Facebook. The great normaliser? Monday, 7th February. The detec;ve: I switched it on and dropped onto the sofa, vodka at my feet, laptop at my side. I drank back a few deep, hot throat-‐fulls to calm my nerves before logging-‐on and taking on whats inside. PAGE ONE.
The Dame (a descendant of some royal branches) I tried to delete my Facebook account so I couldn’t be found. Then I realised that I didn’t want to be unfound either. PAGE TWO.
That same Monday night, Lord Sterling., sends our Dame a Friend Request: An aAracBve oﬀer, I wish to contract an alliance with a Lady capable, from her Proﬁle pictures and ‘talents’, of supporBng the dignity and Rela%onship Status which an alliance so honorouble an oﬀer I can only confer. PAGE THREE.
Our Dame is surrounded by dangerous suspects: Theres Lord Sterling, who’s Friend Requests are a guise for mutual introduc;on. Theres her brother with his enormous girth and feigned civility to her Wall. Her only hope of protec;on comes from the Facebook Privacy SeNngs. But no-‐one really understands these, so there are more villains yet to come, and it will all be because of these dangerous suspects -‐-‐ and their claim on our Dame -‐-‐ that we have our ﬁrst Facebook noir. PAGE FOUR.
(thunder) Tuesday, 8th February. It was a quiet day at the FriendTrade Detec;ve Agency. Detec;ve Draper had a hangover, and business was slow. He was rereading old Status Updates and looking at Proﬁles of old-‐girlfriends and their new boyfriends. What a way to spend a day. Draper was thinking of logging oﬀ... PAGE FIVE.
...when all of a sudden... -‐ there came a Facebook chat invita3on. -‐ Mr Draper? -‐ Yeah, thats right. My... ...my name... my... <Draper checks out her Proﬁle Page> In all my years in the business, Id never seen anything like her. Was she real? There was only one way to ﬁnd out. Draper sends our Dame a Friend Request…. PAGE SIX.
their chat con3nues… The Dame: You’re drunk, and I’m drunk, and I’m just exactly drunk enough to tell you anything that you want to know. That’s the kind of Dame I am. If I like a person, I’ll tell them anything they want to know. Just ask me. Go ahead, ask me. Draper: Sounds like company. Are you all right? I must have hit a nerve. She immediately logged oﬀ and blocked my Proﬁle. PAGE SEVEN.
Later that night, Our Dame. On Facebook. Over-‐exposed? The perfect Proﬁle. Found, by her fat and friendless brother, poked. To death. PAGE EIGHT.
Wednesday, 9th February Who Poked her? Our Detec;ve scratches the back of his neck and says: Somebody with a Facebook account. PAGE NINE.
Interroga3ng the brother Draper: What makes you think it wasnt an accident? The brother: Just before it... It happened, ... ...she behaved very erraBcally, lisBng out lists of friends, dozens of them. She wrote on their walls, she commented on their Updates. Whatever was just there. Like she didn’t want to ever be alone. PAGE TEN.
Hacking into her Facebook account, Draper has hold of our Dames friends list, or part of it. It reads as a who’s who of Facebook friends: Mark Zuckerberg, Herb Kim, John Catnach, Bobby Paterson, Bre_ Jacobson, Jason Brownlee, Graham Morley, Mariann Hardey… When I found it, somehow I got the feeling our Dame was the vic;m of some small lapse in privacy, an over-‐exposed Proﬁle and wider conspiracy. Why didn’t she have a boyfriend or a husband? Why was her rela;onship status removed from her Proﬁle page? (it did show her date of birth). What did she have to hide?... PAGE ELEVEN.
The only name on the list that wasnt crossed out was Lord Sterling. Draper decided to drop in on him before they crossed him out too. GeNng to him wasn’t easy. Lord Sterling wasnt online. As a ma_er of fact, for a moment, Draper thought he was deliberately blocking his messages. Luckily his Facebook Proﬁle page was wide open though.. PAGE TWELVE.
Lord Sterling, tries to retrieve his Friend Request In his Proﬁle picture he is shown as a lean, dark, youngish man of medium height, broad through the jaws, narrow between the eyes. He has tagged more pictures of himself with many dames, he in a black hat, a black overcoat that ﬁts him snugly, a dark suit, and black shoes, and all looking as if they had been bought in the past 15 minutes. The Friend Request, con;nues to lay uncomfortably in our Dame’s inbox, not accepted for anything. PAGE THIRTEEN.
Lord Sterling: How do you know she’s dead? Draper: That’s simple, she’s not on Facebook. PAGE FOURTEEN.
The plot thickens, Lord Sterling: You know DetecBve, I think that you’re nuts. You go barging around without a very clear idea of what you are doing. Everybody bats you down, unfriends you, deletes your comments, ﬁlls your inbox full of stuﬀ… and you keeps right on updaBng between tackle and end. I don’t think that you even know which SIDE you’re on. Draper: I don’t know which side anybody is on. All I know is that I never turn down a Friend Request without good reason. I don’t think you even know who our Dame really was. PAGE FIFTEEN.
A new clue points Draper back to our Dame. Before she logged oﬀ last night, her last status update read: SomeBmes I hate men. ALL men. Young men and almost all heels who are Facebook DetecBves. That last comment really stung Draper. But he knew enough to know that what you post on Facebook isn’t necessarily true. Especially if you had as good-‐looking a Proﬁle as she did. PAGE SIXTEEN.
Draper logged out. He’d had enough of Dames, games and Facebook for one day. ...geNng into his car, he drives miles out of his way for a decent mar;ni. Walking up to the bar, his phone buzzes, Facebook places tells him that our Dame is at the same hotel, in the Cedar Court Room. Where rich women, go to meet rich men so they can have rich kids. But that’s impossible she’s dead, isn’t she? PAGE SEVENTEEN.
It is customary in these situa;ons for the developer of the plan to explain it. It is also customary for the DETECTIVE to explain how HE ﬁgured it out! ? PAGE EIGHTEEN.
At the hotel, in the Cedar Court Room He picked me up out of the guAer, our Dame says of Lord Sterling, but soon he was cheaBng and tagged in photos with other women again. In this Facebooksian universe, survival can only be inﬂuenced by Updates and friends, but it is mostly the result of ;ming. What good am I if my Facebook friend’s are not paying aAenBon to me and are all gone?! You might as well take your punishment and get it over with. Hard Bmes have reduced us to essenBals; to what I choose to show on my Proﬁle page. PAGE NINETEEN.
So you’re NOT DEAD! You did it all for the fear of losing a>en%on!!! PAGE TWENTY.