Here’s a piece of flash fiction about a pop song that’s so good, it’s deadly. It’s about 690 words and has an estimated reading time of 3 minutes. Let me know what you think!
I’m not sure when it started. Maybe sometime over the summer after the first brutal heat wave in July. We all noticed it immediately; it was hard to ignore. Everyone was talking about it: the media, your friends, your family, your boss. And men between the ages of thirty-two and forty years old were dying in droves.
All because of a song.
But not just any song. It was a short, infectiously catchy pop song from an anonymous female artist that went viral on TikTok. There was no music video or anything, just the bubble-gum sweet melodies and chorus and the lyrics sung in the woman’s sultry voice.
The lyrics went something like this:
You need me
You want me
But you can’t have me
You’re dying to have me, little boy
You can look, but you can’t touch
There was more, but that was the gist of it. The song didn’t even have a title, so we first called it “You Can’t Have Me.” After that, everyone, including the world’s best investigative reporters, tried to figure out the singer’s identity, to no avail. And everyone, I mean everyone, was obsessed with the song.
Things got weird about two weeks after it went viral. A man in Seattle named Gonzalo Del Pino, thirty-three years old, became so fixated on the song that he forgot to feed or bathe himself. Reports say he listened to it non-stop, and it drove him insane. Unable to break his obsession, Del Pino finally put a shotgun in his mouth and blew his head off. He left behind a wife and three kids.
Del Pino was the first victim, but not the last. Soon, there were reports of men committing suicide every day because the song had driven them to insanity. A man in Oklahoma, listening to the song on his phone, jumped in front of a bus. Another man in Las Vegas climbed to the top of the MGM Casino and jumped to his death in front of a crowd of people. Yet another man broadcasted his suicide on Facebook Live, the song blasting in the background. He was in tears, claiming it had taken such a fierce hold of him, and he had no choice.
It is now December, and the song has claimed at least 2,000 lives by most official counts. The authorities have banned broadcasting the song on any media platforms, but it’s impossible to suppress. So, we have begun calling it “The Siren Song,” after the Greek myth. Entire mental institutions have been developed to treat the mysterious condition that is alternatingly known as “Viral Fever,” “Delusional Musicalia,” and “Impulsive Listening.”
Psychologists are debating and theorizing what’s happening, but no one has a clear answer. Meanwhile, men continue to die in droves. And the most curious thing is that only certain men are dying. It is only men between the ages of thirty-two and forty years old who, once exposed to the song, become so entranced and frenzied by it. It seems like such an arbitrary distinction, and no one has been able to untangle this mystery.
I write to you on December 14, 2022, at approximately 11 p.m. Tomorrow, I turn thirty-two years old. I still have not heard the song, and I plan to take the most extreme measures to never listen to it. But I know mistakes can happen, and I may accidentally hear it within the next eight years. If I do, the song will undoubtedly take a ferocious grip on my mind and kill me.
I plan to enter a mental institution for men like me and stay locked away for the next eight years. I will be mostly safe there, as they provide routine care and take precautions that the song is never played. I worry most about someone weaponizing the song, broadcasting it worldwide in an act of terror. But all this is out of my control now. All I can do is put on my noise-canceling headphones and wait for these next eight years to end. If I’m lucky, I’ll survive.
If I’m very lucky, I’ll live long enough to even hear the “Siren Song.” It may be deadly, but damn, I hear it’s an incredible tune.