Wat a QT!

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Username? What should be my username? My friend, Chanel, had talked me into signing up for Interpals, a website where you find pen pals. It has to be flirty. And have my name in it! But what?

I took out a piece of paper from my desk and wrote down random things I like: music, love, kangaroos, my name Melody, yellow… "Got it!" I shouted out once I created a username. I used ‘love’ and ‘my name Melody’ on my list and came up with XOMelodyXO. Good, it’s not taken.

Now my password. I stuck with my usual password for all my accounts; Spuffy38, a mix of my 2 dogs’ names and my lucky number. I filled everything else out quickly. Town? Benjamin, Utah. Birthday? December 12, 1993. Once, I was all done I went to my email to activate the account.

I checked the clock. I still had 20 minutes until violin practice so I logged on. I was looking around the site to see what you could do. I had to wait 48 hours after I created the account to use the chat room so I decided to look through possible pen pals.

A very, and I mean very, attractive 16-year old boy, same age as me, caught my eye. It said his name was Craig. He also said that he was looking for a relationship. Perfect. I clicked on his name to view his profile. I was reading down his list of hobbies when I saw violin-playing! We have so much in common! I sent him a friend request. In less than a minute, I got a reply. I crossed my fingers and opened it up.

The answer read: Yes. Yes! He said yes! I clicked the link to my profile. I edited it to look fun and flirty, in case he checked it out. I finished it with 5 minutes left until violin. I used that time to send a message to Chanel. I knew her account name was Stickwitu435 so I searched for her. With little difficulty, I found her name and clicked on the choice to send her a message.

To: Stickwitu435
Subject: Wat a QT!
Message: Omg! I just created an account on here and started searching for pen pals. I found an extremely hot guy (Craig). And now we’re friends! I haven’t sent him a message yet but we’ll probably do snail mail. Can’t wait! Gtg to violin now. Cya!

I logged off and ran to get my violin and music. The whole ride to my class I was wearing a big smile.

********

I was cuddled under my blankets, my laptop in front of me. It was past midnight and Craig and I had been talking all night. I typed my home address into the message box with the question "And yours?" He replied with "Sry, I gtg but I’ll just send the first letter and the return address will be mine." In a couple seconds, his profile announced he was offline.

I shut down my laptop and turned off the lights. At first, I just stared up at the ceiling in my bed, thinking about Craig. Then I finally closed my eyes and went to sleep.

"Melody, you got mail. From, uhm…a Craig" my father yelled for me. I smiled and ran down the stairs, towards him. I yanked the letter out of his hand. I looked at it and bit my lip. Finally, a letter from him! I ran up to my room and locked the door. For some reason receiving a letter from him felt secretive. I ripped it open and pulled it out. After reading the letter, my jaw dropped. He was confessing his love for me. Saying how it was love at first sight when he saw the picture I uploaded. Then I saw a post script. It read, "Look outside." I snuck a peak out of my window and saw him. The hot guy from the site. Craig. He was outside my house, leaning against his car. I ran downstairs and outside. I fell into his arms.

That was when I woke up. A dream? Ugh! I pulled my sheets over my face and screamed. I ran outside in my pajamas and checked the mail. Nothing. I walked back into the house and popped two frozen waffles in the toaster. Today was a Monday so both of my parents were gone at work. I smothered my waffles with maple syrup and ran up to my room. I put on my radio and ate my breakfast.

I was halfway through eating my waffle when the doorbell rang. I can see both the porch and driveway from my room so I peered out my window. There was a beat up car in the driveway. And the guy on the porch didn’t look much better. He looked 30-something and overweight. He had a beard covering his entire chin. He wore loose clothing that looked like they hadn’t been washed in weeks.

I didn’t recognize him so I studied the car instead. It was a rusty red color. There were many scratches in it. It reminded me of something. I was in middle of thought when he rang the doorbell again. My parents told me not to answer the door when I was home alone so I stayed put. I continued looking at the car. Then I saw his license plate. It read CRAIG73. What a coincidence. Craig, from Interpals, had that as his username. But it couldn’t be him. The Craig I know is 16. And way hotter than the guy on my porch.

The guy finally gave up and went back to his car. However, I noticed he left something on the porch. I waited ten minutes after he left and walked downstairs. Cautiously, I opened the door and grabbed the box he left. I made sure the door was locked and then walked into the kitchen. I set the box on the table and used scissors to pry it open. The box was filled with many different things. A small mascot stuffed animal from my favorite college. A t-shirt with my favorite band’s name on it. A pack of gum that I always keep in my purse. Who is this guy? Is he keeping tags on me? How other way would he know all this stuff about me?

It frightened me a lot and I’d talk to my parents when they got home. I went and got the ads from yesterday’s papers to take my mind off the current situation. Sorting through the paper, I saw someone familiar. Craig! But no, it said his name was Robert.

I started feeling faint when I realized what was happening. That guy. The one who dropped off the box. He is Craig! He lied about his age and used the photos from the paper for the site. I ran up to room and hid under my blanket, crying. Crying tears of fear.

********

"Wow! What did you do then?" Chanel questioned me.
"Well, that night, when my parents got home, I told them everything. They helped me sort it out. We went to police and everything’s fine now."
"Oh my, that’s so scary." She came and sat next to me, slipping her arms around me.
"Yeah, I’ll never give out my personal information online ever again! And I think I’m down with Interpals."

We both hugged and went out for a walk. I used to always walk alone but ever since the ‘Craig Incident’ as I like to call it, I always walk with someone now. Everything was scary but I felt it taught me something really important. That is, stay safe online and never give out personal information. I’ve actually took a break from the computer, worried everyone I meet will be a stalker. I think I’ll get over it soon but I know one thing for sure. The account XOMelodyXO will never be used again.





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