I’d been working for months to establish James Donald Gatz as a separate identity. The name itself — the one that Jay Gatsby sheds to start over in The Great Gatsby — was easy for me to remember. More important, due to the prolific amount of Gatsby analysis online, it was basically un-Googleable. The middle name was my own, but Mr. Gatz received an entirely new birthday: July 1, 1976, shaving about a year off my age.
He also got a “research firm,” Bespect LLC, registered in the state of New Mexico and complete with a logo — a bespectacled cartoon man with a mustache — and a Web site at Bespect.com. Gatz’s PayPal account was funded using gift cards. I’d even ordered up a gift card with his name on it that looked to the casual eye like a real credit card.
I’m reading this article in Wired when I came across that line about Bespect.com and paused for a second. For some reason I remembered that website. I checked it, and I was right. Evan Ratliff followed me because he installed my theme (Other News) for his fake business. I even looked right at his picture via the link on the site that used his fake name, James Donald Gatz, and didn’t even recognize him from the September Issue of Wired specifically daring people to find Evan Ratliff. I feel like one of the biggest idiots of all time.