“I’ll have a cosmo, and the lady will have a Foster’s.” To the bartender the couple looked happy; it was easy to be happy here- we’re all fit, we’re all sexy.
“Alright, a cosmo for the man and and a Foster’s for the lady.” He grabbed the oil can and made up the cosmo, “10 bucks.”
The man waved his hand over the counter.
As he put his hand back to his drink the man asked “How’s the floor up there? any good?”
He faked a genuine smile, “Oh yeah, no bar though, so you’ll have to come by me. But it’s well designed, I tell you those developers know their code. I guarantee not a glitch in the place, and the nobods, well they’re convincing enough.” He gave the man a wink.
The man thought for a moment, and then headed up the stairs.  The bartender smiled to himself; that man hasn’t had a real date in his life, he thought, and got back to work. Busy night. 50 at the bar, 300 upstairs. His little corner of the net was filling up well.

A couple of women walked by, real women. One smiled at him, another winked. So few players actually looked the way they do in paradise, where an ugly face is the sign of poverty. The bartender was by no means poor. These ladies were something else. Realbods- models, a taste of wealth.
He turned over to the bouncer, “Look alive Lucas,” he said, “Them’s ain’t nobods.”

The girls sat at a corner table. A hand clicked once, and drinks appeared at the girl’s table. He paid a lot of money for them to be here, and each one of his ‘hot tables’ brought the traffic up 30% each. They were special; they were also a liability. Hackers like prey with real faces. Guests came and went; the bartender kept an eye on his VIP table. It was his duty to protect.

He came in quietly. He had a laugh. He acted cool. The predators always do at first. He scoped. Every inch of the place he checked. He wanted something real. Seven of the people here were close, close enough to find, close enough to touch. It would be luck to find what he wanted: a target of worth. He made his luck. He had the game down better than anyone. They called him the Virtual Rapist, but no one could catch a hacker like him. No, he could find you and you’d be locked away in your imaginary world. He could find you, and you would barely feel a thing. You would barely feel a thing and he would feel everything.

A man approached the VIP table. The bartender saw all. “Lucas. Now.”
The bouncer sped in at the speed of light. One tap and the man was gone.
“What did he get, Lucas?”
“He scanned one,” Lucas’s voice came from somewhere far, “But it wasn’t the one he was looking for. Seems he initiated a scan switch when I nabbed him.”
“Send the girls home.” $500 loss. That’s what that was to The bartender, $500. “I’m going on break.” He grunted, and was gone.

The screen went blank. The hands took off the glasses. A huge naked man sighed and those hands moved through his hair. Christ, he thought. They were his hands, real hands. He got up and out of the bed, knees cracking under his tremendous weight. His stomach moved against his steps. Everything moved against his steps. He had to lift that belly to pee. He hadn’t seen what was there in years, not with his own eyes. But on the net he was beautiful. On the net he was free.

At least the girls are safe, he thought, and he flushed the toilet.

 

-ABK

12018/9/22

 

Thanks for reading! Have a beautiful day!

Image cred, Cafe Oasis Hookah Bar Binghamton NY

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