me? The real me? I’m a passenger and this Great Guy is finally meeting Holly face to face and she’s not Just Holly anymore. She’s Hot Halloween Holly and she’s so glad to finally be in the same room with him. If you’re me, you laugh because her desk is right next to mine and the Great Guy tells her he’s laughing because he’s glad to be there too. She hugs him and I hug Hot Halloween Holly back from inside the Ugly Monster inside the Great Guy inside the Ugly Monster.

If you’re me, the irony stings you…but I’ll understand if you laugh, because you’re not me.

If you’re anyone at the party, you have a great time. You drink and you laugh and you play that game everyone always plays. You talk about work because you might be drinking a triple screwdriver but you’re drinking it next to the copier in front of Bill’s office. Everyone’s kids are perfect, their homes are perfect, their credit is perfect, their lives are perfect, and only one person gets drunk enough to say something stupid. If you’re me, you’re glad it’s not you like it usually is because you’re not even at this party. Hot Halloween Holly gets the cold shoulder just like she does the rest of the time she’s in the office. No one wants to get plastered right in front of Hot Halloween Holly because she’s also HR Holly and I’m the only one who knows that she’s also Drink A Whole Bottle Of Red While Chatting Online Holly. If you’re Holly you want to leave before anyone else does, and so you ask me to drive because you’ve been drinking and I haven’t. I tell you I came in a cab and you tell me to drive you in your car and you’ll give me the money for a cab from there.

Of course I say yes. I can’t say no. Great Guys say yes to things like that. Holly talks on the way and I breathe a sigh of relief that I make it there without getting pulled over for driving with a mask on. In her stylish little condo Hot Halloween Holly asks me why I don’t take it off and then laughs when I tell her it’s not a mask; this is what I really look like, I’m an Ugly Monster and she’s my Hapless Victim. If you’re Holly, you’ve been flirting with me all night but you haven’t been physical about it. That’s why, if you were me, you’d be surprised that Hot Halloween Holly was suddenly Hand On My Junk Holly. You’d be all ‘whoa’ and all ‘oh my’ and all ‘is this really happening?’ You’d be all ‘OMFG’ and all ‘WTF?’ You’d Like it though. I know because I am me and I did. Hand On My Junk Holly asks me what kind of Ugly Monster I am, and what do I do to my Hapless Victims once I got them alone? I tell her I like to hear their screams and she purrs and lowers herself to her knees in front of me in her living room while looking up into my eyes behind the mask. Her eyes are half-lidded and her fingers undo my zipper as she licks her lips and smiles. She laughs in her Holly On The Phone voice and takes my cock out in her hand and licks it.

If you were me, you might back out right now. You might think ‘this is too much’ or ‘I can’t do this to her, she doesn’t even know’. You might think those things and then look at Hot Halloween Holly and remember she’s also Last On The List, but then you’d throw the list away. She already has it in her mouth anyway and she’s bobbing her head forward and back, forward and back, turning her head a little this way or a little that way as she sucks on it. If you were me you wouldn’t do any of those things because you’d be too busy sitting slowly on the couch and putting one hand on the top of her head between her pigtails. You’d be too busy listening to the little sucking and smacking sounds her lips made every time the edges of the head passed her lips on the way out or the way in. Too busy watching her hand get wet from her saliva glistening on its length.

If you’re Holly, right now you’re gently pushing my hand off your head and looking back up into my eyes. You’re winking and acting like a slut in your cheerleader costume and picking up speed with the cock in your mouth. Hot Halloween Holly pops my cock’s head from her lips and licks the underside with her tongue held out long and wide. A thin string of wetness hangs from the end of my cock and the tip of her tongue and as she smiles at me lustily it breaks and hangs off her chin for a second before it drips to her tight white sweater stretched across her breasts. She stands up in front of me and turns around, poking her perpetually perfect ass out at me. I can see from the angles, hers and mine, that her panties are soft white cotton with soft white lace along their edges. I watch her inch her fingers under the fabric of the leg holes, right below the curves of her perfect ass, and if you were me you’d gasp a little when she pulls them up tighter to show off the slight folds of skin of her pussy’s lips. You’d gasp a little and then you’d sigh as she starts pulling them lower, one side and then the other and then the other, slowly inching them down to the tops of her thighs. They stick a bit to the dampness between her legs and turn inside out as she slides them lower and then she lets go so they drop to her knees.

Hot Halloween Holly becomes Hands On The Coffee Table Holly and I stand up behind her. Luckily she’s Rather Tall Holly as well and I don’t have to crouch down to reach her pussy with my cock. I’m such a Great Guy by now that I hesitate for a second, thinking about how wrong this probably is, but I’m also an Ugly Monster and so I’m already rubbing my head against the small, wet opening. Hands On The Coffee Table Holly tells me to fuck her like a Hapless Victim, and so I start to push my cock into her as she moans. I move a few inches in and out and as I do she tilts her hips up and down to get me going faster. Impatient Holly. Horny Holly. I hold her hips in my hands and push all the way in, hard, and then start using the entire length of my cock inside her. Loud Holly. Screaming Holly. Crying Out Like A Slut Holly.

Feet apart and panties stretched between her knees, blonde pigtails bouncing, sculpted thighs rocking her body back and forth with the rhythm of my thrusts, perpetually perfect ass poking out from under the hem of her pleated red skirt, knocking the remote and a magazine and some round metal coasters off the coffee table. Reckless Abandon Holly. Fucking Like She Found The Cure Holly. If you were me, you’d be starting to lose it. You’d be holding tight to her hips so that your fingers dug into her creamy skin, leaving red marks when you let go for a second to get a better hold. You’d be pounding into her so hard that the tops of her thighs and the cheeks of her ass were shaking with each stroke. She’d be crying out for you to fuck her harder and you’d do your best to make it happen. I know because I am me, and I was.

