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Previous Challenge Entry (EDITOR'S CHOICE)
Topic: Social Media (12/01/11)

TITLE: Follow the Leader
By Margaret McKinney
12/15/11
~9th Place


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Follow the Leader

Gone are the days of calling your friend on the rotary phone and arranging to meet them at a pre-appointed location. Since the advent of cell phones, tracking your friends’ locations has become a simple matter of calling them and asking where they are.

However, for the Nervous Nelly, if physically placing a call to that special young man or lady leaves you nervous and clammy in the palms, then there is Twitter. With Twitter you can follow that certain someone’s movements on the sly. As long as they are willing to post their whereabouts for the Internet-connected world to see, you are able to read their updates and pursue them in secret.

With these technological updates in mind, and Twitter as a guide, I give you a typical Friday night outing:

“@Photoguy: Can’t imagine Christmas without the annual bash with @Tom_Thompson!”
“@EmmaBarnes: Enjoying Christmas spirit at @AlexRandall’s party!”

If Jake from photography class was at Tom’s party, then Emma, glancing balefully around Alex’s crowded apartment, was in the wrong place. She showed the Twitter feed to her roommate Jess, and considered some creative maneuvering.

Jess, retrieving her own phone to have a look, squealed in horror when she saw the latest update:

“@Alleycat: Friday night plans- to follow @Photoguy wherever he goes!”

Alley Jensen from the gym! That interloper! To post such a thing on Twitter showed a blatant lack of finesse, yet was still cause for alarm. Emma sprang from her perch on Alex’s couch to get her coat. If it was tacky to leave the party after only just arriving, then so be it. All was fair in love and war.

Parking was scarce, so they had to walk, and on the way across campus were waylaid by Laura from their writer’s circle. Laura was headed to another party and begged Emma and Jess to tag along.

“@EmmaBarnes: Just a quick detour to East Campus and fun get-together with @LauraJones!”

With a rousing game of Charades and a sing-along around the piano, Laura’s proved to be more fun than they’d expected. A precious hour was lost. Emma was too afraid to check the Twitter feed, so she made Jess do it instead:

“@Photoguy: Heading over to @AlexRandall’s party with @Alleycat in tow!”

Jake was headed to Alex’s? With Alley? Emma whimpered and rested her head on her knees.

Jess attempted to take control. “What’s your plan B, Emma? Jake’s apparently gone to Alex’s. We’ve got to get out of here!”

A garbled noise of agreement escaped Emma’s mouth as she nodded vigorously, but she was at a loss for the next stage of the evening’s plans. She had just left Alex’s party, and could hardly go back. The only party left was Tom’s. Emma pulled out her phone and Tweeted away:

“@EmmaBarnes: Heading to @Tom_Thompson’s Christmas party- bring on the holiday cheer!”

Jess peered over Emma’s shoulder. “You’re not chasing after Jake?”

“Nope. I’m not. This is silly, running all over campus when there’s a party at Tom’s. Let’s just go and have a good time.”

“Wow,” Jess said in awe, “you are a tower of resolve. Good for you, Emma!”

Resolve is thin, particularly when faced with the power emitted by blue eyes, a ready smile, and talent with a camera. They lasted at Tom’s all of thirty minutes.

Alex’s place showed all the earmarks of a successful party: blasting Christmas music, mistletoe, and crowds of sequined-clad college students. The apartment was so packed it was hard to casually scan the place for Jake. Emma stood on her toes and tried to spot his shaggy dark hair, but he was nowhere to be seen.

“See him?” Jess hollered.

“No, you?”

Jess didn’t answer, only made her way around the perimeter of the living room, trying to appear nonchalant. Emma gave up the search and squeezed through the crowd to the balcony, resting her elbows on the iron railing and chiding herself for such infantile behavior. What was she doing? Was she twelve or twenty? When boys were involved it was often hard to remember.

Emma resolved to stay at Alex’s house and enjoy the party, no matter what became of Jake.

An hour later and much calmer, Emma found Jess hovering by the food. Without looking up she handed Emma her phone. Its blue glow was almost a taunt as Twitter revealed its latest trick:

“@Photoguy: Three different parties a bust in looking for a special girl. @EmmaBarnes, where are you tonight?”

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Member Comments
Member Date
Verna Cole Mitchell 12/18/11
Social networking and mixed signals--Good ending.
Michael Throne12/20/11
That was fun! Good story!
annie keys12/27/11
What a fun read!
Cheryl von Drehle 12/28/11
Great beginning and ending...ending especially. I got a little lost along the way, but then again maybe that helps make your point. Very fun read.
Lillian Rhoades 12/29/11
I knew this would do well! Congratulations Maggie :-)