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FED UP

Scene

SU

A boy.

There’s a boy who lives on the internet. Once upon a time, there was a little boy. I watched him. A little boy on the internet. ‘I’m virtual,’ he says. ‘I’m eighty per cent online.’ The others laugh at him. He does everything the others do, but this virtual world he’s opted for is just like the other world. The others have decided to laugh at him. He’s been chosen. Online he has no spots and no funny hair all over his body. He’s not fat or bad at sport. Online he’s a soldier. A killer. A Titan or an elf. He does everything the others do. He plays ego-shooters, fantasy games and strategy games. He talks to people all over the world. And they all laugh at him. He visits forums. Ego-shooter forums, fantasy forums, strategy-game forums. He visits suicide forums and joins in the discussions. He threatens to kill himself. He does everything the others do. And the others laugh at him.

This boy. This little boy who says of himself, ‘I’m virtual. I’m eighty per cent online.’ He searches his parents’ house. His parents’ bedroom. Looking for pills. He searches the bathroom. The medicine cabinet. His mum’s supplies in the kitchen. The boy goes to his room and lies down on the bed. He goes in his room and turns his computer so the webcam can watch him as he takes everything he’s found—bedroom, bathroom, medicine cabinet. He lies down on his bed and swallows everything, all at once. And then he lies down on his bed.

The live link-up made such big waves in suicide forums, such big waves all over the world that the servers almost collapsed.

The boy had made it. The whole world was watching him and almost collapsed in the process. Everyone was staring at the little boy’s body lying motionless on his bed.

It was actually totally unspectacular. The boy didn’t convulse, he didn’t gag, he might have been asleep. But for once the world didn’t laugh; it watched him. It watched the live broadcast of his death. I watched him.

The server providers didn’t pick up on the overload until it was too late. By the time the website was blocked, and the police and the paramedics stormed the house of the boy’s parents (who were at home), he was dead.

GOSCHA

Su? You all right?

SU

Yes.

GOSCHA

Su? Look at me.

SU

Yes.

GOSCHA

That’s sick.

SU

What?

GOSCHA

Su, he’s real, that boy there.

SU

No, he’s dead.

GOSCHA

Yes, he’s dead for real. And you watched it.

SU

Yes.

GOSCHA

Su.

SU

Yes?

GOSCHA

Shall we. Do you want to. Can I do anything?

SU

I’m going out today.

GOSCHA

Shall we do something together, maybe? Would you like to? Do something in the real world? With me?

SU

Don’t talk like that. In the real world. As if you knew anything about it. Leave me in peace.

GOSCHA

I didn’t mean. That wasn’t supposed. I didn’t want to offend you.

SU

I’m going out tonight. Out. With my friends. For real. Going to a disco. It’ll be more real than you. More real than you and your weird life, running down underground tunnels—is that normal, do you think? Are you trying to tell me that’s normal or something? I’m going out. If you were thinking of coming over all worried about your little sister, you can forget it. I’m going out with my totally real friends—out dancing.

Real friends—something you don’t have.

 

Tr. Imogen Taylor