Dear (212) 769-5722 —
Thank you for applying to leave your group text! We were absolutely blown away by the applicant pool this year. We read through many submissions including, but not limited to:
- family you no longer speak to based on their contributing homophobic remarks but who continue to send you baby and dog photos of children and pets you’ve never met, will never meet, and never want to meet
- friend of a friend who is trying to poll 14 people (six of whom you know, eight that are strangers) for a group movie night but keeps mixing up the dates or the times or the dates and times and corrects every spelling error with an *oops! or *ugh sorry or *wait I’m so embarrassed
- close friend circle where all of you suggest the same exact meeting place at the same exact second and then excuse the other to speak first and the other excuses the other to speak first, ad nauseam for 35 minutes while your internet connection cuts out on the metro, delaying incoming and outgoing texts
- group of five acquaintances and one close friend who invite you to intriguing events and because you cannot commit and/or do not care about said event, but under no circumstance want to feel left out, you always respond a cool two hours after everyone else confirms leaving the house. Wish you could be there but just seeing this now!
- colleague text channel where you ask not to be called ‘GIRL!!!!’ every hour, on the hour
- all of your specialist doctors plus your therapist talking amongst themselves to figure out which writhing ailment will get you first; when you say you’re right here in the thread and ask how you even got looped in they ignore you
- group text with four friends you absolutely adore and one friend you secretly consider your number one enemy at large; you wait to respond until after your enemy speaks and you make sure to respond individually to the entire room except for your number one archnemesis because you are a petty-ass bitch
- a text line you started with three of your closest friends who only know you and not each other; you hold all the power
- a text line you created with four friends who live in the same city but your funny meme share has been met with silence for seven hours and now you’re spiraling
- group text filled with nothing but heart reactions, thumbs up reactions, thumbs down reactions, ha ha reactions, or exclamation reactions; no talking is done here
- sidebar group text of a larger, nastier group text; initially created to outrun the original, larger, nastier group chain, this smaller sidebar group chain now has taken on a life of its own and you have no idea how to seamlessly exit both simultaneously, unnoticed
- a chat that you are not initially included in while your other friend is and you ask if she can bring you into the conversation because you have opinions on things too but once you’re introduced you contribute nothing to the table and simply mute the notifications
While your submission was strong and discussed widely due to your gender and sexuality disposition, at this time we unfortunately have to decline and are no longer accepting applicants to create conversation on their own accord. We enjoyed the pacing of your plea and project a .02% inclusion rate of all queer applications. However, in the future we do suggest not leaning so heavily into discrimination or violence. We’ve found that light, solvable, and non-confrontational applications are accepted at a higher rate. Applications will reopen in 2032.
We wish you the very best in caring for your mental health throughout the upcoming years. Should you decide to leave these chats with your own ambition, we recommend biking to the Hudson and throwing your phone into the deepest, darkest spot your arm can manage.
Good luck getting your text count down to 0!
K Chiucarello is a non-binary queer writer and editor living in Brooklyn, NY. They have current and forthcoming work in Trampset, Lammergeier, Slaughterhouse, Nightbird, XRAY Lit, and others. They are a contributing short fiction editor for Barren Magazine. Twitter quips on gender and writing can be found @_kc_kc_kc_. Group texts are the bane of their existence.