AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!
Steve Grogan is an ongoing contributor to Writer to Writers. He has published several short stories on the site, which can be found on the main page under the heading “Steve Grogan’s Fiction.” He has had several poems and short stories published over the years, some of which are available on Amazon. (See the announcement at the end of this post.)
He is the writer and creator of the ongoing, zombie, post-apocalyptic, Romero-meets-Dungeons-and-Dragons webcomic REDemption. Alternatively, Steve describes the comic by saying, “It is to zombie fiction what KILL BILL was to kung fu movies: everything I love about the genre housed under one roof and mixed with my voice.”
October 17, 2008
I woke up this morning to find the room bathed in a strange crimson glow. It was a surreal shade of red. Like a neon sign. At first I thought the world was ending because it looked like a nuclear dawn to me, but I knew that couldn’t be true there was no searing heat. My flesh hadn’t melted off my bones.
I walked over to the living room windows. As my eyes adjusted to the glare, I saw that none of my shades had been drawn. This was why the room had been covered in such a bizarre hue. It was nothing more than the good old first rays of the new rising sun. There was nothing special about today.
Now that I think about it, you could say the same of every day.
October 18, 2008
Today I woke up from a very bizarre dream. I was in my bedroom, getting dressed for work. There was a man standing by the window. Light poured in over his shoulder, illuminating him like a halo. It was an appropriate effect because somehow I knew this wasn’t just an ordinary man; he was an angel. He never mentioned that word, but my dream-world came with this information already programmed into my brain, and apparently, the dream had decided to start without me because the next time I spoke, it seemed like I was in the middle of a conversation.
“It just doesn’t make any sense to me,” I said.
“Go on,” the angel encouraged me.
“Well, the Bible was originally written in a language that doesn’t translate to English too good, right?” I asked.
The angel nodded in confirmation.
“So what if some things weren’t translated correctly? In other words, the English language Bible says that adultery is a sin. What if it wasn’t though? And what if there are things that we thought aren’t sins, but they really are? Would God hold that against us and make us all burn in hell because of a bad translation?” I asked. “You’d think if He wanted us all to follow His rules, then He would have given us some languages that translated from one to the other a little easier. Either that, or give us all one universal language. But then again, that’s just the way I see it. What do you think?”
With the slightest hint of a grin on his face, the angel said, “Well, you certainly do raise some interesting points.”
“Thank you,” I said.
“And since I talk to the Big Man directly, I can give you an answer,” he said.
“I’m all ears.”
Then, just as the angel opened his mouth to share the Creator’s wisdom, my alarm clock went off. I never heard a single word of his reply.
October 20, 2008
It had been several days since my chat room experience with DandyAndy. That encounter had made me a little bit cautious about entering the room again. After all, my purpose in logging on was to have friendly conversation, not to fend off annoyingly persistent homosexuals.
It didn’t take long for the loneliness to lure me back in there. I needed human contact in some form, even if it was just words on a screen. On top of that there was always that nifty little “ignore member” button if I received any unwanted advances. So why not give it another chance?
With all that in mind, I made yet another voyage into the chat room about a week later. This time the outcome was much better.
The first difference I noticed was that it was much more active than the last time I dropped in. Messages scrolled by in a blur. If you read the chat room from top to bottom, it didn’t even make much sense. Everyone was picking and choosing which messages they wanted to reply to, so the text read like a bunch of fragmented conversations.
It was all so overwhelming that at first I just sat there, staring blankly at the screen, seeing the messages scroll by but not reading them. Now there was TOO much activity! What was I going to say?
I remembered I had no agenda in mind other than going into the chat room to talk with people. There was no need or desire to impress anyone. In my messages, I didn’t have to come off like I was trying to sound like a bad ass (you get a lot of guys who talk tough behind a keyboard), nor did I need to try sounding like I was a smooth, seductive ladies’ man. With that in mind, I decided that all I had to do was act the same way I would if these people met me in person. Hold the same kind of conversations. React in the same way. Voice that same opinions, likes, dislikes, etc. At long last I put my fingers to the keyboard, and I did exactly that: I entered that chat room as the real me.
To be honest it is a real pain to try to describe a chat room experience. It’s one of those things you must see to understand. Not only that, but a lot of the conversation consisted of these two people (with the screen names Dreaming4U85 and Troman2007) just going back and forth bashing each other. The only person talking to me about anything meaningful was a guy named Guitarman33, but he signed off after only ten minutes of conversation.
I think I will leave the boring stuff behind and get to the real intriguing part of my online experience, which didn’t even occur in the room itself. Instead, this juicy little development happened via several instant messages. The whole thing still feels so surreal, almost like a dream, but I know it happened because I saved the messages. In fact, I plan on putting them here in these pages. Let me get started right now.
Like I said, the rest of the chat room talk consisted of two people going back and forth. I was about to sign off when, out of nowhere, I received an instant message from someone named Sicily32FNY. The first message was just a simple hello. I replied in kind while checking out this person’s profile.
Her name was Donna. She was indeed originally from Sicily and had just turned thirty-two. When she was only four, her family moved to America. At first they lived in New York City but, when the crime and poverty became too much for them, they decided to relocate to Alban when she was nine. That was where she still lived to this day.
Siciliy32FNY: you’re funny
LBM2003: thanks… I wish I had a compliment for you, but I don’t recall seeing you talk in the room at all
Sicily32FNY: LOL that’s cos I wasn’t talking…I was away from my computer up until a few minutes ago
Sicily32FNY: forgot to put my away message up, just came back and saw you talking in the room
LBM2003: okay, so why not say hi to me in the room?
