What am I supposed to do now? What the hell am I supposed to do?
Okay, so here’s the thing. I can’t say too much because it’ll only get me in trouble. And trust me, after finding this fucking thing, I know it would be big trouble. Like, life-threatening type of trouble.
I should’ve taken a regular Uber. I really should have. Not only because now I’m in this mess but because it’s not worth the extra cost and I’m supposed to be saving money but it was my birthday and I just wanted to feel fancy on my drunken, head-spinning ride home. You only turn 29 once so I said ‘fuck it’ and called an Uber Black, you know, the kind that’s basically a low-grade limousine. It was my grown-up version of wearing a tiara to the bar, I guess.
When the silent grey-haired driver pulled up to my house, he glanced at me in the rearview and poked a finger at the mirror.
“Don’t forget your phone.”
Drunk head-spinny me looked at the iPhone sitting next to my purse on the fine upholstery. I figured I’d pulled it out to text or tweet or send a snap or whatever and just forgot about it, so I muttered a ‘thanks’ and stuck it back in my purse. Out of the car, up the steps of my house (tottering dangerously on my heels), and inside I went as the Uber Black slid silently away into the night. I crashed and slept until noon the next day and forgot all about the phone.
It was a really weird sort of ring, though, almost like… discordant, I guess? I didn’t recognize it as one of the defaults but hey, I have mine set to the theme from “Parks and Rec” so I can’t judge.
I was in that sort of post-party fog so it took me a minute to realize the ringing was coming from my purse and that it wasn’t my ringtone. Without sitting up, I rolled over a few times ending up on my stomach and stretched for the strap of my purse. I was in no condition to be actually leaving the bed yet.
After a few lazy grabs I finally snagged the strap, upending my purse and sending its contents clattering across the floor. The phone’s screen went dim just as I managed to snatch it up.
I might have been hungover but right away I was sure it wasn’t my phone. I’ve got one of those girly coral pink iPhone 5cs — this was one of those massive iPhone 6 plus e=mc² deals. The screen was huge.
I slid my finger across the glass to open it but of course, the touch lock was on and I didn’t know the code. However, I could see the little notification that lets you know whose call you missed.
It was a prank, I was sure of it. Or whoever owned the phone thought it’d be funny to rename their contacts to something else. Because the person who had just called, well, it couldn’t be who it said it was.
I already told you I can’t say much but let’s just say… it was someone big. You’d know him if you saw him. You may know his stance on certain politics, for example.
A few minutes later, as I lay in bed pondering what to do with the thing, another call came through. This caller was… different than the first, but just as big, just as prestigious. In a different way. Like, um, you’ve maybe seen her on a big screen? In a lot of different roles?
It didn’t take me too long to figure out that the phone I’d grabbed from the Uber Black was left behind by someone, and that someone was either very silly or very important.
I didn’t know what to do with it. How would I get it back to its owner? It was locked. There was a chance they had their “find my iPhone” feature on but maybe not?
Another call. This one from a person you’ve definitely heard on the radio once or twice.
Okay. So there was definitely a chance the phone’s owner just thought it was hilarious to rename all their contacts to famous people. A bigger chance than the alternative, which was that I was currently screening calls from people worth millions of dollars, right?
It wasn’t even one o’clock in the afternoon when the texts started.
So you know how even if a phone is locked, you can still see the text message onscreen? Not the whole thing, maybe, but most of it?
Someone whose contact name was the same as a bestselling author had sent a text that read:
Fantastic time last night. Unforgettable. Can’t wait for the next one.
What followed was a tiny image preview. So tiny, I could barely make it out, but it looked like…
It looked like people in cages.
They were dressed nice, chic, like they’d been going out or something but now they were all dirty. Scuffed, scraped knees beneath short skirts. One of the guys had a black eye.
Before I could let this sink in, another picture came through. A closeup of one of the girls with the short skirts. She was crying behind the bars, her cheeks stained with runny black mascara.
The next text, from the original sender:
I could barely begin to process this when the texts started coming through en masse. All the names, recognizable. All the pictures, horrible.
Everyone was referring to some sort of party. Or maybe it was a live show? Whatever it was, they were all very pleased with the “entertainment” as they kept calling it.
Two women in sky-high platform heels, filthy and bloody, sparring in a ring with a dirt-packed floor and what looked like thousands cheering in the audience.
A fit man in a ripped suit, shoveling handfuls of chocolate cake into his mouth with four other chocolate cakes sitting on a table in front of him, his shirt stained with frosting and (what I assumed was) vomit.
A woman mid-twirl, red-hot metal shoes on her feet and a look of agony on her face.
Three people bound together as one’s leg was being torn into by an angry dog; the others sitting there as more dogs advanced on them from the distance.
Photos of the aforementioned contacts who, indeed, are who their contact names suggested. Grinning selfies together in front of unspeakable carnage.
I could go on and on. But I can’t. I feel sick just thinking about it.
But I’m sick for another reason, too. Because a few minutes ago, the texts stopped, and the phone turned itself off.
I think “find my iPhone” IS turned on, and I think the phone’s owner is using it right now.
And so I ask you again: what the hell am I supposed to do?