[Originally published February 15, 2006.]

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February 3, 2006, 7:03 p.m.
From: Maniac@butchermail.com
To: jill_w_johnson03@yahoo.com
Subject: Children

Have you checked the children?

— Maniac

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February 3, 2006, 8:40 p.m.
From: Maniac@butchermail.com
To: jill_w_johnson03@yahoo.com
Subject: Children (follow-up)

Seriously. This is not spam. You really might want to check the children. :(

Maniac

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February 3, 2006, 9:15 p.m.
From: Maniac@butchermail.com
To: jill_w_johnson03@yahoo.com
Subject: Quickie confirmation?

Sorry if you were put off by my tone in the last message. Could you just verify that you received this message so I know I haven’t been keying in the wrong e-mail address? I’m not the greatest typist in the world. Feel free to check on the children at your earliest convenience. I eagerly await your feedback.

Best,
M

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February 3, 2006, 10:48 p.m.
From: Maniac@butchermail.com
To: jill_w_johnson03@yahoo.com
Subject: Um …

I know you’re not getting a lot of cash for this job and that much of your compensation is taking the form of pizza rolls the parents left in the freezer. But I should think it would occur to you to check on the children at least once over the course of an evening without having to be prompted by the crazy man with the nail gun. I’m telling you, sister, this message was flagged “Urgent” for a reason.

— M

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February 3, 2006, 11:20 p.m.
From: Maniac@butchermail.com
To: jill_w_johnson03@yahoo.com
Subject: Un-friggin’-believable

What kind of bored teenage babysitter doesn’t check her e-mail? I bet you won’t touch the liquor cabinet, either. I mean, Jesus. OK, don’t bother calling the cops: In case you haven’t figured it out, I’m in the house. I’m the guy upstairs with the iBook and blood on his boots. You know what? I just have to take another peek at what you’re doing down there … OK, I am now looking at you and—are you kidding me? Are you actually reading A Farewell to Arms? Catherine dies, OK? Like you didn’t see that coming.

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February 3, 2006, 11:52 p.m.
From: Maniac@butchermail.com
To: jill_w_johnson03@yahoo.com
Subject: I give up

So, I found your MySpace page. I was going to contact you that way, but then I’d have to register and all that. For what it’s worth, I found the Hello Kitty wallpaper startling.

I think I’m just gonna leave. Sorry about the—well, someone will check the children eventually, right?

Man, I miss the ’70s.