Sicily32FNY: felt like talking to you one on one
LBM2003: I see…well, that’s very flattering
We talked for about a half an hour. She sent me her picture. There are men out there who think women hit the wall at age thirty. Well, they must have never seen a thirty-two-year-old that looked like Donna. She had blonde hair that was so bright it seemed to glow. And the eyes! The most seductive pair of brown eyes I’d ever seen in my entire life!
LBM2003: you’re gorgeous
Siciliy32FNY: thanks…you got a pic?
LBM2003: no, but I could take one on my cell and send it if you could wait
I took a picture of myself and then sent it to my own AOL email. Then, after removing every occurrence of my cell phone number, I sent the picture on to her. She replied seconds later.
Sicily32FNY: wow, funny AND cute
LBM2003: LOL thanks
Siciliy32FNY: you’re welcome
Sicily32FNY: wanna meet somewhere for coffee or something?
Oh my, and there it was. One of many questions I’d wanted to hear a female ask me for so long, but now it did me no good because I couldn’t act on it. Bad timing, the story of my fucking life!
LBM2003: not yet…we just started talking
LBM2003: let’s get to know each other a little more
Sicily32FNY: wow, that must be a first
LBM2003: what’s that?
Siciliy32FNY: a guy turning down a woman, especially here on AOL
LBM2003: LOL well what can I say? I like to separate myself from the pack
Siciliy32FNY: I can tell
Sicily32FNY: well if you feel we should get to know each other more first, then that’s what we’ll do
LBM2003: cool, glad you weren’t offended by that or anything. I’ve been hurt bad before, and I don’t want to go through that again
Siciliy32FNY: I understand…same here
Shortly after that I decided to log off. I said good bye to Donna before I left, and she wished me sweet dreams. This ends the story for that night, but not for good. More about that tomorrow. For now, it’s time to go to dreamland.
October 21, 2008
Donna and I wound up talking the very next night. During our conversation, it didn’t take me long to realize why people liked chat rooms so much. You didn’t have to worry about your clothes, your hair, or your body language. All you had to worry about was what you said. Then again, the anonymity of the internet made it so you didn’t even need to be too cautious about your words either! Did you feel like going into a room and being a total dickhead? Go ahead; no one can find out where you live. Also, if you go into a chat room and damage your reputation beyond repair, then you could simply create a new screen name and start fresh!
She asked if I was comfortable enough to meet yet, and I said, “No. You really have to give me more than a day to develop a sense of trust here.”
I guess two refusals were enough for her because she stopped talking to me after that, but I didn’t mind. I just went back to the chat room to make new friends. And there were plenty more where Donna came from. Soon my screen was filled by so many instant message boxes that I couldn’t even see the chat room anymore.
At first I couldn’t understand this phenomenon. After all, I was the same guy I had been in high school. Women hadn’t flocked to me then. Soon I came to realize the truth behind it all: in the chat room, I wasn’t afraid to be myself, to make any kind of joke or say how I felt about a given topic. This gave the impression that I had one of those “I don’t give a fuck” kind of attitudes. That was what made women want to talk to me.
That got compounded by the fact that I turned them down when they wanted to meet. If you could believe their profile pictures, a lot of them were hot! So here I was, an average-looking guy turning down these chat room beauties. It made them wonder, “What the hell does he have going on that he’s turning down a catch like me?” And not all of them gave up like Donna. Some of them pursued me very aggressively, trying all sorts of tricks to get me to meet them. For example, one woman told me she had never tried anal sex before but would be willing to give it a shot with me. My fear of leaving the house is what made me say no, but they didn’t know that. To them I was just playing hard to get. Some women think of that as more of a turn-on than the biggest bank account or the hardest set of six-pack abs. The downside to all of this? I couldn’t even put that sweet aphrodisiac to work for me.
Like I said earlier, bad timing seems to be a common feature in my life. I can’t tell you how many times in high school and college I’d meet a girl I had great chemistry with, only to find out she was going steady with someone. Then look at what happened once I came back to New York and got settled into a place. My cock decided to pull this Plastic Man act on me. Finally got my own apartment, and I don’t dare have anyone here. No girlfriend. Definitely can’t have a roommate. Hell, I can’t even have some friends over for one lousy party. All thanks to the size curse.
It makes me wonder sometimes what’s worse: not having anyone interested in me, or knowing several people would go out with me but I can’t act on it. Having experienced both, I’d say it’s the latter.
If you like what you have read and would like to purchase this serialized novel as one complete PDF, then please send $3.50 to Steve via PayPal: firstname.lastname@example.org
Also, don’t forget to check out his other writing at the following links below:
Author: Redemption Comics
Steve Grogan was born in the often-filmed city of Troy, NY. He has written in a variety of formats (novels, short stories, poems, screen and stage plays, blogs/articles) and genres (horror, science fiction, fantasy, mystery, drama).
Steve is also a father, a boyfriend, a musician, a fitness fanatic, and a martial artist. He has been studying Wing Chun Kung Fu since 1995, and he maintains a blog/YouTube channel that describe his training habits, epiphanies, and advancement. It also candidly discusses his stumbling blocks, such as his struggle with nutrition and mental health issues.
He is no relation to the New England Patriots quarterback from the 1980’s.