In my second year of graduate school, there was a couple that would sometimes have sex in the printing workshop after midnight. The man had bought a foldable futon from the discount NITORI shop near the train station, and the woman always kept a change of clothes in her locker near the bathrooms. Both had a membership to the gym in the building. A classmate, Mr. Y, had caught them once in the act, but instead of reporting them to the professors, he installed a camera near the windows and livestreamed the feed from his private Twitter account. He told some of his friends that this was for his Masters thesis: The Bizarre Mating Habits of Human Trash.
When the professors found out about the feed, everyone claimed they had tried to stop Mr. Y from recording it. Some even said they’d spoken to the man and the woman. The futon was thrown out and the couple and Mr. Y were suspended for several days. Everyone was banned from using the workshop after 11PM. Mr. Y, the son of a large electronics maker, didn’t return to school after the suspension. Instead, he started a smear campaign against the school, saying that the professors had tried to silence him when he had only tried to get evidence of improper behavior. His Facebook feed was filled with ambiguous statements about evil conspiracies and justice, sometimes shaky videos of the view outside his window. He claimed the professors had sent people to spy on him, the parked cars filled with villainous agents and high-tech cameras that could zoom into this room.
“I will not be silenced!” he typed in red text over black backgrounds and posted them up as images on his Twitter account. “If I suddenly disappear, know that They took me. God help us.” The man had never gone to a church in his life.
A year after graduation, when a few of us had gathered for drinks to complain about our new jobs and relationships, someone brought up the topic of Mr. Y again. He had stopped posting on all media several months earlier and no one had heard from him since. What had he wanted from the school or the couple or his classmates? one girl wondered. Assholes will be assholes, especially assholes with money, one guy chimed in.
Another girl offered her own theory: Maybe he never wanted anything. It was all just an act. What if he was just curious to see how we’d all react?
Hey, did anyone ever read his final thesis? I asked.
No one answered.