It was 2014. My best friend Jonah and I were hanging out on a Saturday night with absolutely nothing to do. We lived in a quiet small town called Landsbury where it was pretty common to be bored, even on weekends. We tried watching TV but there was nothing interesting on. We also played some Wii, but the other controller busted right after we started. Jonah was spending the night at my place, I had just moved there six months ago after my 20th birthday party. Jonah still lived with his folks so every time we wanted to do something fun, he had to come and stay with me. His parents were pretty strict and raised him to be a "God-fearing decent American citizen".
This whole too-much-discipline thing got on his nerves often and sometimes he would fight with his dad, nothing serious though, just some verbal arguments. He wasn't allowed to bring friends over, and they told him that if they ever caught him taking drugs or drinking alcohol, they'd kick him out of the house. So he didn't get drunk or high very often, as he wanted to keep his old man happy. Apart from those ridiculous boundaries, they loved him very much and after he turned eighteen, they never asked him for rent money. Every once in a while, he would come to my place and we would smoke weed, watch shitty campy movies from old VHS tapes and have a great laugh.
We had this other hobby too, a plan exactly for days like this one described in my story. We would check online for challenges, usually some pretty dumb dares where you have to complete some kind of task. Some of them were mild, others involved even illegal things. That day though, after the Wii controller broke, I said to Jonah, "Hey, wanna check out some crazy-ass challenge from YouTube?"
"Hell yeah, bring it," he responded.
So we came across a couple of challenges, but most of them were pretty tame in comparison to what we had done before. I considered myself more of a daredevil than Jonah, I love the feeling of adrenaline pumping through my veins when I do something stupid and illegal.
That night we had decided not to go outside as it was dark already and there had been a lot of muggings and robberies in my neighborhood lately, some elderly couple had even got stabbed when they were walking their dog at midnight, just a couple of blocks away from my house. So yeah, we loved a good challenge and weren't afraid of getting hurt but still neither one of us wanted to get mugged. It had to be something you could do inside the house. It was then we came across something called "The Frankie Teardrop Challenge" invented by a guy named Tom Scharpling from The Best Show podcast.
The concept was very simple, you just had to put on some headphones, turn off the lights and listen to electro band Suicide's infamous "Frankie Teardrop" all the way through. I was already familiar with the song, I own their first LP so I had heard it a zillion times. Jonah however hadn't. Back then, I remember the idea of spooking him with that nasty-ass song made me chuckle, I was positive he'd never make it to the end of the song. Jonah's parents didn't exactly forbid him from listening to records but whenever he put something on at home, they knocked on his door and complained about the "noise" and told him to keep it down. So he didn't know much about music, just those basic radio songs. I guess most of you know Suicide is the opposite of radio-friendly, and "Frankie" really is painful to listen to with those awful screams throughout and that pounding drum machine that never even changes once in the 10-minute song.
I persuaded Jonah to take on the challenge, I suggested we do it in my living room where there's no windows and when you kill the lights, it is completely dark. It didn't take much to get him all excited, these challenges and our time together was his way of having fun and relaxing after having a hard time at home. So we both agreed on accepting "The Frankie Teardrop Challenge". We didn't use headphones, though, so that we both heard it at the same time. What followed was me making the biggest mistake of my life.
I also wanted to get something out of the whole thing, I knew that listening to "Frankie" in darkness wasn't a big deal and not much of a challenge. I had recently scored some PCP from my classmate. I was fresh out of weed and I said to Jonah, "Man, this would be so much more intense if we weren't sober, don't you think?"
And he agreed, "Sure, dude. You got some Kush or what?"
I told him there was no weed left but I had something much stronger. I wasn't even sure if Jonah had heard of PCP, let alone knew that its influence was way heavier.
"I don't know, (my name censored). It's angel dust, right? My dad would kill me if he ever found out," he replied. I ensured him that his old man would never know and that this would be our little secret.
Finally he said yes and I walked to my bookcase where I kept my DVDs. I grabbed "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" and opened it, revealing this tiny baggie containing white powder.
When Jonah saw the bag, he started hesitating again, so I put my hand on his shoulder and said, "Look, man, I'd never give this shit to you if I thought something bad would happen. I've done this like ten times already and always had a lot of fun. It has never made me paranoid like weed does, instead it gives me a warm fuzzy feeling and a crazy vibe in my head. It's like I'm in some kind of parallel universe. I'm sure if we did this together, it'd make this whole challenge thing even more interesting. Right, dude?"
