Schaden/Lisa was a perverse creature, he decided, or maybe the medium of the internet brought that out in her. Whatever the case, at lunch she’d been almost overwhelming in her openness and emotion, but now, over the net, she reverted to her cool and elusive persona.
She had said at lunch how intense the internet seemed. Maybe she needed to put up a kind of verbal wall when she participated in the place, and some of the dry wit and cutting remarks she made about or to others on the medium were at least partially a form of self-protection. This was of little matter because they were still sharp and hysterically funny. They always hit their mark. She’d practically driven some of the weaker forum members to contemplating suicide. A good thing too, thought David, they’d be no great loss to the world.
His own cruelty astounded him sometimes, and his tendency to display it more and more on the net, possibly due to implicit encouragement from Schaden, was teaching him something he did not know about himself.
I am a cruel man, he thought. I am also a clever man. My honesty is brutal, but still honest nonetheless. I am smarter than these people. If they would commune with me, they must deal with me. As Schaden said ‘if they presume to be one of us, they better actually be one of us.’
It was harsh but fair. The internet reflected life, after all, and life was not equal – class systems abounded everywhere. The beauty of the internet, and its virtual anonymity, was that provided you were monied enough to have access to the net itself, who you were and what you earned and what family you came from counted for practically nothing. It was all down to your skill, your intelligence, your rat cunning and your determination. If you were brave enough to be honest, and smart enough to be insightful, you had good timing and weren’t afraid of a good fight, you ruled.
It wasn’t like the hierarchy in his office. Even when you were good in accountancy – in fact even if you were brilliant at it, like he was – you had to finesse office politics, deal with the innate and ubiquitous nepotism of the private sector, and often just wait out the turn of tenure. And for what? Your own company car? A bigger office with a better view? Your own secretary? Better commissions? All had their place, but he was a man in a hurry, a man who craved the immediacy of applause for his comedy, or the social elevation which was unique to the internet.
It may be the only true meritocracy, he thought to himself. The place where you are entirely left to your own devices, your own wits, and you sick or swim, survive or fall, on your own words and thoughts alone.
He and Schaden flew above the others and found each other. They were tied in the complicity that was nothing but their mutual, recognized superiority. It was very satisfying, and would only be better if she would relax more with him. She’d said she felt the communion with him, that it was unique only to him. They talked privately in chat rooms. No-one else was there. She would need to be encouraged to recognize this, that there need be no hiding between equals.
David was content, even despite his impatience. He knew this would all come in time. Each time she agreed to meet, he’d bring it closer. Each time they grew closer, he’d make more demands. Eventually she’d come to see things his way.
She had to, it was inevitable, they were so alike.
(c) Helen M Valentina 2015, All Rights Reserved