Catfish Part 1

catfish, noun: a person who sets up a false personal profile on a social networking site for fraudulent or deceptive purposes
Merriam-Webster.com

Jason's prank on his roommate goes terribly wrong... or terribly right.


I love to prank people. Well, not that so much as trolling people. On the internet.

I'm still technically a teenager, but I'm currently going to college. I'm living in the dorms the first year. My roommate, Mark, seems pretty cool, though he's gone most of the time. He's more into frat stuff and partying. Don't get me wrong, I'm not super into studying. I spend most of my time hanging out with friends, playing video games, and looking at Reddit and 4chan. Also, porn, but I usually leave that out of self-introductions.

Anyway, we have a three day weekend—long enough to get bored, not long enough to fly home. I mean, I'm not complaining. I like getting time off. It's just that I get bored. And most of my friends have gone home for the long weekend.

I'm really bored. I'm looking for something to do and I think it would be funny to make a fake dating profile. Like make up a really hot girl, edit a picture or something and then see what kind of idiots responded. So I look up some girls on Google, edit a picture a little so no one realize where I got it, and voila. Alicia Black is born. Yes, I know the name is cheesy. I'm trying to attract idiots.

After waiting a while and not getting any responses I exit and forget about it. Until Monday, when I remember it and check. I have like twenty messages! I don't know where they were before.

Anyway, I message about ten of them back—dumb stuff like how “hot” their pictures look—and I'm starting to get bored until I see something that catches my eye.

It's a profile with the same name as my roommate Mark and a pic that looks like it could be him. I click on it and it is him! I can't pass up this great opportunity.

I message him, telling him that I “think he's hot ; )”. Pfft. I can't take this seriously. I'm surprised when he messages me back almost immediately.

“hey you go to same college?” Yeah, he's not exactly Shakespeare.

Sh*t, I put in my actual college without thinking about. I wasn't expecting to find someone who goes here. At least I didn't put an address.

Actually, this is probably a really good opportunity to mess with him. “yeah, same college.”

“must be fate” I add.

Not capitalizing things is really frustrating me but it fits my persona. Alicia is not supposed to be brilliant. Just hot.

We exchange several more meaningless messages about local landmarks we both recognize. It's not a real connection or anything. I don't actually know where he is right now. He must be using his phone or something. Honestly, I didn't really peg him for the dating site kind. He seems like the type who'd get plenty of… you know, at frat parties and stuff..

Not that he's ever invited me to one of them. Honestly, for roommates I don't know very much about him.

Then I get a different kind of message. “were so close think we could meet IRL?” That's “in real life”, for those not conversant with modern internet slang. Wow, that was surprisingly fast. But I got 'im!

Now the question is what to do with the fish I've got on this line. I consider just claiming I'll meet him somewhere and then — obviously — not showing up. It lacks the sting, though. There's no punchline. “Alicia” will just keep failing to meet him until he figures out she's not real.

Now I'm thinking that maybe I can have “Alicia” meet him. Obviously she's not real but maybe I can get some girl to fill in. Then I can get them to pull off a wig or something and reveal it was a prank. Although I have to admit I historically have not had great luck with girls.

If I said that to my sister she'd say “Luck has nothing to do with it,” and I'd say “Shut up.”

I start thinking about girls I know. Obviously they have to look at least a little like the pictures—although I know, I know, nobody looks like their photos.

So I can rule a bunch of people out right away. Really, the problem is that they have to be a hot girl to pull this off and I don't know any hot girls who talk to me.

I'm looking more closely at the photo. I realized it reminds me of someone I know and I'm trying to figure out who. Then I realize. It kind of looks like a girl version of me.

That's kind of offputting.

But then I realize my plan. And it's great. It's perfect. Just as long as I don't die of embarrassment first.

***

So in case you didn't figure it out, my plan is to dress like a girl. The girl in the pictures, more or less. Aaaand I don't know if I can go through with this. It's super embarrassing and honestly it could backfire on me. I don't want a reputation as some crossdressing perv who goes on dates with my roommates.

I don't think anyone wants that reputation.

But I don't really have anything to lose. I'll wait till Mark's gone and see how I look. If it's not working I can pull out. If “Alicia” doesn't show up it's not like he can do anything about it. Besides messaging me angrily. Oh dread.

I made plans to meet him at a pretty nice restaurant on Friday. At least I'll get something out of this. Can't really bring the leftovers home though.

Anyway I ordered makeup on Amazon—I have free Prime because I'm a student and I get one-day shipping. I want to make sure I have enough time, and buying makeup in a store would be super awkward. The cashier would be like “What are you going to do with this, huh, pervert?” Well, I doubt they would actually say that but I bet they'd be thinking that.

To be honest I didn't really know what do get so I tried to colorwise match the makeup in the photo. I also looked up reviews of different makeup to see which brands were recommended. I got some clothing, too. I really wasn't sure about the sizes. I tried to look at conversion chart from men's to women's sizes but I just ended up getting really confused. The whole thing ended up being kind of expensive for a prank, especially with the one-day shipping. I was committed though.

Well, I wait all day Tuesday, kind of nervously, and the dorm mailroom gets nothing. Then it closes for the day. So much for one-day shipping.