Screaming The Word Fuck Holly grips hard on my cock with the smooth muscles inside her wet pussy and I just can’t take it anymore. If you were me, you’d be about to come too. Instead I pull out of her and sit back down on the couch, pulling her back with me by her hips. Hot Halloween Holly slides her lace trimmed panties to her ankles and kicks them with one foot to the side. Holly On Her Knees, one on either side of my legs, and she lays her back against me as I push her tight white sweater up over her firm midriff. I put one hand between her thighs and she perches above me with her ass against my stomach and her shoulders against my chest. I slide my middle finger into her while my other hand holds one of her breasts and starts massaging it through the soft sweater. With my finger sliding in and out of her, she’s shaking and squirming and crying out nonsense syllables in her Holly On The Phone voice.

If you were Holly, right now you’d be biting your lower lip while you put both hands over mine between your thighs. You’d be sliding the index finger of one hand in with mine and using the middle finger of the other to tease at your clit in little circles. You’d be clenching your teeth and bucking your hips and calling out ‘ohyeahohyeah’ while you climaxed and the moistness of your pussy turned into just plain wet. Holly is Holly, so that’s what she does. She’s Ohh Long And Loud Holly and then she’s dropping her ass down and falling back against me again. My cock is still hard and it’s poking up between her thighs and she puts one hand around it and starts to stroke up and down. She sits up and squirms in my lap to face towards me and raises herself up again and looks into my eyes through the mask while she sets her front teeth’s edges together and guides me into her pussy once more.

Hot Halloween Holly, and she’s all grind and wind and fuck. She’s all soft whines and long sighs and high pitched sounds of pleasure. I just sit there, my hands on her waist, holding on and watching and sitting there while she fucks me. By the time I’m about to come she’s Crying Out Like A Slut Holly again, and she’s bouncing up and down in my lap with her hands on my shoulders to help her legs drive her up and down on my cock. Me? The real me? I’m right there while she does it, letting the Great Guy watch on from over my shoulder. By the time I actually do come she’s now Ragged Ah Ah Ah Holly and her head is hanging back from the neck, jerking this way and that, and her pigtails are bouncing so hard they slap at her face and her shoulders and my face and my chest. I grit my teeth and groan and my cock empties inside of her. Soaked Fucked Pussy Holly falls forward with her nice round breasts on my chest and I can feel her working the muscles inside, clutching and pulsing as her body shivers.

Slightly Embarrassed Holly apologizes for being so loud and I tell her it was perfect. She jokes about Hapless Victim Holly and if you were me, you’d realize that you really really are the Ugly Monster now. You’d suddenly feel bad for Holly, and because you felt bad for Holly you’d wish you were anywhere else but right there with Hot Halloween Holly in your lap and your cock getting soft inside her. I shift uncomfortably, the mask was getting hot, and Holly moved. Hand On Her Mouth Holly. Wishing I Could Stay Holly. Sad To See Me Go Holly.

Joking I Should Keep Her Panties Holly.

Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V; all of a sudden I’m at work the next day and I’ve put the little mirror in the drawer because I can’t look at myself. Capgras delusion; the patient takes a person known by him to be a false double or impostor. I can’t look at Just Holly all morning. Online Holly is open on the screen in front of me because earlier this morning she became In a Relationship now, and It’s Complicated, and a lot of people seemed to Like that. He’s waiting to see if she Comments on the fact that he ‘Went to a great party with a great girl last night!’ People I don’t know already Like it, they’re already Sharing it with other people I don’t know who think they know me. I see her walk past my desk; minimize. She passes by; maximize. I look at the little box in the corner; Holly is unavailable for chat. Your messages will be sent to Holly’s phone.

Holly is now available.

The little window opens. ‘I meant it you know’ and then ‘about my panties’. I Laugh Out Loud, but of course I don’t. Not really. You wouldn’t either. People just say that. It doesn’t mean what you think it means. Not really.

‘look in your drawer’.

If you were me, you’d think that was weird and freeze. You’d get all confused and your heart would speed up. You’d describe it as ‘my heart stopped’, but that wouldn’t be it. Not really. Your hands would shake from the adrenaline and you’d just sit there for a second staring at the screen while your mouth got dry and your lip started to sweat.

Then, of course, you’d open the drawer and see them. Deja intendu; the experience of feeling sure you’ve already experienced something even though the exact details aren’t clear and were perhaps imagined. Go ahead; look it up.

‘so?’ and then ‘well?’ and then ‘say something…’

If you’re me you say ’thanks. If you’re Holly you ask what I’m doing tonight and tell me ‘nice costume by the way’ and I tell you ‘thanks’ and the you’d say ‘I didn’t mean the monster.’

If you’re me, you fall hard for Holly.

Anonymous readerReport

2015-11-02 15:31:43
I just searched for a Halloween story, and yours came up. If I could write as well as you do, I could tell you how much I enjoyed reading your story!


2014-02-12 04:06:01
that was outstanding. i want holly.

Anonymous readerReport

2013-12-15 14:50:08
mutha fuckin PLOT TWIST!

anonymous readerReport

2013-10-29 01:00:32
That was amazing. The best unpublished writing I've ever seen.

anonymous readerReport

2012-01-07 02:27:09
I loved it. Please don't take offense when I say this piece's style and description choice reminds me of that of Nabokov's Lo.lita

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