/Whois - Chapter 11 - Chess and Other Obsessions

 

To cut and paste various parts of different conversations to a third party was usually considered in good fun. A form of sharing if you will. However, there was one sacred trust that was inviolable. It was called "the log." With the press of a button, you could record the text of any given conversation. For the more paranoid chatter, logging was a given.

Logs were the only proof a chatter's misdeeds, or exoneration from an accused misdeed. It was considered reprehensible therefore to alter a log in any manner. Nearly as frowned upon was the sharing of logs that communicated conversation held in sacred trust. Nobody wanted to pour out their heart and soul to somebody, only to find the other person was bugged. And while we all wanted to believe that would never be the case amongst friends, you were still careful of what you said...just in case. Unless you could deal with the idea that whatever you had said could become public knowledge, you chose your words carefully.

I didn't have a solid plan on how I would expose Male1 for the sick, obsessive, lying creep that he was. I had a starting point...and nothing more. Most of my success would be dependent on having chosen the participants well...and being accurate in my assessment of their personalities.

I'm a fairly decent chess player, thanks to my brother...my father...and the chess club team that I was hijacked into joining my senior year in high school. This was, in my opinion a chess match...between Male1 and me. It would involve strategy...staying ahead of him at all times, being flexible enough to alter that strategy if necessary...and a good first move.

I chose a pawn...and nudged it forward gently.

"Dear Kali:

I know you probably won't answer this...you may not even read this. But it is time we talked. There are things that you need to know...and I worry that because you don't know these things, you may be harmed. I have proof now and I'll show you.

Love,

Sno"

As I hit the send button, I was filled with a strong self-loathing. This was my friend, and no matter that we were currently at a standstill in our relationship, I was not above using her. Sure, I convinced myself that it was really in her best interest to know the truth and that I was doing this for purely altruistic reasons. But you and I know that wasn't so. I wanted back in the imaginarium...and I would do what I had to in order to make that happen.

I was also banking heavily on the fact that between the time it took to send that e-mail and for Kali to finally decide that she wanted to communicate (and I had no doubt in my mind that she would), I could somehow find this proof that I had promised her. Because Male1 had no idea we were playing a chess game, I had the luxury of getting a few moves ahead of him. After a little bit of thought, I put the last pieces into play and then sat back to wait.

It was crucial to my plan that Otter stay out of it until the dust had settled. He was too hot-headed, unable to think dispassionately when it came to injustice of any kind. And while I have infinite patience when it comes to luring my prey into the web, Otter would have been a distraction. For both of our sanities, we agreed that until the alls clear signal went out, we'd limit our communications to the phone or e-mail.

The last player was my opponent.

It didn't take long for him to take the bait. All I had to do was show up in my studio...alone...for a couple of days.

Male1: Well hi!

My mind created a picture of him sitting at his computer...smiling an innocuous "long time no see" smile. Without hesitation I depressed the button that would log this conversation...

Male1: So my little birdie returns to the nest...and without her otter...? I'm sorry hon...but I did warn you.

Male1: It's okay...we all make mistakes. I forgive you. Just like you forgave me that woman I slept with...right?

Male1: Not talking to me?

Male1: You are so adorable when you are mad. I can just see you in there trying hard to ignore me.

Male1: Haha!

Male1: What's the matter sno...couldn't handle the heat so you ran away?

Male1: You made this mess...why don't you stop being a coward and clean it up.

Male1: If you at least admit to me you fucked up...I'll even help. I'll make it easy for you to come back...all it will take is a small suggestion to Straycat and we can pretend that this never happened.

Snobird: What about Kali?

Male1: Ah...she speaks.

Male1: It was truly unfortunate about Kali...I even felt bad about it for a while. You just made me so very angry my little bird. You can't possibly blame me for doing what I had to do...

Male1: Can you?

Male1: Fine then...don't talk to me. Obviously you need some more time to think about it before you come to your senses. But I'm patient...and I love you very much...so I'll wait.

Male1: That's just the kind of guy I am sno...I'm nothing if not loyal.

Male1: Don't you agree? Haven't I been very patient with you?

Snobird: I have to go...make.... I have to make dinner.

Male1: Oh! Well then of course by all means...mustn't keep the hubby waiting. I am sure we'll have plenty of time later to catch up.

My flesh was crawling...even from this brief textual contact...but I was pretty sure I had enough to do what I needed to do. I'd have to fill in some of the gaps, but I've always been pretty good at telling a convincing story. I was pretty sure that Kali would enjoy this one.

In my defense, I only told Kali the truth...stressing that this was merely the truth from my perspective based almost entirely on "feelings." Well...most of the truth anyway. I left out the part about the erotic e-mails that Otter and I were currently engaged in. Once I'd told my tale, I presented her with the log...unaltered.

Snobird: Read this...and then tell me what you see. Okay?

Kali: k

Snobird: I won't be offended in the least if you say something like...geesh Sno, aren't you maybe over-reacting? In a way...I sorta hope you do say that...but somehow I don't think you will.

Kali: k

I'd learned long ago that when Kali said "k"...it meant, I'm listening...but I'm capable of making up my own mind and therefore all your chatter is rather insignificant.