The box of makeup finally arrives in the morning before I had class. I only have one class on Wednesdays and it was a big lecture so I could skip it. Not like anyone would notice.

I start trying to apply the makeup. The first few tries were really bad—I used to much and got stuff in all the wrong places. After a little practice it looked somewhat better. I step back and perused myself in the mirror.

I looked pretty good, if I say so myself. It's a pretty good resemblance to the photo. I actually get a little turned on looking at myself in the mirror. Way to be a pervert, self.

I get a text that the clothing has arrived. I go pick it up and like an idiot forget to take the makeup off. The person behind the counter doesn't seem to notice anything weird, even though I have to show my id to pick up the package. Let's be honest; if I had that job I wouldn't really care.

I try on the clothing and after a little difficulty figuring out how to put on a bra I'm solid. I check the mirror and the clothing seems to help. I'm pretty sure anyone looking at me would think I was a girl. The padded bra probably helps with that.

You know, boobs. Girls have them. Yeah.

It's a good enough resemblance to the picture too I think.

…then Mark barges in.

***

Sh*t sh*t sh*t sh*t my mind screams. What the hell am I gonna do?

Mark doesn't instantly recoil like I expect him to. Instead he holds out his hand. Oh god is he going to punch me.

“Hey, I'm Mark. You must be Jason's friend?” That's me, by the way. I guess I didn't mention my name.

Wait, does he not recognize me? I mean, that was the goal, but it's hard to believe it's actually happening. This is a bad time, though.

“…um, yeah, I'm Alicia.” What? I couldn't think of another name. I'm not good under pressure.

On the other hand, if he “recognizes” me as Alicia he's probably going to wonder why the girl from the dating site is here. Probably think I'm a stalker or something.

“You're kinda shy, huh?” What the f*ck is he talking about? I'm perfectly good with people; I'm just freaking out because of this situation. On the plus side my voice came out as a whisper, so hopefully he won't be able to tell it's not really female.

“You look kinda… familiar? Let me think.” Oh sh*t he's going to figure it out.

I start edging towards the door to avoid his inevitable freakout when a metaphorical lightbulb pops above his head.

“Hey, you're that girl from the dating site! We were gonna meet! Wow, you were Jason's friend? Small world, man. Small world.” Weird that he would call a girl “man.” Well, someone he thinks is a girl. You know what I mean.

“Uh… yeah, I know Jason. I… didn't realize you were his roommate?” I let out a horribly fake giggle.

“Yeah, since we're both here and,” he checks his watch, “I'm free for a few hours, how bout we go to dinner now.” He looks around. “I don't know where Jason is but I'm sure he won't mind if I steal you for a little bit, right? If I explain the situation.”

I stammer affirmative. This is my chance to pull off the scheme but I'm still kind of shellshocked. I'm not ready.

But I'm not going to get a better chance. Let's just hope this prank ends up being on him.

***

We don't go to the nice place planned for Friday because you need a reservation. I hope he doesn't take that to mean we already have a second date scheduled. Not that he's going to want to go on it after the big reveal.

Instead we go to a place that we both like. They have really good deep dish even though everyone else thinks I'm weird for liking it. Well, Mark and Jason both like the place. Mark doesn't know anything about what “Alicia” likes. Kind of selfish of him really to take me to a place that just he likes. But I guess he did ask me if it was okay.

He looks at me kind of funny when I order the deep dish. Dammnit, I hope that error doesn't cost me.

“You know, Jason is the only other person I know who likes that stuff.”

I laugh, trying to make it high pitched. God, this is awkward. I remember I'm supposed to be Jason's friend “Yeah, I know. He's the only person I know too.”

Mark snorts. “He's the only person you know? Wow, you must be lonely.” What a scintillating conversation. This guy is an idiot.

“Anyway,” Mark segues, “You seem different in person. Shyer. I guess that's normal.” I just nod. If he thinks I'm shy that's fine. It makes things easier for me. I get an excuse for not talking.

“I think it's cute,” he adds.

Suddenly, against all reason, I find myself blushing. I'm also kind of turned on. I really hope he can't see my erection. I skillfully scoot forward so I'm partly under the table. The red-and-white checkered table cloth is at least partly covering me. Smooth, idiot. Self.

I don't know what my problem is but he takes my move as getting closer to him. He starts to lean forward before asking me a question.

“Can I kiss you?”

Part of my brain is freaking out while another part is thinking do it! The part that wins out is the one that claims it'll be more embarrassing for him if he kisses a guy too. Right, another part of my brain snarks, keep telling yourself that.

So we kiss and…even though it's not great, it's also not super gross. I realize people are looking at us—an older woman is smiling at us, kind of creepy—and pull away blushing.

Eventually he pays the bill and we leave the restaurant. I go through the rigamarole of saying goodbye to him and then waiting until he falls asleep—he goes to bed early, it's kind of annoying—and sneaking back in.

I couldn't bring myself to do the big reveal. I don't know what my problem is. Maybe I have some weird kink for wearing women's clothing. Great, this is just what I need in my life.

I change, wash off the makeup.

I lie down in bed but my mind races and swirls. Eventually I fall asleep from sheer exhaustion, just as confused as ever.



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