I like to have long conversations on the phone with my friends. I have a lot of friends. They tell me about the problems in their lives. Jackie’s failing math class. Sidney’s boyfriend cheats on her. Lisa sometimes throws up after meals. Thomas’ mom drinks too much.
My friends tell me all sorts of things because I am a really good listener. I can just pick up the phone and off they go. They talk and talk. Sometimes I jump in and help them along. I ask them to tell me how that makes them feel. I ask them to take me back to the moment that thing happened. And they tell me. They tell me all about it. And it’s really so very interesting.
It’s so interesting that I record them while they are telling me these things about themselves. I record them using an app on my phone. And then I save each recording and give it a title. The titles tell me what we talked about. “Sasha crushes up her mom’s diet pills and snorts them,” “Nick’s parents are neo-Nazis,” “Kevin’s gay.”
When I finish talking on the phone I lie in bed and I listen to the super interesting conversations I just had with my friends. I listen for a little while and I fall soundly asleep. When I wake up in the morning I pop my earbuds into my phone and I listen to the conversations again. And when I walk home from school I do it again. I never get bored of listening to them.
And then I had this really bright idea. I was talking on the phone with Jackie. She was telling me how her father’s friend Snapchats her nude pictures. Then she said something really interesting. She said she listens to all sorts of podcast shows by National Public Radio, or NPR. So I decided to listen to them for myself. And it was sooooooo boring. It was all smooth jazz and soft silky voices. Miranda told me that millions of people listen to NPR. I couldn’t believe it! I thought my recordings of my friends were much more interesting. And then I figured other people might find them more interesting too.
So that night I downloaded the conversation where Miranda told me her dad’s friend sends her nude Snapchats onto iTunes. I did some light editing and cleaned up the sound. Then I published the recording. I published it right there in the iTunes Store. I named my podcast “My Friends Tell Me Their Darkest Secrets Show.” Then I went to bed.
When I woke up in the morning my podcast had been downloaded over 7,000 times. So I uploaded the story Corinne told me about how she was abducted when she was 9. That one was downloaded 15,000 times in 24 hours. So I uploaded a dozen more.
People started emailing asking if they could interview me about my podcast. All the major news websites wanted to do a story. I was reluctant to put myself out there. Then Bill O’Reilly called. The next day a limo picked me up and took me to the 21st Century Fox Studios in New York City. They put makeup on me and made me feel like a celebrity. Then they nudged me out on set and I met face to face with Mr. O’Reilly himself. I was so starstruck that I told him everything, including all my friends’ names and where I lived. I didn’t want to leave any detail out. I was going to be famous!
Then he told me Lisa attempted suicide. He told me Jackie’s father had killed his friend. He said Kevin’s parents had forced him to swallow a cyanide pill as part of a death pact after the family had been exposed as neo-Nazis.
When the limo dropped me back off at my house the police were there to meet me. While I was away an angry mob descended on my home and ransacked the place. My parents were standing outside crying. When I tried to hug my mother she pushed me away. “How could you?” she yelled.
That made me sad.
I decided to go up to my room and listen to my recordings. That always cheered me up. My room was a mess. The mob had torn my mattress apart and wrote “Fuck You” in what smelled like feces on the wall. My headphones were okay though. I plugged them in and listened to the time Natalie told me she ran over a hitchhiker.
The next morning a letter came for me in the mail. I opened it and inside were a bunch of legal documents. I didn’t understand most of it, but my mom explained that there had been a class action lawsuit filed against me. When I asked who filed the lawsuit, she read the names of about three dozen of my friends. They were suing me for defamation of character and were seeking damages in the amount of 10 million dollars.
I didn’t have 10 million dollars, so I figured I better win the lawsuit.
The trial was not very fun. The prosecutor brought forth all my friends and they all looked me in the eye and told me I was a traitor, an accomplice to murder, and a horrible person. It was really hard for me to sit there and listen to my friends talk about me like that. I had always been there for them. I had listened to all their problems. I was there in their time of need. Now they were suing me for ten million dollars. Really unfair!
After they had all spoken it was my turn to make my defense to the judge. I was pretty scared and I didn’t know what to do. So I decided to get down on my knees and beg. I begged the judge not to find me guilty of defamation of character. I begged my friends to drop their lawsuit. I knew I had betrayed them, but I told them I struggled with all the same things they struggled with. I told them all my secrets, and I told them all I ever wanted was for them to like me. That was why I talked to them all the time. That was why I listened to their problems. That was why I gave them advice. I wanted to feel wanted.
Then I cried. I cried and I cried and I cried. And then I lifted my head and looked at my friends. They had their phones out. They were recording me.
The judge cleared his throat and found me guilty of defamation of character. He ordered me to pay back a total of $10 million dollars to the 36 plaintiffs in monthly installments of $10,000. So every month now I send all my former friends $270.27. I do this every month. And I will do it every month for the rest of my life, or else I will go to jail.
But things are going pretty great for me. The video of me crying on the courtroom floor went viral. As I write this it has over 35 million views on Youtube. I parlayed that fame into becoming a social media celebrity. Now I get in front of my computer every day and I record a video in which I confess my darkest secrets and fears.
And an hour after I hit publish it is front page news on all the major websites. And people tweet me and text me and like me on Instagram. They tell me I am so courageous for telling the world who I am. They say they wish they could be as brave as me.