Previously: “Satellite Images.”
Like “Annie96 Is Typing…”, “Are You Still There?” takes place primarily in the format of an online chat. Unlike “Annie96,” however, “Are You Still There?” hearkens back to the early days of the Internet — before WhatsApp and its ilk existed and when ICQ, AOL, and the types of IRC those two programs facilitated reigned supreme.
The thing with old school IRC is that the conversation was entirely composed of text. Webcams were rare, and the typing awareness indicator hadn’t yet become a fixture of digital communication. If someone went silent, there was no way of knowing where they went or when they would come back.
[Like what you read? Check out Dangerous Games To Play In The Dark, available from Chronicle Books now!]
…Or if they would ever come back.
Chatroom log transcribed by [name expunged] on [date expunged]. Screen names presumably substituted by account holders’ real names for easier reference. Whether incident described was real or fabricated cannot be determined, as transcriber has vanished without a trace.
[11:29:09 PM] – Jon has joined the chatroom.
[11:29:14 PM] – Matt has joined the chatroom.
[11:29:16 PM] JON: holla
[11:29:20 PM] MATT: holla!
[11:29:22 PM] MATT: haha
[11:29:31 PM] MATT: what the crap was sabatini talking about Tuesday?
[11:30:02 PM] JON: I wasn’t in class Tuesday.
[11:30:03 PM] MATT: about the futurists
[11:30:09 PM] JON: I was sick.
[11:30:13 PM] MATT: oh. you were ditchin
[11:30:22 PM] JON: no I was sick. swear to god.
[11:30:22 PM] MATT: 😀
[11:30:33 PM] JON: came down with a cold or something.
[11:30:40 PM] MATT: whatever ditcher
[11:30:45 PM] MATT: holla Jimi!
[11:31:30 PM] MATT: nice to see you too. fuck.
[11:31:31 PM] MATT: holla! >:(
[11:31:33 PM] JON: Jimi’s idle again.
[11:31:40 PM] MATT: hate how he does that. just logs in and walks away
[11:31:42 PM] JON: or he’s toking up.
[11:31:51 PM] MATT: haha
[11:32:10 PM] JON: what’s your deal with Sabatini’s class?
[11:32:59 PM] MATT: the futurist manifestos. supposed to have read em but I didn’t make any sense out of em
[11:33:04 PM] MATT: something about cars and graveyards and shit
[11:33:21 PM] MATT: and you know how he just throws the material at us and expects us to learn something like we got mind-reading powers
[11:33:34 PM] JON: what you put into his classes is what you take out of it.
[11:33:41 PM] JON: he expects each of us to decide what’s significant about the material.
[11:34:19 PM] MATT: shit I coulda just not signed up for the class and bought the book and read it on my own time then
[11:34:21 PM] MATT: >:(
[11:34:27 PM] MATT: hey bro I gotta skate ill see ya l8er
[11:34:35 PM] JON: ok later.
[11:34:36 PM] MATT: see ya Jimi!
[11:34:49 PM] – Matt has left the chatroom
[11:39:40 PM] – Jimi is no longer idle
[11:40:02 PM] JIMI: jon you there?
[11:40:19 PM] JON: yeah.
[11:40:26 PM] JIMI: the neighborhood is gone
[11:40:27 PM] JON: Jimi how come you don’t answer my calls?
[11:40:32 PM] JON: what?
[11:40:40 PM] JIMI: the neighborhood is gone
[11:41:05 PM] JON: I don’t follow you.
[11:41:29 PM] JIMI: somethings wrong
[11:41:35 PM] JIMI: can you see outside your windows?
[11:41:51 PM] JON: what you been smoking Jimi?
[11:41:59 PM] JIMI: can you see outside your windows?
[11:42:18 PM] JON: yeah.
[11:42:26 PM] JIMI: what do you see?
[11:42:31 PM] JON: street lights.
[11:42:38 PM] JON: Jimi what’s your problem man?
[11:42:49 PM] JIMI: i dont see street lights
[11:42:55 PM] JIMI: i dont see anything. just black. the neighborhood is gone.
[Photo: Mike Schreifels/Flickr]