“Gross.” I turn another page of the book I’d been reading for the past hour and consider stopping right then and there. I don’t get it. The plot is totally unrealistic, the characters are dull, and it still somehow made multiple bestselling lists.
Maybe I’m not the target audience, maybe I never will be, but it takes another three seconds, two paragraphs filled with the romantic exploits of the manliest hero this author could think of, and a statement from the heroine about his muscles and her gratefulness, for me to put it down. Peasant reads, that’s what I call them, because they promise you something new, yet it’s always same old, same old.
Now, it’s officially another boring day; I wish it weren’t so. My apartment is empty, I’ve nothing else to do. So, I open up my emails and reply to my boss’s request for becoming a moderator on one of Warrior Tribe XIV’s servers.
‘I have some free time, I believe I could do it.’
If I’m being honest with myself, I’m not sure how I feel about socialising with strangers, but it’s likely this’ll win me some bonus points at work, so who am I to complain?
My computer makes a sound that’s much too adorable for it to be coming from a machine. It’s my boss. He’s already replied, and I suppose I should be thankful, for this means I won’t perish from millennial syndrome—having too much time on my hands—just yet.
‘Alexandra! Thank you, that’s fantastic!
You’ve been so productive lately, I’m very happy to have someone like you on board as a moderator!
Please find the key to register alongside the link to our brand-new website below.
I don’t know what else to tell him, so I just reply: Thank you. And that’s that, I’m done with this interaction for tonight as I open up the site and punch in the key.
A familiar mascot welcomes me, if I were a narcissist, perhaps I would brag about how I brought him to life, but I’m just a depressed twenty-one-year-old whose biggest pre-occupation is getting his breasts removed, so I tell myself I shouldn’t let it stroke my ego too much, because if it weren’t me, they could have very well taken someone else without hesitation; I was just in the right place, at the right time.
The moderator program takes enough time to install for me to have a pseudo-existential crisis in between. The mascot pops up again, this time, it asks me to enter my name.
I let my hands linger against the keyboard. I type, Alexandra, because I thought it would be fine since it’s for work, but it’s not. It makes me borderline suicidal. I delete the name and replace it with, Alexander. This time, it feels right, yet too personal, like it’s something only I should know about.
I start thinking that I officially hate this more than the romance novel, even more so because I can’t turn back now that I told my boss I would do it.
A sigh escapes past my lips. I lean back against my chair and close my eyes. When I blink again, I’ve entered the word: Cloud.
It’s not hard to fill the rest in, and soon, I’m in.
Thank you for registering, Cloud.
It’s a waiting game now, though I suppose it won’t take too long since there are always pesky teenagers signing up—ones who never read the manual nor watch the tutorials, and end up complaining about not understanding how to accept a stupid quest.
As if summoned by witchcraft, I get my first notification.
spicypug008: oh thank baby jesus
That’s a strange way to start the conversation, but I suppose this is my life now.
spicypug008: i’m at a party right now
spicypug008: and i think this girl might’ve swallowed a lot of lemons
Okay, so he’s pranking me…and since I’m technically customer service, I can’t do anything about it. Great.
spicypug008: STUPID AUTOCRECT
spicypug008: oh and now you don’t work
spicypug008: no she
spicypug008: swallowed lemons
spicypug008: … LEMONS!
spicypug008: okay. D R U G S
spicypug008: like, hard lemons
spicypug008: okay I give up
spicypug008: but basically: she’s not breathing, and I don’t know what to do because when my mate’s parents get home they’re just gonna find this girl on the floor and I know we don’t know each other but you’re the only one I can count on right now so please help me.
Cloud: I’m perplexed. You are at a party, and yet the only help you can find is a moderator from your Warrior Tribe XIV server?
spicypug008 is typing.
spicypug008 has stopped typing.
Cloud: Please don’t tell me you all took lemons.
spicypug008: uhhhhhhhhhhh, maybe with a capital M?
spicypug008: PLEAASeereghjrklemds PLEASE PLEASE TTPLEAAE
I shake my head. If this truly isn’t a joke, my generation is depraved, and I fear for our future as a species.
Cloud: Well…sure…since you asked so nicely…I have nothing better to do anyway. Have you considered calling 911?
spicypug008: I can’t
Cloud: Not planning on supplying a reason?
spicypug008: You use a lot of fancy nondas
spicypug008: they’ll know about the lemons if I call
spicypug008: ANDD WE’RE ScReWed
Cloud: So, you’re just going to watch your friend die?
spicypug008: she’s not my friend
spicypug008: I don’t even know her
spicypug008: they’ll take my consoles cloud
Cloud: Are you twelve?
spicypug008: I’Mm 22!!!
spicypug008: also, I probably won’t be allowed to take the car anymore. That also sucks.
Cloud: The human race has yet again proven to be extremely selfish.
spicypug008: my girlfriend will dump me if she finds out because she’s totally against lemons and I’m not supposed to be here
Cloud: I’m sure she’ll leave you anyway since you’re letting a poor girl die over video games.
spicypug008: AND DRIVING PRIVILEDGE!!! AND BOOZE!! MY FREEDOM WILL BE LOST!!!!!!!
Cloud: You should consider renaming yourself to selfishoath008.
spicypug008: what’s a shellfish oath
spicypug008: you make me sigh
spicypug008: a lot
Cloud: You make me laugh.
spicypug008: Your a dick
Man, this guy’s an idiot.
Cloud: Call the ambulance, Spicy.
Cloud: And grab a dictionary too, while you’re at it.
spicypug008: Ok fine.
spicypug008: But I’m gonna get hella banned from going out for a looooooooong time.
spicypug008: So I’ll be on here a bit.
spicypug008: A lot
spicypug008: Every day
spicypug008: So can you be there if
Cloud: Just call them before she dies, please.
He leaves the chatroom.
It takes me a moment to process what just happened, and suddenly, I don’t really feel like doing anything anymore.
I log out.
Gods, I think as I rise to my feet and walk into my bedroom.
That was exhausting.