A week ago, on April 11, I came across a Craigslist post entitled, "Did we hook up at the Megadeth/Motorhead concert? - w4m - 28 (Aragon Ballroom)." The post detailed a woman's experience attending a Megadeth/Motorhead concert in Chicago, getting knocked up in the bathroom, and, finally, attempting to contact the father through a Craigslist missed connection ad.
I immediately e-mailed the anonymized Craigslist e-mail address asking if she'd like to speak to Fuse about the post and her experience at the concert, but after a few hours, nobody had replied to my email, so I reproduced the Craigslist ad in its entirety in a post on Fuse here.
By the end of the week, my post had been written about on Gawker, the New York Daily News, the International Business Times and about a hundred other outlets. The post had become, especially in the music world, a viral sensation.
And then, yesterday, long after I'd moved on from the hope that the woman who put up the ad would email me back, she did.
I was excited to talk to her to further the story. In her email, she said that she'd be willing to talk but mentioned that I had to call her "Crash," to protect her job. I emailed back my phone number. A few hours later, at about 11:00 PM, Crash called me.
We spoke for about thirty seconds, and she told me, nervously, that she was 23 (not 28 as the ad said) and from a small town in Kansas (not Chicago as the ad said) and then, once it started to set in that this was a hoax and I was kind of struggling for words and thinking about the look on my editor's face when I told him, she said, anxiously and quietly, "I'm going to make this easy for you: It was a joke. I'm really, really sorry. I didn't mean to trick you."
I asked her if we could speak today, and she said yes. She apologized again.
So I called Crash this afternoon and asked how the whole thing started.
"It started from not sleeping very much and starting a new medication that kept me awake. I was just so bored being awake all day and all night, and I was surfing the internet non-stop. I read some Craigslist Missed Connections posts and I found them funny, so I decided to put one up to, ummm... Make this boy laugh."
She stifles a giggle. "Yeah, he's a friend. Just a friend. The ad has inside jokes in it, but only he would understand them."
I ask her if she was actually at the Megadeth/Motorhead concert, and she laughs and says, "I was not there. I cannot name any Megadeth or Motorhead songs. I was just trying to find something that looked like it had happened long enough ago that someone could by now know that they were pregnant from it."
Laughing, she continues, "And I’m pretty sure there were people banging at that concert, by the way, based on email responses from a few terrified concertgoers who thought that they had impregnated me. I may not be pregnant, but someone is. There’s no way there weren't a few accidental pregnancies. I’m anticipating the world’s greatest Maury episode."
I ask her when she realized the post had gone viral, and she goes, "I had no idea it was happening. In fact, I didn’t know for a few days after it happened. It wasn’t until Sunday night that I found out." The post was up on Wednesday. "I had been so busy working I didn’t know."
"You didn’t check your e-mail?"
"I saw that I had a lot of e-mails but I hadn’t looked at them. But then, the second I saw it was going viral, I was like, 'Oh my gosh, this is the most awesome thing that’s ever happened to me and probably ever will!'"
She continues, "I can’t believe this silly little thing that I made is everywhere. I saw it on CBS and MSNBC and people were sending me messages saying that they were hearing it on radio stations near them all over the country, and I’m like 'Oh my God, what did I do!'"
I ask her how many responses she got, and she says, "Between 200 and 300, including inquiries from The Washington Post, The Chicago Reader and The Chicago Sun." She also says that she got threatening emails from Christian activists and horny men.
I ask if the people in her life know about the hoax and she says that her close friends do, but "luckily, it hasn’t hit work yet. And I’m really hoping it never does. My job has a very specific no-media clause in my contract."
"Can you tell me what you do?"
"Let's say I’m in the culinary industry and I work for an entertainment venue." I politely ask her if she's a cocktail waitress, and she laughs and gives in: "I'm a chef."
I ask Crash, "Why'd you pick Megadeth and Motorhead?"
"All the other concerts around that time were little dinky local band things or soft music or jazz. None of them really seemed like banging in the bathroom-type concerts. When I saw something about the Megadeth/Motorhead show, I was like, 'That’s the one.'"
Finally, I ask, "Have you heard people talking about it?"
Crash goes, "Yes! I heard people talking about it on the radio at work, and everyone else was listening and laughing and I was just trying my hardest trying not to die laughing because I know the whole story." She laughs.
I ask Crash if she has anything else to add, and she says, "I guess I know people are probably going to be upset about the whole thing, they’re probably going call it a hoax. I just hope people know I wasn’t trying to mess with anyone, it was just supposed to be a silly thing that was never supposed to get this big. But I did it to make a friend laugh, and it worked. I’m pretty sure it made other people laugh, too. So as long as more people laughed than got upset, then I’ll be okay with it."
I thank her for talking to me and she asks me not to portray her as a dick and I say I don't think she's a dick, and then we get off the phone, and I feel, I guess, a little relieved because there won't be, you know, a child born from a union in a Megadeth/Motorhead concert bathroom.