As he did every evening, Dorian sat in a darkened room with the only light coming from the glow of his computer screen. His latest posts on Facebook were better than ever. Business was great, he was involved with a beautiful model and every investment he put money into soared in value.
The pictures were wonderful too. He looked great at the charity ball next to Koneia; his girlfriend who as always looked ravishingly beautiful.
If only it were all true.
Ten years ago he had actually looked this way. (OK – he admitted to himself -15 years ago). There had even been short period in his life where he did have a model as a girlfriend.
Dorian had started his Facebook page when everything in his real life was getting better every day. He had just been promoted, he had a fashion model girlfriend (Sandra) and all the chances he took in the futures market paid off.
Dorian was so happy he wanted to tell the world about it. He started his page and posted pictures of himself and Sandra at a cocktail party in Soho. He bought a new Mercedes and posted a picture of that. Dorian even felt and looked great. He had hired a personal trainer and religiously followed the trainers instructions. Dorian got those six-pack ab muscles he thought were not really possible. A shirtless picture of Dorian working out with weights also went up on the Facebook page. He got hundreds of Friend requests and he accepted them all. He got more every day and they loved him. Life was perfect.
Until it wasn’t.
It started out small. Some of his futures investments turned down, and he made the novice investor’s mistake of “doubling down” to make up for losses. He would make back the losses when the market turned up again. But it didn’t turn up so he just lost money faster than ever.
Then Sandra left him to try to be an actress in Hollywood. She told him she loved him but she had to think of her career.
He could have recovered from any of this until the day the Wall Street law firm told him they were not going to promote him to partner. The firm had a strict “up or out” policy. Dorian had to leave to make room for the new blood coming in. He was able to get a job at another less prestigious law firm, but the salary was less than half what he had earned before.
Dorian knew he should have reported each of these events on his Facebook page when they happened. But he loved the Facebook Dorian so much he just could not bear to hurt him.
When Sandra left, instead of announcing it to his “friends”, he invented Koneia. Being a lawyer, he did it in a way to make sure he did not get sued. Koneia’s picture was really a composite of internet photos of 23 different models he had downloaded. Dorian discovered he had a real computer talent and created the beautiful Koneia.
The real Dorian traded in his Mercedes for a Toyota to save money. The Facebook Dorian got a Ferrari. The real Dorian spent the days doing research on tax law cases. The Facebook Dorian argued cases at the World Court in The Hague.
Of course, the real Dorian got older and a little heaver each year. Long gone was the personal trainer and the six-pack abs were distant memory. Still; Dorian loved that shirtless picture. After all – it had been real once.
The real Dorian stared at the screen and knew it was finally time to kill the Facebook Dorian. It was far too late to explain to all his on-line “friends” that he had been lying to them for years. He knew, of course that they had been lying to him too. Many times people posted how they had seen Dorian and Koneia at a restaurant. Sometimes people even claimed to have had dinner with them. Still; it was too late and too embarrassing to show the world the real Dorian Grey.
Dorian went through all the steps to delete his Facebook profile. All he had to do was press the “Enter” key one more time and Facebook Dorian would be dead forever. The real Dorian liked the idea of doing it that way. No explanation and no warning. Facebook Dorian would just disappear and thousands of friends would wonder what had become of him and start internet rumors about it. Dorian’s legend would live forever.
The real Dorian just could not hit the final keystroke. He had almost done it hundreds of times before, but could not finish the job. He knew deep in his soul that if he killed Facebook Dorian then he would die too. The Facebook life was the only real part of his existence. All day long as Dorian researched obscure tax law rulings and wrote boring summaries, he looked forward to getting home and adding to the exciting life of his Facebook self. Where would he travel next? Would he stay faithful to Koneia? Should they travel to China next or India? How could his real life of tax rulings and dinners alone possibly compete with that?
Dorian turned away from the the computer got into bed. Just before he turned off the light on his night-table , he smiled. He had reached a decision on what to do next. It was time for him to marry Koneia. The wedding would be a lavish event in Thailand. It would be held on the beach and the posted pictures would show the two of them kissing while brilliant sunshine illuminated Koneia’s long white dress. His friends would all be so happy.
Dorian fell asleep as the computer screen glowed on the desk in the corner of the room. The other Dorian Grey never slept. As the real Dorian slept alone, the Facebook Dorian got ten new Friend requests.