Todd could hear sirens kick up in the distance as the authorities began moving through the small town. He knew that they were headed straight for him. More to distract himself than anything else, he picked up the phone and pressed the button on the side. The screen lit up and revealed a filtered picture of a heart drawn with a fountain pen and the words “This too shall pass” written in calligraphy next to it. He swiped the screen and was surprised to find that there was no number combination needed to unlock the phone. Maggie’s background was a picture of her and another girl in bikinis in front of a sunset in some tropical place. Todd inwardly judged Maggie for coming across as so vapid with the decorations and backgrounds that he had found on her phone but almost immediately checked himself, making note of the fact that she was lying bruised and unconscious not ten feet away. All of the apps that were installed on Maggie’s phone were presented with another swipe of the screen and Todd instinctively opened Maggie’s messages, hoping to find something that would make some sense of the situation.
The most recent thread was a correspondence with Ethan Largo, who Todd knew in passing. They had had a couple of classes together and spoken a bit throughout their years together in school, but the two had never been more than acquaintances. He had always thought that Ethan was a bit pretentious, but otherwise forgettable. The most recent text from Ethan said, “Can we talk?” Maggie had received the text and opened it around midnight the evening before. The texts before that were logistical in nature and did not shed any light on the situation that Todd found himself in; it seemed that Ethan was the type to use texting as a means to arrange meetings in person rather than as a staging ground for whole conversations.
Todd backed out of the thread with Ethan and went on to the next thread which was a correspondence with Ann Marie Bennett. Todd knew her from school and the two worked together at Kate’s since Freshman year of high school but they had never been particularly close. Nevertheless, he had never really had a negative experience in speaking with her. She seemed to be a sweet but relatively shy girl who often hung out with the “cool kids”. The most recent message in the thread was a text that Maggie had sent that said, “lol, No way! I haven’t eaten anything all day so I look sexy as fuck in my outfit!” The text before that said, “OMW. Want anything from Kate’s? I’m swinging by to get my paycheck and check the schedule…” The texts before that did not reveal how Maggie had ended up on the curb outside of Kate’s Diner, but he was able to surmise that Maggie and Ann Marie had gone to the party at Big Mac Halvert’s place the night before. He wasn’t surprised; the party had been talked about extensively in the week prior. He had nearly been invited once or twice and imagined that he could have gone to the party and waltzed in in costume and gone completely unnoticed. In any event, he would have preferred his night in and the good night’s sleep that he got the evening before. There was one other text of interest from a few weeks prior. The text had been sent around three in the morning and simply said, “OMG, I think Ethan likes you!!!!” However, there was no response to the text; the conversation simply picked up in another place as if the text had gone unread. Todd puzzled about this for a moment, but was not entirely sure what to think and eventually he decided to move on.
The other message threads on Maggie’s phone were from various people earlier in the week. Todd read through them to make sure that nothing seemed out of place but he gave up relatively quickly when things got further and further away from the evening before. He felt slightly uneasy perusing the insides of Maggie’s phone. He couldn’t help but feel like he was violating Maggie’s privacy and couldn’t shake the thought that Maggie had already been violated enough. Still, he remained curious and was desperate to take his mind off of the scene that was before his eyes. He turned back to the phone and this time went into Maggie’s call log to get a better idea of who she had been talking to. Once again, the most recent log bore Ethan Largo’s name. It was an outgoing call that Maggie had made a couple of minutes after she had received his most recent text. He tried to think about what Ethan and Maggie’s relationship could be all about, but he didn’t know enough about either of them to draw any conclusions. The other call that had been made the day before was to a number that had no name attached to it. The number loomed on the phone and Todd felt as though he might be familiar with it, but could not be certain as he had not properly memorized a phone number since he was very young. He moved on and noted that the other calls were from people that Maggie had listed in her contacts and were relatively few and far between. It seemed that Maggie was a girl who preferred texting to calling.
Todd nearly replaced the phone next to the smoldering cigar in the ashtray but another thought occurred to him and he re-accessed the phone and opened up the Facebook app. He checked Maggie’s messages first and found nothing that stood out to him which came as no surprise. He quickly moved on to what he really wanted to check: the activity log. This began to give him a picture of the goings-on of Maggie’s Facebook life. Maggie had uploaded a couple of photos the day before of her and Ann Marie before they headed off to the party. Todd was able to see what Maggie had looked like before her cop outfit had been tattered and torn and noted that some of what he had perceived to be bruising on Maggie was simply part of the makeup that went with her outfit. He couldn’t help but wonder if she was trying to make it look like she had been in a fight or something similar. He moved on and read some of the comments that Maggie had made on various posts throughout the week, but one thing in particular stood out to Todd: Two days before, Maggie had become friends with a girl named Delia Leonne. Seeing that jarred something in Todd’s mind and he quickly reopened Maggie’s call log and looked at the number that had seemed so familiar to him before. After hesitating for a moment, Todd punched the number into his phone and pushed send. His suspicion was confirmed when Delia’s name popped up, showing that the number belonged to her. He quickly ended the call and decided to put Maggie’s phone back into the ashtray, next to the smoldering cigar.
As the sirens drew ever closer, Todd thought about Delia Leonne. She was his cousin by marriage. Many of the residents of the trailer park were related by marriage (or divorce) as the socio-economic classes tended to intermarry. Todd and his mother used to live in the trailer park when his mother was still married to his father. When it turned out that Todd’s father was carrying on an extramarital affair with another woman in the trailer park, nobody was shocked; the entire community had come to expect that kind of behavior and at least half of the residents already knew about that particular affair. Todd’s father eventually married the woman. Just like that, in a roundabout way, Todd was related to Delia Leonne. He did not know Delia well, but he had always liked her well enough. They met when he was thirteen and she was fourteen at one of the many family functions that his father insisted he attend. At first the two would simply talk about things that were going on in the community and in their school, but as they aged they both developed their own interests and more and more social distance built between them. Delia became markedly more exotic with age and by the time she was sixteen, she was uniformly wearing flowy black clothing and lots of jewelry and spent most of her time with the kids that smoked weed (among other things) in the forest during lunch or when they were skipping class. The two had very little in common these days but they still spoke to one another when they saw each other, and, at some point, they had exchanged numbers. Todd had no issue with either Delia or Maggie, but he could not think of two more different people. He tried to reconcile the idea of them being friends and was still at it when the police and paramedics arrived.