They’re After Me

Week 25: Written June 18 2016

My pets are trying to take over.

I know it sounds crazy. I didn’t come to this conclusion lightly. It’s been brewing in my mind for months and until this very moment, I, too, had dismissed the possibility as sheer lunacy. But now there’s no denying it. I have a life that my pets envy, and they’re prepared to kill me and take it for themselves.

I have two pets: a dog named Susan and a cat named Bernard. They’re both rescues. I adopted them from the local chapter of the SPCA. They were as cute as you’d expect a poor homeless puppy and kitten to be, and I was overjoyed with how happy they were when I brought them home.

Bernard was first. I was just living in a studio apartment at the time, so a cat made more sense. He got used to the place quickly, and I started to think of him more as a roommate after a while. He had his space and I had mine, and gradually those spaces began to overlap. We were cool with each other.

When I was finally able to afford a nice, spacious one bedroom apartment, I adopted Susan. She’s a golden retriever, which I was afraid might still be too big an animal for an apartment. But she, too, took to the space well. And to my surprise, she and Bernard hit it off at first sight.

It was, at the time, unexpected icing on the cake, having a dog and cat that liked one another. I didn’t give it a moment’s thought that they might be cooking up a scheme to kill me — and replace me. Who would? But now, it’s impossible to ignore.

How can they possibly replace me, you ask? I’m a human, after all. To that, I can only reply, are you sure? These are just words on a computer screen, typed out on a keyboard or narrated through some dictation program. You associate them with the profile picture in the little circle at the top of the page, and the name alongside that, but do you really, really know?

Even if you know me in real life, there’s no proving that I haven’t already been replaced. We live in a digital world, everyone posing behind a screen and communicating through a proxy. For some, that screen means anonymity. For others, security. For me, it might soon mean an unsolved homicide at the hands — PAWS — of my once close friends, who could continue to post and write under my name as if everything were normal.

They don’t need to stand on each other’s shoulders, dressed up in my clothes like in some silly cartoon, to prove to the world that they’re me. They only need to log into Facebook or Instagram or Medium and click “submit.” And there I’ll be, as always, like normal. “Online” is as good as “Alive.”

Right now they’re sitting there, side by side, staring at me, staring as if they know something I don’t. I speak to them, I throw them treats, but they don’t move. They just stare, and I fear I may not be long for this world.

Be wary of spelling errors, or glaringly obvious grammar mistakes. They might rely too much on spell check, or post repeats of things I’ve already posted. Be vigilant, and if you notice anything odd, don’t hesitate to seek me out. I just can’t promise that, when you finally find me, I’ll still be alive.