So I shut up.

Kali: Sno?

Snobird: Yeah?

Kali: I had no idea...

Snobird: I know...that's why I had to show you. But I had to give you some space for a while because if I'd told you all this then...you wouldn't have believed me. You were so angry...and I was just too hurt. I came back because I missed you...and because I couldn't stand the idea that this smarmy bastard was in my room...MY room...

Kali: I know...I know...I'm so sorry sweetie. I was wrong...we were wrong. And trust me, we've been paying the price for it. Since you've been gone things have been horrible. Stray has taken over the channel and well, you know how he is. We're hemorrhaging members left and right because nobody wants to be in the same room with him.

Snobird: Is there anything I can do to help?

*Kali smiles*

Kali: Unless I'm mistaken...you just have. I'm not guaranteeing ANYTHING...but I'll give it a shot. Let's see if we can put the garbage out and get our channel back, hmmm?

Snobird: Kewl...

Kali: Oh...and sno?

Snobird: Yeah?

Kali: I'm glad Otter met you. Of any one of my friends that I could have chosen to be with him...it would have been you. I was never really angry about the fact that you and he were friends...I was just hurt that nobody TOLD me.

So I waited...and waited some more. Kali tried to keep me up to date on the progress...the shit storm that was wreaking mayhem in the channel, but it wasn't the same as being there. I thought about trying to slip into the door in disguise, but I didn't want to ruin a good potential outcome. In my studio, with the door locked, I bided my time and waited for the invitation that i was sure would come...eventually.

Kali: Sno? You need to come back now...

I didn't need to be told twice. Much to my pleasant surprise, not only was I greeted with hugs and ebullient welcomes, I even had my @ back. Nobody talked about "the incident" however and so I had to draw bits and pieces out in various private chats to finally get a clearer picture of just what had happened.

Chat by chat, Kali had planted the seeds of truth into different conversations. Some sprouted instantly, others she had to nurture and grow. She sowed seeds of discontent and rebellion mixed in and since Straycat was a problem they mutually agreed had to be solved, these plants sprung up quickly. They spread and wrapped their tendrils around those who knew what the channel had been before all of this drama...and they wanted their room back.

Straycat did not go down without a fight...but in doing so, he left no doubt as to his true nature. Sensing blood and victory, the regulars were relentless. Amidst dying promises that there would be hell to pay once Kimbrr found out about all this, he left the imaginarium...and on his heels followed Male1, a bit baffled about how this had all transpired but astutely seeing my hand behind it.

It was a worry...the whole Kimbrr finding out part. She was after all one of the channel founders. What would she think about us driving her lover out of the room? In all honesty, we weren't sure. Besides, Kimbrr had been oddly absent for a while. She had set her boy toy loose in the room and then disappeared, paying no attention to his bad behavior. Surely, she wouldn't blame us for his ostracism.

But she did...for a while anyway. In the midst of our celebrating, she walked in, handed the room keys to Kali and disappeared once again.

Male1: I have to congratulate you...it takes a very special type of person to do what you've done and come out smelling like a rose.

Male1: If I'm not being so bold...how did you do it?

Male1: Did you tell them lies?

Male1: Did you spin a good tale about the poor little snobird?

Male1: I know how you are with words...so I can just imagine it.

Male1: So what words did you use....want to share them with me?

Male1: Hmmm?

Male1: No?

Male1: Then I must be right...you lied.

Male1: Or you could tell me...

Male1: What magical words did my little birdie whisper into everyone's ear...

Snobird: Yours.

Then, as I watched, Male1 changed his nickname to OldShoes. He added a balcony to my studio and slowly began to climb up to it.

Kali: Sno? Are you alright? What the hell is going on in there? I saw Male1...now you have some person named OldShoes in there? Do you need me to come over?

Snobird: Nope...hang on...I'm not sure what's about to happen...oh...

Kali: What? What??!!

As I watched, Male1 continued his climb...it seemed the balcony was at an enormous height. Either that or he needed more time to build up the melodrama.

Male1: I still love you...

And then he jumped.

Kali: Sno? Sno...talk to me. What is happening?

Snobird: Well, if I'm not mistaken, Male1 just took a header off my balcony.

Kali: You have a balcony?

Snobird: Well I didn't earlier...but I guess it's hard to commit cyber suicide by jumping off a coffee table.

*Kali snorts and falls over laughing*

Snobird: OMG! You won't believe this...

Kali: What...what...is he still there?

Snobird: Umm...well...yes...and no. He's ANEWMAN now...

We both laughed until we couldn't breathe over Male1's final nickname evolution.

Kali: I guess I shouldn't be surprised. I mean...well you missed an interesting occurrence while you were gone. Cyber suicide is nothing. A few weeks ago, this woman burst into the channel and attacked Iva with a knife!

Snobird: She WHAT?

Kali: Yeah...evidently he left her and she got all homicidal. Can you believe that? I mean...are these people so deluded they think this is real? I suppose it was a good thing though...that it wasn't real, I mean. Iva would have been swiss cheese...

*snobird nods*

Snobird: Iva has to be more careful. Obsession seems to be a very dangerous thing...

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