I opened my eyes and stared at the peeling paint on the ceiling for a moment. After rising and showering I picked up my phone and went on Facebook. I quickly checked my notifications and wished a few people happy birthday. Then I hit the magnifying glass and went to Eric’s page.
I smiled when I saw him, tall blonde and blue eyed, he was standing in front of the MOMA in New York holding two giant pretzels with a look of delight on his face. I paged down to see what I had missed while I was sleeping.
Eric was a bartender and often posted antidotes about the customers who came into his bar. He even occasionally wrote about it on a blog called Bar Rag, Rags.
I noticed there had been no post in the last 48 hours, this was very unusual for him. The last post was from 3:00 a.m. on Thursday morning, “headed to Charlie’s after work in case anyone wants to join.”
I made up a scenario in my head; a beautiful stranger had seen his post, met him there and they had gone home together. My stomach hurt at the thought.
I’d met Eric briefly when my company had a Christmas party at his bar. I didn’t know very many people at work and those people I did know didn’t seem to like me very much. I spent most of the hour and a half I was there talking to Eric who most likely was bored or felt sorry for me. The conversation had tuned to Facebook. I told I’d set up an account, friended like ten people posted a picture of myself and one of my two guinea pigs and forgotten about it. He told me Facebook was a great source of information and he sent me a friend request right then, just so he could sign me up for some trivia game he liked . I’d added him when I got home. Over the course of the last year I’d added about 200 or so friends most of whom were complete strangers.
I checked his page every morning. Every once in a while I would like or comment on one of his posts. I tried not to do this too often because I didn’t want him to know I cared. I knew exactly how ridiculous my crush was. Eric was 30-year-old popular and handsome and I was 42 dumpy and pale and plump.
I clicked off his page and began looking at the news feeds. Just as I clicked off of his page a post appeared from him.
“I have been murdered,” it said.
I put a question mark in the comments section. After a few minutes, ten or so people liked the post and a few people commented, “rough night, man?” “Are you playing hockey,” asked another. There were a few more sarcastic remarks made on the post before it petered out.
I waited about fifteen minutes for him to explain, but there was no response. I fed my guinea pigs got dressed and went to work.
I returned ten hours later to discover he had still not posted anything. I checked again in the morning, but there was nothing. That night there was a post on his wall from his friend Jim. I knew from stalking Eric that, He and Jim worked together.
“WTF” Where was Eric Kuller last night? I haven’t worked that hard in a long time. “
A few hours later there was a post from Tracy Kuller saying “I haven’t heard from him in a few days either. I am beginning to get concerned’.
I checked Facebook obsessively all day. Several people posted their concerns.
One girl said that she had seen him Wednesday at the bar and he seemed fine. I couldn’t help but notice how pretty she was.
There was still no word from him the next day. I took the long way home and walked by Pinocchio’s, the bar where he worked. I saw three cops leaving the place with a man in a suit.
When I got home I turned on the news. There was a reporter standing in front of what looked like a warehouse.
In a bizarre story, today, the body of Eric Kuller, a 30-year-old man from Long Beach was discovered in an abandon warehouse in Compton.
The body was discovered after friends of the man saw a post on his Facebook page saying. “I have been murdered.” At first they assumed the man was kidding. After he didn’t show up for work two days after making the post, his friends and family became concerned. They called investigators who discovered that the post had been made from Kuller’s cell phone at this location.
Long Beach police detectives found Kuller’s body and cell phone inside this warehouse. No arrest has been made and there are no formal suspects, but the police have several persons of interest.
If you have any leads in the case please call the Crime Stoppers hot line.
The report went on to give contact information. My stomach was in knots. Eric was dead. I went on his Facebook page and there were many post from friends and relatives morning his loss.
I couldn’t sleep that night. I was glad I had the next day off. I wanted to take a long walk and clear my head.
I got up at 7:00 and took a long hot shower. Right after I got dressed there was a knock at my door, I opened it to find two female police officers were standing there with polite smiles on their faces.
“Hi, are you Sunshine Walters,” one of them asked.
“Yes,” I said confused.
“I’m Officer Pullman and this is Officer White. We’re investigating the death of your friend Eric Kuller.”
“Okay,” I said.”
“We’d like to ask you a few questions about Eric if we could.”
“Okay, I said stepping out of their way and letting them enter my tiny studio.
The two of them sat on the kitchen chairs and I sat on the bed. After verifying my name age and social security number they began questioning me.
Officer Pullman a tall brunette of about 35 asked all the questions. officer White, a small square shaped black woman wrote everything I said down in spite of the fact that they were videotaping the whole thing with a laptop.
