Chapter: 1 “Boob Sweat”
"Ok get up here and fuck me if you want to have sex now! I got about fifteen minutes before the raid starts up again." Thomas heard Missy yell from upstairs in the bedroom loft of their warehouse style flat.
Thomas started for the stairs then paused a moment in thought with his hand on the railing and his foot resting on the first step. This is what it has come to? After two years of marriage, this is what sex and romance had become for them.
"Alright - on my way. I'll do my best to be done in fifteen minutes,” Thomas added sarcastically, “I wouldn't want to get in the way of a raid!"
Thomas then strode up the spiral staircase to where his young wife was waiting. On the way up the stairs he glanced at the photos on the wall along the stairway. Wow, she used to be hot looking! Thomas paused to admire the pictures of the two together outdoors camping, hiking, being together. Both had seen better days then. They were both in better shape and had genuine smiles beaming across their faces. What the hell happened?
"Please… Fifteen minutes has never been a problem, for you! I'm actually only allotting five minutes for sex and the other ten for soda and bathroom break." Missy jokingly responded back as she laid waiting for Thomas on their bed.
Thomas gave a hurt smile back as he lunged into her awaiting arms and legs on the unkempt bed. It has been a while, he thought, he could feel his heart race as his arousal climbed. For a moment, he laid on top of her in her needing grasp as her legs reached around his waist pulling him close. His lips sought hungrily for her neck and soon were lost in her long brown hair. For a moment...
The moment ended when Thomas inhaled deeply as he kissed the back of her neck. "Hey… when was the last time you showered?" He had to ask. Thomas was not the type to turn his nose quickly to human smells. He was use to the odors that people gave off working-out or even after a session of sex. But this was a little much. He could definitely smell that her deodorant had expired.
Taken aback and insulted, Missy stiffened and pulled away slightly and grasped Thomas's arms. "What the hell are you talking about? Do you want to have sex or not? Damn I swear, Thomas, I think you are more than just metro sexual looking sometimes..."
Thomas gave back a smile and proceeded to kiss her neck again causing her to loosen her grip on his arms and melt back into his grasp. He tried to avoid going anywhere near her armpit area, but they were getting closer to what they both wanted and she still had her bra and panties on. As he wrestled with the latch of her bra his mouth moved to her breasts and she moaned softly as his lips kissed her soft flesh. His foreplay was abruptly taken aback and he had to hold in an involuntary gag. Her bra had sweat stains on the inside and her breasts gave off a stale pungent odor. Thomas expected those smells from her armpits, but the smell was coming from her breasts. Missy noticed Thomas's gag, even though, he tried to stifle it and hide it from her.
"Fuck you then! Seriously fuck you!" She shouted and violently pushed him off her and pulled away from his grasp. She angrily got up and grabbed her tee-shirt and put it on without putting her bra back on and then she stomped down the stairs.
Exasperated, Thomas laid on his back with his arm across his closed eyes. "I'm sorry but you smell a bit ripe..." Thomas yelled back at her from upstairs. He also noticed as she stormed away her hair was greasy and unclean. Her overall hygiene was not kept up for days, if not, weeks. He was fine with her being somewhat tomboyish. Matter of fact, he liked that. She was active and worked-out, but the smell now wasn't from physical exertion. She definitely had gained at least fifteen pounds in the last six months, also. Thomas had noticed himself gaining a small belly, as well. It seemed like a rite of passage all couples would go through, eventually. They commit to each other and get comfortable with each other, and then would seemingly lose interest in keeping themselves as attractive as they were when they first met.
Thomas got out of bed and headed down stairs. He found Missy seated at her computer desk with headphones on lost in an online fantasy game world. He walked up behind her and tried to give a soft hug and kiss, but shrugged his attempt away. His hands fell to his side dejected. He softly apologized as he walked away…
Thomas crashed into the couch, and from underneath the coffee table he pulled out a small bong and his stash of marijuana. He didn't bother offering Missy; she gave it up months ago when she started getting into that online game she was currently playing. "I guess she has her own drug..." Thomas mumbled to himself as he lit and inhaled. He held in the smoke for a moment then leaned back into the worn leather couch and exhaled. He closed his eyes and he let sleep take him, he could still hear Missy clanking away at her keyboard playing that online game…
It was now the following day, and Thomas was driving home from the college he was attending. He had tried college once before, but he struggled and dropped out. When he first went to college he was just out of High School. He didn’t need college as much as he needed to learn life at that time. When he dropped out his parents were so mad at him that his father just stopped talking to him. His mother would beg him to go back to college whenever they talked. She feared that he would have a life of a regular type person, like a garbage-man, or some other menial labor type job. Which coincidentally, tended to be pretty good jobs around where Thomas lived, they were usually union with great benefits. But his mom wouldn’t be able to brag to her friends about her son who was a garbage-man…
Thomas didn’t do anything he thought he was going to do when he dropped out of college. He told people that he wanted to travel and stay in hostels, and really just get to know himself and the world. In reality he didn’t really do anything different when he dropped out of college versus when he was attending. The only thing that changed in his life when he dropped out is he just didn’t go to classes. He worked shitty jobs that had no future and that didn’t need a lot of experience or skills to get. Then when he was done working he would go home to his friends and drink, smoke weed, and play video games all night long. It didn’t really matter to Thomas, he just knew that he didn’t belong in college at the time in his life trying to figure out the rest of his life at eighteen years of age.