I started pouring the powder from the bag to a black paperback book, and, using my Visa card I formed two separate lines, the other was a little bit bigger. I snorted that line and held on to my nostrils as it tingled and burned inside my nose.
Jonah looked at me, I could see the worry in his eyes. He was clearly afraid. The PCP started working instantly and I felt a little light-headed, then a smile crept up on my face. "Your turn," I said and giggled like a little girl as the drug started doing its magic inside my head.
Jonah carefully took the straw that I held in my hand, and I could see that his palms were sweaty and his hand was shaking. "I love you bro, you know that, right? I would never let anything bad happen to you. And when it comes to PCP, it's really like weed, just a little more trippy. C'mon, man," I said to him. Finally he put the straw on the side of his nostril and did the line.
I burst out laughing as his face turned red, his nose started running and he kept shouting, "FUCK, FUCK!" He was just like I was the first time. After it stopped burning his nose, he calmed down and sat on the couch.
We decided to proceed with the challenge, and I went to the bedroom to fetch my Suicide album. When I came back, Jonah's face was still red and his eyes all watery. "It will stop soon, I promise."
He saw the record in my hand and asked, "You actually have the fucking song on a vinyl LP that you own?" I put the needle on the record at side B and track one, I told Jonah to lie down on the couch as I sat down next to him. The song started playing on my stereo.
Twenty-year old Frankie.
He's married, he's got a kid..."
I admit that it was a pretty scary scenario: a pitch black apartment with two guys, (who are on PCP), with "Frankie Teardrop" playing on volume eleven on the speakers. I couldn't see Jonah at all, it was so dark that the only light was the one on the stereo display. Then I could hear him asking, "Is this even a song? Where are all the instruments? Drums, bass, guitar? And what the fuck is the matter with the singer, he sounds like he's having an orgasm."
I laughed, I thought it was funny that my friend was so confused about the song and the whole situation. It didn't even once occur to me that something would go wrong. The song went on:
"Frankie picked up a gun,
pointed it at the six month old in the crib.
I could hear Jonah speaking again, this time instead of his usual calm and clear voice, he was quiet and uncertain. I could tell he was scared, I mean really frightened. "Ummm, (my name censored), I'm not sure if I can finish the challenge. This fucking song gets to me. Maybe it's the PCP. Or those fucking screams. Turn it off." I did in fact expect him to be scared, but it wasn't funny like I was hoping it would be. Instead I felt sorry for what I had done. I tried to keep up the whole "chill, dude"-attitude and said that the angel dust is just messing with his head and it is supposed to be scary, the whole point of the challenge is to screw with one's psyche.
The song continued.
"Really, (my name censored), turn off the fucking song and turn the fucking lights back on. This goddamn song is gonna scar me up for life. I'm never gonna be normal. It's too dark in here and I can't feel my hands. Why is the singer screaming? Tell him to stop, dude. He's already inside my head. What the fuck am I saying?"
Jonah had some anger in his voice, but it was mostly fear, genuine fear. "Come on dude, this is like the last two minutes of it," I tried to comfort him. He didn't respond anymore. When we did these other challenges before, it was crucial that they were finished. I wanted to complete this one too, but I was worried about my friend. Then it struck me, what I was doing to him is irresponsible, it's not a funny prank and nobody's laughing.
Jonah was a good kid, a kind-hearted guy, was doing ok in school and getting his diploma soon, he treated other people good. He was gonna make a good husband and a father one day, he wasn't doing drugs, at least not on his own, even with me it was just weed to take the stress off him. Now he was on PCP and most likely traumatized by what he had gone through. And it wasn't Tom Scharpling's fault either. When he announced "The Frankie Teardrop Challenge" he didn't urge us to take hard drugs while doing it. It was completely my fault.
"We're all Frankies, we're all lying in hell."
The song was down to its last minute, I couldn't see anything, but I heard Jonah getting up, he left the couch and grabbed his backpack. It had a plastic M&M candy case that rattled when it moved so I heard it in the darkness. Jonah was reaching for the front door, I could hear his footsteps, and then a loud crash somewhere near the living room door. "Fuck, you fucking stupid motherf..." he cursed and I think he stumbled on some furniture, falling down on the hard wooden floor.
