I do something my friends, co-workers, and acquaintances absolutely hate. No, I'm not talking about writing this column -- they love this as much as you do. I'm talking about my insistence on getting a new phone number whenever I get a new phone.
I do this for two reasons. One: I have shitty credit, and changing your phone number regularly helps keep bill collectors at bay.
Fuck this guy.
The second and most important reason, though, is because when you get a new phone number, it's not unusual, at least for the first few weeks, to keep receiving calls and texts from the friends and family members of the person who had that phone number before you. And if you've never done it, let me be the first to tell you, it is shit-tons of fun replying to those messages.
Even the mundane stuff is good times. Say you get an innocuous text, like "Hey, let's meet for drinks later!" You immediately fire back "I'd rather fucking die."
As soon as you hit "send," you know you've just changed someone's life, even if only for as long as it takes them to clear up the resulting confusion. Knowing you have that kind of power is intoxicating. It's like piloting a drone that only targets personal relationships.
Anyway, let's circle back to the fact that fucking with people who think you're somebody else via text message is a rocking good time. Some people have built entire careers on it.
"Career" might be too strong of a term.
So what's the point of all this, you ask? Simple: I got a new phone number a few months back, and, in terms of messages from people who think they're talking to someone else, I struck gold. I'm reposting the exchange here, verbatim, as it still appears on my phone. I'll be adding commentary between the messages, because this isn't BuzzFeed. Also, the avatar of the person on the other end changes based on who I assumed I was talking to at each point during the conversation. They are just representations. I never talked to Justin Bieber, is what I'm saying.
OK, enough with the legal mumbo jumbo. Here is the most awkward text message exchange between strangers ever.
It started with this message:
Keep in mind, I work on the Internet. Of course I want to make $15. After giving it some thought, I crafted up an eloquent, perfectly worded response:
Keep it simple, I figure. I don't know what getting this $15 will entail, but why complicate things right up front? It's no matter, because my reply was enough, and the response it elicited was a beauty:
Oh boy! If those of you reading at home haven't pieced it together by now, my phone number didn't belong to someone. This phone number belonged to a prostitute. And now I'm about to negotiate nasty $15 sex on her behalf. Standards are your mother's hustle.
Anyway, picking my jaw up off the floor didn't provide adequate time to reply, so before I had a chance, Mr. Creep shot back with this:
This guy was not messing around, at least not with the negotiation portion of the process, and I decided I shouldn't either. After some quiet contemplation and more than a little market research, I hit back with this reply:
Bargain basement blow jobs and cheap nachos seem like they should be on the same menu, right? They both come with the same amount of regret the next day. Apparently this is what passes for a good answer among the pay-for-sex community, because he wrote back immediately:
Come on! Who calls it "the clap" anymore? The only way to reply to a question like that is with a joke. Here's what I came back with:
Meanwhile, some cripplingly sex-starved man gets his question about the risk of contracting venereal disease answered with a sassy comment about applause and decides "Fuck it (literally), that's enough information for me."
Yikes. So my main concern at this point is keeping poor Monay from being tossed in some maniac's trunk, so I sent the reply that no petty criminal ever wants:
It seemed like a funny little way to put a cap on this surreal and absurd exchange, but then a reply arrived that changed everything:
So that part was comforting at least. It's the rest of the message that set off alarms.
Listen, I know what "mean cake" means, and I appreciate the compliment on the quality of my pussy just like any other girl. That said, this text message exchange has clearly turned into a felony. I don't have a hooker phone, I have a high school hooker phone. No one calls their professor "Mr. Pollock," and definitely no one in college calls it "math class." Yes, something is very amiss here. It's time to put this depressing snapshot of the American school system to rest before Chris Hansen kicks in my kitchen door with a plate of cookies and a pitcher of lemonade.
You can tell he's starting to piece things together finally. He writes back with this:
Frowny face! Can you believe the audacity of this one? No wonder he's paying for sex. Chicks do not respect emoticons. Ever. His day has been shitty enough, so I refrained from sharing that wisdom in favor of just ending things like an adult:
At this point, it's pretty clear the kid knows he's been caught doing something awful and he's moved into damage control mode. You can see that plain as day in his final reply:
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go make $15.
Whose job is it to solve crimes?
There is much to show you.
The cops will come swooping in the seconds the credits roll.
If there's any institution that doesn't want us to know how much it messes up, it's the military.
The most unrealistic thing about fictional villains is that they don't get arrested until the plot calls for it.