Eventually when he grew up, he went back to college for computers. When he first attended college he never declared a major. When he went back to collage a years later, he had made up his mind that he wanted to study computers and networking. His interest started out as a hobby of computer building and gaming. Eventually his knowledge of building and troubleshooting computers turned into a new career opportunity. Computers were also the reason for the problems his marriage was having, as he was now finding out.
He got her into the world of online computer gaming.
Thomas had his own demons with addiction. He grew up with a gambling addicted father and a mother that had problems with prescription drugs and shoe shopping. He was exposed to drinking and drugs when he grew up in a large Chicago suburb, but he never really got into those addictions. Then came computers, the first time he logged into an online fantasy world something triggered it inside him. Thomas wasn't sure what it was that was so alluring. Maybe the one saying his father pounded into his head when he was growing up, Son, if you work hard in life, you will be rewarded.
Thomas found this to be another great lie his drunk father told him. What Thomas found out working years of doing regular jobs that didn’t need a college degree, was that if you worked really hard, there was always someone willing to take advantage of you. So many times Thomas worked his ass off covering shifts, staying late, doing jobs that were not his. One time at the last restaurant he worked at, the head chef was fired without notifying any of the kitchen staff. Thomas ran the place for two weeks; he did all the produce ordering, created the daily specials, made sure everyone showed up for work and when they didn't he even covered a dishwasher's shift for an eighteen hour work day.
Thomas didn't get his reward… He didn't even get a thank you or even an acknowledgement on what he did for those two weeks. Instead he got a swift kick in the proverbial balls… One morning when he arrived at work, he was introduced to the new head chef who was a relative of one of the owners. The new chef barely had any kitchen experience. He actually came fresh out of a drug treatment facility, and they made him head chef of a busy restaurant. This wasn't the first and only time something like this happened, it was the last time for Thomas, though. It wasn’t difficult for his mother to finally convince him to go back to college so he could get a real job.
And that was when he discovered that his father was right for once. The first time Thomas entered an online fantasy game world, his father's proverb actually did ring true. The more time invested in the online game, the more power to be reaped came from it. The allure of money, fame, and power was as easy to achieve as planting your ass in front of a computer for ten hours a day in a virtual world. Thomas found the fantasy online gaming world to be much easier socially, as well. It was much easier and less nerve wracking going up to a complete stranger in this fake world where monsters and magic existed. And where he was able to create his online avatar to be flawless, so there was no fear of being rejected because of being overweight or not being comely. There were bigger things to be feared than being socially rejected in the online fantasy world. Besides, if you didn’t like the person you just met online in the game world, you could just kill them… And the worst would be a respawning of the online character and an exchanging of hate messages with threats of real life danger and litigation, or to get reported to an online game admin.
Thomas soon found out the pitfalls of an addiction. It cost him his life - not by death, but by killing his real world relationships. And he found that a diet of micro-waved food and soft drinks didn't do well for his physical appearance or health.
One thing that eventually changed Thomas was a death of a fellow online gamer that played in the same game world Thomas did. One of his friends in the online game had died in real life. The rest of the players posted their condolences at online forums. And in the game some players actually convinced some of the game admins to make an in-game memorial for the deceased player.
Thomas realized then at that moment he didn't want to be remembered in this way. How empty he felt watching the progression of pixelated people in an online fantasy world funeral. He didn't want this to be him.
Thomas made life changes from that moment on, he started working-out and totally gave up playing computer games. After much work and fear inspired determination, Thomas was back in decent shape in a couple months. He looked better than ever and even had an active social life. And that set up the prelude on how he met Missy.