Finally I could hear the door opening and then instantly slam shut. Jonah had left my apartment, and that was the last time I saw him. He was my best friend. Afterwards I felt so ashamed about the whole thing, I didn't even try to call him in the three weeks that followed. After that I tried calling him, but the number had been disconnected. When I finally had gathered the courage to go to his house, ready to apologize, Jonah's dad answered the door and told me that he had moved away to another city. He said they weren't sure where exactly he was, but I think he was lying. They knew, but didn't tell me.
If it was Jonah himself who told them not to or if it was his dad, it didn't matter. That day in my apartment when we sat in the darkness and listened to "Frankie Teardrop" on PCP, I lost my dear friend Jonah and he wanted nothing to do with me after that incident. The worst part is, I agree with him completely. If someone did that to me, I'd never talk to them again.
And that's why I put up this blog, it's been two years since I last saw Jonah, but I think about him every single day. I wonder how he's doing, I wonder if life has treated him good, what he looks like today. I think about how I destroyed our friendship. I wish I never gave you the drugs, I wish we've never took up the challenge. I know this is a long shot, but Jonah, if you read this blog post some day, please accept my apology and if you still want nothing to do with me, I understand, but I want you to know I feel guilty, and it brings tears to my eyes when I just think about you. I'm so sorry, Jonah. Please forgive me.
First of all, I'd like to thank all of you wonderful people who have sent me private messages, giving support and even sharing my story on social media. You've been so nice to me, I really don't deserve your kindness. I just think I had to write this thing down, I thought it would give me closure, but it really hasn't, in fact it was very painful to rip open these old wounds. I still feel like shit for what I did, and I'm pretty sure Jonah will never read this.
Also, all of the feedback hasn't been nice. I received a private message from a user named "lyinginhell" and it's really not uncommon for me to get mail with Suicide band references, after all I have received a lot of hate mail too for this blog, some people telling me I'm an irresponsible idiot and others pretending to be Jonah, "forgiving me" and stuff, I'm not too butthurt or anything, I guess I deserve the hate.
I thought nothing much of the lyinginhell message when I saw the username, it refers to "Frankie Teardrop", but this message didn't contain any words. It was just a download link. The file name in the link was also named lyinginhell.mp3. I had to check it first with an anti-virus program, in case it was spam or an infected file. But it was a working link with no virus. At that point, I really became uncomfortable. I had no idea what the hell this was. I opened the file in Winamp and it's an audio recording of the following conversation:
(inaudible singing of a woman, like a nursery rhyme of some kind)
Woman: Hey, baby. I'm just putting Johnny to sleep.
Woman: What's the matter, baby?
Man: (again, inaudible)
Woman: Evicted? What? No we aren't.
Man: I'm working from seven to five.
Woman: What's wrong? You're freaking me out.
Man: Things are just too hard.
Woman: I know, baby. But it'll get better. I promise. You've done good, you're a good dad.
Woman: What do you mean? Of course we have enough money.
Man: Not enough food! (a loud scary scream you would hear in a horror movie)
Woman: Stop it! You're gonna wake up Johnny. And you're scaring me.
(baby starts crying loudly)
Woman: See what you did? Now I gotta calm him down.
(baby crying continues)
Man: (another scream, this time with a higher pitch and sounding more agonizing)
(baby crying and screaming)
(baby crying stops)
(woman screaming, gunshot, screaming stops)
(man panting loudly, footsteps)
(the intro for Frankie Teardrop can be heard in the background)
(the recording ends)
So that's basically it. The hate mail I can take, but this... This is just sick. I can't believe some of you trolls are going through the trouble of making this. Some things you just aren't supposed to joke about. What happened between me and Jonah was real, it's not some random story you read on the internet. Please stop, whoever you are. I'm not kidding. And yes, you have succeeded in frightening me, congratulations, now you can crawl back to the hole you came out of. I'm deleting the file right now.
A FAMILY OF THREE FOUND DEAD IN A GRUESOME SCENE
The Landsbury Police went to check on a house on (address censored) and found three bodies inside, each with a gunshot wound to the head, the youngest victim being a six-month old infant. No suspects have been apprehended or questioned so far, the possibility of a murder-suicide has not been ruled out. The Police are still asking around the (address) neighborhood for possible witnesses. Our sources have informed the News World that the victims and the perpetrator are a family and apparently no outsiders are involved. If you have any information regarding this case, don't hesitate to call The Landsbury District at (number censored) or 911. Your help would be warmly welcome.
-Matt Mitchell, Landsbury PD.
THIS BLOG HAS BEEN SHUT DOWN BY ITS ADMINISTRATOR.