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Fiction Thriller Drama

RHETORIC 

James and I never got along. Not even when we were kids. Our mom had been on her own since my pops passed, and she wasn't much for parenting after his death. So James and I were left to our devices. When we interacted it always led to fighting. Most times verbally, oft times physically. 

For that reason, and for subconsciously resenting both my absentee parents, I moved out at 16. I started by couch surfing, waiting tables. I stuck with it until I could get my own place, and began tending bar. Eventually I ended up bartending at a decently high end restaurant, making more than decent cash. Especially for a low maintenance bachelor.  All was well… until Covid. 

Like many in the service industry, my hand was forced financially to make hard choices. Until things opened up, I had to give up my apartment, and move back home. Where I had rarely even visited in the 10 years since I left. Back home with a now,  full on pill popping mother, and my failure to launch, 30 year old brother. 

Before I moved back I thought of a joke I could play on James. Since he was a full on Q worshiping tin foiler, I thought I could do something to spice up our ridiculous conspiracy arguments.  I thought I'd make my own version of Q.  

I started by furiously "researching" all the conspiracy minded content, I could get my hands on. This would be the ammo I would use against all the James' of the world. I started innocently enough with all the famous stuff. Fake moon landing, Bigfoot, Jimmy Hoffa… all the classics.  Eventually, I fell down a rabbit hole.

JFK, led me to Bay of Pigs, & mafia rumors. Then to Northwoods, MKUltra, & project Paperclip. 

Once I had my content reservoir filled up with Clinton, Eppstein, Royals, & Masons, I needed to get my logistics down.

I needed a hook, and a memorable name, and a delivery method. 

After days of thinking I found a Wiki about ancient God's, and the Name jumped out at me. Dolus. That was it. The God of lies. That would be my screen name. My alter ego. His mission would be another Greek god. Nemisis, god of vengeance. Dolus would claim to be an insider. Someone close to someone powerful. Realistic, but vague. Believable, but hard to challenge with questions.  All I had left to do was figure out how to disseminate the info drops to the public. 

I thought I would start small. A few reddit drops "warning" of leftist, or socialist projects that were upcoming. Then move to claiming I had knowledge of more sinister machinations. Include the right names, and the right vernacular,  and eventually like minded idiots would begin to nibble the bait. Where it took a leap, is a different story. I just got lucky. That's it. One of my "prophecies" of socialist plans came true in a big way. I told plans of restricting religious rights and paying sheeple to stay home. It was just part of a ranting drop on Reddit. That week, it was widely reported that state governments were banning gatherings,  including Church. Also, the first emergency checks were being put up for vote. I got a lot more eyeballs on my info dumps after that… a LOT more! That's when James started to take notice, and began using bits of Dolus info in his arguments. He also started commenting on my drops. He was hooked. 

With that stroke of luck, it was time to kick it into the next phase. Can I effect real world scenarios with my imaginary secret info? All too easily, it turned out. I'd drop info about leftist gatherings, (that were public knowledge), that I'd tag with #coven, or #Death Meeting. Like clockwork, my followers would show up and protest the meetings. My avatar as Dolos was just a black version of the famous Michael Myers mask from Halloween. (Which was just an all white version of Captain Kirk from Star Trek.)

At all the gatherings I provoked, the number of those black masks would grow...exponentially.  

It was surreal, seeing all those black masks on the news. Reading the signs they were swinging, and hearing MY stuff being regurgitated in interviews with local reporters. The Nemisis freight train was picking up steam, quickly. The unexpected side effect of all this, was how it made me feel. I felt powerful. It was like with every passing day, I was forgetting it was all a joke. All based on trolling these idiots with lies I made up, whole cloth. It started to veer off course. 

Before I knew it, I was buying it myself. These "socialists" targets of mine began to actually seem evil to me.  The "white knight" Republicans began to seem heroic. It seemed that I was convincing MYSELF of all this bull shit. It didn't help that besides my now fake arguments with James, I was interacting with an echo chamber. All my posts were met with agreement and an eerie reverence.  My followers were treating me like a holy man. Like I was God's emissary on Earth. It was intoxicating. 

All the power and all the conspiracy stuff hitting me at such a weird, untrusting time in the country's history, was a perfectly volatile combo. Things ratcheted up quickly… and violently. One of my lefty action alerts about abortion doctors meeting local politicians,  was taken too far. One of my followers took action and people died. He died as well, but on the message boards he was martyred...and I was praised. I didn't condemn the action, either. I was scared I'd be implicated, so I never mentioned it at all. 

James even called Dolus a hero. I pretended not to have heard about the incident. Time went by, and more of the violence and death would be at least partially attributed to the Nemesis group. Dolus was on the authorities radar, by then. When a woman in Florida killed her own child in the name of Nemesis, it snapped me back to reality. The woman claimed her child was a crisis actor, in league with the left. She claimed the 18 year old girl, who was a trauma survivor, took money in exchange for her false testimony against a gunman. The mother got the idea for the shooting being a false flag, aiming to take away guns, directly from a Dolus post. 

Time to drop the trolling post, admiting it was all BS. Time to show James all the evidence I had, of Dolus being me. Time to rub it in their faces how easily duped they all were. 

I typed out the confession, (not including my real identity), and was about to hit enter. At that moment, the front door was kicked in and I was in custody. From Jail, I talked to James. I told him everything and he was supposed to gather all the evidence of it just being a joke. I needed to show the cops, that I was just a troll, not a vicious political cult leader. That distinction would help with public opinion and hopefully sway the courts into easier punishment. Maybe just probation. 

James never showed with that evidence. He probably set it on fire. Instead he used it to access all my accounts, and my laptop. He became a new agent of Nemesis, called Cane. He explained how Dolus was just part of a larger splinter group, and he honored Dolus as a true patriot. 

I was sentenced to life in a Colorado supermax prison. The same one  as the Unibomber. James was more careful to avoid the authorities.

Last I heard Cane was thought to be dropping his posts from somewhere in the Mediterranean.  Somewhere with no extradition treaty, most likely. 

Nemesis is worldwide now. 

August 18, 2021 04:42

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4 comments

Rodrigo Juatco
01:08 Aug 24, 2021

So much like the WOOZLE EFFECT. Based on Winnie the pooh. When one follows an influx of half truths and fallacies, treating them as truths, a feed back of lies grows and develops. In your case, it is the DOLUS EFFECT. Very entertaining. Good use of the prompt.

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Gordon Smith
01:54 Aug 25, 2021

Thank you, so much. I was going for something like "could your ego being stroked in an echo chamber cause you to abandon your principles?" Would you start believing your own lies?

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Rodrigo Juatco
02:55 Aug 25, 2021

Interesting perspective. Ego verses principles. Shakespeare made a career of creating tragic heroes with one fatal flaw--pride. Their pride was the cause of their downfall, the unraveling of their moral center. Very profound of you to tap into that wellspring. If you have the time, could you read my story 'Good boys tell no lies?' I would very much appreciate your feed back. Regards.

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Gordon Smith
22:26 Aug 25, 2021

Will do. Thank you for reading my story!

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