Three Words and A Question Mark

by | Jun 11, 2024 | CNF, Issue Thirty-Nine

On a sunny day in June, three words and a question mark drastically change your life. If you think the question is a joke and laugh, you can read number (2). If you thought the joke offensive, you can move to number (4).

(2) You ignore the world around you and reply to the text with the crying emoji that insinuates humor, not the crying-laughing one that’s considered cringy among your Gen Z peers. You are crying-laughing in real life. Laughing at the absurdity, crying at the finality of it.

(3) You get more texts. If you ignore them all, you stay at number (3), paralyzed like an adventurer felled by a poisonous snake-bite. You wait until it leaves your system. Or you die. If all the texts are funny, go to (2), if one or more offend you, move to (4).

(4) What the fuck is wrong with people? you think as you throw your iPhone against your bedroom wall. The screen shatters as soon as it makes contact with the surface. You find the pieces on the floor. If you don’t want an iPhone, move to (5). If you want an iPhone but would never be so careless as to throw it against a wall, move straight to (6).

(5) What the fuck is wrong with people? you think as you throw the phone against the bedroom window and watch it shatter. The phone screen remains intact, unblemished like a 2000s Nokia. You pick up the shards of glass reflecting your tear-stained face. The sharp edges make you bleed.

(6) You stare at your iPhone. They are all liars. They don’t know him like you do. Where did they even hear such a thing? Why are they out to hurt you? Hanna with the pinstraight blond hair is the first to text you. Of course she is. Who else would be so cruel? If you want to fight Hanna, go to her house and repeat step (5), if you want to know where she heard this rumor, go to (7) at your own risk.

(7) Hanna heard the rumor from a friend of a friend, and she was so distraught, she had to know for sure by asking you. You would know. You are Brecht’s best friend after all. But are you, really, though? [Insert (8) or (9)]. Even if you are, are you a good best friend, though? [Insert (8) or (9)]. He’s the one always showing up for birthdays, getting you your favorite candy, making the tears stop trickling down your neck. You’re the one forgetting, you’re the one ignoring all his calls. You’re the one who should have been there. [Insert (8)]. You’re the one who knows how this ends. [Insert (9), (9), (9)]. Move to (10) when you’re ready. Move to (10) even though you’re not.

(8) Yes.

(9) No.

(10) You read Hanna’s first text again. “Is Brecht dead?” You can only go to (8).

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