The Net

About the story:
Jack: Um...a case of mistaken identity? Pen pals gone bad?
P.D.: It's definitely a case of mistaken identity, plus, I think, sort of a not-so-subtle cautionary tale. Inter-life, the kind we all live via the Internet, is much easier to live than the real kind. We can make ourselves into whatever, or whoever, we want and who's to know? Unless we know the person we're emailing/chatting with in real life, we can never really be sure who we're connecting with.
Jack: Wait a minute. Are you sure this is you?
P.D.: Funny man...of course this is me. However, which me it is might be the better question.

The idea for the story:
Jack: As I recall this was your idea, Trish, right? At some Con or other? I'd be the lech and you'd be the kid, and we'd go back and forth in those individual voices on e-mail, building the mutual excitement until...oh my...
P.D.: I believe you’re right. You were talking about a news article you read about a man who’d become romantically involved with a woman he met on the Internet, only to discover she wasn’t anything like the “person” she posted herself to be...and we took it from there. I’ve always thought that the best kind of horror is everyday horror taken to the extreme.
Jack: Like the cabbie who drove me home from 5th Avenue last night, cursing out New Jersey license plates and asking me, smiling, "how about that Donald Trump?"
P.D.: Yup, everyday horror taken to the extreme.

Photo credit: Steve Thornton (Ketchum), Jim Reese (Cacek) • More:

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