Birth Of A Character
It was towards the end of the workday, and on the generic social media site I use a game was going on inspired by a 9gag post, where you add -ing to a movie title to create something completely different:
Kill Billing — The story of a disgruntled ex member of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, and the lengths she will go to, to avoid paying for her cable TV.
The Rocky Horror Picture Showing — Dr Frank ’N’ Furter shows a trapped couple his holiday photos.
Das Booting — The story of one courageous German sysadmin restarting an entire server farm.
It was good fun. While I was trying to do my work, peeking every few minutes at the new movie titles that got added, a private message came in. Now this social media site is not a dating site. But as always happens when you have a lot of people of all genders gathered in one location (either face to face or virtual) some people will try to “get together” with the gender of their choice for some form of sexual activity.
I’m a veteran of chatting with strangers over the internet, starting when I was 14 on the web’s very first chat services. As such, I know most of the ways a first chat will flow. From the tame and timid, to the sexually explicit, to the down right creepy and obsessed. Fortunately, the object of the obsession was an other chatter, not me.
I have to hand it to this guy though. He wasn’t offensive. He wasn’t vulgar. He did his best to be original. He was trying very hard to be smooth. And almost succeeding in it. This chatter had crafted a story, meant to casually showcase (in the span of maybe 3 minutes) his physical strength, his wealth, and his lack of attachment to material things. Also, he happened to be in need of care — but that was strictly a temporary thing. If I had to describe my impression of the person who engaged me in private chat, it would be “not quite”. As in; not quite charming, not quite humble, not quite subtle, not quite impressive. He might be, given enough time to hone his skills.
“Skills”, yes, I am very certain what I received was the guy’s game. Not the guy himself. I don’t want to suggest here that I had been dealing with a aspiring ‘pickup artist’. The lack of disrespect or negging makes it unlikely. But he was aiming to impress. How do I know? He was oddly specific.
In normal, casual conversation people hardly ever get specific, unless they want the person they are talking with, to know those specifics. For instance; you would say “My car is in the shop on Monday.” You don’t say “My Porsche is in the shop on Monday” unless you want to make sure they know you’re driving an Porsche.
This guy wanted to make sure I knew the safe he had to move was not just fucking heavy, it was 500 lbs. (Just so we have some point of reference, even antique safes that are much heavier than modern ones, at 500 lbs are about the size of a small fridge.) He just gotten into some money and wanted to hide it. But, you know, if he ever did get robbed, he wouldn’t do anything. He’d just let them walk out with his 55 inch television. — I must say I have heard many guys brag about inches but this is the first time someone wanted me to know the impressive size of his…television.
I regret that it was this close to quitting time, because I would have loved to poke at this story some. Like, can you still call it ‘hidden’ if it’s stuffed in a armored armoire? And do you know what type of person usually has quantities of cash in their house that they require a 500 lbs safe? The same sort of person Hollywood thinks would name themselves after the uncertainty principle.
Actually, the Bad Boy thing is still pretty popular in some circles, maybe you want to play that one up. You could say your friends call you Heisenberg.
It must have been obvious I wasn’t taking any of the bait, because he logged off before 5pm came around. But my mind has sort of fixated. I keep wondering about this guy. What kind of experiences made him decide he needed “game”? How long has he been doing this? Is he aware he’s failing, or is he going through life a slightly more nuanced version of Johnny Bravo? What does he dress like? For some reason I can see him paying extra for jeans that come with prefabricated holes. And ‘vintage’ t-shirts with logos that come faded straight from the factory.
Someone is starting to come alive in the back of my mind, just waiting for an adventure to go on. And I’m curious to see what sort of shenanigans I can write him into — all fictional, of course. The birth of a character is always something beautiful. Even more so when it’s by accident.