Fiction Issue 2012: "Thank God for Facebook!" | Fiction | Chicago Reader

Fiction Issue 2012: "Thank God for Facebook!" 

Postings from the grave

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

click to enlarge PAUL JOHN HIGGINS

Just when we doubted HIS goodness, Madeline, three days after her murder, posted on Facebook.

"Thanks for the kind words!" she wrote.

We'd posted all over her Facebook wall. How we missed her. How we knew she was in a better place. And she responded to our comments.

"Miss you, too!"

"I AM in a better place."

"It's SO cool!"

"I know. I can't believe I died, either! WTF."

Shocked at first, we were then overcome with a sense of relief. That our words were not in vain. That our comments on the social network site had importance, connecting the two worlds.

But we still had questions.

I had questions. I'm her older brother, I'm supposed to have questions.

My first question was this: "Who murdered you, sister?"

She answered, right on my wall: "The gym teacher. DUH. He was like totally in love with me, LOL. But his breath stank so I didn't go for it, and he freaking killed me with a pipe."

It became clear why she hadn't responded to his comment on her wall—the only one she'd ignored. He'd posted that they would honor her at the next basketball game. They'd win it for her, he said.

We assaulted his Facebook page in response to her accusation, demanding that he turn himself in. "I WILL NOT TURN MYSELF IN," he posted on his wall, defiant, just hours later. We retaliated by defriending him, all of us, simultaneously. He responded to our retaliation by killing himself. Turned the engine on and closed up his garage, the slow death of a coward. We wondered if he could get back on Facebook from where he'd likely gone. We waited for his friend request for weeks, months. He didn't friend us, which confirmed to us that though Facebook had reached Madeline, it wasn't accessible in hell. And there was justice in that.

My second question to Madeline was: "How did you get on Facebook from the other side?"

She answered, but this time she simply hashtagged my name so people could see her response on her wall and she wouldn't have to answer the question constantly. "God gives us one wish after we reach Heaven. Some people wish to come back to life. Some want to know all of the secrets of the universe. I wanted to get back on Facebook. So I asked Him. I said, 'Hey God, can you get me back on Facebook?' And then it was."

Seven hundred people liked her response.

This answer made sense to me. Madeline didn't have many friends while she was alive. People didn't pick on her, they just didn't notice her. She only started getting posts on Facebook after she was killed and gained the popularity she'd never obtained when she was living. She'd tried, she really had. Too hard. She paid attention to all the latest trends, buying the newest albums of the newest pop stars. She went to the movies every Friday night so she'd be seen and have something to talk about on Monday. She stayed after school, joined groups she had no interest in like the student council or spirit club, because she thought it would raise her visibility. But it probably only raised scorn. Maybe if she hadn't stayed after school so much she wouldn't have caught the attention of the gym teacher, who was coaching the boy's football team and liked awkward, desperate girls, eager to please, trying to please. And maybe if I would've said something, told her she was perfect the way she was, maybe if I'd been a better brother, he wouldn't have had the chance to go after her, and she wouldn't have been killed. I wondered if she felt that way, but I didn't ask her. Other people had questions that took precedence. Many asked what God is like.

"Oh, He's cool," she said. "Kind of a nerd. A cool nerd."

People responded with exclamation points, smiley faces.

"Let me upload some pics," she said.

We almost died ourselves when she posted that.

But it took her two long weeks to put up the pictures.

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 


Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

Popular Stories