Justin died at 34. He was a popular social media influencer with millions of followers across his various social media accounts. It was 10.30 am. He was creating that motivational poster that he does every morning as his first work. He started feeling uncomfortable in his chest, followed by a crushing pain. He called the ambulance and waited patiently. He lived alone. He rented that condo for two weeks a week back. He photoshoot himself doing casual daily chores all over the condo for him to post for the whole year in his accounts.
Time went slowly. He felt bored. His neighbors crossed his entrance. One noticed and asked if he is ok. Justin said he has called the ambulance and it is on its way. The neighbor stood there for a while and left. He had no one to call. He did not have anyone to say goodbye to. He did not have anyone to write a letter written with a pen on an actual paper to. He waited patiently trying to stabilize his breath. The crushing pain did not seem to progress anywhere. It was constant.
He was conscious. He opened his posts he created to pass some time till the ambulance arrives. He started his influencer career by posting other’s quotes but then soon he realized, he himself can write good quotes.
Winners Never Sleep. Losers Never Wakeup.
is his favorite one. Or, this one.
Marry your life. Its once. If you divorce it, you won’t get another.
Or this one.
My boss never dreams. He works. I’m my own boss.
He had roughly written a thousand quotes in his accounts. People loved it. Just one more quote that made the dying man proud.
When things go south, I go north and have a good time with santa.
That quote was to represent how cool Justin is. That worked to some extent. People commented on his creativity and lateral thinking. One final quote,
Tea or Coffee? the shopkeeper asked. Which one is costly? I asked.
The quote was to represent how financially free Justin is. It made some cringe. But there is always going to be a group that appreciates. People loved it. Or look at this quote. This is the last one I promise.
If you save your money for tomorrow, you tell the universe that you wont work tomorrow.
The consumer mentality is helpful for anyone doing a business. What business did Justin do? He is an influencer till he dies. He promotes affiliated stuff and gets paid for that. He was careless in the beginning and finetuned himself to promote health products after figuring out that brings in more money.
The tea keeps me awake all 48 hours a day. Not all tea. But this.
He sneaks the products into the quotes. He knows people see through it. But he knows people with pure hearts won’t. They click the link and buy that unnecessarily costly tea for Justin to get a commission. It was going well.
Home is not home. It is your control room.
Umm… I too don’t get what he means. Let's move on. Where were we? Okay. Justin is dying sitting on his sofa waiting for the ambulance guys to show up. He lived all alone. He teamed up with an influencer named Erica for being his girlfriend in his pictures. She absolutely hated his company but liked being in his videos and pictures to be seen by thousands of people.
Love is life. Life runs out with out love.
He posted pictures with Erica with these quotes. Some of his audience were not happy with his transition to love life. Some blamed Erica for Justin’s lower posts those days. In fact, Erica visited Justin’s place for eight days in total and shot content for almost six months. After six months, when the content ran out they decided to break up.
Erica started teaming up with other influencers. Mike was one particular one with whom the audience felt some intimacy. Justin’s audience got agitated with that. Justin did not respond to this for long. He continued with his day to day quotes like
Who’s Justin without money? Justin. Who’s Justin without a home? Justin. Who’s Justin without water? Dead. #SaveWater
People were so touched that he cares about water and earth more than his own relationship that’s at stake. His audience abused Erica in whatever she uploads. She then admitted the breakup.
He was my Justin. But he’s Just out.
Justin’s fans erupted and cried for an explanation from Justin. Justin opened up after building enough pressure for a couple of days.
Yes people. We broke up. Thanks for caring. This doesn’t change a thing. Lets move on.
But Justin did not move on. He filed a case accusing Erica of domestic violence. Erica refused that as planned. But the news picked up the case very well. Like any news story, Justin-Erica story needed some solid back story and vivid characterization. Erica and Justin worked with the news to bring interesting content for the news websites every day. Erica was made to accuse Justin of overworking and not maintaining a work-life balance. Many people agreed and supported Erica for leaving Justin.
Who is Justin without Erica? A productive Justin.
Justin was quickly becoming a symbol of hustle and productivity.
Justin withdrew the case when the topic started losing views. It was a happy ending for both the influencers multiplying their followers count by a few folds.
Where is your girlfriend my friends asked. I showed my laptop ‘Here she is’
Justin did not have any friends visiting him to ask about a girlfriend he never had. He lived all alone by himself from his teenage age. He was approached by girls through his accounts. He thought it was not appropriate for his image and also was not really into people.
He was a very busy man. He worked 16 hour days all day. He reads a lot of self-help books. He believed he did not copy ideas from the self-help books but it makes him think to produce elite-level quotes like the below one.
The rich won’t give up. They are born that way. The poor gives up. They are grew up that way.
At the time the heart attack struck, he was working on a quote that went as follows.