Missy was about four years younger than Thomas, and, they got along well for the most part. Thomas wasn't sure what to think of their relationship, he gave up trying to find a soulmate. He had dated a lot and been in love a couple times before, but none of the women he was previously with had a connection that he would classify as being soulmate worthy. He never felt a strong enough connection or attraction to any woman he dated that wiped away all doubt that he could testify to the world that she was his soulmate. Thomas wasn’t sure if there were such a thing, or if he would even know if he met his soulmate. Too much doubt clouded his mind and past betrayals shielded his heart. When he met Missy, he didn't mind that they never stayed up all night and just talked about everything and nothing over a bottle of wine. He was just happy she liked to go rollerblading and liked the same kinds of movies he did.
Eventually, like most addicts, Thomas fell off the wagon, and he landed on the pixelated ground of an online fantasy world.
A new online computer game was coming out, it had incredible graphics and the things you could do in it were never before seen in any previous games. Since Thomas was at college all day studying for a computer degree, he was emerged with other computer nerds that helped enable him. It was like a crackhead studying how to make crack all day while being surrounded by other crackheads.
Missy already liked video games on console systems (the ones you plug in to your televisions). When she saw Thomas playing this new game with its fancy new graphics and playing online with hundreds of other people, she became very interested. To Thomas, this seemed ideal. She didn't question his playing times getting longer and longer, she didn't get mad that he was spending less time with her. She was mad that she didn't have a computer to play alongside him!
Thomas rationalized this would be good extra homework to build another computer for Missy so she could play. Soon both sat in a corner of their flat with empty soda cans and microwaved food wrappers littered about their desks while they played away their lives together in a virtual world. If they were not soulmates, they were for sure Massively-Multiplayer-Online-Gaming-Mates!
College was starting to get in the way of Thomas’s gaming time, it didn't take long for his grades to drop. One night during an online gaming session, Thomas looked over at Missy... What the hell had he done? She was fatter, her usually tan skin was pale and breaking out in acne. Not only did he fall off the wagon, he dragged another person with him.
The guilt of bringing someone else, someone he loved to his addiction was not sitting well with him. It didn't bother him that he was an addicted fat-ass gamer, again… It did bother him that he exposed his disease to her. It was eating away at him watching his once beautiful wife get dragged through the virtual dirt with him. He had to stop, he felt like throwing his computer out the window. A lot of his online gaming guy friends were jealous of their relationship, but in reality it was a curse. Instead of having someone to counter with nagging about his extended game playing sessions, he had a wife that was more than happy to join him in playing.
Thomas pushed away from his desk and turned toward Missy, "We got to stop playing so much, look at us. We both could lose some weight and get out and see some sun."
"What are you talking about? My family said I was getting too skinny before, I'm only five pounds away from my ideal weight. Besides its winter time, I don't feel like going outside." Missy didn't even bother to turn her head away from her computer screen.
Thomas stood up and walked up behind Missy and tried to put his arms around her.
Missy violently pulled and twisted out of his grasp. "What the hell are you doing? You almost got me killed. I'm in the middle of a raid! You got to wait until we are done!" She shook her head in disbelief while all along never pulling her stare from her screen.
Dejected, Thomas skulked away. He had no one to blame except himself. He had fought off addiction demons successfully when it was just himself. How was he going to help his young wife break her addiction?
A few days later Thomas was on his smartphone talking to his mother. "Yeah Mom, I tried telling her family what was going on... You know how ridiculous it sounds when you hear yourself trying to explain to someone who barely has a grasp on computers about online gaming addiction?" Thomas was trying not to kill himself in morning traffic while he juggled his coffee and smartphone while conversing with his mother.
“It does seem strange… Can’t you get her into other things? Have you tried taking her shoe shopping?” Thomas’s mother suggested.
"I emailed her father, mailed a letter to her mother, and tried calling... And they just ignore me like I'm the crazy one, maybe I am. It’s time to move on and get my own life in order.” Thomas finished up the conversation, “Ok Mom… yes I will, love you, too… Bye." With that his conversation had ended with his mother and pretty much his fledgling marriage as well.
Missy was growing more distant the more Thomas tried to get her living her real life again, and playing that online game less. She would become angry and accuse him of trying to control her life, it was getting out of control. Missy ended up losing her job because she was so tired at work and she was caught sleeping in her office. She also wasn't able to perform her job duties and was getting multiple complaints reported on her from coworkers and clinic patients where she worked as a dental hygienist. The last weekend she stayed at their flat, Missy was on the computer playing that online game from Friday afternoon when Thomas got home from his new job, and she played almost nonstop till Sunday night with only taking breaks to sleep and use the bathroom. Eating was done at her desk that was surrounded by a pile of trash that was protected by a fortress of dirty plates and discarded junk-food containers. She completely ignored Thomas as he walked by and would pretend she didn’t notice him when he spoke to her.
The following Monday she was gone when Thomas got home...
No letter, no email, no text message... She was just gone and Thomas knew it was for good because her computer was gone with her.