bonnie jones had been living in the city for a little over two years without finding a job or making any friends.
like most people in the city she lived on public assistance and was required to spend her day taking aerobics and yoga and nutrition classes in the morning, and various re-education classes in the afternoon before returning to her little room at night.
she made it a habit to only check her mail when she got back to her room at night. it gave her something to look forward to, even though she hardly ever got anything interesting.
one night she read a curious message. it said simply - if you want to make some friends, come to room 5108 in the dixon apartments at 2100 hours on wednesday.
her curiosity aroused, bonnie went to the dixon apartments on wednesday and found room 5108 without any trouble and knocked on the door.
a man opened the door and invited bonnie in. there were two women and another man in the room.
the man introduced himself as hassan smith, the other man as george washington, and the two women as amanda cleveland and jennifer madson.
none of them looked like very interesting people, but bonnie was not an interesting person herself so she did not hold that against them.
the introductions completed, hassan got down to business.
there was a table in the center of the room and a box on the table and hassan took a kitten out of the box.
if you kill this kitten, hassan told bonnie, we will be your friends.
oh no, bonnie replied, i could never do anything like that.
well then, we bid you good evening, hassan said with a smile, and bonnie left.
a week later, bonnie received another, similar message.
this one read, if you want to make some friends, come to the recreation center at the corner of main and 367th streets, on thursday at 2000 hours, and ask for dave.
after her prior experience, bonnie did not have any great hopes from this invitation, but she had nothing better to do, so she showed up at the recreation center on thursday.
she found dave, and he introduced her to his friends willie, jake, and babs.
as you know, dave told bonnie, firearms are strictly prohibited in the city, but we have made ourselves some bows and arrows and spears and we are going to hunt rabbits and other wild creatures in the park. if you would like to join us we will be your friends.
no thank you, bonnie told him, that is not an activity i would care to partake in.
three weeks later bonnie received a third message. this one was shorter and read simply - want to be our friend? 1056 temple drive, room 7765-a, next friday at 2030.
i will give it one more try, bonnie thought.
1056 temple drive was a rather rundown building, and the elevator took forever to climb to the 77th floor.
bonnie knocked on the door of room 7765-a, and a young woman opened it and waved her inside.
no sooner had the door closed behind her than bonnie was seized and bound and gagged and tied to a chair.
the young woman who had opened the door and two burly men looked down at her with impassive faces. they did not introduce themselves.
there was a knock on the door behind bonnie and she heard it being opened.
another young woman entered the room and the first woman brought her round to face the bound and gagged bonnie.
she looks just like me, bonnie thought when she saw the newcomer.
bonnie had had a twin sister from whom she had been separated at birth, and she wondered if it could be she who now faced her.
one of the men took a small pistol out of his pocket and handed it to the possible twin.
if you shoot her, the man said to the twin, we will be your friends.