Carrots are good for the eyes. Eyes are good for seeing. Seeing is good for knowledge. Knowledge is...
He wanted to finish that quote. Even if he dies, his last quote should be epic enough to withstand the test of time.
Then what? Knowledge is good for carrots? No. That is bad. The circular nature of the quote is to encourage. But it is definitely bad. Maybe we can have a twist in the quote. How about, ‘But knowledge sometimes destroys nature!’. This twist supports and elevates his love for nature but it sounds degrading for the hard workers who follow him. What comes next? He wondered. The quotes just come by nature to him. He struggles in very few quotes like this one. Maybe it was his chest that was uncomfortable stopping him from finishing that.
Can I type while being taken to the hospital? Maybe I’ll get something interesting on the way. What if the ambulance guys remove my phone from me? He wondered.
What about a subdued ending? Like, ‘and... Knowledge is everything.’ or how about ‘and… Knowledge brings more than carrots!’. But, why would people care about carrots? Justin never liked carrots.
He deleted the quote. He closed photoshop. He closed other windows and looked at his wallpaper on his laptop. There was him standing in front of the Eiffel tower showing the peace sign. He remembered him being more than busy the day he visited Paris. He stayed for two days in two hotels and had to shoot content for a month to post in his account. That was very hard. It should have been a relaxed trip he wondered.
Suddenly it clicked for him. He realized if he dies, he does not have to run like that. He does not have to upload content that his stupid followers like every day. He does not have to come up with stupid quotes like the below.
Hard work is bad work. Smart work is rad work.
It cracked him up. He remembered spending hours perfecting that crappy quote. And yet here it is cringy as hell. He read another one of his quotes.
Be you. Because it’s you.
The top liked comment under the quote read this, ‘Yur merchs are the one thing that keeps me alive. I’m crying.’ He laughed uncontrollably. ‘How pathetic of a life form!’ he said shaking his head.
He felt like getting released from a nasty jail. He passed out and away smiling peacefully.
No one reported his death on social media. The hospital followed the procedure and announced him as an unidentifiable person in a newspaper no one read and buried him when no one claimed him. His followers were upset that he just disappeared. Some felt very down without his positive influence. People started posting about his missing in Erica’s comments section. Erica tried his phone but could not get to him. She waited and found an opportunity for a television series. She approached an online streaming service AntJ and told them about the story and its potential.
Where are you, Justin? -Erica
…became a program. She broke up with her current boyfriend for doing this project. Immediately after the project was greenlit, the team behind AntJ found what happened to Justin but decided not to reveal that to the public or to Erica. Erica too wanted to have her expressions natural and spontaneous on camera.
Where are you, Justin? was undeniably interesting and fun to watch with Erica going all over the world to investigate Justin.
Season 1 was all about his family and friends. Who were his friends? The upcoming influencers. The team brought an interesting story about his family which hooked the family audience into the show. Season 2 explored the possibility of Justin becoming a monk. Erica explored the nook and corners of the Himalayan belts and Buddhist monasteries. In season 3, they went on a criminal angle of the case. They explored the possibilities of how Justin could have been killed in various gruesome manners.
Season 4 took an unexpected turn altogether. It was named Right under our noses? Erica and crew find that he spent his last days in a condo. The pre-climax S04E07 gives the big reveal about Justin’s death. The S04E08 discusses the aftermath and ends with a bang.
The last shot runs for 12 minutes and was taken in a single take. Erica visits an old cabin where they go to spend the weekends away from the otherwise noisy world. She finds a whole bunch of love letters Justin wrote and kept for himself. Erica cries out loud. She also finds the last letter he wrote amid his chest pain. She starts reading it. The camera pans out and fades away from her. Credits roll in silence. She keeps reading with a sobbing voice.
I think this is it. I’m worried I may not see you again. I want you now but I know I can’t. Life was nothing without love. You Erica… *112 more words*
The letter was carefully crafted as it should wrap things pretty well to a satisfying ending for the whole series. It needs to be short as he wrote that having a heart attack. The writing crew discussed the possibility of making his death a suicide for his loss of love from Erica. But discarded that idea for making him a wrong role model.
In the letter, Justin bids a warm goodbye to his audience and mentions Erica 17 times.
Where are you, Justin? went on to become a huge hit. Erica soon got her place in another hit TV program which shut celebrities in a home for a year and entertained people from the conflicts that arise.
‘You are a pathetic liar. And everyone knows that.’ Erica shouted at her inmate.
‘And you? You are a heart attack inducer!’ The inmate provoked her.
Erica turned to her and punched her face.
The production manager came down. ‘Did the tooth come off?’. He inspected and said ‘Once more.’ and went behind the camera.
‘You. You are a pathetic liar! and everyone knows that!’ Erica yelled.
‘And who are you? A heart attack inducer?’ The inmate provoked her again with ugly body language.
Erica walked up to her and punched harder this time.