“I did NOT murder my wife,” the email began.
Roger stared nervously at the screen of his laptop. The email continued with various expletives, insults as to his writing ability, suggestions he might try another career, and then, the final sentence.
“I demand you take this garbage down immediately. Derek.”
It wasn’t fair. Roger was making a meagre living by publishing lurid murder mysteries on the internet. The story Derek was complaining about had only sold a few copies and got very few “likes”.
“Where did you even get such an idea?” the irate Derek wrote the next day.
Unfortunately, Roger had written a story where the lead character had exactly the same name as Derek. How was he to know that the real Derek existed half a world away?
Derek continued to bother him. How could he make up such an absurd story? With those details? Was he sick? He certainly wasn’t a good writer.
Roger tried to ignore the emails, although the comments about his talent stung.
Then one day Roger got an email from the police department in Derek’s hometown. The story had come to their attention. Derek had in fact murdered his unfortunate wife, in exactly the way Roger had described in his story.
Roger’s own police detectives came to question him. They thought he was Derek’s accomplice. At last, after Roger was reduced to even more of a nervous wreck than he usually was, they realised it was all just a bizarre coincidence.
Sales of the original story shot up and Roger became a minor celebrity, appearing on a morning talk show. But Roger decided to give up crime writing and started writing surprisingly steamy romances. He was enjoying his new-found success, until the morning he received the first angry email:
“I did NOT cheat on my boyfriend…”
* * * * *