“How did you know Eric?”
“I met him at my office Christmas party a little over a year ago.”
“What was your relationship with him?”
“We were Facebook friends.”
“Were you friends outside of Facebook?
“How often did you communicate with him?”
“Hardly at all. We never had a private chat we commented on each other’s stuff every once in a while. But it was very rare.”
“Did you have any mutual friends?”
“I don’t think,” I said. Actually, we were mutual friends with a girl I had never met named Monica Hull, but I didn’t want to explain how I knew that.
The officers thanked me and left me alone. I felt nervous, what did they want to talk to me for, I hardly knew the guy.
The strange case was on the news every night. Although the police remained tight lipped about the investigation every network had special segments about the way social media could be used in a murder investigation and the way it was creating a narcissistic society.
I walked by the bar a couple of times and was shocked at the amount of flowers, teddy bears and Blackhawk jerseys (he was a fan) people had left. I realized how ridiculous it was to feel like crying; I hardly knew the man.
A week later Officer White called me again saying that a detective on the case wanted to interview me. I made an appointment for the next day. I knew I should have called an attorney in the meantime, but I wasn’t sure what I would feel comfortable telling him.
I arrived at the police station early and was told to sit in the waiting room. There were two other women waiting with me. There was a plain, chubby dark haired woman with acne of about thirty five and an attractive, tall blonde woman of around twenty two who wore a tank top and jeans and sported a Winnie the Pooh tattoo.
The dark haired woman was called back first. I sat staring at Google News on my phone. After about half an hour Winnie the Pooh was called back. Another thirty minutes past and they called my name. I jumped to attention. I was led down a long hallway where officer White was sitting with Detective Winters, a tall handsome man in his forties, dressed in a grey suit. He rose and shook my hand.
First of all just to get the formalities out of the way, where were you on the morning of February, 5 at about 3:00 a.m., he asked.
“I was home, in bed, asleep.”
“Okay.” And what did you do after you woke up?
“Well I took a shower cleaned my guinea pigs cage ate breakfast. I think I talked to my mom on the phone, surfed the net a bit…I don’t remember everything.”
“Did you see anybody that day?”
“No, I didn’t,” I said.
“So we just want a little more information about your relationship with Eric.” Detective Winters said.
“Okay, but like I told the officers, I hardly knew the guy,” I said.
“Then why did you check his Facebook page four times a day,” he asked
“What do you mean? “I said turning bright red.
“You checked out his page four times a day,” Officer White said with a big smile. “Did you have a romantic relationship with him?”
“No…I …I was… I thought that you couldn’t tell if someone looked at your Facebook page.” “No, but Facebook can tell and they comply with things like murder investigations,“ Detective Winters explained.
“I didn’t have a relationship with him. I said I was just…he used to have some funny stories to tell and I liked his blog.
“Bar Rag Rags,” Detective Winters asked.
“Yes,” I said.
I checked that out, he has some pretty wild stories to tell.” “Yeah he really does,” I said hoping I was off the hook.
“It kinda reminded me of that show “Walk of Shame Shuttle”.
“Yeah kind of, but I think more interesting.”
“So, if it was all about the blog why didn’t you just check out the blog every day,” Officer White asked.
“I don’t know I didn’t think of it,” I said.
“Were you attracted to Eric, Sunshine.” Officer White asked.
“I guess so. I mean I guess I had a little crush. It’s a little embarrassing.”
“Why didn’t you just tell him about it”, Detective Winters said.
“I …I’m just not that aggressive and it was a silly thing. It was no big deal”
“Then why did you keep Googling him,” asked Officer White.
“I really think I should talk to an attorney,” I said.
“We’re not accusing you of anything. Were just curious to know why you kept googling this person.”
“I don’t know.”
“What did you do when you were looking at his Facebook page,” Officer White asked.
“What do you mean? I didn’t do anything?”
“I would think that with all the research you’ve done you would be something of an expert when it comes to the subject of Eric,” Detective Winters said.
“What do you want from me?”
“Were you in love with Eric” Officer White asked.
“No, I just…. I hardly even knew him.”
“Did you hate him, because you couldn’t have him?”
“No! I want to talk to an attorney,” I sputtered.
They let me go home, but they let me know that they would be in touch.
As I left the police station several photographers took my picture.
I found an attorney and arranged for a meeting the next week. The story of an anonymous woman who had been stalking the Facebook murder victim was leaked to the press. I tried to tune people out when they discussed it at work.
I barely slept. I was on Facebook all the time. I had two days until My second formal interview with the police and I decided I would find Eric’s killer myself.